D&D Party Composition — Playing an All Sorcerer Party
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel the Single Class D&D Party series got away from Nerdarchists Dave and Ted before completion. But I’m continuing onward toward earning a degree in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons through attendance at all the institutions of higher education in 5E D&D academia. We take a different approach to this popular video series here at Nerdarchy the Website through my take on the concept of single party composition. The all sorcerer party draws strength from the innate magical power residing in all students. When a 5E D&D character enrolls at Sorcerous Origins their studies and arcane experimentation take place within a special college at the Arcane Traditions wizard academy. So let’s get into it.
How I would run an all sorcerer party for 5E D&D
In 5E D&D raw magic infuses sorcerers with unexplained powers while imparting mastery over manipulating magical energy through traditional spells. Historically sorcerers and wizards share a connection through the kind of magic they wield and because of the former’s intrinsic ability to do so the faculty at Arcane Traditions takes a keen interest in such students. Aspiring wizards may look askance at these special members of the student body who learn from their mentors in a specialized program called Sorcerous Origins.
“Different sorcerers claim different origins for their innate magic. Although many variations exist, most of these origins fall into two categories: a draconic bloodline and wild magic. Choose the draconic bloodline below or one from another source.”
In D&D academia Sorcerous Origins identifies individuals with magic in their blood. Advisors determine the special qualities these students bring to the school and offer full scholarships to entice enrollment. The reasons for this are manifold, not the least of which provides a legitimate way for scholars of the arcane arts to keep an eye on otherwise unchecked magical might. By studying under the guidance of such masters though these sorcerers also learn to control their own power and learn the responsibility this power entails. Professional curiosity also drives enrollment as wizards seek to gain greater understanding of how and why sorcerers demonstrate innate magic.
Because sorcerers do not require the same intensive study as wizards the educational pathways at Sorcerous Origins are much different than their more traditional counterparts in the student body. Academic studies and research do cross over between the two branches of learning and the differences show in practical applications. Sorcerer students follow the same lesson plans for Arcana, Insight and Religion as wizards but rather than focus on more forensic disciplines through History, Investigation or Medicine a sorcerer student receives tutelage more appropriate for the here and now in Deception, Intimidation and Persuasion. The world looks at these individuals differently and understanding how to navigate interactions proves extremely valuable for sorcerers.
Because newly enrolled sorcerers arrive with their innate origins already in place the early levels of development have as much to do with their professors learning about them as it does these budding arcane masters learning about themselves. Assignments, tests and exercises are designed not only to test a sorcerer’s command of magic but also for the instructor’s to deepen their understanding of these unusual spellcasters. Parameters for such testing may seem unduly challenging at times but all academic pursuits at Sorcerous Origins are conducted with utmost concern for student safety first.
Sorcerers don’t experience another surge in power from their bloodline until 6th level and this provides terrific campaign structure mechanically and narratively. I imagine some wizard students looking at the special folks of Sorcerous Origins with skepticism. They’re more sheltered by the institution and don’t begin venturing into the wider world until much later. But this could very easily be a ruse to conceal more adventuresome activity.
All sorcerer party all about that magic
It’s no secret lots of people view 5E D&D sorcerers along the same lines as Marvel’s X-Men and other mutants and I am right there with them. An all sorcerer party absolutely makes for a fantastic squad of specialists using what they learn in school to investigate and deal with magical problems under the supervision of faculty administrators and professors.
An all sorcerer party composition feels so incredibly magical to me — even moreso than an all wizard party. Without a doubt wizards gain a deep understanding of the complexities of arcane magic but at the end of the day sorcerers are magic themselves. This creates tremendous creative space for a 5E D&D campaign as these characters’ connection to arcane magic is not something they learn to command but instead it’s a part of who they are as individuals. In other words when it comes to magical troubles the stakes are higher for a sorcerer.
This series is now complete! We’ve got a strong foundation for an entire 5E D&D campaign setting in a world of academia inspired by single class party composition. For a running recap, here’s the list of 5E D&D class related institutions.
- Bard College carries on a fine tradition of arts and arcane education
- Primal Paths sounds like a private school
- Domains is a seminary
- Circles is a new age school
- Martial Archetypes is a either a military school or a certified training program
- Monastic Traditions maybe a charter school
- Sacred Oaths is definitely a private school
- Ranger Conclaves is a series of correspondence courses (I know they’re called Ranger Archetypes but I think Conclaves sounds cool)
- Roguish Archetypes a trade school for sure. I learned how to pick pockets and now I’m doing great. Thanks, Roguish Archetypes!
- Sorcerous Origins get to attend Arcane Traditions U on a full-ride scholarship
- Otherworldly Patrons is 100% charter school
- Arcane Traditions clearly is the premiere institute for arcane study
- Artificer Specialists is a for profit university that confers certificates and degrees
Any of these individual campaign ideas really makes me want to play or run a campaign with these elements. 5E D&D party composition with all the characters of the same class is more about your group discussing their character choices together than about filling traditional roles. An all sorcerer party can be extremely versatile courtesy not only of their spellcasting but the huge variety of features found in the Sorcerous Origins.
Since this is the final entry in the 5E D&D academia experiment and I’m enamored of sorcerers so much (especially considering the view of them as mutant style superheroes) I’ll share a cool mechanical idea I had while working on this — a shared Font of Magic pool for the all sorcerer party. In the same way Marvel Super Heroes RPG characters can create, contribute to and draw from a shared Karma Pool it could be fascinating to implement something similar for 5E D&D sorcerers. Characters can add their own Sorcery Points to the pool for others to use. Now imagine everyone in the all sorcerer party takes the Metamagic Adept feat too. Sign me up for this campaign!
What do you think? Are you ready to enroll at Sorcerous Origins and possess an extra power — one which ordinary adventurers do not — in your next 5E D&D campaign? What single party composition video or post interests you the most? Let me know in the comments!
*Featured image — Sorcerers as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]