Wild Magic Sorcerer revision, take 2

This is an iteration on the Wild Magic Sorcerous Origin I’ve asked about previously. The goals are, in order of descending importance:

  1. Not break anything, and not leave anyone confused. That means unambiguous rules descriptions, formatting and verbiage consistent with official rules, and appropriate amounts of description on each feature to make them understood.

  2. Remove the need for the DM to handle Wild Magic Surge. The DM has enough to worry about and the effectiveness of the entire Sorcerous Origin varies substantially based on whether or not they remember to do so.

  3. Enhance the sense that wild magic is beyond the sorcerer’s control, but nonetheless is something that can be harnessed and if you’re willing to “ride it out,” you can find great power there. The desired feel should be something like a surfer on a huge wave, or a rodeo on a powerful steed—you’re not in control per se, but your skill is definitely relevant to whether or not you can hang on and put those forces to use.

  4. Reduce the swinginess of the Wild Magic Surge table. That starts with removing the damn fireball entry, of course, but what I really want is for the different results on the table to have a more consistent risk. A 2% chance of a TPK combined with a 2% chance of an overpowering boon doesn’t actually balance.

  5. Incorporate some really effective mechanics from the D&D 3.5e Tome of Battle crusader, which I just happen to really like and think works really effectively for modeling a “random” character.

  6. To improve the Wild Magic origin to be in-line with other quality Sorcerous Origins.

Relative to the previous iteration, I have made the following changes:

  • The “state” of Wild Magic Surge has been renamed Wild Magic Flow, to keep it apart from the Wild Magic Surge table.

  • The description of how a wild magic sorcerer casts spells has been rewritten, hopefully making it clearer.

  • The deck no longer includes cantrips (which had no point being in the deck, which caused confusion).

  • Instead, you learn chaos bolt for free at 1st level (allowing you to actually have 5 spells at 1st level, which otherwise wasn’t possible), and the 6th-, 14th-, and 18th-level features allow you to “convert” castings of chaos bolt from an appropriate spell slot to one of the “prismatic” spells.

  • New Wild Magic Surge table. Only 20 effects (so far?), because this is really not my thing, but they’re more consistent, and more appropriate for Wild Magic Surge being used as a drawback—they’re all negative effects. Some worse than others, and some may circumstantially be irrelevant in a given moment, but more consistent. Most effects either cost you your next turn, or give you a drawback that lasts for a minute but can be mitigated or powered through. A few do cost you resources, however (e.g. sorcery points, a spell slot, hp).

    I’ll probably have to force myself to actually fill it out to at least 50 effects, if not 100, since in my research I found a lot of people who found 50 disappointing, and use 100, 300, or in one case (hopefully an extreme outlier) 10,000. But for now it’s just 20, to ensure I’ve got a sound grasp of appropriate risk here.

  • Surge of Power now includes Metasurge, and the slot-enhancing option is easier to use. There is also a level-enhancing option for cantrips. Hopefully Surge of Power is now worth the hassle of the Wild Magic Flow.

  • Due to the heavy presence of prismatic spells, the 6th-level feature that used to be Metasurge is now about prismatic spells. Kind of weird, thematically, but the prismatic spells are the most “random” in the system.

  • Overdrawn got some buffs.

  • Cataclysm got replaced by Perfect Surge, which buffs Surge of Power and removes some of the drawbacks from Overdrawn.

  • In order to actually fill in levels appropriately, a new spell, prismatic ray, has been added. It’s basically a single-target prismatic spray. I’ve put it at 4th level, which seems consistent for a 10d6 single-target blast (the damage is roughly equivalent to blight, 1 damage less on average, though of course there is the 12.5% chance of rolling an 8 and doubling things, which might be a problem). I nerfed the indigo beam a fair bit (a single successful save gets you out of it, but you still need to fail three times for permanent petrification), so I could see doing the same to other colors. Or maybe just make it a 5th-level spell, though I have reservations about that.

It’s a pretty significant rewrite, so I am looking for feedback all over. But the biggest new things are definitely the Wild Magic Surge table, and the new prismatic ray spell.

