D&D: What Are Hit Points (by Class)?

There’s always debate as to what hit points actually are – to what degree hit points represent meat, or luck, or destiny; near-misses, absorbing damage on shield or armor, and so on. I like thinking of hit points as representing something different for different classes, and I describe them differently depending on which PC is taking the damage. 


Since barbarians’ armor class comes from their Dexterity and Constitution, rather than armor, I picture their bodies criss-crossed by scars like Strong Belwas. (How did Strong Belwas never make it into the GoT show? He’s fire) Hit points for barbarians are them just physically absorbing minor injuries and walking through them, twisting to turn a deadly blow into a glancing one and turning to take a hit aimed at the head on the shoulder. At the end of combat, I picture barbarians as the grimiest of the PCs. For barbarians, a lot of their hit points are really just meat points.

Bards and Rogues

For bards and rogues, hit points represent near-misses, clever escapes, and glancing blows turned aside by their quickness. I’m more likely to describe a “hit” that has struck a bard or rogue as a near-miss that startles them – they feel the wind of the blade as it passes an inch from their face, that kind of thing. Only their last few hit points represent actual meat.

Clerics, Fighters and Paladins

Clerics, fighters and paladins are normally in medium or heavy armor, often carry shields, and so I see their hit points involving a lot of taking shots on their armor. An attack that is blocked by a shield can still bruise or stun the person beneath. A helm can save you from a killing blow to the head but still ring your bell or make you see stars.

Druids, maybe Rangers

Somewhere between bards and rogues on the one hand and clerics, fighters and paladins on the other, I see druids and rangers as healing deceptively quickly. They might be hit in combat, but the damage is always less than it looks. They are able to shrug off a surprising amount of injury before it begins to show. Druids will also often take damage in shapechange form and then shrug it off when they change back to humanoids, and rangers are often ranged fighters who aren’t in the midst of fights as often as other high-hit-point classes.


For monks I picture a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style fights where there is a lot of flash but weapons just happen to hand on the flat of the blade and attacks are partially deflected before they land. Often the attack that really lands solidly is the one that brings them down, since monks normally have no armor at all.

Sorcerers, Warlocks and Wizards

Unarmored like monks, and also normally far from melee combat like rangers, one would think that the arcane casters would be invariably squishy. That being said, I’ve found it’s really common for arcane casters to give themselves a high Constitution score for survive-ability. Often, Constitution is an arcane caster’s second-highest ability score. I often see arcane casters with higher hit points than druids, rogues and the like. They also often have some form of magical armor, spell armor, temporary hit points and so on, and so I tend to note that when describing hit point loss, often describing it as being absorbed by magic initially.

How do you describe hit points in your game?

Thanos: The Apocalypse of Unprocessed Grief

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Thanos’s Core Grief

From the very beginning, Thanos’s plan seemed ridiculous to me. It was a significant hurdle for me to get over to get into the story of Avengers: Infinity War. Ultimately I did, of course, because it’s an amazing movie, and you have to get over logical problems to enjoy any superhero movie. I thought, OK, fine. They can’t just have Thanos want to kill trillions to impress Death, so I guess this is another reason. Balance in the universe. Whatever. Still a great movie.

Something struck me, though, when on Vormir Thanos said this: “I have ignored my destiny once. I will not do it again, even for you,” right before he murders his child for power. Then, it sealed the deal when Thanos explains what happened to Titan to Doctor Strange. His half-genocidal plan wasn’t listened to, and then somehow having a lack of food completely destroyed his planet and…killed everyone there? Ruined gravity? Again, don’t look too closely.

What struck me was that Thanos’s irrational plan was a lot like a lot of our irrational actions – it was rooted in unaddressed grief.

Thanos’s Grandiose, Idiotic Plan

Thanos’s plan is stupid. It’s the kind of stupid that is very human – he is fully able to rationalize it, but is unable to realize how irrational it actually is. Significant time is given, in Infinity War, to rationalizing Thanos’s plan. Apparently murdering half of the poeple on Gamora’s homeworld turned it into a paradise where everything is great. (I take this to be Thanos deluding himself, but it’s presented as a fact) After all, he’s been doing this to planets for what seems to be years. He has a whole system – the Maw even has a monologue.

