Unlike true magic, one does not need to be Awakened (or Enlightened) to use sorcery. Thus, any mortal with sufficient traits can become a sorcerer and use the linear paths of hedge magic. As a result, sorcery is the most common form of magic among humans in the World of Darkness. During the Dark Medieval, a similar linear technique separate from the Pillars of High Magic known as Incantations existed.
In contrast to psychic abilities, sorcery is not an innate ability and has to be learned. As such, it is always a deliberate choice, instead of an accident. Individuals that have taken up the study of sorcery describe themselves driven by something they refer to as the Yearning. This yearning manifests as a hunger for occult secrets and hidden knowledge that every sorcerer shares.
Vampire: The Masquerade
Path-based linear magic has much in common with blood magic. As such, Clans that have traditions of blood magic often search among sorcerers for possible recruits for the Embrace or as servants. This is one of the reasons sorcerers have learned to keep their cover.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse
While the Garou themselves rarely concern themselves with sorcery, many of their Kinfolk do in order to support their relatives in their protection of Gaia. Some Garou think that this gives them an unnecessary degree of power and endangers them, others encourage it, seeing that everyone who knows of the Wyrm should have the tools to fight it. The Bastet tribes of the Qualmi, Bubasti, and Ceilican also study their own versions sorcery and often practice it themselves. Some Kitsune are also able to learn their own versions of Paths of Sorcery.
The Wyrm and its banes teach the willing their own sorcererous arts. The Enlightened Society of the Weeping Moon was a well-known group of wyrmish sorcerers during the Victorian Age. In general, most Garou tend to view sorcerers as being no different than Awakened.
Mage: The Ascension
As mages understand it, linear magic resides within the bounds of the Consensus (barely), and as such, it does not cause Paradox, unlike the dynamic magic of mages. Despite their magical talents, sorcerers are still sleepers, but their connection with the magical world makes them ideal consors and acolytes to Awakened mages.
Within the various crafts and traditions, the separation between a sorcerer and a mage is not always clear. Some crafts, like the Bata'a, have no separation whatsoever. Others, like the Order of Hermes, incorporate them into their structure at the lower rungs, hoping to train them to eventually awaken.
Since the Reckoning, Sorcerers have become much more prominent among the Traditions, since several Masters and other high-ranking mages were lost on the other side of the Gauntlet. The same can be seen within the rise of the Extraordinary Citizen among the Technocratic Union.
Wraith: The Oblivion
Mummy: The Resurrection
Most sorcerers are independent or members of the various traditions or the technocracy, but there are groups dedicated soley to the study of sorcery outside of these that care not for the ascension war. Some of these groups still remain and are active in the modern nights, but most have either gone extinct, joined with one of the traditions, or are too small to be relevant. The following are the most well known or prominent:
- Ancient Order of the Aeon Rites
- Children of Osiris
- Cult of Isis
- Cult of Mercury
- Maison Liban
- Nephite Priesthood
- Order of the Golden Fly
- The Silver Portal
- The Star Council
The diverse forms of sorcery can include Roma curses, high school Wiccans' spells, voodoo and folk magic. However, specific effects can be codified into various Paths, each representing a fairly narrow category of magical effect. Two sorcerers may achieve the same effect with very different methods and use very different terminology, but they are still on the same Path.
For more information, see Path (MTAs)
Sorcerer Revised Edition introduced several changes to the system of linear magic. Among them was a new system based on aspects, which were designed to give the spell system of sorcerers more flexibility. Each aspect had to be specified before the casting, therefor dividing up successes for a greater range of effects.
In the 20th Anniversary Editions, this complex system has been abandoned for the previous, much simpler system, in which aspects are not separate from the overall number of dots in a Path.