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Warriors,Mages and everything else

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I am opening up this discussion in an attempt to determine the underlying driving force between Mages and Warriors. This is not so much a discussion of how they are used in video games, but rather the psychological and emotional differences between the two. It is often noted that Mages are considered much more intelligent then the Warrior. But why is this? They both have to display some sort of intelligence to achieve the respected goals of each. Therefore, how can intelligence be the underlying differences between a Warrior and Mage? I personally feel this is why current magic systems are "broken". Games are more interested in balancing and content that they often over look the motivation behind playing a mage or warrior. I enjoy playing a mage because of the chance to hold power over the mysterious. The ability to conjure up or summon a creature is something that would be amazing to do. In truth though would this be as interesting to me, if I could do this already? I personally do not think so. Which is where I feel warriors become flawed in their design. Where Mages have an inherent appeal in the powers they hold, warriors try to make up for it through content. What do you think is the natural appeal of a warrior? Other then the fact that they are the quickest way to the top in most cases. The truth is Warriors become cannon fodder when it comes down to it in a battle with mages. Granted not all warriors will fit in this category, but why is this so? The warrior has some un worldly sense that will protect him in battle? Or is he just lucky? Granted his skills may be more polished then the next, but he still uses the same armor and weapons as everyone else. Therefore the same fire ball would disintegrate him just like the next. As you might conclude from reading this; is that I am somewhat confused on the issue. It is something that I feel that I must clarify for myself in order to move forward in my current design. By knowing the motivations of the individual I will be better able to create a system that will inherently be fun to play. Rather then me having to create a false sense of entertainment through content that will only get old after awhile.

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Original post by xevoxe
I am opening up this discussion in an attempt to determine the underlying driving force between Mages and Warriors. This is not so much a discussion of how they are used in video games, but rather the psychological and emotional differences between the two.

It is often noted that Mages are considered much more intelligent then the Warrior. But why is this? They both have to display some sort of intelligence to achieve the respected goals of each. Therefore, how can intelligence be the underlying differences between a Warrior and Mage?


It sounds like you're depicting the assumption that, if Character A is intelligent, he is automatically a mage. Instead, I would consider that, Character A, growing up, showed signs of high intelligence, and was driven to learn about things which challenged him mentally. Hefting a sword or doing archery contests just didn't cut it for him, so he entered Wizard School.

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I personally feel this is why current magic systems are "broken". Games are more interested in balancing and content that they often over look the motivation behind playing a mage or warrior.


Games lately seem to balance too well. Classically (e.g. D&D-influenced), a mage started out weak, then progressed exponentially to become nearly all-powerful... whereas a warrior started out much stronger, and progressed linearly. In some recent popular RPGs (Fable comes to mind, NWN is a culprit for it), every class ends up as powerful as the next, so your choice of class is really just a choice of eye candy, rather than a choice of ability.

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I enjoy playing a mage because of the chance to hold power over the mysterious. The ability to conjure up or summon a creature is something that would be amazing to do. In truth though would this be as interesting to me, if I could do this already? I personally do not think so. Which is where I feel warriors become flawed in their design. Where Mages have an inherent appeal in the powers they hold, warriors try to make up for it through content. What do you think is the natural appeal of a warrior? Other then the fact that they are the quickest way to the top in most cases.


- Mages usually have a magic system which needs to be learned
- Magic combat is more strategic than pointing at a monster and clicking (e.g. choosing which spells to use in certain circumstances)
- Warrior combat is simpler
- Warrior advancement is straight-forward, and simple for the novice who may become overwhelmed by choices (what spell to learn? what spell to memorize? what reagents to buy? what spells go better with ones I have already?)

If you read Richard Bartle's Players Who Suit MUDs, you might find some answers here. Some players prefer the game for its intricacies (spades) rather than its immediate rewards (diamonds). (This has always been true for myself.)

There's also the romantic attraction. Playing a brawny, physically powerful individual is psychologically more attractive than being a weak nerd. :)

Quote:
The truth is Warriors become cannon fodder when it comes down to it in a battle with mages. Granted not all warriors will fit in this category, but why is this so? The warrior has some un worldly sense that will protect him in battle? Or is he just lucky? Granted his skills may be more polished then the next, but he still uses the same armor and weapons as everyone else. Therefore the same fire ball would disintegrate him just like the next.


True, but a warrior's "talent" is in physical combat, whereas a mage's "talent" lies in strategic placement and deployment of spells which alter physical matter.

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As you might conclude from reading this; is that I am somewhat confused on the issue. It is something that I feel that I must clarify for myself in order to move forward in my current design. By knowing the motivations of the individual I will be better able to create a system that will inherently be fun to play. Rather then me having to create a false sense of entertainment through content that will only get old after awhile.


I've always been interested in mages, no matter what the game system. Usually it's a hard road, but I enjoy the special effects, learning about the intricacies of the magic system that's been designed, and basically avoiding "boring hand-to-hand combat". :)

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Just as a point of semantics both "classes" are technically warriors.

