Friday, April 24, 2009

Arcane Power: Or how I learned to love the Wizard again.

I think my first D&D character was a magic-user.  I never really got into playing the “guy with a big sword” the way a lot of my friends did.  For me, it was always about playing the smart guy.  The guy who understands the universe so well that he can bend it to his whim.

Wow!  A female tiefling wearing clothing! Wizards in 4E D&D did not appeal to me as much.  They seemed too focused on blasting things.  Fireball chucking wizards were always my least favorite type.  My wizards were masters of the utility spell.  I relished the ability to tip the scale of a battle with a single well-placed Grease spell.  To me, battlefield control was what a wizard was all about.

Well, battlefield control is back with a vengeance in Arcane Power.   First, it introduces two new wizards builds: The illusionist and the summoner.  This  barely matters though, since wizard builds are mostly flavor text anyway.  What does matter is the spell selection that Arcane Power opens up.

The illusion spells offer a wide variety of ways to control or lock down your opponents.  In other words, to put “control” back into this controller!  My favorite illusion spell is probably “Visions of Avarice”.  This spell allows the wizard to create illusionary treasure on a square as a zone.  Once per turn, this zone will attempt to draw enemies towards it, making a Intelligence vs Will attack.  The zone costs a mere minor action to sustain, so it can be used to tie up enemies  for quite awhile.

The summoning spells are pretty interesting as well.  The majority of them are daily powers, but they summon up an allied creature, which will last until the end of the encounter.  These creatures can be useful to shape the battlefield environment by engaging other creatures, providing flanking opportunities, and generally getting in the way of your opponents.

These new battlefield control spells, especially when combined with liberal ritual use, really help bring back the old school feel of the wizard.  I will be the first to admit that a high level 4E wizard is no where near as powerful as his high level 3E counterpart.  That  is probably a good thing though.

Oh, did I mention that familiars are back as well?  Not to mention a ton of new options for the other arcane classes?  If you love playing the masters of the arcane, then this book is for you!


Scafloc said...

I have only this to say: About time!

Ok, not quite "only," I wanted to mention that the blasting wizard was never my favorite either. In fact, my magi often subscribed to the Asimovian principle "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." Hell, Magic Missile was best used to defeat enemy clerics in days of yore (mostly slower spells back in the day, or with a held action in 3.x).

While I won't miss (well, not much) the high end power of the spell casters, I did feel that spells like web and grease were essential to DnD style magi. I am personally grateful to see illusions making a come back, though I have some reservations about the respective potency of summoning. I suppose I will have to see it in play before I can really judge it though.

On a side note, I think that vestige warlocks seem a whole lot like the traditional cthulain wizard types, especially when combined with ritual casting, so that might be another way to go... oh, and familiars seem to be actually good now. Still, while there are a few issues that remain for me, I might be tempted to try out some of this stuff again at some point.

Unknown said...

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