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?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ are you talking about for the mage class? \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


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

  • 1st: Apprentice Mage,
  • 4th: Apprentice Mage in another school
  • 5th: Expert Mage in a school you attained Apprentice Mage in
  • 8th: Expert Mage in the other school you attained Apprentice Mage in
  • 10th: Master Mage in a school you attained Expert Mage in
  • 11th: Action-point-based benefit related to school you attained Master Mage in.

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.

  • Enchantment: When one of your arcane enchantment powers allows you to pull, push, or slide a creature, the maximum distance of the forced movement increases by 2 squares.
  • Evocation: When you roll damage for an arcane evocation power, if any of the dice come up with a result of 1, pick one of them, reroll it, and use the new result.
  • Illusion: When you hit a target with an arcane illusion power, the target takes a -2 penalty to the next attack roll it makes against you before the end of your next turn.
  • Necromancy: When you hit at least one target with an arcane necromancy attack power, you gain 2 temporary hit points.
  • Nethermancy (shadow magic): Creatures hit by your arcane nethermancy attack powers treat enemies more than 2 squares away from them as having partial concealment until the end of your next turn.
  • Pyromancy: You gain a +1 bonus to damage rolls with arcane fire attacks. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level. Additionally, your attacks ignore fire resistance.

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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it's possible to choose one school at 1st level and a different school at 5th level, and your 11th-level feature is based on what you picked at 5th. This is based on the character builder, though, not a direct reference to the Essentials books. \$\endgroup\$
    – jprete
    Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've re-read the Mage class. The 11th-level feature is based on what you choose at 10th. Also, you have a bit of flexibility in some choices. Going to edit the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 11:03

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.


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