One of the most powerful and versatile classes in Dungeons & Dragons is the Wizard. These quintessential spellcasters have been a staple of the game since its inception, and while there are many Wizard subclasses to choose from, one that highlights their versatility is the Order of Scribes.
Introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the Order of Scribes Wizard has numerous features that can enhance their already potent spellcasting, but using them properly can be tricky. Building a D&D character can be a balancing act, and unlike other Wizard subclasses, the Order of Scribes doesn't focus on a single type of spell. Instead, they specialize in versatility in terms of damage types and rituals, meaning players will need to learn to effectively use various options.
Intelligence Is the Order of Scribes' Key Stat
Like all Wizards, Scribes gain their powers through intense study and research, which reflected by the Intelligence core stat. A Wizards' spellcasting ability uses their Intelligence Modifier to determine their bonuses, so it should be the highest stat to start with and the one prioritized and mexed out with Ability Score increases. Outside of combat, Intelligence will also provide a useful boost to a character's Arcana or Investigation skills, among others.
The next stat to focus on is Constitution, as it not only raises the Wizard’s naturally low HP, but also makes it easier to hold concentration on ongoing spells. After that, place points into Dexterity. Without any armor, a Wizard can make for an easy target, but Dexterity contributes to a character's Armor Class, making it more difficult for a foe to land a strike.
Ideal Races for the Order of Scribes Wizard
Since Intelligence is so important to this subclass, a race that provides a bonus to that stat would be ideal. High Elves and Forest Gnomes, for example, gain a bonus to Intelligence, plus extra cantrips. If Dragonmarked races are allowed, then the best possible option is the Mark of Warding Dwarf. In addition to a bonus to Intelligence and Constitution, Mark of Warding Dwarves have the ability to cast both Alarm and Mage Armor without expending a spell slot, as well as Arcane Lock once they've reached third level.
A Dwarf's natural hardiness makes them tougher to take down -- even in a notoriously squishy class -- and their expanded list gives them some powerful options normally unavailable to Wizards, namely Armor of Agathys, a low level spell that provides temporary Hit Points and deals massive flat counter damage for every strike against them. What's more, should they wind up in a situation where magic isn't an option, their Dwarven Combat Training will give them another way to fight back.
Ideal Spells for the Order of Scribes Wizard
With the Order of the Scribes' Awakened Spellbook feature, the name of the game is versatility. Awakened Spellbook allows wizards to replace a leveled spell's damage type with another damage type written in their spellbook. As such, when selecting spells, try to diversify damage types as much as possible to cover all bases. An excellent spell to take is Chaos Bolt, which grants the acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, poison, psychic and thunder damage types. This means that, of the 13 available damage types, the only five missing from Chaos Bolt's coverage are bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, radiant and necrotic.
To cover a few of the remaining damage types, consider Catapult for bludgeoning, Ice Knife for piercing and Cloud of Daggers for Slashing. Since Wizards get more spells than any other class, this frees up a lot of room to focus on secondary spell effects instead of having to grab outside spells for their damage types alone at later levels.
In addition to damage dealing spells, Order of Scribes Wizards also benefit heavily from Rituals, particularly those that have low default casting times. Ritual spells that can help in a pinch are vital, such as Tenser's Floating Disk or Detect Magic. While spells like Identify are also useful, their need for material components and long default cast times make them more useful outside of combat.
Beneficial Feats for Order of Scribes Wizards
Feats provide another great opportunity to cover damage type bonuses that normally wouldn't be possible for an Order of Scribes Wizard. While it may be tempting to leap for Magic Initiate, it's important to bear in mind that any spell that isn't a Wizard spell will not use the Intelligence Modifier.
Instead, consider Strixhaven Initiate, using either the Lorehold or Silverquill college. The ability to take Sacred Flame as a cantrip while maintaining the DC of the character's Intelligence Modifier give this Wizard a useful radiant spell. Choosing from the Cleric's spell list also provides access to some of the most versatile support and damage dealing spells in the game. Good options include Guiding Bolt or Inflict Wounds.
Another helpful feat is War Caster, which gives advantage on CON saves for made to keep concentration, and allows the use of cantrips as opportunity attacks. Additionally, consider taking Metamagic Adept for Twinned Spell and Extended Spell. This feat provides access to a couple uses of Metamagic, which is great for enhancing a Wizard's spells and making them even more versatile than they already are.
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