Ah, I see you want to roll dice as much as I do, eh? Well, so did the writers of The Player’s Handbook, since they released the Wild Magic origin. Harbingers of Wild Magic were born into chaos. Perhaps you were tossed in a planar portal while young. Maybe you were cursed by a demon or fey creature. Potentially, one of your ancestors may have been a Slaadi, those who embody chaos. Or… Maybe it was just a fluke, and your magic just doesn’t work quite right. In any case, your luck is going to be crucial for figuring out how you can perform with this archetype and just survive, let alone find use of it. So, let’s get crazy, and explore Wild Magic with our Wild Magic Sorcerer 5E Guide.
Manipulate the Odds: Wild Magic Sorcerer 5E
The Wild Magic Sorcerer is a competent damage-based Sorcerous Origin with some awesome utility. Your goal is to use your magic to fuel your reroll effects or try and find sudden, powerful effects to randomly win a losing battle. You have a single ability that can be defined as a not-random effect, and even that relies on dice. This is an archetype you use to have fun, but you can randomly become the most powerful asset of an adventuring party.
Wild Magic Surge
This is your main mechanic for your new life, ruled by chaos.
Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, your spellcasting can unleash surges of untamed magic. Immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher, the DM can have you roll a d20. If you roll a 1, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table to create a random magical effect.
Okay, let’s drop the charade here. This ability alone makes this archetype super cool and also extremely tedious.
This is not the first iteration of Wild Magic in Dungeons & Dragons. Ever since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, there’s been Wild Mages. However, this is the first time that the player doesn’t get to control where Wild Magic procs; the DM decides it. This makes this already random ability even more random, since you can’t trigger it yourself.
Just because of this, I would suggest knowing your DM and your group before taking this archetype. You probably want a DM who’s willing to have fun with a campaign, and one who wants to have fun moments. If they have you roll this on every spell cast, especially early on, you could be in danger. But, every other spell cast will be nice, right? And then maybe increase it to every spell cast once your party can survive one member turning into a potted plant every now and then.
Since this archetype relies around a Wild Magic table, let’s look at it, shall we? The Player’s Handbook’s default Wild Magic table has 50 different outcomes. If you want to see the table yourself, check out page 104 or see our Wild Magic Table Guide! We provide the official table but also link to some interesting homebrew options.
I’ve organized the effects into four categories; strictly good, strictly bad, hard to define, and non-mechanical. Here are the results:
- Beneficial: 23
- Negative: 11
- Impossible to Rate: 7
- Roleplay/Non-Mechanical: 9
These are far from definitive; this is based on the idea that, in normal combat situations, these rolls would go off while you’re standing in the backlines. For example, I put the “Cast Confusion on yourself” in the Negative column because, in most cases, you’ll be with your fellow casters and archers and the confusion will hit your party. If you’re surrounded by enemies, suddenly it becomes Beneficial.
The “Impossible to Rate” column is a bit of a cop-out, but it mostly depends on your DM. Summoning a Unicorn controlled by your DM could mean you just received a potent ally or a deadly foe. Same with the random effects; casting fly on your Barbarian is great! Casting fly on a bow-wielding enemy is bad.
The Roleplay mechanics almost never matter… Key word “almost.” I put the aging effect in here, but if you get that too many times, your character could just straight-up keel over. Or become so young he Benjamin-Buttons out of existence. If luck goes your way, then it should balance itself out, and then it’s a purely roleplay effect.
If you go by my interpretations, and your DM isn’t too cruel with the randomly summoned creatures, then there’s only a 22% chance for something bad to happen. A 78% chance of something either good or neutral isn’t bad when your DM can spring it on you whenever you spend a spell slot. We have it a tiny bit better than Wild Mages of the past, trust me!
If you’re using the default table, then you probably are going to enjoy Wild Mage, since they have a nearly 50% chance of something good happening to them; if you wade into Melee Combat, that becomes significantly higher! Just… Make sure someone can cast Healing Word in your party. There’s the “Cast a 3rd Level Fireball on Yourself” roll in there and, at level 1… I think that’ll knock you out. Even if the fireball rolls all 1s.
Tides of Chaos
As you become more attuned to the forces that be, you get a pretty awesome ability.
Starting at 1st level, you can manipulate the forces of chance and chaos to gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. Once you do so, you must finish a long rest before you can use this feature again.
Any time before you regain the use of this feature, the DM can have you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher. You then regain the use of this feature.
Getting advantage for free is absolutely insane. You don’t even need to spend a reaction or bonus action or anything. You just… Get it. This can mean you can guarantee that you land a spell attack, or that you can get a much better chance at saving against something bad, like Hold Person. You should probably just use it on Saving Throws, unless you’re sure that the Disintegration will keep you alive. Do remember that you have to say you use Tides of Chaos before you roll!
This ability refreshes on long rests, but… Your DM can make it happen earlier. Instead of rolling a d20 for a 5% chance to proc this ability, your DM can make it happen by default. As we mentioned earlier, there’s a 78% chance that nothing bad happens to you, so that’s pretty fine by you! Just try to avoid the Fireball effect.
If you’re a DM wondering about when you should let this happen, this effect is probably fair enough on every short rest. That means you should probably let the Wild Magic Surge happen once, and then let it happen again after the party takes a nap. If you’d like to be zany about it, you could have your Sorcerer proc this every time they cast, giving them a lot of Advantage but a lot of Wild Surges. It’s a wonderful tug of war!
You’re just the luckiest fella around, huh?
