Wizard Guide - Classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e



do you want to unlock the deepest secrets of arcane magic do you want to level entire armies to dust with the wave of your hand or perhaps wield spells that let you control the very fabric of time and space well we're going to show you how with art guide to the wizard in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition greetings apprentices my name is Monte Martin and I'm Kelley McLaughlin and we are the dungeon dudes today we're bringing you the very first in our class guides for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition we're focusing on the wizard today which is uh my Monte's one of our favorite classes to play in fact for both of us the wizard was one of the very first classes that we delved into for our first long-term campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition Monty what is a wizard well a wizard is really the classic arcane spell caster the magic user the mage of the Dungeons & Dragons universe yeah and a lot of their a lot of their magic use comes from knowledge which makes them one of the most intelligent classes in fact probably the only of the core 12 classes that really makes being an intelligent character their core focus so let's take a deeper look into the wizard Sumati why would we play a wizard well the wizard is a hugely diverse class and it's capable of fulfilling a wide range of party rules from damage dealing to controlling the battlefield to providing unprecedented levels of magical support and that's really the core of the class if arcane magic if the mysteries of supernatural powers are what really excites you the wizard is the class that you want to start with I often think of the wizard as a Swiss Army knife in the fact that they have the largest rate of spells and you can really look at that spell list and kind of just pick and choose what's going to be appropriate for the job that needs to get done yeah it really offers a lot of flexibility so if you're someone that likes to think about problems in advance make a big overall strategy and execute that the wizard in the way it plays in the game is going to give you a lot of satisfaction with that two people playing a wizard in the same party can play completely different characters your wizard might be a dedicated genius scholar they might be an inspired archaeologist or a canny investigator or even just a power crazy mad scientist there's tons of archetypes that you can explore with the wizard they're one of the most diverse classes in Dungeons & Dragons this vast magical power means that all Wizards have one thing in common knowledge is power and there's lots of great examples from fiction books movies and video games that you can draw on for ideas to inspire you Hermione Granger from Harry Potter or Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files books both of these are very intelligent characters that learned magic from a spell book and use it to solve a huge range of problems also if you're into comic books dr. strange even though he's known as the sorcerer supreme if you actually look at the way he is represented he is a wizard because he learned all of his spells from reading text books of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention the ultimate inspiration for the wizard archetypes Gandalf Merlin and of course turjun of mirror from the dying earth series who probably have the most influence on what we think of as a wizard there are also some famous Wizards from D&D a lords of course elminster the alter ego of Ed Greenwood the creator of The Forgotten Realms and Morden Caden the alter ego of Gary Gygax the creator of Dungeons & Dragons and other famous wizards like Raceland majeure illustrious Silver Hand I'm thinking of also world Warcraft as Jaina Proudmoore and yennefer of vengerberg from the witcher series all of these are great wizards that you can draw on for amazing ideas I also think of just thinking like all the philosophers and scientists yeah like you could have an amazing wizard that's based on like Mary Curie or Albert Einstein and the kind of way that they looked at science could be the way that your wizard thinks about magic so when we're looking at which stats you want to take as a wizard what would you what should we be looking at I think it pretty much goes without saying but intelligence is your most important stat and really this is the stat that you are here for as a wizard because the wizard is one of the few classes in the game that gets a lot out of intelligence your intelligence score is going to inform your most important skills and saving throw but it's also the stat that powers all of your spell casting your spell saving DC your spell attack modifier even the number of spells you can prepare is based on your intelligence score so having that high to begin with and keeping that one high using your ability score modifier a modifier boosts on intelligence is gonna be really critical you want to get that up to 20 now as a spell caster you're going to be dealing with a lot of concentration spells which means that the next stat you should probably look at is Constitution yeah also you don't have a lot of hit points so having a good Constitution score is gonna have gonna offset that weakness a little bit give you the extra hit points to stay in battle when you get that one big hit which tends to be the thing that takes out a wizard so dexterity is going to give you a better initiative and armor class so that's gonna help you out defensively as well as well as offensively and then from there you can really decide what you don't want to focus on if you kind of want to do the absent-minded professor thing you might want to dump your wisdom although really I've never found very many uses for strength as a wizard but some people might but that tends to be the common dump stat for a wizard you may or may not care about your charisma score wizards have a lot of great mind-control spells and spells for social interaction and so having a charisma score that's positive and proficiency and a couple charisma skills will help you out a little bit in that regard just to make your magic more potent but remember if your wizard is having trouble making friends they can always cast spells to help them that's very true almost any race can conceivably play a wizard but really you're looking for if you want to play a strong wizard those races with an pelicans boost are where you're gonna want to start this is gonna be include things like gnomes which are really the quintessential like I think for a lot of people illusionists and enchanters they get +2 to their intelligence so they're a really good pick right off the bat