Sorcerers are incredibly strong in Baldur’s Gate 3 if you build them right. While lacking the versatility of Wizards or the overall skill monkey qualities of Bards, Sorcerers make up for it by being one of the most damaging classes in the game. Success as a Sorcerer is knowing how and when to use your Sorcery Points on spells for the maximum amount of impact.
However, Sorcerers do have some not-insignificant drawbacks. Their reliance on spell slots and sorcery points makes them very long-rest-hungry if you’re not careful about stretching out your resources. On tactician difficulty, where long rests are twice as expensive, this can become a serious issue unless you’re compulsively finding/purchasing enough food to offset how often you rest.
Lacking any proficiency in armor or shields, sorcerers can also be incredibly frail. Be sure to cast Mage Armor to boost your AC (or have someone do it for you via camp casting), and keep a safe distance between yourself and your enemies, ideally with the rest of your party in between. Spells don’t suffer Disadvantage for attacking at long range like weapons do, so you’re just as effective at your maximum range as you would be anywhere else.
After reading this handbook, we strongly recommend our Sorcerer Spells Breakdown.
Table of Contents
- Sorcerer Class Features
- Sorcerer Subclasses
- Sorcerer Ability Scores
- Sorcerer Races
- Sorcerer Skills
- Sorcerer Backgrounds
- Sorcerer Feats
- Sorcerer Weapons
- Sorcerer Armor
- Sorcerer Multiclassing
- Sorcerer Illithid Abilities
- Sorcerer Example Build: Overlord of the Storm
RPGBOT uses a color coding scheme to rate individual character options.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
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Sorcerer Class Features
: As with Wizards, you have the lowest hit points in the game and no armor. Stick to the backline where possible.
: Charisma saves basically don’t exist in Baldur’s Gate since most Charisma saves from the TTRPG rules are now Wisdom saves, but proficiency in Constitution saves is GODLY for a caster that relies a lot on concentration checks. If you’re planning on multiclassing, it is almost always better to start with Sorcerer first purely for this feature.
: No armor and a paltry handful of weapons
Unlike Wizards, you can’t learn any new spells from scrolls and you only get one new spell per level, so the spells you do choose matter significantly more. Check our : The main thing we’re here for. Sorcerers don’t have as much versatility nor flexibility as their Wizard brethren, but what they lack in variety of spells they make up for with power. spell list breakdown for more information on which spells to take.
A word of caution: the classic “Coffeelock” from the tabletop is not viable in Baldur’s Gate 3. When multiclassing, the game seems to pull from your Sorcerer spell slots first before pulling from your other class when converting slots into Sorcery Points. The strict limit of 2 short rests per long rest also presents a barrier to the Coffeelock’s usual short rest abuse. You will ultimately get to choose 4 Metamagic options if you go at-least-mostly-full Sorcerer: Two at 2nd level, one at 3rd and one at 10th. : This is the main appeal of Sorcerers over Wizards, aside from being actually able to be a Face character in your party. Sorcerers have a lot more control over their magic as it’s being cast than Wizards and, just like in the tabletop, some of the Metamagic options are worth more than others. You get limited amounts of Sorcery points, but, unlike in the tabletop version, items and effects that give you free spell slots are abundant in Baldur’s Gate, so make sure to abuse that.
- : This is a weaker version of the Evocation Wizard’s Sculpt Spells feature. Allies will still take damage from your spells when using this feat, so that Fireball is still going to hurt. You are better off using this on large AoE save-or-suck spells like Confusion or Hypnotic Pattern.
- : Situationally useful. There are certain fights where a bit of extra range will make the difference, but I’ve found sight lines tend to be more of a problem than range in this game, considering how most of our spells are pretty long range already and you aren’t going to be super far from most of your targets.
- : A few extremely powerful save-or-suck spells like Hypnotic Pattern and Banishment have had their durations shortened from 1 minute in the tabletop rules to just 2 rounds in Baldur’s Gate 3. Doubling the duration of these powerful spells dramatically improves their effects.
- : Amazing. Just like in the tabletop you can do some broken things with Twinned Spell. The classic go-to is twinned Haste, but twinned Greater Invisibility can also be quite nice. I have noticed, though, that there are some strange exceptions. Witchbolt will allow you to twin it for initial damage but you don’t get to keep the effect of automatic damage after it’s cast. Be sure to experiment before using this in a fight.
- : Giving a creature disadvantage on a save is always useful. At 3 sorcery points, though, it is quite expensive. Save this for your big save-or-suck spells you want boss enemies to fail and don’t waste it on a Fireball.
- : The iconic power and pretty much mandatory if you want to play Sorcerer at the top of their game. Unlike with the tabletop, one of the spells you cast does not need to be a cantrip. Feel like casting two fireballs in a round? Go for it. Want to cast create water to make creatures vulnerable to lightning and then hit them with a Chromatic orb? You know it. Quickened Spell is hands down the best Metamagic option you can take. While it is expensive, there are abundant sources of free spell slots in the world to refresh your pool, so use it and abuse it.
- : Extremely situational. There are a fair amount of situations where you can be silenced by the environment or enemies. But getting rid of Silence usually amounts to sending your rogue in to assassinate the caster. There are other Metamagic options more worth your time and limited Sorcery Points.
