Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons)
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|A Dungeons & Dragons character class|
|First appearance||Men & Magic|
|(as a standard class)||All|
The wizard is one of the standard character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A wizard uses arcane magic, and is considered less effective in melee combat than other classes.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Spell preparation and casting
- 3 School specialization
- 4 Campaign settings
- 5 Reception
- 6 See also
- 7 References
The Magic-User class was inspired by the spell-casting magicians common in folklore and modern fantasy literature, particularly as portrayed in Jack Vance's The Dying Earth short stories, and John Bellairs's novel The Face in the Frost. Gandalf and Saruman from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Merlin of King Arthur fame also influenced this class.
Dungeons & Dragons
In the original version of the game, magic-user was one of the base character classes. Magic-User was one of the three original classes, the other two being Fighting Man (renamed Fighter in later editions) and Cleric.
The Magic-User was physically weak and vulnerable, but compensated for this with the potential to develop powerful spellcasting abilities. In practice a mid- to high-level Magic-User was a combination intelligence gatherer and walking artillery, gathering information about possible dangers not yet seen and augmenting the physical combat abilities of the other classes with potentially devastating long range and area attacks.
The term "Magic-User" was invented for the original Dungeons & Dragons rules developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson (in order to avoid cultural connotations of terms such as "wizard" or "warlock").
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition
The magic-user was one of the standard character classes available in the original Player's Handbook.:84–85 The magic-user was presented as one of the five core classes in the original Players Handbook.:145 "Magic-User" continued to be used in the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) rules.
The 1st Edition of AD&D also included a subclass of the magic-user called the illusionist, which had different spell lists, different experience level tables, and slightly fewer maximum hit dice (10 instead of 11). Gnomes were also able to become illusionists, even though only human, elves, and half-elves could become magic-users. Magic-user spells and illusionist spells were for the most part separated and had little overlap. Of all the AD&D classes, only the magic-user had spells of the 8th and 9th levels; all other spell-casting classes were limited to spells of up to 7th level.
Dungeons & Dragons
"Magic-User" continued to be used in the basic Dungeons & Dragons rules set.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition
The mage, as part of the "wizard" group, was one of the standard character classes available in the second edition Player's Handbook.:84–85 The second edition of AD&D discarded the term "Magic-User" in favor of "mage".
In this edition, the mage became an all-purpose wizard who could cast any wizardly spell, including many only available to illusionists in the first edition, like color spray and chromatic orb. The wizard spell list was unified, and illusionists became one of many specialist wizard types who focussed on a specific "school" of magic. The other specialists were abjurers, conjurers, diviners, enchanters, invokers, necromancers and transmuters. As a trade-off for various bonuses with magic from their chosen school, specialists became unable to cast spells from one or more "opposition" schools. Aside from school restrictions, all wizards could cast spells from up to 9th level, assuming they had the required intelligence.
The Complete Wizard's Handbook was published in 1990, written by Rick Swan.:110 It detailed the schools of magic (illusion, necromancy etc.) and the careers a wizard might have (such as alchemist or treasure-hunter), added new spells to the wizard list, and introduced rules for spell research, adjudicating illusions, and casting spells in unusual conditions.:110 The book also introduced wizard "kits": character packages with role-playing hooks linked to game benefits and limitations. Examples of wizard kits include the Academician, the Anagokok, the Amazon Sorceress and the Witch.
The Tome of Magic (1991) introduced elementalists, specialist wizards who focussed on spells related to one of the classical elements of air, earth, fire or water, and wild magic, which promised greater power at the cost of a built-in chance of backfire and other side effects.
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition
The 3rd edition renamed the mage to "Wizard". The term "magic user" is rarely used in the current edition of the game, and when it is used it is usually a synonym for an arcane spellcaster or for an arcane spellcasting character class.
A similar paradigm of spell schools was retained for the 3rd edition of D&D as well. Despite removing the restrictions on race/class combinations, D&D 3.0 edition retained the gnomish affinity for becoming illusionists by making illusionist (not wizard) the gnome's favored class. This was dropped in the 3.5 edition in favor of bard.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition
The wizard is available as a character class in the game's fourth edition. The wizard utilizes the Arcane power source and is a Controller, which means the wizard focuses on multi-target damage spells, as well as debuffing foes and altering the battlefield's terrain.
