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Wizards were a form of a spellcaster who learned the art of arcane magic through research and learning.[10] What wizards lacked in combat prowess and armor they made up with a broad range of magical spells and abilities learned through years of practice and training. Through their spellcasting ability, powerful wizards could control the battlefield, using spells that affected wide areas, often hindering enemies, while also learning to use powerful rituals of arcane power. [11]

Wizards were generally the best-respected of all arcane spellcasters since they usually had a measure of discipline that was uncommon among other arcane spellcasters, particularly sorcerers or warlocks whose very nature made them comparatively unruly. Not all wizards were deserving of this reputation, however, and wizards could be as easily chaotic or evil as any other class. Prior to the Spellplague, wizards as a whole were associated with the good goddess Mystra, whom many worshiped, though Mystra's death had ended this. Others worshiped Mystra's evil adversary, Shar, the goddess of darkness, giving them an entirely different reputation. With the return of Mystra after the Second Sundering, wizards once again fell under her purview.[12]

Elminster Aumar, the Sage of Shadowdale, was by far the best-known example of a wizard.[13]


The mark of a wizard.

Wizards had a wide variety of powers called spells available to them, fueled by the arcane energy of the universe. Prior to the Spellplague, these powers flowed from the Weave, which was governed by the goddess Mystryl, followed by Mystra, and then by Midnight. Since the Spellplague, magic no longer requires a god's governance, though many gods remained associated with arcane magic.

A wizard's spells differed from those of other arcane spellcasters usually in terms of usage or scale. While a warlock's spells were primarily malevolent and a swordmage might use defensive spells that empowered themselves, a wizard used their power to control the nature of a battle, a landscape, or even the physical makeup of the universe itself. When in combat, a wizard favored spells that hindered many enemies at once, rather than attacking one, or that empowered themselves or allies.[14]

When casting spells, wizards often used arcane foci, or implements, such as staffs, orbs, or wands.[15] These implements concentrated the arcane power in a spell, increasing its effectiveness. All wizards had a degree of specialization in implements, preferring one kind over another. Some took a liking to orbs, which they used to increase the duration of their spells' effects. Others preferred using wands to enhance their accuracy or staves to defend themselves. The most basic spells available to wizards were known as cantrips and required little skill on the part of the wizard in order for them to be cast. Such spells were typically small tricks of magic such as creating a light source, a sound, or moving a small object telekinetically.[16]

Wizards were also skilled in the use of rituals, powerful spells that require a significant amount of time and energy to cast, thereby making them impractical in battle but immensely useful in non-combat applications. As with their daily spells (spells which a wizard can only master once per day), wizards kept these rituals written in a spellbook, where each ritual took up at least a page, with complexity and page length directly proportional to the power inherent in a ritual. [17]


Main article: Familiar

A familiar was a normal animal that gained new powers and became a magical beast when summoned to service by a sorcerer or wizard.

Spell Preparation and Casting[]

Wizards cast their spells by using their acquired magical knowledge 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 bards or 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 as philosophers, inventors, and scientists, studying a system of natural laws that are for the most part unknown and undiscovered.

The funniest thing I've ever seen? A confused wizard, of course. They just can't seem to believe it when spells go wrong or the world rises up and slaps them in the face at the height of their grandeur. It's like the puzzled look a rooster gets after he sits down and falls asleep on a discarded egg, then wakes up and discovers it. He walks around and around it, wondering if he laid it, somehow, when he was asleep. Half of him wants to run away and deny he was ever near the spot, while the other half wants to jump up and down and call to the world, "Hearken to me!" Oh, it's pitiful.
— Ammathair Hawkfeather, Great Sage of Waterdeep, The Sharp Eye and Sharper Tongue: Observations of a Learned Sage[18]
  • 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.
  • Preparing: 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. 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.
  • 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 situations outside their subconscious. When they find the spell they want, wizards will then complete the trigger sequence. The memory spell is then instantly erased, requiring the wizard to prepare a new casting of the spell before casting it again, unless they already have prepared one, which makes it vital for a wizard to have a spellbook, lest his use up all his spells and find himself powerless.