The classic Sorcerer. Like in the tabletop, Draconic Sorcerers are just an all around solid subclass, being beefier than your average caster and able to gain resistances and damage bonuses to certain damage types. If you have a specific element you want to focus on, pick Draconic Sorcerer and make sure to pick up the Elemental Adept feat.
1: Draconic Resilience
An amazing feature and probably why Draconic Bloodline is such a popular pick. Both aspects of Draconic Resilience help to alleviate the greatest weakness of the Sorcerer: survivability. You can become pretty hardy with this feature over the course of your career, especially if you choose to take the Tough feat. Free AC is always welcome, too, though it won’t stack with Mage Armor.
1: Dragon Ancestry
You pick a dragon type that gives you resistance to a certain element and a damage bonus on spells of that element at 6th level. Unlike in the tabletop, though, you also get a free bonus spell associated with your dragon type. This is fantastic, as we get very limited amounts of spells so any additional ones are a great bonus.
- : Probably the best one if you plan on using Fireball a lot. Fire damage is common in this game, so having resistance to it is always good. There’s a not-inconsequential amount of creatures that are resistant to fire, though, so make sure you diversify your spell list a bit or take Elemental Adept. Burning hands is a nice bonus spell, but you likely won’t use it much beyond low levels because it’s so risky to fight at such close range.
- : Acid damage is pretty uncommon in this game both from enemies and from spells you can cast. That said, there don’t seem to be many creatures that are resistant to Acid damage. Grease can be an often-slept-on spell that can tie down dangerous enemies or instantly spark fires for a lot of damage, but it is dependent on the situation and the environment you are working with.
- : Lightning damage is common enough in this game that this is worth taking. Lightning-focused Sorcerers can get a lot out of their spells if they know or have an ally who can cast Create Water or throw a bottle or barrel of water on enemies to make them vulnerable to it, however Witch Bolt is a terrible spell. Towards Act 3 you will run into certain constructs that have resistance or immunity to Lightning damage, so be prepared
- : Like with lightning damage, Wet enemies become vulnerable to Cold damage so keep that Create Water or some water bottles close at hand. Cold damage from enemies can happen towards the latter half of the game when casters start throwing Hunger of Hadar at you like it’s going on sale. Armor of Agathys is also one of the better Warlock-exclusive spells that’s just good to have for those times you get surrounded. That said, there are quite a few enemies in this game that are resistant or outright immune to Cold damage.
- : If you’re taking this bloodline, it’s because you hated how often enemy rogues poisoned you in your last run and not much else. Poison is used pretty often by certain enemies, so I understand if that’s your motivation, but there are a bunch of ways to avoid poison damage or become resistant to it, such as the spell Poison Resistance. Moreover, most of the things you will be fighting in this game besides humanoids are undead and fiends, which are famously immune or resistant to poison damage. Ray of Sickness is also just a pathetic spell that doesn’t really seem to have as much of an effect on my enemies as it does on me. Plus there are several items you can find in the game that give you the spell for free.
- : As with Red dragon bloodline, fire is just a good element to be attuned to in general. Disguise Self is also very useful for social situations. You can use it to escape a crime scene, get unique dialogue from NPCs that help you avoid encounters entirely or use Speak with Dead on a creature you killed. That said, if you have the hat of disguise from the digital deluxe edition, this is less worthwhile than Red dragon.
- : A worse version of White dragon. Feather Fall is useful in certain situations, but it can’t beat Armor of Agathys, and there are a ton of scrolls and items that provide Feather Fall. Choose this if you like the scales better, I guess.
- : Fog cloud is fine for early levels, but Darkness does its job better and your Warlock with Devil’s Sight won’t get blinded going into it.
- : If you want an Acid-focused bloodline, you should choose this one purely for the better spell compared to Black Dragon. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a great free spell to have as about half the creatures you face will be humanoids that are bad at resisting it. It can completely shut down an annoying spellcaster or archer while you eliminate their friends.
- : Please don’t take this option. Take Gold or Red. They give you all the same features as this one, but with better spell options. Sleep is a good spell at early levels that gets quickly outclassed, so by the end of the game you will just be staring at that spell wondering why you bothered.
In a game that uses a surprising amount of level variance in their battles, fly is always useful to have.
Like with the tabletop version, Wild Magic Sorcerers can be really hit and miss. We are here for the flavor if nothing else and fortunately, Wild Magic Sorcerers have a lot of flavor. They have a lot of unique dialogue options exclusive to them. Not only that, the lines they do get are some of the funniest outside of the Bard class. What Wild Magic Sorcerers lack in power compared to the other two subclasses they make up for in style.
1: Wild Magic
The main appeal of the subclass. This is hard to rate as there is a pretty even split between beneficial effects and bad ones. I found myself just as often pleasantly surprised by a Wild Magic Surge as I was frustrated. There are a bunch of effects that weren’t in the tabletop like imbuing everyone close to you with the power to instantly crit on their next attack and do added force damage.
One of the more annoying ones that I always seem to get is spike growth centered on yourself. In battle when you’re by yourself this can be amazing, creating a barrier for any melees wanting to reach you as long as you don’t move from the center. But it can just as often hurt your team or, worse, hurt non-hostile NPCs that are now your enemies. Be careful whenever casting a spell in town, especially after using Tides of Chaos, as you can inadvertently turn a quest giver or even a whole town hostile, even if you’re doing your casting in conversation.
