Chronurgy Wizard Guide

Chronurgy Time Wizard Build Guide

I want to make a comprehensive guide to having a Time / Chronurgy Wizard Build in D&D 5e. Many spells and abilities will be reflavored to fit the theme of time manipulation - the spells/abilities will function mechanically exactly as intended, but the explanation for how they work may be altered. I will also be including space manipulation spells because time and space are connected (and also space is awesome). This guide is 100% official 5e content from Wizards of the Coast. Any feedback or additional ideas are greatly appreciated!!

Coloring Legend:

Blue - Time or Space themed, and Powerful

Purple - Time or Space themed, but Weaker

Green - Powerful choice, but not Time or Space themed

Asterisk* - The reflavoring to make spacetime themed is a bit of a stretch

I’m not going to include options that are bad and don’t fit the build’s theme.

Class: 

Wizard (duh)

Ability Scores:

STR: 8 or 10 - dump stat 

DEX: 14+ important for a wizard Armor Class, initiative, and saving throws:

CON: 14+ important for saving throws to maintain concentration

INT: 16+ spellcasting ability and most important stat

WIS: 10 or 12+ not super important, but good for many saving throws, perception skill; need 13 if you want to multi class Cleric or Druid

CHA: 8 or 10 - dump stat, unless you want to multi class Warlock or Sorcerer, then you need 13

Background:

Any Background

Seriously, pick any background. Whatever you think would be fun to roleplay. Level 1 wizards are not experts; you become a master of spacetime manipulation as you adventure through your campaign. So I don’t see why a pirate can’t learn a few spells from plundered books along his journey. (Yes, my time Wizard was the captain of a pirate ship before our adventure.)

Sage

You’ve studied a bit of magic, space, and time. Arcana and History are great skills to have for this build.

Arcane Tradition:

Chronurgy Magic

Literally made for a time wizard build, and also extremely powerful. Most time wizards should choose this. See this arcane tradition’s abilities here: http://dnd5ed.wikidot.com/wizard:chronurgy

Divination

You can reflavor Portent as your Wizard exerting magical influence over space time to pick a favorable future. This would essentially be an alternative version of the Chronurgy tradition’s level 14 ability Convergent Future. However, it is a hard stretch to reflavor Divination’s level 6 and level 10 abilities to fit the theme.

Races:

Variant Human

Take +1 INT and +1 to DEX or CON

See feats below (Lucky if you want time themed)

Gnome

+2 INT and +1 to DEX or CON depending on your subrace? Can’t go wrong there

High Elf

+1 INT and +2 DEX? Awesome

Halfling

The Lucky race trait is like an alternative version of Chronal Shift, the level 6 ability for the Chronurgy Arcane Tradition. However, Halfling doesn’t have an INT bonus, so that will be subpar.

Feats:

Lucky

I like to call this “Chronal Shift (Self)”. Lucky and Chronal Shift are nearly the same ability, except lucky can only be used on yourself (or enemies making attack rolls against you) and it doesn’t require any sort of action/reaction. To reflavor Lucky for time, just think of it as an alternative personal Chronal Shift. Your GM might hate you, but I’ll still love you.

War Caster

Even CON score? Take War Caster to pass your concentration saving throws. Plan on picking up a shield or having your hands full? War Caster is the way to go.

Resilient

Odd CON score? Take Resilient with the CON increase and proficiency to pass your concentration saving throws. Your GM is cool and doesn’t enforce the rules of casting spells with somatic components? Then Resilient is probably better than War Caster even if you have an even CON.

To help decide between War Caster and Resilient, check out this excellent comparison guide: https://www.google.com/amp/s/thinkdm.org/2019/12/14/war-caster-vs-resilient/amp/

Keen Mind

You always know what time it is. Certainly seems fitting. Generally considered one of the less-useful feats that can raise your INT by 1 though.

UA: Metamagic Adept

This is an Unearthed Arcana feat, so it is playtest material from Wizards of the Coast, but hasn’t been officially released yet. Gain 2 sorcery points to use on metamagic abilities. Learn Extended Spell, which allows you to considerably increase the duration of many spells. Learn Quickened Spell, which allows you to speed up the casting of a spell, such that a spell that normally costs an action only costs a bonus action. Both of these abilities manipulate how the spells are affected by time, so they make sense for this build. However, this isn’t particularly powerful since you only get 2 sorcery points for an entire day of adventuring.

