The Sorcerer's Scroll
By Steve Kenson

In the Blood: Choosing a Race

The potential to command sorcery seems present in nearly every humanoid race. Even monstrous humanoids like goblins and kobolds are known to have sorcerers among them; it's far more likely to find a sorcerer than a learned wizard among such savages.

The reasons one may possess the gift, or the Talent (as it is often called) are unknown, although many theories and stories attempt to explain where sorcery came from. One of the most popular bits of lore suggests that sorcerers are descendants of dragons who took humanoid form and humanoid lovers in ages past. Certainly, many dragons are powerful sorcerers capable of assuming human form. But if the tale is true, no dragon has ever said so. (Then again, what dragon would ever admit to having mortal kin?) Other stories claim that sorcery is inherited from another source, such as the blood of outsiders from other planes (good, evil, or otherwise), powerful spirits, or even the gods themselves. No one can say for certain.

Dungeon Masters may decide for themselves where sorcery comes from, or leave it a mystery for the players to ponder. For example, in your campaign sorcerers might truly have the blood of dragons in their veins, or they might be descendants of demons, celestials, or something else altogether. In the end, it doesn't much matter where the power comes from: It exists, and that is enough for most sorcerers.

Although the potential for sorcery seems to exist in all humanoid races (and a number of non-humanoids as well, like dragons), some make better sorcerers than others. Sorcery is less a matter of intellect and more a matter of force of personality; a sorcerer must have wit, daring, and the soul of a poet to shape the forces of magic. Sorcery is a true art, so artists make the best sorcerers. It is the spirit that matters, not the body.

Plot Points

Where does your character think sorcery comes from? He might believe a particular theory or legend, or might not care. Ask your Dungeon Master where sorcery originates in the campaign, but don't be surprised if it's a secret! Maybe your character can discover the truth during the game.

Power Play

Each character race has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sorcery.

Human: Humans make good sorcerers. The have the advantages of a bonus feat (good for picking up a useful survival feat like Dodge or Toughness) and bonus skill points. Humans can also ignore their highest class level when determining multiclass experience point penalties, meaning that human sorcerers can most easily multiclass without penalty.

Dwarf: Dwarf sorcerers have to deal with a -2 Charisma penalty, which can make things a bit difficult for them. But they get a +2 Constitution bonus, which improves hit points and Concentration -- making dwarf sorcerers more effective in combat. Their bonus to saving throws against spells and spell-like effects helps them. Dwarf society reflects this, with a deep distrust of arcane magic. Dwarf sorcerers are also likely to be outcasts because of their chaotic natures. Dwarves make good fighter/sorcerer combos, especially if they take fighter as their first class to get the benefits of higher hit points to start with, although they suffer spell-failure penalties for wearing armor.

Elf: Although elves have magic in their blood, they tend to make better wizards than sorcerers. Still, an elf can make a fine sorcerer. Their Dexterity bonus helps improve their Armor Class and their weapon proficiencies (particularly the bow) can prove quite useful. Elven sorcerer/wizard combos have access to a broad range of spells, both prepared and spontaneous.

Gnome: Gnomes make better sorcerers than their dwarf cousins. They have the Constitution bonus of dwarves without the Charisma penalty and a bonus on Alchemy checks. A gnome sorcerer with a 20 Constitution and the Toughness feat starts out with 12 hit points. Gnomes with an Intelligence of 10+ can also cast three additional cantrips: dancing lights, ghost sound, and prestidigitation, allowing them to learn other cantrips as sorcerers and expand their spell list. The DM may optionally allow a gnome sorcerer to use her regular daily allotment of cantrips to cast these innate cantrips more than once per day each.

Half-elf: Like their human and elven parents, half-elves make good sorcerers. In some cultures, sorcery may be believed to stem from having elven blood (since elves are often credited with inventing wizardry). Half-elf sorcerers have the same multiclass benefits as humans, allowing them to easily take a second class without penalty.

Half-orc: Although half-orcs appear unlikely sorcerers, and have to deal with their penalties to Intelligence and Charisma, sorcerers are more likely than wizards among half-orcs, since sorcery is inborn while wizardry must be learned (and not many wizards are likely to take on a half-orc student). A half-orc sorcerer is also likely to use his innate power, rather than hide it. Half-orcs in human or mixed communities often face prejudice, so they see the gift of sorcery as a true asset. A half-orc's Strength can also prove quite useful, particularly when most people don't expect sorcerers to be all that strong. Half-orc barbarian/sorcerers can be truly dangerous opponents.

Halfling: Like gnomes, halflings make good sorcerers based on their size and speed. Their Armor Class bonuses from Dexterity and size allow them to easily get by without wearing any armor. Also, their favored class is rogue, one of the most effective multiclasses with sorcerer (see Winning Combinations: Multiclassing).

Other Races: The common races aren't the only ones who number sorcerers among them. As the Player's Handbook points out, sorcerers are found among the monstrous humanoid races as well, and even some non-humanoid races such as dragons. In fact, sorcerers are far more common among other races than are wizards, since wizardry requires the trappings of civilization (books, schools, and teachers) to study and learn. Sorcery, an inborn ability, can appear anywhere. Humanoid sorcerers -- those who survive to adulthood, anyway -- are likely to hone their abilities and use them to gain power and influence among their kind. They may be multiclassed (with barbarian and rogue being popular combinations) and they're sure to use their abilities to their own advantage against adventurers. An enemy sorcerer can help liven up any encounter.


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