5E Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards 5e

smbakeresq

Explorer
I really enjoyed your guide since I prefer playing controlling rather than blasting Wizards. Thank you for all the effort you put into it.

For the Diviner I think a 5 Star rating on "Expert Divination" is too high. A little bit of extra arcane recovery is nice but it is quite limited as you need to have already cast a lower level spell first and there are not that many Divination spells you are going to cast during the adventuring day.
Arcane eye should be cast every day. Others also, it’s very much a planned class where you should be casting stuff before session even starts.
 

lyracian

Villager
Arcane eye should be cast every day. Others also, it’s very much a planned class where you should be casting stuff before session even starts.
Before ‘session starts’? My point is what spells are you casting before your divination spells? You can only recover a spell slot if you have already used it?
 

MooreVol

Villager
Before ‘session starts’? My point is what spells are you casting before your divination spells? You can only recover a spell slot if you have already used it?
At the very least Mage Armor.... the rest might depend on your circumstances, but often my group has encounters before we get to a dungeon... or cast it after your first encounter. The first isn't usually that deadly and if it's more than a 5 room dungeon Arcane Eye should still be pretty worthwhile.

I feel like being able to regain that spell slot makes me both more willing to cast Arcane Eye, but also more willing to use 2nd and 3rd level spells in early encounters, which makes those easier for the party and lets other members conserve their spells and such.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
MooreVol has it right.

With a huge range you should cast it before the session and tell DM about it and then recover it normally. You should always know everything within a large area, 30’ per round for an hour is a big space.

Going to the dungeon you can usually get in a few encounters and spend a spell then send in Arcane Eye. Knowing encounters before they happen is a game changer.

Once you know you get that spell recovery mechanic you just plan around it.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
An interesting multiclass for the diviner is Warlock. It allows you to grab Armor of Agathys which is a great non-divination 'prep' spell that is useful at various casting levels.
 

Merudo

Villager
Arcane Tradition: School of Enchantment. Rank 2

[...]

Hypnotic Gaze (2nd level): SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!
I do agree Hypnotic Gaze is very good, but I couldn't help but disagree with two of your points:

Is not a spell so bypasses magic immunity or resistances
The description of Magic Resistance states that it works against "magical effects".

The description of Hypnotic Gaze states that it "magically enthralls" another creature.

So unfortunately, Hypnotic Gaze does not bypass Magic Resistance.

Is not a spell, so can be used in the same round as a bonus action spell
Technically true, but there are only six Bonus Action Wizard spells:

  • Dragon's Breath
  • Expeditious Retreat
  • Far Step
  • Magic Weapon
  • Misty Step
  • Shadow Blade

Of these, only Dragon's Breath & Magic Weapon can be realistically used while using Hypnotic Gaze.

Dipping Cleric 1 gives access to Healing Word & Sanctuary though, which are wonderful uses of a Bonus Action.

By the way, using Hypnotic Gaze does not break the Sanctuary's protection.
 
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EmuNemo

Villager
When I read "What I found really surprising is that everyone in the group still considered my character “useless”." I had to step back and breathe for a few moments.
 
Of these, only Dragon's Breath & Magic Weapon can be realistically used while using Hypnotic Gaze.
Remember that many spells require bonus actions to use every round, so if they are cast on round 1, they work very well with a hypnotic gaze initiated on round 2. Flaming Sphere, Melf's Minute Meteors, Crown of Stars, or even commanding your Animate Dead thrall come to mind immediately.

In addition, remember there is also the initial setup round, in those cases something like a Misty Step to move into position + Hypnotic Gaze is going to be an excellent combo.

So for example:
Round 1: Cast Flaming Sphere
Round 2: Misty Step into position and Hypnotic Gaze big baddie
Round 3: Maintain gaze and slam stuff with your sphere. Repeat.
 

Aquillion

Villager
I feel like you're drastically underestimating Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound.

1. No concentration, 8 hour duration. Basically a throwback to the ridiculous powers of 3e wizards. The lack of concentration is the really huge deal here (I think people underestimate it because they compare it to concentration spells.) Yes, it's not as versatile as Bigby's Hand. But you get it a level earlier, it does the same damage as long as you can keep an enemy in reach, and it doesn't require concentration or an action, so you can use both. It's not an alarm, it's a fire-and-forget spell that does 4d8 damage a round. For the next eight hours.

