Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Sacred Sorcerer

The mob jeered as the priest was brought forth. Her raiment was stripped from her, her holy symbols broken. They laughed, secure in their victory as their leader stepped forward. Cantor "The Breaker" Barrenson, in his black armor with his mace in hand, stood over the priest and sneered at her.

"Where is your god now?" he asked.

The priest smiled. Her eyes blazed, and flames erupted from her back, forming burning wings. She held up hands full of fire, heat rolling off her in waves.

"He is within me," the priest said. "As always."

That was when the laughter turned to screams.

And the Lord said it was a pleasure to burn.

The Sacred Sorcerer

When we think of priests, we tend to think of clerics. After all, when we need divine magic, we go to the church. But, as I said in 5 Tips For Playing Better Clerics, just because you have cleric levels that doesn't require you to be a part of an organized church. The opposite side of that coin, though, is also true. Just because you don't have cleric levels, that doesn't mean you can't be ordained as a priest of a particular faith. After all, there are plenty of NPC priests who are just commoners or scholars.

That's where the idea of the sacred sorcerer comes into play. Because while a sorcerer's power is arcane in nature, and is a birthright rather than something granted to them by a god, that doesn't mean they wouldn't feel a pull from a deity that is in-line with their heritage. An elemental sorcerer might be drawn to a god of fire, or storm, depending on their bloodline. An undead bloodline sorcerer might seek to serve a god of death, or undeath, depending on how they wish to use their powers. Even celestial-blooded sorcerers may find the holy rays they can fire that strike down the wicked, and heal the good, to be a blessing from the divine.

So, how do you make this work? Well, the first thing you do is design a sorcerer whose heritage fits in with a deity in your campaign. Once you have that, make their backstory that they are a priest, and figure out how they fit into the clergy. Do they minister to the public, using their charisma to deliver stirring sermons? Do they fight the enemies of the church? Do they minister to the sick, and use their power to break curses?

Regardless of the particular power set you bring, though, you should have the necessary skills to fit in with your professional role. Which is why the traits Dangerously Curious (+1 to Use Magic Device checks, and makes it a class skill) and Secret Knowledge (gain +2 to any one Knowledge skill, and make it a class skill) can come in so handy. This would allow you to use holy items through force of personality (and a skill check you'll soon have huge bonuses to), and to gain Knowledge (Religion) as a class skill. Or, if you already have it for some reason, to gain an associated skill like Knowledge (Planes).

The gods work in mysterious ways, and who is to say that the force that entered your bloodline so long ago was not meant as a gift that would eventually be handed down to you? And now that you have it, why shouldn't you use it in their service?

For further inspiration, check out 5 Tips For Playing Better Sorcerers!

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  1. A priest is anyone who ministers to a congregation. At a church of Nethys, it's more common that such a person be a wizard than a cleric. as noted in Inner Sea Gods. Someone who ministers to a gathering of The Green Faith is more likely to be a druid or shaman than a cleric.