The sorcerer class is in an interesting spot in the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. They are constantly compared to wizards, and rightfully so. It is true they lack the versatility of the wizard class. However, these full casters are still a strong option. Sure, you might not have as many options available to you as a wizard, but the things you do best outshine most magic users in 5E. To learn more about this fun class, dive into our Sorcerer 5E Guide!
Updated for Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Sorcerer 5E Handbook
Unlike other classes of spellcasters, sorcerers do not seek out the use of magic. Instead, the magic flows through them whether they like it or not. This latent magical energy must be controlled, however, for a sorcerer to maximize their abilities.
The sorcerous origin of their magical abilities differs from a warlock’s patron. In fact, many sorcerers will never know the source of their power. Their powers could emanate from a gift of the gods, the kiss of a dryad, or birth into a particular bloodline.
the journey of a sorcerer is not to learn, to appease a patron, or to serve a God. Instead, the sorcerer’s struggle is to control and tap the magic that runs through them inherently.
All sorcerers share the same traits and features. That said, there is some versatility in the class, especially depending on the sorcerous origin you select.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per sorcerer level
HP at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
HP at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per sorcerer level after 1st
Weapons: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- one light crossbow and 20 bolts or any simple weapon
- a component pouch or an arcane focus
- a dungeoneer’s pack or an explorer’s pack
- Two daggers
Sorcerous Origin (Level 1)
Your sorcerous origin is your subclass. Unlike with some classes, you are able to select this archetype at level 1. You will gain features specific to your sorcerous origin at levels 1, 6, 14, and 18. We will discuss these in-depth in the section on subclasses below.
Font of Magic (Level 2)
The two cornerstones of a sorcerer in 5E are Font of Magic and Metamagic, which your character will pick up at level 3. Font of Magic introduces sorcery points, a system you can use for a wide array of purposes. We will discuss most of those later, as these options are primarily tied to the subclass you choose.
Sorcery Point Mechanics
Starting at level 2, you gain a sorcerer point for each level of sorcerer you obtain. For example, a Level 5 sorcerer gets 5 points, and a level 10 sorcerer gets 10. You can never increase the number of points you have above your level maximum. You do regain spent points following a long rest, however.
There is one use of sorcery points available to the entire class. It is known as flexible casting. Flexible casting allows you to spend points to create additional spell slots. These spell slots expire after a long rest, whether you cast a spell or not. The table below outlines the cost of creating spell slots by level.
|Creating Spell Slots|
|Spell Slot Level||Sorcery Point Cost|
Creating these spell slots only takes a bonus action on your turn, and you cannot create slots above level 5. Alternatively, you can also sacrifice spell slots to obtain more sorcery points. As a bonus action during your turn, you can expend a spell slot to obtain sorcery points equal to the slot level. This means you will spend more sorcery points creating a spell slot than you will gain by sacrificing it.
Metamagic (Level 3)
Metamagic is another important aspect of the sorcerer class. it allows to you to customize each spell you cast with the use of sorcery points. Unless otherwise noted, you can only use one metamagic effect on each spell you cast. In all, there are ten options available to your character at level 3. However, there is a large gap between the three strong options and the remaining seven choices. You only get two of these to start with. You can also gain an additional option at levels 10 and 17, so you must choose wisely. We’ll look at each of them below.
Careful Spell allows you to protect some creatures from spells that require saving throws. By spending 1 sorcery point, you can choose as many characters up to your charisma modifier that lets them automatically succeed a saving throw. While useful in places, careful maneuvering on a battle map will solve most of these issues without the need for spending a sorcery point.
Any spell with a range of 5 feet or more can see their range doubled at the cost of 1 sorcery point. Unfortunately, this isn’t the strongest option. Most spells have reasonable ranges on their own. You also can’t use this to enlarge the size of cones or AOE effects. This will rarely be useful.
