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The Very Basics of Wizardry So, you're a wizard.

Or rather, you're a geek, pretending to be a wizard, while the guy to your right pretends to be charismatic and good with people plus a master at assassinating people, the guy to your left pretends to be a slutty lesbian elf princess, and the guy across the table and behind the screen is indulging his power fantasies and would probably be getting off on it if not for his erectile difficulties--but hey, it's not like he's ever touched a girl, so the only person he's disappointing is himself. Anyway--you're a wizard. What does this mean? Traditionally, it means that at level 1 a house cat is a serious threat to you, while at level 20 you're "weak" to the same extent that OJ is "looking for the real killers". As a wizard, you don't have lots of HP, you can't swing swords well, and you try to stay as far away from things that want to kill you as you can while still drinking the tasty, tasty XP from their corpses. What you do have is spellcasting, and a familiar (which is more of a danger than an asset--until you hit level 11; more on that later). If you're playing a wizard, you already know you can cast spells and are really squishy, so let's get to the details.

The Wizard and his Adventuring Buddies, AKA "Those Chumps Who Hit Things For You, Stop Things From Hitting You, And Heal You When You Need It, While You Do All The Important Stuff" The traditional adventuring party has four people, filling the roles of Meat-Shield, Skill-Monkey, Heal-Bitch, and Batman. You're--as Frank Miller put--the goddamn Batman. Your job is to do whatever it is that needs doing, unless it falls into the category of "hitting things", "healing things", or "using skills that aren't Knowledge or Spellcraft". Since this is D&D, "whatever it is that needs doing" will mostly be killing things (and, of course, not getting killed yourself). To this end, you will cast spells that help you and your poor, ignorant, inferior companions (read: party), and hamper your enemies. Your Utility Belt You cast spells (well, either that, or hoard them all, not wanting to waste them, and therefore wind up sucking). Spells can do lots of different things. There are several general categories of spells: -Defensive Buffs: spells that make it more difficult to kill you and/or your allies. -Offensive Buffs: spells that make it easier for you and/or your allies to kill others. -Utility: mostly useful outside of combat, these spells help you accomplish general tasks. For example, Rope Trick helps you rest without being eaten at night, Detect Secret Doors helps you find where people hid stuff, et cetera. -Offensive Spells: this category includes anything that does something someone doesn't like to them. There are a number of different kinds of these. --Save-or-Die: These make people do what it says. This is good because that's what you're trying to get people to do, a lot of the time. Example: Finger of Death --Save-or-Lose: These don't kill people, but they might as well. If they succeed, the fight is effectively won; all that remains is clean-up. Example: Fear. --Save-or-Suck: These don't make them lose by default, but they certainly make it a lot more likely. "Debuff" spells that hamper foes like Glitterdust, Slow, et cetera all fall in this category. The line between these and Save-or-Lose spells is pretty blurry. --Direct Damage: These spells, by and large, suck. Occasionally, they're useful, but when a good mage wants something damaged, he tells the fighter to go hit it. If it's hard to hurt, he buffs the fighter first. --Battlefield Control: These spells shape the battlefield in your favor. They make enemies stay away from you or otherwise do what you want, they buy you time, and so on. Examples: Solid Fog, Grease. --No Save: These spells do bad things to people, and people can't do a damn thing about it. Not too many of these, because they're so damn good.

