When it comes to the realm of spellcasters in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, the Elf Wizard stands out as the meticulous scholar who meticulously studies for the magical test and consistently earns an A+. However, it’s no secret that, in the end, the only spell that truly matters is the beloved Fireball (or its cousin, Firebolt). So, let’s delve deep into the world of Elf Wizards, their rich lore, and how to make the most of this intriguing character combination.
The Elf Race and the Wizard Class
The Elf race and the Wizard class can both be found in the Player’s Handbook. If you haven’t already acquired your copy, you can pick one up here.
How to Create an Elf Wizard
Before we explore the intricacies of Elf Wizards, it’s important to understand the nature of Elves in D&D. These beings possess a humanoid appearance, but they have a unique, innate connection to magic, setting them apart from other races. Considered one of the oldest races on the material plane, Elves share common traits such as grace, slenderness, a mastery of magic, an arrogant attitude, immortal souls, a love for self-expression, and, of course, their characteristic slenderness.
However, Elves exhibit a range of characteristics, abilities, advantages, and disadvantages based on their elven heritage. In D&D 5e, they can be categorized into three main types:
- Eladrin (Variant): Hailing from the Twilight realm of Feywild, these Elves possess a strong connection to nature and magic. They are known for their intelligence.
- High Elf: These Elves are clever and proficient in basic magic. They also gain the ability to speak, read, and write an additional language.
- Wood Elf: Known for their swiftness, stealth, keen senses, and attunement to nature, Wood Elves are often looked down upon by other Elf subtypes. They also exhibit a predisposition for wisdom.
Elven Physical Distinctions:
- Greyhawk Gray Elves: These Elves are somewhat shorter than other Elves and have pale or lightly tanned skin. Their hair ranges from black to brown and red, which fades to gray as they age. They sport long and pointed ears and have eyes in various shades of grey.
- Valley Elves: Taller than most Elves, Valley Elves have hair that shifts from pale yellow during summer to rich gold during winter. They exhibit ice blue eyes or shades of grey and typically wear blue and green hues.
- Silvanesti Elves: Details about their physical traits are scarce, but they are known for their finer features and strong belief that they are the firstborn descendants of the gods. They create structures of marble and silver and are the most reclusive of the Elven race.
- Sun (Gold/Sunrise Elves): These Elves have bronze skin tones, copper, black, or golden blond hair, and golden, silver, or black eyes.
Tolerant and Respectable Chad Elves:
- Greyhawk High Elves: Often mistaken for Gray Elves due to the name, they have dark hair and green or hazel eyes. They typically wear pastel blue or green clothing, sometimes covered by a greenish gray cloak, and sport intense, deep colors when in urban settings, or brown leather for hunting.
- Qualinesti Elves: While no physical traits are explicitly mentioned, they are believed to be relatives or descendants of the Silvanesti. They value liberty, equality, respect for nature, love for trees, and are the least racist among Elves.
- Moon (Silver/Gray Elves): Moon Elves have pale alabaster skin with hints of blue, silver-white, black, or blue hair, and blue or green eyes flecked with gold. It’s important to note that Greyhawk Gray Elves are distinct from Moon Gray Elves.
Wood Elves: These Elves are known for their speed, stealth, keen senses, intuition, and affinity for nature. Unfortunately, they are often looked down upon by other Elves, treated as servants by the Silvanesti, and are generally distrustful of non-elves. This category includes the wild elves (grugach) of Greyhawk, the Kagonesti of Dragonlance, and Wood Elves in Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms. They have a bonus to wisdom.
Naming Your Elf
When naming your Elf, consider the fanciful and somewhat elaborate nature of Elvish names. They often sound like they were crafted by a fanfiction writer, imbued with ‘insightful’ meanings. However, one thing that Elves cannot change is their last name, which is equally meaningful. Here are some examples:
- Amakiir (Gemflower)
- Amastacia (Starflower)
- Holimion (Diamonddew)
- Galanodel (Moonwhisper)
Wiznerding 101: Your Wizard Academia (Arcane Tradition)
Unlike certain popular book/movie series, you won’t need a magical hat to choose your magical specialization in D&D. By the time you reach level two, you’ll have the opportunity to select your school of magic, setting you on a path to become a true master of the arcane. This choice can be both exhilarating and daunting as you contemplate the unique abilities and spells your school offers.
Let’s simplify the various schools of magic using the metaphor of an apple:
- School of Abjuration: You become the protector or banisher of the apple, specializing in defensive spells and wards.
- Abjuration Savant
- Arcane Ward
- Projected Ward
- Improved Abjuration
- Spell Resistance
- School of Conjuration: Your powers revolve around teleporting or creating the apple, mastering the art of summoning and conjuring.
- Conjuration Savant
- Minor Conjuration
- Benign Transportation
- Focused Conjuration
- Durable Summons
- School of Divination: You gain the ability to foresee the future of the apple, specializing in divination magic.
- Divination Savant
- Expert Divination
- The Third Eye
- Dark Vision
- Ethereal Sight
- Greater Comprehension
- See Invisibility
- Greater Portent
- School of Enchantment: Your goal is to make the apple irresistibly attractive, though it won’t make up for your class’s lack of charisma.
- Enchantment Savant
- Hypnotic Gaze
- Instinctive Charm
- Split Enchantment
- Alter Memories
- School of Evocation: Burn, shock, freeze, or obliterate the apple with your devastating spells, but don’t mistake yourself for the Avatar.
- Evocation Savant
- Sculpt Spells
- Potent Cantrip
- Empowered Evocation
- Over Channel
- School of Illusion: You psychologically and mentally torment the apple with hallucinations and may even contemplate taking over its life.
