Hey, remember like three weeks ago when I said I was going to write a simple, concise guide on how to build a Sorcerer in 5e? That really went out the goddamn window, didn’t it...
In the middle of writing this, my Barbarian died. (Check out the end of Episode 28 if you’re so inclined. It was honestly very sad.) Oh well, here we are. I’ve decided to replace him with a Sorcerer, it seems like good timing. Plus I can make the guide all about the character I’ll use in our stream and if you’d like to see how I play him, you can tune in!
Part 1 (https://imgur.com/gallery/OHXMoVC) covered the standard guide stuff: Abilities, Skills, Origin, Feats, etc.
Part 2 (https://imgur.com/gallery/vSkpsMb) covered Spell Levels, Mechanics, and some fun spell things. Buckle up and put on your Sunday best because today I’m building you all a 4th Level Sorcerer.
I’m going to go into detail and explain my step-by-step process to build this Sorcerer. You can even follow along in D&D Beyond if you’d like. I’ll be using this build for The Bottlecap Brigade, so you can see it in action.
Here's a link to the D&D Beyond Character - https://ddb.ac/characters/32744194/qQay6B
The bulk of our foundation is laid when we select our race, class, and abilities. I think that being really thoughtful and diligent about your initial choices and the backstory of your character makes D&D so very much fun.
Let’s dig in.
As we talked about before, an Asimar or Tiefling is a solid choice here. We’re going with Asimar for this build. I’ll be doing a Shadow Magic build here and I think it compliments Asimar racial benefits really well, plus I think the concept of this build is cool. Having a celestial being that’s attracted to shadow magic… that’s just kinda fun.
+2 to Charisma is a nice buff, Darkvision is handy no matter what campaign you’re running, Resistance to Necrotic and Radiant damage is neato, and Light, Lesser Restoration, and Daylight are all amazing spells.
Throughout this guide, I’m going to give you the elevator pitch of most of these spells to keep it simple to understand.
Light - Simply lets you illuminate an area.
Lesser Restoration - Allows you to cure a simple disease afflicting a creature.
Daylight - Lets you shine a hella bright light from an object. It also cancels the “Darkness” Spell, which can come in handy.
For Sorcerer Class, we get to make a few key selections. This is where we touch on proficiencies and Sorcerous Origin.
As a Sorcerer we get to pick two Skill proficiencies. Let's pick Persuasion and Deception. I wanna be cheeky.
For our Origin we’re going with Shadow Magic, here’s where we get some really cool stacked abilities on top of our Racial pick. To start, you get 120ft of Darkvision, which is a long-ass way. You get the Darkness spell at 3rd level which is an awesome addition to having Daylight (essentially the same thing, just one is dark and the other is light).
With Shadow Magic, you also get Strength of the Grave. This is PIVOTAL. You’re squishy. You have like… 6 hit points. Strength of the Grave lets you do a Charisma Save to get reduced to 1HP instead of being knocked unconscious. It makes Sorcerers way less scary to play.
Ok, so I used D&D Beyond’s dice roller for this. I rolled 4d6 and took the 3 highest numbers for each ability. I didn’t screenshot all of the rolls, but I couldn’t help but take a screenshot of my second roll. Rolling an 18 is super rare. I wish I would have rolled this for Ang in The Bottlecap Brigade… before he died.
So we ended with these stats after racial bonuses:
Strength - 6 (Ouch) Dexterity - 13 Constitution - 14 Intelligence - 11 Wisdom - 15 Charisma - 20
Once again, referencing the first guide, Charisma and Constitution are the important bits here. The rest was just my flavor.
Now that we have our foundation set with our Race, Class, and Ability Scores, let’s move on to the description of our character. This is where we get to be a bit more creative and have fun with our build.
Okokok, here comes the fun part. Let's build the flesh of our character. This is my favorite bit because there are just so many options.
Sorcerers come across as the snotty-ist of the classes so we’re going with a noble here. I’m essentially going to build a somewhat stuck up, scrawny, physically weak rich kid.
Maybe he can learn to love the common folk throughout his adventures.
I also chose Infernal as an extra language… I’m thinking he learned that at his college of magic before an accident rendered him magically gifted but physically weak.
