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D&D General Stripping the Wizard to Bare Bones (+)


The spells that you prefer for this list are almost the same thing as "telekinesis".

Force: Blade Ward, Magic Missile, Shield, Levitate, Fly, Animate Objects − but include the following two as explicitly telekinetic: Mage Hand, Mage Armor

Force as "Magical Energy", the Fifth Element: Detect Magic, Identify, Counterspell, Dispel Magic

All of these "Force" spells and Force related spells, can fold into the 5e school of "Dunomancy".

I like the idea of these being the most core spells to a wizard, just from a lore perspective - even if you don't know how to weave magical energy into a sophisticated effect, at the very least you can bludgeon someone with it.

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Free your mind; kill the 8 schools!
What makes a wizard? Their training. In literature, the abilities of academic/hermetic magicians are often defined by their masters/schools. So your premise is good. The universal spells can be ones that either underly magic itself (detect magic, dispel magic...) or ones that are just extremely widespread because they have existed for a long time, or because they are so common that no one considers them a trade secret.
Taking a page from Monte Cook's "Diamond Throne" setting, the spells themselves can be classified as common, rare, or exotic. Common spells may be common because they are universally useful or because they are actually weaker than average for their level.
So I would propose that the universal wizard list can have a few more spells per level, but reserve the best spells of each level for the specialties/schools.
And the schools don't necessarily need to have an elemental theme--they can represent literal schools with broader advantages. A school of magic can have a wide variety of unique spells invented by its star faculty over the centuries!


One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
hmmm, my thoughts are thus:
encode thoughts
mage hand
minor illusion
chromatic orb
comprehend languages
detect magic
find familiar
mage armour
magic missile
unseen servant
borrowed knowledge
detect thoughts
enhance ability
locate object
thought shield
dispel magic
galder's tower
glyph of warding
magic circle
conjour minor elemental
dimension door
leomund's secret chest
mordenkainen's private sanctum
bigby's hand
legend lore
planar binding

39 spells across 6 spell levels, a little more than the average of 5 per level but still a fairly tight knit selection of core wizard spells
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Ooof... this is a big task.

I'm not sure if it's the best way to do it, but one way you could start is to use the spell lists from an older, less-bloated edition of the game. This is only a starting point, though... there is still a lot of work to be done. (Not all of the older-edition spells made it into 5E, some were renamed, others were moved to different levels or classes...) You'd probably end up writing/converting a quarter of the list yourself.

Another way would be to make subclass-specific spell lists. Evokers, Conjurers, Enchanters, and Necromancers all have their own unique spell lists, and there would be only a very small amount of overlap between them--spells like detect magic, mage armor, and maybe magic missile would be universal. This would allow for some niche protection between different wizard subclasses, since only certain subclasses would gain access to iconic wizard spells (fireball and lightning bolt are iconic Evocation spells, so they would only be on the Evoker's list. Animate dead and vampiric touch are found only on the Necromancer list. Shield and Counterspell are only on the Abjurer's list. And so on.)

That's a huge amount of work too, and a hefty dose of bookkeeping on top of it. And you'd expect even more push-back from your players than you're going to get as it is. :oops:

That's about all I've got. It's a good idea, but it is a big undertaking. Good luck!
That's actually where I started from. I contemplated using B/X as the template for the "core" wizard list and then tried to slim it down even further (or add where needed).


If you strip Wizards of their ability to learn just about every spell in the game, why would anyone ever play a Wizard over Sorcerer? That's the only thing Wizards have

if you want to do this then maybe it's best to ban wizard and keep only the sorcerer.

sorcerers spells known is limiting and you can add subclass that adds a cantrip or two plus 2 spells known for levels 1-5 that fit the theme of the caster:
I have other plans for the sorcerer - I've been rebuilding that class with a stronger theme and leaning into both spell point and spontaneous casting (it and the bard), whereas the wizard will be the prememorized spell class (and all the others). This thread is focusing on the spell list aspect of the wizard itself.


I really like this idea. I do think the Wizarding schools is a neat concept that just doesn't play out. Specialization gives you some benefits, but it should really be expanded.

If you strip Wizards of their ability to learn just about every spell in the game, why would anyone ever play a Wizard over Sorcerer? That's the only thing Wizards have
Others have already touched on this, but I think if we're going so far to revamp the wizard, the Sorcerer is getting revamped as well. I've never liked them sharing spell lists. It just complicates things and makes for the age old problem of having to explain the differences to new players.

I'd even perhaps consider combining the Sorcerer and Warlock.
I like the idea if you mean "iconic" in general fantasy literature, not so much if you mean "iconic" in D&D history alone, because in that case you end up with pretty much the same Wizards that most players come up with anyway, making the exercise a bit useless. Then I would strip the list to an ever smaller core spells. I would not choose which spells to be on the list on based on what the wizard "needs", so I would eliminate attack and protection spells. Use non-spells ways to attack and defend yourself, or specialize in the proper schools. I would leave mostly only spells that aren't strongly associated with a school, so I think I could probably remove a few more from your original list, then the list would need some additions in order not to be too short.
I think at the very basic level.. Cantrips and level 1 spells Wizards should get a taste of everything. Very basic attack and protection spells. Maybe swap Firebolt for a Magicbolt like others have suggested. This is akin to being a freshman in college and taking your general classes. You do a little of everything before you specialize. Getting higher versions of these spells however would be relegated to their specific schools. Like I don't think Fireball should be a general spell, regardless of how iconic it is.

Allow wizards to elect a major and minor school. They get all their major school spells, and then a limited selection of their minor school spells. That can help with your last point of lists being too short.

Free your mind; kill the 8 schools!
I agree. Now, I support wholly the idea of subclasses being guilds or power sources. The caster is limited in their repertoire by said power. I've made a few using the concepts of Dreaming, Calling and Binding, Prismatics, Planes of force shaped by Mathematics, and Potential and Abnegation. Then, you pick a number of spells per level, 7-12 is a good number, and pick to fit the theme.

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