Wild Magic Sorcerer Handbook: DnD 5e Subclass Guide – RPGBOT (2024)

Wild Magic Sorcerer Handbook: DnD 5e Subclass Guide – RPGBOT (1)

Introduction

The Wild Magic Sorcerer is unpredictable, which means it’s unreliable andtherefore ineffective. But it’s a lot of fun, so, if your group can surviveyou not min-maxing, this adds an element of zany fun to your game. Just besure that your DM is willing to play along or you’ll have trouble.

The biggest problem with Wild Magic is that the use of the Wild Magic tableis left up to the DM. The DM can choose to make you roll when you cast aleveled spell, and they can choose to make you reroll to recharge Tides ofChaos, which is your subclass’s only useful feature at first level.

The DM might decide that Wild Magic is too annoying, or they might simplyforget. Or they might go crazy and have a regular Wild Magic Surge occur (thisrequires rolling a 1 on a d20 to see if anything happens) as well astriggering Tides of Chaos’s recharge mechanic because those two outcomesaren’t mutually exclusive. You could roll twice on the Wild Magic table forcasting a single spell.

To fix the Wild Magic bloodline, you don’t even need to change the rules ofthe subclass: you just need an established agreement on how often Wild Magicrolls will occur. Here’s what I recommend: The sorcerer always rollsthe d20 for a wild magic surge when they cast a leveled spell. If Tides ofChaos is not recharged, instead the sorcerer will automatically roll on theWild Magic table.

This allows Wild Magic to occur often enough to feel meaningful, but likelynot every round. Similarly, Tides of Chaos has a very clear risk when it’sused. Yes, you can use it frequently, but you’re going to roll for Wild Magicalmost immediately after that, which imposes an exciting risk-reward mechanic.That risk diminishes considerably when Controlled Chaos comes online at level14, but by then the dangerous effects have largely become minor annoyancesanyway.

On our RPGBOT.Podcast episode aboutoptimizing sorcerers, Ash suggested starting from a DC of 20 and reducing the number every timethe Sorcerer rolls a d20 to possibly trigger a surge, then when they roll asurge, reset the number to 20.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Disclaimer
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Features
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Ability Scores
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Races
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Feats
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Weapons
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Armor
  • Wild Magic Sorcerer Multiclassing
  • Example Wild Magic Sorcerer Build – Maximum Chaos
    • Ability Scores
    • Race
    • Background
    • Skills and Tools
    • Feats
    • Levels

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options whichare extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful optionsthat only apply in rare circ*mstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essentialto the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Features

  1. Wild Magic Surge: If your DM forgets toask you to roll, this doesn’t matter. But it’s a core component of thesubclass, so, as a DM, I would make you roll every time you cast a qualifyingspell (unless we were trying to get through an encounter quickly). Theeffects range from comedic to catastrophic to fantastic, so there’s reallyno way to rate this.

    Roughly 7 of the 50 options on the table are potentially harmful to youor your allies in some way, so most of the effects are benign. Perhaps themost iconic option on the table is casting Fireball centered on yourself,which will almost certainly kill an entire low-level party. Fortunately,there’s only a 1 in 50 chance of that occurring when you roll on thetable. (although it has happened to me and made several party members unconscious, as well as nearly getting us kicked out of the inn).

  2. Tides of Chaos: How useful this is dependsentirely on how often your DM will call for a Wild Magic roll to let yourecharge Tides of Chaos. Your DM is absolutely allowed to never trigger therecharge mechanic, limiting you to just one use per day. Or, they mightallow you to recharge Tides of Chaos after every time you cast a leveledspell, allowing you to use Tides of Chaos frequently.

    The safest bet is to assume that you will get this once per day, andpossibly more if your DM is feeling whimsical. In that case, using thisfor attack rolls is an absolute waste, but using it for saving throws cansave your life.

