Soloing a Sorceror : The (un)Official Survival Guide (short version 1.1)
Note: You can find the complete version of the Sorceror Survival Guide in our Downloads Section
By Pat Bou ; Contributors : Notrix, Darklord, Olorin2, Aildiin ; Special Thanks to Grojlach, Bruce Lee, Cyberdragon151, Adern, ADW, Marwynn, Vegan Jihad, someone (yup that's his username!) J, Real_Belgarath, Lina79, Alkar, Pe Ell, Garcia… for their participation in the discussion.
Use the xp cap remover for maximum fun (or you'll cap before the Underdark).
Long term thinking is the key of this process for the sorcerer.
Race : the elf is the best because -1 CON is of no consequence, plus you'll get infravision, +1 to dexterity, charm and sleep resistance, etc.
Alignment : determines the familiar. Pickpocket is frustrating because you'll always reload, and familiars are no fighters, so you'll prefer another kind of ability for your familiar. I recommend the rabbit (true neutral).
Attributes : In order of importance : DEX (AC and range attacks), CON (hitpoints), CHA (discounts and dialogue ; may grant additional spells with the expansion), INT (lore, not required to gain access to high level spells but the expansion may change that), WIS (lore, save vs spells), STR (carrying capacity). Note that sorcerors only gain +1 to lore per level instead of +3, but they sometimes get +2 hps per level above 10.
Skills : begin with 2 and more at level 12 and 18. Staff is must. Darts are better at lower levels because of high rate of fire. Then it is sling at level 12.
STARTING SPELL BOOK
Level 1 : Chromatic Orb, Magic Missile, Shield, Sleep, Find Familiars (but you can consider Identify and Spook, not Protection from Evil because you'll have it with the Staff of the Magi).
Level 2 : Mirror Image, Knock, Melf's Acid Arrow.
Level 3 : Melf's Minute Meteors, Fireball OR Skull Trap (not both), Spell Thrust.
THE COMPLETED SPELL BOOK
Here are the spells that I recommend to add to your spell book as you gain some levels. All are given in the order that I suggest you take them.
Level 2 : Web, Detect invisibility (you can consider Invisibility for your familiar)
Level 3 : Haste
Level 4 : Spider Spawn, Stoneskin, Secret Word, Improved Invisibility. (you can consider Greater Malison and Polymorph Self)
Level 5 : Animate Dead, Breach, Lower Resistance, Chaos.
Level 6 : Tenser's Transformation, True Sight, Summon Earth Elemental.
Level 7 : Mordenkainen's Sword, Project Image, Ruby Ray of Reversal.
Level 8 : Abi Dalzim's Horrid Whilting, Spell Trigger, Simulacrum.
Level 9 : Chain Continguency, Gate, Wail of the Banshee (you can consider Time Stop and Shapechange).
EQUIPING YOUR SORCEROR
Staff of the Magi, Sling of Everard, Robe of Vecna, Bracers of AC3, Dusty Rose Ioun Stone (override file), Amulet of Power, Ring of Wizardry, Ring of Acuity, Cloak of the Sewers, Boots of Speed, Girdle of Giant Strenght, Wand of the Apprenti, Wand of Monster Summoning, Wand of Cloudkill, Potions of extra-healing and health, Glasses of Identification, Gem Bag (also hold rings and amulets), 3 Scroll Cases (summoning / offensive / defensive), Bag of Holding.
Hit and run : Run and count to six, then cast a spell. Enemies will be busy closing in on you or being in range.
Quick spells : Have Chromatic Orb, Melf's Acid Arrow and Melf's Minute Meteors in the 3 quick spell slots.
Which spells to cast : Win encounters with as few spells as possible. Do this by summoning creatures that will do a lot in their time with you or by special tactics : a Web and Spider Spawn combo, Melf's Acid Arrow and run until the acid has no more effects, etc.
Read the battle text : Counter Mislead, Shadow Door, Imp. Inv. and Project Image with True Sight. Stoneskin, Mantle, Protection from Magical Weapons with Breach. Spell protections with Spell Thrust, Secret Word or Ruby Ray of Reversal. Counter magic resistance with Lower Resistance or send your minions in the melee.
Unbeatable target : When your minions can't damage the enemy and Breach fails (normal immunity protect the enemy), try these : offensive spells might do the trick after magical protections are dispelled (see above), another type of summoned creature may be able to damage the opponent (check your scroll case), if all else fails, you usually have yourself the right weapon in hand (with Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Haste, Shield and Tenser's Transformation).
HINTS AND TIPS FOR IRENICUS DUNGEON
Use the scrolls you'll find, except for the most powerful ones as you'll need them in future encounters. Save the wands of Cloudkill, Monster Summoning and Fire for later - these have 50 charges when recharged by storekeepers. Don't bother carrying anything that is not magical. Only these are worth selling (ex. : dagger +1, staff +1, ring +1, mail of the dead, sword of chaos, etc.). Keys are no more than garbage once they are used. Don't open trapped chests until you have obtained the 3 antidotes from killing the dryads in level 1. And don't kill the dryads until you've brought back to them the acorns (to gain some xps). And don't bother carrying along these acorns, you won't be able to afford the space in your pack and there is almost no chance that you'll do this quest or even go to the Windspear Hills (I haven't and I am in the Underdark at level 18).
For those interested, I've changed a few items with the Infinity Engine: Ioun Stones are now usable by all classes as per the real D&D rules ; Staff of the Magi's Protection from evil is no longer bugged.
WHY THE SORCEROR OVER A SPECIALIST MAGE?
Access to all schools of magic, more flexible spell casting (the best spells are those you can cast, not those you might have cast if you would have memorize them), can cast more spells (2 more level 7, up to 7 more at level 17)… These advantages really offsets the few disadvantages : can't gain xps from reading scrolls (pointless), can't dual class (pointless), can't learn new spells from scrolls and narrower spell book (doesn't matter with the right selection of spells as you level up), slower spell progression up to level 10 (which represent only 5% of the game).