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The Vitalic Sorcerer

Scions of innately magical bloodlines, the chosen of deities, the spawn of monsters, pawns of fate and destiny, or simply flukes of fickle magic, sorcerers look within themselves for arcane prowess and draw forth might few mortals can imagine. Emboldened by lives ever threatening to be consumed by their innate powers, these magic-touched souls endlessly indulge in and refine their mysterious abilities, gradually learning how to harness their birthright and coax forth ever greater arcane feats. Just as varied as these innately powerful spellcasters’ abilities and inspirations are the ways in which they choose to utilize their gifts. While some seek to control their abilities through meditation and discipline, becoming masters of their fantastic birthright, others give in to their magic, letting it rule their lives with often explosive results. Regardless, sorcerers live and breathe that which other spellcasters devote their lives to mastering, and for them magic is more than a boon or a field of study; it is life itself.

For the sorcerer, magic truly flows through their veins. They are heritors of draconic magics, dalliances with extraplanar entities, and more. Others are descendants of powerful wizards whose raw talents have passed to special members of their family today.

But that blood carries great peril as well as power. To be born a sorcerer is usually a terrifying experience, with few understanding what is happening to them or having proper tutelage.

Most sorcerers that survive their first few years of sorcerous growth (usually shortly after puberty) learn to control their powers to some degree over time. Eventually, by pushing themselves further and further, they gain mastery over their sorcerous arts and unleash their bloodline’s magics.

Because of their loner natures and acts of discovery, few sorcerers are the same, even those bearing the same bloodlines.

What bloodline grants you your power? Choose an origin that ties into your character concept. Once you know where your power comes from, how do you feel about it? What sort of experiences have you had with others because of your magic?

Quick Build

You can make a vitalic sorcerer quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by Wisdom. Choose the hermit background. Then choose light, prestidigitation, ray of frost, and shocking grasp cantrips, along with the 1st-level spells shield and magic missile

Table: The Vitalic Sorcerer
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Sorcery Points Cantrips Known Spells Known Highest Spell Level
1st +2 Spellcasting, Sorcerous Origin 4 2 1st
2nd +2 Font of Magic 2 4 3 1st
3rd +2 Spell Mimicry 3 4 4 2nd
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 5 5 2nd
5th +3 Spontaneous Caster 5 5 6 3rd
6th +3 Sorcerous Origin feature 6 5 7 3rd
7th +3 7 5 8 4th
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 8 5 9 4th
9th +4 9 5 10 5th
10th +4 Spell Mimicry 10 6 11 5th
11th +4 11 6 12 6th
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 12 6 12 6th
13th +5 13 6 l3 7th
14th +5 Sorcerous Origin feature 14 6 13 7th
15th +5 15 6 14 8th
16th +S Ability Score Improvement 16 6 14 8th
17th +6 Spell Mimicry 17 6 15 9th
18th +6 Sorcerous Origin feature 18 6 15 9th
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 19 6 15 9th
20th +6 Sorcerous Restoration 20 6 15 9th

Class Features

As a sorcerer, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per vitalic sorcerer level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per vitalic sorcerer level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: none
Weapons: daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Tools: none
Saving Throws: Constitution, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
  • two daggers

Spellcasting

An event in your past, or in the life of a parent or ancestor, left an indelible mark on you, infusing you with arcane magic. This font of magic, whatever its origin, fuels your spells from within.

Cantrips At 1st level, you know four cantrips of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. You learn additional sorcerer cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Vitalic Sorcerer table.

Spell Points The vitalic sorcerer casts their spells at the cost of their own inner strength. They use the spell points variant rule and fuel their spells not with spell points per-se, but their own hit points. See the Spell Point Costs table below.

Your level determines the maximum-level spell slot you can create. You can’t cast a spell above this level maximum, even though you might have sufficient hit points to do so.

Standard Spell Point Costs
Spell Level Hit Point Cost
0th
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 5
4th 6
5th 7
6th 9
7th 10
8th 11
9th 13

Optional Rule: Fatigued

When a sorcerer reaches half their hit points, whether due to spellcasting or through combat, they suffer one effective level of exhaustion. If they later regain hit points, and rise above half hit points, this level of exhaustion is healed.

Of note, your hit point maximum plus your sorcery point total represents the maximum number of spell points you have available until you complete a long rest. Thus, if you receive healing to restore hit points expended to cast spells, you cannot spend those hit points again to power additional spells until you have regained them through rest.

Variant Spell Point Costs
Spell Level Hit Point Cost
0th
1st 1d4
2nd 1d6
3rd 1d10
4th 1d12
5th 2d8
6th 2d10
7th 2d12
8th 3d8
9th 3d10

Some GMs or players may decide that they do not want to use fixed hit point costs. With the above variant, players do not have the advantage of knowing precisely how much life energy they are expending when they cast spells. Sorcerous magic becomes even more unpredictable.

When the player casts a spell, they must first roll the dice listed above, and expend a number of hit points equal to the result. If this expenditure reduces the character’s number of hit points to 0, they fall immediately unconscious and may begin dying.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. The Spells Known column of the Variant Sorcerer table shows when you learn more sorcerer spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level you are able to cast. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the sorcerer spells you know and replace it with another spell from the sorcerer spell list, which also must be of a level that you can cast.

