This article is primarily or only relevant to Pathfinder First Edition.

Schools of magic

From PathfinderWiki
The wheel of magic, which depicts the eight schools of magic as colored rings around the wheel's four magical traditions and essences.
This article refers to the concept in magic theory. For institutions of arcane learning, see Category:Arcane colleges.

Prior to the prominence of magical traditions, instructors and practitioners categorized the effects and properties of spells across all types of magic into eight schools of magic. Though magic has been practised since the dawn of history, it was in the time of Azlant and Thassilon that seven of the eight schools were first defined, in accordance with the seven Azlanti virtues of rule (with divination being defined as its own school later in history).123

These eight schools of magic, as defined in the work The Eight Arches of Incantation, are:4

Classical scholars categorized some spells as not bound to any specific school but as universal spells, and wizards who did not specialize in any school were known as universalists.56 This form of study is similar in nature to some wizards' pursuit of a Unified Magical Theory in lieu of formal instruction at an arcane college or academy.7


With the removal of the eight schools of magic as part of the Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project, Player Core instead emphasized four magical traditions, as well as the Unified Magical Theory with equivalent mechanics as the universal practice of all eight schools.

  1. James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 211. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. James Jacobs. “The Shattered Star” in Shards of Sin, 67. Paizo Inc., 2012
  3. Jason Nelson, et al. “Variant Magic” in Inner Sea Magic, 9. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. Logan Bonner, et al. “1: Essentials of Magic” in Secrets of Magic, 20–27. Paizo Inc., 2020
  5. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 79. Paizo Inc., 2009
  6. Logan Bonner, et al. “3: Classes” in Core Rulebook, 209. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. Logan Bonner, et al. Classes” in Player Core, 200. Paizo Inc., 2023 With the removal of the eight schools, Player Core introduced the Unified Magical Theory with equivalent mechanics.