The Wizard's Handbook

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Attention! This guide is old and hasn't been updated in a while. You can find the last version here
The Wizard's Handbook Part I: Attributes, Races and Class Features
The Wizard's Handbook Part II: Skills and Feats
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Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Wizards are a vast class. Two wizards may differ in so many areas, even if their builds are similar. The main reason for that is of course, spell selection. But what attributes are required to wizards? This is a very difficult answer, that highly depends on the spells you use regularly.

  • Strength: This is a dump stat for wizards. It only applies to touch attacks, but since they are touch anyway, you won't have much of a problem with this.
  • Dexterity: Not a dump stat, but not primary either. Helps in many ways. First of all wizards with high initiative, using a key spell can disable multiple or a particular enemy and win half the battle for their teammates. Second, helps reflex saves which are bad and last but not least it helps targeted ray spells, which require a ranged touch attack.
  • Constitution: This needs to be really high. A close second to intelligence, constitution boosts your fortitude saves and your hit points. Wizards lack in both. A minor note is that it also boosts your familiar's hit point total, too. Also the concentration skill, which all wizards should max out, is keyed off constitution.
  • Intelligence: This is your primary statistic and should always be high. Determines your save DCs and bonus spells. Also many of the wizard's skills are keyed off intelligence. Starting wizards require a 15 minimum score in this attribute to acquire 9th level spells in time.
  • Wisdom: Dump stat. Only helps will saves, which are already high. Arcane disciple feat however, needs this score.
  • Charisma: Dump stat, but there are exceptions. Helps some enchantment spells which require charisma rolls.

Not all races are suitable for wizards. This are some points to take into consideration hen choosing a race for your wizard:
  • Feats: While wizards receive a fair amount of bonus feats, most builds are feat
    intensive. Also if you are going to prestige, your feat selection will be a lot more strict. For example consider an archmage, a usual choice as a prestige for wizards, which requires 3 feats that aren't exactly helpful. So if your new class doesn't provide bonus feats, consider to offset your strict selection a bit by selecting a race that helps.
  • Attributes: Be extremely careful here. Choose races that don't give penalties to your key attributes: intelligence and constitution. A wizard can survive a hit in nearly every other attribute, but not make the mistake of reducing those two, because you may regret it, even from the start of the campaign. On the other side, when looking for races that provide bonuses to your attributes, choose those that boost constitution and intelligence. Bonuses to dexterity are always nice and wizards can benefit from some charisma.
  • Type: This is important to wizards more than one may think. This is because of two powerful spells, alter self and polymorph. Not the first priority, but types other than humanoid (such as construct, dragon or outsider) are welcome.
  • Level Adjustment: Even if these races seem attractive, don't ever, ever take level adjustment beyond one or two points and that's the case only if you are allowed to buy it off. Wizards are powerful because of their spells. If they don't have access or get late access to them, it won't make you happy. The penalties will be vast late game and because you actually will be very fragile , early in the campaign you will be a nuisance and viability to your team. Taking level adjustment will make you BAB, skills, spellcasting, saves bad.
  • Skills: Not important to wizards. Bonuses to skills are respected, but don't choose races based on that. You'll already have a nice amount of skills per level from your main casting stat, more than enough to cover your needs.
  • Favored Class: There are many races that list wizard as their favored class. Don't let that fool you. A race with favored class (wizard) means that traditionally, members of this race are involved with the certain class. However that doesn't actually mean that they are good for it. For example, elves as presented in the PHB are a bad option for wizards.
  • Size: A small wizard is actually better in several aspects from medium ones. Being small gets you a mild AC and attack bonus, which is great for touch attacks. Also they receive some bonus to the hide skill and generally small races receive bonuses to move silently, too. However, note, that you become more vulnerable to grapple/pin attempts, trip attacks, disarm bull rush, overrun attempts and your speed generally is lower than that of medium sized default speed (30ft).
  • Languages: You are going to have a whole lot starting languages. Standard wizard languages are elven and draconic, as a lot of arcane-related texts are written in these. Choose carefully your rest and make sure that you and your party share a common obscure language if you need to communicate without others understanding.
  • Movement Modes: Speed is not all that important to wizards, because they do have speed boosters or spells that allow tactical movement. So it shouldn't matter a lot in your selection. However alternate movement modes are respected, such as a climb or fly speed. Never get a particular race for the bonus alternative modes though. They are easily duplicated with low level spells.
  • Weapon Proficiencies: Wizards have a very strict selection of weapon proficiencies. Races that expand this are welcome, but shouldn't be the main reason you chose it. Weapon proficiencies are not above attributes for example. Choose wisely.

This is a list with most of the no or low level adjustment races that are often used for wizards. Also here is a nice little guide by AZNsupermarket that was unfortunately archived.
  • Humans PHB: Bonus feat, skill points and any favored class. As with everything else, humans make for very good wizards.
  • Dwarfs PHB: Not the best wizards out there, but it does boost your defensive skills. Especially nice is the stability and constitution bonus. Also darkvision and the other various abilities are respected. Note that dwarfs are sub-optimal for wizards, but they are referenced here because some prestige classes are race specific.
  • Elves PHB: Elves as presented in the player's handbook are a viability to wizards. The only real bonus is the weapon proficiencies, for which you shouldn't really care about. Constitution loss is a pain, considering that you will start with 5 or so hit points. However, it must be noted that elves have access to elf paragon UA which boosts your intelligence by +2. Since most elves gain weapon proficiencies, are able to qualify eventually for the abjurant champion CM prestige class at the expense of just a feat.
  • Gnomes PHB: Bonus to constitution and spell power with illusion spells. Small size and even some spell-like abilities.
  • Halflings PHB: Small size, bonus to dexterity and some great saving throw bonuses.
  • Gray Elves MM: They get the same bonuses as normal elves, but take also a strength hit and a intelligence bonus. If you make them dragonborn you'll be having -2 strength +2 intelligence.
  • Artic Elves UA: Penalty to strength instead of constitution and bonus to dexterity. Not the best, but handy if you want to fulfill race requirements.
  • Desert Elves UA: As above.
  • Fire Elves UA: Making this into a dragonborn, you make the stats modifiers +2 intelligence -2 charisma. Also removes the penalties/bonuses for being of fire heritage.
  • Illumians RoD: The illumian race favors basicaly multiclass characters. The obvious reason to get this race is for the sigils it offers. The best luminous sigils for wizards are probably Naen and Krau. Krau is only useful in the case you acquire a prestige class that sacrifices one or two levels from your casting progression. That way you get back you lost caster levels, without having to spend feats on practiced spellcaster CA for example. Naen is pretty straightforward, as most of your skills will be keyed off intelligence. An interesting possibility is Hoon, which helps both constitution (concentration) and wisdom (listen, spot) checks and skill checks. Also they are considered human, so that may help with some feats and classes.
  • Sharakim RoD: This receives a bonus to intelligence and a worthless bonus to strength. It hurts dexterity, which isn't that nice and charisma, which may be useful occasionally. The rest of his abilities are too crappy to deserve a +1 level adjustment, and they are easily duplicated with spells.
  • Tieflings RoD: This is very nice and features a lot of the bonuses a wizard can acquire due to his race selection. The only problem is the +1 level adjustment, but if retraining is allowed in your campaign, this problem can easily be waived. The attribute bonuses are ok, but lesser charisma may be problematic sometimes. One of the greatest bonuses of this race is its type. Outsider (native) means that even though you need to eat and sleep, you are not affected by a wide range of spells that target humanoids and that alter self and polymorph spells provide more benefits to you.
  • Chaos Gnome RoS: The attribute bonuses are great, to nearly every stat you'll need in your career. It has some nice bonuses, included the thematically synergistic spell power and luck of chaos. The level adjustment can be a problem though. Last but not least, being a gnome opens up entry to one of the greatest wizard prestige classes, Swadowcraft Mage.
  • Dream Dwarfs RoS: The penalty to dexterity can hurt certain builds, but the tradeoff is ok. This gets the standard dwarf bonuses (stability, constitution bonus) but also possess the Dream Sight ability, which is not that great, and spell power with divination spells and earth descriptor spells, only when in contact with the ground. All of these bonuses come at no level adjustment.
  • Whisper Gnomes RoS: This is a great race. The attributes are ok, base land is 30ft even though they are small and receives huge bonuses to move silently/hide checks, making them ideal for sneaky wizard builds (Unseen Seer CM, Arcane Trickster DMG). Also opens up gnome specific prestige classes.
  • Dragonborn of Bahamut RotD: Dragonborn is a template that can be added to other races. What is good about this one is that it raises your constitution, while reducing your dexterity. This is a great template, since many races that give bonuses to intelligence (such as sun elves) incur a penalty to constitution. This will help offset the differences, while getting some cool dragon features. You can select between a constitution based breath weapon (which is great feature because it doesn't require attack roll and it can be augmented by metabreath spells), sharpened senses or wings. Your type changes to humanoid (dragonborn), but it states that "For all effects related to race, a dragonborn is considered a dragon and a member of her original race".
  • Kobold RotD: What makes kobolds great wizards, despite the huge penalties in their attributes, is a single feat: Dragonwrought RotD. This effectively changes their type to dragon. Dragonwrought kobolds have been used to abuse various mechanics, from early epic feats acquisition to ability bonuses due to age. Since dragonwrought kobolds are true dragons, they can use great alter self forms, too.
  • Snow Elves Frostburn: They get bonus to dexterity but incur a penalty in charisma, which is better than constitution. Not the best race for wizards out there, but they are playable.
  • Aventi Stormwrack: Aventis are amphibious humans that are haven't got anything important. They are just mentioned because of the water spell power they possess.
  • Amphibious Creature Stormwrack: The amphibious template gives you a swim speed and the ability to breathe air equally well as air. All these come only at the cost of reduced dexterity. This may prove useful to campaigns close to large bodies of water, or underwater ones.
  • Sun Elves FRCS: Bonus to intelligence, but penalty to constitution. This is a common choice for wizards, and while it is better than the PHB elves, the constitution penalty hurts. I wouldn't recommend these at all. There are so many ways to raise your difficulty class and gain extra spells, that at higher levels, the intelligence bonus won't even matter. A nice thought is using dragonborn RotD so that you move the constitution penalty to your dexterity, while retaining your intelligence bonus. The elven benefits are not that great to wizards and you are still considered an elf for various effects.
  • Strongheart Halflings FRCS: Small size, bonus feats and all the standard halfling bonuses, except for the bonus to all saves. This rivals humans PHB for the best wizard race.
  • Ghostwise Halflings FRCS: Their ability to communicate telepathically is a great way for enchanters to give orders to their minions. Again they retain all the standard halfling bonuses, but lose the +1 bonus to all saves.
  • Air Genasi FRCS: As with tieflingsRoD they are outsiders, which helps alter self and similar spells, they get bonuses to stats that help wizards (although they lose 2 points of wisdom compared to tieflings). An interesting ability is breathless, but i don't think it will come into play much, not to mention that you have a lot of spells that duplicate it. Overall they are a nice race, but unfortunately tieflings overshadow them. The +1 level adjustment makes them less attracting.
  • Fire Genasi FRCS: As above, but the stats aren't that bad. The scaling +1 saves/5 levels for fire effects will come probably more into play. However, overall they are less powerful than their air counterparts.
  • Lesser Planetouched PGtF: Located at page 191 of the book, you can choose to be a "lesser" version of a planetouched. Effectively you become humanoid with the planetouched subtype. This means that you are affected by spells that target outsiders or humanoids. Also since you are no longer an outsider, you can't take some cool alter self forms. That said, this is ok, but level adjustment buyoff is strictly better. The main advantage tieflings RoD for example besides some cool attribute modifiers, is their outsider type.
  • Deep Imaskari Und: An underdark race that gives a bonus to intelligence and a penalty to strength. Also it has an ability that lets you recall a 1st level spell, which is great for low level characters. Unfortunately it's no elf to benefit from the various features they provide.
  • Krinth CoR: Bonuses to constitution, darkvision, bonuses to saves and you cannot be shaken, blocking most fear stacking effects.
  • Changelings ECS: Not actually a great race for wizards, but they open up access to powerful substitution levels and the recaster RoE prestige class. Do not underestimate their minor change shape ability, as it can save lives at low levels and help disguises later.
  • Warforged ECS: This is a great race for wizards. Makes you immune to lots of things, boosts your constitution and the penalties are to attributes you don't need. You also gain light fortification. The most important part is that you can heal yourself with the repair damage series of spells. The downside is that you have a 5% arcane spell failure from your composite plating and that you are vulnerable to effects that target both living creatures and constructs. However since you can enhance your armor, that is not much of a problem.
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Wizard Features:
  • Low base attack bonus.
  • Good will save progression.
  • 2+intelligence modifier skill points.
  • Proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow and the quarterstaff.
  • Not proficient with any kind of armor or shield.

Class Features:
  • Summon Familiar: Familiars can be a huge boon to their masters. A handbook on familiars is located here, written by me.
  • Scribe Scroll PHB: Wizards get scribe scroll as a bonus feat. Scribe scroll can be handy creating scrolls with spells that are not regularly used but still are important to carry around. Also many prestige classes have an item creation feat listed as a requirement.
  • Bonus Feats: Wizards get some bonus feats at 5th and every five levels thereafter. The feat must be a metamagic, item creation feat or spell mastery.
  • Spells: Wizard's greatest asset is their spells. They will be discussed extensively in a later section.

Schools of Magic:

An interesting wizard feature is the ability to specialize in a certain school of magic by giving up access to others. By doing so you gain a mild bonus to spellcraft checks to learn a spell from his speciality and an extra spell per spell level, but they can only be used to store spells of your chosen school. So, is this worth it or no? Consider that by specializing you gain an extra 45 spell levels, which is a significant amount. The main problem to this however, is which schools to give up.
The best choice if your spell selection isn't limited (as in, you have access to spells outside the SRD, like spell compendium) is to be a diviner. What is great about diviners, is that they only give up one school to specialize, while all other specialties require to give up two.
  • Abjuration: This school is all about protect, block and banish. Some of the most useful spells are contained in this school. It is considered a poor choice to give it up, because you lose the extremely useful Dispel Magic spell.
  • Conjuration: Another useful school that contains spells you cannot give up. Dimension Door, Teleport, Summon Monster and Gate spells are considered top quality.
  • Divination: This is the only school you are not allowed to give up.
  • Enchantment: This is the first option of your potential banned schools. It has a series of spells that are useful and probably irreplaceable, like Dominate and Charm spells. However, other spells in this school, which include mainly buffs and disabling spells, are easily replaced by other schools.
  • Evocation: This school includes mainly direct damage spells. Although it isn't worth it, it is generally popular to new players. Even if you need evocation spells, Shadow Evocation/Greater can help emulating them. The most useful spell of this school is probably Contingency and while it has other good spells, this is the best choice of a prohibited school probably.
  • Illusion: This is usually suggested as a prohibited school, but you lose great spells like Invisibility/Greater and Shadow Evocation. I think it's a poor choice to give that up.
  • Necromancy: This is a school, that although it has spells that are
    useful, providing you with a variety of tactics (fear, enervation, ray of exhaustion), buffing you (false life), outright killing people (finger of death, wail of the banshee) or being the base of some potentially broken stuff (clone, magic jar), you can actually drop. Be sure however that as you gain levels, it will be obvious that dropping this
  • Transmutation: There is absolute no way to substitute this school's spells. It contains a wide selection of utility, combat and social spells you just can't pass: Enlarge Person, Alter Self, Spider Climb, Blink/Greater, Fly, Haste, Polymorph, Polymorph any Object and Shapechange.

Thus your best choices to dump are enchantment and evocation. The best speciality is probably diviner who drops only one school (evocation is the best choice). Other great specialities are the transmuter and the conjurer.

Alternative Class Features:
  • Immediate Magic PHB II: I am reluctant to this alternative feature. Familiars have much more applications. However the conjuration ability is probably worth it.
  • Focused Specialist CM: This has its applications, but isn't generally worth it. Having three schools banned and three of your specialist school per day, may be handy.
  • Drakken Familiar DM: Your familiar gains the dragonblood subtype and a breath weapon instead of the ability to deliver touch spells. Pretty much equal, depending on your ability scores.
  • Wizard of Sun and Moon Dungeonscape: This is a bad feature. You trade
    your familiar for the ability to cast different spells per day depending on your surroundings.
  • Domain Granted Power CC: This is an interesting ability. Some domain powers are really powerful and some even grant feats outside the metamagic/item creation types. This is a really interesting ability that expands a wizard's potencial.
  • Spontaneous Divination CC: I'd always pick this unless i can't fulfill requirements. Powerful ability that gives you sorcerer-like power for divination spells. Moreover it waives the need of spending money or picking divination spells.

Substitution Levels:
  • Gnome Illusionist RoS: While nothing important changes from class skills, bonus skill points or hit die point of view, these levels really provide nice abilities and it's a great base for shadowcraft illusionists RoS. Remember that you must be a specialist wizard in order to pick these substitution levels.
    • 1st level: You get silent image as a 0 level spell, which is great for shadowcraft illusionists RoS. Combined with earth spell RoS and heighten spell PHB you get a caster level boost. On top of that you also get other illusion spells at a lower than normal level.
    • 5th level: The ability to double the duration of illusions. As an added bonus, if the spell has duration concentration, you get a 1d4 bonus to its duration after you stop concentrating on it. The tradeoff is the 5th level wizard feat and the two free spells known at that level.
    • 10th level: Nice ability, but not anything to die for. Also this halts you from acquiring prestige classes.

  • Elven Wizard RotW: There are two points to this. First you cannot specialize, which is not automatically a problem, but it does limit you. Second you need to be an elf. These substitution levels are probably the best out there for specialist wizards, especially the first one, to which you lose virtually nothing. As an added bonus you get search as a bonus class skill.
    • 1st level: You get a bonus spell known at each level and a spell slot at the highest you can cast, making you unable to specialize.
    • 3rd level: Double your familiar's granted bonus, but your familiar loses the ability to deliver touch spells and the ability to speak with animals of its type. Generally this significantly reduces your familiar to a more passive role, but the bonuses are great and variable.
    • 5th level: What makes this level great is that even if you don't pick it, it gives you extra versatility. It may come handy to choose a different feat than your wizard ones, to fulfill requirements or get in a prestige class earlier.

  • Planar Wizard PlH: These substitution levels have two main problems. One, you need to travel regularly through the planes for them to be effective. Two, most of the levels come in mid and late levels, forcing you to take many levels in the class.
    • 6th level: Nice ability if you are plane traveling a lot, and the trade isn't that great.
    • 10th level: This is a pretty strange ability. You give your two boinus spells known for the level and your wizard feat in exchange for extra magical ability against targets of the opposite alignment than the one you choose to imbue your spells with. The added descriptor to your normal spells can also help.
    • 14th level: This has potential for really broken effects, but you really have to take fourteen whole levels as a wizard. Another point is that you lose a 7th level spell slot to this, which is not that hot. Lastly, it takes a standard action to channel the planar essence, making it not very helpful in combat (unless you are using quickened spells or swift/immediate/free action spells).