When you say motivations of the individual do you mean the person playing the game or the characters in the game? If you are talking about the individual I feel that it comes down to a few things that have to do with the flaws inherent in most RPG's:

1. - Either of the two is better for getting loot or XP in a specific circumstance
2. - One is more effective with minimal effort
3. - One is easier early or late game

where the choice should really be between preference in play style. Personally I dont think there should be any restrictions through a "class" system because the more classes the player can choose from the less he can do with each.

The problem with balancing has to do with end game activities (which nearly always center around obtaining the best loot.) If one class is better than the next at some particular end game activity they will play specifically to maximize productivity or minimize frustration of that activity. Instead of balancing skills for the end game the play style should be balanced.

blah blah blah...

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Original post by xevoxe
I enjoy playing a mage because of the chance to hold power over the mysterious. The ability to conjure up or summon a creature is something that would be amazing to do. In truth though would this be as interesting to me, if I could do this already? I personally do not think so. Which is where I feel warriors become flawed in their design. Where Mages have an inherent appeal in the powers they hold, warriors try to make up for it through content. What do you think is the natural appeal of a warrior? Other then the fact that they are the quickest way to the top in most cases.

I enjoy playing as a warrior because I like to experience life as the grunt. I prefer to be percieved as the guy who isn't likely to succeed. It makes it much more interesting if and when I do succeed. Saving the world doesn't feel as significant when I play as mighty Gandalf. I prefer to single-handedly slash down the mighty undead army with my bloody axe and bare hands.

Casting a fireball just doesn't do it for me. If I'm not facing impossible odds, what fun is it to win in the first place?

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Why is a mage seen as inteligent and a warrior not?

well i belive that comes down from table topping, warriors pick str, dex and const because they want to hit had fast and have lots of HP's if they took int it was for non combat related things which made them less effective when it came to the crunch.
why did this matter?
because warriors are front line, a 2nd line dosnt have to stand next to the biggy and wack and get wacked.
as for the mage their skills and spells were based off int because magic was about learning and so they took lots of it int, subiquently lots of skills they took were based around knowlege and so they were seen as inteligent.

as for destruckive powers of mages etc vs warriors.
warrirors in d&d and stuff were much more able to go sod u lot im going it alone take a couple of healing potions charge most mondain things down and have a scrap, however a mage has a problem coz if they did that they would get things charging them stopping casting and then they would die.
thats why warriors defende the mages coz they were potentialy more effective but alot weaker, less armour etc so it was a team effort.
in rpgs though u play on your own so these things got ballanced to an extent, mages had to either not get bothered about melee combat to kill before it got to that

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I think this is a matter of creativity. I often play AD&D, and I can't tell it enough times: the INT score does not measure the character's intelligence.

This is what confuses most players. Nearly everyone thinks that a high Charisma score makes your character "beautiful". Well, I think it does not.

INT determines the number of spells you can cast, and the number of skills you can learn. CHA makes your character better at controlling other people. Does that means that high INT makes a clever character? No. It only says that he has a good affinity/resistance to magic, and spent a lot of time learning stuff - IMHO this is not equivalent to intelligence. A character with a high CHA score can have a really ugly or disgusting face, and quite a few scars, but he could lie very well.

The sad thing is, that most people don't realize that. And game creators don't realize that either - characters are only represented by their stats, nothing else. No real background (even in RPGs or adventure games!), no real personality. It's easier to say INT=18. And this makes you immediately think that this character is clever. IMHO he is only resistant to magic.

Of course, there are less obvious stats, like STR. But is a low STR - high CON character weak? Nope. But you can do nothing about this - you must either change the world, or state that high INT is cleverness. So, instead of creating new stats, use the good ol' STR-DEX-CON-INT-WIS-CHA stuff, and create interesting and deep background stories. From then on, stats are nothing but stats, used in gameplay mechanics only, and they don't interfere with the character's personality.

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Surely intelligence should be one of the most vital stats for a melee based class. In a real fight brute strength won't do you any good unless you can think ahead and counter your opponent. Was Lennox Lewis such a successful boxer because of sheer strength? No, it was his ability to adapt his style; he didn't overpower his opponents, he out-smarted them.

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Original post by BBHudson
Surely intelligence should be one of the most vital stats for a melee based class. In a real fight brute strength won't do you any good unless you can think ahead and counter your opponent. Was Lennox Lewis such a successful boxer because of sheer strength? No, it was his ability to adapt his style; he didn't overpower his opponents, he out-smarted them.


He wasn't intelligent enough to warp reality and produce fireballs though was he? :)
I think we are talking about relative intelligence.

After all, there would be situations where it would be beneficial to use magic, so any warrior intelligent enough would learn magic.

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It gets a bit muddy once you start thinking about different kinds of smarts, like the ability to outsmart an opponent in a boxing ring.

As far as real life intellegence is concerned, it is normally talking about IQ. The ability to reason, learn, interpret, calculate, and apply logic.