In Endgame, we see a much more accurate depiction of the aftermath of such a horrific act. A whole planet, traumatized. That’s what Thanos’s plan does – it spreads trauma throughout the universe, multiplies his grief by Infinity. Thanos’s most human attribute is that he is so able to rationalize what he is doing, despite the pointless suffering it inflicts on others, and the fact that his grand plan will solve precisely zero of the problems he says he wants to solve.

Thanos Inflicting His Grief on the Universe

Thanos, driven by his own grief, is trapped in a cycle of inflicting grief on everyone around him. Whether it is his tortured “children” like Gamora or Nebula, or…every living thing in the universe.

“Hurt people hurt people”, and because Thanos refuses to have his hurt end with him, he ends up inflicting that hurt on everyone around him one way or another – mostly through genocide and torture, since he’s a supervillain, but in all of his relationships, in all of his plans, this hurt will be reiterated. On a smaller scale, this is something anyone could fall into, Mad Titan or no. Whatever hurt we don’t deal with on our own, we export. What we don’t come to terms with, we inflict on others, intentionally or not.

As a way to solve problems and achieve cosmic balance, Thanos’s plan is terrible. But as a very human character inflicting his pain on others, Thanos isn’t even unusual.

Don’t Be Thanos

I’m not an expert on grief – find a therapist. Talk to people you trust. Just commit to processing your own grief. Figure out the cycles that repeat in your life and change them. I’m saying as a geek who thinks that we can look to Thanos as an emblematic example of how, in Jung’s words,

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Or, in Thanos’s case, “I am inevitable.” He’s right, but not for the cosmic reasons he thinks. He’s inevitable because he is failing to take responsibility for himself, and ends up inevitably inflicting his grief on everyone else.

We Must Ignore Donald Trump

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Donald Trump Is Pure Garbage

If his words and actions, during his 40 years of public life, have not been enough to convince you of this, you are hopeless. One thing we’ve learned these past three years is that tens of millions of Americans will collectively climb into a burning dumpster and tell each other how great it is, and almost none of them will climb out. Those of us outside the burning dumpster are dumbfounded, awed, and demoralized by the sight, but this post is not about why people are climbing in there or why they won’t climb out. This post is about how we can finally look away from the burning dumpster, because the people in there clearly chose to be there, and it’s not going to stop burning or being a dumpster.


Donald Trump Will Never Change

Donald is what happens when a rich white man in America spends an entire lifetime never experiencing a single consequence for his actions. Whether he’s a schoolkid punching his teacher in the face, or attending a child-rape party, or stealing tens of millions of dollars from people, he has never experienced even a gentle slap on the hand in 72 years and counting.

He has never changed, and he will never change. I mean, why would he? He’s rich and the President. He keeps winning, so why would he behave any differently? It will never matter what’s in the news about him, or what embarrassing fact comes out, or how bad he gets burned on Twitter, or what hot take is published about him. None of that has ever mattered to him, and it never will. Giving him more attention will never stop him – it only feeds him. It’s giving him what he wants.


Nothing Donald Trump Does Or Says Will Ever Surprise Us

Every single day since November 9th 2016, burning feces has been raining from the sky. For a while, this was worth talking about. I mean, holy shit, burning feces? From the sky? Every day!? Yes, every single day.

But there comes a time when we just accept that the weather forecast is now burning feces every day and get on with our lives. It won’t stop. It will continuously rain burning feces for two, maybe six more years. Mueller won’t stop the rain of burning feces, and everyone with the power to slow the rain or give us umbrellas is a coward or a traitor or both. So this is where we are now. This is life.

We have to move forward, and there’s just no reason to discuss the rain of burning feces any longer. It is what it is. It burns, and it is feces.

We must ignore Trump. Nothing meaningful will ever come from giving him a single moment’s attention.


A Fantastic Therapist

I don’t even remember the context of the conversation I was having, but I was talking with my friend Jack via Facebook messenger a couple of weeks ago, and as part of the conversation, he said “I’m a fantastic therapist.”

