Wizards are among the most popular characters, and for good reason. Thanks to their wide selection of spells, they're among the most versatile and powerful characters in the game.
The Pros and Cons of a Wizard
The wizard is the party's magical powerhouse. She can boost her party's combat effectiveness, help her compatriots scout, and levy fiery magical assaults at the enemies. Depending on whether or not she specializes, she may have access to nearly any kind of arcane spell.
When you chose a wizard, you gain access to a wide range of powerful spells, but the class has a few hidden resources as well. Below are several assets you have going for you when you play a wizard.
Wizards pay a heavy price for their spellcasting abilities. Here are a few of the disadvantages you should keep in mind if you're considering a wizard character.
Playing a Classy Wizard
Great wizards usually use the following techniques. So if you're playing a wizard, try to incorporate them into your strategy.
As a wizard, you have to make many of your most important decisions before an adventure begins. Your most important piece of equipment is your spellbook, and its contents are largely up to you, so consider your choice of spells carefully. In general, it's best to include a mixture of offensive, defensive, and utility spells in a spellbook.
Once you've built your spellbook, you still have to choose spells for each adventure. Try to anticipate what kinds of effects you and your party may need during the upcoming journey and select your spells accordingly.
Because of your low hit points and Armor Class, you are among your party's most vulnerable members. So make sure you have a proper place in the party's marching order -- preferably in the middle, so that at least one ally stands between you and your foes.
Your party relies on you to deal the decisive blow in most battles, or at least to wear the enemy down with a steady magical assault. But if you're going to fulfill that role, you cannot be concerned only with your own safety. You have to stick close to the action. If you're using defensive spells, try to cast them ahead of time so that they're already running when a fight starts. You don't want to be fiddling around with them while enemies are overwhelming your party's front line.
Remember Your Friends
The sheer power you command as a wizard can make you cocky. In truth, however, physical attacks can defeat you pretty quickly, so you need the rest of your party for protection. In addition, you have to be careful not to become your party's worst enemy
The Party's Front Line: The rogue, ranger, bard, or monk in your group is likely to serve as a scout for the rest of the party and can often locate your foes for you. These characters, along with the party's more heavily armored individuals (particularly fighters and paladins), also form a fighting line that keeps enemies away from you. So be ready to support them with spells in case they get into trouble. And when casting your spells, be careful to aim them so that your friends aren't caught in their destructive effects. Nothing wears out your welcome faster than misaimed spells that hurt friends as well as foes.
Other Spellcasters: You probably aren't the only spellcaster in your party, so don't act as though you are. Divine spellcasters such as clerics and druids have potent spells too, and you should try to avoid duplicating what those characters can do when selecting your spells. The same courtesy also applies to other arcane casters. Bards and sorcerers have a limited spell selection, so put some effort into making up for gaps in their spell lists. If the group has another wizard, the two of you can coordinate your daily spell selections and swap spells for your spellbooks as well.
Some Key Equipment
As a wizard, your spells are more important to you than your gear. Nevertheless, a few pieces of the right equipment can make your career longer and happier.
About the Author
Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies, and he served as the sage of Dragon Magazine for eighteen years. Skip is a codesigner of the D&D 3rd edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (rabbits and deer are not Skip's friends) or works on repairing and improving the century-old farmhouse that he shares with his wife, Penny, and a growing menagerie of pets.
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