A Quick Guide to Pathfinder Sorcerers
aka “Gods don’t need spellbooks”
aka “I need an excuse to not dump charisma”
Table of Contents
I greatly admire Treantmonk’s guide making skills, and his wizard guide is the primary inspiration for this guide.
Sorcerers are great. I’ve heard good arguments as to why wizards are better, and I’ve also heard a lot more bad arguments as to why wizards are better. The simple fact remains, sorcerers are great. It really boils down to playstyle, I think. If you like wizards and you try to make a sorcerer, you might end up making a sorcerer who is basically a wizard with slower spell progression and the inability to swap out spells every day. I, on the other hand, usually end up making wizards who are basically sorcerers who can’t choose their spells on the fly. You can see how either one, from an optimization perspective, is a poor choice, which is why I recommend playing whichever class comes more naturally to you. Plus, in my unbiased opinion, sorcerers are WAY cooler.
This guide will cover all of the information currently (as of May 7th, 2012) on the PFSRD, with the exception of any third-party or variant rules. I’m also not evaluating things from the perspective of a gish or sorcerer dip, only a full-classed sorcerer. I assume that the characters get no hero points by default, but can acquire them through the relevant feats. If I’ve missed anything good or made any mistakes, be sure to let me know here.
Blue: Excellent, or possibly overpowered. These options are highly recommended, although I hesitate to call any of them “must-haves”. They are often good for basing builds on.
Green: Good choices that most characters will find useful. Strong options for filling out a build.
Orange: Okay choices. Most characters will probably find some use for them, or characters will find them to be very useful rarely. Nearly always skippable, these choices should be taken with care.
Red: Poor choices. Naturally some are worse than others, but you generally want to avoid these options if you have the chance.
Other relevant resources:
The Inner Power. A Guide for Sorcerers – A good resource for blaster sorcerers especially
(^ I cannot hope to compete with this guide title)
Compiled Bestiary Statistics (<- incredibly useful)
Pretty straightforward, unless you take one of the bloodlines that changes your casting stat.
Strength: biggest dump stat. I don’t recommend taking any melee touch attacks, and you won’t have to worry about carrying capacity for very long.
Dexterity: Improves initiative, AC, reflex saves and your ability to hit with ranged touch attacks. You want a good number here, but it’s less important than Cha or Con.
Constitution: You want at least a 12 or 14, but you don’t need anything above that. You want to survive long enough to get out of range, not take repeated hits. Having a better fort save is a nice bonus.
Intelligence: Governs knowledge skills, Spellcraft and skill points. You’ll want more skill points, but not enough to cut back anywhere else in your ability scores.
Wisdom: Governs will save, which is your strongest save, and perception. Try to get at least a 10, but it’s not the end of the world if you have to take a hit here.
Charisma: Your primary casting stat! Max this out. If you can get a 20 here at level 1 do it, even if it means you can’t get some other ability scores quite as high. Save DCs are important! If you focus on buffs, summoning and spells that don’t allow saves you may be able to get by with less than perfect charisma, but I highly recommend maintaining a more diverse set of spells known. If you want to limit yourself to buffs and summoning, I’d recommend playing a cleric or oracle.