-Useless Crap: some spells just plain suck, period. This category covers things like Tenser's Floating Disc, Hold Portal, Detect Undead, and Shout. What kind of spells do you want? Well, you want some of each--except, most of the time, direct damage. Those are occasionally useful, and will be mentioned later, but in general, avoid them. Why? Because everyone else can do damage, and often, much better than you, while you can also do all the things no one else can. Leave damage to the guys with pointy sticks; you have better things to do. Think Your Cunning Plans All the Way Through Spells. Don't pick them haphazardly--either to learn or to memorize. Which spells should you pick? That depends on what you're doing and what you specialize in. Here's a general selection of good spells: Bread and Butter: PHB spells Level 1: -Alarm: utility, and kind of a defensive buff--it keeps you from getting eaten by a moose while asleep. -Protection from X: defensive buff--the +2 AC/saves vs. X is nice, but the real kicker is the fact that it supresses all charms and compulsions. Very useful for low-will-save types. -Shield: defensive buff. Gives you +4 AC. The goodness is obvious. -Grease: battlefield control that can even be save-or-lose. Note that it forces balance checks, and creatures who don't have 5 ranks in balance are flat-footed while making balance checks... which means the party rogue can sneak attack away. -Mage Armor: defensive buff, so you're not TOTALLY squishy. Hours duration, as much AS as a chain shirt. What mage doesn't take it? -Mount: utility. Situational--sometimes, you need a horse to get somewhere quickly. The real use of Mount, though, is to combine it with Disguise Self and Magic Aura, get rid of the mount's magic aura, disguise yourself as someone else... and sell the horse to someone. -Identify: utility, needed to identify magic lewts. -True Strike: Offensive buff for when your touch-attack spells are having trouble hitting. -Charm Person: Utility/Offensive: it makes people your friends. That's all sorts of useful. -Sleep: Save-or-Lose. Sleep is the low-level "win spell"; even a cleric with 18 WIS only has a +6 will save at level 1, and with 18 INT you can have a DC 15 Sleep, 16 with focuses. That's a pretty solid chance of a failed save. With a 10-WIS fighter or rogue, it's a great chance. -Color Spray: Save-or-Lose. Similar to sleep, but it keeps being good for a lot longer. At levels 1-3ish Sleep is better because Color Spray is short-range and thus more likely to get you poked with a pointy stick. -Silent Image: Utility. It's an illusion. Use your creativity. -Ray of Enfeeblement: No save. Heavy strength drain can make a fighter useless--he suddenly can't move in his heavy armor! It's always good for dropping people's AB and damage, too. No save, like most ray spells; hitting with the ranged touch can occasionally be an issue. -Enlarge Person: a great low-level buff. Give your fighter reach and a strength bonus. Level 2: -Glitterdust: With a Will save vs. Blindness, this is a save-or-suck that affects an area. It can pretty much win battles for you, as the fighters have to contend with suddenly significantly less dangerous enemies. -Web: Battlefield control, this keeps people stuck and makes them move through it slowly if they aren't stuck. -Detect Thoughts: Utility. This is useful in all kinds of social situation. Haven't you ever wanted to know what someone's thinking? -See Invisibility: Utility and, in many ways, a defensive buff. Invisible people who want to hurt you are bad, because it means they're likely to actually do so. -Shatter: one of the few good Evocation spells, at low levels, this rocks the house as an offensive spell cast against enemy armor; later on it becomes utility (who needs to pick locks?). -Mirror Image: a great defensive buff. People have a good chance to miss you and hit your image. -Invisibility: utility that can be used as a defensive buff--hard to hit you if you can't be seen. -Bull's Strength: this becomes pointless once you have +STR items, but when you can first get it, it's a solid

offensive buff. Put it on the fighter and he can hit things better and harder; it'll wind up doing more damage than Acid Arrow. -Rope Trick: once you hit Caster Level 9 (or extend it at CL 5), this spell is the perfect place to rest and prepare your spells in dungeons, the wilderness, et cetera. Level 3: -Dispel Magic: because you're not the only spellcaster around. -Magic Circle Against X: defensive buff; all the goodies of Protection From X, but longer-lasting (10 min/level) and covering everyone within 10' of the recipient. -Protection from Energy: defensive buff. Useful if you know what energy to expect ahead of time. Fighting fire elementals? Protection from Fire will help. -Phantom Steed: Utility. At first it seems meh, but then you realize that the horse can eventually fly (hours-duration Fly spell, effectively), and has a movement speed of 20 ft *per caster level*. At level 5, that's 100'. Take Ride ranks, and you can have the phantom horse move in, cast a spell, and have it move back. It caps at 240', which is pretty damn fast. -Stinking Cloud: Save-or-Lose. Nauseated creatures can't take standard ations, and thus can't hurt you. Plus, it makes for handy battlefield control, since others will want to avoid it. -Deep Slumber: Save-or-Lose. Like Sleep, but up to 10 HD; good for the same reason: you can just one-shot sleeping things. -Wind Wall: defensive buff. Another of the Evocation school's few good spells. This keeps you safe from archers. All archers. -Ray of Exhaustion: Save or suck, exhaustion is -6 STR and -6 DEX--and if you save, you get fatigued anyway, for -2 to each. -Vampiric Touch: temporary HP. Hurt others, heal yourself. -Fly: defensive buff. Mobility. If they can't reach you, hurting you is harder. At low levels, Fly + Wind Wall makes you pretty much untouchable by everything except spellcasters. -Haste: offensive and defensive buff. It makes everyone move faster, which is handy for mobility--and gives them an extra attack per round. A fireball deals 5d6 at level 5--that's 17 average damage on a *failed* save. A fighter can do 17 damage a hit at level 5, and with Haste, he'll be getting an extra attack each round. The damage from those will pile up above and beyond what the fireball most likely accomplished. -Magic Weapon, Greater: offensive buff. Obviating the need for weapons with a better than +1 bonus since 3.0. -Slow: a save-or-suck that's almost a save-or-lose. Multiple target, Will save (fighter and rogue weakness), and they can only take a move or a standard action. Run circles around them--they can move up to you OR hit you, not both! Just stay out of reach of a partial charge. Level 4: -Dimensional Anchor: stop the BBEG from teleporting out. -Black Tentacles: battlefield control that gets less useful over time. Grapple the enemy mage so he can't get away! Grapple the enemy rogue to keep him useless! -Dimension Door: control/utility/defensive--get out of trouble (i.e. out of grapples, or away from Silence areas if you have Silent Spell on it), or into places you shouldn't be. -Resilient Sphere: trap enemies, or protect yourself with it. -Solid Fog: a great, great battlefield control spell. No save, no SR, and they move at 5' a round when they're in it. -Confusion: Save-or-Lose. This spell can turn a difficult encounter into a cakewalk. Suddenly, the enemies are all ineffectual! -Greater Invisibility: attack and stay invisible. The party rogue will love this--sneak attacks galore. You'll love it, too, since it'll let you be safer when casting in combat. -Enervation: 1d4 negative levels. Negative levels impose penalties to saving throws, and make spellcasters lose spells. A great spell to metamagic; it actually comes into its own as you get higher in level. -Fear: Save-or-Lose, like Confusion. Level 5: -Teleport: now you can Teleport out of danger... or into it. This spell has a variety of uses, including getting to your sanctum when you're low on spells and in a dangerous place (and teleporting back later). -Wall of Stone: Battlefield control. Putting a big, long wall of stone wherever you want lets you shape the battlefield

like woah. -Telepathic Bond: utility, get it Permanencied at higher levels. Instant communication between party members. -Prying Eyes: utility/defensive; a scouting system that's useful in many places. -Dominate Person: Save-or-Lose. Dominate an enemy. have him fight another enemy. You win. -Feeblemind: save-or-lose; other spellcasters beware! -Hold Monster: paralyzing things lets others one-shot them. -Shadow Evocation: depends on what you do with it. Want Wind Wall access despite having banned Evocation? Here y'go! -Baleful Polymorph: save-or-die. Not actually die, but be turned into a squirrel, which is effectively the same thing. -Overland Flight: longterm flight for those who don't want to risk their Phantom Steed being shot out from under them. Level 6: -Dispel Magic, Greater: because you're not the only mid-to-high level spellcaster out there. -Repulsion: defensive buff (will save from enemies) because if things could come close to you, they might hit you, and you don't want that. -Acid Fog: like solid fog, but with damage while they're trapped in there. Great with any kind of thing that traps them where they are. -True Seeing: Illusions? No. Period. -Heroism, Greater: Offensive buff. Who needs bards? -Contingency: defensive buff another rare good Evocation spell, this is a must for any wizard. Access it through Greater Shadow Evocation if you've banned the Evocation school. This is the spell you use to guard against the worst situtaion you can think of. -Disintegrate: a damage spell that's actually worth it due to the amount of damage on a failed save. Good against low-HP, low-Fort save types like rogues and mages. Level 7: -Banishment. "Oh no, a balor!" Poof. -Teleport, Greater: see Teleport, now safer. -Arcane Sight, Greater: defensive buff--because knowing whether or not, say, someone has Spell Turning up? That's a good thing. -Forcecage: save-or-lose. Expensive? Sure. No-save entrapment? Sure. -Finger of Death: Save-or-die. That's... about all there is to it. -Ethereal Jaunt: go ethereal to get yourself out of danger and get time to buff. -Limited Wish: unlike Wish, the XP cost isn't so bad pretty much want to never use it. Level 8: -Mind Blank: Defensive buff. Immunity to all mind-affecting things? That's way too good. -Prismatic Wall: this wall does BAD things to people. -Maze: save-or-lose. Great for low-INT types, like Barbarian and Cleric. Get them out of here, deal with everyone else, then gang-beat them when they come back. -Moment of Prescience: sometimes, you wish you could just make that saving throw, win that opposed check, land that touch attack. Well, now you can. -Greater Prying Eyes: scouts with True Seeing. And unlike True Seeing, no material component. Very useful. -Irresistible Dance: Save-or-lose... with no save. 1d4+1 rounds of "you win" if you land the touch attack. -Power Word: Stun: after the fighter's whacked a monster around a bit, this will let him easily finish it off. -Greater Shadow Evocation: Contingency for any specialist wizard who's smart and bans evocation. Level 9: -Prismatic Sphere: defensive buff, and the ultimate one at that. Unless they have a Rod of Cancellation, you're safe and sound while you do whatever you want. -Foresight: avoiding surprise and flatfootedness is very, very useful when it comes to surviving. -Dominate Monster: get yourself a big, tough bodyguard. The toughest thing ever to try to kill you. It has a duration of days. You can order someone to fail their saves. Just re-cast it every ten days or so, and they're your slave for life. -Energy Drain: 2d4 negative levels. Sure, they can be permanent, but you're better off with a metamagicked-up Enervation.