Starting at 6th level, you have the ability to twist fate using your wild magic. When another creature you can see makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can use your reaction and spend 2 sorcery points to roll 1d4 and apply the number rolled as a bonus or penalty (your choice) to the creature’s roll. You can do so after the creature rolls but before any effects of the roll occur.
2 sorcery points is a pretty high cost for a 5-20% chance at success. So, when does this work best?
Well, have you ever been playing a game, and your friend goes unconscious? And then they just keep failing the death saves before the Cleric can get there? And on the final death save, they fail by 1?
Yeah… You’ve been there.
This ability can quite literally save lives, allowing your allies to succeed at saving throws they just barely failed. If you’re wondering when you should use this, consider checking your own spell DCs and comparing it to what your ally rolled. If they could’ve saved against you if they just rolled 1 or 2 higher, and it’s a dangerous spell, it’s probably worthwhile. You can still Hail Mary for the 4 if you really need to save a life.
The attack roll option can be good, but only if you’re trying to save a Disintegrate or something. Same thing for the ability check; if someone fails the Athletics to drop across the bottomless pit, maybe 1d4 can keep them alive. So you can laugh at them for not using a spell or something.
Your sorcery points are precious, though. Try to keep these to save your allies from barely failing saving throws. You’ll be everyone’s biggest fan if you do, and you can keep using Metamagic while just saving 2 points for a sticky situation.
You continue to just be the luckiest buggar around. But now, your luck is going to be useful for saving you from excitable DMs.
At 14th level, you gain a modicum of control over the surges of your wild magic. Whenever you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table, you can roll twice and use either number.
Remember when there was just a 78% chance of being a happy guy?
Now it’s a 95% chance. And a 71% chance of just being a beneficial buff.
Wild Magic Surge always had the chance of being completely devastating to you; a Potted Plant roll can mean the end of your character, as could self-Fireball. Rolling twice and choosing means that, in almost all but the 2% chance you roll the same number, you can choose the lesser of two evils.
In most cases, however, you can choose the non-mechanical change or strictly beneficial buff. This will reduce the number of times that Wild Surge is tragic, and instead make you the random buff maestro or hilarious character that you chose this archetype for.
This is your first ability with reasonable percentage numbers. And it’s still super random!
Beginning at 18th level, the harmful energy of your spells intensifies. When you roll damage for a spell and roll the highest number possible on any of the dice, choose one of those dice, roll it again and add that roll to the damage. You can use the feature only once per turn.
At least you don’t need to spend a spell slot for this.
Spells are a bit small in dice; D&D 5e didn’t use d12s for too much, so you’re stuck with a d10 as your largest possible die. That limits this ability to being a 5.5 average increase to spell damage. Because you roll so many dice with your spells at this point, you’re nearly guaranteed to get the proc of this ability.
5.5 doesn’t seem like much compared to what spellpower you have, but that’s more than adding your Charisma to them. That’s pretty great! It’s also overly optimistic; Usually, you’ll be adding a d8 instead (4.5 average, slightly less than Charisma), and that’s what you’ll add to cantrips, too. And only if you roll max on at least one dice. Youch.
Your blasting spells will be super likely to land this effect, especially if you spend 9th level spell slots to deal damage. This’ll increase your efficiency for the blasting spells you’ve already picked up, making you much more efficient.
Best Race for Wild Magic Sorcerers
Your new career is Charisma-based; casting magic is hard, yo! Since you’re likely a damage caster, you want the highest chance to land hits and end the fight early before your Wild Surges consume you. Constitution is probably going to be really important for you, so you can tank the self-casted Fireball at low levels. Dexterity keeps you from eating too many ranged attack rolls… And lets you dodge that Fireball easier!
This subclass doesn’t have a strictly defensive ability, so your only hope of survival is to be able to avoid damage entirely. And what better to avoid damage than a small, quick creature! Lightfoot Halflings aren’t awful statwise; +2 Dexterity and +1 Charisma is a fine split, though you’ll need to invest level 4 and 8 into raising your stats. Since you’ll be saving against your own sorcerer spells sometimes, Lucky gives you a great method of avoiding the 1s on saves… From your own spells. Brave and Nimbleness are fine, but not exactly impressive. Because you’re a Lightfoot, you can also attempt to hide behind the Barbarian; both cute, and efficient. Stealth is one of your best methods to avoid attacks from enemies, and get into range so effects that are centered on you affects your opponents.
This one might be a bit of a weird pick, but stick with me here.
Eberron: Rising from the Last War is a wonderful book with a lot of powerful races. The Warforged’s +2 Constitution, +1 Floating is perfect for you, and will do great for keeping you alive. You gain +1 AC by default – allowing you to invest less in Dexterity – some great defensive utility options in Constructed Resilience, and even some skill proficiencies. You’ll also be immune to Aging effects, meaning that the horrifying scenario I listed in the Wild Magic Surge section can’t happen to you.
Though the bubble effect would be hilarious on a giant killer robot.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Wild Magic Sorcerer
That wraps up our Wild Magic Sorcerer 5E Guide. The Wild Magic Sorcerer is a hilarious archetype. It has so many options to make fights more exciting, since they can introduce so many random elements. However, your friends may not find it very funny to have a Fireball dumped on them, or see their only damage dealer turn into a potted plant. If you want to deal damage, have awesome effects happen during combat, or your party is already pretty well-built before you joined it, Wild Magic might be a good choice. Otherwise (especially if you’ll frustrate your friends by your random explosions), consider only using this sorcerer in campaigns that start you at level 14 to minimize the effect. It’s great fun, but if you’re gonna make your friends pissed due to one bad roll on the d100, it’s not worthwhile.
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