Thursday, January 7, 2010

3.5 Sorcerer: Bloodlines

I'm taking a little inspiration from some existing 3.5 books and the Pathfinder RPG on the last leg of my quest to revamp the 3.5 sorcerer. This time I'm talking bloodlines. For those not familiar with the idea, here goes:

The sorcerer, unlike the wizard, has inborn magical ability. When they cast a spell, they pour out innate energy that they shape into tangible effects. A wizard is simply an individual who studies the effects that sorcerers and their ilk (elementals, djinn, dragons, outsiders, etc.) and emulate them through study and ritual.

So, how does a sorcerer end up with the ability to cast spells? They have the magic of one of the aforementioned creatures in their blood.

I'm not quite sure how these bloodlines are going to manifest themselves in game terms, but I'm leaning towards periodic (ever few levels) powers or so.

Here are the bloodlines (and their sources) I'm going to allow:

Abyssal - demons
Celestial - good outsiders
Infernal - devils

I'm either going to give the sorcerer decent bloodline powers every 4 levels, or I'm going to give them the option to select from a slightly more powerful bloodline power or a bonus feat (from the Complete Mage reserve feats) every 5 levels.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

3.5 Sorcerer: Pseudospell Powers

As sorcerers are simply conduits of raw magical power, it stands to reason that a limited number of spells is not the only way a sorcerer can manifest such power. These casters likely didn't first realize their prowess by casting a spell with verbal, somatic, and material components (that seems extremely silly, actually). Most sorcerers discover their talents as adolescents, as their desires or frustrations begin to shape the world around them (an angry boy accidentally sets his house on fire with his burning hands while throwing a tantrum, a scared girl magically illuminates her bedroom to ensure there are no monsters under her bed, etc). I think most people understand this idea and even subscribe to it (even the game developers), but it seems as though all of those 'pseudospell powers' go by the wayside once the first game session begins.

Not in my games, anymore.

Sorcerers now have the ability to evoke minor effects (less powerful than level 1 spells, but potentially as powerful as 0-level spells) as long as they have magic coursing through their veins.

The effects they have available rely largely upon the spells he/she has chosen as Spells Known. For every different type of spell known, more options are available.

The sorcerer must have at least one spell per day left uncast of the same level from which the pseudospell ability derives.

If the sorcerer has light (a 0-level spell) in her Spells Known, and has at least one 0-level spell per day remaining, she may produce a light in her hand equivalent to candelight as long as she concentrates.

A sorcerer who knows alter self and hasn't cast all her level 2 spells may transmute a minor portion of herself for various effects (e.g., add/remove a tail or hair).

A sorcerer with burning hands (a level 1 spell) in his Spells Known, and has at least one level 1 spell per day remaining, he may set a torch or kindling (or similar highly flammable material) afire as a standard action.

Perhaps the same sorcerer above also has fireball known, and a remaining 3rd level spell per day uncast, he may also light a torch or kindling as a standard action, even if he has no 1st level spells available.

The sorcerer essentially draws upon the power that he uses for spells. As he become more powerful (i.e., gains more Spells Known), he will have more and more pseudospell powers available to him.

It is up to the DM and the player to police the use of these powers, but they exist for freedom and creativity.

Notes on balance: The sorcerer must maintain concentration for any non-instant effect (a minor altering of one's appearance, or a light, etc). Also, at no time may a pseudospell power damage a creature or object (not even unintentionally).

What are your thoughts? Do you have any examples of pseudospell powers?