View Full Version : Sorcerer builds and strategy

10-15-2007, 09:33 AM
This Sorcerer guide covers a little "how to build" and a lot of "how to play".

Although there are a lot of variants of every character class, especially with multi-classing, in my opinion there are two general types of sorcerers. The 1) damage sorcerer and the 2) crowd-control/combat support sorcerer are both very effective builds. I will lay out the basics for creating the damage sorcerer (which is what I made with my sorcerer), and general advice on how to play. Sorcerers are inherently much more specialized than Wizards, and there are dozens of effective Wizard builds. If you are planning a Sorcerer and find yourself trying to create versatile, jack-of-all-trades type of caster, it will work, but I suggest going with a Wizard in that case.

The damage Sorcerer is all destruction. Feats, enhancements, and items are acquired with maximum destruction in mind. With the new enhancements, you could go with a lightning/acid emphasis, but I recommend fire/cold mainly for max damage. Wall of fire is still the most critical spell in the game, and high-level fireballs and scorching rays are devastating. Cone of cold and freezing sphere can also generate huge damage in certain situations. You want to also take Empower, Maximize, and whatever you can to boost spell points. If you take the enhancements reducing spell point use for Empowered spells, you can more or less keep Empower active all of the time. The damage/quest potential for your caster goes way up. You could skip Improved Mental Toughness for Enlarge, but I wouldn’t. You might go with a human if you really need another feat.

First of all, do not get hung up on kill counts. You are very possibly hurting your party if you are racking up a large kill count. You want to make sure to get the most damage for the least amount of spell points, not necessarily the most kills, there is a difference. Here’s an example of what I mean: Your scorching ray does an average of 300 hit points of damage. The monsters you are encountering generally have 450 hit points. When you encounter a mob, fire on the “fresh” monster that your fighters haven’t already taken down to 100 hit points by the time you cast. This is especially true of scorching ray, disintegrate, Otiluke’s, phantasmal killer, finger of death, banishment, etc. These are either high damage single-kill and/or instant death spells. This may sound simple, but I see casters all the time stealing kills, wasting spell points, while the party struggles through the quest after they run dry. One big exception to this is when you are facing mobs that are affected well by area effect spells and you have multiple melee types. In this case, it is very effective to have the fighters spread out on multiple opponents instead of doing the normal “kill one at a time strategy”. The fighters do a little damage to 3 or 4 mobs simultaneously, then the fireball or cone of cold hits and wipes them out. This can sometimes take the mobs out faster, and you don’t get big agro in the process. When you have mobs that are melee resistant or the fighters don’t have the right weapons, have the tanks spread out using paralyzers or whatever, and start hitting the area effect spells. In this case, the main function for the fighters is to block, and the caster kills. Obviously, the area of effect spells are always fine at the onset of an encounter to damage the mobs before anyone engages in melee (as long as you can handle the agro).

Strategies like these are what make a damage caster effective, not simply how much damage can be done. In other words, there is as much strategy and thought in playing a damage caster as there is in playing a more versatile caster. That is not to say you should ignore buffs. You should have the Extend feat and the basic buffs that really make a difference. No reason not to have all the low level buffs, since you will find that using the low level damage stuff when you get above lvl 9 is ineffective. I would also have GH (definitely) and Stoneskin (if you can work it). If you don't have Extend, you are not making as much of an impact as you could on the party's success, but also, you will end up throwing away more spell points than needed in those cases that the fight will take a while. Who wants an unextended Haste?

Staying alive after throwing big spell damage around can be tricky. If you are doing first contact area of effect damage thing, make sure the tanks are capable of re-establishing agro quickly. If you are running with bards, rogues, and paladins as tanks, I would try to stick to the one-monster shot spells, or ensure before you cast area-effect spells that some of the mobs will die. Sometimes that means hesitating at the first of the encounter to toggle quickly through mob health bars before casting.

Other survival tips: I suggest taking as many points in tumble and diplomacy as possible. I do a lot more running, jumping, and tumbling to avoid damage than diplomacy, but I’ve seen casters use diplomacy to good effect. You will have to practice to know when to do both. No reason not to take UMD on your sorcerer as well, being a Charisma-based toon. Some people think UMD is gratuitous on a caster, but after you raise dead clerics a few times, they’ll change their minds. I keep jump and shield spells on myself all of the time. Even though small differences in AC don’t seem to matter on tanks at high level, I notice a significant difference in how often I’m hit now that I have my AC up in the mid 30’s verses the low to mid 20’s I used to run. This is especially true with arrows. Hit points help as well. Without sacrificing Charisma or Dexterity much, I was able to get to over 200 hit points on my sorcerer. I only have a moderate fortification item, and haven’t found it worthwhile to trade out to a heavy fort item. Some people try the 12 levels of sorcerer / 2 levels of paladin concept, and get higher saves and a few more hit points. The DC roll of Heightened spells and the potential damage of some spells will be affected, but the reduction in SP and loss of spell slots are the big hit. But if you like to solo, not the worst build.

Here are my Sorcerer's base stats (which are always subject to change as I play around with options):

Level 14 Drow Elf Sorcerer
206 Hit Points, 32 AC, 1887 spell points
Ability Scores –
Starting / Lvl 14 Base:
Str 8 / 8
Dex 14 / 16 +1 tome, +1 elven enhancement
Con 13 / 16 +2 tome (favor), +1 level ability increase
Int 10 / 10
Wis 8 / 8
Char 20 / 27 +2 tome, +2 level ability increases, +3 sorcerer enhancements

Feats: Empower, Maximize, Extend, Mental Toughness, Improved Mental Toughness

Enhancements: Elven Dexterity I, Charisma I-III, Improved Empowering I-III, Improved Maximize I, Lineage of Elements I-III, Lineage of Deadly Elements I-III, Elemental Manipulation I-IV, Spell Penetration I, Energy of the Dragonblooded I-IV.

