Wizards are among the most popular characters, and for good reason. Thanks to their wide selection of spells, they're among the most versatile and powerful characters in the game.
The Pros and Cons of a Wizard
The wizard is the party's magical powerhouse. She can boost her party's combat effectiveness, help her compatriots scout, and levy fiery magical assaults at the enemies. Depending on whether or not she specializes, she may have access to nearly any kind of arcane spell.
When you chose a wizard, you gain access to a wide range of powerful spells, but the class has a few hidden resources as well. Below are several assets you have going for you when you play a wizard.
High Skill Points: Don't let the wizard's paltry two skill points per level fool you. A wizard needs to have a high Intelligence score because that ability governs her spellcasting. But a high Intelligence score also boosts the number of skill points she has available.
Good Will Saves: A wizard uses the best save progression in the game for Will saves (see Table 3-1 in the Player's Handbook). This natural mental strength helps her resist most effects that fool her mind or assault her spirit, including charms, compulsions, illusions, fear effects, and even inflict spells.
Good Spell Selection: The wizard's spell list has unmatched breadth and depth, and virtually its whole range is open to her. With the right spell, she can damage or slay foes, whisk herself (and her friends) to safety, discern hidden truths, throw up impassible barriers, or even create useful items out of thin air.
Bonus Feats: Scribe Scroll, which the wizard gains as a bonus feat, lets her pack extra spells along on any trip. She also gets bonus item creation and metamagic feats as she attains higher levels.
Familiar: By spending a little cash, a wizard can gain a familiar who can serve as a spy, lookout, and general assistant.
School Specialization: A wizard can gain more spellcasting ability by giving up access to part of the wizard spell list. This kind of specialization can also be a great roleplaying hook, especially if she chooses a specialty that matches her temperament or history.
Wizards pay a heavy price for their spellcasting abilities. Here are a few of the disadvantages you should keep in mind if you're considering a wizard character.
Low Hit Points: The wizard's 4-sided Hit Dice give her very few hit points.
Poor Armor Class: Because the wizard has no proficiency with any kind of armor or shield, she generally has a low Armor Class. The combination of low hit points and low Armor Class makes her extremely vulnerable in physical combat, especially melee. She can use spells and magic items to improve her defense, but doing so makes them less available for other purposes.
Poor Attack Bonus: A wizard's base attack bonus is +1 per two wizard levels, which is the worst in the game. Wizards can dish out lots of damage with their spells, but they don't do well with weapons.
Poor Reflex and Fortitude Saving Throws: Wizards have the worst progression for Fortitude and Reflex saves in the game (see Table 3-1 in the Player's Handbook). Thus, they aren't so great at avoiding attacks on their bodies.
Playing a Classy Wizard
Great wizards usually use the following techniques. So if you're playing a wizard, try to incorporate them into your strategy.