The mystical nature of the moon has long been associated with magical power and the Lunar Sorcerer epitomizes that nature.
Just as the moon changes phases, so does the magic used by these Sorcerers. Theirs is an ancient, mystical, and powerful magical tradition.
In this guide, we’re looking up to the sky in hopes to learn the secrets of the moon’s power. Do you have what it takes to harness the moon itself and stand against the darkness?
This is the full subclass guide to the Lunar Sorcerer in D&D 5e!
What is the Lunar Sorcerer in D&D 5e?
The moon symbolizes many different things to many different people. However, it is always viewed with a mixture of curiosity and reverence.
To some, the moon symbolizes hope and protection as a guiding light in the darkness. To others, it might be more associated with prophecy, meditation, and a kind of mystical insight.
Yet still, others might view the moon less favorably. The moon does not reflect everything it sees and can often lead people astray with illusions or other tricks of the senses.
In varying amounts, the Lunar Sorcerer is all three of these.
Harnessing the power of the moon itself, Lunar Sorcerers blur a line between arcane and divine magics. While they’re still arcane casters, they are still heavily linked to the deities who preside over magic, the moon, and the things that the moonlight chooses to either conceal or reveal.
|Krynn||Solinari (good), Lunitari (neutral), Nuitari (evil)|
When casting spells, Lunar Sorcerers will often take on a type of otherworldly glow or moon-like traits. Their pupils might glow, spectral manifestations of moon phases may appear around them, or another similar effect.
The Lunar Sorcerer appears in the Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure book.
Role in the Party
Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to the Lunar Sorcerer. Where most Sorcerers tend to nicely fit into specific roles within the party, Lunar Sorcerers shift their capabilities depending on what is most needed at the time.
This is specifically represented by the three phases of the moon that they channel with their magic.
While you’ll almost certainly have a favorite phase that fits your group and preferred playstyle, the key is shifting between the three phases to get the maximum use of your features and extra-large spell list.
With the Full Moon, you take a supportive and defensive role within the party. Spells are meant to protect yourself and others. Features that you gain in the later levels offer practical utility and party support.
The New Moon phase focuses on dealing damage and debuffing enemies.
The spells you gain from this phase are meant to lock enemies down and leave them helpless. The New Moon features you gain make you stealthier, offer shadowy protection, and deal damage.
Lastly, the Crescent Moon phase makes you more elusive.
With clever illusions and transmutation, things are not always what they seem. In time, the Crescent Moon features you gain will help you stand against radiant and necrotic damage as well as give you an impressive teleportation option.
If you can learn to master all three phases to best work with your party, you’ll be virtually unstoppable!
Lunar Sorcerer Abilities
The Lunar Sorcerer is a very interesting take on the Sorcerer class.
There’s a big focus on versatility, and you’ll want to get very familiar with all of the options for each of your features.
As you change which phase of the moon you’re gaining power from, your spells, tactics, and role in the party will also change.
While there are a lot of moving parts to this subclass, I’m hoping that this guide will answer your questions and show you how it all connects.
You gain bonus spells when you reach certain levels within this subclass. I will include the spells in the table below.
These spells count as Sorcerer spells for you and do not count against the number of Sorcerer spells that you know.
Unlike other Sorcerer subclasses with spell lists, the Lunar Sorcerer cannot change the spells they gain from their Lunar Embodiment feature. Instead, they can change which lunar phase they are gaining spells from to gain a new list of corresponding Lunar Spells.
|Sorcerer Level||Full Moon||New Moon||Crescent Moon|
|1||Shield||Ray of Sickness||Color Spray|
|3||Lesser Restoration||Blindness/Deafness||Alter Self|
|5||Dispel Magic||Vampiric Touch||Phantom Steed|
|7||Death Ward||Confusion||Hallucinatory Terrain|
|9||Rary’s Telepathic Bond||Hold Monster||Mislead|
Whenever you finish a long rest, you can choose what lunar phase manifests its power through your magic: Full Moon, New Moon, or Crescent Moon.
While in the chosen phase, you can cast one level 1 spell of the associated phase in the Lunar Spells table once without expending a spell slot. Once you cast a spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.
