Friday, January 13, 2023

D&D Class Breakdown: Sorcerer

 For new players, it can be hard to choose your first class. For veteran players, it can be hard to choose a class and not fall into stereotypes everyone's seen a thousand times. So now I'm going to deconstruct the 5E Player's Handbook classes (Sorry Artificer, you'll come later) and talk about what works, what doesn't, and some interesting ways to play the classes. 

I won't be going into game mechanics as much as I'll be going into roleplay. 

Let's talk about Sorcerers! 

What Is a Sorcerer? 
Now we get into the arcane magic users, AKA sorcerers, wizards and warlocks, we have to ask: What's the difference? In most fictions the the three words are used interchangeably but in Dungeons and Dragons each is a distinct class and mislabeling one for another is a faux paus you do not want to make at the table. I usually don't get into the game stuff so early but with the magic users I have to just so we know what we're talking about. 

In game, sorcerers gain their access to magic through their bloodline, meaning someone in their family once upon a time was a dragon, demon, angel, eldrich abomination etc. and now they've been blessed with the magic gene (Don't think about the logistics on how this happened. It'll just ruin your day).

Historically sorcerers are like the demigods in Greek and Roman myth, children of a god or other mythical creature and a human and are therefore blessed with powers (We also won't get into how that happened). Celtic myths talk about people who have fairy blood in them, dating back to some weird ancestor that disappeared down a rabbit hole or was replaced with a doppelganger while still an infant, and now they are good at growing plants. To this day we still contribute ability with genetics, as anyone who's done their family history and found anyone of historical significance on the family tree will remind you every time you come in contact with them. We expect the children and grandchildren of great people to themselves be great, even if Albert Einstein's great-grand nephew just wants to play Fortnite. 

In the Game

Sorcerers in Dungeons and Dragons are usually the outsiders in the group. Their power manifests in youth and most of the time they're left to figure out magic on their own. Take the backstory of any of the X-Men and find and replace the word "Mutant" with the word "Sorcerer" and you'll have most of the common backstories. While the sorcerer doesn't have to do much to acquire their magic besides being born, they are limited on the number of spells they know. Since Dungeons and Dragons tends to have a lot of combat, this means that the sorcerer usually knows spells that are of a "do damage to as many people as possible as fast as possible" variety. Sorcerers can also cast the most frequently in a day without needing to recharge their mana batteries so they're usually used as the damage dealer in the group. 

Most players who pick up the sorcerer tend to go the mutant route, making the sorcerer the outcast of society because they were born different, or because they remind their families about how weird great grandpa Albert dated that succubus back in the day. It doesn't help that one of the subclasses for sorcerer is the wild magic sorcerer, which has to roll on a random magic effect table every time they do something cool to see what wacky/detrimental effect befalls the entire party. 

Breaking the Trope
Roleplaying as your favorite X-Men character but with magic can be fun, but the diversity of the class means that they're can be so many more interesting options to try out. Here are a few ideas.

Controller: Instead of focusing on damage spells, focus on spells that effect the enemies in different ways. Cast Grease and knock an enemy squad prone, or use Enlarge/Reduce to disorient the enemy and give your party members a better advantage. 

Illusionist: Things aren't always what they seem, and when you're a sorcerer illusionist things never are as they seem. Turn any situation to your advantage by confusing and tricking your opponents with illusions. A good illusionist can win a battle without ever dealing damage. A great illusionist can avoid the battle altogether. 

Showman: Bards don't have to be the only class who like to put on a show. Be a magician but with real magic, always willing to leave your audiences stunned and amazed and your enemies enthralled until you hit them with that perfect fireball. 

Famous Sorcerers

Elsa and Rapunzel (Disney) I'm just going to list them both together. Both gained their powers from something in their lineage, Elsa from her mom's honoring the spirits and Rapunzel from her mom drinking tea made from the magic sunflower. 

Benders (Avatar The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra) In the series people of different nations are born with the ability to manipulate different elements. As demonstrated in Korra when people move from those areas their children still have the predisposition to have the bending abilities of their native homes, as demonstrated with Mako and Bolin, brothers whose parents were Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom and who each became a bender from one of their respective parent nations. 

X-Men (Marvel) Okay I've danced around it long enough: Mutants from the X-Men franchise are basically sorcerers due to their powers coming almost strictly from their genetics. 


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