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I would like know if it is viable and sustianable to mutliclass paladin with Sorcerer. But I am unsure if these two would mesh well together and end up becoming good or if it would just lead to a sub par character that isn't good at anything. By viable I mean can it hold it up to other classes in combat and have the nessary utility.

I was thinking of doing a dip in wild magic sorcerer for my 6th level Paladin primarly to get shield spell. He is an oath of the crown paladin, obsesed with bring order and doing good and I am taken with the idea he suddenly is infected with chaos, tide of chaos and wild magic surge table looks like it could be great fun and interesting to role-play. As a few level dip will give a lot of spell slots that can be used for divine smite.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ are you planning to be mainly paladin or mainly sorcerer? \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Jan 28 '18 at 1:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you intend to go Paladin X, Sorcerer Y, or Sorcerer X, Paladin Y (where X is greater than Y) is a key piece of information for an answer. Also, what are your objectives for the build? To get a best answer you will need to frame this in terms of optimization, otherwise answers filled with opinion will arise which are not a good fit for this site. Also, do you expect this campaign to last all the way until 20? (It's sort of rare that a campaign lasts that long, but it does happen). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 28 '18 at 2:56
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Yes, it's viable.

In general, multiclassing more than 3, 4 levels into another class will lead to your character losing access to his/her most powerful class features or spells at high levels.

Specifically, a paladin/sorcerer multiclass is generally not the worst idea. Sorcerers get more potent spell slots than paladins do, while a paladin gets to prepare spells and therefore has a wider variety of spells to choose from.

Looking at what you lose in those classes if you multiclass:

Paladins don't get too insane improvements from level 16 to 20, aside from an ASI, an improved aura and their level 20 Sacred Oath feature. So, you're losing out on a few nice features - especially the level 20 feature can be really badass - but it's not too bad.

If you're a main sorcerer, you'll probably want to aim for Sorcerer(16)/Paladin(4) or Sorcerer(17)/Paladin(3). The first option gives you an additional ASI, while the second one gives you another metamagic option and an additional sorcery point and known spell.

So, the benefits from multiclassing:

Paladins are one of my favorite classes to multiclass into, since they get Lay on hands, which can open up new ways of approaching problems, as well as a fighting style at 2nd level (if in doubt, Defense) and a potentially really cool Sacred Oath Channel Divinity feature - my personal favorite is the Oath of Vengeance.

Sorcerers get metamagic at level 3 and gain sorcery points at level 2, usable for metamagic or transformable into spell slots. Also, you'll get higher level spell slots with a sorcerer, since they're a fullcaster, whereas paladins are just half-casters (see the Multiclass Spellcaster table in the PHB, p. 165). The sorcerous origin features can also be pretty decent.

So, to answer your question - yes, a Sorcerer 17/Paladin 3 can still be pretty powerful, even though you're missing out on the highest-level class features. To fully decide, you'd have to take a look at which path makes sense for your character, and if that synergizes well with your sorcerer.

While I would not recommend multiclassing a main paladin into sorcerer, this is still possible - for example, metamagic with Twinned Spell can be really useful for lots of spells.

In the end, you have to know what fits roleplay-wise, and decide accordingly.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @SteveBauer If you have not read this guide, I'd recommend it. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 28 '18 at 2:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Was just about to answer with that guide. Using that build I played a Sorcadin from level 4 to 17 and by following the guide I found it the build to be extremey viable. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Perryman May 25 '18 at 13:24
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It is very viable

On most levels, such a multiclass is stronger than a single-class paladin.
There are very strong synergies between the classes, patching each other's shortcomings.

Paladin problems solved by Sorcerer levels

Lacking good ranged options

Paladins are quite ineffective against flying enemies. They can't spare a decent Dex for bows, and can only throw one javelin per Attack1.

Levels as a Sorcerer can give you cantrips like Fire Bolt that can outperform both.

Lacking good options if you have disadvantage

If you are poisoned or restrained (but not blinded2) it is usually better for your DPR to use a cantrip that does not require an attack roll.

Unused bonus actions

Unless the Paladin takes Shield Master or Polearm Master, he has no easy and efficient way to spend bonus actions3.

Sorcerer 3 can turn any spell into a bonus action with Quicken Spell.

Few spell slots

Between Divine Smite and usual spellcasting, Paladins could always use more slots.

Sorcerer levels provide more, but 1 level is not enough.
Paladin X/Sorcerer 1 has the exact same slots as a Paladin X+1.

P12/S8 has 14 caster levels, 4 more than P20.

Limited spell selection

Only Rangers have a smaller selection than Paladins.

Sorcerer 1 gives you 4 cantrips, and some great spells like Shield, Disguise Self, or Absorb Elements.

Few spells prepared

Even on level 20 and with Cha 20, a Paladin can only prepare 15 spells freely4.

While spells known and spells prepared are not the same thing, Sorcerer still adds to your options.

P12/S8 starts the day with 20 spells, 5 more than P20.

Sorcerer problems solved by Paladin levels

Survivability

Sorcerers have to spend a spell slot to achieve an acceptable AC and have the worst HP among all classes (on par with wizards). Dragon Sorcerers do a bit better.