*If you take the Empyreal or Sage bloodlines, your priorities will be predictably modified. Since you’ll no longer make a good party face you can safely dump charisma, freeing up points for other scores (remind me, why was it you didn’t play a wizard again?).*
Example arrays (before racial adjustments):
10 points: 7 str/10 dex/12 con/10 int/ 9 wis/17 cha
15 points: 7 str/10 dex/12 con/10 int/10 wis/18 cha
20 points: 7 str/13 dex/12 con/12 int/10 wis/18 cha
25 points: 7 str/14 dex/12 con/14 int/10 wis/18 cha
Dwarf – Wait a second, dwarves get a cha penalty! They should be red! Well, before Ultimate Magic released the Empyreal variant bloodline, you’d be right. This bloodline allows you to use wisdom as your casting stat instead of charisma, making dwarves a viable choice. Suggested alternative racial traits: Rock Stepper
Elf – The penalty to con is not appreciated, and they don’t get a bonus to cha, but the Sage bloodline allows you to use intelligence as your casting stat and elves get a variety of mage-friendly abilities. If you don’t take the sage bloodline, this is orange. Suggested alternative racial traits: Arcane Focus, Fleet Footed
Gnome – A bonus to con and cha, which are both great, and a penalty to strength, your biggest dump stat. They also get bonuses to illusion spells and access to several gnome-only feats that are very nice for illusion fans. Being small size doesn’t hurt either. Suggested alternative racial traits: Academician, Bond to the Land, Darkvision, Eternal Hope, Gift of Tongues
Half Elf – Put the ability bonus into charisma. That alone makes this race a good choice for a sorcerer. You can make better use of the skill focus feat than many classes, for Use Magic Device, Spellcraft, Knowledge or, if your party otherwise lacks social skills, diplomacy. Suggested alternative racial traits: Arcane Training
Half Orc – Half orcs have an ability bonus that can go into charisma, but otherwise don’t have great racial abilities for sorcerers. Suggested alternative racial traits: Sacred Tattoo
Halfling – Like a gnome, Halflings get bonuses to two stats you like and a penalty to your dump stat. Being small is always good, and the bonus to saves is nice. Gnomes are better in several ways. Suggested alternative racial traits: Fleet of Foot
Human – A bonus feat is always wonderful and you probably have more useful skills than skill points. The reason why human sorcerers trump any other kind of sorcerer is their fantastic favored class bonus. Regardless of the level, more spells known are the best thing you can give a sorcerer. Suggested alternative racial traits: Focused Study
There are a lot of races with bonuses to charisma, which are all okay. I’ll pick out a few that have sorcerer-friendly racial features and thus get bumped up to green:
Drow – A bonus to charisma, and the Blasphemous Covenant and Seducer alternate racial traits can make you pretty good at summoning and enchanting respectively. Your favored class bonus may give you a handful of spells known, but its quite restrictive.
Ifrit – A bonus to charisma with an extra bonus to charisma on the side. The Elemental(fire) bloodline isn’t even that great, but I’d still recommend taking it with this race. Definitely ask your DM if the Primal bloodline counts the same as the Elemental bloodline, since it is slightly better. Between the Wildfire Heart alternate racial trait and getting improved initiative as a bloodline feat, you’ll be blazing fast.
Tiefling – Naturally you should take the Fiendish Heritage feat so you can double-up on the charisma bonuses, Kyton-spawn looks nice. Both the Abyssal/Brutal and Infernal/Pit-Touched bloodlines have their own advantages. This race is even better if your DM allows you to choose a tiefling variant race without the Fiendish Heritage feat, which I don’t think is unreasonable considering the Aasimar gets the same thing for free.
Kitsune – No double charisma bonuses here, but check out the favored class bonus. Plus ? level to the save DCs of all your enchanting spells gets good at level 4 and gets better after that. Since kitsune get +1 to enchantment save DCs by default, you can get some scary save DCs in a school that is all about the save DCs.
Samsaran – No bonus to charisma, but bonuses to both intelligence and wisdom means you can choose between the sage and empyreal bloodlines. This race is mostly notable for the Mystic Past Life alternate racial feature, which lets you add spells of other class lists to your spells known.
Svirfneblin – With a -4 penalty to charisma, your only real choice is the empyreal bloodline. The net +4 AC, +2 to all saves, +1 on illusion save DCs and a few other nice things (like darkvision 120ft) make up for your lack of choice. On top of all that, you have access to all the gnome racial feats. All this can be yours if you can stomach the concept of an angelic svirfneblin.
Yeah, you can solve almost any problem with a spell. No, you won’t want to spend all your spell slots that way, let alone your spells known. You don’t get very many skill points, so make them count.
Appraise – If no one in the party has this skill, you run the risk of getting ripped off when selling loot. This isn’t a terrible fate, and doesn’t always happen anyway.
Bluff – A classic sorcerer skill, but not mandatory, especially if you have a party face or shady rogue-type. Bluff can be a very powerful skill if you get it high enough, and you’re very good at it.
Craft – Alchemy is useful, but alchemical items are pretty cheap and you probably won’t be using poisons.
