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Sorcerer spells: what to pick

JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,387
Recently I’ve been reading several threads (on this topic) here and other forums as well but it seems to me the discussion about what spells can be chosen for a sorcerer is never enough.

I’m planning to make an -almost- no-reload (reloads only in the case of a fatal for the main character wild surge) insane run through SCS BG:EE and SCS BG2:EE with 6 created characters:

Wild mage
Fighter-Cleric multiclass

The reason to go with generated characters is my wish to try all these classes in one game and stop my restartis syndrome.

Taking into account all these things and also the following: my Blade when buffed will be used as a melee fighter-mage (Mirror Image, Blur, Stoneskin, Improved Invisibility) + Dispel/Remove Magic, there will be 2 arcane casters in the party besides a Sorcerer, an Avenger will focus mainly on Doom, Chromatic Orb and Web (this spell will be more than covered by an Avenger because other 2nd level Druidic spells are practically useless), my Wild mage will focus on Stinking Cloud, Melf’s Acid Arrow, Haste, Flame Arrow and Greater Malison, - I’ve chosen the following spells for SCS (and thus, smart mages) BG:EE (in terms of a Sorcerer):

1st level: Spook, Blindness, Shield, Magic Missile, Chromatic Orb (the latter 2 spells have different purposes)
2nd level: Invisibility, Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Resist Fear (or Vocalize)
3rd level: Slow, Skull Trap, Melf’s Minute Meteors
4th level: Emotion, Otiluke's resilient sphere

How do you find these picks? I want the spells for my Sorcerer to be useful in this particular group and not only in BG1 but also in BG2.

Many thanks in advance!

EDIT: I've changed some picks because of your assumptions:-)

Particularly thanks for Emotion. Example (from somewhere): For some reason Edwin is caught between a horde of kobolds who have him surrounded so he can't escape. Now Edwin is not a very good fighter in melee and has run out of stoneskins. He also has few hitpoints left and is not far away from a Morale Failure.
He casts "Emotion: Hopelessness". As the kobolds have bad saves most of them "lie down" and therefore stop attacking. Edwin easily kills one of the defenselessly lying kobolds and manages to escape. While doing so he is hit by an arrow of fire from the kobold captain who somehow managed to save vs. spell.
Edwin drops to 2hp but does not start running around erratically because of the secondary effect of the spell. He now proceeds a little bit farther away and fireballs on the defenseless despaired kobolds (and the Captain who's still standing). Situation solved. Edwin sighs and moves to Viconia to receive some healing.

Post edited by JuliusBorisov on


  • ryuken87ryuken87 Member Posts: 563
    I've never used SCS, only SCS2 so forgive me if I miss something.

    There doesn't seem much point to me in Protection from Evil or Resist Fear since your cleric can cover them.

    I think you can make Skull Trap a later pick (even a BG2 pick). It's good because the damage doesn't cap at level 10 which doesn't mean anything from a BG1 perspective. You can get almost as good damage from a Wand of Fire in BG1.

    I'm not sure of the purpose of Otiluke's (is it an SCS thing?)

    I assume your Wild Mage has Sleep covered?

  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    edited October 2013
    I'm never convinced by MMM on pure-classed arcane casters. It gives a decent THAC0 boost but you still need to hit. I might substitute Slow as it has a good save modifier and I straight-up love AoE debuffs.

    *Edit* as with @ryuken87 I'm confused by Otiluke's resilient sphere. Is there a reason to take it over stoneskin?

  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 679
    I think the game loses quite a lot of depth if you use 6 pre-generated characters rather than using the NPCs in the game. Particularly for BG2 where all the NPCs have more banter and quests.

    But what I often do is edit the NPCs (via shadowkeeper) to turn them into my chosen party. That way I get the best of both worlds.

    As for the sorceror picks, I'd suggest getting sleep for level 1. By replacing either spook or PfE. Sleep is just so awesome in BG1 that you don't want to miss out on it. By the time you get to BG2 it's no big loss to effectively lose out on one of your level 1 spell slots.

    I'd also definitely go for stoneskin at level 4. It's just so useful.

  • BerconBercon Member Posts: 486
    Here are some suggestions:

    If you are using some mods then I'd recommend getting Resist Fear, there are just far too many dispel magics flying around to be able to rely on single caster for it.

    MMM might not be the best thing in the world, but there aren't that many great lvl 3 spells. It allows you to throw few projectiles between castings.

