Masters of the arcane, a life devoted to the study of all things magical and mystical. Such is the path of a wizard. The Wizard is no stranger to the world of fantasy, often depicted as a bearded old man with a pointy hat (thanks Tolkien) both wise and cunning. The 13th Age Wizard can be no different, or if you are truly a creative soul, a vastly different character from all the wizards of the past!
According to the layout of ease of play as seen on page 75 of the rule book, the wizard is the most difficult to play. I say sucks to that, it’s probably the most difficult to build but not necessarily to play. A player who decides to play a wizard has some options laid out for them…
- Power: A Wizard can be built to be a dangerous adversary in combat, so long as his/her allies can keep the physical heat off of them. Really no different from a wizard of any other system, especially with spells like Magic Missile and Fireball. Pair those with the Evocation class talent and you have yourself on gigantic vessel of pain.
- Utility: Cantrip spells (Knock spell, Mending, Spark, Mage Hand…) come as an inherent bonus for the Wizard class. The class can be used further to cover a plethora of out of combat scenarios by swapping damaging spells for Utility Spells. Some of these include Disguise Self, Water Breathing, and Scrying.
- Role Play: The Wizard is a great class for someone who enjoys role playing. Having the Wizard’s Familiar talent allows you to have some sort of bond with an NPC of sorts right out of the gate. Vance’s Polysyllabic Verbalizations is also a great talent to take if you enjoy vocal implements in regards to spells, allowing you to repurpose a spell at the GM’s approval due to a fun name you give the spell as you cast it.
- Self Defence: The beauty of this class is the option of giving your character the opportunity to defend itself. Talents like Abjuration and even High Aracana help make your Wizard not complete schlubs at the business end of a blade.
So perhaps High Arcana is a bad example because it’s a “best of both worlds” type of talent, allowing you to choose a daily spell twice but also gaining the Counter Magic spell. There’s an infinite number of wizard builds that you can make and that definitely is an element of the class that makes it uniquely fun in relation to other systems.
What’s very nice as well is that the Wizard allows you to take on a similar role in combat to blocker or spoiler monsters. In essence, this means that you can prevent the enemy from imposing its will on your allies with spells like Invisibility Purge or Hold Monster. But you can also put debilitating effects to overcome the adversary such as Overcome Resistance or Rebuke.
The class does rely on its spells to keep it going, but don’t let that stop you from building a wizard with a big, honking sword! As I described in this post, it’s entirely possible to do without making your character 100% ineffective. It’s always a good thing to do something different, and yet again, 13th Age encourages you to do so.
Stay Metal \m/