DnD 5e Lunar Sorcery Sorcerer Handbook


Played “as intended,” Lunar Sorcery is, without a doubt, the single strongest Sorcerer subclass. Sure, the Aberrant Mind guide teaches you how to cast Silvery Barbs with a single Sorcery Point and no components, and sure Storm Sorcery with a level of Tempest Cleric is an incredible blaster, but nothing compares to the raw number of options a Lunar sorcerer has available to them at any given time.

Originally published in Shadow of the Dragon Queen, the entry for them on dndbeyond makes it clear that their presence in other campaigns on other worlds is not only begrudgingly allowed, it’s actually planned for. To quote very minorly, “You or someone from your lineage has been exposed to the concentrated magic of the moon (or moons) of your world, imbuing you with lunar magic.” This means you should absolutely feel free take advantage of this powerful option at any table you like, and enjoy all that the subclass has to offer.

Table of Contents


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 which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to 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.

Lunar Sorcery Features

  1. Lunar Embodiment: There are two halves to this feature. One half grants the Sorcerer 15 total spells known from a fixed list. The list is generally good, but unlike other Sorcerous Origins that allow the user to swap spells out, this list is static.

    The second half allows the user to cast one of the 1st-level spells once per day without expending a spell slot, depending on which Moon Phase is chosen at the start of the day.. At later levels, this expands to allow each of the three 1st-level spells once each per day without expending a spell slot.

    And by which phase you choose, we mean always Full Moon and only Full Moon from levels one to five where the only thing the phase controls is the free 1st-level spell. Because Full Moon is the shield spell and the other two spells are too situational to need a free cast each day.

    • Level 1: One great spell, one okay spell, and one not great spell. All three are already on the Sorcerer list as well. Still, the good spell is something most Sorcerers already take so having it be available as a once per day free spell is even better.
    • Level 3: Fantastic options here. One great spell not on the Sorcerer list, and two spells ranked Green on the Sorcerer spell breakdown.
    • Level 5: Overall rather solid. Two spells from outside the Sorcerer list as well as a commonly taken spell for Sorcerers. While one of these spells is a bit niche, ranked Orange on the Wizard list even it still has occasional uses.
    • Level 7: One dud spell ranked red on the Sorcerer list is made up for by getting both a good and an okay spell from outside the Sorcerer list.
    • Level 9: Continuing the trend, one spell from the Sorcerer list, ranked blue this time, as well as two spells from outside the list. A very good blue ranked Wizard-only spell and a niche but still useful orange spell from Wizard.
  2. Moon Fire: An additional cantrip known that is normally exclusive to Cleric but with a twist that allows it to hit an extra target. Strong boost when you can hit the extra target, but also nice to gain another out of class spell in a valuable damage type that’s hard to access.
  3. Lunar Boons: An upgrade to metamagic to really stretch out your spell points, as long as you prepare ahead of time for the schools of magic you want to add metamagic to. Yes, because it can only be used PB times per long rest, it’s at most 6 more Spell Points worth of metamagic at the high end, but that’s still more than other Sorcerers.
  4. Waxing and Waning: This is the feature that allows you to switch up your Moon Phase, changing, among other things, which schools of magic the enhancement to metamagic from Lunar Boons is applied to. This is also the feature that allows you to get those extra free 1st-level spell casts from Lunar Embodiment, as mentioned above.
  5. Lunar Empowerment: Three passive benefits depending on which Moon Phase we’re in.
    • Full Moon: Being a flashlight with some extra benefits to searching for stuff is likely to be useful more often than not.
    • New Moon: Sneaky stealth mode for sneaky stealth missions.
    • Crescent Moon: Resistance to multiple uncommon damage types.
  6. Lunar Phenomenon: Three potent options that can each be used as a bonus action once per long rest, or repeated for 5 Sorcery points. As a great QoL feature, this can also be activated with the same bonus action that changes your form via Waxing and Waning. Meaning you could start in Full Moon, use Waxing and Waning to spend one Sorcery Point to switch to Crescent Moon and simultaneously activate the Crescent Moon Lunar Phenomenon.
    • Full Moon: An AoE Con save to inflict Blindness for a round along with some minor healing, which is very nice but still the “weakest” of the three options.
    • New Moon: AoE damage and speed reduction paired with self Invisibility for a round as a non-spell bonus action, so you can still cast a spell as your Action.
    • Crescent Moon: Duo misty step with free resistance for you and your partner for a round as well.

Lunar Sorcery Ability Scores

Nothing different than any other Sorcerer.

Str: Dump

Dex: Bump

Con: Bump

Int: Dump

Wis: Dump

Cha: Pump

Point BuyStandard Array

Lunar Sorcery Races

Not much different than any other Sorcerer, although a couple things worth noting. Races which grant extra spells to cast will be less powerful options because our list is already heavily expanded, but not so much that I’d intentionally stay away from them. The subclass also has the opportunity to limp along as a cleric replacement with things like Lesser Restoration and Death Ward from Full Moon, especially if you could get racial access to healing… as, for instance, a Mark of Healing Halfling can if your game allows it.

