Born with magic within them, sorcerers have learned to control and bend their inner ancestral connections to spellcast. Each has their own ancestral-like relation to their magical origin, which affects the way in which they can use their abilities.
D&D 5E has many sub-classes to choose from, spanning several core books. Here are some quick summaries of each subclass, which will give a bit of insight to the theme, generalized game mechanics, and the likely play style to expect. This list isn’t the way you are expected to play the subclass, but our own interpretation of what the subclass archetype is trying to be. Your interpretation may differ, and if it does, please share how!
Draconic Bloodline (SRD, PHB)
Theme: With dragon’s blood running through their veins, the Draconic sorcerer focuses on the element of their ancestry, manifesting scale armor and, eventually, dragon-like wings.
Game Mechanics: Gains resistance depending on your dragon ancestry choice, ability to speak draconic, and scale-like body armor. At later levels, your elemental spells will do more damage and you can fly with sprouting wings. At the highest level, you can create a draconic aura which can frighten anyone you choose in an area.
Play-style: You like to focus on elemental spells, and the idea of a self-sufficient spell caster is ideal (eg. having inherent armor and wings)
Wild Magic (PHB)
Theme: A lover of chaos and unpredictability, the wild sorcerer thrives in the unknown.
Game Mechanics: Generates various random effects when casting spells. They can also give themselves advantage on attack/ability rolls. Through later levels, they can benefit or penalize others attack/ability rolls. At their highest level, they can have better control of their random magic effects, and they can make their spells cause more damage.
Play-style: You are impulse driven and like doing things just to see how people react, even if it’s outside of your own control. The wild mage player has probably stopped reading and is already randomly generating their character.
Storm Sorcerer (SCAG, XG)
Theme: Lightning, thunder, and tempestuous winds incarnate, this sorcerer embodies the austere power of nature itself.
Game Mechanics: After casting a spell, they are able to fly and move around without provoking any attack. Also gains elemental languages. At later levels, you can cause additional targets to take lightning damage when you cast a spell. Strong winds will never be a worry for you, as you’ll be able to manipulate them. At the highest levels, you deal lightning damage when attacked, which can also send the target flying away. Of course, you’ll eventually be able to fly, and also grant the ability to your allies.
Play-style: You like to be as elusive and powerful as lightning and wind, dangerous to the touch, and immensely beneficial to your allies. To you, the world’s setting and weather are just as interesting as the characters within it.
Divine Soul (XG)
Theme: A sorcerer with a benevolent spirit, the divine soul draws upon an entire wealth of divine magic not typical to sorcerers.
Game Mechanics: Able to choose spells from the clerics spell list, starting off with an additional spell and an ability to heal. Later on, ability to fly and healing spells become more effective.
Play-style: You like clerics, but want to be more spell focused. You like having some healing abilities, but want to be able to also focus on offensive spells.
Shadow Magic (XG)
Theme: Creating and manipulating darkness, this sorcerer doesn’t just use shadow to their advantage, they can literally become it.
Game Mechanics: Able to cast darkness and see through it. Gains hit points upon defeating enemies. Later, they can summon a shadowy hound figure which can move and attack. At their highest levels, they can teleport between shadows, and turn into a shadow form which can move around and is resistant to all forms of damage.
Play-style: You like to surprise attack them, creating your own darkness to sneak up on them. Enemies are like prey, to be toyed with before defeating. You probably really like the Ranger, but want more magic.