Wizards are portrayed, both in descriptive materials within the game rules, and in most fantasy fiction, as scholars and learned masters of mystic powers who have access to lore and magic tricks second to none. However, in most campaigns there is nothing a wizard can do that a sorcerer cannot. The wizard does gain considerable versatility, in the form of an unlimited number of spells known, but as a practical matter a wizard can only cast spells he thinks to prepare in advance, and the most useful spells (those a wizard is most likely to prepare) are also those a sorcerer is most likely to select as spells known.
The Advanced Players Guide actually amplified this conceptual problem somewhat, for while it provided new options for wizards, it also created two whole new arcane classes—the alchemist and the witch – both of which have considerable powers a wizard cannot duplicate. The “masters of arcane lore” remained a viable class as far as power balance was concerned, but many wizard players felt there was no sign of their character’s presumed devotion to a lifelong study of magic.
Then Ultimate Magic introduced arcane discoveries—special powers a wizard (and only a wizard) could take in place of his bonus feats at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th level. Here, at long last, were the rules to allow wizards to do things with magic no other class could manage. It was an amazing idea... but as a result of the number of amazing ideas in Ultimate Magic, there was room for only ten arcane discoveries. To expand on these great opportunities for wizards to meet their full, scholarly potential, Ultimate Options: New Arcane Discoveries presents 30 new arcane discoveries, along with two archetypes of alternate class abilities, to allow different kinds of wizards to play with the new possibilities arcane discoveries represent.