The use of magic is a popular mechanical choice in the Pathfinder RPG. Of the many classes and archetypes found in the game, magic is present in two-thirds of them in some form, be it casting divine spells or harnessing raw magical energy. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is no exception, with 11 out of the 16 classes having access to magic in some form or another.
For my money, the easiest to use of the bunch is the Sorcerer. For newer players, if they want to focus on the destructive power of magic, this is probably their best choice when it comes to the right mix of spells, abilities, and feats. So much like our Fighter Guide, here are some tips to go through building a solid Sorcerer in Pathfinder: Kingmaker.
The Sorcerer Basics in Pathfinder: Kingmaker
The Sorcerer is a magic class that doesn’t rely on the character’s INT score to cast spells. Instead, the focus in game lore is the innate ability to cast spells, due to a magical bloodline. As such, a Sorcerer’s primary stat would ultimately be based on their CHA first. This is in direct contrast to a Wizard, who must prepare their spells before each rest from a spellbook.
The advantage the Sorcerer has is that they don’t need to prepare spells, they can cast a small pool of spells multiple times per day. The disadvantage is the loss of the Wizard’s versatility and sheer number of spells they can cast. Wizards are a favorite arcane class, but the ease of use of the Sorcerer makes spellcasting easier for new players. The class has a lot of power behind it with the smaller selection of spells.
We will talk about only the basic Sorcerer for this guide, then mention the archetypes and multiclassing options later.
The Sorcerer basics are as follows:
Class Skills: Athletics, Knowledge (Arcana), Persuasion, Use Magic Device
Hit Die: D6
Preferred Ability Scores: CHA
Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + ½ INT Modifier
Saving Throw Progression: Will = High. Fortitude, Reflex = Low
The Sorcerer has the following class features and bonuses in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. All of these features are easily found and readable in the class progression section on the character class screen. Archetypes also change these features.
Sorcerer Proficiencies: Sorcerers are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Wearing armor or shields adds a spell failure percentage chance to each spell cast.
Spell Casting: The Sorcerer casts spells based on their CHA ability score. The Sorcerer needs a minimum score of 10 to cast spells. The higher a Sorcerer’s CHA stat, the more spells they can cast per day.
Bloodline: A Sorcerer is able to cast spells due to innate magical abilities brought forth by a bloodline. At character creation, players select a bloodline to represent their innate magical abilities. After selecting this bloodline, it cannot be changed.
Bloodlines provide a ton of benefits for the Sorcerer. First, they provide special bloodline powers throughout their class progression. They also gain a fixed number of spells that are given to the Sorcerer for free starting at level 3, and every two levels thereafter. Finally at levels 7, 13, and 19, the Sorcerer also gains an additional feat, chosen from a list of specific feats from the bloodline so long as they meet the prerequisites.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Build Suggestions
The Sorcerer is considered a powerful class mostly thanks to the bonuses given by their bloodline class features, but the choice of bloodline is just one of many we can make in character creation. For the purposes of this build, I will go through some general tips for making a damage-dealing Sorcerer in Kingmaker, one that focuses on dishing out as much power as possible in a given combat scenario.
We will go through the process step by step, focusing on options for race, bloodline, ability scores, feats, and spells in that order.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Race
Because CHA is the only stat we need to worry about, most of the races in Pathfinder: Kingmaker can be tailor-made into Sorcerers. As always, Humans, Half-Orcs, and Half-Elves have an advantage of choosing their ability modifier, which makes them solid choices overall to pick.
Of the three, Half-Elf might be the best bet here thanks to their racial bonuses to saving throws against magic. Their extra bonuses are mostly passive, but can help shore up the Sorcerer’s skills.
Tiefling Is also a good choice for a Sorcerer. Their unique aspect as a race is their heritages, where players can select what type of ‘spawn’ made the Tiefling. This in turn changes their ability modifiers across the board, along with bestowing different class skills and innate powers for the Tiefling to use. For the Sorcerer, there are four heritages that offer a +2 bonus to CHA. Two other heritages, the Hellspawn or the generic Tiefling bonus, also change the typical -2 CHA modifier to a 0, so long as they select one of two bloodlines, Abyssal or Infernal, as their bloodline.
