Wizard of High Sorcery (Wizard archetype)

Raistlin in Red Robes

Raistlin in Red Robes

Of all the orders of Ansalon, none are as feared or as respected as the Orders of High Sorcery. Throughout history, the Wizards of High Sorcery have been viewed as both a bastion of strength and an arcane abomination by the people around them.

Wizards draw their strength from the Gods of Magic — Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari — who trained the first Wizards of High Sorcery in their arcane laws. This First Conclave trained other spellcasters, starting a process of seeking out worthy students and handing down the principles and codes that would eventually bring order to the arcane energies that threatened constantly to disrupt the world. Since that time, the laws of magic have been upheld by all three orders of the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Orders of High Sorcery

The Gods of Magic are responsible for setting down the Foundations of wizardry. The three axioms state:


  1. All wizards are brothers and sisters in their Order. All Orders are brothers and sisters in the power.
  2. The places of High Wizardry are held in common among all the Orders and no magic is to be used there in anger against fellow wizards.
  3. The world beyond the walls of the Towers may bring brother against sister and Order against Order, but such is the way of the universe.

Wizards of the Black Robes: Though Black Robe wizards embrace the cause of evil, they don’t seek to advance that cause by randomly hurling fireballs at the peasantry (at least not frequently), for such activities would abuse and jeopardize their primary loyalty to magic itself. Black Robe wizards may be cruel, but they are also selfish and cunning, and tend to avoid open acts of violence if more subtle ways can be found.

Wizards of the Red Robes: Red Robe wizards tread the path of neutrality, working to balance good and evil in addition to their ultimate loyalty to magic. While forces of good and evil may battle for control of Krynn, the forces of neutrality understand that it is the balanced dynamic of that battle that truly defines the world.

Wizards of the White Robes: Aside from their vow to uphold the primacy of magic, the cause of good is the White Robe wizards’ central concern. Acts that violate the precepts of good can lead to a wizard’s ruin, and White Robes who stray from the path soon find themselves cut off from Solinari’s blessing. Though sometimes finding themselves allied with clerics of the pantheon of good or the Knights of Solamnia, the ever-present fear of persecution by a suspicious populace means that even White Robes must often operate alone.

Class Skills

The Wizard of High Sorcery gains Intimidate as a class skill.

Arcane School

Each of the three Orders of High Sorcery has a degree of expertise in two schools of magic. The favored schools are abjuration and divination (White Robes), illusion and transmutation (Red Robes), and enchantment and necromancy (Black Robes). When choosing a school to specialize in, it is recommended, though not mandatory, to choose a school that matches your order. Otherwise, the rules for the wizard’s Arcane School ability apply.

Test of High Sorcery

At 4th level, a wizard takes the Test of High Sorcery, designed to challenge the dedication of any student desiring to master the art of magic.

Each Test of High Sorcery is uniquely designed for the individual taking it, and should include at least three challenges to be overcome by the wizard’s knowledge of magic and its use. Characters must solve problems and defeat foes by casting every spell they know at least once, and should also face confrontation with someone thought to be a friend or ally. The Test must also include at least one lethal danger of a Challenge Rating equal to the wizard’s own level.

Those taking the Test can bring companions with them if they desire, but will find the challenges scaled upward in compensation. No one who accompanies a wizard on his challenge has any guarantee of returning, for by the harsh terms of the Test, failure means death.

Upon completion (and survival) of the Text, the Wizard of High Sorcery chooses the robes that match his moral alignment: black for evil, red for neutral, white for good.

Moon Magic

All Wizards of High Sorcery draw strength directly from the moon aligned with their particular Order—White Robe wizards from Solinari, the White Moon; Red Robe wizards from Lunitari, the Red Moon; Black Robe wizards from Nuitari, the Black Moon (whose aspect only Black Robe wizards can see).

