Author Topic: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems  (Read 24846 times)

Offline Solo

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Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
« on: November 07, 2011, 08:43:40 PM »
Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
A Guide to Supremely Stunning Sorcelations
v 3.5

 
 
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Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair: Praise for Solo’s Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
 

"Epic win, lolpwnt, etc etc Solo. Beautiful piece you have there. Absolutely top notch."
-Shadow Archmagi
 
"Welcome to Winville! Population: 1 (Solo)
Excellent stuff!
Vanished "Illusions and Invisibility" thesis...will I 
ever recover?"
- Sir Giacomo
 
"Solo, it's awesome-sauce."
-Talic
 
"I laughed! I cried! I lost 15 pounds! I cannot recommend this guide highly enough!"
- Colin152
 
"Brilliant, will be linked to relentlessly."
-Azukius
 
"So this is what pure, unadulterated win looks like. Very nice."
-Woot Spitum
 
"Failed Will Save... Must Bow At Awesomeness of 
Guide... NOOOOOOOOOOO"
-AKA_Bait
 
"THANK YOU for making the guide to sorcery. I cannot describe the immensity of the sheer epic levels of help contained within your guide."
-Deth Muncher
 
"Doing more than just following in the footsteps of The Logic Ninja, this guide delves into a relatively unexplored set of advice. With his recent piece on sorcerers, Solo leaves his personal touch on the field of optimization. At last, a guide to sorcerers worth reading!
 
The folks at the Wizards forums need their own copy of this for their optimization library. Last I checked, there was almost nothing in the way of sorcerer optimization to be found there, and most inquiries were directed to Logic Ninja's guide. Which, while helpful, was not as appropriate as this guide is."
-Chronicled
 
"To James Solomon Ozymandias, Archmage: We at Heffelman's Department of Arcane Studies Review would like to offer you our heartfelt congratulations. Among many other points in its favor, we found we did not have an appropriate rating to give your recent sorcerer’s guide, a clear flaw in our critiques system!

In an effort to rectify this problem, the majority of our faculty has taken levels of alienist, and even as we write this, we are currently engaged in an expedition to the furthest realms of insanity in an attempt to find a number that might express its value. 
And indeed we have succeeded; but alas, upon return to the Material Plane, the number imploded and vanished, taking our gateway with it.
 
We are currently enGagED in aTTEMptIng to REturn, and iN the MEaNTIme, would offER this as a SUBstiTute for a prOper REvieW. wE would be HONOred if yOU would cONsenT to sUPPly us with FUrther copIEs of your WORKS via PlAne Shift unTIl suCh time as WE ARE ABLE tO RETURn.
 
YoUrs in Healghrth,
 
GlOORudel BRightweeke, critic and loREmaster at HeffeLMAN's, ArcD., Foc. Conj, I.A.
 
P.S. IT WAS WORTH IT"
- The Snark
 
Without further ado, the guide:
 

Well Ali Baba had them forty thieves
Scheherazade had a thousand tales
But caster, you’re in luck 'cause up your sleeves
You got a brand of magic, never fails
You got some power in your corner now
Some heavy ammunition in your camp
You got some punch, pizzazz, yahoo and how
All you gotta do is wave your hand!

 

Introduction
 
 
I, James Solomon Ozymandias, Archmage and Sorcerer, have just returned from an immensely perilous undertaking, during which I was abruptly brought to face my own mortality. Thus, I have decided to pass on the summation of my experiences as a sorcerer on to the next generation of magic users so that you may profit by my wisdom.
 
Now, I am here to advise, not dictate, the general course of action for sorcerers, such as myself, who wish to attain ultimate arcane power. After all, while it is easier to teach a man what to think than to teach him how to think, the man who knows how to think will eventually triumph over the man who knows what to think.
 
I shall lay before you the general philosophies I have pursued and found true during my time on the Mortal Coil, and let you judge their worth.
 
 
Who we are
 
 
We sorcerers are a different breed from other magic users; our powers come neither from pacts made with divine beings, nor from hours of rigorous study in musty libraries, but from within ourselves. It is ours, utterly and completely, from birth till death. It is one of the few things in this world that we can truly call our own.
 
