D&D 5e: Storm Sorcery Sorcerer Guide
D&D 5e: Storm Sorcery Sorcerer Guide
Role in the Party
Every Sorcerer channels the raw energies of reality into destructive magics. The Storm Sorcerer doubles down on this, channeling the elemental energies of nature to throw out blasts of thunderous stormlight. Blasters beyond compare, the Storm Sorcerer is adept at destroying hordes of enemies, or focusing down a big single target, as they fly in and out of combat range.
The subclass was updated slightly in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This added a few variant abilities, plus some metamagic options, which are almost essential to running the class correctly.
This guide breaks down the class, how it works, feats and skill choices, and several ways to build an effective character. Let’s get started.
Storm Sorcery Features
Wind Speaker: The character learns to read, speak, and write Primordial, the four languages of the elements. This is a ribbon ability (one that’s mostly about character flavor, rather than raw power) but it’s a good one. That’s a lot of languages known, and ties directly into the theme of the class.
Tempestuous Magic: From 1st level, after casting a spell of 1st level or higher, the Storm Sorcerer can spend a bonus action to fly 10ft without provoking opportunity attacks.
This ability is fine but relatively underwhelming. At early levels, it lets the Sorcerer step into range to drop a blast like Burning Hands or Thunderwave, then flits out of combat again without risk.
But as the characters level up, bonus actions become more valuable and enemies have longer reach and more ways to hamper the party, so getting close enough for this to be useful gets much riskier. At that point, the character probably just wants to cast Fly and be done with it.
Heart of the Storm: From level 6, the Storm Sorcerer gains resistance to Lightning and Thunder damage. Two resistances are a very nice defense, and between the two there are quite a few sources that deal these damage types.
The real heart of this ability is in the second part. Whenever the Sorcerer casts a spell of level 1 or higher that deals Lightning or Thunder damage, the sorcerer can pick a target within 10ft to take damage of one of these types equal to half of their level.
This ability used to be incredibly limited by the lack of spells in the Sorcerer list that dealt these types of damage.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything brought the Storm Sorcerer a gift. The Transmuted Spell metamagic. This costs 1 Sorcery point and allows the Sorcerer to change the damage type of a spell as it is cast. Lightning and Thunder are on the list, so as long as Sorcery points hold, every spell deals this extra damage.
However, any character using this needs to be careful, as it can quickly eat through resources, and the short range puts the Storm Sorcerer danger close. Putting yourself under threat just for a handful of damage points often isn’t worth it, so balance danger with the benefits, here.
Storm Guide: Also at 6, the Storm Sorcerer gains limited control over the weather. They can stop rain from falling in a 20ft radius sphere around them, and control the direction the wind is blowing.
In most campaigns, this will do almost nothing except add some fun flavor to the class. In a nautical campaign that uses sailing ships, controlling the direction of the wind can be straight-up broken, so increase the rating appropriately if this is the case.
Storm’s Fury: From level 14, whenever the Sorcerer is hit, they can spend a reaction to deal damage (you know the types by now) equal to their level to the enemy that hit them. The enemy also has to take a STR save, or get blasted backward 20ft.
This is deceptively effective. The knockback can interrupt multiattacks, and correct positioning can prevent an enemy knocked away like this from dealing any more damage that turn.
There are also no limits on the number of uses of this ability. The only reason it’s not considered epic is the Sorcerer has to get hit to trigger it, and on a class that’s as squishy as the Sorcerer, that’s never a good idea.
Wind Soul: From level 18, the damage resistances granted by this class become straight up immunity. The Storm Sorcerer also gains a permanent 60ft fly speed.
As an action, the Sorcerer can reduce their flying speed to 30ft, and grant the same to up to 3+CHA bonus creatures (so realistically, eight creatures,) for an entire hour.
This is fantastic. Flight for a significant chunk of the adventuring day for the party, and flat out immunity to certain types of damage is a great way to finish off the class. It’s just unfortunate it took this long to get here.
