Wizard Specialization


Advice


I was wondering what people suggested for wizard specialty school. I am debating between evocation, conjuration, illusion and divination but I am not sure what I want to do yet. I think it will depend on my group and what they are playing. so far we have a cavalier, fighter and an inquisitor.

Silver Crusade

Looks like the rest of the party are all focused on dealing damage already, so I would recommend skipping evocation.

As for the other choices, here are some ways you can use them if chosen:

  • Conjurer would be neat to have; you can summon flanking partners for the party.
  • Illusionist can be used for fooling enemies into doing your bidding and some battlefield control.
  • Diviner can be used to detect almost anything you can think of, even spying on enemies before facing them. They are useful for spotting traps, invisible enemies, etc.

Hope that helps you in your decision.


Well, what kind of spells do you want to throw out a lot of the time? That would probably be the first cut.

Generally, wizard schools either have great spell lists (conjuration) or great school powers (divination), but not both. Keep in mind that you can always back up your school with spells from other schools (an evoker doesn't have to evoke; an illusionist can create real things as well as just illusions; a diviner can blast; and so on.)

Your opposition schools deserve some thought -- generally people dump two of evocation, illusion, enchantment, and necromancy (keeping in mind that you CAN cast one of these spells by using two slots, if need be.) Conjuration and transmutation are both very powerful, no one wants to drop abjuration, and smart people realize the value of divination.)

Evocation is nice if you want to be a blaster -- you can search for "blaster wizard" and see all kinds of advice on that. It's easier to play than a conjuror or illusionist, but perhaps not as powerful. This school works better if you're regularly facing lots of small foes (area effect damage is HUGE against crowds, sort of meh against big single monsters unless you REALLY focus on it) -- know your GM and what he usually does. If the rest of the party is all about damage-dealing, you can either finish/weaken enemies with them, or provide the stuff that damage-dealing doesn't handle by itself.

Divination has an awesome, awesome school power (going first is always great; always acting in the surprise round is beyond great), but your extra spell slots will be filled with so-so most of the time. It's a great school if you have time to think and plan and anticipate, and use your divinations to guide your other spell selections so you'll always have the right tool to pull out, your party is seldom caught by surprise, etc. Warning: discuss high-level divination spells with your GM out of game before using them! Stuff like legend lore, commune (from many improved familiars), and contact other plane can break the mind of an unimaginative GM and change many plots beyond recognition.

The fundamental requirement of an illusionist is that you and your GM be on the same wavelength with regard to what illusions can and can't do (unless you restrict yourself strictly to defensive buff spells), and secondly that you have high situational awareness. Illusionists are all about fooling people, and you can't do that right unless you have some idea of how they see the world and what they'd be expecting/not-expecting. Thinking on your feet is necessary!

Conjuration is very powerful, perhaps the most powerful of the schools, but you tend to accomplish your aims by indirect means (attacks by monsters summoned into flanking positions, protecting your friends by creating barriers rather than casting buff spells, etc.) You need to be willing to work with your fellow players and set things up for them, rather than directly killing enemies yourself.

Silver Crusade

tonyz wrote:

Well, what kind of spells do you want to throw out a lot of the time? That would probably be the first cut.

Generally, wizard schools either have great spell lists (conjuration) or great school powers (divination), but not both. Keep in mind that you can always back up your school with spells from other schools (an evoker doesn't have to evoke; an illusionist can create real things as well as just illusions; a diviner can blast; and so on.)

Your opposition schools deserve some thought -- generally people dump two of evocation, illusion, enchantment, and necromancy (keeping in mind that you CAN cast one of these spells by using two slots, if need be.) Conjuration and transmutation are both very powerful, no one wants to drop abjuration, and smart people realize the value of divination.)

Evocation is nice if you want to be a blaster -- you can search for "blaster wizard" and see all kinds of advice on that. It's easier to play than a conjuror or illusionist, but perhaps not as powerful. This school works better if you're regularly facing lots of small foes (area effect damage is HUGE against crowds, sort of meh against big single monsters unless you REALLY focus on it) -- know your GM and what he usually does. If the rest of the party is all about damage-dealing, you can either finish/weaken enemies with them, or provide the stuff that damage-dealing doesn't handle by itself.

Divination has an awesome, awesome school power (going first is always great; always acting in the surprise round is beyond great), but your extra spell slots will be filled with so-so most of the time. It's a great school if you have time to think and plan and anticipate, and use your divinations to guide your other spell selections so you'll always have the right tool to pull out, your party is seldom caught by surprise, etc. Warning: discuss high-level divination spells with your GM out of game before using them! Stuff like legend lore, commune (from many improved familiars), and contact...

