D&D 5e: The Pyromancer Sorcerer Guide
D&D 5e: The Pyromancer Sorcerer Guide
Role in Party
The Pyromancer Sorcerer is not technically an official subclass but can be found in the Planeshift: Kaladeshadventure guide, available for free on dmsguild.com. Planeshift: Kaladesh adapts the Magic the Gathering Kaladesh setting—an aether-abundant world of inventors—into a playable D&D world. This world is populated by specific races and monsters, and the guide includes distinct feats and aether-powered constructs.
If your group is not playing a Kaladesh campaign, be sure to check in with your DM to ensure that the Pyromancer Sorcerer subclass is an acceptable subclass for your game. If it is allowed, you could likely be one of the most powerful spellcasters in your group. This subclass includes features that will make your sorcerer resistant (and eventually immune) to the most common spell damage type (fire, of course), allow your sorcerer to ignore those same resistances and immunities, and empower your sorcerer to inflict fire damage that cannot be diminished by a saving throw. You’ll indeed be a fire starter, a twisted fire starter.
Pyromancer Sorcerer Features
Heart of Fire
Heart of Fire is a neat roleplaying and spellcasting feature that Pyromancer Sorcerers gain at first level. You can use it whenever you cast a fire damage-dealing spell of 1st level or higher, and it causes magical fire to erupt all around you. Any creatures (yes, that’s plural) that you chose within 10 feet of you will take fire damage from this eruption that is equal to half your sorcerer level (or 1, if you’re level 1). And while this feature requires you to be in close combat and the damage might seem minor, it has many advantages that improve as you gain experience. You can target multiple enemies, the damage increases as you gain levels, creatures cannot save from it, and the fire damage you inflict will eventually override fire resistance and fire immunity when you gain the Fiery Soul feature at level 18.
Fire in the Veins
At level 6, the Pyromancer Sorcerer gains resistance to fire damage, which is the most useful resistance because fire damage is the most common type of spell damage in the game. And, while fire resistance alone would make this an unquestionably solid feature, you’ll also be able to ignore fire resistance when casting a spell. So basically, you can chuck a big old fireball at a Dragon Turtle, ignoring its fire resistance, and when it tries to return the favor by unleashing its Steam Breath upon you, you can cackle with pyromantic glee as you halve the damage from those 15 d6es.
The Pyromancer’s Fury feature significantly upgrades your reaction, though you’ll need to be standing in the midst of melee combat to use it. Whenever your Pyromancer Sorcerer is hit by a melee attack, you can use a reaction to unleash fire damage—which ignores any fire resistance and is equal to your sorcerer level—upon your attacker. What makes this feature so powerful is that there is no way for a creature to save from the damage; as long as they’re hitting you and you have a reaction to spare, they’re gonna get roasted.
By level 18, your Pyromancer Sorcerer has become your version of an adult red dragon. You’re dealing loads of fire damage that is difficult, if not outright impossible, to save from or reduce, and the Fiery Soul feature grants you full immunity to fire damage. On top of that, you can further laugh in the face of creatures’ fire resistances and immunities because your Fiery Soul allows all spells and effects you create to ignore fire damage resistance and consider fire damage immunity as resistance instead.
The Pyromancer Sorcerer is about as powerful as they come. The increased fire damage-dealing features combined with resistance/immunity to that same damage will ensure your sorcerer can unleash fiery destruction while remaining relatively unscathed by the same damage they’re dealing.
The main downside to this subclass is that it may not be playable in your campaign. Another potential weakness is that half of the features are only useful if you are standing in the midst of combat. If you were planning on playing a ranged spellcaster, this is probably not the class for you. However, you can adapt to this weakness by building out your Pyromancer Sorcerer to withstand the onslaught of melee action.
Best Race Options
Aetherborn — If you’re playing the Plane Shift: Kaladesh setting and are interested in roleplaying an evil character, you’ll have the option of choosing the Aetherborn race specific to that setting. You’ll gain +2 to your Charisma, and +1 to two other ability scores. You also get resistance to necrotic damage and proficiency in Intimidation, a Charisma-based skill.
Orc — Because the Pyromancer Sorcerer needs to be in the middle of melee combat to use some of its features, opting for a sturdier build is key to making this subclass work. Choosing the Orc from Monsters of the Multiverse can help you remain standing in the midst of battle. As with all races from MotM, you have flexibility with your ability score bonuses (I’d recommend boosting Charisma and Constitution). What the Orc specifically offers for a sorcerer is the Adrenaline Rush and Relentless Endurance features. The former allows you to Dash as a bonus action, which can help take you deeper into (or farther out of) combat when necessary. The latter gives you a second chance at life if you do take a fall during the heat of combat—instead of dropping to 0 hit points, Relentless Endurance allows you to drop to 1 hit point instead.
Choosing the Right Skills
Deception — Because of their high Charisma, sorcerers often serve as the Face of the party. If you want to make your Face hard to read, Deception is an often-used, go-to skill.
Intimidation — Boost your fiery frightening factor by adding your proficiency bonus to your Intimidation checks.
Persuasion — Likely the most useful Charisma-based skill, choosing Persuasion as a skill you’re proficient in can often come in handy in all sorts of campaigns.
Inspiring Leader — This feat allows your Pyromancer Sorcerer to use their high Charisma ability to give an hp boost to yourself and your companions. You’ll need to know a fight is coming, as this feat requires a 10 minute long pre-battle inspiration speech, but bestowing temporary hp on up to six allies can be the difference between life and unconsciousness for some characters.
Tough — Adding as much hp as possible to your Pyromancer Sorcerer is the trick to maximizing the fun of this class. The Tough feat will provide an extra pool of hit points and can be taken at higher levels if you want to get a big boost all at once.
Guild Artisan — If you’re playing the innovation-inspired Kaladesh setting, choosing the Guild Artisan as your background makes a lot of roleplaying sense. You’ll gain proficiency in Insight and Persuasion (a super useful Face skill) as well as one type of artisan’s tools and a language. And you can flavor your guild membership to align with either the Consulate or Rebels groups built into the Kaladesh setting.
Charlatan — A master of disguise, the Charlatan background will grant you proficiencies that mesh well with a Charismatic, morally-neutral sorcerer. You’ll become proficient in Deception and Sleight of Hand skills, as well as disguise and forgery kits.
Artificer — Multiclassing with Artificer makes a lot of roleplaying sense in the Kaladesh setting, but it requires an Intelligence score of at least 13. If you choose this route, you’ll gain proficiency with light and medium armor as well as shields. These proficiencies alone will help to make your squishy sorcerer much more study. And if you take a second level in Artificer, you gain the Infuse Item ability which can allow you to boost your AC as long as you’re wearing armor or a shield.
Fighter — If you’d like to instead build a Pyromancer Sorcerer with decent Strength or Dexterity, multiclassing with Fighter allows for similar toughening features as the Artificer. You’ll gain proficiency in all armor and shields, and taking Defense as your Fighting Style at level 1 will boost your AC by 1 point. If you choose to take an additional level of Fighter, you’ll gain the powerful double feature of Second Wind and Action Surge, allowing you to heal yourself and unleash a flurry of fiery spells in one turn.
Would I recommend playing a Pyromancer Sorcerer?
For those players interested in a subclass that is a powerful, melee spellcaster that holds infinite potential for fun roleplaying choices, the Pyromancer Sorcerer is a solid subclass option for you. Just know that you’ll have to adapt the sorcerer’s 1d6 hit die squishiness so that you can deal all your fun, fiery damage in the midst of combat without easily getting taken down by your enemies.