  3. Bend Luck: When your allies fails a saveagainst death by 1 or two, it’s heart-breaking. Spend the Sorcery Points andbe everyone’s best friend. Two Sorcery Points is expensive, but your allies’lives are worth it. If your group is using magic items, strongly consider aBloodwell Vial so you have extra points to spend.
  4. Controlled Chaos: This considerablyreduces the threat of the Wild Magic table and makes it more of a source ofunpredictable buffs and comic relief.
  5. Spell Bombardment: This is a little bitof extra damage on many of your damage-dealing spells. Spells which uselarge dice like Toll the Dead are less likely to trigger the benefit, butthe extra damage is higher on average. Spells which roll a ton of small dice(like Meteor Swarm’s small mountain of d6s) are more likely to benefit, butthe additional 3.5 damage feels really insignificant for such a high-levelclass feature. More damage is nice, of course; it’s just not very excitingsince Empowered Spell has been an option for 15 levels.

    Keep in mind that this applies whenever you roll damage for a spell, rather than the firsttime that you roll damage for that spell like most damage boosting features. This means thatyou can reapply this benefit multiple times for spells which deal damage multiple times. It’sonly once per turn, of course, but most spells that would benefit this way will only roll damageonce per turn. For example: Tasha’s Caustic Brew deals damage at the beginning of the target’sturn. This may be enough to justify picking spells that specifically benefit.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Ability Scores

No different from atypical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Races

No different from atypical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Feats

No different from atypical sorcerer.

  • :

Wild Magic Sorcerer Weapons

No different from atypical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Armor

No different from atypical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Multiclassing

No different from atypical sorcerer.

Example Wild Magic Sorcerer Build – Maximum Chaos

While the Wild Magic Sorcerer does have some mechanics which we can use to optimize, they’re all gated behind the absolute chaos that is Wild Magic Surge, so we’re going to lean into the chaos and build the most chaos-inducing sorcerer we possibly can. Most of that is going to mean casting chaotic, unpredictable spells.

This is going to mean selecting a lot of spells that we rate poorly on our Sorcerer Spell List Breakdown. Unpredictability is inherently unreliably effective. Wild Magic already requires that your whole table is ready for a lot of chaos, so we’re going to lean into it.

Don’t worry. We’re still going to optimize how we use everything. I know what I’m about.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Handbook: DnD 5e Subclass Guide – RPGBOT (2)

Ability Scores

We have a lot of room to be flexible here, so either start from the abilityscores recommended in our Sorcerer Handbook or go 15 in Dex/Con/Cha and dumpeverything else. Put your +2 into Charisma and +1 into something to get it toan even number and raise the modifier. As long as your Charisma is high andyour Dex and Con are 14 or better, you’re in good shape.

BaseIncreased
Str88
Dex1516
Con1515
Int88
Wis88
Cha1517

Race

I want to build this with the most chaotic race. I even asked the mostchaotic place I know, the internet, what the most chaotic race was. Opinionswere numerous and equally valid.

Which is to say that everyone else is wrong because the Halfling is the mostchaotic race. Lucky alone makes fundamental assumptions about the gameunpredictable, and then you can add both the Bountiful Luck and Second Chancefeats to the mix to make things even less predictable. We’ll use the customorigin rules, too.

Background

Little bearing on the build, but we’ll take Courtier. That gets us Insight,Persuasion, and two languages.

Skills and Tools

We’ll select Deception and Intimidation with our two class skills, which getsus every Face skill.

Feats

At level 4 we take the halfling racial feat Second Chance. This provides botha +1 Charisma increase and a useful defensive option.

At level 8 we take Fey Touched, which gets us another +1 Charisma and someadditional spells known.

At level 12 we’ll split an ability score increase to raise Con to 16 andCharisma to 20.

At level 16 we take Bountiful Luck so that we can share our Lucky trait.

At level 19 we have an empty space. You could take Lucky, which is the go-to“I don’t know what to do here” feat, but that’s what Tides of Chaos is for.Default to +2 Con unless there’s something else that you really want likeInspiring Leader.