This is the common view of a wizard casting: voicing several strange words, utilizing some arcane component (such as tossing pixie dust into the air), 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.

School Specialization[]

Main article: Spell specialization

A wizard still in his apprentice stage.

Wizards may specialize in one or more of eight schools of magic, choosing their specialty early on in their training. This specialization is sometimes required in order to join the ranks of some of the world's most prestigious wizards, such as the Red Wizards of Thay, who require all initiates to be specialized in one of the schools of magic.

Specialist wizards are treated and regarded as wizards by the world at large in spite of this specialization and many regarded themselves as such, though sometimes distinctions are made for diviners, illusionists, and necromancers. Some Elves, Half-elves, and Gnomes in the past practiced Dualism, specializing exclusively in two opposing schools to the exclusion of all others. Nonetheless, all of the following are simply considered wizard variants by the magic casting community.


Wizards who specialize in abjuration magic, spells that deflect or interact with other spells, are known as abjurers. These wizards are usually deliberate and prudent, seeing many other wizard specialists as reckless or wasteful. Abjurers like to be prepared, be it in research or adventuring, and often devote their free time to working out strategies for confronting other arcane spellcasters.[19]

Abjurers in battle are not as much a danger to those who forego magic for martial combat but those who use arcane or even divine spells will find abjurers deadly opponents. As aforementioned abjurers are often well-prepared for combating spellcasters of all stripes and are a valuable addition to any team intent on fighting wielders of supernatural abilities.

Because of their propensity for deliberant action more abjurers are lawful than not, though any alignment is possible. While abjurer's care and disdain for reckless action makes many good some are drawn to their talents by promises of power over other spellcasters. Abjurers only reluctantly adventure and are most often found in small villages where they enjoy the trust and good regards of friends and neighbors.[19]


Wizards? Oh, they're brave enough with all their spells, staves, rings, and gewgaws, and dragons or worse bowing at their command. If you can take those away, though, what is left? A weakling with dandy's robes and one small dagger, likely as not—and he'll be a sniveling coward, to boot!
— Dathlyr "The Hammer" Greybold, My Adventures in the Realms, Volume I[18]

Conjurers are wizards who specialize in conjuration, the magical art of summoning and teleportation. Conjurers are often headstrong and disdainful towards other schools of magic, seeing most as weak or inconsequential, with the exception of necromancy, which they hold to be repulsive. Conjurers can be difficult companions since many are so independent-minded that only an unusually strong-willed leader can earn their respect.[19]

Stereotypes of conjurers and sorcerers are often similar, with the reputation of conjurers being that they tend to see magic as a blunt instrument. In battle, conjurers do tend to be unflinching in danger, confident in their summoned power to overcome any threat.[19]

The typical conjurer is chaotic in alignment and in a reversal of the wizard stereotype favor quick and easy solutions over long and carefully planned out ones. Many are also evil or neutral, unperturbed by paths to power that involve unsavory, evil or outright despicable methods. Most conjurers like isolation, as it means they can carry out their dangerous experiments undisturbed by others and only leave their enclaves either to accumulate more power or the necessary wealth to continue their research.[19]


Those wizards who specialize in the anticipation of events through time and space, either in the future or a far away location, are known as diviners. Diviners are notable for possessing an unusually high wisdom for wizards, with strong and cautious judgment, preferring to use violence only as a last resort.[20] Many diviners are also strong judges of character, with an insightful nature in all matters.[21]

Diviners are not necessarily cowards but exhaust all other options before proceeding into combat. While diviners can be useful due to their anticipation of others' attacks some are irritatingly hesitant, making them nigh useless at times.[21] When forced into battle, diviners are in natural opposition to illusionists, whose tricks they can unravel with their own spells.

