Giving the Sorcerer some Love with Bloodline Bonus Spells

So let’s talk Sorcerer’s for a moment.  If you recall, I wrote about the Divine Soul Sorcerer a bit ago and discussed all the options and powers that the subclass gains.  However, after talking a little bit with the mighty Jim Davis (of WebDM fame) and my friends Virus and Saevrick, it occurred to me that the Sorcerer really is missing a bit of oomph.  Also I cannot write a title worth beans.

You see, most pure casters (wizard, cleric, druid) by level 20 will be able to prepare 25 total spells.  20 spells from your level, 5 from your modifier.  However, Sorcerers will only know 15 total, a full 10 less, with no appreciable reason as to why this is.  How do we fix this?  By giving the Sorcerer bloodlines thematic bonus spell lists.

The general idea here was to create a list of 10 spells, with 2 per level from level 1 to level 5 similar to Domains for the Cleric, Bonus Spells for Druids of the Land, and so on.  At the appropriate levels the Sorcerer gains the two listed spells automatically.  Both Jim and Virus assisted me in choosing some of these spells, and when applicable I marked the spells that come out of Xanathar’s guide.  Also the Storm Sorcerer actually HAD bonus spells in UA, but for some reason it was removed from Xanathar’s so I copied that list, and added one extra to it.  Also when choosing bonus spells I went with Theme first, mechanics second so you might notice spells that normally are not on the Sorcerer spell lists on here.

WILD MAGIC BLOODLINE

Let’s start by taking a look at probably the most confusing one: Wild Magic.  This was the list that got the most help from Virus and Jim.  Both of them suggested a few spells that are on here.  The theme I always see with Wild Magic is chaos and madness.  The idea that the magic just flows out, does random things, and causes all sorts of nonsense.  So spells chosen here either modify people or the world in some way, have random effects, or mess with people’s heads.

  • 1st – Chaos Bolt (Xanathar), Hideous Laughter
  • 3rd – Reduce/Enlarge, Blur
  • 5th – Blink, Hunger of Hadar
  • 7th – Polymorph, Confusion
  • 9th – Animate Objects, Synaptic Static (Xanathar)

DRACONIC BLOODLINE

Next up we have Dragon.  Now for this one, rather than creating a list for each blood line, I created a single list and added the caveat that spells that deal damage on this list can only deal damage for the draconic bloodline.  So Gold/Red would deal Fire damage, but White/Silver would deal cold for example.  Everything else was to call back to the idea of what Dragons can typically do such as protecting themselves from energy types, putting Fear into their enemies, locking their enemies down, and so one.  Thanks to Spilled Ale for the suggestion of Thunderwave as well, as it can mimic a Dragons Roar and shove enemies away.

  • 1st – Thunderwave, Cause Fear
  • 3rd – Dragons Breath* (Xanathar), See Invisibility
  • 5th – Fireball*, Protection from Energy
  • 7th – Elemental Bane (Xanathar), Stoneskin
  • 9th – Immolation* (Xanathar), Hold Monster

* Unless you gain this spell from another source, damage dealt by these spells match the damage type associated with your dragon color ie Red/Gold = Fire, Black = Acid, ect

DIVINE SOUL BLOODLINE

Now for Divine we stuck to bonus spells from the Divine Caster classes.  Most of the spells here are found on the Cleric spell list.  The idea here was to stick to type and go with Buffs and Defensive magics.  Most clerics, good or evil, will have these spells ready so it makes sense to have a more “Generic” set of spells that all Divine Souls get access to.  These spells either restore people, call to the gods and spirits, and so on.

  • 1st – Detect Magic, Shield of Faith
  • 3rd -Lesser Restoration, Augury
  • 5th – Daylight, Spirit Guardians
  • 7th – Death Ward, Banishment
  • 9th – Greater Restoration, Mass Cure Wounds

SHADOW BLOODLINE

Shadow has always called out to me as being about misdirection, darkness, and so on.  Jim suggested Animate Dead and I have to agree, and the rest are mostly my idea.  Playing on the idea that Shadow Sorcerers generally want to hide back, instill fear, and mess with their enemies minds.  Mostly, I think Shadow magic calls to Illusion spells so I tried to go with that in theme.

