10 Reasons to Play a First Level Wizard (Part 2)  

Posted by Michael Donaldson in , ,

In Dungeons and Dragons 3.x, the wizard is lauded as one of the most powerful classes in the game. Examples of their power include the 2d6-per-caster level "Disintegrate", the ominously breakable "Polymorph", and the easily metamagiced "Enervation" - all of which come from the core rulebook. As a player, however, I have noticed that the core spells at the early levels leave something to be desired - a wizard will fire off his three magic missiles and then resort to being a flimsy, unskilled crossbowman.

Scouring my sourcebooks, I embarked on a journey to find 1st level spells for our fledgling facemelter. After all, we wouldn't want the player to get bored before you start having to worry about him completely upsetting the game balance in a single turn.

This is Part 2 of 3.

NUMBER SEVEN - Mighty Wallop (Races of the Dragon p.114)

Mighty Wallop may seem like an unassuming spell at first, but it really becomes noticeable when you consider the implications that it offers. At its base level, it increases the damage of any bludgeoning weapon as if the attacker were one size larger, which is amusing and useful, but not altogether amazing. Or is it?

Let's remember for a second that Monk fists are able to be considered manufactured weapons for the sake of enchanting. This spell becomes considerably more useful when that monk already has some size increasing feats and abilities, such as Improved Natural Attack and Superior Unarmed Strike (Tome of Battle). A clever monk could be throwing around several d6's by the time he's 5th or 7th level, and what's a 1st level slot to increase that by another size catagory?

We should also consider the synergy this spell offers with the infamous Shillelagh, which offers up 2d6 quarterstaves to druids by itself. I'm sure the druid wouldn't complain. This sort of bonus also offers itself in similar ways to exotic/rare bludgeoning weapons that already deal signifigant two-handed damage, such as a Goliath Warhammer.

NUMBER SIX - Vigilant Slumber (Complete Mage p.112)

This spell is neither fancy, nor as any practical combat application, except for the continued survival of your wizard. Simply put: it allows you to specify a set of conditions in which you will immediately awaken, fully alert, and ready for action. The parameters for these conditions include anything you would normally be able to observe while awake.

Rules as written and the examples given, however, this seems to imply that a creature needs to be actually fully cloaked from a sense to gain immunity from it. It cites invisible foes as not qualifying for the awakening, but it makes no mention of mundanely stealthy foes.

The kicker here, of course, is that the spell lasts 12 hours, or until awakened. The spell itself does not actually cause you to fall asleep. A clever character will realize that this spell acts as an automatic counter to sleep effects! Characters under the influence of Vigilant Slumber automatically awaken from one of the most dangerous save-or-dies at low levels.

(Note: This is subject to DM discretion, after all, and you should be careful to distinguish unconciousness from sleep. This spell will not awaken you from a dying state.)

NUMBER FIVE - Power Word Pain (Races of the Dragon p.116)

This spell is quite possibly the most damaging thing a wizard can do to a creature at first level. As a standard action that only requires a verbal component, you can affect one living creature within close range with under 100 HP.

There is no save. Immediately, the creature begins to take 1d6 untyped magical damage a round for a duration dependent on their hit points - if it's under 50, the duration is a horrifying 4d4 rounds (Average 10d6 damage, which is on average 35 damage). From 51-75, the duration is 2d4 rounds, and anything else below 100 HP suffers only 1d4 rounds of pain.

Where to begin? This spell offers no save, can be cast while grappled or otherwise restrained, does an absolutely mindbending amount of damage, and doesn't require concentration to maintain. To know that your 1st level wizard has the potential to pass on a gut-wrenching 16 rounds of 1d6/turn is awe-inspiring, to say the least, and any apprentice worth his salt should have this in his spellbook.

This entry was posted on January 13, 2010 at Wednesday, January 13, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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