View Full Version : Change for Specialist Wizards (WIP)

2012-03-01, 03:35 AM
Hello all, I've been tossing around this idea for a while now but cant quite get it sorted properly.

Essentially when a Wizard opts to specialize he picks one of four options. These four options each contain two similar schools. As per normal in return for specializing the Wizard must give up access to two other options, in this case two pairs instead of two schools. This limits the wizards spell access while still keeping his versatility by allowing his benefits of specialization to extend to two schools. The pairs are set and cannot be altered. A side benefit of this is that hopefully the more under appreciated and underused schools will get more attention at the table, and will lead to more balanced gameplay if you can control individual problem spells.

The only problem is that I cannot seem to get the school combinations right.

Edit: Altered pairs
- Evocation and Abjuration (using energy for offense and defense, good thematic link but a little weak)
- Enchantment and Illlusion (good thematic link, fairly balanced)
- Necromancy and Conjuration (Thematic link, but powerful)
- Transmutation and Divination (Not much link, and powerful)

As of now I've pretty much set in stone Abjuration with Evocation and Illusion with Enchantment, but cannot decide which of the other four should go together. Transmutation and Conjuration are too powerful to go together, so which do they match with most from necromancy and divination? Please let me know which ones you like better an why:

Transmutation with Necromancy, and Conjuration with Divination
Conjuration with Necromancy, and Transmutation with Divination

I'm leaning towards conjuration with necromancy because of the summoning and creation aspects but transmutation seems to be the ugly duckling. Conjuration works with both but transmutation only sort of works with either.

EDIT: I was also tossing up the idea of the extra spell slot that a specialist wizard gets be spontaneous for his specialized pair only, but i was concerned if that would be too much.

2012-03-01, 03:53 AM
I dunno if this will help, but I suggest you check out the Order of High Sorcery from the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. The mages there are divided into three different groups. Black robes (Evil, Necromancy/Enchantment), Red robes (Neutral, Illusion and Transmutation), and White robes (Good, Abjuration and Divination).

Lots of fluff too. Pretty fun stuff.

2012-03-01, 05:49 AM
Actually, might I suggest:

Necromancy and Divination, as both are used for divinations, and Evocation and Abjuration, which both manipulate energy and are useful primarily in battle? Conjuration and Transmutation are, really, versatile enough on their own.

2012-03-01, 04:37 PM
I was thinking evocation possibly with transmutation because of the similarity (magic-wise) between creating and altering. That way i could put a bad school with a good one.

In the same way i was thinking necromancy with conjuration as you are dealing with forces explicitly beyond the material plane (negative energy and planar summoning)

But that leads to divination with abjuration. Is that balanced? Do they even fit? I guess they share a common theme of protection and a less offensive solution to problems...

2012-03-01, 05:14 PM
I'm going to analyze this from a theory, rather than fluff, perspective. From that perspective, I would be very hesitanat baout putting illusion and enchantment in the same pair, because at low levels it can be very good, but at high levels it will start to be very bad, as many monstrous opponents are immune to enchantments and humanoid opponents will likely have Mind Blank and/or True seeing up. In short, if you're playing in a campaign which has system-savvy enemies, the Enchantment/Illusion pair will be hard to make effective past the low-mid levels.

From what I have read and my own experience, I rank the power of schools in this approximate order (each ranking is plus or minus 1):


So generally schools nearer the top of the lost should be paired with ones form the bottom of the list to make the options somewhat balanced. However, we can find fluff ways of doing this fairly easily.

For instance, I would put Illusion and Evocation together. You will rarely find things with both high Will and Reflex, so they complement each other well. Also, certain illusions can be thought of an energy manipulation, just like Evocation. What is ghost sound but a more precise, controlled shout? Evocation is the violent, large-scale manipulation of energy, while illusion is the small-scale, precise manipulation of energy.

Conjuration and Divination can go together. First, divination is small and conjuration is big (not as big as transmutation, but still). Also, some divinations could be thought of as a lesser teleportation or gate effect that only allows light and sound (or "information") through. Casting contact other plane is a window, casting gate is the door.

I would put Transmutation and Enchantment together; one is manipulating people's minds, one is manipulating people's bodies and surroundings. From a balance perspective, this works out OK since few things have both good Will and Fortitude saves, and if something's immune to enchantment it is unlikely to be immune to transmutation. The beauty of transmutation is even if your opponent is immune, the ground he's standing on isn't.

