Wizards get two new Arcane Traditions (sort of) in this week’s Unearthed Arcana…
That’s right, get those spellbooks ready and take a moment to think back to a time when you had a d4 hit dice instead of a d6, then be glad that someone actually has to hit you and mean it–instead of just looking at you kinda funny–if they want to kill you. Because Wizards are getting two new Arcane Traditions from Wizards. Oh man. This is gonna get confusing.
Two traditions this week–Theurgy and War Magic. Now some of you might have seen Theurgy before (as it is basically a slightly clarified reprint of the last time the Theurgist showed up in an earlier Unearthed Arcana), but it’s still worth digging into as it presents several interesting options for Wizards. Same with War Magic, though that offers much less flexibility than the former.
Religious magic-users follow the arcane tradition of Theurgy, and are commonly known as theurgists. Such spellcasters are as dedicated and scholarly as any other wizard, but they blend their arcane study with religious devotion.
The tradition of War Magic blends principles of evocation and abjuration. It teaches techniques that empower a caster’s spells, while also providing methods for a wizard to bolster their own defenses. Followers of this tradition are known as war mages.
Let’s take a look!
As you might have guessed from the name (and also the blurb) theurgy is all about combining Arcane and Divine magic. Take this tradition to become a little more cleric-esque. The big features of this tradition Divine Inspiration which lets you choose a Cleric Domain and Arcane Initiate which lets you add the chosen Domain spells to your spellbook as you level up, instead of adding a wizard spell. And, for clarity, these spells are wizard spells that are unique to you (so you can never share). But more importantly, once you’ve added every Domain spell to your spellbook, you can then choose to add any Cleric spell instead. You have to follow all the usual steps–you need to have slots available for casting it if you’re going to learn it, you have to prepare it, etc. Which mostly means that by the time you hit 10th level you can be picking your own Cleric spells, if you focus on it.
Unless you choose the Arcana Domain, because then you get four extra arcane spells at 17th level. Well, 14th level (see below). But then you have to wait until you get a 9th level spell slot to learn all your domain spells.
As you might guess, the rest of the class is all about making you more like a cleric. So you’ll gain the ability to Channel Arcana, which is basically Channel Divinity but you can only use the option from your Domain OR the crazy bananas Theurgy option which lets you add +2 to either your attack roll or the save DC of the spell you’re casting. So. You can’t turn undead. Poor baby, I guess you’ll have to settle for picking Tempest Domain and doling out Maximized Lightning Bolts instead, because why wouldn’t you.
Or just gain the Domain’s 1st-level feature at 6th level. Or their 6th level feature at 10th level. And this may seem like a raw deal, but the capstone ability of this Tradition is called Arcane High Priest and it lets you take your Domain’s 17th level ability at 14th level instead, because you’re so clever. This one seems pretty powerful–you get some high level type effects a good deal sooner, and you’re still a wizard so you keep gaining spells.
I really like this one. It’s not nearly as dramatic as Theurgy or as broken/overpowered as Lore Mastery path (which should definitely be changed), but it’s a solid build for a Wizard who wants to be able to have a little more durability/functionality in a fight. The only real criticism I can think of is that the 14th level ability is super-underwhelming, especially considering the abilities that other Wizard traditions get at 14th. But aside from that. it’s pretty solid through and through.
And I feel like it will be an amazing Wizard tradition for any gish types (Eldritch Knights in particular) that want to multiclass with Wizard.
For starters you get Arcane Deflection which lets you use your reaction to either boost your AC by +2 or your Saving Throw by +4, which means you’ll probably make your save–it’s not quite a Shield spell, but that’s okay, this just costs your reaction. However, until the end of your next turn, you can’t cast any spell that isn’t a cantrip. This feature lends itself to multiclassing, because other classes (especially like an Eldritch Knight or whatever) have plenty of non-spell options they can use after defending themselves. Wizards
Tactical Wit is fantastic–you get to add your Intelligence bonus to your initiative. Add. Not replace, so if you want to pump your Dex a little you can get a leg up in the going firstest with the mostest department. Speaking of the mostest, at 6th level you get Power Surge, which lets you roll two extra damage dice (by spell) any time you cast an AoE that makes more than one creature take a save (which is a convenient work around for spells like Scorching Ray which CAN hit multiple targets, but the damage dice are split up). Like I said, a really solid choice–and then on top of that you layer in Durable Magic which grants you a +2 to your AC and Saving Throws while concentrating on a spell, and you’ve got a lot going for you.
Which makes the 14th level ability a little underwhelming. Any time you use your Arcane Deflection you deal damage equal to half your wizard level to each creature within 10 feet of you that you choose. I mean it sounds kind of cool, but at 14th level it’s really underwhelming. Especially since dealing that damage comes at the cost of casting an actual spell for your next turn.
All in all, two interesting options for the Wizard. More important than either of those, though, let me encourage you to go and fill out the survey for the Mystic. Psionics are back and that was a really big rules-dump last week. So take some time and offer up your feedback on that. Hopefully we’ll get to see an official version of Psionics pretty soon.
Wizard! — now both a class AND an exclamation (thanks to a young Anakin Skywalker).