D&D 5e: Elf Wizard Guide
Compared to a sorcerer or warlock, you’re the kid that studies for the test and gets an A+. Only to realize in the end that your degree never mattered, and the only useful spell is Fireball/bolt. So strap on to your seats and grab some Kaeth/Kaethe (coffee in the d&d world) because not only is your class a few pages long to discuss but also your fancy pants race.
How to Make an Elf Wizard
If you were expecting something like house elves getting their rights and taking on Hogwarts, that isn’t the case. Elves in D&D look more humanoid and have stronger magic coursing through their veins, unlike those scrawny elves. They are considered to be one of the oldest races on the material plane.
Although they have common traits such as grace, slenderness, mastery in magic, arrogant attitude, slenderness, immortal souls, love of self-expression, slenderness, and did I also mention slenderness? Many of them vary in characteristics, abilities, advantages, and disadvantages depending upon their elven heritage.
In D&D 5e, there are 3 main categories:
- Eladrin (Variant)- Twilight realm Feywild elves of magic with close ties to nature. Used to be an example as a kind of custom subrace.
- +1 in intelligence.
- High Elf- No it’s not a race of elves on crack, it might as well be though since these guys have no chill. These elves are clever and masters of the basics of magic.
- +1 to intelligence.
- Speak, read, and write in 1 additional language.
- There are two variations and even more kinds of each.
- Haughty Racists Elves
|Kind of elf||Physical distinctions|
|Greyhawk Gray||Height: Somewhat shorter than other elvesSkin tones: pale or lightly tanned. Hair: black, brown. red, but fades to grey as they age.Ears: long and pointedEyes: always a shade of grey.|
|Valley||Height: Taller than most elvesHair: changes from pale yellow during summer and rich gold during winterEyes: ice blue eyes or a shade of grey.Clothing: typically wears hues of blue and green|
|Silvanesti||Nothing is written about their physical traits apart from having ‘finer’ features and an accentBelieves they are firstborn descendants of the gods and create structures of marble and silverThe most racist and secluded of the elven race|
|Sun(a.k.a. Gold/sunrise elves)||Skin tones: BronzeHair: copper, black, or golden blondEyes: golden, silver, or black|
- Tolerant Respectable Chad Elves
|Kind of Elf||Physical distinctions|
|Greyhawk high elves||Mistaken for Gray elves due to the name (Gray ≠ Grey(hawk))Hair: Dark hairedEyes: green or hazel Clothing: Typically pastel and of blue or green or violet but often covered by a greenish gray cloak, and intense, deep colours when in urban settings, brown leather for hunting|
|Qualinesti||Nothing is written about their physical traits but they are said to be relatives/descendants of the silvanestiLiberty and equality, respects nature, loves the trees, and is the least racist.Practically elegant hippies|
|Moon(a.k.a. silver/gray elves)||Skin tones: Pale alabaster skin sometimes tinged with blueHair: silver-white, black, or blue, but various shades of blond, brown, and red are not uncommonEyes: blue or green and flecked with gold.Greyhawk Gray elves are not Moon gray elves|
- Wood Elf– Fast on their feet, stealthy, keen senses, strong in intuition, and one with nature. Unfortunately, looked down upon by other elves. Labeled as barbaric, treated as servants (specifically the kagonesti) by the Silvanesti , and distrustful towards non-elves. This category includes the wild elves (grugach) of Greyhawk, the Kagonesti of Dragonlance, and wood elves in Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms.
- +1 in wisdom
When naming your Elf, you have to think, “What would Kylie Jenner and Elon musk do?”. Elvish names sound like something created by a fanfiction writer, made to sound fancy, and given some kind of ‘insightful’ meaning when it doesn’t mean crud. What elves can’t change, though, is their last name, just as full of meaning, like:
- Amakiir (Gemflower)
- Amastacia (Starflower)
- Holimion (Diamonddew)
- Galanodel (Moonwhisper)
Wiznerding 101: My Wizard Academia (Arcane Tradition)
Unlike a certain million dollar worth book/movie series that we will not mention due to possible lawsuits, you don’t need a magical hat to decide for you when picking your major in magic. By level two, you get to pick which school and major you’re going to for the next couple of years and make you wish, “Damn, why didn’t I just become a warlock?”.
For simplification we will use an apple as a subject to describe each school:
- School of Abjuration- You either protect or banish the apple.
- Abjuration Savant
- Arcane Ward
- Projected Ward
- Improved Abjuration
- Spell Resistance
- School of Conjuration- You teleport or create the apple.
- Conjuration Savant
- Minor Conjuration
- Benign Transportation
- Focused Conjuration
- Durable Summons
- School of Divination- You see the future of the apple.
- Divination Savant
- Expert Divination
- The Third Eye
- Dark vision
- Ethereal sight
- Greater Comprehension
- See Invisibility
- Greater Portent
- School of Enchantment- Make the apple attractive (That doesn’t make up for the lack of charisma your class has so dream on.).
- Enchantment Savant
- Hypnotic gaze
- Instinctive Charm
- Split Enchantment
- Alter Memories
- School of Evocation- Burn, shock, freeze, or bury the apple. No, you aren’t the Avatar.
- Evocation Savant
- Sculpt Spells
- Potent Cantrip
- Empowered Evocation
- Over Channel
- School of Illusion- Psychologically and mentally scar the apple with hallucinations and proceed to take over its life and become the apple.
