“Oh, it’s in the blood
It’s in the blood…”
Sometimes Magic can come from rigorous study or fervent devotion.
Sometimes Magic can come from swearing faith to a cause or being recognized as an avatar of nature’s design.
Then again, some are just born with just the right combination of DNA and the will to find their own inner magical potential. Those individuals are known in Pathfinder as Sorcerers.
What is a Sorcerer?
A Sorcerer in Pathfinder is a Magic Casting class like the Wizard, Cleric, or Druid. However, you have a rather unique origin to who and what you are.
Sorcerers gain their power due to their genetic makeup. In your family history, you have the bloodline of a specific magical creature or being that influences your family to this day.
Maybe your family was blessed to have a Dragon or Half-Dragon as a member, or maybe it was cursed to have an illicit liaison with a Demon of the Abyss.
This doesn’t necessarily have to mean your parents or even your grandparents were Sorcerers. Magical abilities can skip generations. It just means you have some kind of latent capabilities.
Either way this influence allows you to have access to a magical tradition that comes naturally to you.
Unlike most other casters, your magic is a natural in-born trait. This manifests as the ability to spontaneously call on magical spells you know, rather than having to prepare them ahead of time. The trade-off is that you typically do not know as many spells as a caster who normally prepares spells I.E. your spell list is actually smaller.
Roleplaying a Sorcerer
Sorcerers are different all over the place. Some are influenced heavily by their bloodline, delving into its secrets and seeking to emulate who they are descended from. Others are frightened or embarrassed by it, and want to hide who they are.
Almost all Sorcerers are Charismatic though, mostly because their governing magic stat is Charisma.
The Archetypical Sorcerer is a person who is very good with people, and often “make it up as they go along.” They are normally Chaotic individuals who fly by the seat of their pants.
Though this doesn’t have to be YOUR Sorcerer. You can be more lawful and controlled. Though you probably do have a bit of an independent streak and like to buck the system.
Others will see you as less dedicated than some other magical traditions. You didn’t go to college to get your spellcasting degree.
The bard is probably going to be your best friend though, as you both use Charisma and have chaotic ways of doing things. Don’t be afraid to jump in to add your own magical knowledge to discussions the Wizards and Clerics are having though.
Just because you didn’t go to Wizarding School, doesn’t mean you are a slouch.
Sorcerer Magic: How does it Work?
Like other casting classes, the Sorcerer has a limited number of Spell Slots per day depending on their level.
See the following Chart from the SRD:
* The bloodline paragon class feature gives you a 10th-level spell slot that works a bit differently from other spell slots.
As you level up, the number of spells you can cast per day is increased, the number of spells you know goes up, and the power of your spells is also increased.
When you get access to second level spells, you gain the ability to use Heightened Spells. Meaning you can use a higher level spell slot to cast a lower level spell.
This allows certain spells to have expanded abilities and effects. Check your spell lists to see which spells have heightened effects. Not all spells do.
You also have access to spells called Cantrips. A Cantrip is a low powered spell that you can cast at-will any number of times per day. The above chart is somewhat confusing, as it says 5/day.
What that actually means is you only know 5 cantrips, but you can cast them any number of times. A cantrip is automatically heightened to half your level, rounded up.
So if you are a level 1 Sorcerer, your cantrip is level 1. If you are a level 7 Sorcerer, the cantrip is heightened to level 4.
The number of spells you know and can cast is known as your Spell Repertoire. When you first start out at 1st level, you will choose a Sorcerer Bloodline (see below) from where your magic comes from.
That bloodline will decide what tradition your magic is a part of. At first level you know 4 cantrips and 2 1st level spells of that tradition. Your Bloodline then grants you an additional cantrip and 1st level spell.
Every time you level and gain access to more spell slots, you gain more spells for your spell Repertoire. For example, we can see when the Sorcerer levels from level 1 to level 2, they gain another 1st level spell slot.
So, therefore, they would gain another 1st-level spell.
When you gain another level of spellcasting, like moving from 1st level spells to 2nd level spells, the first new spell you learn is from your chosen bloodline, then you may select other spells from your tradition of the appropriate level.
So again referencing the above chart, when you reach level 3 you would gain 3 2nd level spells: 1 from your bloodline and 2 from your tradition.
The Sorcerer Bloodline is the character’s claim to fame. This is the blood that allows them to cast their magic and have access to spells. While there are 16 different bloodlines in the Pathfinder game, there are myriads of different options for how to roleplay them.
Don’t ever feel pigeonholed into a specific way of approaching your bloodline.
Bloodlines below are listed in the following way:
Spell List: The Tradition you draw your spells from
Bloodline Skill: Free Training in a Skill associated with your Bloodline
Granted Spells: The Spells Granted by your bloodlines and their levels.
Bloodline Spells: A special Focus Spell granted by your bloodline. You can get more advanced versions of the spell using the Advanced Bloodline and Greater Bloodline feats. You cast your Bloodline Spell using Focus Points.
Blood Magic: Blood Magic is the Sorcerer’s version of Focus Spells. We’ve touched on them here in the past. Whenever you cast your bloodline spell with Focus Points, you gain an additional effect. This effect resolves before any other effects do.
No bloodline is specifically bad, but all of them have both pros and cons to them.
Something speaks to you from beyond the stars or below the earth. Ancient and unknowable, this alien influence presses against your mind.
