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Heroes of Wild Sorcery

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Trampas Whiteman


Wild Sorcery is the ambient arcane magic of the world. Touched by Chaos, Wild Sorcery is fluid in nature, without shape or form. Prior to the Age of Mortals, Wild Sorcery had been dormant since the Age of Dreams, tapped into only by creatures with an innate connection. With the unleashing of the energies of Chaos, Wild Sorcery is alive and vibrant, at a level that mortal minds can tap into.

Some creatures have an innate connection to Wild Sorcery, using instinct to harness its power. Mortals harness its power using the mind's eye to shape the magic, providing order to Chaos. Through force of personality and natural talent, sorcerers can create magical effects from Wild Sorcery. The effects differ from person to person, even as each person differs one from the other.

Heroes of Wild Sorcery is designed to give some tips and guidelines to help you build your sorcerer character. Tap into your own potential, and see what the mind's eye can craft for your campaign.

Classes

With the increased number of base classes in recent D&D supplements, players have more options than ever for their characters. The following are a sampling of classes that tap into the arcane power of Wild Sorcery.

Sorcerer (Player's Handbook)

Sorcerers make up the largest percentage of those who practice Wild Sorcery, though other paths are possible. Though basic in concept, the sorcerer can be adapted any number of ways allowing for any number of themes.

Sorcerers, by nature, are independent. While some join organizations such as the Legion of Steel or Knights of the Thorn, most prefer to a solitary existence. Some sorcerers will apprentice themselves to another sorcerer for a time in order to further their arcane talent, but will eventually move on.

Bard (Player's Handbook)

The bard uses Wild Sorcery in the form of arcane music, an art some call Sonomancy. A bard's power comes from his heart, blending in a touch of Mysticism with Wild Sorcery, enabling bards to make use of healing spells (providing the Dungeon Master ignores the restriction against healing spells in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting).

Beguiler (Players Handbook II)

The Beguiler casts spells in a similar manner to the Warmage, drawing upon the power of Wild Sorcery, though his focus is on enchantment and illusion with a tinge of transmutation thrown in for good measure. The Beguiler is typically a loner, though they may sometimes ally themselves with a thieves' guild. Some will ally with the Legion of Steel. Knights of Solamnia and the Dark Knights will look upon a Beguiler as chaotic nuisances.

Beguilers must be especially careful around the Wizards of High Sorcery, who see the Beguiler's use of Wild Sorcery to be undisciplined users of arcane magic. The Red Robes are the most tolerant of Beguilers since their realm is that of illusion. White Robes will approach Beguilers with caution, while Black Robes will use a Beguiler's talents for his own ends until the Beguiler proves to no longer be useful.

Half-Kender especially find this class appealing, drawing into their kender nature, while still allowing for their human intellect to guide their path. Kender and humans flock to this class, while dwarves, gnomes, and minotaurs shun this class.

Duskblade (Players Handbook II)

The path of the Duskblade is relatively new in the Age of Mortals, though there is some evidence that elves in the Age of Dreams once practiced the art. After the discovery of Wild Sorcery, elven historians uncovered ancient texts telling of the practice. During the elven diaspora, some of those texts found their ways into the hands of the Dark Knights, some of whom sold those secrets on the black market.

As practitioners of Wild Sorcery, Duskblades are monitored by the Orders of High Sorcery. Unlike the Beguiler, the path of a Duskblade is more palatable to the Orders, though they still approach with caution. Dark Elf Duskblades are showing up in increasing number in the Knights of the Thorn, teaching elven secrets to the Grey Robes. Some Duskblades have joined the Legion of Steel as well.