  • 1st – Disguise Self, Silent Image
  • 3rd – Darkness, Silence
  • 5th – Animate Dead, Fear
  • 7th – Greater Invisibility, Arcane Eye
  • 9th – Mislead, Seeming

STORM BLOODLINE

Storm was basically already done in the original Unearthed Arcana article.  However, it only had a single spell listed for its final bonus, so I added Control Winds as that screams Storm to me.  Again, Storm already had some restrictions on its Conjure Minor / Conjure Elemental spells and those stay here as they just make sense.

  • 1st – Fog cloud, Thunderwave
  • 3rd – Gust of wind, Levitate
  • 5th – Call lightning, Sleet storm
  • 7th – Conjure minor elementals*, Ice storm
  • 9th – Conjure elemental**,  Control Winds (Xanathar)

* Unless you gain this spell from another source, you can summon only smoke mephits, steam mephits, ice mephits, or dust mephits with it. 

**Unless you gain this spell from another source, you can summon only air elementals with it

So there you have it, bonus spell lists for each of the Sorcerer Bloodlines that I am aware of, with reasoning behind it.  Let me know if you feel any spells should be switched out and why and how you feel about these.  Hopefully your DM/GM or your Players will appreciate this extra boost to power for the Sorcerer, and put these casters on a more level playing field with their contemporaries.

And no, Metamagic does not make up for 10 less spells.  Just saying.

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

Pathology: The Divine Soul Sorcerer – Not Your Daddies Favored Soul!

Welcome to the first entry to my Pathology series, where I take on a DnD Class Path and break down its features and ideas for building a character using it.  Xanathar’s Guide is out now, and thanks to one of my friends (again, thanks Saevrick!) I now have my own copy.  I was browsing through it and fully intend to give it a full on review but I ran across a new “Path” option for Sorcerers that I had to talk about: The Divine Soul.  The best way to think of these are Sorcerers whose power comes from divine ancestors.  Imagine a child of Zeus’s bloodline and you get the idea here.

Firstly, this is a new Sorcerer bloodline available at level one and its primary function is to give the Sorcerer class access to the full range of Clerical Magic, essentially making an amazing support character.  Given the Sorcerer’s access to Meta Magic, this blend is an amazing option for those of us who want to play true support styled characters.  Lets talk about what the Divine Soul gets access to in addition to a normal Sorcerer, and the kind of things you can pull off using this Bloodline.

Level 1 Abilities:

At level 1 the Divine Soul gains the ability to learn spells from the Cleric Spell list.  Basically whenever you would gain access to a new known spell, you can choose from any available Cleric OR Sorcerer spells.  Now you don’t get more spells known so you are still limited in what you will have access to (15 total spells by level 20) but you now have a much broader base to choose from.  Additionally, you choose which kind of Divine blood you hold, giving you an extra spell known.  Good gets Cure Wounds, Evil gets Inflict Wounds, Law gets Bless, Chaos gets Bane, and Neutral gets Protection from Good and Evil.  This is not based on your alignment either.  A LG Divine Soul can have “Evil” blood and start with Inflict Wounds as an example.

You also gain Favored by the Gods, which lets you (once per short/long rest) to roll 2d4 when you fail a save or miss an attack and add it to your die roll.  This can prevent near misses and help you not miss those important rolls!

Level 6 Abilities:

At level 6 you get Empowered Healing which is honestly an amazing support ability.  Whenever you OR AN ALLY WITHIN 5 FEET! rolls dice to determine total hit points healed, you can spend a sorcery point to reroll any number of those dice once, assuming you are not incapacitated.  You can only do this once per turn but honestly, this prevents low healing rolls on clutch heals and effects you and any healer within 5 feet.  That’s amazing.

Level 14 Abilities:

You get wings.  Period.  You can use a bonus action to bring them into existence and gain a fly speed of 30ft.  They last until you die, are incapacitated, or you dismiss them.  Seriously, you just get straight up wings.  They also change appearance based on your bloodline (angel wings for law/good, devil wings for chaos/evil, dragonfly for neutral.  These are on use with no limit either which is hilarious.