Multi-classing:

Pure Wizard

I personally like for this build to have access to your higher level spells as soon as possible. Multiclassing into anything will delay when you are able to cast higher level spell, which is a major trade-off. However, I’m not a huge fan of the Wizard’s level 20 ability, so I think any of the multi classes below are good for character levels 19 and 20.

Wizard X / Sorcerer 3

At Sorcerer level 3 you gain metamagic abilities. As explained above for the Metamagic Adept feat, learn Extended Spell and Quickened Spell so that you can manipulate how your spells are affected by time. If you do this multiclass, you would only have 3 sorcery points, so I would recommend also taking the Metamagic Adept feat to gain an additional 2 sorcery points. This multiclass may be difficult because it requires you to have 13 CHA, which is often a wizard dump stat.

Artificer 1 / Wizard X

You could potentially flavor this build for time if your artificer builds watches. Nonetheless, starting the game with one level in Artificer before wizard provides substantial bonuses. Primarily, you have proficiency in CON saving throws, and therefore have no need to take the Resilient feat. You also have proficiency with armors and a shield!

Wizard X / Cleric 1

If you have 13 WIS, taking one level in Cleric can give armor+shield proficiencies for higher AC and some fun bonuses.

Wizard X / Fighter 2

Action Surge can easily be reflavored as manipulating time (perhaps extending time for yourself to do extra actions). Certainly not optimal though and you’ll have to wait to access your new spells. You will gain some armor proficiency and extra HP though. If you’re patient and do Wizard 18, and then your last 2 levels in Fighter, then this is actually quite a strong option. I think the armor/shield proficiencies you gain with one level and Action Surge with your second level are comparable in strength to what you get with your final 2 wizard levels.

Wizard X / Warlock 2

The Repelling Blast Invocation lets you push a creature back 10 ft when you hit it with an Eldritch Blast. Using the force like this can be flavored as space manipulation. It’s a cantrip so use it often. This is a tough multi class though because you’ll need 13 charisma, which is usually a dump stat for wizards.

Cantrips:

Ray of Frost

Enemies hit with this are slowed down 10ft. It’s essentially a slow ray - perfect for a time wizard. You’re not a true time wizard if you take firebolt over this.

Mage Hand

This is the gold standard for low level telekinesis, aka space manipulation.

Mending*

You can reflavor repairs made with mending as you returning the object to an earlier state in time before it was broken. Useful, but not amazing in my opinion.

1st Level Spells:

Shield*

Manipulate space to make a force shield. Or maybe slow time to dodge the incoming attack? I’m sure you can find a satisfying way to flavor this as spacetime. This is a great combat spells - always prepare it.

Unseen Servant

This is easily telekinesis, or space manipulation. Don’t prepare it, but happily cast it as a ritual.

Gift of Alacrity

Allow an ally to perceive time as slower, so they can go earlier in battle. Probably not worth preparing at low levels, but can be excellent at higher levels when you have more preparation slots.

Expeditious Retreat

You speed up time for yourself, but since you’re an inexperienced time wizard you can only do it while you’re only walking/running. Requires concentration, not a very good buff.

Feather Fall*

Slow down time for yourself and allies when falling. Very situational.

Longstrider*

Speed up time for one ally, but since you’re an inexperienced wizard it only works while they’re walking/running.

2nd Level Spells:

Levitate

Basically a form of telekinesis, or space manipulation. Float yourself to get away from melee attackers. Float a melee attacker to remove them from battle. Float an ally to get them to an interesting location.

Misty Step

I’m not an expert on the Theory of Special Relativity, but I would argue that traveling any distance in exactly no time is a form of time travel. If you don’t buy that, then you can reflavor teleportation as pausing time for a few seconds, and then unpausing it after you’ve walked to a new location. As a bonus action, this is a great maneuverability spell.