The best choice for a Sorcerer, however, I would argue is a Gnome. Gnomes already get a +2 to CHA, and their -2 to STR makes STR a good dump stat to lean on for a typical Sorcerer. Their small size makes them harder to hit by larger creatures like Giants, and their other bonuses, like Hatred toward lizard and goblinoid creatures, is a nice little bonus on top. It also frees us up to select any bloodline we wish to complement the Gnome's innate abilities.
For this build, we are going Gnome as our race selection for the reasons above.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Bloodlines
The most important choice for a Sorcerer is the bloodline, as each bloodline available gives the player a ton of powerful options, extra spells and feats at their disposal. There are a total of nine unique bloodlines, with two of them, Draconic and Elemental, providing different types of bloodlines to select from.
While every bloodline is worth exploring on your own, I am just going to list the basics of what I would consider the best bloodline choices for the Sorcerer. The top three I would recommend for their unique mix of spells, abilities, and feats for the Arcana, Draconic, and Undead.
Note there are a lot more to bloodlines than this, but the information here is a good starting point for new players looking for long-term planning for their Sorcerer build.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Bloodline - Arcane
Arcane is a bloodline based on magical knowledge and knowhow, and offers some great utility and attacking spells. The reason to pick Arcane is the access to some wizard-style abilities, including some additional spells, an arcade bond to gain either a familiar or object, and most importantly, you gain bonuses to cast metamagic feats.
Metamagic refers to a category of abilities that spellcasters can use to enhance their magical spells. Basically, these feats can extend the reach, effects, damage, and even duration of spells, making them even more powerful.
Class Skill: Knowledge (any one).
Bonus Spells: Magic Missile (3rd), Invisibility (5th), Dispel Magic (7th), Dimension Door (9th), Break Enchantment (11th), True Seeing (13th), Banishment (15th), Power Word Stun (17th), Clashing Rocks (19th).
Bonus Feats: Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Metamagic (Reach), Skill Focus: Knowledge (Arcana), Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus, Spell Penetration.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Bloodline - Draconic
The Draconic bloodlines are a set of 10 different dragon bloodlines that grant the player different elemental powers and bonuses. Draconic bloodlines are incredibly powerful because they give the player dragon-like abilities, such as a breath weapon, by turning themselves into a dragon temporarily. The choices for Draconic bloodlines are aligned with the two major dragon types: metallic and chromatic, with each given the element of fire, cold, acid, or electricity as their primary element. You also get a +1 bonus to attack when you use the element type with your spells, so fire spells combined with a Red, Gold, or Brass bloodline are enhanced.
Class Skill: Perception
Bonus Spells: Mage Armor (3rd), Resist Energy (5th), Dispel Magic (7th), Fear (9th), Spell Resistance (11th), Dragonkind I (13th), Dragonkind II (15th), Dragonkind III (17th), Overwhelming Presence (19th).
Bonus Feats: Blind-Fight, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Metamagic (Quicken), Skill Focus (Mobility), Skill Focus: Knowledge (Arcana), Toughness.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Bloodline - Undead
Undead as a bloodline is unique because at level 20, it gives the player resistances to all types of damage except magical attacks, plus immunities to paralysis, poison, sleep, and other spells. The ability to use mind-affecting spells on corporeal, or physical, undead is also a nice boon, as normally undead are unaffected by mind spells. The spell and feat list of the undead is also quite good, offering a nice mix of offensive and defensive abilities.
Class Skill: Lore (Religion)
Bonus Spells: Cause Fear (3rd), False Life (5th), Vampiric Touch (7th), Animate Dead (9th), Waves of Fatigue (11th), Undead to Death (13th), Finger of Death (15th), Horrid Wilting (17th), Energy Drain (19th).
Bonus Feats: Combat Casting, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Skill Focus: Lore (Religion), Spell Focus, Greater Spell Focus, Toughness, Diehard.
