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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > D&D Ideas — Schools of Magic

D&D Ideas — Schools of Magic

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Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is schools of magic, which we discussed in our weekly live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of schools of magic we created our own! The School of Beardomancy experiments with strange energies from the Beard Dimension and expanded to infuse many other Fifth Edition classes with beardomantic power, new spells, magic items and an ever-growing tangle of fun and flavor for your games. With April just a few days away you can count on another installment of this annual tradition for those who Meet Us at the Tavern. Get caught up with the happenings from the Beard Dimension with the original Beardomancy and follow up Hairable Ideas in anticipation of this year’s installment. Bring your beard to bear against foes and protect your allies with beardomantic energy here and tap deeper into the voluminous power of the Beard Dimension here.

Subscribe to Nerdarchy Live and get notifications for live RPG game plays, chats with creators and industry professionals and new video series and content on our second YouTube channel here

Nerdy News

Embark on fey adventure with the week that was! Peruse musty tomes in a fantastical library, hit the trails with the best magic items and so much more plus new live chats with creative folks and industry pros and live game play round out this week’s Nerdy News. Check it out here. While you’re catching up from last week over there you might want to scroll down to discover an exclusive offer for our Nerdarchy Metal Dice Set. We created an exclusive offer to make it easier for you to add a set of these awesome dice to your collection with $25 savings. Check it out here.

Delving Dave’s Dungeon

Dungeons & Dragons has had eight schools of magic since the earliest incarnations of the game. Each of the schools had a different color associated with it when you cast the detect magic spell. I thought there was a table from earlier editions but couldn’t find anything. I did find a color chart online but couldn’t determine who originally made it but I will use the colors from it.

In your own D&D game you can use any colors that work for you. It also might be specific to the caster. When your wizard casts detect magic the aura of the necromancy school of magic might be grey instead of black. Your detect magic might not even be based on sight and colors. What if the schools of magic were tied to a different sense instead? Below are some ideas based on the different senses.

Schools of magic Sensory Auras


  • Abjuration. Blue
  • Conjuration. Orange
  • Divination. White
  • Enchantment. Yellow
  • Evocation. Red
  • Illusion. Purple 
  • Necromancy. Black 
  • Transmutation. Green 


  • Abjuration. Trumpet Sounding 
  • Conjuration. Bells Ringing 
  • Divination. Wind Blowing 
  • Enchantment. Bird Singing
  • Evocation. Fire Crackling
  • Illusion. Voice Giggling
  • Necromancy. Raven Cawing 
  • Transmutation. Water Running 

Smell or Taste

  • Abjuration. Fruity
  • Conjuration. Earthy 
  • Divination. Minty
  • Enchantment. Flowery 
  • Evocation. Wood Burning 
  • Illusion. Flatulence
  • Necromancy. Rot 
  • Transmutation. Baked Bread 


  • Abjuration. Cool 
  • Conjuration. Rough
  • Divination. Chills
  • Enchantment. Smooth
  • Evocation. Warmth
  • Illusion. Slimy
  • Necromancy. Skin Crawls
  • Transmutation. Prickly

From Ted’s Head

The various schools of magic in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons are quite great. While it can be fun to explore the normal things out there sometimes you want to play the absurd. You want to play the things calling for a crazy backstory or weird circumstances. With this in mind allow me to present an alternate school of magic: The Arcane Tradition of Goblin Magic.

Drawing upon the divination of a typical shaman, fear of Maglubiyet and the traditional bond with certain beasts, Goblin Magic is very in your face and showy. When your 5E D&D wizard character follows the Goblin Magic Arcane Tradition you of course gain certain features at certain levels as noted below.

Goblin Magic can be flavored with darkness and fear incorporating emotions into the spells. These aren’t mechanical changes but imagine magic missile as solidified shadows and as they impact the target feels the fear sinking in. Alternatively the spells could be more bestial as these wizards give themselves over to the wolf and worg side. Instead of missiles of shadow, spectral wolves fly from their outstretched hands and bite the target. Mechanically these are both the same effect — the target takes the force damage per missile — but visually they can make the wizard unique.

Rodent Bond

When you take this tradition at 2nd level you learn the spell find familiar and add it to your spell book. When you cast this spell you summon a rat that has some fiendish quality. (You decide these visual anomalies.) If you cast this spell, and are trying to get something other than a rat, there is a 50% chance that it will still be a rat.

