Putting together a multiclass build can be a great way to really showcase your knowledge of D&D in an amazing character. From super niche builds like wizard/clerics to a barbarian dipping into fighter for some action surge and fighting styles, there is a lot to be gained.
Of course, multiclassing isn’t for the faint of heart. Or is it?
A lot of people would have you believe that multiclassing is some “advanced strategy” for players with years and years of experience. That’s just not true.
Sure, it’s a good idea to start with a single class if you’re a complete newcomer to TTRPGs, but even after a few sessions of play, most people can figure out how to get a fun, optimized build.
Today, we’re going to be talking about one of the most synergistic multiclass builds out there. This combination of two classes is a match made in heaven, and you don’t need to be an optimization guru to end up with an overpowered character.
That’s right, in this article, we’re going to be covering the Sorlock, a multiclass build so iconic that it might as well be added to the dictionary. We’ll be going over what exactly a sorlock is, how you go about building one, and some of our favorite builds out there.
What Is a Sorlock?
The name sorlock, unsurprisingly, is a combination of sorcerer and warlock. A sorlock in 5e is a multi-classed character with levels in both classes. This is a particularly popular build because both of these classes make use of Charisma as their spellcasting ability.
It’s pretty simple to understand why someone would want to meld these two classes together. Both use Charisma to cast their spells.
Of course, as with anything in 5e, it goes a bit deeper than that. Their spellcasting is just a template. It’s the other features provided by each class that allow for an incredibly wide range of opportunity.
For starters, let’s look at the main staple features of each class.
Sorcerers get their metamagic. Through the use of sorcery points, they can modify their spells in a myriad of ways. They can even create more spell slots if need be. This, on top of their spell list, makes them incredibly versatile casters, eager to fill several different roles in the party.
Warlocks, on the other hand, get the two-fold combo of eldritch invocations and pact boons. These features can achieve a lot, but it’s not the specifics that make them so exciting. Because of these features, the warlock really feels like a modular class. Instead of just picking a subclass, you have several choices to make every time you level up.
So, what happens when we combine these two powerhouse classes? Well, you end up with a caster who can be built in a wide variety of ways and then proceed to modify their spells in real time. This build isn’t just versatile; it’s completely customizable.
This is all made possible because they both use Charisma. That means we don’t have to worry about spreading ourselves too thin. Pump our Charisma as high as it will go, and then worry about Dexterity or Constitution (AC or HP), and we’re good to go.
With that synergistic focus on spellcasting, you end up with something very cool. Sorcerers are able to turn spell slots into sorcery points and vice versa, and warlocks are able to regain their spell slots on a short rest. Combine these, and you end up with a character who can move around their spell slots as needed and end up with a quite impressive capacity for casting.
Oh but wait, there’s more. The sorlock is also, and this is an objective fact, incredibly cool. You take a sorcerer filled with some innate magical power, and a warlock who has made a pact with some greater being for power, and you mash them together.
How exactly that comes together will depend on your subclasses and how exactly you want to tell the story, but it’s sure to be amazing. It’s certainly more exciting than a monk who decided to be a bit more sneaky and take a level in rogue.
You might end up with a seaborne sorcerer gifted with the untamable power of the storms who struck a bargain with an ancient kraken for complete control of the seas and their wrath.
Or, you could create a character who, upon being gifted divine power from a celestial being, saw the awakening of a spark within their being, a spark of ancient radiant power long lost to the gods.
I mean, even the subclasses just match up in such cool and exciting ways that it’s impossible to not want a sorlock build for yourself.
How Do You Build a Sorlock?
In order to build a sorlock or any multiclass character, you need to decide what your goal is. From there, you can decide which subclasses, spells, and other choices are going to help you to achieve that goal.
With a sorlock, we have a multitude of decisions to make. Below is a list of the most important things to consider as you contemplate this build.
- Character Role – What role do you want to fill in the party?
- Subclasses – Which subclasses do you want, and how well do they synergize?
- Features – What features do you want to prioritize in your build? This will decide when you take levels in either class.
- Spells – Finally, what kind of spells do you want to cast?
