D&D Next – Wizard

By Ken Wai Lau

d&d next wizard

The moment you complete your apprenticeship, it’s time to retire…
Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva
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The D&D Next Wizard would be the class I am least inclined to play. I prefer to play characters that are physically capable, not least because it’s a much healthier image than a guy who spends countless hours trapped inside a study.

Regardless, given the problems that were reported regarding D&D 3.5., it would be interesting to see how the D&D Next wizard is balanced against the ‘mundane’ classes in this edition of D&D, assuming balance was on the agenda.

Reality Check

A wizard spends the bulk of his life honing his mind in order to comprehend the complex formulas which can potentially form gateways to a whole new reality.

The path of the wizard is long and hard and requires the practitioner to invest decades of his life to even grasp the most fundamental aspects of his craft. Even then, only a select few can hope to make a career out of it.

The rare few that master the arts of the arcane are rewarded with great power, their great minds capable of reshaping reality and bending the laws of the universe. From conjuring powerful elemental forces to crafting illusions that appear completely real to the casual observer.

The dedication required as a magic user leaves the wizard little time to practice using weapons and armour, hence their martial training is at best, rudimentary. That said, an accomplished wizard can manage fine with only a spellbook and a staff to focus his power.

Spelling It All Out

d&d next wizard

“I’ll find my pointy hat – even if it takes me all night…”
Image © by Lilia Osipova

An apprentice will start his career with a few cantrips and lower complexity spells in his spellbook. Before a wizard can cast a spell, he must begin the day with a fresh mind and spend at least an hour committing to memory the specific formulas, incantations and/or hand gestures that composes an individual spell.

Experienced wizards can prepare more spells in this fashion than those who are starting out and all wizards can recover expended magical energy whenever they take a short period of time to rest during his travels.

The few wizards who establish themselves as archmages can prepare a couple of the lowest tier spells in a way that allows for unlimited casting, though the power of the spell would be much weaker than if it had been prepared properly.

Like with all professions, no two practitioners are the same. One wizard might have an affinity for illusions while another might be more gifted in manipulating the minds of the people. Therefore, each wizard will typically belong to an arcane tradition that brings out the full potential of each student.

Works Like a Charm

An Enchanter can generate a field of magical energy that sows doubt whenever someone tries to attack him with a weapon, causing the attack to lose much of the potency that it might have had.

As the Enchanter becomes more proficient, he can force an opponent who is attacking him to target someone else.

A high level Enchanter can alter his magic so that it targets more than one foe and legendary enchanters can quickly cast enchantments with a single word and hand gesture.

An archmage of the enchantment tradition can alter the memories of anyone subject to his spells, so that thye cannot remember being magically influenced and believing any lies that the enchanter tells them.

In Your Element

All Evokers can shape an evocation spell (such as a fireball) in order to avoid catching innocents in the blast and a practiced Evoker has a much higher level of accuracy and finesse with evocation cantrips.

A powerful Evoker can draw a large amount of magical energy to fully bring out an evocation’s destructive potential. This greatly taxes the Evoker and doing this more than once in a day could endanger the wizard’s life.

The Evoker’s control of his magic allows him to make his evocations more devastating compared to his peers and an Archmage of the elements can hurl lightning bolts and fireballs at will.

Under No Illusions

All illusionists can create minor illusions that include both auditory and visual elements. More experienced illusionists attain mastery of invisibility and can turn invisible after being struck.

A master illusionist can project an illusory clone of himself to absorb damage for him if he is slow to react in combat and a master illusionist can make aspects of his illusions solid and real by incorporating the use of shadow magic.

An archmage of illusion can create visual illusions at will, complete with any auditory and olfactory elements to complete the illusion.


  1. James W D February 4, 2014 7:11 pm  Reply

    I still remember playing my AC 10 Wizard with 1 HP and 1 Magic Missile a day… How broken was that? I can cast one spell and then you would be better off with a wet paper towel standing in to fight then my character.

    I did not play 3 or 3.5 so I am not sure what they did there. 4 was definitely a lot better balanced wise, but still had issues.

    Hopefully Balance is on the menu for this new edition.

    • Ken Wai Lau February 4, 2014 8:33 pm  Reply

      Yup – harken back to the tales of the one hit point wonder, sacrificing himself in the name of the neverending struggle against fearsome housecats with 3 attacks per round!

      Fun times.

      I think the same problem was present in 3.0, but 3.5 added a rule where you started with maximum HP at first level. The flipside was if(!) a wizard made it to high level, he became ridiculously powerful.

      D&D Next appears to have followed suit with the maximum HP at first level. They also get 1d6 hit points per level which should also increase the wizard’s survivability at any level.

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