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I created a revised Transmutation Wizard to plug some of the subclass holes and make it more fun. As mentioned in my Wizard subclass rating article, the Transmutation Wizard leaves much to be desired. It actually works against what a transmuter should be focusing on, especially the tenth-level ability. I believe we can make minor revisions to the School of Transmutation Wizard to improve it so it doesn’t feel like a trap. Wizards are strong in their own right, so a weaker subclass isn’t a dire problem; however, I enjoy making each subclass viable if it’s lagging far behind. Let’s fix the Transmutation Wizard with the magic of homebrew.
I’ll offer a quick explanation for my text formatting so you can quickly discern between my homebrew suggestions and what already existed for the subclass. My commentary is provided below each section to explain why I did or did not change something. Italicized text indicates my homebrew alterations to Transmutation Wizard features. The entire description of each feature is bolded, and my commentary is found below each feature in normal text.
I give you the Transmutation Wizard revised!
Level 2 – Transmutation Savant [Unchanged]
Beginning when you select this school at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a transmutation spell into your spellbook is halved.
Each PHB Wizard Arcane Tradition has a ‘Savant’ ability for learning spells of their specialized school of magic. No need to change this.
Level 2 – Minor Alchemy [Reworked]
Starting at 2nd level when you select this school, you can temporarily alter the physical properties of one nonmagical object, changing it from one substance into another. You may use your action to perform a special alchemical procedure on one object composed entirely of wood, stone (but not a gemstone), iron, copper, or silver, transforming it into a different one of those materials. This transformation lasts for one hour unless you use your action to end it. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Intelligence bonus, and you regain your expended uses when you complete a long rest.
Additionally, you gain proficiency with alchemist’s supplies. If you already have this proficiency, you gain proficiency with one other type of artisan’s tools of your choice.
You learn the Cure Wounds spell and always have it prepared. It is a Wizard spell for you and you add it to your spellbook, but it is not compatible with Spell Mastery and other Wizards cannot scribe it into their spellbooks.
I added the alchemist supplies that this subclass needed. Sure, the Artificer has its Alchemist subclass, but the Transmutation Wizard was meant to be the OG PHB alchemy specialist. I also opened up the original Minor Alchemy manipulation of physical properties. It can now be used instantaneously, doesn’t require concentration, and has a set number of Minor Alchemy uses before the transmuter must rest.
Cure Wounds is added because it feeds into the Transmuter’s later abilities to heal allies with the Transmuter’s Stone. I enjoy how Cure Wounds is on the Artificer spell list, and I thought it would be enjoyable to add it to the Transmuter. I considered adding more spells learned, but I stuck with this one only because it wouldn’t normally be available to a Wizard. I disqualify it from being used with Spell Mastery at level eighteen as a Wizard (unlimited healing seems like too much).
Level 6 – Transmuter’s Stone [Reworked]
Starting at 6th level, you can spend 1 hour creating a transmuter’s stone that stores transmutation magic when you complete a long rest or during the long rest. When you create the stone, choose a number of benefits equal to your Proficiency Bonus (minimum one) from the following options:
- Darkvision out to a range of 60 feet.
- Movement speed 10-foot increase while the creature is unencumbered.
- Proficiency in Constitution saving throws.
- Resistance to acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage (your choice whenever you choose this benefit). You may choose this benefit more than once to gain multiple resistances.
- Water breathing.
- A 100% increase or 50% decrease to body hair.
- Altered skin colors and patterns, such as to resemble a tattoo. This can also apply to scales, furs, and other body coverings.
- Slightly deepened or heightened voice tone.
- Altered body hair color.
- Enhanced sense of smell for +1 to Perception checks that rely on smell.
- Remove the need to wear glasses or otherwise aid vision.
- Improved reflexes for +1 to Initiative checks.
- Altered eye color.
- Power a prosthetic limb.
- Facial beauty as if always wearing makeup, granting +1 to Persuasion checks.
- Grow or shrink one foot in height.
- Conceal all body blemishes, such as warts, scars, moles, or birthmarks.
- Smell like fragrant perfume or cologne.
- Stink like disgusting body odor and poor hygiene.
- Smell like nothing (you don’t produce smells).
- Inability to feel physical pain. Great for medical procedures!
You can benefit from the stone yourself or give it to another willing creature. You gain all the selected benefits your stone is imbued with when you hold it. Another creature holding your stone will only receive one of the imbued benefits (your choice).
Each time you cast a transmutation spell of 1st level or higher, you can change one beneficial effect of your stone if the stone is on your person. If you create a new transmuter’s stone, the previous one ceases to function.
If a creature holds your Transmuter’s Stone when it shapeshifts into a different creature (such as by the Polymorph spell), and the carried Transmuter’s Stone merges with the new form, the creature retains the ability to audibly speak languages known in its normal form (even if the form lacks mouth, tongue, teeth, lungs, etc.), and it may retain its mental stats (Int, Wis, Cha). The Transmuter Stone’s holder can gain the stone’s benefits as normal while the stone is merged into the new form as if the creature were carrying the stone.
Holding the Transmuter’s Stone can also help a mute creature, whose race would normally be able to speak, to speak.