- Illusion Savant
- Improved Minor Illusions
- Malleable Illusions
- Illusory Self
- Illusory Reality
- School of Necromancy: You have the power to bring the apple back to life or resurrect it as an undead servant.
- Necromancy Savant
- Grim Harvest
- Undead Thralls
- Inured to Undeath
- Command Undead
- School of Transmutation: Your magical focus is on transforming the apple into something entirely different, even turning it into a banana.
- Transmutation Savant
- Minor Alchemy
- Transmuter’s Stone
- Master Transmuter
- Major Transformation
- Restore Life
- Restore Youth
As you progress in your Wizardry, you’ll gain new spells and abilities based on your chosen school, further enhancing your arcane prowess.
Attributes for an Elf Wizard
When creating an Elf Wizard, your main attribute priority should be Intelligence. This isn’t a problem if you’ve chosen to be a High Elf or Eladrin, as these subtypes have bonuses to Intelligence. Unlike Sorcerers or Warlocks, who rely on Charisma, Wizards derive their power from their profound knowledge of the arcane. Following Intelligence, prioritize Constitution, and Dexterity, which your chosen race can also enhance. Wisdom, Strength, or Charisma come next, but remember, you won’t be the most charming character in the campaign. On the bright side, you possess default proficiency in perception, immunity to magical charms and sleep, and dark vision – quite useful qualities, especially during intense adventures.
How to Play an Elf Wizard
For the practical aspects of playing an Elf Wizard, you can refer to this D&D Beyond guide.
Health and Spells
Your Wizard’s hit dice is 1d6 per Wizard level, and you begin with 6 + your Constitution modifier hit points at 1st level. As you level up, you gain 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier hit points per Wizard level after 1st. Remember to pay close attention to your hit points and manage your health effectively, as Wizards tend to be more fragile in combat compared to other classes.
Your spellcasting ability as a Wizard is governed by your Intelligence. The spell save DC for your spells is calculated as 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier. Your spell attack modifier is determined by your proficiency bonus and your Intelligence modifier.
Here are some important terms you’ll encounter during your adventures as an Elf Wizard:
- Cantrips: These are simple spells you can cast at will, without expending spell slots. As a Wizard, you start with three 1st-level spells and gain more as you level up. However, you begin with only two spell slots. Fortunately, you can rely on Arcane Recovery to replenish your magical resources. In the absence of a spellbook or scroll, cantrips become your go-to spells. Some examples include Acid Splash, Chill Touch, Dancing Lights, Fire Bolt/Ball, and many more.
- Spellbook: Your spellbook is an essential tool that you carry with you as a Wizard. It serves as your magical reference, containing the spells you’ve learned throughout your journey. However, maintaining a spellbook can be expensive, as you must acquire special paper for your magical studies.
Elven Combat Advantages
Elves, even Wizards, have a unique set of combat advantages:
- Elf Weapon Training: You are proficient with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
- Fey Step: You can cast the Misty Step spell once using this trait, and you regain the ability to do so after a short or long rest.
- Elf Weapon Training: Proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
- Cantrip: You know one cantrip of your choice from the Wizard spell list, with Intelligence as your spellcasting ability for it.
- Elf Weapon Training: Proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
- Fleet of Foot: Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.
- Mask of the Wild: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
Despite their somewhat pompous and haughty nature, Elves in D&D value and protect the freedom of others as well as their own. Most Elves lean toward the side of good, with the exception of the drow, or dark Elves, who are often considered vicious and dangerous due to their exile. However, it’s essential to note that not all drow are evil, as some follow the good Drow goddess, Eilistraee.
Roleplaying as an Elf Wizard
Being a mage is a common path for Elves due to their innate magical connection, but it’s essential to understand their character and nature to roleplay effectively. Elves are, surprisingly, much more chaotic than humans in Torel, and despite their longevity and wisdom, they often have ongoing internal disputes and questions about hierarchy, though they don’t always show it.
One unique aspect of Elf life is the recycling of souls. The Elf population remains stable, neither increasing nor decreasing. If too many Elves are born, it’s seen as a bad omen and sparks questions about the intentions of the Seldarine, the Elven pantheon. This is also the source of discrimination against half-elves by full-blooded Elves, as the nature of their souls is ambiguous.
Despite their perceived aloofness, even more open and friendly Elves are cautious about forming deep bonds. Their lives are a never-ending cycle of observing old and new generations come and go, followed by reincarnation. This may explain why some Elves, especially those with an inclination toward magic, choose to become Wizards. They become experts in magic, but they also tend to be introverted and contemplative.
Are you seeking to enhance your innate magical abilities? Are you pursuing knowledge, power, or something entirely different? You can craft a rich backstory and character motivation for your Elf Wizard based on these questions. Additionally, consider the ability of Elves to access their old memories during trances, providing an intriguing angle for character development.
In the end, an Elf Wizard’s journey is not only a quest for power and knowledge but also a path of self-discovery, wisdom, and enlightenment.
Note: It’s essential to check with your Dungeon Master (DM) regarding language choices for your Elf, especially if you’re a High Elf. The Player’s Handbook states that you can choose a language from the Exotic Languages table or a secret language with DM approval. This opens up exciting possibilities for roleplay, allowing you to communicate in exotic tongues like thieves’ cant or the language of druids.
In conclusion, as an Elf Wizard, your path is one of both scholarly pursuit and arcane mastery, and it is filled with endless opportunities for roleplay, character development, and spellcasting wonders in the world of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Embrace your elven heritage, and let the magic flow through you.
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