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Skip Navigation LinksContent>Magic>Magic Systems>Vancian (Fire & Forget)>Spontaneous Model>Sorcerer
Spontaneous Casting


Sorcery System Sorcerer Sorcerer Package Deals
Sample Sorcery Spells Variant: Elementalism Variant: Sortilege
Variant: Stregari    
Sample Sorcerer: Rialta For'anvor
Sorcerers are flexible and powerful complements to any adventuring group. Rather than studying long hours, conducting research and experimentation into the wee hours, and approaching Magic as a scholarly pursuit, Sorcerers tend towards a more rough-and-ready for action approach to their Magic. Sorcerers tend to make good adventuring Magic Users, with the ability to respond well to unexpected events.
Compared to other professions Sorcerers emphasize the application of direct power. Sorcerers sometimes rely on Magical devices such as Wands, Scrolls, and Staffs but their Spell repertoire is their primary weapon and tool. Though initially they might tend to be a little "fragile" compared to more physical professions due to the steep point costs of their Magic abilities, a Sorcerer can mature into a very potent and difficult to downplay force.
Compared to their close cousins, Wizards, Sorcerers emphasize having a shrewdly chosen selection of Spells with very little overlap. Unlike a Wizard who can casually learn just about any Spell they come across if they like, Sorcerers need to be a little more selective due to stiffer requirements regarding how many Spells they may know per Spell Level.
Sorcerers start off a little more robust than their Wizardly counterparts due to the increased flexibility of their casting model being more forgiving and adaptable. As a Sorcerer progresses, they tend to shape up into competent and dependable Spellcasters, safe at all speeds so to speak and quite formidable. However in the higher ranges of power less flexible/more specialized characters such as Wizards can easily outstrip Sorcerers in terms of raw power or ability.
A player can expect their Sorcerer to have a difficult time of it initially, and to be challenged by the steep price of escalating their Magical capability, but can rest assured that the payoff will be worth the struggle as the game progresses.
Means to Power
Sorcerers learn to cast Spells, often making use of props such as incantations, gestures, material components, etc. to assist them in the casting of their Magic. Sorcerers go through various levels of understanding and capability as they advance.
As they gain experience, their ability to manipulate the metaphysical Laws of Magic increases, as does the mental endurance required to focus their will. Essentially, as they progress their ability to cast larger and more powerful Spells increases assuming they spend character points accordingly.
Sorcerers use the "Spontaneous Casting" Model, which is based on the idea of stacked Multipower (MP). The number of Spell Level Multipowers a Sorcerer has, and the number of Charges on each are the primary determinant of how powerful that Sorcerer is. It is imperative for a serious Sorcerer to invest as many points as possible into their MP's. As a rule of thumb about 60% of a Sorcerer's Experience should be dedicated to getting larger MP's, more Charges on their MP's, and more slots in their MP's.
Sorcery is a flexible model that can be fitted to many types of Magic just by switching the Magic Skill list around. By default it is assumed that Sorcerer will either piggy-back on the Wizardry paradigm of topical Magic "Schools" inherited from xD&D or more commonly just use Spellcraft instead.
Sorcery is based around a theory of Effect, categorizing the study of Magic into "Schools" organized according to the end effects of a Spell. In other words, Sorcerers very practically organize their Spells  by classifying what they actually do, regardless of the "how".
The following table summarizes the general focus of each Spell School. Also included in the table are Item Creation Skills that some Sorcerers use to create Magic Items.
School School
Abjuration KS: Abjuration Spells which ward, protect, dispel, or cast out.
A straightforward, practical, and very focused School. Augmentative (by granting protection from harm), this School is also the most direct way to counter the abilities of opponents.
Signature Spells: Alarm, Banishment, Dispel Magic, Guards & Wards, Protection from Spells
Conjuration KS: Conjuration Spells which Summon an entity from the caster's Plane, Call an other-worldly entity to the caster's Plane, Create new temporary objects or substances from thin air, or create passageways thru the higher dimensions.
A complex and diverse School, with a lot of offensive capability but also some utility Spells.
Signature Spells: Acid Arrow, Cloudkill, Conjured Blade, Phasedoor, Planar Binding, Summon Monster (I-IX)
Divination KS: Divination Spells that provide information, knowledge, or awareness.