Level 18 Abilities:

One per long rest when you are at less then half HP remaining you can (as a bonus action) recover a number of hit points equal to half your max.  So good luck taking the Divine Soul down.

Now reading over this you can clearly see that the Divine Soul sorcerer is built to be an off healer and support character.  The ability to select from two full spell lists, plus the bonuses to healing and mobility, grant a Divine Soul sorcerer the ability to get where they need and help those who need it.  These abilities are in addition to the normal Sorcerer tricks such as Meta Magic and Font of Sorcery.  So why should you play a Divine Soul instead of the other options?

For me it comes down to Meta magic and the ability to recover spell slots as well as versatility.  This is honest to go my perfect class combination.  If I were to build one, here is what I would do.

First, I would choose the Good bloodline, giving me Cure Wounds.  Since spells scale based on spell slot used this gives me a solid healing spell no matter what level I am.  I would then choose my two level 1 spells and 4 cantrips, and given that I would be in a support role first instead of a damage role, I would most likely go with this spread (and you can choose both cleric AND sorcerer spells for this)

  1. Cantrips: Spare the Dying, Fire Bolt, Mending, Acid Splash
  2. 1st Level: Bless, Chromatic Orb

The reasons for these spells are pretty simple.  Spare the Dying should be on any support caster who can have it as it will simply stop any death saves on touch.  Fire Bolt and Acid Splash give you two different damage options at range (one single target, one multi target) with two different elemental types.  Mending is actually super useful and can repair all sorts of things.  I even repaired magical plate mail with it although it takes time.

For the first level spells since you already have Cure Wounds, you take Bless to give your party a boost for a while, and Chromatic Orb gives you a flexible damage spell allowing you to pick and chose the elemental type you hit with it, hopefully exploiting a weakness.

From here its all up to you.  At 3rd level you get two Metamagic options.  Good ones to think about are Distant Spell (turn Cure Wounds into a 30ft Range Spell), Twin Spell (hit 2 people with many of your spells), and Empowered Spell (Reroll them damage dice!).  If it were me, I would take Distant and Twinned.  Hitting 2 targets with Cure Wounds or Chromatic Orb is beuno.

Personally I would most likely split my spell selection between buffs (Haste is a MUST in this setup) and damage abilities.  If you find yourself getting into melee or being targeted for example, Spirit Guardians would be an excellent choice.  Heal with Twinned Spell is a scary option at later levels, or Harm with Twinned or Empowered as well.  In fact, you will most likely want to spend your limited known spells on utility first and damage second.  Mage Armor (if you have Barbarian’s / Monks in the party), Dispel Magic, Counterspell, Death Ward, Mass Cure Wounds, Time Stop, and so on.  Mixing any of these effects with your meta magic can be amazing as well.

The Divine Soul Sorcerer: An excellent Healer and Support caster for your next character.  Be aware that a Sorcerer is not a ritual caster as well, meaning that you cannot cast spells for no cost.  Leave those to the Clerics, Druids, and Wizards in general.  Here are some spells that I personally suggest you take a look at if you are building a Divine Soul Sorcerer.  These are my own personal preferences of course.  You could take the Ritual Caster feat to get around this, and I have done this and it is incredibly useful, but it does cost an Attribute Increase so keep that in mind.  Also your DM needs to allow feats (they are OPTIONAL after all!)

Suggested Spells Per Level

  • 1st Level: Mage Armor, Bless, Bane, Chromatic Orb, Guiding Bolt
  • 2nd Level: Spiritual Weapon, Enlarge / Reduce, Shatter, Warding Bond,
  • 3rd Level: Fireball, Haste, Dispel Magic, Counterspell, Fly, Stinking Cloud, Mass Healing Word
  • 4th Level: Death Ward, Polymorph, Stoneskin, Dimension Door, Guardian of Faith, Stone Shape
  • 5th Level: Mass Cure Wounds, Greater Restoration, Cloudkill, Animate Dead
  • 6th Level: Heal, Sunbeam, Disintegrate
  • 7th Level: Finger of Death, Plane Shift, Teleport
  • 8th Level: Dominate Monster, Earthquake
  • 9th Level: Time Stop, Meteor Storm, Wish, Mass Heal

EDIT: Recently I posted an article giving all the Sorcerer Bloodlines, including our friend the Divine Soul, Bonus Spell lists!  Check it out here.

