Iconic Design: Play That Funky Music, Maestro!

Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a sorcerer/bard variant multiclass build.

Since the Variant Multiclassing system is still new, I figured that it might be fun if I toyed around with more, like I did in my Black Fox Down article. Today’s build doesn’t assume that you’re a kitsune, but you’ll certainly get more mileage out of it if you happen to play one. Today’s build is a very different sort of sorcerer; the musical sort!

Build Concept

Let’s take a moment to look over this build before we get started.

  • Sorcerer (Primary Class): I love me some good magic, and sorcerer’s got good magic! I’ll be grabbing a rather unconvential bloodline, the maestro bloodline, for flavor. When you’re using this build, feel free to substitute things around as you deem necessary.
  • Bard (Secondary Class): Going bard as your secondary class is usually a strong choice whenever you are grabbing anything Charisma-based. The bard offers solid party support, and while its performances don’t scale as well as the actual bard’s do (they get their max bonus later and have many less rounds than the standard bard), having access to inspire courage is almost never a bad thing.

So, with all this in mind, what can we do? Let’s move on ahead and see for ourselves!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: Sorcerer 7
  • Secondary Class (Bard): bardic knowledge (3rd), bardic performance (7th)
  • Feats: Noble Scion: scion of war (1st), Improved Initiative (5th), Lingering Performance (Bonus)
  • Abilities: bloodline (maestro), bloodline powers (beguiling voice, fascinate), bloodline spells (ventriloquism, hideous laughter, suggestion)
  • Sorcerer 3rd-Level Spells Known (2): suggestion; haste
  • Sorcerer 2nd-Level Spells Known (3): hideous laughter; blindness/deafness, steal voice; any one
  • Sorcerer 1st-Level Spells Known (5): ventriloquism; charm person, magic missile; any 3
  • Sorcerer Cantrips Known (7): acid splash, daze, detect magic, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic

So the first aspect that’s important to note is the maestro bloodline’s arcana. Basically, if you cast a spell that only has verbal components, you cast it at +1 to your caster level. If you still a spell with somatic components, it will count for this arcana. This is often an under looked ability, but there are plenty of spells that work in conjunction with this arcana, such as charm person, blindness/deafness, and steal voice. Furthermore, rods of still spell essentially grant +1 caster level when you use them, because they remove your spell’s somatic components. Pick up a few of each size if you can!

By nature of which spells are verbal-only, this build lends itself well to enchanters and control-based characters. While I don’t list every spell that you need (because that’s extremely subjective and will depend upon your campaign), picking spells that allow you to manipulate movement on the battlefield and either add to your party’s actions (like haste) or remove your enemies’ ability to act (like daze or hideous laughter) are the staples of this build.

The bloodline abilities for the maestro bloodline are surprisingly good. Grabbing the any-level daze ability is useful (doubly so when combined with tongues) and having the fascinate ability can be helpful in urban settings as well. I know many people who judge this bloodline harshly because of fascinate, but remember that many bloodlines have fairly poor 3rd-level powers; the only fantastic one I can think of belongs to the harrow bloodline; the others are decent at best and “meh” at worst.

Feat-wise, I started off with speed so our controller can do what she needs to do. Noble Scion: scion of war allows our sorcerer to use Charisma on initiative checks instead of Dexterity while Improved Initiative is always a solid bump. Additionally, we’ve got Lingering Performance to help us get the most out of our limited supply of rounds of bardic performance.

But that’s just the opening act; let’s move on to Act 2: Mid Levels!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: Sorcerer 14
  • Secondary Class (Bard): bardic knowledge (3rd), bardic performance (7th), versatile performance: sing (11th),
  • Feats: Noble Scion: scion of war (1st), Improved Initiative (5th), Lingering Performance (Bonus), Spell Focus: enchantment (9th), Greater Spell Focus (Bonus), Spell Penetration (13th)
  • Abilities: bloodline (maestro), bloodline powers (beguiling voice, fascinate, perfect voice), bloodline spells (ventriloquism, hideous laughter, suggestion, shout, dominate person, mass suggestion)
  • Sorcerer 7th-Level Spells Known (1): power word blind
  • Sorcerer 6th-Level Spells Known (2): mass suggestion; any 2
  • Sorcerer 5th-Level Spells Known (3): dominate person; mind fog; any 2
  • Sorcerer 4th-Level Spells Known (4): shout; charm monster, black tentacles; any 2
  • Sorcerer 3rd-Level Spells Known (4): suggestion; haste, fireball; any 2
  • Sorcerer 2nd-Level Spells Known (5): hideous laughter; blindness/deafness, steal voice; any 4
  • Sorcerer 1st-Level Spells Known (5): ventriloquism; charm person, magic missile; any 3
  • Sorcerer Cantrips Known (9): acid splash, daze, detect magic, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic; any 2

