D&D 5E [GUIDE] A Blast From the Past: Wizarding 101

Azzy

KMF DM
I'm so confused. Fireball? That's a damage spell. If you want damage, why on earth are you playing a wizard? Wizards are for control.

:lol:

Silly Rabbit, wizards (or any other class) are for whatever the player whats to do with them. Besides, artillery wizards and evokers have been a popular choice for decades.
 

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mellored

Explorer
Seems like a big dip for only two smites per day (4d8/day) and 10hp from Lay on Hands. Especially with the Str 13 and Cha 13 requirements.
you burn spell slots to smite, of any kind, including wizard slots. And it stacks with green flameblade/booming blade. And 10 HP is still enough get someone off the ground, or use healing word.

13 is a bit of a waste though.
 

Awesome Adam

First Post
Just wanted to compliment the OP on this thread. While I may not agree with everything, it's great to read guides like this and gleam new insights from other people's perspectives.
 

Avalongod

First Post
Just wanted to compliment the OP on this thread. While I may not agree with everything, it's great to read guides like this and gleam new insights from other people's perspectives.

Thank you sir! I think the thing to remember with any guide, is that it's really generalities and, of course, one person's experience. I think they're also most helpful to people who are maybe new to a class and just want to see the thoughts of others. If you've got a build in mind and you know what you're doing, go for it!
 

you burn spell slots to smite, of any kind, including wizard slots. And it stacks with green flameblade/booming blade.

Thunderous smite makes such a great combination with booming blade, too--smack them ten feet away and make them stay there. Prone.

13 is a bit of a waste though.

The work-around is to start as a paladin and then multiclass into wizard. The problem with that is that you're pretty useless for your first level, and your skills take a hit.
 


Oh, yes, had a little brain fart there. I forgot the technicality of needing to meet the requirements for your current class in order to multiclass. A nice bit of foresight to prevent cheekiness.
 

I'm so confused. Fireball? That's a damage spell. If you want damage, why on earth are you playing a wizard? Wizards are for control.
In the language of the formal 'Controller' Role, Fireball, and other AE spells, are 'control' because they annihilate large numbers of lesser enemies. Thus, 'controlling' them via that most primal of lock-downs - death. Kinda like "pest control."

The threat of AEs like fireball - and ongoing AEs like a Wall of Fire - also exerts 'soft control' in that it encourages enemies to avoid an area of the battlefield or to keep spread out, limiting their movement/positioning choices.

That's only one way to play a wizard. Wizards were exclusively about control in 4e, but not so much either prior or before.
The 'Controller Role' was funny in 4e. It wasn't as clearly defined as the other three formal Roles and wasn't supported by one or two obvious class features. Leaders got a class feature that triggered an ally's surge. Defenders got class features that marked. Strikers got class features that increased damage directly or indirectly. Controllers got, well, better powers than everyone else.
Ostensibly Controller party contributions included minion-sweeping, area interdiction, soft-control/debuffs, hard-control/lockdowns, and even more nebulous things like 'changing the assumptions of the challenge.' But the bottom line was more, more varied, and more potent powers than the classes of other roles - and for some, more flexibility/choice built into those powers, as well, particularly the Druid, which swapped available powers round to round based on whether it was in humanoid or beast form, and the Wizard, who could swap out daily and utility powers (and, in Essentials, encounter powers - /and/ was the only class who could re-train powers without losing access to them). They also tended to be Ritual Casters, adding to their breadth of non-combat options.

Wizards, specifically, were secondary strikers, perhaps, more accurately 'blasters,' since they could be customized to do striker-like damage, but to multiple targets, overlapping the Sorcerer a bit (though not to any where near the point of strict superiority claimed by critics of 3.5 & 5e), but that was nothing new and is still the case. While wizards could do some buffing/de-buffing they didn't much step on the toes of Leaders - which has always been and remains the case, healing is verboten to the Wizard for whatever reason (of course, healing is also arguably a 'burden'). Similarly, Staff builds and the Bladesinger sub-class could be tough enough to operate in melee, but not to the point of being secondary defenders, also nothing new (Bladesinger dates to 2e, 3e wizards maxxing concentration could be functional melee) and still the case (5e wizards can be pretty tough, especially the oddball heavy-armor wearing dwarven builds and Abjurers, and SCAG re-re-introduced the melee-capable Bladesinger).
 
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Undrhil

Explorer
Just a note: the Lucky feat doesn't interact with the Diviner's Portent feature ... at all.

With Portent, you replace a die roll with a pre-rolled d20. Lucky is done after a die roll. And when you roll the portent dice, you are not making an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check, so you cannot use Lucky to reroll them after your long rest.