Finally, I would put Necromancy and Abjuration together. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a default choice since these are the only two schools left. However, it can be made to work. Necromancy has a nice selection of debuffs and effects that target various saves, and abjuration has all the sweetest defensive abilities. Between minions, fear auras, and prismatic spheres, a Necro-Abjurer would be very difficult to kill.

2012-03-01, 06:07 PM
I would be very hesitant about putting illusion and enchantment in the same pair.

Thats a shame. I always thought they fit so well, both being based on tricking and manipulating the mind and perception.
Also my aim was to put similar schools together, not the ones that compliment each other best, like conjuration and necromancy for summoning, or divination and conjuration for planar contact. If I were to pair complimentary schools there would be no downside to specializing as all you would need would be in your pair and not really giving up anything for it, even if you lost access to four other schools.


I was never really able to rank the power of the schools, so this is a major help. Thankyou :smallsmile:

Going by this we can sort out some good pairs:

- Evocation (8th) with Transmutation (2nd). Perfect.
- Conjuration (1st) and Divination (6th). Should work out OK.
- Illusion (3rd) and Enchantment (7th). Should also be OK.
- That leaves Necromancy (4th) and Abjuration (5th). Dead center and I cant think of many links between the two.

Or alternatively
- Evocation (8th) and Abjuration (5th). Works very well thematically but isn't as powerful as the rest.
- Necromancy (4th) and Conjuration (1st). OK thematically but too powerful.
- Divination (6th) and Transmutation (2nd). Not great thematically and a little powerful.
- Enchantment (7th) and Illusion (3rd). This combo seems most natural for me.

EDIT: I think the problem I am facing is that some schools (especially conjuration) have too many links where others really only have one (abjuration in particular). Could conjuration work with evocation in some way? i cant see summoning being too related to creating, but i cant see altering being any closer to creating than summoning is.

Another way to do it instead of ranking it might be by categorizing. For example
Energy: Evocation, Abjuration. One for offense and one for defense
Physical:Transmutation, Conjuration. One for changing and one for moving.
Mental: Illusion, Enchantment. One for the mind, one for perception.
Other: Divination, Necromancy. Not really that similar, but speak with dead might provide the connection It needs.

2012-03-01, 08:28 PM
You could utterly tear apart the Illusion and Necromancy schools, and dump the mind-affecting fear spells and phantasm spells into Enchantment, the energy-manipulating negative energy and figment spells into Evocation, etc. and cut down to only having six schools.

Illusion and Necromancy, for the most part, are 'theme' schools, unlike Abjuration or Transmutation.

Create light? Evocation. Create darkness? Evocation. Create *colored* light? Illusion. Create damaging sound? Evocation. Create non-damaging sound? Illusion again.

Make someone angry? Enchantment. Make someone sleepy? Enchantment. Make someone love you? Enchantment. Make someone fear you? Enchant...omancy! Make a person obey you? Enchantment. Make an animal obey you? Enchantment. Make a plant obey you? Enchantment. Make a construct obey you? Enchantment. Make a zombie obey you? Hmm, let me dominate a necromancer to cast control undead for me...

Dropping down to six schools allows you to beef up Enchantment and Evocation quite a bit, and the others schools here and there.

Abjuration and Divination will still end up the ugly ducklings, but pairing them with schools that are already pretty buff could help.

Divination and Conjuration *or* Abjuration and Conjuration both make good thematic pairings. (Abjuration and Conjuration particularly, as one 'pushes stuff away' and the other 'calls stuff to you.')

Divination and Transmutation could have a sort of alchemical feel, as a pairing, with the spellcaster first analyzing and understanding what he wishes to transform.

That would leave Evocation and Enchantment, 'though, and I got nuthin' for how those two would make a thematic pairing... :)

Conjuration and Evocation thematically could work, if one thinks of Evocation as just calling in fire from the elemental plane of fire, lightning from the quasi-elemental plane of lightning, etc., etc. All evocations pretty much are conjurations anyway, under that paradigm. Conjuration calls up the fire *elemental*, and the various sentient critters from those planes, while Evocation is limited to raw planar energies and forces.

2012-03-01, 08:34 PM
You could utterly tear apart the Illusion and Necromancy schools, and dump the mind-affecting fear spells and phantasm spells into Enchantment, the energy-manipulating negative energy and figment spells into Evocation, etc. and cut down to only having six schools.

You forgot the incredibly important part about animating and creating undead. That's not Evocation or Enchantment at all. (It's not transmutation either, transmutation deals with changing the shape of things, not bringing a semblance of life to something)

2012-03-01, 09:01 PM
Can anyone provide a link between divination and transmutation for me?