    SCS caps skull trap at 15d6. It is still a lot better than Fireball because it is magic damage. There are very very few enemies with resistance to magic damage (magic resistance is different) while there are a lot of those resistant to fire. Plus you can use wands and potions if you like fireballs a lot.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    MMM is my favorite spell! It's handy because it drops certain spell protections very fast, hits through stoneskin and depending on your SCS options goes through many defenses because of its enchantment. It's a good, consistent source of damage for mages. But I admit it's not for everyone and I would make sure you still have the essentials like dispel/remove magic. There are plenty of good third level spells to choose from.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    And as others have said, I don't really understand the point of prot evil/resist fear and I would not give up stoneskin.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    My list would be different... I have my own twisted set of priorities for a sorcerer, I think of them like a piece of mobile artillery with just enough defense/utility to survive and serve the purposes you might expect of a wizard.

    1st: Magic Missile, Grease, Shield, Spook, Blindness
    2nd: Melf's Acid Arrow, Mirror Image, Invisibility
    3rd: Fireball, Dispel Magic, Flame Arrow (from its description, it doesn't have a damage cap)
    4th: Stoneskin, Spider Spawn

    You know how I killed Baeloth the Entertainer? Phase spiders.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    Looks like Flame Arrow is capped at 4 bolts, sorry :x

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    I always have stoneskin and spiderspawn as my first two lvl 4 spells. With a sorcerer spiderspawn is just to good to refuse, and stoneskin seems like a no brainier. I would have ghost armor and flame arrow at level 3.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    Why do you guys like flame arrow?

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,958
    edited October 2013
    I'm playing a Dragon Disciple. I'm roleplaying the class rather than going for the best spells. I'm trying to go for more dragon-esque spells (at least thats what I'm telling myself). Its not always possible since in BG2 Dragon's don't actually have much in the way of variety when it comes to spells.

    So right now (level 3) I have Sleep, Burning Hands, and Identify. Next level I may get either Magic Missile or Spook.

    Level 2: I'll probably go with Agannazar's Scorcher, Stinking Cloud, Blur, and Horror.

    Level 3: Fireball, Haste, Slow. I thought about Melf's Minute Meteors and Flaming Arrow, but neither seemed very dragon like.

    Level 4: Stoneskin, Emotion:Hopelessness. I would have liked to have had Greater Malison as well but alas I only can pick two choices and I wanted to have Stoneskin.

    But for a regular sorceror SCS run these may not work well :)

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    nano said:

    Why do you guys like flame arrow?

    Because you can shoots people with it.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    nano said:

    Why do you guys like flame arrow?

    It's a precision instrument. Fireball kills a whole crowd of things, but it also damages your allies. If you're fighting one thing, Flame Arrow is better because it's easier to target without collateral damage. In addition, Flame Arrow has a higher damage cap in BG2 than Fireball does.

    Finally, if it works anything like Magic Missile, each Flame Arrow counts separately to break Stone Skin, gets resisted separately by Magic Resistance, etc. This also makes it better than Fireball in some ways.

    I'd like to have both spells, because they serve different purposes. If you find Flame Arrow too fiddly, you might go with Melf's Minute Meteors for a similar purpose, although MMM doesn't have the immediacy of Flaming Arrow's damage.

  • ghostowlghostowl Member Posts: 171
    Slow and Horror are pretty useful

    And no matter what kind of spellcaster you play, stoneskin for level 4 spell is always mandatory

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Yeah, I'd be OK with dropping Invisibility from my list and putting Horror there instead. It has saved me from some crowds of annoying things in BG1, even as late as the first encounter inside the wolfwere's lair on the ship.

  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    @LordRumfish You say that like collateral damage is a bad thing :) But I can see how it could be nice for sniping enemies. I usually avoid direct damage spells as a matter of course so I haven't played around with it much. How useful is another single target spell when you already have Magic Missile and Acid Arrow?

    By the way, I don't think Magic Missile interacts with Stoneskin at all, it's Mirror Image that it drops. Wouldn't the fire damage of Flame Arrow bypass Stoneskin as well? But Flame Arrow has the piercing component so that might hit the skins... I should remember to test that.

    As for Horror, you guys should get it as a Bhaalspawn ability instead. Near-instant cast and doesn't take a spell slot. I suppose if you're a goody two-shoes it's not an option, but that's not an issue in my games - see "collateral damage".

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Admittedly you have to hit level 10 before Flame Arrow really starts to rival Magic Missile, but then at 15 and 20 it is much better. Also... sometimes you just want to deal fire damage to something (fission ooze, ice creatures, trolls, etc.). You could use Aganazzar's Scorcher but it has interesting targeting issues of its own. Melf's Minute Meteors is a decent substitute as well.

