How does the new school specialization work in dnd 4E? Do you get more feats to choose from or does it just give a static bonus or is it something different from either of those?
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School specialization is a feature of the Wizard (Mage) class that has been introduced by the D&D Essentials line. It is not naively1 supported by the other two Wizard subclasses: the Arcanist (first one, published in Player's Handbook), and the Bladesinger (published with the recent Neverwinter Campaign Guide).
At 1st level Mages specialize in one out of the (currently) 6 schools of magic. Note that these schools don't directly relate to the 8 schools of previous editions. Mages then get school-related abilities at
Many powers on the Wizard power list have now a keyword representing their school of magic. These keywords interact with the apprentice, expert ad master features.
Just for allowing a better comprehension, I've listed below the 6 schools and their corresponding apprentice feature.
School keywords are given to old and new Wizard powers in this official article.
1 The current trend from WotC is to design feats that allow characters from a subclass to get feature of another subclass. A D&D Insider article explains, for example, how to trade a Cleric (Templar) feature for the Cleric (Warpriest) Domain feature. I think something similar would be done for the Wizard subclasses too.
Basically how school specialization works is the following:
At L1 you select a school in which to specialize. You gain the benefit granted by that school to powers with that school's keyword (For instance Evocation specialization gives you brutal 1 on Evocation powers).
As you level up you gain mastery in your chosen school as well as being able to pick up another school.
There are also some feats tied to specific schools, but I'm not sure if they have specialization in the school as a pre-req.