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I have a character concept (for roleplaying reasons primarily) of a Sorcerer who started to study the Arcane in an intellectual way and gained a few levels as a Wizard. He is Sorcerer 3 / Wizard 3 now.

However, when he multiclassed into a Wizard, he didn't get new proficiencies, and he already had the Spellcasting feature. Hence the question - mechanically speaking, would he have something unavailable for a pure Sorcerer 6 or a pure Wizard 6, any advantage from the class combination itself?

Answer criteria:

I want to find at least one thing, that Sorcerer/Wizard can do and neither Sorcerer nor Wizard can. For example, a Fighter/Wizard hybrid can cast spells in armor (neither Fighter nor Wizard can do that) or cast two spells in one turn. But a Sorcerer/Wizard?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I tried to edit in your comments/clarifications. Please review the edit and revise it so that the question isn't open ended. (I hope I captured what you meant, and if I did not, I apologize). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '17 at 13:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also related: What are the downsides to multiclassing? \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Feb 21 '17 at 20:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli I voted to reopen it the first time it was reopened because it is a specific, answerable question that is in no way too subjective for our site. It's true that these questions draw bad behavior, but that's a reason to be more firm in enforcing the rules, not a reason to disallow good questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 22 '17 at 2:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that it's way too open. Which paths did they pick? Would that be more advantageous than an Illusion Wizard in a game against mostly constructs and undead? What about if they're comparing a Wild Mage Sorcerer against virtually any other caster class? Ultimately, this brings up too many questions to provide a good answer for. I alone can provide 4 conflicting answers that provide pros and cons of each class choice and multiclass combination just from experience playing caster classes. The question, in my opinion, is way too open ended. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 22 '17 at 5:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. Please don't misunderstand why I was voting to close. It's just that without that specific refinement in the question, it's too open ended for an effective answer that addresses your query. Incidentally, even that's a little open ended in that there are several different archetypes of Sorcerer and Wizard, so comparative advantages are going to vary. Example: One adv is metamagic use on your wizard. Or wild magic. Or access to specific school specialization on your sorcerer. Or any of the UA. There's a LOT of answers to this that are all going to apply. I'll make a chat room later. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 22 '17 at 12:07
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Advantages of a 3/3 multi-class:

  • More cantrips

  • More known spells than sorcerer (6). [Same number of spells as a wizard (6) with the same starting INT]

  • Increased spell selection over sorcerer (6)

  • More sorcery points than wizard (6).

  • Ritual spells (not available as a sorcerer without a feat)

  • Metamagic can be applied to spells being cast via familiar

Disadvantages of a 3/3 multi-class:

  • Multi Ability Dependant (MAD, requires Int and Cha, on top of Con and Dex).

  • Does not know 3rd level spells (7th level characters know 4th level spells)

  • Know less spells than a Wizard (6)

  • Fewer feats/ASI (although a 4/4 has the same ASI as a single class 8)

  • Fewer sorcery points than sorcerer (6)

  • Delayed feature progression in both classes.

In my opinion (as a player with 2 years exp and a DM with 1 year exp), the MADness and lack of 3rd (and at the next level, 4th) level spells makes this a sub-optimal character.

Additionally, you are short a ASI/feat for a level, and will be less effective with your sorcery points because you only have 3.

It won't be so weak that you can't play it, but you will feel less powerful than the other dedicated casters (and maybe the half casters as well) in your group. if you are trying to build a strong character, you are better off going full in either class. Sorcerer will give you more power, but less options, while wizard will give you more options, but slightly less power.

You might consider only taking a 1-2 level dip into wizard, and mainlining sorcerer instead. Then taking ritual spells, and spells like mage armor and shield that don't require INT to cast. This will get you the increased flexibility of a wizard, but eliminate some of the MADness and let you get that ASI right away (you still need 13 INT to multi-class). It will also only delay your spell progression by 2 levels, instead of 3. You will have less pure power than a pure sorcerer, but significantly more flexibility. However, if the ritual spells are the only thing you are looking for, then taking ritual caster will be much more efficient than 1-2 levels of wizard.