Hexblade (Complete Warrior)

The Hexblade combines martial prowess with sorcerous might to deadly effect. The Hexblade is touched by the taint of Chaos that boosts the power of Wild Sorcery, manifesting in the form of the Hexblade's curse. Hexblades rarely, if ever, join an organization, preferring to work on their own. They are hunted by the renegade hunters of the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Spellthief (Complete Adventurer)

The Spellthief is a sorcerer that drains the abilities of his opponents and turns their own powers against them. In Dragonlance, this is the laws of Balance at work, ensuring that the sorcerer has a natural defense against the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Warlock (Complete Arcane)

The Warlock is an individual with an innate gift for Wild Sorcery. Like the Hexblade, the taint of Chaos affects the Warlock's magic. The difference is that the Hexblade taps into the chaotic nature of Chaos, and the Warlock is touched by the evil nature of the avatar of Chaos that attacked Krynn during the Summer of Chaos. Though not all characters are evil, the inherent dark power of Chaos affects the character no matter what.

Warmage (Complete Arcane, Miniatures Handbook)

The Warmage is an arcane spellcaster who specializes in battle magic, drawing from the power of Wild Sorcery. Warmages have allied with the Knights of Solamnia, though they have yet to join the auxiliary, which only allows in White Robes (though Dungeon Masters are free to change this). They do work well with the Knights of the Thorn, who seize the opportunity to recruit any Warmage they can. The Legion of Steel also utilize Warmages, though not in the typical fashion of a Legion Sorcerer.

Please note that the Warmage base class fills the same basic role as the War Mage prestige class in Age of Mortals. Though the two can probably be used together, it isn't recommended. The Dungeon Master is advised to pick only one of the two classes for his or her campaign. The War Mage prestige class can fill many roles, and work with the Wizards of High Sorcery. Due to the nature of the base Warmage class' spellcasting, they fit better as an ambient spellcaster and would be at odds with the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Prestige Classes

The following prestige classes can enable your sorcerer to expand beyond his basic beginnings, giving focus to the character. This list but a sampling of the myriad possibilities out there and is not all-inclusive.

Academy Sorcerer (Age of Mortals)

The Academy of Sorcery is one of the major foundations of Wild Sorcery on the continent of Ansalon. Palin Majere's teachings have spread far and wide, evolving into many forms. With the destruction of the Academy of Sorcery and the return of the gods, there are fewer and fewer Academy Sorcerers. Many sorcerers continue to teach the ways of the Academy of Sorcery, whether in smaller academies or in individual study between master and student. Ulin Majere is an example of an Academy Sorcerer.

Dungeon Masters who use the Academy of the Dragon Mage in their game can find new life for this prestige class as well. The difference, though, is that the Dragon Mage's students believe that a war between wizards and sorcerers is coming, and that they must be ready.

Ambient Tempest (Bestiary of Krynn)

Sorcerers who become ambient tempests have a gift for tapping into the heart of ambient magic, shaping it as a sculptor would shape clay. While the Ambient Tempest is best suited for monstrous creatures that can naturally tap into magic, some sorcerers have the same innate ability.

Arcane Trickster (Dungeon Master's Guide)

The arcane trickster best suits the sorcerer in Dragonlance, who works independently, and does not answer to the Orders of High Sorcery. Kender will especially find this prestige class appealing, using its Ranged Legerdemain ability when they handle. It is rumored that this ability is inspired by Lockspringer's Dexterous Digits, a spell reportedly conceived by a kender wizard (if such a tale could possibly be true). Arcane Tricksters get along well with Spellfilches.

Argent Savant (Complete Arcane)

The Argent Savant, sometimes called a "Force Mage," is a sorcerer who specializes in force-based magic. Such devoted study unlocks secrets known only to a few. Prior to the destruction of the Academy of Sorcery, force-based sorcerers were frowned upon by some of the teachers at the Academy of Sorcery, as their magic did not fit any of the definitions of a Realm of Sorcery. Typically, Argent Savants are those with natural talent, who do not seek additional training. Occasionally one Argent Savant can be found tutoring another, though such cases are rare.

Elemental Savant (Complete Arcane)

The Elemental Savant is a sorcerer who specializes in an elemental form of magic, especially pyromancy, electromancy, and cryomancy (though other elements can be used as well). Some Elemental Savants control acid, though they view it as a subschool of hydromancy. As Elemental Savants gain in power, they become more and more in tune with their chosen element, eventually transforming into an elemental themselves.

