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Pathfinder - The Sorcerer Handbook

Last Updated: September 24th, 2018

Disclaimer

I support a limited subset of Pathfinder's rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder player options not covered here, please email me and I am happy to provide additional assistance.

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Paizo has recently discontinued support of their official SRD. From this point forward SRD links on RPGBOT.net will instead link to d20PFSRD.com. While Archive of Nethys is now Paizo's officially licensed partner for the purposes of serving the Pathfinder SRD, Archive of Nethys is a horribly designed website and it simply doesn't match d20PFSRD's ability to keep pace with published content and d20PFSRD's search functionality.

If you encounter any links which still point to the old SRD, please email me so that I can correct them. I also recently added a page explaining my supported content which you may find helpful. --September 15, 2018

Introduction

The Sorcerer is the spontaneous caster equivalent of the Wizard. Much like the Cleric and the Oracle, the classes fill the same roles with a distinctly different feel. Because they are spontaneous caster, Sorcerers have a limited number of spells available to them. This can be supplemented with Pages of Spell Knowledge, but no Sorcerer can match the versatility of a Wizard. Sorcerers also receive new spell levels one level behind other full casters. Sorcerers make up for these shortcomings by being able to cast considerably more spells in a day.

Sorcerer Class Features

Hit Points: d6 hit points is a huge problem, especially with no armor.

Base Attack Bonus: 1/2 BAB and nothing to help it, but fortunately very few spells require attack rolls and the ones which do are almost exclusively touch attacks.

Saves: Good Will saves, but no dependency on any ability which improves saves.

Proficiencies: No armor or shields, and simple weapons.

Skills: 2+ skill ranks and a very sparse skill list.

Spells: The Sorcerer's spells are their best asset. With access to the best spell list in the game and tons of spells per day, the Sorcerer can do a lot of things and do them frequently.

Bloodline: Sorcerer bloodlines offer bonus spells, bonus feats, and cool abilities which supplement the Sorcerer's spells nicely. For help with Sorcerer Bloodlines, see my Sorcerer Bloodlines Breakdown.

Cantrips: Fantastic and versatile.

Eschew Materials: The flavor makes sense, but it's easy to replace Eschew Materials with a 15 gp item.

Abilities

As a full caster, the Sorcerer's casting ability is key.

Str: Dump to 7 unless you plan to Polymorph.

Dex: AC, saves, and touch attacks.

Con: Essential to supplement that d6 hit die, and for the Sorcerer's poor Will saves.

Int: Only needed for skill ranks.

Wis: Good for Will saves. Even though Sorcerers have good Will saves, it's still important to have a bit of Wisdom.

Cha: Sorcerers are all about Charisma.

25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 18
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 18
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 12
  • Con: 12
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 17
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 13
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 12
  • Cha: 15

Races

Charisma bonuses are essential, and small size is nice because it helps the Sorcerer's garbage AC and attacks.

Dwarf: Charisma penalty.

Elf: Despite some nice abilities which help spellcasters, the Elf's abilities don't work for the Sorcerer. The Elf favored class bonus offers additional uses of first-level bloodline powers, but first-level powers taper off very quickly.

Gnome: Small and bonuses to Charisma and Constitution. The Gnome's affinity for illusions works for illusion-heavy Sorcerers. The Gnome favored class bonus offers additional uses of first-level bloodline powers, but first-level powers taper off very quickly.

Half-Elf: Flexible ability bonus, but the Half-Elf's racial traits don't offer anything useful for the Sorcerer. The Half-Elf favored class bonus offers additional uses of first-level bloodline powers, but first-level powers taper off very quickly. Instead, take the Human favored class bonus to learn extra spells.

Half-Orc: Flexible ability bonus, but the Half-Orc's racial traits don't offer anything useful for the Sorcerer. The Half-Orc favored class bonus adds additional fire damage to fire spells, which can be nice for blaster builds, but will take a long time to add up to anything significant. Half-Orcs can also take the Human favored class bonus to learn additional spells.

Halfling: Small and bonuses to Charisma and Dexterity. The Halfling's affinity for stealth can be helpful for sneak Sorcerer builds. The Halfling favored class bonus offers additional uses of first-level bloodline powers, but first-level powers taper off very quickly.

Human: Flexible ability bonus and a bonus feat. The Human favored class bonus allows you to learn additional spells, hugely expanding the Sorcerer's versatility.

Traits

Skills

Feats

This section does not cover metamagic feats or bloodline-specific feats. For help with metamagic feats, see my Practical Guide to Metamagic.

Weapons

Armor

If you need AC, you're doing something wrong. Still, it doesn't hurt to get some cheap protection. Keep in mind that Mage Armor is generally your best bet when you need AC, but Mage Armor isn't always on.

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order. Magic armor is covered below in the Magic Items section.

Magic Items

Rings

Staffs

It's difficult to recommend specific staffs without knowing your individual character, so instead I want to make a general endorsement of the concept of magic staffs in Pathfinder. If you are a 3.5 native, go read Pathfinder's rules for staffs because they have improved dramatically.

Staffs are a reliable, rechargeable source of extra spellcasting that can give spellcasters easy and reliable access to spells from their spell list which they might not want to learn, or which they might like to use so frequently that they can't prepare the spell enough times in a given day. On days when you're not adventuring (traveling, resting, etc.) you can easily recharge any staff even if you can only cast one of the spells which the staff contains.

Wondrous Items

Permanent Spells