Muscle Wizard

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mother of god


– Bulk Bogan, famous muscle wizard

Wizards use Intelligence. Sorcerers use Charisma. Clerics use Wisdom. What about spellcasting based around other stats, like Constitution or Dexterity? How might they work?

What a horrible idea. Let's do it.


With 3rd Edition Psions, you could choose a stat to be your primary attribute. So, pick constitution, and be a metabolism psion. Pick Strength, and be FLEX MENTALLO, MUSCLE MAN OF MYSTERY


The Enlightened Fist Prestige Class in Complete Arcane is a dual progression class for Monk and Wizard. It sadly is pretty shit, retaining the Monk's poor BAB and only getting 8/10 levels of casting while being MAD as hell. The MAD can be alleviated with the The Carmendine Monk feat from Champions of Valor or the functionally identical Kung Fu Genius feat in Dragon Magazine Compendium which replace a monk's Wisdom dependency with Intelligence dependency. This turns it into an acceptable but not great shapeshifter focused character, and it's sub-optimal to have muscles, since polymorph spells overwrite your strength score instead of boosting it.

Lost Tradition[edit]

Probably the simplest solution is a 3rd party feat from Bastards and Bloodlines:

     Lost Tradition
     You are descended from a group of spellcasters who had very different ways of mastering magic, and you follow in their tradition.
     Prerequisite: Must be taken at 1st-level
     Benefits: Choose one spellcasting class. You may change which ability score governs spellcasting with that class. That ability cannot be changed again.
     For example, Elric is a Talrik cleric. He takes the Lost Tradition feat and chooses to base his clerical spellcasting on Charisma instead of Wisdom. He now uses
     his Charisma score to determine his bonus spells, spell save DCs, maximum spell level he may cast, and any other calculation regarding his cleric spells.
     Special: You can take this feat only at 1st level.

Take a level 1 wizard. Take Lost Tradition. Pick Strength as your casting Ability.

You are now Muscle Wizard.

Mic drop.

Cancer Mage[edit]

Like many bad ideas, we'll start with the Book of Vile Darkness.

There's a Prestige Class called Cancer Mage. The first level ability allows you to ignore any negative effects of a disease. In the same book there's a disease called Festering Anger, which makes your dick fall off and gives you 'roid rage, but grants a +2 to Strength, with an additional +2 per day. You don't even need Cancer Mage to break it if you can somehow heal the ability damage (easy for a Cleric or other divine caster, less easy for a Wizard).

Crafters can have anything they can make within their skill and wealth made before the game started; let the Cancer Mage contract this disease years before the game.


The Illumian's Aesh and Krau sigils can be taken for Aeshkrau. This gives them +1 caster level, to a maximum of your character level, and lets them use your Strength for bonus spells. Since every other part of casting still depends on intelligence, this is only worth using if paired with infinite strength (like with Festering Anger).

How Do I Do This Without Breaking the Game, Though?[edit]

Glad you asked. There's ways.

In 3.0/3.5, focus on a conventional Wizard or Sorcerer, grab a bunch of self-buffs, Tenser's Transformation, and let the hunt begin. Your only ranged offense should be Bigby's Hand Spells. Because fists.

What buff spells are in the arcane lists, though? All I see are Heroism (Wiz 3), Transformation (Wiz 6), Iron Body (Wiz 8) and Shapechange (Wiz 9). Transformation kills your spellcasting, and Iron Body hits you with 50% spell failure, so it's unlikely you can have both of those. The spells in 3.x dropped the names of Gygax's friends, so the Bigby's Hand spells are just named Interposing Hand (Wiz 5), Forceful Hand (Wiz 6), Grasping Hand (Wiz 7), Clenched Fist (Wiz 8), and Crushing Hand (Wiz 9).
In no order: Blur, True Strike, Displacement, Greater Invisibility, Haste, Stoneskin, True Seeing, Fly, Enlarge Person, Bull's Strength, et al. Buffing before a fight is a time-honored wizard practice. You have lots of them, as well as all the best crafting feats so it's not like giving yourself a hilariously overpowered magic dagger or providing yourself with the doses of Kharn Mode Potion will prove difficult. Just be ready with something to ward off the inevitable dispel magic attempt.