Each time you roll spell damage, you can spend a sorcery point to reroll a damage die. You can reroll up to the number of dice equal to your charisma modifier, but you must accept the new rolls. With a high charisma modifier this isn’t terrible, but the amount of additional damage you will typically do is probably not worth a sorcerer’s point. There are exceptions, of course. Rolls that use a large number of dice make for a tempting use of a sorcerer’s point. The best use is often for rolls regarding AOE damage, though. Re-rolling a 1 from a D6 roll is only going to add an average of 2.5 points of damage, but that matters more if it is spread out over a crowd of hostiles.
Extended spell lets you spend a sorcery point to double the duration of any spell that lasts a minute or longer. The extended spell time is capped at 24 hours. This isn’t a bad option for some of those strong buff spells that only last a minute, but there are usually better options than this.
Heightened Spell is one of the clear winners here. With Heightened Spell, you can make a target of a spell that requires a saving throw to resist its effects roll with disadvantage on their first save attempt. It costs three sorcery points, but this is a good option when casting powerful spells.
My favorite option is Quickened Spell. It allows you to spend two sorcery points to cast a spell that would normally require an action as a bonus action instead. This lets you cast a regular spell and a cantrip in the same turn, which is legit.
this very situational option lets you cast a spell without verbal or somatic components. If your DM is a stickler for these requirements, this might come in handy. Most of the time this will be of little to no value, however.
Another great option, although also the most expensive one. With this option, you can cast a spell that targets one creature (but that doesn’t have a range of “self”) on a second target as well. You must spend 1 sorcery points equal to the spell level to target another creature. This is only available for spells that cannot already target multiple creatures at the level you intend to cast it.
Sorcerous Restoration (Level 20)
You regain for expended sorcery points after every short rest. This is a very nice buff at the highest level, which may give you pause on taking any multiclassing levels.
Optional Class Features
As is the case with every class, the sorcerer gains some optional class features in Tasha’s Guide to Everything. Unless noted otherwise below, these features augment instead of replace existing features.
Additional Sorcerer Spells
The following spells are added to the Sorcerer spell list:
- Booming blade
- Green-flame blade
- Lightning lure
- Mind sliver
- Sword burst
- Tasha’s caustic brew
- Flame blade
- Flaming sphere
- Magic weapon
- Tasha’s mind whip
- Intellect fortress
- Vampiric touch
- Fire shield
- Bigby’s hand
- Flesh to stone
- Otiluke’s freezing sphere
- Tasha’s otherworldly guise
- Dream of the blue veil
- Blade of disaster
You have two new metamagic options to choose from:
- Seeking Spell. When you miss on a spell attack roll, you can spend 2 sorcery points to reroll the attack. You can use this metamagic option even if you expended sorcery points for a different metamagic option.
- Transmuted Spell. You can spend 1 sorcery point to change the damage from a spell from acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder to any other type of damage on the list.
Sorcerous Versatility (Level 4)
Each time you reach a level that grants an Ability Score Improvement, you can swap out metamagic options or cantrips.
Magical Guidance (Level 5)
Any time you make an ability check that fails, you can reroll the check by spending a sorcery point. You must use the second roll.
Subclasses – Sorcerous Origins
At five sorcerer subclasses, sorcerers have fewer archetype options compared to many other classes. They do enjoy the advantage of picking a subclass at level 1, which is somewhat uncommon. While you are locked into your subclass early on, you also start gaining the benefits right away.
Most of these subclasses are strong options, although there are certainly winners and losers here. Below we will give a brief rundown of all five options.
See our Complete Guide to the Aberrant Mind Origin
The Aberrant Mind sorcerer is another of the psionics-themed subclasses released in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Unlike the Soulknife rogue, the Aberrant Mind does not have a pool of Psionic Energy dice to throw around. While the subclasses’ ties to psionics are tenous, mechanically it is a great option.
- Psionic Spells. You gain access to a variety of psionic-themed spells, most of which are not typically available to a sorcerer. The list includes some great options like Hunger of Hadar and summon aberration. You gain specific spells at different levels, and they do not count against the total spells you know.
- Telepathic Speech (Level 1). This form of telepathic communication has nice range but is limited to a single creature that knows your language over a short duration.
