It’s no secret that unique differences from social norms are incredibly difficult to navigate, especially in a world steeped in the microcosmic medieval context of villages and towns. Medieval cities have always been the epitome of trade, multiculturalism, and where technology and education thrived, but not all are lucky enough to be of the station or lucky to be born in a metropolis.
Enter the Sorcerer
It’s been widely used as a class that expresses someone who is combating society’s perceptions as much as Tieflings have in the last couple of decades since DnD has skyrocketed in popularity, but what happens when you want to change the narrative? How else can a sorcerer affect the society around them to make their story more unique? Not just as a player, but as a DM, let’s explore this a little further.
The Upper Crust, Not the Outcast
Starting at the most obvious first, the inverted narrative to the usual is often a great way to flip the script. Perhaps a city nearby, a region, or the whole world reveres those who can naturally source magic from themselves and are seen as “The Chosen” of unknown and cosmic forces or Gods. Instead of their presence triggering bigotry, the conflict could be jealousy or envy. Perhaps Wizarding schools don’t get along with the sacred and powerful sorcery organizations. It could be a great point of intrigue.
Outcasts, in the Shadows or in the Open
There’s never anything wrong with leaning into the outcast nature of a sorcerer, but what if most Sorcerers that are known are easily corruptible and are the main evildoers, and your character is the exception? In that case, they could try to hide in the shadows and try to do good as a masked vigilante or work hard to represent those who are sorcerers in a demystifying way in hopes of building understanding. This one can be more abstract and difficult to play out in a game but if you have a DM who loves to write in some deep themes this could be a great way to play a little extra spice into a sorcerer’s backstory.
Technical Flavour: Social Background
Want some more integrated flavor? How about a Character Background that elaborates on your situation in a class-specific way based on these potential backstories? Here are some options!
The Paragon (Sorcerer-Specific)
You are a member of The Paragons, a society of high-authority Sorcerers who govern and regulate the use of magic in kingdoms and empires. Your station is respected by the public and envied by your non-magical peers. Your rank is just above a Novice but holds value in larger towns and cities.
Skills: As a Paragon you have proficiency in Arcana and Persuasion
Equipment: You have proficiency in Calligraphy Tools/Supplies and have a bronze brooch of The Paragon.
Languages: You can speak a language which is spoken in the city or town you’re from or nearest to.
Your countenance and affiliation with The Paragons are noted by those around you. Their reputation precedes you. Once a day, you have advantage on any charisma or intelligence-based skill checks.
Whether you do so from the shadows as a vigilante fighting for the common people whilst using your powers or you’re doing your best to be a positive voice of a type of caster that is seen as an unpredictable public hazard, being a positive force for change will affect the society around you in subtle and profound ways.
Skills: As an Advocate, you have proficiency in Survival and Persuasion
Equipment: You have proficiency in an instrument and you have a traveler’s cloak with a hood.
Languages: You know either Undercommon or Elvish. (Adjust to make these options ones that are the top two other languages in your world than common).
Whether you’re an advocate for sorcery in the shadows or in the light, being prepared for tough scenarios and social situations makes you aware of street smarts others may not know of. You know of exclusive places where other disenfranchised groups are that could be key for protection, unique quests, or information-gathering. Your insight in social situations is also heightened and once a day you have advantage on insight checks.
These alternatively-flavored backgrounds could help build a unique take to your new Sorcerer’s backstory, and as a whole, form a different world in your setting that could put the Sorcerer at the upper echelons of society or right in the trenches working for progress. Strut your stuff, Sorcerers, time to change the world for the better.
Written By: Christian A.V. Petrozza
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