Dumb Wizard (5e Optimized Character Build)

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Dumb Wizard[edit]

This is an anti-optimization wherein I take the primary ability score of a class and make a character unremarkable in it.

The primary ability score of a wizard is Intelligence, but what is used for?

  • Number of prepared spells. However, Intelligence doesn't affect how many spell slots you have or how many spells are in your spellbook. You still start with three cantrips. You are less versatile. At first level the best thing would be to know one general purpose spell that can be repeatedly cast, with the remaining 5 spells be utility spells that can be prepared for special occasions.
  • Spell save DC and Spell attack modifier. Therefore we avoid attack spells.
  • Skill synergy. Most of a wizard's class skills are Intelligence based. The remainder are Wisdom based, so we'll pick those.
  • Some schools might use Intelligence (such as the School of Abjuration's Arcane Ward) so we just avoid those.

That's it! A high Intelligence is not required.

A dumb wizard is too dumb to realize that they make a mediocre spellcaster. While they can make up their deficiency in other adventuring roles such as combat or sneaking, they will stubbornly refuse to capitalize on this by multiclassing. They will take level after level of wizard, filling up their spellbooks with invocations they will never use.


Avoid high elf, gnome, human (unless you use the variant), half-elf (lest you are tempted by their versatile ability score improvements) and tiefling.

In this example, I am going to use a wood elf for their Dexterity and weapon prowess. This gives me fey ancestry, trance, mask of the wild, and proficiency in long swords, short swords, longbows and shortbows. I can speak common and elvish.

Ability Scores[edit]

Using the traditional "4d6 & drop lowest" method and adding racial modifiers, I have:

  • Strength 11
  • Dexterity 16
  • Constitution 13
  • Intelligence 10
  • Wisdom 13
  • Charisma 9

Level 1[edit]

We take our 1st level of wizard. This gives us 7 HP; proficiency with daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs and light crossbows; proficiency with Intelligence and Wisdom saves; ritual casting; spellcasting focus; arcane recovery.

  • Skills: Medicine, Insight, Perception (from race)
  • Spell save DC is 10; spell attack is +2, but these will never be used.
Fighty build
  • Cantrips: blade ward, true strike (to help in combat) and dancing lights (to be "elfy")
  • Spellbook: shield, find familiar, unseen servant, detect magic, comprehend languages, identify
  • Prepared Spells: 1 – and this will be shield, which I can cast twice with my spell slots. Find familiar can be cast in advance, and the others are utility spells that can be prepared if necessary.


  • Short sword
  • Dagger
  • Explorer's pack
  • Wand ("See? I am a wizard!")
  • Fine clothes
  • Spellbook
  • A bundle of papers, ink and pen
  • A diploma from a non-accredited academy ("Pass without Honours")
  • Belt pouch with 10 gp.
Scaredy build

An alternate selection of spells for a Rincewind-type wizard who prefers to sneak and run away might be:

  • Cantrips: prestidigitation, mage hand, light
  • Spellbook: expeditious retreat, fog cloud, find familiar, detect magic, comprehend languages, identify
Helpy build

This dumb wizard is overenthusiastic about casting spells to help his friends.

  • Cantrips: light, mending, message
  • Spellbook: alarm, detect magic, find familiar, illusory script, Tenser's floating disk, unseen servant

Level 2[edit]

At 2nd level, pick either the School of Divination or the School of Transmutation. The spells of these schools are generally not attack spells, and either Portent or Minor Alchemy are useful.

Since Intelligence will always be 10, the number of prepared spells will always be equal to wizard level: so now we can prepare 2 spells (over 3 1st level spell slots).

Add the following 1st level spells to the spellbook:

Fighty build

Mage armor and fog cloud.

Scaredy build

Feather fall and protection from evil and good.

Helpy build

Comprehend languages and jump.

Level 3[edit]

Add the following 2nd level spells to the spellbook:

Fighty build

Magic weapon, misty step

Scaredy build

Arcane lock, invisibility

Helpy build

Knock, locate object

Level 4[edit]

Ability score improvement: Don't increase Intelligence, what are you thinking! Are you committed to this or not? Improve Dexterity, Constitution or Wisdom.

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