- Psionic Sorcery (Level 6). This feature lets you cast spells using sorcery points instead of spell slots. When you cast this way, you ignore verbal and somatic components and only need consumable material components.
- Psychic Defenses (Level 6). You resist psychic damage, which is meh. But you also roll with advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened, which is great.
- Revelation in Flesh (Level 14). You can spend one or more sorcery points to augment your body with options like gaining flying speed, truesight, or underwater breathing.
- Warping Implosion (Level 18). Warping Implosion not only lets you teleport 120 feet, but you also suck enemies toward the spot where you left. This deas force damage to the creatures.
See our Clockwork Soul 5E Guide
The Clockwork Soul archetype is fused with the order of the realm of Mechanus. Like Aberrant Mind, the Clockwork Soul gains a series of new spells that are awarded at different levels. While the subclass is strong, the higher-level features do not stack up to Aberrant Mind or some other options.
- Clockwork Spells. You get access to 10 new spells, each learned at odd-numbered levels. These spells don’t count against your known spells list. You get a number of strong spell options, mostly from the cleric list.
- Restore Balance (Level 1). You can get rid of advantage or disadvantage on a roll for a creature you can see within 60 feet. You get a number of uses of this feature equal to your proficiency onus.
- Bastion of Law (Level 6). You can spend 1 to 5 sorcery points to create a defensive ward. You get 1d8 for each point you spend, and can roll those dice and reduce the damage you take with those rolls.
- Trance of Order (Level 14). You enter a meditative state for one minute. During that time, attacks against you cannot benefit from advantage and rolls of 9 or lower are treated as 10s.
- Clockwork Cavalcade (Level 18). This lets you summon spirits in a 30-foot cube around you. These spirits give powerful boosts including 100 hit points to be divided as you see fit among creatures in the cube. They also repair damaged items within the cube and end the effects of spells of 6th level or lower at your discretion.
As a Divine Soul, you derive your arcane power from a connection to a divine entity. It could be a God that blessed your bloodline or even an angel somewhere in your family tree. If you have struggled picking between arcane and divine spellcasters, this option first released in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything may be for you.
- Divine Magic. You get access to cleric spells, which is incredibly powerful. You also cast them as sorcerer spells, meaning you do not suffer for splitting stats. Whenever you learn a level 1 spell or higher, it can come from either class list. You also get an additional free spell depending on your affinity, including cure wounds, inflict wounds, bless, bane, or protection from evil and good.
- Favored by the Gods (Level 1). If you fail a saving throw or miss an attack, you can roll 2d4 and add it to the total. This is available once per short or long rest.
- Empowered Healing (Level 6). Any time you or an ally within 5 feet of you rolls to determine how many HP a spell restores, you can spend a sorcery point. This point allows you to reroll any number of those dice as long as you are not incapacitated. This is available once per turn.
- Angelic Form (Level 14). As a bonus action, you can manifest wings that give you a flying speed of 30 feet. They can last until you die, dispell them, or become incapacitated.
- Unearthly Recovery (Level 18). With Unearthly Recovery, you can regain hit points equal to half of your max HP if you have fewer than half of your HP remaining. This only requires a bonus action, and is not available again until you complete a long rest.
Another strong option is the Draconic Bloodline. These sorcerers come from draconic blood that became intertwined with your family tree.
- Dragon Ancestry (Level 1). Just like with Dragonborn characters, you will have the chance to select a dragon ancestry based on the chromatic or metallic traits of your choosing. The type of dragon ancestry and the damage type associated with it will play into your other subclass features. You can also speak, read, and write Draconic. You also get to double your proficiency bonus on any charisma checks when interacting with dragons.
- Draconic Resilience (Level 1). Your HP maximum increases by one for each level you gain. You also get a scale-like skin that has a natural AC of 13 + your dexterity modifier.
- Elemental Affinity (Level 6). When you cast a spell that does the type of your damage matching your dragon ancestry, add your charisma modifier to that damage. You can also spend a sorcerer point to become resistant to that type of damage for an hour.