The waxing and waning of their respective moons has an effect upon the magic of Wizards of High Sorcery. When a moon is at High Sanction (from waxing gibbous, through full, to waning gibbous), wizards of that moon’s order cast spells at +1 caster level and with a +1 to any spell save DCs. When a moon is at Low Sanction (from waning crescent, through new, to waxing crescent), wizards of that moon’s Order cast spells at –1 caster level and with a –1 to any spell save DCs. During the waxing and waning periods around the quarter moons, wizards of that moon’s Order cast their spells normally.

The alignment of any two moons is a positive event for wizards of both orders, even if the moons are at Low Sanction. When two moons are in conjunction during High Sanction, wizards of both moons’ Orders cast spells at +2 caster level and with a +2 to any spell save DCs. If the same two moons come into conjunction at Low Sanction, the conjunction cancels out the penalty for the two moons being at Low Sanction, and these wizards cast spells as normal.

When all three moons come into alignment in High Sanction, all magic becomes more powerful. Wizards of all three Orders cast spells at caster level +3 and with a +3 on spell save DCs. If the three moons come into conjunction at Low Sanction, the conjunction cancels out the penalty for the three moons being at Low Sanction, and these wizards cast spells as normal. This alignment, known as the Night of the Eye, occurs in a cycle of 504 days (exactly 1–1/2 years).

This ability replaces a wizard’s bonus feat at 5th level.

Conversion Notes

Although the Wizard of High Sorcery was a perfect example of what a prestige class could be in 3rd edition, the Pathfinder game gave us the option of class archetypes. While the Wizard of High Sorcery has an air of prestige and requirements for entry, it also stands as the foundation for the base Dragonlance wizard. Likewise, the only core class that would take the prestige class would be the wizard. With more specialized roles, such as the Kingfisher, relying on the Wizard of High Sorcery class as a prerequisite, the choice to instead make it an archetype was clear, at least to me.

A few notes on changes:

  1. Arcane Focus was dropped, as the wizard base class already addresses specialization at 1st level.
  2. Item of Power was dropped, as that area is already covered to a degree with the wizard’s Arcane Bond.
  3. Arcane Research was a bit much for this archetype. If you wish, you can replace the 10th, 15th, and 20th levels with this ability.
  4. Tower Resources can be role-played.
  5. The Order Secrets are good flavor text, but a bit much for an archetype. They would do well for a prestige class down the road. Perhaps a Master of High Sorcery, or Conclave Wizard?
  6. Moon Magic has been simplified a bit.

Works Cited

Weis, Margaret, Chris Pierson, and Jamie Chambers. Chapter 1: Wizards of Ansalon. Towers of High Sorcery. 1st ed. Vol. 1. Dragonlance. Lake Geneva: Sovereign P, Inc., 2004. 20-26.

About Trampas "Dragonhelm" Whiteman

Trampas “Dragonhelm” Whiteman is best known for co-creating and administering the Dragonlance Nexus fan site. He is co-author of three Dragonlance books – Holy Orders of the Stars, Knightly Orders of Ansalon, and Races of Ansalon. When not evangelizing Dragonlance and other settings, Trampas is a husband, father, podcaster, and web designer. Trampas also enjoys reading comics, reading fantasy and scifi novels, and playing D&D.
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  1. So this archetype doesn’t actually have much mechanical effect? If I am reading it correctly, you gain intimidate as a class skill and Moon magic as a ability without losing anything for them. And you also have a required adventure to role-play through for your Test.

    It seems balanced enough, since Moon Magic is both benefit and hindrance, and a single class skill is hardly a big deal. At the same time, it doesn’t seem different enough to justify an archetype.

  2. Sorry, Moon Magic is meant to replace the wizard’s bonus feat at 5th level. I have updated the write-up.

    What I was shooting for is a way to represent the WoHS without going as far as the 3.5 PrC. An archetype seems appropriate to a degree since only wizards would become a WoHS. At the same time, the WoHS is the poster child for what a prestige class should be.

    This is presented as a variant option.

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