Hold Person

Freeze a humanoid in time so that they can’t do anything. This is like an alternative version of the Chronurgy Tradition’s Level 6 ability Momentary Stasis. However, it’s not very good because it requires concentration and can only be used on a humanoid.

Fortune’s Favor

Essentially give an ally time rewind like Chronal Shift. Because of the 100gp material cost, this spell is not recommended until higher levels.

Gentle Repose*

Freeze a corpse in time so it doesn’t decay or age. Usually not worth a preparation.

3rd Level Spells:

Slow

An essential spell for any time wizard. Slowing down enemy creatures in time, lovely. A great crowd control spell.

Haste

Speed time for an ally. A solid buff for one ally.

Counterspell*

Remove the spell right out of spacetime? Use time manipulation to undo the spell cast? However you want to theme it, this spell is amazing.

Blink*

Reflavor your time in the ethereal plane as you time traveling to the future - the future being the point in time when you return from the ethereal plane.

Pulse Wave

Pushing or pulling enemies with telekinesis is nice space manipulation. Notably worse than fireball in terms of damage, range, and area of effect. However I could see some creative uses where you push an enemy off a cliff, or pull them into a Web or Grease spell. You must use some big brain tactics to justify taking this spell instead of fireball. Luckily you’re a wizard with 18 Intelligence.

Thunderstep

Same as Misty Step. Teleportation is definitely spacetime manipulation.

4th Level Spells:

Banishment*

Remove a creature straight out of spacetime, or have them time travel to the future if they manage to return from the other dimension.

Dimension Door

Again, teleportation is time travel.

5th Level Spells:

Temporal Shunt

As a reaction, force an enemy to time travel to the future and stop them from taking their turn. Awesome. Like an upgraded Counterspell.

Wall of Force

Manipulate space to create a wall of force. Great spell to incapacitate an enemy without giving them a saving throw.

Hold Monster

Freeze an enemy creature in time. Basically a more powerful version of Momentary Stasis. However, it’s not nearly as powerful as other 5th and even some 3rd level spells.

Telekinesis

This is also basically a form of telekinesis… oh wait, literally telekinesis (space manipulation). I don’t think it’s very powerful though.

Teleportation Circle

Same as the other teleportation spells. Can’t use in combat.

6th Level Spells:

Disintegrate*

Age an object or creature’s body far into the future, until the point that their body turns into dust.

Globe of Invulnerability*

Freeze any weaker level spell in time, or zap them out of spacetime.

Arcane Gate

I think you get the teleportation explanation by now. Not bad, but you have stronger 6th level options.

7th Level Spells:

Forcecage

Manipulate space to create a wall of force. Win a battle on turn 1 without concentration.

Teleport

Teleport... Escape a losing fight if needed.

Regenerate*

Send just a creature’s body back in time to a point before it took a bunch of damage or got its limb chopped off. The lingering healing can keep the creature up and fighting throughout a battle. Cool.

Plane Shift

Teleport to a different space dimension. Useful if you need to travel there. Not great otherwise.

Resurrection*

Send a dead body back in time to a point when it was alive. Sweet. This spell is obviously situational, but great when you need it.

8th Level Spells:

Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting

Rapidly age some creatures and plants. Fine spell, but there are stronger 8th level options.

Demiplane

Another teleport to a different dimension, except this one can be used to trap some creatures forever.

Power Word Stun

Freeze a creature in time. Upgraded version of Momentary Statis, but not as good as Forcecage since the creature will get a saving throw every round.

Reality Break

Shatter the fabric of reality and time. An interesting and fun spell, but not good for 8th level.

9th Level Spell:

Time Stop

Stop the flow of time all around you while you are free to act. The perfect spell for a time wizard.

Foresight

Ah yes, seeing the future for 8 hours and getting advantage on everything. Incredible buff.

Wish

Is Wish a time spell? Absolutely. According to the spell description, you can “undo a single recent event by forcing a reroll of any roll made within the last round (including your last turn). Reality reshapes itself to accommodate the new result. For example, a wish spell could undo an opponent's successful save, a foe's critical hit, or a friend's failed save. You can force the reroll to be made with advantage or disadvantage, and you can choose whether to use the reroll or the original roll.” You can literally go back and change the past. Obviously, Wish has numerous other incredible uses as well.