Aberrant Bloodlines can be really powerful at the early levels, but as the levels progress they start to get outstripped by some of the other bloodlines. The real saving grace is the Occult tradition, which is great for some debuffs and illusion magic.
One of your forebears hailed from a celestial realm, or your ancestors’ devotion led to their lineage being blessed.
Angelic Bloodlines are great if you want to play something between a healing cleric and a buffing cleric. There is also a good amount of direct damage spells here if you would like to rain down some holy judgment on your foes.
Demons debase all they touch. One of your ancestors fell victim to their corruption, and you are burdened by that sin.
Demonic isn’t the best spell list for Sorcerers, but don’t let that stop you. There is some decent direct damage here, and some debuff potential as well. There is enough here to make almost any enemy explode in a pretty display.
Make use of the blood magic to keep a constant debuff on your enemies.
Devils are evil with a silver tongue, and one of your ancestors dallied in darkness or made an infernal pact.
Like the Demonic option with more of a kick to it. Just be aware of the alignment problems that might come from some of your spells. If you aren’t evil, your spells aren’t going to have the kick they need to really shine.
The blood of dragons flows through your veins. These beasts are both fearsome in combat and skilled at magic.
The OG original Sorcerer Bloodline. This is a good base line to judge most of the bloodlines against. Your spell list is really good and solid, but there are going to be some overlaps with stuff you could already pick up as a part of your tradition.
Your Blood Magic and Bloodline spells are really there to help solve all your Half-Dragon needs.
A genie ancestor or some other elemental influence has imbued your blood with primal fury, affecting how the bloodline spells and granted spells marked with an asterisk (*), as well as your blood magic, function.
For when you absolutely, positively need to obliterate everything in your way! Accept no substitutes. This Bloodline has some serious power in it. This has a great deal of raw damage-dealing ability, as well as access to the Primal Tradition.
There is some overlap with spells you already have though. You might find yourself lacking depth until you get to the higher levels.
Fey whimsy or a tryst in a moonlit grove put the bewitching magic of the First World into your family’s bloodline.
If you want to lean into the illusion and enchantment/charm side of magic, that is what the Fey bloodline is for. This is one of the most varied bloodlines because of its potential to combine illusion and charm with the Primal Tradition.
Through lineage, magic, or wishes made real, the blood of a noble genie flows through your veins.
Not really the best on this list. You might get some utility use out of the spells the Genie Bloodline grants, but the lack of focus in this bloodline makes it not stand out amongst better options.
Even the blood magic ability is better with other bloodlines. Good for flavor, but mechanically kind of a mess.
A hag long ago cursed your family, or you are a descendant of a hag or changeling, and their accursed corruption infests your blood and soul.
Like the Genie Bloodline, this one is not as powerful as it could be. However, it is a great deal more focused. There is a good potential in the Hag Bloodline to almost curse your enemies to death.
It has some great potential, but you might be better off just playing the Witch class instead.
One of your ancestors was a mortal who mastered magic. Such magical blood can remain latent for generations, but in you it manifested in full.
Solid and powerful spell list. The Imperial really has access to everything a spontaneous caster really wants. This Bloodline is great if you want to play a Utility Caster will a spell for nearly every occasion. Good all around option.
One of your ancestors was inspired by a nymph, or perhaps was a nymph themself, and now the beauty of nature lives in you.
Nymph is a fusion of the Occult and Primal spells. This is a great example of how to look for a good bloodline. It has access to the Primal List, and throws in some Occult Granted spells for Charm and Illusion magics.
Similar to the Fey list in some ways, there isn’t a bad option here overall. Make sure to target the “weak-minded” enemies considering most of your spells are focused on will saves.
You have been blessed by a phoenix, perhaps via some magical interaction with a similarly blessed individual.
Like the Elemental Bloodline, the Phoenix Bloodline is just great for flashy powers. It has some more utility based spells at the early levels, but really opens up to some powerful AoE later.
The Blood Magic ability can be a life saver for yourself or an ally in a particularly bad situation.
For good or ill, your ancestors’ deeds drew the attention of psychopomps, or you might somehow count one in your family tree. The presence of these shepherds of souls and enemies of undeath has left an indelible mark on you.
Another Solid bloodline here, though the focus is somewhat mixed up. Good focus for Divine Sorcerers who don’t want to be married to a specific deity or alignment.
The top levels have some good damage potential, but your early levels are going to be weak and situational.
Whether due to a velstrac’s manipulations or a planar jaunt gone horribly wrong, your bloodline was infused with a vein of shadow.
For those Goth kids in the audience, the Shadow Bloodline is great for debuffing your enemies and making sure they can’t see what is coming. This bloodline is great for setting up enemies for sudden ambushes. Charm their minds, make them blind, then drain the heat from their bodies.
The touch of undeath runs through your blood. Your family tree might contain powerful undead, like a vampire, or perhaps you died and returned a bit different.
The best way to describe the Undead bloodline is specifically the Spontaneous casting necromancer. This spell list is going to deal damage and drain your enemies with debuffs from start to finish.
Overall it is very strong on the offensive but lacks a little in utility.
You lay claim to the might of dragons, but your powers are sacred instead of arcane—born from a worship of draconic might so powerful it infused your blood or, perhaps, from a celestial or draconic power blessing one of your ancestors received.
The last bloodline on our list, Wyrmblessed is like the Nymph option. It blends the Divine and Arcane spells to make an interesting mix of buffing spells and healing.
Good option for casters who want to empower their allies more than just cause explosions on the battlefield.