Each spell list has high points and low points. What stands out most, though, is that you’re able to cast an extra first-level spell for free each day. (This later increases to casting one first-level spell from each phase for free.)
Related: The Best Sorcerer Spells By Level in D&D 5e
Thoughts on the Lunar Spell Lists
For the most part, each phase and level of the Lunar Spell list has its ups and downs.
All in all, the Full Moon list is my personal favorite. As one of the squishiest classes in the game, having the extra protection offered by these spells can go a very long way.
But looking at the spells by level…
Shield and Color Spray make for high points at level 1. One boosts your armor class as a reaction and the other can potentially blind several enemies for a round.
Ray of Sickness, however, isn’t anything special here. Between its potential to miss, commonly-resisted damage type, and requiring a Constitution save, it’s not one of the better options.
The level 3 spells are great.
Blindness/Deafness is a great debuff while Lesser Restoration is always nice to have handy. Alter Self gives you numerous options ranging from utility to disguising yourself, all of which can be useful in a pinch.
At level 5, Dispel Magic is a must-have for any party and Vampiric Touch gives you a decent damage option (that also recovers your HP!). Phantom Steed is pretty niche and may or may not come up.
For level 7, Death Ward is excellent (especially if you know you’re about to walk into a big fight). Hallucinatory Terrain can be used creatively to potentially have some big impacts. Confusion is infamously unreliable, so don’t bother with it.
Finally, we come to the level 9 spells.
Hold Monster is an excellent “save or suck” spell that can completely mitigate otherwise terrifying encounters. Meanwhile, Telepathic Bond gives some excellent communication utility to the party.
For scouting, intrigue, and subterfuge, Mislead can be fun and useful with plenty of creativity.
Moon Fire (Level 1)
Also at level 1, you get a free cantrip. Even better, it’s a powered-up version of the cantrip for you!
You learn the sacred flame spell, which doesn’t count against the number of Sorcerer cantrips you know.
When you cast the spell, you can target one creature as normal or target two creatures within range that are within 5 feet of each other.
Sacred Flame is an excellent cantrip that’s typically exclusive to Clerics. With damage that scales well as you level up and the ability to hit enemies that are hiding behind cover, it’s great to have!
Of course, the Lunar Sorcerer’s use of this just takes it to the next level.
If two enemies are standing next to each other, this is your opportunity to hit two birds with one stone… err… two goblins with one flash of flame-like radiance…
Ok, so that second one doesn’t roll off the tongue as well, but you get the point!
Lunar Boons (Level 6)
Managing your sorcery points effectively is a key part of playing a Sorcerer well. Thankfully, the Lunar Sorcerer gets a nifty way to conserve their sorcery points which makes them remarkably efficient.
Whenever you use Metamagic on a spell of a school of magic associated with your current Lunar Embodiment phase, you can reduce the sorcery points spent by 1 (minimum 0).
You can reduce the sorcery points spent for your Metamagic a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
|Lunar Embodiment Phase||Affected Magic|
|Full Moon||Abjuration and Divination|
|New Moon||Evocation and Necromancy|
|Crescent Moon||Divination and Transmutation|
Lunar Boons rewards careful planning.
You want to know what spells you’ll be using your Metamagic on well ahead of time. From there, you want to make sure that you are in the proper Lunar Embodiment phase for a spell’s school of magic.
If you make sure that you’re making deliberate choices with what spells you choose, this feature will have a huge impact. Then again, it’s good practice to always have a plan for spells you choose anyways!
Because you’ll be getting so much more use out of your Metamagic, I recommend checking out my guide to the Sorcerer’s Metamagic feature.
While it’s useful for any Sorcerer, Lunar Sorcerers will have more sorcery points to play with when it comes to using this feature!
Waxing and Waning (Level 6)
Your second level 6 feature, Waxing and Waning, is where the Lunar Sorcerer’s versatility begins to truly shine.
Now you don’t need to wait until you finish a long rest to change your Lunar Embodiment!
As a bonus action, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change your current Lunar Embodiment phase to a different one.
You can now cast one level 1 spell from each lunar phase of the Lunar Spells table once without expending a spell slot, provided your current phase is the same as the lunar phase spell.
