marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

pondering sorcerers and blood

Looking at rolling my own sorcerer bloodline type for GameLit. Third time I've done, because it's the third time I've had an idea with a major sorcerer character. . . .

I played first edition, and we had much fun laughing at the truly random racial restrictions, but in the rules as written nowadays any racial background can have any sorcerer bloodline. Make some sense of perhaps the basic five races (though a dwarf with a Fey bloodline, with the way dwarves and fey are described, would take over the story to explain the combination), and some bloodlines (Arcana -- anyone can have a descent heavy in wizards) -- but there are more exotic types of both. Barring player desire for consistency or DM fiat, you can have character whose racial marker is descent from infernal beings, and whose sorcerer bloodline is celestial, or vice versa. Or you could have a catfolk character whose bloodline is draconic.

And though it might be possible to have the mismatch explained in some cases by its not actually being descent -- the child of a demon was so stalwart and virtuous that celestial powers blessed his lineage -- such an oddity would quickly take over much, most, or even all of the story. A backstory detail like that demands attention in a novel.

So, to make the type fit the character -- I rolled my own bloodline to fit. A lionfolk sorcerer bloodline for one of the lionfolk, And so on.

It doesn't help that once you get past the bloodline abilities, all the sorcerers draw from the same list or, at most, draw from very few lists and thus have access to incongruous spells. And giving the desire to build them all on their background -- unity of theme is MUCH more important in a novel than a role-playing game -- hits on the problem that the spells are more scattered than that, and the selection hard to focus. (Not that wasn't a problem also for clerics both in the first edition and now -- only player/DM restrain prevents the clerics of the god of death and destruction and the goddess of healing and peace not choosing the exact same spell list.)
Tags: backstory, families: other, role-playing games, unity of theme, world-building: magic (technique), world-building: non-human characters

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