- Dragon Wings (Level 14). You can sprout dragon wings and fly at your current walking speed. These wins are sprouted with a bonus action and last until you dismiss them with a subsequent bonus action. If wearing armor, it must accommodate for your wings or you cannot use this ability.
- Draconic Presence (Level 18). As an action, you can use your intimidating dragon presence to give an aura of your choice of awe or fear. This aura extends for 60 feet and lasts up to one minute or until or concentration is broken, whatever is shorter. Creatures within this aura must pass a wisdom saving throw or become afraid or charmed.
An unusual subclass, the Shadow Sorcerer is nevertheless a strong option that makes powerful use of magic shadows. This subclass operates the best in the darkness, but you can make use of strong magical darkness to blind most other creatures even on bright days.
- Shadow Sorcerer Quirk (Level 1). At level one, you must select a quirk like feeling icy to the touch or appearing not to breathe when you sleep.
- Eyes in the Dark (Level 1). You gain Darkvision with a range of 120 feet. At Level 3, this also grants you the Darkness spell. It does not count against your total known spells. You can spend two sorcery points to cast this instead of using a spell slot, which also lets you see through the darkness.
- Strength of the Grave (Level 1). At level 1, when you fall to zero HP you make a Charisma save against a DC of 5 plus the damage you took. If your save is successful, you drop to 1 HP instead. This doesn’t work against radiant damage or a critical hit. If your save succeeds, Strength of the Grave is not available again until after a long rest.
- Hound of Ill Omen (Level 6). As a bonus action, spend 3 sorcery points to call forth a hound of ill omen. it targets one creature you can see within 120 feet. The hound shares the stats of a Dire Wolf, except it is medium sized and has temporary HP equal to half your sorcerer level. It also moves through creatures and objects as if it were difficult terrain. A target cannot hide from this hound.
- Shadow Walk (Level 14). You can use a bonus action to teleport from one space in dim light or darkness to another within 120 feet.
- Umbral Form (Level 18). Six sorcery points transforms you into a shadowy form. You are resistant to all but force and radiant damage and can move through creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. This lasts up to a minute.
The power of elemental air is the source of this type of magic. Unfortunately, Storm Sorcery is probably the weakest subclass despite the fun flavor. Control over the weather is cool, but this subclass has some flaws.
- Wind Speaker (Level 1). You can speak, read, and write Primordial. This lets you communicate using Aquan,Auran, Ignan, and Terran dialects. Cool, free languages you won’t encounter often!
- Tempestuous Magic (Level 1). This lets you use a gust of wind to surround you immediately before or after you cast a spell level one or higher. This gust lets you fly 10 feet without drawing opportunity attacks.
- Heart of the Storm (Level 6). This gives you resistance to lightning and thunder damage. What’s more, any spell you cast involving lightning or thunder damage lets you deal lightning or thunder damage to any creature within 10 feet of you. This damage is equal to half of your sorcerer level. The idea seems to be using Heart of the Storm to deal AOE damage and then kite away with tempestuous Magic, but traveling 10 feet still leaves you pretty close to the bad guys.
- Storm Guide (Level 6). You can stop rain in a 20-foot radius or wind in a 100-foot radius around you. Pretty weak.
- Storm’s Fury (Level 14). You deal lightning damage to anyone that hits you with a melee attack. The damage is equal to your sorcerer level. Further, the attacker is pushed 20 feet away from you if they fail a strength save.
- Wind Soul (Level 18). This gets you immunity to lightning or thunder damage. You also get a magical flying speed of 60 feet. You can also reduce your speed by half and carry 3 + your charisma modifier’s number of creatures with you.
Wild Magic comes from chaotic forces outside of our control. It can happen as a fluke at birth or be bestowed randomly from making contact with a Fey creature or another plane. This subclass is fun, but is less optimal than some other options.
- Wild Magic Surge (Level 1). Your magic is so wild, the DM can require you to roll a D20 on any spell level 1 or higher. If you roll a 1, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table to determine the random effect.
- Tides of Chaos (Level 1). Use this effect to gain advantage on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. You can use this once per long rest or after the DM requires you to roll on the Wild Magic Surge table.