When developing such powers, I have seen many young sorcerers make the choice of choosing flash over substance, such as the late Dalron Brogue, Evoker – a powerful man, who’s magic had several crippling weaknesses. He focused too much on Evocation magic and consequently was without the flexibility and adaptability necessary to survive in this dangerous world.
 
When we sorcerers learn our spells, it is a process of self discovery: we become so familiar with the powers we develop that we can call upon them many more times a day than wizards, but at a price, for we cannot change ourselves (and thus, our known spells) as readily as they can open their tomes. Therefore, a successful sorcerer, in my opinion, should seek to learn for himself spells that will be of use in many different situations.
 
This way, we need not spend time lamenting over the fact that we did not prepare the correct spells for the day, but instead are assured that there will always be something for us to do. Whereas a wizard must carefully prepare his spells, guessing as to what new challenges await him every day, and at the mercy of the smallest error in judgment, a properly versatile sorcerer will be able to go into any situation presented to him with confidence, for he will always know a useful spell.
 
 
More than just spelling
 
 
Obviously, spells do not make the man – nor, as my wife will no doubt remind me, the woman. There is a whole world of training outside of the mere spellcasting that will be critical to a sorcerer’s success.
 
For example, it is imperative that a sorcerer learn how to utilize metamagic in order to improve the potency of his spells; my personal preferences led me to choose Heighten, Empower, Extend, and Silent spell, as they allowed me to make it more difficult for an enemy to resist my spells, cause more damage, have my abjurations endure for longer than normal, and cast spells unobtrusively.
 
Of course, I made sure to learn the art of casting spells while eschewing simple material components for the sake of self sufficiency, and studied Spellcraft extensively, as well as gaining degrees in Spell Focus for the schools of Illusion and Transmutation from the Institute of Arcane Studies – mainly so I could full the pre-requisites for graduating as an Archmage and learning even more arcane secrets.
 
Notable among those arcane secrets are the abilities to cast spells as a caster of a higher level, being able to turn a touch spell into a ranged touch spell, sculpting area of effect spells to exclude allies, spontaneously altering the energy type of a spell, and increased potency in the ability to counterspell.
 
Good times.
 
 
Interacting with the world
 
 
Speaking of “good times”, it seems a given that we sorcerers always seem to – by the fault of our own or others – attract attention, sometimes unpleasant, often unwanted, you will likely want to invest heavily in the skill of lying. I cannot tell you how many orcs, ogre chieftains, or mercenaries I have had to face in my life, and bluffing my way out of the sticky situations has proven to be an excellent alternative to spells, for they leave fewer enemies, dead bodies, and trail for later trackers.
 
Knowledge of the Arcane and Spellcraft are, of course, nearly mandatory subjects to master, as sorcerers, by definition, will dabble extensively in mysteries of the magic, both to develop their own powers and to understand the secrets of others. As the old saying goes, if you know your enemy and yourself, you will be assured victory in even a hundred battles.
 
Even though most of us have neither the time nor strength to devote to melee combat, I would advise any sorcerer to lean, at the least, how to cast a spell while defending himself against an attacker, for you cannot always expect to have a ally guarding you while you rain magical death down upon your foes. It sucks to be attacked by something, and you should make every preparation against it, but the real world is not fair, and you will find yourself alone and under attack by some hostile force despite your best plans.
 
Prepare for it well.
 
 
Managing by yourself
 
 
While on the topic of being alone, it would be wise of you to consider how to balance self sufficiency with interdependence. It has been my principal to make sure that, without any magical gear of any sort, I would, with my bare hands and the arcane powers within me, be able to perform my magics without hindrance, as I fully anticipate not being with, or running out of, material components and focuses for spells, or having my items stolen, dispelled, or disjunctioned. It is, after all, absurd to expect that a worthy opponent will not try to separate you from your spell components, focuses, items, and, for wizards, spell books.Thus, I would advise you to use magic items to compliment your spells known, but never to have a magic item compensate for a hole in your magic. The outsourcing of a critical component has caused more than one company and nation woe, and it would behoove you not to repeat the mistake.
 