The mage is a similar class offered in the Essentials sourcebook Heroes of the Fallen Lands. Instead of implement mastery, the mage focuses on a primary and secondary school of magic. Mages have access to all the same wizard powers, however.
The bladesinger, witch, and sha'ir were also released as alternative wizard classes.
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
The wizard has been included as a character class in the 5th edition Player's Handbook. Players must choose an Arcane Tradition for their wizard character at second level, each of which represents one of the eight schools of magic: abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy and transmutation. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide supplement adds a ninth Arcane Tradition, exclusive to elves and half-elves, called bladesinging. In Xanathar's Guide to Everything, one additional arcane tradition, War Magic, was added. This subclass focuses on empowering spells and enhancing a wizard's defense to prepare them for war.
|Abjuration||Blocking, banishing, protecting||Abjurer|
|Conjuration||Produce creatures or objects from another plane||Conjurer|
|Divination||Understanding the past, present and future||Diviner|
|Enchantment||Entrancing and beguiling||Enchanter|
|Evocation||Raw combative power and damage||Evoker|
|Illusion||Sensory deception and trickery||Illusionist|
|Necromancy||Curses, creating undead thralls||Necromancer|
|Transmutation||Changing energy and matter||Transmuter|
Spell preparation and casting
Wizards cast their spells by using their acquired magical knowledge (augmented by their Intelligence score) and experience. In particular, they learn most new spells by seeking out magical writings and copying them into their spellbooks, a method that allows them (unlike sorcerers) to master any number of permissible spells once they find them, assembling a broad and versatile arsenal of power. Many wizards see themselves not only as spell casters but also as philosophers, inventors, and scientists, studying a system of natural laws that are for the most part unknown and undiscovered. Once the 3rd edition introduced skills to D&D, wizards' best skills became those that involved either magic or other scholarly or applied knowledge such as history, nature, and geography.
Resting: Wizards need to rest prior to spell casting. This may be in the form of sleep or meditation. A wizard who refuses to sleep and then goes on a spell casting binge (which is not entirely impossible, but rare due to temporal allowances) will grow weary—possibly delusional—and may experience many negative health effects.
Memorization / Preparation: In order to prepare spells from their spellbooks, wizards need comfortable quiet areas to study. The spell is read, spoken, or memorized up until the trigger. This is the easiest and most efficient way to cast arcane magic as a wizard because it means the wizard needs only to perform the trigger element of the spell when the need arises to cast it. There may be a temporal limit in spell casting and this could be the reason why wizards can only cast a certain number of spells of various degrees in one day.
A weakness of wizards is that they cannot cast an arcane spell that they have not prepared, so they are extremely vulnerable if caught in a situation they did not expect. To minimize this, wizards often develop their problem-solving ability to anticipate which spells may be most useful, and some may enhance this with abilities such as foresight.
Unprepared and Daily spells, and Rituals (4th edition): In the 4th edition, wizards only needed to prepare their most powerful attack spells, those which could be used only once a day, and their utility spells. Generally, a wizard had two spells to choose from for each daily and utility power slot; however the Expanded Spellbook and the "Remembered Wizardry" feats increased this number to three or four with both, and non-wizard spells, including those from wizard-exclusive feats, paragon paths and epic destinies, could not be swapped out in this way. Their less powerful spells could be used per encounter or at will, without preparation or selection beforehand. In addition, wizards performed most noncombat magics (such as opening locks, specialized healing, or transportation) through extended rituals requiring many minutes of work though no particular preparation. Although rituals were not exclusive to Wizards, they were one of the two PHB classes who gained Ritual Caster feat automatically as a class feature, and were the only one of the eight classes which learned free rituals as they increased in level.
Casting: When the need calls for a certain spell to be cast, wizards will allow their thoughts to retreat back into their consciousness in order to obtain it, and it often appears that wizards are in trances while they are casting. While there is some credence to that, they are not so much entranced that they cannot recognize the immediate perils surrounding them.
When they find the spell they want, wizards will then complete the trigger sequence. This is the common view of a wizard casting: voicing several strange words, utilizing some arcane component, like tossing pixie dust, and perhaps making some sort of quirky hand movement. In actuality every part of the sequence must be exact or else the wizard may miscast, misfire, cast an entirely different spell, or cast nothing at all.