As we get to the Mid Levels, the build simply gets better at what it set out to do: to be the most magical bard who ever barded. We add spells like dominate person, shout, and power word blind to the list of spells that are augmented by the maestro bloodline. We also get perfect voice, which makes it so casting tongues is no longer a problem for our character, as well as offering a +1 bonus to the saving throw DC of all language-based effects. Bard-wise, versatile performance is added to the list of stuff we get, which is VERY helpful considering that sorcerers gain so few skill ranks. I’ll totally take a 1-for-2 deal on skills.

Again, you want more controlling spells and more buff spells, and maybe a damage-dealing spell if you take something that the martials can’t do. For instance, grabbing a fireball spell to deal with swarms and the like. Another nasty trick that you can pull is to buy a set of sorcerer’s robes; they’ll allow you to combine magic missile with your 1st-level bloodline power, effectively making a barrage of nevermiss force damage that has a chance to daze enemies. Nifty!

Aside from those tricks, the rest of the build is pretty standard for a sorcerer. On to Act 3: End Game!

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: Sorcerer 20
  • Secondary Class (Bard): bardic knowledge (3rd), bardic performance (7th), versatile performance: sing (11th), lore master (15th), Additional Performances (19th)
  • Feats: Noble Scion: scion of war (1st), Improved Initiative (5th), Lingering Performance (Bonus), Spell Focus: enchantment (9th), Greater Spell Focus (Bonus), Spell Penetration (13th), Greater Spell Penetration (17th), Skill Focus: Perform [sing] (Bonus)
  • Abilities: bloodline (maestro), bloodline powers (beguiling voice, fascinate, perfect voice), bloodline spells (ventriloquism, hideous laughter, suggestion, shout, dominate person, mass suggestion, power word blind, greater shout, wail of the banshee)
  • Sorcerer 9th-Level Spells Known (3): wail of the banshee; time stop, power word kill, any 1
  • Sorcerer 8th-Level Spells Known (3): greater shout; irresistible dance, mass charm monster, power word stun
  • Sorcerer 7th-Level Spells Known (3): power word blind; any 3
  • Sorcerer 6th-Level Spells Known (3): mass suggestion; any 3
  • Sorcerer 5th-Level Spells Known (4): dominate person; mind fog; any 3
  • Sorcerer 4th-Level Spells Known (4): shout; charm monster, black tentacles; any 2
  • Sorcerer 3rd-Level Spells Known (4): suggestion; haste, fireball; any 2
  • Sorcerer 2nd-Level Spells Known (5): hideous laughter; blindness/deafness, steal voice; any 4
  • Sorcerer 1st-Level Spells Known (5): ventriloquism; charm person, magic missile; any 3
  • Sorcerer Cantrips Known (9): acid splash, daze, detect magic, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic; any 2

Alright, here we are at the end. Our secondary class bard gives us a few more performances and surprisingly, we get a great number of spells to use with our bloodline arcana from the 8th and 9th levels. Not that it matters TOO much, though, as once we get to 20th level, things get silly. At 20th level, our maestro effectively applies Still Spell to ALL of his spells, meaning that he NEVER casts a spell with a somatic component, and therefore ALL of his spells benefit from his bloodline arcana.

FAN-FREAKIG-TASTIC. Give all of your rods of still spell that you’ve bought over your career to your party cleric; they’re beneath you now.

And with that, I have another Variant Multiclassing build done. What do you think? How does this build look compared to a standard sorcerer? Is this something that you would play? Why or why not? I’ll say that this is NOT what my shiny new PFS sorcerer looks like, but hey! It is what it is, right? I hope you enjoyed today’s article enough to come back on Monday for a second casting of Guidance. Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

Paizocon 2015 Generic
Paizocon 2015 Generic

1 Comment

  1. I really like this build. I also like the VMC with the sorcerer as it adds a lot to the class. I have a kitsune copper dragon disciple and I feel like I have several feat slots that are pretty open. So squeezing a vmc onto him would be extremely easy.

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