  • Changeling Wizard RoE: Changeling wizard substitution levels give extra skill points, extra class skills (bluff, disguise and sleight of hand) and interesting abilities.
    • 1st level: The important ability in this level is dual specialization. If this means that you must absolutely specialize, then it isn't that hot. However if you can choose if you want to specialize or no, like normal wizards, this level is of top quality. Actually since it states that: This substitution feature replaces the standard wizard's specialization option. you can discard it if it doesn't suit you. As a note, dual specialization may be interesting in conjunction with focused specialist CM, according to how your DM interprets it. Bottom line, if you are a changeling, this is of top quality.
    • 5th level: Limited Spell Knowledge does limit your selection, but it nets you a bonus spell, of schools that are important. However the important ability this substitution level provides is morphic familiar with which you literally acquire every familiar in the book. The selection can be really huge with the improved familiar feat. The main problem to this though, is that it doesn't mention which abilities are acquired by your familiar's new form. Still, you do gain the granted benefit, which can prove great based on the situation you face, as your familiar can alter its form as a full-round action.
    • 10th level: If you are going for this, you are going to be taking quite a few levels in the wizard class. Moreover its a nice ability, but i don't think its worth the feat nor the levels to get it.

  • Dukar CoV: Dukars are a nice idea, but in fact they suck. They give you a bonus class skill, swim, and various abilities that are either useless or require to many levels in the wizard class to be effective.
    • 5th level: Lose your standard spells known gained. You get two bonus spells but only from two selected schools, chosen when your first dukar level is gained. Also gain a claw that can be extended and retracted as a swift action by giving up your bonus feat.
    • 10th level: Again gain the special bonus spells the dukar get and a coral power. All the powers from the list seem useless, none are worth the exchange of a feat.
    • 15th level: Ditto.

  • High-One Warrior Wizard CoV: These substitution levels are from the Champions of Valor Web Enhancement, located here. This is actually a multiclass substitution levels, since you need at least two paladin levels to acquire them. They offer diplomacy, handle animal, heal and ride as bonus class skills. With the cityscape web enhancement, located here, you can trade ride and handle animal for gather information and tumble.
    • 2nd level: You get to stack your wizard and paladin levels to determine only how many times per day you can use your smite evil ability. Even though this only costs a 1st level spell, remember that you don't get your wizard level as a bonus to damage and your charisma bonus isn't going to be high enough to help your attack roll. Also note that smite evil requires a melee attack.
    • 4th level: Give a second level spell to reduce arcane spell failure by 20%. This combined with other arcane spell failure reducers, can make you able to wear even heavy armor.
    • 5th level: Interesting for alternative supermount builds, however it is bad for two reasons: Your wizard and paladin levels don't stack for the abilities of your pets and you need to progress your paladin levels to five to get a special mount.

Wizard Variants:
  • Combat Wizard UA: Lose your scribe scroll PHB and bonus wizard feats, and gain fighter bonus feats at 1st and every five levels as wizards do. Great for fulfilling requirements and to the gish types.
  • Domain Wizard UA: By giving away your ability to specialize, you can be a domain wizard. You gain an extra spell per level and add a domain spell to spells known when you are able to cast it. Apparently you don't give up anything and there are domains with really good spells. In addition spells casted from your domain slots get a +1 bonus to their caster level.

Specialist Wizard Variants UA:
  • Abjurer Variants:
    • Resistance to Energy (Su): Once per day, by giving up your familiar, you gain resistance to a selected energy type equal to 5 plus 1/2 of your abjurer class level. It lasts for one hour. I don't think that this is worth the trade.
    • Aura of Protection (Ex): Raise a protective barrier against the first attack or spell that will target you. You gain a deflection bonus to your armor class and a resistance bonus to all saving throws equal to your intelligence modifier. To gain this ability you give away your bonus feats. Whenever you gain a bonus feat, you get an additional use of this ability.
    • Spontaneous Dispelling (Ex): By giving away your bonus spells normally gained by being a specialist, you gain the ability to lose prepared spell energy to cast dispel magic or its greater counterpart. The downside to this is that you spend one more spell level to cast it spontaneously, but you can use a readied action to counterspell.

  • Conjurer Variants:
    • Rapid Summoning (Ex): Trade your familiar to reduce the casting time of summon monster spells to just a standard action. This is actually a very nice ability, despite the fact that you are losing your familiar
    • Enhanced Summoning (Ex): This is a good trade. You give your bonus feats away, but you get augment summoning PHB as a bonus feat at first level. At later levels your summons get harder at being dispelled and additional bonuses to their strength and constitution. Especially if you plan dipping wizard, augment summoning seems a lot better than scribe scroll.
    • Spontaneous Summoning (Ex): Lose a spell to cast any summon monster spell of lower level. You trade this for the extra spells normally gained for being a specialist wizard. Unless you want to fulfill a requirement for a certain feat or prestige class, you can't normally access due to lack of summoning spontaneously, this is ok but otherwise below average.

  • Diviner Variants:
    • Enhanced Awareness (Ex): By giving up your familiar you gain a number of small bonuses, none of which are important.
    • Bonus Feat List: This does give you additional options, but i can't see how you could use it if you don't want to fulfill requirements. The best feat provided is probably improved initiative and blind fight, which is listed as a requirement usually.
    • Prescience (Ex): Add an insight bonus to any attack roll, saving throw, skill check or level check you make once per day plus one for each five class levels. This is a special immediate action, a free action that can be taken out of turn effectively. As a trade, you lose your additional spells for being a specialist wizard. While this is a nice ability, the trade off is questionable.

  • Enchanter Variants:
    • Cohort: Give up your familiar and gain a cohort plus additional bonuses if you select the Leadership DMG feat. Nice alternative to your familiar, but note that you will gain it at 6th level.
    • Social Proficiency (Ex): By giving up your bonus feats you add many skills to your class skill list and a +2 competence bonus on checks involving one of these skills (bluff, diplomacy, gather information, intimidate and sense motive). Every five levels thereafter you gain an additional bonus to a different skill. Great if you plan to have less than five levels as wizard and want to get an expanded skill list.
    • Extended Enchantment (Su): Usually enchantment spells have nice durations and losing your additional specialist spells is a bad trade to just extend enchantment spells.

  • Evoker Variants:
    • Energy Affinity (Ex): +1 caster level with a chosen energy type for the price of your familiar. Not worth it at all, since there are even feats that do the same job a lot cheaper.
    • Energy Substitution (Ex): A free action that can be used once per day for each five levels attained, lets you change the energy descriptor and the effects of a spell to that of a different type.
    • Overcome Resistance (Ex): Lose your extra spells as a specialist wizard for the ability to lower a target's resistance to energy as a free action. The times per day that this can be used are enough, but the downside is that it only applies to a single target. In any way i don't think that it's worthy of the trade.

  • Illusionist Variants:
    • Chains of Disbelief (Ex): Opponent's can't help other creatures disbelief your illusions. You have to give up your familiar to this, and while it is a nice ability i doubt that it is competent.
    • Shadow Shaper: This feature offers some interesting abilities at later levels, but only a few bonuses in the start. The hide class skill can help fulfilling requirements. The 5th level ability isn't worth the trade of a wizard feat however, and the rest abilities are a pretty much equal trade.
    • Illusion Mastery (Ex): This is actually nice. Not only you gain two bonus spells known when you unlock a new spell level, but you also master them as if having spell mastery PHB with them. That nets you 18 spells known and mastered for your 45 total spell levels (your bonus spell slots for being a specialist). Some builds may even benefit more from the mastered spells (such as magelord LEoF builds).

  • Necromancer Variants:
    • Skeletal Minion: This is worth the trade. The skeleton can use weapons since it was a warrior in its previous life and has the normal undead qualities. The important part is that "The skeleton has a number of Hit Dice equal to the necromancer's class level", which is perfect, since it will gain actual hit dice and advance its saves (but not skills or feats). The minion also gains some extra bonuses based on your level. The two abilities are pretty much equal, but note that you don't lose anything for losing your minion. Also note that it can probably be awakened, but that's a DM's call.
    • Undead Apotheosis (Ex): This is a bad trade. Sure in the end you wind up with light fortification DMG, but you do have to take twenty levels of wizard and lose all your feats to abilities that only add bonuses to saving throws. The 10th level ability is nice in some situations though.
    • Enhanced Undead (Ex): Nice ability which buffs up your undead even more. Keep in mind that the bonuses to attributes are enhancement, which don't stack with others. As a trade you give up your specialist bonus spell slots.

  • Transmuter Variants:
    • Enhance Attribute (Ex): Give up your feats for an ability that can give a +2 enhancement bonus to one of your attributes "on-the-fly". It would be considerably stronger if the type of the bonus was unnamed. Definitely not worth the familiar trade.
    • Spell Versatility (Ex): Not only you can make a certain spell available to you by choosing a spell from a prohibited school, you also make it transmutation, probably gaining additional bonuses (such as caster level). Worth the trade and makes specialization easier.
    • Transmutable Memory (Ex): So you can load up rings of wizardry DMG and pearls of power DMG of low spell levels (which are definitely cheaper) and prepare higher level spells? I would definitely trade nine 1st level spells for a 9th level one. The loss of additional spells isn't worth it though, although you do get to memorize spells from other schools.

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General:
  • Combat Casting PHB: Don't take it! It's a trap! Skill focus (concentration) is going to be useful on any roll and not only when casting defensively.
  • Combat Expertise PHB: When using the attack function you can trade some BAB for AC. Not actually great, but can have its applications.
  • Improved Initiative PHB: Nice if you want to act early in the sequence to blast opponents and not worrying damaging allies. Also this reduced MAD as dexterity is less needed.
  • Toughness PHB: Every wizard starting at first level should pick this and retrain it later if he is allowed.
  • Improved Toughness CW: Bonus HP which are much needed for wizards and will also help your familiar, if you have one.
  • Knowledge Devotion CC: Gain bonuses to attack rolls and damage rolls against specific creatures. Since wizards have a thing for knowledge skills anyway, this is somewhat synergistic, but only if the bonus damage applies to your spells.
  • Flyby Attack MM: Available to you if you can fly, this is greater than mobile spellcasting CV because it does not require a skill check. With this you can take cover behind an item and employ hit-and-run tactics.
  • Dragonwrought RotD: Only for kobolds, this makes you a true dragon which really helps alter self and the like spells. Retain all your kobold racial traits and some dragon bonuses. Also you get a bonus on a skill related to your dragon heritage (platinum heritage lists concentration as a related skill, which seems to be the best choice generally).
  • Able Learner RoD: Useful to roguish wizards, this will make you able to continue advancing skills that were previously class skills.
  • Enduring Life LM: Gaining negative levels is a very bad thing. If you are in a campaign filled with undead horrors that constantly bestow negative levels, consider this option.
  • Bloodline of Fire PGtF, [Regional]: You get +4 bonus on saving throws against fire effects. Moreover you get a +2 bonus to your caster level for spells with the [fire] descriptor. Great starting feat, but you may want to retrain it at higher levels.
  • Bullheaded PGtF, [Regional]: Receive a bonus on will saves and you cannot be shaken. Fear effects really reduce nearly every roll, and this puts a stop to stacking those effects.
  • Dauntless PGtF, [Regional]: If feat retraining is allowed, this is a must 1st level feat for wizards. Nearly doubles your hit points and you can discard it later.
  • Fearless PGtF, [Regional]: This ability is very nice, but it can be easily emulated. Anyhow, this will increase your defensive capabilities.
  • Luck of Heroes PGtF, [Regional]: Gain +1 luck bonus on saving throws and +1 luck bonus on armor class. Nothing special, but it's going to help at low levels.
  • Mind Over Body PGtF, [Regional]: This is great like dauntless if you choose a race that further increases your intelligence. It also boosts your armor class and gain extra hit points whenever you choose a metamagic feat. You are most probably going to retrain it later, so consult your DM if those hit points stay around or disappear.
  • Otherworldly PGtF, [Regional]: This feat is top quality. Being an outsider means that you can benefit a lot more by alter self and polymorph spells, you gain darkvision and bonuses to diplomacy checks. There are some bad qualities to this, as some spells are not going to raise you from the dead, but they are proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
  • Tireless PGtF: As Fearless.
  • Craven CoR: Deal extra sneak attack damage equal to your hit dice. Nice feat if you are going to be sniping with your spells.

Spells, General:
  • Eschew Materials PHB: Cast spells without material components. Unfortunately most of the times won't come into play and doesn't take care of the expensive components. Generally it is used when you don't have free hands to use or as a contingency when you don't have access to your component pouch.
  • Spell Mastery PHB: Nice if you become separated from your spellbook.
  • Spell Focus/Greater PHB: Not particularly good feats as they only pump difficulty class. They are regularly listed as requirements though.
  • Arcane Thesis PHB II: Great bonuses with the selected spell. This spell's wording is actually a problem and a lot of dirty tricks are based on that.
  • Arcane Toughness PHB II: First of all requires toughness. Second you heal only 1 HP per spell level. That's a terrible trade, even if you are dying.
  • Arcane Consumption PHB II: This is actually good. If it didn't require two worthless feats, this would be great. The difficulty class bonus is once per day only, but +4 almost ensures your spell will land. The constitution and fatigue problems can be overcome easily (such as the necropolitan template)
  • Spell Penetration/Greater PHB: If your archetype requires making SR checks regularly, this is worth it.
  • Elven Spell Lore PHB II: Gives both unnamed bonuses to caster level checks for dispelling and being able to change the spell's energy type.
  • Vatic Gaze PHB II: Use detect magic at will and use a swift action to determine a spellcaster's highest level spells.
  • Arcane Mastery CA: Able to take 10 in caster level checks. This will probably benefit higher level spellcasters more. Nice ability though.
  • Extra Slot CA: This feat is used many times in theoretical optimization for really broken stuff, but to the average wizard i don't think it's all that useful.
  • Extra Spell CA: This entirely depends on your DM. If you can select a spell from any spell list, this is top quality. Otherwise it is junk.
  • Innate Spell CA: Steep requirements and
  • Practiced Spellcaster CA: Nice for multiclass wizards. This makes up for your lost caster levels.
  • Ranged Spell / Touch Spell Specialization CA: Gives you +2 bonus on damage rolls. Very nice if that means any damage (such as strength or dexterity damage).
  • Extraordinary Concentration CV: This is a great feat. Although there is a skill trick that pretty much duplicates it, you can use both if needed.
  • Extraordinary Spell Aim CV: The obvious application is to blast enemies while protecting your ally. However there is more to this, like oppening holes to the antimagic field so that your magic items or defenses are not affected.
  • Mobile Spellcasting CV: This is like spring attack for spells, but it requires a concentration check, which is pretty high. A far better alternative to this is Flyby Attack MM which is perfectly safe and you don't risk loosing your spells. Of course it requires you to fly, but that's just a 3rd level spell.
  • Alacritous Cogitation CM: Provides some versatility by leaving a spell slot open to fill later. However, because the casting of the spell becomes a full-round action, this doesn't stop there. That's actually a bad thing for standard and lower action spells, but that's not the case for spells that have a large casting time. So you can reduce high casting time spells to just a full-round action.
  • Cloudy Conjuration CM: This is a great debuff lite every time you cast a conjuration spell. Essentially this provides you with a +2 DC bonus against targets who can be sickened. This is because the sickened condition bestows a -2 penalty to the target's saves. The best part is that it doesn't require a saving throw.
  • Dazzling Illusion CM: Not to great. The dazzled condition only bestows a -1 penalty to attack, spot and search rolls, which is nothing to die for.
  • Energy Abjuration CM: It's just a one shot ability, but the granted resistance is huge. Even if you spend a 0-level spell, you get energy resistance 5 to the first energy damage you will be exposed to.
  • Favored Magic Foe CM: Choose a creature type and gain spellcasting related favored enemy bonuses to overcome damage reduction and bestow penalties against your spells to them. Nice if you are in a campaign heavy against your favored magic foe.
  • Fearsome Necromancy CM: Again, this is a quick debuff that doesn't allow a save. However a lot creatures are immune to fear effects, so choose wisely.
  • Insightful Divination CM: Nice bonuses that last long, but i can't see why someone would choose spell focus (divination). With the spontaneous divination alternative class feature, this becomes more appealing to diviners.
  • Master of Undeath CM: Control an undead creature for some days, beyond your normal limit of controlled undead creatures. It's great and after the duration ends you can employ spells like control undead. Nice addition to a necromancer build.
  • Metamagic School Focus CM: Reduce the metamagic cost of spells that belong to a particular school of magic. Unfortunately it's too specific to be good. It requires both a specific school to which it can be applied and it is usable only 3 times per day.
  • Piercing Evocation CM: It's an ok ability, but the amount of energy you can convert will always be just 10 points.
  • Somatic Weaponry CM: Since it is a free action to remove a hand from your weapon, this is actually not needed, unless you plan on casting while carrying stuff you cannot hold in one arm.
  • Toughening Transmutation CM: This is junk to my opinion. The damage reduction can easily be overcome and the effect lasts for only 1 round. This is effective only if you find a way to cast a low level transmutation effect on the target you want to affect.
  • Unsettling Enchantment CM: Again this is weak compared to the feats related to necromancy and conjuration from this cycle. Better choose on of those, to benefit more both from the spell focus and the ability.
  • Master Spellthief CS: In case of roguish wizards this feat helps a great deal. First of all your arcane caster level for all arcane spells is equal to your spellthief and all your arcane spellcasting levels. In addition you do not incur arcane spell failure from arcane spells, but only if you are wearing light armor. The most controversial ability this feat stacks is steal spell. Although your arcane casting classes stack with spellthief levels to determine the spells you can steal with this ability, your ability to store them remains equal to your spellthief levels.
  • Earth Spell RoS: A bonus to heightened spells when touching the ground. This is an important ingredient to killer gnome builds. Outside that it's power is reduced significantly.
  • Cold Focus/Greater Frostburn: It's the same deal with spell focus PHB, but occasionally better. This is because of snowcasting Frostburn, a feat that makes you able to add the [cold] descriptor to a spell.
  • Primitive Caster Frostburn: Add additional components to a spell to raise its effective caster level. Nice way to boost a spell, but keep in mind that you can't add a component the spell already has.
  • Snowcasting Frostburn: A way to add the [cold] descriptor to your spells, this has applications, but in my opinion the snow it requires is limiting. Also opens up other feats.
  • Frozen Magic Frostburn: Unless you are constantly adventuring in cold areas, getting a situational bonus to your [cold] spells for two feats is obviously a bad trade.
  • Cold Spell Specialization Frostburn: As above, but this affects your [cold] spells' damage. Requires three feats, making it even less appealing.
  • Frostfell Prodigy Frostburn: Get a bonus to your attribute to determine your bonus spells only. The fact that it requires four feats to get this ability and it works only in certain areas, makes this trash.
  • Storm Magic Frostburn: Cast spells at +1 caster level during storms. Even though creating magical storms may be easy, there are better ways to boost your caster level.
  • Spell Focus (Good) BoED: Not only this is better than normal spell focus since it is easier to add a descriptor to your spells, the bonus is +2 to the DC instead of +1.
  • Vow of Nonviolence BoED: You get a +4 bonus on save DCs of nondamaging spells against humanoids or monstrous humanoids, but you must not cause harm to humanoid or monstrous humanoid opponents. Huge bonus to save difficulty classes, but has a great drawback, too.
  • Elemental Spellcasting PlH: Choose a specific element and cast the spells with the chosen descriptor at +1 caster level. Useful with feats like snowcasting, but otherwise limited.
  • Mother Cyst LM: This is too specific to be useful, but one particular spell, necrotic empowerment is too powerful to ignore. Huge bonuses and defensive abilities. Also can be persistent.
  • Aberration Banemagic LoM: Your spells are more efficient on aberrations. This is useful if you are going to deal with aberrations a lot, but otherwise it's not worth it.
  • Aquatic Spellcasting LoM: Again this is campaign specific. If you are going to adventure in areas in or near seas, get this.
  • Poison Spell DotU: Add a contact or injury poison as a material component to a melee touch attack spell you are casting. You do however risk injuring yourself with poison, which is easily overcome by acquiring the use poison ability somehow. Since drow rogues can swap their trapfinding ability for poison use at first level, this feat can help sneaky wizards.
  • Bane Magic HoH: Choose a creature type and deal more damage against those creatures. If you are in a campaign that features a certain creature type, you can choose this. However it is not that great, the damage isn't enough to make it useful.
  • Corrupt Spell Focus/Greater HoH: Useful if you get all your spells to be corrupt.
  • Spell Thematics PGtF: Your spells have a signature theme, a manifestation. This makes them more difficult to identify with spellcraft, fortifying them against counterspelling. Moreover you select one signature spell per spell level and you cast it at +1 caster level. Not the best out there to raise caster level, but adds flavor points.
  • Spellcasting Prodigy PGtF: This version of this feat is bad. It's like spending a feat for wearing a headband of intellect +2 that only helps your bonus spells.
  • Arcane Manipulation LEoF: This doesn't seem like much, but it has some great applications. The most obvious trick is using rings of wizardy of a certain level and breaking some higher level spells to that level. For example you can break three 2nd level slots to six 1st level ones and use a ring of wizardy I to double the spell levels.
  • Cormarythian Moon Magic LEoF: If you are going to play at night and on the surface this is great, as +2 bonus to your caster level is nothing to scoff at. It has no drawbacks during the day.
  • Spell Reprieve LEoF: Not actually that good, since it only affects only a single spell. You can use it to gain an important evocation spell, like contingency or wind wall. It has many applications in other schools as well.
  • Arcane Transfiguration LEoF: This is not worth it. If you want to cast spells from a prohibited school, then don't be a specialist wizard and lose three feats.
  • Familiar Spell Und: Hold one mastered spell of any level? This means that you have to keep your familiar, but that's not a bad thing in general.