Perhaps the most focused of the Schools, and the most overlooked. Providing no offense or defense, and in fact having no measurable effect other than in the mind of the caster or those included by the Spell, Divinatory Magic can nonetheless be incredibly enabling.
Signature Spells: Analyze Foe, Clairvoyance, Comprehend Languages, Detect Secret Doors, Foresight, Legend Lore, Scrying, True Seeing, True Strike
Enchantment KS: Enchantment Spells that affect the minds or behavior of others, either via subtle (Charm) or overt (Compulsion) means.
A much misunderstood school, many people confuse the term "Enchant" with the idea of "Enchanting" Magic Items. Enchantment is a passive-aggressive School, with Spells that usurp will and control from sentient targets through often subtle means.
Signature Spells: Charm Person, Domination, Feeblemind, Hold Person, Suggestion
Evocation KS: Evocation Spells that manipulate energy, including pure Magical Force.
The flashiest and most offensive of schools, Evocation is direct and very powerful, but not very subtle or flexible. Excelling at destruction and inflicting damage, Evocation also has some defensive capability and some utility spells via its ability to create Force structures.
Signature Spells: Chain Lightning, Fireball, Fire Shield, Force Sculpture, Force Wall, Magic Missile, Meteor Swarm, Wall of Fire
Illusion KS: Illusion Spells that affect the senses of others, either via altering the sensory characteristics of an existing thing (Glamer), creating false sensory input either visibly (Figment, Pattern) or directly in the minds of others (Phantasm), or semi-real constructs that can have a measurable physical effect structured from material from the Transitive Plane of Shadow (Shadow). Illusion also has some spells that manipulate or interact with the Transitive Plane of Shadow directly.
The sister School to Enchantment, Illusion is one of the more complex and difficult to understand Schools of Magic. Lacking the direct physical effects of the less conceptual Schools, Illusion can nonetheless be used offensively, defensively, and augmentively.
Signature Spells: Blur, Color Spray, Hallucinatory Terrain, Images, Invisibility, Mirror Images, Shadow Evocation
Necromancy KS: Necromancy Spells that manipulate life force, the flesh of organic beings, energies from the Plane of Negative Energy, and all things to do with the Undead.
In many ways Necromancy is a meta-School, combining elements of all the other Schools applied to a particular pursuit. It has some Spells that fit the definition of Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, or Transmutation, but which are classified as Necromancy due to the fact that they pertain to the Undead or Negative Energy. Subsequently, Necromancy is a very self-sufficient School with many "toolbox" style Spells that have a very specific and narrow use.
Signature Spells: Call Vampire, Cause Fear, Chill Touch, Control Undead, Create Flesh Golem, Disrupt Undead, Enervation, Halt Undead, Raise Zombie Horde, Ray of Enfeeblement, Wail of the Banshee
Transmutation KS: Transmutation Spells that alter or enhance the properties of objects, creatures, or physical laws of reality.
The most practical and utility-oriented School, Transmutation Spells come in endless variations. Perhaps the most diverse of Schools, it's also one of the easier to understand; its purpose is to reorder the world to suit the Caster's current wishes. It is the ultimate augmentative School, and can indirectly provide offensive and defensive effects as well.
Signature Spells: Bull's Strength, Change Self, Craft Iron Golem, Disintegrate, Fabricate, Fly, Make Catman, Polymorph, Stone Skin, Water Breathing
Univeral Casters Best
School Skill
Spells that combine elements of several Schools, affect Magic directly, or involve concepts so basic that Magic Use would not be possible without them.
The Universal group contains Spells that belong to no one School and encompasses both the most powerful and the most unassuming of Spells. All Spells dealing with the manipulation of Luck or Time, direct crossing of Dimensional boundaries, or the powerful reality warping Wish Magics fall into Universal, alongside the most rudimentary building blocks of Wizardry.
Signature Spells: Arcane Mark, Astral Projection, Clone, Detect Magic, Ethrealness, Lucubration, Plane Shift, Read Magic, Symbol, Teleportation, Time Stop, Wish
Item Creation Skills
Artificing KS: Artificing Used to create Magic Rings, Staves, Miscellaneous Magic Items, Weapons, Armor, and other Permanent Magic items.