Because of their deliberate approach to matters most diviners are lawful, though their tendency towards inaction also makes many neutral. Diviners are not often adventurers, in part because of their loner nature, but when they are they are highly valued. Good diviners use their foresight to prevent harm from coming to others while evil ones can use it obtain control over others. Diviners of all stripes often cover their costs by serving as seers or fortunetellers.[21]


An eccentric apprentice.

Enchantment, also known as charming, is the arcane art of influencing or controlling the actions of others and enchanters are those wizards who specialize in the school. More than a few enchanters have an unusually high charisma and degree of charm about them for a wizard, possessing a naturally outgoing and attractive personality. Even if they lack charisma however, enchanters can sway the opinions or actions of others - so long as they cast a charm spell first, which draws on their intelligence.[21]

Enchanters work with their allies more closely than some of the more single-minded wizard variants and this is one of their strengths. Enchanters use their spells to overcome social obstacles, convince enemies to lay down arms, or put foes into a daze. The most dangerous ability of an enchanter is their ability to turn an enemy into an ally, or vice versa, or to incapacitate an enemy in such a way that renders them as good as dead.[21]

Enchanters can be good or evil and have no overall strong alignment tendencies. Overall, enchanters are chaotic over evil, though only by a slim margin. Good enchanters are defined by their restraint when it comes to using enchantments to violate another's being's free will, while evil enchanters show little such restraint. Enchanters of all kinds enjoy company and typically are found in large cities rather than small communities where their talents are put to little use. [21]


Evocation magic is a unique blend of arcane magic with the elemental power of creation and those who specialize in it are known as evokers. Evokers are often stubbornly determined by nature and have little use for distractions of the real world, living in very often spartan conditions. Many evokers are decisive and forthright, who are sure of what they must do, be it good or evil, giving them many qualities of strong leadership.[21]

Evokers are naturally adept at combat, making them some of the most common wizard adventurers. Most evocation spells have an immediately obvious combat application, such as magic missile or fireball and make evokers valued combatants who often serve as a form of magical artillery on the battlefield.[21]

Evokers have no strong tendencies towards law or chaos and both good and evil evokers are common. Good evokers perceive evil as a force that must immediately be opposed by their power and evil evokers find evocation magic a fast and comparatively easy way to power. In spite of the sheer lack of subtlety in many evocation spells, or perhaps because of it, most evokers live in small and quiet homes or even as hermits. This is perhaps for the best and many, sometimes rightly, fear the power evokers can wield.[21]


Main article: Illusionist

An illusionist, battling a gnoll.

Wizards specializing in illusion magic, known as illusionists, are one of the most well-known wizard variants, valued as entertainers in the world. Many illusionists are flamboyant and outgoing, with a streak of hedonism.[21] More creative than most other wizards or even other arcane spellcasters, illusionists as a rule enjoy art of all forms and are less interested in scholarly research and more so in a hands-on approach through experimentation.[22]

However, illusionists are not merely clowns and can be deadly adversaries when they choose to be. Illusionists use their power to play tricks on their enemies and toy with them, casting illusive images or sounds that confuse and befuddle the mind of a foe, turning their own senses into a weapon against them. Sometimes an illusion is so powerful and realistic it actually "fools" an enemy into death and injury.[23] Evil illusionists are therefore a very real and often frightening menace.[24]

Illusionists are, like all skilled wizards, highly intelligent but they usually aren't very reflective. Pragmatically, most accept the impermanence of life in general and see efforts to adhere to a single strong philosophy as futile and as such have no strong alignment tendencies.[24]


Main article: Necromancer

While many who wield necrotic magic are practitioners of shadow magic, necromancy is also a path open to many wizards. Often brooding and humorless these wizards are obsessed with death in a manner most other people find disturbing. Most necromantic wizards approach life with a stoic and thoughtful attitude and can, despite first impressions, be loyal and faithful companions though many prefer solitude.[24]

