The Sorcerer's Scroll
By Steve Kenson

Winning Combinations: Multiclassing

A number of multiclass options suit sorcerers well, since their ability is inborn. Sorcerers may choose to learn how to use their gifts while following another class, or characters of other classes may discover a latent talent for sorcery as they adventure and gain experience. Some combinations work better when the character starts out as a sorcerer then adds another class, while others work best the other way – starting with another class, then adding the potential for sorcery.

Plot Points

Adding a level or two as a sorcerer (or a level in another class to a sorcerer character) can create an interesting twist in an otherwise "ordinary" character. You can play a character who discovered a potential for sorcery early in life but never developed it much beyond a few cantrips and simple spells. Why the potential went untapped is up to you. Perhaps she was raised to believe sorcery was unnatural and learned to hide her abilities, using them secretly. Perhaps she felt more drawn to another profession or calling and thought studying sorcery would be a waste of time. Maybe she started out as a sorcerer but then found something that interested her as much (or more) in another class.

Having a character discover a talent for sorcery during play can also be fun. Imagine a young rogue or barbarian who doesn't know much about his origins finding out he's got magic in his blood, or a priest or even a servant discovering he's a potential sorcerer. Adding a sorcerer level gives your character access to magical abilities to call upon in a pinch. Human and half-elf characters can afford to take just one sorcerer level to represent some innate potential while concentrating on another class, or you can pursue two (or more) classes equally.

Sorcerer Combinations

Barbarian: When most people think of barbarians, they don't usually think of sorcerers (except, perhaps as something spitted at the end of the barbarian's sword). But the barbarian and sorcerer classes actually complement each other well. If a barbarian is likely to learn arcane magic at all, it is through the inborn talents of the sorcerer rather than the book learning of a wizard, so barbarian tribes are more likely to have sorcerers than wizards among their number. Likewise, a sorcerer living in a savage or barbaric culture likely knows how to fight and survive. The barbarian focus on Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom complements the sorcerer's focus on Charisma and Intelligence, although only an unusual character can excel in all those areas.

Bard: Bards are closely akin to sorcerers. Charisma is important to both and they both cast spells through inner power and improvisation. The bard's wider selection of weapons, armor, and skills complements the sorcerer's wider selection and number of spells, and bards who focus more on the arcane side of things may choose to take a sorcerer level to improve their magical abilities. Sorcerer/bards can also combine the two styles of spellcasting. Since they can sometimes cast their sorcerer spells silently, they have a surprise for opponents who think them helpless when silenced or unable to sing.

Cleric: Cleric/sorcerers have the benefits of weapon and armor proficiency (although they must still check for arcane spell failure when wearing armor), and the ability to use both divine and arcane spells. Cleric/sorcerers are among the most flexible spellcasters because they don't have to prepare their sorcery spells in advance and they can substitute cure or inflict spells for any of their prepared cleric spells, giving them a wide range of options. Cleric/sorcerers often have a talent for turning undead, since their Charisma scores tend to be high. A sorcerer might be drawn to the service of a deity, particularly a god of magic, while a cleric of a god associated with magic (like Boccob from the Player's Handbook) might develop or discover a talent for sorcery.

Druid: A druid/sorcerer combination provides a wide range of spellcasting options, but not quite as broad as those of cleric/sorcerers because druids must prepare their spells and cannot substitute heal or harm spells for prepared spells. What druids lack in spellcasting flexibility they make up for in special abilities. A sorcerer/druid can combine the sorcerer's familiar ability with the druid's animal companion ability to have multiple animal friends with whom to adventure.

Fighter: Fighters offer weapon and armor proficiencies and extra feats to complement the sorcerer’s spellcasting abilities. The primary limitation on fighter/sorcerers is the chance of arcane spell failure while wearing armor. But a fighter/sorcerer can focus on feats and weapons that rely more on Dexterity than Strength, particularly if the character has a low Strength and a high Dexterity score. The Weapon Finesse feat is a must for such a character, along with Dodge. Dwarves make good fighter/sorcerers since fighter is their favored class.

Monk: The abilities of the monk spring from within, just like those of the sorcerer, and the two classes complement each other well. But the path of the monk is a demanding one, and a monk who gains a new class or raises another class by a level loses the ability to advance further as a monk (Player's Handbook, p. 40). Therefore, the best multiclass combo for a sorcerer monk is to advance as far as desired as a sorcerer before taking up the monk class -- resulting in a character who leaves off developing sorcery for the discipline of the monk, but retains her magical abilities as a sorcerer. A monk's unarmed combat skills improve the character's defensive and offensive abilities without interfering with arcane spellcasting, and the monk class offers a wide range of skills. It's also possible to leave off advancing as a monk to become a sorcerer (for example, a monk who discovers a potential for sorcery and must explore it). Starting as a monk offers higher initial hit points and skills, and a few levels as a monk can give a sorcerer a number of surprises for potential opponents.

Paladin: Both the paladin and sorcerer classes emphasize Charisma. The paladin class has the weapon and armor proficiencies the sorcerer lacks, along with a host of special powers. Unfortunately, like the monk, the calling of a paladin is a demanding one, and characters cannot advance as paladins once they have added a new class or advanced another class by a level. Therefore the advice for monks applies to paladins as well: Choose a primary class. Either start as a sorcerer, then become a paladin and stick with it (for a character with a little sorcerous potential and some spells to aid her holy quest), or start off as a paladin and turn from the path to become a sorcerer (accepting that the character will never be able to improve her paladin level). Depending on how sorcery is viewed in the game world, a paladin who becomes a sorcerer may be considered "fallen" in some way. In fact, so might a sorcerer who becomes a paladin.

Ranger: The ranger class offers most of the same benefits to a sorcerer as the fighter class except that rangers tend to wear lighter armor (which has a smaller chance of causing arcane spell failure). The solitary lifestyle of the ranger also appeals to some sorcerers, who are often themselves seen as outcasts from "civilized" society. Starting out as a ranger then adding a sorcerer level offers better hit points and more skills.

Rogue: With their wide range and selection of skills, rogues complement sorcerers well. The combination of a rogue's skills, evasion, and combat abilities with a sorcerer's spellcasting flexibility can be formidable. The most effective combination is to start out as a rogue (with a wide number of starting skills and higher hit points), then add a sorcerer level to gain spellcasting abilities and access to a familiar. Many rogue class skills are based on Charisma, so a high Charisma improves them, while the character also benefits from the Armor Class and combat bonuses associated with a rogue's Dexterity.

Wizard: It's fairly rare for a sorcerer to turn to the more rigorous and disciplined arts of the wizard. But sorcerers who do so (or wizards who discover within themselves a talent for sorcery) make powerful spellcasters, having the advantage of both flexibility and a wide selection of spells. A 1st-level sorcerer/1st-level wizard with a score of 13 in both Intelligence and Charisma can cast eight cantrips and six 1st-level spells per day!

The DM should have the player separately track spells learned as a sorcerer and spells learned as a wizard. Wizard spells cannot be cast using sorcerer spell slots -- they have to be learned differently in order to be cast that way. However, spells a character knows from his sorcerer levels may be prepared normally using the character's wizard spell slots.

The DM should also choose whether or not a sorcerer/wizard can have two familiars (one for being a sorcerer and one for being a wizard), although generally there's nothing too unbalanced about such an arrangement. Keep in mind that the abilities of each familiar are based on the relevant class level (sorcerer or wizard).


© 1995-2004 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wizards is headquartered in Renton, Washington, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057.

Printer Friendly