Knowing Jack, I don’t have any reason to doubt him, or think it was just empty bravado. He’s an accomplished therapist who is doing great work in his field. I’ve heard him describe how he works, and he does sound fantastic. Getting to know him, it is quickly clear that he is very good at what he does, and loves what he does.

What struck me was that he said it, just like that. Creative people, and/or people in my social circles, are so often haunted by imposter syndrome and self-doubt. This ranges from beginners, who might have reason to doubt but who shouldn’t let that stop them, all the way to incredibly accomplished and skilled individuals – people who might be better at what they do than I am at anything.

We spend so much time rehearsing and repeating how we are inadequate and not up to the challenges we face, or only get where we are through luck, or whatever. It is what is expected of us, what we expect of each other. To hear something else is jarring.

My friend Jack is a fantastic therapist, and he simply said so in a matter-of-fact way. It was a weirdly radical act, surrounded as I am by fellow self-doubters and imposters.

At what point, when one of us is good at something, do we just say “I am good at this thing” and leave it at that? Why does that seem like such a huge thing to say?

5E Magic Items: Dragonlance

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Magical items on Krynn are often rare and usually supported by a particular story. According to the original Dragonlance adventure modules, many 5th level characters would have +1 magical weapons and armor, but this may have had a lot to do with conventions for AD&D modules at the time. (+1 magical items might have been the equivalent of masterwork in 3E) There are certainly some items that are more memorable in themselves, that loom large in the Age of Despair, like the Dragonlance itself, or the Staff of Magius.

Axe of Brotherhood and the Sword of Friendship

A dwarven battle axe and a longsword in the style of the humans of Abanasinia – each weapon is a +2 magical weapon, and when wielded within 30′ of each other they function as +3 magic weapons. They were originally created in tandem to represent  friendship between the dwarves of Thorbardin and the humans of Abanasinia.

Bloodstone of Fistandantilus

The Bloodstone enables it’s wielder to attempt to replace the soul of a victim with their own soul, taking over their body permanently. When it is time to try to seize a body, the wielder of the Bloodstone must be within 30′ of their intended victim. The victim must make a Charisma saving throw against the spellcasting DC of the Bloodstone’s wielder. If they succeed on the roll, they are merely frightened, but are also immune to the Bloodstone’s power for a year and a day. The victim must be a humanoid with at least three levels as an arcane spellcaster.

If the save fails, the wielder of the Bloodstone drives out the victim’s soul and replaces it with their own. They take over the victim’s body, taking on their Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores. The wielder of the Bloodstone carries their own Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma scores with them.

There is a window of time during which the wielder’s soul might be driven out of the new body – it takes 30 full days to take root in the new body, at which point the old soul becomes a ghost cursed to wander the material plane until it dissipates.

Blue Crystal Staff

The Blue Crystal Staff is, among other things, a Plot Device. It lets you do things like teleport characters out of danger, or into it. It is described as dealing damage to any evil creature that tries to touch it, and also as possessing powerful healing capabilities.

During the Age of Despair, the Blue Crystal Staff should provide the healing abilities of about a 5th level cleric: cure wounds, healing word, prayer of healing, and mass healing word, as well as perhaps remove curse and restoration.

If any creature of evil alignment tries to touch the staff, they must make a DC 15 Dexterity save against 3d6 lightning damage, taking half damage with a successful save. If used as a weapon, the Blue Crystal Staff deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage plus 1d6 lightning damage against enemies with an evil alignment.

Dagger of Magius

There is more than one Dagger of Magius out in the world, as it is a name that any magical dagger carried by arcane spellcasters might have. The original Dagger of Magius, however, is a +3 magical dagger.

Dragon Armor

Magical scale armor worn by dragon highlords and other powerful dragon-riders in Takhisis’s army during the War of the Lance. It gives a +2 AC bonus and counts as cold weather gear. The armor also gives resistance to an element based on its color: fire for red dragonscale, electricity for blue dragonscale, poison for green dragonscale, acid for black dragonscale, and cold for white dragonscale.

Flute of Wind Dancing

Granted by undersea peoples as gifts, these flutes grant magical abilities to those who play them. A character can cast the following spells once per long rest: fog cloud, gust of wind, wind wall, and control weather.