Scroll Scribing KS: Scroll Scribing Used to create Magic Scrolls holding a readied Spell needing only a few words or a gesture (or the equivalent) to complete. Can also be used to transfer Spells from one caster to another. (Ephemeral Magic items)
Wandcrafting KS: Wandcraft Used to create Ephemeral Magic Wands that have a typically store a single Spell effect and have a finite amount of Magical energy stored in them allowing them to use 1 specific Spell a certain number of times. (Ephemeral Magic items)
Alchemy KS: Alchemy Used to create potions, powders, special inks, and the like Alchemical Items are always Ephemeral.
All of the Spell School Skills used by Sorcery are Knowledge Skills; thus the Scholar Enhancer can be used to reduce their cost and is recommended.
In a campaign where the GM allows Spellcraft, Sorcerers may opt to use it instead of or in addition to Spell School Skills.
If Spellcraft is allowed in the campaign, then Sorcerers that have the actual Spell School Skills gain a +2 bonus to any Magic Skill Roll when using the appropriate Skill roll for the Magic Effect in question; thus a Sorcerer with KS: Illusions would gain a +2 bonus to recognize, learn, or create an Illusion Spell. This caveat helps to keep School Skills balanced with Spellcraft.
Sorcerers can take one or more of the Metamagic abilities described in the Vancian Magic System.
Sorcerers can take the Mage Sight Talent as described in Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition, but most do not bother as they can generally have a Detect Magic slot in their 0 Level Spell Multipower and use it when needed.
Sorcerers may take Life Support (Longevity) at the ~200 year level or perhaps higher if the GM allows. However, this is not appropriate to all settings.
Working with Magic marks Sorcerers in subtle ways, and they might have a recognizable aura that is detectable by those with appropriate senses. Sorcerers can take the following Disadvantage if the GM allows as a personal Disadvantage. In cultures where magic users are more unusual and subject to extreme attention, the value of this Disadvantage will be higher.
DF: Sorcerer (Not Concealable; Always Noticed and Causes Major Reaction; Detectable Only By Unusual Senses; Not Distinctive In Some Cultures)
Disadvantage Value: -5 points
Learning New Spells
In addition to paying the cost of new Spells as ultra-slots in their MP's, a Sorcerer also has to "learn" new Spells before they can add them to their Multipower Pools as described below. Also, with their hard limit on number of slots per Spell Level, Sorcerers tend to choose their Spells carefully indeed.
A Sorcerer may attempt to learn any Power Construct based Spell that can be fit into their Spell School concept or via Spellcraft, is Charge Based, will fit into one of their MP's, and satisfies all of the restrictions affecting Sorcery.
It takes one hour of study per Spell Level of the Spell, and at the end of this period of time the Sorcerer makes a Magic Skill Roll with the appropriate Magic School Skill at a penalty of -1 per Spell Level (Level 0 Spells count as 0 in this case). The Sorcerer may opt to study the Spell twice as long as necessary for a +1 bonus to the roll, with each doubling of time granting a cumulative +1 bonus; thus if the Sorcerer studied a Spell for four hours per Spell Level they would gain a +2 bonus to their eventual Skill Roll for two doublings.
Example: Lirian has discovered a scroll bearing Sorcerous Flames, a 5th Level Evocation Spell designed for Sorcerers with six Charges. Lirian has Spellcraft, an Spell Level 5 MP with available slots, enough Experience Points to afford the new Spell, and the Spell satisfies all of the requirements and restrictions of her Sorcery MP's. Therefore she is able to learn the spell.
Lirian studies the Spell for five total hours (1 hour per Spell Level) and then makes a Spellcraft Roll with a -5 penalty (for a 5th Level Spell). She could have spent 10 Hours studying for a +1 bonus to her Spellcraft Roll, or 20 Hours for a +2 bonus and so on.  If she succeeds at the roll she must pay the cost of the new Ultra-slot in character points, and adds the Spell to her Spell Level 5 Multipower.
If a Sorcerer attempts to learn a new Spell and fails the Skill Roll, they may not attempt to learn the Spell again until they have raised their applicable Skill Roll by +1.
Alternately, the Sorcerer may attempt to recreate the Spell instead; if they succeed at creating the Spell then they automatically are considered to have learned it and must add it to their Known Spell List, and pay the Real Cost for the slot.