Though it has since been errataed, Pathfinder racial archetype "Scarred Witch Doctor" used to make for the true muscle wizard- or better, muscle witch, since it is an archetype for that class, and available only to orcs. Basically it solves the problem of orcs having -2 to all of the mental stats by replacing Int with Con for everything that it is casting-related. That's right, you cast with the same stat that gives you hp and fortitude save, and you still have also a racial +4 to strength, so go CAST FIST. It is unclear if this archetype is available to half-orcs, since they get everything normal humans get in terms of classes, so logic dictates they should also have their other half's race toys. But now you have a perfectly legit Muscle Wizard, and a freakin' orc with a voodoo feeling at that. 'Nuff said. Unfortunately, the Advanced Class Guide's errata negates this, instead replacing the changed casting stat with a +2 to Int.

Or, of course, you can just take the Alchemist class and have all your build based around strength-enhancing mutagens. However, while being technically a spellcaster who solves problems with your mighty fists, you won't get to cast them since alchemists don't cast at all. Rather, they drink distilled magic in the form of extracts, which otherwise work as wizard's spells, getting even Vancian Casting - well, vancian brewing, and are mostly augment spells. Take the grenadier archetype, and infuse your fists with bombs. Technically no "cast fist," but still Enlarge Person and then they are already dead.

To literally cast using your fists, play the Esoteric Magus archetype, which essentially takes Monk-style punching and Ki pool and slaps it onto the Magus. Weaker than a regular Magus, true, but you can punch people with Shocking Grasp while your fists are magically on fire for tons of damage and lulz.

Or, play a human Oracle with the Dark Tapestry Mystery and the Black Blood Curse, you'll cast from charisma rather than fist but if you're a human you can take a racial trait that gives you 3 Skill Focus feats(at 1st, 8th, and 16th lvl) in exchange for your first level bonus feat. Take Skill Focus Diplomacy at first level this gives you access to the Eldritch Heritage feat chains for the Pit-touched and Serpentine Sorcerer bloodlines one of which gives you a poisoned bite attack based on constitution and the other gives you an Inherent +6 to constitution. Your Skill Focus Knowledge Planes at 8th level gives you access to the Eldritch Heritage feat chain for the Abyssal Sorcerer Bloodline, giving you two claw attacks and more importantly a +6 Inherent Bonus to strength. Your curse makes you nearly immune to disease, poison, and negative energy and completely immune to cold. Your Mystery gives you Shapechange(all polymorphs up to Form of the Dragon 3 at will for 3 hours), immunity to acid, immunity critical hits and sneak attacks, and DR5/-. And if you take Divine Protection(Cthulhu is my copilot) and Dual Cursed as an archetype you use your charisma bonus for all saves and can reroll any failures on any d20 once a day. Now you have Str 44, a DC 38 poisoned bite, 403dpr from 9 natural attacks with the right spells on you, 324hp, and full caster levels. So go CAST TENTACLE you cheese eating faggot of a munchkin.

Fighter has received alternate Weapon Training abilities. They can now use the Item Mastery weapon training to cast spells through their magic weapon, though they are limited to one school per feat choice. This can be circumvented, however, with the Barroom Brawler feat, which lets you gain any combat feat you want (spontaneously). Item Mastery is not a combat feat, but Advanced Weapon Training (Item Mastery) is (and it bypasses the requirement that the item enchantment must be tangentially related to the spell school). Barroom Brawler only applies once per day, but you can use the Abundant Tactics weapon training to use it more times per day. You can use the Warrior's Spirit weapon training to give your weapon any specific enchantment, which will open up the Item Mastery options to 'any of them.' This means you can (1) hold literally anything (as an improvised weapon), (2) enchant it, and (3) cast a spell through its magic. Very late in the system's life Paizo finally realized making monks pay a premium for magic weapons was retarded and introduced enchantable handwraps which allows you to skip that last step.