Weapon-like Spells:
  • Improved Critical PHB: Improving the critical range of your spells isn't much and you will get it pretty late in the game.
  • Point Blank Shot PHB: While you get awfully close to your enemies, this helps both your attack rolls and damage. Also it's required for other feats.
  • Precise Shot PHB: Great if you regularly snipe targets in melee with a party member.
  • Improved Precise Shot PHB: Great, but the base attack requirement is steep. Most wizards won't be able to acquire this.
  • Weapon Focus PHB: This is just bad. Better choose point blank shot and get bonuses with every ranged weapon and to damage.
  • Ranged Recall CM: Reroll the attack with a penalty, but after all it's a touch attack, so it won't matter much. It's nice to have second chances, even if it is true for only 3 times per day.
  • Sickening Strike DotU: This ambush feat has a small sneak attack requirement and makes targets sickened. What is great about this feat is that it targets living targets (who probably are subject to sneak attack), which if used with a swift action weapon-like spell, can provide you a quick save-less debuff for your next spell, giving you effectively a +2 to its difficulty class.
  • Terrifying Strike DotU: As above, but just two notes. First it can be used to stack fear effects, but it is a mind-affecting effect, which more creatures may be immune to than the sickened condition.
  • Aleval School DotU: This is the same with the two feats above, but as written it can bestow the penalty to saving throws to anyone that is subject to sneak attack. The drawback is that it requires the feat weapon finesse, which isn't that great, and can be a pain acquiring it, due to roleplaying reasons.

Polymorph:
  • Arcane Strike CW: Unless you know what you are doing, don't get this. However it states that it is applied to all natural weapons so if combined with specific polymorph forms can give very nice attack power.

Summoning:
  • Augment Summoning PHB: Nice feat but requires spell focus (conjuration), which is pretty much worthless. Boosts to summoned creatures are good though.
  • Beckon of the Frozen Frostburn: Summoned creatures gain the cold subtype and deal extra damage.
  • Icy Calling Frostburn: Only useful in cold environments. If you call cold creatures they get increased benefits. Unfortunately, this feat gets even worse since the attribute bonuses are enhancement.
  • Celestial Summoning Specialist PlH: Add one good-aligned creature to the list of creatures for each summon monster spell that you can cast. Unfortunately since it states that you can normally add a different creature on the list by removing an existing one, this is feat isn't necessary.
  • Fiendish Summoning Specialist PlH: Ditto.
  • Corpsecrafter LM: Give enhancement bonuses to strength and hit points to undead you create. It's a feat that opens up a series of crafting feats, but it's actually good.
  • Bolster Resistance LM: Undead you create gain a +4 turn resistance.
  • Deadly Chill LM: Give undead you create a +1d6 cold damage with their natural weapons. This isn't worth it as the bonus damage is elemental and small.
  • Destruction Retribution LM: Not only if your undead die do spread damage, they also heal other undead creatures. This has interesting possibilities with expendable undead.
  • Necromantic Presence LM: Undead creatures you control get a +4 bonus on their turn resistance. You can just grab the bolster resistance feat and fortify your undead without being within 60ft of you. However this does opens up a nice little feat.
  • Necromantic Might LM: Undead you control within 60ft of you get a +2 enhancement bonus on their attack rolls and saving throws.
  • Nimble Bones LM: Give bonuses to initiative and land speed of undead you create.

Counterspelling:
  • Improved Counterspell PHB: Unfortunately this isn't good for wizards. Spontaneous spellcasters are better at counterspelling.
  • Dampen Spell PHB II: This is similar to granting yourself bonuses to saving throws (or to all your allies saving throws in case of area spells). To really become effective you'll have to expend spell slots of 2 or 3 probably. The bad thing is that this feat is completely useless on spells that don't require saving throws.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Wizards receive a low amount of skill points per level. However if you consider that most wizards have a starting intelligence of 15-16 they easily get 5+ skill points when they level up. They aren't exactly skill monkeys, but they can max out several useful skills.

Class Skills:


  • Concentration: This is very useful. Of course, theoretically, it would be best that you wouldn't have to make concentration rolls in the first place. This skill makes you able to avoid losing spells to stressful situations.
  • Craft: While crafting is for lowly peasants, there are quite a few prestige classes that list it as a requirement. Crafting alchemical items can be quite efficient at low to mid levels.
  • Decipher Script: Nice skill, but you can always use your spells to duplicate it. No need to spend skill points in this one.
  • Knowledge: Now this is something important. Intelligence will be one of your highest attributes and knowledges provide useful information on your opponents. The best course of action is for the party to split the various knowledges that creature types are related to. However since you have the skill points to spend, you can take quite a few. Consult the chart below for creature types and areas of knowledge relation:
    • Arcana: Constructs, Dragons, Magical Beasts.
    • Dungeoneering: Aberrations, Oozes.
    • Local: Humanoids (Native local humanoids probably)
    • Nature: Animals, Fey, Giants, Monstrous Humanoids, Plants, Vermin.
    • Religion: Undead.
    • Planes: Outsiders, Elementals.

    As you can see, the nature area of knowledge provides tremendous amount of information on creatures. A close second is Arcana, which every wizard should have, since it's the area related to his own profession. Knowledge on the planes offers quite a few information, since outsiders are a pretty large category. Knowledge on religion area is quited limited, but no one can neglect undead.
  • Profession: I'd dump this. You can gain a lot more by selling your spells or crafting stuff. Also wisdom isn't actually important to you.
  • Spellcraft: This is one of the skills you would like to max out. Its applications are many and help identifying opponent's magical defenses, counterspelling, following tracks, learning new spells, identify potions and generally understand magical effects. Every wizard should possess this.

Cross Class Skills:


  • Appraise: Not exactly needed to wizards, but some times it's required for fulfilling requirements. Also thematically fits to the wizard figure.
  • Balance: 5 ranks in this will ensure that you won't be flat-footed when balancing. A rogue can easily disable with high sneak attack damage at low to mid levels. Of course this is not the way to deal with such threats directly, but every little bit helps.
  • Disable Device/Search: They're intelligence based and you can gain trapfinding by dipping to roguish classes. You can fill in the trapfinder role this way relatively easily and by not making a huge sacrifice.
  • Disguise: Wizards are crafty individuals. Appearing as the cliche wizard with the big hat and the robe, is probably going to draw enemy fire. This skill helps you survive this. The best part is that spells like disguise self, alter self and shapechange grant you huge bonuses to creating disguises.
  • Escape Artist: The grapple check is base attack bonus + strength modifier + size bonus, not particularly the wizards' forte. You can escape from a grapple by giving up an attack, while making an escape artist check to escape is a standard action. Since your base attack bonus is bad anyway, you will have as many as two attacks, so these two are pretty much the same. Using escape artist is superior, since you benefit from dexterity a lot more than strength and spending skill points in it are not that required, since custom magic items and spells help boost the check.
  • Forgery: It can have some serious roleplaying hit and it's intelligence based. Stealing the seal of the local lord and forging documents can boost your wealth, but it entirely depends on the choices you make in game and on your DM.
  • Hide/Move Silently: Hide is a skill that you can easily pump e.g. by being small and wearing magic items. Also enemies that cannot see you cannot actively harm you, which is great considering how fragile wizards are. Note that you should use these to stay away from danger, not to scout around.
  • Listen/Spot: Although the general wizard figure is usually aloof and doesn't pay much attention to his surroundings, spending some ranks in these two can help against surprising situations. Wizards are all about preparation.
  • Tumble: Great skill. The ability to get into a better position without provoking attacks of opportunity and casting your spell safe from harm is probably better than casting on the defensive.
  • Autohypnosis: Wow, this has great uses, even if it is keyed off wisdom. The DCs are relatively low, so it's worth it to spend some cross class skill points into this.
  • Use Magic Device: Many uses have a fixed DC, which you can hit easily with a few ranks and some items. Also your familiar benefits from this greatly if it can speak.
  • Use Psionic Device: As above.

Skill Tricks:


  • Collector of Stories CS, Mental: Great bonus to identifying creatures, a role that wizards usually fulfill. Requires Knowledge (any) 5 ranks.
  • Conceal Spellcasting CS, Manipulation: Not that good since it is based on your sleight of hand check, which can't get really high since it's not on your class skill list. It's an interesting trick though. Requires Concentration 1 rank, Sleight of Hand 5 ranks, Spellcraft 1 rank.
  • Easy Escape CS, Manipulation: This actually offsets the bonus your opponent gains from his size to the grapple roll (well at least if you are medium sized). That said you can easily escape and cast a spell to somewhere safe. Requires Esacpe Artist 8 ranks.
  • False Theurgy CS, Manipulation: Trick opponents into thinking you are casting a different spell. Nice if you are dealing with counterspellers a lot and want to get an important spell through. Requires Bluff or Sleight of Hand 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks.
  • Magical Appraisal CS, Mental: This is great, because identify's material component is expensive. Also it has a casting time of 1 hour. Essentially you spend 2 skill points for a spell-like ability. Requires Appraise 5 ranks, Knowledge (Arcana) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 12 ranks.
  • Swift Concentration CS, Mental: One of the greatest skill tricks for wizards, this will enable you concentrate on powerful spells while being able to employ spells to deal with other threats. Requires Concentration 12 ranks.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 

Prestige Classes:



Most consider the wizard class only 5-6 levels long. This is because after those levels the bonuses gained through prestige levels are most of the times a lot more powerful than 3 wizard feats. However prestige class aren't always as helpful as they seem to be. When looking to prestige consider the following:
  • Spellcasting Levels: Not all wizard prestige classes continue spellcasting at each level. Wizards are all about spells and high caster levels. It's like reducing the fighter's BAB or the rogue's skill list. You can take a mild hit in favor of a great ability, but not more than one or on rare cases two levels. Greatly consider this before taking the level.
  • Feats: Since you are already loosing the wizard bonus feats, you are actively optimizing if you prestige in a class that offers bonus wizard feats. Be careful on the requirements though.
  • Saves: There are classes that give you bonuses to saving throws different than those of the standard wizard. Remember that if you are multiclassing in a class with strong will and its rest saves are bad, you may take a hit in your fortitude and reflex on the long end.
  • BAB: While not important, some prestige classes out there may provide you with average BAB. If you use regularly rays, try to prestige out of wizard at a level that can be divided by 2 (e.g. 6, 8, 10..). The main reason for this is that wizards receive their bonus BAB at that point. So a 5 wizard / 5 prestige will have 4 BAB if they both have a bad BAB progression, but a 6 wizard / 4 prestige will have a BAB rating of 5.
  • Skills: Wizards are good with skills on average, so it isn't bad looking for prestige classes that expand their skill lists. The amount of skill points received is of course not that much important.
  • Weapon Proficiencies: This shouldn't be the main reason of prestige class acquisition, but as an icing on the cake.

Prestige Classes:
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This section isn't dedicated only on listing the best spells out there for wizards, but also to present information that will make you able to identify if a certain spell is good or bad.

Save-Based Spells:
Unless you are a fairly experienced player you will probably have a problem selecting the right spells at each level. There are spells that deal with specific creature types, but what if someone wants to be prepared no matter what? What spells should he memorize for the day when he reaches a certain level? Even worse what saving throws should his spells allow?
A way to cover this problem is to consult the graph below:

IMAGE(http://img482.imageshack.us/img482/4003/savessriu4.jpg)



This actually presents the creatures' (of a certain challenge rating) average scores (in saves and SR). Data come from CubeKnight's creature filter and as you can see there are records from lots of different source books.

Fortitude saves are almost always the best saving throws. Even though after mid levels they sometimes are equal to will saves, they never fall below that limit.
On the other hand, will saves are the worst saves at early levels, but they get significantly boosted at mid and late levels.
Reflex saves are probably the worst saves there are. At low levels they are better than fortitude saves, but at mid and higher levels will saves are superior. Reflex saves are significantly lesser at high levels, not the difference between fortitude (23 on average) and reflex (16 on average).

So to wrap it up:

Low to Mid Levels (1-10 CR):
  • Fortitude > Will
  • Fortitude >= Reflex
  • Reflex >= Will

Mid to High Levels (11-20 CR):
  • Fortitude >= Will
  • Fortitude >> Reflex
  • Reflex <= Will

So now selecting your spells should be relatively easier. If you study the graph, from low to mid levels your will-based spells are less likely to be resisted. The same goes for reflex-based spells and high levels. Mind you, i am not suggesting that fortitude-based spells are bad, just that they are less likely to be effective (that is actually correct, since most save or die spells fall into this category).
Difficulty Class:
Simply put, for your spell to be effective you want your opponent to score on his d20 saving throw check a number less than your DC minus his save bonus:

1d20 check < Your DC - His Save



For example, a 1st level wizard with 18 intelligence casts sleep. Thus, his difficulty class is 15 (10 + spell level + int modifier). His target is a 1st level fighter with a fortitude saving throw of 5 (2 base + 3 con modifier). Using the above formula we have: 1d20 check < 15 (DC) - 5 (Save) = 10. So for the wizard's spell to be effective, the fighter must score a number between 1 and 9. Since a 20 is a critical success however, this is too, factored in.
Now what is the chances of the spell to land? We have nine numbers between 1 and 9. That's 9 times out of 20, so the chances that the spell succeeds are 45%.
The best chance you will ever get is 95% for your spell to be effective. That's because a natural 20 is always a success. To raise the effectiveness of your spells, you can either a) reduce your opponent's saving throw b) increase your save DC. That said, pumping up your intelligence isn't always the optimal way to go, but the mainstream one. There are lots of effects that reduce your opponents' saving throws, cheap and efficiently.

Now assume a wizard with 18 intelligence in a party of 4. Let's see what his chances are when facing creatures of a challenge rating equal to his party members' average level. Note that we assume that he is using his best spell available:

Early/Mid chances for spells:

CR 1
  • Fort: 60%
  • Reflex: 70%
  • Will: 70%

CR 3
  • Fort: 60%
  • Reflex: 65%
  • Will: 65%

CR 5
  • Fort: 50%
  • Reflex: 55%
  • Will: 60%

CR 7
  • Fort: 45%
  • Reflex: 55%
  • Will: 60%

CR 9
  • Fort: 40%
  • Reflex: 55%
  • Will: 60%

After studying the results, we come to the following conclusions:
  • If the result of DC - Save is less than or equal to 0, you always fail to affect your target, except for a critical miss. Results in 5% chance of success.
  • If the result of DC - Save is higher than or equal to 20, you can only lose to a natural 20. That gives you a 95% chance of success.
  • If the result is 0 < DC - Save < 20, then your chance of success is calculated by dividing the result by 20 and multiplying by 100 %. For example i have a result of 10. That divided by 20 results in 0,5. We now multiply it by 100% and get: 50% chance of success.
  • Of course, all wizards should try to maximize their DCs to their full potential. That means the biggest chance of success, 95%. Every point of penalty you apply to your opponents' saves results in a 5% raise in your chance of success, but it is capped at 95%. Every point of bonus DC you get, again, is a 5% raise to your chance, with the same limitation.

If we use again the iconic 18 starting intelligence wizard, his intelligence is going to be (after using tomes and powerful magic items): 18 (starting) + 5 (tome) +5 (levels) +6 (headband of intellect) = 34. This is a +12 modifier, meaning that your DC for x level spells is: 12 + x. Assuming a y saving throw bonus we have:

1d20 < 12 + x - y



As you can see above, to reach the maximum chance of success, we need to have:

12 + x - y >= 20 =>
x - y >= 8



Remember that x is the level of the spell. Spell levels belong to: [1, 9]. So we have: D = { (x,y) belong to Z : 1 <= x <= 9 and y <= 8-x }. If a pair of (x,y) fulfills this requirement, then you'll have maximum chance of success with a starting intelligence of 18 and all the normal benefits you can acquire (items, not including classes and racial mods). Seems pretty limited, since if we use a 1st level spell for example (x=1) then your opponent's saving throw bonus can't be greater than 1 (y<=1).
Spell Resistance:
Enter spell resistance. Many creatures possess this ability and can prove quite the nuisance, since a creature will be protected even more by your spells. The main formula is:

1d20 >= His SR - Your CL



As you can see now you are making the check, so the higher you score, the better. You calculate your chance of success by: Calculate: 21 + your CL - his SR. Divide the result by 20 and multiply it by 100%, and you have your chance of success.

IMAGE(http://img482.imageshack.us/img482/4003/savessriu4.jpg)



e.g. A wizard with caster level 10 targets a SR 19 opponent. 21 - 10 + 19 = 12. 12/20 * 100% = 60%. So the wizard's chance of success will be 60%. Which actually means that if you score anything greater than or equal to a 9, you succeed.

A tricky part worth noting is: what if a spell requires both SR and saving throw check? What are my chances of success then? Well simply multiply the success chances between them and you'll have the new one.

e.g. A wizard with CL 10 and intelligence 18 targets an SR 19 and 1 saving throw bonus opponent. What is his chance of 1st level spell that requires both checks to succeed?
  • Saving throw part chances: 15 - 1 = 14. That is the equivalent of a 70% chance of success.
  • Spell Resistance part chances: 21 - 19 + 10 = 12. That's 60% chance of success.

Final calculation: (60/100)*(70/100) = (4200/10000) = (42/100) = 42% chance of success.

Even though the numbers will vary, this is an example of high chance rolls. When you have to make both checks however, as you can see, the chances to succeed are a lot less.
Touch Attacks:
There are spells that require ranged or melee touch attacks to hit their targets. Failure to do so means your spell is lost. Let's study the touch attacks by challenge rating chart:

IMAGE(http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/5527/touchnormalacro0.jpg)



As you can see, touch ACs are high in low challenge ratings and they gradually fall even more. This is not the case with normal AC ratings, which are constantly rising.
We assume a wizard with no other bonuses to his attack roll than his BAB. Wizards have bad BAB progression, but since touch AC scores get worse as you will be gaining levels, it will be easier for you to get touch spells through. So at first level they get a 45% chance of success, while at twentieth level you get a 95% chance.

To calculate the chances of your success, use the following formula:

1d20 >= His Touch AC - Your Attack Bonus



Calculate 21- (AC - attack bonus) and divide that by 20. Multiply by 100% and then you get your chances.

Again, as with spell resistance, there are spells that require both a touch attack and a spell resistance check. There are even those who require all three of these rolls. To calculate your overall success, multiply all your separate chances together.

For example, you have a 50% chance of beating SR and a 60% of beating touch AC. Your opponent has a 40% chance of saving against your spell. That means that you get: (50/100)*(60/100)*(40/100) = (50*40*60/1000000) = 12% barely.

A special note, even if you got 95% separate chances of success (which is the higher chance you will ever get) for each roll, you get: (95/100)*(95/100)*(95/100) ~= 85,7%. That said, spells that require many rolls to succeed are naturally inferior to those that require just one. So to maximize your chances of success you don't only need high DCs for spells, but spells with a small number of required rolls, too.
Concentration Checks:
Concentration is a skill that generally wizards need to max out and this is because many effects linked to spells require concentration checks. Should you fail to concentrate on your spell, you are most likely going to lose it. The player's handbook provides detailed information on page 170 on concentration checks, that will cover almost all cases.
Most notably:
  • Injury while casting a spell: In case of continuous damage, you should be able to succeed. The problem here is if damaged by attacks or, even worse, enemy spells. Since opponents can ready an action to "when the enemy starts casting a spell", they will be able to affect even those spells that require a standard or move action to cast. Miss chance, invisibility and damage reduction can help lessen the inflicted damage, thus making your concentration check easier.
  • Distraction by spell: Mundane attacks only get 1/2 of the inflicted damage dealt to the concentration check's DC. Note that this is not the case with spells that deal damage. They actually add all the inflicted damage to the check. Thus, even a lowly magic missile PHB spell (which if of 9th and higher caster level has a damage of 10-25, resulting in an average damage of 17,5) will boost your concentration check to 27,5 + level of the spell you're casting, nothing to scoff at.

    IMAGE(http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/3010/spelldamconqj7.jpg)



    This graph shows how the damage of a spell, which deals 1d6 points of damage per caster level, scales compared to your concentration check with no modifiers.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Armor:
People generally don't get armor on wizards. The main reason for this, is of course non proficiency. But what is the penalties of non proficiency?

A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he or she is not proficient takes the armor’s (and/or shield’s) armor check penalty on attack rolls and on all Strength-based and Dexterity-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for nonproficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for nonproficiency with shields.

That means that the only thing that is a problem with armor worn is bonus penalty from the armor check penalty and arcane spell failure. So try to get armor that have low arcane spell failure and armor check penalty. Special material can help here, to reduce it even more:

Special Materials:
  • Darkwood DMG: Shields made out of darkwood have their armor check penalty lessened by two points.
  • Mithral DMG: A great material for armor and shields, but is more expensive. It lessens armor check penalty by 3 points, arcane spell failure by 10% and increase maximum dexterity bonus by 2.
  • Leafweave RoW: Reduces arcane spell failure by 5%, armor check penalty is lessened by 2 and maximum dexterity bonus is increased by 1. Leafweave applies on padded, leather, studded leathe
    r and hide armor.
  • Wildwood RoW: Lessens arcane spell failure by 5%, but reduces armor bonus by 1 and increases max dexterity bonus by 1.
  • Thistledown Suit RoW: Reduces arcane spell failure chance by 5% and increases the armor's check penalty by 1.
  • Feycraft DMG II: Not exactly material, this template can be added on any suit of armor. It gains the following: 10% less weight, -1 hardness, -5 hit points, -5% arcane spell failure. Also grants +1 bonus to bluff checks made to deceive others. The cost is 500 gp more.
  • Githcraft DMG II: Similar to feycraft, this is a template that can be added on a suit of armor. The armor's arcane spell failure is reduced by 5%. Also the bearer of a githcraft shield or armor gets a +1 unnamed bonus on concentration checks. The cost is 600 gp. Note that if you carry both a githcraft armor and shield, you probably stack the concentration bonuses, since they come from different sources.

Armor/Shields:
  • Leafweave Padded: +1 AC / +9 Dex / 0 ACP / 5% ASF, 745 gp
  • Thistledown Padded: +1 AC / +10 Dex / 0 ACP / 0% ASF, 405 gp
  • Wildwood Chain Shirt: +3 AC / +5 Dex / -1 ACP / 15% ASF, 500 gp
  • Leafweave Leather: +2 AC / +7 Dex / 0 ACP / 5% ASF, 750 gp
  • Leafweave Studded Leather: +3 AC / +6 Dex / 0 ACP / 10% ASF, 765 gp
  • Mithral Chain Shirt: +4 AC / +6 Dex / 0 ACP / 10% ASF, 1.100 gp
  • Mithral Light Shield/Buckler: +1 AC / 0 ACP / 0% ASF, ~1.015 gp
  • Darkwood Light Shield/Buckler: +1 AC / 0 ACP / 5% ASF, 257/205 gp
  • Mithral Heavy Shield: +2 AC / 0 ACP / 5% ASF, 1.020 gp Note: Interferes with spellcasting.
  • Githcraft Darkwood Light Shield/Buckler: +1 AC / 0 ACP / 0% ASF, +1 bonus on concentration checks 857/805 gp
  • Feycraft Darkwood Light Shield/Buckler: +1 AC / 0 ACP / 0% ASF, 757/705 gp

Consider the armor enhancement twilight MIC which reduces arcane spell failure chance by 10% more. So a wizard wearing a +1 Twilight Mithral Chain Shirt and a Mithral Buckler receives no penalties for wearing armor, for a total cost of 6.115 gp, while giving you +6 AC and +6 dex capacity.

Armor/Shield Enhancements:
  • Animated DMG: This can be used with a shield to free your arms to be able to cast with somatic components. A mithral heavy shield can be used for the job with only a mild chance of spell failure.
  • Fortification DMG: Your hit point total won't be able to endure the heavy damaged dealed by sneak attack or critical hits. This is handy to have in the case you deal with a lucky dm or being targeted by sneak attackers much.
  • Glamered DMG: The ability to mess with people's minds is great. The price is extremely low and you can change your armor to something more fitting to wizards. Or you can make it appear as a full plate to confuse opponents.
  • Shadow DMG: Boosts your hide checks. This is interesting for sneaky wizards such as halflings.
  • Silent Moves DMG: As above.
  • Slick DMG: Grant you bonuses to escape artist checks. Great if you are facing a lot of grapplers.
  • Agility MIC: Bonus to one of your low saves. Sure vests or cloaks of resistance can do better, but they do reserve the body slot.
  • Anchoring/Greater MIC: You are vulnerable to these attacks. This enhancement provides you with some bonuses to resist the occasional fighter who tries to employ dirty tactics against you.
  • Greater Blurring MIC: A blur effect that can be activated at will. Great ability that can even block sneak attack at certain situations.
  • Death Ward MIC: Low price and it effectively prevents you from dying once per day. You already have low fortitude saves.
  • Freedom MIC: Freedom of Movement is a great ability, especially for wizards who can easily be distracted into losing their spells. This is expensive, but it is worth it.
  • Healing MIC: Great enhancement that saves actions for your party's healer. Also keeps you alive to go somewhere safe from harm, probably by using a spell. Also stabilizes you in the rare case you don't stay conscious.
  • Nimbleness MIC: Reduces ACP and increases maximum dexterity bonus. This may open up even greater armor for you, although arcane spell failure can be a problem.
  • Stamina MIC: As with agility.
  • Twilight MIC: Reduce the arcane spell failure of your armor by 10%.

Armor/Shield Augment Crystals:
  • Crystal of Aquatic Action MIC: Spells function normally underwater, except from those that require ranged attack rolls and spells of the fire descriptor. This is handy in underwater campaigns or in cases of emergency. If you are adventuring in areas by large bodies of water, be sure to have one of these ready.
  • Crystal of Arrow Deflection MIC: Provides huge bonuses to your AC against ranged weapons only. That means that it doesn't affect spells. The deflect arrows PHB feat comes free with this and is very nice, since it doesn't require a roll.
  • Crystal of Glancing Blows MIC: Great for countering grapplers. Not that this is a bonus to grapple checks, not escape artist checks, so it may stack with the slick DMG armor enhancement.
  • Crystal of Lifekeeping MIC: It grants competence bonus to saving throws that are usually related to fortitude. This is worth it, since most of these effects are a huge pain to spellcasters or they outright kill them: energy drain, death spells and death effects.
  • Iron Ward Diamond MIC: It's like a stoneskin-lite effect, without the costly material component and rechargeable each day. Heck you can even buy a few if they are not enough for you.
  • Restful Crystal MIC: Great for adventurers who always want to be ready. Cheap also.
Weapons:

Wizards have a very limited amount of weapon proficiencies. Of course wizards don't use weapons for offense except on rare occasions. However there are some weapon enhancements that can be handy to wizards. All of the weapons the wizard is proficient in are simple:
  • Club: Nothing great here. Deals bludgeoning damage, which is important for damage reduction. Note however that this can be thrown.
  • Dagger: As above. The important part is that it deals piercing damage.
  • Heavy Crossbow: This is bad. Not only it requires both of your hands to shoot, it requires a full-round action to reload, which means that if you are using one of these you will be disabled for 1 whole round.
  • Light Crossbow: This does slightly less damage than its heavy counterpart, but requires just a move action to reload. This is handy at early levels, when you won't have many spells to spend at all enemies, to try to damage your targets.
  • Quarterstaff: What is great about this, is that it's a double weapon. Each head can be enhanced differently so you can stack your favorite enhancements or have different ones. Also it is nice supporting your old wizard back (:D).

Also consider this for non-proficiency:

A character who uses a weapon with which he or she is not proficient takes a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Note: If you have a familiar that is able to use weapons (such as an outsider) always get the sizing MIC weapon property on your weapons. That way it will also be able to use them by sizing them appropriately. Also its weapons can have the same property to be used if something bad happens to it.

Weapon Enhancements:
  • Defending DMG: It allows you to transfer some of the weapon's enhancement bonus to your AC as a free action. It's very nice and you don't even need an expensive weapon once you acquire the magic weapon, greater spell.
  • Spell Storing DMG: Great enhancement at all levels. First of all you can give the weapon with the spell prior casted inside to a teammate and he can use it. That effectively quickens the spell for you, since in all aspects is a spell casted by you, but don't spend an action to do so. Another great effect is that you don't declare that you are using this ability and then roll your attack. You have the option to release the spell if your weapon hits your target. The bad part is that it is only usable on 3rd level or lower spells.
  • Disarming MIC: Opponents cannot disarm you of your weapon and you receive a bonus on disarm attempts.
  • Dispelling, Greater MIC: This is like Extra Slot CA x 3 for 6th level spells at 15 caster level. It even works on ranged weapons, so you don't have to get in melee.
  • Eager MIC: A bonus on initiative checks and some bonus on damage rolls made during the surprise round and first round of combat. The initiative bonus is pretty straightforward, but it doesn't state that the bonus on damage rolls are only for the eager weapon. If it affects your spells too, it's top quality.
  • Illuminating MIC: It's a free source of light for 500 gp.
  • Precise MIC: Great for your crossbow at all levels. The -4 penalty if you don't have precise shot PHB will be really painful.
  • Quick Loading MIC: Great for the light crossbow, which reduces the reload time to a free action. This way you can move, cast quickened spell, attack and reload all in the same round.
  • Shattermantle MIC: Not on your weapons, but rather on your teammates'. Each successful hit is like having a stackable spell penetration PHB effect against the affected opponent, which will make SR checks a lot easier.
  • Sizing MIC: Its possibilities are great. From transforming your staff in a gargantuan one to use as a bridge to reducing it to give it to your outsider familiar. Great enhancement, which even duplicates other enhancements. You can even make it tiny or smaller to pass it from guards.
  • Spellstrike MIC: As defending, but for spells and spell-like abilities. You can have them both on a quarterstaff and use magic weapon, greater to really pump yourself up.
  • Warning MIC: Gives you a +5 insight bonus on initiative checks. It's better than improved initiative PHB. Combined with the eager MIC enhancement you can get +7 to your initiative check.
  • Skillful CA: You get a proficiency with the weapon without penalty, but it only applies to melee weapons. Also you get the base attack bonus only when attacking with the skillful weapon. It has its applications, but it's not generally a good idea of engaging in melee.
  • Spellblade PGtF: This is a great enhancement. Not only you get to be immune to a targeted spell, nut you can also redirect it to a new target as a free action. It is also very cheap.

A +1 Eager Spellstrike / +1 Warning Defending quarterstaff costs 36.600 gp and gives you a huge amount of bonuses (assuming magic weapon, greater is casted on both heads, with a rod of lesser chain for example).
  • +5 bonus to AC which stacks with all others.
  • +5 bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities (it has no type, so assume that it stacks with all others).
  • +7 bonus to initiative checks. (actually +5 insight and +2 unnamed).

Other weapons you should consider that you aren't proficient with are: Armor spikes and Shield spikes. Although shield spikes would be more difficult to use without the animated DMG shield enhancement, cause of the problem you will have with somatic components. Armor spikes give penalties to grapple checks when you try to use them. Shield spikes count as martial weapons, too. If you get the penalty to attack rolls only when you are using the weapon you are not proficient with, it's ok. In the case you get penalties to all attack rolls when wielding a weapon you are not proficient with however, it's not worth it.
Since you are able to enhance these weapons, you can use those that are stackable and cheap. Consider the following:
  • +1 defending weapon
  • Armor with +1 defending armor spikes
  • shield with +1 defending shield spikes

With a magic weapon, greater and a rod of lesser chaining you can have a bonus to your AC of:

Armor bonus + Shield bonus + (magic weapon bonus x 3)



for the price of 24.000 gp. That AC bonus minimum is that of armor + shield bonus + 3 and the maximum is armor + shield bonus + 15. This makes you able to attain AC scores close to 30, making it decent at least.

