“I’m thinking about playing a Wild Magic Sorcerer” is a sentence that gets met with different and extreme reactions by D&D players.
Some can’t help but grin and laugh while others will start sweating and shake their head.
It’s a polarizing Sorcerer subclass, to be sure! But it’s incredibly fun playing a character who is aiming to control the very force of chaos itself.
Today we’re going over what is possibly the most legendary subclass in the game.
This is the full subclass guide to the Wild Magic Sorcerer in D&D 5e!
What is the Wild Magic Sorcerer in D&D 5e?
As a Wild Magic Sorcerer, you’re the embodiment of chaos or at least a product of it.
It’s difficult to predict what these spellcasters will do next. You can’t help but wonder if they even know what’s going to happen themselves!
Wild Magic Sorcerers are pressure cookers of arcane energy. That pressure builds and builds until there’s even the slightest opening and then KABLOOEY!
This is magic in its most raw and pure form. Any number of effects could start happening at any time!
The Wild Magic Sorcerer didn’t necessarily ask for this power. In fact, they are probably working as hard as possible to learn how to control it.
As for how they came to possess this power, who knows?
A sorcerer might gain Wild Magic by being born under a dark star, crossing paths with a Fey being who awoke something within them, or being too close to an event like an arcane Chernobyl explosion.
Even still, it might just be Fate itself having a laugh.
Wild Magic is instinctive, uncontrollable, and incredibly powerful. Sorcerers who find themselves in possession of these powers tend to do whatever they can to learn how to control them.
Each one has likely had numerous stories of their magic backfiring and having disastrous consequences just as surely as they’ve had times where their Wild Magic surged and saved them.
Role in the Party
True to the name, the Wild Magic Sorcerer is a wildcard in any party.
At its core, this class is well-suited for blasting enemies. There are several effects on the Wild Magic Surge Table that help you blast enemies even harder!
But the Wild Magic Sorcerer is also quite the team player. Not only can they take spells meant to support their allies, but they also gain the Bend Luck feature at level 6 which lets them help their allies rolls or hinder enemies’.
A fair amount of effects on the Wild Magic Surge table also provide buffs to the Wild Magic Sorcerer and/or their allies.
Your role in the party is mostly going to be shaped by your allies’ views of Wild Magic. Those who see your surges as potential rewards will look to stay close to you. Meanwhile, allies who are scared of what chaos your nature can bring will try to keep their distance.
You’re a blaster, buffer, and fun-house mirror for the party. Everything gets distorted and warped when you start slinging spells!
Related: Mastering the Sorcerer’s Metamagic
Wild Magic Sorcerer Abilities
The core mechanic to playing your Wild Magic Sorcerer is the Wild Magic Surge Table. It’s fun (sometimes), helpful (sometimes), dangerous (sometimes), and entirely awesome (sometimes.)
We’ll cover that in more detail in just a moment. For now, suffice it to say that most of your features are specifically geared towards harnessing the power on this table.
Taken on their own, it might be easy to shrug at each feature like it’s no big deal.
Instead, look for how each feature combines and adds to the chaos engine that is the Wild Magic Sorcerer subclass.
Let’s break it all down!
Wild Magic Surge (Level 1)
Right out of the gate at level 1, you get the Wild Magic Surge feature. This is the key mechanic to the Wild Magic Sorcerer subclass and probably why you chose this class in the first place!
When you cast spells, the chaotic nature of your power will sometimes flare up and produce different effects.
Once per turn, the DM can have you roll a d20 immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher.
If you roll a 1, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table to create a magical effect. If that effect is a spell, it is too wild to be affected by your Metamagic. If it normally requires concentration, it doesn’t require concentration in this case. The spell lasts for its full duration.
Something very important to be aware of is that the DM decides whether you roll a d20 or not.
Personally, I think it’s much more fun to roll every time you cast a spell of level 1 or higher. Because you’re only rolling on the Wild Magic Surge table if that d20 rolls a 1, you’ve got a 5% chance of triggering a surge.
This is the Wild Magic Sorcerer’s whole thing, so why not give it as many opportunities to happen as possible?
Talk to your DM about this. They’ll probably appreciate having one less thing to remember each round as well!