2. Does reasonably high damage each turn to an enemy in the 15x15 square it can reach.

3. Damage is selective and won't hurt allies. This makes it an excellent spell to cast into crowded melee situations, especially in close quarters or if you have a grappler.

4. It's invisible, which gives it advantage on most of its attack rolls and means that enemies attacked by it (especially less intelligent ones) won't necessarily understand what's going on. They may try (uselessly) to attack it back, and may simply not realize that they can move away from it. This varies from DM to DM - some DMs have every monster automagically intuit how your spells work. But if enemies react realistically to it, it becomes much more powerful, since its nature and limitations aren't obvious at all.

5. Even if they realize exactly how it works, it's still an incredibly powerful defensive spell. You and two other people can retreat to a corner, and you can cast a hound in the outer point of the square you form; at that point, anyone who wants to melee any of you has to eat a 4d8 hound attack each turn. With no concentration on your part! The hound doesn't occupy its space, so even in an open field, you can protect one person (often yourself) from melee attacks with the hound, provided you can stay still.

6. In hallway fights (provided the hallway is no wider than 15x15), this spell is brutal. Your bruisers form a front line, you cast the hound right in front of them, and now anything that fights them is taking 4d8 damage a round with no further concentration or actions or anything on your part.

7. The eight-hour duration means that you can cast the spell to help in a fight, then take advantage of it afterwards in other ways - you can set up camp after the fight and rely on it to both keep watch and provide additional combat support, for instance, or you can lure enemies to it to use it as a meatgrinder. You can also cast it in advance as part of a trap, ie. lure an enemy down a hallway into it, then make a stand there while the hound savages them. (Its barking is a slight limitation on its trap functionality, but enemies often won't know what the sound means, and even if they do there's often limited things they can do about it.)

Obviously, the spell is strongest in close quarters, and it's best against melee opponents that can be lured into its range (or forced to enter its range if they want to attack), but those are pretty common; no spell is universally useful. And "good against melee or in close quarters" is a pretty broad niche, especially given that it is really, really good in those situations - basically like having an additional invulnerable Bigby's Hand, with no need for concentration or bonus actions, that just does the punch action every turn automatically.
 
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Nork

Villager
I feel like Catapult was poorly treated in the guide.

Since the flight path can originate from darn near anywhere, nothing says you can't use it to drill another wizard on the other side of a wall of force or similar barrier if you want to try and concentration check them for cheap. The projectile didn't go through the barrier. Especially since the spell really sets you up to milk the DM for situational bonuses like having the projectile shoot from behind

Another item of note is that it is a somatic only spell that causes a projectile to be launched at a target from a direction that need not originate from the wizard. If the target doesn't know the wizard is there, getting drilled with non-magical rocks from the bushes simply isn't going to give the target many useful clues to figure out what is going on. Such attacks can very easily allow the wizard to create an ambush as the wizard uses catapult to REALLY sell that illusionary halfling with a sling and makes the enemy front line melee charge in and have the enemy back line fall back to get distance and end up presenting their backs as the wizard's party's front line attacks. Or maybe the wizard is looking through a keyhole into somebody's locked room and silently catapulting a letter opener from their desk into their back.

Furthermore, unlike most attack spells you don't magic the projectile into being and the spell is conspicuously open ended about the projectile parameters which means you are logically not limited as to what the spell is shooting. It would in no way be twisting anything to shoot a flask of holy water with catapult, or a net, or bundle of alchemist fire and oil flasks, or necklaces of fireballs, a jar of dust of sneezing and choking, oil of slipperiness, etc.

This last point is where I think the spell is a LOT better than the rating it got. Since you can more or less throw anything, it isn't actually an attack spell. It is a 'the wizard snapped their fingers and turned my encounter upside down by throwing something unexpected somewhere unexpected' spell. Those are the real power spells. This spell means that ANY object 5 pounds or less within 60 feet of the wizard is one action away from being thrown 90 feet. Shooting oil flasks is for amateurs. If the evil high priest screws up and sets the sacrificial blade down for just a second... the plot gets launched 90 feet off course in one action with no saving throw. Mage hand can't hold a candle to the range, lack of telegraphing, or magnitude of effect while still just being only a level 1 spell.

