Newbie Wizard help with specialization

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Hello guys. I am creating my first character in d&d and i need some help with specialization. Do i need to do it? Does it help or is it better to be a universalist/generalist? What are the benefits of specializing in 1 school?

Also, if it helps, the concept of my character is a young (chaotic good) wizard, that begins his travels to develop his skills. Not an evil necromancer thats gonna raise legions of undead, i was thinking of a classic mix of Gadalf/Dumbledore type, the strong and silent type of wizard.
#1: It's Gandalf.

#2: Dumbledore implies a more bookish mage concept IMHO; I'd suggest going more Gandalf-esque to get the whole 'adventuring wizard' sort of feel, unless you're not looking for that.

#3: Dual specialization offers some decent benefits; and if you're looking to do a single-school mage, look into the Renegade Red Wozard theme, which offers benefits in place of the secondary school.
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Specializing in 3e is rarely worth it, since all it gets you is more spells (and you get plenty very quickly), not actually making you any better at the spells you cast.

That said, if you're looking at things like the Focused Specialist PrC, or some of the Unearthed Arcana alternate class features, then it might go somewhere.
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#1: It's Gandalf.

#2: Dumbledore implies a more bookish mage concept IMHO; I'd suggest going more Gandalf-esque to get the whole 'adventuring wizard' sort of feel, unless you're not looking for that.

#3: Dual specialization offers some decent benefits; and if you're looking to do a single-school mage, look into the Renegade Red Wozard theme, which offers benefits in place of the secondary school.

(Or Mithrandir, or Olórin, or Incánus, or Tharkûn, or Greyhame, or Stormcrow, or Láthspell, Greycloak, or The White Rider, Sharkún, Khuzdul, or Grêg-Hama, Cáno, Forlong or Fornold or...)

Specialization's main benefit is that it allows you to cast an extra spell from your chosen school. So.. if you want to a transmuter, for instance, you could do that more times per day... at the expense of not being able to cast spells from a certain school.

Unless you want your character concept to focus on a certain type of spell, it's generally better to be a general wizard. If you want to cast the same spell many times in a day, there's always the option of scribing a scroll or two.
You could go through the movies and try to find DnD equivalents to the spells and abilities these wizards use. If you can do it while specializing, then go that route. If you feel later that you need more variety, ask your DM if your wizard can make some unique spells. If specializing doesn't offer you the spell choices you want... go generalist.

Just a recommendation.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.

If you haven't played a wizard before I recomend not specializing. Optimization wise its not quite as good. Its also more restrictive. 


You give up schools of magic, which is giving up options. Options are why wizards are good. 


If you are interested in specializing, consider doing it for your second or third wizard. Take note of the schools of magic you tend to cast, and which ones you don't. Then in the future specizlize.

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If you're going to specialize, you should consider getting the focused specialist class feature variant in complete mage. Otherwise, I'm going to agree with Krusk and say stay generalist for your first wizard.
If it helps, I found this article a few months ago

diceofdoom.com/blog/2009/09/powergaming-...

According to this person:

people normally should specialize because there are spells that they're just not going to use a lot

the best schools to ban are Evocation + either Illusion or Enchantment

and the best to specialize in are

Very good: Conjuration, Transmutation
Kinda: Abjuration, Divination, Necromancy, Enchantment
"Friends don't let friends specialize in Evocation" -Internet

EDIT: if your wizard is in a party with a rogue, I do not recommend dropping illusion. Normally, if a rogue wants to do game-breaking Sneak Attack damage, he and a partner need to be exactly opposite each other for flanking a common enemy, making him dependant on the enemy not moving out of the way. If the rogue is invisible, however, he does not need a partner to deal SA damage, so he is less dependant on an enemy standing still.

Therefore, a wizard in a party with a rogue would probably not want to ban the ability to cast Invisibility on said rogue, making "Evocation + Enchantment" better in this case than banning Illusion (especially given what is said in a later post about entire categories of monsters being immune to Enchantment due to not being intelligent enough).

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Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

I don't like banning evocation because no other school can put out that kind of AoE damage. Nothing like cones of fire and electricityballs for room-clearing. The only thing that beats it on single target is transmutation, and disintegrate is pretty iffy a lot of the time. It's a fort save, and generally things with high fort saves have high hp, exactly what disintegrate should be good at. I would sooner ban necromancy than I would ban evocation. I also would never actually specialize in necromancy unless I was going for a very specific concept and build, and necromancy is my favorite school of all time.

Specializing in evocation can be awesome with the right feats and classes.
Depends on the party build, in my opinion.  If your party is loaded with damage, take something that'll help control the battlefield;  if it's control-oriented, take some damage.

As for barring Evocation, there's really nothing that it can do that some other school can't do...especially since there's shadow evocation.  All it takes is some way to tank their Will save (mind fog?) and they're getting blasted by a 'fireball' (or your evocation spell of choice).  The fact that a lot of Evocation spells are based in energy damage (and there are quite a few critters out there that resist the types) doesn't help it any.


@Beldak_Serpenthelm - I'd shy away from barring Illusion if you're also dropping Evocation...it cuts out some of your damaging potential if needed.  It also hurts your control aspect, since it has quite a few ability-damaging spells (phantasmal assailants (8 Wis/8 Dex at level 3), shadow spray (4 Str in an area at level 3), etc.).  I don't know what to cut, honestly...probably enchantment (even though it drops sleep and other control spells).
Archmage and mastery of elements eliminates the energy type problem, and if you go snowcasting you can apply energy types to spells that wouldn't otherwise have them at all. As for other schools doing everything that evocation can, that's not really true. No other school can get evo's damage or hard CC. (Walls of Force are pretty awesome.)

I really don't like shadow evocation as a substitute because it allows them two saves instead of one, and there are those "60% real" caveats that just ruin it. Sure, you can try and drop their saves, but it's still an extra save, less damage, lower level spells, and mind-affecting. There's just too many things that can go be used to shut it down.

If you want a "balanced specialist" I would recommend specializing in conjuration and dropping evo and illusion. Conjuration has decent cc, unique efefcts, and damage. Enchantment has the best and hardest to stop mental effects. Necromancy has good save or dies and works against undead well. Can't drop divination. Transmutation should never be dropped. Ever.
Depends on the party build, in my opinion.  If your party is loaded with damage, take something that'll help control the battlefield;  if it's control-oriented, take some damage.

As for barring Evocation, there's really nothing that it can do that some other school can't do...especially since there's shadow evocation.  All it takes is some way to tank their Will save (mind fog?) and they're getting blasted by a 'fireball' (or your evocation spell of choice).  The fact that a lot of Evocation spells are based in energy damage (and there are quite a few critters out there that resist the types) doesn't help it any.


@Beldak_Serpenthelm - I'd shy away from barring Illusion if you're also dropping Evocation...it cuts out some of your damaging potential if needed.  It also hurts your control aspect, since it has quite a few ability-damaging spells (phantasmal assailants (8 Wis/8 Dex at level 3), shadow spray (4 Str in an area at level 3), etc.).  I don't know what to cut, honestly...probably enchantment (even though it drops sleep and other control spells).



Definitely enchantment.  There are huge swaths of creature types (undead, vermin, plant, construct, probably others) that simply ignore all enchantment spells, because they are by definition mind-affecting.
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