Time Ravage

Oof. Rapidly aging a creature sounds awesome, but this is quite weak for 9th level spells.

Recommended Time Wizard Build:

In combat, this build will focus on battlefield control, buffing allies, and debuffing enemies. You will need to rely on your allies to do almost all damage, but that should be easy for them as you cripple enemy abilities.

Level 0:

Choose Variant Human race and Wizard class.

Using the Standard Array for Ability Scores:

STR: 8

DEX: 13 + 1 (race bonus) = 14

CON: 14

INT: 15 + 1 (race bonus) = 16

WIS: 12

CHA: 10

For your free feat take Lucky, aka Chronal Shift (Self). This can help in numerous ways.

Take Arcana and History as your class skills.

Choose Sage background and take Perception and Investigation as your skills (which you can do because you already learned the Sage’s default skills).

Level 1:

Cantrips Learned: 

Slow Ray (of Frost) - the perfect time wizard damage cantrip

Mage Hand - telekinesis

Minor Illusion - amazing trickery and some combat utility

Level 1 Spells Learned: 

Shield* - incredible for avoiding attack roll damage; you will learn Mage Armor next level, but you only need one of these AC buffing spells at level 1

Sleep - probably the most powerful combat spell for wizards at level 1 and 2; 5d8 of hit points knocked out may easily win an entire fight; however, this is a weak spell at higher levels

Magic Missile - doesn’t miss; solid damage at low levels

Find Familiar - being able to control a small animal companion of your choice is absolutely amazing; only cast as a ritual

Detect Magic - great utility for obvious reasons; only cast as a ritual

Your Choice - I’d recommend getting another ritual spell so you can use it without having to prepare it at later levels; Alarm is a good option for taking rests, and Unseen Servant is a good option if you want extra space manipulation with telekinesis

Spells Prepared:

With Wizard level 1 and +3 INT, you can prepare 4 spells.

Take the three standard spells, and one of the rituals. Cast the other 2 rituals as rituals when needed.

Level 2:

At level 2, you pick your Arcane Tradition. I hope this choice is obvious:

Chronurgy Magic

As soon as you take Chronurgy Magic, you’ll learn Chronal Shift. Delicious. Use your ability to rewind time in order to win help your teammates survive their saving throws, or have an enemy fail their saving throw.

Level 1 Spells Learned:

Mage Armor - with 14 DEX this will give you 15 AC; pretty necessary unless you have medium armor proficiency from somewhere else (which you won’t if you follow this build exactly)

Absorb Elements - as a reaction, reduce the damage you take from many attacks

Prepared Spells:

Now you can prepare 5.

1st Level - Shield, Sleep, Mage Armor, Absorb Elements, and Magic Missile

Cast the ritual spells as rituals.

Level 3:

Level 2 Spells Learned:

Misty Step - a wonderful spacetime themed spell that can get you out of a sticky situation in combat as a bonus action!

Web - the best battlefield control spell at this level; use it to severely hinder and divide a group of enemies while your team slices them up

Prepared spells:

6 preparation slots

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, Absorb Elements, and Your Choice spell

2nd Level - Misty Step and Web

Level 4:

As Shakespeare put it, “To feat or not to feat, that is the question.” In this case, I’d say no. While you will eventually need War Caster or Resilient to help win your concentration saving throws, you already have Chronal Shift and the Lucky feat to improve your odds. Use the Shield spell and smart positioning to avoid being hit in the first place and you should have no issues.

Take +2 INT ability score improvement.

With 18 INT you can prepare one more spell than otherwise, your attacks hit more often, and enemies have a tougher time passing their saving throws.

Cantrip Learned:

Your Choice - I like taking Prestidigitation if you want more roleplaying utility and trickery, and Sapping Sting if you want another combat option. Reflavored Mending is also nice if you want to focus on the time theme.

