Are you ready to delve into the enigmatic world of time manipulation and chronomancy? The Chronurgy Wizard, introduced in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, offers a unique and captivating subclass that revolves around time magic. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of the Chronurgy Magic Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5e, and delve into their role in a party, their features, strengths, weaknesses, race options, skills, feats, backgrounds, and even potential multiclassing options.
Role in the Party
The Chronurgy Wizard is a controversial subclass that originates from the world of Critical Role, primarily authored by the esteemed Matt Mercer. This subclass boasts a unique set of abilities that are not only unconventional but also immensely powerful. In fact, some argue that it rivals, and in certain cases, surpasses other formidable wizard subclasses at high levels. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the Chronurgy Wizard comes with some contentious mechanics that need careful consideration.
Unlike most subclasses in the game, playing a Chronurgy Wizard often requires the player to self-regulate their use of abilities to maintain campaign balance. If you don’t, your fellow players may take it upon themselves to ensure that your powers do not disrupt the game.
Chronurgy Magic Wizard Features
Before we dive deeper into the Chronurgy Wizard’s features, it’s worth noting that there are several Dunamancy spells in Wildemount, such as Sapping Sting and Gift of Alacrity, that are not explicitly exclusive to the two wizard subclasses introduced in that book. Whether these spells are available to other subclasses or classes depends on your Dungeon Master, as their exclusivity remains somewhat ambiguous. For the purpose of this guide, we won’t factor these spells into the power level of the Chronurgy Wizard.
At 2nd level, you unlock the ability to exert limited control over the flow of time around a creature. This extraordinary feature allows you to, as a reaction, force a creature to reroll its attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws within 30 feet of you. You make this decision after the initial roll, ensuring the target uses the result of the second roll. You can use this ability twice, and you regain any expended uses after completing a long rest.
Comparing this to the Divination Wizard’s Portent feature, it’s similar in that it can affect rolls, but there are crucial differences. Chronal Shift occurs after the initial roll, unlike Portent, which happens before. Furthermore, you can’t guarantee a specific result; you merely trigger a reroll. While it might be slightly inferior to Portent, it remains a potent ability, adding a layer of unpredictability to your arsenal.
Starting at 2nd level, you gain the power to add your Intelligence modifier to your initiative rolls. This feature bestows an initiative bonus ranging from +3 to +5, depending on your level. Such a high initiative is invaluable for a wizard who aims to cast spells before the opposition can act, granting you a significant advantage.
Upon reaching 6th level, you can, as an action, compel a Large or smaller creature within 60 feet to make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. If the saving throw fails, the target becomes encased in a field of magical energy until the end of your next turn or until it sustains damage. While in this state, the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, with a minimum of one. These expended uses are replenished upon completing a long rest.
This feature holds substantial power, albeit with some limitations. It requires a Constitution saving throw, functions exclusively on large or smaller creatures, and consumes an action. However, it doesn’t demand concentration and doesn’t count as a spell. This means you can employ it in conjunction with a bonus action spell or while maintaining concentration on another spell, providing a reliable and versatile tool.
Upon reaching the 10th level, you unlock the Arcane Abeyance feature, which is simultaneously fascinating and problematic. When you cast a spell using a spell slot of 4th level or lower, you can condense the spell’s magic into a mote. This frozen spell is trapped in time for one hour within a gray bead, which becomes a Tiny object with an AC of 15 and 1 hit point. The bead is immune to poison and psychic damage. If the duration elapses or the bead is destroyed, it vanishes in a flash of light, causing the spell to be lost.
A creature holding the bead can use its action to release the spell, making it appear and function as if you had cast it. The spell employs your spell attack bonus and save DC, and the creature releasing it is considered the caster for all other purposes. After creating a bead with this feature, you must complete a short or long rest before doing so again.
Arcane Abeyance presents a dual challenge: it is immensely powerful and exceptionally problematic. Offloading concentration onto another character is a remarkable advantage, akin to the highly coveted Spell Storing Ring. This feature shines most brightly during adventuring days with a single significant encounter that you can foresee. However, it can also be used to bestow familiars upon your entire party, or even more perplexingly, to give your familiar a familiar of its own. Such a scenario may be considered excessive and is unlikely to be accepted at most gaming tables.
