Wizard spells common to 1e, 3e SRD, and 5e SRD – and those missing from the 5e SRD

If you take the common rules of 1e, 3e, and 5e, you get a sort of D&D bouillon cube that is more “pure D&D” than any particular edition (while they’re both charming, 2e is too similar to contribute much and 4e is too different to fit). Let’s take the list of wizard spells that appear in 1e, the free 3e System Resource Document, and the new 5e SRD that was just released yesterday. These are the spells that basically every D&D player is familiar with. With these in your spellbook, you can jump into anyone’s pickup game. This is also a good list of spells to populate NPC wizards’ spellbooks in the edition-neutral adventure you’re writing. I’m declaring these spells timeless classics. After this list, I’ll mention the 15 5e wizard spells that didn’t make it to the 5e SRD (#4 will shock you!!)

I’m not tackling cleric or druid spell lists because, since they only had 7 spell levels in 1e, they changed too much from edition to edition. Wizard spell lists, on the other hand, have stayed remarkably constant. It’s amazing how many common spells there are on this list.

Spell Level 1 (and Cantrips)
Burning Hands
Charm Person
Comprehend Languages
Dancing Lights (cantrip in 3/5e, since no one ever wanted to burn a spell slot on this in 1e)
Detect Magic (cantrip in 3e)
Enlarge/Reduce (level 1 in 1e, 2 in 3e/5e)
Feather Fall
Magic Missile
Nystul’s/Arcanist’s Magic Aura (1 in 1/3e, 2 in 5e – only NPCs will ever cast this anyway)
Protection from Evil/Good
Shocking Grasp (cantrip in 5e)
(Tenser’s) Floating Disk
Unseen Servant
Spider Climb (1 in 1e, 2 in 3/5e)

Spell Level 2
Wizard/Arcane Lock
Continual Light/Flame
Detect/See Invisible
ESP/Detect Thoughts (name changed as part of 3e’s war on sci-fi elements)
Locate/Obscure Object
Magic Mouth
Mirror Image
Ray of Enfeeblement (2 in 1e/5e, 1 in 3e)
Rope Trick
Shatter (can you believe this made it to timeless classic status?)
Stinking Cloud (2 in 2e, 3 in 3/5e)

Spell Level 3
Dispel Magic
Explosive Runes (in 5e it’s folded in Glyph of Warding)
Hold Person (2 in 1/3e, 3 in 5e)
(Leomund’s) Tiny Hut
Lightning Bolt
Protection from Evil/Magic Circle
Suggestion (3 in 1e/3e, 2 in 5e)
Water Breathing

Spell Level 4
Wizard/Arcane Eye
Fear (level 4 in 1e/3e, 3 in 5e)
Fire Trap (folded into Glyph of Warding in 5e)
Fire Shield
Dimension Door,
Hallucinatory Terrain
Ice Storm
Remove/Bestow Curse (4 in 1e, 3 in 3/5e)
Wall of Fire
Wall of Ice (level jacked way up to 6 in 5e for some reason)

Spell Level 5
Animate Dead (5 in 1e, 4 in 3e, 3 in 5e)
Bigby’s Interposing Hand/Arcane Hand (in 5e, this encompasses all other Bigby’s Hand spells)
Cone of Cold,
Contact Other Plane
Hold Monster
(Leomund’s) Secret Chest (5 in 1/3e, 4 in 5e)
Magic Jar (5 in 1.3e, 5 in 6e)
(Mordenkainen’s) Faithful Hound (5 in 1/3e, 4 in 5e)
Stone Shape (5 in 1e, 4 in 3/5e)
Teleport (level moved way up to 7 in 5e – no more free rides)
Wall of Force
Wall of Stone

Spell Level 6
Antimagic Shell/Field (level moved way up to 8 in 5e – no more gimmick dungeons)
Geas (6 in 1/3e, 5 in 5e)
Globe of invulnerability
Legend Lore (6 in 1e/3e, 5 in 5e)
Lower/Part/Control Water (6 in 1e, 4 in 3e/5e)
Move Earth
(Otiluke’s) Freezing Sphere
Stone to Flesh/Flesh to Stone
Control Weather (6 in 1e, 7 in 3e, 8 in 5e – planning your wedding gets harder and harder)
Project Image (6 in 1e, 7 in 3e/5e)

