Lunar Sorcerer 5E: Spellcasting Powered by the Moon

Dragonlance has finally arrived in 5E, and most players have been waiting anxiously to get their hands on some new character options. While there is only one new subclass to speak of, it offers an interesting approach to spellcasting using the power of the moon(s) in your setting. Ready to dig in? Keep reading our Lunar Sorcerer 5E Guide for all the details.

The Ultimate Lunar Sorcerer 5E Guide

lunar sorcerer 5e

So is the lunar sorcerer any good? On the surface, it does a lot of what you would normally look for in a sorcerer subclass. The lunar sorcerer gets some additional spells, which is always a welcome option. In fact, there are 15 different spells added to your sorcerer spell list, which is the most available of any subclass to date. There are some creative ways to use your metamagic points as well, although it can be a bit of a pain to track and use them. All told, this subclass is a nice option with a fun theme, but it is not overpowered by any stretch of the imagination.

Lunar Embodiment (1st Level)

Right away, you pick new spells that don’t count against the number of sorcerer spells you know. You have a choice of three sets of spells based on the phase of the moon you choose. The spells include:

Sorcerer LevelFull Moon SpellNew Moon SpellCrescent Moon Spell
1stshieldray of sicknesscolor spray
3rdlesser restorationblindness/deafnessalter self
5thdispel magicvampiric touchphantom steed
7thdeath wardconfusionhallucinatory terrain
9thRary’s telepathic bondhold monstermislead

Whenever you finish a long rest, you can choose what lunar phase manifests its power through your magic: Full Moon, New Moon, or Crescent Moon. While in the chosen phase, you can cast one 1st-level spell of the associated phase in the Lunar Spells table once without expending a spell slot. Once you cast a spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

First thing’s first: that is a lot of spells! While the way this is laid out can be confusing, it is important to note that you gain access to each of these spells as a spell you know regardless of the phase of the moon you select. That is a major expansion of spells available to you. If that wasn’t enough, your choice of phase of the moon gives you one free casting of the first-level spell of that phase without using a spell slot. That means from day one, you can cast your choice of shield, ray of sickness, or color spray an extra time. This feature alone makes the lunar sorcerer one of the strongest sorcerer origins. Adding up to 15 of them to the list of spells you know neutralizes one of the big weaknesses of the class.

Moon Fire (Level 1)

You can call down the radiant light of the moon on command. You learn the sacred flame spell, which doesn’t count against the number of sorcerer cantrips you know. When you cast the spell, you can target one creature as normal or target two creatures within range that are within 5 feet of each other.

Your mileage may vary on this one. Essentially, you gain a slightly improved version of sacred flame. Looking at it another way, you pick up a version of acid splash that deals radiant instead of acid damage. The end result is an extra cantrip that is better than either sacred flame or acid splash. Is it strong enough to justify an entire subclass feature? Probably not. But given the major expansion of your spell list you just got from Lunar Embodiment, it’s not bad in tandem for level 1. The spell scales well, and there will be times throughout an entire campaign where this will be the best spell available to you.

Lunar Boons (Level 6)

The current phase of your Lunar Embodiment can affect your Metamagic feature. Each Lunar Embodiment phase is associated with certain schools of magic, as shown here:
Full Moon. Abjuration and divination spells
New Moon. Enchantment and necromancy spells
Crescent Moon. Illusion and transmutation spells
Whenever you use Metamagic on a spell of a school of magic associated with your current Lunar Embodiment phase, you can reduce the sorcery points spent by 1 (minimum 0). You can reduce the sorcery points spent for your Metamagic a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

There are a lot of different directions you can go here. Unfortunately, there are not enough options to really make this feature worth it. On the margins, you will have a chance to reduce the cost of your metamagic – a little. Limiting it to the phase of the moon means you will have a handful of spells at any given time that this will apply to. It’s a little lackluster, to me.

