• Justin Handlin

Class Analysis: Wizard

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Crit Academy breaks down the features of the Wizard in the Dungeon and Dragons Player Handbook. We touch on the mechanics and how they function, as well how we would reflavor them to give them a fresh and unique feel.

The Wizard is a class that needs no introduction, powerful spellcaster who studies night and day to unravel the secrets of the cosmos. Being a wizard gives you a wide variety of versatility as a player. From spells such as fly, shield, teleportation, and so much more. But, lets be honest. The real reason everyone plays a wizard, fireball! Cause let's be real..who doesn't like to blow stuff up? Fireball is one of the most iconic spells in all of roleplaying, but its not the only thing they can do. The wide variety of spells and effects has just as much variety in how they are presented. Making it very simple make your wizard different and unique from every other one. For instance let's look at the shield spell. Part of the text says "An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you." Well that isn't interesting at all. But, if you've decided to play a Tiefling a race of once humans with an infernal bloodline. So, as a wizard, reflect that in you shield spell. A barrier of burning flame erupts to stave off the attack, or your body is momentarily surrounded by flames from the Nine Hells, warding off the blow.

When creating your wizard and backstory, make sure consider how it will shape your spells from a flavorful roleplay perspective.

Unearthed Tips and Tricks: New and reusable D&D content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept:

Monster Rights Activist

You’ve been hired to clear the local mine of kobolds, so you pack up your weapons and

armor and head off with your adventuring party. After you slay kobold after kobold, you

kick over a crude barricade and raise your weapon with the intent to kill, and you see a

clutch of baby kobolds cowering in fear behind their wounded mother who is guarding them

with her body. Are you going to kill them, or are you going to let them go? After all, they’re just monsters… right?

The Monster Rights Activist is a character who seeks not to slay monsters but to find a way to

coexist with them. Not all monsters; be they humanoids, or aberrations, or magical beasts are mindless killing machines. Many of them have hopes, dreams, social structures, and so

on. Who are we to say which ones should or shouldn’t die? How do we know WE aren’t the


A Monster Rights Activist could be of any race and class, and there doesn’t even need to be a unifying method of how they do what they do. They might focus on subduing enemies rather than killing them (either by knocking them unconscious in melee or by casting spells to paralyze them or put them to sleep), or they might try to go against the rest of the party by sneaking ahead and warning monsters that an adventuring party is coming. If they can get a family of gnolls to a safe place before someone comes through and kills them all, then they consider that a job well done.

Monster Variant:

Hexing Urd

These rare flying kobolds are infused with innate magic. While they are often physically

weaker than their common counterparts, they have wings to keep them out of harm’s way.

Although their physical prowess is lacking, they use their flight and magic to place debilitating curses upon their enemies, lace their taunts with subtle magic, or create illusions to distract their foes long enough to grant their allies an opening.

Origin: Kobold

New Features:

Innate Spellcasting. The kobold’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:

At will: minor illusion, vicious mockery

3/day: bane

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (2d6 - 1) bludgeoning damage.

Encounter Concept:

One of a Kind

The players are hired to investigate the disappearance of a town’s cattle. After some

investigation, and maybe a stake-out or two, they witness a shocking sight: an incredibly rare

albino griffon swoops in, grabs a cow, and takes off with it. After some tracking, the heroes are able to locate its lair while it feasts and are left with a choice: should they kill this rare creature or leave it be?

A DM can replace the albino griffon with any monster (even a homebrew creation) that would be incredibly rare within the game world. You could even present something that is literally one of a kind (such as the last of a given species). The intention is to make the players have to choose between causing a species to go completely extinct or letting

it continue living its life to preserve its existence. If the players aren’t sure what decision

to make, feel free to have NPCs sway them in both directions. The creature’s kind may have

been hunted to extinction due to rare and valuable reagents harvested from their corpses (griffon’s blood, flumph’s teeth, etc.), so killing it could be very lucrative; however, a

local Monster Rights Activist might be campaigning to save this creature’s life, and

killing it might end up having legal and environmental repercussions.

In the end, it’s up to the players to decide what to do, so make sure it’s a difficult


Magic Item:

Cloak of Vigor

Wondrous Item, rare (requires attunement)

From the outside, this cloak looks like an ordinary, sturdy all-weather cloak. However,

when worn, its magic becomes apparent: the inner lining is incredibly plush, and it feels as

soft and thick as a fine mattress wrapped in silk sheets. The wearer feels like they could wrap

themselves up and get the best sleep of their lives even on hard ground as long as they were

wearing this cloak.

Whenever the wearer gains the benefit of a long rest, they regain an extra Hit Die, and they

recover two levels of exhaustion rather than only one.

DM Tip:

Overpowered Monsters

Let me ask a question: how often do your players run away from combat? Probably not very often. Escape may not always be an option but chances are your players probably never run away because they’re used to monsters always being an appropriately-levelled challenge for their party. While this isn’t a problem in and of itself, it can engender an attitude within your players that will make them feel like their only option in any case is to just keep attacking.

If this is something you would like to change, then the first thing you can do is to stop keeping combats appropriately-levelled! Throw a legendary monster at your party that is far, far too high of a level for your party to defeat. Don’t necessarily have it run in and kill the party a TPK is rarely fun and it might make your point a bit too well, but let the players see it (and make skill checks to determine whether they know how impossible of a fight it would be) so they can decide to avoid the encounter if they wish. This will teach your players that they aren’t the biggest fish in the pond, and if you make this a semi-regular occurrence then it will constantly remind them that running from combat is always an option.

Player Tip: Don't be a Dick! You can avoid dickitude by...

Keeping your drama away from the table!

You’re having a terrible day. You got written up at work, your bank account is overdrawn, you

got a flat tire this morning, and you left your wallet at home so instead of lunch you had to

get by with an old packet of crackers you found under the microwave. The only thing that can cheer you up is your D&D game, so when you walk into the room and see all of your friends around the table flipping through rulebooks, the first thing you do is… complain about your day and unload all of your baggage on them. Right?


Gaming with your friends is a great way to blow off steam, but remember that it’s not

your personal therapy session. I’m sure your friends will be willing to help you out if you

need something, but they all left their problems behind so that they could be at the table and have a good time. You should try to do the same. Use D&D as a way to get your mind off of the stresses in your life instead of using it to ruminate in them. If you have an issue with a fellow player, talk to them before or after the game; don’t bring it to the table. If you’re worried about something going on tomorrow and there’s nothing you can do about

it today, then leave that stress at the door. The only thing you should be worrying about at

the gaming table is how much HP you have, whether to use that potion, and who’s chipping

in for pizza. When you walk in that door, you should be focused on having a good time and

helping your friends have a good time - nothing else. If your elective pastime is as full of stress as your workplace, then something went wrong!

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