Do Sorcerers need material components?

Hawken

Villager
That's the crux of it. Do Sorcerers (or Bards) need material components when casting the spells they know (that require material components)?

I did not find anything in the 3.5 PHB that states that they get a free pass on materials. The class description states that they do not have to prepare their spells as clerics and wizards do, but nothing in the class description states that they don't need components.

Also, Chapter 10, Magic, does not state that sorcerers do not need components either, while it does state that spells with an M in the Component list require material components.

Background: I am moderating a play by post game. A player is making a sorcerer. I say they need components, player says no. I'm making my decision based on the fact that the PHB does not say that sorcerers do not get components while it does state that spells with an M require material components. The chapter on magic does not distinguish between sorcerer or wizard, only that spells with an M need a material component.

I'm not asking for house rules, variants or anything like that. What I would like is to hear if I am missing a rule somewhere that counters my decision, supports the player or whatever. The DM is trying to run his game RAW, hence my sticking to the PHB.
 

Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
Unless the player takes the Eschew Materials feat then he certainly needs material components. Unless their class says otherwise, all casters need material components if the spell lists them.

Olaf the Stout
 

irdeggman

Villager
And Escew Materials only works with material components that are less than 1 gp.

The player might have played in games where the DM house-ruled that all sorcerers get Escew Materials for free (it is a fairly common house-rule from what I've heard).

But it doesn't really have that great a benefit since the limit is les than 1 gp for material components.
 

Shin Okada

Villager
More strict answer will be,

Like wizards or other arcane casters, sorcerers do need a material component to cast a spell if the sorcerer (arcane) version of that spell needs a material component.

Example 1: Flaming Sphere

Components: V, S, M/DF
.
.
Arcane Material Component: A bit of tallow, a pinch of brimstone, and a dusting of powdered iron.
So, a sorcerer needs a bit of tallow to cast flaming sphere, while divine casters (like Druid) need a divine focus.

Example 2: Dimension Door

Components: V
So, regardless of arcane caster or not, a character only need to speak to cast Dimension Door spell.
 

lunasmeow

Villager
I have this same question. The reason being the wording of the "background" description of sorcerers in the 3.5 D&D handbook, and I quote:

Sorcerers develop rudimentary powers at puberty. Their first spells are incomplete, spontaneous, uncontrolled, and sometimes dangerous. A household with a budding sorcerer in it may be troubled by strange sounds or lights, which can create the impression that the place is haunted. Eventually, the young sorcerer understands the power that he has been wielding unintentionally. From that point on, he can begin practicing and improving his powers.
Now it doesn't state that sorcerers don't need materials, but consider the "magic" sorcerers are casting when they are growing up subconsciously. How are they casting these spells if sorcerers need the same verbal words and magical components that wizards do? They can't be. They'd have to cast magic without components, and without vocal or somatic components. Otherwise they wouldn't be sorcerers, they'd be wizards who cast a spell intentionally. No way did they just "stumble" on the right V, S, or M components for these various small magics they are casting without actually trying.

Beyond this it fits into the lore, supposedly Sorcerers have magic internally. It is a part of them like fingers or toes. Wizards however, lacking this innate connection to magic, have to learn to interact with magic as a foreign entity, like a wizard learning to cast fireball vs an elemental of fire who does it instinctively.

Even more so, it is stated that a common belief is that sorcerous power comes from having either a dragon ancestor or a god ancestor somewhere down the line. I doubt dragons have M components when they cast spells. Did the dragon you fought pull something out of a bag to cast or did he just cast? If their magic comes from dragon decent either new, or way back when, shouldn't their magic be the same? In fact, I'd be more likely to say the even if it *doesn't* come from dragon or godly decent, maybe the reason people *believe* it does is because it is similar.

So the question then becomes, not do Sorcerers "require" these things to cast their spells, but *should* they require them. Considering I'm DMing a game now, and one character is about to multi-class into sorcerer, I'm looking for what other DMs think of the logic with this.

I am currently on the side of them not requiring materials, but making them require V and S for spells just to not make them to OP. I don't think logically that they'd require either literally, but I avoid that by saying the V and S components help put them in the right frame of mind to use their power. They get the still spell feat and the silent spell feat if they have gotten accomplished enough to no longer use these "tricks" to force their mind to do what it should.

What I am looking for is opposing ideas and logic to see if this is a sound decision before implementing it. Thanks!
 
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Shin Okada

Villager
So the question then becomes, not do Sorcerers "require" these things to cast their spells, but *should* they require them. Considering I'm DMing a game now, and one character is about to multi-class into sorcerer, I'm looking for what other DMs think of the logic with this.

I am currently on the side of them not requiring materials, but making them require V and S for spells just to not make them to OP. I don't think logically that they'd require either literally, but I avoid that by saying the V and S components help put them in the right frame of mind to use their power. They get the still spell feat and the silent spell feat if they have gotten accomplished enough to no longer use these "tricks" to force their mind to do what it should.

What I am looking for is opposing ideas and logic to see if this is a sound decision before implementing it. Thanks!
Though innate, a Sorcerer is still using "spells". He naturally aware that, say, he can create a big fireball using bat guano. It is like a talented caveman re-invent how to make up a fire by using flint and steel, without being taught about it by someone else. But that sorcerer still needs some bat guano to shoot a fireball, like that talented caveman still needs some flint and steel to create a fire.