In general, multi-classing full casters is a bad idea (even those who share a spellcasting ability). Every level you don't take in your main class is a level longer before you get spells for a slot that you already have. On a pure damage comparison, casting a 1st level spell with a 3rd level slot will do less damage than casting a 3rd level spell with that same slot. And that speaks nothing to the utility of the higher level spells. One or two level dips into another class are occasionally worth it, depending on how front loaded the class is, but any more than that and you start significantly delaying your spell progression.

Yes, you get more cantrips for multi-classing, but you're only going to use one or two most of the time, and by 6th level, you have 10 spell slots. You will probably only have 15 rounds of combat in a day, so you won't need your cantrips that much.


To directly answer your question (is there a new ability that the multi-class gets that neither original class gets):

No (ish).

There is no novel feature (like your examples of action surged spells or spellcasting in armor, although you could take feats to be able to do that as a pure wizard) that you get from multi-classing these two.

However, as per this question, metamagic can be used on non-socerer spells, so you can get new combinations by modifying your wizard spells. For example, if you took Protection from Good and Evil as a wizard spell (not available as a sorcerer), you could extend it using metamagic to have a 30 ft range. While this is technically a new feature, it is very situational, and probably not worth the multi-class.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify "Ritual spells as a sorcerer"? Why "as a sorcerer" part is important? Does sorcerer have any spells that wizard does not? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Feb 22 '17 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited to clarify. Sorcerers do not get ritual spells. So the multi-class has that over a sorcerer (6) \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Feb 22 '17 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ That isn't what I ask, then. I ask, what advantage the multiclass would have comparing to both Wizard and Sorcerer. See the Fighter/Wizard example. Having rituals is not that kind of advantage, because any Wizard have them. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Feb 22 '17 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added a section that directly answers your question. I am leaving the rest because it answers the spirit of the question, and similar questions that people may have when they come across this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Feb 22 '17 at 17:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can use Twin on Protection from Good and Evil, possibly covering your whole front line. This is a very powerful option. \$\endgroup\$ – András Feb 26 '17 at 9:57
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Go for the multiclass.

Here's my philosophy as a player who likes spellcasters: it is not the level of the spell, but the quality of how you use the spell, that determines how powerful that spell can be.

Not all spells in 5e are created equal, even among spells of the same level. So, you don't have to race for the highest level spells available for your class. Getting access to Fireball is not that big a deal at level 5 if you really know how to use your lower level spells well.

Choose a main class and stick with it.

Now, for the specific mechanical aspects of it:

  • Go for 2 levels of Wizard if you want to be more of a Sorcerer. This gives you the Arcane Tradition with the fewest number of multiclass levels you must make

  • Go for 3 levels of Sorcerer if you want to be more of a Wizard (and keep leveling as a Wizard from there, obviously). This gets you Metamagic with the fewest number of multiclass levels you have to make

If you want to be more of a Wizard, then just accept that your Sorcerer abilities will not be as stellar. You can dump Charisma and pick Sorcerer spells that don't require Charisma to cast, like Shield and Mage Armor. You will always have these spells prepared as a Sorcerer, so this frees up your Wizard prepared spells.

The same is true if you want to be more of a Sorcerer. Just dump Intelligence and grab only the ritual spells you want to cast, that have no bearing on your Intelligence score. Meanwhile, keep pumping ASIs into your Charisma as you normally would for a fully classed Sorcerer. The benefit of this is, you now have prepared spells, which means you can move your utility spells around after long rests. This flexibility was not available to you before as a Sorcerer.

So, what do you gain from the multiclass?

As a main-classed Wizard:

  • You get 4 spells that you will always have prepared. This frees up your Wizard prepared slots, and you no longer have to prepare your "Signature Spells" like Shield or Mage Armor at the lower levels.

  • You get Metamagic and Flexible Casting. Definitely large a boon. Go for Heightened Spell to guarantee your save-or-suck lands, or to counteract Magic Resistance.

  • You get Tides of Chaos (free advantage on anything? Yes, please!) or Draconic Bloodline (always-on Mage Armor and extra HP? Yeah!).

As a main-classed Sorcerer:

  • You get flexibility. As a sorcerer, you do not get that many spells. Moreover, you don't have a wide spell list. Now you have access to 6 more level 1 spells you did not previously know, from a bigger spell list.

  • You get Ritual Casting. As a Sorcerer, this offers some incredible flexibility you did not previously have.