The surges are fun surprises, though, that do keep gameplay interesting. There’s nothing more funny than fighting a harrowing battle against a big ogre only to see him, his friends, and your whole party turn into a bunch of cats and dogs with little backpacks on them.
1: Tides of Chaos
Probably the best feature for this subclass. Free advantage on any skill check, saving throw, or attack roll once per short rest is incredibly useful. You’ll be using this one a lot. It also increases the likelihood of a Wild Magic Surge, which can be both good and bad, as previously stated. So watch what spells you cast afterwards.
6: Bend Luck
2 Sorcery Points for a d4 to either add or subtract from a roll seems good on paper, but is worse the more you think about it. Essentially you are using the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell slot on an effect that is basically Bless, Bane, or Guidance, all of which are lower-level spells and can be applied to multiple checks, not just one. You can’t even use it to help your companions succeed on death saves, which is this feature’s one saving grace from the tabletop.
However, it does have its niche uses. If the enemy has hit you with a particularly strong spell that you barely missed the save on, or they barely succeed on a save from one of your big spells, this is worth using. I would strongly recommend avoiding using this unless you miss the save by at most 2. Any higher and there is a good chance you will still fail anyway. If you have a Lore Bard in your party though, don’t even bother with this feature.
11: Controlled Chaos
This one is fun. Unlike the tabletop, you don’t get to choose the surge that happens, but now your foes can trigger Wild Magic Surges with their spells. This makes Surges way more common and combat more chaotic. But, again, it really depends on the surge you get. Some of them can really hurt your party just as much as the bad guys
If you ever wanted to live out your Thor or Storm from X-Men fantasy, this is the subclass for you. They have an emphasis on lightning and thunder spells which you really want to lean into. It also pairs extremely well with Tempest cleric and their ability to maximize the damage of the spells you will be casting. If utilized correctly, Storm Sorcerers can dish out some of the biggest damage numbers in the game, short of heavily-optimizing builds which depend on specific sets of items.
1: Tempestuous Magic
This feature is incredible and we get it at level one. Free bonus action flight that doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks every time we cast a leveled spell does wonders for our mobility. Once you get Quickened Spell you’ll use this feature a bit less often, but it never loses its overall value, especially since there are more than a few fights where enemies will be on different levels and out of sight or range of your spells. It’s also useful for getting out of melee combat without having to spend a precious spell slot on Misty Step or Dimension Door.
6: Heart of the Storm
Another excellent feature. We get resistance to the damage our main spells do while also getting free (albeit pretty minimal) damage on anyone within 20 meters of us when we cast our primary spells. Additionally we also get FIVE free spells known! Call Lightning, Create or Destroy Water, and Thunderwave are all excellent spells, and the former two aren’t even normally on our list of available spells. Gust of Wind is also a decent spell, however Sleet Storm is just terrible.
Just make sure not to choose these spells as your level up spells or you risk having a wasted spell choice. For example, if you were to take Thunderwave at level 1, this feature would give you a spell you already have. You can also respec to change spells once you get this feature.
11: Storm’s Fury
This feature is less exciting than the previous two but still really good. Anytime someone hits you in melee, they get damaged and potentially pushed back. But having Tempestuous Magic should ensure that you’re almost never in this situation, and giving this up for two levels in Tempest Cleric gives you almost the same thing.
Sorcerer Ability Scores
Sorcerers are Face casters along with Warlocks and Bards. Charisma should be your main focus followed closely by either Constitution for the concentration checks and health, or Dexterity for AC, followed by Wisdom for those nasty save-or-suck spells.
There is a singular feat that increases Charisma by +1: Actor, which gives us expertise in Deception and Performance. If you plan on going this route, then you can leave your Charisma at 17 and pick something besides Deception for your starting skills or respec later.
: Literally only useful for jumping and Shove. You can cast Leap or Fly for jumping, and you can use Mage Hand to Shove.
: Ranged weapon attacks (useful at low levels before cantrips improve), AC, Dexterity saves, and some skills. With no armor, this is a big part of your durability. Starting with 16 is entirely achievable, and makes using a crossbow reasonably effective at low levels.
: Hit points, Concentration, Constitution saves.
: Along with Strength, this is our dump stat. We don’t need any book learning, that’s what Gale is for.
: Wisdom saves and Perception checks are both common.
: Your primary casting stat and useful for pretty much every dialogue in the game. Wizards wish they were as smooth as us.
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Depending on what you’re planning to do as your sorcerer, look for defensive options, innate spells, and possibly extra skill proficiencies.
Slow, and both Darkvision and Poison Resilience are replaceable with 2nd-level spells. The weapon proficiencies are useless for sorcerers.
- : More HP is great on a class that gets the lowest hp in the game.
- : Medium armor is excellent, but the Githyanki is a much better way to get it.
- : Advantage on some saves is nice, and the innate spellcasting is decent
Permanent damage resistance is nice, and you can even go draconic Sorcerer to get another, different resistance than your race. Keep in mind that resistances don’t stack, so it would be a good idea to pick a Draconic Bloodline that is different from your subrace.
