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."
"Welcome to Winville! Population: 1 (Solo)
Vanished "Illusions and Invisibility" thesis...will I
- Sir Giacomo
"Solo, it's awesome-sauce."
"I laughed! I cried! I lost 15 pounds! I cannot recommend this guide highly enough!"
"Brilliant, will be linked to relentlessly."
"So this is what pure, unadulterated win looks like. Very nice."
"Failed Will Save... Must Bow At Awesomeness of
"THANK YOU for making the guide to sorcery. I cannot describe the immensity of the sheer epic levels of help contained within your guide."
"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."
"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 Introduction
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!
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
Touch of Fatigue—While in the Junior Academy, Dalron sparred with Saal and cast this on Saal to make him tired. Saal responded by knocking Dalron lights out with an axe. I leave the lesson to be learned to you.
Prestidigitation—It cooks, it cleans, it gets crumbs out of your Cloak of Charisma.
Detect Magic—It detects magic. Yeah.
Read Magic—It allows you to read magic. Yeah.
Detect Poison—Allows you to avoid spolt food and find booze.
Message—Pretending that you’re someone’s conscience never gets old.
Ghost Sound—Provides a nice, ambient "Bow chicka bow wow" for your Luxurious Love Shack.
Arcane Mark—In essence, magical graffiti. Leave it on the foreheads of your enemies and flings: "A Wizard Did It".
Daze—It is a stunning spell.
Resistance—The only way to survive cafeteria food.
Light—And behold, there was light!
Mending—This spell is all you need to impress the ladies. Keep their clothing trim and your's looking sharp.
Tenser’s Floating Disk—Best used for practical jokes involving staircases. If Tenser was alive today, I’d use it on him for creating this sad excuse of a spell. I don't know what that man was smoking, but I want some of it.
Mount—It’s a mount. You ride it to places. You can also sell it and run off with the money before the buyer realizes he’s been had. Unless you want to major in either swindling or liveries, pass.
Identify—You identify magic items for a price. If that’s your thing, go for it. If not, leave it to the nerds.
Sleep—The perfect antidote for when you can’t sleep due to being poked at with pointy sticks.
Color Spray—Blind them with magic!
Silent Image—Gives you more time to run from angry spouses by blanketing the house in illusory fog.
Chill Touch—“I get to touch you and weaken you. You get to hit me with a huge hunk of metal.” Pass.
Expeditious Retreat—Run away! Run away!
True Strike—Ah yes. Learn to use the Force.
Magic Missile—I keep it around for those pesky “class five roaming vapors” whom I can never quite Disintegrate properly.
Shocking Grasp—My honorable enemy and worthy opponent, I concede to you the victory! Let us shake on it!
Grease—Great for tripping up jocks, or enemies charging up a staircase at you—not that the two are mutually exclusive. Also, useful for lubrication.
Shield, Mage Armor—No one will suspect that the man in a dress is abnormally hard to hit!
Charm Person—“Barkeep, you don’t need to see our identification.”
Enlarge Person—Growth hormones!
Ray of Enfeeblement—Jock-b-ware.
Tasha's Hideous Laughter—Why so serious? Let's put a smile on that face!
Resistance to Energy—Alas, poor Dalron’s second greatest foe.
Alter Self—not only does this allow you to disguise yourself, but you can pretend to be of a different species. Gaining the scaly hide of a Troglodyte without its stench is never a bad thing.
Among its other uses is disguising yourself as an old lady and letting your purse be snatched by thieves while it contains a few notes worth of Explosive Runes.
Bull’s Strength, Bear’s Endurance, Cat’s Grace—My voice gives me super strength!
Darkness—Provides concealment and DR10/Magic Missile.
Blindness/Deafness—I do not see the see the appeal of this spell, nor have I heard of anyone getting good mileage out of it.
Shatter—Have you ever seen a jerk who bullied you as a kid buy an obscenely expensive ring to present to his bride at their wedding, only to have it shatter mysteriously at the altar? Fun times, fun times.
