Thursday, 19 June 2014

New Class: The Specialist Wizard

Of the wizards who walk the world there are many kinds, with as many titles, ranks, offices, and stations as there are lands. For the sake of simplicity, many of these workers of the arcane are lumped together under the term "magic-user". These are the boldest and least bookish of their kind -- those whose fascination lies in the mysteries of the wider world and the direct application of magickal workings in the diverse situations which it presents. (There are, in fact, those who would argue that the very title commonly afforded to adventuring wizards -- "magic-users" -- is indicative of their somewhat workmanlike and utilitarian attitude to magic, favouring that which may expediate the accumulation of coin in their pouch as opposed to that which may deepen their understanding of the arcane.)

Wizards of more narrow focus also gather into schools and colleges: necromancers, illusionists, vivimancers, elementalists, conjurers, and so forth. These wizards specialize in just one of the many "schools" or domains of magic, thus developing a deeper and broader repertoire within that domain.

There also exist those spell-casters of devoted and obsessive bent who focus their study on uncovering the arcane secrets of a single particular and very specific aspect of reality. Such spell-casters are so isolated in their research that they seldom have any direct peers. As their domains of interest are so idiosyncratic, it is most convenient to refer to such wizards collectively as "specialist wizards". (Of course, in reality, their specializations bear no relation to each other.)

The following game rules may be used for such characters. (Note that the player of a specialist wizard character will almost certainly be required to engage in the creation of new spells. This is a fun, creative, but rather involved process, and this class is thus only recommended for players who enjoy this activity.)

The Specialist Wizard

Requirements: INT 9
Prime Requisite: INT
Maximum Level: None

Focusing on the secrets of one specific and very limited area of magic, specialist wizards are the obsessives, iconoclasts, and trail-blazers of the arcane world. Their devotion to a single field of study makes them very narrowly focused, thus greatly reducing the breadth of available spells. On the other hand, such dedication allows them to delve more deeply and more quickly into the mysteries of magic, unlocking potent secrets which can be used to create unique new spells, magic items, and more.

When creating a specialist wizard character, the player must select his area of specialization. Once selected, this may never be changed. Some example areas of specialization: birds, fire, geometry, blades, rope, rainbows, bone, dreams, mirth.

Combat: Like other magic-users, specialist wizards may only use small weapons such as daggers and may not wear armour of any kind. Their hit points, saving throws, and chance to hit in combat advance at the same rate as other magic-users.

Experience: Similarly, a specialist wizard advances using the standard experience and spell memorization tables common to other magic-users. A specialist wizard memorizes and casts spells as if he were one level higher than his actual experience level.

Demi-humans: Most specialist wizards are humans. Elves may advance to 11th level in the class, and half-elves to 13th level. The referee may allow characters of other races (even those races which are not normally allowed to be magic-users) to become specialist wizards, so long as a suitable area of specialization is chosen. For example, a dwarf might choose to specialize in the magic of the forge.

Initial spells: At 1st level, a specialist wizard has three spells in his spell book: read magic and two other spells relating to his area of specialization. The latter may be drawn from any available reference materials or may be created by the player in collaboration with the referee.

Spell acquisition: Specialist wizards may transcribe any spells which they discover over the course of their adventures into their spell book, as usual. However, with their extremely narrow focus, the likelihood of locating suitable spells by pure happenstance is low. Of course, a specialist wizard may purposefully embark on adventures to seek out magic of interest, but their own personal research also bears fruit from time to time. Every time a specialist wizard advances in level, he has the option to research a brand new spell of his own devising. This process takes one month (during which time the character may not go adventuring) but entails no further costs. Otherwise, the usual rules for spell research apply.

Marks of magic: The specialist wizard, in the course of his studies, immerses himself continuously in the magical energies related to his area of specialization. At every even-numbered level (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc) this contact has a permanent effect on the wizard. The broad type of effect is determined by rolling 1d4 (see below). The specifics should be worked out by the referee and should always be connected to the wizard's area of specialization. Marks of magic are typically neither detrimental nor beneficial to the wizard -- they merely distinguish him as being touched by strange forces.

1. Personality quirk. These quirks often bring the wizard towards the verge of what normal folk would regard as insanity.
2. Alteration of physical form. This could include changes to posture, gait, skin, hair, eyes, bone structure, and so on.
3. Magical aura. The wizard is continually surrounded by a very minor but noticeable manifestation of magic.
4. An item of clothing or a possession which is often on the wizard's person takes on an unusual quality or appearance.

Establish dominion: Upon reaching 5th level, a specialist wizard may construct a tower or base. The lands around the base become the wizard's dominion. (Exactly what area is considered as the wizard's dominion must be determined by the referee, bearing in mind the political and geographical features of the area.)

Spell research: From 5th level, using the laboratories and libraries of their towers, specialist wizards may research new spells using the normal rules; entailing the expenditure of time and money. All spells researched must, it is clear, be related to the wizard's area of specialization.

Apprentices: When a specialist wizard reaches 6th level, 1d4 1st level wizards will arrive in his dominion seeking an apprenticeship. These will be standard magic-users, but if the wizard accepts them as his apprentices, they will become specialist wizards with the same area of specialization as their master.

Magic item creation: From 8th level, specialist wizards may put the facilities of their towers to work in processes of magic item creation, using the standard rules. Specialist wizards can only create items related to their area of specialization.

Dominion enchantments: At 11th level or greater, a specialist wizard is able to research large-scale dweomers which enchant his tower and the surrounding lands with aspects of his specialist area of magic. The process for magic item research should be used.


  1. This looks very cool. My only suggestion it to raise the INT requirement to 10 or 11. While in Basic-era games this is not a huge difference it does say that a specialist needs a bit more to focus on their given field of study.
    I would opt for an 11 or 12 myself.

    1. Yeah I wondered about that as well. I went with INT 9 to be in line with the basic classes in Labyrinth Lord -- the human classes don't have any requirements at all and the demi-humans only have requirements of 9. I agree though that a requirement of 11 or 12 INT would seem perfectly reasonable.