Spell Level 7
Delayed Blast Fireball
(Drawmij’s) Instant Summons (7 in 1/3e, 6 in 5e)
Mordenkainen’s/Arcane Sword
Reverse Gravity
Power Word Stun (7 in 1e, 8 in 3/5e)

Spell Level 8
Incendiary Cloud
Mind Blank
(Otto’s) Irresistible Dance (8 in 1/3e, 6 in 5e)
Polymorph Any Object/True Polymorph (8 in 1/3e, 9 in 5e)

Spell Level 9
Astral Spell/Projection
Meteor Swarm
Power Word Kill
Prismatic Sphere/Wall
Time stop

Now let’s talk about the spells that didn’t make it into the SRD. The following wizard spells are in the 5e PHB but not the 5e SRD.

Blade Ward
Fire Bolt
Poison Spray

Spell Level 1
Chromatic Orb
Find Familiar
Ray of Sickness
Witch Bolt

Spell Level 2
Cloud of Daggers
Crown of Madness
Phantasmal Force

Spell Level 3
Feign Death

Spell Levels 4 and 5 – no spells missing

Spell Level 6
Arcane Gate

Spell Level 8
Trap the Soul

Why are these spells out? For the most part, they’re either 4e or 5e originals (like Crown of Madness and Witch Bolt) or resurrected 1e spells not in the 3e SRD (like Feign Death and Phantasmal Force). In general, the 5e SRD sticks as closely as possible to the 3e SRD, not giving us a lot of new toys to play with. However, a few new spells have sneaked in: Misty Step is in the SRD for the first time.

There’s only one wizard spell missing from the 5e SRD that’s in the 3e SRD: Trap the Soul. I suspect that’s a mistake, since there’s no reason to revoke a spell that’s already open game content.

(Note: I lied: #4 won’t shock you. There are no electricity spells missing from the 5e SRD.)

10 Responses to “Wizard spells common to 1e, 3e SRD, and 5e SRD – and those missing from the 5e SRD”

  1. Rhenium says:

    Did I overlook magic missile in amongst the first level spells?

  2. paul paul says:

    Oops, that’s in there. Added!

  3. Sean Holland says:

    Shouldn’t Prismatic Spray be on that list too? Or was it Illusionist only in 1e?

    In any case, very interesting. Nice to see how much continuity there is between editions, it is why playing D&D always seems like coming home.

  4. Rhenium says:

    Another thing I noticed is the move away from the classic Gygax names. “Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere”, Tenser’s Floating Disc, Bigby’s Crushing Hand, etc.

    Are there any “originally named” spells remaining in 5e?

  5. paul paul says:

    In the 5e print book they still have those names. The proper names were removed from the SRD (as they were from the 3e SRD), presumably to assert WOTC’s ownership of those Greyhawk characters.

  6. Andrew says:

    I didn’t notice, but according to this wizards have no low-level positive illusions!

    They used to have minor image and silent image (3e’s phantasmal force).
    Now, if they want an illusion of a wall, they have to use hallucinatory terrain and hope nobody notices the new hillock!

    That’s rough.

    Bright side, we can bring Silent Image forward, but it’ll confuse newer players.

  7. Justin says:

    I’m surprised about Find Familiar. That’s such an iconic spell/ability for wizards.

  8. Andrew C says:

    I checked more carefully.

    I think some of these spells have complex histories — in particular, I would include Silent Image as a “stood the test of time” spell.
    It’s in the SRD of 3e and 5e.

    It’s also in 1e! 1e’s Phantasmal Force (PF hereafter) is more like Silent Image than it is like 5e’s PF.
    5e’s PF (not open content, by the by) is a single target delusion, kind of like Phantasmal Killer. 1e’s PF is a visual illusion shared by all onlookers — which is what 5e’s Silent Image is!

    So: I dunno what to do with this mess, but my earlier fear that low-level wizards could no longer fake up a wall with magic is misplaced.

  9. strangething says:

    Andrew C has it right. 1e/2e Phantasmal Force was renamed Silent Image in 3rd, since it really wasn’t a phantasm (or a force). Likewise, Spectral Force became Major Image.

  10. Tim says:

    Trap The Soul isn’t a spell in 5e, it was combined into another spell. It’s mentioned by mistake in the list of wizard’s spells in the phb and doesn’t actually exist.

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