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5E Sorcerer vs Warlock: Which do you suggest?

DarkMoon250

Villager
After years of searching, I've finally found a warm and welcoming group to play my first ever DnD campaign with. We're having our first meeting next week... and I have no freaking idea what class I want to play.

I know I've narrowed it down to either Sorcerer or Warlock (particularly Shadow Magic and Hexblade), but I can't seem to make the final choice on my own. Both have very appealing yet very different roleplay opportunities, both have rather different combat styles, and I've heard various complaints about perceived shortcomings of both classes (as well as complaints about those complaints). It feels like it should be an easier decision, but there are so many different factors that keep me flip-fopping between them.

What do you all suggest?
 

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Gammadoodler

Explorer
Perhaps it would be helpful to know what kinds of things you would like your character to be good at? And also what level the character is starting at?
 

So, first of all, I need you to go mess up Morrus's perfect poll.

Between sorcerers and warlocks, I personally favor warlocks. The various pacts offer a good deal of character customization. And then, you've got your patron to worry about. Having the source of your power be an intelligent entity whose interests don't necessarily align with your own is a huge roleplaying opportunity. You can get a lot of drama out of warlocks and their sinister masters.

Sorcerers, to me, just feel like a more boring version of wizards.
 

GlassJaw

Hero
So, first of all, I need you to go mess up Morrus's perfect poll.

Between sorcerers and warlocks, I personally favor warlocks. The various pacts offer a good deal of character customization. And then, you've got your patron to worry about. Having the source of your power be an intelligent entity whose interests don't necessarily align with your own is a huge roleplaying opportunity. You can get a lot of drama out of warlocks and their sinister masters.

Sorcerers, to me, just feel like a more boring version of wizards.
Pretty much this.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
After years of searching, I've finally found a warm and welcoming group to play my first ever DnD campaign with. We're having our first meeting next week... and I have no freaking idea what class I want to play.

I know I've narrowed it down to either Sorcerer or Warlock (particularly Shadow Magic and Hexblade), but I can't seem to make the final choice on my own. Both have very appealing yet very different roleplay opportunities, both have rather different combat styles, and I've heard various complaints about perceived shortcomings of both classes (as well as complaints about those complaints). It feels like it should be an easier decision, but there are so many different factors that keep me flip-fopping between them.

What do you all suggest?
Talk about it with your fellow players and DM. See what they think may fit better or lead to more interesting situations and outcomes.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I'd probably say warlock. It helps with sorcerer to really know the spell lists so you can pick what's good, since that's your real contribution. Warlock is harder to mess up at low levels, since a lot of your contributions will be at-will, not spell slot dependent.

If it's your first group, I might go VHuman just to grab a more team-oriented feat like Healer or Inspiring Leader, just to show you're willing to work with the party and aren't strictly powergaming.
 

Volund

Explorer
Just pick one and enjoy your first D&D game! Ask your DM if you can change your character after you start if you really aren't having fun with it. IME most DM's are flexible about that in the first few levels, especially with new players.
 

DarkMoon250

Villager
Perhaps it would be helpful to know what kinds of things you would like your character to be good at? And also what level the character is starting at?
We'll be starting at level 3. My preferred role would be something in between damage and support, capable of strategies that inhibit or even sabotage enemies. Essentially, I want to fight dirty... with lots of magic. Of course, I'm not aware of how best to strategize in DnD, though.

I'm also having trouble deciding which of the RP styles and themes of the classes I prefer more. The Sorcerer is really neat and mystical-feeling with its inherent magical nature, and the idea that there's something strange and powerful altering your bloodline is pretty cool. On the other hand, the occult nature of the Warlock is also pretty intriguing, and the presence of your Patron leads to a very unique style of RP.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Normally, I'd just say to go with your gut. Either can be effective and fun.

If this is a new group, I might alter from that and suggest the sorcerer if the DM is a new DM. We tend to not want to repeat character classes for our PCs that often. We want to try something new. As such, you might want to save the warlock for an experienced DM that can really dig in and give you some fun storytelling about/with your patron. This can be hard for a new DM to do as well as an experienced DM, and the unique relationship between a Warlock and his patron is a great storytelling opportunity.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Either flip a coin or ask the group. Personally I'd ask the group. There are far too many variables to give you a straight up answer.

For me, it's more a question of do I want to have my gifts because of some innate talent or because I made a deal with the (possibly literal) devil.

Mechanically? They're both fine and it's going to depend more on the options you take and how the group runs things than the class.
 