Choosing a party role is simple. You’re going to be a Charisma-based caster, which means you’ll likely be the face of the party in most social scenarios. With that out of the way, you just have to decide whether you’ll use your spells to blast your opponents to smithereens, buff your allies, or serve some other form of utility.
This decision will really shape the subclasses you lean toward, but you can also do it the other way around. If you’re absolutely in love with the hexblade warlock, for example, you’ll end up becoming a striker without a doubt. From there, you just have to choose which sorcerer subclass complements your build.
This brings us to the features. Most subclass features are going to be set in stone, but both of these classes do have a lot of modular features. Take eldritch invocations — different choices will be much more fitting for certain builds, and some will even be off limits if you choose a certain pact boon or subclass.
Spells are the last piece of the puzzle. You’ll probably find that most of them just fall into place once you have these other decisions lined up. A striker will want damage-dealing spells, while someone focused on subterfuge will want spells that allow them to obscure their surroundings, and so on and so forth.
I know, I know, this is all very general. It’s important to cover the basics before I start throwing a bunch of optimization stats and suggestions at you. If you think you’re ready, read on for the step-by-step guide.
Step-by-Step Sorlock Building
Step One: Decide on your Goal
When coming up with a multiclass character, I find it helpful to come up with a single sentence tagline. Imagine that this is what someone would read if they were selecting the character from a list of pregenerated choices.
An example is “Control the battlefield with storms and destroy my enemies with thunder and lightning.” This is polished because I know which subclasses I’ve chosen (Fathomless / Storm Sorcery), but you can start with something as simple as “control the battlefield,” and you’ve given yourself direction.
Start with something basic, like “battlefield control,” “decimate my foes,” “support my allies,” “conjure creatures and more to my aid.” As you add more specification to your build, this will no doubt become more polished until you know exactly what decision to make at every turn.
Step Two: Choose Subclasses
You may have many options that fit your build’s goal, or you may have a goal that points very obviously to a specific set of subclasses. Either way, this is the most important decision you’ll make.
When weighing the subclass options, it’s important to remember that your build will only go up to level 20. This means you won’t be reaching capstone features in each, so your decision will have to be based on the features you can get at lower levels.
I find that most builds will go for a 6/14 split. This way, you do reach capstone in warlock, while using the sorcerer to supplement with its earlier core abilities. If you want a sorcerer capstone, you’d need an 18/2 split, which really shorts you on warlock potential.
Realistically I make my decisions based on the first 6 levels of each subclass. This way I’m looking at the features and spells I’ll actually be able to utilize.
Assuming a campaign will run all the way to 20th level is a pretty big expectation to set, but 12th level is more than reasonable. Plus, we’re planning on how the build will operate for most of our experience with it, not just at the very end of a campaign.
So, take a look at the features offered by the subclasses, and find one that works for you. Here are the general ideas of each subclass summed up to give you a quick glance before you really dive deep.
- Archfey – Illusions, deception, and manipulation
- Celestial – Healing magic and radiant damage
- Fathomless – Nautical-themed battlefield control
- The Fiend – Classic offensive warlock with fire damage and some survival
- The Genie – Spellcasting focused with several sub-subclass choices
- The Great Old One – Blank-slate warlock
- The Hexblade – Curses and spell-supported weapon-based combat
- The Undead – Extremely durable, necromancy focused
- The Undying – The Undead but worse
- Aberrant Mind – Psionic spells, psychic damage, and telepathic abilities
- Clockwork Soul – Control, support, and warding
- Draconic Bloodline – Dragon powers, activate!
- Divine Soul – Healing magic and divine powers
- Shadow Magic – Control over darkness, subterfuge
- Storm Sorcery – Battlefield control through the elements, thunder and lightning damage
- Wild Magic – Random effects as a result of untamable magic potential
Step Three: Plan Your Progression
Once you’ve got the basics laid out, it’s time to decide what your priorities are. Unless you’re starting off with a high-level build, you’ll have to decide when you take levels in sorcerer and when you take levels in warlock. These decisions are going to be based on which features and spells are most important to your build.