Proficiency in hand crossbows is fine but not really useful for us as we have more to do with our bonus action than most classes thanks to Quickened Spell, and if we need a ranged attack, cantrips serve better beyond low levels.
Darkvision is always useful, and Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good.
Faerie Fire and Darkness are always good spells to have available and add to our limited number of spells known. However, you can’t re-cast innate spells with spell slots, so you only get to cast them once per day.
Lolth-sworn Drow and Seldarine Drow are mechanically identical, but get access to different dialog choices.
The weapon proficiencies aren’t especially helpful, but Darkvision is useful. Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good.
- : We can’t learn new cantrips from scrolls like Wizards can, so more cantrips seems great. Unfortunately, they are based on our Intelligence modifier which makes them useless offensively, and utility cantrips which are commonly useful in the tabletop rules either don’t exist or aren’t appealing in Baldur’s Gate 3.
- : Additional speed and yet another skill proficiency.
Gnome Cunning is an amazing defense, especially since sorcerers don’t have proficiency in Wisdom or Intelligence saves.
- : Adding twice your proficiency to History checks is nice, offsetting your poor Intelligence score when making History checks, but those checks are infrequent.
- : Speak with Animals is amazing in Baldur’s Gate 3, and you only need to cast it once a day anyway. It’s not on the Sorcerer’s spell list, but it’s also available from abundant and inexpensive consumables.
- : Advantage on Stealth is great if you spend a lot of time sneaking.
Astral Knowledge is proficiency in as many as 4 skills, and you can change it every Long Rest. Githyanki Psionics is a great set of innate spells. Martial prodigy gets you medium armor, which is a significant improvement to your durability and also gets you access to several useful magic boots, gloves, and helmets.
Half-elves get the same Civil Militia feature that humans do, but instead of a skill proficiency you get Darkvision (which is replaceable with a spell), Fey Ancestry, and a subrace.
- : More cantrips on a class that gets fewer of them is always nice. Too bad it’s based on our Intelligence.
- : Better speed and proficiency in stealth. More speed is very helpful in Baldur’s Gate 3 because the game makes positioning so important.
- : Decent innate spellcasting.
You don’t need Darkvision, you can get Intimidation from a background, and Savage Attacks won’t help you.
Baldur’s Gate 3 makes a natural 1 a critical failure, meaning that you automatically fail whatever attack/check/save. This makes Halfling Luck extremely useful. Brave is also nice, especially in a game where fear effects are surprisingly common.
- : Advantage on Stealth is great if you spend a lot of time sneaking.
- : Poison Resistance is available as a 2nd-level spell which lasts until your next long rest, so getting it from your race is pointless beyond low levels.
One skill, proficiency in light armor, and proficiency in shields. Light armor won’t compete with Mage Armor for a long time, and by then you’ll want to wear robes. You’re effectively here for one skill and shield proficiency.
The problem with humans isn’t that they’re bad: it’s that for whatever you want from the human, there is a better solution. Do you want skills? Wood Elf gets two, and Githyanki gets Astral Knowledge (which can be as many as 4). Do you want Better AC? Half-elf gets the same Civil Militia feature, or Githyanki and Shield Dwarves both get medium armor.
Resistance to fire is a great start. Fire damage is common. Most of the subrace features synergize well with Sorcerers
- : Produce Flame, Hellish Rebuke and Darkness are all great spells to add to our limited list and, even better, they are based on our Charisma.
- : Mage hand is a very useful cantrip, and getting it from your race frees you up to take more damaging cantrips at character creation. Burning hands is a decent AoE spell based off your Charisma, but flame blade is practically useless on a sorcerer
- : Save this for a paladin.
- (Dex): If you don’t want yourself getting shoved, this can be another defense since we’ll be leaving our Strength very low and therefore should ignore Athletics
- (Wis): Largely replaced by Speak with Animals or an equivalent potion.
- (Str): Strength is a dump stat.
- (Int): Intelligence is a dump stat, but if you have to take one knowledge skill, I recommend this one as it comes up more than any other. This should not be surprising in a game dealing with Mind Flayers.
- (Cha): Deception is extremely good for talking your way out of some bad situations or talking your way into solutions that would otherwise be unavailable to you. If you plan to take the Actor feat, don’t take proficiency in Deception at 1st level because the proficiency will be redundant (or respec once you’re level 4).
- (Int): Intelligence is a dump stat, and you’re better off taking Arcana.
- (Wis): Occasionally rolled during conversations.
- (Cha): Can be useful for throwing your weight around. That said, you’re almost always better off going for Persuasion or Deception as both NPCs and your companions can react negatively to you using this skill.
- (Int): Intelligence is a dump stat, and you’re better off taking Perception or Arcana.
- (Wis): Almost never matters.
- (Int): Intelligence is a dump stat, and you’re better off taking Arcana.
- (Wis): Consistently useful.
- (Cha): More useful for Bards who can actually get something out of it. That said, there are a few rare circumstances where it can come in handy.
- (Cha): Pretty much mandatory if you’re going to play a face. There are more persuasion options in the game than any of the other Charisma-based skills, and using Persuasion often doesn’t get a negative response unlike Deception or Intimidation can.
- (Int): Intelligence is a dump stat, and you’re better off taking Arcana.
