Level Up (A5E) Salvaging the Missing Specialist Wizard Options for the Arcanist


So, I know that A5E classes is usually fairly compatible with their O5E subclasses, and for subclasses that exist in both games, the A5E version usually works better because it is designed for this game specifically. But one area where I'm rather disappointed is the subclass options for specialist wizards. The Arcanist subclass attempts to recreate them to a certain extent, but because it tries to recreate all of them and does so by giving the features of some options at some levels (like Abjurer's Arcane Ward becoming the Arcanist's Arcane Armor, or the Evoker's Sculpt Spells becoming the Arcanist's Bend Magic and so on), the result is a bit lackluster IMO. Especially when it comes to certain specialists who have none of their features represented in the Arcanist. Here are the specialisations that get no representation in the Arcanist:
  • Conjuration (one could argue Quick Step is similar to Benign Transporation and the various concentration-protecting features work towards the same thing as Focused Conjuration, but none of these have the same feel as specialising in conjuration IMO).
  • Illusion
  • Necromancy (though the Necromancy archetype perfectly covers this, so most of my gripes don't apply to it)
  • Transmutation
This means that three out of eight Wizard subclasses have no way to be recreated in A5E, even though the Arcanist theoretically fills the same design space. So my question is: Do you think some of the subclass features from the missing specialties be added to the Arcanist somehow? I can imagine some of them getting added without much of a hassle (for instance, Malleable Illusion could be a new 6th level option that works on all spells that allow for different parameters), but I don't know if some of them would be too powerful (like the Transmuter's Stone giving resistance to a type of damage or proficiency in Constitution saves).

To put the discussion in more concrete terms, what would you tell a player who wants to play a Transmuter Wizard, but doesn't want to use the O5E subclass directly? Or someone who wants to play a Conjurer but doesn't think that the Arcanist does a good job covering it?

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I'm very pro-homebrew at my table, so if they don't like existing options (A5e or O5e), I'd tell them to write it, submit it to me with enough time before the game that I can review it for balance concerns, and then we'll work together as gameplay progresses to keep it in line with other options.

While I don't think there's anything wrong with having "specialist" wizard archetypes in A5e, I think the difficulty is that no one really wants an "obligatory archetype" (one someone is making just because it has to be), and it's difficult to come up with inspired versions of these basic specialist archetypes.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
My preference is more to thematic subclasses like the firemage or warmage. I’m not so keen on school specialists… it feels a little more artificial to me. But YMmV of course!

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