Lunar Sorcery Feats

Nothing different than any other Sorcerer, although feats that grant spells, like races noted above, will be slightly less powerful than usual.

Lunar Sorcery Weapons

Nothing different than any other Sorcerer.

Lunar Sorcery Armor

Nothing different than any other Sorcerer.

Lunar Sorcery Multiclassing

This section briefly details some obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see our Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

The only multiclassing this build could really want is Cleric to fill in the capacities that Full Moon grants to be supportive, but at that point just play a Divine Soul. Realistically, this subclass just wants access to its abilities as quickly as possible.

Example Lunar Sorcery Build – Weresorcerer

Why are we talking like this?

Oh, I thought you wanted to.

Because most play will happen under level 10, we’re going to optimize the build based on the abilities at levels one and six and present a guide to how to use this vast array of options as a powerfully supportive character while still filling in the Blaster and Controller roles (a rarity for Sorcerers outside of the Divine Soul subclass).

Ability Scores



You might be able to tell that we’re leaning into a trope here, so Shifter. We get proficiency in Intimidation and choose Beasthide to fix some of the traditional durability problems Sorcerers have.


Haunted one would be amusing for referencing whatever horrible incident made us the way we are, but I think I’d prefer to focus on the fact that we’ve separated ourselves from society to keep them safe and pick Hermit. On the other hand, the skills from Hermit are kind of awful for us, so let’s change them up for Perception (it’s always good) and Insight (to fill out the Face role that Sorcerers are naturally good at).

Skills and Tools

We take Deception and Persuasion from the class and add them to the Intimidation, Perception, and Insight we have so far. We’re also happy about the Herbalism Kit that lets us craft potions to fill in the supportive capabilities the subclass doesn’t cover.


Shifting is a Bonus Action, and we’ll eventually be able to quicken some important spells for a single Sorcery Point, so taking Telekinetic blessedly doesn’t feel like a requirement. With that in mind:

At level 4, we take Rune Shaper to further lean into the enormous flexibility of the subclass.

At level 8, we take Telepathic since we’re going to be spending a lot of time not in our own body.

At level 12, we cap Charisma.

At level 16, we take Cartomancy to continue leaning into flexibility.

At level 19, we take Inspiring Leader because there’s little else to do with this feat slot and it distributes a preposterous amount of temp hp.


LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Lunar Embodiment


– Create Bonfire
– Fire Bolt
Mage Hand
– Sacred Flame
Shape Water

New Spells Known:
– Chromatic Orb
– Sleep
We’re going to want to spend most of our time in Full Moon for at least the first few levels. Color Spray is fine, but we already have a similar (and better) effect in Sleep, and having not just Shield among our spells “known” for free, but indeed getting a free casting per day, is too good to pass up.

Any time there are two targets next to each other, Sacred Flame them. If there isn’t somewhere you can hit two people, Fire Bolt instead. Since we have nothing else to take up Concentration, Create Bonfire can be a useful area denial trick.

For equipment, take whatever you like that includes a focus. 
2New Spell Known:
Silent Image

Font of Magic
My pedantry around spells knows very few bounds. The fact that Silent Image says “If a creature discerns the illusion for what it is, the creature can see through the image,” as a separate sentence means that no interaction is required, you just have to know that it’s an illusion.
This means that not only us as the caster but, indeed, our entire party can see through it if you have told them specific things like “when I summon a wooden crate around enemies, it will always be an illusion.” The enemies won’t know that, though, so you get an entire turn’s worth of your party making attack rolls with advantage (because anything without enhanced sense will have the Blinded condition per the basic rules of you creating a heavily obscured area since your illusion is blocking out the light).
If you use it this way, it will only last until one enemy’s turn, so be careful with that. On the other hand, you can always drop a fake mist wall in front of yourself and Firebolt with Advantage for an entire combat (or even several if you move it with you; remember the 10-minute duration).
3Retrain Spell:
Chromatic Orb -> Scorching Ray

New Spell Known:
– Invisibility

– Quicken Spell
– Extended Spell
Chromatic Orb needs an upgrade, so we turn it in for the biggest single-target damage spell available until Disintegrate.

Invisibility, meanwhile, is a staple for letting you or a party member do whatever they want* for an hour at a time. Or, for the still very low price of a Sorcery Point, two hours.

Quicken is a great thing to use your Sorcery Points on already, but it will get even better soon.
4Feat: Rune Shaper

Retrain Spell:
Sleep -> Web

New Cantrip:
– Minor Illusion

New Spell Known:
– Phantasmal Force
Between Phantasmal Force and Web we’ve got all the standard spellcaster supremacy things going on, plus Phantasmal Force being an Illusion is a surprise tool that will help us later.

Minor Illusion lets us practice forever the illusion shenanigans we’ve been doing since level two on a smaller scale.

