DnD 5e Wild Magic Sorcerer Handbook


The Wild Magic Sorcerer is unpredictable, which means it’s unreliable and therefore ineffective. But it’s a lot of fun, so, if your group can survive you not min-maxing, this adds an element of zany fun to your game. Just be sure 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 table is left up to the DM. The DM can choose to make you roll when you cast a leveled spell, and they can choose to make you reroll to recharge Tides of Chaos, which is your subclass’s only useful feature at first level.

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

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

This allows Wild Magic to occur often enough to feel meaningful, but likely not every round. Similarly, Tides of Chaos has a very clear risk when it’s used. Yes, you can use it frequently, but you’re going to roll for Wild Magic almost immediately after that, which imposes an exciting risk-reward mechanic. That risk diminishes considerably when Controlled Chaos comes online at level 14, but by then the dangerous effects have largely become minor annoyances anyway.

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

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.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Features

  1. Wild Magic Surge: If your DM forgets to ask you to roll, this doesn’t matter. But it’s a core component of the subclass, so, as a DM, I would make you roll every time you cast a qualifying spell (unless we were trying to get through an encounter quickly). The effects range from comedic to catastrophic to fantastic, so there’s really no way to rate this.

    Roughly 7 of the 50 options on the table are potentially harmful to you or your allies in some way, so most of the effects are benign. Perhaps the most 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 the table. (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 depends entirely on how often your DM will call for a Wild Magic roll to let you recharge Tides of Chaos. Your DM is absolutely allowed to never trigger the recharge mechanic, limiting you to just one use per day. Or, they might allow you to recharge Tides of Chaos after every time you cast a leveled spell, allowing you to use Tides of Chaos frequently.

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

  3. Bend Luck: When your allies fails a save against death by 1 or two, it’s heart-breaking. Spend the Sorcery Points and be 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 a Bloodwell Vial so you have extra points to spend.
  4. Controlled Chaos: This considerably reduces the threat of the Wild Magic table and makes it more of a source of unpredictable buffs and comic relief.
  5. Spell Bombardment: This is a little bit of extra damage on many of your damage-dealing spells. Spells which use large dice like Toll the Dead are less likely to trigger the benefit, but the 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, but the additional 3.5 damage feels really insignificant for such a high-level class feature. More damage is nice, of course; it’s just not very exciting since 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 first time that you roll damage for that spell like most damage boosting features. This means that you can reapply this benefit multiple times for spells which deal damage multiple times. It’s only once per turn, of course, but most spells that would benefit this way will only roll damage once per turn. For example: Tasha’s Caustic Brew deals damage at the beginning of the target’s turn. This may be enough to justify picking spells that specifically benefit.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Ability Scores

No different from a typical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Races

No different from a typical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Feats

No different from a typical sorcerer.

  • :

Wild Magic Sorcerer Weapons

No different from a typical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Armor

No different from a typical sorcerer.

Wild Magic Sorcerer Multiclassing

No different from a typical 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.

halfling sorcerer miniature from heroforge
Example halfling sorcerer miniature from our friends at Heroforge. (affiliate link)

Ability Scores

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



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

Which is to say that everyone else is wrong because the Halfling is the most chaotic race. Lucky alone makes fundamental assumptions about the game unpredictable, and then you can add both the Bountiful Luck and Second Chance feats to the mix to make things even less predictable. We’ll use the custom origin rules, too.


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 gets us every Face skill.


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

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

At level 12 we’ll split an ability score increase to raise Con to 16 and Charisma 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 like Inspiring Leader.


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

For our leveled spells, we’re going for Chaos Bolt over something more steady and reliable like Chromatic Orb or Magic Missile. Chaos Bolt only has a 1 in 8 chance to jump and doesn’t scale as well as Chromatic Orb, but, for much of our career, we can cast it at 1st level for an inexpensive source of single-target damage. If you miss, use Tides of Chaos to reroll.