Footman’s (Lesser) Dragonlance

Similar to an Oathbow, the Footman’s Dragonlance is a +1 lance that deals 2d12 damage against all creatures of the dragon type and 1d12 damage otherwise, with a 10′ reach. This is a basic Dragonlance of the type that would be manufactured by Theoros Ironfeld for use against the Dark Queen’s dragons. It can be forged using the Hammer of Kharas, without the Silver Arm of Ergoth.

Mounted (Greater) Dragonlance

The mounted, or greater Dragonlance is a +3 lance that deals 1d12 damage plus 3d6 damage against all creatures of the dragon type, with an additional 1d12 damage if it comes at the end of an aerial charge. It has a reach equal to the dragon’s bite attack, as each Dragonlance is built for a particular dragon. These Dragonlances can only be forged by a smith using a combination of the Hammer of Kharas and the Silver Arm of Ergoth.

Glasses of the Arcanist

These magical glasses enable the wearer to understand any written text. Using the Glasses of the Arcanist, a character can cast comprehend languages once per short rest.

Glasses of True Seeing

A more powerful version of the Glasses of the Arcanist, the Glasses of True Seeing grant the following magical spells once per long rest: darkvision, comprehend languages, and true sight.

Hammer of Kharas

Using the Hammer of Kharas, a character who is proficient with blacksmithing tools can forge a lesser, or footman’s Dragonlance. Used as a melee weapon, the Hammer counts as a +2 warhammer. When wielded by a dwarf, the hammer also grants the effect of a belt of stone giant strength.

Medallion of Faith

Holy symbols for members of the Holy Orders of the Stars are self-replicating. When a new cleric devotes themselves to the service of one of the gods, another cleric of that god is able to use their medallion of faith to create a new one to give to the new cleric. A medallion of faith can be used to create a medallion corresponding to similar gods, as per the DM’s discretion. (i.e. a medallion of faith in Mishakal probably cannot create a medallion of Zeboim).


A huge black iron mace given to Dragon Highlord Verminaard by Takhisis herself, Nightbringer is a +2 heavy mace. Three times per long rest, upon striking an opponent, the wielder can say the word “midnight” and temporarily blind their foe. They are blinded until their next turn, at which point they can make a Constitution save against a DC of 17 to restore their sight, continuing to make saves each turn until their sight is restored. If they are still within 30′ of the wielder of Nighbringer, they make these saves at a disadvantage.


A magical amulet given by the Master of the Tower of High Sorcery at Palanthas, enabling them to attempt to pass through the Shoikan Grove. When in the Grove, it sheds dim light for 10′, and no undead of the Grove can enter that circle of light. If the person using the Nightjewell makes a weapon or spell attack, the effect is immediately cancelled.

Plate of Solamnus

Created before the founding of the Knights of Solamnia, these suits of magical plate armor were thought to only have been worn by Knights of the Rose until Huma wore one during the Third Dragon War. When worn by a Knight of Solamnia, the Plate of Solamnus functions as +3 full plate armor. When worn by a non-Knight, it functions as +1 full plate armor. When a creature of evil alignment attempts to don the plate, they must make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 15, taking 3d10 radiant damage on a failed save and half damage with a successful save.

Silver Arm of Ergoth

A magical silver arm that must be used to replace a humanoid’s lost arm. When in place, it functions exactly as a normal arm, but also enables the wearer to attempt to forge a Dragonlance. While wearing the arm, a humanoid regenerates 1 hit point on each of its turns, or about 10 hit points per minute, and will regenerate lost limbs and organs as per the regenerate spell.

Staff of Magius

A magical staff before Magius, who fought alongside Huma, came to possess it, the Staff of Magius passed in time to Raistlin, and later to Palin Majere.

Once per short rest, the staff enables it’s wielder to cast light centered on the crystal at the top of the staff. Once per long rest, the wielder of the staff can also cast feather fall. If someone who is not its possessor touches the Staff, they must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw to resist being under the effects of a confusion spell. The staff counts as a +2 weapon when used in melee combat.

The Staff is also a magical artifact and Plot Device which grows in power over time as its wielder grows in power .


