A sorcerer, sometimes known as a sorceress if female, was a wielder of arcane magic bound only by their own willpower. Unlike most other arcane spellcasters, particularly the wizards they are often compared with, sorcerers had innate magical ability and were noted for their lack of study in obtaining such power. And while a wizard focused on isolating their foes and diminishing their ability to fight, a sorcerer prefered to unleash their full power, without restraint, blasting their enemies into oblivion. The magic a sorcerer wielded was, as a result, intensely powerful though often somewhat unpredictable, much like a barbarian in the heat of a rage.
Sorcerers were arcane artists, casting spells as a poet might write poetry, innately, rather than through regimented study. How they came by this power is not commonly known, though it was speculated that sorcerers' very flesh was, in some way, touched by arcane power. Many sorcerers claimed to be the descendants of dragons, a claim that is neither wholly false nor wholly true. It is evident that many sorcerers did indeed draw upon ancient dragon blood but others appeared to draw their power from other sources, such as wild magic. Regardless of the origin in question, most sorcerers viewed their magic through a lens of emotion rather than logic, and they were not prone to specialization in the same way many wizards were. As a result, most sorcerers did not get along very well with wizards and were usually, at best, competitive with the studied mages, with wizards viewing sorcerers as inept bunglers and sorcerers viewing wizards as obstinate and unnecessarily secretive prudes. However, many who were neither failed to see a difference between the two in practice. For similar reasons to their uneasy relationship with wizards, sorcerers did not typically get along with monks or paladins, though they often enjoyed the company of druids or rogues.
Regardless of the origin of a sorcerer's power, most discovered their power some time during puberty, where it began to manifest in unpredictable and often disturbing manners, such as haunting lights or mysterious sounds. In time, most sorcerers realized they were the source of the disturbance and reacted accordingly, either for good or ill. Fortunate sorcerers might have come under the tutelage of a more experienced arcanist but more often sorcerers were left to fend for themselves, friends and family shying away from them and their uncommon abilities. As a result, few sorcerers felt any brotherhood of any kind, and had little urge to work with one another. Most sorcerers did, however, share a common bond in their worship of gods associated with magic, including any of the Mystras. However, sorcerers were drawn to the worship of many gods, favoring none in particular and a sorcerer was as likely to worship Lathander as Selûne.
As a result of their uneasy upbringing, the ease with which power flowed to them, and other factors, most sorcerers were free spirits who flinched against authority and tradition. Most sought out an adventurer's life in order to expand their own power and test its limits. Some did this in order to help others, using their power to protect the weak. Others sought to simply prove themselves, obtaining a place of respect within society. Other sorcerers had more cruel ends in mind, however, intent on using their power as a means to subjugate or instil fear in those whom they considered inferior.
Sorcerers were often human or half-elven in origin, in part because of humanity's diversity and adaptability. However, there was nothing particular about humans that made them well-suited for a sorcerer's talents, and individuals of any race could manifest sorcerers. Kobold sorcerers were particularly common, likely due to their draconic origins, of which kobolds were extremely proud. Likewise, because of their draconic heritage, dragonborn sorcerers were also common, and considered by most the iconic example of sorcerers of the draconic heritage.
Arcane spellcasters from other uncivilized races were also more likely to be sorcerers than wizards, since they lacked the proper infrastructure and culture for the intellectual pursuit of arcane power. Gold dwarves, wild elves, and lightfoot halflings often also demonstrated a natural talent for sorcery.
Sorcerers were found throughout all of the world, though some realms had a greater tolerance for their talents than others. For instance, Aglarond, particularly during the rule of the Simbul in the Era of Upheaval, held a great amount of respect for sorcerers. Similarly, many sorcerers could be found later on throughout Calimshan, the Dragon Coast, the Great Dale, the High Forest, the Lake of Steam, Mulhorand, the Nelanther Isles, the Shaar, Silverymoon, Tethyr, and the Western Heartlands, as well in Murghôm and Halruaa following the Spellplague.
