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Ezren, a wizard.

Iconic character
Source: Core Rulebook, pg(s). 77–83 (1E)
Core Rulebook, pg(s). 202–213 (2E)

The wizard is the master of arcane magic, drawing incredible power from the world around him through complicated spell formulas. They do not need armor or weapons neither for offense nor defense, magically forcing their will upon reality itself and bringing doom to their enemies.

Whether poring over arcane tomes in ancient libraries, traveling the expanse of Golarion in search of spells and artifacts, or holed up in fantastical laboratories researching new applications of magical power, wizards are characterized above all by their endless pursuit of ever more—and ever more powerful—magical knowledge. Whether the wizard seeks such knowledge for its own sake, or as a means to greater fame, wealth, or power, the acquisition of new arcana is the wizard's most compelling goal.1


Arcane magic

Wizards gain control of the arcane through rigorous study and practice.2 A wizard must study and prepare in advance the specific spells they intend to cast.3 The focus and concentration that comes from such preparation, however, means that a wizard can produce more arcane magic before needing to rest, and can comprehend and memorize many more spells.34

Generally, a wizard prepares spells by studying their personal spellbook.5 Magical notation, however, while it relies on common concepts to describe the forces invoked in any given incantation, is individual to each user, so while two wizards may know the identical process to create the identical spell effect, each will notate the spell somewhat differently. A skilled wizard can decipher another's spell notation, given time and favorable conditions for study.6 Of course, wizards being wizards, most know a simple spell to simplify even this task.78

Mnemonic matrices

Wizards prepare spells within an arcane mental construct called a mnemonic matrix. Many types of matrix exist, each often tailored by individual wizards; for example, Acadamae Headmaster Toff Ornelos uses the memory palace, a classic form of matrix documented by Oridius Uldor in 4519 AR.9

Within such matrices wizards assemble the spell's mental components, such as its language, mathematics, symbolism, and geometry. The wizard then empowers the spell with their mental essence. The matrix stores the spell and power until the wizard calls upon the spell to cast it, in some cases by consuming or invoking a spell component, at which point the wizard targets its effects.9

After casting, the matrix collapses and cannot be recreated until the wizard is able to rest, a limitation that binds even the most powerful archmages. This limits most wizards to between two and twenty spells available to cast at a given moment.9

Arcane thesis

All wizards write theses of unique magical research while studying to cast spells. These theses can be on a variety of topics, reflecting the wizard's interest and deep knowledge about particular subjects. The work's name is usually very detailed and full of specialized terms, like “On the Methods of Spell Interpolation and the Genesis of a New Understanding of the Building Blocks of Magic.”.2


A conjuring-focused wizard summons a creature.

A wizard might choose to specialize in one of the eight recognized schools of magic, gaining greater and more rapid proficiency with the arcane knowledge of that school.5

Schools of magic:

Further, each of the eight schools has at least two focused arcane school sub-specialties under its purview, in which some wizards may further specialize to gain even greater depth of knowledge and skill within their chosen school.10


Rather than specializing in an arcane school, some wizards choose to specialize instead in magic derived from an element, particularly earth, air, fire, or water. Like the arcane specialist, an elementalist's focus on one element comes at the price of being able to wield another element proficiently; a fire elementalist, not surprisingly, may well find herself unable to use effectively magic derived from the element of water without considerable difficulty.11


Some wizards, called 'universalists', abstain from specializing in any particular school of magic, and instead choose to pursue understanding the arcane art as a whole.2 This practice is often referred to as the universal school of magic.3

Bonded objects and familiars

Nella, a wizard, entertains her cat familiar, the Lady Marcatella.

A wizard can form a powerful bond with a creature or object that enhances their arcane abilities.3

Wizards form an arcane bond with an object, and are able to store an extra portion of spell energy within the object and use it as a spell focus. Most often, the bonded object will be jewelry, a staff or wand, or a weapon; some wizards choose to form the bond with an artifact or other object with its own pre-existing magical properties.3 Each day, when preparing their spells, wizards may designate a different item to form a bond with.2

A familiar is an arcane pet some wizards and other spellcasters have; the bond between wizard and their familiar enhances the wizard's senses and spellcasting ability and provides the wizard with a small measure of the animal's physical abilities. The bond grows stronger over time, to the point that an experienced wizard can communicate mentally with her familiar and even see as if through the pet's eyes.12 While most familiars are domesticated or mundane small animals, a wizard of sufficient arcane mastery can summon an elemental or extraplanar creature as her familiar.13


