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50 Origins For a Sorcerer's Bloodline

When Magic is More Than an Inheritance

By Neal LitherlandPublished 2 years ago 14 min read

Sorcerers are those who have the raw power of magic flowing through their blood. They don't read arcane tomes or study ancient scrolls; the power comes to them through sheer force of will. Magic is, in many cases, their birthright.

Many cases... but not all.

For those who've been looking for a backstory for their sorcerer that goes beyond, "My parents are sorcerers," or, "My great-great-great-great-something was a devil/angel/dragon/fey," then consider some of the following sorcerous origins for your next spontaneous spellcaster.

Before we get started, if you enjoy this list, consider checking out 50 Shades of Rage: Reflavoring The Barbarian's Signature Class Feature. Its popularity is part of why I thought it was time sorcerers deserved a list all their own!

50 Sorcerous Origins

1. When you were born, your parents asked a powerful entity to stand as your god-parent. It agreed, and while you were still in your crib it blessed you. This blessing granted you a bloodline associated with this god-parent, even though no such power had existed in your family before.

2. You were the subject of arcane experimentation. Whether you volunteered for this process, or you were unwillingly subjected to it, the experiment certainly worked.

3. When you died and were resurrected, something came back with you from the other side. Whether your bloodline comes from the heavens, the hells, undeath, or somewhere else entirely, you definitely came back... different.

4. You devoured the heart of a magical creature, and it infused your body with power. Dragons, infernal or celestial creatures, and even animals who are considered divine symbols by certain faiths could have been the source of your bloodline.

5. You survived exposure to high-level or repeated spells targeted at you. Whether failed saving throws allowed the magic to seep into you, or successful ones meant you resisted the brunt of the spells but still got hit with some part of their essence, this exposure led to you developing arcane talents of your own.

6. You failed (or were unable) to take proper precautions when traveling across planar boundaries. Rather than killing you, however, some of the essence of that plane bonded with you, and it has been growing ever since.

7. You were possessed. Whether it was a spirit, a demon, an angel, or another entity entirely, there was a period of time in your life where you shared your body with another being. Even if it was exorcised, it left behind enough of itself that you gained unexpected powers. More on this in The Possessed character concept, for those who are interested.

8. You entered a forgotten garden that was once a place of great power. Perhaps a grove used by druids for their rituals, or a place where sacrifice was left to ancient deities. The energy of this place's genius loci entered your body (possibly through you doing something as simple as eating fruit grown there), and it wasn't long after that the bloodline manifested.

9. You were exposed to particularly powerful magical items for a period of time. Perhaps you were the squire to a great knight, and it was your responsibility to carry his artifact blade. Maybe you were a wizard's apprentice who maintained their hall of armors and weapons, but as time went by the enchantments rubbed off on you, and entered your very blood.

10. You made a wish. Whether it was wishing on a rare comet as it passed by, or you were given a wish by a powerful entity as a reward for a task, sorcerous power is what you received. That may not have been what you intended, depending on the wording of your wish, but it's what you got!

Be careful what you wish for.

11. You were cursed for a long time. Even if the geas has been broken, though, the fragments of it still reside within you, reforged into something that serves you instead of something that binds you.

12. You survived a deadly, magical plague. Whether it was the energies of the pestilence that began your bloodline, the treatments you were given to help you fight it, or some interaction between the two, you walked out the other side of the pestilence with power at your command.

13. A god blessed you. Perhaps it was a god of chaos, magic, or destiny. Perhaps it saw the danger you would have to face, and granted you weapons to face said danger. But since you were not a believer, or you were someone antithetical to the god's purpose, the power you possess is entirely your own, subject to no one else's will.

14. You outwitted a fey creature. In exchange for losing the bargain it made, it gave you a seed of power. While it may have been an insignificant thing, once upon a time, it's grown steadily within you since that day.

15. A celestial event marked you, causing a bloodline to spontaneously manifest. This event may have been a planetary alignment, a blood moon, an eclipse, or something else entirely, but you were in precisely the right location for the event to infuse you with arcane energy.

16. You were blood bound to a creature with inherent magical power. Whether you drank from a vampire's wrist, cut your palms and clasped hands with an oni, or received a bloody kiss from an incubus, all it took was that one taste of power for the bloodline to enter your body. Even if that creature is now dead, its power lives on in you.

17. You have had limbs or organs replaced. Perhaps one of your eyes once belonged to a sorcerer, you received a heart transplant from someone with a great destiny, or you received limb grafts that came from a creature with a natural command of magic; whatever the reason, you received far more than a whole body as a result of this operation.

18. You were present for an event that tore open planar boundaries, albeit briefly. Perhaps someone jammed a handy haversack into a portable hole, attempting to escape the material plane. Even if the resulting planar puncture didn't sweep you into another world, it washed over you and left you fundamentally changed.

