Hat of Wizardry Explained & How To Use It In 5e

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

Hat of Wizardry Item Description

Wondrous Item, common (requires attunement by a wizard)

This antiquated, cone-shaped hat is adorned with gold crescent moons and stars. While you are wearing it, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can use the hat as a spellcasting focus for your wizard spells.
  • You can try to cast a cantrip that you don’t know. The cantrip must be on the wizard spell list, and you must make a DC 10 Intelligence (Arcana) check. If the check succeeds, you cast the spell. If the check fails, so does the spell, and the action used to cast the spell is wasted. In either case, you can’t use this property again until you finish a long rest.

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 137

What Is a Hat of Wizardry?

The Hat of Wizardry is a Common magic item that works as an arcane focus and allows you to cast wizard cantrips you don’t already know.

The Hat of Wizardry may seem like a risky item; however, there is a bit of vocabulary required to understand and appreciate what it actually does.

First, this Wizard Hat is an arcane focus. This means it can work as a way for you to cast spells without material components (in most cases).

It is for this reason that the Hat of Wizardry also requires attunement. There is a limit to the number of magic items to which your character can be attuned (usually three), and any special arcane focus always takes up one of those slots.

To use the Hat of Wizardry, you must be… you guessed it, a wizard! Good job, Harry!

Is the Hat of Wizardry a Good Item To Have?

Yes! Being an arcane focus is enough to make the Hat of Wizardry a valuable item. What many people tend to overlook is that casting a spell often requires somatic and material components.

As an arcane focus, the hat provides your material component — but it does so without requiring your hand! Use your head, Harry!

Somatic components require the free use of one hand, and material components require your other hand. With a hat of Wizardry, you can use material and somatic components while holding a weapon or a shield (if you’re proficient) in the other.

The other great thing about the Hat of Wizardry is its ability to let you cast a wizard cantrip that isn’t on your spell list.

Wizards start out with three cantrips. That isn’t many. If you mess around with feats, you can maybe eek out an extra two. Having the Hat of Wizardry will give you an extra cantrip in your back pocket that you can whip out in an emergency.

Which Extra Cantrips Should I Try To Cast With a Hat of Wizardry?

You’ll want to have a backup cantrip that is different from your normal strategy.

If you are a blow-everything-up-and-let-the-DM-sort-out-my-XP kind of wizard, then you probably will already have a firebolt or Create Bonfire in your repertoire. For you, you should try a Minor Illusion every now and then to make your fires look bigger or to run away if something is immune to your normal damage types. You might also try a Ray of Frost in order to slow down a pursuer.

If you are a sneaky illusionist, you’ll want to try out Shocking Grasp next time someone tries to reach out and touch an illusion you are wearing. If you get grappled or cornered and you can’t prestidigitate your way out, just reach out and touch someone. Painfully.

If you are one of those wizards who likes to change the battlefield around by spilling over lanterns or pulling levers with your Mage Hand, then you might consider casting True Strike with your Hat of Wizardry on those rare occasions when you may have to actually shoot a crossbow or throw a magic knife.

Improving the Hat of Wizardry – For Players

To improve your usage of the Hat of Wizardry, don’t be afraid to ask the cleric or druid to cast Guidance on you.

You will definitely need to take Arcana as one of your proficiencies, and you will need to improve your Intelligence at every opportunity.

Similar Homebrew Items for Other Classes

The Hat of Wizardry provides an amazingly simple yet effective template for series or homebrew magic items that operate similarly to the Hat of Wizardry but are available for other classes.

The goal with these items is to provide a spellcasting focus that frees up the use of one hand and gives you access to a once-per-long rest shot at any cantrip on your spell list that you don’t know.

To that end, we made a list here of items that work exactly like the Hat of Wizardry but for other classes. This chart gives the name of the item, the associated ability check, and the class to which it applies.

* Interchangeable depending on player and DM stylistic choices and general character aesthetic.

Leveling Up Your Hat of Wizardry

At the Citadel, we’ve been toying around with the idea that some magic items can get more powerful as you do. The idea here is that you get more skilled in their use and are able to extract more versatility from the item.

Since the Hat of Wizardry functions as a spellcasting focus but grants you an ability with cantrips, we decided to put together an evolving version of the Hat of Wizardry that scales as your cantrips scale.

Evolving Hat of Wizardry

This version of the hat of wizardry has four levels. The hat gains a level and becomes rarer as you gain levels.

The first level is the common Hat of Wizardry that exists as it is in Xanathar with one exception: you gain a number of Wizardry points equal to your proficiency modifier.

This pool of points fuels your attempt to cast spells from the wizard spell list that you do not know. It also fuels every other ability granted by this item as it evolves.

The second evolution of the Hat of Wizardry makes it an Uncommon magic item that gains the following ability when you achieve 5th level: your attempts to cast spells that you do not know may now include a 1st– or 2nd-level spell on the wizard spell list.

Casting a spell this way requires you to spend Wizardry points equal to the spell’s level. You must make an Intelligence (Arcana) check equal to 10 + the spell’s level.

At 10th level, your Hat of Wizardry can help you maintain concentration on a spell. If you cast a spell using one of the Hat’s wizardry points that requires concentration, you may continue to spend wizardry points on consecutive rounds for the hat to maintain concentration for you.

Concentration maintained this way lasts until you stop spending wizardry points, the hat is removed from your head, or you are incapacitated. If the hat is maintaining concentration for you, you may cast another spell requiring concentration that you maintain yourself.

You can maintain this spell’s concentration at the same time as the hat is being used to sustain the spell which was cast from it.

At 15th level, your Hat of Wizardry is a very rare magic item that acts as a spell-storing item. During a long rest, you may make an Intelligence (Arcana) check to store a wizard spell. This may be a spell you know or one you do not.

You must make an Intelligence (Arcana) check equal to 10 + the spell’s level to store the spell. If you do know the spell, you gain advantage. The spell can only be a cantrip, 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-level spell. Casting the spell from the hat is a bonus action that you may take before your next long rest.

You must use a number of wizardry points from the hat equal to the spell’s level to store this spell, but those points are restored after a long rest.

At 20th level, you may use the hat’s ability to cast spells you do not know to create spell scrolls. Each scroll created this way costs a number of wizardry points equal to the spell’s level. You may then copy these spells into your spellbook if you desire.

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