    I'm not sure how you like to play your spellcasters. I like to adventure with a group until we're truly out of resources before I stop to rest. That means I can easily run a mage out of Magic Missiles and Acid Arrows on a host of encounters and then being able to call in my 3rd level spells for damage sounds pretty good. Admittedly I might drop either Fireball or Flame Arrow from that list to include Haste, since the effective damage you can deal with Haste buffed across a group of adventurers (and minions) makes even a Fireball look pale by comparison.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,387
    edited October 2013
    Sleep is very useful but only until you start facing enemies that are too high level to be affected by it. At low levels, for sure, it's going to end any fight fairly quickly. But at later levels, it becomes a useless spell slot. That's why my wild mage will cover Sleep and I won't choose it for the sorcerer.

    Resist Fear is useful since fear (especially with SCS) is prevalent through BG1 and BG2. When the sorcerer has it I can not rely on only one source of fear protection. Having the multiple casts in case the effect of fear is dispelled or enemies re-debuff your characters is handy. And because it's a sorcerer, the party -always - has this spell regardless of what spells are chosen by other characters.

    Stoneskin keeps the sorcerer alive through physical attacks but it seems that with a party of 6 characters it would be a mistake to let the situation when the sorcerer is attacked by fighters. This is a great spell and I'd take it but there are only 2 spells available and I consider Greater Malison is a must to win SCS battles while Otiluke's resilient sphere is a life-saver for any party member with few HPs left (or in any other hopeless situation) during the fight (it makes the target immune to everything - priceless to use on a character who will almost guaranteed die and you don't have time to heal him) and it also allows to control long fights by using it on enemies. I'd take Stoneskin as a third spell but it's impossible in BG1. Moreover, with SCS mages are more dangerous enemies than fighters and Stoneskin can do nothing when confronting a mage in BG1.

    BTW, flame arrows do remove stoneskins, because part of the damage is piercing, only 1 stoneskin is removed per use of this spell however, because all the damage is resolved simultaneously.

  • PibaroPibaro Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 2,989
    edited October 2013
    I don't like too much arcane damage dealing spells in BG2, except for few spells like magic missile and at high level Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting.
    Usually I have 2 Arcane spells caster, one is for melee fight (a fighter/mage dual or multiclass or a sorcerer) and a buffing/debuffing caster.
    This means that with your party the sorcerer would be the melee fight one, and I'll focus on spells that gives him protection from damages or similar.
    I can't play without protection from evil and remove fear, but if you have a cleric, I'll let him do this job.
    1) Magic Missile - Shield - Reflected image - Spook - Identify (very optional)
    2) Blur - Horror - Mirror Image - Web - Melf's acid arrows (very optional)
    3) Remove Magic - Haste - Spell Thrust - Slow - dispel magic (if I have an Inquisitor I usually pick Ghost armor)
    4) Stoneskin - Minor sequencer - Minor globe of invulnerability - Fire shield red - fire shield blue

    level 4 is the most difficult, i would miss Greater malison (but it's for the other wizard) and Polymorph self

    Post edited by Pibaro on
  • nanonano Member Posts: 1,632
    @LordRumfish Yeah, MMM usually fills that role for me. I love it! It's just such an efficient spell. For a single cast you get a ton, they last all day, they can be thrown while casting other spells whereas magic missile uses up your spell for the round, because of their unique nature they bypass a lot of things that stop spells... I could go on all day. Also, part of my dislike for direct damage spells stems from pre-buffing casters, where anything that looks dangerous enough that you'd want to spend your round blasting it is also rocking a dozen spell protections and will just laugh it off. Even in BGEE everyone and their dog is running Minor Globe or some kind of invisibility making most attempts at magic missile/flame arrow fruitless, while MMM will take down even Stoneskin eventually. Admittedly there are things that are easier to kill with magic than through other means, but Magic Missile serves well enough. I'll give Flame Arrow a chance, though.

    It sounds like we have pretty different styles. I use my spellcasters for support, which I guess is odd because my group is often caster-heavy and everyone ends up with a support role. I lead everywhere with summons and most of my damage comes from melee and archery. I focus a lot on buffs because there's no saving throw for casting on yourself and you don't need to break through spell protections and magic resistance. If I need a tank a buffed mage handles it. Debuffs are great too; if something gets webbed or held and isn't immune to weapons, that's a death sentence making it effectively save-or-die. It's very effective but maybe I'll play with some different styles and see how they work out.

