The Royal Sorcerer, Revised 1

Two and a half years ago, I posted a sorcerous origin called the Royal sorcerer, based on ideas around the divine right to rule, handed down as a bloodline. It has proven fairly popular with readers, and more so with the PCs in my campaign. As I’ve worked more in 5e design, however, I’ve felt like I could tighten its features. I am preparing to package this and my other sorcerous origins into a PDF, to sell through DriveThruRPG with Tribality Publishing.

The Royal Sorcerer, Revised

Your innate power of sorcery comes from your connection, however distant, to the monarchs of old, who received the blessing of the gods to rule and protect their people. Perhaps you can still trace your lineage back to one of those kings or queens, or perhaps this all comes as something of a surprise. Sometimes a dying monarch can confer the power of the royal bloodline upon a worthy servant at the moment of passing.

In itself, royal sorcery does not confer recognition of your royal blood or any sort of political rank. In some lands, royal sorcerers are held in a combination of awe and dread, and if their nature is discovered they are hunted down and arrested as presumed enemies of the state. (After all, usurpers aren’t known for welcoming legitimate rulers back with open arms.)

Noblesse Oblige
At 1st level, you gain proficiency in medium armor, shields, and one martial weapon of your choice.

Your Hit Die for sorcerer levels is a d8 rather than a d6.

Royal Presence
At 1st level, you learn the friends cantrip. When you use it, creatures do not realize afterward that they have been influenced by its magic.

You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill.

When you roll a natural 1 on any Charisma ability check, you may spend 2 sorcery points to reroll the check.

Anointed Champions
Starting at 6th level, when you cast a spell that targets one or more allies and no enemies, and does not target only you, you regain sorcery points equal to half the level of the spell slot expended.

Extra Attack
Starting at 6th level, you attack twice, instead of once, when you take the Attack action on your turn.

Magic of the Royal Line
Starting at 14th level, you can enhance an ally’s spellcasting. As a reaction when an ally within 30 feet casts a spell, you can apply a metamagic effect that you know to your ally’s spell. This costs the normal number of sorcery points for that metamagic effect +1. Quickened Spell cannot be applied to an ally’s spell.

The Dread and Fear of Kings
Starting at 18th level, you cannot be charmed as long as at least one creature charmed by you. You cannot be frightened while at least one creature is frightened of you.

Further, you can exude the sovereign presence of monarchs, causing those around you to become awestruck or frightened. As an action, you can spend 5 sorcery points to draw on this power and exude an aura of awe or fear (your choice) to a distance of 60 feet. For 1 minute or until you lose your Concentration (as if you were casting a Concentration spell), each hostile creature that starts its turn in this aura must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed (if you chose awe) or frightened (if you chose fear) until the aura ends. A creature that succeeds on this saving throw is immune to your aura for 24 hours.

Design Notes

When I started the revision, I thought I was only changing the top-end features. Then I reread the early features and remembered how little mileage the two Royal sorcerer PCs in Aurikesh have gotten out of the additional personality feature (because Inspiration is hard to use well). Likewise, natural 1s and 20s on Charisma rolls don’t show up all that often. You know, like 10% of something that doesn’t happen more than a couple of times a session?

The Royal sorcerer wants you to mix it up in melee some, but extra AC alone isn’t enough – so I boosted the Hit Die to d8. I did it that way instead of granting an extra hit point at every level, as the WotC melee sorcerers have done, specifically because I want short-rest healing to keep up with hit point totals appropriately.

Dropping the bonus spells of the original Magic of the Royal Line feature was a tough call, but I wound up with enough other features that I wanted in that something had to be out. The new Magic of the Royal Line is all about being a leader-role character for other spellcasters, which isn’t something I’ve seen done much at all. If you’re the only spellcaster in the party, it doesn’t do anything, but you’ve got a broad base of other features by that point.

The original Anoint Champion, and its alternate feature One with the Land, were central to what I originally wanted to change. I felt like I was being wishy-washy with that choice, and the original Anoint Champion was completely focused on boosting allies that it did nothing for the sorcerer personally. One with the Land is neat, and I might still let its core theme work, but it doesn’t apply to enough settings that I want to publish that way. Also, a free false life at 14th level is impressing no one.

The new Anointed Champions is all about pushing buff and utility casting – something the sorcerer can do, quite well, but doesn’t form the backbone of gameplay for any sorcerer subclass I’ve seen. Refunding sorcery points here is a riff on the Diviner’s Expert Divination feature. I want the sorcerer to feel like they can do a lot for their allies without breaking the bank (of spell slots).

Switching Magic of the Royal Line and Anointed Champions was a tough, last-minute call, but I realized that the privilege of spending sorcery points to boost allies’ spells doesn’t mean much until you have a good selection of metamagic options and a decent well of sorcery points. The bulk of spells that Anointed Champions improves are lower in level, and it seemed tone-deaf to be generous with those when you’re at high levels and already spending your 1st- and 2nd-level spell slots exclusively on buffs and utility effects.

Fount of Honor in the original writeup was interesting, but implied a story in which the PC sorcerer stayed at home while the rest of the team went off to do the fun stuff. I also realized this morning that I had named two features in the original writeup “Royal Presence,” so I fixed that real quick. Dread and Fear of Kings is, obviously, lifted from the Draconic sorcerer, but I think that’s okay. Because I think the Draconic sorcerer’s feature is underwhelming for its cost, I also added conditional charmed/frightened immunity. As long as someone loves or fears the monarch, the monarch remembers their place in the natural order of things, no matter what magic is used upon them. This is a structure of conditional immunity I’ve grown very fond of in the past few months of writing.

For the PCs in my campaign, if you strongly prefer the first version, you can keep playing it – but I’d particularly appreciate it if you let me know why, so I can make the PDF release as good as it can possibly be.

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One thought on “The Royal Sorcerer, Revised

  • vaegrim

    Almost there; I like the improvements a lot compared to the prior version. Anointed Champion hits a great niche that encourages interacting with the Sorcery Points and plays up one of the important themes underlying Sorcerer Origins, changing how the sorcerer approaches spellcasting! Likewise Magic of the Royal Line does a great job building on the role of the Royal Sorcerer.

    I have two complaints, one small the other… medium? First, I just can’t get behind 1st level features that use Sorcery Points. I know there are UA archetypes that have done this, I recognize that it’s only one level until you actually get Font of Magic. I still don’t like it. You shouldn’t have a feature that spends a resource you can’t access yet. I’d suggest changing Royal Presence to “At 1st level, you learn the friends cantrip. When you use it, creatures do not realize afterward that they have been influenced by its magic. You also gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill.” Alternatively, trade the friends cantrip stuff for an always on reroll-1’s-on-charisma-checks ala the Halfling.

    The more pressing concern is how overloaded 6th level is. I like Anointed Champion, but I don’t think you can justify it AND extra attack. You need to make a choice on the Royal sorcerer’s role: to hang back and maintain concentration, or step up and make weapon attacks. No matter which you chose, you should do something more with the capstone to improve their damage output (something every other Origin manages with at LEAST one feature). Rather than the Dragon Sorcerer, I’d look at something more like Spell Bombardment called “The Final Argument of Kings”.