If you are looking for more Path breakdowns, feel free to check out my “Pathology” tag here on my blog for more posts!

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

Symbaroum: A Review

Symbaroum. A Dark Fantasy setting and system created by those crazy folks over at Järnringen and published by Modiphius. An interesting beast to be sure, and my first Core Rules review I have done either here or on my old youtube channel. Strap yourself in because this is going to be a LONG one.  I want to thank the folks at @Team_Jarnringen for giving me a PDF Copy of the rules as well as the Art Book.  All Art in this post is from the books directly and belongs to the original creators.

Continue reading “Symbaroum: A Review”

Encounters in the Savage Cities: A Review

It’s time for my first written review here on the site, and I am rather excited!  Today I am looking at “Encounters in the Savage Cities“, put together by Jeff C Stevens but housing a multitude of themed encounters written by various Dungeons and Dragons creative types.

This particular volume covers City and Town encounters of which there are 26 in total, each one created by a different author.  In each encounter, you get stat blocks when needed, scaling suggestions, notes for the DM, maps, and even some art.  There is also a new background called the Museum Curator which I did not expect.

Given the sheer number of encounters I am not going to try to talk about every single one.  If I did that, I would end up with a massive post and no one would read it.  I sure wouldn’t.  Rather, I am going to talk about the book overall, and mention a few specific encounters that I thought were well done.

First let’s talk formatting.  Thankfully, the text chosen is easy to read and matches what most of the official books use.  The PDF overall is super easy to understand, with each encounter following the same basic formatting.  You have a Title, Level Range, location suggestions, then an introduction to the idea behind the encounter, back story if needed, and then the actual encounter.  Any maps are insert in the text for ease of use, and the maps are solid as well for the most part with a hand drawn feel.  I am not surprised as many of the maps are created by Elven Tower, and he is a solid mapmaker.  For a PDF it works great and I am very happy with the overall design.  I would have liked to see the Table of Contents be hotlinked so I could click on the name of an encounter and go there, but it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.

Onward now, to the actual meat of the book, the encounters!  Most of the encounters cover level ranges 1-10, with a few listed as Any, and a couple listed for larger ranges or even specific levels only.  You get a lot of value for your dollar here, and for the most part the encounters themselves are solid.  Thankfully, the Scaling Suggestions help cover any issues you might have as a DM with adjusting an encounter to your party’s level range.  One thing I have noticed, going through many of the encounters, is just how many “thieves and con artist” based encounters there are.  Granted, the theme was Cities so it makes sense, but it seems like every other encounter I read was focused on some form of thievery or con artists trying to kidnap, ambush, rob, or otherwise screw with the players.  Not necessarily bad of course, but I couldn’t help but notice it.

A few of my favorite encounters have to be “The Puppeteer’s Assistant” by Ken Carcas, “The Leaning Door” by Chris Bissette (a literal knockoff of the Yawning Portal!), “Bad Parenting” by Benoit de Bernardy, “Party in a Bottle” by Richard Jansen-Parkes, and “The Deadly Fountain” by Chris “The Kind GM” Karelis.  Each one is fairly unique, fun, and offers a ton of options for the players to move forward.  I really love the Leaning Door idea as well and want to try that one personally the next time I run a game and the party finds themselves in a large city.

One I want to mention that I did not like was “Fool me Once, Shame on You” by Glen Cooper.  The encounter itself is fine involving a giant mimic messing with the party, but early on he offers the option for players to make an Investigation (Int) check, with each higher DC met offering more info.  My issue is that beating a DC 20 actually gives the party a Red Herring, IE FALSE INFO.  This should not be in a high DC.  If anything, the Red Herring should be in the DC 12 or even if the players don’t meet the minimum.  I do not like the idea of actually penalizing the players when they get high rolls like this.  Because of things like this, you will want to make sure you read each encounter in detail before you run them, so you don’t get caught off guard with stuff like this.

