Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Sorcerers
Since Xanathar’s Guide to Everything was released late last year, I’ve been reading through the new subclasses and considering how I’d like to use them. this week I’ve been having a look at the new sorcerous origins.
The divine soul is a sorcerer whose magical abilities come from connection to a divine being such as a god or an angel. They might be descended from a divine entity or they might have been chosen by a god. Xanathar’s Guide says that these sorcerers may be perceived as a threat to institutional religion. I mean, why go a church or temple when you could hang out with your god’s scion?
Divine souls have access to the sorcerer and cleric spell lists, as well as one extra spell related to the alignment of their divine source. From the outset, divine protection can help them improve disappointing saving throws or attack rolls. Later on, the divine soul can also spend sorcery points to reroll healing dice and at the highest levels they can use a bonus action to regain up to half of their hitpoints, providing that they’ve already lost at least half.
All of these benefits add up to a character who will appear to be especially blessed or lucky, as though someone out there is looking out for them. What I’d like to do with this class option is make a character who’s an aspiring cult leader, mixing religion with ‘infinite potential’ ideas. Another thing I wouldn’t mind trying (which could go along with the cult leader idea) is making a character who is actually a reincarnation of a dead god, seeking to return to glory.
This subclass option represents a sorcerer whose magical abilities come from the Shadowfell, the material plane’s dark parallel. They tend to have a dark and gloomy disposition, to the point where they might seem a bit dead. I’m picturing someone like Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series. (If you’re using this option, just use Alan Rickman’s voice.)
This subclass grants darkvision and the darkness spell, and an ability to drop to one hitpoint when they character should drop to zero. But the feature I find most interesting is the shadow sorcerer’s ability to summon a shadow hound. The summoned hound seems like it could pose a decent threat, but it only has a few hitpoints, so it will dissolve after only a little bit of damage. I could see a cruel and manipulative shadow sorcerer summoning one of these to attack an opponent, then suggesting that they might have imagined it. After all, the hound disappeared as soon as it was hit. Later on, this subclass grants the ability to teleport between shadows and at the highest levels they can take on a shadowy form themselves, allowing them to move through solid objects and resist most kinds of damage.