(An aside: one of the most hilarious moments in my entire career was when I bluffed one of my first adventuring parties and our antagonist into thinking that I was a wizard, lugging around a huge spellbook and all, filled with runes. When he separated me fromthe spellbook after a long fight during which all my spells had been exhausted, he made the mistake of allowing me to rest for a night before coming in to wave the captured spellbook in my face and taunt me about it. Needless to say, the Empowered Magic Missile I delivered to his face came as a complete surprise.)
 
Of course, there are other schools of thought, such as the item dependence school, created by, led, and composed solely of, Sire Guacamole; however, you should probably review his theories independently and come to your own conclusions.
 
 
It doesn't have to be lonely at the top
 
 
I have now written at length of the necessity of being self sufficient; but I must tell you of the need for co-operation and collaboration with your peers, for truly, no man is an island.
 
To compensate for our weaknesses and shortcomings, such as the inability to “mix it up with the best of them”, kick down doors, heal the wounded, and turn the undead, it would be a prudent decision to associate with those who can, thereby forming a team, whose intraparty synergy will hopefully create a force that is more than the sum of its parts.
 
In my most recent misadventure, I was accompanied by two great warriors and a powerful cleric, all of whom helped me accomplish tasks and overcome difficulties that I would never have been able to pass by myself. I am deeply indebted to all of them.
 
That being said, the ideal associates you will be working with should include:
• At least one healer who won't need babysitting in combat. I favor clerics.
• A scout or “sneaky” type of character for scouting and reconnaissance. As they will often get into danger above their heads, I favor interns. Scantily clad, leather wearing, busy, female interns...
• A dedicated combat type - perhaps a druid or another cleric, though my cousin Saal the Barbarian, knows no magic yet breaks skulls well enough.
• Perhaps another sorcerer, or wizard, to compensate for your lack of spells known and additional ways to rain magical death down upon your enemies. Or a bard, if he can sing really well.
 
Oddly enough, the entire party of diverse individuals will often be recruited from a local drinking establishment. Why this is so, I have no idea, but that is how the world works.
 
I digress.
 
 
What you do
 
 
As you can see, everyone has a role. Clerics heal, fighters fight, sneaks sneak, bards sing, and monks run really quickly.
 
But what of your role? What do you contribute to the party?
 
Well, as a sorcerer, your job is to “cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down!”
 
With your ability to cast many spells, you can afford to hex, curse, or blast at the enemy over and over until he is incapacitated, crippled, or dead. This is what you bring to the party; the ability to control and dominate the enemy with gratuitous amounts of magic, making it easier for your side to win the day.
 
Of course, this is all theory; what works best for you should be decided by yourself.
 
And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve come back to the issue of your known spells again.
 
As I do not think this repertoire of wisdom would be complete without at least a brief rundown of the best spells available to you as a sorcerer, I shall give you my personal list of spells known and other candidates that you may want to consider depending on your personal style.
 
First off, you must decide which schools to select spells from. The general answer is “All of them!”, but you will want to focus more heavily on some schools than others.
 
Conjuration is a great general purpose school, with a bit of everything, so it is always useful to select spells from.
 
Enchantment is the school for crippling your opponent with hexes and curses, while bending them to your will… pity it is stopped stone cold by Mind Blank and the humble Protection from X spells. Don’t get me started on how useless an Enchanter is against undead. 
It is, however, a great school for buffing – if that’s your thing. Best left to bards or clerics if you ask me - and does have some good spells such as Feeblemind, Sleep, and Dominate Monster. Enchantment is tempting to some mages due to the fact that it makes having your way with others easier – in many senses of the word. 
 
These people were what Evan’s Spiked Tentacles of Forced Intrusion was invented for.
 
Evocation is the “hammer” of magic schools. While flashy and impressive, all it takes is one protection from energy spell to render you more useless than the Elvish translation of "How to speak Elvish". There are some good spells in it, such as Contingency, but those you can get from another school.
 
