View Full Version : Choosing Sorceror Spells

2007-11-19, 12:46 PM
I've only played DnD a couple of times and I'm going to join a group that needs an Arcanist. A wizard would probably be a bit too much for me to handle, but I think I could manage a sorceror. I'm playing a fairly Core game and will be starting low, which spells would you choose and swap out as you progressed?

2007-11-19, 12:48 PM

It has all the good arcane spells. Not everything applys to the Sorcerer but it's still quite helpful.

2007-11-19, 12:51 PM
I don't really know what kinds of challenges you are expecting to face or the make up of the rest of the party so I'll just give you the one uber rule of thumb for Sorcerers.

When looking at a spell ask yourself this question: Will I still have any use for this in 3 levels?

Remember that any spell you pick you will be stuck with for the life of the character. Pick things that stay useful over time.

2007-11-19, 12:53 PM
Ah yes, the infamous Batman. I'm not new to the forums and optimising, but I've played very few games. I'll choose some of the spells from the list there. Thanks for the link. :smallsmile:

EDIT: I know the DM and I know the Campaign. Sailing to the New World. Think: Aztec Lizardmen, both friendly and hostile. It will be a good deal wildernessy, sailing, combat, and I suppose eventually some aztec style ruins.

EDIT2: The Batman list is quite large, eep. If I could be a gnome, go shadowcraft, and burst the sorceror spell known list I would. But alas, I can't.

2007-11-19, 01:16 PM
I would go for any utility spells and stuff that either has no saving throw or no spell resistance. Here are some of my personal choices by level:

0 - Touch of Fatigue, Prestidigitation, Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Acid Splash, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Mending, Open/Close
1 - Grease, True Strike, Charm Person, Sleep, Color Spray, Ray of Enfeeblement, Enlarge Person, Expeditious Retreat, Lesser Shiverring Touch (Frostburn)
2 - Glitterdust, Touch of Idiocy, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Knock, Levitate, ROPE TRICK, Spider Climb, ALTER SELF

Don't be a blaster, unless that's your playstyle! The utility stuff is much better. By 6th level you can grab the full Shivering Touch spell and take on stuff CR way abouve your party's ECL! Never overlook stuff like Sleep and Color Spray that can reducify your battleground threats easily. Sure the Sorc is sub-par to a Wizard, but chose your spell right and you can still be like Batman! You don't need every spell in existance, just get one for each type of challenge. Mobility, escape, and lock-down should be your focus. Why hit a big mean monster with a Magic Missile for 1d4+1 when you can Color Spray him making him helpless, which benefits also the fighter and the rogue who can full-attack and deal out some massive damage almost guaranteed! You are more useful in the encounter AND add the benefit of the melee guys getting to do their thing and feel that excitement of a great all-around team effort. Everybody wins!

2007-11-19, 01:18 PM
Try to pick spells you'll get more than one use of. Blasting spells, while tempting, are bad picks because they can't do anything but hurt people. Illusions are good choices because they're only limited by your imagination. Summons are decent too, since you have fairly good options with regards to what you summon, and therefore get many different capabilities with one spell. The Polymorph line, starting with Alter Self, is another good choice, just make sure you don't overuse it in combat or hunt through splatbooks for the 'best' form to use, that's exploiting it. But polymorphing into a bird to gain flight one day and a badger to burrow the next day is hardly cheesy.

Keld Denar
2007-11-19, 01:19 PM
Try to pick spells that do something you don't have, or have multiple effects. Alter Self is the quinessential example of a sorcerer spell (widely regarded as overpowered for this reason). It gives a HUGE variable of effects. Need to fly? Done. Need to swim and cast underwater? Done. Need high natural armor so you don't get squished? Done. That's at least 4 spells if not more that I just simulated with one. Other examples:

Lesser Orb of Acid: Your staple damage spell at low levels, no save, no SR
Color Spray: Disables lots of stuff. Even at high levels, can stun for 1 round, and often 1 round is all you need
Ray of Enfeeblement: The str penalty on this will make many encounters very manageable. Works on EVERYTHING. No save.

Glitterdust: Reveals invisible stuff, no save, chance to blind multiple targets, will save, good vs mook swarms at all levels.
See Invisible: At later levels, keep it up all the time. Invisible stuff = bad. If you see it, light it up with Glitterdust. Get it late, rather than early.
Invisibility: Take advantage of large number of sorc spells/day. Cast on your whole party, sneak around. Win. Most things don't get permanant true seeing until very late (true demons/devils mostly)
Wind Wall: No arrows....ever....regardless of levels....not even a level 20 archer can hit you.
Web: Great when you get it, stops being as useful when things get to be huge and larger. Take it, but swap it out later if needed.

Fly: Nuff said
Haste: Ditto
Ray of Exhaustion: Great debuff, combine with RoEnf posted above. Great for hit and run tactic parties, fatigued creatures can't charge.
Stinking Cloud: Combine with web to cripple foes for a long time.

Evards: it wins, and continues to win for a long time.
Eneveration: The ultimate wizard debuff. No save.