Level 2 Spells Learned:

Suggestion or Levitate - both can be used with concentration to remove one enemy of a certain type from battle. Suggestion can utterly remove humanoids that understand you from battle by making them run to a far-away place. Levitate can remove a melee attacker from battle by hoisting them into the air, out of their attacking reach. Levitate can also be used to lift yourself or an ally into the air, which may be useful in and out of combat. Levitation is a form of telekinesis and first the theme of spacetime better. However, I’d personally take Suggestion because of how powerful it is for roleplaying and talking with quest NPCs. Don’t take both because they are both concentration spells.

Mirror Image or Blindness/Deafness - it is important to have combat spells that do not use concentration so that you have something else to do while holding your concentration. Take Mirror Image if you want another defensive option. Take Blindness/Deafness if you want an offensive option. Mirror Image is the stronger spell overall and especially in the long term, but both can be useful at later levels.

Prepared spells:

8 preparation slots

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, Absorb Elements, and Your Choice spell

2nd Level - all 4 spells you know

Level 5:

Level 3 Spells Learned:

Slow - the perfect Time Wizard spell, and very strong! Use it for battlefield control to debuff several enemies at once

Pulse Wave - okay okay, we’ve gone long enough forcing our team to do all the serious damage…. My favorite use of this attack is to push/pull enemies into my Web (or a teammate’s battlefield control spell) so that they become injured and restrained. If you don’t care about the telekinetic theme, then take Fireball to do superior damage. However, fire is one of the most resisted damage types in the game. So if you’re fighting a lot of fiends or other fire-resistant enemies, then Pulse Wave may do more damage on average.

Note: I suggest taking Counterspell next level, but you can replace either of these spells to get it sooner if you think you’ll need it now

Prepared Spells:

9 preparation slots - Unfortunately, now we have start really cutting things.

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, and Absorb Elements

2nd Level - all 4 spells you know

3rd Level - Slow and Pulse Wave

Level 6:

Momentary Stasis! Now we’ve learned the level 6 Chronurgy ability Momentary Stasis. This essentially freezes one enemy in time for a round if they fail their saving throw. This isn’t super powerful, but is a great option for something to do while you are concentrating on a control spell.

Level 3 Spells Learned:

Counterspell - one of the best spells in the game, you need this spell; also has some nice time manipulation reflavoring

Haste - it’s a really fun and powerful spell; perfectly time-themed; never cast it on yourself, but whatever martial ally you cast it on will love you

Prepared Spells:

10 preparation slots.

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, and Absorb Elements

2nd Level - Web, Misty Step, Your Choice of non-concentration spell

3rd Level - all 4 spells you know

Level 7:

Level 4 Spells Learned:

Dimension Door - Teleport to bail yourself and one ally out of danger

Polymorph - Simply one of the best combat spells at this point in the game; turn an ally into a powerful beast to give them extra HP, or turn an enemy into a pitiful bug while you slay other enemies

Prepared Spells:

11 preparation slots.

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, Absorb Elements

2nd Level - Web, Misty Step, Your Choice of non-concentration spell

3rd Level - Slow, Pulse Wave, Counterspell

4th Level - Dimension Door, Polymorph

Level 8:

Now, take the War Caster feat.

This is will help your succeed on constitution saving throws to maintain your concentration. Additionally, you may have a wand or other weapon/object that you wish to hold in battle now, so War Caster will let you perform the somatic components of spells while your hands are full. Edit: many DMs will probably rule that wands work as spellcasting focuses for wizards.

Level 4 Spells Learned:

Banishment* - Remove an enemy straight out of spacetime

Your Choice - maybe take another damage spell. I would also recommend Arcane Eye or Greater Invisibility for their utility

Prepared Spells:

12 preparation slots.

1st Level - Shield, Mage Armor, Absorb Elements

2nd Level - Misty Step, Your Choice of non-concentration spell

3rd Level - Slow, Pulse Wave, Counterspell

4th Level - all 4 spells you know

Note:

At this point, you are an experienced Time Wizard. You are able to effectively choose spells and know what to prepare. From now on, I will only recommend one or two spells per spell level so that I don’t hinder your personal creativity and ability to shape your character how you want them to be.

Level 9:

Level 5 Spells Learned:

Wall of Force - Manipulate space to create a wall of force; Great spell to incapacitate an enemy without giving them a saving throw

Temporal Shunt - As a reaction, force an enemy to time travel to the future and stop them from taking their turn; awesome and perfect for a Time Wizard

Level 10:

Choose whatever spells you think would be fun!