A +3 greatsword, once wielded by Steeltoe the ogre bandit, and then by Caramon Majere when he slew Steeltoe. Warbringer would become an heirloom of the Majere family.


Forged during the Second Dragon War to defend the realm of Silvanesti. It is a +2 longsword with a falcon-shaped crossguard. The wielder is granted advantage on saving throws against breath weapons. Once per long rest, Wyrmsbane enables its wielder to cast locate object.


Sister to Wyrmsbane, with an eagle-shaped crossguard. It vibrates in the hand when within 30′ of a chromatic dragon, and dragons are sensitive to the sound of humming that comes from it. It is a +2 longsword that deals an extra 3d6 damage to creatures of the dragon type, and it grants advantage on saving throws against draconian death effects.

Positive Masculinity and Feelings

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Why do I insist on writing about gender during such a fraught time period? Sometimes I think about how, if I wanted to write about football or finance, it might be easier. But I’m not trying to navigate football or finance – I’m trying to navigate masculinity. And my society has handed me a giant, maladaptive, poisonous mess in that regard. So here we are.

Before we begin, a disclaimer: an explanation is not an excuse. In some cases I am going to try to explain men’s behavior in my culture (white, American), but this does not mean that I am seeking to excuse or morally justify that behavior when it is hurtful or harmful to others. I’m trying to think about what is more than what is right.

That being said, I’m going to start with an observation and go from there. The observation: there seems to be evidence that men feel their emotions more strongly than women do, on average. Or, if you would like to say the same thing in a way that is more negative about men, you could say that there seems to be evidence that men are less able to regulate their emotional responses than women, on average.

One interesting piece of evidence came from a link in an article about male friendship to a study that seems to show that infant boys are more emotionally expressive than infant girls, and even change their affect more readily to match their mother’s. There was another article behind a NYT pay-wall, but I also found this podcast referencing some of the same research and thinking that seems to indicate what I said above – that boys, before they start, school, are more emotionally expressive on average than girls. As a man who is a bit of a crier (I cry when I’m angry, which sucks as a man honestly) it’s almost reassuring. Hidden amidst annoying ads is this article about a study showing men having stronger emotional reactions to film clips than women. It’s possible that men are born with a brain that is more vulnerable to emotional stress than women’s brains (again, on average).

Really, though, I’m just tossing up some articles I found Googling around. For me, this observation comes from introspection and experience more than anything else. I’ve simply seen men in the grip of overwhelming emotions more often than women, and getting to know men around me I find that they struggle with their emotional life more than women tend to. Whether you call this stronger emotional responses, or fewer resources to deal with emotion, or both, the result is the same.

If we take this premise to be true, a lot of things fall into place, at least in my thinking. The world of men as we see it makes more sense if we are, in fact, the emotional ones.

It helps explain why emotional repression is such a priority for men

It would make sense, if men felt their emotions very strongly, that one way to deal with that would be to focus on emotional repression. From a certain point of view, one could even see that as adaptive, especially when living in a society where you are constantly having to navigate life among loads of strangers. Men who let themselves feel their emotions might be at a significant disadvantage, even leaving aside the cultural taboos around men expressing emotion. Few people want to hire someone, for example, who comes off as emotionally volatile, but a repressed person can seem like the perfect employee.

It helps explain the perceived difference in willingness to discuss emotion between women and men

It’s a cliche that has been part of stand-up comedy and gender anecdotes since The Beginning of Time. (I know, not really) Women want to talk about their feelings, and men do not. Of course, this is not literally true of all men and all women, but it might be true of the majority of men and the majority of women. I can think of a couple of male friends who wish the women in their lives wanted to talk about their feelings more, but in most cases it is the other way around. This makes sense if men’s emotions are more likely to be overwhelming. They would be literally harder to talk about, like discussing a shattered femur compared to a dislocated finger, maybe.

It helps explain men at the top and bottom of society

It’s one of the few interesting points that MRA types have ever made, or are ever likely to make: men are at the top of most societies right now. CEOs and political leaders and millionaires are overwhelmingly men. For many societies, this has been because women have been explicitly excluded from positions of power for thousands of years. So we can’t say a lot without at least a few generations of equality to go by.