If you choose the Full Moon, you have some interesting but situational options. Twinning banishment is a great use of the spell, while certain games could greatly benefit from a subtle counterspell. With New Moon, casting subtle suggestion out of combat is useful. Crescent Moon probably has the most options, including twinning phantasmal force, polymorph, or enlarge/reduce. These are all things that are already possible, however, and saving a single sorcery point when you do it is only so helpful.

Waxing and Waning (Level 6)

You gain greater control over the phases of your lunar magic. As a bonus action, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change your current Lunar Embodiment phase to a different one.

You can now cast one 1st-level spell from each lunar phase of the Lunar Spells table once without expending a spell slot, provided your current phase is the same as the lunar phase spell. Once you cast a lunar phase spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

This is another so-so option. The mechanics here aren’t the problem, however, as the idea of switching phases using a sorcery point is kind of cool. The issue is there is hardly a reason to do so. If you are expecting combat, you are likely to remain in Full Moon phase until you get an opportunity to cast shield without burning a spell slot. Unfortunately, it is rarely going to be worth burning a sorcery point and a bonus action just to cast ray of sickness or color spray.

The other use of Waxing and Waning outside of those spells is using it to maximize the use of Lunar Bonds. This is also less than ideal for a few reasons. First, the odds are good you won’t make a lot of use of Lunar Boons. Second, it isn’t worth switching unless you plan to use Lunar Boons to reduce your sorcery point costs at least twice, otherwise the entire thing is a wash.

Lunar Empowerment (Level 14)

The power of a lunar phase saturates your being. While you are in a Lunar Embodiment phase, you also gain the following benefit associated with that phase:
Full Moon. You can use a bonus action to shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet or to douse the light. In addition, you and creatures of your choice have advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) and Wisdom (Perception) checks while within the bright light you shed.
New Moon. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. In addition, while you are entirely in darkness, attack rolls have disadvantage against you.
Crescent Moon. You have resistance to necrotic and radiant damage.

Lunar Empowerment brings some permanent boosts to the Lunar sorcerer, which can change depending on your phase of the moon. At level 14, you get another reason to potentially rely on Waxes and Wanes to change your phase. While none of these options are overpowering, they are useful and are occasionally worth burning a sorcery point to switch from one to another.

Full moon gives you 10 feet of bright light. More importantly, you and allies within 10 feet of the glowing light get advantage on Investigation and Perception checks, This is a good option for dungeon crawls where you are looking for treasures or mysteries. This option does little for you during combat however.

New moon is useful during combat, but only in the right circumstances. You get advantage on stealth checks, which are great for skulking around. In combat, attacks against you are made with disadvantage when you are entirely in darkness. How useful this is depends on how likely you are to be in full darkness.

Crescent moon is the most useful option in combat. Of course, there are plenty of battles where you will never face necrotic or radiant damage. That said, necrotic damage is one of the most common damage types you will come across.

Lunar Phenomenon (level 18)

As a bonus action, you can tap into a special power of your current Lunar Embodiment phase. Alternatively, as part of the bonus action you take to change your lunar phase using the Waxing and Waning feature, you can immediately use the power of the lunar phase you are entering:
Full Moon. You radiate moonlight for a moment. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or be blinded until the end of its next turn. In addition, one creature of your choice in that area regains 3d8 hit points.
New Moon. You momentarily emanate gloom. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC or take 3d10 necrotic damage and have its speed reduced to 0 until the end of its next turn. In addition, you become invisible until the end of your next turn, or until immediately after you make an attack roll or cast a spell.
Crescent Moon. You can magically teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 60 feet of yourself. You can bring along one willing creature you can see within 5 feet of yourself. That creature teleports to an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of your destination space. In addition, you and that creature gain resistance to all damage until the start of your next turn.
Once you use one of these bonus action benefits, you can’t use that benefit again until you finish a long rest, unless you spend 5 sorcery points to use it again.

Lunar phenomenon is all about those bonus actions. As you might have guessed by now, the bonus action you are able to perform depends on the phase of the moon you are currently in. Some of these are better than others.