Diplomacy (cc) – Your charisma makes you a good candidate for party face, even if you can’t make this a class skill. Your party will only need one face, though, and you’ve got precious few skill points.
Fly – At mid levels you’ll be flying a lot and at high levels you’ll be flying all the time. Maneuverability is nice, and definitely worth spending a few skill points on. If you’ll be flying with Fly or Overland Flight you definitely don’t need to max this out, but if you’ll be flying with one of the bloodline powers (which don’t give bonuses to this skill) you might consider it.
Intimidate – It’s easier than diplomacy to get information out of targets that are unfriendly or hostile, but with a little creativity bluff can be used in the same way. It’s also the ‘face’ skill that another PC is most likely to have. Demoralizing your enemies may occasionally be useful, but especially after a few levels you’ll have access to spells with far superior effects.
Knowledge (arcana) – good for identifying monsters, which you’ll be expected to do if no one else can.
Perception (cc) – The most rolled skill in the game. Even if you can’t get this up high enough to be considered good at it, everyone gets a roll and often only one of you needs to succeed. If you get a familiar you can double your chances.
Profession – Here for flavor only, unless you need Sailor to man a ship, which is unlikely.
Spellcraft – You need this to identify spells, magic items, scrolls and to craft magic items.
Use Magic Device – With your naturally high charisma you are among the best users of this powerful skill. On the other hand, your large class spell list makes it less useful. If you get a familiar who can make use of this skill (requires DM interpretation) or no one else can use divine wands then you’ll really want this.
I’ve looked extensively at the sorcerer bloodlines, and unfortunately I’ve come to the conclusion that I feared. The Arcane bloodline is simply head and shoulders above almost all of them. I was happy to find that the Sylvan wildblooded bloodline is a close second, imho, making an interesting alternative for those who find the Arcane bloodline to be boring. If neither of those bloodlines appeal to you, there are a large number hanging out on the next rung down, unfortunately I can’t recommend any of them over the first two from an optimization perspective.
Obviously I can’t list every feat, so I’m just going to list the notable ones. If a feat isn’t listed here, it means I either didn’t notice it or didn’t think it was worth taking for a sorcerer. If you think I’ve missed something good, please point it out in the discussion thread.
I have a love-hate relationship with metamagic feats. On one hand, they use up valuable high level spell slots while producing effects that feel like gimped versions of spells at those levels. On the other hand, they can increase the versatility of your lower level spells, which is almost like having extra spells known. In the end, I always pick up a couple, even if it’s only to qualify for Spell Perfection. The Arcane Bloodline has bonuses that increase the value of metamagic feats significantly, but they can still be good for other bloodlines.
Bouncing Spell: Situationally better than Persistent Spell, since it only uses one level higher. It also only works on single target spells with no secondary effect, and then only when there’s another target nearby. This makes it highly situational compared with Persistent Spell, and I don’t think I would spend a feat slot on this. Might be good as a rod (only 3k) if you find yourself using a lot of spells that qualify for it.
Dazing Spell: This feat can turn your blast spells into save-or-lose spells. It’s a bit pricey at +3 spell level, but if the target fails their save they’re out of the fight for a couple rounds! This is best used on spells that hit multiple targets, such as Burning Arc, Fireball or Chain Lightning, or spells that last for multiple rounds, such as Flaming Sphere or Ball Lightning. Probably enough to increase the rating of these spells by one rank. Works great from a rod, if you can afford it, as well as in conjunction with Persistent Spell. If you want to play a blaster, I recommend building around this feat.
Empower Spell: This is mostly useful for blasts, particularly ones with no save or one that is unlikely to succeed (hello reflex saves). It can also be applied to certain randomized buffs and debuffs, such as false life and enervate. A metamagic rod of this could work on the summon monster spells, if you could get around the increased cast time (Spontaneous Metafocus perhaps?). Combine this with Superior Summoning and Spell Perfection and you could have yourself a veritable army with a single cast.
Extend Spell: A cheap metamagic effect that doubles the duration of your spell. This is particularly useful on low level spells that have a duration measured in hours, so I recommend getting a rod for it (only 3k).