Additionally, pro-tip for all you new players: meet with your DM to flush out your character’s story! I can’t stress how important this is to make the game immersive and fun for everyone. Take the hour out of an evening, crack open an adult beverage or whatever, and plan your character with your DM after you have a skeleton worked up.
My backstory is a bit long but I wanted to include it as a point of reference for when you build yours. It’s also not super specific so Austin can take creative license as a DM and not feel cornered.
Darrow grew up in the noble house of the Rothsbrick family. The Rothsbricks, a familial line dating back to the origins of the nation of Korvac itself, were some of the first to settle there.
Darrow had a fairly normal childhood for someone growing up in nobility. But he also knew that he was special. He just didn't know how or why. His mother would always joke about being descended from Jax, and that his father was jealous of her strength. He hoped he could be like her one day.
After an accident at the Kalak School of Magic, that all changed. Even though they tried to hide it, Darrow knew he was disgusting in the eyes of his parents. While the blast may have damaged him physically, the silent scorn from his parents took a heavy emotional toll.
He's now on a quest to become his own man. Do good in the world for good's sake. Prove to his parents and to all of the common folk that he is worthy of their love and respect. Replace the whole in his heart that was blown away in the explosion.
Some say Jax sent the first Aasimar to bless farmers with better harvests, healthier babies, and longer lives. Others say they're just a myth. Even though Darrow feels his Mother's Aasimar blood flowing through his veins, he's reluctant to admit it.
He's been searching Magna, far and wide for anything to help him feel... like he's a part of something. Hopefully, that comes soon.
Super deep, right? The world Austin built up is expansive and gives me as a PC lots of room to get creative.
I took this as a framework to Austin and we talked about how Daroh would best be weaved into the world that he built. We flushed out my character’s introduction, overarching goals, and intricate details that could potentially arise down the road.
Anyway on to the last bit… spells.
So for this, I’m going to simply provide a list of the spells I picked, group them into categories, and explain why I chose them. Important to note here is that I took Ritual Caster as a feat because I wanted to build a heavy utility sorcerer. Our party needs it real bad.
I wanted to master the elements here. I essentially need to stonewall our DM from being able to KO us or put us in a situation where we can’t overcome natural barriers.
Same here. We’ve fallen like… every session for the last couple months, so feather fall is a must. Detect Thoughts always comes in handy too.
Crown of Madness
I took Firebolt to use in conjunction with Control Flame for some cool multi-spell shit. Magic Missile is a MUST. Crown of Madness is a blast just because of how hard you can fuck with NPCs and monsters. Shield… my AC is like… 11… I need a shield.
Tenser’s Floating Disk
So to explain my choice of the Ritual Caster feat, I really wanted something to augment my spellcasting, utility, and defensive capabilities.
I chose Find Familiar because certain spells like Light or Lesser restoration can be cast through them. They’re also a great utility and can be a really fun roleplaying mechanism.
My second pick was Tenser’s Floating Disk. You can get really really creative with this spell. It can be used as a defensive blockade, a pathway, a step stool, something to carry gnomes around on, you name it.
I heavily recommend starting with those two for the Metamagic picks.
Heightened Spell is one of the things that makes being a Sorcerer so powerful. Forcing disadvantage on a saving throw against the right enemy can turn the tides of a fight.
Twinned Spell is, I would argue, almost equally as useful. Being able to hit two creatures with Crown of Madness and make them attack each other. #broken
I can now cast Crown of Madness and hit two creatures with it, it’s OP.
Well folks, that’s it. If you’ve made it to the end of these guides you’ve seen me go from writing this for fun to actually narrating the build of the primary character I’ll be playing as moving forward.
I’m excited to write more guides and share more with you all as I continue to flesh out Darrow. Ang was my character for roughly 20 sessions of the Bottlecap Brigade and I became very attached to him. I started with a basic build for him like the one above and over time he became a dynamic character we all got a little attached to and I felt that when we lost him.
That’s one of the things we love about D&D though, right? We get to know our characters. They embody bits of ourselves that we get to act out with our friends. When they die, it should be sad. We also get the opportunity to form that connection with a character, and with our friends’ characters again. Which is pretty neat in my opinion.
Look for the next class to come out soon! My S.O. made a druid for a one shot I have coming up, so I’ll talk about Druidic Class Creation!!