The Sorcerer: Destruction Personified

2009 March 13
by Dante

The Stupid Ranger Crew was afforded a rare opportunity to preview the newly released Player’s Handbook 2. We were asked to explore everything there is to know about the Sorcerer class, so I did what any good impartial reviewer would do: I rolled up an NPC!

Setting the Stage

One aspect of the Player’s Handbook 2 that I enjoy is the very clear, visceral descriptions that the authors provide for each of the different class specializations. The Sorcerer class, as an example, is divided into two main focuses: Dragon magic and Wild magic.

The Dragon path provided a few class powers that provide a bit of extra damage to your arcane spells, some minor protective increases to your armor class, and a small amount of damage resistance to a particular type of damage (I picked fire!) The Wild Magic path provides some chaotic aspects to attacks, critical hits, and a chaotic damage resistance that changes with every extended rest.

Pretty much anything with “Dragon” in the title excites me in strange and uncomfortable ways, so I had to go with Dragon magic, and quickly I realized that the Dragonborn class is a natural fit if I’m going down that path. Don’t get me wrong… the lure of being a Wild magic user was very strong but in the end you just simply have to go with the stereotype as far as it will go.

A short hour of exciting dice rolling and character sheet mangling later, I had myself Ash the Dragonborn Sorcerer, ready to whip up on the evils of Shadowfell Keep.

A Fighter in Mage Robes

One very striking feature of the Sorcerer class is that you no longer only have 4 hit points at first level. Thanks to the new 4e rules, my Sorcerer began his life with a stout 26 hit points, which is more than enough to allow him to exercise his sorcerer-ly ways and not worry about getting felled by a wayward crossbow bolt.

As our session progressed, the power of the Dragon path became quite apparent. It seems that many of the At-Will and Encounter abilities plan allowed ol’ Ash to do a respectable amount of damage. Many of the abilities I selected for him ended up being Close Blast or Burst, so he was taking on small groups of baddies largely unaided. It’s not that the rest of the party wasn’t helping, they were just rolling poorly!

A few of the Sorcerer at-will spells could be used as ranged basic attacks, so they offered a good fall back option that still aided the party in a meaningful way. No more lobbing Rays of Frost with next to no damage, folks!

Hooked on a feeling…

Call me a sucker for flavor text if you will, but I really enjoy the structure and aesthetic of the Dragon magic path. There are several spells available along this path that offer breath-like attacks, and, as expected, much of the damage is elemental in nature, so you get a real notion of a barely contained channeling of large amounts of power. The truly great part is the damage allocated to this excellent aesthetic makes sense, and my sorcerer felt like a meaningful member of our group society.

The spells provided by the PHB2 seem to hit hard with the satisfying “FWOOMP!” noise that only massive amounts of elemental damage can achieve. Even the few encounters that we got through during our gaming session were enough to make me realize that the new sorcerer is certainly not yesterday’s alabaster-skinned nerd in robes who had to stay so far away from battle as to be rendered forgettable.

In fact, the Fourth Edition Sorcerer is a force to be reckoned with, and in the words of Ash the Sorcerer: “Just make sure you’re not in front of me when things get started.”

Keep an eye out over the weekend, we’re posting more juicy PHB2 details up to the official release on Tuesday! Also, you will be able to find further coverage on this release on the RPGBloggers Network!

Want to learn more about Player’s Handbook 2? Read on…

Drop by Wizards of the Coast today!

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Thasmodious permalink
    March 13, 2009

    Of the sorcerers full range of powers, does he have much, if any AoE? My group has been waiting for PHB2 to covert from 3.5 our high level campaign and sorcerer with some AoE sounds like the perfect way to do my warmage. I’m just curious if the sorcerer has these powers already or if I’ll be multiclassing to wizard or invoker.

  2. Dante permalink
    March 13, 2009

    Yes, the Sorcerer has some limited AoE spells starting with Level 3 Encounter Spells (Ice Dragon’s Teeth, does 2d8 + Charisma and slows opponent), a couple more at Level 7, and they become a bit more common after that point.

    Most of them appear to be Area burst 1 within 10 squares, if you’re looking for longer range stuff you might have some decisions to make. They do a very good job of ensuring there is a good mix of ranged options, so you have options there as well.

    That being said, most of the Sorcerer’s attacks are of the Close burst variety, so most everything can affect a pretty sizable area. It just so happens to be a bit closer than you might like!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Players Handbook 2 Preview: The Warden : Critical Hits
  2. Player’s Handbook 2: Bring on the Bards « Berin Kinsman's Dire Blog

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS