Apprentices exist in any trade, of course, but none are more famous—or infamous—than wizards’ apprentices. Stories tell of foolish apprentices stealing peeks at books that should not be opened, fumbling love charms, or botching transmutations by treating dangerous magic as a clever toy. Other tales recall clever apprentices who come up with just the right spell to save a village while their masters are away, or boldly putting their lessons to good use as they set out in search of adventure. Whether they turn out to be rash or resourceful, wizards’ apprentices begin their careers with a priceless advantage: the personal instruction and tutelage of an experienced master.
In exchange for the privilege of learning magic, wizards’ apprentices normally spend years engaged in whatever drudgery and chores their masters deem fitting. A typical human wizard’s apprentice begins his or her studies around the age of eleven or twelve and remains in the master’s household for five or six years. Experienced spellcasters can take on apprentices for a variety of reasons: to share their appreciation of the art, to repay the work of their own masters by instructing a worthy student, or to tutor a young noble. Surprisingly, many of the most reclusive or suspicious—even evil—spellcasters take on apprentices; some regard it as their duty to pass along their learning, some hope to shape talented young mages into future allies (or minions), and others desire an audience to witness the brilliance of their schemes. Evil masters are often callous or exacting, but only the stupidest are actively sadistic toward their apprentices; after all, it’s not wise to share secrets of power with someone you’ve caused to hate you.
Adventuring wizards’ apprentices are usually young adults whose training is more or less complete. They no longer live in their masters’ households, and they aren’t obligated to wash floors or scrub pots between lessons. Assuming such an individual parted from his or her master on good terms, the apprentice has at least one knowledgeable patron willing to offer advice and assistance in important matters. Many wizards’ apprentices retain their loyalty to their masters throughout their lifetimes, even if they surpass their masters’ achievements. Apprentices who were taught by particularly powerful or famous masters can serve as agents and allies of those mentors, and they see themselves as the appointed guardians of a long and honored tradition. Just as noble families have ancestral lines going back centuries, many famous spellcasters likewise come from lines of apprentice–master relationships tracing back to famous wizards or sorcerers of old. Wizard's Apprentice Starting Feature (1st level)
: You gain the color orb power. Wizard's Apprentice Level 5 Feature (5th level)
: You gain one level 6 or lower common magic implement, armor, or neck slot item of your choice. Wizard's Apprentice Level 10 Feature (10th level)
: You gain a +3 power bonus to Arcana checks, and you learn one new language (other than Supernal).
Wizard's Apprentice Attack Color Orb
You throw a brightly shining orb of swirling colors at your foe, momentarily dazing it.
Encounter Arcane, Implement, Radiant
Standard Action Ranged 5
Target: One creature
Attack: Highest ability modifier vs. Will
Hit: 1d8 + highest ability modifier radiant damage, and the target is dazed until the end of your next turn.
Level 11: 2d8 + highest ability modifier radiant damage.
Level 21: 3d8 + highest ability modifier radiant damage.
Wizard's Apprentice Utility 2Disappear
You fade from sight for a moment.
Daily Arcane, Illusion
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You become invisible until the end of this turn.
Wizard's Apprentice Utility 6Winged Step
You create semisolid wings around your ankles, which bear you up into the air for a single swift leap.
Move Action Personal
Effect: You fly up to 6 squares and land. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
Wizard's Apprentice Utility 10Minor Polymorph
You turn yourself into a small, harmless animal. This form is not terribly useful in a fight, but it might help you avoid one.
Daily Arcane, Polymorph
Standard Action Personal
Effect: You assume the form of a Tiny natural beast until the end of your next turn. While in this form, you cannot attack, but you have the senses of your chosen form and gain its movement modes. If your chosen form has the aquatic keyword, you also gain it while in this form. You can return to your normal form as a minor action. If you are flying when you return to your normal form, you descend to the ground without taking falling damage. Observers can tell that you’re a supernatural version of your animal form by making a successful Insight check against a DC equal to 15 + one-half your level.
Sustain Minor: Your animal form persists until the end of your next turn.
Published in Dragon Magazine 399.