Full moon allows you to glow light that heals a single ally and blinds some enemies. These effects are mild, and high-level monsters will frequently make the saving throw, but it’s not bad. The New Moon option is better, as you immobilize enemies and deal damage to creatures in your vicinity, all while turning invisible. I especially like the Crescent Moon feature, as you essentially gain Dimension Door.

You can only use these options once per long rest. While you can spend five sorcery points to use them again, there will usually be better ways to spend those points.

Best Race for Lunar Sorcerers

There are a few things to look for when selecting the race of your lunar sorcerer. You want to focus your build on squeezing the most Charisma out of your character as possible, especially early on. Given the focus on casting in the subclass, you will want to maximize your spell attacks and saving throw DCs. In addition to ability score bonuses, you could also benefit from certain racial traits that maximize your ability to cast spells while avoiding danger.

Of course, you can make any race work as a lunar sorcerer if you really want. This is especially true in the case of newer racial options offered by WOTC. In recent years, WOTC has moved away from fixed ability score bonuses for races. Instead, they now have the flexibility to select the ability scores that will get +2 and +1 bonuses at character creation. This flexibility lets you play the race of your choice without giving up optimization.

Variant Human

It’s the boring answer, but variant human is a great choice for one obvious reason – the free feat. There are plenty of great feats that would work for this subclass, but I especially like the Fey-Touched feat. Not only can you get an extra point in Charisma, but you also pick up misty step and a 1st level divination or enchantment spell of your choice.


When it comes to monstrous races, the aaracokra is another obvious choice. Free flight at first level means you can avoid some of the risks of melee combat while casting spells. Of course, there are other threats that come with flying to be aware of, the aarakocra makes for a great sorcerer.


The fairy race for 5E is fun for a lot of reasons. Like the aarakocra, you gain free flight at first level. Even better, you pick up a few spells as you level, including druidcraft, faerie fire, and enlarge/reduce. Fairies also offer +2 and +1 ability score increase to two ability scores of your choice. This means you can still max out Charisma while boosting that important Dexterity score, too.


With their update in Monsters of the Multiverse, the eladrin are an excellent option for lunar sorcery. You get to select your ASIs so you can focus on Charisma and Dexterity. Darkvision and Fey Ancestry are great fits, and you also have a souped up version of Misty Step. This might be my favorite option.

Best Feats for Lunar Sorcerers

There are so many great feats in 5E to choose from, and plenty of them make sense for the lunar sorcerer. But when should you take a feat as a lunar sorcerer. In my opinion, your best bet is to maximize your ability as a spellcaster as soon as possible. That means passing on feats until you get your Charisma score to 20. Of course, your background or racial selection could give you a feat or two.

When selecting a feat for my lunar sorcerer, I look for two things. First, feats that increase my Charisma score are awesome. Second, anything that provides additional spellcasting is a great bonus.


I mentioned this feat above, but I love Fey-Touched for a Lunar Sorcerer. You get so much value here, with an additional Charisma ASI, misty step, and another useful first-level spell of your choice. This is a great option if your racial bonus leaves you with an odd-numbered Charisma score. At your first ASI level, you can take this feat and still bump your Charisma modifier up while grabbing some great spells too.


Shadow-Touched is almost as good as fey-touched. This feat works the same, but you get different spells in addition to a +1 to your Charisma. You get invisibility which is always nice, but the additional choices available aren’t that great. Still, this is a perfect option for some sorcerers.

Metamagic Adept

Metamagic Adept might seem like an odd option, given that a lunar sorcerer already has access to metamagic and sorcery points. That said, why not add more of what makes this class so fun? YOu not only get additional sorcery points, but you also pick up two more types of metamagic with this feat. You can use these points interchangeably, meaning you could pump all of your combined points into a metamagic feature selected through this feat if you choose.

Inspiring Leader

While not related to your prowess as a spellcaster, the Inspiring Leader feat takes advantage of your high charisma score. At the highest level, you can spend 10 minutes dishing out 25 temporary HP to six allies, including yourself. The limitation on this feat is based on who receives the HP, which means in a larger fight, you could boost a large number of creatures.