Sorcerer Ability Scores and Skills
When it comes to ability scores, CHA is the primary stat that should be pumped as high as possible for the most effectiveness for the Sorcerer. Two stats also worth taking for defense include DEX and CON. DEX is good for avoiding being hit and raising your AC slightly. CON is always a plus for more health. Some Sorcerers might want to consider WIS as a potential stat boost as well for the increased Will save, though this is not exactly necessary.
For most builds, a 20 in CHA would be perfect, with an adequate 14 in DEX or CON. The Gnome, thanks to their +2 bonus in CON, can actually hit 14 in both. STR should always be considered your dump stat, and INT can be ignored or given a bit of a boost instead of WIS for extra skill points.
Sorcerers don’t get too many skill points, but their favored skills included Persuasion, Use Magic Device, Perception, and Knowledge: Arcana. Beefing them up as much as possible tends to be the way to go for Sorcerers, which operate as the talkers and move makers in the party with relative ease.
Because bloodlines give access to a number of extra feats, Sorcerer feats tend to be fairly varied depending on the build. At level 1, you get two feats: one that must be a magical feat, and one generic feat. Below are the list of feats I would consider the best choices for the Sorcerer.
Combat Casting: Prerequisite: None. Combat Casting is a great utility feat that will open up the Sorcerer to other feats with prerequisites. Combat Casting’s primary use is to give a +4 to concentration checks, which makes it hard for your Sorcerer to be interrupted when casting spells.
Elemental Focus: Prerequisite: None. The player can select one of four energy types (fire, acid, cold, or electricity) and add a +1 to the difficulty class (DC) for all saving throws of that type which deal damage. Remember, a DC refers to the chance the spell will hit (usually through a saving throw). So an elemental focus of fire gives spells like Fireball or Burning Hands additional +1 to hit.
That may not sound like much, but a +1 to hit against saving throws, which most spells attack, is pretty powerful in the long run. It also becomes useful if you plan on specializing in elemental spells, especially if you pick a draconic or elemental bloodline. The extra DC makes them harder to resist, and in turn adds more damage on top.
Metamagic (Empower): Prerequisites: None. You are able to increase the power of your spells. All spells with variable, numeric effects are increased by half, including bonuses to the rolls. Only saving throws, opposed rolls, and spells without random variables are not affected.
Metamagic feats are super powerful, but should rarely be taken at level 1, as to use them effectively you need to sacrifice spell slots for higher levels to cast them. So for example, if you want to empower a level one spell like Burning Hands, you would need to cast it as if it were a level 2 spell, which in turn takes up a spell slot for your level 2 spells.
This makes Metamagic feats a bit more complex to use, but adds some versatility to their effects. For most beginners I would say avoid them, but if you had to pick one Metamagic feat to start with, Empower is arguably the best choice.
Metamagic (Extend): Prerequisites: None. The only other Metamagic feat I would recommend, Extend basically makes the spell’s effects last longer. So you can cast Mage Armor on you longer, for example, or create pits or hypnotize for longer durations. Excellent if you prefer a more utility-style Sorcerer, though Sorcerers shine best when on the offensive.
Point-Blank Shot: Prerequisites: None. Allows the player to gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons. Bows and crossbows will be useful for Sorcerers in the early levels to avoid combat and rake in some damage without using spells. Point-Blank Shot also counts for ranged-touch attack spells, like your level 0 spells and other attack spells. Finally, this is almost a must as Point-Blank Shot is the prerequisite for Precision Shot, a feat that eliminates the penalties to shooting against enemies engaged in melee, which will happen a lot in Pathfinder: Kingmaker.
Spell Focus: Prerequisite: (None) You select one school of magic. Any spells from that school that are cast are given a +1 DC boost to all saving throws. Similar to Elemental Focus, but it instead affects a whole school of magical spells, such as Conjuration, Illusion, or Evocation. Spell Focus is incredibly useful for Sorcerers, as your limited number of spells tend to fall into a certain pool of abilities from one or two schools, making them quite powerful in the long run thanks to the DC boost.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker Sorcerer Spells
The bread and butter of any magical class is their spell selection, and the amount of options available for spells, especially Sorcerers and Wizards, is sometimes daunting. In general, some spells will always be more usable than others based solely on your build.
