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A sorcerer, sometimes known as a sorceress if female, is 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 have innate magical ability and are noted for their lack of study in obtaining such power. And while a wizard focuses on isolating their foes and diminishing their ability to fight, a sorcerer prefers to unleash his or her full power, without restraint, blasting their enemies into oblivion. The magic a sorcerer wields is, as a result, intensely powerful though often somewhat unpredictable, much like a barbarian in the heat of a rage.
Culture[edit | edit source]
Sorcerers are arcane artists, casting spells as a poet might write poetry, innately, rather than through regimented study. How they come by this power is not commonly known, though it is speculated that sorcerers' very flesh is, in some way, touched by arcane power. Many sorcerers claim to be the descendants of dragons, a claim that is neither wholly false nor wholly true. It is evident that many sorcerers do indeed draw upon ancient dragon blood but others appear to draw their power from other sources, such as wild magic. Regardless of the origin in question, most sorcerers view their magic through a lens of emotion rather than logic, and they are not prone to specialization in the same way many wizards are. As a result, most sorcerers do not get along very well with wizards and are 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 are neither fail to see a difference between the two in practice. For similar reasons to their uneasy relationship with wizards, sorcerers do not typically get along with monks or paladins, though they often enjoy the company of druids or rogues.
Regardless of the origin of a sorcerer's power, most discover their power some time during puberty, where it begins to manifest in unpredictable and often disturbing manners, such as haunting lights or mysterious sounds. In time, most sorcerers realize they are the source of the disturbance and react accordingly, either for good or ill. Fortunate sorcerers might come under the tutelage of a more experienced arcanist but more often sorcerers are left to fend for themselves, friends and family shying away from them and their uncommon abilities. As a result, few sorcerers feel any brotherhood of any kind, and have little urge to work with one another. Most sorcerers do, however, share a common bond in their worship of gods associated with magic, including any of the Mystras. However, sorcerers are drawn to the worship of many gods, favoring none in particular and a sorcerer is as likely to worship Lathander as Selûne.
As a result of their uneasy upbringing, the ease with which power flows to them, and other factors, most sorcerers are free spirits who flinch against authority and tradition. Most seek out an adventurer's life in order to expand their own power and test its limits. Some do this in order to help others, using their power to protect the weak. Others seek to simply prove themselves, obtaining a place of respect within society. Other sorcerers have crueler ends in mind, however, intent on using their power as a means to subjugate or instill fear in those whom they consider inferior.
Sorcerers are often human or half-elven in origin, in part because of humanity's diversity and adaptability. However, there is nothing particular about humans that makes them well-suited for a sorcerer's talents, and individuals of any race can manifest sorcerers. Kobold sorcerers are particularly common, likely due to their draconic origins, of which kobolds are extremely proud. Likewise, because of their draconic heritage, dragonborn sorcerers are also common, and considered by most the iconic example of sorcerers of the draconic heritage.
Arcane spellcasters from other uncivilized races are also more likely to be sorcerers than wizards, since they lack the proper infrastructure and culture for the intellectual pursuit of arcane power. Gold dwarves, wild elves, and lightfoot halflings often also demonstrate a natural talent for sorcery.
Sorcerers are found throughout all of the world, though some realms have 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 can be found now 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.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Sorcerers are best in a support role, though they often put themselves at risk as a part of their job. While in combat, sorcerers are typically heavy hitters, dealing lots of damage, though many sorcerers also appreciate the utility of long-ranged, hindering spells that exchange raw power for a greater number of enemies injured or other effects. To aid them in casting these spells, sorcerers make use of daggers and staffs as implements, which empower their spells and make them more potent. And while wizards rely on their ability to learn and memorize for the purpose of spellcasting, sorcerers more typically rely on their willpower and emotional presence to focus and empower their abilities.
Because a sorcerer's power is inherent most of their abilities are dependent on their precise ancestry. Many sorcerers are descended from dragons, at least distantly, and draconic blood, with its arcane infusions, makes a potent source of power for many sorcerers, many of whom learn to tap this power in order to make themselves stronger, more resilient, or elementally gifted. Others sorcerers tap 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 have 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 lack training in the use of any armor.
A few sorcerers, though not all, take on familiars or magical companions who can be summoned to service. Like the familiars of wizards, sorcerer familiars can cast spells that their master is capable of using, as well as having the capacity to communicate with them on a very basic level.
Sorcerer origins[edit | edit source]
Sorcerers come from a variety of backgrounds. While sorcerers of draconic ancestry are probably among the best known, sorcerers from other origins exist as well. These origins greatly determine the abilities and characteristics of a sorcerer and most sorcerers specialize to some degree in the abilities granted by their powers' origin. Sorcerers generally come from one of the origins described below.
Chaos sorcerer[edit | edit source]
Experts in the use of wild magic, chaos sorcerers derive their power from the terrible and wondrous forces of the planes of power and Elemental Chaos. Extremely impressive founts of power, chaos sorcerers are 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 can be dangerous uncontrolled, chaos sorcerers gain 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 does far more good than harm to its caster. Experienced chaos sorcerers who focus on their use of wild magic might become wild mages.
Dragon sorcerer[edit | edit source]
The archetypical sorcerer is, 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 is being bathed in dragonblood as an infant, though a ritual blood transfusion later in life may also produce the desired effect. Dragon sorcerers are both emotionally and, quite often, physically powerful, awe-inspiring in their might as they add their physical strength to the power of their spells and to plow their way through enemy attacks, reducing the harm done to them. Resilient, dragon sorcerers are difficult to kill, becoming even more so as they channel their pain into a powerful rage. Additionally, dragon sorcerers are 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 can further unleash their heritage by becoming dragonsoul heirs.
Storm sorcerer[edit | edit source]
The raw and unbridled fury of the storm is at the beck and call of these sorcerers. Though many fear the fury of lightning and the terrible sound of thunder, these mages revel in their power, internalizing these forces and then turning them back on their foes. Storm sorcerers gain two resistances, to both lightning and thunder damage, and have an ability unique among sorcerers to sacrifice these resistances temporarily to boost their own defenses. This type of sorcerer is perhaps closest to the "glass cannon" stereotype, possessing very high damage but very low survivability. They make up for this with a plethora of ranged attacks and excellent mobility. Those Storm sorcerers who feel the might of lightning most strongly may become a Lightning Fury.
Cosmic sorcerer[edit | edit source]
These sorcerers are linked with the heavenly bodies above Toril and gain power from the constant cycle of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Cosmic sorcerers manifest a certain heavenly body each day, which may change after a significant amount of combat. They may manifest the brilliance of the Golden Sun, allowing them to be shrouded in astral fire and to resist the hottest flame. Or they might manifest the majesty of the Silver Moon, Giving them great power over enemies' minds while protecting their own mind from harm. They may also manifest 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 allow them to partly manipulate the never-ending cycle of the Cosmos for their own uses, be they benevolent or nefarious.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- James Wyatt (February 2001). “Vs.: Sorcerers”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #280 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 82–83.
References[edit | edit source]
- Troy Denning (Mar 2001). The Summoning. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71. ISBN 07-8691-801-2.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 99–104. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, Robert J. Schwalb, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, Matt Sernett (November 2017). Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–52. ISBN 978-0-7869-6612-7.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, James Wyatt (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 136–151. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51–55. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.
- (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.
- (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 49–50. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50–51. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 150. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.
- (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.