19. You imbibed a sacred and rare herb or drink as part of a ritual. This altered your consciousness, and allowed you to reach far beyond yourself. When you awoke, you found a new power inside of you that had not been there when the ritual began.

20. You had an unexpected interaction with a magical drug. Whether you had a penchant for smoking dried mummies, a magically-infused form of pipe weed, dreamtime tea, black goat's milk, or another unusual substance like the fluids that leak from crashed starcraft found deep beneath the ground, your body permanently altered itself. The side effect is that you are now a sorcerer!

21. You were raised by a powerful magical creature, and being around them had a noted effect on you as you developed. Whether it was a familiar that belonged to a member of your family, an efreet that adopted you, or even a house full of ghosts that cared for you, their magic rubbed off on you as you matured.

22. You destroyed a powerful magic item (or at the very least were in the blast radius when it was destroyed). The unleashed energy found a new home in your body, giving you powers similar in properties to the destroyed item. If it was an intelligent item, you might even hear a voice from time to time, or feel compelled to do things you wouldn't have before.

23. You consumed faulty potions. Whether it was just one, or you drank these knockoff vials of magic for several years, eventually it altered your body past a point of no return.

24. You consumed the last breath of a powerful magical creature. Whether it was a hag, a faerie, or even another sorcerer, breathing in their essence changed something in you as you took their power into yourself.

25. You were submerged in an alchemical slurry. Maybe you were thrown into a vat in the midst of a battle, or you tried to make good an escape from a prison surrounded by a moat of noxious chemicals, but the cast-off reagents entered your blood and filled you with unexpected power (though that may not have been their only side effect).

26. When you were injured, a bizarre fungus started growing in your wounds. They glowed with a soft light, but more than that they healed much more quickly than they should have. When your injuries scarred over, whatever magic was in the fungus pulsed inside you.

27. You have been magically healed so many times that your body started to act like a sponge for such energies. Over time you started producing your own spells, as if the life-saving magic had slowly changed ever fiber of your being.

28. You were struck by lightning... perhaps more than once. The coursing electricity (whether natural, or conjured by a foe) sparked in your blood, and still rages in your veins.

29. You found strange crystals in forgotten caverns deep below the ground. Glowing with bizarre radiance (some of which you're certain you felt more than saw), it left a sheen in your eyes, and power coursing through your body.

30. A meteorite crashed from the heavens, and changed you in a fundamental way. You found the rock before it finished cooling, and when you touched it something jumped from it to you. You may not understand yet what happened, but you haven't been the same since that night.

None know what it was, or where it came from.

31. You were conceived in a boneyard. There was no evidence of sorcerous power in your family before this, and it's said by some that the unhallowed place tainted your birth... or blessed it, depending on whom you ask.

32. You were lost at sea for weeks on end. By all rights you should have drowned. You remember the ocean filling your lungs, and darkness, but the sea gave you back. Now you are salt blessed, able to call on the energies of water and waves to power your magic.

33. You surrounded yourself with powerful, draconic essences for many years. Perhaps you were a servant of a great wyrm, you wore armor made from the cast-off scales of a living dragon, or you cut your fingers on the strings of a harp made from dragon bone and sinew. Whatever form it took, the essence of the draconic has bled into you over time.

34. You played a game of chance with an entity that was disguising its true nature. An angel, a devil, a god, an ancient fey, or something else entirely, the fall of the dice declared you a victor. You didn't dice for gold alone, though, and sorcerous power was part of your winnings.

35. Strange dreams always came to you when you were a child. Sleeping near thin places in reality, you unknowingly projected yourself into the astral plane. You may never have truly noticed, but the essence of this other plane filled your body while you were gone, causing magic to stain your very bones.

36. Traps laid in a wizard's tower had an unexpected side effect on you. Not only did you manage to survive the intended lethal effect, but it's as if your body absorbed the magic directed at you. It's impossible to tell, though, whether the magic was faulty, or there were other factors at play.

37. You slew a powerful spellcaster while they were gathering energies for a deadly spell. The feedback from this death blow slammed through you, and a part of that dead mage's magic now lives in you.

38. Someone attempted to sacrifice you. Something went wrong, or perhaps the cult messed up the ritual, and rather than your soul being fed to an outsider you were instead infused with arcane energy that transformed you into what you are now.

39. You were exposed to the toxins of a deadly magical creature. Whether it was manticore venom, green dragon bile, or the excretions of a basilisk, it had an unexpected side effect on you. Perhaps this happened after you survived an attack by such a creature, or maybe you purposefully dosed yourself a little at a time to build up a resistance, and accidentally achieved something else entirely.

