In the Class: Revisited series, I’ll be posting some simple revisions to the various classes based on experiences with my group, and those I’ve talked with. We won’t hit all 13 classes, as some are fine, and some I don’t have a good answer for, but in general these are some suggested changes that should fix some common complaints about the clases. I’ll also use this as a chance to fill out high level class features, which are basically absent past level 12 or so. None of these should be major rewrites, or take much adaptation to add in, but some are straight power ups or downs.
The Wizard entry in the series will change quite a bit. The wizard has problems because it’s both thematically bland, and also on the high end of the power scale. This should bring their power level down a bit and give them some versatility and fluff to them. Some of their new features are power ups, but I think it’s balanced by the reduction in versatility and extra actions required to use them.
The learned arcane spellcasting of a wizard is not as simple as the inborn gifts of a sorcerer, or the granted abilities of a warlock. A wizard must practice, and through sheer perseverance and hard work learn to master some of the most powerful effects of all the planes. This grants a wizard near unlimited versatility, but also means that there is extra work involved in the casting of their spells. All wizard spells must be cast with the appropriate implement. A wizard can draw one and stow another implement as a single bonus action and can carry two at any given point (one in each free hand). Implements that are traditionally worn, such as the cloak, are grabbed and activated when casting the spell, and still occupy a hand. Failure to have the proper implements in hand prevents the casting of a spell. Luckily for a wizard, they can always reference their spellbook to cast. The spellbook acts as a universal implement, and works for all schools, but flipping about and reading the instructions as one goes increases the focus required to cast the spell. In order to cast a spell in this way, the wizard cannot take any movement this turn.
At 5th level, you have not only mastered the classroom teachings and traditional theory behind your spells, but the real-world application as well. You can apply the following effects when using the appropriate implement on a spell that affects creatures. This can include you, an enemy, or an ally. Creatures are granted an Intelligence saving throw to negate. You can use this ability a number of times per short rest equal to your Intelligence modifier. When forcing movement, affected creatures are assumed to move as far as they can if they can. If not, they do so to the best of their abilities. These abilities are resolved immediately when the spell is unless they indicate otherwise. If this ability impacts multiple creatures, you choose which triggers first.
- Abjuration: Target gains advantage or disadvantage (your discretion) on their next attack roll.
- Conjuration: Target teleports 10ft to a location of your choice.
- Divination: Target can move 5ft at their discretion.
- Enchantment: Target moves 15ft towards you in the safest path.
- Evocation: Target is moved 15ft in a direct line away from you, stopping if they collide with an object or other creature.
- Illusion: Target is invisible until the end of the current turn.
- Necromancy: Target cannot take movement during their next turn.
- Transmutation: Targets move speed is reduced or enhanced (your discretion) by 15ft during their next turn.
At 10th level, the wizard has unlocked the secret to one of the more advanced implements for their spells. They gain the ability to use the implement indicated with spells of the chosen school.
In addition to the benefits of a reduced casting time, each one grants a unique benefit.
- Censer: You can cast any Abjuration spell as a ritual spell, provided you spend an hour casting it with the Censer.
- Crown: When the Crown is used to summon a creature, or object, it does not require concentration.
- Throne: The Throne is impractical to transport, but when one is seated in it, the throne can be used without occupying a hand. When casting a divination spell through a throne, the casting time is never more than 2 rounds, and the throne can act in place of your components.
- Mask: While wearing the Mask, any charisma saving throw made against your enchantment spells is made at disadvantage.
- Spear: While carrying a Spear, you can double the range of any evocation spell.
- Ring: With a twist of the Ring, a wizard can go invisible until the beginning of their next turn when casting an Illusion spell.
- Sword: Whenever a Necromancy spell you cast with the Sword deals hp damage to an enemy, you gain that many temporary hit points. If it deals damage to multiple creatures, gain temporary hp equal to the greatest damage dealt. Do not combine.
- Cauldron: A Conjuration spell that targets a single creature, cast using a Cauldron, can be cast on a second creature, provided it is adjacent to the first.
At level 15, you have learned to customize your magic and get the most out of your implements. Pick any two implements you are trained with (all from the Spellcasting Implement and one from the Advanced Implement feature, by default). You can use them interchangeably for spells of either school. This means you can use a sword to cast conjuration spells, if you have chosen a sword and key. Typically, wizards will purchase a sword emblazoned with keys, or shaped like a key, or something of that nature to help them remember the two base forms of their custom implement, but it is not required. If one of the two forms is an Advanced Implement (it usually is), the unique benefit from that Advanced Implement can be used for either school of magic it can cast.
At 20th level, you have mastered magic to such a degree that you no longer require implements. You gain access to the remainder of the Advanced Implements and are always treated as wielding the correct implement when casting a spell.
FAQ Updated: 1/28/22
The wizard revisited seems to be the most popular and the most common one to ask questions about. I put together a little FAQ to spell some stuff out.
- Do spellcasting implements also count as spellcasting foci? Yes, you should replace foci with these for wizards.
- Does a spellbook take one hand or two? All implements except throne take one hand. Your wizard is probably holding it with one, and flipping with a free hand that is potentially also holding a dagger or something.
- Would a wand of magic detection function as an evocation, divine, or both tool? Evocation. Good suggestion someone made was to swap them for Orbs of Detect Magic.
- The default rule is that you have to hold implements, even if they are Masks or Crowns. How do I do that? When you want to use it, you’re going to have your PC reach up with an empty hand and tap the implement. It still occupies a hand, even if its worn, and you aren’t casting with it at the moment unless you stow it using a bonus action until you draw it again as another bonus action. Yes, you might end up “Drawing” a crown to your hand that actually just sits on your head.
- Level 15 custom implement. If I use a dagger that counts as a throne what does that actually mean? You can use daggers to cast Divination spells, and you can use the throne’s ability to count as components, even if you are casting an evocation spell. You don’t have to sit on your dagger, and probably shouldn’t.
- Do I actually need to stow a cloak? Technically yes. But your DM may let you get away with dropping it, and letting physics take over. It’s going to dangle about your neck, and you can probably reach it to re-draw it as a bonus action. You’ll still need to draw it again, but maybe you can save the stow action if you want.
- Concentrationless summoning is really strong. Not a question, but I haven’t found it to be in practice. This is in the less playtested section of the site for a reason. A good house rule in general might be to say that all summons always require a bonus action to command.
- X attribute/day isn’t used in 5e. Why not proficiency bonus? Ask Mearls, I prefer the stat limiter to proficiency bonus. You could certainly swap this if you want.