Hedge Wizard

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Version 0.31: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
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 is an unimpressive spell; "unimpressive" means that you'll have a somewhat rougher time than other mage starts. At least it has great range and never misses.

The big highlights of Hedge Wizard's book are Call Imp and Mephitic Cloud:

  • Call Imp creates a cerulean imp, which fights for you. Since it always wields a spear, it can reach over you to attack from behind. It also does fine on the front lines, too. You can swap places with an imp to avoid attacks of opportunity. And you can take out all sorts of D:1-4 enemies by continuously re-summoning imps. (You can only have 1 imp on the field at a time.)
  • Mephitic Cloud inflicts confusion - this prevents enemies from using spells, and gives a 66% chance for enemies to move randomly instead of their normal action. A confused enemy is easy pickings. Imps (and other poison resistant monsters) are completely immune to the effects of Mephitic Cloud. Note that this spell is very loud, so using it will attract other enemies in the vicinity.
Depending on your Intelligence, you'll need ~3-5 levels in each of its three skills (Poison, Air, Conjurations) to have a reasonable failure rate.

The other spells should be sneezed at, either. Slow affects the movement and attack speed of your enemies, improving your chances when fighting them or allowing you to escape. Cigotuvi's Dreadful Rot creates a deadly cloud of miasma. Low-level monsters will avoid entering the cloud, allowing you to block a hallway and escape. Blink teleports you to a random location in the line of sight, allowing you to escape from melee range.

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 a mundane situation.

It's best to train spells one at a time: get a spell to reasonable failure rate, then switch to the next spell/skill you have available. Bonus if said skill helps train up other spells that you've found (and want to use).

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 0.32, Hedge Wizards will start with Grave Claw instead of Cigotuvi's Dreadful Rot in their library. Also, their Conjurations will be increased from 1 to 2, they will start with 1 in Necromancy, and they will no longer have Slow in their library.
  • Prior to 0.30, Hedge Wizards started with Conjure Flame instead of Cigotuvi's Dreadful Rot.
  • 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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