Clad in the silver robes that denote her station, an elf closes her eyes to shut out the distractions of the battlefield and begins her quiet chant. Fingers weaving in front of her, she completes her spell and launches a tiny bead of fire toward the enemy ranks, where it erupts into a conflagration that engulfs the soldiers.
Checking and rechecking his work, a gnome scribes an intricate magic circle in chalk on the bare stone floor, then sprinkles powdered iron along every line and graceful curve. When the circle is complete, she drones a long incantation. A hole opens in space inside the circle, bringing a whiff of brimstone from the otherworldly plane beyond.
Looking over the ancient tomes, a tiefling searches frantically for details of a spell that will uphold the mystic seal over her ancestral home. When the impossibly heavy doors swing open behind her, she turns to face the temple’s guardians as her sword is wreathed in shadow.
Mages are drawn to magical energy, defined and united by it. They study these energies that permeate the cosmos, seeking understanding of magic.
Scholars of Magic
Wild and enigmatic, varied in form and function, the power of magic draws students who seek to master its mysteries. Through study and rigorous practice, mages are able to unlock magic that pervades the multiverse using arcane words and gestures to elicit magical effects. Spells require expertise attained after years of apprenticeship and countless hours of study.
Mages live and die by their spells. Everything else is secondary. They learn new spells as they experiment and grow in experience. They can also learn them from other mages, from ancient tomes or inscriptions, and from ancient creatures (such as the fey) that are steeped in magic.
The Lure of Knowledge
Mage’s lives are seldom mundane. The closest a mage is likely to come to an ordinary life is working as a sage or lecturer in a library or university, teaching others the secrets of the multiverse. Other mages sell their services as diviners, serve as a guard or in military forces, or pursue lives of crime or domination. A few mages aspire to become like the gods, shaping reality itself.
But the lure of knowledge and power calls even the most unadventurous mages out of the safety of their libraries and laboratories and into crumbling ruins and lost cities. Most mages believe that mages in ancient civilizations knew secrets of magic that have been lost to the ages, and discovering those secrets could unlock the path to a power greater than any magic available in the present age.
Creating a Mage
Creating a mage character demands a backstory dominated by at least one extraordinary event. How did your character first come into contact with magic? How did you discover you had an aptitude for it? Do you have a natural talent, or did you simply study hard and practice incessantly? Did you encounter a magical creature or an ancient tome that taught you the basics of magic?
What drew you forth from your life of study? Did your first taste of magical knowledge leave you hungry for more? Have you received word of a secret repository of knowledge not yet plundered by any other mage? Perhaps you’re simply eager to put your newfound magical skills to the test in the face of danger.
Choose an archetype, which grants you features.
Wizards are supreme magic-users, defined and united by the spells they cast. Drawing on the subtle weave of magic that permeates the cosmos, wizards cast spells of explosive fire, arcing lightning, subtle deception, and brute-force mind control. Their magic conjures monsters from other planes of existence, glimpses the future, or turns slain foes into zombies. Their mightiest spells change one substance into another, call meteors down from the sky, or open portals to other worlds.
Your Intelligence increases by 1, and one other ability increases by 1.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
(a) a quarterstaff or (b) any simple weapon
(a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
The study of wizardry is ancient, stretching back to the earliest mortal discoveries of magic. It is firmly established in fantasy gaming worlds, with various traditions dedicated to its complex study. The most common arcane traditions in the multiverse revolve around the schools of magic. Mages through the ages have cataloged thousands of spells. In some places, there are literally schools of magic, a combination of certain themes. In other institutions, the schools are more like academic departments, with rival faculties competing for students and funding. Even mages who train apprentices in the solitude of their own towers use the division of magic into schools as a learning device, since the spells of each school require mastery of different techniques.
Choose an Arcane Tradition
Choose an arcane tradition, which grants you features.
Archivists seek out esoteric sources of lore, wherever those sources might be, securing those secrets for themselves and their fellow scholars. The promise of uncovering new knowledge or proving (or discrediting) a theory of magic is usually required to rouse an archivist from its laboratory, academy, and archives to pursue a life of adventure.
Followers of this tradition are a bookish lot who see beauty and mystery in the application of magic. The results of a spell are less interesting to them than the process that creates it. Some archivists take a haughty attitude toward those who follow a tradition focused on a single school of magic, seeing them as provincial and lacking the sophistication needed to master true magic. Other archivists are generous teachers, countering ignorance and deception with deep knowledge and good humor.
|Level||Proficiency Bonus||Features||Arcane Discoveries||Mana||Mana Limit|
|1st||+2||Arcane Power, Second Wind||2||2||1|
|2nd||+2||Arcane Inspiration, Arcane Secrets (2), Arcane Study (1), Feat (1)||4||3||1|
|3rd||+2||Abilities Increase (1), Skilled (1)||6||5||1|
|5th||+3||Arcane Secrets (3), Focused Concentration, Resilient||10||8||2|
|6th||+3||Feat (3), Skilled (2)||12||9||2|
|7th||+3||Abilities Increase (2)||14||11||2|
|9th||+4||Arcane Secrets (4), Arcane Study (2), Resilient, Skilled (3)||18||14||3|
|11th||+4||Abilities Increase (3)||22||17||3|
|12th||+4||Feat (6), Skilled (4)||24||18||3|
|13th||+5||Arcane Secrets (5), Quickened Cantrips||26||20||4|
|15th||+5||Abilities Increase (4), Skilled (5)||30||23||4|
|17th||+6||Arcane Secrets (6), Arcane Study (3), Quickened Cantrips, Spell Mastery||34||26||5|
|18th||+6||Feat (9), Skilled (6)||36||27||5|
|19th||+6||Abilities Increase (5)||38||29||5|
|20th||+6||Feat (10), Signature Spells||40||30||5|
You are a student of arcane magic.