Fatespinner (Complete Arcane)

The Fatespinner is a sorcerer who has a natural connection to the River of Time. Tapping into the sorcerous realm of Divination, he is able to affect fate, luck, and destiny. Fatespinner characters may benefit from the new rules for time traveling characters presented in Legends of the Twins.

Knight of the Thorn (Dragonlance Campaign Setting)

The Knights of the Thorn are the arcane spellcasters of the Dark Knights. Originally, this order was comprised of renegade wizards who combined sword and sorcery to deadly effect. In the Age of Mortals, the order nearly died until the Shadow Sorcerer introduced Theo Drawde to the magic of Wild Sorcery. Now, all Thorn Knights are sorcerers who fight for their faction lords in battle, as well as against the Orders of High Sorcery.

Legion Sorcerer (Knightly Orders of Ansalon)

The Legion Sorcerer is a sorcerer or bard in the service of the Legion of Steel. Legion Sorcerers originally were former members of the Knights of the Thorn who grew dissatisfied with their old order. These days, the Legion of Steel recruits from the common populace. Legion Sorcerers specialize in the Realm of Divination, serving as a valuable source of information for the Legion of Steel. They also serve alongside Legion Warriors as battlefield mages.

Legion Sorcerers also have the added duty of teaching apprentices in the responsible use of Wild Sorcery. Apprentices may be prospective Legion Sorcerers, or those they encounter who have a natural knack for wild magic. Whatever the case, the Legion of Steel believes that Wild Sorcery can benefit the common man and seeks to make certain it is used in a safe and responsible manner.

Emma Xela is an example of a Legion Sorcerer.

Mystic Theurge (Dungeon Master's Guide)

Mystic Theurges, sometimes referred to as "Hybrid Mages," are typically multiclassed sorcerer/mystics who believe that Wild Sorcery and Mysticism are two sides to the same coin. The ability to draw power from within, rather than drawing it from a god, gives greater freedom on the range of abilities that ambient casters can take. Mysticism and Wild Sorcery are studied side-by-side in hopes that new secrets of magic will be unlocked. While there have been some mixed results, Mystic Theurges are able to advance faster than multiclass mystic/sorcerers who do not follow the Mystic Theurge path.

Mystic Theurges often have a different outlook on ambient magic. They don't view differences of arcane and divine. Instead, they see magic as a whole, a force that draws power from the energy of life and the energy of the world. Shen Korras is an example of a mystic theurge.

Sea Mage (Towers of High Sorcery)

Sea Mage sorcerers are often independent in nature, answering the siren call of the seas. Most Sea Mages have a talent for Hydromancy to calm the oceans, as well as a little Aeromancy to give wind to a ship's sails. Sea Mages have a tendency to be reckless, reflecting on the chaotic side of Wild Sorcery.

Spell Broker (Towers of High Sorcery)

Spell Brokers are arcane artisans and merchants, selling their craft in the benefit of other arcane magic-users. Most Spell Brokers are wizards, though a number of sorcerer Spell Brokers, skilled in the Realm of Enhancement, still exist after the War of Souls. The Orders of High Sorcery keep tabs on sorcerer Spell Brokers, but don't interfere unless the Spell Broker is selling something that proves to be harmful.

Spellfilch (Age of Mortals)

The Spellfilch combines larceny with sorcery. They are the rogues of the arcane world. Most Spellfilches are sorcerers and bards who multiclass as rogues, though other classes can take this prestige class as well. Spellfilches have a knack for showing off, earning widespread notoriety based on their signature spells and quirky behavior.

Sylvan Mage (Towers of High Sorcery)

The Sylvan Mage is an arcane magic-user who embraces the magic of the natural world. Though most Sylvan Mages are wizards, some sorcerers also find a connection to the natural world, though the prerequisites are harder. The Education feat is recommended for sorcerers who take this role in order to gain sufficient ranks in Knowledge (nature).

Finkle of the Green Robes is a Sylvan Mage.

