Thaumaturge: Melee Rogue/Sorcerer (5e Optimized Character Build)

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The name of this build has nothing to do with the thaumaturgy cantrip, I just like the sound of it.


Sting like a wasp, fly like a bee. This build combines the hit-and-run tactics of the melee Rogue with the dark arts of a Shadow Magic Sorcerer to create a solid skirmisher core with high versatility. It requires Charisma and Dexterity scores of 13 or higher. This melee build forgoes dual-wielding in order to cast booming blade as your main attack, leveraging your superior mobility into forcing enemies to deal with its aftereffect by dashing in and out of their range. Use concentration spells to become even more difficult to deal with. This build has lots of potential variety but I will provide a suggested build at the end. With any mobility focused build, you will want to be careful in tight spaces.


Up to you. Keep into consideration that your first level will be Rogue for the proficiencies.

Ability Score Priorities[edit]

  • Dexterity - Hit chance, damage, AC. Pump it up.
  • Constitution / Charisma - Up to you which one to prioritize first here. Charisma will make you better with social encounters and offers more variety in effective spells to choose, while Constitution grants better survivability and concentration. I would personally recommend Constitution since there are a large number of useful Sorcerer spells with no scaling, and concentration based buffs will be your bread and butter.
  • Wisdom - Great skills and important saving throws.
  • Strength / Intelligence - Irrelevant.


Up to you, but I recommend something with a higher base speed than 30 feet or plans to get it early. Variant Human with Mobile and Wood Elf are both great choices.

Class Levels[edit]

Start with one to four Rogue levels, choosing the Swashbuckler archetype or any archetype if you have the Mobile feat. Take your first Sorcerer level with the Shadow Magic origin no later than 5th level. Learn Booming Blade and whatever other spells you like. From here, you can advance in the Rogue and Sorcerer classes as you please. I recommend a minimum of three and maximum of eleven Rogue levels total, as you're going to want a decent pool of sorcery points and spell slots.


These are all well conductive to the Thaumaturge's strategy:

  • Mobile - Speed is key. Evade melee units and slip into ranged cover easily.
  • Elven Accuracy - Hit and crit more, great because this build already makes gaining advantage easy.
  • Lucky - Always a winner.
  • Alert - Great on anyone. Initiative bonus stacks well with the Swashbuckler's Rakish audacity feature.
  • Defensive Duelist - Keeps you alive, scales with level, makes for cool moments.
  • Elemental Adept: Thunder - Scales great with Booming Blade, which can deal up to 7 dice of damage without a crit.
  • Slasher/Piercer - Good options that include +1 Dex. Piercer has greater damage potential, while Slasher lets you further widen the mobility gap.
  • Fighting Initiate: Blind Fighting - Niche, but makes a huge difference when you need it. Or just take Dueling.
  • Resilient - Great with Constitution for your HP and saves.


All good stuff. I've mostly avoided spells that scale with Charisma, as I believe Constitution to be the better investment. The higher level slots can be kept for extra sorcery points to fuel your extra attacks. The most challenging part of this build is deciding what to concentrate on:


  • Detect Magic - Someone should have this.
  • Darkness - Using sorcery points, you cast this at a discount and can see through the darkness, gaining advantage on attacks and giving enemies disadvantage on attacks, but you must be mindful of how it will affect your allies.
  • Blur - Good for survivability when Darkness isn't an option.
  • Invisibility - Great utility, especially for a rogue.
  • Shadow Blade - This used to be a good option, but you can no longer use this with Booming Blade since TCoE redifined the material component as "a melee weapon worth at least 1 sp." Can still be situationally useful.
  • Fly - It's flight.
  • Haste - Gotta go fast.
  • Greater Invisibility - Glory to you.