Weapon Augment Crystals:
  • Lesser Crystal of Return MIC: Essentially you buy the quick draw PHB feat for just 300 gp.
  • Crystal of Security MIC: Bonuses to keep your weapon in hand (such as from disarm attempts, etc). It's not much, but it helps. If you can't afford the disarming MIC enhancement, this is a nice alternative.
Rings:

  • Counterspells DMG: This is a nice item, with only 4.000 gp cost, but it's overshadowed by the spellblade PGtF weapon enhancement. It will help you most notably against dispel magic and dispel magic, greater.
  • Freedom of Movement DMG: This is a great item. It means that you can't be grappled. Disablers can't hurt you.
  • Protection DMG: A defending DMG weapon costs 8.000 gp and provides you with a dodge bonus which stacks with all other dodge bonuses. Both deflection and dodge bonuses are applied to AC against touch attacks, but deflection bonuses don't stack as dodge bonuses do. Assuming that you are starting at 5th level (when magic weapon, greater becomes available), the defending weapon becomes increasingly cheaper than the ring of protection, because of its fixed price, even though a ring of protection of +1 or +2 bonus costs less than to the defending weapon. In the comparisons section i have included detailed information using graphs for these items and defending weapons.
  • Spell Storing DMG: Since you will be using spells on your allies at a certain point (buffing them for example), you can instead put some in one of these rings to be used on emergency. This not only gets you more actions per day (since you are not actually casting the spell) but you can also put inside the ring spells with a range of personal, thus sharing with him more potent buffs (tenser's transformation on a rogue for example).
  • Sustenance DMG: This will not let you sleep for 2 hours and then be able to memorize spells. A wizard needs to sleep for 8 hours before he starts memorizing.
  • Wizardry DMG: Doubles your spells at a specific level. Even ring of wizardry level 1 helps your most utility spells.
  • Ring of Arcane Might MIC, Ring, 20.000: Get a +1 bonus to your arcane caster level for spell penetration, caster level checks and level-based variables.
  • Ring of Greater Counterspells MIC, Ring, 16.000: Much like a ring of counterspells, but you can store any spell from one to six level. In addition, once per day you can counter a spell as an immediate action, much like a greater dispel magic, but with a +20 maximum caster level and the ability to counter a spell of any level.
  • Ring of Negative Protection MIC, Ring, 36.000: Protects you when traveling to negative-dominant planes. The important ability this ring offers however, is that you can't gain negative levels.
  • Ring of Silent Spells MIC, Ring, 2.000: Activate the ring to cast three spells up to 3rd level as if affected by the Silent Spell metamagic feat.
  • Ring of Spell-Battle MIC, Ring, 12.000: Great if facing other spellcasters. Let's you identify all spells being cast, even if you can't see the casting. Once per day, after identifying the spell, you can either counterspell it as if with dispel magic or change the target of the spell to any target within 60ft of you.
Throat:

  • Amulet of Emergency Healing MIC, Throat, 6.000: Three times per day heal a target for 1d4+5 hit points, or save him from dying. It's an immediate action and you can give it to your familiar, too.
  • Amulet of Teamwork MIC, Throat, 2.000: Again great for your familiar, since it has your skills it can use the aid another action to grant you a +2 bonus. With this it is like boosting by 1 all your skills with scores above ten.
  • Amulet of Tears MIC, Throat, 2.300: A swift action that grants you 12 to 24 temporary hit points, based on the charges spent. It's cheap and the hit points last for 10 minutes, more than the average battle will last. Compare this to the false life spell, which gives 1d10 + 1/CL (max +10) temporary hp.
  • Empowered Spellshard MIC, Throat, 1.500-6.000: Each of these are keyed to a specific low level spell. Three times per day you can use it to empower the said spell for free.
  • Hand of Glory DMG, 8.000: Wear a third ring and gain use of daylight and see invisibility once per day.
Feet:

  • Boots of Big Stepping MIC, Feet, 6.000: Increase the caster level of all teleportation spells by 2. Also three times per day teleport 60ft as if using greater teleport, as a standard action.
Arms:

  • Armband of Elusive Action MIC, Arms, 800: Avoid a single attack of opportunity that your actions would otherwise incur. Helps get a spell through or move away from danger.
  • Bracers of Accuracy MIC, Arms, 4.000: Make ranged attacks with greater accuracy, depending on the charges you spend. Helps spells that require ranged touch attacks.
  • Bracers of Arcane Freedom MIC, Arms, 2.300: Pretty much like metamagic rod, still, this omits the somatic component on your next arcane spell, two times per day. The main problem with this, is that it has to be worn. Probably you will need to cast without somatic components when you won't be able to move, which means that you must wear them, holding the item space.
  • Bracers of the Blast Barrier MIC, Arms, 3.200: Create a wall of magical energy using a spell or spell-like ability, three times per day. Has many tactical applications and it doesn't limit you to elemental damage.
  • Bracers of the Entangling Blast MIC, Arms, 2.000: Three times per day modify a damage dealing spell, entangling targets and dealing more damage to your opponents. Your spell deals half normal damage, but any creature it damages is entangled automatically for 1d3 rounds and takes one extra point of damage per level of the spell. What is important about this ability is that it probably can be used spells that do ability damage. Their cheap price make it a worthy addition to any wizard's gadgets (note that the entangled condition this ability automatically bestows, impedes movement of the target, who is taking -2 penalty on attack rolls and -4 penalty to dexterity. Also he must make a concentration check against a DC of 15+spell level or lose the spell).
  • Deathguardian Bracers MIC, Arms, 6.000: As an immediate action, lose a prepared spell and gain twice the spell level as damage reduction for one round. Great for protecting you against lots of attacks that deal small amounts of damage (e.g. spending a 2nd level spell gives you DR 4/-).
  • Spellmight Bracers MIC, Arms, 3.300: When casting spells that deal hit point damage, take a -5 penalty on your attack roll and deal an extra 1d6 points of damage.
  • Wand Bracelet MIC, Arms, 12.000: You can store four items to this bracelet, which appear as charms. It's a swift action to grab one of the items to your hand and a move action to store them back to the bracelet, or to swap a stored with a held item. Despite its name it can store any item that weights less than or equal to three pounds and can be held in one hand. Useful if you want to hide an item to pass it from guards or similar cases. The price is pretty steep though.
Hands:

  • Arcanist's Gloves MIC, Hands, 500: Two times per day, boost the caster level of the next 1st level arcane spell you cast by 2. It's not much, but the price is really low, making all the difference at low levels.
  • Casting Glove MIC, Hands, 20.000: The same with a glove of storing, except that you can activate magic items stored inside it. This feature is nice, but since gloves of storing retrieve and store items as a free action, you can retrieve the magic item, use it and then store it back with an ordinary glove of storing.
  • Gloves of Fortunate Striking MIC, Hands, 2.000: The ability to reroll ranged attack rolls, this can mean the difference between losing a spell that requires a ranged touch attack or not.
  • Gloves of the Uldra Savant MIC, Hands, 3.100: The ability to cast ray of frost at will, this is particularly useful to wizards with sneak attack or similar abilities.
  • Mesmerist's Gloves MIC, Hands, 8.000: Affect an extra target with your enchantment spells two times per day.
Body:

  • Robe of the Archmagi DMG, 75.000: This is a great item. The prices of the abilities provided for a single body slot is more than worth it.
  • Robe of Arcane Might MIC, Body, 21.000: Provides you with a +4 armor bonus to your AC and a +1 competence bonus to your caster level for a specific school, chosen at creation.
  • Robe of Mysterious Conjuration MIC, Body, 10.000: Three times per day you can sacrifice an arcane spell to spontaneously cast a summon monster spell of the same level. A hidden bonus is that the activation is a standard action, when summon spells are usually full-round.
  • Robe of Retaliation MIC, Body, 6.500: React to a natural or melee attack by sacrificing an arcane spell slot. You deal damage to your attacker equal to 1d6 per level of the spell sacrificed. It's a free attack to someone, but the spell level to damage trade isn't worth it, and if you are in melee with someone you shouldn't be standing there.
Head:

  • Ioun Stones DMG, variable: These are actually worn above your head, so they don't occupy a body slot. The problem is that you can wear a limited amount of ioun stones at a time. The most useful stones are pale green prism and orange prism, as they offer +1 bonus to nearly any roll and +1 caster level respectively. There are other useful ioun stones, like iridescent spindle and clear spindle. The attribute enhancers are good, if you need a little boost and the body part associated with the said attribute is already taken.
  • Circlet of Mages MIC, Head, 5.000: Not only this item gives you the ability to retain three spell levels per day, but it boosts your concentration checks a little, too. You can even have lots of these and change them. Compare this to a pearl of power III DMG, which costs 9.000.
  • Circlet of Rapid Casting MIC, Head, 15.000: Sort of rod of quicken, but with some modifications and nearly half the price.
  • Headband of Conscious Effort MIC, Head, 2.000: This gives you the ability to make a concentration check instead of a fortitude save once per day. Since this is low price and you are going to be maxing out concentration anyway, it's worth it.
  • Lore Gem MIC, Head, 7.500: Get a situational bonus on knowledge checks and you can use the gem as a spellbook, which is able to hold thirty spells of any spell level. Nice if you get separated of your spellbook somehow.
  • Scout's Headband MIC, Head, 3.400: Get a +2 bonus to to spot checks. In addition this item has a number of charges that are renewed each day. Using those charges you can gain darkvision, see invisible creatures or gain true seeing for variable, but great durations.
Waist:

  • Belt of Battle MIC, Waist, 12.000: Wow, this has great applications! It will help you cast a full-round action spell and move, or quicken a spell, or even cast two full-round action spells in a single round. As an icing on the cake you get a +2 competence bonus to your initiative checks, which is great for wizards anyway.
  • Belt of Hidden Pouches MIC, Waist, 5.000: A move action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity is required to store or retrieve an item from this belt. It can store items that are not exceeding 6 inches and wands are from 6 to 12 inches.
  • Belt of Ultimate Athleticism MIC, Waist, 3.800: You get skill mastery in five skills outside your class skills and the ability once per day to treat your next check as if you have rolled twenty. Top quality.
  • Desperation Chain MIC, Waist, 15.000: Cast a spell without spending an action if you are rendered helpless or dropped at negative hit points.
  • Healing Belt MIC, Waist, 750: Costs the same with a consumable potion of cure serious wounds, but not only it heals more, but is auto-recharged each day. You can even give it to your familiar to heal you while you are busy doing your job. As an icing on the cake you get a +2 bonus on heal checks.
  • Silkslick Belt MIC, Waist, 2.000: Attempt an escape artist check to escape from a grapple or pin as a move action. Once per day as a swift action gain a +10 competence bonus to escape artist checks. Nice if you are facing a lot of grapplers.
Face:

  • Mask of Silent Trickery MIC, Face, 5.000: Omit the verbal component of the next illusion spell you'll cast, two times per day. Too limited to be useful.
  • Third Eye Penetrate MIC, Face, 8.000: It's like buying a spell penetration PHB feat for 8.000.
Torso:

  • Dispelling Cord MIC, Torso, 1.000: Five times per day gain a +2 competence bonus to your dispel checks for your turn. Nice if you are dispelling a lot and because of its cheap price.
  • Rogue's Vest MIC, Torso, 18.000: Gain minor bonuses to move silently and hide and a competence bonus to reflex saves. Additionally boost your sneak attack or similar ability by 1d6.
  • Vest of the Archmagi MIC, Torso, 200.000: The equivalent of bracers of armor DMG, Arms, 64.000 and cloak of resistance DMG, Shoulders, 25.000, all in one place. Also you get a spell penetration PHB-like ability and allows him to recall three arcane spells up to ninth level as a swift action. As an extra ability you get to sacrifice a spell to heal yourself five times the sacrificed spell, as often as you like.
  • Vest of the Master Evoker MIC, Torso, 10.000: Three times per day enhance evocation spells to deal extra damage twice their spell level (useful for those spells that deal ability damage) and increase the save DC by two. In addition you can apply the effect of any sudden metamagic feat you cast from a wand or staff as if you were casting it yourself.
  • Vest of Resistance MIC, Torso, 1.000-25.000: Two bad saves are going to make this items a necessity.
Shoulders:

  • Mantle of Second Chances MIC, Shoulders, 12.000: Rerolls are always nice and if you use the DMG II version, it will cost you nearly half as much.
  • Transposer Cloak MIC, Shoulders, 6.000: Three times per day change positions with a target that's of your size and space. Doesn't seem like much, but you can give it to your familiar, teleporting you 30ft. Tactical swapping is also possible, such as your familiar (preferably an outsider with some sort of polymorph ability, like imps) swapping places with your party's fighter (or even better your shadow-pouncing rogue) after delivering your touch attack.
  • War Wizard Cloak MIC, Shoulders, 16.000: Keeps an endure elements effect on you and activates a feather fall effect if you fall more than 5ft. Additionally you get the following spells once per day each: dimension door, mage armor, protection from arrows and sending. For its price two 4th level spell slots that have many uses is great. Protection from arrows is kinda useless and mage armor average when you will be able to afford this item.
Held:

  • Arcane Thieves' Tools MIC, 1.400: They are the same with normal tools, with an extra ability to boost your check by spending an arcane spell of 1st level and higher. The problem is that they are too expensive for just tools.
  • Bag of Endless Caltrops MIC, 800: Five times per day reach into the bag as a move action and pull a handful of caltrops. To fill a square with them you have to spent a standard action. Your familiar can make use of the bag, strategically placing them to protect your party members from chargers and similar enemies.
  • Banner of the Storm's Eye MIC, 15.000: Suppresses all fear effects within 20ft. Also prevents any creature from becoming confused or stunned between 20ft. It's costly, but the benefits are going to affect the whole party. Moreover these conditions are bad for wizards, as they will keep you from fulfilling your role in the party. Once again, your familiar is able to carry it for you.
  • Dragondoom Scepter MIC, 18.000: Gives you a spell penetration PHB effect that works only on dragons and free empower three times per day to your damaging spells, but only on dragons. It's too specific to be useful.
  • Eternal Wand MIC, 460-10.900: These wands hold a specific spell of 3rd level or lower. Unlike reqular wands these do not have charges, but you can use it twice per day. As an added bonus, anyone who can cast arcane spells can activate them, which means that you can have spells from the bard or beguiler spell lists.
  • Incense of Concentration MIC, 250: Prepare an extra 1st level spell. I'm sure scrolls are cheaper.
  • Infinite Scrollcase MIC, 2.800: Holds fifty scrolls and has wonderful abilities. First, whenever you activate the case the desired scroll pops out, ready to cast. If you cast a spell from a scroll from the case, you gain +4 competence bonus on concentration checks made to cast defensively. Moreover if you have a +1 base attack bonus you can retrieve a scroll from the case as part of a move action.
  • Orb of Mental Renewal MIC, 3.100: You can heal damage to your intelligence with this. Intelligence damage is a bad thing, as it will interfere with your spellcasting a great deal. Can heal twelve intelligence damage per day.
  • Rod of Transposition MIC, 6.000: Swap positions with another creature. It's the same deal as with transposer cloak MIC.
  • Rod of Undead Mastery MIC, 10.000: While holding this rod you can control twice as many hit dice of undead as you normally could. Helpful to necromancers and at an ok price.
  • Runestaffs MIC, variable: While these items are useful to characters with limited spell lists, such as sorcerers, they may give you some extra versatility if they contain spells that are too situational.
  • Tomebound Eye of Boccob MIC, 7.000: This item affixes to a wizard's spellbook. When you prepare spells, you can spent charges to grant some of your prepared spells a competence bonus to overcome spell resistance. This is nice when enhancing spells that have a lot of required rolls, so you can have a greater chance of getting your spell through. It's expensive though.
  • Metamagic Rods: Especially for key metamagic feats, like empower and extend, these rods are a necessity. Effectively they buy you a metamagic feat for a variable price, depending on the spell level they can apply to and the number they increase the spell level. There are some rods however, that have really low costs and are still useful.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Wizard 6/Incantatrix 10/Olin Gisir 4:

Wizard 1 [b]Otherworldly[/b]<br /> Wizard 2<br /> Wizard 3 [b]Iron Will[/b]<br /> Wizard 4<br /> Wizard 5 [b]Extend Spell[/b]<br /> Wizard 6 [b]Flyby Attack[/b]<br /> Incant 1 [b]Sculpt Spell[/b]<br /> Incant 2<br /> Incant 3 [b]Craft Wand/Staff[/b]<br /> Incant 4 [b]Chain Spell[/b]<br /> Incant 5<br /> Incant 6 [b]Quicken Spell[/b]<br /> Incant 7 [b]Persistent Spell[/b]<br /> Incant 8<br /> Incant 9 [b]Extraordinary Concentration[/b]<br /> Incant 10 [b]Repeat Spell[/b]<br /> Olin G 1 [b]Craft Wand/Staff[/b]<br /> Olin G 2 [b]Spell Mastery/Arcane Thesis/Extraordinary Spell Aim[/b]<br /> Olin G 3<br /> Olin G 4 [b]Metamagic Feat[/b]

  • Dragonborn of Bahamut Fire Elf
  • BAB +10
  • Saves 6/6/16
  • Uses the elven wizard substitution levels on 1st and 3rd.
  • Assumes you enter the Olin Gisir with +6 intelligence modifier.

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Items that grant bonus to AC vs defending weapons:
And by items that grant bonuses to AC, i am referring, of course, to ring of protection DMG, amulet of natural armor DMG, and all those that cost bonus squared * 2000 gp.
The main idea is to use a defending DMG, and by pumping its enhancement bonus via magic weapon, greater. Then you will be able to transform the weapon's enhancement bonus to dodge AC and benefit. Some DMs may have a problem with this however. Ask your DM if he is ok with this.
See these graphs below for detailed information:

IMAGE(http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/853/ropbr7.jpg)



This shows how price scales between the two items. The defending weapon has a fixed price, but requires the expenditure of a spell each day. Ring of protection on the other hand, requires nothing to be spent on a daily basis, but its price becomes very expensive when reaching higher AC bonuses. If the spell per day is a problem, buy a pearl of power DMG for the lowly price of 9000 gp.

IMAGE(http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/2272/rop2zf0.jpg)



The idea of item levels is introduced in the MIC. This shows the level you will be able to afford the item and the bonus it will probably offer. As you can see at early levels ring of protection can be acquired easier, but at mid levels you will receive more benefits from the defending weapon. At high levels the ring of protection can be acquired earlier, but the cost will be too high.
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Counterspelling

Warning : in general it is easier for a sorcerer to be a good counterspeller, but an optimized counterspelling wizard can leave the sorcerer in the dust.

  • Learn the Dispel line.
    Contrary to sorcerers, you won't take Improved Counterspell. Instead, you will use :
    • Dispel Magic PHB, 3 - max CL 10
    • Greater Dispel Magic PHB, 6 - max CL 20
    • Reaving Dispel SC, 9 - max CL 20

    Reaving Dispel CA, 9 has been updated in the SC and now caps at CL 20. It can still be worth learning for a Dispel-oriented wizard.

  • Get some spells that help.
    • Battlemagic Perception HoB, 3 - 10 min/level
    • Duelward CA, 5 - 1 round/level

    Both of them grant a Spellcraft bonus (to recognize spells) and allow you to counterspell once as an free action not on your turn*, which ends the spell.
    Battlemagic Perception is superior in every way to Duelward : lower level, longer duration, allows you to recognize spell-like abilities too.
    *(the only other occurrence of this is speech - don't be surprised if your DM houserule it to be an immediate action)

  • Optimize your dispel check.
    • Minor School Esoterica (Abjuration) [Master Specialist(Abjurer) CM] : competence bonus of half your class level to dispel checks
    • Caster Level Increase [Master Specialist(Abjurer) CM] : +1 then +2 CL to abjuration spells
    • Unanswerable Strike [Iot7V CA] : +2 then +4 CL for dispel checks against abjuration spells
    • Arcane Mastery [Feat CA] : lets you take 10 on CL checks
    • Arcane Thesis(GDM) [Feat CA] : interesting if you also plan on often chaining Greater Dispel Magic to disable many magical items at once. Overkill otherwise.
    • Elven Spell Lore [Feat PHB2] : +2 to dispel checks
    • Magic Disruption [Feat CM] : +1 competence bonus to CL for abjuration spells
    • Mystic Backlash [Feat CM] : +1 competence bonus to CL for abjuration spells
    • Inquisition Domain Power : +4 bonus to dispel checks
    • Planar Touchstone(Catalogues of Enlightenment) [Feat PlH] : to obtain the above domain power
    • Domain Granted Power [Alternate Class Feature CC] : also to obtain the above domain power. Requires you to get 5 levels in Wizard.
    • Spellcaster's Bane CM, 3 : +2 insight bonus to dispel checks. Cast as a swift action, automatic recognition of spell if Spellcraft >= 5, learn CL of the spell if Spellcraft >= 15
    • all effects/feats/items that increase the CL



Recommended :
if you have gone this far, you should get the Mastery of Counterspelling high arcana [Archmage] and watch the enemy spellcasters cringe as their spells rebound on them.

Typical builds
  • Wizard 3/Master Specialist(abjurer) 4/Iot7V 7/MS +6
  • Wizard 3/Master Specialist(abjurer) 4/Iot7V 7/Archmage 1/MS +5
    (unfortunately you have to choose between Mastery of Counterspelling and the Iot7V and MS capstones)


How your familiar can help :
  • Use Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability to grant him spells (dispels)
  • You can share Battlemagic Perception/Duelward with him ! When it runs out, he can cast it again on both of you.
  • If you don't want to use the above spells, have him ready an action to counterspell.

The goal is to counterspell without using any action yourself !

Cons :
  • Every Battlemagic Perception spell allows you to counter only one spell.
  • The maximum CL of each Dispel spell is reached quickly.


Counterspelling items

If you would rather not spend levels/feats on the above, consider the following items :
  • Ring of Counterspells DMG - 4000gp : too cheap to pass by, especially if you can make them unslotted.
  • Ring of Greater Counterspells DMG2 - 16000gp
  • Ring of Spell-Battle [/sup]CA[sup] - 67600gp : updated in the MIC, it is now a lot cheaper (12000gp) but less efficient.
  • Spellblade PGtF - 6000gp



Dispelling

See the above on how to optimize the dispel checks.

In addition to the counterspell-enabling dispels listed above, the following allow active dispelling :
  • Dispel Ward (SC, 1) : only for low-level abjurations
  • Dispelling Touch (PHB2)
  • Spelltheft (CS, 5) - max CL 15
  • Dispelling Breath (SC, 5) : excellent if you already have a breath weapon (Dragonborn, for instance). All creatures in the breath area are subject to a targeted dispel (max CL 15).
  • Chain Dispel (PHB2, 8) - max CL 25


Passive dispelling :
  • Dispelling Screen (SC, 4) : targeted dispel on whoever crosses it (max CL 10). Its best feature is however unrelated to dispelling : it stops line of effects for all spells not operating on a creature or object, making it a mini-antimagic field.
  • Dispelling Screen, Greater (SC, 7) : as above, caps at CL 20

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This section is devoted to links to threads that help various aspects of wizards not discussed here, like polymorph, summoning, etc.

General:
  • [thread=165134]Wizard's Handbook I[/thread] - (by Yekoj)
  • [thread=649782]Best Wizard Race Handbook[/thread] - (by AZNsupermarket)
  • The Logic Ninja's Guide to Wizards: Being Batman - (by LogicNinja)
  • [thread=869795]Handbook to Wand Users and Crafters[/thread] - (by Dictum Mortuum)
  • [thread=875062]The Familiars' Handbook[/thread] - (by Dictum Mortuum)
  • [thread=956548]Treantmonk's guide to Wizards: Being a God[/thread] - (by Treantmonklvl20)

Schools
  • [thread=478153]The Wizard's Guide to Abjuration[/thread] - (by WizardlyFriend) Handbook for spells from the school of abjuration
  • [thread=968899]Treatmonk's guide to Evocation Spells: God's tools[/thread] - (by Treatmonklvl20)
  • [thread=969772]Tsuyoshi's Guide to Divination Spells: G-d's Eyes[/thread] - (by tsuyoshikentsu)
  • [thread=960379]Enchanter Handbook[/thread] - (by zarzak)
  • [thread=918686]The Conjurer's Handbook[/thread] - (by Echodork)
  • Illusion - see the Shadowcraft Mage

Polymorph:
  • [thread=176246][3.5]Forms for Alter Self[/thread] - (by PhaedrusXY)
  • [thread=758751]The Complete Polymorph Thread 3.5[/thread] - (by MegaPlex)
  • [thread=589497]Easy to Read Polymorph Errata[/thread] - (by Raven Dark)

Summoning:
  • [thread=822374]Best uses of Planar Ally/Binding?[/thread] - (by tiluvias99)
  • [thread=883099]Summoning Handbook[/thread]
  • [thread=918792]Mastering the Malconvoker[/thread] - (by Treantmonklvl20)

Crafting:
  • [thread=568399]The Bargain Bin Item Crafter[/thread] - (by FromTheShadows)
  • [thread=657626]Bunko's Bargain Basement: Magic Items That Are a Steal![/thread] - (compiled by Caelic)
  • [thread=719014]Magesmith Inc. Seeking help for your wizard crafter?[/thread] - (by Endarire)
  • [thread=734968]Alchemical Devices: Optimized Selections and Crafting Strategies[/thread] - (by Dirty Dan the Laundry Man)
  • [thread=695040]Experience is a River[/thread] - (by loneknife)

Spellcasting:
  • [thread=343040]Ultimate Spell List[/thread] - (by Szatany)
  • [thread=571861]Top Spells from levels 1-9[/thread]
  • [thread=475838]Long Lasting Spells[/thread] - (by pyro_cat)
  • [thread=596082]Best Save-or-Die Compendium[/thread] - (by parkse)
  • [thread=185189]No SR - Arcane - spell list Thread[/thread] - (by Ivarrius)
  • [thread=472555]Non-somatic Spells[/thread] - (by pyro_cat)
  • [thread=742596]alacritous cogitation trickery[/thread] - (by deathwishjoe) casting long casting-time spells as a full round action
  • [thread=399206]Hey, there’s nothing stopping a Sorc or Wiz -[/thread] - (by RadicalTaoist) using Dragon Breath to fuel metabreath feats from the Draconomicon
  • [thread=454560]Extraordinary Concentration ... is the Bomb![/thread] - (by Snow Savant) a feat from Complete Adventurer that reduces spellcaster Concentration checks to move or swift actions
  • [post=3332210]Sonorous Hum[/post] - (by Sildrin) make multiple "duration: concentration" spells last all day
  • [post=4781786]Clever uses of the Share Spells ability[/post] - (by PhaedrusXY)
  • [thread=615672]Raising Caster Level[/thread] - (by psly4mne)

Note: The above links are from a great resource thread, Some handy links for CO work. Thanks Surreal.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
reserved #12
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Interesting start. Where's the rest?
Interesting start. Where's the rest?

i'm writing it xP
be patient :D
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Seems like you're looking at specialist wizards.
I do appreciate your work. Just to let you know.

k.
Dude, I admire your work, but now I admire your guts more. Good luck, cause this is a CR20 Challenge.
You've already suggested that wizards usually fill several niches. Why not break up the feat listing as such?

Also, I would consider changing the name of Trickster to something like Illusionist, to avoid confusion with the Arcane Trickster prestige class. Gish may also be a viable addition to your list.
You've already suggested that wizards usually fill several niches. Why not break up the feat listing as such?

Also, I would consider changing the name of Trickster to something like Illusionist, to avoid confusion with the Arcane Trickster prestige class. Gish may also be a viable addition to your list.

The "gish" archetype has long ago taken on a life of its own and to do so would be to totally undercut the work that has been done already. Sorta like how this doesn't reference "The Logic Ninja's Guide to Being Batman".
You've already suggested that wizards usually fill several niches. Why not break up the feat listing as such?

Also, I would consider changing the name of Trickster to something like Illusionist, to avoid confusion with the Arcane Trickster prestige class. Gish may also be a viable addition to your list.

i tried breaking up the feat listing, but i got confused. I didn't like the outcome. So i figured i should first locate the "wizard" feats and then place them into archetype categories.

It's tricky, really. Because if you name it illusionist people will confuse him with the specialist wizard. Also tricksters mainly use illusions, but that isn't always the case. A lot of transmutation or conjuration spells can be used to deceive.

I considered the gish archetype, but it isn't really necessary. Gishes aren't actually archetypes rather than a nickname we use for fighter/wizards. As such a gish can be a buffer or a sniper or a blaster, but i don't think that "gish" actually is an archetype.

The "gish" archetype has long ago taken on a life of its own and to do so would be to totally undercut the work that has been done already. Sorta like how this doesn't reference "The Logic Ninja's Guide to Being Batman".

The fact that i write information about a specific class, whether good or bad, doesn't mean that other people's work will be shunned. I have no reason not to link to other useful resource threads, such as best spells or metamagic feat compendium etc.
The key to a successful guide is probably respecting work other people have done before you.
Selfishly writing a guide for people is kinda controversial.
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
I used illusionist as an example. I was basically suggesting something other than trickster. Deceiver works as well. (Oddly enough, the name I suggested has the exact same problem as what you already had. I feel stupid now.)

Also, in some cases, you have pointed out that the spells generally allow a save. In some of those cases, it's almost always the same save. For example, a controller's spells generally allow a will save to negate.
The fact that i write information about a specific class, whether good or bad, doesn't mean that other people's work will be shunned. I have no reason not to link to other useful resource threads, such as best spells or metamagic feat compendium etc.
The key to a successful guide is probably respecting work other people have done before you.
Selfishly writing a guide for people is kinda controversial.

And once it is linked, I will reconsider my position on what you are doing.
As long as this turns out better than some of the other attempts at making a Wizard(Class) builder's guide. I can suggest something for customizing each wizard with feat and skill selection. Somewhat anyway.

And I think you're missing the Archetect Wizard - Specializing in the craft of crafting.
Alright Dictum, I never said anything bad about your handbooks before, even though I rarely found them useful, but this is the handbook, guidebook, strategy guide, instruction manual, whatever--for wizards, man. Wizards. One of the most complex classes in the game. I have to say something, even if the candyass grannypants on this board tell me I'm mean and a bully.

First off, I have to get this out of the way: Why are you writing thirty thousand handbooks? If you truly have the time to devote to a handbook on wizards, paladins, fighters, and a bunch of other ones, then you are a lucky man, and most likely unemployed, with no goals to ever change that. The point is, to keep a guide on wizards updated, you really have to spend a lot of time. I just hope you have it.

The problems I have with this handbook are the same problems I have with your other handbooks, only magnified due to the nature of the wizard. I understand this guide is far from being done, but let's just look at what you've got already.

Crunch-rating Format

You like to list a bunch of crunch, color them one of four colors, and then give a two sentence rating on whether it's good. That's terrible, for so many reasons. First off, you're wrong a lot of the time. I don't know how many wizards you've ever played, but if the answer is "many," then it doesn't show. For example, you said Wizard of Sun and Moon is "bad," colored it red, and yet said Combat Expertise "can have its applications" and kept it black.

More importantly, though, is the spirit of this format. There's no analysis. There's no explanation. It's just "Good. It gives you X." or "Bad. It gives you Y." If you read, for one example, K's guide to necromancy, it's the complete opposite. He explains everything, goes through with the reader why something might be good or bad, shows you how you ought to think about the subject matter rather than simply giving a meaningless rating, and while I disagree with him on many of his points, at least I'm not left with the impression he typed up a new guide with a barebones framework just to put another guide into his sig.

Look through your handbooks, and see how many paragraphs you can find. Real, honest to god paragraphs, not bullet points with sentence fragments.

"Archetypes"

Okay, I hate this. This is a pet peeve of mine, I admit, but it is a legitimate one. I hate it when people put characters into "archetype" categories. It wouldn't be too bad, except your list has way too many archetypes, and they're myths. But first, let's talk about the fact that that entire post has no useful information at all (all you do is repeat that intelligence and constitution are important, with minor variations on dexterity or charisma or whatever) if you discount the completely wrong information. A buffer needs strength more than a summoner because he may want to buff himself and whack people? What kind of logic is that? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. What makes a buffer need more strength than any other archetype? You're looking for differences where there are none, simply to fill space because you've got a silly framework to fill out.

But back to the matter at hand: archetypes. The whole point of giving advice on choosing a playstyle is because the choice matters, right? If you can't have your cake and eat it too, you better choose which you want. But in this case, you can. In fact, sometimes they're the same damn thing. When a wizard is not a specialist--even if he is, as long as he's not a dumb one--he can play almost all of your roles just fine. This is not the beguiler handbook. This is not the sorcerer's handbook. This is the wizard's handbook. That's their job, to do everything. They get the feats for it, the spell list for it, the spell-learning mechanics for it, pretty much everything. They're the best at doing this, beating out sorcerer because of the bonus feats, the INT synergy, and the way they get spells, beating out cleric and beguiler because of their spell list, etc. Sure, you may want to focus a little bit on certain types of spells for thematic or party-role reasons, but saying a guy who happens to emphasize summoning spells doesn't need INT is absolutely, completely, imbecilic.

One of your archetypes is the "trickster." How is that any different from "battlefied controller"? You're letting the flavor difference between illusion magic and conjuration magic fool you into thinking these are different combat styles. They both do the same thing, and the only difference may be a spell focus and some ranks in Bluff.

This section simply gives the impression players need to--ought to--make a choice. The opposite is true. The most powerful wizards are always broad in their spell choice, and have all types of spells prepared each day to be adaptable in any situation. If you've picked mirror image for your last level 2 spell slot instead of web, you might want to fill your last third slot with a stinking cloud instead of putrid husk to cover your base in case of a mass attack. These are the kinds of decisions all wizards ought to make, instead of "DURRR I AM TRICKSTER. I WAN MIRAR IMIGE AND DISPLACEMENT DURRRRR."

You know what, more on your format

The big problem with your format is that you're organizing things by the wrong criteria. You've got it split up by 1) ability scores (by archetype), 2) alternate class features, 3) general feats, and then I imagine: 4) spellcasting feats, 5) skills, 6) equipment, 7) builds, 8) races, 9) tactics. This format is good if you want to serve simply as a reference. A table of contents, after which a real guide can follow. A guy can open the thread, scroll down to feats, and check out which of the many feats he may want to stick into his last open slot. And that's fine, if that's your intention. (If it actually is, you may want to put some page numbers and list the prereqs and stuff.) But as a real handbook, you've got to give up some meat! You have to offer the real product: analysis. Otherwise, your product is simply reorganization.

Take a look at K's thread. Or the Druid revived thread.
It's tricky, really. Because if you name it illusionist people will confuse him with the specialist wizard. Also tricksters mainly use illusions, but that isn't always the case. A lot of transmutation or conjuration spells can be used to deceive.

Deceiving a guy so he stops moving toward you is, in game mechanics, the same as stopping him with a physical barrier. Not to belabor my previous post's point, but you need to cut down on the archetypes.

I considered the gish archetype, but it isn't really necessary. Gishes aren't actually archetypes rather than a nickname we use for fighter/wizards. As such a gish can be a buffer or a sniper or a blaster, but i don't think that "gish" actually is an archetype.

You've got to be joking. You don't consider gishes a category worth separating from the rest (due to a COMPLETELY different set of combat strategies and a COMPLETELY different set of feats and spell-selection and a COMPLETELY different strategy for making a build) but you consider "the controller," an archetype based entirely on dominate spells, a significant category? Have you ever played a wizard?

And by the way, please don't include gishes in this guide. They're so different they need (and have) their own guides.

Selfishly writing a guide for people is kinda controversial.

Controversial? That's really all the downside?
First off, I have to get this out of the way: Why are you writing thirty thousand handbooks? If you truly have the time to devote to a handbook on wizards, paladins, fighters, and a bunch of other ones, then you are a lucky man, and most likely unemployed, with no goals to ever change that. The point is, to keep a guide on wizards updated, you really have to spend a lot of time. I just hope you have it.

I like it. I think writing guides is fun. I regularly do it and not only for d&d of course.
Well i am not unemployed, but on vacation :D

Crunch-rating Format

You like to list a bunch of crunch, color them one of four colors, and then give a two sentence rating on whether it's good. That's terrible, for so many reasons. First off, you're wrong a lot of the time. I don't know how many wizards you've ever played, but if the answer is "many," then it doesn't show. For example, you said Wizard of Sun and Moon is "bad," colored it red, and yet said Combat Expertise "can have its applications" and kept it black.

I regularly forget coloring and not all are rated on equal terms, but to my subjective judgment. It is very difficult to put all the wizard's abilities on a large scale and rate them. I hope that after it is finished, people can criticize my selections and balance them a bit.

More importantly, though, is the spirit of this format. There's no analysis. There's no explanation. It's just "Good. It gives you X." or "Bad. It gives you Y." If you read, for one example, K's guide to necromancy, it's the complete opposite. He explains everything, goes through with the reader why something might be good or bad, shows you how you ought to think about the subject matter rather than simply giving a meaningless rating, and while I disagree with him on many of his points, at least I'm not left with the impression he typed up a new guide with a barebones framework just to put another guide into his sig.

Look through your handbooks, and see how many paragraphs you can find. Real, honest to god paragraphs, not bullet points with sentence fragments.

Well to my defense some abilities/feats are so swallow that don't even need an explanation.
Also I'm not K!
Also you must understand that i am not getting payed for writing guides. I really don't have anything to gain.

"Archetypes"

Okay, I hate this. This is a pet peeve of mine, I admit, but it is a legitimate one. I hate it when people put characters into "archetype" categories. It wouldn't be too bad, except your list has way too many archetypes, and they're myths. But first, let's talk about the fact that that entire post has no useful information at all (all you do is repeat that intelligence and constitution are important, with minor variations on dexterity or charisma or whatever) if you discount the completely wrong information. A buffer needs strength more than a summoner because he may want to buff himself and whack people? What kind of logic is that? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. What makes a buffer need more strength than any other archetype? You're looking for differences where there are none, simply to fill space because you've got a silly framework to fill out.

You hate archetype categories? Well to be honest, i don't like them either. But there are a lot of people out there who do not and really need them. Also makes my job easier, by providing information on feats/metamagic/skills/etc on each separate archetype it will make the guide look clearer and easy to read.
Why couldn't just suggest the facts in your example? I would be happy to change them if you provided explanation. I am not an expert on d&d, there are people around the boards who know a lot more.
About the silly framework, is it so bad? You expect me to start writing a whole guide without a plan? Have you ever made a guide?

But back to the matter at hand: archetypes. The whole point of giving advice on choosing a playstyle is because the choice matters, right? If you can't have your cake and eat it too, you better choose which you want. But in this case, you can. In fact, sometimes they're the same damn thing. When a wizard is not a specialist--even if he is, as long as he's not a dumb one--he can play almost all of your roles just fine. This is not the beguiler handbook. This is not the sorcerer's handbook. This is the wizard's handbook. That's their job, to do everything. They get the feats for it, the spell list for it, the spell-learning mechanics for it, pretty much everything. They're the best at doing this, beating out sorcerer because of the bonus feats, the INT synergy, and the way they get spells, beating out cleric and beguiler because of their spell list, etc. Sure, you may want to focus a little bit on certain types of spells for thematic or party-role reasons, but saying a guy who happens to emphasize summoning spells doesn't need INT is absolutely, completely, imbecilic.

from the guide's entry:

Of course, no wizard falls in just a single of these categories. It is commonplace, especially for high level wizards, to fulfill two or more of the roles presented below.

the point of having archetypes is so that someone who doesn't know much on the wizards subject choose archetypes or spells if you want it that cover their weaknesses and have synergy e.g. depend on the same attributes.