In order to do this, we have to look back at our goal and figure out how our subclasses fit in. Both classes receive their subclasses at first level, so we can get into our main abilities pretty quickly. However, we may place priority on a 3rd-level feature and get to that as soon as possible.
There are a lot of ways that you can progress and bounce between the classes as you level up. To make it easiest on yourself, try to make a top 5 list of features that support your build. Think of it as a machine — the faster you get the main components, the better it will work.
The list doesn’t have to be restricted to features either. You can prioritize spells, ASIs, or even sorcery points. Whatever is important to your build should be included.
The table below shows the key components of each level in the two classes. I’ve only gone up to level 14, but you can feel free to make anything as extreme as a 19/1 split if that’s what you’re looking for. (Sorcerers get to learn new levels of spells at 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, and 17th levels.)
Keep in mind that I haven’t included all the intricacies of sorcery points, invocations, spell slots, and just about any other resource that you slowly accumulate by leveling up. You’ll eventually need to decide how important those are for your build, but you can start with the table above for basic guidance.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all progression for a sorlock. Where some builds will benefit from switching back and forth every level, others will require a very specific game plan to meet their goals without stalling behind.
Trust me, it might seem a bit overwhelming, but once you sit down and look at the features, it really does just fall into place.
Step Four: Fill in the Blanks
You’re almost there! All that’s left is to fine-tune the build with any decisions you haven’t made up to this point. You’ll need a race, background, skills, and all of the normal things a character is built on along with anything else your build requires of you.
Most of this is self-explanatory. You’ll want a race with abilities that complement your build’s goal. The spells you choose should do the same thing as should the finer components, like which metamagic options and eldritch invocations you choose.
If you’ve made it this far in the build, these should be easy decisions to make. If anything isn’t apparent, it’s probably not important, and you can just choose whatever excites you.
One thing that I do want to stress, though, is the importance of feats to a sorlock. Multiclass builds tend to lean heavily into one or two concepts, which means they’re likely to fall short in others.
Feats are an excellent way of covering your loose ends or leaning further into those strengths so that your weaknesses are negligible. Choose feats well, and you can end up with some crazy abilities, like an Eldritch Blast that can be shot from miles away.
Step Five: Profit
Now you have a sorlock, all primed and ready to go in their magical glory. Get out there and mess up some goblins.
Top Sorlock Builds
Here are just a few of my favorite sorlock builds to give you an idea of what the finished product can look like.
Command absolute dominion over darkness and any who dare enter it with you nearby. Your ability to disappear in the shadows will terrify your enemies and ultimately lead to their demise.
- Split: Shadow Magic Sorcerer 14 / Archfey Warlock 6
- Race: Tiefling – Bloodline of Glasya
- Invocations: Devil’s Sight, Armor of Shadows, One With the Shadows
- Pact: Tome
- Metamagic: Extended Spell, Subtle Spell
- Feats: Fey and/or Shadow Touched, Telekinetic
Just about every feature you get allows you to disappear or otherwise take advantage of the shadows that you’ll be creating. From those shadows, cast a few subtle control spells, and your enemies quite literally won’t know what hit them.
Is.. Is this a Cleric?
Do you want to heal your allies without being slave to some faith? Look no further than this sorlock who might as well be an actual celestial being. With the favor of the gods on your side, neither you nor your allies will fall in battle.
- Split: Divine Soul Sorcerer 6 / Celestial Warlock 14
- Race: Scourge Aasimar
- Invocations: Armor of Shadows, Agonizing Blast, Rebuke of the Talisman, Protection of the Talisman
- Pact: Talisman
- Metamagic: Transmuted Spell
- Feats: Elemental Adept (Fire), Durable, Lucky
For something that seems like it would be a meme, this is actually an incredible build. Between incredible damage output on fire (or radiant) damage spells, a litany of cleric-based healing spells, and more than a few features providing you and/or your allies bonuses on rolls, there’s almost nothing this class can’t do.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into one of my favorite multiclass archetypes. If you have but you’re still eager for more, be sure to check out the links in this article to our other multiclassing warlock and sorcerer guides.
As always, happy adventuring.