In this case, for building an offensive Sorcerer with a Red Dragon bloodline, we're looking for offensive power with a focus on fire spells. Attacking options are arguably the best choices for most Sorcerers, their limited selection of spells allows them to specialize in offense over defense.
With that in mind, the four best spells to pick from at level 1 would be Magic Missile, Burning Hands, Ear-Piercing Scream, and Snowball.
Magic Missile is a staple for all kinds of magic users. It is a spell that never misses, and does 1d4+1 damage against opponents at level 1. The beauty of Magic Missile, however, is that the number of missiles increases as you level up, so that 1d4+1 can become a 2d4+1, and so forth, up to five missiles at once.
Burning Hands is another staple attack spell. It is the only area of effect (AOE) spell you get at level 1, shooting an arc of flames from your hands onto opponents, hitting everyone with 1d4 fire damage. Those hit also need to do a reflex save; if they succeed, they take half the damage.
The only issue with Burning Hands is that as an AOE spell, you can hit your own party members, but otherwise, the power of the spell scales well. It can hit multiple opponents in a single line, and for those playing a fire elementalist or a fire-typed dragon bloodline, you get a little extra power to go with it.
Ear-Piercing Scream is a unique spell that uses the ‘sonic’ descriptor, a more uncommon line of damage type that is rarely resisted in game. This spell lets you target one enemy, who must then roll a fortitude save. If they fail the save, they take 1d6 damage per caster level (up to 5d6) and are dazed for one round. If they succeed, they take half damage. This is another solid choice because of the daze effect, which forces the opponent to take no actions for a single round.
Finally, Snowball is a good attacking spell that does 1d6 cold damage per caster level (up to 5d6). It is also a ranged touch attack, meaning you can fire a Snowball from close range instead of touching the enemy like other attacks. Snowball also has a second effect: If an enemy is hit by it, they must make a fortitude check or else they are staggered, which cuts out one of their actions for the round.
Archetypes and Prestige Classes
The Sorcerer is an interesting class because many of its archetypes and potential prestige classes are incredibly powerful, with some hardcore players saying to select them over the basic Sorcerer instead. Here is a quick rundown of the archetypes, and what makes them so special.
The Empyreal Sorcerer archetype is basically a cross between a Sorcerer and Cleric. This Sorcerer uses WIS as the modifier for their spells instead of CHA, and have their free spells replaced with Clerical spells such as Bless or Flame Burst.
The Sylvan Sorcerer is a mix between Sorcerer and Druid, with the Sorcerer gaining an animal companion to control. The animal companion, along with access to several key spells such as Entangle, Hideous Laughter, and Vinetrap, make them great control Sorcerers that allow the pet to do most of the damage. While a bit unorthodox, the Sylvan Sorcerer is considered the strongest of the three archetypes by most players, especially on the harder difficulties.
Finally, the Sage Sorcerer is similar to the Arcanist class in the Pathfinder tabletop game, where it is a combination of Sorcerer and Wizard. You use INT instead of CHA as your primary casting stat, gain Wizard-like spells such as Magic Missile and Dimensional Door for free, and the Arcane Bolt power that is an extra magical attack, make the Sage Sorcerer a pretty good choice for a versatile build.
The Dragon Disciple prestige class needs to be mentioned as well. Dragon Disciple can only be obtained if the Sorcerer can spontaneously cast spells (like its class dictates), have a Draconic bloodline, and have 5 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana). The benefits for selecting Dragon Disciple are frankly impressive, from ability boosts to your CON scores, to gaining the dragon's breath weapon and dragon form earlier than normal. If there is one prestige class players should try to go for, Dragon Disciple is the one to go with, as it is one of the easiest to obtain if you play a straight Sorcerer and only benefits your Sorcerer class.
With that, hopefully these tips and tricks make your spell slingling go smoothly with your brand new Sorcerer build. As always, experiment with your character and your class as you see fit. Ultimately these tips here are just useful for all players, old and new, to really sink their teeth into the arcane side of Pathfinder: Kingmaker.