Specialist Wizards

I’ve always been fond of specialist wizards, and like the implementation from D&D 2e even though it sometimes get criticized for lack of ‘flavour’. Here’s my take on specialists, adapted for my homebrew game rules.

Arcane spells are divided into eight different categories, or schools, according to the type of energy they utilize. The eight schools of magic are Abjuration, Alteration, Conjuration/Summoning, Divination, Enchantment/Charm, Illusion, Invocation/Evocation, and Necromancy.

A magic-user who concentrates his effort in a single school of magic is called a specialist. Specialist wizards have advantages and disadvantages when compared to standard magic-users.

Specialist Progression

Level XP Hit Dice BAB Save
1 0 1d4+4 +0 16
2 2,500 2d4+4 +0 15
3 5,000 3d4+4 +0 15
4 10,000 4d4+4 +0 14
5 20,000 5d4+4 +0 14
6 40,000 6d4+4 +0 13
7 80,000 7d4+4 +0 13
8 150,000 8d4+4 +0 12
9 300,000 9d4+4 +0 12

Game Rule Information

Prime Requisite: A specialist wizard must possess superior intellect. His prime requisite is Intelligence and an INT score of 11 or higher is required. In addition, each type of specialist must meet other attribute score requirements, as indicated in the table below.

Alignment: Specialist wizards may be of any alignment. Some specialists (such as abjurers and diviners) tend to be Lawful, some are often Neutral (illusionists), while others (such as necromancers) are typically Chaotic.

Hit Dice: Like most magic-users, specialists start with a “hit point kicker” of 4 hp and gain 1d4 hit points + CON mod per class level.

Combat Ability: Specialists have a poor Base Attack Bonus progression. They are proficient with staff, dagger, club, and sling only; and are not proficient with any armour or shields.

Saving Throws: Specialists have relatively poor saving throws, but gain +2 on all saves vs. magic and an additional +1 bonus on saves against their own school of magic.

Multiclass Restrictions: Specialists may only multiclass in the class with a prime requisite corresponding to their increased attribute requirement. An illusionist, for example, has an increased Dexterity requirement (DEX 13+), and thus could multiclass as a thief.

Special Abilities

Read Magic: Every specialist must learn to read and write using the secret arcane script. It generally requires 1 turn to decipher any given magic spell written on a scroll or in a grimoire (though the ability to read a spell does not necessarily mean that the specialist can cast it). A specialist wizard can still read and identify spells from opposition schools, even if he is unable to use them.

Arcane Spellcasting: Like standard magic-users, specialists cast arcane spells. They possess grimoires (spell books), which hold the formulae for spells written on their pages. A specialist wizard can inscribe a number of spells in his grimoire equal to his INT score (at maximum), but can only memorize a certain number of spells that he can cast at any given time. This number increases as a specialist increases in level.

Opposition Schools: A specialist wizard loses the ability to cast spells from schools in opposition to his specialty (see table). He is also disallowed from using scrolls, wands, and other magic items which duplicate the effects of opposition spells, and cannot craft these disallowed magic items.

Advanced Learning: When casting spells from his school, a specialist is treated as one level higher for the purposes of duration, area of effect, damage, and any other level-dependent abilities.

Bonus Spell: A specialist wizard can memorize one additional spell per day, provided this spell is from the specialist’s chosen school. Only one bonus spell is granted, and it can be taken from any spell level that the character can cast.

Cantrips: Like magic-users, specialist wizards can create minor magical effects known as cantrips. The base number of cantrips usable per day is indicated in the chart above as ‘0-level’ spells. A specialist can add his INT modifier to this value.

Saving Throws: Because specialists have an enhanced understanding of spells within their school, they receive an additional +1 bonus when making saving throws against those spells. In addition, targets suffer a -1 penalty when making saving throws against a specialist casting spells within his school.

Craft Magic Items: Specialist wizards can craft magic items of all types, except for those using magical energies from his opposition schools. Refer to the BFRPG rules for Magical Research for more information.

(Refer to AD&D, OSRIC, D&D 2e, or HackMaster for a listing of arcane spells by school.)

Specialist Wizard Schools

School Specialist Min. Scores Opposition School(s)
Abjuration Abjurer INT 11+, WIS 13+ Alteration & Illusion
Alteration Transmuter INT 11+, DEX 13+ Abjuration & Necromancy
Conj/Summ Conjurer INT 11+, CON 13+ Divination & Invoc/Evoc
Divination Diviner INT 11+, WIS 13+ Conj/Summ
Ench/Charm Enchanter INT 11+, CHA 13+ Invoc/Evoc & Necromancy
Illusion Illusionist INT 11+, DEX 13+ Abjuration, Invoc/Evoc, & Necromancy
Invoc/Evoc Invoker INT 11+, CON 13+ Conj/Summ & Ench/Charm
Necromancy Necromancer INT 11+, WIS 13+ Illusion & Ench/Charm

Arcane Spells

0 1 2 3 4 5
1 2 1
2 3 2
3 3 2 1
4 3 3 2
5 3 3 2 1
6 3 3 3 2
7 3 3 3 2 1
8 3 3 3 3 2
9 3 3 3 3 2 1


About K-Slacker

Gamer and 5th-level magic-user.
This entry was posted in Classes, House Rules and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Specialist Wizards

  1. K-Slacker says:

    That’s right – I’ve nerfed the specialist bonus spells. I also removed the fiddly requirement of having to memorize one spell from your chosen school before getting the bonus spell.

    And at least for the time being, you’ll have to refer to other documents for spell lists by school.

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