That being said, it's nice to have all options available and my "wild mage" Wizard is a Diviner with the Lucky feat.
 

Avalongod

First Post
Just to note, the guide has now been updated for Xanathar's. Sorry it took so long (life and stuff.)

Also added in a discussion of Lore Master just for fun. :)
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
Two little notes: Shield protects against Magic Missile because it has since first edition. There's not a logical reason for it now, it's just how it worked back in the day and is now part of the tradition of the spell. I think it was originally to force mage on mage fighting to be something other than 'Spam Magic Missile until someone runs out of HP', since MM was an extremely potent spell (scaled to character level, no miss or save) and mages were low HP so could easily knock each other out with it.

Unseen Servant is actually quite a useful spell, I think you've underrated it. You probably picture having the servant act as a servant to fix dinner and fetch things when you're resting, which is just RP fluff; neat but not actually useful. But where the spell shines is dealing with traps, effects, and magical devices. Just summon the servant and have it unlock the chest, put the crown on the altar, pull the lever, open the door, move the crystal, cross the bridge, or interact however with whatever 'this might hurt me' thing you've encountered. If it required spending a spell slot it wouldn't be worthwhile, but since it's a non-concentration ritual that lasts an hour you just need to have it in your book and 10 minutes to spare, which you usually do when investigating traps and environmental dangers. Mage Hand can do a lot of what it can do and do it quicker, but there's some things it doesn't (mage hand can't wear a crown and sit in a throne, for example), and I would say that a wizard should virtually always have either this or mage hand in their arsenal. It's a really powerful utility spell that you only need to have in your book.
 

Avalongod

First Post
That's a damned good point about Unseen Servant and I'm embarrassed not to have considered it. I've revised the rating accordingly and will have to give this a try myself. Strangely enough, I don't think I've seen other players use it this way often, but yeah you sure can!

Yeah, the MM/Shield thing is probably tradition. Yeah, MM autoscaled in lower editions as I recall, definitely making it better under the circumstances you detail with mid-level casters in particular.
 

Avalongod

First Post
Sorry, should have responded to this one a long time ago (life and such). I didn't mean to imply you could use lucky to reroll portent rolls, only that having both lucky and portent at the same time gives you a whole lot of opportunities to change fate. I had a diviner with both in one game and it was *super useful.* Then again, I tended to make a lot of bad rolls too. :) I see the part of the guide that needed fixing and have done so accordingly.
 
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Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
Yeah, the MM/Shield thing is probably tradition. Yeah, MM autoscaled in lower editions as I recall, definitely making it better under the circumstances you detail with mid-level casters in particular.

In 1e it was actually worse for high level casters. MM gave you 1 missile then 1 for every 2 additional caster levels, each of which did d4+1 and didn't miss or have a save. Magic Users got a d4 hit die with at most +2 from constitution up to level 11, then 1 HP for level after that. Two casts of MM from a same-level caster was extremely likely to wipe a magic user out entirely up to level 12, and after that it kept getting more likely (damage goes up by 2-5 every 2 levels, hp goes up by 2 every 2 levels). Without shield, two mid to high level magic users fighting each other would basically come down to whoever won initiative casting magic missile twice, and whoever didn't trying a save or die spell on his turn, which isn't a very exciting magic duel. Not that that was a common thing, but I think it's what prompted that rule.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I don't think we see eye to eye on some spells. For example...

Knock is absolute crap give how easy it is to open locks without the loud noise (red, purple at best).

Arcane lock is a fast and easy barricade to bar a door when needed (purple).

Light means someone does not need to carry a torch and thus allows either damage or defense increase via a two-hander, dual weapons, or a shield (black).

Crown of Madness requires taking the action before the move so the it's good for at least one attack, moving away would trigger attacks of opportunity, better range than similar spells, being charmed means the target cannot attack the caster regardless and the caster has advantage on social checks, and the target is easy to spot if the need arises becase of the crown. I put that one as black, blue in the right group, purple without the system mastery to really use it effectively for some.

Bestow Curse is at least purple, black imo. It does not seem like much at first but pairs so well with glyph of warding that it's discusting, It can give disadvantage on saves (fantastic paired with repeat save spells), scales out of the need for concentration in a 5th level slot, creates a long duration save or lose action condition, and has the versatility to invent effects based on DM approval. The only real drawback is the competition with AoE.

Hypnotic Pattern vs Confusion in your comments on confusion missed how easy it is to break charmed targets in hypnotic pattern. Confused targets can take damage and remain confused. Confusion also affects creatures immune to charm, does not require targets to see it, can scale the AoE up in higher slots if needed, and (most importantly) is party friendly. The caster selects the targets within the AoE, unlike the friendly fire we typically see in AoE's. Blue for that last reason alone. ;-)
 

Avalongod

First Post
Hey Ashrym:

No worries, debate just makes this fun!

