The Sorcerer's Scroll
By Steve Kenson

Greetings, seeker. So you wish to learn the secrets of sorcery, eh? To do so you must first feel the power pulsing through your blood, through your heart, in your mind and your spirit. Sorcery is not a craft you can learn -- you must first have the gift before you can harness its power to make magic. If you know that power, then you are ready to begin down the path of the sorcerer. . . .

Born and Not Made: Sorcerous Training

Tome and Blood

For even more great tips for roleplaying sorcerers, look for Tome and Blood: A Guidebook to Wizards and Sorcerers coming in July. This accessory contains guidelines for creating specific types of sorcerers, allowing you to build characters with specific abilities and personalities. Many of these characters introduce variations to the rules presented in the Player's Handbook!

The Player's Handbook describes sorcerers as "self-taught." Since their ability to use magic is inborn, sorcerers often refine their skills through practice, trial and error. What goes into the training of sorcerers? How do they learn to use magic effectively and improve their abilities over time?

If you're playing or creating a sorcerer character, give some thought to your character's early training. Some sorcerers have the good fortune to be taken under the tutelage of older, more experienced sorcerers, who teach them how to master and control their abilities. Such mentors may even teach the proteges some of their first spells, although their spells may just as easily develop spontaneously as they come to understand and control their powers better. Sorcerers might also seek out more experienced wizards with whom to study. While they can learn many things from a wizard (including useful skills like Concentration and Spellcraft), sorcery and wizardry are different enough that sorcerers prove frustrating students for a wizard, since they use arcane magic in a different way. Months or even years of trying to fit into the wizardly mold might teach a sorcerer many things, but also leave a certain distaste for wizards and their ways, particularly when a master tries to force a sorcerer into a mold that doesn't fit.

Most sorcerers don't have the benefit of any guidance in harnessing their abilities. They learn on their own, through trial and experimentation -- a process best conducted away from people, since accidents can and do happen. A botched ghost sound or light spell may be a nuisance, may even prove frightening to someone, but isn’t overly dangerous. On the other hand, an error involving burning hands or sleep may cause more serious problems, and a village might run a sorcerer out of town for accidentally setting a barn on fire or causing some other accident. Nay, ’tis best to discover one’s powers in private . . . even if the sequestration leaves your sorcerer with a reputation as a recluse.

About the Author

Steve Kenson has been a freelance writer in the RPG industry for five years and a gamer for far longer than he'd care to admit. He's written for a number of games including Shadowrun, Marvel Super Heroes and Dragonlance: Fifth Age. His work appears regularly in Dragon magazine. Steve maintains a website with gaming articles he has written and information about his current projects. He can also be reached by email (


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