Overall, this was a pretty solid book of encounters for any city or town setting.  One thing I felt was missing was a “City Size” entry for these however.  Some of the encounters clearly cannot work in small scale locations, such as the “Bad Parenting” encounter which requires a Sewer system, which you are only going to find in a large city and not a small hamlet.  I would have liked to see some indication, at a glance, of which size of city/town these encounters would fit best.

Finally, I want take a minute to talk about the new background, which I did not expect to see when I opened this PDF.  I love the idea of this background, and its highly flavorful.  The creator of this, Cody Faulk, should be applauded.  After reading the background, the features, and the Traits, Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws, I really want to make my next character a Curator.  Especially if I get to name and create my own Museum!  I mean how can you not like the personality trait of “Sometimes, at night, I like to move the skeletons around and scare the cleaning crew.”  That’s freaking GOLD.

Do I think its worth its purchase price?  Well that honestly depends entirely on whether or not you find yourself needing quick easy to use encounters to slot into city and town time.  If you find your party faffs about a lot when in town, you could throw in things like “Bad Parenting” to spice things up and get them moving, or perhaps using “Harpies in the City Limits” to get the blood pumping.  But if you are able to come up with ideas on your own and improv easily in these sort of situations then you may not want to bother with this book.  Personally I can at least find a use for the concepts here and maybe modify them to come up with my own ideas for later.

You can purchase “Encounters in the Savage Cities” on the DMs Guild for $6.95 by CLICKING HERE.

Thanks for reading, and remember: STAY NERDY FOLKS!

**all images in this post are direct from the PDF and owned by their respective creators, all rights reserved by them**

 

ELEX: A Science Fantasy Action RPG by the makers of Gothic/Risen (A Review)

Its good to get back into the video game review seat, as it were. The video above covers the game Elex, developed by Pirhana Bytes and published by THQ Nordic. THQ did provide me a key for the purposes of review.  Mind you, everything I say in the video above and below is just my opinion.

This game is quite the janky trip: with strange animations at times, stiff controls, poorly worded or flat our incorrect tooltips and information, and brutalizing combat.

But there is a heart here. A wonderful world designed from the ground up by hand, with items and lore strewn about it. The entire world is also without load screens which is amazing, and its a pure joy to just wander the wilderness, trying to find hidden nooks and crannies. Also I love the mix of Sci Fi and Magic here, and I am eager to play Elex 2 (yes it was announced).

I have had an absolute blast playing this game, even if 3 hours of my playtime is death related (yea, I died enough times that 3 hours of steams playtime is related to dying and reloading). This game is not for the faint of heart, even on Easy.

If you are willing to put up with the oddities of the game, its well worth your time. Is it worth the $50 price tag? That I am not so sure about. For a hardcore RPG lover, who loved the old Gothic games and can put up with this games eccentricities then absolutely. But if you are not sure you can handle a game that will regularly and without warning hand you your ass, then avoid this.

Also, be advised, for the first 5-10 hours you basically want to avoid combat. The monsters, even the lowliest ones, will MURDER YOU. Getting a companion (Duras is the first one you can access, just complete the murder investigation quest chain), is REQUIRED. Even on Easy.

You can purchase the game on Steam, GoGXBox One, and PS4

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

The Past Revisited – Actual Play Streams/Podcasts: Perception vs Reality

So, my first Patreon Supported post.  Feels good!  This is for the Blog Carnival I found thanks to Chris (HI CHRIS!) and the idea was to write a sequel about a previous blog post you had done (The Topic is called “The Past Revisited” after all!).  Well, considering I had not done any blog posts yet, but HAVE done videos, I figured I would write about one of those.  I chose my literal most popular video, “Actual Plays: Perception vs Reality” where I basically criticized shows like Critical Role for having a possible negative impact on the D&D Community at large, by creating a skewed idea of how D&D works out.  How do I think about it now?  Well read on!