I'm sticking with "meh" on light. If cantrips were more numerous I'd say go for it, but I tend to find, even at the best the wizard can expect (5), it's good to have flexibility with 2 damage cantrips, then there are much better utility cantrips to focus on. Even if others need two hands, the wizard him/herself can carry a torch.

Knock is one of those "you don't need it until you need it" spells. The major stupid thing about this is that it's not a ritual (and the loud noise, as you mention.) Probably style of play comes into this, but particularly at high levels when those level 2 slots become utility, knock is a good one to have on order whenever separated from the rogue.

I likewise remain not a fan of arcane lock. I can see the argument for it having utility use at high levels when those 2nd level slots are more for utility now, but at lower levels it's too situational and costly (unless you have a high gold game) to prioritize. Again, as a ritual, it would have been a lot better (though that wouldn't help in those emergency situations you mention.)

I think you're the first person I've seen make an argument for Crown of Madness (not saying there aren't others out there.) Fair point on the charmed condition, but the action economy of this spell is just bad, and a bad choice for a level 2 spell.

For bestow curse, the touch range is a killer. The problem is, even in the scenario you describe, you play tag with the target then hope he/she/it chases you across a glyph you set down some time ago. Probably a cool strategy if you pull it off, but I could see it going wrong in multiple ways too.

You make some fair points about confusion. The concentration hurts, but I can see your points otherwise. I may have the opportunity to use this in the fairly near future. I may see how that goes and adjust accordingly.

Thank you for your comments!
 

Ashrym

Hero
The wizard who carries a torch for a fighter would be required to be closer to combat than the wizard who casts light on something for the fighter, a wizard holding a torch and a focus isn't holding a shield, torches don't work under water. No light source means attacking and being attacked with disadvantage and advantage. This can be covered with equipment (except under water) but equipment still costs potential benefits. You see something that can be replicated by equipment while I see an opportunity for +2 AC.

The only time I've ever needed knock was to bypass arcane lock. Opening locks is incredibly easy in 5e. 1st level characters easily open DC 25 locks and still keep things quiet. If we cannot open it we can generally destroy it. We never need a rogue for locks either. Anyoneone can have proficiency in the tools. The DMG has a take 20 type rule in the section on repeat rolls. Knock as a spell is extremely situational and only matters if time is of the essence and no one with the skill can do it quickly.

Crown of Madness is better in practice than it first looks. Forget maintaining the spell for a moment. The wizard casts a spell, the target loses it's action as it's forced the attack the caster's choice of target, then the target moves triggering attacks of opportunity from adjacent allies. That sum total is not bad for a 2nd level slot and the caster simply lets the spell end. No poor action economy. If the target does not move then the caster has the option to spend an action so that the target loses it's action attacking the caster's choice again. The problem isn't the action economy -- it's the fact hold person is usually a better choice outside of some situational benefits for crown of madness (like charm).

Bestow being touch only matters on builds that avoid close combat. For the right builds it's fine. It's nice as a non-concentration debuff using a 5th level. Touch means nothing when it's a glyph on a door or window as a protective measure. The duration in higher level slots as a defensive measure becomes nice. It can be preemptive as well. Imagine leaving it on an enemy's door so that when he or she returns the caster has an 8-hr wibdow where the target cannot take actions without first making a will save. Unlike hold monster in a 5th level slot, bestow curse has no repeat saves to break it, no concentration required, and long duration.

my 2cp
 

Avalongod

First Post
It's a good 2cp.

Note, wizards don't have shield proficiency so while carrying one, can't cast spells and have disadvantage on all str and dex checks. Not worth it for most shields (sure, you can drop the shield to cast spells, but why were you carrying it in the first place then?)

Some of the stuff with locks probably comes from DM style. My understanding of the "take 20" rules in 5e is that if a.) you are pretty much undisturbed and b.) the cost of failure is negligible, than a task can be assumed to succeed via multiple tries, particularly if c.) the DC is reasonably low. The epitome here is not needing to roll survival to pitch a tent. Condition A probably doesn't come into play in most active adventuring scenarios. For an intricate lock even if we were to allow that there was no cost for failure (and back to this in a second), it could reasonably take more than an hour's (SR) tinkering to eventually get it. But then, for condition B., I'd argue for an intricate lock there's be some reasonable potential for damaging the lock picks or the lock itself through endless tinkering. So, as DM myself, I wouldn't allow "take 20" on high DC locks as it's probably reasonable to think a character (and you're correct, doesn't need to be a rogue, I was just thinking stereotypically) would come to the conclusion "I just can't get this lock and might break it if I keep trying."

Cheers!
 

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