- (Dex): Open locks, disarm traps, pick pockets. Sorcerers can easily have enough Dexterity to make this work.
- (Dex): Sorcerers can easily have enough Dexterity to make this work, and, even with Invisibility on the table, Stealth is still very helpful.
- (Wis): The buried chests are not worth the skill proficiency to find them.
Backgrounds provide two skill proficiencies and determine the way that your character earns Inspiration. The game has ample opportunities to earn Inspiration for every background, so choosing a background typically comes down to what skills you want.
- : Insight can be very useful in social encounters, but Religion is useless for a sorcerer.
- : Good for the Deception proficiency and Sleight of Hand, but keep in mind that you can get Deception as one of your two class skills or from the Actor feat.
- : Like Charlatan, both skills are useful for a sorcerer.
- : Acrobatics is a situationally useful defensive choice. Performance is not useful on a Sorcerer.
- : Animal Handling can be handled magically, and Survival is only useful for finding disappointing chests.
- : Pretty excellent background if you plan on doing most of the talking. Both skill proficiencies will get you far as a sorcerer
- Haunted One (Dark Urge only): If you’re playing Dark Urge, you’re locked into this. You get Medicine and Intimidation, only the latter of which is useful for a sorcerer.
- : There are better ways to get Persuasion proficiency and History is borderline useless for us.
- : Athletics is a bad choice for the Sorcerer, and Survival is only useful for finding hidden chests scattered across the map that inevitably have disappointing treasure.
- : You’re not a Wizard.
- : Intimidation is useful for a Sorcerer. Athletics is not.
- : It’s entirely possible to have 16 Dexterity as a level 1 Sorcerer, which is plenty to make these skills work.
This section does not address every feat, as some clearly aren’t relevant to the class. For more general discussion on feats, see our Practical Guide to Feat Selection.
- : A solid feat that gives us +1 to Charisma and expertise in Deception and Performance. If you plan on being a face this is definitely worth considering. If you plan on taking this feat make sure you leave your Charisma at an odd level so you can benefit from it and pick a different skill from Deception at character creation to avoid redundancy.
- : Going first is great for spellcasters. Get summoned creatures, area effect spells, and crowd control spells up and running before enemies can respond. Of course, since initiative is rolled on a d4, having passable Dexterity is often sufficient.
- : Use two magic staves. At high levels you’ll find enough of them that choosing just one is hard, and this is the only way to use two.
- : Sorcerers are very much encouraged to take this, especially if you are a Draconic or Storm Sorcerer where you will be mostly focusing on one type of damage.
- : Good on every character.
- : You already have proficiency in Constitution saves, which is the main reason to take this feat. You could take it for Wisdom for added protection against some bad save or suck spells.
- : Sorcerers don’t depend on spell attacks enough to justify this, and the few attacks which they do use can be buffed by other mechanisms like high ground or using Distant Spell.
- : Since you already have proficiency in Constitution saves, this is a good way to double down and make sure you almost never lose concentration on your spells. Yes, you can use this to cast Shocking Grasp as an Opportunity Attack, but you should not be making opportunity attacks enough for that to matter.
Sorcerers get very few weapon proficiencies, and they largely stop mattering beyond low levels.
- : Until you find a magic staff, this is your go-to melee weapon. You really only need it for attacks of opportunity. Try to avoid using it as much as possible.
- : Starting with 16 Dexterity will mean that crossbows deal more damage than your single-target cantrips until they improve at level 5.
- : You don’t actually want it as a weapon, but you’ll acquire magic staves which are treated as quarterstaves, so you can bonk people from time to time.
Sorcerers are not proficient in armor, but the game includes many magic robes which will fill your armor slot.
The Sorcerer multiclasses extremely well with several different classes. Keep in mind, though, that if you choose to do even a two level dip in a different class you will lose out on your capstone features and your 6th-level spells. The former isn’t a huge deal, as most Sorcerer capstone features are pretty underwhelming, but losing access to twinned Disintegrate or quickened Chain Lightning can hurt.
- : You can’t cast spells while you rage.
- : There’s some overlap here. Both classes use Charisma as their main casting stats and you won’t lose out on spell slot progression. Having extra skills and expertise once you reach level 3 is always useful, especially for a face. That said, all the bard subclasses require you to go to level 6 to get their best features so dipping in this class isn’t super worthwhile. Bardic Inspiration is good, but it will be competing with Quickened Spell for your bonus action.
- : A single level to get access to powerful 1st-level spells like Healing Word, plus some 1st-level domain features are very powerful. If you plan on using lightning spells at all, I highly recommend taking a two level dip into Tempest Cleric for maximizing damage and damage as a reaction to creatures hitting you.
- : Everything you want from the Druid is probably better coming from the Cleric since they get better armor options.
- : Starting your build with 1 level of Fighter gets you heavy armor, shields, and a Fighting Style (take Defense). A second level gets you Action Surge so that you can cast two big spells in a single turn (or three with Quickened Spell). With Haste that translates to four spells in a turn: You cast two spells as an action, another spell with the Action from Action Surge, and then a fourth spell that’s quickened.
- : Unarmored Defense works while in robes intended for sorcerers, but you likely won’t get any other benefit, and Mage Armor will likely be more impactful.