One of your archetypes is the "trickster." How is that any different from "battlefied controller"? You're letting the flavor difference between illusion magic and conjuration magic fool you into thinking these are different combat styles. They both do the same thing, and the only difference may be a spell focus and some ranks in Bluff.

Again why didn't you contribute by just suggesting that and providing some explanation about why they are pretty much the same thing?
On the matter, the differences are obvious. No wizard archetype is so swallow to do the same think with another.
If you consider it that way, well, all wizards cast spells to eliminate their opponents, so all of them fall into the same category :D.

This section simply gives the impression players need to--ought to--make a choice. The opposite is true. The most powerful wizards are always broad in their spell choice, and have all types of spells prepared each day to be adaptable in any situation. If you've picked mirror image for your last level 2 spell slot instead of web, you might want to fill your last third slot with a stinking cloud instead of putrid husk to cover your base in case of a mass attack. These are the kinds of decisions all wizards ought to make, instead of "DURRR I AM TRICKSTER. I WAN MIRAR IMIGE AND DISPLACEMENT DURRRRR."

again:

Of course, no wizard falls in just a single of these categories. It is commonplace, especially for high level wizards, to fulfill two or more of the roles presented below.

archetypes are not prestige classes. They are guidelines to follow. A 9th level summoner-archetype wizard is just fine with 15 intelligence. If he grabs and memorizes phantasmal killer though, he should know he is doing something wrong.

You know what, more on your format

The big problem with your format is that you're organizing things by the wrong criteria. You've got it split up by 1) ability scores (by archetype), 2) alternate class features, 3) general feats, and then I imagine: 4) spellcasting feats, 5) skills, 6) equipment, 7) builds, 8) races, 9) tactics. This format is good if you want to serve simply as a reference. A table of contents, after which a real guide can follow. A guy can open the thread, scroll down to feats, and check out which of the many feats he may want to stick into his last open slot. And that's fine, if that's your intention. (If it actually is, you may want to put some page numbers and list the prereqs and stuff.) But as a real handbook, you've got to give up some meat! You have to offer the real product: analysis. Otherwise, your product is simply reorganization.

The format is there to help. Both me to write and the reader.
I'm not that good analyzing stuff. However i can try and do it in certain sections.

Take a look at K's thread. Or the Druid revived thread.

ok, i did. Opened the druid revived thread, scrolled down to feats and this is what i got:

General:
  • Natural Spell - Allows you to cast while Wild Shaped. Every single druid will want this.
  • Ironwood Body (RoE) - A must-have for Warforged druids, assuming your DM allows it.
  • Manifest Druid (PGtE) - A flavor feat, with a handful of nice bennies (although the Sudden Empower for a first-level arcane spell is just weird).
  • Natural Bond (CAdv) - Helps out for multiclassed druids, somewhat. May offset the penalty for stronger-than-standard Animal Companions (ask your GM), which makes it a much better choice.
  • Track - Now that all the bonus feat loopholes are closed, this can be a handy feat if the party doesn't already have a ranger or barbarian.
  • Vow of Poverty (BoED) - Druids are fairly gear-independent, making this a reasonable choice. If you take it, Nymph's Kiss for the extra skill points (it's also good if you don't use Vow of Poverty) and Touch of Golden Ice for the Dex damage to evil creatures at low levels are good candidates for bonus Exalted feats.

what is your point exactly?
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
Adding more emphasis on the fact that the wizard often does more than one thing is probably a good idea.

Also, he didn't include gish because it had a whole different set of tactics and the like, and therefore deserved it's own guide. I believe that, while it shouldn't be thoroughly detailed in this guide, it should still be mentioned. It is a wizard archetype, after all.
Stuff

I can't believe what you're saying, dude. I mean, not only Dictum is doing these handbooks for free, but the fact that he writes a wizard's handbook doesn't oppose someone to write one as well. That said, if you don't like it, either make some constructive criticism or, you know, make your own. Now, to say "you must be unemployed or something"... that's absurd.

I kinda like your handbooks, DM. Thumbs up!
  • Spontaneous Divination CC: I'd always pick this unless i can't fulfill requirements. Powerful ability that gives you sorcerer-like power for divination spells. Moreover it waives the need of spending money or picking divination spells.

What does that last sentence mean? (particularly the part about money)
Originally Posted by IICV in the "Crossing every layer of Abyss" thread on 07-06-07, 04:44 PM
Quantum Mechanics are probably just really tiny Modrons.
Uhm, maybe the money needed for someone to ask a Diviner.

k.

Complete Arcane


Alienist:
Alienists are a weird kind of spellcasters. They have easy requirements, only Augment Summoning PHB is somewhat steep, since you also need the pretty much worthless spell focus (Conjuration) PHB. If offers some bonus class skills, such as spot, listen and gather information. Alienists' abilities focus on summoning and imbuing their familiar.

Class Features:
  • Familiar Abilities: Stack alienist levels with a class that grants a familiar for its abilities. Familiars are a good wizard feature, so it is better for you to be more potent.
  • Summon Alien: Add the pseudonatural template to any creature you summon via the summon monster spells, if it normally was a celestial or fiendish creature. Note that you lose the ability to summon non-pseudonatural creatures, which means that the summons available to you are only those that have the celestial or fiendish template. In my opinion, you lose some of the best summons.
  • Alien Blessing (Ex): You get a bonus to saving throws, but lose points in an attribute you don't really need. The benefits aren't that great, but it's better than getting nothing.
  • Metamagic Secret: Get the benefits of a metamagic feat at two different levels. Great, since the feats you used to enter this class are paid off.
  • Mad Certainty (Ex): Although you won't really use those skills, the it's a bad trade for three bonus hit points. Note that this feature boosts your familiar, too. Also it is very challenging from a role-playing point of view.
  • Pseudonatural Familiar: This is actually good. Pseudonatural creatures gain various benefits that your familiar can use. The true strike ability helps delivering touch spells and the alternate form is a minor debuff for enemies.
  • Extra Summoning: An extra slot that gets better as you gain levels. Good, but too bad you had to trade some of the most powerful summons.
  • Insane Certainty (Ex): Bonus hit points and worse penalties to social skills. As with mad certainty.
  • Timeless Body (Ex): This is a wonderful ability, since it means that if you can choose your starting age you will boost all your mental attributes by +3, with no drawbacks.
  • Alien Transcendence (Su): The capstone ability of this class, transforms you into an outsider. This is great, since outsiders have very nice features and a lot more polymorph forms open up for you, at a reasonably high level however.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 6/Alienist 10/Archmage 4
  • Wizard 6/Alienist 10/Wizard +4

Fatespinner:
This a very nice class. It has actually no requirements and offers some unique abilities. The sleight of hand class skill helps in fulfilling the requirements for some skill tricks, but the loss of all knowledges as class skills is a big hit. Fatespinners continue the spell progression except from their last level, when they gain their capstone ability.

Class Features:
  • Spin Fate (Ex): Gain a small pool of spin which can be used to tweak your spells' DC as a free action. Each day you replenish your spin when you gain new spells for the day. One extra point to your DC means a 5% raise in your spell's effectiveness (not overall though, just in the saving throw part).
  • Fickle Finger of Fate (Ex): Once per day, force a creature to reroll a roll it just made. This can be used on friends and foes, so it has quite the applications.
  • Spin Destiny (Ex): You can now spend spin to improve any saving throw, skill check or attack roll, in the same way with spell difficulty classes. This would be a lot better if your spin/day wasn't so limited.
  • Deny Fate (Ex): Automatically stabilize when you go unconscious for the first time in the day.
  • Resist Fate (Ex): Luck rerolls are very nice.
  • Seal Fate (Su): A free action that gives a +10 bonus or a -10 penalty, to a creature the fatespinner can see and within 30ft, on his next saving throw. This is probably most useful when used for offense, since it adds you (only for the saving throw part of resisting the spell) +50% chances of success. However you must be close to use it and you can't affect creatures with more hit dice than you, making it bad against BBEGs. Fortunately, if your target has more hit dice than you do, you don't lose the your seal fate attempt for the day. Note that if you get this you are losing a spellcasting level, and it won't hurt the creatures who are stronger than you. Also the level you are getting this is bad from a saves/BAB view.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 6/Fatespinner 4/Prestige 10

Geometer:
Geometers require ranks in a pretty much sub par skill, decipher script. Disable Device ranks are also worthless, unless you are a sneaky wizard with a dip in a class that grants trapfinding. Other than the above, the class is really easy to enter for wizards, since it requires only a feat and the ability to cast 3rd level spells. Geometers grant bonus class skills: Disable Device and Search, which is interesting, since it waives the need of able learner to advance your trapfinding skills, although it isn't an efficient way to do that.

Class Features:
  • Glyph of Warding: Add the spell glyph of warding to your spellbook.
  • Spellglyph (Su): Although an expensive ability, this is really helpful in times of need. You can work a spellglyph and substitute the verbal and material components of a spell, so you can cast a spell as if it was affected by silent spell, which is handy when silenced. Another use of this ability is when you are out of material components, or if you became separated of your material components pouch for some reason.
  • Book of Geometry (Ex): An ok ability, but nothing to die for.
  • Sigilsight (Ex): Gain a limited form of trapfinding. You can use the search skill to find magical traps based on symbols. This ability is great because you add your caster level to the search checks and you are entitled to a check if you come within 10ft of the trap.
  • Pass Sigil (Ex): Nice ability to bypass traps, but nothing too important.
  • Powerful Spellglyph (Ex): If you work a spell with a spellglyph, you get a +1 bonus on its caster level.
  • Greater Glyph of Warding: As the previous ability.

Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil:
Requires three feats. The other requirements are pretty much standard for wizards. This is however one of the best prestige classes for wizards, resulting in immunity builds because of its great defensive capabilities.

Class Abilities:
  • Warding: Versatile spell-like ability, which lets you raise a protective barrier against harm. You can use this not only to protect yourself, but in other forms for allies, also. Since initiates' main source of power is this ability, it is highly regarded.
  • Veils: When you raise a barrier you can imbue it with one or more veils. These veils represent the colors of the prismatic spells and have similar effects. As you gain levels in this class, the more powerful veils are unlocked.
  • Unimpeachable Abjuration: Bonus to DC to dispel effects of abjuration spells. Nice addition thematically, but nothing surprising.
  • Unanswerable Strike: Dispel abjuration spells more easily. Again, this is part of the general abjuration-specialist theme, but nothing too important.
  • Reactive Warding: Great. You can now raise your veils as an immediate action, which is indeed very helpful.
  • Double Warding: Raise two veils, with no additional cost.
  • Kaleidoscopic Doom: A very powerful dispelling ability : for every spell negated the target is affected by the power of a veil. And it is the equivalent of a 9th level spell - great capstone ability.

Sample Builds:
  • Abjurer 3/Master Specialist (abjuration) 6/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 7/Master Specialist (abjuration) +4

Mage of the Arcane Order:
Requirements are relatively easy. The cooperative spell CA requirement however is pretty bad. You need another metamagic feat to enter this prestige class, but if you gain enough levels you are going to get them back, as it grants you two bonus metamagic feats. It requires only 2nd level spells, so you have the option of multi classing if you want to. The initiation fee is a bad thing, since if you plan entering the this class at 6th level, you'll have to pay nearly 1/13 of your total wealth. A minor detail is that mage of the arcane order offers speak language as a class skill. Lastly, the fact that you don't lose any caster levels to this class, is very good.

Class Abilities:
  • Guild Member: Pay a fee for your membership and gain some mostly roleplaying bonuses.
  • Spellpool: This is the unique feature this class offers. The ability to gain some extra versatility by leaving spell slots open to be filled with spells from the spellpool. You can't call any spell you want from the spellpool before you are granted access to it (through spellpool I - III ability).
  • Bonus Metamagic Feat: Bonus feats are always nice.
  • Bonus Language: This hardly has a strong effect in your game, it's just fluff.
  • New Spell: The ability to copy spells efficiently and for free twice in your career. This can actually help a lot, since if you want expensive spells (such as those with expensive material components or experience costs) you'll have to pay a lot to get them into scrolls. Additionally this is a chance to gain obscure and rare spells, even unique ones.
  • Regent: This is a strongly role playing-oriented ability.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 6/Mage of the Arcane Order 10/Wizard +4
  • Wizard 6/Mage of the Arcane Order 9/Archmage 5


Complete Scoundrel


Magical Trickster:
This class has very easy requirements. The main problem is that it loses a caster level unfortunately. However you do get bonus skill points/level, two more skill tricks for free, a metamagic feat and some cool skill trick-related abilities. A nice detail is also the d6 hit die magical trickster has.

Class Abilities:
  • Bonus Trick: Receive a skill trick, without having to spend skill points. This is nice, but there are not many skill tricks that benefit much wizards, and you already used two of them to enter this class.
  • Spontaneous Trickster: Spend a spell (of 1st or higher level) to recharge a skill trick you already used in this encounter. Easy escape, collector of stories and false theurgy benefit from this.
  • Bonus metamagic feat: This provides you with a bonus metamagic feat of your choice, paying you back the feat you spent to fulfill the requirements.
  • Metamagic Trick: Apply a metamagic feat to a spell you cast "on-the-fly" without increasing the spell's effective level. However you can do so only with metamagic feats that increase the spell's level no more than four.
  • Tricky Magic: This is good with false theurgy.

Spellwarp Sniper:
Spellwarp snipers are wizards that specialize in rays. While they don't lose any caster levels, they require sneak attack ability. Their skills/level is boosted and they have relatively easy entry requirements. Also note the medium BAB progression of the sniper, probably opening feats like improved precise shot PHB.

Class Abilities:
  • Spellwarp: This is probably the most interesting ability of the sniper. It lets you warp spells with a range greater than touch into rays, getting benefits from effects that modify or depend on rays. This mechanic is likely to have a place in theoretical optimization and game breaking mechanics.
  • Sudden Raystrike: This is bad. At least the fact that only gives its benefits to your ray spells. Pumping your sneak attack somehow is much better, since you get the bonus damage to your sudden raystrikes, with spells cast from wands and with weapons.
  • Precise Shot: You get precise shot PHB as a bonus feat. Great, since it's actually a +4 to your attack roll if you try to target someone in melee.
  • Ray Mastery: This benefits you in a lot ways. Greater sudden raystrike range means that you will apply the extra damage safe from harm. The coup de grace effect is great if you use it with a disabling spell that leaves your opponent helpless. And as a bonus effect, you get a sudden empower-like feat that applies only to rays and to warped spells.

Sample Builds:
  • Spellthief 1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer 1/Spellwarp Sniper 5/Unseen Seer +9


Complete Adventurer


Daggerspell Mage:
Daggerspell mages are skillful mages with a boosted hit die. The requirements are somewhat easy to attain, excluding the feats which are not suitable for wizards. Note that not only you will lose one spellcasting level when you first enter the class, but you need +1d6 sneak attack, so probably you'll have to multiclass. Lastly daggerspell mages get medium base attack bonus and two good saves.

Class Abilities:
  • Daggercast (Ex): While this abilities are great, they are purely an introduction to the theme of the class. Whatever the case you can cast spells with somatic components while holding a dagger in each hand and deliver a touch attack with a dagger attack.
  • Invocation of the Knife (Su): Change half the damage of an energy spell to slashing damage, passing through energy resistance, but damage reduction applies.
  • Sneak Attack (Ex): Like the rogue class feature, you gain a small amount of sneak attack dice.
  • Double Daggercast (Ex): Hold the charge for a touch spell in one of your daggers. Nice, but nothing hot, but again fits thematically with the class.
  • Arcane Infusion (Su): This is arcane strike CW lite, but unfortunately isn't that good. It uses up your swift action and it only adds just +1d6 bonus of elemental damage.
  • Arcane Throw (Ex): Deliver a touch spell with a ranged attack by throwing the dagger at your target. If you miss you get to retain the spell and get your dagger back, just as if it had the returning DMG quality.
  • Daggerspell Flurry (Ex): The capstone ability of the class, is indeed a great one. By making a full attack with your daggers you get to cast a spell, quickened for free. The only problem is that you have to make a melee attack, although it doesn't state that you must actually hit. What makes this even better is that you can use it a number of times per day equal to your dexterity modifier.

Sample Builds:
  • Spellthief 1/Wizard 4/Daggerspell Mage 10/Arcane Trickster 5 (Using master spellthief CS)
  • Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Daggerspell Mage 10/Unseen Seer 4

Related Feats:
  • Practiced Spellcaster CA
  • Master Spellthief CS
  • Able Learner RoD


Complete Divine


Divine Oracle:
Divine Oracles are spellcasters that focus on divination spells. The class is usually adopted by divine spellcasters, but an arcane spellcaster is able to acquire it, too. The requirements are extremely easy, only one feat is required, skill focus (Knowledge [religion]). You get a few bonus class skills, such as heal and intimidate, but these benefits are not that important. Divine Oracle provide full caster level progression and a few bonus abilities.

Class Features:
  • Oracle Domain: Great for diviners. The domain's granted ability, +2 caster level for divination spells, is very good, and the bonus spells you get do not appear on the wizard's spell list.
  • Scry bonus (Su): A bonus (sacred) to your divination (scrying) spells' DC.
  • Prescient Sense (Ex): Another good ability, this is a form of evasion that works in any armor. I'm sure however that you are not going to be wearing heavier than light armor, but evasion is a strong ability nonetheless.
  • Trap Sense (Ex): Gain some trap sense, just like rogues and barbarians do. Nothing important, but ok to have.
  • Divination Enhancement (Ex): Roll twice and take the better result when casting augury and divination.
  • Uncanny Dodge/Improved (Ex): Again, this is a good ability to have, but you can go without it.
  • Immune to Surprise (Ex): This on the other hand is great. One standard action in the surprise round means that you can escape easily with a teleport or dimension door spell, or cast a disabling spell that will help you offset the surprise advantage of your opponents.

Sample Builds:
  • Diviner 5/Divine Oracle 10/Loremaster 5 (notice the Skill Focus requirement for both prestige classes)
  • Diviner 6/Divine Oracle 2/Loremaster 10/Divine Oracle +2

Suggested Abilities:
  • Familiar is important, since you double the effects of spells like augury.
  • Alternative class feature Spontaneous Divination is great, since you are going to enhance your spell list with bonus spells from the oracle domain.
  • Insightful Reflexes CV feat lets you swap dexterity for intelligence as the base attribute for reflex saves. Combined with the evasion effect, it's probably a nice combination.