War Mage (Age of Mortals)

Sorcerers are highly valued as War Mages, having an innate talent for evocation magic and not being burdened with a spellbook. Without ties to the Orders of High Sorcery, sorcerers are free to follow whichever organization they wish without having to answer to the Conclave. War Mages who prove to be too dangerous may find themselves under the watchful eye of a Renegade Hunter.

Wild Mage (Complete Arcane)

Wild Mages are sorcerers who embrace the chaotic side of Wild Sorcery. While most sorcerers shape Wild Sorcery through their mind's eye, Wild Mages totally abandon this concept, forgetting what they know. By embracing the chaotic nature of Wild Sorcery, they tap into its truly awesome power.

Wild Mages are solitary by nature, knowing that wild magic cannot be taught. It is a path of self-discovery. They shun the Wizards of High Sorcery, who see all Wild Mages as threats to the stability of magic on Krynn. Wild Mages draw the attention of Renegade Hunters, who frown on the use of wild magic.

Winternorn (Towers of High Sorcery)

After the Chaos War, the Ice Folk had to learn new ways to practice their ancient arcane traditions. Those traditions saw rebirth with the discovery of Wild Sorcery. Former Winternorns began to study at the Academy of Sorcery in Solace, learning of the sorcerous power of Cryomancy and Divination. These teachings saw resurgence in the Winternorn tradition. With the return of the gods, many Winternorns once again followed the path of wizardry, though a number of Winternorns remain sorcerers.

Dungeon Masters may want to explore the theme of having an ancient tradition, yet having two ways of approaching it. Will sorcerer Winternorns be scorned, or will they be accepted? What implications does it have, if any, for there to be two divergent paths for the Winternorn?

Character Options

Choosing Feats

There are literally hundreds of feats available for your sorcerer character. Rather than going over each individual one, this article will give some guidelines on choosing feats.

Players who want to mimic the feel of the SAGA-era sorcerer in a 3rd edition context have several options at their disposal. Metamagic feats can help to mimic the feel of spellshaping. Metamagic feats that change the energy type of a spell may be particularly useful. Item Creation feats are good at mimicking the sorcerous Realm of Enhancement.

Bloodline, Draconic, and Heritage feats are all examples of ways to use an ancestor to set up a sorcerer's connection to Wild Sorcery. Despite the ancestry, sorcerers can only tap into Wild Sorcery during the Age of Mortals and early Age of Dreams.

Reserve feats from Complete Mage offer new options for sorcerous characters as well. The basic concept is that, so long as a certain type of spell is held in check, the spellcaster gains an extra ability usable at will. Many of these tie in nicely with the Realms of Sorcery. For example, a cryomancer might take Winter's Blast and a pyromancer might take fiery burst.

Realms of Sorcery

Previously, I had released my Paths of Magic article to help players pick spells to simulate the Realms of Sorcery and Spheres of Mysticism. While the article is still a great resource, it becomes problematic to update a list for every product that comes out.

The guidelines below will allow players and Dungeon Masters to choose spells based on the themes of the Realms of Sorcery.

The descriptions of the Realms of Sorcery below are designed to give players and DMs simple guidelines to pick and choose spells on their own, no matter the source.

  • Aeromancy: Spells with the Air descriptor.
  • Cryomancy: Spells with the Cold descriptor.
  • Divination: Spells from the school of Divination.
  • Electromancy: Spells with the Electricity descriptor.
  • Enhancement: Enhancement is represented by item creation feats.
  • Geomancy: Spells with the Earth descriptor.
  • Hydromancy: Spells with the Water descriptor.
  • Pyromancy: Spells with the Fire descriptor.
  • Sonomancy (new Realm of Sorcery): Spells with the Sonic descriptor.
  • Spectramancy: Spells with the Light descriptor.
  • Summoning: Spells from the Conjuration (Summoning) or Conjuration (Teleportation) subschools.
  • Transmutation: Spells from the school of Transmutation.
  • Universal: All spells that don't fit the Realms of Sorcery above.

