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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Starting a Sorcerer In D&D

The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Starting a Sorcerer In D&D

There are many paths to using magic in the world of D&D. You can spend your life studying it, like a Wizard. You can be gifted the ability to use it through a lifetime of devotion to your God, like a Cleric (or skip the lifetime of devotion and just trade your soul or something, like a Warlock). Sorcerers, on the other hand, have always been just magical. Sorcerers are like the slacker kid in high school who skipped most of the classes and STILL managed to get better grades than the Valedictorian. Sorcerer’s gain their magic abilities due to their origins and have been magical their entire lives. This allows them to tweak spells in ways other classes can only dream of, and creates some really cool roleplaying possibilities. If you need some help fleshing out those ideas, make sure to check out our tips for new roleplayers so you can get the most out of your D&D experience.

STATISTICS

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Statistics in D&D represent how your character interacts with the world and what they can (and cannot) accomplish. Work with your DM to ensure you are generating your statistics the same as the rest of your group and whatever method chosen, you will generate 6 different numbers; 1 for each attribute. When you have your numbers, it’s important to prioritize your statistics to get the most out of them.

Sorcerers use Charisma as their casting attribute and this should be prioritized as your best ability. Like Bards, Sorcerers can lean into this high Charisma when roleplaying, being incredibly persuasive and potentially even avoiding fights by swaying enemies to their side, before bloodshed begins. As Sorcerers cannot wear armour, your next two attributes need to focus on keeping yourself alive, as best you can. Dexterity increases both your AC, as well as your chances of going first in combat and should be your second priority. A high Constitution helps with your hit point total and the rest of the attributes can be assigned as you see fit. Your priority should look like this:

Charisma -> Dexterity -> Constitution -> Wisdom -> Intelligence -> Strength

SPELLS

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At 1st level, Sorcerers know 4 Cantrips and 2 Spells. The only way a Sorcerer can trade their spells, is when they earn a level, they can swap one of their known spells for another one. Because of this limitation, you want to make sure that the spells you do know, are incredibly versatile and useful.

For your Cantrips, the ability to take 4 allows you to really cover your bases with both combat oriented, as well as utility options. For pure utility, I would start with Message. This cantrip allows you to magically communicate with one creature within 120 feet of you. Only you and the target hear each other’s messages and this can be a boon of planning if your party is ever captured or compromised. Need to make sure your story is straight? Nonchalantly whisper the message (keeping in mind that you still have to speak the casting words and wave your hands around) and go for it.

For combat Cantrips, I am fan of always taking one that forces saving throws (in case your opponent’s AC is really high), as well as one that involves a to hit throw. This ensures you have some offense in every situation. I recommend Ray of Frost as your first combat Cantrip. It has a great range, really good damage track and has the bonus of reducing the speed of whatever you hit. This can be the difference between being stabbed and not being stabbed, the latter a HUGE preference of Sorcerers the world over. For the saving throw Cantrip, take Poison Spray. Its range is short (10 feet), but it does a great amount of damage if the target fails its save.

Your last Cantrip has a couple of great options. True Strike is great if you are trying to maximize spell slot efficiency (nothing is worse than burning a spell slot and MISSING with your attack roll) but other than trying to ensure a hit, probably won’t get cast a lot. Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, and Prestidigitation are all fantastic spells for providing some out of combat bonuses and roleplay options. Heck, for the last slot you can even grab another combat cantrip for additional options.

For your two spells, I am a fan of going both offensive and defensive with them. For defense, nothing beats Mage Armour. Pushing your base AC up from 10 to 13, AND having a duration of 8 hours? Seriously, never leave home without it.

For your offensive spell, take something that has extended duration to get the most out of it. Witch Bolt fits the bill here because if you hit, it has a duration of up to 1 minute and you can continue to use your action in subsequent turns to deal damage to the initial target, no roll required.

METAMAGIC

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Metamagic is the unique feature that makes the Sorcerer shine. Essentially, you spend your Sorcery Points (earned with the Font of Magic ability), to jazz up your spells and make them do new and interesting things. All told there are 8 Metamagic options and a Sorcerer is only ever going to be able to learn 4 of them, so it’s important to select ones that line up with how you want to play. Planning to drop AoE spells like Fireball with complete abandon? Take Careful Spell to keep your “friends” alive and Heightened Spell to make sure your target fails the save. Want to focus more on single target spells? Boost range with Distant Spell and use Twinned Spell to attack multiple targets.

The best advice I can give for Metamagic options is to take the options you think are the most interesting, and have fun with them.

Do you have any tips for new Sorcerers? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast

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