Spellcasting Ability Constitution is your spellcasting ability for your sorcerer spells, since the power of your magic relies on your ability to tap deeply into your bloodline, sacrificing your own health to cast a spell. You use your Constitution whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Constitution modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a sorcerer spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus+ your Constitution modifier.

Ritual Casting You can cast a sorcerer spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.

Spellcasting Focus You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your sorcerer spells.

Sorcerous Origin

Choose a sorcerous origin, which describes the source of your innate magical power. Your choice grants you features when you choose it at 1st level and again at 6th, 14th, and 18th level.

Font of Magic

At 2nd level, you’ve mastered the magic contained within your body and learned how to draw enough to power your spells without causing harm. You gain sorcery points, which allow you to create various magical effects.

Sorcery Points

You have 2 sorcery points and gain more as you reach higher levels, as shown in the Sorcery Points column of the Vitalic Sorcerer table. You can never have more sorcery points than shown on the table for your level.

You regain all spent sorcery points when you finish a long rest.

Flexible Casting

You can spend sorcery points instead of hit points to cast spells on a l-for-1 basis, or you can combine both hit points and sorcery points to power a spell. For example, casting a 2nd-level spell normally costs 3 hit points. You can cast this spell by spending 3 sorcery points instead, or any combination of 3 hit points and sorcery points. Using sorcery points in this manner does not require an action. In addition, you gain other ways to use your sorcery points as you gain higher levels.

Spell Mimicry

When you reach 3rd level, once between long rests you can temporarily add a spell from a spell list other than your own that you do not know, but you must first see the spell being cast first in order to use this feature.

When another spellcaster casts a spell within 30 feet and you observe the casting, as a reaction you can add the spell to your list of spells known. This spell remains known until you complete a long rest. You can mimic a spell that is up to one level lower than the highest spell level you can cast.

Casting this mimicked spell costs double the normal number of points to do so, but you can use any combination of hit points and sorcery points to meet this cost. For example, mimicking a 3rd-level spell would cost 10 points. When you mimic a spell, you must still fulfill that spell’s component requirements, including material components.

When you reach 10th level, this feature recharges following a short rest. When you reach 17th level, you can mimic a spell of any level that you are able to cast.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Spontaneous Caster

When you reach 5th level, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast a spell that normally requires a material component worth 2 gp or less without need for that material component.

Sorcerous Restorations

At 20th level, you regain 4 expended sorcery points whenever you finish a short rest.

Role-Playing the Vitalic Sorcerer

From a game mechanics and rules point-of-view, there are no specific disadvantages or complications that occur when the vitalic sorcerer burns hit points to cast spells at least not beyond the obvious downside of having fewer hit points left. Thus, it remains up to the player to decide how the sorcerer’s magic appears and what its use does to their character.

Some players might enjoy role-playing the process of burning hit points to cast spells, such as by briefly describing how it looks to those nearby. The player might wish to answer a few questions to help understand vitalic sorcery better. Does casting a spell cause any pain? Are there any outward physical signs of stress or trauma?

Here are some examples to consider, but these are entirely optional and, as mentioned, do not have any game effect other than the expenditure of hit points.

With descriptive role-playing elements such as this, less is better than more. If you overdo it or go into excessive detail with every spell or cantrip, other players may become irritated or bored with the repetition. If you emphasize these outward physical effects for dramatic situations, it can add to the scene and remind everyone about the price your sorcerer pays with every spell they cast.

Design Notes

As a character class, the vitalic sorcerer puts a player into the position of needing to make interesting, but difficult (and even life-threatening) choices every time they cast a spell. If a traditional sorcerer burns through all their spell slots, they simply run out of spells to cast. If a vitalic sorcerer burns through all their spell points, they fall unconscious! Put another way, every time a vitalic sorcerer casts a spell, the player must choose how far to push their luck. Each spell the sorcerer casts is a gamble as it places them at greater risk of falling unconscious or dying should they suffer a grievous wound.

If the player pushes things to the limit and is willing to burn off a dangerous number of hit points, the vitalic sorcerer can cast more spells than a traditional sorcerer can. This is balanced by the fact that if the vitalic sorcerer pushes their body too far, they are at greater risk during the next combat.

If a player wishes to create a vitalic sorcerer, they should keep in mind the healing capabilities available in their party. If the party lacks much in the way of healing magic, the sorcerer may need to be more conservative with how much magic they use or they risk becoming a liability.

Likewise, the player should keep in mind that other characters in the party need healing, too. If the vitalic sorcerer burns through hit points with the expectation that someone else will always heal them, other party members could suffer when they really need the healing.

It becomes unfair to everyone else if the vitalic sorcerer pumps out spell after spell, thereby forcing the party cleric to spend all their actions and spell slots keeping them upright.

This is not a class for the faint of heart. Playing a vitalic sorcerer demands taking a certain level of calculated risk; this is a high-risk, high-reward class. Play too conservatively and the sorcerer becomes less effective than the standard version. Push the limits too far and the sorcerer spends more time dying than casting spells and helping their comrades.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Vitalic Sorcerer © 2019 Total Party Kill Games; Authors: Brian Berg, Mark A. Hart.