Maybe the wizard wants to frame somebody for starting a riot, or make it look like one side in a stand-off threw something at another side. Especially when the spell leaves normal non-magical evidence behind that is consistent with an object being thrown and assuming a wizard did it by default isn't the logical starting point. Or maybe you want to tranquilize a T-Rex with a 5 pound tranq dart from a safe distance. The spell is circumstantial, but it isn't like knock. There are simply too many objects between 1 to 5 pounds in any adventure to not have this spell be a threat every single time this spell is memorized, and unlike knock you can force the situation by bringing your own objects.

Catapult is one of those spells that has the potential to solve a situation in an unexpected way AND if all else fails it is still a decent enough damage spell if that utility application doesn't actually crop up in the adventure thus making it even more versatile. Magic missile lacks the ability to change the rules of the encounter, so magic missile in arguably more niche and circumstantial compared to catapult.


Honestly, for as much as the guide author talks about doing damage as the wizard is often missing the point, they seem to lose the plot as soon as they see extremely open ended utility spells that also can be used to do enough damage to be a convincing circumstantial attack spell that they then de-value for being circumstantial as an attack spell. Like disintegrate. The effect is so powerful and open ended on the utility front that the text can't spell it out all the possible applications (I disintegrate a support column of the temple, I disintegrate the bridge, I disintegrate the base of the ship's mast, I disintegrate a hole through the wall, etc), then in addition it specifically counters spells the author thinks are really good, plus if push comes to shove it can be pressed into service as a credible damage spell if the circumstances work out. One spell that is circumstantially useful in a wide array of open ended circumstances isn't actually circumstantial. Sure, the DM can entirely negate the effect of the spell by fiat, but the DM can also entirely negate a more well defines spell by fudging the mechanics, but at least with catapult or disintegrate you can catch them red handed when they do it because the DM negating a disintegrate or catapult spell can't fudge dice rolls that didn't happen. They have to tell the entire table that disintegrating the main support column of the temple the just described didn't affect the structural stability, or that the MacGuffin doesn't fly across the room because they said it doesn't. Which makes them arguably MORE powerful than 'by the rules' spells with defined effects that can be hand waved by altering data behind the DM screen to force their desired result.
 

MooreVol

Villager
re: Catapult, I thought this was a great spell for my sorcerer because of its versatility and their limited number of spells.

One more thing in its favor though, is that because it is a line spell it's not really a "save or nothing" spell. If the first enemy in line makes their save, then it goes to the second and so on. It takes some setting up but, obviously, you can almost always line up at least two enemies. Save twice or nothing isn't too bad and if you can get 3 or more enemies you're doing even better. It's not as automatic as Magic Missile, but it's not too bad either.
 

Aquillion

Villager
Also, I'm not sure Passwall should be red. The 5e version can unambiguously be cast on the floor, meaning you can drop an enemy into a 20-foot-deep pit. (Possibly two adjacent enemies given the 5x8 shape of the resulting pit.) It only works on enemies without special movement or ranged attacks, so it's a bit limited, but it's really effective when it works. And of course, as a combat trick the real selling point of this is that it lets you remove an enemy from the fight without concentration.

Just like the old 3e "disintegrate the floor" trick, this lets you make that CR 10 stone Golem harmless.

(Many DMs will probably give the monsters either a Dex save, an Athletics check, or an Acrobatics check, though. It becomes slightly less amazing if they do that, but still has some value as a dual-use removal / utility spell.)
 

dokscy

Villager
LOL!
I love how you basically called every other role as dumb muscles and the Wiz being the ultimate boss brain of the operation.
Plus :):):):) the divine casters, they can pray for a new job.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
No no, clearly it's Arcane Recovery!
Land druids are seriously underrated.
Moon druids are great in any game where you need to fight and of you miss other fighter types. Otherwise extra prepared spells and extra spells make the Land druid a way better caster, even if you don't consider that those extra spells are some of the more powerful wizards spells.
 

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