- Bend Luck (Level 6). Use 2 sorcery points when another creature you can see is making an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. When you do, add 1d4 as a bonus or penalty to that roll. You can do this after the roll but before the result is announced.
- Controlled Chaos (Level 14). When you roll on the Wild Magic table, roll twice and choose from the two effects. This makes the Wild Magic table much less dangerous.
- Spell Bombardment (Level 18). Once per turn, you can gain additional damage on a spell attack when you get the maximum roll on a die. When that happens, take that die and roll again. Add that result to the total damage score. This is a pretty small damage boost for a Level 18 feature.
Just like wizards, warlocks, and bards, the sorcerer is an arcane caster. This class actually shares the most in common with bards. They both have a set number of known spells and can cast any spell from their list as long as they have a spell slot available. In other words, they have far fewer accessible spells than wizards at any given time. Sorcerers are also similar to bards in that they use Charisma as their spellcasting ability.
The spells that are available to a sorcerer are largely the same as those used by the wizard, with some exceptions. Because of the limited number of known spells, a sorcerer is more likely to cast the same spells more than once and use magic in spell slots higher than is required.
A sorcerer may use an arcane focus as their spellcasting focus. This can be a variety of things, including a wand.
Fleshing Out Your Sorcerer
If the mechanics of how you cast spells is your primary concern, this section might not be for you. However, if you want a little more depth to your sorcerer character consider these tips.
Examples of Sorcerous Origins
While your sorcerous origin is your character’s subclass, you still need to flesh out exactly what that means. Of course, many sorcerers have no idea where their magic comes from, which makes this easy. If you want more backstory to your ability to cast spells, consider these examples:
- Your family was blessed by the gods
- A member of your bloodline was a celestial
- You were present when a God created a miracle, and it connected you to the weave
- Your ancestry traces back to a dragon that took human form
- You survived a dragon attack as a child, and their power attached to you
- Long ago your bloodline served a powerful dragon that granted them powers
- You had a near-death experience, and came back with powers
- Your family heirloom is an item taken from Shadowfell
- An entity from Shadowfell is in your family tree
- You were born during a storm so powerful it forever connected you to the elements
- You nearly drown, and returned to life with newfound powers
- Your family line served a powerful djinn that granted your lineage powers
- You have always been able to manipulate the weave
- One day you woke up and boom: magic
- You entered a portal to another realm and were infused with wild magic on your return
Differences Between Sorcerers and Wizards
For new players, the differences between wizards and sorcerers can be hard to follow. While the mechanics of the two classes are somewhat distinct, the lore and approach to roleplaying is foggy. Most players with even a hint of familiarity with RPG gaming will understand most classes by their name alone. New players are unlikely to confuse barbarians and druids, for example. But sorcerers and wizards (and to a degree, warlocks) are harder to pin down since they are all types of arcane casters.
The big difference between the two classes is a character’s source of magic. Wizards have to work to manipulate the weave and master the use of magic. They obtain their powers through learning and study.
For sorcerers, their ability to use magic is innate. As we discussed with the sorcerous origins above, sorcerers were gifted with the ability to manipulate magic. How they learn to control and master this magic will vary.
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Sorcerer Optimization Tips
Regardless of the role you intend to play with your sorcerer, you will largely follow the same path for optimizing them. Below we’ll go into detail on how best to go about that.
No matter the specifics of your character, your sorcerer build is going to center around charisma. Focusing on other skills outside of charisma is largely a waste.
- Strength. Dump stat. Outside of enough strength to avoid grapples or strength saves, who needs it?
- Dexterity. Worth investing in for your AC.
- Constitution. This should be your second priority behind Charisma. You have the fewest base hit points of any class, so bulk up!
- Intelligence. Never hurts to spread some points here, but it is purely for skill checks and saving throws.
- Wisdom. Save as intelligence.
- Charisma. Controls virtually every aspect of a sorcerer. Get it to 20 ASAP.