- : Sorcadins are still powerful in Baldur’s Gate even if they don’t reach quite the same levels as the tabletop due to the lack of cantrips like Green-Flame Blade or Booming Blade. That said, these two classes still compliment each other very well. The Paladin offers Heavy Armor proficiency and martial weapons while Sorcerers give Paladins more useful spells and more slots with which to do smites. Paladins will also love the Armor of Agathys offered by a White Draconic Bloodline.
- : No ability overlap. You can get everything you want from the Ranger from the Druid and/or the Fighter.
- : Cunning Action is tempting if you’re worried about getting stuck in melee and don’t want to spend spell slots on Misty Step. Three levels to get Fast Hands from the Thief subclass means that you can use Quickened Spell twice in one turn, but that will eat through your sorcery points pretty fast and isn’t worth going three levels into Rogue for.
- : Another classic multiclass. While the Coffeelock isn’t a viable option in Baldur’s Gate, you can still get a lot out of a Warlock muticlass, not the least of which is the best cantrip in the game and some useful invocations. If you want to go further in the class, Pact of the Chain is extremely useful to have since Sorcerers can’t normally summon familiars.
- : There’s no real overlap here as our casting abilities are different. That said, you could rate this higher due to a strange quirk of Baldur’s Gate where one level dip in Wizard allows you to learn spells of any level from scrolls. It’s unclear if this is an intended feature or some sort of bug, so don’t count on this lasting.
Sorcerer Illithid Abilities
Sorcerers can get a lot from the Illithid abilities as most are just useful for everyone. That said, there are some clear overall winners.
[SPOILERS]: If you plan on investing heavily into Illithid powers as a Sorcerer, I highly recommend you attempt to get the Awakened buff in Act 2, which will turn all your Illithid powers into bonus actions.
- : Very situational. It requires you to break your concentration on a spell and target someone else who is also concentrating on a spell to get the most out of it. The damage is decent but unless you’re concentrating on something like guidance (spells from items count here), hex, or detect thoughts, it’s almost never worth breaking your concentration and prematurely ending your own spell.
- : Can be very powerful on something like Chromatic Orb and synergizes well with Luck of the Far Realms, its upgraded variant. Be aware though that it has been noted by some players that if a member of your party attacks your target before you, you won’t get this benefit on that creature. It’s unclear if this is intended or a bug. This can also be very handy for social situations with creatures you just met and you need to make a good impression on.
- : Useful as a get out of melee card, especially if you can do it as a bonus action. The potential of knocking enemies off cliffs is also there and you won’t affect your allies.
- : More useful on martial classes that get multiple attacks. The tradeoff is also not great considering our low health pool.
- : As a squishy caster you probably shouldn’t be sacrificing your tiny health pool to heal someone for a comically low amount of hit points. Get this on your barbarian companion.
- : Due to the nature of this power, the ability score we will most likely be draining from enemies is Charisma, which hardly ever factors into anything combat-related unless you’re fighting a paladin or another charisma-based spellcaster, neither of which are common.
- : As a class that doesn’t like getting hit, having abilities to avoid that is very useful. It does use your reaction, though, so it competes for space with options like Shield.
- : This is a weird one as its value goes up as you invest more points into Illithid powers. If you plan on exploiting this, hoard those tadpoles for yourself alone.
- : A situational passive. If you find yourself knocking people off cliffs (not into chasms since those are instant death and don’t care about damage) a lot with your Illithid powers, this is worth taking, otherwise save your tadpoles.
- : A guaranteed crit per long rest is amazing on anyone, but you can really exploit this with some of your hard-hitting spell attacks like Chromatic Orb. Get a creature Wet, hit them with Chromatic Orb, instant crit, and use tempest cleric’s maximize ability to deal an obscene amount of damage. You can easily one-shot really tough bosses with this if you play your cards right.
- : This is a useful buff to cast on your barbarian, especially if you can do it as a bonus action. Never cast it on yourself. You’re squishy enough already.
- : This is a very funny power that also uses your reaction. I have killed more than my fair share of spellcasters with this ability and it is never not hilarious. Enemies who you might not consider spellcasters can still trigger this because many unique abilities are implemented as spells, but they’re also implemented as 1st-level spells, so the damage you deal is negligible.
- : An upgraded form of your force tunnel that’s useful if you get surrounded. Be careful as this power does affect your allies, so be sure you don’t knock them off a cliff with it.
- : This is arguably better cast on your tank, but temporary hit points on a squishy caster are always welcome. The possibility of stunning melee combatants is just icing on the cake. And it lasts till your next long rest.
- : Better used on a frontliner, but if you are awakened, the value of this power . Make sure you cast it on enemies attacking your heavily-armored tank to maximize its damage. The fact that it’s an AoE that doesn’t affect your allies is very nice.
- : This is good on everyone. Extra survivability is never not useful. Keep in mind that you can’t buy this power normally. You need to acquire it from a sidequest in Act I
- : Situational. Towards this stage of the game there are a lot of enemies that will resist this effect and the healing you get from it is pathetic.
- : The ability to pull a bunch of enemies to a single point, damage them, and then slow them and recast it for several turns is amazing. As a bonus action it is .
- : This is a fun power that is probably better taken on a martial character. You can’t cast spells while in the form and the powers you get don’t make up for that. Use this as an extra pool of hit points or a fallback when you’re out of spells for the day.