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

We’ll also grab Mage Armor. This build is a wacky chaos monster, not a death wish.
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 rapidly accumulating 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 a great trade.
– Quickened Spell
– Twinned Spell
New Spells Known
– 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 per encounter. It’s not enough to replace a passable AC, but it’s good insurance and it comes with a +1 ability score increase.

Use Vortex Warp to take a party member and put them wherever. Ideally somewhere 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 nowhere near as precise as Dominate X, but it’s much lower level and you can still use it turn an enemy against their allies. Even better: in really 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 turn enemy’s narrowly successful rolls into failures. It’s one of the pieces of our d4 abuse article, and, unlike many d4 bonuses/penalties, you don’t need to apply it before the roll.

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

Bend Luck also stacks with the d4 debuff from Mind Sliver. Subtracting 2d4 from a save is -5 on average, which is a massive debuff. At this level that’s literally bigger than your ability modifier. That will make your Spell Save DC mathematically impossible for many creatures to pass unless you’re targeting their best saving throws, and that holds true across the full level range. Even worse, you can add Bane to the mix for yet another -1d4 penalty on saves.

Sleet Storm is a weird mix of area control and damage, and forcing enemies to fall prone is definitely going to add chaos to an encounter.
7New Spells Known
– Confusion
I don’t trust Confusion specifically because it’s chaotic and unpredictable, but affected creatures do have an 80% chance to not get an Action, so it’s no awful. I would rather use Hypnotic Pattern, but that’s not sufficiently chaotic!
8Fey Touched
– Charisma 18 -> 19
– Bane
– Misty Step
New Spells Known
Fey Touched grants a 1st-level spell known, and that benefit is nearly always forgotten in favor of Misty Step. Here I’m going to recommend Bane. It’s a weird spell, but, against small numbers of powerful enemies, it’s either a powerful long-lasting debuff or a hilariously low-cost way to burn Legendary Resistances.

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

Use Polymorph to turn an ally or into a T-Rex and set them loose. Or turn an enemy into something odd like a box turtle.
9New Spells Known
– Insect Plague
Area control and ongoing damage that will benefit from Spell Bombardment.
– Heightened Spell
New Cantrip Known
– Any
New Spells Known
– Seeming
Heightened Spell, especially when combined with Quickened Mind Sliver and the possibility of Bend Luck, allows us to make our spells functionally impossible to resist.

Cast Seeming to make your whole party look like one of your enemies, then have everybody run around. Watch the chaos as other enemies try to figure out what’s going on.
11New Spells Known
– Scatter
Oh no, I’ve scattered all of my enemies into the middle of Insect Plague!
12Ability Score Increase: Constitution 15 -> 16, Charisma 19 -> 20We’ll split an ability score increase to get Charisma to 20 and to raise our Con modifier.
13New Spells Known
– Reverse Gravity
Okay but what if this fight took place on the ceiling, instead? Don’t forget 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 around us.
16Feat: Bountiful LuckLucky has been protecting us from Natural 1s since level 1, and now it’s time to make it everyone else’s problem, too share.
– Empowered Spell
New Spells Known
– Mass Polymorph
Empowered Spell works well with Spell Bombardment when we get it at our next levels. Rerolling your lowest die rolls means another chance to roll the highest number on the die. Metamagic Adept also get us two Sorcery Points.

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

Maybe retrain something into Wish if you still want Wish.
18Spell BombardmentThis makes all of our ongoing damage spells suddenly much more appealing. Take Tasha’s Caustic Brew as an example: If we upcast it to just 2nd level, we have a 68.36% chance to roll a 4 on at least one die every time the spells deals damage, and the more we upcast, the more likely we are to get extra damage. Area control spells like Wall of Fire and Insect Plague’s prospects may be even better with more targets and bigger and more numerous damage dice.

Spell Bombardment also has a fun interaction with Magic Missile. The official ruling is that you roll the d4 once and use it for every missile, 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 a go-to tactic, but it’s fun to think about.
19Feat: AnyWe have an empty space here. +2 Con is a great choice.
20Sorcerous RestorationUnimpressive.