See how I have a nice mix of debuffs, control, buffs, and a little damage? That is what you want to have in a well balanced Sorc. You have to do as much as you can with the little you are given. This is just core. Outside of core is a good deal of other stuff you probably want too. When ever you consider a new spell, as yourself "Is this similar to something I already have?". That rule will generally keep you straight on picking spells.

2007-11-19, 01:22 PM
The definitive sorcerer spell list (http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archive/index.php/t-183763)

My recommendation would be to go through the SRD and stock up on the spells that cause mass infectious diseases.

2007-11-19, 01:25 PM
Thanks for the narrowfication.

What about early feats? I'll likely be human so I'll have 2 to start.

2007-11-19, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the narrowfication.

What about early feats? I'll likely be human so I'll have 2 to start.

Well, eventually you will want Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration, but that won't be for a while unless you expect to fight a lot of drow at the low levels. (If your DM allows assay spell resistance, you can skip these feats entirely. But assay spell resistance is crazy broken, so don't count on this.)

Depending on how long you expect the campaign to run, you should look into PrCs. Most PrCs require a feat or two. Plan to get those feats early enough so they don't slow you down in qualifying for the PrC, because you really want to get out of sorceror as soon as possible.

Otherwise, it really depends on how you design your character. Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus can be very powerful if you specialize in a certain type of spell, but sorcs usually tend to be generalists. Metamagic feats can be handy even with the casting time penalty (remember, full-round action does not equal 1-round casting time). Heighten Spell is pretty good for a sorc; lets you burn higher-level slots to boost your save DCs, which helps your low-level spells stay useful longer.

2007-11-19, 02:32 PM
Good Prestige Classes

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20010803 - Incantrix

Initiate of the Sevenfold Cheese(Complete Arcane) - no link sorry

Fate Spinner (Complete Arcane)

2007-11-19, 02:40 PM
Good Prestige Classes

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20010803 - Incantrix

Initiate of the Sevenfold Cheese(Complete Arcane) - no link sorry

Fate Spinner (Complete Arcane)

Don't be forgetting Archmage.

a Sorcerer/Fatespinner/Archmage is a deadly opponent.

Keld Denar
2007-11-19, 02:44 PM
Actually, one of the best pclasses for a sorcerer is Mage of the Arcane Order (CArcane). It allows you to fill unused spell slots with spells from the Orders Spellpool. This gives a sorcerer the full versitility of a wizard with a couple rounds worth of prep time. It requires a couple feats (metamagic feats) one of which is considered completely useless (Cooperative Spell). A sorcerer needs to take Arcane Preparation to get into the class (and to take full advantage of spell pool), since you can only call Spellpool into unused memorized slots. Just leave 1 spell slot per level as an "unused memorized slot" and at any time, you can call in ANY equal level spell as a standard action. At the end of the day, dump any unused slots into the spell pool to make sure you don't carry any Spellpool debt.

You need to find an arcane order to join, such as the Mages Guild of Waterdeep, the Mages Guild or Greyhawk, or any other campaign specific arcane order.

Access to almost any spell is so handy for a sorcerer. You never know when you need a single break enchantment, or similar utility spell.

Hope this helps.

2007-11-19, 02:47 PM
Just keep in mind, for MotAO, there is a limit to how many spells you can get per day from the spell pool.

Exactly how many it is, I forget.

2007-11-19, 02:48 PM
I like to think of sorcs as wizards who specilize. I would, to make the flavor, choose a branch of spells and go with it, assuming you don't want to be batman sorc, then the link that Solo has up is great. But I always get the great spells like invisibility, teleport and fireball.

The rest does depend on your DM. Hopefully your DM lets you have eschew materials as a given for the minor spells. Otherwise, my rule is to either stock up on wands, or take the feats to make em. Wands of magic missle are always welcome, espeially since you can sit in back out of melee, then save spells when it is needed. It is also nice to try for most of the [force] spells. no saves are nice.

Personally, I like illusionist sorcs. Expect for the evil MM mosters, humanoid NPCs just flail around against a illusionist. Most melee things end up having poor will saves, so you can have a chance if you end up in the throng(when it sees you). Illusions last longer than evocation normally does, so to the party, your alot more vauable then Mr. Blast-It.

2007-11-19, 03:15 PM
Don't be forgetting Archmage.

a Sorcerer/Fatespinner/Archmage is a deadly opponent.

Yeah, Archmage goes without saying.

2007-11-19, 03:40 PM
Remember that any spell you pick you will be stuck with for the life of the character. Pick things that stay useful over time.

That's not quite true, as you can trade out spells every other level starting from 4th. Therefore, I usually start off with sleep, then trade it out for a superior spell at 6th level (Which is around when it stops being particularly useful).

Either way, I agree with what everyone else has been reiterating: Spells that do multiple things are nifty. I'd like to give an extra nudge towards Shadow-Spells, as they let you duplicate a fairly wide array of spells.

I believe limited wish is dramatically more useful for sorcerors than wizards, too.