Your Choice - I like taking Prestidigitation if you want more roleplaying utility and trickery, and Sapping Sting if you want another combat option. Reflavored Mending is also nice if you want to focus on the time theme.

Arcane Abeyance! Now you’ve learned the Chronurgy tradition’s 10th level ability Arcane Abeyance. Give a non-magical ally a Slow or Polymorph spell, and let them cast it in battle and concentrate on it. This is extremely powerful.

Level 11:

Level 6 Spells Learned:

Disintegrate - Scrumptious damage by aging your opponent until they become dust

For the other Level 6 spell, take your choice.

Level 12:

Take an Ability Score Increase of +2 INT to max out your INT to 20. Now you’re a real force to be reckoned with.

Learn whatever spells you want! Maybe some rituals since now that spells you know notably outnumber the spells you can prepare.

Level 13:

Level 7 Spells Learned:

Forcecage - Manipulate space to create a wall of force. Win a battle on turn 1 without concentration

Teleport - A great utility spell that can really save your team in a losing fight

Level 14:

Convergent Future! Somewhat similar to Portent, this 14th level Chronurgy tradition ability let’s you eliminate chance and choose whether a dice roll succeeds or fails. I’d recommend using it to force an opponent to fail their saving throw, have yourself succeed on a saving throw that would seriously debilitate you, or ensure that your Counterspell succeeds. Use it sparingly though, because the point of exhaustion you gain is a serious bummer.

Level 7 Spells Learned:

Simulacrum - Make a duplicate of yourself or another powerful creature. Insanely powerful

Your choice of other spell to learn!

Level 15:

Level 8 Spells Learned:

Reality Break - Not particularly powerful for 8th level spells, but super fun

Learn whatever other spells you want!

Level 16:

You have many solid options for Feats or Ability Score Increases, but none of them will be game-changing.

I’ll personally take the Tough feat, which will give me an immediate notable boost in HP. At level 16, I’ll get 32 additional hit points. By level 20, I will have gained 40 total hit points from this feat. This is nice since I’ll probably be the squishiest party member.

Learn whatever spells you fancy

Level 17:

Finally, 9th level spells. You are truly a god among men now

Level 9 Spells Learned:

Time Stop - This is the culmination of all of your growth and learning as a Time Wizard. You can utterly stop the flow of time for all but yourself

Wish - This spell is iconic and has several different incredibly powerful uses. The use best suited for Time Wizard is the ability to go back and force a reroll of anything that happened during the last round. You unzip time to alter the past.

Level 18:

Learn any spells you want at this point.

You also gain Spell Mastery, which allows you to cast a level 1 spell and a level 2 spell for free all day. I’d take Shield (level 1) and Misty Step (level 2).

Level 19:

Plot Twist! Instead of going to level 19 Wizard, take a level in Fighter.

What you gain: proficiency with Medium Armor and Shields to raise your AC. You’ll also get a small boost in HP for each Fighter level. (With the War Caster feat, you’ll have no problems casting your spells while holding a shield.)

What you lose: A 6th level spell slot and a feat or ASI. 

Now that I’ve learned my Level 9 spells and can cast them, I’m finally comfortable multi-classing. I didn’t want to do if before because I didn’t want to delay access to my higher level spells. However, now I’m fine losing one 6th level spell slot, since I have 7th-9th level spells to cast and arcane recovery.

Level 20:

Now here is the real reason to mutliclass into Fighter with this build.

Take the 2nd level in Fighter, and now you gain Action Surge.

Action Surge for this build is essentially a short Time Stop. Flavor this as stopping time or extending time for yourself, so that you can do an additional action on your turn. Cast two full one-action cost spells. You can use this once per short or long rest. This is quite useful for a Time Wizard.

You will lose out on a 7th level spell slot and Spell Mastery. However, I find Spell Mastery a bit underwhelming for the wizard’s 20th level ability. So this is a sacrifice I’m willing to make for another powerful time ability.

Congratulations!

You are now the ultimate master of time! Now go out and save the multiverse!

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