By Kyle "FordyTwo" Horner
The sorcerer is an arcane spell caster who learns magic spells naturally. Sorcerer spells are powered by their Charisma (CHA) and may sometimes require components to cast. If you come across concepts or terminology in Sorcerer 101 that is unfamiliar, we highly recommend consulting Character Stats 101.
Sorcerers have a limited selection of simple weapons (e.g. staves, clubs, and wands) and typically equip cloth armor. Heavy armor is avoided by most sorcerers because wearing it carries a spell failure penalty – the last thing a sorcerer wants is their spells fizzing-out in the middle of combat!
Sorcerers generally avoid close combat, preferring to cast from a safer distance. Teaming up with melee companions like fighters or paladins can be a great way to dish out the damage while avoiding a direct hit!
Every New Sorcerer Should Know …
• A sorcerer's Charisma (CHA) score directly affects the strength of their spells, the Difficulty Check (DC) an enemy target must overcome, and the maximum amount of available Spell Points (SP).
• There is no single "best" race option for a sorcerer; it all comes down to personal preference. Humans are a solid choice for their level 1 bonus feat, and for the bonus CHA from Human Adaptability, an enhancement. Warforged are popular because they can self-heal using sorcerer repair spells, and benefit from a higher Constitution (CON) -- but warforged also have lower Charisma (CHA). Drow have higher innate CHA, but lower innate CON, making them strong-yet-more-fragile sorcerers.
• Put enough points into the Tumble skill during character creation for 1 rank -- not just “0.5” ranks, but “1.0”! In DDO, a player cannot use Tumble without training, and tumbling away from ranged attacks is a useful skill to have.
We've organized the ability scores in order of importance to the sorcerer class. Because Sorcerer 101 is focused on a pure sorcerer (i.e. 20 levels of sorcerer), the below list is prioritized towards sorcerers only.
• CHA - A sorcerer's Charisma (CHA) is their bread-and-butter score. A higher Charisma allows more max Spell Point totals and nastier DCs for the spells you cast. A great majority of sorcerers start with 18 or 20 Charisma. (20 CHA is only available to drow, and 16 is the max available to warforged.)
• CON - Every character in DDO should have a solid Constitution (CON) score. A higher CON translates into more Hit Points (HP), and a higher Fortitude Save, which results in some bonus to spell defense. A minimum 14 CON is wise; new players feeling particularly confident in their ability to avoid all dangers, forever, can try 12 CON.
• INT - As with all classes, Intelligence (INT) affects a sorcerer's available skill points. With a high INT, more skills can be raised, but it's generally recommended to boost Intelligence no higher than 12 unless you really feel like more skill points are important to your character build.
• STR - Strength (STR) generally isn't useful to sorcerers. However, STR does affect how much loot a character can carry before encumbrance (i.e. slower movement). Additionally, some enemy spells can lower STR, rendering a sorcerer helpless; a minimum of 10 STR is good.
• DEX –New players creating sorcerers typically do not place more than 10 points into Dexterity (DEX), since they will need those points for other stats. Dexterity improves Armor Class (AC), helps defend against physical and weapon attacks, boosts Reflex Saves (one of three basic Saving Throws), and helps avoid some spells and traps.
• WIS - A sorcerer's Spot skill and Will Save tie directly into Wisdom (WIS). While a high WIS isn't useless, few sorcerers have a score higher than 10 because Will Save can be increased by taking the Force of Personality feat.
Every class in DDO has a natural proficiency with certain skills. Training a "cross-class" skill takes twice as many skill points as training a regular class skill, because that "natural knowledge" is missing. However, training a "cross-class" skill can still be useful, depending on personal play style.
Here's a list of the popular sorcerer skills among players in DDO:
• Concentration, Class Skill – An incredibly useful skill for sorcerers! In DDO, sorcerers rely on Concentration when spell casting and taking damage from enemy attacks. When a sorcerer is damaged while casting, a Concentration check occurs – failure results in their SP being wasted while the spell fizzles out. A higher Concentration skill improves chances to succeed, so keep Concentration maxed out at all levels.
• Use Magic Device (UMD), Cross-class Skill – This skill allows a sorcerer the use of equipment designed for another race, or even moral alignment. UMD also allows the use of scrolls and wands normally wielded by divine classes such as clerics and paladins, opening up opportunities for a sorcerer to self-heal with divine scrolls and wands.
• Balance, Cross-class Skill – Characters get knocked down by many types of attacks – both physical and magical – in DDO. With Balance, a character regains their footing more quickly after a knockdown. Avoiding a knockdown requires either decent STR or DEX, and because a sorcerer doesn’t typically invest in either STR or DEX scores, the faster recovery-time offered by Balance is invaluable.
• Diplomacy, Cross-class Skill – Also a very handy skill. Have you enraged a nasty enemy with your Magic Missiles or stumbled onto a deadly, sneaking foe? When used, Diplomacy may cause that enemy to decide to go after another member in your party. Crisis averted!
Here are some optional skills that, depending on personal play style, can be useful:
• Bluff, Class Skill – With Bluff, a character may convince some non-player characters (NPCs) to give extra information on a quest or do something specific. Bluff also works like Diplomacy in convincing monsters to attack someone else, and unlike Diplomacy it can be used while playing solo; however, Bluff only works on one target at a time (compared to Diplomacy, which can affect multiple creatures at once).
• Haggle, Cross-class Skill - Improves the price of items sold to NPCs and lower the cost of items bought from NPCs.