- : You get this one for free and it is all upside.
- : Good for setting up your martials to damage an enemy, but there are better things to use your Action on. As a bonus action the value of this power .
- : Absolutely invaluable as spellcaster. Quickened chain lightning that costs me zero Sorcery Points and no spell slot? Yes please.
- : Expertise on all our face abilities? Yes, please.
- : The damage is respectable and stun is useful, but at this stage of the game you probably have better spells. Obviously more as a bonus action.
- : This is probably the best ability in the game. This is essentially free quickened spell for 3 turns as long as you remain within the sanctuary. The fact that this can affect your whole team is a huge bonus, though certain classes will get way more out of this than others.
- : This is essentially free counterspell lite. Definitely worth taking by everyone on your team if you can.
Sorcerer Example Build: Overlord of the Storm
For this build we are going to focus on maximizing our potential damage for big hits. There are two ways you can take this build: Go full sorcerer all the way to level twelve to get Chain Lightning or sacrifice Chain Lightning for 2 levels in Tempest Cleric for the ability to maximize your lightning spells once per short rest.
There are merits and disadvantages to both build options, but I will say towards the late game you can get items and scrolls that grant Chain Lightning, so it’s ultimately probably better to multiclass.
The spells you take on this class aren’t super important outside some very crucial ones we’ll discuss, so there is room to customize this build to your liking. In combat you want to focus on blasting your enemies from range, flying out of their reach when they get close, and overall making the battlefield a miserable tidal wave of storm energy for your enemies.
You can start with either class but you’re probably better off starting with Cleric to get that heavy armor proficiency for more survivability. Be aware though that this means you won’t naturally have proficiency in Constitution saves to cover your Concentration.
For this I like to have my charisma at 16 for a few reasons. One, it allows us to only have one ability score at 8 as opposed to two and you get absolutely nothing from having a 17 instead of a 16 in your primary stat unless you plan on getting the Actor feat, which I don’t recommend for this build. Since we are starting as a Cleric for the heavy armor, we don’t really need Dexterity except for Initiative. You can also switch the values of Dexterity with Constitution if you aren’t planning on multiclassing or plan to start with Sorcerer instead of Cleric; the choice is yours.
For the beginning of the game you’re going to want your Wisdom higher since we are spending our first two levels as a cleric. Once we multiclass into sorcerer we can then respec to the stats below. If you don’t want to respec for some reason, you can start with these ability scores and limp through the prologue by relying on ranged weapons. You hit level 2 almost immediately, so you can multiclass into sorcerer quickly.
|RPGBOT Recommended||+2/+1 Increases||Final||Bg Defaults|
We’re going to go Asmodeus Tiefling for the extra spells, but really any race is good here. Blue Dragonborn is also a good choice if you want to lean into that lightning aesthetic, although you will be doubling up on resistance, which doesn’t do anything for you.
I recommend either Charlatan or Criminal for the social skills and the useful Scout skills since you have decent enough Dexterity. This lets you be less reliant on Astarion to do rogue things.
For this build, we are going to start as a Cleric for the heavy armor proficiency. Take Persuasion and Insight. We chose the Charlatan background, so our final list of skills is Persuasion, Insight, Deception and Sleight of Hand.
At character level 6 (Sorcerer level 4) we take Elemental Adept: Lightning. This is crucial for this build as you are basically focusing on lightning damage exclusively. Thunder damage occasionally enters the equation, but Thunder damage doesn’t benefit from the Wet condition.
At level 10 we increase our Charisma score by 2.
Due to the nature of this build we will be missing out on a third feat but we won’t need it.
|Level||Feat(s) and Features||Notes and Tactics|
|1||Subclass: Tempest Cleric|
Heavy Armor & Martial Weapon Proficiency
|The start of the game is going to be rough. You are a Cleric, not a Sorcerer, and your damage is going to be pitiful. If you hate this idea you can start your career as a Sorcerer then respec at level 3.|
The spells you have prepared aren’t going to matter in the long run because we are only using our Cleric slots for one thing: Create Water. This deceptively simple spell inflicts the Wet condition on enemies for two turns with no save. This makes them vulnerable to lightning damage, which effectively means double damage from our primary spells. This will set us up for success in the long run. In the meantime, prep whatever spells you wish or think will be most useful to you in the beginning of the game. Staple cleric spells like Bless and Healing Word are good options.
The reason we are starting with Cleric is for the heavy armor proficiency for more survivability. The martial weapon proficiency is also a nice bonus, but we won’t be using those very often.
