Prestige Classes


The Red Wizards are the masters of Thay, the would-be magical overlords of the land of Faerûn (in the FORGOTTEN REALMS® campaign setting). They focus on a school of magic more intently than any specialist, achieving incredible mastery of magic within a very narrow focus. Seen as cruel and evil tyrants by people across the world of Toril, a few choose to leave their region, assume secret identities, and practice magic without having to worry about political alliances and possible slave uprisings.

Early in their careers, would-be Red Wizards specialize in a school of magic and acquire the Tattoo Focus feat that prepares them for entry into the Red Wizard prestige class. All Red Wizards have some skill as a specialist wizard, and most follow that path exclusively, but a few dabble in other sorts of learning (such as combat or divine magic). While it is possible for a sorcerer or bard to become a Red Wizard, such misfits are ridiculed in their homeland and are incredibly rare.

Hit Die: d4.


To qualify to become a red wizard, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Race: Human from Thay.

Alignment: Any nongood.

Skills: Spellcraft 8 ranks.

Feats: Tattoo Focus (see New Features of the Red Wizard, below) plus a total of three metamagic feats or item creation feats.

Spells: Able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The red wizard's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: The Red Wizard

Level Base
Special Spells per day
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Enhanced specialization, specialist defense +1 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Spell power +1 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Specialist defense +2 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Spell power +2 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Bonus feat, circle leader +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Spell power +3 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Specialist defense +3, scribe tattoo +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Spell power +4 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Specialist defense +4 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Great circle leader, spell power +5 +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the red wizard prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Red Wizards gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day: A Red Wizard’s training focuses on arcane spells. Thus, when a new Red Wizard level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic or item creation feats, bard or assassin abilities, and so on). This essentially means that he adds the level of Red Wizard to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.

If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before he became a Red Wizard, he must decide to which class he adds each level of Red Wizard for the purpose of determining spells per day.

Enhanced Specialization: Upon becoming a Red Wizard, a character increases his devotion to his wizard school of specialization. In exchange for this, the Red Wizard must sacrifice study in one or more schools. The Red Wizard must choose an additional prohibited school or schools using the rules in the Player’s Handbook. He can never again learn spells from those prohibited schools. He cannot choose the same prohibited schools he chose as a 1st-level wizard. He can still use the prohibited spells he knew prior to becoming a Red Wizard, including using items that are activated by spell completion or spell trigger.

For example, Ghorus Toth is specialized in the school of transmutation. His prohibited schools are abjuration and enchantment. When he becomes a Red Wizard, he must choose one other prohibited school. He decides to select conjuration as his additional prohibited school.

Specialist Defense: A Red Wizard gains a bonus on saving throws against spells from his specialist school. This bonus starts at +1 and increases at higher levels, as shown on Table 6–15.

Spell Power: At 2nd level, a Red Wizard gains a bonus that increases his effective caster level for purposes of determining level-dependent spell variables and for caster level checks. The bonus starts at +1 and increases at higher levels, as shown on Table 6–15. This ability stacks with other spell power benefits that affect spells from the Red Wizard’s specialist school.

Bonus Feat: At 5th level, a Red Wizard gains a bonus feat, which must be either an item creation feat, a metamagic feat, or the Spell Mastery feat.

Circle Leader: At 5th level, a Red Wizard gains the ability to become a circle leader, who is the focus person for Red Wizard circle magic (see New Features of the Red Wizard, below).

Scribe Tattoo: At 7th level, a Red Wizard gains the ability to place the Thayan wizards’ magic tattoos upon willing and qualified novices, giving them the Tattoo Focus feat and inducting them into his circle.

Great Circle Leader: A 10th-level Red Wizard can be the leader of a great circle, which can have up to nine other participants instead of just five.

New Features of the Red Wizard

The Red Wizard prestige class was originally created for inclusion in the FORGOTTEN REALMS®Campaign Setting, and uses several rules specific to that setting. We’ve reproduced them here so you can better see how the class works. Consider carefully before adding them to a campaign that does not use the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting.

New Feat

Tattoo Focus [Special]

You bear the powerful magical tattoos of a Red Wizard of Thay.

Prerequisite: Specialized in a school of magic.

Region: Thay.

Benefit: Add +1 to the DC for all saving throws against spells from your specialized school. You get a +1 bonus on caster level checks (1d20 + caster level) to overcome a creature’s spell resistance when casting spells from that school.

Special: Only characters with the Tattoo Focus feat can participate in Red Wizard circle magic (see below).

Circle Magic
Some of the most powerful and spectacular spells worked across Faerûn are cast in the form of circle magic. Circle magic is a type of cooperative spellcasting that allows the spellcaster leading the circle to increase his caster level significantly and achieve results otherwise unavailable to the spellcasters composing the circle. The Red Wizards of Thay make frequent use of circle magic. Stories of other forms of circle magic abound in Faerûn.

Participation:The ability to participate in circle magic requires the possession of the Tattoo Focus feat (see above). One spellcaster, usually the most powerful or experienced character present, stands at the center of the circle. This character is the circle leader. A Red Wizard cannot be a circle leader unless he is at least a 5th-level Red Wizard.

A circle requires a minimum of two participants plus the circle leader. Up to five partiicpants can aid a circle leader in a standard circle; a Red Wizard of 10th level can lead a great circle containing up to nine other participants.

All participants in a circle must stand within 10 feet of the circle leader, who stands in the center.

Circle Powers: The first use of circle magic is to empower the circle leader with the strength of all the participants. This requires 1 full hour of uninterrupted concentration on the part of all participants and the circle leader. Each participant casts any single prepared spell, which is consumed by the circle and has no effect other than expending the prepared spell. The spell levels expended by the circle participants are totaled as circle bonus levels. Each bonus level may be used to accomplish the following effects.

  • Increase the circle leader’s caster level by one for every circle bonus level expended (maximum caster level 40th). This benefit applies to level-dependent variables of a spell such as range or duration, and to level checks (dispel checks, checks to overcome spell resistance, and so on).
  • Add Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, or Heighten Spell metamagic feats to spells currently prepared by the circle leader. Each circle bonus level counts as one additional spell level required by the application of a metamagic feat to a spell. The circle leader may add one of the three listed feats to a spell even if he does not know the feat or if the addition of the feat would raise the spell level past the circle leader’s normal maximum spell level (maximum spell level 20th).

These effects last for 24 hours or until expended. Circle bonus levels may be divided up as the circle leader sees fit. For example, the Red Wizard Hauth Var leads a circle in which four participants each cast a 2nd-level spell, so that Hauth Var gains eight circle bonus levels. Hauth Var chooses to use three circle bonus levels to maximize his cone of cold spell, three to increase his caster level from 10th to 13th for all level-based variables in his spells, and two to provide a +2 bonus on any level checks he needs to make. The maximized spell is used up whenever he casts his cone of cold, and the other two effects remain for the next 24 hours.

Many high-level Red Wizards lead circles on a daily basis to exact magical power from their apprentices.