Furthermore, Arcane Abeyance enables you to unleash any spell of 4th level or lower as an action, regardless of its original casting time. This facet allows you to employ spells like Leomund’s Tiny Hut to create an impenetrable forcefield for your party. You can attack your enemies while they remain unable to harm you, often resulting in a swift victory without suffering damage. Some enemies may possess means to counter this strategy, but they are exceedingly rare.
Imaging a scenario where you level up just before a decisive battle with an Ancient Red Dragon, a formidable and significant villain with deep connections to party members. Then, you deploy a dome of invincibility that essentially secures your victory. You can even block the exit to prevent the dragon from fleeing. Unless your campaign is explicitly designed to encourage such tactics, your Dungeon Master may react strongly to such a maneuver.
The question arises: How did this feature pass playtesting without errata? It’s perplexing that it was never addressed or modified by Wizards of the Coast. It falls upon the players to reach a consensus and determine how to balance this feature effectively. Consequently, Arcane Abeyance is both an immensely powerful and, in its unaltered form, a potentially game-breaking feature. It is essential to communicate with your gaming group and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding its usage.
Upon reaching the 14th level, you gain the Convergent Future feature. This allows you to peer into potential futures and manipulate them to achieve a specific outcome. When you or a creature within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can use your reaction to override the die roll. You can decide whether the rolled number is the minimum required for success or one less than that number. However, using this feature incurs one level of exhaustion, and only completing a long rest can remove exhaustion acquired in this way.
Convergent Future resembles Portent, but it is slightly weaker. In practice, it becomes a once-a-day feature, with the potential to use it two or three times in dire circumstances. However, accumulating exhaustion can be challenging to manage, and this form of exhaustion is particularly difficult to mitigate. Despite this drawback, Convergent Future remains a powerful feature, as it allows you to grant yourself or a companion an automatic success against the most dangerous saving throw effects in the game.
As a Chronurgy Wizard, you bring several notable strengths to the party:
- High Initiative: Your ability to add your Intelligence modifier to your initiative rolls makes you a more potent wizard, enabling you to cast your most influential spells before your adversaries can react.
- Versatile Abilities: In addition to your spellcasting, your unique class features allow you to incapacitate enemies and protect allies effectively, making you a versatile contributor to the party’s success.
- High Potential at 10th Level: At the 10th level, you have the potential to become a formidable force in the game. While this feature can be problematic, it can be managed effectively to maintain balance within your party.
Despite your numerous strengths, there are a few inherent weaknesses that you should be aware of:
- Limited Uses: Many of your class features come with limited uses, which can make you less effective during extended adventuring days when multiple encounters occur.
- Weak Defense: To bolster your defensive capabilities, you may need to multiclass or take other measures, as the Chronurgy Wizard lacks inherent defensive options.
- Problematic Level 10 Feature: Arcane Abeyance, while powerful, can be challenging to manage at the table and may disrupt the game if not handled carefully.
Best Race Options
The choice of race can significantly impact your Chronurgy Wizard’s effectiveness. Consider the following race options:
- Mountain Dwarf: If you wish to multiclass for heavy armor proficiency and increased hit points, the Mountain Dwarf is an excellent choice. You can ignore the speed penalties for wearing plate mail without meeting the strength requirement, and the Dwarven Toughness feature grants you additional hit points.
- Harengon: This race can enhance your already impressive initiative by adding your proficiency bonus, ensuring that you consistently act before your enemies.
- Warforged: For a unique role-playing experience, consider the Warforged, turning your character into a robot wizard from the future. This choice is especially fitting if you wish to emulate a character similar to the Terminator, albeit with a lower strength score. Alternatively, if you prefer a different time travel-themed character, the Changeling is an ideal choice, allowing you to replicate the face-changing abilities of the Doctor from Doctor Who.
Choosing the Right Skills
Skills are crucial for a Chronurgy Wizard, as they can determine the success of your abilities and the effectiveness of your character in various situations. Consider the following skill choices:
- Arcana: As a wizard, you’ll be expected to excel in Arcana, showcasing your knowledge of magical arts.