We also get Wrath of the Storm, which does our choice of 2-16 lightning or thunder damage on anyone who hits us as a reaction. They can be at range or in melee; it doesn’t matter.
|This will be our last level we take in Cleric, but it gives us the second bedrock feature of this build and what makes it so strong: Destructive Wrath. Once per short rest, whenever you cast a spell that deals Thunder or Lightning damage, you can choose to maximize the damage of that spell. This gets crazy at higher levels and allows us to output some of the highest damage numbers in the game. |
As with level one, your prepared spells here don’t matter. Pick whatever you like to have prepared.
|3 Sorcerer 1||Subclass:|
-Ray of Frost
|Our first level of Sorcerer. This is where you’re going to want to respec your ability scores so we can get the most out of our spells. Your primary source of damage is still going to be your cantrips. Use Lightning Chromatic Orb on stronger enemies. Most of our slots can be dedicated to purely using Create Water. The great thing about the Wet condition is that it makes targets vulnerable to Cold as well as Lightning damage, meaning your Ray of Frost will also hit well above its pay grade. |
Make sure to collect bottles of water wherever you can to keep inflicting the Wet condition on enemies whenever you run out of slots. Alternatively, have another party member cast Create Water or throw a bottle of water for you. Your foes should never be dry when playing this build, or you are sacrificing half your damage.
|4 Sorcerer 2||Sorcery Points|
|We have unlocked metamagic but can’t yet get our most powerful option yet. I recommend taking Twinned Spell for obvious reasons and Careful Spell to limit the damage your lightning spells will do to allies. The drawback to making everything Wet is that your friends will also be Wet and your spells will electrify the water surface, doing lingering damage. The more you can minimize this the better.|
|5 Sorcerer 3||Metamagic:|
|Quickened Spell will do a lot for us in the long run. We will be mostly using it to cast Create Water on our enemies to set up our big hitting spells. You could also save your slots and Sorcery Points by using your action to throw bottles of water, but that takes time and won’t get as many creatures wet. Make sure you adjust your tactics according to the situation. |
We now have access to our first real AoE spell which can benefit from our Wrath of the Storm Cleric feature: Shatter. This spell is nice, but falls off quickly and doesn’t benefit from the Wet condition, so consider replacing it somewhere down the line.
For the most part you are now going to be focusing on a simple process for enemies: Put down the Wet condition through whatever means necessary and then cast Chromatic Orb: Lightning on those enemies for insane damage. We don’t have an AoE lightning spell yet, but it’s coming.
|6 Sorcerer 4||Feat: Elemental Adept|
|At this point we should be wrapping up Act 1, so it’s important to get ahead of any Lightning Resistance that may be coming down the line. You can possibly delay this to level 10 as enemies with lightning resistance don’t start being a big issue until Act 3, but, because you’ll probably be entering Act 3 at about level 9, that’s going to be a rough time for you when almost all of your damage is in Lightning and the fights get substantially harder. Best to get in front of it now.|
If you choose to delay this feat, improve your Charisma to 18 instead.
|7 Sorcerer 5||New Spell:|
|This is where the build really starts to come online and become stupid. With Quickened Create water and Wrath of the Storm you can now easily carve through single bosses and hordes of enemies like paper. Use Chromatic Orb on single targets and Lightning Bolt for groups of enemies and watch them fall like dominoes. |
If you want to make this build even more ridiculous invest your Illithid powers into Luck of the Far Realms to get a guaranteed crit on your Chromatic Orb.
You can one-shot some very though bosses this way.
|8 Sorcerer 6||Heart of the Storm|
-Gust of Wind
|This is the biggest power spike for us in our journey. Not only do we get free AoE damage on enemies whenever we cast our lightning spells, we now get FIVE free spells known. You now have an alternative to Lightning Bolt in Call Lightning which ensures you can keep doing what you do best with no further spell slot tax. Just bear in mind Destructive Wrath will only maximize the first instance of damage on Call Lightning.|
Ideally, though, you’re going to want to start a fight by Twincasting Haste on yourself and your biggest martial damage dealer. Then watch as the battlefield transforms into a raging hurricane as you shoot off spell after spell. Be careful though, because it can be very easy to run through your resources quickly at this level. That said, this is the point in the game where things stop being challenging and start being hilarious.
|9 Sorcerer 7||New Spell:|
|Not much changes with this level other than getting more Sorcery Points and Ice Storm, which can be devastating on Wet enemies over a massive area. It doesn’t benefit from your Wrath of the Storm feature, though, so its use is more situational. Use it on enemies that are Wet but too spread out for your Lightning Bolt or Call Lightning.|
|10 Sorcerer 8||Feat: Ability Score Increase (Charisma 16 -> 18)|
|This is where it’s a good idea to improve our Charisma if you haven’t already. If you have, then definitely take Elemental Adept at this point so you can still do full lightning damage to things that are resistant to it.|
|11 Sorcerer 9||New Spell:|
Cone of Cold
|Things don’t change much here. Cone of Cold is a decent spell to use on Wet enemies, but honestly you’re better off using the slots for upcasted Lightning Bolt, Call Lightning, or even Chromatic Orb. This is also the point where you could consider respecing to swap out Wrath of the Storm for Chain Lightning and a possible additional feat next level, but I don’t recommend it.|
Wrath of the Storm is too good to let go.
Besides, this is the level where you start finding Chain Lightning on scrolls and items from time to time, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing out too much.
|12 Sorcerer 10||Metamagic: Heightened Spell|
|Not super exciting. We’ve had our full kit for a while now, so this is just an extra spell and cantrip, more Sorcery Points, and more spell slots with which to wreak devastation on our enemies with.|
We also get our final Metamagic option. You can pick whatever you like as it doesn’t really matter at this point. I picked Heightened Spell for even more potential damage on our maximized Lightning Bolt and because it makes save-or-suck spells more reliable when our usual massive damage tactics won’t do the job.