  • Booming Blade - Stacks with sneak attack, very high potential damage, compatible with Quickened spell. GFB can also be used since Twinned spell is no longer an option here, but I feel like BB is a more reliable choice.[1]
  • Blade Ward - This can save your life, works well with Quicken spell.
  • Any utility cantrips - Mage Hand is great for a rogue even without being an Arcane Trickster.
  • Absorb Elements - Situational but fun. Can be abused with low-damage friendly fire.
  • Disguise Self - Great for rogue activities, but effectiveness scales with Charisma. Note that even if someone successfully discerns that you are disguised, your true identity is still hidden.
  • Feather Fall - Someone needs to have this, and it's great for rogues.
  • Shield - Never a bad choice, especially for a melee build.
  • Sleep - Great at low levels but you will probably replace it.
  • Mirror Image - Brilliant defensive spell with no concentration required.
  • Counterspell - Because you can.
  • Creation - Flavorful.
  • True Seeing - Don't get beaten at your own game.
Flavor note: If your DM allows "retexturing" spells for flavor purposes, consider modifying your thunder spells to be damage caused by physical manifestations of shadow rather than mere vibrations.  This can be justified lore-wise through the existence of "Shadowstuff," dark material from the Shadowfell which can be manipulated by illusionists to form physical objects.

On Shields[edit]

Since we're not dual wielding, shield proficiency can go a long way for the Thaumaturge if you're able to get means to cast spells with your hands full. If you have or can reliably aquire a weapon or shield which doubles as an arcane focus, I recommend dipping into Fighter. You can get away with using the War Caster feat along with a fighter level or the Moderately Armored feat, but you will still have trouble casting spells with material components in combat so I do not recommend it. You may find War Caster to be worth it anyway for the advantage on concentration saves and to be able to cast Booming Blade for opportunity attacks, but ideally you're not in melee range or taking damage anyway.

If your DM allows WotC playtest material, consider the Unearthed Arcana "Shield Training" feat.

Suggested Build[edit]

This build uses variant human with the Mobile feat and Scout archetype for rogue. It avoids spells which scale with Charisma, and makes better use of Wisdom where it can be afforded after Dexterity and Constitution. Due to the massive number of available skills and lack of reliance on high level spells, we will be going for 9 sorcerer levels and 11 rogue levels.

Level 1:[edit]

Variant Human / Charlatan background / Rogue. Take the Mobile feat and add +1 to Dexterity and your choice of Constitution or Charisma.

Stats with Standard Array: 08 Strength, 16 Dexterity, 15 Constitution, 10 Intelligence, 12 Wisdom, 13 Charisma. If you roll for stats, try to keep Charisma as close to 13 as possible without going under.

Gain proficiency in medicine, deception, sleight of hand, stealth, perception, acrobatics, insight, disguise kits, forgery kits, thieves tools, and one language of your choice.

Finally, start with a rapier and a shortbow. Gain expertise with stealth and any other skill you like.

Level 2:[edit]

Go ahead and take your first sorcerer level now with the Shadow Magic origin. Don't forget to get your hands on an arcane focus or component pouch. Learn booming blade, mage hand, mending, and any other utility cantrip. Learn feather fall and shield.

Levels 3-6:[edit]

Progress to Rogue level 5, choosing the Scout archetype. You now have nine skill proficiencies. Take the Resilient feat for Constitution.

Levels 7-10:[edit]

Progress to Sorcerer level 5.

Sorcerer 2: Learn detect magic.

Sorcerer 3: Learn Quickened spell and whichever other Metamagic you like. I recommend Transmuted spell to change your thunder damage to other types. Learn darkness for free and choose mirror image.

Sorcerer 4: Take an Ability Score Increase for your Dexterity and/or Constitution. Learn any utility cantrip you like and invisibility.

Sorcerer 5: Learn haste or fly.

Levels 11-16:[edit]

Progress to Rogue level 11. Maximize your Dexterity, bring Constitution to a comfortable point (at least 16,) and take Defensive Duelist and other desired feats.

Rogue 6: Take whichever Expertise options you like. I recommend having at least Stealth and Perception at this point.

Levels 17-20:[edit]

Progress to Sorcerer level 9. Choose your final feat or ASI carefully based off the challenges you have had thus far.

Sorcerer 6: Learn dispel magic or counterspell.

Sorcerer 7: Forget invisibility, learn greater invisibility and blur.

Sorcerer 8: Learn fly or haste.

Sorcerer 9: Learn any spell you like.

Back to Main Page5e HomebrewOptimized Character Builds

  1. As of the release of TCoE, Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade both now have a range of "Self (5-foot radius)" and are therefore incompatible with Twinned Spell.
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