In American society, the bottom is also full of men. The homeless are about 60% men, and those who are incarcerated are more than 90% men. In education, there seems to be a trend moving toward women doing better and men doing worse academically. Men are less likely to report thinking about suicide, but are three or four times more likely to commit suicide than women, all over the world. Again, in all of these cases, we have little ability to account for why these things occur without equality.

But let’s say that men are subject to volatile and intense emotional experiences. This is one way we could explain a situation where their ambition and possibly aggression drives them to the top in certain competitive fields, and why that same emotional intensity also drives them to the bottom in greater numbers than women, becoming homeless and incarcerated and dying by suicide more often than women.

It helps explain why men are so dangerous, especially in relationships

Most men are not murderers, but most murderers are men, and most murderers kill people with whom they’ve shared an intimate relationship. If men’s emotions are more volatile and intense than women’s emotions, again, on average, then at the edge of the bell-curve of men you’d find more murderers than at the edge of the bell-curve for women, and you’d expect to find those murderers in situations that are emotionally fraught.

It helps explain a number of historical practices, including dueling

Why have men in many cultures worldwide been willing to fight each other to the death over an insult? Why have intricate warrior cultures and systems of etiquette had to develop to keep armed men from murdering each other in the street with the slightest provocation, so many times and in so many different cultures?

This would make sense if the experience of shame is, on average, more intense for men. It would be more likely for them to experience what feels like unbearable shame; such powerful shame that it would make a fight to the death preferable to feeling more of it.

It helps explain incels

I don’t know a lot about incels, but it doesn’t take much looking to realize that it is a group of young men, a movement if you can call it that, deeply rooted in self-hatred caused by perceived rejection. Culturally in the US, men are expected to approach women sexually and romantically, and so men end up absorbing most of the sexual and romantic rejection that occurs, at least initially. When hetero sex doesn’t happen, it is almost always because a woman rejected a man. When a heterosexual romantic relationship doesn’t happen, it is almost always because a woman rejected a man. And so on. (Clearly, there are cultural issues as to why women don’t approach men as often sexually and romantically, including the murder one mentioned earlier)

Rejection is painful for everyone, and it would make sense that if men experienced their emotions intensely, and as difficult to manage, then that would also extend to the pain of rejection. Given that pain and the fear of that pain, and our cultural conventions as to how the heterosexual folks are expected to interact sexually, and a movement of incels as we see now is a reasonable outcome.

What this means for positive masculinity

Any positive masculinity should take into account the intensity of men’s emotional life, as well as the general lack of cultural resources men have to deal with that intensity. There have to be robust resources, traditions, stories and ways of life that enable men to navigate the intensity of our emotions, and not fall back on dueling or murder or becoming incels or repressing ourselves or refusing to communicate or seeking to dominate others in order to manage our emotional lives.

I personally think that this will be helped by a change in understanding among men – essentially a reversal of the cliche that women are emotional and men are rational, when on average the reverse seems to be true. Or, at least, men’s bell curve of emotional experience trends stronger than we might have guessed. These powerful, unacknowledged and un-managed emotions can be profoundly dangerous and destructive, as even a cursory glance at our society can show.

A big part of positive masculinity will likely have to be positive emotional masculinity, or a way for men to be emotionally expressive, and emotionally literate, that is at the same time recognizably masculinity, and not entirely divorced from the last ten thousand years.

So, you know, easy.

Arcane Traditions: Wizards of High Sorcery

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During the Age of Despair, wizards are either ‘renegade mages’ or are members of one of the Orders of High Sorcery: the White, Red or Black Robes. At 2nd level, when a wizard character chooses an arcane tradition, they do so as normal, keeping these specializations in mind:

  • White Robes: abjuration, divination and enchantment
  • Red Robes: conjuration, illusion and transmutation
  • Black Robes: enchantment,  evocation and necromancy

As normal, wizards learn new spells when they reach 2nd and 3rd level. At 3rd level, they become eligible to take the Test of High Sorcery. Until they complete the Test, they will not learn new spells when they level, and will only be able to learn spells they find in other ways – as treasure, scrolls, etc.

White Robes and Black Robes share an interest in enchantment, for different reasons. White Robes focus on the use of enchantment magic to resolve conflicts without bloodshed. Black Robes enjoy the power of taking away another’s will.