The sorcerer is widely regarded as one of the best blaster mages in the game, capable of dropping fully powered spells onto the heads of enemies, that have been twisted into unique forms with metamagic.
Whether that’s a Quickened Fireball cast a bonus action, backed up with a tactical Firebolt at whatever is still standing, or a Careful debuff spell that ignores all of the Sorcerer’s allies, the class can take spells and ignore their traditional downsides.
The Storm Sorcerer requires one particular metamagic to act at full effectiveness. Transmuted Spell. This shifts the damage type of any spell to one of the two that the subclass needs, so every spell can trigger the abilities it gets.
Built well, a Storm Sorcery character can rain damage down onto groups of enemies, blasting smoking holes in everything that the party faces. With their supplementary options, the Sorcerer might want to pick up spells to buff themselves and their party, choose from the list of strong debuffs on the Sorcerer spell list or even choose one or two utility spells that can help the party thrive outside of combat situations.
But whatever a Storm Sorcerer chooses, it pays to specialize. The class needs a congruence of abilities, Metamagic options that benefit multiple spells known, and more than one damage option to trigger everything that the class needs to do.
When outside of combat, the party can rely on the Sorcerer to deal with the majority of the social aspects, as long as they pick up the Persuasion skill. And while the Sorcerer doesn’t normally have enough spells to waste many choices on utility, multiclasses or feats like Ritual Caster can help to fix this issue.
The Storm Sorcerer, like all Sorcerers, is limited mostly by two things. Spell slots, and toughness.
The Storm Sorcerer will only learn a maximum of 15 spells during its adventuring career. It only knows 6 at level 5, which is a paltry number for a full caster. That means every spell the Sorcerer chooses to learn has to be well chosen and can lock the class into a relatively inflexible playstyle.
The designers of the game seemed to realize this, too. The two most recent Sorcerer subclasses (Clockwork Soul and Aberrant Mind) give the class another ten spells, entirely for free, an increase of the total spells known of those subclasses by 66%!
The Storm Sorcerer gets no such bonus, which is a shame, considering the subclass is all about dealing damage based around a particular type and theme, and some flavorful and fun options could have been liberated from other class spell lists. (Particularly Destructive Wave and Storm of Vengeance, both are very high level blast spells.)
Storm Sorcerers also get nothing to boost their survivability. That’s especially bad for a character that wants to get in close to trigger the effects of most of its subclass abilities, one of which only activates when the character takes a hit!
Working around both of these issues is going to be the main thing holding a Storm Sorcerer back. But finding ways to fix these is going to go a long way towards making the character much more effective.
Best Race Options
Eladrin Elf: Good stats, Darkvision, and proficiency in Perception are all excellent. A once per rest bonus action teleport with variable riders (go Winter for a single target Fear) is also amazing.
Harengon: Flexible stats, Perception, a boost to initiative, a boost to saves, and another way to get out of combat if needed. Go first, bounce in, blast the enemy, bounce out. Laugh.
Tiefling: Every Tiefling offers up Fire resistance (the most common damage type in the game,) Darkvision, and a boost to your key stat. All of the Bloodlines are useful, bringing a cantrip and two spells, so feel free to pick one based on your build idea.
Choosing the Right Skills
The Sorcerer isn’t a class that focuses on its skills. Many Sorcerers will only ever have proficiency in the four skills they start their careers with.
The high CHA the class demands also makes the Storm Sorcerer good at taking a front and center social role. Persuasion is an important choice for almost any character planning on being the party Face, though Deception is also handy from time to time.
This subclass also doesn’t need to take physical skills. With its plethora of mobility options, it can move from place to place, and get out of threatened squares without opportunity attacks, without issues.
With what skills the character has left, lean towards knowledge based skills. Arcana is the magic skill and offers information on the Elemental plane and enemy types, which is right on theme.
Fey Touched: The Storm Sorcerer learns a maximum of 15 spells plus cantrips as it levels, which is an annoying low amount, and it’s one of the most common issues people have with the class as a whole. So the two spells learned from this feat, which can be cast again using normal spell slots, equates to an increase of more than 13% of total spells known.
