Class builds can be an overwhelming experience in the Dungeons and Dragons world. The hope for this guide is to help ease the burden and workload of creating your character. This guide will be discussing the Wizard class under the School of Abjuration.
Where can I find more about the Abjuration Wizard build?
To abjure means to renounce or stop or block, so that’s what the school and spell class is all about. The Abjuration Wizard specializes in stopping other spells, providing protection, or outright dispelling other magical effects.
- The Wizard class can be found in the Player’s Handbook page 112.
- The School of Abjuration is found on page 115.
- The Wizard’s spell list can be found on page 210.
What do I need to build a Abjuration Wizard build?
In order of importance: Intelligence, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Charisma, Strength
- Intelligence is responsible for your spell damage and/or the success rate of your spells.
- Dexterity is responsible for your AC and initiative.
- Constitution is responsible for HP.
- Wisdom/Charisma is nice to have for spell saving throws, with wisdom being more common.
- Strength is overall useless for a wizard.
- High Elf +2 Dexterity +1 Intelligence
- Stout Halfling +2 Dexterity +1 Constitution
- Forest Gnome +2 Intelligence +1 Dexterity
- Rock Gnome +2 Intelligence +1 Constitution
- Human Variant +1 in 2 stats of choice, 1 skill of choice, 1 feat of choice
I personally lean towards the High Elf because of weapon proficiency, resistance to charms, and dark vision. The High Elf also starts with another Wizard’s cantrip of choice.
The gnomes have an excellent racial feature called Gnome Cunning that gives them advantage on all Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom saving throws against magic. However, the abjuration wizard gets a better version of this at level 14 with Spell Resistance (see unique features).
For the human variant, these feats can pair well with the wizard:
- Alert:+5 to initiative, can’t be surprised, no advantage on attack rolls for hidden enemies
- Lucky: Have 3 rerolls every long rest
- Keen Mind: +1 Intelligence, remember everything within the past month
- Observant: +5 to passive perception/investigation, +1 Intelligence, and the ability to read lips
- Spell Sniper: +1 cantrip, ignore cover, double attack spell range
- War Caster: advantage on Constitution saving throws, opportunity attack can be a spell, and be able to cast spells while holding shields or weapons
Background and Skills
While any background can work with any class from a narrative standpoint, these backgrounds will capitalize on the stat optimization of the Wizard.
- Sage – Arcana, History
- Urchin – Sleight of Hand, Stealth
- Wizard – 2 from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Religion
I prioritize arcana, investigation, history/religion because they are Intelligence-based skills.
What are the class features of an abjuration wizard?
Level 1 Arcane Recovery
Once per long rest, you can recover spells slots up to half your wizard level. The spells cannot be 6th level or higher.
Level 4 Ability Score Improvement
+2 in stat of choice, (see stat priority) Repeats at level 8, 12, 16, and 19.
Can substitute stat gain for gaining a feat.
Level 18 Spell Mastery
Choose one level 1 spell and one level 2 spell, you can cast them at will at the lowest level.
Level 20 Signature Spell
You can cast two level 3 spells once without expending a spell slot.
What are the unique features?
Level 2 Abjuration Savant
Adding abjuration spells to your spell book costs ½ the gold and ½ the time.
Level 2 Arcane Ward
Create a ward that can absorb damage, max HP = 2x your wizard level + Intelligence. Ward hit points are charged when casting abjuration spells, gaining 2x spell level. Cantrips count as spell level 0.
Level 6 Projected Ward
Gain the ability to use the ward to protect allies you can see within 30 feet of you.
Level 10 Improved Abjuration
Add proficiency when casting abjuration spells that require and ability check (for example dispel magic).
Level 14 Spell Resistance
Advantage on saving throws against spells. Resistance to spell damage.
How do I play as the Abjuration Wizard?
Position yourself in the middle of the party, you want to be able to be within helping distance of both the front-line fighters and the back-line damage dealers and support units. Support front line by supplying damage with cantrips.
Support the back line by stopping spells from getting to them. The abjuration wizard can tow the line between a damage dealer and a support magician.
Learn and use spells that grant the party the ability to travel faster or otherwise more efficiently. Though not part of the Abjuration School, spells like fly and water breathing can save the party is critical situations.
Use spells like alarms and shields to keep the party from getting ambushed during a long or short rest. Use your projected ward liberally to absorb damage from traps and other hazards. Charge the ward for free with ritual Abjuration spells like Alarm.
Use your knowledge of history, religion, and the arcane to get information on towns, creatures, and magical items that would most likely be obscure to the everyday person. Tap into enchantment spells to enthrall others to hand over the critical information you need. Use spells like dispel magic to destroy or disable magical traps that only you would have knowledge of.
Key Feature: Spells
Wizards are a unique class in that they do not have very many class features on their own. What they excel in is obtaining and using magic. What wizards need most of all is money and time: learning spells.
At level 1, a wizard gains six level 1 spells of their choice. On every level up, they gain two more spells from the wizard spell list for free. The spells gained must be of a spell level that they can cast.
The spell thresholds are on the wizard’s chart on page 113, but overall, every odd-numbered wizard level meets a new spell level threshold. Level 2 spells are available at wizard level 3, level 3 spells are available at wizard level 5, and so on.