Best Backgrounds for a Lunar Sorcerer

There are a few things to look for in a background. For starters, additional languages are always nice. There are also a few backgrounds – like the Astral Wanderer – that give you an additional feat at the beginning of the campaign. These are notably stronger than some options, but to date many of them are linked closely with specific settings. Arguably the most important thing to look for in a background is a set of skill proficiencies that are a good fit for your ability score spread.

Astral Drifter

The astral drifter is a fun option intended for Spelljammer campaigns. The skill proficiencies aren’t a great fit, but the tradeoff is well worth it. Not only do you get two additional languages, but you also gain the Magic Initiate feat. You are required to select from the cleric spell list, but these are great options that you wouldn’t have otherwise.


Courtier nets you persuasion, which is great for a high charisma character. While you might not have the wisdom to make the most of the insight proficiency, it is still nice for sorcerers who act as the face of the party. Two languages are also welcome additions.

Faction Agent

Faction Agent is not a bad option at all. Two languages are always helpful, and you get the Charisma-based skill of your choice. Insight isn’t necessarily your strong suit, but it is a skill that many DMs rely heavily on.

Multiclassing for Lunar Sorcerers

Whether or not you choose to multiclass is your decision. While there are several dips into other classes that will benefit you, there is no doubt that simply progressing through each level of sorcerer is powerful as well.

One of the things to consider is that Lunar sorcery might make for a better one- or two-level dip into another class compared to the other way around. For example, a warlock character could make great use of the additional spells that come with a single level of this subclass. If you are looking for options to multiclass for your Lunar Sorcerer, here are some of our favorites.

Hexblade Warlock

The combination of hexblade warlock and sorcerer is a classic one – and for good reason. Charisma is your spellcasting ability, and you pick up the always-cool Hexblade’s curse, and you have a few additional spell options to choose from. A single level of Hexblade also gives you proficiency in shields and medium armor, which is a great way to increase your durability.

Forge Cleric

Multiclassing into a cleric might not seem like the obvious choice, given the conflict between spellcasting levels. However, the forge cleric provides a lot of value, even for a one-level dip. The forge cleric gives you access to heavy armor proficiency, which dramatically improves your survivability while saving you the use of Mage Armor. The forge cleric takes survivability a step further, as you can give your armor a +1 bonus to your AC.

Valor Bard

I am hesitant to recommend multiclassing as a bard, given that the best stuff requires three levels dedicated to the class. While that will delay high level spells, the bard is still a full caster which means you won’t miss out on slots. Taking three levels of valor bard gives you shield and medium armor proficiency at level three, plus some expanded use of bardic inspiration. Sorcerers and bards are a natural combo, and this is a strong option.

Example Lunar Sorcerer Build

Let’s build a fairy lunar sorcerer, which could be a fun option for Wild Beyond the Witchlight. As we discussed above, the fairy is a wonderful fit for this subclass. We get our choice of two abilities to add bonuses to, so we’ll go with +2 charisma and +1 dexterity. The build will use standard array, and we’ll pick up the Courtier background.