also one that me and monty both really like is the variant human and that's because the variant human gets a feat right off the bat and there's some great feats but we'll talk about those in a second exactly a variant human is a is a great choices yeah and you can boost your intelligence and your Constitution or dexterity because you get the two plus ones and you get an extra skill which is kind of a nice pick up yeah also high elves yeah they're cool cuz you get an extra can trip you get the dexterity boost you get perception as an extra skill you get dark vision you get a couple extra weapons or proficiencies then there's also tiefling I think was another good one yeah teeth let's get fire resistance dark vision an intelligence boost and a charisma boost beyond that you can really go anywhere with the wizard as long as you really do have that strong intelligence bonus off the top weapon and armor proficiencies yeah Wizards getting none so if you're looking for someone to drop into the throws of melee combat wizards really don't have anything to start off with I one time chose to not cast a spell on a turn and try to use my crossbow and what was even the point in not casting a spell that turn I don't know also Wizards only have a d6 hit die which means you are very squishy you're not gonna have a lot of hit points and it's pretty easy if you get too close up to the front for someone to land a critical hit on you and you are taking a nap so yeah you generally want to play the back lines because yours your weapons and armor don't exist yeah on the other hand Wizards do bring an interesting skill set in terms of their other proficiencies because they're one of the few classes that focuses on intelligence it means that they're one of the few classes that has a really high Arcana history and investigation skill modifier yeah which which really makes them a unique part to any team because most teams I find most parties have a severe lack of intelligence which kind of just makes your whole party a bumbling mess of it's like when you're playing the wizard you can feel safe knowing that you are the smartest one there and that you secretly know everything that's going on yes and this carries through into the Wizards saving throws they're proficient in both wisdom and intelligent saving throws one of the few classes that actually has this breakdown this means that really scary monsters like mind flares and intellect of ours and scary spells like feeble mind you're actually pretty resistant to these kind of effects that said you still probably want to be really cautious because you have the most to lose yeah wizard who loses their brain is not a wizard at all anymore sadly so yeah watch it watch out but you are more resilient to these things so it's great so there's a few feats that are very specific to spell casters one that you're going to want pretty early is war caster yeah it gives you advantage on your concentration checks which is like getting a +5 bonus so it's really important the one that you might want in addition to that is resilience for your Constitution this will boost your Constitution score and give you proficiency in Constitution saving throws having both these feats I can tell you from experience means that you pretty much never fail a concentration saving throw which is really handy for those critical battles where you need your concentration spelled will stay going there's also a feat elemental addict which is good for any blaster wizard yeah because it negates the damage resistance which are probably gonna choose for fire because fire spells are so good in this edition in my opinion I think that you should boost your intelligence to the maximum of twenty before you start taking feats but this is what makes the variant human so good because you can sneak in war caster or resilient right off the top and then boost your intelligence and then in higher levels you get to pick up the extra feats you want arcane traditions are the archetype feature of the wizard class and most of the arcane traditions are based on a school of magic everything from adoration all the way to transmutation and more all have an individual school and so the wizard specializations tend to focus around one school of magic and boosting spells associated that school of magic now Wizards also end up with I think the most if these are considered subclasses they have the most in the game yeah uh second only to declare Oh second uh because they get eight core specializations and then between the Sword Coast adventurous guide and the xanthus guide to everything they have two more in the published rules and a few other ones that on on are through Canada so they have a huge range of selections that said the are kind archetypes we're not going to talk about every single one of them in detail because really they're a small part of your class it's not one that you need to stress that about too much I recommend just pick your favorite school of magic and go with it yeah just because I played an evoker did not mean that I could not take spells from other schools of magic that's not the case here and that's a really important thing if you played prior editions of D&D where specialist Wizards had to give up schools of magic in fifth edition you don't have to do that for it's really just small boosts to those spells like as an Evoque er I could negate my party from being hit yeah by my blast II spells and you also get a small damage boost and then you get over channel which makes a spell deal max damage which I loved yeah combine that with fireball and you have a good day I loved playing the diviner on the other hand because I love information-gathering and as a diviner you actually get to get a spell slot back every time you cast a divination spell this is super cool because divination spells often aren't good in combat at all they're more suited for information gathering and it means that you don't have to feel like you're making that trade-off between getting more info and then contributing to the battle the diviner had that really cool ability that as a DM I absolutely despised him having with the dice important yes important is probably one of the most effective abilities across the the wizard's spell archetypes because portent allows you to roll a couple d 20s in advance to at first and eventually three you write down what you got and then at any time any role that anybody makes that you can see you can say ah don't even roll the dice this is what you get um it's a hugely effective ability because you can basically say that bad guy that just got hit with my disintegrate spell gets a one on a saving throw or you can use it to save yourself by the inverse but often I used it the