Time and money will be spent on learning additional spells. Learning a spell will take 2 hours and 50 gold pieces for each level of the spell. The narrative of the supplies is the time, paper, and ink it takes to transcribe a spell from one source to your spellbook. The hours of practice give you an understanding of how the spell works: what hand movements to make, what words to say, and what materials you need as a base to create the spell.
The sources of these spells will be up to your DM and your adventure. If magic is abundant in your game, then learning magic can be as simple as purchasing a scroll of the chosen spell and taking the time and material to transcribe the spell into your spellbook.
For higher-level spells, the source may be a little more obscure. Maybe the evil magician you defeated has remnants of a powerful spell in his spellbook that you will copy over, or the dungeon your party explored has a scroll of a spell thought to be long forgotten.
Your abjuration wizard build Spellbook
This is the unit that houses your spells as a wizard. It is the amalgamation of your knowledge and must be kept safe and out of the hands of others. This book is what will give you the ability to change around the prepared spells you are carrying with you on the adventure. Reference material on the spellbook itself can be found on page 114 of the Player’s Handbook.
Known Spells Versus Prepared Spells
Known spells are all the spells you have stored in your spellbook. Without additional learned spells, this is roughly 6 + your wizard level x 2. So a level 5 wizard will know about 16 spells.
Prepared spells are the spells that you have memorized and are accessible to use during your adventure. This is your intelligence modifier + your wizard level. So the same level 5 wizard that knows 16 spells would have about 7 prepared spells to use for the day.
Ritual spells are unique for the wizard in that they can be cast without preparation but at a longer casting time of +10 minutes, as long as the spell is already in the wizard’s spellbook.
General Tips and Tricks
In early levels, just try to keep the party up and stay alive yourself. Low levels as a wizard are tough because you don’t have access to a wide variety of spells, and you don’t have a lot of hit points to stay in prolonged fights. It is not uncommon for a low-level wizard to be downed in a few hits.
Keep in mind distances while navigating the battlefield. Having the right spell to use will not matter if you are not within an effective distance to execute the spell. Counterspell has an effective range of 60 feet.
Take ritual spells if you can spare the gold and time. For wizards, ritual spells can be executed at the base level of the spell and not be prepared.
Charge your arcane ward for free with ritual Abjuration spells like level 1 Alarm. One casting takes 11 minutes and charges your ward for 2 HP.
If you have the money for it, hoard spells to use. It is better to have the spell in your spellbook and not use it for the day than to not have access to it at all. For learning new spells, remember that a class feature of the Abjuration Wizard is that Abjuration spells will cost half as much to transcribe and half as much time to learn.
So a level 2 Abjuration spell that normally costs 100 gold pieces and 4 hours would only cost you 50 gold pieces and 2 hours. If magic is plentiful in your world, learn the non-abjuration spells for free on a level up and learn the abjuration spells through purchase. If magic is not plentiful, prioritize the abjuration spells on your level up so you have immediate access to them.
ALWAYS prepare Counterspell. It will recharge your arcane ward so you can take more damage, and it will allow you to stop one of the enemy’s spells. Counterspell automatically cancels a spell of equal or lesser level. Higher-level spells will require a skill check to stop the spell. Counterspell can be cast at higher levels to easily negate higher-level spells.
Once you have Counterspell, remember that BOTH the projection ward and Counterspell require a reaction, so you can only use one or the other and not both on the same turn. Absorbing damage that someone would have survived taking would not be a good trade-off for preventing a spell effect from executing.
In general, balance your daily prepared spells with spells that deal damage, help with the adventure, and tip the scales in your favor during a role-playing encounter. Specifically, if you know the type of monster you are facing off with, take spells that capitalize on its weaknesses or vulnerabilities and leave the spells that it is resistant or immune to. The perk of the Abjuration school is that those spells tend to be handy in all situations.
Notable Abjuration Spells
Alarm- Level One Ritual
Set up an alarm to know if a room has been broken into, a container has been opened, or someone is coming your way. Ritual tag means it can be cast for free as a ritual spell.
Mage Armor- Level One
AC becomes 13 + Dexterity modifier for 1 hour
Shield- Level One
Reaction to gain +5 AC until start of next turn, also negates magic missile damage.
Arcane Lock- Level Two
Magically lock an object, making it nearly impossible to open without the magic being dispelled.
Counterspell- Level Three
Reaction to negate another spell’s casting. Guaranteed for spell level 3 or lower.
Dispel Magic- Level Three
Dispel the magical effect on a chosen target (creature or object). Guaranteed for spell level 3 or lower.
Remove Curse- Level Three
All curses on target are removed. Used to unequip cursed magical items.
Banishment- Level Four
Send a creature to another plane of existence for 1 minute.
Antilife Shell- Level Five
Create a protective 10 foot bubble around you where attacks and spells can come out but not come in.
Globe of Invulnerability- Level Six
Create a 10 foot bubble around a target that negates spells of level 5 or lower from affecting the target.
Guards and Wards- Level Six
Reinforce a fortress with protective measures, such as locks for doors and difficult terrain at stairs.
Symbol- Level Seven
Ward a door or object with a glyph that causes negative status effects or damage.
Mink Blank- Level Eight
Make a target immune to psychic damage, mind reading, charms, or divination.
Imprisonment- Level Nine
Immobilize and restrain a target to a location of choice, under conditions of choice. Lasts until dispelled.