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Starting a Sorcerer

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Starting a...



[edit] Introduction

A Sorcerer is an arcane spellcaster, similar to a Wizard, but with a few key differences:

  • A Sorcerer learns spells instinctively, unlike a wizard that learns by studying.
  • A Sorcerer's spells are powered by his/her Charisma and can require components to be cast.

Also, keep in mind that Sorcerers can cast Repair spells, healing Warforged characters without the penalty imposed on Cure spells. The Sorcerer has a very limited selection of simple weapons, and usually only wears cloth armour. Heavier armour incurs a chance of arcane spell failure. These factors typically force the Sorcerer out of melee to the back row, contributing to battle with their ranged spells and/or bow/crossbow.

[edit] Specific Pointers

Your Charisma fuels your spells. It dictates how strong your spells are (their DC, or Difficulty Check) and how many bonus Spell Points (SP) you get. There is no obvious choice for your sorcerer. Human is possibly the best starting point as they get the Human Adaptability enhancement to add to their Charisma. Warforged is popular choices since can self-heal with repair spells but suffer lower Charisma. Dwarves and Elves have no real benefits for a sorcerer.

Once you have a character with 400 points of Favor, you can create a Drow. Drow get a bonus to Charisma allowing them to start with a score of 20, but may have difficult time surviving due to low Constitution.

Another tip: 1 point in tumble at level 1 helps you tumble out of the way of ray spells. This has an added benefit of slightly reducing your damage from falls.

[edit] Attributes

  • Dexterity helps a Sorcerer to avoid being hit in melee combat by any of the many enemies who may become enraged by your damaging spells and charge past the melee combatants to attack you. It also helps to protect you from becoming helpless from Ability Damaged to Dexterity. The Armor Class bonus from Dexterity soon becomes irrelevant as you tackle higher level monsters, but the bonus to Reflex Save is considered by some to be valuable.
  • Constitution is always helpful for any character. More Constitution equates to more hit points, and a higher Fortitude save. Constitution should (nearly always) be your second highest stat and in sorcerers should be no lower than 16 (except on elves and drow where 14 is the best they can do).
  • Intelligence affects a sorcerer's skill points. Higher Intelligence allows more skills to be boosted, but few sorcerers choose to boost Intelligence higher than 12. Note that the only skills a sorcerer truly needs are concentration and Use Magic Device, and both humans and drow can raise them both without any attribute investment. Being a charisma based class, sorcerers can greatly benefit from investments of Haggle, enabling them to better afford scrolls to feed their Use Magic Device needs at higher levels. Balance is another strong option to place leftover skill points.
  • Charisma affects a sorcerer's casting ability. Higher Charisma leads to higher spell point totals and higher DCs for the spells you cast. The great majority of sorcerers start with 18 or 20 Charisma. (20 is only available to Drow elves and 16 is the maximum available to Warforged.) Sorcerers should always max their charisma.

[edit] Feats

Sorcerers get no bonus feats in DDO. At level 20 they will have 7 Feats in total. (8 for Humans)

Feats sorcerers will find useful include:

  • Empower Spell - Increases damage done by 50% and costs 15 extra SP (note that either empower or maximize is required to enter the elemental savant line (due to the enhancements required. Both should be taken before 6th level since they can increase the SLAs for free).
  • Quicken Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast a little more quickly, with no chance of interruption.
  • Maximize Spell - Doubles listed damage and costs 25 extra SP. See empower for why you want this by 6th level.
  • Spell Focus - Selected for a type of spell, it makes that type harder for enemies to resist or ignore.
  • Greater Spell Focus - Selected for a type of spell, it makes that type harder for enemies to resist or ignore.
  • Spell Penetration - Gives you a bonus against enemies with Spell Resistance.
  • Toughness - Gives bonus hitpoints, 3 at first level and 1 every level after (30 total hp at levep 28)

Feats sorcerers might find useful include:

  • Heighten Spell - Increases spell point cost and allows you to cast all spells at your highest spell level. So if you cast a level 1 spell like Niac's Cold Ray and you can cast level 5 spells, your spell DC will be 10 + 5(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier) instead of 10 + 1(spell level) + (spell focus feats) + (charisma modifier).
  • Extend Spell - Doubles spell duration and costs 10 extra SP.