Heighten Spell: This can keep your favorite low level spells relevant at higher levels. I feel like this is the most useful use of metamagic, since using a high level spell slot to cast a spell with a low save DC seems like a bad idea to me. Persistent Spell fills a similar role, and is better in many circumstances.
Intensified Spell: Fills a similar role as Empower Spell, and is better than said feat on level 1 and level 2, and perhaps level 3 spells, where applicable. Empower Spell is applicable to more spells and is better on higher level spells, or spells with which you do not meet the maximum caster level. They do stack, and are together better than Maximize Spell almost all of the time.
Merciful Spell: If you’re into not killing people, this feat is a must. It comes with a +0 level adjustment, which makes it not terrible.
Persistent Spell: +2 spell level and the targets have to roll twice on their saves and take the lower roll. It makes it harder for an opponent to save against a spell, thereby serving the same purpose as Heighten Spell. By my calculations, this feat is better than Heighten Spell (+2) 99% of the time, and is significantly better (twice as good or more) >65% of the time. If you have the arcane bloodline, your bloodline arcana makes this better than Heighten Spell in almost every scenario, otherwise it’s more efficient but less flexible. You can combine the two for devastating save DCs, if you have the feat slots.
Piercing Spell: +5 to defeat spell resistance for only 1 spell level. Since you can decide to apply this after you have a guess at whether or not you’re going to have trouble overcoming the target’s spell resistance, it can be handy at higher levels when pretty much everything has spell resistance. A prime example of one of the many things that are fantastic for sorcerers but terrible for wizards.
Quicken Spell: The ability to cast as a swift action is a great, almost necessary, way to boost your action economy. On the other hand, the +4 spell level cost of this feat reserves it for high level play. There is a metamagic rod, but it itself is very pricey. Even if you plan on purchasing a metamagic rod for three free quickened spells per day, you might appreciate the ability to quicken spells normally. Note that unlike 3.5 this feat is applicable to sorcerer spells without the use of any special metamagic-facilitating abilities like those of the Arcane Bloodline.
Reach Spell: Significantly better than Enlarge Spell for anything less than ‘long’ range spells, and did you really need to extend those? This makes melee touch spells usable for non-aberrant sorcerers and makes mid-range spells into sniper material.
Rime Spell: Entangled is a good condition to impose with no save for only +1 spell level, but this only applies to [cold] spells. You can make a pretty decent cold damage specialist with this feat and a bloodline like Marid (Hint: take mostly fire spells and turn them into cold with your bloodline, that way you can use the fire spells on targets immune to cold, which may be vulnerable to fire).
Sickening Spell: It costs 2 spell levels, but can be applied to any spell that deals damage. Potent as a way to soften up enemies for a save-or-lose spell. I generally prefer Dazing Spell even though it costs one more level.
Silent Spell: Useful when you’re silenced, but you can get this as a rod incredibly cheaply.
Still Spell: Useful to escape a grapple or if you get captured by a villain. Note that you still need to make a concentration check to escape a grapple, and it’s rather difficult.
Treantmonk and MinstrilInTheGallery both refer to these feats as “selling your feat slots for cash”. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I’d like to point out that the right feat can net you an awful lot of cash. Magic items make your character more versatile and more powerful, and should never be underestimated. You can’t make as good use of item creation feats as a wizard (who has both better access to spells and a better Spellcraft check), and you have fewer opportunities to pick them up, but you can definitely get your money’s worth. For items that aren’t spell trigger or spell completion, you can ignore one or two spell prerequisites fairly easily. These ratings assume that your campaign gives you plenty of downtime to craft, if your time is limited in some way reduce the ratings accordingly.
Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, Craft Wand, Craft Staff: You will only be able to make these items from spells that you know, which defeats the purpose of having them. It’s unfortunate, because you will probably use scrolls, wands, and staves a lot to cover for limited spells known, and they can get costly.
Craft Wondrous Item: Most of your magic items fall into this category, and a large number of the magic items of the other members of your party will too.
Craft Magic Arms and Armor: You might use this to make yourself a Mithril buckler and perhaps an Armored Kilt, but the other characters in your party will benefit much more.