2007-11-19, 03:47 PM
See if you can go with the Metamagic Specialist variant from the PHB II. A familiar tends to get in the way / get killed, and the ability to cast metamagicked spells without preparation or increase in caster time is very useful.

As for spells, I would recommend against Color Spray, unless you don't ever expect to go beyond 5th level. It loses most of its usefulness by then, being both ineffective and easy to save against. Stuff like Grease, however, remain useful forever. I would also recommend any of the Orb spells, though ignoring SR isn't as big a deal as people say it is. You don't start seriously running into it until over 5th level.

2007-11-19, 05:20 PM
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20010803 - Incantrix

That's the 3.0 version of the Incantatrix. The 3.5 version is in the Player's Guide to Faerūn ... and it is even better. Not available as an excerpt though.

I love it. The RL Amiria character is Metamuter, a custom prestige class based of the Incantatrix, combining metamagic with transmutation specialization (I kept the bonus feats and the capstone ability, but replaced the other (also strong) class features with weaker transmutation specific stuff to balance it against not losing an additional school of magic.)

Jacob Orlove
2007-11-19, 06:57 PM
Color Spray is a fine choice, actually, even just for the one-round stun at higher levels (remember, stunned = disarmed). You can still trade it out at 6th, though.

As for feats, try to grab a metamagic feat or two that synergizes well with your spells known. Sculpt Spell is particularly good for this, if you know even a few area-effect spells (like Grease, Web, Glitterdust, Shadow Spray, etc).

Split Ray can also be useful, but it tends to shine more at higher levels, when you can use it with Ray of Exhaustion or Enervation.

Be sure to stock up on low level scrolls--they provide a lot of extra versatility at little cost.

2007-11-19, 07:18 PM
On PrC's - Sorcerer's can't enter Mage of the Arcane Order unless they also take the Arcane Preparation feat, it requires prepared spells to enter, not spontaneous.
Also remember that the Metamagic Specialist ACF is limited by your INT bonus, so if you go with this you will need more INT than your average Sorcerer.
One thing to look at with Sorcerers, if your DM allows it, is to go Human and take one of the Sorcerous Bloodline feats from the Dragon Compendium (not to be confused with the heritage feats in PHBII or the Bloodlines from Unearthed Arcana/SRD). It adds an extra spell known at every level (fixed, from a list) with some built in flavor, so you get more versatility and a more interesting character. It's not particularly powerful but I think it's fun, and have made it standard for the Sorcerers in my games.

2007-11-19, 07:20 PM
Energy Substitution is a good feat for sorcerers, since it allows multiple uses for a single spell, plus, you can do it spontaneously, so if you find out that the White Dragon is actually protected against fire, it's not like you filled a bunch of slots with now useless fire based spells. You just metamagic them to Acid or Sonic or whatever you chose.

I disagree with specializing for a Sorcerer. You should generalize. You can reuse spells as you need, so there's no point in taking five different blasting spells, just spam Scorching Ray. If you have Energy Substitution, it's useful against things that aren't vulnerable to fire. Now, instead of taking more blasting spells, get a few utility, a few protections, a few save or lose, and so on.

Don't waste valuable Spells Known slots with redundant spells. Don't take Summon Monster I, II, II IV etc. Take it once, then switch it out when you take a better version.

Remember the switching out spells option. Sleep is a great 1st level spell. It's probably the deadliest option you have against the common CR1 or lower creatures. After you hit fifth or sixth level, though, it's not very useful, so you should definitely take it, then swap it out at 6th level. Same for Color Spray.

So, you should have one good blasting spell, a few good save-or-lose, a few good debuffs, soem defensive stuff, some utility, and some buffs. The obvious ones like invisibility, Fly, Haste, will serve you and the party well. Keep the Save-or-lose spells at the highest level you can, since that will give the best chance to affect the enemy, and when you can get "No save, just lose" spells, grab 'em.

Sornjss Lichdom
2007-11-19, 07:49 PM
0level- Touch of Fatiuge, Detect Magic, Light, Ghost Sound, Read Magic

1level- Silent Image (most useful low level spell ever), Grease, Mage Armor, Lesser Globe Spells, Sleep, Color Spray, Ray of Enfeeblement

2level- Mirror Image, Invisiblity, Scorching Ray, Baful Transposition, Resist Energy.

Just my two Zhents.

oh feats.

1st level, spell focus
1st level Bonus, Energy Substatution
3rd? level, GSF, or another meta magic, such as empower, extend, or silent.

2007-11-19, 11:38 PM
If you're playing a Sorcerer at higher levels, there are three important feats:
Heighten Spell--You don't need to fill your spells known with higher-level versions of old spells. Glitterdust, Web and Stinking Cloud will go a long way. It's a good sixth level feat.
Rapid Metamagic (CM)--Metamagic is what keeps your spells useful as you level up. This makes Metamagic practical. It's a necessary 9th level feat.
Quicken Spell--Good for apparent reasons. Take this immediately after Rapid Metamagic.