Necromantic wizards, while usually not very sociable, are valued party members. This is in large part due to the sheer lethality of powers wielded by a trained necromancer. Likewise, necromantic wizards have a generally fearless attitude towards death, though not all too often to the point of recklessness, which again increases their value as allies.[24]

Evil necromantic wizards by far outnumber good ones, as playing with the forces of death and undeath is hardly something to be done as lightly as many necromancers do. Necromantic wizards often feel an allure to order, but many chaotic examples do exist. Truly unaligned necromancers are extremely rare, since either a necromancer has a strong devotion to good or falls into evil. Most necromancers are loners by nature and when not adventuring prefer to immerse themselves in their research[24]


Transmutation is the ability to shape objects' physical makeup through magic and transmuters are those who specialize in the art. Transmuters are typically more curious than other wizards, marked by a fascination with how things go together and are, likewise, torn apart. This makes many transmuters ardent collectors of magical items and artifacts, as well as clear thinkers, though they often lack an insight into why things are rather than just how.[24]

Transmuters have many useful combat applications for their spells, since they can transform the nature of virtually any object. A transmuter might, for instance, transform an enemy into a frog or an ally into a powerful monster. Transmuters can also use their spells to increase the abilities of their allies or themselves, giving them abilities that parallel in many ways those of artificers, who likewise specialize in manipulating the physical world through magic.

Many transmuters are chaotic, since chaos is the very essence of change and transmuters specialize in making things go through such a process. However, lawful transmuters do exist. Good, neutral, and evil transmuters are all roughly equal in number, with good transmuters viewing their abilities as a way to change things for the better and evil ones tend to see morality as an inherently changing and relative concept inconsequential to their work. Transmuters are more adventuresome than other wizards and can often be found exploring the world.[24]

Wizard Generalist Traditions[]

Some wizards, occasionally known as generalists, are less inclined to specialize in the various schools of magic. These individuals instead prefer to use a wide variety of spells, with no limitations on which spells they can or cannot cast other than lack of knowledge. These wizards tend to fall into a number of sub-categories, which are listed below.

Control Wizard[]

Favoring battle from as great of a distance as reasonable, control wizards prefer spells that hinder or restrict their enemies rather than those that are particularly deadly. Like all wizards, control wizards are highly intelligent, but they also put a high value upon possessing strong judgment and willpower, which can help control wizards to maintain their spells' effects for longer periods of time, particularly if they happen to be adept at using orbs as implements. Some control wizards prefer to use staffs for the purpose of defense and put an emphasis on their physical fortitude in addition to their mental faculties, so as to make them more durable against their enemies. Many of the spells used by control wizards are from the conjuration or enchantment schools, though not all.[25]

War Wizard[]

War wizards, not to be confused with the well known War Wizards of Cormyr, are those non-specialized wizards who prefer power to delicacy. War wizards prefer to use spells that deal damage in large amounts. Many of their spells hail from the evocation school, though others are from the conjuration or transmutation schools. Like their fellow mages, war wizards are highly intelligent but dexterity follows very shortly thereafter in importance, particularly since many war wizards choose to use wands to enhance their accuracy. Other use staffs for the purpose of defense and put a high emphasis on their constitution.[25]


External Links[]



  1. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–119. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  3. Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, Robert J. Schwalb, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, Matt Sernett (November 2017). Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-7869-6612-7.
  4. Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 140–142. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  5. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 156–171. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  6. Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 55–58. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  7. David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), pp. 42–47. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  8. Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  9. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  10. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  11. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 156–157. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  12. Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  13. Steve Kenson, et al. (November 2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 978-0-7869-6580-9.
  14. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  15. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 151, 203. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  16. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 157–158. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  17. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ed Greenwood (June 2000). “The New Adventures of Volo: Quotations of the Realms”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #272 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 96.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  20. Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 166–167. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 21.8 21.9 Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 167. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  22. Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 167–168. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  23. Rodney Thompson (June 2008). “Class Acts: Wizard”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #364 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 Richard Baker (November 2004). Complete Arcane. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 168. ISBN 0-7869-3435-2.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 157. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.


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