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Why Wizards Don't Suck

Rutaq of the Broken Skull

Rutaq's Verdict: "Kin yoo say arty…uh…artill…uh…BOOM!"

Ah, another foray to change the minds of those who are still 3E-challenged. This time we are taking on the wizard class in all it's arcane glory. The wizard, though not a jack of all trades like the bard, is a master of all situations through the variety and increasing power of his spells.

The wizard is a natural case for the naïve to disparage because of the limitations - small cadre of available weapon choices, has to prepare spells ahead of time, small hit die, non proficiency with any armor - all of which seem to make the casual observer of this class completely turn off. However, those who have followed wizards over the development of the DnD system remember when pretty much the only viable choices of weapon for the wizard were dagger, dart and staff, there was never a chance to wear armor and you had only one spell at 1st level, period.

Third Edition has done a great deal to empower wizards at low-levels. Whereas we used to see wizards running up and casting Magic Missile at the orcs, then running and hiding behind the great altar, we now see wizards that can use crossbows and bows, clubs, sickle and several other weapons as well as being able to spend a feat to allow them to use any weapon they choose. Speaking of feats, those wizards that want to wear armor can now do so via feat selection.

Much of the development going into the wizard will depend on the type of wizard, and moreso, the type of character, that the player wants to play. From the unusual combat-oriented half-orc wizard to the ranged-attack halfling wizard, you have an amazing amount of choices. Are you going to be the wizened old "Gandalf" wizard in robes with a flowing beard or the halfling equivalent to "Elvis?"

Don't forget that rounding out a good wizard may prompt you to add a second class. Perhaps you want to add a few levels of Rogue to round out your thief-mage character, augmenting your thieving skills with spells like Knock, Spider Climb, Dispel Magic and any of the shadow and summoning spells. Certainly a 3rd Wizard/3rd Rogue has a great advantage of having a number of spells plus the opportunity to do +2d6 damage when he is able to sneak attack. Or, combine wizard with fighter and gain extra feats and the ability to use all weapons and armor.

On their own, however, they pack a lot of firepower. An 18 Intelligence will give the wizard an extra spell at first through fifth levels, and choosing a specialist class will give the wizard yet another spell per level. In addition, by 8th level, the wizard can up that Intelligence score to 20, giving him an extra two spells at first level and so on. Thus, the sorceror's daily limit of spells is less of a differentiator, and the wizard can always learn new spells to apply to whatever situation he may be walking into, whereas the bard and sorceror are very limited in spell choice.

In addition to the obvious abilities, wizards also get a special feat every five levels to spend on metamagic feats, item creation feats or spell mastery. Unlike the other classes, the metamagic feats used by a wizard don't extend the spell's casting time to a full round.

Wizards are an excellent and powerful spellcasting class - you'll find no finer dealer of damage or incapacitator of baddies than the wizard. As my RPG group and I have found recently, living without them is extremely difficult.

Thanks to the great guys over at Black Orc for Rutaq's orc logo. Visit them at

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