Arvok

Explorer
I would strongly urge you to talk with your DM to be sure you (and he) understand what role your patron will be taking in the game should you choose the warlock class. That might be a deal-breaker and make your decision easy.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
We'll be starting at level 3. My preferred role would be something in between damage and support, capable of strategies that inhibit or even sabotage enemies. Essentially, I want to fight dirty... with lots of magic. Of course, I'm not aware of how best to strategize in DnD, though.

I'm also having trouble deciding which of the RP styles and themes of the classes I prefer more. The Sorcerer is really neat and mystical-feeling with its inherent magical nature, and the idea that there's something strange and powerful altering your bloodline is pretty cool. On the other hand, the occult nature of the Warlock is also pretty intriguing, and the presence of your Patron leads to a very unique style of RP.
Personal opinion only, but I think for what you are describing mechanically, a sorcerer would meet your needs a little better.

With a few more spell slots (which could vary dependent on short rest frequency in the short term, but will be waaay more as you level up), and metamagic, your spellcasting is generally going to be more effective/flexible. More importantly, I think is that you're going to be able to select from a larger spell list with more options to fit the role you are looking for. There's just generally more power baked into it's spellcasting features.

Warlocks' spellcasting is relatively narrow, supplemented by some very cool, unique, and 'always on' (or nearly so) powers. So it can do things that no other classes can do, but those things tend to be a bit on the niche side of things.

From an RP perspective, it's gonna depends heavily on the DM and how much they put into it, but the warlock has greater potential for cool stuff baked into it.

My 2 cents anyway
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Warlock has more RP potential built into the class -- but is also more restrictive. You have cool customization with Invocations, Pacts, and Patrons, but you don't get many spells, so you wind up relying on the same tricks repeatedly.

Sorcerer has a much broader selection of spells, and you can learn and cast more of them, allowing you to build the character how you like, but you'll have to define more of your character concept. Personally, I don't really see that as much of a drawback. In particular, Shadow Magic origin is already dripping with flavor, and the "pet" that they summon can be really devastating if used correctly. So I would recommend you pick sorcerer.
 

Do you want to be melee or ranged? For me its more engaging to be a melee character, so I would go with the Warlock. But, being a blaster sorcerer is "easier" in many regards.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
One other thing worth noting is that these two classes are quite compatible from an Ability score perspective if you decide to multiclass down the road (assuming your DM allows it).

So if you decide you'd like some warlock goodies, just gotta be on the lookout for fey, fiends, and eldritch abominations looking to make a deal.😜
 

J-H

Explorer
One of the key points for Warlock viability is short rests per day.
Tomelocks have a lot of extra cantrips for single-target BFC: Slow an enemy? There's a cantrip for that. Move them closer? There's a cantrip for that. Stop them from healing/regenerating? There's a cantrip for that. Give them disadvantage on their next save? There's a cantrip for that. Give them disadvantage on their next attack roll? There's a cantrip for that.
 


Shadow sorcerer is a bit tricky, as you like to use darkness a lot, but your allies usually can't look through it amd you need to play very tactically. You are also quite easy to be hit, as you have no natural choice of armor. So while I definitely like the sorcerer as a master tactian (twin spell used on levitate can end encounters easily), you need someone to protect you. And if noone wants to be in the frontline, everyone is.

The hexblade warlock has access to good defensive amd offensive spells and a useful selection of armor and weapons. Battlefield control is a lot below the sorcerer's capabilities.
 

aco175

Legend
It is a good question. I have not been able to play either of these classes myself and only looked at one for some AL games and as NPC in the games I DM. When I DM I tend to take the metamagic slots and make them 12/rest abilities and just give them some recharge stuff to make them easy. Warlocks seem to have built in things that are behind the scene and make the PC better personally, but not as variable to act in more situations.
 

Ace

Adventurer
Warlock if you want to feel like a shadowy caster with strange powers, a strongly combat focused Gish or want to have at will abilities beyond cantrips . Its also a nasty ranged caster when you do the eldritch blast, eldritch spear, spell sniper thing.

Sorcerer is when you either want an easy to play limited spell list caster with flexible magic or when you have a concept that is highly specialized or sis meant to feel like a magical version of a superhero like an X Man or the like. Draconic Sorcerers with a solid Constitution make for a fair spell focused Gish too although you may want a single multi class level with that, something that adds some better weapons or other combat tricks. Its also pretty good for focused magic builds like a thief who steals using natural powers.
 
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