Having never been satisfied with the way the core magic system works, either for player fun, thematically, or even logically, I began looking for alternatives. What I have become enamoured with is the "Sorcery" casting system from the Thieves' World campaign setting put out by Green Ronin. It does a lot of the things that I have tried to cludge together myself, much more consistently and elegantly. The end result is making magic more risky, a little more difficult, and a physically exhausting task.

However, using Sorcery classes comes with the trade-off of potentially allowing casters access to both more and better spells. So, before I dive head-first into the adoption of Initiate, Mage, Priest, and Witch as my new casters, let alone trying to homebrew Sorcery classes of my own, I'd like to get an assessment of what tier the classes are and thus roughly how powerful Sorcery as a system is in general, when compared to magic systems from first-party sources; "vancian", psionics, incarnum, etc...

What tier do each of the Sorcery classes fall into?

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    \$\begingroup\$ RPG.SE has an explanation of tiers and a list of which classes are in which here, too. No reason for folks to go offsite if they don't need to. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2016 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Skimming it, it looks like they used the same source, and simply reposted the content for convenience, but thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – user28753
    May 1, 2016 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that while you ask a good question -- this sort of stuff takes quite a bit of time and work to answer (I asked a similar one myself about the Giant in the Playground's remodeling of the Truenamer). \$\endgroup\$
    – Shalvenay
    May 2, 2016 at 0:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reverting the edit that tried to break up the wall of text probably hasn't helped either. (Remember that all content here is collaboratively maintained by the community, so having one's questions edited is something to get used to, and perhaps learn from.) \$\endgroup\$ May 3, 2016 at 0:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please stop reverting the improving edit to this question. As you have been told before, posts are collaboratively kept up and improved by the community. If someone does something to a post that does not improve it then you have recourse, but that is not what is happening here. Please stop. If you want further discussion on the issue bring it up on Role-playing Games Meta. I have locked this question to prevent further editing. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 2, 2019 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


So, bear in mind that the tier system is predicated on two main metrics. How well can a character deal with a given problem, and how many different kinds of problem can they solve.

Tier 1 tends to mean that any given build of similar optimization can solve just about any given problem you throw at it or shortly become capable of doing so.

Tier 2 solves a lot of problems, but not as many or not as well as tier one, and no one build can equal the breadth of a tier one class.

Tier 3 is good at one thing in particular, and moderately useful outside of their specialization, or a middling jack of all trades.

Having looked what I think you were referring to (the system presented in true sorcery), it becomes tricky to set it up, because the system relies heavily on homebrew (in effect the ability to create your own spells is one of the core aspects of this system) but the knowledge of spells seems to be severely curtailed. So I'm using the examples given to colour my assessment here.

Spellcasting classes using these rules are immediately barred from Tier 1. One of the defining features of Tier 1 classes is their ability to know all possible spells. This is effectively the bar that keeps Sorcerer in Tier 2, while Wizard is Tier 1. The limits placed on spellcasters using True Sorcery prevent a character from having this ability.

It's also not likely to be Tier 2. Many of the iconic effects that spellcasters produce are better than their equivalent in true sorcery, or simply come online earlier. The force effect is probably the best example of this. A default damaging force effect deals 1d4 nonlethal damage and requires a ranged touch attack, whereas the iconic magic missile would deal 1d4+1 lethal damage with no need to make an attack. It just hits.

So, looking at that, I'd argue a solid tier 3, depending on choices. A True Sorcery spellcaster has tools at their disposal but they seem inherently less potent than a traditional vancian caster, so the result is a lot like a focused casting class, similar to a Dread Necromancer. A True Sorcery caster might even be low 3 high 4 depending on the exact variation used. But given that Thieves' World uses the Mana Threshold so that a spellcaster can arguably cast a more difficult spell over many rounds, it's a little better than default True Sorcery.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Forgive the late response. I took an extended hiatus due to personal grievances with certain users. I was not, in fact, looking at the "True Sorcery" rules, or any kind of spell creation system. Just the basic casting classes added by Thieves World and the system of gathering power and taking backlash from their spells that those classes use, as described in Chapter 8 of the Thieves' World Player's Manual. \$\endgroup\$
    – user28753
    Jul 2, 2019 at 15:07

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