How Many Spells Can a Wizard Know? 2 Thoughts

The answer is easy: How many spells can a wizard know? A lot.

Magic in D&D is complicated. There is no getting around that. When it comes to spells and spell-casting, there are a lot of things to consider. Wizards are complicated as they get when it comes to spells because they can potentially learn so many. Every spell listed under the Wizard’s spell list is a spell the Wizard can learn.

Learn AND Prepare

Players continuously find the Wizard class confusing – specifically, how they can get spells. Spell casting classes in 5e have to either learn spells or prepare spells. This acts as a way to limit the power of spell-casting classes. Either you’re a Cleric, and you need to prepare five or so spells from your entire spell list so that you can use them that day. Or you’re a Sorcerer, and you have about seven spells on your character sheet, all of which you can cast in a day, as long as you have the spell slots for it. Wizards are different, they have to learn and prepare spells.

Why do they have this limit? Wizards don’t have a maximum amount of spells they know. In addition, their spells are extremely powerful.

“When you find a Wizard spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.”

– Player’s Handbook

This means that if you are playing a Wizard and you find a spell out in the world you can add it to your spell list as long as you spend the time and money to do so. But only if you are of a high enough level to do so.

Being high enough level just means that, as a 5th-level Wizard, I cannot learn the spell Wish – because Wish is a 9th-level spell. Basically, if I don’t have a spell slot of a high enough level to be able to cast the spell, then I am not at a high enough level to learn the spell.

How Many Spells Can a Wizard Know?
How many spells can a wizard know? A wizard’s spellbook can hold an almost endless amount of spells.
Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash

Prepare It First – How Many Spells Can a Wizard Know?

But what about preparing the spell? After a Wizard has the spell in their spellbook, they can prepare it. You can prepare a number of spells equal to your INT modifier + your Wizard level. So a level 5 Wizard with a +4 (18) INT modifier can prepare nine spells.

Do bear in mind that Wizards start with six 1st-level spells and learn two spells every time they level up. So, whenever you need an answer to a problem, a wizard could potentially know it. But this is often not enough, and DMs need to remember the one thing Wizards do is know spells. (So give your wizards scrolls!)

We all know, a player’s choice when it comes to class is very personal. If someone picks a barbarian, they want to hit monsters. If a player chooses Wizard, it’s all about the spells. Let them go ahead and enjoy the class they picked.


The question “How Many Spells Can a Wizard Know?” has been debated since the dawn of time. To any of you “rules lawyers” out there … Yes, wizards can know more spells. In the first place, some races can give you spells outside of your wizard spell list. In addition, if you are multiclass into Cleric or Druid you technically learn all the spells that you are a high enough level for. But, basically, Wizards can know a lot of spells.

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