Elemental Sorcerers

Back to the fantasy world for a bit. I find with Xenomega, I want to make something new, try new things, bend the rules and make something unique as far as rules are concerned. With Aerinwohl, I want to make something that others would enjoy reading and running a Pathfinder campaign in. So for that reason, I’m going to write a bit about Aerinwohl and magic, specifically elemental sorcerers and clerics.

While I was stream of thought writing, I had the idea of elemental clerics and shamans, somewhat similar to World of Warcraft shamans who can cast spells that are elemental in nature and revere those elements. I also have a long love-fest with Dark Sun from back in my 2nd Edition AD&D days and have always been drawn to the idea of clerics who have a pact with a particular element and cast spells related to it. I had wanted to use that idea without outright stealing it. I had limited gods in Aerinwohl already, so adding clerics who worshipped the traditional four elements seemed like a good fit.

After some thought though, I’m going to drop that idea. Instead, I’m going to make sorcerers elementalists instead with one caveat: Madness. In the Darkfall world, there is a reason only elves can be wizards. Simply put, the elven Maghunters actively route out and kill all non-elven wizards and their teacher, family, and anyone who might be a threat. Its not a humane way of doing things, but elves in Aerinwohl are bastards.

Pre-Incursion, there were no psionics and no sorcerers. So where did they come from? Psionics I’m still feeling out, not sure how to handle that yet, but I may change their source and make it so they have been around for ages, but not codified and taught in schools for the most part. Sorcerers, however, are a different matter.

Sorcery originated after the Incursion. The idea of someone who could tap into and control magic energy was simply not possible before the Incursion. So what changed? Tiddlestin changed. When Mythkael slew the last remaining gnome, Tiddlestin went mad, cursing her followers to madness and creating the feral halflings. Since gnomes had been adept at some magic, she had some connection to the arcane arts. When Illshanafiir sacrificed himself, he caused a break in the connection between the material plane and the outer planes so that devils and demons would no longer be a threat. Centuries later, Tiddlestin lost her sanity and became the Mad God and in her rage cursed the Magehunters to become drow and Mythkael to become a demonic demigod and king of the drow. Her rage also cracked the barrier between dimensions and opened up a way for other races to cast arcane magic, albeit with an elemental twist. Thus were born sorcerers, but each had an element they were born in conjunction with. The link already existed between the seasons and the fragments of the moon, so elemental magic from wizards was also stronger when casting a spell of the current season.

Now, with sorcerers, they can’t control what element they are born to. They all will essentially have the Elemental Substitution feat that is always on and does not affect level of spells, just the element. Every spell they cast will be of a form of that element, though often times the actual rules effects will not change. A Fire Sorcerer casting Magic Missile will have the same effect, same results, same everything as a Water Sorcerer casting it, but it will have a different appearance. The rules don’t change though, so it does nothing to overcome damage reduction and a fiery magic missile will not start buildings on fire. Mechanically, its still magic missile, it just looks like a bolt of fire or lighting, cold or acid. That’s it.

However, there is one other factor for sorcerers to take into account, and that is madness. Sorcerers are tapping into raw elemental energy with little knowledge or skill for how to control it. Because of this, sorcerers will use Constitution for casting spells instead of Charisma. The higher level the spell, the harder it is to control. Basically, the sorcerer is using their own body to funnel energy from their birth element, and it tears through them. If they are frail, it can literally tear them apart. As they progress though, the energy also make micro-fissures in their brain, tiny scars that they are not even aware of. They can try and heal themselves with divine magic, but the damage remains. As they age and grow in power, those fissures get worse and compound until sanity is gone. It is part of their curse and link with the Mad God as she does not limit the power a sorcerer can summon.

For a basis for this mechanic, I’m going to go through the old 3e Wheel of Time RPG. In that setting, any man casting arcane magic eventually went insane. I’ll have to read through it and adapt it, as well as look at ideas from the Call of Cthulhu d20 game. The sorcerer may not even be aware of their failing grip on reality, but the rest of the world has seen or heard tales of sorcerers going mad and destroying a village or slaughtering their friends without understanding why.

Sorcerers then, are as shunned as wizards. Magic is something to be feared and even hated. It makes sorcerers dangerous and legendary at the same time. No race will be immune to the insanity either, it affects all who are born with the mark of the elements.

I will also have to go through the spell lists for sorcerers and change them a bit and maybe even alter some spells. Any planar spell will have to be a link to only their chosen element. Elemental sorcerers will be barred from certain spells, or at least only have the ability to cast a spell that is not of their opposed element. Thus, an elemental sorcerer of earth could never cast a spell of air. There would have to be replacements though, but this requires going through the entire spell list and figuring out which ones can be changed, which ones would be barred, and which ones would be thrown out altogether.

Some spells can be easily changed. Fireball can be Freezingball, Acidball, or Lightningball. The effect is the same, only the damage type changes. Lightning bolt can also be edited to be the different elements. Some spells, however, would need a lot of work. Fly might only be an Air elemental sorcerer spell. But instead, a Fire sorcerer might be able to walk through fire and transport themselves, Earth might be able to burrow and Water to swim. I need to make different spells that operate differently, but have a similar effect.

And with that, I’ve got a lot of work on my hands.

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