-Time Stop: I don't need to actually tell you why this is good, do I? Milk and Honey: the PHB II and Spell Compendium - includes spells from the Forgotten Realms books, from the Complete Arcane, et cetera. Level 1: -Blood Wind: turn the monk's fists into ranged weapons? KTHX! It's Evocation, one of the few good ones. -Fist of Stone (Comp. Arcane): great for fighter/mages. A level one spell that gives +6 STR for attacking purposes? Woo. -Ray of Clumsiness: like Ray of Enfeeblement, but for Dex. Lots of things have low dex. Most big monsters. Even dragons. This is great against fighters or against rogues. Level 2: -Baleful Transposition: switch the locations of the party fighter and the enemy mage? Delicious. -Create Magic Tattoo (Player's Guide to Faerun): at CL 11, you can use this to give yourself +1 CL for a day. Highlevel mages should spend the 100gp material components to cast an extended version of this; 50 gp a day for +1 caster level? It'd take 600 days to equal the price of an Orange Ioun Stone. Of course, you can have both. -Listening Lorecall (Comp. Adventurer): Have 5 listen ranks? Gain Blindsight 30'. Keep people from sneaking up. -Ray of Stupidity: 1d4+1 int damage, no save. Not a penlaty like Ray of Enfeeblement: DAMAGE. This spell takes down any animal and most magical beasts with one casting. Metamagic means that it can take down fighters and rogues, and seriously inconvenience other wizards. This spell is scary good. -Combust: a damage spell, so normally unremarkable, but good for Spell Storing weapons. -Bonefiddle: creepy, but good. Concentration duration, 3d6 damage a round on a failed fort save? A successful save ends it, but that might be a while for a low-Fort-save type. Good at level 3-4. -Sonorous Hum! This spell concentrates on other spells for you. Considering that a duration of "concentration" vs. "X/level" is a mitigating factor for spells that are otherwise too good for their level, in theory, that makes this spell great. Some combinations of spells with this one even qualify as cheese. -Slide, Greater: battlefield control, an interesting variety. With a Will save, you can move someone 20'. Drop enemy off cliff? Check! Help fighter move into position? Check! Generally cool. Level 3: -Bands of Steel (Comp. Arcane): a reflex save-or-lose, and there aren't many of those. They don't lose all *that* hard, but there you have it. -Anticipate Teleportation (level 4 in Comp. Arcane, 3 in Spell Compendium): this spell rocks. Delays people teleporting near you by 1 round, alerts you they're coming, and lasts hours/level. Lets you buff when someone dimension doors up next to you. -Mage Armor, Greater: at higher levels, replace Mage Armor with this, even if it costs a little money. -Unluck (level 4 in Comp. Arcane, 3 in Spell Compendium): incredibly good. Divination school, Will save--NOT mind affecting--and if they fail, they roll all dice twice and take the worse result of the two. Save-or-Lose, effectively. -Spell Vulnerability: reduce a creature's spell resistance. This spell can really help if you don't have Spell penetration feats, although it does offer a save. -Spiderskin: wizard Barkskin (from Underdark book)--+1 NA/3 levels, +5 at 15th; also gives hide/MS bonuses. -Halt (PHB II): immediate action, so cast on someone else's turn. Will save vs. inability to move anywhere that round. Extend it with a lesser rod so it applies on their next round too! Level 4: -Ray Deflection: rays can be deadly. Keep'em away with RAY-B-GONE! -Resistance, Greater: +3 to saving throws, 24 hour duration. Who needs a cloak of resistance? -Resist Energy, Mass: no need to cast Resist Energy repeatedly. -Orb of X (Comp. Arcane): damage spells, but worth learning, because there is no save and *no* SR. You just need to make a touch attack. CLd6, up to 15, plus the elemental orbs have secondary effects (i.e. Fire dazes for 1 round). -Assay Resistance: +10 CL to defeat one creature's Spell Resistance. Who needs Spell Penetration? -Battle Hymn: all your allies can reroll 1 will save/round? The rogue will love you as much as he does for the Greater Invisibility. -Defenestrating Sphere (Comp. Arcane): BEST. SPELL. EVER!!! Unfortunately, in the worst school (evocation)