What tonyz said, he articulated it better than me.


Necromacy.
Necromacy, every time.


Foresight (Divination sub-school) is really cool. I'd say that it has the best school abilities. But on the other hand, your school spell slot will be filled by a divination spell, which isn't very good. Not terrible, as it will free up your normal spell slots from those spells when you need them and now you're always prepared for those times. But it would be nicer with some other spells.

Conjuration/Teleportation is great if you're going to summon. The extra conjuration spell is also nice.

Illusion/Shadow are both quite usefull, ability wise and also spell wise.

Evocation is probably the best if you're going blaster, though I'd say that Versatile Evocation from Admixture makes that sub-school more attractive.


Having played wizard, Conjuration is your go-to for a wizard if you want to support your players. With so many front line fighters you would want to support them anyway you can, and Conjuration gets it done. Necromancy can be a close second for anything that would be detrimental to your front-line, and Divination has those very useful abilities. At the end of the day it is your choice what to play, and like what was said before, you can still cast spells from all the other lists, you just get those extra spells for your specialized school and powers, so think carefully about what you pick at the end of the day.

Grand Lodge

I love my necromancy as it is my favorite school. I love using an adventures undead against them. Plus properly played they get stronger as the dungeon wears on. Plus necromancy has a good number of spells that have reduced effects on a save. I do not feel as I wasted a spell if they save.

Typically conjuration is an easy to win with school. This is easy mode to me. Conjuration spells have a lot of impact on the board.

Illusion is hard to pull off and deffinatly up to how the DM plays it out. I consider it a DM fiat school. If you don't know the DM and his take on these I would avoid it.

Enchantment can be fun and strong if your playing the right campaign with weak will saves.

Transmutation come online later than the rest. Harder to play earlier than later than most specialties. But has mid-late game payoff.


The teleportation subschool of conjuration is especially nice from what I hear.


You might check out the elementalist schools from the Advanced Players Guide as well. I play an air elementalist, and have loved it through 11 levels. One selling point: you only get a single opposed elemental school, and even that can be removed after 9th level with Opposition Training (the arcane discovery from Ultimate Magic).


I only have experience with 1 specialization so I may be a bit biased (played to 13 in PFS), but my favorite is a Divination wizard that casts mostly Conjuration magic.

Pros:

Amazing school power, I picked the foresight subschool and it was powerful from low levels all the way to the end. Prescience stays relevant in and out of combat. At the start of your career, you can use it 7-8 times a day, and that can grow to 10+. Knowing you are going to succeed on a touch spell before you cast it is soooo valuable, and knowing you have a good chance to crit (when you roll a 20) is pretty sweet too. Many times I would decide what I was going to do in combat based on what my precience roll was. "oh I got a 17 on precience, I'll cast this dazing something or other, I'll use that 17 on my CL check to overcome SR", "hmm, rolled a 2 on prescience, I'll hold onto this acid arrow and summon a monster instead"

The level 8 school power is super strong and comes on around the time you can afford a lesser quicken rod (maybe a level or 2 later). standard action -2 to all enemy saves, quicken rod a glitter dust or pit... yes please

All of that and the scaling bonus to initiative, always acting in surprise round, there is no downside.

No downside: Some have mentioned that you usually have to pick a school with great powers and weak spells, or weak spells but mediocre powers, this is not the case with divination at all. The powers are great and can almost change the battle on their own, and the spells, well you should want at least 1 divination prepared in every level anyways.

level 1: Heightened Awareness- Such a good spell, at low levels, cast before opening a door or starting a dungeon crawl, at later levels, keep it up all the time if possible

level 2: See invisibility- sometimes you will not need it, but when you do, you will be glad you have it. (sometimes can be negated by preparing glitterdust, sometimes not) at mid levels, with a lesser rod of extend, this can last most/all of a dungeon with 1 cast

level 3: not amazing options but Tongues and Arcane sight got me out of some tight spots, and often I would just prepare another Heightened Awareness here (initiative is king)

level 4: Named Bullet! if you have an archer in your group this spell is amazing. enchant an arrow or bullet beforehand, mark it with prestidigitation and explain how it works to the simple fighter. automatic crit threat, targets touch ac (within 30 yards) extra damage/CL with the only downside being you have to overcome SR if the target has it, lucky you have prescience... giving an almost auto crit to an archer (x3) or gun wielder (x4) is crazy.

level 5: Telepathic bond is so useful, and if you need more combat utility, just prep another named bullet instead

level 6: True Seeing, Greater Named Bullet, Battlemind Link

I'll stop there, but you get the idea.