[edit] Skills

Many skills can be useful to a sorcerer, under the right circumstances. Plan ahead, before you make the character, as far as which skills you'd like to be able to use.

Concentration is highly useful. It will allow you to cast spells while being hurt. If you take damage while casting, you have to roll a Concentration check, and the higher your bonus is, the better your chances to succeed. Failure means you used the spell points but the spell did not come into effect. Max this or be gimped. The metamagic feat Quicken Spell can be used to supplement a poor concentration skill at the cost of extra spell points.

Use Magic Device allows the sorcerer to use race restricted equipment designed for another race or alignment, and allows him to use scrolls and wands made for Divine casters such as Paladins and Clerics. This is almost must-have for Sorcerers although they do not need a UMD check for Arcane magic scrolls and wands. At high level, sorcerers are expected to be able to use Cure wands and Heal scrolls to heal themselves, and use Raise Dead scrolls.

Diplomacy is highly useful. It can allow you to convince enemies to leave you alone. If the party runs into a large group of enemies and one or more of them targets your sorcerer, you can activate the Diplomacy skill to convince them that some other member of the party is a bigger threat, and they will leave you alone.

Balance allows a character to get up faster after he's been knocked down in combat. Since preventing the knockdown requires either high Strength, high Dexterity, or the divine spell Freedom of Movement, investing in this skill can help you to stand back up sooner after some creature does knock you down.

Bluff allows your character to convince certain Non Player Characters to do something for you, or to give you some information. It is rarely useful, but when it is useful, it can sometimes save significant amounts of time. With a Sorcerer's high Charisma, a few skill points at most is usually sufficient.

Haggle will allow you to purchase supplies at slightly lower prices and will improve the price you get for items you sell to vendors.

Spot allows you to see enemies who are hiding before they are on top of you and attacking. Some creatures are easier to see than others, but even a few points in spot can make a difference.

Jump will allow you to bypass enemies and avoid traps. Note that increasing jump past 40 makes no difference and that 11th level sorcerers can get to 30 with a first level spell (various items and buffs can easily cover the rest). Few sorcerers regret not putting points into jump.

[edit] Enhancements

Your Sorcerer Enhancements are geared towards boosting your spells, including extra spell points and the Charisma boosts, enhancements for whatever spell or spells you find yourself using most.

Elemental spells like Scorching Ray and Wall of Fire or Ball Lightning and Acid Fog can be strengthened with the Elemental Manipulation, Lineage Of Elements and Lineage of Deadly Elements enhancements. Spell Penetration can be improved as can Metamagic SP costs.

Racial Toughness enhancements can be a large percentage increase in hit points for a sorcerer

Most commonly, sorcerers will take enhancements that maximize their damage and offensive capability. You can always reset your enhancements for a small fee, so play around and see what works for you.

[edit] General considerations

The consensus opinion on starting Charisma seems to be that a starting score of 16 to 18 is necessary. Starting with a Charisma score of 18 (or 20 for Drow) maximizes a sorcerer's starting save DCs and grants a few bonus spell points. The spell point advantage is minimal, but the higher save DC is very important. Having a higher DC for all of a sorcerer's offensive spells reduces the chance that enemies will succeed at full or partial saves, making the sorcerer more effective overall.

Another school of thought on the subject of having a high Charisma says that in the point buy system, a score of 17 or 18 uses too many resources to be worth the benefit. Proponents of this line of thought believe that spreading stat points around more will make a more effective character overall at the cost of having a lower spell save DC.

Warforged inherently have lower Charisma which would normally make them a poor choice. They make up for this with their powerful racial immunities and arcane self healing ability.

[edit] Conclusion

As a sorcerer, you will know a very small number of spells, but you will be able to cast them rapidly and you will have more spell points at your disposal than any other class. In some situations, no class is more desired than a knowledgeable sorcerer.

Arcane spells fall under one of five categories:

1. Offensive spells like Magic Missiles and Burning Hands, every arcane caster needs some kind of offensive spell if they plan on doing any damage that wont result in their quick death.

2. Buffs (spells that aid yourself and your allies) such as Haste or Cats Grace, Stoneskin or Shield.

3. Debuffs (spells that hinder enemies) such a Ray of Enfeeblement, Bestow Curse or even Break Enchantment (can be used to remove curses/magic effects from your party or buffs from your enemies).