There are much "innate" magic users in the D&D wold, like Walocks, or monsters with spell-like or supernatural abilities. They do not cast spells spells at all. They just use their abilities. When they want to create a fire, they just shoot a line of fire from their hands or breath fire. Thus they do not need any tools or materials.
 

lunasmeow

Villager
That touches on the materials then... I can kind of see that. They don't "have" the materials per se, but those materials are somewhere in the area, so when they accidentally cast magic at the young age, the material being nearby is enough. What about the vocal and somantic parts then? The description says they aren't casting this magic intentionally... So should they require those?
 

Shin Okada

Villager
What about the vocal and somantic parts then? The description says they aren't casting this magic intentionally... So should they require those?
Maybe there are some words or movements which, if used by someone with a talent of magic, cause really minor effects such as slightly worming up nearby air for a short time, or create a small spark. Those words or movements themselves may be insignificant to be called a spell. But if a sorcerer finds a right combination of them, they will become a mastered (known) spell.

Or, maybe, sorcerers just have some kind of inter-generational memory. They are, indeed, the descendants of some magical creatures or magi.
 
Or, maybe, sorcerers just have some kind of inter-generational memory. They are, indeed, the descendants of some magical creatures or magi.
But they can't have gotten that memory from their origin. Their origin never had that knowledge because it never needed it.

But none of that matters, we're talking about playing with balance, and with D&D, when story can affect balance, story has to be flogged, locked into a tower, and left to die.

Yes, the entire description of sorcerers implies strongly that components should be vastly different, and that material components are not required. (Is the sorcerer communing with themself). But the cost and capacity to perform certain actions is part of the balance of the game.

They don't want you going out and one finger death touching a high level monster without taking a personal cost. If any class can subvert the requirement, then the other classes might be minutely less balanced and therefore the world has ended.

I think that this particular question is in a range of questions that should be absent from the books so that the world can be decided by the group. I mean magic in 4e feels like an episode of Charmed anyway, so if players want powers that feel more like the show, then let's do it.

As a note, in OD&D, cantrips don't exist. They were added in an article in Dragon Magazine when people weren't reading the descriptions for magic users and assuming that they had more tricks up their sleeves. Getting data from the description was a part of the original game. The ultrabalanced world of later editions is a symptom, not a cure.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
For Sorcerers, I'd say that the uncontrolled manifestations of youth would fall under the general category of Prestidigitation, which has no Material Component.

During the process of learning to focus and control their magic they learn that arcane power that they see and discover the need for material, verbal and somatic components. It's part of the discipline needed to get beyond accidental cantrip level castings.

As for Bards, since *ALL* of their spells require a verbal component, and many talk about playing an instrument or using one as a focus that the scene gets ugly. it's hard to rationalize material or somatic components being usable while stroking a harp or strumming a lute. Both hands are occupied, which flies in the face of the idea that a caster must have at least one hand free if somatic components are required, or if material components need to be crushed, consumed, thrown on the ground or into the air etc.

But ultimately that's what it is, a rationalization. It's us trying to impose our vision of "how things work" on a game, a "world" that only exists on pieces of paper and pages of a book. Ultimately it works however those pages of the rule book say, and if they say you have to stand on your head while also walking in circles as you caw like a crow in total silence, then that's what they say. It's a game.

As a small note, just to muddy the waters, I tracked down the Bard only spells (thanks Find in PDF viewres!!!) and didn't see even one that required Material components. I might have missed something, of course, but from what I could see (while distracted by the mundane matter of working for a living), there aren't any.

So ask not advice of I.T. professionals, for we shall say both no and yes. :)
 
For Sorcerers, I'd say that the uncontrolled manifestations of youth would fall under the general category of Prestidigitation, which has no Material Component.

During the process of learning to focus and control their magic they learn that arcane power that they see and discover the need for material, verbal and somatic components. It's part of the discipline needed to get beyond accidental cantrip level castings.

As for Bards, since *ALL* of their spells require a verbal component, and many talk about playing an instrument or using one as a focus that the scene gets ugly. it's hard to rationalize material or somatic components being usable while stroking a harp or strumming a lute. Both hands are occupied, which flies in the face of the idea that a caster must have at least one hand free if somatic components are required, or if material components need to be crushed, consumed, thrown on the ground or into the air etc.

But ultimately that's what it is, a rationalization. It's us trying to impose our vision of "how things work" on a game, a "world" that only exists on pieces of paper and pages of a book. Ultimately it works however those pages of the rule book say, and if they say you have to stand on your head while also walking in circles as you caw like a crow in total silence, then that's what they say. It's a game.

As a small note, just to muddy the waters, I tracked down the Bard only spells (thanks Find in PDF viewres!!!) and didn't see even one that required Material components. I might have missed something, of course, but from what I could see (while distracted by the mundane matter of working for a living), there aren't any.

So ask not advice of I.T. professionals, for we shall say both no and yes. :)
I'd say that the somatic component of bard magic could be explained as the performance of their instrument (or maybe a dance), just as the vocal/verbal component could be said to be some kind of song.

I do think that all casters need either a focus or material component for the spells that call for them, but it is possible (if poorly recommended) to build a sorcerer that only uses spells that do not require a material component.
 

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