If you decide to pick Divination as your specialization, you get all the above for free. From their you are free to pick your feats and such for another school. Take Spell Focus: Conjuration, Acadamae Graduate, Augment Summoning and summon in allies as a standard action. "Hmm I need to make a fortitude check or become fatigued after summoning as a standard, good thing I used Prescience and auto succeed!" The great thing about picking Divination as your school is you get all those benefits and don't have to put a feat into divination at all, most (if not all) the spells are not affected by feats, so use those on the other spells you want to cast.


I tend to sack Enchantment unless I absolutely know I am going to specialize in it. Too much of enchantment can be hosed with Protection from whatever, a first level spell. Then I tend to sack *gasp* divination. Not because divination is a bad school it is absolutely eyeball explodingly awesome, but a lot of what you can do with it can be accomplished in the downtime when spell slots aren't at a premium. The only spell from divination I find to be irreplaceable is True Seeing, you'll get sunglasses that can give you that eventually.

So that leaves us with what school to spec in. Other party members are Cavalier, Fighter, Inquisitor. Not much to go on there without knowing what their shticks are but we can assume you will be casting buffs a fair amount. That makes Transmutation a bloody good idea. Enlarge Person, Stat Buffs, Fly, Haste are all Transmutation, also transmutation is a huge school so lots of choices for that extra spell slot.

Lets say you aren't going to be a buffer, but a battlefield controller. Okay then you are likely to be a Conjurer, Summons, Planar Binds, Pits, Walls and Clouds ohh my. Not sure what to memmorize in your shiny spec slot? Outside of character levels 1-3 you could throw the appropriate summon monster spell in there and be fine.

Illusion can break the game or can be boned by table variation, without knowing your GM, I can't in good conscious recommend specializing in it.

Evocation is all about the meta magic, intensify, dazing empowered (maybe), rime, maximize those burning hands and fireballs as much as you can. Dip XBlood Sorcerer for damage die additive, perhaps consider playing School Savant Arcanist Admixture instead of wizard for semi spontaneous casting (makes some metamagic shenanigans easier), heck with the bloodline development exploit you basically trade the Arcanist capstone, for the sorc one, also in this case pick up See Magic exploit to cover some of the divination you gave up. The other option is use evocation to push people around, big hands of force and the like, toppling spell can help in this regard but becomes hyper weak as you go up in levels so use with care and perhaps retrain.

And for the one school you didn't list. Necromancy. Necromancy gets a bad rap as being all about blarg evil undead stuff. However, necromancy sports some strong debuffs and a smattering of decent blasts should that be needed. Just watch out some nasty good spells carry [evil] so make sure you don't toss those around like candy. At first level you have ray of sickening, chill touch (damage + Str Damage or send undead running), Cause Fear nice little time out, and if you ever become living impaired, are a dhampir or happen to pick up necromantic affinity you can even heal yourself a bit with Repair Undead. Second level you have False life, Ghoul Touch, Stricken Heart, Blindness/Deafness, Command Undead. All Good Times. Third level Howling Agony, Marionette's Possession, Ray of Exhaustion. Fourth is enervation and we all know how that can be meta magicitified into a powerhouse, add to it Boneshatter for a nuke, Bestow Curse for giggles, for a little evil stuff Shadow Projection (protip use it on your familiar it is hilarious [evil] though), round out with Fear.
So yeah consider necromancy as a possible spec.

Regards,
DRS


Evoc is fine. Divination is great for the powers, and utility. Conjuration is solid as heck. I'd just steer away from Illusion because it's not worth the trouble of learning your DM unless you're super into the idea of illusions.


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned transmuter. So...

Transmuter!

Transmuters have a great spell list. You could take illusion, enchantment or necromancy as opposed schools and still end up with lots of options. The best thing about transmutation spells, is that a lot of spells are "enablers" or "power multipliers" for the rest of your party.

For instance, consider theses spells:
- fly and mass fly
- enlarge person
- jump
- haste
- disintegrate (hand for making impromptu doors)
- darkvision
- spider climb
- baleful polymorph
- ...etc.

And they have a very nice set of spectacles.

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