Craft Rod: Good for making metamagic rods, which you’ll want. You’ll especially appreciate this feat if you’re interested in the more expensive rods, like Quicken. Unlike in 3.5, you don’t need to have the respective feat to make a metamagic rod, which makes this feat worth taking.
Forge Ring: Although rings are expensive, you only have two slots. By the time you can get this feat you’ll likely already have a ring or two. According to the rules, however, you can graft multiple effects to a single item for increased cost, which may be worthwhile for some of the cheaper rings. Some DMs may let you hire an NPC to do this, but others won’t make such NPCs available.
Additional Traits: There are many good traits for sorcerers. In particular, there are three kinds that I took an especially close look at when rating this feat: Magical Lineage, Reactionary (or any of the several traits that give you a bonus to initiative) and any trait that gives you another useful class skill (like diplomacy or perception). See This Guide for a breakdown of traits.
Augment Summoning: A given for summoning fans. This makes your summons that much tougher.
Combat Casting: Casting spells defensively is difficult. Try to avoid it by taking 5 foot steps, if you can. Sometimes you can’t, this feat is for those times.
Defensive Combat Training: This is effectively plus ? level to CMD, which is a pretty good deal. Your CMD still won’t be exceptional, so have backup plans.
Effortless Trickery: This is the reason why Gnomes are the best illusionists. Works well for the early image spells or misdirection, you’ll always be able to find some use for this.
Eschew Materials: You get this feat for free, unless you take an archetype. If you do take an archetype, you might consider picking it up anyway so you don’t have to worry about your component pouch being targeted by enemies or fusing with your body when you shapeshift.
Evolved Familiar: This feat can give your familiar reach, which is good if you use it to deliver touch attacks, or a +8 bonus to any skill, which is good if you use your familiar as a UMD monkey. The 13 int requirement might be restrictive.
Expanded Arcana: I know I’ve said bonus spells known are great, and they are, it’s just that spending a feat slot for only one or two of them seems really… lackluster. I mean, say you’re a human and you get one bonus spell every level. You’d have to spend ALL of your feats on this one to match that. In my opinion, you should only take this feat if you have specific spells in mind that you can’t figure out how to fit in otherwise. I guess my point is that while bonus spells are good, feat slots are better.
Improved Familiar: This feat makes your familiar more intimidating. You can pick up some cool spell-like abilities or more dexterous hands for UMD checks. None of the early options are worth giving up the benefits you can get from your base familiar, but there are a couple cool options at level 7. My personal favorite is the Faerie Dragon, which is a great scout with a 60ft fly speed and greater invisibility, plus it can cast as a level 3 sorcerer which means you get a few level 0 and 1 spells and avoid some UMD checks. Obviously, this is only an option for sorcerers who get familiars.
Improved Initiative: Many of your spells can end encounters, or at least make them much easier. The sooner you go the sooner your team wins.
Leadership: This feat is top tier for any character. Your naturally high charisma just makes it even better. Many DMs disallow this feat for balance reasons, but if yours doesn’t you should seriously consider picking it up. I recommend getting a wizard or alchemist cohort who can supplement your spellcasting and pick up item creation feats.
Nimble Moves: This allows you to take 5 foot steps in difficult terrain. This will probably save your bacon at some point, if you pick it up.
Spell Focus: +1 save DC for one school. This makes your favorite spells that much harder to resist. Conjuration, enchantment, evocation, illusion, and necromancy all benefit the most from this feat. Furthermore, this feat is often required for other beneficial feats based in a school.
Greater Spell Focus: Unless you make a build heavily based on a single school you’re probably better off with another spell focus in a different school than with this.
Spell Penetration: Many, if not most, high level creatures have spell resistance. You will need some bonuses to overcome it reliably.
Greater Spell Penetration: If you still have trouble overcoming spell resistance, this is definitely a viable option. I might recommend Piercing Spell instead, though.
Spell Perfection: Pick your favorite spell. It just became ridiculously overpowered. In case you can’t be bothered to read the feat, it doubles all feat bonuses to the spell and allows you to apply any one metamagic for free. That’s right, free. If you choose heighten spell it goes up to level 9, which is a bit cheesy. If you get the Magical Lineage trait you should apply it to this spell.
