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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Magic-Users, Mages, Wizards.

I might have called them Sorcerers too, but since 3e that has had distinct connotations of being another, different, arcane spell casting class.

But I digress.

Has anyone ever had a player have them as their preferred class? The arcane arts have been sadly underutilized in pretty much every campaign I have ever run or played in. Most of the time they have appeared as NPCs, either henchmen or patrons of the party. Sometimes, rarely, they have appeared as multiclassed characters designed to offset their combat ineffectiveness with some other useful skill. Elves and Half-Elves have been particularly prone to doing this.

I assume that part of the problem is that Magic-Users do kind of suck to play at low level and in early editions they level so slow. Noteworthy also is that higher level play has been rare in my games, it may well have been not until 3e that anyone in my games ever made 10th level. But mine was never the only game in town and in the games I played in there was an anti-Magic-User stance from the players. Just the players. In my experience DMs love to see them show up. Maybe just for the novelty of it.

Seriously though, in my thirty plus years of playing D&D, I think I may be the only person I know that ever played a single classed Magic-User in regular campaign play. I have seen a few people choose pregenerated higher level single classed Magic-Users for one shots or tournament play. I can only recall a small number of multiclassed Magic-Users ever being played and I ran one of them too.

My friend Darryl C. used to be the go-to guy for spells. How they worked, non-standard uses, even what type of magic they were. He had that stuff down. He was perhaps the most devoted spell tactician I ever met, he certainly taught me a thing or two about spell-slinging. His longest running, most successful and well known character was a Fighter named Borg (technically his name was Aimendale Sebastian Borgstrine DeLaRive, we just called him Borg for short). Borg had a Magic-User henchman named Elisha. Darryl never ran a Magic-User as his player character.

I am considering a house rule that Magic-Users get bonus spells for high intelligence like Clerics get them for Wisdom. That doesn't seem to be a game breaker. My only hesitation is that I don't really like altering core class abilities.