Sorcerous Origin

At 1st level, a sorcerer gains the Sorcerous Origin feature. The following wild magic option is available to a sorcerer, instead of the wild magic origin offered in the Player’s Handbook.

Wild Magic

None can tell where your magic comes from; it is fickle, inconstant, and unique. Some might associate it with the forces of chaos, whether Limbo or demons or the fey, or those places in the multiverse where reality is frayed and all magic takes on some of the volatility that yours exhibits everywhere. But none of these is a perfect match; there is no perfect match to be found anywhere else—your magic is yours.

Wild Magic Flow

Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, you learn chaos bolt as a sorcerer spell. It does not count against the number of sorcerer spells you know.

Further, you can enter a Wild Magic Flow, a state in which your innate power roils within you and magic can spill out of you almost effortlessly. On the other hand, you have difficulties casting many sorcerer spells if you’re going against the Flow. Whenever you cast a 1st-level or higher sorcerer spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you must cast it in one of the following ways:

  • Carefully. The spell doesn’t take effect until the turn after it would otherwise.
  • Recklessly. You roll on the Wild Magic Surge table below as you complete the spell.
  • With the flow. The spell must follow the whims of a Wild Magic Flow; see below.

You may cast carefully or recklessly whether you are in a Wild Magic Flow or not; casting with the flow of course requires that you be in one. Cantrips, non-sorcerer spells, and spells with a casting time other than 1 action are just cast normally, ignoring this ability entirely.

To represent the flow of wild magic within you, you must first establish a deck of sorcerer spells. The deck’s size is 3 + your proficiency bonus. Each entry in the deck must be a sorcerer spell you know, and the deck cannot include duplicates. You can change which spells you know are in the deck at the end of any short rest.

You can start a Wild Magic Flow with just a thought; it doesn’t take an action and as long as you are conscious, you can do so (unless you are already in one, or have recently been Overdrawn; see below). When you do, you shuffle the deck and draw a number of spells equal to your proficiency bonus. Each round thereafter, you draw another spell from the deck. If, at the start of your turn, the deck is empty, then the Wild Magic Flow ends, and all spells are returned to the deck.

Drawn spells go into your hand, and you can play spells for various effects. Once played, the spell leaves your hand and cannot be played again during that Wild Magic Flow.

The most basic effect you can play a spell for is to cast that spell “with the flow.” You neither extend its casting time nor roll on the Wild Magic Surge table with this casting. The spell still uses a spell slot, as normal.

At the end of a Wild Magic Flow, roll a d20 + the number of spells you cast with the flow, against a DC equal to the size of your deck. On a failure, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table below. Either way, after the flow ends all spells return to your deck.

Wild Magic Surge

d20 Effect d20 Effect
1 For the next minute, you lose access to all of your sorcerer cantrips, and gain a new one: chaos spark. Chaos spark is identical to chaos bolt except that it has a range of 60 feet, it cannot leap to new targets, and the damage works differently. To determine the damage, roll two d8s, and then choose one of the d8s to be the amount of damage and the other to be the damage type, following the table used by chaos bolt. 11 You gain teleportitis for one minute. While afflicted, at the start of each turn, roll a d8 to determine a direction, then a d20 to determine how many feet you teleport in that direction. If that location is occupied, you teleport to the farthest unoccupied space between you and that location. Remove disease ends this effect.
2 For the next minute, you cannot spend sorcery points. 12 You cast confusion centered on yourself.
3 You lose 2 sorcery points. 13 Roll 1d6 on this table and use that result.
4 You lose one of the lowest-level sorcerer spell slots you have remaining. 14 You are frightened by the nearest creature until the end of your next turn.
5 For the next minute, you cannot cast any spell with “chaos” or “prismatic” in the spell’s name. 15 You are surrounded by faint, ethereal music for the next minute.
6 You gain a level of exhaustion. 16 You cast grease centered on yourself.
7 You turn into a sheep until the end of your next turn, as if from polymorph. 17 Illusory butterflies and flower petals flutter in the air within 10 feet of you for the next minute.
8 You turn into a potted plant until the start of your next turn. While a plant, you are incapacitated and have vulnerability to all damage. If you drop to 0 hit points, your pot breaks, and your form reverts. 18 You cast compelled duel on the nearest foe that did not attack you or force you to make a saving throw last round. The spell lasts 1 round and doesn’t require concentration, and cannot end early.
9 You and all creatures within 30 feet of you gain vulnerability to piercing damage for the next minute. 19 You can’t speak for the next minute. Whenever you try, pink bubbles float out of your mouth.
10 You cast chaos bolt on yourself, as if cast from the highest-level spell slot you have (it does not consume any spell slot). If it leaps to a new target, you still choose which creature it leaps to. 20 You time-travel to the start of your next turn. You appear in the same space you previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space if it is occupied.