Spell Specialization: One spell of your choice is cast at +2 caster level. The usefulness of this greatly depends on the spell chosen. Probably best for a blaster build, although the 13 intelligence prerequisite is a limitation for sorcerers.
Spontaneous Metafocus: I don’t really care much about turning a standard action cast time into a full round action, but this could be put to good use on a spell with a full round action cast time by default. I can’t think of any off the top of my head that I would want to apply metamagic to on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Superior Summoning: This is another good feat if you really like to summon. I’d say it’s not as good as Augment Summoning, since this is of no benefit if you summon a single creature. More creatures means more space is taken up and the enemies have a harder time moving around. Note that this stacks with the Abyssal bloodline’s 15th level power and is doubled by Spell Perfection, potentially making a really mean summoner at level 15.
Toughness: You’re squishy. You want to be less squishy. This feat is more important if you’re an elf or human, since your hp will be lower than that of other sorcerers (due to con penalty and favored class bonus, respectively). You can do your best to not get hit, but hp is your last line of defense. Make it a good one.
Varisian Tattoo: The value of +1 caster level depends a lot on the spell. Some spells are great and scale very well (such as dispel magic). Others scale to a limit (such as most blast spells). I’d say this is most useful for blast spells.
Spells were the first thing I analyzed, since to my knowledge a comprehensive guide had not been done. I have since found one, but I disagree with many of its evaluations and I have structured my guide in a unique way for ease of use. You can find it here:
As I noted above in the section on item creation feats, magic items significantly increase the power and versatility of your character. You can wear a magic item in each of the following slots: Armor, Belt, Body, Chest, Eyes, Feet, Hands, Head, Headband, Neck, Rings (two), Shield, Shoulders, and Wrist
Armor: An Armored Kilt can give you an AC bonus with no drawbacks like spell failure or a check penalty. You don’t even need to be proficient in it, there are no downsides. If you get mage armor as a spell known, you won’t need one of these for a while, but there’s really nothing else you can wear in your armor slot. It gives you one extra AC over bracers of armor and takes a less valuable item slot, but at really high levels you can get a better AC bonus with the bracers. It’s probably not worth it though, AC is not the best defense at high levels.
Belt: You’re really going to want a belt of incredible dexterity, a belt of mighty constitution or, preferably, a Belt of Physical Might with a bonus to both.
Body: A Robe of Arcane Heritage is generally your best choice. It can be downright overpowered with a good bloodline. If you chose a terrible bloodline for flavor reasons you might be able to find something better, but for the large majority of bloodlines this is a steal at 16000gp. Before you can afford this, or if you can combine magic items, another interesting option is the Mnemonic Vestment, which allows you to cast one spell per day from a scroll or spellbook. Increasing the pool of spells that you can cast is always useful. If your bloodline has a good 1st level power, a Sorcerer's Robe lets you add its effect to spells you cast which means you might actually use it except as a backup-backup when you don’t want to waste a spell.
Eyes: Eyes of the Eagle are very useful for all characters, and are cheap to boot. Goggles of Night are useful, if you coordinate with your party so everyone has darkvision you don’t need a light source. However, a Greater Hat of Disguise is the same price and can provide the same benefit along with others. Fogcutting Lenses are another possible alternative if you encounter fog a lot (likely of your own making).
Feet: Boots of Striding and Springing are your default option, but after a certain point you’ll be flying all the time and the boots won’t help you. Boots of Teleportation could save you a spell known slot, but at a high cost. Boots of Escape are cheap and useful, especially for gnomes.
Hands: A Glove of Storing will greatly assist you in the usage of metamagic rods or wands and staves, and they’re not too costly. If you eschew metamagic rods, Gloves of Arrow Snaring will save you from two ranged attacks per day.
Head: If you’re the party face, you might want a Circlet of Persuasion. A Hat of Disguise will be invaluable for any espionage based campaigns, while a Greater Hat of Disguise also grants you a variety of useful utility powers. A Helm of Telepathy is not a bad choice; although the save DC will become irrelevant, communication is always a valuable asset.
Headband: You definitely want a Headband of Alluring Charisma, no buts about it. If you have the cash (or the Craft Wondrous Item feat), you could spring for a Headband of Mental Prowess for intelligence and charisma to get extra skill points.