Gust of Wind—It will blow you away.
Magic Mouth—No, not that kind.
Invisibility—a great spell until Greater Invisibility is on the table, as it allows you to go to places you normally couldn’t go, such as the women’s shower.
Mirror Image—Greetings, Mr. Anderson. Today, you’ll be fighting me. Me, me, me, me, me.
Hypnotic Pattern—Bards? Who needs bards?
Minor Image—The cake is a lie!
Detect Thougths—Ah, your thoughts betray you.
See Invisibility—It helps detect peeping toms in showers, if nothing else.
Glitterdust—Just because you can see invisible things doesn’t mean others can. Also blinds whatever gets hit by it. As some of us have found out the hard way, invisibly sneaking into a shower containing sorceresses who know both spells is not a good idea.
Web—Spider web, spider web, does whatever a spider's can. Spins a web, any size, catches thieves just like flies. Here comes the spider web.
Pyrotechnics—It makes things that are on fire dangerous to your enemies. However, in this cruel and unjust world of ours, enemies are often nor on or near fire consistently. Fortunately, Fireball can burninate from very far away. Also handy if you want to save a town by putting out a fire or fire elemental.
Acid Arrow—Handy, but I’ve never found a use for it, except when Extended in special circumstances. I will note though that you can use it to hit others from faaaaar off, which means you are less likely to be poked with a pointy stick.
Scorching Ray—Dalron’s favorite spell when we were rooming together in the Junior Academy for Arcane Studies, and a powerful damage dealing spell, for the level, anyways. It is a great way to roast troll flesh, which doesn’t actually taste half bad with a little Prestidigitation thrown on for flavor.
Fly—Up, up, up and away!
Phantom Steed—Hail Shadowfax, king of horses, now with wings.
Major Image—A most versatile and amusing spell as it contains auditory, olfactory, and thermal components. One student at the Arcane Institute had a tenancy to surprise intruders to his dorm by summoning an illusory fire around them. Since no one would actually dare to interact with the illusion to determine if it was real or not, it left them in the hot seat.
Deeper Slumber—Arcane focus: your professor’s lecture.
Heroism—My voice knows kung fu.
Hold Person—When one of the nobles at my local bar started giving gave me a hard time for getting all the ladies, I proceeded to stunned him, lift his robes over his head, and then walked away. No more was necessary.
Shrink Item—Shrinking large things and carrying them in your pocket does have uses. I remember that I was once fighting this witch whom I killed her by flying up in the air, invisible, and then dropping a shrunken house onto her, dismissing the spell as the house was en route to the ground.
Slow—Stopping things from reaching your is always a plus. It also works on undead, as it is not a mind-affecting spell. Best use, though, is at sporting competitions.
Stinking Cloud—Not only does this cripple wizards and prevent them from casting spells, but has many applications in the realm of practical jokes. As a freshman at the Institute of Arcane Studies, there was a brief period where you could not trust the food at the dining hall because some anonymous student would find a way of slipping Beans of Stinking Cloud into the day’s meals.
Explosive Runes—Someone set us up the bomb! Makes for a great impromptu booby trap, way of paying a check with an unpleasant restaurant or shopkeeper, and ensuring that your letter self destructs after it is read.
Note: make sure that the recipient can survive an explosion before mailing the letter.
Dispel Magic—A lifesaver if you need to clear hallways of Stinking Clouds.
Protection from Energy—Alas, poor Dalron’s greatest foe.
Fireball—Another of Dalron’s mainstays, this is a respectable spell for troubleshooting at long distances. Solving problems from far away is generally regarded as a good thing.
Ray of Exhaustion—Jock-b-gone
Vampiric Touch—All your health is belong to me.
Wind Wall—Take pride in rendering Elfy McElf, the Elvish archer utterly obsolete.