Levels

LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Sorcerous Origin:
Wild Magic
Wild Magic Surge
Tidesof Chaos
Spellcasting
Cantrips Known:
Mage Hand
– Mind Sliver
Minor Illusion
– Ray of Frost
Spells Known
– Chaos Bolt
– MageArmor
Cantrips are the majority of our offensive capabilities. MindSliver’s Intelligence save is incredibly reliable, and Ray of Frostoffers good damage, great range, and a small debuff to control thebattlefield.

For our leveled spells, we’re going for ChaosBolt over something more steady and reliable like Chromatic Orb orMagic Missile. Chaos Bolt only has a 1 in 8 chance to jump and doesn’tscale as well as Chromatic Orb, but, for much of our career, we cancast it at 1st level for an inexpensive source of single-targetdamage. If you miss, use Tides of Chaos to reroll.

TriggeringWild Magic Surge is going to be exceptionally rare unless you and yourDM come to an agreement about when they will force a surge torecharged Tides of Chaos. When it does happen, the majority of effectsare benign (not necessarily helpful, but at least not harmful). Thereare some horrible outliers, of course, but most are fine.

We’llalso grab Mage Armor. This build is a wacky chaos monster, not a deathwish.

2Font of Magic
New Spells Known
– Tasha’s Caustic Brew
Probably my favorite line AOE damage spell. The damage isn’t amazing,but it racks up quickly, and creatures can either suffer the rapidlyaccumulating damage or they can waste an Action to remove the effect.Spending a 1st-level spell slot to rob a creature of their Action is agreat trade.
3Metamagic
– Quickened Spell
– Twinned Spell
New SpellsKnown
– Nathair’s Mischief
Quickened Spell is almost ecxlusively for comboing save-or-suck spells with Mind Sliver. Twinned Spell is for stretching the effectiveness of Chaos Bolt.

Let’s look at some math: Scorching Ray deals 6d6 damage. Twinned Chaos Bolt deals 4d8+2d6 damage and might jump to additional targets for a smaller resource cost. Two bolts raises your chances of jumping from 12.5% (1/8) to 23.44% (almost 1/4). Even without the jump, Twinned Chaos Bolt is better, so we don’t need to take Scorching Ray.

Nathair’s Mischief is pure, chaotic whimsy.

4Feat: Second Chance (Cha 17 -> 18)
New Cantrip Known:
New Spells Known
– Vortex Warp
Second Chance lets us force a reroll when we’re hit once perencounter. It’s not enough to replace a passable AC, but it’s goodinsurance and it comes with a +1 ability score increase.

UseVortex Warp to take a party member and put them wherever. Ideallysomewhere useful, but don’t let me tell you what to do.

5New Spells Known
– Enemies Abound
Enemies Abound is fantastic in multi-enemy encounters. It’s nowherenear as precise as Dominate X, but it’s much lower level and you canstill use it turn an enemy against their allies. Even better: inreally big encounters you can twin it for double the chaos!
6Bend Luck
New Spells Known
– Sleet Storm
Bend Luck lets us save near-miss attacks, saves, and checks or turnenemy’s narrowly successful rolls into failures. It’s one of thepieces of ourd4 abusearticle, and, unlike many d4 bonuses/penalties, you don’t need toapply it before the roll.

It’s only a d4 and it costs 2Sorcery Points, so you don’t want to use it constantly, but it’s greatwhen a roll is off by 1 or 2, which is 10% of the time. That soundsinfrequent, but if a party of 4 and 1 monster each roll a d20 once ina round, there’s a 40.95% chance that at least one roll will be off by1 or 2.

Bend Luck also stacks with the d4 debuff from MindSliver. Subtracting 2d4 from a save is -5 on average, which is amassive debuff. At this level that’s literally bigger than yourability modifier. That will make your Spell Save DC mathematicallyimpossible for many creatures to pass unless you’re targeting theirbest saving throws, and that holds true across the full level range.Even worse, you canadd Bane to the mixfor yet another -1d4 penalty on saves.