Generally a Sorcerer learns a Spell from an acquired Scroll or Spellbook. Regardless of the source of the Spell, the actual design of the Spell cannot be altered in this process; to alter the Spell a Sorcerer would effectively have to create the altered version as a new Spell.
However, a Sorcerer may come across a Spell that is compatible with their Magic System but has the wrong number of Charges to synch up with their Sorcery MP's Charge totals. The number of Charges on such a Spell can be adapted to the correct amount necessary for the Sorcerer's appropriate Sorcery MP without interfering with learning the Spell or counting as altering the Spell so long as the Spell remains in the same Spell Level by Active Points.
If a Sorcerer attempts to learn a Spell that is very similar to one they already know, the GM should consider allowing a similarity bonus for learning a "variant" prorated for the degree of similarity and ranging from a +1 bonus up to the Spell Level of the Spell the Sorcerer already knows (treat Level 0 Spells as +1 in this case).  
When determining the degree of similarity, compare common specific SFX and intent, same base Power, and same Power Modifiers as the principal considerations.
As a general rule of thumb, if all three categories are aligned then grant 100% of the bonus; for each category that differs deduct 33% of the bonus. Thus if two Spells shared a common SFX and intent, such as two Lightning based Spells that were intended to do direct damage, but built on different base Powers (such as EB, RKA, HKA, or HA), and differed in the Power Modifiers, then no more than 33% of the possible similarity bonus should be awarded.
If a Sorcerer were learning a Spell that was identical in every particular to a Spell they already knew, differing only in dice of effect or with an additional adder then the similarity bonus should be equal to the Spell Level of the version that they already know.
Example: Lirian talks to her Wizard friend Jasper Maskelyne and he lends her a Spellbook with more of Eravar's Spells in it. Jasper recommended a more powerful version of the Eerie Evisceration; Eravar's Efficacious Evisceration, which is a 8th Level Area of Effect version of the Spell. Again, the Spell does not violate any Sorcery usage or design restrictions, she has an MP for 8th Level Spells with an open slot, and enough Experience Points to pay for the ultra-slot if she learns the Spell.
Because Lirian already knows a lesser "Spell Level 5" version of the Spell the GM grants a +5 bonus to her KS: Evocation roll to learn it. Eight hours of study later Lirian makes a KS: Evocation Skill Roll at a net -3 penalty (-8 for its Spell Level, +5 Similarity Bonus) and succeeding adds the ultra-slot to her 8th Spell Level MP.
A Sorcerer can also learn any non-Sorcery Spell they encounter if it fits into an appropriate Sorcery MP, and can be covered by one of the Sorcery Spell Schools without being mechanically altered. This takes twice as long as learning a Sorcery Spell and imposes a -2 penalty in addition to all other penalties.
In the case of a non-Sorcery Spell that is Charge based, altering the Charge count to synch up with the appropriate Spell Level Gestalt for an individual Sorcerer total does not disqualify the Spell from being learned via this method as long as the Spell is otherwise unaltered and meets all the restrictions of Sorcery.
If all else fails and the Sorcerer cannot learn such a Spell directly, they can also always just create a new Sorcery Spell that mimics or approximates the non-Sorcery Spell using the rules for creating new Spells detailed below.
NOTE: Of the sample Spells provided, the Spells for Wizardry can easily be adapted for use with Sorcery, simply adjust the Charges total to the appropriate number for an individual Sorcerer's Sorcery MP's.
If the default Spell Schools are used then the primary source of Spells for Sorcery are Wizard Spells. Sorcery and Wizardry can be considered to be facets of the same kind of Magic, since they share the same Skill model.
 However Wizard Spells are always designed with only one Charge, which is an issue for the multiple Charge oriented Sorcery MP model. To facilitate Sorcerers using Wizard Spells (and other similar one Charge based Spells), the number of Charges of a Spell may be raised to the appropriate total for a Sorcerers Multipower without the Sorcerer needing to recreate the Spell in order to alter it.
Further, Sorcerers do not suffer the doubled time necessary to learn the Spell or the -2 additional penalty they that affects learning other non-Sorcery Spells.