Forecast Choice

Also at 2nd level you can perform a ritual to predict the outcome of a given choice you are about to take within 1 hour of completing the ritual. The ritual takes 30 minutes and you can ask a yes or no question. Based on the question the Dungeon Master sets a DC and you make an Insight check. If successful you get an answer. If you fail the answers are unclear. Once you use this feature you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Worg Master

At 6th level you learn to understand and speak the complex Worg language. You have advantage on any Charisma checks made while interacting with wolves or worg. In addition when you cast the find familiar spell your Rodent Bond feature allows your familiar to take the form of a worg instead of a rat if you choose.


At 10th level your fear of Magubliyet has grown so much inside you that it has become a part of you, a living thing. You are immune to the frightened condition. In addition when you are hit by a melee attack you can use your reaction to attempt to make the attacker feel your fear. The attacking creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save the creature is frightened by you until the end of your next turn and must immediately use their movement to move away from you. Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest or until you expend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher on it.

Psychic Assault

As an action you manifest a powerful aura of psychic energy that lasts for 1 minute or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). The aura is centered on you, has a 30-foot radius and moves with you. Your enemies in the aura experience illusory manifestations of their worst nightmares, visible only to individual creatures affected by your aura. Hostile creatures in your aura treat movement as difficult terrain and whenever they start their turn in the aura they must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC, taking 2d10 psychic damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one.

Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest or until you expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher on it.

From the Nerditor’s desk

Out of all the Fifth Edition game material we’ve created I’ve got to admit Beardomancy is my favorite of all. What began as an April Fools’ Day gag for our Patreon supporters took root in my imagination and continues to grow into a robust — perhaps even more developed — addition to the schools of magic presented in 5E D&D.

I really dig the concept of schools of magic representing more than just designations for the game’s spells and instead providing meaning and context for spellcasters — particularly wizards. The Dungeon Master’s Guide touches on this in Chapter 1: A World of Your Own. Whether individual spells coalesce differently depending on which of the schools of magic they originate from or wizards devoted to particular schools of magic manifest their spells in ways related to their area of expertise I think it’s cool to incorporate these concepts into characters and settings.

Nerdarchist Ted’s been running a monthly game for several years now and the group recently started a new campaign exploring the world of magic in a very cool way. Untraditionally Arcane tasks a group of wizards who each follow an Arcane Tradition beyond those covered by the schools of magic in the Player’s Handbook. One of the characters is a Beardomancer played by Jacob from Mini Terrain Domain. Ordo Wonderbeard is a fantastic character and Jacob is the quintessential beardomancer if you ask me. In fact this year’s addition to what’s become an annual tradition of April Beardomancy content will include some personalized new spells created by Jacob! I can’t wait to share this new stuff with the community.

Bad Hair Day (working title) completes the task of creating a beardomantic subclass for all of the core 5E D&D classes. We’ll have the College of Style and Design for bards, Circle of Locks for druids, Mane Knight for fighters, Wig Walker for rangers and The Crinis Spinner for warlocks. There’s also of course new beardomancy spells, magic items and creatures and a new tool set. And we created a new Plushie of Fundrous Power too!

If Beardomancy tickles your fancy as a new addition to the schools of magic for your own games here’s a rundown of where to find everything we’ve put out there so far:

  • Beardomancy. The original! Exploring the dark tangles of the Beard Dimension begins here.
  • Hairable Ideas. Expanding the School of Beardomancy by infuses other classes with beardomantic power picks up where Beardomancy leaves off here.
  • Deeper Dive. Over at Nerdarchy the Website we shared some further exploration of the Beard Dimension and what it entails in this post right here.
  • Beardomancy for Everyone! Another post, this time presenting two new feats so any 5E D&D character can dabble in a bit of Beardomancy here.
  • Hairable Terrain. A detailed encounter highlighting Beardomancy and everything tangled up in it ready to drop right into your game in a website post here.
  • Coming Soon! Supporters who Meet Us at the Tavern receive lots of benefits, not the least of these new 5E content for players and Game Masters alike. New products at Nerdarchy the Store begin as rewards for these awesome folks and in a couple of weeks they’ll be getting a whole bunch of new Beardomancy content. Since we post rewards directly on the Patreon page new supporters can give their scrolling finger a workout and find all the previous things too. Stay nerdy!

*Featured image — The original Beardomancy and follow up Hairable Ideas laid the groundwork for fun and flavorful 5E content inspired by the power of beards.

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