Sorcerers were best in a support role, though they often put themselves at risk as a part of their job. While in combat, sorcerers were typically heavy hitters, dealing lots of damage, though many sorcerers also appreciated the utility of long-ranged, hindering spells that exchanged raw power for a greater number of enemies injured or other effects. To aid them in casting these spells, sorcerers made use of daggers and staffs as implements, which empowered their spells and made them more potent. And while wizards relied on their ability to learn and memorize for the purpose of spellcasting, sorcerers more typically relied on their willpower and emotional presence to focus and empower their abilities.
Because a sorcerer's power was inherent most of their abilities were dependent on their precise ancestry. Many sorcerers were descended from dragons, at least distantly, and draconic blood, with its arcane infusions, made a potent source of power for many sorcerers, many of whom learned to tap this power in order to make themselves stronger, more resilient, or elementally gifted. Other sorcerers tapped into the power of wild magic, giving them an added versatility in their powers at the cost of predictability. Because this power comes naturally, sorcerers had an opportunity to pick up training in most simplistic weapons, giving them a slight edge over wizards in non-magical combat, though still behind other arcanists. Like wizards, the vast majority of sorcerers lacked training in the use of any armor.
A few sorcerers, though not all, took on familiars or magical companions who could be summoned to service. Like the familiars of wizards, sorcerer familiars could cast spells that their master is capable of using, as well as having the capacity to communicate with them on a very basic level.
Sorcerers came from a variety of backgrounds. While sorcerers of draconic ancestry were probably among the best known, sorcerers from other origins existed as well. These origins greatly determined the abilities and characteristics of a sorcerer and most sorcerers specialized to some degree in the abilities granted by their powers' origin. Sorcerers generally came from one of the origins described below.
Experts in the use of wild magic, chaos sorcerers derived their power from the terrible and wondrous forces of the planes of power and Elemental Chaos. Extremely impressive founts of power, chaos sorcerers were often extremely dexterous as well, using their agility and strong reflexes to slip out of the way of their own, often unpredictable, spells. Though their magic could be dangerously uncontrolled, chaos sorcerers gained a number of important benefits, such as resistance to all forms of magical energy, though on an unreliable and ever-changing basis. On the whole, a chaos sorcerer's magic did far more good than harm to its caster. Experienced chaos sorcerers who focused on their use of wild magic might have eventually become wild mages.
The archetypical sorcerer was, of course, the dragon sorcerer. Granted magical power by some innate connection to dragons, either through blood ties or magical infusion. One method of infusion was being bathed in dragonblood as an infant, though a ritual blood transfusion later in life may also have produced the desired effect. Dragon sorcerers were both emotionally and, quite often, physically powerful, awe-inspiring in their might as they added their physical strength to the power of their spells to plough their way through enemy attacks, reducing the harm done to them. Resilient, dragon sorcerers were difficult to kill, becoming even more so as they channelled their pain into a powerful rage. Additionally, dragon sorcerers were blessed with both an affinity for and an immunity to one of the elemental energies used by most dragons in their breath weapons, such as acid or fire. With the proper training, dragon sorcerers could further unleash their heritage by becoming dragonsoul heirs.
The raw and unbridled fury of the storm was at the beck and call of these sorcerers. Though many feared the fury of lightning and the terrible sound of thunder, these mages revelled in their power, internalizing these forces and then turning them back on their foes. Storm sorcerers gained two resistances, to both lightning and thunder damage, and had an ability unique among sorcerers to sacrifice these resistances temporarily to boost their own defenses. This type of sorcerer was perhaps closest to the "glass cannon" stereotype, possessing very high damage but very low survivability. They made up for this with a plethora of ranged attacks and excellent mobility. Those Storm sorcerers who felt the might of lightning most strongly may have gone on to become a Lightning Fury.
These sorcerers were linked with the heavenly bodies above Toril and gained power from the constant cycle of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Cosmic sorcerers manifested a certain heavenly body each day, which may have changed after a significant amount of combat. They may have manifested the brilliance of the Golden Sun, allowing them to be shrouded in astral fire and to resist the hottest flame. Or they might have manifested the majesty of the Silver Moon, giving them great power over enemies' minds while protecting their own mind from harm. They may also have manifested the Awe of the Many Stars in the sky, letting them shed great light upon their enemies and to resist that light themselves. Their spells allowed them to partly manipulate the never-ending cycle of the Cosmos for their own uses, whether they were benevolent or nefarious.
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