other way around to force them to fail the first saving throw III think I'd also give an honorable mention to the minion man C of the necromancer because being able to raise up huge numbers of undead get necrotic damage resistance is really really cool if you want to play a necromancer though talk to your DM first because a your you might be playing an evil character as a result and managing the number of minions that you could have under your command as a necromancer can be a lot of work so let's talk about some of our favorite spells we're not going to be able to talk about all of them because there's hundreds yeah we're gonna we're gonna highlight some of my Monty's favorite categories of spells and some ideas on what to look at when you're playing a wizard I will say right off the bat that if you are having trouble selecting spells my advice is to just try them see what you like see what's working for you that said there's a couple broad categories that the spells fall under and I recommend as a wizard you want to have at least one spell of each category prepared or in your spell book our first category is blasty spells yeah things that blow up the world and that's my personal favorite that's why I played an evoker that's why I love fireball this is gonna include smells like burning hands shatter flaming sphere lightning bolt fireball ice storm cone of cold Chain Lightning I find that pick like one or two of yes that you have access to you want you want some way to you know when you're in combat to just be like I'm gonna do a mass amount of damage battlefield control or crowd control spells things like sleep leap wall of force wall forces hold person hypnotic pattering would be some really big recommendations here yeah these are less damage and more just like you're going to change the way the battlefields working using these phones yeah you might even bring into effect like cloud kill conjuring a cloud of poison or wall of fire it's gonna shape where your enemies can move on the battlefield and create a really potent effect now generally these are always gonna require your concentration so you want to choose these ones carefully don't load up on too many of these spells pick the ones that fit the circumstances you're going to be in because you're usually only going to use one of these per fight emergency spells is another category and emergency spells are things like shield or invisibility or mirror image counter spell of course tower spell ah these ones are super important because these are the spells you're gonna cast when the situation is turned really bad we mentioned earlier that Wizards are squishy well the shield spell can really help out with that yeah with a +5 bonus to your AC as a reaction yeah and of course we would be remiss not to mention the sheer power of counter spell and also that you need to watch it for it as well yeah counter spell is a critical tool in the wizard's arsenal it allows you to stop a spell before it even happens and I think that every wizard should bring it and it's one of those things because it competes with fireball so you have to think like am I gonna use the third level spell slot yeah so next up we have a little bit more situational spells and buff spells these are the type of spells that um you might not always use them in every situation but you want to pack one or two of them to help you solve some problems I think the top of my list for this one um is invisibility invisibility which is your get-out-of-jail-free card almost no oh well I mean sometimes you can use it in combat with greater invisibility yeah but the ability to use it to infiltrate a situation is amazing but this is where you'd also have spells like telekinesis yeah or teleportation circle to transport you around plane shift other spells like dimension door and Misty step the tactical teleportation spells that these spells the situations where you want to teleport are not going to always going to come up but they're gonna be really really useful when they happen a fly would be another one that I would throw in here not only sure when you're gonna use it but think about all the different environmental things that you can encounter or bypass with just a single spell stone wall or wall all right get through the castle walls so always be on the lookout for spells that you can use in interesting ways to really solve problems in a big way rituals which is a pretty big category and something we're going to be talking about in depth in it in a later video yeah the really cool thing with rituals is that wizards are the only class that doesn't have to prepare the ritual to cast it if their rituals in your spell book you can cast it without using a spell slot as long as you have your spell book with you yeah and rituals are mostly gonna be or should always be out of combat they are because they they take 10 minutes to cast but they could have really critical effects simply put just summoning your familiar is a ritual spell right you can alarm your campsite with alarm or create an impenetrable barrier that lasts eight hours with Lehman's tiny Hut you can also have things like water breathing or a telepathic bond between your entire party members because wizards are such flexible and powerful ritual spell casters it's a really important area to look at yeah so keep that in mind and we'll say that on the spell definition yeah say that it's a ritual yes oh just keep those in mind some spells can be cast as a ritual but can also be cast with a normal cast on normal case this would even include things like detect magic but usually you're gonna want to save your spell slots and use it as a ritual our last category for spells is information gathering these are spells like arcane eye scrying and contact other playing your divination spells which can help you understand the world around you and really are critical I think for the wizard because when you're using spells like contact other plain to talk to extra plainer sages or scrying to spy on your enemies this is giving you more power as a wizard because the more information you have the better you are able to choose the right spells to prepare yeah it's something that's really incredible and very unique to the wizard is the ability to kind of just spy on your enemies which is something that you don't get to do very often in D&D or if you're Monty and you use arcane AI you can just ask me the DM hey can I just fly my eye around the entire dungeon and map it all out and I couldn't think of a reason why I couldn't do that so he got the whole layout of the dungeon so now that we've talked about all the different things that Wizards can do why don't we talk about how to play them yeah there's tons of