Divination: The original party trick! You don’t have to study Wizardry to have a crystal ball and make guesses about the future. Thankfully, in Dungeons & Dragons, you can actually research ways to tell the future. This subclass – an essential edition from Player’s Handbook – is the most important Wizard for times of peace. Being able to perfectly prepare for droughts or bandit attacks can save a farmer’s life… and knowing about a revolution that has been secret for generations is essential for nobles. That’s just times of peace, or barely held back strife. How could a Diviner be useful for dungeoneering? Let’s find out in our Divination Wizard 5E Guide.
See the Future: Divination Wizard 5E
The Diviner is a basic Wizard with a few insanely strong abilities. Divination as a school of magic is all about preparation; you can win any fight if you know what’s in there. The issue with Divination is how limited spell slots are in 5e, but you get a fantastic ability in this subclass that circumvents that. You’ll still be a backline Wizard, relying on Cantrips and spell slots to deal damage… but you and your entire party will know every trick the GM wants to throw at you.
But first, the Savant skill that every single PHB Wizard learns.
Beginning when you select this school at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a Divination spell into your spellbook is halved.
There’s a big problem here. Unless you’re fighting specific types of enemies, most villainous Wizards don’t have much Divination magic. You might get lucky and get some basic wizard spells like Tongues or Clairvoyance before level 5, but realistically? Enemies just don’t have a reason to take Divination. If your GM is kind enough to let the party chill at a big town with a Library, then you might be in luck.
But make sure you take the essential divination spells; Clairvoyance, Locate Creature/Object, Scrying, Tongues… You can take some combat centric spells with Mind-Spike or See Invisibility as well. You’ll really want those so you can best do your job and prepare for ahead combats.
All Wizards gain 2 level 2 abilities. This one might be one of the best abilities in the game, let alone out of level 2s.
When you finish a long rest, roll two d20s and record the numbers rolled. You can replace any attack roll, saving throw, or ability check made by you or a creature that you can see with one of these foretelling rolls. You must choose to do so before the roll, and you can replace a roll in this way only once per turn.
Each foretelling roll can be used only once. When you finish a long rest, you lose any unused foretelling rolls.
Dungeons & Dragons is a dice-based franchise. You roll a dice, you get a result, people may or may not have you reroll. There’s not much else to do – you live and die by the roll. In older editions, you could circumvent the dice by having ridiculously high modifiers. But in 5e, you don’t really get that options.
Knowing exactly what you rolled is one of the strongest abilities possible.
Roll two low dice? Well, now an enemy just failed their saving throw against you. Roll two high dice? Well, now the Barbarian just landed a hard hit, and you saved against Hold Person. Roll two middling dice? Well, you just negated a crit on yourself and had the rogue succeed on a trap disabling.
No matter what you rolled, you can find a use for it. And you can target anyone, at any time, no saves allowed. That’s absolutely insane.
Of course, there’s only one problem; you only get two of them. The intense limitation of Portent is the only reason why it’s legitimately balanced – You have to spend them to save lives or spell slots. If you’re having trouble spending Portents, then remember that your goal is to either reduce or increase damage. Use large dice on attack rolls to end fights faster. Use small dice on attack rolls to prevent your Monk from getting Divinely Smited. It’s all situational and you’ll certainly get used to it.
Divination has an issue. In 5E, you don’t get that many spell slots. Not compared to 3.5, at least. That means that, the more you dedicate to preparing and gathering information, the less you can use to dish out damage. Well… That used to be the case, at least. Now it’s different.
Beginning at 6th level, casting divination spells comes so easily to you that it expends only a fraction of your spellcasting efforts. When you cast a divination spell of 2nd level or higher using a spell slot, you regain one expended spell slot. The slot you regain must be of a level lower than the spell you cast and can’t be higher than 5th level.
So, the level requirement is a bit of a misnomer. All level 1 divination spells currently released are rituals, so you can weasel your way out of spending those slots. Level 2 and 3 spells are where Divination gets good. And now, when you spend them, you can relearn a spell you had prepared earlier. That means you can keep spamming low-level magic damage – for example, Scorching Ray – while being able to stay prepared for combat. That’s pretty great!
And the other level requirement – no higher than a 5th level spell – is actually also a bit unnecessary. Currently, Foresight is the only Divination spell above level 6. Admittedly, Foresight isn’t an awful spell, so you might want to consider casting it (although there might be better things to do with your 9th level slots). But then you regain a 5th level slot, so that’s still really worthwhile.
The amount of slot efficiency in this one ability is quite potent; Especially since there’s still spells like Mind Spike which deal damage and are divination. You won’t have to think as hard when you’re deciding whether or not to cast Divination in the future.
The Third Eye
The only mediocre ability that you get is at level 10, and… It’s not bad at all. You spend an action to get a vision or language buff;
- Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet.
- Ethereal Sight. You can see into the Ethereal Plane within 60 feet of you.
- Greater Comprehension. You can read any language.
