The party I am playing with is currently playing Pathfinder, and we are considering switching to 5e within the new couple of weeks. I have been doing research on the difference with Sorcerers between Pathfinder and 5e. In Pathfinder, Wizards and Sorcerers utilized the same spell list and could select any spell from the list as they pleased whenever the ability to gain new spells arose.

During my research, I came cross this site 5e Spell List. By the looks of it, Sorcerers contain a far less variety of spells that the Wizards do.

Is there any reason why that is?

e.g. Sorcerers cannot use Grease or Alarm whereas Wizards can.

NOTE: Answers must cite documented developer commentary on this matter. Personal theories on why it is the case need not apply.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ OK, so this is a tricky kind of question to not get closed as subjective here - the short answer is "because the developers designed it that way." Answers that are your personal opinion on why this contributes to class balance are not good answers. Direct developer citations of why they made that change are. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that Sorcerers also have some spells that Wizards don't, this isn't a one-way thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that "Sorcerer's spell list" == "Wizard's spell list" is only true for 3e and its derivatives. In no other edition did two classes share a spell list \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleth
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 16:56
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this question because designer intent questions are off topic. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


Mike Mearls stated on Twitter:

for sorcerer, we avoid more complex spells. Sorcerer magic is simpler, more direct

See: http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/08/22/sorcerer-vs-wizard-spell-list/

The spells you mentioned are more "utility" spells - they have an effect that is not immediate or that can be used in ways that might not seem apparent. Sorcerers have mainly instant damage magic or spells that have fewer possible uses.

  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ Basically, Wizards are Fighters (tons of maneuvers and options), while Sorcerers are Barbarians (fewer options, very high raw damage). \$\endgroup\$
    – Nibelung
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 2:02

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