Illusion allows you to make up for the lack of choosing Evocation and Conjuration spells via the Shadow spells, though they are only quasi-real. You can still use it to create Contingency effects and the like, making Shadow Evocation a worthwhile investment. Illusion also offers such gems as Invisibility, Persistent Image, and the various disguise spells, without which you would have as much luck disguising yourself as a hydra with sunglasses trying to sneak in to a beholder only strip club.
 
If you plan on becoming an Archmage with a school focus on Illusion, be prepared to write a doctoral thesis on the subject. Mine was on “Illusions and Invisibility”. For some reason the Arcane Comittee never found the manuscript, but I passed anyways.
 
Divination is one of the better schools, as preparation is half the battle. However, some of its best spells are expensive to cast, so keep that in mind. I usually leave heavy divination to wizards.
 
Necromancy is considered the “dark” school, but I prefer to think of it as being “effective”. Now, I’m not saying you should burn the cities of your enemies, loot their towns, hear the lamentation of their women, pillage, rape, and rampage across the countryside while salting their fields and smashing their temples, but you don’t have to restrain yourself to playing the role of Mr. Nice Guy either.
 
A note: while it’s entirely possible and even commendable to have your undead hoards rescue orphans from a burning orphanage, there really are better ways of doing it.
 
Transmutation is in my opinion, tied with Conjuration for most the versatile school of magic. There is always something worthwhile to transmute, such as your enemies. For a more detailed argument as to why Transmutation is superior to most other schools, feel free to consult my doctoral thesis on the matter: "Disintegration and Damnation."
 
Generally, I focused on a small amount of damage dealing spells, coupled with many defensive wards and offensive “buffs”. A key component of my style is the use of spells that require the target to either resist their effects (whether they be physical or mental) or be rendered useless. I believe it to be a more efficient way of dealing with problems than by simply blasting my way through, though I will concede that if you force the square peg hard enough, it will fit through the round hole.
 
Now I hope you can ruminate while I loquaciously illuminate the possibilities.
 

Core Spells
 

Cantrips

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Level 1

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Level 2

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Level 3

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Level 4

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Level 5

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Level 6

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Level 7

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Level 8

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Level 9

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There are, of course, other great spells to know, but I think I have given you a fair idea of what to look out for, as well as the proper mindset for a competent sorcerer. Best of luck to you, Sigil Prep freshmen, class of 1337, and I hope you have learned these lessons well, for I tend to guard my secrets with EXPLOSIVE RUNES!
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:10:20 PM by Solo »
"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down."

Offline Solo

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Re: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 08:43:47 PM »
Appendix A: On Metamagic Majors, by Shneeky the Lost
 
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Appendix B: Spell Focus
 
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Appendix C: On the Importance of Planning Properly for Tactical Advantage
 
A useful reference for Sorcerers on the choosing of known spells
 
By: Pip Tallowberry – Sorcerer, Abjurant Champion, and Archmage
 
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Appendix D: The Prestige – A Compilation of Sorcerous Academies and Specialties
 
A reference guide to finding alternate paths to sorcerous might
 
By: Pip Tallowberry – Sorcerer, Abjurant Champion, and Archmage
 
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Appendix E: Esoteric Arcana – Additional Tips for the Non-Core Sorcerer
 
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Appendix F: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerous Shopping List
-With help from Shneeky the Lost
 
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Appendix G: Power! Unlimited POWER!
 
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H: Saucy Tricks for Tricky Sorts
 
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« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 03:32:42 AM by Solo »
"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down."

Offline Solo

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Re: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 08:44:02 PM »
Appendix I: Fanservice

Henna, SOOORCERESS!

Appendix J: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer
-With help from Shneeky the Lost

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Appendix K: Builds

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Appendix L: The Practical Sorcerer's Handy Haversack

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« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 08:45:19 PM by Solo »
"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down."

Offline Solo

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Re: Solo's Stupendously Superior Sorcerer Stratagems
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 08:44:17 PM »
[Reserved]
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 08:45:48 PM by Solo »
"I am the Black Mage! I cast the spells that makes the peoples fall down."