In my own experience, there’s a certain tension around the table every single time you roll with this feature. It’s not necessarily a bad tension, but more like everyone holding their breath for what may end up happening to turn the entire situation around in some bizarre way.
It’s an addicting feeling!
Also Check Out: The Best Sorcerer Spells By Level in D&D 5e
The Wild Magic Surge Table
When you have a Wild Magic Surge and roll a 1 on the d20 for that feature, you now roll on the Wild Magic Surge Table.
The Wild Magic Surge table contains 50 different effects that can be triggered by a Wild Magic Surge. To determine what effect happens, roll percentile dice. The number you roll correlates to an effect on the table.
Playing a Wild Magic Sorcerer was actually what spurred me to get a d100. Only using it for surges (and the delightful sound it made rolling across the table) added more to that feeling of suspense.
You can certainly use percentile dice if you’d like, but this is the d100 that I used if you want to add that extra flair to each Wild Magic Surge!
Plus, it’s just a weird enough design to get a laugh every time it’s rolled.
As for the effects on the Wild Magic Surge Table, it’s not quite as risky as some might think. Most of the effects are beneficial for the caster or more neutral in nature. Still, it wouldn’t be chaos if there wasn’t some risk!
One round you might be maxxing your spell damage or casting spells way above your level.
On the next round, you might turn into a potted plant or be surrounded by butterflies and music.
Then you might cast a fireball spell on yourself and blow everyone around you up in a blaze of glory. Well maybe not glory, but “blaze of chaos” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, you know?
You can find the Wild Magic Surge Table on page 104 of the Player’s Handbook.
If you and your DM are feeling especially creative, you might even come up with your own Wild Magic Surge table!
Tides of Chaos (Level 1)
Also at level 1, the Wild Magic Sorcerer is so attuned to the elements of chaos and chance that they can manipulate those forces around them.
You can gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. Once you do so, you must take a long rest before you use this feature again.
Any time before you regain the use of this feature, the DM can have you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table immediately after you cast a sorcerer spell of first level or higher.
You then regain the use of this feature.
If you’re doing what I suggested and rolling on the Wild Magic Surge table every time you cast something stronger than a cantrip, this is great. You’ll have advantage on just about every roll you make unless something else is preventing that.
Related: Advantage and Disadvantage Explained
This is another one of those features where the DM must tell you to roll if you want to get it back. For the same reason I made the recommendation with the last feature, I’d recommend talking to your DM about this one.
It might seem broken to get advantage on basically everything you do, but you know the risks of what you’re doing.
It will be fine!
Bend Luck (Level 6)
Some people have all the luck. Others learn to twist it to better suit their needs.
When another creature you can see makes an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can use your reaction and spend 2 sorcery points to roll 1d4 and apply the number rolled as a bonus or penalty (your choice) to the creature’s roll.
You can do so after the creature rolls but before any effects of the roll occur.
2 sorcery points is pretty expensive, but this is a nice trick to keep up your sleeve. When your party really needs a Hail Mary, this can give enough to push to completely change fate.
The best use of this is when you have an ally drop to zero hit points. If they’re not having luck making their death saving throws, this can literally be a lifesaver.
It’s also great for tipping the scales in the party’s favor for harder-hitting spells and attacks.
That extra 1d4 can be all it takes to land an attack with a big spell like Plane Shift. Against an elusive enemy, it can set your Paladin up for a Divine Smite or your Rogue for a hard-hitting sneak attack!
Your sorcery points are very valuable, so use this feature wisely. When you need it, though, don’t hesitate to bend luck in you and your allies’ favor!
Controlled Chaos (Level 14)
At level 14, you’ve become more familiar with the raw Wild Magic that flows through you. As it just so happens, you’ve learned to somewhat harness and control chaos itself!
Whenever you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table, you can roll twice and use either number.
Your odds of getting one of the more unfortunate effects on the Wild Magic Surge table are now greatly reduced.
The days of worrying about turning into a potted plant or blowing yourself up are long gone!
Well… mostly anyways… Your odds are never truly zero…
Having options is never a bad thing and you’re almost guaranteed to get something good when you roll on the Wild Magic Surge table now. Even if it’s not something great, you probably got something that’s not terrible!
Unless you end up having to choose between blowing yourself up or turning into a plant. But, hey, c’est la vie, right?