Best Race for Sorcerer in 5E
Many players are so dedicated to optimizing their characters that they will limit themselves to only the optimal races. While I love squeezing the most out of a character, it is worth remembering that you can make most races work for a sorcerer. Sure, a bonus to charisma is excellent, but at higher levels the differences in ability points matter less. That being said, we have compiled the strongest racial options for your Sorcerer.
- Aasimar. Flight is great, especially for sorcerous origins that do not offer it at higher levels. The +2 to charisma is what really makes this a great option.
- Half-Elf. Half elves are great at most classes, but they shine here given their charisma bonus.
- Human. Humans are versatile, making them great at any class.
- Tiefling. A charisma bonus a good starting point, and fire resistance is valuable. Adding some innate spellcasting and you have a great recipe for a sorcerer.
- Yuan-Ti Pureblood. A boost to charisma, immunity to poison, and a resistance to magic? Oh yes.
- Dragonborn. A bonus to charisma and resistance to damage is great, but the strength bonus is wasted.
- Elf. There are some good options as an elf, especially for a drow. Sunlight sensitivity is a bummer, though.
- Tabaxi. Increase in charisma is good, and a bump in dexterity doesn’t hurt.
- Triton. Constitution, charisma, and innate spellcasting are all nice options.
For the most part, picking the right background for your sorcerer is about obtaining additional skills and languages. You only start with two skills initially, which is low if you intend to use your charisma to be a party face. The right background can help you with that.
- Courtier. Two languages, a charisma skill, and insight are all strong.
- Faction Agent. Two languages and insight are useful, plus you get to pick a second party face skill.
- Urban Bounty Hunter. This is your only option to snag two charisma skills, or you can take stealth or insight to round out your character.
There are countless feats, and many are good for any character or archetype. The question is, are any of them worth losing an ability point over? Since you can largely operate with maximizing just charisma, the answer could be yes.
- Inspiring Leader. This is a strong option for a sorcerer given the focus on charisma. You can spend ten minutes following a short rest pumping up six party members, including yourself. At the end, they each get temporary HP in the amount of your level plus your charisma modifier. This can turn into a pretty nice HP boost.
- Ritual Caster. Sorcerers are not inherently ritual casters, so this can come in handy. it will allow you to save your spell slots for useful out of combat spells like Detect Magic.
- Spell sniper. Your attack spell range doubles and you ignore half and three-quarters cover. Even better, you pick up your choice of cantrip from any class. However, the attack roll use the spellcasting ability of the original class. With that in mind, you likely want to select a Charisma spelling from the sorcerer, bard, or warlock list.
For the most part, I don’t recommend multiclassing your sorcerer. You gain additional sorcery points at every level, and hitting level 20 is very valuable in this class. That said, if you are looking to take a dip into another class, here are some options.
Good Multiclassing Options for Sorcerers
Bard. Not a bad option, especially if you intend to be the face of your party. This gets you access to many skills and their spells are also charisma based. How badly you want these skills or low-level bardic inspiration depends on if you think its worth delaying higher level sorcerer spells.
Warlock. Without a doubt, this is the most interesting option. taking a dip to become a hexblade warlock is incredibly powerful. It gives you medium armor, shields, and the ability to use charisma for your weapon attacks. Your warlock spells recharge after a short rest, which is a nice combo with sorcery points. Lots of fun here.
- Artificer. Not worth giving up higher-level sorcerer traits.
- Barbarian. The inability to cast during rage makes this a poor choice.
- Druid. Not worth giving up higher-level sorcerer traits.
- Fighter. Action surge is a nice fit, but probably not worth it.
- Monk. Bad stat splits.
- Paladin. Not the worst option, but probably not worth it.
- Ranger. Not worth giving up higher-level sorcerer traits.
- Rogue. Not worth giving up higher-level sorcerer traits.
- Wizard. Requires high intelligence, so not a good fit.
Wrapping Up our Sorcerer 5E Guide
And that concludes our Sorcerer 5E Guide. All told, this is a great class with a lot of fun, customizable options. The subclasses are decent, and there is little reason to multiclass. While you are pigeonholed into spellcasting, you still have lots of options between blasting foes or focusing on utility spells. We hope you have fun giving this class a try!