-Stone Sphere: combine battlefield control and damage. Push people around, occupy space, and damage people. Another of the rare good Evocation spells. -Shadow Well: not half bad, a lower-level Maze. -Burning Blood (Comp. Arcane): they make a fort save every round or take 1d8 fire, 1d8 acid... and have to only take a move action, which is the main attraction. This can largely incapacitate a rogue or caster type and keep hurting them, too. -Greater Mirror Image. More images, regrows 1 image/round... and cast as an immediate action! Level 5: -Contingent Energy Resistance: resist energy vs. whatever kind of energy first hits you. -Viscid Glob (Underdark): Reflex-save-or-lose, but only against medium creatures. -Fire Shield, Mass: Fire Shield is better for fighter types than for you. Now your whole party can have it. -Graymantle (some Faerun book): stop creatures from regenerating. Very useful at higher levels. -Blink, Greater (Comp. Arcane): all the benefits of Blink, none of the issues. Great defensive buff. -Fly, Mass: give your whole party maneouverability. Level 6: -Anticipate Teleportation, Greater (level 8 in Comp. Arcane, 6 in Spell Compendium): delays them for 3 rounds, lasts 24 hours, otherwise like Anticipate Teleportation. Awesome spell, cast it every day. -Resistance, Superior: +6 on saving throws. Throw that Cloak away. -Fire Spiders: battlefield control/damage; move them around as a move action while you cast as a standard action. -Freezing Fog: Solid Fog + Heightened Grease + 1d6/cold a round. Great battlefield control spell. -Bite of the Weretiger: ridiculously good for fighter/mages; huge stat boosts and a natural attack. -Brilliant Blade: make the fighter's weapon Brilliant Energy. Have him kill stuff. -Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability: this little gem makes your familiar useful. Give it the ability to cast (CL/3) spells of up to (CL/3) level: this is great because it acts independently, which means more spells per round. If you cast a Quickened Spell and a regular spell, and so does it, that's four spells that round. That's enough spells to end an equal-CR fight, sometimes. Certainly enough to buff up fast. Level 7: -Energy Immunity. Forget mere "resistance"! -Transfix: if you can find something not mind-immune to use it on, it's great! Paralysis for the win! -Stun Ray: stun someone for 1d4+1 rounds. Save-or-lose without the save--just a ranged touch attack. -Stern Reproof (Player's Guide to Faerun): Fort save or die. If they live, Will save or lose/suck (be dazed for 1d4 rounds). -Hiss of Sleep: high-level version of Sleep. Still great, for things it works on. -Avasculate: a great spell, halves their HP and stuns them. Evil only, though. -Bite of the Werebear: like Bite of the Weretiger, but even better. -Brilliant Aura (Complete Divine): ALL the party's weapons are Brilliant Energy! -Spell Matrix: store two spells, under level 3, and release both as a swift action. More spells in the beginning of a fight is great. Level 8: -Spell Engine: redo your spell selection... costs cash and XP, though, so use it wisely. -Avascular Mass: a better Avasculate. Still evil-only. -Wrathful Castigation (Magic of Faerun): Will save or die... and then another will save or effectively die (dazed for 1 round/level and -4 on all saves). Forcing two saves vs. losing is great... only problem is, it's mind-affecting, which things become less and less vulnerable to at these levels. -Chain Dispel: like Greater Dispel Magic... but targeted. At level 15, that's 15 targets. Disable 2 people's buffs, and all of their important gear temporarily! Level 9: -Absorption: the ultimate in protection from other casters' direct spells. -Effulgent Epurtation: for Elminster fanboys. -Maw of Chaos: horrific. A 15' emanation that deals 1d6/Caster Level each round (no cap, no save!), forces a will save each round vs. Daze for 1 round, and requires a DC 25+spell level concentration check to cast in its area.

