The sorcerer class in D&D 3.5 is fairly interesting. Unlike wizards, sorcerers get fewer spells on the whole, but they don’t have to decide at the beginning of the day which ones to memorize—they choose at the time of casting. Instead of basing their abilities on intelligence (unlike wizards, they don’t rely on book-study), they base them on charisma (because they rely on force of personality). Often a sorcerer’s selection of spells tends to match her personality.
I prefer playing a sorcerer to playing a wizard, despite the loss of versatility. I hate bookkeeping when I play a game. I don’t want to keep track of how much it will cost to inscribe each spell, how many pages I have left in my spellbook, whether I have the right spellbook on me, and so on. I don’t want to keep track of which spells I’ve memorized each day, and have the success of an adventure (or my own helpfulness in it) hinge on whether I’ve chosen the right spell to memorize without any advance warning as to what might be useful. I know it’s the sort of thing that’s perfect for some folks, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I adore the intuitive approach that sorcerers use.
That said, I’ve noticed one thing about the sorcerer class that seems a tad broken to me: the skill point system. Sorcerers are charisma-based, so that’s likely to be your high stat. The class description says of the sorcerer, “he makes an excellent spy or diplomat for an adventuring group,” which implies abilities such as Gather Information, Diplomacy, and so on. Yet the construction of the class makes it virtually impossible to actually create the kind of character they imply.
Sorcerers get the same number of skill points that wizards do—(2 + Int modifier) x 4 at first level, and 2 + Int modifier thereafter, despite the fact that, unlike wizards, they’re unlikely to have a high Intelligence. They have fewer class skills than wizards do, which means fewer skills that they can buy on a one-for-one point basis, meaning those skill points won’t go very far unless they want to buy up a very limited set of skills. Finally, only one of those class skills is actually charisma-based—Bluff—which means it would cost so much to buy up those skills that are supposedly so appropriate to the sorcerer that you might as well not even bother.
It’s as though the designer used the wizard as a numerical template for the sorcerer, and then forgot to finish adjusting it as necessary to account for the actual class differences.
My DM solved this by turning three abilities he felt were appropriate to the class description into class skills for the sorcerer: Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Sense Motive. This has worked out quite well; I still have to spend my points very carefully, but I can create the kind of character that the class description implies and that I’d been hoping to create.
I do have to add that if you really want to play around with the whole “spells match your character’s personality” thing, it does help to have some books on hand other than the main player’s handbook, and to have a DM who doesn’t mind your picking spells from odd books. It can be tough to find enough spells of a given level that fit together—although there’s no reason you can’t also toss in a few utility spells that your character would find useful.