different role-playing ideas for wizards we talked about some of the inspirational ideas that like characters like Hermione Granger and Harry Dresden that you can draw on for ideas but I think that there's a couple questions that are unique to the wizard that you really want to think about when deciding how to roleplay that character and every wizard is searching for knowledge and and power and magic so that's that's not a good enough yeah I think that that's the common thread for most wizards want more arcane power so making a character that's solely motivated by that needs a little bit of an extra dimension like think about DAX your wizard that you played my evoker half elf wizard he was a half elf which made him kind of an outcast in his family so his whole thing was he wanted to prove himself worthy to his family of being their son by gaining more power and becoming the strongest wizard he could to prove a point so it was it was driven by by his family his want to fit in which was a little bit more than just he wants more power it was he wants more power because yeah where is my wizard Sebastian white Muir was outwardly a bit of a thought but a strategist because he was loyal to his nation and he was working kind of undercover to figure out what all these pirates were actually up to even though on the front end he was bluffing and pretending to be a pirate himself right and he knew that magic was the only way that he would be able to infiltrate this organization what a core question to ask yourself when you're making your Wizards backstory is how did you learn magic I think that saying that you went to wizard school is super cool and I don't see it enough wizard school is awesome and having those in your campaign worlds really helps explain why magic has spread but of course your wizard might have learned it from a dusty old tome that they found in their basement yeah but either way if wizards exist in your world that means the textbooks and and spell books exist in the world and that lore and knowledge of wizards exist in the world because they have to learn it by studying it yeah so there has to be a place that they went to study and find these old tomes perhaps they're old forgotten tomes or like Monty said perhaps there's a school and putting a wizard school in your world is so cool yeah and you can get tons of inspiration for that from like a wizard of Earthsea or the Harry Potter books yeah you know campaign about well you you really couldn't get an awesome campaign – what does your wizard do with their spell book how do they protect it what does it look like is your wizard spell book kind of looked like an artist sketch book that's been well-worn and it's pages are all frayed at the edges or maybe it's something crazy like a metal bound to matome with ayran plates all over it that you have to engrave lovingly into well so that's my evoker his spell book because he was a bit of a mess he was a bit of a cluttered person he really liked blowing things up and he was he was a little loopy his spell book was just like bound and rope and looked like it could fall apart at any second and he wasn't where nobody was really sure how exactly it stayed together it was like a rough collection of notes yeah just kind of tied together like that professor that's always running late yeah and yeah but your diviner what was he was super cool because he he had a gun and he had a bandolier of bullets that had the spells written on each bullet and he loaded the bullets into his magical gun which was really just a wand right we just kind of reflate it it was super cool so you can think of really cool ways to to treat your spell book yeah the the final sort of question to leave yourself with as as your wizard really comes back into that what is motivating them what do they want to do with their arcane power right they might be on a quest for knowledge but why are they on that quest for knowledge what are they looking for answers to and that can really drive your character um I like to give the example of Hermione Granger she's a brilliant person um but she's someone that is motivated by I want to help my friends and do what's right and I know that the only way I can do that is because I am smart enough to help them like straight up Hermione does everything in those books like who's Harry gets the credit but like she makes the plan and she executes sit and she knows that with it then like she loves her friends so she helps them out right yeah yeah in the best way she knows how a Doctor Strange should we talked about earlier yeah this man he's selfishly motivated to find a way to cure himself although he ends up flipping like once he learns the powers and learns how much evil there is in the world because of these powers he does flip that but isn't his initial backstory is I messed up my hands I hear there's powers out there that can help me and he is a very self-centered person and that's his backstory you know another one that's a kind of interesting motivation and I'm thinking of like mr. freeze and Rick Sanchez of like maybe you have a relative that died or is dying and you don't want to go to divine magic for that answer but you know that like maybe your Wizards goal is I want to research the clone spell so I can clone my dying brother before he passes away or I want to find the I want to learn the plane shift spell because my children were stolen from me by a demon and I need to know plane shift so that I can do that so I love to use like pick a high-level spell and say you're Wizards quest is to learn this high level spell I want the wish spell yeah everyone wants the wish spell but like but but it's it's reality-warping its definition but that's a great motivation if your character is like I want to learn the wish belt what would your character wish for so that's our guide to the wizard class I that this guide helps you wield the ultimate arcane power with aplomb and yeah wizards are easily one of my favorite classes to play yeah they are they seem like really complex on paper but once you get into it and start learning your spells and how they work and know that you could always change them out you'll be slinging spells like a pro if you want to learn about how spell casting works in Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition we do have a video that explains all of that right over here and if you're a DM looking to figure out how to make a villainous wizard we've got some suggestions on spells you might consider right over here thank you so much for watching the episode please subscribe to the channel and tell us your favorite spells and wizard tips down in the comments thank you so much for watching we'll see you next time in the dungeon




