Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sorcery 101 Thoughts of the Journeyman Caster by Gerard "Gray" Chartier- Part 2

Sorcery at Quests

With the powers at his or her command, a sorcerer is a welcome addition to any adventuring band.  Armored foes are felled with ease, and those immune to normal weapons can be felled by our magic.  And, unlike mages of other disciplines, our magic is never exhausted.  Be it a short skirmish or a day-long battle, our power is always available to us.

Sorcery’s primary utility is in questing.  It can come in useful at a war maneuver event, like North/South War, but questing is a sorcerer’s oyster.  NPCs usually come in small skirmish bands, letting the sorcerer wrap around to the flank instead of throwing at them head-to-head.  By flanking, you make it more likely the opposition will not be paying direct attention to you.  If they do, that’s good too, because that means they’re not paying as close attention to the fighter they’re squaring off against, giving him or her more of an opportunity to get in the kill shot.  Be wary of stumbling too close, though.

Another good thing about fighting small skirmish groups on quests is that it gives sorcerers a chance to recover their props between engagements.  This is not always the case at big war maneuver events.  If Magic Missile and Lightning Bolt are your primary attacks, not being able to retrieve your props sucks.

Sorcerers also have magic attacks on demand.  Back in the day, that used to be important, as NPCs immune to non-magic attacks used to be at least somewhat common.  These days, it seems like event holders don’t go for the mundane-immune monsters, so having magic attacks isn’t as important as it used to be, but it could still crop up, so it’s nice to have.

One enormous advantage to Sorcery vs other magic paths is that Sorcery is loaded with unlimited-casting spells.  Late in the day, when players with other paths are feeling the squeeze, sorcerers are able to keep on chugging just as well as they did at the beginning of the quest.  If you want to play a mage, it’s nice to have spells you can keep using.

Sorcerers at Tournaments

Tournaments are, by and large, stick-jock events.  There is generally not a lot for dedicated casters to do, and when there is, it’s often something like tests of one’s knowledge of the magic system.  Which is not to say you can’t go to tournaments – Event holders often lift weapon restrictions for the duration of the event so you can participate fully even if you play a caster.  However, don’t go expecting to do much with your magic missiles and lightning bolt.

Even if a tournament does allow a sorcerer to use all their spells, you’re at a serious disadvantage against a fighter or even a 1-Path.  Sorcerers essentially have one tool – thrown attacks.  Fighters have a whole chest of tools they can pick from at will.  Any fighter knowing s/he’s going up against a 2-Path sorcerer is just going to pick up the biggest shield s/he can find and come straight at you.  Since shields are a hard counter to a sorcerer’s main form of attack, your chances of beating a shield fighter are pretty minimal.

Sorcerers at War Maneuvers

War maneuver events occupy the middle ground between quests and tournaments. Your abilities as a sorcerer are relevant, but they’re more relevant in some battles than in others.

Generally speaking, you’re going to want to be right behind a wall of fighters.  With magic missile and lightning bolt, you’re providing offense with reach on great weapons and pikes.  If fighters with these weapons are on the front line, they’re you’re preferred target.  In an open field battle, or a battle with enough frontage to cover to require fighters without shields to step to the fore, you can have a significant impact with your spells.  You might even be able to recover your props and use them more than once, but generally speaking field battles end too fast for that.  Sometimes the end so fast, I’ve still got props in my pocket.

Be advised, fighters are going to expect the people right behind them to have Heal Limb, and they’re going to be looking for armor repair pretty constantly too.  Be prepared to have at least Heal Limb (why the hell wouldn’t you buy down for it anyway?), and squeezing in some armor repair abilities will make you well liked in the field as well.

In bridge battles and similar engagements, on the other hand, you might want to hold off on trying to affect the engagement until it’s about to end one way or the other.  Team Hooray at the bridge battle at this year’s Queen of Hearts (QoH 22) looked like a freaking Roman legion in tortoise formation – front and sides fully covered by door shields.  Made me long for when Lightning Bolt was only 5 castings, but conducted through weapons and shields.  Throwing props into the wedge on the bridge was an act of sheer unreasoning optimism - which isn’t to say I didn’t, it just didn’t do much good.  So, in these kinds of engagements, try to hold off on throwing the projectiles until you’ve got an opening where you can do some good, don’t expect to get them back very soon, and maybe do some good with your secondary shtick.  You DO have a secondary shtick, don’t you?

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