by Kristin Brumley
Let me begin by explaining that I’ve only been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 2010. It all began with 3.5 edition in my friend’s basement, alongside a group of 9 others (talk about chaos). We used the Forgotten Realms setting and I played a pretentious avariel elf named Leila who wore a magical hat that hid her wings from sight. Leila was also a divination wizard.
It’s been a while since I played Leila, but I remember Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 was something like this: wizard classes could pick a specialization that would make an opposing school of magic forbidden to you. In return, you got an extra spell slot per level. Maybe there were some other bonuses? Well, either way, I found that I loved playing a wizard.
When I was prepared for a fight and had the right spells figured out, I was a fount of magically induced knowledge! But woe be me if I was unprepared or if I’d run out of spell slots for the day. I’d have to resort to a short bow and pray nobody shot my bird-boned elf out of the sky!
Fast forward six years. I moved away for school and then a new job. I played a D&D 3.5 halfling monk with a new group of friends. I moved again for another new job–and last year I discovered D&D 5e.
Oh, glorious 5e.
I found myself creating another wizard, and much like in 3.5 you can choose a specialization. I gravitated toward my old favorite: divination. To my surprise, there were some very cool new abilities for wizard specializations! Including (and not to be overlooked) portent.
My new character, a human called Bianca Pozuda, has the ability to see the future. Using portent, I roll a d20 twice after every long rest and I write down the results. I can then replace anyone’s attack or ability roll with one of mine, which basically means that I can determine when something is likely to succeed or fail.
Did a big bad guy just attack me? Nah. He only rolled a 4. Is my party member trying to pull off a devastating ability? I’ll give him an automatic roll of 15.
Combined with the Lucky feat and my growing list of divination and abjuration spells, I basically control the battlefield. Which, really, is exactly what a divination wizard should be able to do! I love how D&D 5e has made me feel like a useful team member, with new divination abilities as I grow in level (including a third portent)!
Whether or not D&D 3.5 offered additional specialization abilities, I feel there is a major difference in the game play and my ability as a wizard. Portent is my favorite addition–especially at lower levels–but I also love being able to cast my cantrips all day, everyday. Suddenly a wizard is just as magical a class as it was meant to be.
Of course, I still lament the day where all I have prepared in my spellbook is a bunch of divination spells when all I really need is a good fireball. *sigh* Nothing will change the wizard’s need to know what they’re facing ahead of time–they’re not dirty play-it-by-ear sorcerers, after all. Maybe Bianca will get to the point where the future will be clear enough to give her a perfect list of spells for the day.
Right, Dungeon Master? Eh? *nudge nudge*