5E Lunar Sorcerer Build
Race: Fairy
Ability Scores: STR (8) DEX (15 + 1) CON (13) INT (10) WIS (12) CHA (14 + 2)
Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion, Deception, Intimidation
Starting Equipment: light crossbow and 20 bolts, component pouch, explorer’s pack, set of fine clothes, 5 gp
Languages: Gnomish, Sylvan, Common
LevelsNew FeaturesChoices To Make
-Sorcerous Origin: Lunar Sorcery
There are a lot of decisions to make at level 1. See the above table for our Racial and Background choices. It also includes our basic Equipment Choices. At this level, you take your Sorcerous Origin.
Moon Phase: We’ll start with Full Moon to take advantage of a free casting of Shield.
Spellcasting: Before you select spells, we start out with three thanks to the subclass choice. You get Shield, Ray of Sickness, and Color Spray to start, and you can cast Shield once without using a spell slot. Rounding out the list, I’ll add Mage Armor and Sleep.
Cantrips: Four cantrips out of the gate is awesome, and druidcraft from our racial selection makes five. Sacred Flame from the subclass makes six. I’ll round out the list with some classics: fire bolt, message, light, and mending. Your cantrips will be your primary damage source early on.
2-Font of MagicAt level 2 you get sorcery points, but without metamagic they really just recharge your spells.
New Spells: You get another 1st-level spell here, we’ll pick up Chromatic Orb.
3-MetamagicLevel 3 is where things get for the sorcerer. You pick up metamagic and have access to second-level spells.
Metamagic. Some of these options are better than other, but I’ll pick up Twinned Spell to use with Chromatic Orb. I’ll also go with quickened spell which is helpful in a number of ways.
New Spells. We learn a new spell, and we get two second-level spell slots. I’ll add Scorching Ray. We’ll also pick up three new spells from the subclass: Lesser Restoration, Alter Self, and Blindness/Deafness.
4-Ability Score Improvement
-Sorcerous Versatility (Optional)
For our ASI, we’ll take +2 for our Charisma.
New Spells. At level four we get another cantrip and another known spell. I’ll add Mage Hand and Hold Person.
5-Magical Guidance (Optional)New Spells. The only choice we make at level 5 involves new spells. We get a new known spell and two level-three spell slots. I’ll take this opportunity to pick up Fireball. As a lunar sorcerer, you also gain Dispel Magic, Vampiric Touch, and Phantom Steed.
6-Lunar Boons
-Waxing and Waning
Lunar Phase: While some builds might prefer to switch moon phase here, I’ll stick with Full Moon. A free use of Shield seems more beneficial than anything offered with Lunar Boons.
New Spells. At level 6, we get a new known spell. I’ll add Counterspell.
7New Spells. The only choice at this level is selecting your new fourth-level spell. I’ll go with Banishment. It’s a nice spell, and you can take advantage of Lunar Boons should you spend sorcery points to cast it. With your subclass, you’ll also add Death Ward, Confusion, and Hallucinatory Terrain.
8-Ability Score Improvement
-Sorcerous Versatility (Optional)
We’ll take +2 to Charisma, finally getting that sweet +5 bonus.
New Spells. Storm Sphere
9New Spells. The only choice here is adding a new spell. We’ll choose Wall of Fire, along with the final batch of spells from the subclass. These include: Rary’s Telepathic Bond, Hold Monster, and Mislead.
10-MetamagicNew Spells. Synaptic Static and Prestidigitation.
Metamagic. Careful Spell.
11New Spells. At 11, we get our first taste of 6th level spells. I’ll go with Sunbeam.
12-Ability Score ImprovementWhile I’m tempted to boost Dexterity here, I’ll pick up the Metamagic feat instead. The extra sorcery points are the best part, but we’ll also add Distant Spell and Subtle Spell.
13New Spells. Finally, we get 7th level spells. I’ll go with Teleport.
14-Lunar EmpowermentMoon Phase. I will probably stay with Full Moon for the reasons listed previously, but in some cases switching to Crescent makes sense.
15New Spells. Now we add our 8th level spell. I’ll go with Dominate Monster.
16-Ability Score Improvement+2 Dexterity, for a small AC boost.
17-MetamagicMetamagic. At this point, we have got the best options, so we’ll take Heightened Spell.
New Spells. Here, you get your one and only 9th level spell. Why not Wish?
18-Lunar PhenomenonYour only choice here is your moon phase. These are fairly situation-specific, but I will probably default to New Moon due to the strong Lunar Phenomenon option.
19-Ability Score Improvement+2 Dexterity
20-Divine Intervention ImprovementNo choices to make here.

Concluding our Lunar Sorcerer 5E Guide

That’s it for our lunar sorcerer 5E Guide. When it comes to the sorcerer class, this is a fairly strong option based on the expanded spell list alone. The phases of the moon are an interesting concept, even if they are not always that useful.

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