- Illusion Savant
- Improved Minor Illusions
- Malleable Illusions
- Illusory Self
- Illusory Reality
- School of Necromancy- Bring the apple back to life or resurrect it into an undead slave.
- Necromancy Savant
- Grim Harvest
- Undead Thralls
- Inured to Undeath
- Command Undead
- School of Transmutation- Turn the apple into a banana.
- Transmutation Savant
- Minor Alchemy
- Transmuter’s Stone
- Master Transmuter
- Major Transformation
- Restore Life
- Restore Youth
Your main stat priority as a Wizard should be Intelligence, which isn’t really an issue if you are a High Elf or Eladrin. Unlike Sorcerers or Warlocks, where their magic relies on Charisma. What follows should be Constitution then Dexterity- which your race also gives a +2 to. Followed is wisdom, then Strength or Charisma. Yeah, you aren’t going to be the most charming in the campaign but at least you have default proficiency in perception, can’t be magically charmed or put to sleep, and dark vision. Just like a student during their finals.
How to Play a Elf Wizard
Hit Dice: 1d6 per wizard level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your
- Constitution modifier per wizard level after 1st
Spellcasting Ability: Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your intelligence modifier
There are multiple terminologies you’ll need to know as your existence is practically an encyclopedia. Here are a few:
- Cantrips- You start with three first level spells and gain more as you level. You only start with two spells slots though but you don’t have to rest like your other magical counterparts as you have Arcane Recovery. In the absence of a spell book/scroll, these are the only guns you’ll be able to count on.
- Acid Splash
- Chill Touch
- Dancing Lights
- Fire Bolt/Ball
- Mage Hand
- Minor Illusion
- Poison Spray
- Ray of Frost
- Shocking Grasp
- True Strike
- Spellbook- You’ll be carrying this heavy thing around since you can’t seem to remember everything you’ve learned- which is honestly understandable. Unfortunately, your spellbook is practically a scrapbook composed of spells and whatnot because tuition doesn’t cover the whole book of magic, and you can’t just write what you need to know on regular paper! Oh, no! You need to spend gold to get some special paper for your education *coughs* accountancy, engineering, architecture, fine arts, college *coughs*
- As you level you’ll receive new spells and more ability improvement. See the chart above.
Your Elf’s category also comes with advantages in combat, yes even wizards can have and need weapons that isn’t magic:
|Eladrin||Elf Weapon Training- proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Fey Step- You can cast the misty step spell once using this trait. You regain the ability to do so when you finish a short or long rest.|
|High Elf||Elf Weapon Training– proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Cantrip- You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.|
|Wood Elf||Elf Weapon Training- proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.Fleet of Foot- Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet.Mask of the Wild- You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.|
Elves are pompous haughty pricks, gracious but still pricks. Nothing like the cheery enslaved ones that work in Santa’s workshop. Nevertheless, Elves are good planners, focused when learning, and act more like moderators before being fighters. Slow to trust and to make bonds, barely surprised at what the word has become rarely petty, but to cross one would mean to face their wrath.
They value and protect others’ freedom as well as their own, and they are more often good than not. The drow/dark elves are an exception, most being vicious and dangerous due to their kind’s exile. Even labeled as spawns of evil but not completely reviled due to the good Drow goddess Eilistraee as opposed to Lolth.
How to Roleplay as an Elf Wizard
Being a mage would be very common amongst the elves as they are naturally magical, not just in appearance. Unfortunately, as insulting as it would be to their kind, they are much more chaotic than the humans of Torel. As mentioned previously, despite having long lives and much experience, quarrels and questions about hierarchy remain divided among the Elven kind despite not appearing to be.
The thing about an Elf’s life is that the soul is recycled. That’s why the population of elves does not exceed or deplete. If there were to be an excess of Elves born, then it is taken as a bad omen. Think of it as “Why do the Seldarine (pantheon of the elves) create/need more elves? Is there something going to happen?!”. Additionally, this is the root reason why half-elves are discriminated against by Elves as it is unknown if their souls are human, a duplicate of an Elf’s, or -as they are- half-elf.
Despite their attitude and low to a high level of being xenophobes, Elves are estranged from their selves and their kind. Living a long and recurring life, they tend to be lost in thought from time to time.
Even friendly, more-open-to-connect Elves are still unsure of building bonds as their lives are just endless cycles of watching old and new come and go then being reincarnated.
Perhaps, that’s why meaner or evil elves prefer staying as they are rather than experiencing the heartaches that come with openness and liberty. After all, Elves can tap into some of their old memories, pieces of who they were in what is described as a trance.
This can be used as an added reason you or your character chose to become a wizard, an apex in magic but more introverted than a turtle. Did your natural capabilities in magic not suffice you? Are you a nerd? Are you trying to achieve something with magic? Are you in it for power or knowledge?
You can speak, read, and write Elvish and one additional language of your choice IF you are a high elf. BUT with the permission of your DM, as stated in the handbook:
“…you can instead choose a language from the Exotic Languages table or a secret language, such as thieves’ cant or the tongue of druids. Some of these languages are actually families of languages with many dialects. For example, the Primordial language includes the Auran, Aquan, Ignan, and Terran dialects, one for each of the four elemental planes. Creatures that speak different dialects of the same language can communicate with one another…”