Sacred Exorcist:
A very nice class that offers a wide range of abilities, but you will get into it rather late. The requirements are very easy, you just need to pick up a spell, dismissal, and you are set. You get some bonus class skills from this class, heal and intimidate. The class offers full casting progression and turn undead. Also this class features medium base attack bonus instead of bad.

Class Features:
  • Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You get proficiency with all simple weapons, which is great if you want to add a little versatility on your carried weapons. It's not going to affect your play style greatly, but it gives bonus points.
  • Exorcism (Su): You gain the ability to expel possessing creatures. It's a very situational ability, but it adds flavor.
  • Turn Undead (Su): Gain turn undead just like clerics do. The possibilities of this are great, since it opens up access to divine feats.
  • Resist Possession (Ex): This is actually good ability since it boosts your saving throws against some effects.
  • Detect Evil (Sp): Get the ability to use detect evil at will as a spell-like ability.
  • Chosen Foe (Ex): This ability is like a ranger's favored enemy, but you can only select undead and evil outsiders. The greatest part is that you get a bonus on caster level checks to overcome their spell resistance. My choice would most always be evil outsiders because i consider it a larger category.
  • Dispel Evil (Sp): Get the ability to dispel evil multiple times per week. By 10th level this means three bonus 5th level slots.
  • Consecrated Presence (Su): A great boon when fighting undead creatures. Not only it's a minor debuff to those creatures, but it also helps turn undead checks. Also undead creatures cannot be created in that area.
  • Holy Aura (Sp): Gain the use of Holy Aura once per day as a spell-like ability. It's a great spell and it's a bonus 8th level spell per day.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 10/Sacred Exorcist 10


Complete Mage


Abjurant Champion:
This class is usually considered a gish prestige class, but it's promising for a wizard that focuses on spellcasting, too. The requirements are somewhat steep, as you are going to enter the prestige class rather late, with that +5 base attack bonus requirement. Combat Casting PHB and the proficiency with at least one martial weapon means that you either have to spend feats or dip in another class. There are lots of bonus class skills this class offers and two of them can be changed using Cityscape WE.

Class Features:
  • Abjurant Armor (Su): Any time you cast an abjuration spell that gives a bonus to your armor class, increase that bonus by your abjurant champion class level. Great, but you need to find a good AC boosting abjuration spell.
  • Extended Abjuration (Su): Double the duration of all abjuration spells you cast without changing the level or spellcasting time. Great feature.
  • Swift Abjuration (Su): Cast abjuration spells as a swift action, without changing the spell's level. The maximum spell level you can affect this way is equal to 1/2 your class level. This doesn't have a limit on the amount of spells you can quicken, so it's top quality.
  • Arcane Boost (Su): I like the saving throws bonus, but generally it's not worth it, one round is just too limited.
  • Martial Arcanist (Ex): This ability is obviously used by gishes, but to normal wizards it's next to useless.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 16/Abjurant Champion 4
  • Diviner 6/Incantatrix 10/Abjurant Champion 4

Master Specialist:
This prestige class requires you to be a specialist wizard and take spell focus PHB in your chosen school. Other than that, you are able to enter the class at 4th level. The class features full spellcasting progression and the offered skills are maybe identical to the those wizards get.

Class Features:
  • Skill Focus (Spellcraft): You gain this as a bonus feat. Nothing too hot, helps a few prestige classes however.
  • Expanded Spellbook: Add a few extra spells to your spellbook, but only from your chosen school. Again, this is just flavor, nothing important.
  • Greater Spell Focus: Now the class is really starting to pay off on feats, as you get very early two bonus with just one investment, but note that they aren't good enough. However they are used regularly as requirements for other prestige classes, so this class can help.
  • Minor School Esoterica (Ex): Note here that the most common specialist wizards are probably diviners, conjurers and transmuters. The minor school esotericas for abjuration, conjuration, illusion and transmutation are probably the best.
  • Caster Level Increase (Ex): Increase your caster level for the spells of your chosen school. Plain and simple.
  • Moderate School Esoterica (Ex): This ability activates when you cast a spell of your chosen school. Abjuration gets an evasion effect on steroids, conjuration a fortification effect against dispel checks, divination gives uncanny dodge, enchantment gets a luck reroll against mind-affecting or enchantment spells or abilities. Evocation gives resistance 20 to any energy type you have just cast. Illusion provides you concealment, necromancy makes you immune to death effects, like ability damage, ability drain, energy drain and negative levels. Transmutation gives you a reroll on any failed trasmutation spell or ability. Note that you can use immediate-action spells to gain these benefits on-the-fly when it's not your turn.
  • Major School Esoterica (Ex): This ability can be used three times per day. Most of these abilities are powerful, but among them the best are probably those of conjuration, necromancy and illusion. The transmutation one is disappointing unless that damage's type is the same with that the spell deals.

Sample Builds:
  • Abjurer 3/Master Specialist 6/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 7/Master Specialist +4
  • Abjurer 4/Master Specialist 5/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 7/Wizard +1/Master Specialist +3
  • Diviner 3/Master Specialist 10/Archmage 4/Diviner +2/Archmage +1

Nightmare Spinner:
The entry requirements are somewhat tricky, requiring three cross-class skills at four ranks each to enter. Your best bet is the social proficiency enchanter variant to get those skills as class skills, but being an enchanter sucks. You can get bluff from changeling wizard substitution levels though. Adopting this class means that you are loosing one caster level. The class skills are interestingly 4+int modifier and you get many new class skills.

Class Features:
  • Bonus Spells (Ex): This is a very good ability. It essentially provides you with 45 bonus caster levels to spend.
  • Immunity to Fear (Su): Wizards have generally low saves and they are vulnerable to fear effects that reduce pretty much every roll. This is a great ability to have.
  • Inspire Fear (Su): Charisma is a dump to average score for wizards. This ability has uses, but it's not reliable.
  • Nightmare Phantasm (Su): Although this is a mind-affecting effect, it's handy and serves as a minor debuff to follow up with another spell. Uses per day are charisma based, so a little boost in your charisma is helpful.
  • Spirit Chill (Su): Meh, it's nonlethal damage and most of the times you are going to roll a single d6. Not worthy. I don't know what the interaction between this and stacking fear effects would be however.
  • Deadly Nightmare (Su): This is a great ability since it's a lose-lose situation for your living enemies. What action does that ability requires on your part to make this happen is not listed.

Unseen Seer:
This class is great for sneaky wizards. It features medium BAB, 6+int skill points with a whole new set of class skills and full spellcasting progression. Moreover the requirements are mostly skills, easily acquired through dips to skillful classes.

Class Features:
  • Damage Bonus: Get skirmish, sneak attack or sudden strike increases at first and every three levels thereafter. Great ability if you consider the damage interaction for weaponlike spells.
  • Advanced Learning (Ex): Add spells to your spellbook outside your spell list. This is going to happen three overall times and it's top quality.
  • Silent Spell: Get a metamagic feat for free. Note that you didn't have to give any feats to enter this class, so it already payed you off feat-wise.
  • Divination Spell Power (Ex): This is normally not a worthy ability, since your caster level for non-divination schools is reduced. But with a feat investiture, practiced spellcaster CA, you gain the lost caster levels back.
  • Guarded Mind (Su): This is an ok ability, increasing your sneaky flavor.

Sample Builds:
  • Rogue 1/Diviner 5/Unseen Seer 10/Arcane Trickster 4
  • Spellthief 1/Diviner 5/Unseen Seer 10/Arcane Trickster 4
  • Rogue 1/Diviner 5/Unseen Seer 10/Divine Oracle 4

Suggested Abilities:
  • Able Learner RoD
  • Practiced Spellcaster CA
  • Master Spellthief CS
  • Spontaneous Divination
  • Familiar will serve you well, as your skills are high.

Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
He is saying that learning every Divination spell instantly saves the money of purchasing every scroll of divination.

various gripes/things that should be included follow:

Also, the achetypes section is... pointless. Not saying that it is bad, just saying that it is completely irrelevant. As a Wizard, you like Intelligence. Period. There is not a wizard build that doesn't put that first. Int will determine how many spells you get and how strong they are. If you are playing a summoner, you want spells.

Other things that bother me: you did not mention several of the things that you have to give up in the alternate class features section, you have not mentioned specialization at all, the feat selection is extemely one sided.
About the feat selection, I have never seen a wizard take Precise Shot. ever. sorry. Also, I don't see a single feat my wizard used in his build:
Extend Spell, Empower Spell, Quicken Spell, various specialist variants (from UA and PHB2), Metamagic School Focus, Spell Focus (which is not bad, btw, and is required for a large number of things that should be listed), Residual Metamagic, Craft Contingent Spell, Sculpt Spell, Rapid Metamagic.

I realize that you are still writing it, but this is going to be a horribly difficult guide to write.
In an effort to help, you are going to need to talk about
crafting (eewww),
scribing scrolls,
when you should leave a slot blank,
how to choose a balanced spell list (so when the incorporeal dragon attacks you, you won't have Shatter and Evards Black Tentacles),
how to solve common problems (movement, scrying),
metamagic,
the benefits of Haste vs. Fireball,
sample builds (this is going to be horribly difficult),
multiclassing (do not drop caster levels),
prestige classes (which are good, which are bad, comparison vs. Wiz 20),
How to Stay Alive with no armor, no weapons, no hitpoints (worthy of a guide itself most of the time, I would like to see Blinding Color Surge, Haste, Invisibility, Mirror Image, and even Ghost Sound mentioned)
Items (the bedroll from Complete Mage, the hand that gives you another ring, the Staff of Fire to supplement blasting options)
...and more (this is the HANDBOOK to wizards, right?)

editted - added things that bothered me
Uhm, maybe the money needed for someone to ask a Diviner.

k.

or learn the spells from scrolls.

He is saying that learning every Divination spell instantly saves the money of purchasing every scroll of divination.

Thanks.
I hadn't previously interpreted Spontaneous Divination that way. I thought it merely allowed you to cast the divination spells that you know(/have in your spellbook) spontaneously. But now that I read it again, the description does seem to suggest that you don't have to know(/have in your spellbook) before you can cast them.

Has there been any discussion about those two interpretations?
Originally Posted by IICV in the "Crossing every layer of Abyss" thread on 07-06-07, 04:44 PM
Quantum Mechanics are probably just really tiny Modrons.

DMG


Arcane Trickster:
Originally a rogue/wizard class, this incorporates great class skills, sneak attack progression and full casting progression. Also has two good saves, but bad base attack progression. The prestige class Unseen Seer CM has nice synergy with this class, since it can net you bonus sneak attack dice while keeping up your casting levels.

Class Abilities:
  • Ranged Legerdemain: This ability makes you able to perform some skills at a range, probably away from harm. However the check must not be crucial, because you can't take 10 and the check's DC is increased by 5.
  • Impromptu Sneak Attack: Declare one attack you make as a sneak attack. Remember that you can sneak attack with spells, and in that case the bonus damage is of the elemental damage your spell deals.

Sample Builds:
  • Rogue 3/Wizard 5/Arcane Trickster 10/Wizard +2
  • Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Unseen Seer 4/Arcane Trickster 10
  • Spellthief 1/Wizard 5/Unseen Seer 4/Arcane Trickster 10

Related Feats:
  • Able Learner RoD
  • Practiced Spellcaster CA
  • Master Spellthief CS

Archmage:
Archmage is a class which gives versatility to wizards at the expense of spells per day. The requirements are steep and most of the feats aren't that useful. It offers full casting progression and an ability called high arcana at each level, which is practically a list of abilities you can choose from.

Class Abilities:
  • Arcane Fire: This transforms your spells into 1d6 * spell levels + 1d6 * archmage levels unnamed damage. So assuming 5 archmage levels you are going to be transforming 0-level spells into 5d6 bombs. However the trade off is too much.
  • Arcane Reach: Use spells with a range of touch to targets up to 30ft away. Nice ability.
  • Mastery of Counterspelling: Unfortunately wizards aren't very good at countering things. This is a nice ability however.
  • Mastery of Elements: The ability to change a spell's element to sonic is great, but i don't think that it's worth an 8th level slot.
  • Mastery of Shaping: Blasting people while keeping your allies unharmed is great. This is useful not only on offensive area spells however. This has great applications on defensive spells, too.
  • Spell Power +1: Increase your effective caster level by +1 at the expense of a 5th level spell slot.
  • Spell-like Ability: This is abusable, but unfortunately the spells' costly material components or XP costs are not waived if you get them in spell-like abilities.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 16/Archmage 4
  • Wizard 6/Prestige Class 10/Archmage 4

Loremaster:
The requirements are very steep. It requires 4 feats and you can enter the class at level 7 minimum. The tradeoff is pretty much worth it however: nice skill list, secrets, bard-like lore and full spellcasting progression. What is great is that UMD is a class skill to the loremaster.

Class Abilities:
  • Secret: It's like high arcana with restrictions. You can't select the same secret more than once. You can get those that cover your weak points, from bonus skill points and feats to saving throws.
  • Lore: This is like bardic knowledge. It's a useful addition to wizards who want to gather information for their party.
  • Bonus Languages: Mediocre.
  • Greater Lore: Identify is an expensive spell and has a very long casting time. This is actually good.
  • True Lore: 1/day use legend lore or an analyze dweomer spell. This essentially gives you a 6th level spell each day but they both require a costly material component or focus.

Sample Builds:
  • Wizard 7/Loremaster 10/Wizard +3

Related Feats/Features:
  • Insightful Divination CM
  • Knowledge Devotion CC
  • Spontaneous Divination CC

Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 

Cityscape


Urban Savant:
For some ranks in knowledges and a single feat, you can enter this prestige class that offers two good saves, full spellcasting progression for all levels but the last, d6 hit dice, 6+int skill points from a large class skill list.

Class Features:
  • Weapon and Armor Proficiency: This class offers you the chance to overcome the arcane spell failure with light armor, provided you are proficient with it prior to entering this class. This ability makes it worthy for sneaky wizards that already get light armor proficiency anyway.
  • Urban Savvy: Urban Savvy is a list of abilities, gained at various levels. It requires a move action to activate and you must be within 60ft of the target affected. The list of creature types you can affect by this is pretty large and customizable by the DM, depending on the campaign.
    • Strengths: Learn base attack bonus, armor class and combat-related feats. Moreover you get knowledge of special attacks or options, if you use this ability against non-humanoids.
    • Weaknesses: Learn the target's hit dice, damage reduction and saving throws.
    • Methods: Grant yourself and your allies a bonus on weapon damage rolls. This is probably good against creatures with high damage reduction.
    • True Nature: This ability comes at the cost of a single caster level. You provide a barrier to you and your allies that acts as a protection from chaos/law/evil/good spell, but doesn't depend on alignment and the bonuses scale. It's a nice ability, but i don't think that the loss of a caster level is worth it.

  • Urban Empathy (Ex): This ability is like a druid's wild empathy feature, but the great thing is that it lets you substitute diplomacy checks with the knowledge skill associated with them.
  • Continuing Education (Ex): Gain a bonus to three knowledge skills and bardic knowledge checks. Not a very important ability, but adds flavor.
  • Eyes of the City (Ex): Gain low-light vision if you don't have one or extend your existing low-light vision if you already have the ability.
  • Pierce Deception: See through deceptions with a knowledge (arcana) check. Unfortunately it works only on urban environments.

Sample Builds:
  • Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Unseen Seer 4/Urban Savant 4/Unseen Seer 6.
  • Wizard 5/Urban Savant 9/Archmage 1/Wizard 5.
  • Wizard 5/Urban Savant 4/Loremaster 6/Urban Savant 5.

Suggested Abilities:
  • Able Learner RoD.
  • Familiar.

Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
Nerdy Meeples - A blog about reviewing and providing strategies on boardgames. 
use the search function on complete champion threads. There were many discussions on the matter.

The boards search function isn't available to everyone yet and searching with google for
"spontaneous divination" site:boards1.wizards.com
or
spontaneous divination "complete champion" site:boards1.wizards.com

doesn't give that many results, let alone discussions.
So unless someone has some urls ( :D ), I think I'll let it rest.
Originally Posted by IICV in the "Crossing every layer of Abyss" thread on 07-06-07, 04:44 PM
Quantum Mechanics are probably just really tiny Modrons.
Take the simple gnome Iluusionist/Beguiler build

If you are optimizing for low-level play it really does become effective.
DC = 10 + 4 (18 int somehow, prossibly with headband) + 1 (gnome) + 1 (spell focus) = 16

That means your color spray will take out more monsters than the fighter. It is okay to think it is underpowered, but not okay to say in the same breath that using 2 feats to be able to shoot someone in melee with a ray weapon is a good idea.

A wizard should have enough options to make it so that they don't have to do things inefficiently. When enemies are far away, recently disengaged, or you are not likely to miss (with a touch attack) then a ray is a good choice. Otherwise, when the enemy you want to kill is in melee, you use an Enlarge Person, Haste, Slow, Glitterdust, Blinding Color Surge, Tashas Hideous Laughter, Shadowspray, Shatter, Blindness/Deafness, Hold Person, or any number of other good single-target spells that do not require ranged attack rolls. This is the reason no wizard takes a 2-feat investment for a ray attack. You are making a one-trick pony that isn't even good at it's trick.
I don't like the archetypes section.
What's the point of being able to write down in your book every sorcerer/wizard spell in existence if you plan to be THAT specialized?

Int should ALWAYS be your first stat. That way you aren't badly gimped if you decide to focus on something else... what if mr. summoner suddenly needs to prepare a spell that has allows a save? What if he needs to prepare more spells per day than usual, or a more diverse array of spells?

It's easier to improve your HPs or Fort Save with spells than improving your spell DCs, unless you resort to debuffing spells which almost always allow a save.
It's also easier to improve your chance to hit or debuff the enemy AC with spells than focusing on Dex or taking feats such as Precise Shot, which is very specialized and situational.

More INT = more spells per day = more versatility = more options to do everything else you'd do without spells, just with spells, which can be changed every day.

Wizards are all about preparation... preparation means adapting oneself the variables one may encounter.
Setting things in stone, making bad choices while choosing ability scores (Con > Int) or picking situational feats (Precise Shot) are all examples of bad preparation.

Try to read LogicNinja's guide to being Batman and ask yourself if you can add something useful to that... this way you're just rearranging informatin.

Oh, btw, I found your Familiars' Handbook a lot more useful.
Also...

A 9th level summoner-archetype wizard is just fine with 15 intelligence. If he grabs and memorizes phantasmal killer though, he should know he is doing something wrong.

No, he's not doing something wrong if he memorizes phantasmal killer. That's something any wizard should be able to do at any time.
He did something wrong when he took 15 intelligence.

Oh yea, also... touch of stupidity. Try to summon something now.


A wizard's Int should always be as high as possible.
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