4. Repair spells that can heal Warforged (keeping yourself alive sometimes means keeping other party members alive first).

5. And finally crowd control spells such as Web or Deep Slumber, this type of spell limits the number of attacking enemies or at least hinders their approach.

Sorcerers are one of the most powerful classes in game and easily have the highest potential to inflict damage. Choose your spells carefully as you level up, and you can be one of Stormreach's Elite.

[edit] Sample build - Straight-up Sorcerer

Race: Human

[edit] Ability Scores

Str: 10 (2 build points) You won't be winning arm-wrestling contests, but still make sure to have some sort of strength item so you will be able to continue casting after a hobgoblin spell-caster hits you with a Ray of Enfeeblement, and you'll usually be able to carry as much loot as you want.

Dex: 8 (0 build points) You won't be dodging too many fireballs, but reflex save becomes most important of 3 save categories at high level. Your AC doesn't matter at all after somewhere after level 5.

Con: 16 (10 build points) You won't be trading punches with minotaurs in Stormcleave, but you will have enough hit points most creatures won't be able to kill you in one hit. Never dump this stat.

Int: 8 (0 build points) You will communicate with grunts and will be dumber than the half-orc (your charisma score will make everyone overlook this). If you need more skills look into buying a tome, but you need all the points you can put elsewhere.

Wis: 8 (0 build points) You won't be mediating a peace settlement in the middle east, but still make sure to have some sort of wisdom item for your Will save.

Cha: 18 (16 build points) You will be suave, debonaire, and confident. You will have as many spell points as it is possible to have at the start of the game, and your save DCs will be as high as they can be.

[edit] Skills

  • Concentration - You need a high Concentration to cast spells while under fire.
  • Use Magic Device - Use Magic Device will allow you to use magic items built for other races or alignments. You can use arcane scrolls and wands without this skill, but it comes in handy for self-healing and certain items later in the game.

[edit] Feats

  • At first level, Maximize for more firepower mostly to power your SLA´s (note you are unlikely to turn either on normal spells till 6th level).Toughness (For extra hit points).
  • At third level, Empower Spell for the firepower.
  • At sixth level, Spell Focus evocation for fire savant later, for Earth savant you will want to take it in conjuration (Niac's is a conjuration spell and the only save that matters for your first few levels).
  • At ninth level, Heighten make your saving throws even harder.
  • At twelfth level,Quicken- Sorcerers cast fast but you cant rely only in that at high levels
  • At fifteenth level, Spell Penetration Make even more sure that spell lands (hint: this is a separate roll from the DC/Saving throw roll) Greater Spell Penetration more, more, more spells must land!
  • At eighteenth level, Greater Spell Focus Evocation, Spell Focus Necromancy - there are many feats you can take here and you will have a good idea how they work by level, 18 or Greater Spell Penetration more, more, more spells must land!

[edit] Spells

Pick a few of these, and if you find that one is less useful than you thought it might be, go back to the trainer and pay a small fee to replace the spell with another one.

Level 1 spells:

Acid Spray is good for both ice spiders and oozes. Taking Burning hands for Korthos means changing spells for the Harbor and you can take it from the fire savant enhancemet line, same damage and lower spell cost

Level 2 spells:

Level 3 spells: Note that the party will likely ask for an ocasional haste and rage. It is important, but don't focus all your power and spell points there.

Level 4 spells: It has been nerfed several times, but expect Wall of Fire to be your prefered spell as long as you are not a water savant.

Level 5 spells:

Level 6 spells:

Level 7 spells:

Level 8 spells:

Level 9 spells: Nearly all spells are useful, depending on your casting style. At this level, you may make your toss-up as you have enough experience to make decision yourself.

[edit] Enhancements

Elemental damage enhancements are often worth it and required for your savant line. Expect to put a point in each critical and a few points in another line of damage when possible. Toughness enhancements are critical as you only get 4 hit points per level (before considering constitution). Charisma boosting enhancements typically work well, especially if they make your charisma even. At 6th (and 12th, 18th) be sure to pick up the Savant line (this will likely require resetting your enhancements and picking only those specifically required for savant. Fire Savant is best at low levels, but expect to change by levels 15-18.

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