Paladins can have a better AC without spending a slot, and add a lot to your hit points.

Small damage output without spending resources

Cantrips are much less damaging than weapon attacks, even for Dragon Sorcerers.
This is especially painful with Quicken Spell.

Paladins do great damage round after round even without spending any resources. After a Quickened spell you can still use a very efficient Attack action.

New problems

Spellcasting

Paladins can cast most of their spells while holding a weapon and a shield. This does not work with Sorcerer spells.

Your best option is using a two-handed weapon without a shield.

No high-level spells

Paladins get their 5th level spells on level 17, but a 10th level Bard can take any of them. If they are not overpowered on level 10, they are definitely weak on 17.
Not much of a loss.

Your character

P6 is a great point for multiclassing, you already have the best three Paladin features (Divine Smite, Extra Attack and Aura of Protection) and the next best (Improved Divine Smite) is very far away.

As you said Shield is great, and the 4 cantrips are also very useful, especially Green Flame Blade5.

Path forward

I would take 5 level of Sorcerer right away, Quickened Haste is that awesome.
Then 6 more levels in Paladin, for Improved Divine Smite and the ASIs. Or, if you have GWM, just 2 more levels of Paladin for the ASI.
The rest in Sorcerer.

In my opinion, this build is stronger on every level than a simple Paladin. I would only miss Unyielding Spirit, but a Quickened GFB makes up for it.

General Build

Usually, I recommend taking the first Sorcerer level earlier, after Paladin 1 or 2. Starting with Sorcerer would take away Heavy armor and 4 hit points.
This build is behind a single-class Paladin on level 5, possibly even 6, but I really like the flexibility and the ranged options.


1) Actually, they can throw more than one, but they can not grab it, having spent their free object interaction on grabbing the first one.

2) For most cantrips that require a saving throw you need to see the target.

3) I am not a fan of Smite spells, their damage is below that of a Divine Smite with the same slot and they use up your concentration. I would much rather concentrate on Bless, Magic Weapon, or Haste.

4) On 20th level you also get 10 predefined Oath Spells, the usefulness of those is very uneven.

5) A Quickened GFB on level 11 does more damage than your 2 usual attacks combined.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I concur with your footnote one, with one exception... Branding Smite is a significant party damage multiplier against invisible foes. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. May 25 '18 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. Very situational. It is great when it is needed, but in 95% of the encounters it is useless. And half of that 5% can be solved by Dispel Magic. \$\endgroup\$ – András May 25 '18 at 14:47
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Consider a dip in Warlock (Hexblade) instead

In your question, you state that you're primarily after the Shield spell and extra smiting slots. In that case, I strongly suggest that you consider at least a 1-level dip into Warlock instead of Sorcerer. Specifically, think about dipping into the Hexblade, which is described in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (55-56).

There are two reasons to do this. First, you get the Shield spell as an expanded spell at level 1, which satisfies your requirement. Second, you get to use CHA as your modifier for attack and damage rolls, which is a huge deal:

Whenever you finish a long rest, can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property. When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity.

This feature, combined with your Aura of Protection, means that you use CHA for literally everything: spellcasting, attacks, and all saves. The hex ability you get is no slouch either.

Further levels in Warlock will grant you higher level spell slots that regenerate on short rests. Depending on how your DM runs the game, that might be enough to let you nova on almost every encounter.

A sorcadin alone is pretty viable too, at least at high levels

Paladin and Sorcerer alone is still an excellent multiclass. I am currently playing one, and have been using this guide, which does a great job of discussing all the intricacies and variations of potential builds (and coins the term sorcadin).

The primary benefit of these builds is their ability to nova. For example, a Paladin 5/Sorcerer 3 can cast a quickened Hold Person on a humanoid, move in on the same turn and attack twice with advantage. The sorcadin gets guaranteed criticals when they hit as well as smites, leading to a ridiculous single-turn damage output. As you reach higher levels of Sorcerer, you'll gain a lot of spell slots for smiting, as well as some nice spells to cast (fireball!).

However, this build is also very resource intensive. In order to pull off the nova described above, you have to spend 3 spell slots and all of your sorcery points in a single round. Quickened spells synergize well with melee attacks, but you can't do it too often, and you will quickly run out of spell slots if you smite twice a turn and cast shield when you get attacked.

This limitation leads to the biggest problem with this multiclass build: it takes a lot of levels to come online. I'm currently experiencing this problem, where the transition between paladin to sorcerer leaves you lagging behind the rest of your party. Since the multiclass rules give paladins half-caster progression, you're really going to feel limited by your spell slots when you only have a handful of sorcerer levels. In my current plans and gameplay up to now, I will have have a bit of a dip in power starting around level 6-7, which evens out a few levels later. Unfortunately, those levels are where the bulk of many campaigns take place, so you'll have to consider that carefully.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not getting a ASI on level 8 did hurt, but on every other level my P6/Sx felt stronger than a simple paladin \$\endgroup\$ – András Jun 1 '18 at 21:30

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