- History: Given your time-manipulating abilities, History proficiency is essential. Understanding the past can often lead to insights into the future.
- Nature: Nature knowledge can be valuable for identifying magical effects related to natural phenomena.
- Investigation: This skill can help you uncover secrets, solve mysteries, and gather valuable information.
- Religion: In the world of D&D, religions play a significant role. Proficiency in Religion can help you navigate complex religious landscapes and understand divine magic.
- Perception: High initiative means little if you are caught off guard. Proficiency in Perception can help you avoid being surprised and act swiftly in combat.
- Deception: If your campaign features time travel, Deception proficiency can be useful for making bold lies, reminiscent of the Doctor from Doctor Who. Pair it with Athletics proficiency to excel in physical activities like running, jumping, and sports.
Feats can significantly enhance your character’s capabilities and add unique flavor to your Chronurgy Wizard. Consider the following feats:
- Keen Mind: While not the most potent feat, Keen Mind is thematically appropriate for a time wizard detective. It allows you to have an excellent sense of time and direction. Furthermore, it provides the ability to accurately recall anything from the last month. Additionally, it’s a half feat, allowing you to increase your Intelligence.
- Metamagic Adept: This feat grants you access to Subtle Spell and potentially Extend Spell, both of which align with the theme of a time wizard.
- Lucky: Lucky provides you with an extra way to alter d20 results, protecting your concentration saves. This can be particularly valuable, similar to the War Caster and Resilient (Constitution) feats.
Your choice of background can help flesh out your character and provide meaningful role-playing opportunities. Consider the following background options:
- Far Traveler: If you want your Chronurgy Wizard to hail from another time, the Far Traveler background is perfect. Ensure that your role-playing reflects how the world has changed over time and collaborate with your Dungeon Master to create an engaging narrative.
- Sage: The Sage background is a solid choice for any wizard. Make sure to be proficient in both Arcana and History, and possibly select a few more knowledge skills to showcase your vast understanding of the arcane.
- Grinner: As a Wildemount subclass, you might consider a character from Wildemount. The Grinner background allows you to be part of an optimistic and upbeat spy faction. Collaborate with your Dungeon Master to integrate this faction’s influence into your campaign setting. This background is particularly well-suited for a wizard with at least an okay Charisma.
While the Chronurgy Wizard is already a potent class, multiclassing can further enhance your character and mitigate some of your weaknesses. Consider the following multiclassing options:
- Peace Domain Cleric (1 Level): This option transforms you into a powerful support character with an exceptional armor class. Hand out d4s to everyone, win initiative, and cast powerful spells while being challenging to hit. The proficiency bonus scaling of Emboldening Bond enhances your power at higher levels.
- Artificer (1 Level): Multiclassing into Artificer is an alternative way to bolster your defenses. By starting as an Artificer, you gain proficiency in Constitution saving throws, which can improve your overall durability. It’s essential to note that artificer multiclassing differs from typical half-caster multiclassing, allowing you to maintain full caster spell slot progression.
- Wild Magic Sorcerer (1 Level): Multiclassing into Wild Magic Sorcerer can be beneficial primarily for Tides of Chaos, which provides you with the ability to gain advantage on critical rolls, such as initiative or critical saving throws, when needed.
Should You Play a Chronurgy Wizard?
In conclusion, playing a Chronurgy Wizard can be a rewarding and exciting experience in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. However, it comes with some caveats. The level 10 feature, Arcane Abeyance, is immensely powerful but can disrupt the game if not handled properly. It is vital to discuss and reach an agreement with your gaming group on how to manage this feature effectively to ensure a balanced and enjoyable gaming experience.
If your Dungeon Master approves the level 10 feature as-is, consider the opinions of your fellow players regarding the use of the all-powerful forcefield created by Arcane Abeyance. It’s crucial to maintain an open and constructive dialogue to avoid conflicts and ensure everyone has a fun and engaging time in your campaign. The Chronurgy Wizard can be a potent addition to any party and offers a unique and captivating gameplay experience when managed thoughtfully.
So, are you ready to take on the role of a Chronurgy Wizard, manipulating time and space to shape the destiny of your adventuring party? The choice is yours, and the mysteries of chronomancy await your exploration.
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