Sleet Storm is aweird mix of area control and damage, and forcing enemies to fallprone is definitely going to add chaos to an encounter.

7New Spells Known
– Confusion
I don’t trust Confusion specifically because it’s chaotic andunpredictable, but affected creatures do have an 80% chance to not getan Action, so it’s no awful. I would rather use Hypnotic Pattern, butthat’s not sufficiently chaotic!
8Fey Touched
– Charisma 18 -> 19
– Bane
– MistyStep
New Spells Known
Polymorph
Fey Touched grants a 1st-level spell known, and that benefit isnearly always forgotten in favor of Misty Step. Here I’m going torecommend Bane. It’s a weird spell, but, against small numbers ofpowerful enemies, it’s either a powerful long-lasting debuff or ahilariously low-cost way to burn Legendary Resistances.

Takinga half feat here does put us behind the Fundamental Math by 1, but ifan enemy ever passes a save by 1 we can use Bend Luck.

UsePolymorph to turn an ally or into a T-Rex and set them loose. Or turnan enemy into something odd like a box turtle.

9New Spells Known
– Insect Plague
Area control and ongoing damage that will benefit from SpellBombardment.
10Metamagic
– Heightened Spell
New Cantrip Known
–Any
New Spells Known
– Seeming
Heightened Spell, especially when combined with Quickened Mind Sliverand the possibility of Bend Luck, allows us to make our spellsfunctionally impossible to resist.

Cast Seeming to makeyour whole party look like one of your enemies, then have everybodyrun around. Watch the chaos as other enemies try to figure out what’sgoing on.

11New Spells Known
– Scatter
Oh no, I’ve scattered all of my enemies into the middle of InsectPlague!
12Ability Score Increase: Constitution 15 -> 16, Charisma 19 ->20We’ll split an ability score increase to get Charisma to 20 and toraise our Con modifier.
13New Spells Known
– Reverse Gravity
Okay but what if this fight took place on the ceiling, instead? Don’tforget to bring Feather Fall.
14Controlled ChaosWild Magic Surge is suddenly much more beneficial.
15New Spells Known
– Earthquake
We’re now so chaotic that it permanently ruins the terrain aroundus.
16Feat: Bountiful LuckLucky has been protecting us from Natural 1s since level 1, and nowit’s time to make it everyone else’s problem, too share.
17Metamagic
– Empowered Spell
New Spells Known
– MassPolymorph
Empowered Spell works well with Spell Bombardment when we get it atour next levels. Rerolling your lowest die rolls means another chanceto roll the highest number on the die. Metamagic Adept also get us twoSorcery Points.

Turn your enemies into mice. Turn yourparty into cats. Enjoy the ensuing chaos. (Don’t actually do that.Turn your enemies into slugs and then throw them into another plane ofexistence.)

Maybe retrain something into Wish if you stillwantWish.

18Spell BombardmentThis makes all of our ongoing damage spells suddenly much moreappealing. Take Tasha’s Caustic Brew as an example: If we upcast it tojust 2nd level, we have a 68.36% chance to roll a 4 on at least onedie every time the spells deals damage, and the more we upcast, themore likely we are to get extra damage. Area control spells like Wallof Fire and Insect Plague’s prospects may be even better with moretargets and bigger and more numerous damage dice.

SpellBombardment also has a fun interaction with Magic Missile. Theofficial ruling is that you roll the d4 once and use it for everymissile, so you have a 1 in 4 chance for every missile to deal 1d4+5(2d4+1 and one die rolls 4). It’s not reliable enough to make it ago-to tactic, but it’s fun to think about.

19Feat: AnyWe have an empty space here. +2 Con is a great choice.
20Sorcerous RestorationUnimpressive.
Wild Magic Sorcerer Handbook: DnD 5e Subclass Guide – RPGBOT (2024)

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