Example: Lirian has discovered a scroll bearing Eravor's Eerie Evisceration, a 5th Level Wizardry Evocation Spell designed with only one Charge. Since the Spell is Instant, raising the Spell from one Charge to six Charges does not increase the Active Cost of the Spell. Lirian studies for five hours, makes a Spellcraft roll at -5. If successful she adds the Spell to her 5th Spell Level MP and pays the cost of the ultra*slot in Character Points.
In some cases, typically involving Continuous Charges, increasing the number of Charges can raise the Active Point cost of a Spell and thus raise it's "Spell Level". In such a case, a Sorcerer may either keep the total number of Charges at a level that does not increase the Active Point Costs of the Spell or learn and slot the Spell at it's new Spell Level as determined by its increased Active Points.
Example: Lirian wants to learn a flight-granting Elementalism (Air) Spell called Windriding.
Windriding: Flight 13", x8 Noncombat, 2 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Hour each (+0), Rapid Noncombat Movement (+1/4) (45 Active Points); Not Usable In Enclosed Spaces (-1), Extra Time (Full Phase, Only to Activate Constant or Persistent Power, Delayed Phase, Character May Take No Other Actions, -1/2), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4)
Real Cost: 1u
This Spell normally has 45 Active Points with one Continuing Charge lasting one Hour and is thus considered a 2nd Level Spell. Lirian has her Sorcery MP's set up to handle six 2nd and six 3rd Level Spells per day and would like to increase Windriding to six Charges to take full advantage of this. 
However, increasing the Spell beyond two Continuing Charges for one Hour each bumps the Spell past 45 Active Points and thus makes it a 3rd Level Spell. Lirian's player opts to increase the Spell to 2 Charges and keep it a 2nd Level Spell.
This option is in effect in my campaigns
In some settings it may be appropriate for Sorcerers with Spellcraft to be able to learn some basic Spells without need of instruction or access to Spellbooks and the like. This allows Sorcerers to be naturally occurring Spellcasters. However, I recommend some practical limit on this as otherwise it removes one of the Control Factors in place to balance this style of Magic (the Acquisition Control Factor).
I recommend that if this option is used Sorcerers with Spellcraft may "naturally develop", i.e. learn Spells without instruction or creation, any Spell of up to 60 AP ("3rd Level Spells") that is not the specific named creation of another Spellcaster, and that is chosen from a list not of the players own creation.
Example: When Lirian first developed her Magic, it happened naturally as she matured into an adult. Suddenly, she had the ability to work Magic and though it took practice she found she could Fly around, project Lightning Bolts, and other similar basic effects.
Thus she might have learned a general Fly Spell and a general Lightning Bolt Spell, but she could not have intuitively learned Vorenars Rapid Aerial Transit or Uthien's Three-pronged Sizzler variants of those basic Spells. 
Creating New Spells
Sorcerers usually lack the patience to create their own Spells, but by default they have the potential to do so. However, to create a new Spell a Sorcerer must actually have the appropriate School Skill for that Spell; Spellcraft cannot be used to create a new Spell.
One concern for Sorcerer's creating new Spells is that they must have enough Experience Points available to pay for the new Spell if they are successful, and the new Spell will take up one of their Spell Level MP Slots; if the Sorcerer cannot afford the new Spell's cost as an ultra-slot or doesn't have enough slots left in the appropriate Spell Level MP then their attempt to create the new Spell will inevitably fail.
This option is in effect in my campaigns
By default, any Sorcerer with the appropriate Magic Skills can create their own Spells. If for some reason a particular type of Sorcerer cannot make their own Spells, they may take a Physical Limitation Disadvantage indicating this. However, this probably shouldn't be allowed for a Sorcerer using Spellcraft since Spellcraft may not normally be used to make new Spells with already; at a minimum the severity should be sharply decreased in such a case.
Arcane Spell Sterility: Phys Lim: Cannot create new Spells (Infrequently, Greatly Limiting)
Disadvantage Value: -10 points
There are four steps to follow when defining a new Spell:
  1. Determine Intent of Spell
  2. Determine Power Construct of Spell
  3. Determine Type of Spell
  4. Determine Level of Spell
First, decide what the Spell is supposed to do, in general terms. Is the Spell supposed to burn an opponent to death, allow people to fly around, summon forth a demon, etc.