The only thing I would change if I had to do it over would be maybe reducing Int, Dex, and/or Con to get another point or two in Cha, and I would change the skill points some. But, with a little Dex and Con gone, would probably die more.


Since I threw this together, Mod 5 came out, and I’m currently incorporating the new loot on my Sorcerer. I was using the Head of Good Fortune and Skull Fetish Mask, but now I’m switching to a +6 Charisma ring and the Minos Legens helm. The head was for my UMD anyway, and I will get the Titan gloves to replace (and upgrade). In the meantime, the Delera’s necklace will suffice. So, with the new loot worked in, I’m sitting on over 220 HP’s, an AC of 30 – 36 (shield), and heavy fortitude. This caster ain’t dying much nowadays.

Most of the new stuff burns easily enough, but the beholder bosses in the orchard quest and pre-raid enticed me to try a few new spells. Force Missle absolutely rocks in those situations where mobs don’t burn, freeze, or pk. Just using lore and potency items with no force enhancements, Force Missle is averaging about 80-120 points per shot (max/empowered). With the new metamagic changes, FM is no longer a sp drain. I am dumping Magic Missle as a result. It is just too weak to be useful anymore in the higher level content.

On a side note, Acid / Lightning spells still don’t seem any more effective than they used to be, but are viable for wizards to grab for specific quests. Building a sorcerer around acid / lightning would be tough, but I’m sure someone has done it successfully.

Also, I keep maximize and empower on all of the time now. More damage for the SP cost in just about any situation now, the only exception being weak opponents that just die without augmentation.

10-15-2007, 10:36 AM
Either way you use your spell points is still a function of time.I base it on how long the quest takes and wether or not there is a shrine right outside.If I use up my sp at the beginning then the cleric will still have his.It's generally a case by case basis that depends on the quest.my sorcs. ac is @ 20 unbuffed but it might as well be 40-50 when the mob will miss 50% of the time and the other 50% miss because I'm no longer there.I took mental toughness 1 and left 2 out and it pays dividens!My philosophy is why waste manna.My sorc has 1753 sp.but there is no resisting my spells so I spend less.It is a balance between burn/freeze PK finger stone puncture.I remember only 1 time that I havent gotten the most kills(which is just the nature of the class)juxedapposed to other sorcs in the group and that was an aussie who was just plain reckless( I'd hate to see his equipment repair bill)so I think my build is just fine.I took all but 1 of the fire and ice multipliers(I cant remember the name of them but crit chance and damage amps.)all of the energy of the dragons and charisma stat gains(enhancement and level)1 or 2 of the spell pen.feats(dont recall offhand)and 1 or 2 of the enhancements for spell pen.and I use a superior potency 6(all scepters)and a green blade for applying damage spells,Illusion focus and greater spell pen5 for pks,and a necro/transmuting focus and spell pen.7 for fingers and flesh to stones.Seldom does a mob save vs. this combo.Funny thing is I pulled most of these scepters(excepting green blade,Zuwabbi raid loot)on my barbarian.So you can still have a great build and not do so well if you dont have the equipment

10-15-2007, 10:42 AM
Some people try the 12 levels of sorcerer / 2 levels of paladin concept, and get much higher saves and a few more hit points in return for a few spells and worse spell saving throws.

A couple levels lost from your core casting class does not affect your spell DC (unless you are using heighten). It does, however, affect your ability to penetrate Spell Resistance.

Might want to correct that.

10-16-2007, 01:56 PM
Good point. I was assuming any spell relying on saving throws would be heightened, like most PK casters do. The pally thing is a valid option, but on a sorc, I think the additional spells really matter.

10-16-2007, 02:25 PM
I was assuming

*Scolds The_Hoff*

You never assume anything when you create a guide. :rolleyes:

10-16-2007, 06:15 PM
Wow - that was witty.

10-17-2007, 06:52 PM
Some people try the 12 levels of sorcerer / 2 levels of paladin concept, and get higher saves and a few more hit points. The DC roll of Heightened spells and the potential damage of some spells will be affected, but the reduction in SP and loss of spell slots are the big hit. But if you like to solo, not the worst build.

12/2 sorceror/paladins also can gain effective use of melee weapons, depending on how you build them. Mine, for instance, has 32 cha (2 less than a pure sorc with 20 starting Cha) but also 28 str and a +33/33/38/43 Attack Bonus and 43 AC. For me, the bonus to saves was a nice side benefit (though I do love it).

Anyhow, just thought I'd point that out.

10-20-2007, 04:24 PM
I would add if you are a nuker, you can spend some of those charisma points on something else..including your enhancement and level stat increases..

reasoning: charisma only gets a bit more mana for the nuker, its most important aspect is to affect DC checks with your modifiers. If you are a nuker, you really do not use heighten or your DC much...acid spells, fire spells, and many others have no saves..Direct damage ones that is..and that is what you want.

I would say a nuker could be a good multi as he can have the extra pts in str or dex or con...or anything..a little less mana in exchange for more skill points (int) can make you a good side rogue.

a DC sorc, damage (save types) or control, should go all levels sorc with max charisma and all the stat upcreases he/she can find. You will not need a high ac or hp as nothing will ever get near you anyway...lol

my 2 cents