You can learn spells from themes you know in the Arcane power source.
You know one theme of your choice and the Divination theme which is considered to be from your power source.
The spells that you add to your spellbook as you gain levels reflect the arcane research you conduct on your own, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had about the nature of the multiverse. You might find other spells during your adventures. You could discover a spell recorded on a scroll in an evil mage’s chest or in a dusty tome in an ancient library.
Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a spell, you can add it to your spellbook if it is from a theme you know, costs equal to, or less than, your mana limit, and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.
Copying that spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the mage who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation.
For each mana cost of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 75 sp. The cost represents materials you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it.
Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell. You need spend only 1 hour and 20 sp for each mana of the copied spell.
If you lose your spellbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you know into a new spellbook. Filling out the remainder of your spellbook requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal. For this reason, many mages keep backup spellbooks in a safe place.
The Book’s Appearance. Your spellbook is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous spellbook in a mishap.
You have a spellbook. Each time you gain a Wizard level you can write the spells you learn from that level into your spellbook without expending any sp, though you still must spend time writing them. Choose one theme, the silver and time you must spend to copy spells from this theme into your spellbook is halved.
You gain two arcane discoveries as shown on the Arcane Discoveries column of the Wizard table. An arcane discovery grants one of the following options:
- Learn a new theme and a cantrip from it.
- Learn two cantrips from the themes you know.
- Learn a new spell from a theme you know in your power source. The spell must cost equal to, or less than, your mana limit. If the spell costs 2 or more mana, you must know a number of spells from the spell’s theme equal to the spell’s mana cost minus 1.
When you gain a level in this class, you gain two additional arcane discoveries and you can choose a cantrip you know and replace it with another cantrip from a theme you know or you can choose a spell that costs 1 or more mana and replace it with another spell that costs 1 or more mana from a theme you know, following the restrictions above. If the replaced spell is in your spellbook it disappears from your spellbook.
You know three cantrips and three spells of your choice from the themes you know.
The Wizard table shows how much mana you have to cast spells. To cast a spell, you must expend mana based on the spell’s cost.
You regain all expended mana when you finish a long rest and regain half your total mana (rounded up) when you finish a short rest.
There is a limit on the amount of mana you can spend to cast a spell. The limit is based on your mage level, as shown on the Mana Limit column of the Wizard table.
Spells using 5 mana
Spells using 5 mana are particularly taxing to cast. Once you cast a spell using 5 mana, you can’t cast another spell using 5 mana until you finish a long rest.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence when setting the saving throw DC for a spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence
Spell attack = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence
You can cast a spell from a theme you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag. Additionally, you can cast a spell in your spellbook as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and is from a theme you know.
You have a limited well of energy that you can draw on to protect yourself from harm. As an action, you can spend up to half your Health Dice (minimum one). For each Health Die spent in this way, roll the die and add your Constitution. You can decide to spend an additional Health Die after each roll. You regain health equal to the total.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
You can call a spell to mind that suits your needs. On your turn with your spellbook in hand, you can cast a spell in your spellbook as if you know it. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
Also, on a short rest you can choose a number of spells you know up to half your proficiency bonus (rounded down) and replace each of them with another spell in your spellbook from a theme you know, which must cost equal to, or less than, your mana limit. On a long rest you can choose and replace a number of spells equal to your proficiency bonus.
You have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. When you learn a spell, you can learn a spell from any theme even if you do not know the theme. You can learn two spells in this way.
You can learn up to three spells from any theme at 5th level, up to four spells at 9th level, up to five spells at 13th level, and up to six spells at 17th level.
You have studied themes from other power sources. Choose one theme from the Divine, Occult, Primal, or Psionic power source. That theme is considered to be from your power source. You must be capable with the Primal skill to study a Primal theme, Occult skill to study an Occult theme, Psionics skill to study a Psionic theme, and Divinity skill to study a Divine theme.
At 9th level and 17th level one additional theme is considered to be from your power source.
A feat represents an area of expertise that gives a character special capabilities. It embodies training, experience, and abilities beyond what a class provides.
You gain a feat of your choice from the general feats or from a theme you know.
You gain additional feats at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th level.
When you gain a level, you can choose one of the feats you know and replace it with another feat that you could have learned when the replaced feat was chosen.
Increase two abilities of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability above 5 using this feature.
Your abilities increase again at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.
Choose a skill you know or from from your skill list to improve your proficiency with.
- If you are untrained, you become capable
- If you are already capable, you become proficient
- If you are already proficient, you gain expertise with that skill.
At 6th level, 12th level, and 18th level you can choose a skill that is not from your skill list.
If you fail a Fortitude saving throw to maintain your concentration on a spell, you can use your reaction to reroll the saving throw.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again.
Choose Fortitude, Reflex, or Will saving throws to become capable with, or proficient if you are already capable.
Choose another saving throw at 9th level.
When you cast a 1 mana spell as an action, you can cast a cantrip as a bonus action. Starting at 17th level, when you cast a 1 or 2 mana spell as an action, you can cast a cantrip as a bonus action.
You have achieved such mastery over certain spells that you can cast them at will. Choose two spells that cost 1 mana that you know and are in your spellbook. You can cast those spells at their lowest mana cost without expending mana when you know them. If you want to augment either spell, you must expend mana as normal.
By spending 8 hours in study, you can exchange one or both of the spells you chose for different spells of the same mana costs.
You gain mastery over two powerful spells and can cast them with little effort. Choose two spells that cost 2 mana or less and are in your spellbook as your signature spells. If you know the spells, you can cast each of them once at 2 mana without expending mana. When you do so, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
If you want to augment either spell, you must expend mana as normal.