Next design the Spell using the Power creation rules in the HERO System 5th Edition Rulebook. Check the Spell for compliance to the restrictions affecting Sorcery described above.
Once you know the intent of the Spell, determine the appropriate school of Sorcery for the effect you desire. Due to the straight forward Effects oriented nature of Sorcery this is usually easy to do. For example, if you are making a Spell that launches burning flames at a target its probably an Evocation Spells.
The final step is simple; just divide the Active Points of the Power Construct produced in Step 3 by 15 to determine the "Spell Level". The Spell Level will determine the penalty involved in Skill Rolls to both create and learn the Spell to a Sorcerer's Known Spell List.
Once the new Spell has been defined and agreed upon between the GM and the player of the Sorcerer , in-game the Sorcerer must conduct Research & Experimentation (R&E) for a number of Hours equal to the total Active Points in the Spell.
The Sorcerer must have appropriate materials for R&E, and some of these necessary materials may be quite expensive and/or difficult to acquire, at the GM's discretion.
During this time, the Sorcerer must make a School Skill or Spellcraft check after every full Day of R&E with a -1 penalty per Spell Level. A full day of R&E means at least six hours uninterrupted.
During this time, the Sorcerer must make a School Skill check after every full Day of R&E at a -1 penalty per Spell Level of the Spell. The Sorcerer can opt to take extra time to make success more likely; if they take twice as long between checks they get a +1 bonus per doubling of time; thus two days per check grants a +1 bonus, four days a +2, eight days for a +3 bonus and so on.
If any of the Sorcerer's daily R&E checks are failed the Sorcerer has botched the job somehow and cannot create the Spell. The Sorcerer may not try to create that Spell again until their appropriate Magic Skill Roll has been raised a level, starting over again at the beginning of the Research & Experimentation cycle.
Example: Lirian trains with her Wizard friend Jasper Maskelyne long enough to learn KS: Transmutation (in addition to Spellcraft) and is thus able to create new Transmutation Spells if she wishes. As part of her studies Jasper tasks her to replicate a Spell he has already created in the past as a lab exercise. Lirian researches the basic guidelines Jasper has given her and manages to recreate the cantrip, Maskelyne's Marvelous Magnifier, a Spell with 15 Active Points.
She spends 15 hours of in-game time conducting Research and Experimentation for this Spell. At the end of each day that she works on the Spell she must make a Transmutation Skill Roll at -1 (for 15 Active Points). Spending two days before making a roll will grant a +1 bonus, and if she took 32 bays to work on the Spell before making a roll she would receive a +5 bonus on her Transmutation Skill Roll for that time bracket.
In this case for such a simple Spell Lirian simply studies 15 hours straight all in one day and makes her KS: Transmutation roll easily. She has successfully created the Spell, but since she is a Sorcerer this has the unfortunate side effect of taking one of her Spell Level 0 slots and she must be able to pay for the ultra-slot.
If the new Spell is very similar to one the Sorcerer already knows, the GM should consider allowing a hefty bonus on the creation of a "variant". Thus if a Sorcerer is adjusting modifiers or dice of effect or making a more powerful version of a Spell they already know, they should benefit from a significant bonus, up to the Spell Level of the existing Spell they are basing the new Spell on (treat Level 0 Spells as +1 in this case).
When determining degree of similarity, the same principles discussed earlier for learning Spells should be applied.
A Sorcerer automatically knows any Spell they have successfully created and must pay the cost of the ultra-slot as well.
Creating New Magic Items
Sorcerers tend not to make a lot of Magic Items as a rule (since most of them use Spellcraft), but Sorcerers that have Spell School Skills may make any Magic Item they also have an appropriate Item Creation Skill for; as described on the Creating Magic Items Page.
Sorcerers can only use Wandcrafting, Scroll Scribing, and Alchemy to create Ephemeral Items from Spells that they have in their Spell Multipowers. Sorcerers can use Artificing to create Permanent Magic Items, but the Active Points of the individual abilities in the Item cannot exceed the size of their largest Spell Multipower's Reserve.
As noted in the Magic Item creation guidelines, in addition to the Item Creation Skill, a Sorcerer must also have the appropriate Magic School Skills for the effects they are trying to place into Magic Items; Spellcraft cannot be used for this purpose.