The time, focus, and dedication required for arcane mastery leaves the wizard with little time for physical development or combat training; as a result, most wizards are capable of using only the simplest weapons and armor, and even those with little proficiency.3 While it is not unheard-of for an adventuring wizard to undertake some combat training during the course of their career, many surround themselves with companions or hirelings to take care of hands-on defense and protection while the wizard relies on offensive and defensive spellcasting—from a safe distance.[citation needed]

That said, however, some arcane colleges have curriculum offerings in various forms of combat, magical or otherwise. The Arcanamirium, the oldest and arguably greatest such college in Absalom, is widely known for its dueling fields, at which many students hone their skills in arcane combat.14

On Golarion

Wizards may be found in virtually every inhabited corner of Golarion,14 and almost every major city is home to at least one arcane college.15 Magic colleges in many regions specialize in a particular school or philosophy of arcana:14 wizards training in the colleges of Geb, for example, are exposed to advanced necromancy,15 while those in Nex produce excellent transmuters. The Acadamae in the Varisian city of Korvosa focuses on conjuration (especially the conjuration of devils), while the schools in Nidal specialize in shadow magic in honor of Zon-Kuthon. Other important centers of magical learning can be found in Rahadoum (where mages are instructed in practical magic devoid of any spiritual connotations), the elven realm of Kyonin, as well as Absalom, which contains numerous prestigious magical colleges.16

Notable wizards

See also: Category:Wizards


Wizards may come from nearly any race or species, although the lure of the wizard's life resonates more with some races than others—elves, for example, are more inclined to wizardly pursuits because of their patience and taste for esoteric arts as well as their innate affinity for arcane magic.22 Kobold, azarketi, dhampir, duskwalker, cambion, android, aphorite, fetchling, ganzi, suli, sylph, sprite, anadi, conrasu, shisk, and automaton adventurers often become wizards too.[citation needed]


Wizards seek to understand the universal underpinnings of reality through magic, science, and reason, and may choose not to worship any gods whatsoever.23

Wizards may recognize that religious devotions provide them with a connection to community, a sense of purpose, or even a path to greater personal power. They might worship a deity associated with intellectual pursuits, like the god of magic, Nethys, or they might enjoy established and well-connected churches, such as those of Abadar, the god of cities and wealth; Iomedae, the goddess of justice and honor; or Asmodeus, the god of tyranny and pride.24


  1. Erik Mona & Jason Bulmahn. Gazetteer, 15–16. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Logan Bonner, et al. “3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 203–209. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 78. Paizo Inc., 2009
  4. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 72–73. Paizo Inc., 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 78–79. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 218–19. Paizo Inc., 2009
  7. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic” in Core Rulebook, 219. Paizo Inc., 2009
  8. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 330. Paizo Inc., 2009
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Logan Bonner, et al. “1: Essentials of Magic” in Secrets of Magic, 9. Paizo Inc., 2020
  10. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 143–47. Paizo Inc., 2010
  11. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 142–43. Paizo Inc., 2010
  12. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 82–83. Paizo Inc., 2009
  13. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 5: Feats” in Core Rulebook, 127. Paizo Inc., 2009
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Erik Mona & Jason Bulmahn. Gazetteer, 16. Paizo Inc., 2008
  15. 15.0 15.1 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 1: Characters” in Campaign Setting, 51. Paizo Inc., 2008
  16. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 275. Paizo Inc., 2011
  17. Erik Mona, et al. Impossible Lands” in World Guide, 76. Paizo Inc., 2019
  18. Jessica Catalan. Belimarius and Sorshen” in Legends, 34. Paizo Inc., 2020
  19. Andrew Mullen. Old-Mage Jatembe” in Legends, 62. Paizo Inc., 2020
  20. Amirali Attar Olyaee, et al. Razmir” in Legends, 93. Paizo Inc., 2020
  21. Kate Baker. Telandia Edasseril” in Legends, 106. Paizo Inc., 2020
  22. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 2: Races” in Core Rulebook, 22. Paizo Inc., 2009
  23. Sean K Reynolds. “Magic” in Gods and Magic, 101. Paizo Inc., 2008
  24. Sean K Reynolds. “Gods of Golarion” in Gods and Magic, 7. Paizo Inc., 2008