Enervation—Yes, it’s channeling the blackest of energies to cripple an opponent, making it an evil act. That being said, it is also a very effective spell. Learn it and let the Student Honor Council debate the ethics of using it. Empower for greater effect only if you can suppress the urge to spout out villainous laughter as you do so.
Greater Invisibility—Being unseen in the presence of a great and powerful monster is good. Nowadays, however, most of the opponents I face have ways to see through or negate Invisibility, so I usually spend it in attempts to avoid unwelcome relatives.
Resilient Sphere—It protects and traps pretty much any one creature, even incorporeal or ethereal ones. No need to call ghost busters to trap your focused, non-terminal repeating phantasms anymore.
Black Tentacles—In my younger days, I once managed to restrain a succubus with this spell. It proved effective, though not in the manner I was expecting.
Dimension Door—To quote the headmaster, “Great for getting you out of trouble—or into it.”
Solid Fog—The most solid of the fog spells.
Scrying—A great information gathering spell, but not something you will use all the time. Leave it to the book nerds.
Phantasmal Killer—The only person scared to death was me after I learned it required two saves to take effect.
Charm Monster—Great for gathered information, incapacitating the enemy, making friends, and bending people to your will, though a bottle of dwarven fire whisky and a few glasses has about the same effect.
Confusion—Your enemy will hurt themselves in their confusion! It is super effective!
Polymorph—The most effective way of turning into a troll outside of joining 4chan.
Feeblemind—Cast it on other magic users to humiliate them, or cast on your friendly meat shield to make him smarter. (I kid, Saal, I kid.)
Wall of Force—An absolutely fantastic spell. I have used it to trap monsters (with the powers of geometry), corner enemies in an Antimagic Field, and more. It may very well save your life, and help you end someone else’s. Remember, when casting a Wall of Force, NONE SHALL PASS!
Wall of Stone: It rocks.
Telekinesis—Can be used to manipulate things from far away, trip, disarm, pin down, or bull rush opponents (preferably into a Prismatic Sphere), and scratch those hard to reach places on your back.
Persistent Image—Illusions are good and useful. Ever wanted to get out of dinner with your mother in law?
Here you go!
Dominate Person—You will go home and rethink your life.
Cloudkill—If you ever face off against hoards of minions, by all means invite them to pull your finger.
Lesser Planar Binding–More like Lesser Planar Bondage, if you know what I mean. You should have the charisma to take advantage of it, unlike those nerdy wizards. Give other people Nightmares!
Baleful Polymorph—Turn your enemies into newts. They won't get better.
Contact Other Plane: Great spell… but are you going to use it every day? Of course not, you're not a nerd!
Disintegrate—As often said amongst the students of the Arcane Institute, “Handy for getting obstacles, objects, and people out of the way.”
Flesh to Stone—Medusafying.
Dispel Magic, Greater—Useful for getting nasty effects out of the picture, like when you fail to resist a Dominate Person with your name on it and are forced to wait several months for your friends to rescue you from a Drow stronghold and return you to your right mind.
Shadow Walk—The perfect way to send people to the Shadow Realm. Great way to transverse across time and space for cheap. Best used if you travel extensively and regularly, otherwise Limited Wish may be better.
Bigby’s Forceful Hand—Talk to the hand!
True Seeing—You see all, but at quite a price.
Eyebite—Behold the Evil Eye of Poogly Pie. Whomever sees it shall surely die. I’m glad you didn’t – you did? Goodbye.
Greater Heroism—Are you a bad enough dude to be the hero?
Spell Turning—It helps you avoid getting killed by a Finger of Death to the face, if your friendly neighborhood cleric has neglected to cast Death Ward on you. A common sport my freshman year in the Arcane Institute was for two aspiring Archmages to turn up their Spell Turnings, cast Magic Missile at each other, and create a resonance effect. First to get back from the Astral Plane got a keg of beer. Loser had to foot the bill.
Arcane Sight, Greater—It is generally regarded as a good thing to know if the person you will be casting spells on today has Spell Turning on or not. Also, useful for qualification for Archmage, as those old geezers on the Archmage’s Council will want to see ‘diversity’ among the schools of magic in your spell list.