Test of High Sorcery

At 3rd level, a wizard can take the Test of High Sorcery. If they survive, they become a member of one of three Orders: the White Robes, Red Robes, or Black Robes. When they gain a new level as a Wizard of High Sorcery, they can learn two spells from any of their three associated schools.

Order of High Sorcery

At 6th level, the wizard chooses a new Arcane Tradition option from any of the Arcane Tradition options associated with their Order.

Bound to the Moon

At 10th level, a Wizard of High Sorcery becomes bound to one of the three moons of Krynn. Each of the Orders of High Sorcery is bound to one of the three moons of Krynn; the White Robes to Lunitari, the Red Robes to Solinari, and the Black Robes to Nuitari, which only they can see. When the moon is in high sanction, your spells are empowered, and when it is in low sanction, your spells are impeded. Nuitari swiftly waxes and wanes; Lunitari’s cycle is much longer, and Solinari’s lies somewhere between the two. The advantage is that a Wizard of High Sorcery can plan for this cycle.

When a wizard’s moon is in high sanction, they receive a +1 to spell save DCs and spell attack rolls. When it is in low sanction, they take a -1 penalty to both.

Master of High Sorcery

At 14th level, a Wizard of High Sorcery is known as a Master, and is eligible to serve on the Conclave on behalf of his Order. The wizard can either choose a 14th level benefit from a school associated with their Order, or choose a 10th level benefit from any school of magic learned from one of her colleagues.

More Arcane Casters

Bards in Krynn

Bards in Krynn are likely to be devotees of Branchala, or possibly Gilean (lore) or Shinare (travel and trade). Maybe Sargonnas? The ability of bards to cast healing spells would make them sought-after miracle-workers during the Age of Despair in particular, and as they grow in power they would surely garner the attention of the Wizards of High Sorcery. It might even be necessary for a powerful bard to pass the Test of High Sorcery in order to avoid being labeled “renegade mages.” That would be an interesting way of handling the Wizards of High Sorcery, since they came about when the setting only had one arcane spellcaster, the magic-user. The become a kind of Mafia charging protection, or a questionable Union that everyone has to join or else face consequences.

Sorcerers in Krynn

The term “sorcerer” comes to mean something else in the Age of Mortals, but I prefer the Age of Despair for DnD and so am only really addressing that time period. Sorcerers would be the very definition of “renegade mages”, able to replicate many wizard abilities but without the training and discipline required of a wizard. Wild magic sorcers could be Chaos-touched, and dragon-blooded sorcerers would presumably be common among draconians. Since all dragons on Krynn can shapeshift to humanoid forms, there could theoretically be a lot of dragon-blooded mortals out there in the world.

Warlocks in Krynn

5th Edition adds another core class of arcane spellcasters into the mix, and they are not a great fit with Krynn, in the Age of Despair or later settings. Pre-Catyclism, maybe. But fiends and fey, and certainly Old Ones, do not play a big part in the story of Krynn. Of course, they could.

The Forestmaster is a possible fey or celestial patron, for example, and any number of fiends might be in the world serving Takhisis. The god Chaos could take the place of the Old Ones, since that chaos has a sinister overtone and is presented as being in contention with the High God of the setting.

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters

Neither of these archetypes, nor similar ones, are likely to be a bit deal during any age of Krynn. They don’t become so powerful as to come to the notice of the Wizards of High Sorcery necessarily, and will both be so extraordinary as to be singular (like Gilthanas Kanan or possibly Ariakas).

Keep Casters Extraordinary

In any age of Krynn, it is not a setting replete with magical items and spellcasters. The vast majority of people on Krynn have little or no experience of magic, and many mistrust it, especially in the aftermath of the Cataclysm. A PC wizard will often be the first wizard many people have seen. Same for a PC bard or sorcerer, certainly for a PC warlock. It’s actually easier if you treat these casters as extraordinary in the setting, because there is less explaining to do. Why aren’t bards tested at a Tower of High Sorcery? Because no one has heard these magical songs before. What even are they? And so on.

What have you done in your Dragonlance games to accommodate the variety of casters in DnD 5E?