Optional Rules:

Domain Sorcerer

At 1st level, a domain sorcerer selects an arcane domain from those listed below. (At the DM's discretion, the player might create an alternately themed domain instead.) Once selected, the domain may never be changed. Spells from the arcane domain are added to the normal sorcerer's spells known, though the sorcerer cannot cast additional spells per day. This ability replaces the sorcerer's Summon Familiar ability at 1st level.

Abjuration Domain

0—resistance; 1st—shield; 2nd—resist energy; 3rd—dispel magic; 4th—remove curse; 5th—mage's private sanctum; 6th—greater dispel magic; 7th—banishment; 8th—mind blank; 9th—prismatic sphere.

Aeromancy Domain

0—ghost sound; 1st—obscuring mist; 2nd—wind wall; 3rd—gaseous form; 4th—air walk; 5th—control winds; 6th—chain lightning; 7th—control weather; 8th—whirlwind; 9th—elemental swarm (cast as air spell only).

Antimagic Domain

0—detect magic; 1st—protection from chaos/evil/good/law; 2nd—obscure object; 3rd—dispel magic; 4th—minor globe of invulnerability; 5th—break enchantment; 6th—antimagic field; 7th—spell turning; 8th—protection from spells; 9th—mage's disjunction.

Battle Domain

0—daze; 1st—true strike; 2nd—protection from arrows; 3rd—greater magic weapon; 4th—fire shield; 5th—interposing hand; 6th—transformation; 7th—power word blind; 8th—moment of prescience; 9th—time stop.

Conjuration Domain

0—acid splash; 1st—mage armor; 2nd—web; 3rd—stinking cloud; 4th—summon monster IV; 5th—wall of stone; 6th—acid fog; 7th—summon monster VII; 8th—maze; 9th—gate.

Cryomancy Domain

0—ray of frost; 1st—chill touch; 2nd—chill metal (as 2nd-level druid spell); 3rd—sleet storm; 4th—wall of ice; 5th—cone of cold; 6th—freezing sphere; 7th—delayed blast frostball (as delayed blast fireball, but deals cold damage instead of fire damage); 8th—polar ray; 9th—comet swarm (as meteor swarm, but deals cold damage instead of fire damage).

Divination Domain

0—detect magic; 1st—detect secret doors; 2nd—see invisibility; 3rd—arcane sight; 4th—arcane eye; 5th—prying eyes; 6th—true seeing; 7th—greater arcane sight; 8th—discern location; 9th—foresight.

Electromancy Domain

0—flare; 1st—shocking grasp; 2nd—crackling sphere*; 3rd—lightning bolt; 4th—spark shield*; 5th—call lightning storm; 6th—chain lightning; 7th—electrical storm*; 8th—repel metal or stone; 9th—storm of vengeance.

Enchantment Domain

0—daze; 1st—charm person; 2nd—hideous laughter; 3rd—suggestion; 4th—confusion; 5th—hold monster; 6th—greater heroism; 7th—insanity; 8th—mass charm monster; 9th—dominate monster.

Enhancement Domain

0—detect magic; 1st—animate rope; 2nd—arcane lock; 3rd—explosive runes; 4th—minor creation; 5th—major creation 6th—spellstaff; 7th—forcecage; 8th—sympathy; 9th—[Mordenkainen's] disjunction.

Evocation Domain

0—light; 1st—magic missile; 2nd—flaming sphere; 3rd—lightning bolt; 4th—shout; 5th—wall of force; 6th—forceful hand; 7th—mage's sword; 8th—telekinetic sphere; 9th—crushing hand.

Geomancy Domain

0—mending; 1st—magic stone; 2nd—soften earth and stone; 3rd—stone shape; 4th—spike stones; 5th—wall of stone; 6th—stoneskin; 7th—earthquake; 8th—iron body; 9th—elemental swarm (cast as earth spell only).

Hydromancy Domain

0—create water; 1st—obscuring mist; 2nd—fog cloud; 3rd—water breathing; 4th—control water; 5th—ice storm; 6th—cone of cold; 7th—acid fog; 8th—horrid wilting; 9th— elemental swarm (cast as water spell only.

