This sorcerer class was designed around the level-agnostic spells, and uses the same trichotomy of untrained, trained, and mastered that is behind the recently posted rogue class, but applied to spells rather than skills. It will most likely be included as an optional rule in Wonder & Wickedness.
Like the rogue, the sorcerer uses the standard fighter experience table, the low rationalized hit dice progression, and attack bonus is derived from hit dice. A table of simple weapons was included in the rogue post, so I see no need to duplicate it here.
It should be emphasized that only trained spells may be prepared in the traditional Vancian manner. Sorcerers begin with three trained spells and gain training in a new spell (or mastery of an already trained spell) with each level gained. Other spells may only be cast laboriously from magical texts, even by sorcerers. This is all explained in the training & mastery rules for spells, but is nonetheless worth emphasizing due to how it differs from the way most traditional fantasy role-playing games work.
Currently, I have untrained spells succeeding 50% of the time (4+ on 1d6), with a 1 in 6 chance of catastrophe. I also considered using a saving throw, with catastrophe on a natural 1, but am dissatisfied with that approach because high-level non-sorcerer classes would end up having a better chance at casting spells successfully than a low-level sorcerers, which does not feel right to me (despite how elegant it would be to use a saving throw). An intelligence check is another option, though standard roll-under would require catastrophe on natural 20, which I also don’t care for. I am still somewhat conflicted, but I believe the current d6 approach, though somewhat ad hoc, has the desired properties, and is not hard to remember. Obviously it would be easy to swap out the system used for casting untrained spells, and the only absolutely critical feature, from my point of view, is that it be possible for all classes to attempt, but somewhat dangerous.
Improvement options: spell training, spell mastery.
- Untrained: from book, 1 day, uncertain success, possible catastrophe.
- Trained: may be prepared, expended when cast.
- Mastered: double duration, 50% chance not expended when cast.
Characters with no magical training, including those other than sorcerers, can still attempt sorcery, assuming access to a book with the appropriate spell. This takes a full day of feverish application, and succeeds only 50% of the time (four or higher on a six-sided die). Further, calling upon magic without training is dangerous, and if this roll is a 1, the spell fails in some disastrous and potentially dangerous (even deadly) manner, as appropriate to the spell in question.
Trained spells may be prepared for use later, though they are expended when cast and must be re-prepared before they can be cast again. Spell preparation requires access to the spell in textual form. Trained spells may be prepared after a restful night of sleep in a place of safety.
Mastered spells have double duration, may be prepared without need of a spell book (though sufficient rest is still required), and only have a 50% chance of being expended when cast.