Ethereal Jaunt—In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention, well secluded, I see all!
Limited Wish—For a small price, you can make up for one important spell you do not know. Priceless.
Mass Hold Person—Stop in the name of love, baby!
Insanity—This is MADNESS!!!
Bigby’s Grasping Hand—provides cover, rushes, and gropes at your command.
Forcecage—One of the greatest joys in life is to cast Forcecage on a dual lance wielding mounted charger, rendering his entire training up to this point moot. Expensive to cast, though. You’d probably be better off casting Fly on yourself and taunting him from above.
Prismatic Spray—Color your enemy surprised with one of 8 dazzling outcomes!
Delayed Blast Fireball—Burn everything. Burn it to the ground. There is nothing quite like seeing five of these go off at one time.
Simulacrum—Materials for cloning: 2000 gp
XP cost for cloning: 2000 XP
Having a threesome consisting of only you and your spouse?
Finger of Death—Avada Kerdava! Bonus points if you guess which finger it is.
Maze—Best way to amaze a Feebleminded enemy.
Reverse Gravity—If your enemy does not yet know how to fly, they soon will.
Greater Prying Eyes—Free scouts with True Seeing are always useful.
Greater Shadow Evocation—Like Shades, it allows you to make up for your limited spells known. Try using it to mimic Leomund’s Tiny Hut while traveling or Contingency if you’re paranoid.
Greater Planar Binding-Glabrezu, I choose you!
Prismatic Wall—Taste the rainbow, bitch!
Bigby’s Clenched Fist—Your reach will no longer exceed your grasp.
Mind Blank—It saves you from the humiliation of failing to resist a Dominate Person and becoming the personal slave to some Drow matron. Some people had to learn this lesson the hard way.
Horrid Wilting—My favorite mass removal/gardening spell.
Otto’s Irresistible Dance—Stop! Its hammer time!
Polymorph Any Object—You can now polymorph things into cheese.
Dominate Monster—While some may have an issue mind controlling other sentient beings, I submit that if they are doing some thing truly wicked, a brief spell as my personal servant followed by a Helm of Opposed Alignments should solve the problem. A redeemed person is, after all, more useful to society than a dead one. That being said, this does not work on many creatures (read: undead), nor ones with the proper warding (Protection from X, Mind Blank), so perhaps it is not the best choice for this category.
Prismatic Sphere—This spell is simply fabulous.
Shades—These sort of illusion spells effectively allow you to know several lower level spells for the price of one, as well as offering you endless amounts of fun with such great spells as Leomund’s Luxurious Love Shack.
Time Stop—With a bit of a mind flip, you're there in the time slip, and nothing can ever be the same, for you're spaced out on sensation, like you're under sedation. But listen closely (not for very much longer), I've got to keep control.
Somatic components: It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. With your hands on your hips you bring your knees in tight. But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane; let's do the Time Stop again!
Astral Projection—Send in the clones! Pricy, but it lets you duplicate of yourself, gear included, and then travel back to the Material Plane (or Plane Shifting back). Caution: Never leave your comatose body in the possession of a Succubus, even if you did use a Helm of Opposed Alignments on her.
Meteor Swarm—Finish him!
Wail of the Banshee—Dalron singing in the shower will suffice nicely.
Weird—Mind Crush! (Not really... giving your opponent two chances to save is bad.)
Wish—Say what you wish, whatever it be, it's yours true dish, just pay up some XP.
Gate—Great spell for interplanar travel. Superb spell for running away from your mother in law.
Power Word Kill—Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja!... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.
Shapechange—You are everything, ever. Warning: Not for the lactose intolerant.
Foresight—My Spidey-senses are tingling!
Disjunction—A magical EMP (Exterminatus Magic Pulse) that fries everything, including your potential loot. Only use if you don't plan on salvaging from the broken bodies of your enemies. Perhaps as a scroll...
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