Once you cast a lunar phase spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.
When you need to change your approach, using a bonus action and sorcery point to change your Lunar Embodiment phase is great.
For example, you might have been playing defensively with the Full Moon phase but then decide to go on the offensive by changing to the New Moon phase.
Naturally, this plays especially with the Lunar Boons feature.
While it’s costing you a sorcery point to change your phase, you can save many more when using Metamagic on spells of the associated schools.
Not to mention, you’re also getting a nice boost to your spellcasting!
Instead of getting one free level 1 spell from the Lunar Spells table per day, you’re now getting three (one from each phase.)
Just make sure that you change your Lunar Embodiment phase to match that of the spell that you’re casting!
Lunar Empowerment (Level 14)
At level 14, you gain some passive benefits based on which Lunar Embodiment phase you are in. Each of these are solid options, and you will undoubtedly have moments where each applies.
Make sure that you’re keeping track of these passive benefits in addition to the spells and Lunar Boons based on your current chosen phase.
(It can be a lot to keep up with, so it’s probably a good idea to also keep some notes handy to reference quickly!)
Full Moon: You can use a bonus action to shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet or to douse the light.
In addition, you and creatures of your choice have advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) and Wisdom (Perception) checks while within the bright light you shed.
Perception and Investigation checks tend to be common. Giving yourself and your nearby allies advantage on those checks is incredibly helpful.
In dark or low-light situations, you can also provide a light source for you and your friends.
New Moon: You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. In addition, while you are entirely in darkness, attack rolls have disadvantage against you.
In situations that require you to be sneaky, advantage is certainly nice to have.
Not to mention, attacks against you will be at disadvantage while you’re in darkness. This includes enemies with things like darkvision or blindsight that would otherwise not be attacking you at disadvantage in the first place!
Crescent Moon: You have resistance to necrotic and radiant damage.
Radiant damage and (to a lesser degree) necrotic damage tend to be fairly uncommon. However, when they hit, they usually hit HARD.
There’s no downside to cutting that incoming damage in half!
Recommended: The Complete Guide to the Sorcerer Class in D&D 5e
Lunar Phenomenon (Level 18)
The Lunar Sorcerer’s capstone feature, Lunar Phenomenon, is definitely an impressive one. However it does have several moving parts to it, so we’ll take it piece by piece here.
Fitting with the subclass’s other features, the exact effect of this feature will depend on which Lunar Embodiment phase you’re in.
You can activate this feature with a bonus action once per long rest or spend 5 sorcery points to use it again.
However, the bonus action that you use to activate this can also be the same bonus action that you use to change your Lunar phase with the Waxing and Waning feature.
As a bonus action, you can tap into a special power of your current Lunar Embodiment phase.
Alternatively, as part of the bonus action you take to change your lunar phase using the Waxing and Waning feature, you can immediately use the power of the lunar phase you are entering.
Once you use one of these bonus action benefits, you can’t use that benefit again until you finish a long rest unless you spend 5 sorcery points to use it again.
So let’s now look closer at each of your three options!
We’re kicking things off with a solid AoE debuff option that also peppers in a bit of healing support.
You radiate moonlight for a moment.
Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or be blinded until the end of its next turn.
In addition, one creature of your choice in that area regains 3d8 hit points.
Of the three options, this is the least likely to be consistently useful.
In the right circumstances, being able to blind multiple creatures around you until the end of their next turn can be helpful.
However, it relies heavily on your party being able to swiftly follow up. Additionally, it’s less useful if those affected enemies’ turns come shortly after your own.
3d8 healing is decent, but nothing spectacular at this level.
While this option isn’t useless, it’s definitely the most situational of the options you get with this feature.
Fitting with the theme of the New Moon phase, we now come to our damage-dealing option.
You momentarily emanate gloom.
Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC or take 3d10 necrotic damage and have its speed reduced to 0 until the end of its next turn.
In addition, you become invisible until the end of your next turn, or until immediately after you make an attack roll or cast a spell.
I freaking LOVE this option.
3d10 necrotic damage against all enemies within 30 feet of you can hit very hard. But reducing their speed to 0 until the end of their next turn is just a great way to salt that wound.