Combine with battlefield control for the WIN. -Reaving Dispel: Greater Dispel Magic... and TAKE their spells for yourself if you win! -Sphere of Ultimate Destruction: a sphere. Move it as a move action... and it is Disintegrate, ranged touch attack, on whatever it touches each round. -Spell Matrix, Greater: store up to 3 spells of level 3 and under to all release as 1 quickened action (Mirror Image/Shield/Spiderskin as a buff sequence, say). -Detonate (PHB II): surround someone with cute animals. Blow them all up for massive damage. Evil, but effective. Stinky Cheese: spells that are broken, broken, broken. Level 2: -Alter Self: give yourself +6 natural armor, or flight, for 10 min/level with a level 2 spell? Like all the polymorph spells, way too good for its level--not so broken you probably shouldn't use it in a game, though. Combine with the Otherworldly feat for even more cheese. -Wraithstrike: swift action, make all attacks as touch attacks that round. Ridiculously good for fighter-mages, Power Attack for huge amounts of damage. You can Persist it quite normally in an 8th level slot, or by using various kinds of cheese, and that's when it becomes *completely* broken. Level 3: -Shivering Touch (Frostburn): a touch attack, no save, 3d6 dex damage. 3d6! Dex damage! Wanna one-shot a dragon? NOOO problem! Add some kind of reach (Arcane Reach from Archmage, or Reach Spell metamagic) and you can do it from safety. For the love of god, don't resport to this. Level 4: -Polymorph: far better than any other spell of its level, and many higher-level spells. The things you can do with this are ridiculous. It's completely broken, so much so WotC has given up on trying to fix it. Just don't use it. -Celerity (PHB II): this breaks casters worse than they're already broken. As an immediate action casting, gain a standard action, and be dazed on the next round. This means that no matter what, the wizard goes first. Combine with Time Stop to negate the disadvantage of being dazed in combat, or just use it to Teleport out of there or Dimension Door way out of reach. Level 8: -Polymorph Any Object: the worst of the lot. Turn yourself into a gold dragon and gain its INT score plus everything else? Come on. Most broken spell in the game. -Greater Celerity (PHB II): as Celerity, but grants a full-round action. Level 9: -Shapechange: CL up to 25 HD monsters. Gain their (Su) special qualities and attacks as well as the (Ex) ones. Completely and utterly ridiculous, as a more powerful Polymorph of course must be. Don't use this. -Disjunction: both DMs and players avoid it. Use it as a player and you fry the bad guy's loot; use it as a DM and your players lose their magic items and are very upset. -Gate: so many abuses. So very many. For example, Gate in creatures that can cast Wish as a (Su) ability and make them give you free wishes. On the Care and Feeding of Feats Feats. A wizard 20 will get 7, plus 1 if he's human, plus Scribe Scroll, plus 3 more bonus feats from the wizard class. What do you do with them? There are a few important kinds of feats: Metamagic feats, Item Creation feats, and enhancement feats such as Spell Focuses, or Extraordinary Spell Aim from the Complete Arcane. Some feats are good. Some feats aren't good. Here's a breakdown:

Item Creation Feats: SRD -Scribe Scroll: it's good 'cause it's free. Also, it lets you prepare utility spells and infrequently used spells or spells that don't depend on caster level. This means you're more likely to have the right spell at hand. -Craft Wondrous Item: it's good because wondrous items are the most common kind of magical item. If you're going to craft, you want this feat. -Craft Wand: this feat *can* be useful, if there's a spell you use very regularly; for example, a Wand of Rope Trick CL 9 will free up a second-level spell slot for you for the rest of the campaign, most likely. A Wand of Mirror Image, CL, oh... 5... can be a good idea. A Wand of Shield would be good, except that at high levels you don't have much better to do with those spell slots. Spells that don't rely on Caster Level are good candidates, as they'll be cheaper when made with minimum CL. -Craft Rod: if you're going to take any higher-level item creation feat, make it this one. Why? Because there are a lot of very useful, very expensive rods--metamagic rods are the best example. a Rod of Quicken Spell, Greater costs 170,000 gp--making it yourself will only cost you half of that, 85,000 gp (although it adds a cost of 6800! xp) and without one, you won't be quickening any of your high-level spells. -Brew Potion, Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Forge Ring: Brew Potion isn't really worth the feat slot for a wizard. Craft Staff isn't worth it because you'd only make one or two. Craft Magic Arms and Armor--take it at your