Sorcerers are innate spellcasters who do not require a spellbook to cast magic. Their power is an innate, channeling power to produce magical effects.
Despite being an incredibly fun class to play, there are barriers in place that make playing a sorcerer tricky. One would have to play in the right era, never drawing upon the magic of the moons, and generally providing in-world class lore that would be confusing at best.
It’s time we took another look at the sorcerer class and how it fits into Dragonlance.
A Brief History of the Sorcerer Class
Sorcerers in Dragonlance date back to 1996 with the Fifth Age: Dramatic Adventure Game, predating the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition sorcerer by four years. The SAGA system did not use classes, so there was not a sorcerer class per se. Yet the role remained. This sorcerer could shape spells and drew magic from schools/realms of sorcery. Sorcerers would be fleshed out in 1997’s Heroes of Sorcery.
In the fall of 2000, Wizards of the Coast published the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook for 3rd edition, introducing us to the sorcerer class. This was a variant of the wizard that utilized spontaneous spellcasting instead of a spellbook.
The Dragonlance Campaign Setting (DLCS) was released in 2003, which utilized the sorcerer from the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition Player’s Handbook. Sovereign Press had attempted to utilize the Realms of Sorcery as spell lists for the DLCS, and had even toyed around with the idea of a sorcerer than replaced the sorcerer’s familiar with a specialization in a school of magic. Yet despite these attempts, Wizards of the Coast mandated that the DLCS utilize the Player’s Handbook sorcerer as-is.
The sorcerer would see two prestige classes throughout 3rd edition – the Academy Sorcerer and the Legion Sorcerer, both introduced in Age of Mortals. The Legion Sorcerer would see an update in Knightly Orders of Ansalon.
With Wizards of the Coast’s release of Shadow of the Dragon Queen in 2022, sorcerers draw their magic from Krynn’s moons, as wizards have always done. They even introduced a lunar sorcery subclass, which drew upon the magic of Krynn’s moons in a way different from the traditional Dragonlance wizard.
Issues With The Sorcerer
The sorcerer in Dragonlance is, unfortunately, a victim of Dragonlance’s history itself. It begins as a replacement for the Wizard of High Sorcery after the gods left at the end of Dragons of Summer Flame. Already under the shadow of the wizard, it also utilizes new game mechanics.
The very magic of the sorcerer is different. According to setting lore, sorcerers draw their power from Wild Sorcery (aka Primal Sorcery), the ambient arcane magic of Krynn. Presumably, this magic was only available in eras when the power of Chaos permeated Krynn, such as the early Age of Dreams and the Age of Mortals. Yet the novel Renegade Wizards revealed the sorcerers existed in the Age of Despair, and were actively hunted down by renegade hunters.
Also, why exactly do the moon gods want magic to be used responsibly, but only if it’s the right kind of magic?
For new players, they’re bombarded with this convoluted history, and being told they can only play a sorcerer during certain eras, none of which are the War of the Lance – the most popular era in Krynn. A new player just wants to pick their favorite class and run with it. In the case of the sorcerer, players can’t join the Orders of High Sorcery.
In other words, there are a ton of problems that are just barriers to new players coming in and having fun.
The Solution? Lunar Sorcerers
In the case of the sorcerer, Wizards of the Coast got it right. They went back to basics with Shadow of the Dragon Queen and asked how the Wizards of High Sorcery would look with the classes of today. Their answer was a more inclusive Mages of High Sorcery.
Now new players can come in, play a sorcerer set in the War of the Lance, and ignore the baggage of the past. More experienced players now have a choice of which way to go. One could easily play a sorcerer in the War of the Lance yet use metamagic and spell choice in order to incorporate the feel of the Fifth Age sorcerer.
The sorcerer is a wonderful class that deserves to be played in any era, taking advantage of the setting-rich lore that previously belonged to the wizard alone. Barriers need to be removed for younger players, while still allowing a choice for older players.
Above all, pick the path that leads to fun.