Another in my SRD series.
The wizard is perhaps the most core concept yet. They are the lowest hit die, lowest armor proficiency, lowest physicality class going. This lets them turn the dial all the way up on their spells in theory. But if years and years of D&D have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t have “spells” as the thing you’re uniquely best at, because there’s a spell for everything and the wizard just shouldn’t get them all. Gotta save room for the Cleric and suchlike.
But: here we are. Since I wrote the “interlude” piece, I’ve somewhat reconsidered, but I had proposed a split along Alchemist, Astrologer, Enchanter and Summoner.
I’m not disagreeing with past-me, but it might be nice to add some other currently archetypeless nouns to our mix: philosopher? Apostate (thanks, Dragon Age!)? Guild Mage? War Mage?
I’m still of the belief that specialties aren’t a natural fit for the wizard, who is by nature an adaptive generalist. Your real class features — your spells! — derive from moldy tomes! The “pyromancer” or “enchanter” or “necromancer” subtypes all fit better in other classes, with more support.
So let’s revisit that list.
The SRD evoker becomes our War Mage: we’ll drop Evocation Savant (the cheaper/quicker spell copying feature) in favor of light and medium armor proficiencies at second level. Otherwise it’s as writ.
The Apostate is a wizard who has broken their dedication to the strictures of magic and given in to a corrupting power. They generally pose as a member of some other subclass, and indeed, a wizard may trade in their previous subclass to assume this one.
Eldritch Influence: beginning when you select this tradition at 2nd level, your study of and allegiance to some supernatural source (aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead, selected when you select this school) infuses you and your magic. Select one of those creature types as your eldritch type. At the end of each long rest, you may consider your creature type your native type or this eldritch type until your next long rest. As a special rule, celestials and fiends each consider the other type their own for purposes of features below.
Eldritch Spells: At 2nd level, whenever you cast a spell whose target is restricted to “humanoids”, you may instead target your current creature type. Any other conditions, targeting restrictions etc remain.
Eldritch Transformation: At 6th level, you may become your eldritch type as an action, and become your base creature type at the end of a short rest.
Eldritch Attributes: At 6th level, when you become your eldritch type, gain the effects of the alter self spell without expending a spell slot. You select the attributes of the alter self spell when you first use this ability each long rest, resuming the same form each use until your next long rest.
Eldritch Insight: Beginning at 10th level, when a creature of your creature type is immune to the conditions or damage type of a spell or ability you control, that immunity is suppressed and instead they have advantage on the save (if any) and resistance to its damage (if any). When they have the resistance trait to the damage type, it is suppressed.
Eldritch Apotheosis: Starting at 14th level, you may assume the features of a creature of your chosen type. Expend a spell slot; replace your character with a creature of your type of Challenge less than or equal to twice that spell slot for 1 hour or until you end a short rest, using your hit points and store of spell slots to power any Innate Spellcasting trait with a frequency designator other than at will, and replacing the spellcaster trait with access to your own spells. Any effect that would end or check concentration ends or checks this ability (though it does not otherwise consume concentration); if it ends in this way the DM controls your character for the remainder of its duration.
Alchemists are mages which study the nature of matter, life, magic and the influences between them. Their powers are direct, controlling matter and energy in perceptible ways. They are also most skilled at storing energy for later in the form of potions or triggered magical items.
Brew Unstable Potion: beginning when you select this tradition at 2nd level, you gain the ability to cast spells of less than 5th level into an unstable potion during a short rest with access to proper tools; you may have up to your intelligence bonus in such potions at one time. The unstable potion remains effective so long as the slot used to craft it remains expended; you may elect not to refresh the slot if you wish when that option is presented to you. When you craft the potion, select all parameters for the spell except for the target: the spell targets the drinker (or is centered on them) and consumes their concentration as appropriate.
Minimum Opus: Also at 2nd level you expend half the necessary gold and time when crafting.
Infuse Elemental Distillate: At 6th level, you may add your intelligence bonus to one damage roll each round of a spell or effect which deals fire, acid or poison damage.
Counter-reaction: At 6th level, you have advantage on saves against poison, petrification and polymorph effects.
Calcinate/Sublimate: At 10th level, once per long rest you can cast gaseous form or stoneskin without expending a spell slot, material components or concentration.
Parvulum Opus: At 10th level, you expend one-fifth the necessary gold and time when crafting.