Neck: An Amulet of Natural Armor gives you a nice boost to AC. It’s more expensive than some AC boosting items and it doesn’t apply to touch attacks like others, so it may be lower on your priority list. A Necklace of Adaptation allows you to breathe underwater and grants you immunity to several (semi-common) effects. You could also get a Hand of Glory to benefit from an additional ring, but the price tag on that makes it iffy.
Ring: You’ll probably want a Ring of Protection here. It’s a pricey AC bonus, but it applies to touch AC. You have a variety of choices for your second ring, though. A Ring of Freedom of Movement makes you immune to grapples and any other effects that restrict your movement, although this is not rigorously defined. A Ring of Sustenance means you never have to worry about basic supplies again, although that is rarely an issue it is dirt cheap. A Ring of Regeneration is pricey, but will extend your lifespan and cause you to never need healing outside of combat. A Ring of Feather Falling is very cheap and allows you to save a spell known, but your allies won’t be affected. Likewise, a Ring of Invisibility allows you to save a spell known, but lose the utility of casting it on others. A Ring of Mind Shielding might be a necessity in an espionage based campaign, but won’t be of value otherwise. A Ring of Spell Turning is powerful, but also powerfully expensive.
Shield: I highly recommend a Mithril Buckler. You lose the shield bonus if you cast a spell with that hand, but you only need one hand to cast spells with somatic components so most of the time you can just use the other hand. Use the hand with the shield to hold your metamagic rod or something.
Shoulders: This item slot will probably be reserved for a Cloak or Resistance. You really want to have good saves if you want to last long at higher levels. One cloak you might regret not having is the Cape of the Mountebank, which lets you escape from grapples or other situations where casting Dimension Door would be difficult. It’s pretty cheap, so maybe your DM will let you graft it’s effects onto a Cloak of Resistance.
Wrist: I’m afraid I can’t recommend Bracers of Armor except at the +7 or +8 range. I’d much rather recommend using Mage Armor or an armored kilt. There isn’t really any other item that can fill this spot, unfortunately.
Runestones of Power grant you additional spell slots, which are worth the price. I’m not sure why they’re twice as expensive as Pearls of Power, but they’re still a better deal than Rings of Wizardry.
You should seriously consider picking up some metamagic rods. In particular, a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken allows you to cast low-level buffs without sacrificing a standard action. A Lesser Metamagic Rod of Silent allows you to continue casting in the inevitable event of an enemy caster silencing or deafening you. A Lesser Metamagic Rod of Extend makes low level long-term buffs last even longer, and is dirt cheap as well. Most of the metamagic rods have uses, and you should take a look at them if you’re looking to enhance your spellcasting with magic items.
A Dueling Cestus or Spiked Gauntlet gives you a +4 bonus to initiative and allows you to threaten the squares around you without interfering with your ability to hold things or cast spells. Since the weapon is always drawn you’ll never be without the +4 initiative bonus.
Rod of Absorbtion may or may not be the most ridiculously powerful item ever. It also costs quite a bit and you’ll find it running out of charges really fast. The ability to use the charges for your own spells is not as good for you as it is for a prepared spellcaster, but it’s still pretty good.
Scrolls, Wands and Staves will supplement your limited spells known. Use scrolls for spells that you’ll only cast once in a blue moon but will really need at that time (such as Stone to Flesh). Use wands for low level spells that you’ll be casting often, but don’t deserve a spell known for some reason. Use staves for high level spells that you’ll be casting often, like a wand only without the limiting caster level and save DC. You can only recharge one staff per day, so I’d limit the number that you own to avoid running out of charges. This advice on staves only applies if your DM allows you to procure custom staves, since the ones in the book have far too many spells on them (and thus are too expensive).
Handy Haversack is efficient and affordable. It is quite often the first magic item I buy. This makes the fact that you dumped strength not hurt as much (or at all).
Tome of Leadership and Influence is something you’ll be saving for at high levels. The linear cost increase is compensated for by the fact that they don’t stack, so try to save as much as possible before buying a higher one. If you or another member of the party gets the wish spell, you can gain the benefits of this item a little bit more cheaply.