For example, to trigger the spell Ignite Wood, a wizard would need to first speak the final words of the spell and then spread shavings of brimstone and sulphuric ash reagents onto the desired piece of wood to ignite.
Wizards may specialize in one or more of eight schools of magic, choosing their specialty at 1st level. Specialization was introduced in the 2nd Edition of D&D (although the 1st Edition included the Illusionist as a separate class similar to wizards). In Edition 3.5, specialist wizards can prepare one extra spell from their chosen school per spell level each day, while as a consequence of their more focused studies, they also give up the use of two schools of magic other than Divination (note: specialists in Divination only give up one school). There is the "Master Specialist" that allows a wizard even greater power in one school, but it also further reduces their range of spells to choose from.
The eight schools of magic are:
- Abjuration: spells of protection, blocking, and banishing. Specialists are called abjurers.
- Conjuration: spells that bring creatures or materials. Specialists are called conjurers.
- Divination: spells that reveal information. Specialists are called diviners.
- Enchantment: spells that magically imbue the target or give the caster power over the target. Specialists are called enchanters.
- Evocation: spells that manipulate energy or create something from nothing. Specialists are called evokers.
- Illusion: spells that alter perception or create false images. Specialists are called illusionists.
- Necromancy: spells that manipulate life or life force. Specialists are called necromancers.
- Transmutation: spells that transform the target. Specialists are called transmuters.
Some spells do not fall into these schools, and are called Universal spells. These spells are available to all wizards, and this "school" cannot be taken as a specialty school or given up for another specialty.
Dark Sun world wizards include defilers, whose powers come at the expense of the ecosystem; preservers, who wield magic in concert with the environment; and illusionists, specialists in illusory effects who may be either defilers or preservers. Owing to the scarcity of natural resources, few wizards have access to books made of paper pages and hard covers; instead, they record their spells with string patterns and complex knots.
Screen Rant rated the wizard class as the most powerful class of the base 12 character classes in the 5th edition. "The squishiest of all classes gets the number one slot. [...] But while it’s true that a gentle breeze could knock over a wizard, with the number of spells they have, their ability to strike back more than makes up for it. [...] Playing a Wizard can be a bit complicated at first, but with their ability to learn pretty much any spell, it’s worth it. Players wanting to play these cats should keep in mind that one of the most important things about playing Wizards is just making sure they have the right spells prepared. That’s probably half of the battle with this class".
Gus Wezerek, for FiveThirtyEight, reported that of the 5th edition "class and race combinations per 100,000 characters that players created on D&D Beyond from" August 15 to September 15, 2017, wizards were the 3rd most created at 9,855 total. Elf (2,744) was the most common racial combination followed by human (2,568) and then gnome (1,360). Wezerek wrote "when I started playing 'Dungeons & Dragons' five years ago, I never would have chosen the game’s most popular match: the human fighter. There are already enough human fighters in movies, TV and books — my first character was an albino dragonborn sorcerer. But these days I can get behind the combo’s simplicity".
- Livingstone, Ian (1982). Dicing with Dragons, An Introduction to Role-Playing Games (Revised ed.). Routledge. ISBN 0-7100-9466-3.
- DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- "The four cardinal types of magic are ... the relatively short spoken spell (as in Finnish mythology or as found in the superb fantasy of Jack Vance).... The basic assumption, then, was that D & D magic worked on a 'Vancian' system and if used correctly would be a highly powerful and effective force." Gygax, Gary (April 1976). "The Dungeons and Dragons Magic System". The Strategic Review. TSR Hobbies, Inc. II (2): 3.
- Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 62, ISBN 078645895X
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Ewalt, David M. (2013). Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4516-4052-6.
- Turnbull, Don (December 1978 – January 1979). "Open Box: Players Handbook". White Dwarf (review). Games Workshop (10): 17.
- Cook, David (1989). Player's Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
- Rolston, Ken (May 1991). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#169): 74–76.
- "Keeping it Classy | Dungeons & Dragons". 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
- Swan, Rick (September 1992). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR (#185): 65–66.
- "Dungeons And Dragons: Ranking All Of The Base Classes, From Least To Most Powerful". ScreenRant. 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
- Wezerek, Gus (2017-10-12). "Is Your D&D Character Rare?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2019-11-26.