Sorcerer (Dungeons & Dragons)
|Editions||3rd, 3.5, 4th|
|(as a standard class)||3rd, 3.5|
|(as an alternate class)||4th|
|Source books||Player's Handbook (3rd and 3.5 edition versions), Player's Handbook 2 (4th edition version)|
|First appearance||Player's Handbook (3rd edition)|
The sorcerer is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A sorcerer is weak in melee combat, but a master of arcane magic, generally the most powerful form of D&D magic. Sorcerers' magical ability is innate rather than studied. In the words of the 3.5 Player's Handbook: "Sorcerers create magic the way a poet creates poems, with inborn talent honed by practice."
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2007)
The sorcerer class was introduced in third edition as being separate from the wizard class, having more in common with contemporary fantasy fiction than the Vancian spell system. Sorcerers were introduced in the 3rd edition Player's Handbook, and updated in the 3.5 edition Player's Handbook.
Compared to wizards, sorcerers' instinctive grasp of magic has more flexibility within the moment but less versatility overall. That is, they do not need to prepare specific spells in advance, but each sorcerer also acquires a much smaller number of spells, since they do not use spell books and cannot simply copy new spells from others' writing. Conversely, they do not worry about carrying spell books and having them stolen. Other effects of the sorcerers' intuitive approach are that they can cast more spells per day, but qualify for more powerful spells slightly more slowly than wizards.
Since sorcerers can only have a limited number of spells at their arsenal, most tend to specialize in the offensive magic that an adventurer will use most. While they gain only a few non-combat spells, they have perhaps more sheer destructive force than any other character class. Their biggest strength is also their most fundamental disadvantage: sorcerers lack the versatility of wizards, who can use any information on an adventure ahead to prepare spells from a wide range of options. The flexible sorcerer, however, can still choose which of his few spells to use or re-use next based on each new thing he learns in the adventure, regardless of any predictions.
Sorcerers and wizards often disagree; wizards tend to think of sorcerers as sloppy and undisciplined, while sorcerers can consider wizards obsessive and distant. Sorcerers were introduced in 3rd Edition D&D, to give players an alternative to the game's traditional wizard and specific spell preparation.
Kobolds, wild elves, Chaos Gnomes (a subrace of Gnomes introduced in the Races of Stone supplement), Diaboli (an obscure race of anarchists from the Mystara Campaign setting, updated in Dragon magazine #327), and Spellscales (a humanoid draconic race from the Races of the Dragon supplement) all have Sorcerer as their favored class.
Sorcerer spell preparation and casting
Sorcerers may cast spells depending on their experience and their Charisma ability. Although they are generally smart people, their magic does not (unlike wizards') come from Intelligence and study. Instead they have a purely instinctive affinity for arcane forces, a power that also amplifies their personal presence and gives them a Charisma similar to their potential power.
Many sorcerers claim that their magic comes from draconic blood, from some ancestor who was a dragon in human or other form. In the D&D world, this theory has not been confirmed, but people with dragon ancestors seem to be more common than most would think.
Preparing: Sorcerers do not need to prepare spells prior to using them. They may call upon whichever spell they innately know and may cast it using only the trigger sequence. Reasons for this are speculative at best, but some philosophers believe that sorcerers continually subconsciously recall the bulk of the spell at all times that they are awake.
Casting: When sorcerers want to cast a spell, they know instinctively which spell to use. They may then (as mentioned above) perform the same trigger sequence as a wizard would.
Resting: Sorcerers need to rest in the same way as wizards, otherwise they may fall into mental fatigue after too many castings.
Weapons and Armor: Sorcerers, like wizards, do not wear armor or use shields. However, unlike the wizard, sorcerers are proficient with the complete range of simple weapons, including the spear and shortspear, as wizards devote vastly more time and effort to maintaining their magical abilities.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)
Presented in the Player's Handbook II, the sorcerer is an arcane striker, with controller as a secondary role. Unlike other editions of the game, 4e sorcerers now have their own list of spells, rather than the same spells as the wizard. Sorcerers' attack spells generally use charisma, furthermore, many sorcerer spells benefit from high strength or dexterity. Sorcerers' sole class feature is spell source, there are several versions of spell source, one of which must be selected during character creation. Each version of spell source gives the sorcerer resistance to one damage type (which is fixed or variable depending on the version of spell source), gives the sorcerer a damage bonus based on either dexterity or strength, additionally, strength-based versions of spell source allow the sorcerer to use strength instead of dexterity or intelligence to determine AC while wearing light armor, and all versions of spell source give the sorcerer at least one additional benefit specific to that version of spell source, and many sorcerer powers have additional effects if a sorcerer has a specific version of spell source. In Player's Handbook II, two versions of spell source are presented: dragon magic and wild magic. Dragon magic refers to the belief that some sorcerers have draconic blood in their veins. Wild magic refers to a random, uncontainable magic that the sorcerer can tap into. In addition, the supplement Arcane Power introduces two more versions of spell source: storm magic and cosmic magic.