40. You have no idea what happened to you. The last thing you remember was drinking a toast with a strange, green liquor, and looking forward to a night of true debauchery. Two days later you woke in the center of a blackened crater, dozens of miles away from the city you started drinking in, with inexplicable magic running through you.

41. You were present at the demise of a potent entity thought to be immortal. Outsiders, ancient dragons, shadow creatures, and others could all be responsible for creating sorcerers from those caught in the blast wave of their final death.

42. You survived being burned by hellfire. While the experience left its marks on you, you also found that your resolution to walk through it left infernal power at your fingertips.

43. You made a bargain at a fey market. Perhaps you did so without truly knowing what you were trading, but you lost a part of yourself in exchange for the bloodline you now possess.

44. Creatures that you have never seen before abducted you. Bizarre instruments whose purpose you could not ascertain probed you, and there are remnants of an alien language you've never heard before lodged in your mind. Whether these beings were outsiders, beings from the deep void, or something else, whatever they did rewrote you at a basic level.

45. You were executed. Whether you were hanged from an enchanted tree, run through with a relic blade, or left to die of exposure in a place filled with magical potential, what should have killed you instead marked you with great power.

46. You consumed the royal jelly of a hive of extrapalanar insects. This granted you a deep well of power, but also made you more than a little strange. Whether insects respect or loathe you may depend on whether you stole the jelly, or you were given it as a reward by the queen.

47. You were part of an audience who witnessed a cursed play. The cursed rite drives most mad, but a part of its power lives on inside your memory. You occasionally have flashbacks to the performance, and lines of dialogue may come unbidden in a language you don't speak. Your magic is often musical in nature, and it often draws the attention of those who know of the play.

48. Your brain was trepanned. The procedure, which used rods made of unique materials to open specific parts of your skull, left you with an awakened mind full of eldritch power.

49. You fell into a volcano that exists on the border of the material plan, and another plane. Though you were greatly wounded, you emerged from the experienced altered by what happened when you tumbled through that gap.

50. You found the end of a rainbow. Whether the rainbow led you to a pool of arcane power, or the light itself arced through from another plane of existence, you emerged filled with a light you had not known before that incident.

Come to The City of The Sorcerers!

For those who feel inspired to try any of these unique sorcerous origins, mayhap you need to come visit Archbliss, City of The Sorcerers! A floating city of secrets that some say holds more magic than anywhere in Sundara, the guide to this city is available for both Pathfinder Classic as well as Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

Complete with a city history, map, and stats for the Spellwarper firearms, feats for membership in one of the city's noble magic houses, and even for playing members of the city's elite Spell Hunters who are trained to take down spellcasters, there's something in here for everyone!

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About the Creator

Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.



Blog: Improved Initiative and The Literary Mercenary

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  • Erin Schram2 years ago

    I didn't see a post in the Paizo forums as you made with 50 Shades of Rage: Flavoring The Barbarian's Signature Power (, so I made a Vocal account to respond here. I had responded as Mathmuse in the 50 Shades of Rage thread. My wife has played two sorcerers from the same halfling family in campaigns run by two different gamemasters. Wealday Addams was intended as a creepy character in a Serpent's Skull adventure path, so she had your origin #2, Subject of Arcane Experimentation. Doctor Addams of Midal used his halfling slaves as lab subjects. Wealday (he named his subjects after their day of birth in the Golarion calendar) was infused with eldritch essences. She developed Aberrant bloodline sorcerer powers, used them to escape, and stowed about the ship that was shipwrecked at the beginning of the adventure path. Wealday's cousin Toilday was injected with red dragon blood. He did not develop any powers, so Doctor Addams delegated him to tending exotic animals in his menagerie. Toilday was rescued from slavery by the Bellflower Society and settled in Nirmathas under the name Sam. He spent a year and a half as a stable boy and goat herder in the village Phaendar before the events of my PF2-converted Ironfang Invasion adventure path. After rescuing villagers from the invasion by the Ironfang Legion, Sam's belated Red Draconic bloodline powers emerged (in game terms, the halfling rogue Sam took a 2nd-level Sorcerer Multiclass Dedication feat). On the other hand, the leshy sorcerer Honey in my Ironfang Invasion campaign gained her sorcerous powers through a route not on your list. A leaf druid healer awakened a Goldflame Honeysuckle Vine as his leshy familiar. When the druid was killed by bandits, the familiar studied the bandits, killed the bandits, and then resumed the same lifestyle she had at the druid's side, wandering from village to village to tend the sick. She was fey-blooded because she was a magical plant creature from a fey forest. Thus, we can throw in #51, You are a Magical Creature and such powers are natural to your species.

  • Whoaaa this was super interesting

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