AD&D 2e, Dungeons & Dragons, Learn the Game, Wizards

Learning to Play a Wizard in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition, Part 2: Specialist Wizards

Specialist Wizards concentrate their efforts into a single discipline – kind of. See the thing to remember about Specialist Wizards is that they aren’t cut and dried. There are five Specialist Wizards who concentrate on a single school (Abjurer, Diviner, Illusionist, Necromancer, and Transmuter) and three that concentrate on two schools (Conjurer, Enchanter, and Invoker). What’s more, there are only a few races who can even specialize besides the Human which means that if you want to really push yourself into a specialized direction you’re going to have to think about where you want to be from the moment you qualify as a Wizard.

Opposition Schools

One of the things that I find fascinating about Opposition Schools is that they aren’t quite what I expected them to be when I initially looked at the graphic. To my mind it appeared that only the schools directly across from each other would be opposed, however, that isn’t the case because any school next to an opposed school may also be opposed by the same school.

If you look at the above illustration of the spell schools you’ll notice that Illusion is directly across from Necromancy which means that the two schools are also opposed to each other; however, Illusion is also opposed by Abjuration and Invocation / Evocation. Necromancy, on the other hand, is opposed only by Illusion and Enchantment / Charm.

I’m not entirely satisfied with the way that these schools oppose each other because intellectually I’m struggling with the “why” of the opposition and I need to do more research here in the future but for now it’s enough to simply acknowledge that this is the case and move on.

On pages 45 – 46 are a listing of the 5 bonuses and negatives to playing a Specialist Wizard. I’ll need to refer back to this when making the character later.


8 thoughts on “Learning to Play a Wizard in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition, Part 2: Specialist Wizards”

  1. What really surprised me was the stat requirements needed to be a specialist wizard. You needed 15s or 16s in stats in order to qualify, in top of the race requirements. They were quite serious about it in AD&D.


    1. Right?

      Which is very odd because according to the book the Basic Wizard is the most powerful version because it’s your Merlin as opposed to the Specialist who can be really powerful but they’re not the Wizards of legend. So why make them so much more difficult to play if they’re not the most powerful of all time?


    1. Each set covers certain lvls and introduces new rules. Basic is 1-3 and dungeon delving. expert is 4-14 and wilderness exploration. Companion is 15-25 and ruling a Dominion and the war machine (mass combat), traveling the planes, and the druid. Masters is 26-36 with weapon mastery, artifacts, the siege machine, the mystic (monk), and the path to immortality.

      The immortals/gods all belong to spheres of power: earth/matter, fire/energy, water/time, air/thought, and death/entropy. There is a diagram in the companion set similar to what is shown above with the 4 elements, fire earth, air and water. It is somewhat counter intuitive. Air opposes fire, and earth opposes water. But there is also a clockwise circle showing that each element to the right dominates another element, so air dominates water, water dominates fire, fire dominates earth, and earth dominates air. This elemental opposition and dominance is also applied to some spells and planar travel, mostly how the native element of a plane will affect spells. The diagram above just made me think of it because both images are counterintuitive and have to be explained.

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