Surge of Power

At 1st level, when you complete the casting of a spell during a Wild Magic Flow, you may play a number of additional spells from your hand up to your proficiency bonus. These spells are not cast, and spell slots are not consumed for them. Instead, for each spell played, you gain one of the following for the spell you are casting:

  • Surge Self. Add 1 to your level.
  • Surge Slot. Add 1 to the slot level (max 9th).
  • Metasurge. Subtract 1 sorcery point from Metamagic costs.

Any number of these abilities can be used in any combination so long as you have played enough extra spells, and they stack with themselves.

Colors of Magic

At 6th level, when you cast chaos bolt with the flow from a spell slot of 4th level or higher (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic ray, instead, even if you do not know it or even if you cannot know it because you do not know any 4th-level spells. Usually, Surge of Power cannot allow a slot to support a higher-level spell because you must complete the casting before using Surge of Power; this is a special feature for chaos bolt.

Finally, whenever you cast a “prismatic” sorcerer spell from a higher level spell slot, you can roll another d8 for each slot level above the minimum and choose which roll to use for the spell’s color. This does not add any additional rolls to the extra rolls on an 8.


Beginning at 14th level, when you finish a Wild Magic Flow, you may choose to become Overdrawn. If you do, you draw your entire deck for a new, special Wild Magic Flow that ends at the end of your turn. While Overdrawn, you ignore any exhaustion you have, ignore the verbal and somatic components on sorcerer spells, and your body itself counts as an arcane focus for sorcerer spells. Finally, while Overdrawn, Surge of Power can increase the effective spell slot beyond 9th. At the end of your Overdrawn turn, you gain a level of exhaustion, and you cannot begin another Wild Magic Flow for 1 minute.

Additionally, when you cast chaos bolt with the flow from a spell slot of 7th or higher level (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic spray instead, even if you do not or cannot know that spell.

Perfect Flow

Once you reach 18th level, your Surge of Power can increase the effective spell slot of your spells beyond 9th even while not Overdrawn, and you no longer gain a level of exhaustion after being Overdrawn.

Additionally, when you cast chaos bolt with the flow from a spell slot of 9th or higher level (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic wall instead, even if you do not know that spell.

New Spell

This new 4th-level evocation, prismatic ray, is available to sorcerers and wizards. It is not a ritual.

Spell Description

Prismatic Ray

4th-level evocation

  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: 60 feet
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: Instantaneous

A beam of light, rapidly shifting between colors, projects out from your hand. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. The effect of a hit depends what color the beam was at the moment it struck; roll a d8 to determine what that was:

  1. Red. The target takes 10d6 fire damage.
  2. Orange. The target takes 10d6 acid damage.
  3. Yellow. The target takes 10d6 lightning damage.
  4. Green. The target takes 10d6 poison damage.
  5. Blue. The target takes 10d6 cold damage.
  6. Indigo. The target is restrained. At the end of each of its turns, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. If it succeeds, it is no longer restrained and the spell ends. If it fails three Constitution saves, it permanently turns to stone and is subject to the petrified condition.
  7. Violet. The target is blinded. At the start of your next turn, the target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the blindness ends. On a failure, the creature is transported to another plane of existence of the DM’s choosing and is no longer blinded. (Typically, a creature that is on a plane that isn’t its home plane is banished home, while other creatures are usually cast into the Astral or Ethereal planes).
  8. Special. The target is struck at the moment of transition between two colors. Roll twice more, rerolling any 8.