Comments
  1. I fricking love this book series, it’s called the Riftwar Cycle, although most people know it as “The Magician” series of books. Spoilers for those books, but it’s all based off a huge Homebrew D&D game, and looking back I’ve realised that the “mentor” magic character, as well as nearly all other magic characters in the world are all Wizards, who study and study for just a little bit of magical power, and that the main character is a powerful Sorcerer, who discovers that he can perform magic without times, without a focus, simply from his own inner well of magic. After being captured by a group from another world, come to invade, his innate magic potential is discovered by the magicians of that world, the “black robes”, and they take him in. In this world, they know of both magic’s, and they call his type “greater magic”, and the other type “lesser magic”. I think that’s really interesting, as looking back I can see it’s essentially wizardry and sorcery. That’s cool af

  2. Well my wizard's lowest stat is intelligence and he pretty strong, and most of his known spells are illusions and trick spells. He a trickster boi

    Should he be something else?

  3. I have I wizard warforged who was made as a servant in a mage guild to make potions, he was locked in a tower for all 5 years of his life with nothing but books to read.
    He eventually tried to learn the spells he saw on a daily basis. He also got beat a lot, he once poisoned himself and his punishment got him a peg leg.
    He eventually escaped the guild and has been traveling to learn more about the world, before meeting with the party, his name is Sar.

  4. I was wondering this for a while now if say a Druid uses sleet storm can a wizard use a low level electric spell on the pool of slushy water that’s made to create an AoE lighting effect?

  5. This is what I thought of when he said his wizard used a gun LOL https://youtu.be/jzcZ_vyqwHw Warning, it's more dramatic than Death Note.

  6. the tiny hut spell is awsome and is great when traveling. i dont use it but is good to have in your party.

  7. Enchantment is super fun. Nothing beats making a group of bandits trip balls or convince them to kill each other.

  8. I actually went full melee with my variant human wizard and she ended up being an amazing tank. She took Weapon Master off the bat, allowing her to start with great Intelligence and Dexterity (plus decent Constitution) as well as make the most of the Blade cantrips, and picked the Abjuration school, giving her that ever-increasing hitpoint buffer. Having mage armor up at all times and being able to recharge her arcane ward as a reaction with Shield and Counterspell on top of having a very high Armor Class resulted in her being incredibly hard to kill at low levels, and at higher levels she could still "tank" damage for the party by using Projected Ward to say "No you don't! I'm the one you need to worry about!" while still providing all the damage and control wizards are known for. By level 11, I'm pretty sure she'd only gone unconscious twice in the whole campaign – once to a crit at level 1, and again at level 10 when she basically sacrificed herself to let the party have one more turn to finish off the boss. I don't know if I'll ever have as much fun playing a wizard again.

  9. I love all your videos lads! You guys amongst the many dnd you tubers provide clear, concise videos well laid out with great ideas.

    If I could make a request, could you lads please provide some lore vids especially around this wizard mentioned that the creator of the forgotten realms used as I know precisely nothing about him.

    Keep up the good work! Thanks from the uk!

  10. Well, this was fun. Now I'm off to play the second session with my strength 18 wizard student who just wants set everything on fire so sha can return to her school and drink tea in peace and comfort…

  11. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM with getting the wishlist the RIGHT WAY UP????? I cannot RECALL the last playlist I watched that was correctly aligned. TF????

  12. I’m in the process of creating a wizard character who is pure wish fulfillment. She’s essentially me if I lived in a fantasy world and had the powers that I want to have – and she learns them because they’re cool. Specifically the school of conjuration perks, since being able to poof objects into existence every 6 seconds would make me unreasonably happy. (That said, this self-insert character DOES still have some life issues that she needs to work out and some motivation to go adventuring based on those issues.)

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