own risk, for it may turn you into the party's sword-creating slave (on the other hand, if you pace yourself, you can make a healthy profit by making the things for half price and charging the party 75%). Forge Ring, like Craft Staff, isn't that useful: you only have two ring slots, after all. -Craft Trap: this feat doesn't exist. The rules for creating one-shot and repeating spell-traps are in the DMG, and don't require a feat. If you're wondering what a good thing to trap is, try YOUR SPELLBOOK. That, or everything someone you don't like owns. Complete Series -Craft Contingent Spell: Brokenly good. The limiting factor on Contingency is that wizards can only have one. With this spell, a wizard will have one for any situation that could conceivably harm him. Don't take it as a player and don't allow it as a DM. Metamagic Feats: SRD -Extend Spell: a good low-level feat. Extend is particularly useful for hours/level and 10 minute/level spells, but at low levels rounds/level spells, or offensive spells that do something for a very short duration, can definitely benefit. Cost: +1 -Empower Spell: okay for some spells (i.e. the Orb spells), but best for spells that there aren't slightly higher-level versions of. Why Empower a fireball? Cast Cone of Cold. Enervation, on the other hand, does great with a little Empowering. -Still/Silent Spell: better for sorcerers than for wizards. Paranoid wizards should take these, others should skip them. -Quicken Spell: At level 12, a wizard should either already have this or be taking it. There's no excuse not to. Quickened spells increase the wizard's efficiency--it's like trading spell slots for actions! Quickened spells let you buff quicker and get off spell combos in one round that might otherwise be avoided (i.e. Quickened True Strike + Ray spell, Quickened Web + Solid Fog). -Repeat Spell: +3 spell level increase, and the spell goes off again next round. This is good for spells with useful one-round effects, or spells you want to hit someone with twice, but the problem is that if the target moves or becomes invalid somehow, or people move out of the area you cast the spell in, it's wasted. Used wisely, it can be very handy. -Widen Spell: this would be useful with some limited-area spells (Grease, Solid Fog); take it if you have a spare feat slot and nothing better to do, but it's hardly necessary. Best as a metamagic rod. -Heighten Spell: if you're using Heighten Spell, you're relying on certain save-or-Xs too much.

-Enlarge Spell: it sucks. If you lose because you can't reach an enemy with one particular spell, you deserve to lose... not to mention, hey, what're the odds that you prepared that one spell Enlarged? -Maximize Spell: not that it's BAD or anything--the +3 spell level increase is just too much. A note on Maximize vs. Empower: Empower is better for smaller dice (1.5*1d4 = 3.5 on average, just 0.5 less than the maximized 4), Maximize for larger dice (1.5*1d10 = 8 on average, 2 less than the maximized 10). Note that even for larger dice, the extra spell level increase may well not be worth it. PHB II -Flash Frost Spell: if you have Snowcasting from Frostburn, Eschew Materials, and a bunch of area spells, this metamagic is fun. Still not that great, but a lot of fun. Otherwise, skip it. -Smiting Spell: yeah, uh, this one's good. Really good. How's about giving an archer four Combust arrows to Manyshot during the surprise round of combat? And so on. It's so good that you should take pains not to abuse it if you take it. Complete Series -Chain Spell: expensive at +3, this is nevertheless one of the best metamagic feats, both for buffing (especially when combined with Reach Spell or Arcane Reach, letting you chain Touch spells) and offensively, with no-save spells (like rays). -Sculpt Spell: for a +1 spell level increase, you can pick from a list of different kinds of areas. This is useful, as it can let you avoid allies with area spells or get more enemies than you otherwise could. -Split Ray: like a ray-only Twin Spell. At +2, if you use rays even moderately often (and you should, they're good), this is a very good investment. -Reach Spell: +2 adjustment, makes a touch spell have 30' reach. Use it to either deliver touch spells from safety or turn them into ranged touch spells so you can apply Chain Spell (for example, Greater Magic Weapon--Chain Reach GMW gets all your party's weapons with one casting). This spell is lessened by the fact that most Archmages' first High Arcana is Arcane Reach, which gives you its benefits all the time for free, so you may well want to just live without it. -Sudden Still/Silent/Empower/Etc. 1/day? Meh, no thanks. -Born of the Three Thunders: it's a blaster feat. Wizards shouldn't be blasters. -Energy Substitution: see above. -Lord of the Uttercold: good only for complex, specialized