Hedge Wizard

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Version 0.29: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
This page is about the player background formerly known as Wizard. For the monster, see wizard (monster). For the playing mode, see wizard mode.
A Hedge Wizard is a magician who does not specialise in any area of magic. Hedge Wizards start with a variety of magical skills and with Magic Dart memorised, from a large library of varied low-level spells. They also get a wizard hat.

Hedge Wizards are magicians who do not specialize in any area of magic, making them a jack of all trades, master of none when compared to more focused spellcasters.

Preferred Species

Human, Deep Elf, Naga, Draconian, Djinni, and Octopode are the recommended species if you pick a Hedge Wizard Background.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Available Spells:

Hedge Wizards start with the Magic Dart spell already memorised, and can memorize Slow from turn 1.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Hedge Wizard adds 2 to your starting Strength, 6 to Intelligence, and 4 to Dexterity.


Hedge Wizard is one of the most versatile spellcaster backgrounds. What they lack in initial firepower, they more than make up for with their extensive spell library (6 - the most of any background), with access to some very good utility spells. As a downside, Hedge Wizards don't have much focus in any one school. Players looking to simply pulverize things with spells should pick a different background. Perhaps ironically, these utility spells make wizards the most well suited to transition into melee combat.

Spell Details

Magic Dart sums up the struggle of your typical low level mage. It deals average damage. Average damage means that the darts might struggle to kill its targets, especially with XL1's low MP. However, it has great range and never misses. Mages can make good use of it with some care, though offensive Wizards will desire higher level spells soon enough.

On the bright side, Mephitic Cloud is one of the stronger spells, of any background. Confusion is extremely debilitating to monsters, and most things in the early-mid Dungeon can't resist it. Depending on your Intelligence, you'll probably need only 2-4 points in each of its three schools: Poison, Air, and Conjurations. Note that this spell is quite loud, meaning that far away enemies may come to investigate.

None of the other spells should be sneezed at, either. Slow causes your enemies to attack less often, while allowing you to escape from them. Call Imp creates an imp, which tanks shots and deals extra damage. Conjure Flame creates a deadly cloud of fire, mostly to keep control of hallways. If monsters wander into it (such as when they are confused), it'll also deal decent damage.

While you initially won't have the spell levels (or casting prowess) to memorize every one of these spells, they are all useful in their own right. Typically, Blink is saved until later -- it isn't as effective in mundane situations. It's preferable to train spells one at a time, get them castable, then switch to the next spell/skill on your list. Bonus if said skill also trains up a future spell on your list.

Tips and Tricks

  • The Spellcasting skill boosts success rates of all of your spells, though at 1/4 effectiveness. You'll want to train it eventually, but it's not a substitute for investing in spell schools (yet).
  • If you come upon an awesome melee weapon early in the dungeon, there's nothing to stop you from becoming a hybrid (a warrior-mage) character, despite your wizardly background. You can consider picking up some strength, especially if you start with less than 8.

External Links

0.21 guide for playing an Octopode Wizard by Ultraviolent4


  • In 0.29, Wizard's abbreviation was changed from Wz to HW. Also, most backgrounds were buffed; all Mage backgrounds gained a potion of magic.
  • Prior to 0.27, Hedge Wizards started with the Book of Minor Magic. Wizards received no changes in their starting spells.
  • Prior to 0.26, Hedge Wizards were called Wizards. They had the highest starting intelligence bonus and didn't start with a dagger. Their starting intelligence was reduced from +10 to +6, strength was increased from -1 to +2, dexterity was increased from +3 to +4.
  • Prior to 0.14, wizards started with 20 gold.
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