An Introduction to the Sorcerer Class for Players New to Dungeons and Dragons 5e
Mastery of a craft takes a lifetime of practice and hard work.
Despite this being true for most of us plebeians, there are always those frustrating people that seem to pick up a complicated concept or skill instantly; absolute natural talent. In the world of Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons, we call these people Sorcerers – charismatic, naturally talented with magic, the kind of person everyone wants to hate (but can’t because, dammit, they’re just so cool).
Side note: This guide assumes you have the Player’s Handbook for more detailed information, and is more intended to give you an idea of what this class can do. If you also need help with the process of creating your first character, click here first for my character rolling guide for new players.
Overview: Legacy of Power
Sorcerers come from all walks of life. Though it requires some extraordinary circumstance to create a Sorcerer, they can be found everywhere from the highest courts to the smallest villages (though you might be more likely to get burned at the stake in the latter case). Some sorcerers gain their incredible magic from their blood, tracing their lineage back to a powerful ancient dragon. It’s possible you came upon your gift later in life, through exposure to a magical force or being. You will have to decide this origin first when creating your sorcerer, as your choice serves as your subclass. It will be play a large role in what kind of sorcerer you play.
No matter the origin of your abilities, sorcerers all draw their magic from this inner well of power. They do not always understand their gift, and may even not fully have control of it. Their power may be as much a curse as a blessing to them.
Role in the Party
As a magic user, sorcerers can fill a few different roles in a pinch. They lack the flexibility of other casting classes, so keep this in mind when building your spell list.
Sorcerers are excellent damage dealers, gaining a good selection of aggressive magic from their spell list. The Metamagic class feature allows you to get more bang for your spell slots using Sorcery Points (you gain 1 point/day to spend for each level in the class). Using this feature, you can empower your spells for additional damage, cast a spell at a second target, extend the duration of a magical effect, and more.
You can also choose your spell list to focus more on controlling the battlefield. This would mean taking more spells that restrain or divide enemies such as Web, or spells such as Haste that bolster your allies. This play style is less straightforward for a newer player, but I wanted to include it to give you a taste for more complex strategies – if you play a controller correctly, you can have more impact on the outcome of a fight than a pure damage dealer.
You can also make an effective party face, speaking on behalf of your party with your high charisma. If that natural charm fails, you have the option of supporting your case with some enchantment magic.
Looking Ahead: High Level Sorcerers
At higher levels, the sorcerer gains features that further improve their magical prowess. More sorcery points means more flexibility for your sorcerer, allowing you to spend your resources on either Metamagic abilities to improve your spells or more spell slots. You also gain access to more and more powerful magic as you level up, eventually gaining access to world-bending 9th level spells.
Most of your features will come from the subclass choice you make at character creation. If you gain your power from a Draconic Bloodline, look to gain features such as improvements to your spell damage and resistance for an element determined by your dragon ancestry. Eventually, you gain dragon wings which grant you a flying speed equal to your base speed. This is, objectively, pretty fucking cool. If you choose a Wild Magic origin, you will gain the ability to bend the flow of fate to your will – represented by features that grant you or your allies bonuses to your rolls. This path has some risk, though, as your unpredictable power may backfire at the worst possible moments with often hilarious results.
So if you want to play a character who is insufferably good at something that other people spend their lives studying without going through all that effort yourself, sorcerer is the class for you! Hard work and study are overrated anyway, right?