  • FrozenCellsFrozenCells Member Posts: 379
    My picks in order of when to pick them:

    1 - Shield, Charm Person, Magic Missile, Chromatic Orb, Spook
    2 - Glitterdust, Web, Invisibility, Mirror Image, Blur
    3 - Slow, Melf's Minute Meteors, Remove Magic, Skull Trap, Flame Arrow
    4 - Stoneskin, Greater Malison, Improved Invisibility, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, Teleport Field
    5 - Breach, Sunfire, Lower Resistance, Spell Immunity, Spell Shield

    After that it varies too much, level 6 in particular has lots of good spells and it really depends on how you play the game and which NPCs you have as to which ones to take. I play a very resource-heavy sorcerer, I try to hoard scrolls and wands as much as possible and only choose spells which can be consistently applied through the games. Spells like Haste I'd rather dump on a Bard or Mage NPC.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    Huhh, IIRC Invisibility 10 radius has a casting time of 1 round (long), not 1.

    Anyway here are my picks for bg1:

    1st-Blindness (essential save or die) Charm person (has many uses) Shield (good defense) Magic missile (pick last when it starts to get useful) Chromatic orb (killer at high levels)

    2nd-Mirror image (best low lvl buff) Web (very useful in bg) Invisibility (emergency escape for wounded party members and pc) Glitterdust

    3rd-Slow (excellent debuff) MMM (very very useful spell against EVERYthing) Skulltrap (high damage at high levels, while still useful at low levels)

    4th-Emotion (mass save or die) Stoneskin (obvious)

    Spells to avoid: All the 'bad touch' spells, Sleep (buy the wand!) Grease (web is worlds better) Color spray (pathetic, its area of effect is bugged too!) Blur (I find its bonuses too little to be useful) Horror (doesn't work against undead and many other things, has an easy saving throw, scs clerics nullift it easily) Fireball (use the wands they are plenty) Haste (a secondary mage or a bard can cast it daily) Minor Globe (duration too short)

  • luskanluskan Member Posts: 269
    Some sorc rules I follow:
    -Anything you can cast from a wand/amulet/ring should not be taken. Fireball, Fear, Shield, Sleep, Invis, etc.
    -Anything that doesn't scale well or has a better pick higher up should not be taken (Blindness vs Glitterdust as an example).
    -Every spell level should have a offensive spell.

    Here's my solo elf sorc build for BG1 that can go on to BG2 if desired:

    Str: 18, Dex: 19, Con: 15
    Slings, Dagger

    Slings are your backup. High Str = more damage. Max Dex for A/C and THAC0 for your sling. Con 15 + tome = max HP/level.

    1st - Magic Missile, Spook, Charm, Protection from Evil, Chromatic Sphere
    2nd - Mirror Image, Melf's Acid Arrow, Glitterdust, Blur
    3rd - Haste, Skull Trap, Dispel Magic
    4th - Stoneskin, Fireshield Red
    5th - Sunfire (if the level cap is removed)

    Equip a Robe of Archmage, Evermemory, The Guard's Ring +2, Cloak of Baldurian and Amplifier.

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    @luskan: sunfire.......? Do you mean cloudkill?

  • luskanluskan Member Posts: 269
    @meagloth Nope, sunfire. There are wands of cloudkill in BG2.

  • zur312zur312 Member Posts: 1,358
    edited October 2013
    1st level: Spook, Blindness, Shield, Magic Missile, Chromatic Orb (the latter 2 spells have different purposes)
    2nd level: Invisibility, Glitterdust, Mirror Image, Resist Fear (or Vocalize)
    3rd level: Slow, Skull Trap, Melf’s Minute Meteors
    4th level: Emotion, Otiluke's resilient sphere

    outlike - why? get another malision
    level 3 good you can add FB it is only level 3 and doing 60 dmg for a level 3 spell AOE is pretty good like weaker sunfire
    level 2 blur is neat
    level 1 chromatic orb is kind of a waste early on can not do much later on they have better saves

    i think 2 mages is really good coz of malision/X combo doing TERRIBLE TERRIBLE DAMAGE like malision/emotion (my favorite), malision/glitterdust, malision/web

    almost sequencer malision/malision/web

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,387

    Greater Malison does NOT stack. If you cast it twice, your enemy still has only a -4 TOTAL reduction, if you cast 50 of them, his saving throws will still be lowered with 4 TOTAL. There is absolutely NO reason to cast more than one Greater Malison, untill it runs out.

    BTW Doom (1st lvl priest-spell) DOES stack, giving -2 at a time.

    Greater Malison and Doom stack.

    Greater Malison + Doom + Spook does mean a saving throw penalty of -12. Nasty huh?

    Due to a little bug in some versions of the vanilla game, Greater Malison DID stack but this was later fixed with the official patch, a baldurdash patch, and TOB.

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    luskan said:

    @meagloth Nope, sunfire. There are wands of cloudkill in BG2.

    I see. I don't pick sunfire because of my party. They don't like it when I cast it near them. I'm also one of those people that collects all the wands and potions to not use them.

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