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Play with Class: Summon a Super Sorcerer

Play with Class: Summon a Super Sorcerer

Welcome to another installment of the Play with Class series where we will give you solid steps to run each class for the world’s greatest roleplaying game! This week, we’re hitting the magic pavement by chatting about the charismatic middle child of the arcane world: the sorcerer.

Welcome to another installment of the Play with Class series where we will give you solid steps to run each class for the world’s greatest roleplaying game! This week, we’re hitting the magic pavement by chatting about the charismatic middle child of the arcane world: the sorcerer.

Historically, roleplaying games have struggled to define what mechanically sets a sorcerer apart from the bookish wizard. We have landed in a place that makes a sorcerer’s charisma front and center. While this class has limited choices in what spells they can cast, they have greater mastery over the subtle aspects of spells and can shape them through inner will rather than routine practice. Frankly, this subtle magic manipulation makes this class very fiddly to play. Because playing a sorcerer well requires extensive forethought about action economy and understanding magical mechanics, I do not recommend this class for new players.

Role of the Sorcerer

Sorcerers are traditional spellcasters through and through. But the subclass options and spells available only work if you stay out of the central conflict. Your spell list as a sorcerer is much smaller and jam-packed with heavy-hitting damage spells instead of utility options. You can use meta magic to enhance your spells and reload missing slots with ease. These qualities all add up to making sorcerers great in a fight as long as they avoid taking hits. Sorcerers are damage-dealing fiends, but they don’t have much going on outside of combat (mechanically anyway). So party on. Your role is to be a big, magical lightning rod!

Reasons to Play A Sorcerer

  • Your Charisma score and sorcerous origin story make all sorcerers painfully cool.
  • You don’t have to deal with a gigantic spell list, and you pick from a simple collection of highly effective blasting spells.
  • Your ability to create spell slots means that you can keep fighting long after other casters have run out of juice.

Combat Crash Course

Running a sorcerer optimally in combat is not an easy task. To get the most out of your features, you have to keep several moving pieces in mind and pay extra attention to your resources. While tricky, mastering the ways of a sorcerer makes you feel pretty godlike.

How to Break the Rules

Metamagic is the core class ability of the sorcerer. With metamagic, you can transform and enhance your spells to create potent magical effects. You are not limited to the spell rules as written the same way other classes are. However, such freedom comes with a big caveat. To effectively break the rules of magic means you have to understand how the rules work first. You can’t really break the rules if you have no idea what the rules are. I recommend you read the spellcasting sections of the core books and then reread them and take notes. In particular, pay attention to rules that limit how many spells you can cast per turn and how cantrips get mixed up in all that. You need to know what a touch spell is, what the different spell ranges mean, how to calculate spell attacks, and how spell saves work. Learning these things sounds like a drag, but it is worth it. I can’t effectively communicate how many times I have seen players gleefully choose a metamagic effect and then get absolutely heartbroken when they learn mid-session the effect doesn’t work the way they think it did. Learn the rules to break the rules. You just have to do it, friend.

Economy 101

Action economy is so crucial for you. Sorcerers are made to have action-packed turns. If you aren’t spending most of your turns taking both an action and a bonus action, you are not living up to your full sorcerous potential. With excellent metamagic options like Quickened Spell and your ability to convert sorcery points into spell slots, your bonus actions are where you shine. And speaking of sorcery points, that is another resource you have to keep at the front of your mind. You will have a lot more wiggle room with points at higher levels, but at lower levels, you have to be a little more tactical. Being able to recover sorcerer points only during a long rest is pretty harsh, so if you are in for a series of small fights leading up to a big conclusion, it’s okay to depend on your damage-dealing cantrips to conserve your strength.

Level-Up Picks

Sorcerers are another one of the classes that, unfortunately, have some real mechanically bogus options. When leveling your sorcerer, you have to consider your choices thoroughly to make sure you will be able to do what you want effectively. Here are a couple of things to consider while tuning your arcane powerhouse.

Maximize Your Metamagic

The biggest pitfall with sorcerers comes from choosing the wrong metamagic options. You only get four options if you reach the maximum level, and unless you have a GM willing to play by optional rules, you can never swap them out. When choosing your options, make sure to ask yourself if your choice will still be good 5 levels from now, 10 levels from now, and so on.

Consider Multiclassing

Sorcerers are a great candidate for multiclassing. The sorcerer class capstone 20th-level ability is unfortunately pretty weak compared to other classes. Once you have enough firepower, you have plenty of freedom to explore other class options. Mixing sorcerer with other non-casting classes, in particular, can create a very well-rounded play experience.

Flavor Savor

  • If you want to explore more sorcerous origins, check out Aristocratic, Elemental Essence, and Farseer (see Deep Magic).
  • Check out some of the homebrew or optional rules folks have created to swap out metamagic options and expand spell lists. Just make sure to clear any alternate rules sources with your GM!


2 thoughts on “Play with Class: Summon a Super Sorcerer”

  1. An interesting read, but I’d love to hear more. This felt a bit lacklustre. I’d love to know more about how to use the different meta magic options, which spells are good for meta magic and if there are any less obvious but awesome combinations. I’d also like to know more about how to play on the charismatic part. Not just rules wise, but from a role playing perspective.

    This was like having the most wonderful piece of cake… but to little :)
    Thanks for an awesome article!

  2. I disagree with much of this article. It lacks imagination and views d&d from the perspective of strictly a combat game. Sometimes it’s actually a game of The Sims with combat included.

    My biggest issue is when it says not having to pick from a big spell list is a boon, a reason to choose the class. It undercuts the hours of study needed to properly select the few spells you’ll learn as you level. Less access to spells makes the Sorcerer more difficult to play. ‘Dealing with’ a huge spell list is always the more preferred option.

    And for the love of all that is holy, break free from the steriotype that sorcerers have to be a ‘damage dealing fiend’. Some damage spells are to be expected, but you’re encouraging shallow and uninventive thinking for new players. Sorcerers can excel at area control spells like Grease or Web. Sorcerers can do a lot of things if they’re built right.

    I hope this comment makes its way to the right people. I’m not trying to ruin the writing team’s day, and I don’t often write critiques, but this article actually harms the fabric of the game that we all love and that YOU profit from. Please be more mindful in the future.

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