  • You can now change your spells known after long rests. This is a really good boon for the Sorcerer who feels like a hammer pounding the same nail fight after fight. It also lets you learn the same spells you already know as a Sorcerer, so that you can unlearn those Sorcerer spells in exchange for higher level spells.

  • You now have an Arcane Tradition. Abjuration, Illusion, and Divination are exceptionally good for a multiclass dip. Go with Evocation if you are a blaster. This means you no longer need your Sculpt Spell metamagic, freeing your options further.

It's not the level of the spell, it's how you use it

A good wizard can cast Fireball. A great wizard can cast Hold Person and let his allies whale on the monster with auto-crits. An amazing wizard can cast Silent Image and scare his foes into surrender, without ever needing to deal or take a point of damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I agree that creative use of a low level spell can trump a mundane use of a higher level spell, it is equally true that creative use of a high level spell can trump creative use of a low level spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Feb 22 '17 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shem I agree wholeheartedly. But my point is you don't have to race for the highest level spells you can possibly get access to, not that you don't need high level spells. Even with just the basic spells you get from levels 1-3, you can drive many encounters up to the mid-levels. So, no need to worry about multiclassing hampering that. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 Feb 23 '17 at 3:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that Ritual Casting does not give you any flexibility to your levels in Sorcerer because it only applies to Wizard spells in your spell book. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker May 21 at 2:55
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You primarily get 3 things from going into wizard at least 2 levels -

  • Extra cantrips
  • Ritual casting
  • Arcane Tradition

In my opinion, Wiz 3 wastes a level for you. There aren't any really good level 2 ritual spells, so I'd go to Wiz 2 for an Arcane Tradition or just Wiz 1 for Cantrips and Ritual casting. For the extra cantrips, I'd recommend non-combat spells like Mage Hand, Message, Light, Dancing Lights, etc. Ritual casting will let you use detect magic and identify easily (which helps).

That arcane tradition can be huge. If your DM allows the Unearthed Arcana, the wizard one has a new tradition that lets you swap out damage types for free. That's normally a feat and only applies to one type, this is everything all the time for free. You can also change a saving throw type once per short/long rest (so swap that disintegrate from a con save to an int save!). If you can't use the UA, I'd look at evocation for a blast focused character and divination or illusion for a more rounded one. Conjuration would be alright for an RP choice or if you plan to use it creatively.

You lose -

  • Spell knowledge - with 2 levels of wizard you'll be a full spell level behind the rest of your party. That means no fireball until level 7.
  • 1 Feat/Ability Score Increase - If you can use the UA Tradition, you're getting 2 feats (ritual caster + element swap) so you would actually come out ahead there, kind of.
  • Progression in sorcerer abilities (w/ Wiz 3 you lose your capstone Origin ability)

Overall, losing a spell level is pretty harsh, especially early on. If you have another caster who can use detect magic/identify as rituals, I'd probably wait to take wizard levels. If you're the only one, I'd take them earlier.

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Yes,

But the disadvantages are so immense. Quoting from Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards:

[Y]ou are stuck choosing between Charisma and [Intelligence] at ability increase levels, and that’s a decision you don’t want to get stuck with.

You are also significantly slowing down access to higher level spells. The draw here is access to [the Sorcerer's] Metamagic and the Draconic bloodline. You also slow down those ability increases significantly. If I was in a campaign where I knew I would reach level 20 (which is never for me), I would instead go Wizard X/Sorcerer 3, which is a great option.

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I am playing a 1/X sorcerer/wizard right now and I love her. If you are to multiclass I would recommend not taking more than 1 or 2 levels in one of the classes. The reason why someone would do this? Most 5e classes are front loaded, meaning you benefit from unique class features by taking 2 levels or sometimes just 1. In this case, I don't get higher level spells until a level after my mono class party members, but I do benefit from being able to take advantage of sorceress origin and being able to spontaneously cast more level 1 spells and cantrips than the wizard. I know more spells than either the sorcerer or the wizard. The synergy between my wizard school and sorceress origin mixed with a feat mean I'm doing incredible amounts of damage that neither the dedicated wizard nor the dedicated sorcerer can match. It also allows for cool backstory, i.e. naturally gifted in the arcane and have dedicated my life to understanding this power.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Eodwyn, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange! Check out our tour to see how our site works, and now that you've reached 20 rep, you'll be able to join us in Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 16 '17 at 13:13

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