Firstly, lets link the original video from way back in January 2017:

When I originally did that video, it was a spur of the moment event.  I had been in a twitter conversation with Matt Mercer and a gent named Goblin Stomper about the idea of professional D&D players / actual play streams.  I went home after work, recorded that, posted it, and got quite a bit of flak.  Some deserved, and some undeserved (no one seemed to get that I knew the issues involved self esteem were my own!)

Now, at the time I had been doing D&D related content for a grand total of 4 months.  That’s not very long in the grand scheme of things at all.  At this point in my online life, I have been doing D&D related stuff for nearly 15 months!  And I have learned a great deal and changed a surprisingly amount since then.  The biggest question is: Do I still feel the same way about Actual Plays?

The answer is no, and here is why.

“Perception is Everything”

Originally, I felt that the idea of professional D&D players was rather absurd.  I mean, how could you “BE” a professional Roleplayer!  Further, I was kind of against the idea of being paid to DM at that time.  Obviously my ideals have since changed.  I have been involved in a long running online game since then, run one myself, and I have seen the positive impact things like Critical Role, the C Team, Hyper RPG, EncounterRP, and others have had on the community.

I realized that I don’t NEED to be like Matt Mercer or Will or Grant Ellis or Askren or any of these fantastic DMs.  I have my own style, for one, and people seem to like playing with me.  Further, the sheer popularity of these online streams and podcasts have expanded the audience for both content like this AND more supplements from indie companies to heights I have never seen before.  Sure, you might get the occasional instance of someone seeing one of these professional produced shows and after playing realize that a home game isn’t anything like these, but I don’t think that really hurts the hobby as whole like I originally did.

When I posted that video, I had seen a single episode of a single Critical Role, and had not watched nor really listened to any Actual Plays before then.  I simply hadn’t bothered.  I was basically being an uninformed opinionated idiot (Oh hey, a common person on the net!).  I have since watched 2 episodes of Crit Role (the very first, and the climax), and jumped in here and there when I could watching some other shows and listening when I can to podcasts.

Some of them are professionally produced sure.  Our home games will never be like them simply due to budget.  I mean I can’t afford that much Dwarven Forge!  But they don’t have to be either.  Because what things like Crit Role / C Team / Others show is the utter passion that D&D can bring out in a person.  Watching Sam Reigel tear up because he could not save his friend as Scanlan shows just the kind of impact this silly game we play can have on a person.  Watching the expression on Matt Mercers face when the events unfolded at the table.  The emotion on Liam’s face when he realized just what Sam had done.  It was beautiful.

Further, its inspired me rather then upset me.  I want to achieve the level of emotion that Crit Role has achieved in my own games.  I want to see my players get wrapped up into the story and their characters.  Its given me a goal to aim for now, rather then made me feel inferior.

Additionally, the mainstream appeal of shows like the C Team and Crit Role, and their prominence in cons like Pax Unplugged shows that more and more people are embracing our hobby.  Just look on twitter and reddit and you will see people asking how to get started with Dungeons and Dragons, how to setup their own streams and podcasts.  You will see artists appearing showing off amazing work, and you will see people helping each other to understand how the game is played.  More indie authors are finding work and creating amazing adventures for others to use.  The industry is booming with opportunities!

And frankly, I want to see MORE!  I want to see more people post their games, talk about their games, write about their games.  I want to see more stories out there shared.  I want D&D to become more mainstream, where we can see people like Vin Diesel play online and show off their nerd side (No joke, Vin played in a special episode of Crit Role to promote the Witch Hunter).  I want to see friends of mine realize their dream of becoming published adventure writers and creators.  I want to see my fellow bloggers achieve notoriety.  I want to see Dungeons and Dragons, and the Tabletop community at large, GROW!

Dungeons and Dragons is coming out into the spotlight and I am happy to be here to see it, and more so to be a part of it.

Maybe one day I will see you play your game reader.

Anyway, that’s all I have for today.  Thank you for reading and always remember: STAY NERDY!