There are only a few sorcerer archetypes. Even a few add a great deal of versatility to the class, when combined with the inherent versatility in spell and bloodline selection. Mostly, the archetypes affect your choice of bloodline by replacing certain bloodline powers. This means that the ratings of the archetypes are highly influenced by your choice of bloodline.
Crossblooded: This is a trap. Your biggest gain is a bloodline arcana, and not a single one of them is close to being worth one spell known at every level. Note that losing a spell known of your highest spell level sets you back a full caster level in terms of the highest level of spells you can cast, putting you even farther behind wizards. Other than that, you get to mix and match bloodline spells, powers and feats. If you are reading this guide you are probably at least trying to optimize, and if you are trying to optimize you probably picked a bloodline with few powers and spells that require switching out. I recommend choosing a single bloodline that you will not regret, rather than considering this. The -2 will on top of everything is just salt in the wound. This is an archetype for other spellcasters to dip into, not for full-class sorcerers.
Recommended for Bloodlines: None (although Orc is tempting).
Razmiran Priest: It might appear that False Focus is strictly better than Eschew Materials, but it doesn’t protect you against theft or sunder attempts like the latter feat does, nor does it allow you to cast spells while polymorphed. It does, however, allow you to do some cool tricks like cast Communal Stoneskin on a single target for free, keep nondetection up all the time, or to create up to 300gp worth of items for free with fabricate, meaning it is probably better than Eschew Materials at any rate. You might not use either knowledge(religion) or perform, but you won’t miss appraise and fly much. A half level bonus to UMD checks with divine items (likely what you will be using UMD on most of the time) rounds out the False Piety power as an excellent replacement for Eschew Materials. Aid and remove disease are cleric spells, but they aren’t particularly good cleric spells. Remove disease in particular is better off on a scroll than in your spells known, but there’s a decent chance that you didn’t have amazing bloodline spells at levels 2 and 3. Note, however, that you get these spells before you can actually cast spells at their levels. I assume this must be a mistake and they are intended to replace the 5th and 7th level bloodline spells. As always, talk to your DM about this discrepancy. Razmiran Channel replaces your 9th level bloodline power, and is the main reason to take this archetype. Essentially you can collect wands of divine spells and cast them all with your own spell slots. At level 9 you should have at least a +20 on the UMD check, so you should never fail. This ability is even more amazing if your DM allows you to purchase wands with reduced charges, down to a single charge. Don’t fret if your DM doesn’t allow you to buy wands with a single charge, every divine wand you can get is like a bonus spell known! Try to get wands of classes that get early entry for the spells to compensate for the +1 spell level, such as Inquisitor, Paladin or Ranger spells.
Recommended for bloodlines: Aberrant, Destined, Djinni, Efreeti, Protean.
Seeker: An interesting archetype that gives you a rogue’s skill with traps. The other abilities have an emphasis on your bloodline spells, making your choice of bloodline more important than any other sorcerer. The 3rd level ability is boring, but not awful, while the 15th level ability is quite good.
Recommended for bloodlines: Celestial, Fey, Rakshasa.
Tattooed Sorcerer: I like this archetype just because it replaces the terrible first level powers a lot of bloodlines have. If you have a bloodline that has a good first level power then I’d suggest you avoid this archetype. Varisian Tattoo is probably a better feat than Eschew Materials, and it applies to your bloodline spells as a bonus! The Create Spell Tattoo ability is easily worth a feat slot, but the 9th level ability is only usable once per day and is always going to be redundant with your spells known, making it a bit lackluster considering how many bloodlines have good 9th level abilities.
Recommended for bloodlines: Aberrant, Abyssal, Empyreal, Djinni, Draconic, Efreeti, Protean, Shaitan.
I’m not going to extensively cover every build I can think of. As such I will be attaching a page that will be editable by the general public in which anyone can share their sorcerer builds. I’d like to remind you that this is a guide for full-class sorcerers, as opposed to builds making use of the sorcerer class. A build which is primarily sorcerer but dips a small amount is acceptable. Always keep in mind that every DM has their own way of doing things, and your milage may vary if you don’t know your DM’s style very well.