• Spot, Cross-class Skill - See hidden enemies before they appear and begin attacking. A few points in Spot may make the difference between not seeing hidden enemies and seeing most of them so you know where best to aim that fireball.
Template: Evocation Sorcerer
The information presented here is for players looking to follow a template for creating an evocation sorcerer – otherwise known as, "I wanna blow stuff up with magic!" sorcerers.
Ability Point Buy
This template uses a human for its racial choice, both for their extra feat at level 1 and increased skill point gain.
• STR … 10
• DEX … 10
• CON … 14
• INT … 10
• WIS … 8
• CHA … 18
• Ability Point Buys: Every four levels, when given an ability point, increase your Charisma (CHA).
Concentration should be maxed out at character creation, but also be sure to drop 2 skill points into Tumble (for a rank of "1.0"). Whenever you have extra skill points left over after maxing out Concentration, invest any additional points into Use Magic Device.
Often times, new players are eager to jump into DDO right away, and that's perfectly understandable.
However, an essential component of successful adventuring in DDO is planning out a character's feats. A max level (20) sorcerer will have 7 Feats total. (Note: humans have 8.) Because there are only 7 (or 8) feats to work with, planning them out doesn't take long!
• Level 1) Toughness - Increases Hit Points (HP) at first level and provides additional HP for each new level, allowing a player to take the Racial Toughness enhancement. Taking Toughness results in such a significant HP boost that it's practically mandatory.
• Level 1) Spell Focus: Evocation - Your spells of one school of magic (Evocation) are harder to resist and break through enemy spell defenses more easily.
• Level 3) Empower Spell - While this metamagic feat is active, spells do 50% more damage but consume 15 additional Spell Points (SP).
• Level 6) Maximize Spell - While this metamagic feat is active, damage spells deal double damage but consume 25 additional SP.
• Level 9) Heighten Spell - While this metamagic feat is active your spells are raised to the highest spell level your character can cast, making them more difficult to resist but increasing their spell point cost.
• Level 12) Greater Spell Focus: Evocation - Your spells of one school of magic are even harder to resist; this stacks with the bonus from Spell Focus.
• Level 15) Spell Penetration - Adds +2 to your caster level check for defeating spell resistance, making it easier to attack tougher opponents.
• Level 18) Force of Personality - Add your CHA modifier to your Will Saves instead of your WIS modifier, making it tougher for several spell-types to harm your sorcerer.
"Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and can eat for a lifetime."
New players can experience some confusion concerning how attack and damage is handled for spells in DDO, but once you know, selecting sorcerer feats and spells becomes easy!
Damage spells – e.g. Acid Spray, Burning Hands, etc -- can never be fully avoided, they always hit. Even if a damage spell is defended against by a Save, it still deals half damage.
Spells that mess with opponents – e.g. Sleep, Hypnotism, Charm Person, etc – will be completely negated upon a successful Save. This makes feats like Spell Focus very helpful, because a Difficulty Check (DC) is the "attack bonus" of a spell versus a target's save.
Whenever a spell is cast, DDO effectively does this: [Difficulty Check] vs. [Save] = [Outcome]
Having a higher DC (Spell Focus: Enchantment, Spell Penetration, etc) will greatly help a sorcerer who specializes in debilitating opponents. However, for an evocation sorcerer DCs aren't as much a priority as damage capability. Note that at higher levels (10-20) an evocation sorcerer will want some non-damaging spells – this is reflected in the feats section of the evocation sorcerer template (i.e. Spell Penetration, Heighten Spell).
Sorcerer enhancements can boost spell-power significantly, and in a number of ways. Go for enhancements that stack with your preferred spells and chosen feats.
For example, Scorching Ray and Burning Hands are two fire-based spells that can be improved by taking Sorcerer Fire Savant I and its successive fire-focused enhancements. Some sorcerer enhancements are useful in a broad sense, like those that grant extra SP and CHA score boosts -- a sorcerer with more SP and CHA has more fuel for spells!
Tip! You're never permanently stuck with enhancements! For a small in-game fee, it's possible to refund all Action Points and re-pick your enhancement load-out, so feel free to experiment once you're making enough in-game currency.
Active, Passive & Toggle
Feats, spells, and enhancements come in three distinct flavors: active, passive, and toggle. None of these flavors are mutually exclusive. All feats, spells and enhancements can come in any of the three flavors.
Here's the breakdown:
• Active – When used, an "active" spell, feat, or enhancement will cause an immediate effect. This effect can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Magic Missile is a spell that immediately damages its target, while Nightshield is an active spell that can immediately defend against Magic Missile attacks – but lasts for five minutes.
• Passive – There are no spells that are purely passive, but plenty of feats fall into this category. Toughness is a great example – it's passive, always giving you those bonus hit points (HP).
• Toggle – Many spells and feats come in this flavor. Think of toggles like a light switch: you can flip it on or off! A toggle always works this way, and in the case of metamagic feats (toggles!) using one will only increase the spell point (SP) cost of other spells – but in no way costs spell points itself to activate.
Newly acquired spells will not automatically show up on your hotbar. To add new spells, simply press the "C" key, and then click on the "Spells" tab on your Character Sheet panel. From the "Spells" tab you can drag and drop each spell icon to your hotbar – and the same can be done for active and toggle feats and enhancements from their respective tabs on the Character Sheet panel ("C" button).
The evocation sorcerer template is a solid start, but eventually new players tinker and create their own version, which is part of the fun in DDO. When starting out with character builds of your own making, a great way to get feedback is by posting them on the forums – or even making your own guide on the Compendium!