Magnum Opus: At 14th level, you expend one-10th the necessary gold and time when crafting. You may craft unstable potions without expending spell slots, though you are still limited to a number equal to your intelligence bonus (and which last until you replace them or 24 hours). You may create golems as though using a manual of golem crafting (though note that this is a ritual, not crafting), as well as homonculi and other novel creatures with DM agreement.
An Astrologer is a Mage who holds themselves apart. Their powers are the most subtle, because they deal with cosmic forces and the ebb and flow of celestial magic. They are in some ways very clerical in nature, dealing with divinatory, protective and meta- magics.
Horoscope: At 2nd level, your spellbook can also include birth charts for creatures (as though they were spells). Each birth chart is a spell of 1st-5th level (your choice when scribed). You can craft a chart as though scribing a spell into your spellbook; to do so requires that you know either i) the target’s true name, ii) the target’s birthdate and birthplace (within the granularity of a few hours and a few miles), or iii) the patterns of the target’s finger- and palm- prints. To prepare a birth chart into a horoscope, while you are preparing other spells expend a spell slot of the proper level. Roll 1d20 once per level of the spell and record the results in your prepared slot; until the end of your next long rest you may substitute one of those results (in order) for a d20 roll which the subject was about to make (or which would be made for an attack on the target), crossing it off the list (this is not an action; limit one per round).
Subtle Magics: At 6th level, when you expend a spell slot to cast an abjuration or divination spell, you regain a spell slot which is of lower level than the discharged one and lower than 5th level.
Predict Behavior: At 10th level, you may discharge one die from a horoscope to gain the effects of an augury concerning the behavior of that creature as an action.
Defensive Cantrips: At 10th level, when you use your action to cast a cantrip, you may take the Dodge, Dash or Withdraw action as a bonus action.
Glimpse: At 14th level, you cannot be surprised and have advantage on initiative checks. During the first round of combat, your attacks gain advantage and attacks against you gain disadvantage.
Servant of a more worldly power than other mages, Guild Mages are bonded to the order which taught them their powers, and derive several benefits from their continued membership.
Interchange Spellbook: At 2nd level, you may treat any spellbook you encounter as your own, preparing spells and performing rituals, regardless of tradition; you don’t need to copy the spells out. This doesn’t apply if the spells are specifically encoded.
Supply Power: At 2nd level, as an action you may expend a hit die and a spell slot of up to 5th level to allow a spellcaster within 30 feet to temporarily regain a spell slot of the same level. They lose this slot at the end of your next turn if not used. You may also send this power, along with a short message of up to 25 words, to a guild power-bank.
Bonded Mage: At 6th level, you gain the ability to offer your services to another. You gain the ability to cast geas targeting yourself without expending a spell slot. This requires 10 minutes and can be done once per day. The terms of your service are specified in a written contract held by another, with a minimum duration of one day. While you are under such a contract, you can end the charm and frightened conditions on yourself with an action, but are considered both charmed and frightened of the holder of your contract, no save.
Receive Power: At 10th level, your mastery of the guild gives you access to enormous stores of stabilized power. Once per short rest, when you expend a spell slot to cast a spell, regain a spell slot of a level lower than the expended one and equal to or less than 5.
Echo Spell: At 14th level, your influence within the guild is so extensive that you can have your spells “echoed” for you. Once per day when you cast a spell of 5th level or below, you may use a bonus action to conjure a semi-real shadow wizard in your space. It immediately casts the same spell, maintaining concentration as appropriate, and otherwise controlling the spell as you direct.
Theologians investigate the nature of the deities and of the mortal race’s nature. As a result, they gain some granted power which stretches the bounds of mortal power.
Divine Thesis: At 2nd level, select a clerical domain. You gain the domain spells feature, considering its prepared spells as prepared for you. If you have levels in cleric, your wizard and cleric levels combine for access to domain spells (and you must use the same domain for both).
Divine Synthesis: At 6th level, your continued researches yield fruit. When you cast a spell known through the Divine Thesis feature, you gain your wisdom modifier + the spell level temp hit points.
Divine Dialectic: At 10th level, you gain the ability to speak with any creature that has a language using Infernal or Supernal, which you also gain (if you did not already know).
The Highest Good: At 14th level, whenever you complete a long rest, you gain the benefit of a sanctuary spell until the end of your next long rest (though it can end early as per normal).