Until level 9, Rune Shaper gets us one additional spell known and a free casting of it once per day. If you’re not a Mark of Healing Halfling and you’ve been limping along on the healing potions you can make with the Herbalism Kit proficiency we started with, now’s a good time to take Goodberry (Hill). Otherwise, take Command (King). Extending Command: Flee is often nearly as good as much higher-level spells like Banishment.
5New Spell Known:
– Fireball
This is the last level where you’re going to be nearly exclusively in Full Moon, although this level does give you an interesting choice to pick Crescent for a day if your party needs to travel. Extending Phantom Steed and attaching a cart with the rest of your party on it to the horse lets you travel 20 miles in two hours which will cover all you’re likely to need when you’re still tackling city-threat-level problems.

You probably won’t use Dispel Magic very often, but Shield is still the best spell by far of the 9 we have access to through Lunar Embodiment, so Full Moon it is.

6New Spell Known:
– Silvery Barbs

Lunar Boons

Waxing and Waning
Now then, this subclass finally gets interesting. Our proficiency bonus right now is +3, so we functionally get three bonus Sorcery Points for metamagic. Full Moon lets you do interesting things with Abjuration and Divination spells… but we don’t have a ton of those, and neither quickening nor extending them is useful most of the time.
What is useful is quickening our illusions, so now we’re going to spend most of our time in Crescent Moon. This does mean that we lose access to Shield, but we’re level six by now and still have racial benefits to durability. We’ll survive.

So, what do we do with this newfound power? Quicken a Phantasmal Force to devastating effect: “My target believes it is in a magically-sealed, completely dark tank of lava/liquid nitrogen/acid (this is the “phantasmal object” from the spell description; pick whatever contents your target seems likely to be affected by).” As a reminder, the text of the spell says “While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real.” That means it’s going to believe that it’s magically sealed and have no reason to try to escape if it doesn’t believe it could break/open such a container, and it’s going to believe that it’s completely dark, making it functionally blinded as per the illusion description discussed above. This means you can Quicken one straight into a Firebolt for Advantage on the attack and get around the fact that we’re a point behind on the fundamental math.

Since our reactions are probably never again going to be Shield, we take the thing we didn’t try to abuse at low levels because we didn’t have enough spell slots.
7New Spell Known:
Right now, we’re not going to use Polymorph on ourselves because we can’t turn into a dire werewolf T-rex. We can still use it offensively though, and it’s a viable target for Lunar Boons.
8Feat: Telepathic
– Charisma increase

New Spell Known:
– Fly
Awoo. Now we can still communicate with our (admittedly very low) intellect while inhabiting a different form. This does mean our Concentration is taken by Polymorph, but that’s fine most of the time.
9New Spell Known:
– Cloudkill
Say, our proficiency bonus just went up, granting us another rune. Friends for Speak With Animals might occasionally be useful, but I’d go with Frost. Armor of Agathys is always a broken spell, and upcasting it on one turn with a quickened cantrip before quickening Polymorph and wading into melee with an Attack on the following turn is a delightful thing when you’re tired of being a supremacy caster.

When you’re not busy concentrating on an illusory prison or being a were-erwolf, create a giant cloud of kill.
– Twin Spell

New Cantrip:
– Ray of Frost

New Spell Known:
– Skill Empowerment
Twin Spell means we can do things like start the day in Full Moon, Twin a Death Ward, and use the Sorcery Point we just saved to shift to Crescent for the rest of the day.

Once you’re in Crescent, Twin a Skill Empowerment at some point and spread the expertise around.

Ray of Frost opens up some utility in our cantrip arsenal.
11New Spell Known:
– Disintegrate
Did you know that Disintegrate is Transmutation because you’re literally turning the target to dust? What a great thing for us to metamagic.
12Ability Score Increase:
Charisma 18 -> 20
Four levels late, but that’s fine.
13New Spell Known:
– Delayed Blast Fireball
Cooking the grenade for a whole extra minute thanks to Extended Spell feels like cheating and results in an enormous 32d6 damage, well over 100 average per target.
14Lunar EmpowermentWe haven’t spent any resources becoming stealthy other than learning Invisibility, so there’s no reason to start now. Mostly, this is just going to give us resistance to a couple damage types, one of which is starting to get more common and is pretty scary at this level. I can’t imagine why you’d ever need Full Moon’s power since Help is a thing, but I suppose that’s available, too.
15New Spell Known:
– Dominate Monster
Too good to pass up.
16Feat: CartomancyThe reason I went 16 levels of this build without taking Prestidigitation. For exactly one level, you should use this to fill whatever hole in your spellcasting your party may need for the day: Plane Shift, True Seeing (which you can twin or extend for a discount if you’re in Full Moon), etc.
17New Spell Known:

Subtle Spell
You know what’s even better than Wish? Getting a second Wish per day thanks to Cartomancy.

We also get our final rune at this level, which should probably be Cloud for Fog Cloud since nothing else will be relevant by now.

Subtle Spell on an Illusion is a great way to mess with nearly anyone.
18Lunar PhenomenonNone of these are really going to be core tactics for us, but I could see 2-person Misty Step being nice, especially since we hang out in Crescent most of the time anyway.
19Feat: Inspiring Leader24 times 4 party members times 3 speeches a day is 288 temp hp.
20Sorcerous RestorationFour is better than none.