Not to cheapen the experience, you’re also invisible until the end of your next turn.
This makes for a great chance to reposition yourself. Considering you were probably getting surrounded when you used this, that’s not a bad idea.
But remember that you still have your Action!
While attacking or casting a spell as an action will break your invisibility, this is a good chance to get advantage on a hard-hitting spell attack.
Of course, you could also use your action first and THEN activate this as your bonus action if you’re looking for more of a getaway.
With the tricky nature of the Crescent Moon phase, is it any surprise that you’re getting a handy teleport?
You can magically teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 60 feet of yourself.
You can bring along one willing creature you can see within 5 feet of yourself. That creature teleports to an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of your destination space.
In addition, you and that creature gain resistance to all damage until the start of your next turn.
60 feet is a very respectable range and the ability to bring a friend along can be especially useful for getting out of a sticky situation.
At these upper levels, you really shouldn’t expect mercy from enemies which means this feature can be instrumental for saving a downed (or soon-to-be downed) ally.
Of course, this can also be one heck of a way to initiate combat or wreak havoc on the enemies’ backlines.
Such an approach is made even better considering that you and your ally are gaining resistance to ALL damage until the start of your next turn!
That’s plenty of time to send enemies screaming!
The Lunar Sorcerer ties in wonderfully with the more magical and mystical elements of an adventure. If you’re also focusing heavily on deities, these Sorcerers’ connections to the moon make a great vehicle to tie them into the cosmology of the world.
Like all Sorcerers, there are many ways that a character might have come to possess these magical powers.
Druidic rituals and birthrights or being born during an eclipse or other significant event are common reasons. Of course, it could also stem from coming into contact with a moonrock or other such artifact.
Many Sorcerers seek to understand and master their power. This is often the “call to adventure” (or at least part of it) that connects them to the campaign.
For the Lunar Sorcerer, this naturally paves the way toward a desire to uncover mysteries and secrets in much the same way that the moon shines its light in the darkness.
I could especially see a Lunar Sorcerer finding spiritual guidance and friendship with a friendly Twilight Cleric.
Is the Lunar Sorcerer Good?
Sorcerers have been underrated for most of D&D 5e’s lifetime, but that’s been changing over the past few years.
The Lunar Sorcerer is a standout option with an exciting theme and very powerful features. Getting 15 extra spells plus a powered-up cantrip does a lot to increase the versatility of this subclass.
Such a big list of extra spells rockets the Lunar Sorcerer to a place among the best Sorcerer subclasses. This is only made better by an extra efficient way to use your Metamagic with the Lunar Boons feature.
I’ve seen no shortage of discussion about whether or not the Lunar Sorcerer is actually TOO STRONG. Most of these arguments highlight the huge spell list.
That said, many of the Lunar Spells are more situational than anything. Additionally, Lunar Spells can’t be replaced.
While there is plenty of space to be versatile with this spell list, the real “meat and potatoes” fits in line with what we’ve seen from Sorcerers since Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything was released in 2020.
Sorcerers typically function as a type of “specialist” in the party. They can be somewhat adaptable with Metamagic, but they generally perform best when they have a clear role to inform their tactics and spell selection.
The Lunar Sorcerer is instead able to more-or-less adapt to what the party needs at the moment.
With more options and an efficient way to use sorcery points, this is a subclass that is strong without being unbalanced. However, it is also more on the complex side which means it might not be ideal for someone who is new to D&D 5e.
Related: Ranking Every Sorcerer Subclass in D&D 5e!
Conclusion – Lunar Sorcerer in D&D 5e
Sorcerers have been getting a lot of love with the last several subclasses that have come out. It’s nice to see!
The Lunar Sorcerer is a bit weird and fairly complicated, but I think it hits the right balance of adding to the Sorcerer’s overall versatility without stepping on the toes of the Wizard class.
Personally, I’m mostly a fan of the Lunar Boons feature and how it allows for more efficient use of sorcery points. It’s a small effect with some huge implications!
But what are your thoughts on the Lunar Sorcerer in D&D 5e? Got any fun character concepts or build ideas you’d like to share? Let’s chat in the comments!
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