My main goals with the Transmuter’s Stone were to expand its options without adding anything game-breaking, allow more benefits at once, and add scalability. I added fifteen new benefits, most of which allow for cosmetic character changes. You can choose several benefits equal to your Proficiency Bonus to no longer limit yourself to one choice. The owner of the Transmuter’s Stone gets more utility out of it than someone else. This change makes the Transmuter far more interesting at low levels. I added the last part about being able to speak when transformed because it sounds fun.
Since Polymorph will likely be used, I wanted the Transmuter’s Stone to benefit the transformed character. Maintaining the ability to communicate is surprisingly useful. This makes the Transmuter better at transmutation magic, as it should be.
Level 10 – Shapechanger [Removed]
I got rid of Shapechanger to replace it with a completely new Arcane Tradition feature because Shapechanger is an impractical waste of space. I described why Shapechanger is bad in my Wizard subclass ratings article. Here’s what I wrote about Shapechanger in my article:
“The Shapechanger ability troubles me. If you’re playing a Transmuter, you’ll probably choose Polymorph for your spellbook three levels sooner at level seven. There’s no need to wait until level ten when Polymorph’s power level begins declining. It’s mildly cool to get what is essentially a free Wild Shape since beasts offer unique utility options. The only time this feature is acceptable is if you’re starting a campaign at level ten or higher, so you don’t care about the timing of learning Polymorph.”
Level 10 – Residual Recycling [New]
Beginning at 10th level, casting transmutation spells comes so easily to you that you can harness and repurpose the excess arcane energy. When you cast a Wizard transmutation spell of 2nd level or higher using a spell slot, you regain one expended spell slot. The slot you regain must be at least one level lower than the spell you cast and can’t be higher than 3rd level.
This might sound familiar because it’s an altered version of the Divination Wizard’s Expert Divination feature. Expert Divination is actually a pretty horrible feature for diviners, but it’s on-brand and fun for a transmuter. Residual Recycling allows a crafty transmuter to freely cast several transmutation spells without worrying about burning through precious spell slots.
There are far more transmutation spells than divination spells. Transmuters won’t struggle to utilize this feature (a problem I’ve pointed out with the Divination Wizard). Some transmutation spells can be cast as rituals. A spell cast as a ritual will not trigger Residual Recycling because a spell slot was not used to cast it. Due to the nature of Transmutation spells, I limited this ability to spell slots of 3rd level or lower. This is for balance reasons, particularly for spells like Polymorph which are extremely useful and powerful. I also limited this to Wizard spells.
Level 14 – Master Transmuter [Reworked]
Starting at 14th level, you can use your action to consume the reserve of transmutation magic stored within your Transmuter’s Stone in a single burst. When you do so, choose one of the following effects. Your Transmuter’s Stone is destroyed and can’t be remade until you finish a long rest.
- Major Transformation. You can transmute one nonmagical object—no larger than a 10-foot cube—into another nonmagical object of similar size and mass and equal or lesser value. You must spend 10 minutes handling the object to transform it.
- Panacea. You remove all curses, diseases, and poisons affecting a creature you touch with the transmuter’s stone. The creature also regains all its hit points and loses one level of Exhaustion.
- Restore Life. You cast the raise dead spell on a creature you touch with the Transmuter’s Stone without expending a spell slot or needing to have the spell in your spellbook.
- Restore Youth. You touch the Transmuter’s Stone to a willing creature, and that creature’s apparent age is reduced by 3d10 years, to a minimum of 13 years. When you use this effect on a creature other than yourself, it doesn’t extend the creature’s lifespan.
- Pure Transmutation. Cast a transmutation spell of 5th level or lower. It does not need to be from the Wizard spell list, and it does not need to be a spell from your spellbook.
- Diminutivity. You touch the Transmuter’s Stone to a willing medium or small creature. The creature’s size becomes tiny for eight hours, or until either you or the creature wills the effect to end.
The Master Transmuter feature is already a unique, useful ability. I slightly tweaked its effects by increasing Major Transformation’s size limitation and adding Exhaustion relief to Panacea. I made Pure Transmutation the main addition for greater flexibility to cast a transmutation spell in an unexpected moment of need. It’s like a weaker, specialized Wish spell.
I added the ability to become tiny because it sounds like something crafty players would enjoy. I chose only to shrink because there are already hijinks with the new Rune Knight Fighter increasing its size and then getting an Enlarge/Reduce spell to grow even larger.
Someone commented on YouTube that they used this subclass revision for a year. They have been much happier with the revision than the PHB version. The feedback I received made a good case to allow the Transmutation Wizard’s Restore Youth option to actually make the Wizard younger. It made sense to me, so I allowed it in the design change.
What Do You Think?
This version of the Transmutation Wizard leans further into transmuter specialties: transformations, alterations, tinkering, and more. The Wizard is a most powerful class that deserves fun options like my expanded Transmuter’s Stone. This feels much more like an alchemical manipulator of flesh and elements I envision for D&D 5e transmuters. I hope my revision of the transmuter is more than the PHB version.
Tell me what you think of it, please! I may alter my version based on your feedback. I’d like to hear about any other revisions you’ve homebrewed or discovered to the Transmutation Wizard. Cast ‘Speak with Flutes’ in the comments section at the bottom of this page to discuss the transmuter’s new form (perhaps its final form)!
Before you go, enjoy more of our articles about Wizards. Have a lovely day.