So I was excited when I heard of the spell forbidding Ward and thought “finally an ally abjuration!”, then found out it wasn’t arcane...
What’s even worse, diviners seem to have an even smaller selection of spells, with their extra spellslots they’re forced to take true strike and comprehend language before they get real divinations. See invisibility sucks because it doesn’t fully negate invisibility and it’s the same spell level as invisibility itself too, just throw flour. True strike is very meh as not all diviners will use attack rolls often (they’re probably tied with enchanters for most politically inclined types) and is literally the only first level spell for diviners
Necromancers are probably in a similar situation, traditionally they’ve also never been real necromancers until they finally raise undead, but seeing goblin pox in the list seems promising, haven’t bothered looking anything up.
Why are all early abjuration wizards just crappy tanks? Why are necromancers and diviners worse off or even better universalist wizards until they get create undead and clairvoyance?
I think the main reason is that wizards (and necromancy in general) in terms of abjuration and divination are flavoured around very specific high level effects. Conjurers just make stuff and have a plethora is spells, transmutation gets literally everything that doesn’t fit into any other school, enchantment and illusions are focused on lower level effects, but abjuration wizards and divination wizards are different.
For divination, anything with any sort of uncertainty gets an “unexact witchcraft” connotation and gets removed and placed into divine and occult, like augury. Which sucks, I could want to make for example an astrologer or fortune teller wizard and have literally no spells to help with this, as anything regarding the future will have uncertainty and therefore no chance of being an arcane spell, and anything exact is either so basic everyone will take it anyway (detect magic) or so specific you need to beg the DM. Or 3rd level spell level and later.
For abjurers, any early helpful spell is occult/divine for some reason? I think it’s because they’re specific in a slightly arbitrary way, like forbidding Ward targets an ally or enemy and stops one from targeting the other, and this goes against the exact, academic nature of a wizard I guess. Abjurer flavour wise are probably thought of as magic circle users, excorcists (though they compete with divine casters for demons and occult casters for spirits) and these tend to be high level. There are a few good ones like endure elements though.
I think that the spell lists should be expanded for these schools, but a short term solution is a specialist school only wizard feat that lets you choose one spell per level to be from another list but same school.
As for examples of cantrips/low level spells for abjurers, necromancers and diviners:
Aura’s whisper - cantrip
You may target an object in range or a place you are in. You may read or place a message in the target’s aura. If you place a message, you may choose a subject. If you read the aura you hear a random message placed earlier that you have not heard, filtered only to the subject or specific message if you choose to only listen for a specific message or subject. Anti magic and any dispel magic on the target clears their aura.
Penetrate wall - 1st level spell 1 hr or until dismissed
Target a 5 ft circle on a surface - the spell fails if the surface is over 5 ft thick to the other side. A faint symbol appears on the other side of the surface, and the target circle shows what is behind the surface as if it were an inch thick hole.
(Heighten increase duration, size/thickness, or make symbol invisible)
Repulsion aura - cantrip
Target creature rolls fort save if unwilling, or you may choose which degree of success occurs otherwise.
Critical success: target is unaffected
Success: target is surrounded by an unstable force aura and gains +1 to tAC but -1 to attack rolls until the end of your next turn
Failure: target gains +2 to tAC but -3 to attack rolls until the end of your next turn
(Heightened increase bonus and penalty)
Bone club - cantrip
raise a floating bone. You may use an action to move it 30 ft, or make it take the strike action. It deals 1d3 damage and uses your spell attack roll. Any bone may move as many times per turn but only strike once. They may flank, or take the trip action. They each have one health and an AC of 14
(Heightened - raise 3 bones at once, increase damage)