It helps that the spells on offer are good ones. Misty Step is a bonus action teleport, and the choice of level 1 spells also includes Hex and Bless, plus some other nice options.
Inspiring Leader: Sorcerers suffer from a critical lack of effective HP, and anything that offers more defense is worthwhile to the class, especially with a subclass that needs to get close to the action for many of its abilities.
Sharing scaling temporary HP with what amounts to your entire party at the start of the day is much appreciated. Those same HP refreshing every time the party short rests, as long as they have an extra 10 minutes to sit and listen to a story, is even better.
Elemental Adept: You’re a Storm Sorcerer. All of your damage is going to be one of two types. So ignoring resistance to one of those damage types, and a small boost to the damage of these spells is damn near essential.
Courtier: Essential face skills, and two more languages to add to the pile. Plus friends in court. We all want friends in court.
Sailor: Athletics isn’t useful, but Perception is, and this is one of the few ways to get it. The tools and proficiency in ships won’t be useful in all campaigns, but they do play perfectly into a potential background.
Criminal: Good skills for a sneaky background, and most Sorcerers will have the stats for them. A gaming set is pure flavor, but Thief’s Tools are essential if the party doesn’t otherwise have them.
Tempest Cleric: A 1 level dip into Tempest Cleric essentially fixes many of the problems of the Storm Sorcery subclass. Heavy Armor and Shields make it much more comfortable to get closer to enemies, where many of the low level abilities on offer can trigger. The dip also brings another pushback reaction to knock enemies away when they strike you in melee.
The Cleric spell list contains lots of useful spells that don’t require high WIS to be worth casting (Bless, Healing Word, Shield of Faith) so enough Wisdom to multiclass is all the character really needs.
If the build has the space, a second level in Tempest Cleric gives the character a once-per-rest Channel Divinity that automatically maximizes the damage of a Lightning or Thunder spell. Combine this with your spell of choice and the Transmuted Spell metamagic for maximum hilarity. (For you. Not all of your electrified enemies…)
Hexblade Warlock: If the build doesn’t fit Cleric levels, a single level dip into Hexblade offers up Medium Armor and Shields for a big boost to AC. A bonus spell slot, some useful spells that aren’t on the Sorcerer list (Armor of Agathys is fantastic when upcast.) and the most powerful blast cantrip in the game are also great additions to most Sorcerers.
Two levels double the Warlock spell slots and let the character pick up some Invocations to boost spellcasting, but can start to impact spell progression. It might be worth considering the Eldritch Adept feat instead if all you want is to grab the Agonizing Blast Invocation for the bonus damage.
Oath of the Crown Paladin: Paladin/Sorcerer is a well-known and highly regarded multiclass because both classes build on what the other wants to do. The Sorcerer offers spell slots, blasting power, and metamagic utility. The Paladin takes all of that and feeds it into their class abilities to create a melee beast of pure destruction.
The multiclass is already powerful, so taking Oath of the Crown for utility healing and AOE damage spells like Spirit Guardians, which can be Quickened with metamagic in the same turn that the character runs into combat and starts Smiting, makes perfect sense. Comfortable at any range, the only limit on this character is its consumable resources, so be careful with those spell slots!
Would I recommend playing a Storm Sorcery Sorcerer?
The Storm Sorcerer is a difficult subclass to rate because a lot of its abilities are reliant on encounter types and positioning, as well as how well the party works together.
Given the space and freedom to do what it wants to do, a Storm Sorcerer will dance into the frontlines, throw out a devastating blast, then retreat to safety again. At higher levels, Storm Sorcerers soar over the battlefield with impunity, picking out key targets to utterly annihilate, or share that flight with their party to coordinate against a dragon in its own element.
If you’re running the subclass among friends, it’s worth talking to your GM about scattering in a few more spells known to match up with recent content updates. But either way, the Storm Sorcerer is a fun subclass that offers up a very high-risk, high-reward playstyle that’s absolutely worth playing.