- See Invisibility. You can see invisible creatures and objects within 10 feet of you that are within line of sight.
That lasts until you get K.O.’d or until you rest, and this refreshes on a rest.
So, Darkvision is by far the most generically useful option out of these. If your race didn’t come with Darkvision, then being able to see in dungeon scenarios without relying on torches tends to be smart. However, you could cast the Darkvision spell with a level 2 spell slot – which aren’t amazing anymore – and that’ll cover your back. If you want to save slots for Detect Thoughts or See Invisibility, then use Darkvision.
Ethereal Sight is a little bit too situational. There’s just not many times when you can benefit from seeing into the Plane. If you do, then you might want to cough up the 25 gp and use True Seeing so you can just see everything at the same time. Or See Invisibility, and get the benefits of Ethereal Sight and See Invisibility simultaneously. Thankfully, you are a Diviner, so if you are able to tell that things are about to get Ethereal, and don’t want to spend a 2nd level slot, then give it a whirl.
Greater Comprehension is neat, but thanks to Expert Divination, you don’t spend much when you cast Tongues. Or you can Ritual-cast Comprehend Languages.
See Invisibility is pitiful. If you’re within 10 feet of an invisible creature, you’re either getting your throat torn out or it’s a caster. And then you’ll get Shocking Grasped into a pile of ash. Just cast See Invisibility and save yourself the hassle.
Overall, you’ll want to take Darkvision in almost any scenario. See Invisibility covers two of them, and you don’t even need to expend a spell slot for Greater Comprehension.
At level 10, Divination finally seems to be getting a little weak. And then this happens.
Starting at 14th level, the visions in your dreams intensify and paint a more accurate picture in your mind of what is to come. You roll three d20s for your Portent feature, rather than two.
Tyr’s beard, save some for the rest of the schools!
I’m joking, a bit. This gives you no direct combat power, nor does it reach the same heights as other level 14s. What it does do is give Portent a 50% bonus to usefulness, giving you another dice to auto-roll at problems. That’s pretty fantastic, especially since you can start slinging around really powerful attack roll spells by now. And saving throws are getting worrisome!
This is perfect timing for Portent to get another dice, and you’ll be super happy to get it. Just… Make sure you spend your Portent dice. Please?
Best Race for Divination School Wizards
Divination Wizards gain no intrinsic benefits from Intelligence since Divination is a buff-centric school. However, you’re a Wizard. You’re still using cantrips, save spells, and attack rolls to deal damage. Get Intelligence high. Afterwards, the world is your oyster. Consider your Dexterity and Constitution next. And maybe Wisdom if you’re super concerned about saving throws (though your Proficiency should cover you there!).
Humans are good at any role you slot them in, so Divination works just fine for them! You’ll want to be a variant human, with a +1 in Intelligence and then +1 in Dexterity or Constitution. Then you have a few options. Spell Sniper lets you stay away from combat and make good use of Portent. Alert can let you throw spells out early on to help counter enemy tactics. Observant can make surprises happen less often, and gives another +1 to Intelligence. All of these are good options that can factor into a build.
Since you don’t need your Intelligence as high as possible ASAP, this Volo’s Guide race isn’t bad. The Hobgoblin gains a +2 to Constitution and +1 Intelligence, which goes a long way to making you not die. Similarly, their Light Armor proficiency will save you a Mage Armor spell slot (though the martial weapons won’t come in too handy!). And Saving Face will usually give a +3 to attack rolls, letting you save Portent Dice if you rolled only barely a miss. The Darkvision will be sadly wasted at level 10.
Considering Hobgoblins are tyrannical overlords, the flavor makes sense as well.
A Consideration: Dragonmarked Halfling (Mark of Healing)
The Dragonmark system from Eberron: Rising from the Last War was designed as a way to build for another spell list. The Mark of Healing gives Halfling spellcasters access to some healing spells. The stats of the Mark of Healing are pretty bad, but combine this with Bountiful Luck? You’ll get one of the best supports in the game. Divination buffs, traditional healing, rerolls up the wazoo… If you want to try a suboptimal build that might become extremely effective. Talk to your DM about allowing Dragonmarks before building it, of course.
Conclusion – Our Take on the School of Divination Wizard 5E
The Divination School is one of the best. Portent by itself is probably overpowered, and you get so much spell slot efficiency through Expert Divination. Third Eye is pretty sub-par, but it’s at least one saved spell slot. That’s not nothing. This is a crazy good school and one of the best supports a Wizard can be. If you’re looking for just a great Wizard school that lacks a tiny bit of damage, this is the one for you.
Can a level 10 divination wizard:
Gain the 10ft see invisibility or dark vision thru his Third Eye and then cast scrying or clairvoyance and benefit from his lvl 10 ability?
Can he see in the dark or see invisible thru his divination spells?
As written I would say no. According to the wording, you can see invisible creatures within 10 feet of you. What you see through clairvoyance doesn’t transport you there, you are just seeing it through an invisible sensor. Same with Darkvision: you only get that out to a range of 60 feet from you.