necromancer builds. -Explosive Spell, Fortify Spell, Energy Admixture, Sanctify, Corrupt, etc. etc.: laaaaaaame. -Twin Spell: not bad, but at +4, I'd rather have Quicken. Enhancement Feats: SRD -Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus: if you use spells from a certain school a lot--take them. They're also prerequisites for, say, Archmage (one for each of two different schools). Take them for Save-or-X spell schools, not for schools that do things even on a failed save (like Evocation, if you aren't banning it) or schools that do things that don't involve saves (Divination, Abjuration, Transmutation depending on spell selection). Enchantment, Necromancy, and Illusion are the best schools for these feats. -Skill Focus: Spellcraft -- take it as a prerequisite for Archmage if you're planning on taking Archmage levels. Better early than late; you can do more with your level 9 feat slot, say, than with your level 1 feat slot. -Spell Penetration: in a core-only game (no access to Assay Spell Resistance and lots of no-SR spells), this is worth taking. Maybe even Greater Spell Penetration, if you find yourself having trouble. -Spell Mastery: this is vital if you think things might happen to your spellbook. It's pointless otherwise. -Combat Casting: IT'S A TRAP!! If you really want the bonus, take Skill Focus: Concentration; that way you get +3 instead of +4, but it applies *all* the time. -Eschew Materials: only worth it if your DM is a real stickler about keeping track of spell components; otherwise just write "3 spell component pouches" on your character sheet and forget about it. -Augment Summoning: if you're summoning regularly, you're doing something wrong. That's the druid's or cleric's job; after all, every time a wizard casts a spell that's on a divine list, for that round he's a sucker. Don't take this. -Improved Counterspell: don't take this unless you have access to Reactive Counterspell and want to make a

counterspelling-dedicated character... in which case, make a sorcerer with those feats. -Point Blank Shot/Precise Shot: no need to waste feats on these, unless you use rays to the exclusion of almost all else. PHB II -Arcane Thesis: broken, right now, since it can reduce metamagic costs below 0. No DM will alow that; many won't allow reduction below 1. It's still worth taking with a spell like, say, Enervation. How's about a Split Ray (+1) Empowered (+1) Chain (+2) Enervation in an 8th level slot? 1.5*2d4 negative levels to all the enemies. Boo-yah. -Elven Spell Lore: the bonus on Dispel attempts is nice, and it's worth taking if you cast a damage spell a lot *and* your DM rules that you can change damage types to those other than the elemental ones. Sonic is almost never resisted, and then there's stuff like Vile damage that breaks the feat. -Combat Familiar and Spellcasting Familiar: don't, not worth it. Use Reach Spell or Spectral hand or Archmage's Arcane Reach to deliver touch spells, and use Imbue Familiar With Spell Ability to give your familiar spells. Complete Series -Extraordinary Concentration: great if you can make the concentration checks; take at a high level, and it's not worth it without custom items that give you a major boost to your Concentration skill. The Sonorous Hum spell (Spell Compendium) does what this feat does but better, though. -Mobile Spellcasting: *awesome* if you can make the concentration checks. Move into range, spellcast, move out of range (of course, you can do that anyway thanks to Phantom Steed). -Extraordinary Spell Aim: like the Archmage's "Master of Shaping" ability, but requires a tough spellcraft check. Take this if you can get a custom spellcraft item--just don't use it on Antimagic Field. That's cheesy. Very cheesy. -Extra Slot: not worth it. -Extra Spell: ruled by Customer Service at Wizards repeatedly to not give you spells from outside your spell list, and thus, not worth it. If your DM rules otherwise, it can be awesome. -Arcane Mastery: combined with Elven Spell Lore, you would never fail a dispel check against someone of equal caster level--but that's a two-feat investment; you have better things to do. Other Feats -Improved Initiative: going first is pretty important for wizards, although they have ways of compensating for it. Take this feat if you can afford to. -Leadership: sure, it's good. Too good. Absolutely and totally ridiculously cheesy if abused, in fact. I don't allow it in my games, and neither should you. If you want someone to be able to play two characters, let them do so; if not, forget the cohort, and have followers be an RP thing. I assign it the [Cheese] descriptor. -Touch Spell Specialization (Complete Arcane): ew blech yuck NO. Prerequisite Feats: ...these are feats that are prerequisites for prestige classes you want to enter. TAKE them, dummy.