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My favourite D&D 3.5 character was a kobold sorcerer. It was using Greater Draconic Rite of Passage from Web Enhancement - basically he was spellcasting as if he was one level higher since he got his 5th hit dice. That way, he was obtaining new spell levels at the roughly same time other spellcasters in the party.

I hope to play Pathfinder campaign soon. And there will be other spellcasters in the party. Mostly spellcasters, actually. I don't like being one spell level late. This means that by the time I get some spells, party's wizard have already played with them for some times. It takes away my sense of wonder and discovery. And takes away my spotlight, in a way.

Is there a way to get similar benefits to that rite in Pathfinder, by the rules? I'll be sure to ask DM to allow me to use some material from Races of the Dragon and Web Enchancemnent, but I want to know if there are Pathfinder ways to avoid this lag. By the rules.


Note: I don't care about balance with non-casters because there probably won't be any in our party anyway.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Retag because both answers use pretty well written reasoning outside RAW. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 27 '17 at 13:01
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There is not, and most likely never will be. Paizo had the opportunity to fix this mistake when they first released Pathfinder, but they did not do so which means they must be under the impression that this lag is appropriate. Unfortunately, they’re wrong, about that and many other things (they really don’t understand their own game all that well, nor do they seem to very much care). Eliminating that delay is step one for redressing imbalances between prepared and spontaneous spellcasters. But they have a general policy of blindly insisting that core is balanced and refusing to admit any flaw therein, so anything at this point that fixes the situation would be against that policy.

That said, it is entirely possible to go too far. Races of the Dragon had the draconic rite of passage, which was fine, but it also had the eminently-abusable Dragonwrought feat, which... should probably be avoided, or at least used minimally. For example, using Dragonwrought to take loredrake, and advance several levels past the wizard in spellcasting. The web enhancement is better; the greater draconic rite of passage was an obnoxious feat tax, but at least it existed (and wasn’t the absurdity of loredrake), and the web enhancement also had the rewrite of the kobold race that was quite good. So simply importing 3.5 material on this subject is not necessarily a great choice either. Some of it is good, and some of it is bad.

My recommendation is that sorcerer (and similar) spellcasting change like so: at all levels but 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 19th, and 20th, their spellcasting is what they used to get one level later (so 4th works like 5th used to, and so on). At those levels, see this table:

\begin{array}{c|c} \text{Level} & 1^\text{st} & 2^\text{nd} & 3^\text{rd} & 4^\text{th} & 5^\text{th} & 6^\text{th} & 7^\text{th} & 8^\text{th} & 9^\text{th} \\ \hline 1^\text{st} & 3 & — & — & — & — & — & — & — & — \\ 2^\text{rd} & 4 & — & — & — & — & — & — & — & — \\ 3^\text{rd} & 5 & 3 & — & — & — & — & — & — & — \\ 19^\text{th} & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 5 \\ 20^\text{th} & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 & 6 \\ \end{array}

This results in a smoother progression, and greater balance between spontaneous and prepared casters. It does not wholly close the gap between the two, but it helps considerably. If you are looking for more improvements, see the discussion I linked above.

If you do this, you’re better off than 3.5 or Pathfinder. The greater draconic rite of passage worked, but it was obscure and kobold-only; there’s no reason for that. It also became a mandatory feat tax to play the sorcerer class well, which again, there’s no reason for that.

Finally, one last note on balance: this change improves balance between sorcerer and wizard, and similar spontaneous/prepared pairs. But 9th-level spontaneous spellcasting classes are some of the most powerful in the game—really only beaten by the 9th-level prepared spellcasting classes. In reality, both of these should probably be nerfed. This answer doesn’t address that, though, because doing so is quite difficult.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I admit I really liked Dragonwrought feat. For the greater rite, what it does is, mostly, the change you posted in your table, isn't it? We skipped bonus on Caster Level, all right, because indeed it was too much. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 27 '17 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot You’re right, I misremembered. I was thinking that the draconic rite of passage did what the greater rite actually does, and the greater rite did like +3 more (which is loredrake abuse, I now recall, not rite of passage abuse). As for Dragonwrought, on its face it’s fine. The fluff is sort of interesting, losing the Humanoid type offers some protection from certain spells, etc. But it opens up so much abuse, between age bonuses without penalties and the large number of overpowered options offered to “dragons” that Dragonwrought gives access to. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 27 '17 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. Especially that there was a definition that "true dragon is a creature with dragon type nad 12 age categories". But if you skip them, it does not break the game that badly. Anyway, that's a bit tangential to this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 27 '17 at 13:11
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You can't by following the rules.

There are balance reasons behind this

Sorcerers are supposed to compensate their later acquisition of spells with more spells per days. The game is supposed to be balanced* that way so something that would make you gain spells one level before would make you powerful as a one-level higher character.

You can try an other class

Depending on what exactly you like in the Sorcerer you may find it in another class which won't suffer from this "lag" or will have a different spell list from the wizard. Try the witch for example. You will have the same spell memorization mechanic as the wizard (which means you get your spells at the same time) and as a bonus you get unique abilities (hexes) and different spells he will never have or have at a higher level (like bestow curse for example).

I played a long campaign (lvls 1-16) with a kobold witch, and as a fan of magic stuff I really enjoyed it.

Maybe it's not that bad

If you really want to stuck to a sorcerer maybe you don't have to worry that much. I'm not sure about how fast you are supposed to gain level but it is quite rare that a spellcaster already casted all the new interesting spells available just one level after he gained access to them. There should be new spells for everyone to discover, even one level later, and as you can spam them madly when the wizard will have used his only one spell of a kind for the day you will get your spotlight.


*Many people argue about the game being poorly balanced. I am not advocating for one side or the other, but if you consider the rules unbalanced the only solutions are to change them/ask your GM to change them at your table, to play with an other system or to accept the balance is not that bad.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The same balance reasoning was in 3.5 and yet they introduced ways around it later, when 3.5 got more mature. The fact you don't know any rules around this does not mean there are none. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jan 27 '17 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot And the fact that WotC did it when they were destroying 3.5 does not mean there are. Please wait a while to see if someone else comes by with a solution. Otherwise, consider this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 27 '17 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, it is ridiculously bad, and sorcerers are worse off than wizards even when they have access to the same-level spells. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 27 '17 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then @KRyan you have to stop using this system. Or patch it, or whatever. Just complaining on it won't make it magically better. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jan 27 '17 at 13:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme I don’t “just complain,” I offer suggestions for improvements. Education about the problems in the game people are running and suggestions on how to improve them make people’s games better. Which is more than I can say for most of the content Paizo puts out. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 27 '17 at 13:42

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