Recommended: The Complete Guide to the Sorcerer In D&D 5e
Spell Bombardment (Level 18)
Finally, the Wild Magic Sorcerer gets their capstone feature at level 18. This is a passive effect that buffs up your spell damage.
When you roll damage for a spell and roll the highest number possible on any of the dice, choose one of those dice, roll it again, and add that roll to the damage.
You can use this feature only once per turn.
I’m not one to turn my nose up at extra damage, but this won’t be turning many heads. At level 18, you’ve already had access to the Empowered Spell Metamagic for 15 levels.
You’re more likely to get use out of this if you’re casting a spell like Meteor Swarm that rolls a bunch of dice. Even then, you’re only rerolling one of those. It’s a slight bump in damage.
I’m not going to say this is a bad feature, though it is a bit underwhelming as a capstone.
But who cares?
We’ve still got Wild Magic for DAYS, baby!
One of the advantages of playing a character so defined by chaos is that you don’t necessarily need grand reasons to join the party.
Your Wild Magic Sorcerer might be more capricious, impulsive, and happy-go-lucky. Stumbling into the party and a chance to go on an adventure, they’ve chosen to come along.
On the other hand, your Wild Magic Sorcerer might view themselves as more of a leper.
They want friends but are scared to keep people close in case things get all… explode-y. But the party needs their help, and this might be a chance to finally learn how to harness the powers that the character has come to believe are a curse.
While every character has a past, the Wild Magic Sorcerer’s is particularly important.
There’s a great chance here to show what kind of surges the character is most familiar with. These are the stories that they have and greatly shape their background and reason for adventuring.
So, the first example I gave could certainly be a Wild Magic Sorcerer who has gotten a lot of good or neutral effects. Every now and again a unicorn just shows up for a little while, or the character suddenly starts flying while music plays around them.
That character views this all as a gift and trusts that things will just kind of always work out.
But the second character may have a much more tragic backstory.
They’ve mostly seen the bad side of Wild Magic. They’ve woken up launching magic missiles in their sleep or mysteriously teleporting to entire other planes of existence.
Their current appearance may not even be that which they were born with. They were an elf, but then they mysteriously woke up as a goblin one day.
Have fun with it!
Is the Wild Magic Sorcerer Good?
You need to be at least a little crazy to play a Wild Magic Sorcerer.
I mean, what other class could accidentally nuke their entire party at the very start of the adventure?
If you’re looking to play a Wild Magic Sorcerer, it’s probably a good idea to communicate that to the other players during your session zero. Some DMs and players don’t want to go anywhere near this subclass.
Furthermore, for this subclass to really come to life like you probably want it to, you’ll definitely need buy-in from the Dungeon Master. If the DM forgets to have you roll your Wild Magic Surge or just doesn’t want you to, it takes away a lot from the experience of playing a Wild Magic Sorcerer.
With all of that said, the Wild Magic Sorcerer is a fun and very useful subclass.
They’re capable of things that defy every expectation and rule of magic. There’s a thrill to just letting chaos guide your way that absolutely can’t be denied.
I must confess… this is my personal favorite sorcerer subclass and certainly in my top 10 for the whole game.
In some groups, the Wild Magic Sorcerer is an amazing subclass that adds so much to the game. In other groups, having one in the party is a waking nightmare.
It’s impossible to give a definitive “yes” or “no” answer to whether or not the Wild Magic Sorcerer is good. It depends on your group, your DM, your style of gameplay, and so much more.
If you have a DM and party that are supportive, you’re in for quite the ride with this subclass. If nothing else, your gaming group will definitely have some stories that couldn’t have happened any other way!
Conclusion – Wild Magic Sorcerer in D&D
So, what do you say? Are you feeling lucky?
This is such a fun subclass that really brings out a group’s ability to adapt/think on the fly. I think it’s also a great thematic example of what it means to be born with arcane powers over most of the other Sorcerer subclasses.
It’s definitely not the right fit for every table though.
As fun as it is, you want to make sure that everyone is okay with whatever happens before you make one of these characters. Not everyone finds Wild Magic amusing!
What are your thoughts on the Wild Magic Sorcerer in D&D 5e? Let’s chat in the comments!
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