4e's Forgotten Realms introduced the Swordmage, a base-level fighting wizard who uses Strength, but for true Muscle Wizardry, give him (or her) a set of Spiked Gauntlets, which are classed as Light Blade (and thusly work for swordmage spells, just like khopeshes, scythes, bladed shields and a bunch of other funky stuff) even though they obviously revolve around punching people in the face. Now you too can punch an orc in the face and then detonate the fireball that your punch created inside his head!


4e's Neverwinter Campaign Setting introduced the Bladesinger. While designed to be used with Intelligence and some Dexterity it works just about as well with Strength and Dexterity while having the secondary benefit of not redundantly contributing to your Reflex defense. Just pick Encounter-As-Daily powers that do half-damage on a miss.

With Tasha's cauldron of everything, 5e can now use the Bladesinger Wizard (or a feat to get any Martial weapon, but that requires variant Human or level 8) to become a Muscle Wizard. Presuming the Bladesinger is used, and taking a Martial Melee weapon, at level 4, take the Fighting initiate feat, taking the Unarmed fighting Fighting style. This gives a d8 to damage, presuming no weapon or shield is used. With a proper race (Mountain Dwarves are the best, but Firbolg, Earth Genasi, Goliath, Leonin, Minotaur, Beasthide or Longtooth Shifters, Simic Hybrids, Ziriel Tieflings, or Tritons can be used), a high CON and STR but a lower INT can be obtained, resulting in a character with an incredibly high AC (20, or 21 if DEX is 12), if Shield is used, with three 1d8+3 attacks per turn at level 6, if Haste is used. For style points make it a Scottish Kilt dance.

Genasi Elemental Escalation Wizard[edit]

The Elemental Escalation feat, when used on a Genasi Wizard, allows you to add your Strength modifier to damage whenever you hit with an elemental power. This is one of the more effective ways to make a Blaster Wizard in 4e.

How To Use Your Muscle[edit]

  • Take the "Improved Grappling" feat, for hundreds of lethal and nonlethal damage per round without provoking attacks of opportunity. For bonus grappling, take an Octopus familiar. Either that or any of the other familiars that give +2 to your grapple rolls, just for that extra little fuck you to your opponents.
  • There's a feat that lets you intimidate creatures with low-to-no intelligence, and a feat that lets you add your Str bonus to Intimidate. So one might easily wrestle a Tarrasque non-lethally to 0HP, and then punch it until it gives you a piggyback ride.

Muscle Wizardry in Last Stand[edit]

An entire segment could be written about how to run a Muscle Wizard in Dawn of War 2's Last Stand mode. Almost all of them, fittingly, are for the Chaos Sorcerer, who's quite manly for being a spellcasting wizard-guy. You are urged to check his page out for some ideas on how to do this.

Muscle Wizards in Mage: The Ascension[edit]

Put all the points you can in Strength and Stamina. Presence and Intelligence optional. Take Life as a primary sphere. Take proper foci, e.g. "I cast my spells by FLEXING my muscles" or "I cast my spells by punching stuff". You are now ready. Proceed to enhance speed, dexterity, and your MUSCLE and fight enemies by PUNCHING them. Wrestle werewolves. Wrestle dragons. This isn’t obscure, the Akashic Brotherhood basically are this already. Why are you not playing one yet ?

You can also take Forces for casting fist-shaped forces at a distance, and breathe fire with Life (you know you want to). Prime for enchanting your own body. Entropy for knowing where to punch things. And any other sphere, as long as you use it in a manly way.

You do not need to be all druid-y Verbena for Life... even though there is a Viking house in the Verbena, who does rune-magic. So if you are a verbena, take it. TAKE IT, BY ODIN. Why haven't you taken it yet ?

Alternatively you can go Taftâni, say "FUCK PARADOX", and proceed to immediately go to 20 Paradox and be removed to play in the most outrageous way possible. Though if your ST isn't a dick, he should definitely let you go in a blaze of manly, fiery glory. (Don't forget to tell us your story)

Muscle Wizards in Mutants and Masterminds[edit]

Superman's official stats show you can take alternate effects on your ability scores. As long you remember you can't lift while using them you can use your muscles to provide all kinds of magical effects.