Illusion Domain

0—ghost sound; 1st—disguise self; 2nd—invisibility; 3rd—major image; 4th—phantasmal killer; 5th—shadow evocation; 6th—mislead; 7th—mass invisibility; 8th—scintillating pattern; 9th—shades.

Necromancy Domain

0—disrupt undead; 1st—ray of enfeeblement; 2nd—false life; 3rd—vampiric touch; 4th—fear; 5th—waves of fatigue; 6th—circle of death; 7th—control undead; 8th—horrid wilting; 9th—energy drain.

Pyromancy Domain

0—flare; 1st—burning hands; 2nd—scorching ray; 3rd—fireball; 4th—wall of fire; 5th—cone of fire (as cone of cold, but deals fire damage instead of cold damage); 6th—summon monster VI (fire creatures only); 7th—delayed blast fireball; 8th—incendiary cloud; 9th—meteor swarm.

Spectramancy Domain

0—light; 1st—color spray; 2nd—continual flame; 3rd—searing light; 4th—rainbow pattern; 5th—persistent image; 6th—mislead; 7th—sunbeam; 8th—sunburst; 9th—Prismatic Sphere.

Storm Domain

0—ray of frost; 1st—obscuring mist (as 1st-level cleric spell); 2nd—gust of wind; 3rd—lightning bolt; 4th—ice storm; 5th—control winds (as 5th-level druid spell); 6th—chain lightning; 7th—control weather; 8th—whirlwind (as 8th-level druid spell); 9th—storm of vengeance (as 9th-level cleric spell).

Summoning Domain

0—acid splash; 1st—mount; 2nd—summon swarm; 3rd—summon monster III; 4th—dimension door; 5th—teleport; 6th—summon monster VI; 7th—teleport object; 8th—maze; 9th—refuge.

Transmutation Domain

0—mage hand; 1st—expeditious retreat; 2nd—levitate; 3rd—haste; 4th—polymorph; 5th—baleful polymorph; 6th—disintegrate; 7th—reverse gravity; 8th—iron body; 9th—shapechange.

*Spell from the Dragonlance Campaign Setting.

Spellshaping:

Sorcerers have the ability to shape spells by applying the reverse of a metamagic feat to a spell they are already able to cast. This is often referred to as "inverse" or "reciprocal" metamagic. This ability replaces the sorcerer's Summon Familiar ability at 1st level.

Feats are affected as follows:

  • Empower Spell: All variable, numeric effects of the spell are reduced by one half. A reciprocally empowered spell uses up a spell slot two levels lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Enlarge Spell: The range of a spell is halved. A reciprocally enlarged spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Extend Spell: The duration of a spell is halved. Permanent spells affected by this last only one week per caster level. A reciprocally extended spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Maximize Spell: All variable numeric effects are minimized to a value of 2. Each die normally rolled counts as having rolled a 2 (with the exception of d4's who are considered to automatically have rolled a 1.) A reciprocally maximized spell uses up a spell slot 3 levels lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Quicken Spell: The casting time of a spell takes 10X longer than usual to cast. A reciprocally quickened spell uses up a spell slot 4 levels lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Silent Spell: Add the verbal component to a spell that normally does not require it. A reciprocally silent spell uses up a spell slot 1 level lower than the spell's actual level.
  • Still Spell: Add the somatic component to a spell that normally does not require it. A reciprocally stilled spell uses up a spell slot one level lower than the spell's actual level.

Spellshaping may be applied to other metamagic feats outside of the Player's Handbook with the Dungeon Master's approval.

Applying both a metamagic feat and its inverse to a spell cancels the effect of both out.

Resources

The following books are recommended for those who wish to play sorcerer characters.

  • Complete Arcane
  • Complete Mage
  • Dragon Compendium Vol. 1
  • Heroes of Sorcery
  • Unearthed Arcana

Special Thanks

Special thanks to André La Roche for the spellshaping ability.

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