If you draw real life parallels, a melee fighter would be like a boxer, or rugby player. They could certainly be clever, and being more intellegent than their opponent would give them an edge (although a genius featherweight isn't going to beat a single minded heavyweight). But the wizard's real life counterparts, say, doctors or scientists, would have more actual intellegence than they do.


I normally play as a mage because it tends to make the game more tactical. I could just breeze through Neverwinter Nights as a Fighter. Click attack, Click heal when I'm low on health, rinse and repeat.
But being a mage gave me far more options. Hold them, blind them, buff my team or curse their team, summon allies, lay traps, manipulate their positions to best deploy area of effect spells while keeping my fragile main character out of trouble. Good times.

You ask why warriors don't become cannon fodder. It is because they have magical muscles and magical skin.
As a mage goes from level 1 to level x, they get more and more powerful magic. A fireball could do 100 times the damage of a magic missile. I have no real reference point for that to seem unrealistic, so I accept it.
But as a warrior approaches level x, their punch could do 100 times the damage of what it did at level 1. That's impossible, it defies suspension of disbelief. Thus they must have magic muscles. Or cybermuscles, or nanotech muscles, or bioamplified demon quantum muscles or whatever fiction is used to justify it.
Same goes for skin. At the end of a game the fighter could have 1000 hp. They either have magic skin, or it is supposed to be an abstraction showing that they have gotten better at using cover and dodging blows (which kind of falls apart when you see the hit land and a little number float from your characters head).

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Original post by xevoxe
It is often noted that Mages are considered much more intelligent then the Warrior. But why is this? They both have to display some sort of intelligence to achieve the respected goals of each. Therefore, how can intelligence be the underlying differences between a Warrior and Mage?


This is, in my humble opinion, a stereotype which appears quite often in CRPGs, and more rarely in tabletop RPGs.

Tabletop RPGs require intelligence for learning-related classes, such as Wizards. Other types of spellcasters have other related casting sources: Wisdom or Charisma, for example. And that's only for D&D games. For other games, spells are tied to the power of blood (Vampire), the amount of proximity with a given aspect of the world (Changeling, Mage), which is orthogonal with physical strength or social or intellectual prowess.

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Original post by Johnny Sunshine
I think this is a matter of creativity. I often play AD&D, and I can't tell it enough times: the INT score does not measure the character's intelligence.

The 3rd edition SRD (well, actually it's 3.5) states:
Quote:
Intelligence (Int)
Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.

So it looks like either the focus changed or that INT represents the character intelligence.
The other abilities meanings are described here (and Charisma also describe the character attractiveness, as well as a bunch of other things such as leadership or persuasiveness).

Now, that's not very important WRT the OP's question.

D&D and games alike are abstraction. In order to successfully build this abstraction, one have to make simplifications, and the wizard = intelligent and warrior = powerfull is one of them. Actually, nothing prevent you from playing a dumb wizard (but then the complexity of the higher spheres of magic will be innaccessible for you) or a weak fighter (again, some of the finer things a better warrior might learn will prove to be harder or impossible to do with this character).

Personnally, I prefer some other kind of magic (for example, the kind that is outlined in Gaborit's novel "Les chroniques des crépusculaire"; sorry, I believe it has not been translated in English. In this novel, the magic power comes from a better affinity with nature and with some small creatures that are the effective source of magic. Your affinity allows you to make these very rare creatures danse, and their danse creates magical effects. This kind of magic is not based on intelligence - allowing you to play a dumb wizard that will be as powerfull as a clever one). When it comes to warriors, I'm affraid that they'll still need some strength and some dexterity if they want to survive in a brutal world.

Regards,



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Regarding how warriors survive fireballs: they had to buff them up so that they can keep up with the mages. Which brings us to the real problem: mages tend to be overpowered. IMHO a wizard shouldn't be a mobile artillery platform. Instead, he ought to be a type of specialist that can turn the tide of battle with clever tactical use of not-so-flashy magic, for example by transmuting earth to mud to screw the enemy cavalry. In a way, he ought to be like the Starcraft ghost - extremely useful but not suited for forming the backbone of an army (and wizard class in most RPGs makes me wonder why do they have conventional armies at all).

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That last post made me remember the wars (or rather the wars that were spoken of) in the "Sword of Thruth" books by Terry Goodkind (I think).
There, the battle was won by armies of warriors and wizzards.

But, as explained (better I think) in the book, the magic leveled eachother out.
Or rather, the magic itself wanted to get to some kind of balance, effectively removing the magic element from the battle, and yet making it vital (since if you don't use magic, you'll be destroyed really soon and visa versa).

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Original post by DJ14IVI3
Regarding how warriors survive fireballs: they had to buff them up so that they can keep up with the mages. Which brings us to the real problem: mages tend to be overpowered. IMHO a wizard shouldn't be a mobile artillery platform. Instead, he ought to be a type of specialist that can turn the tide of battle with clever tactical use of not-so-flashy magic, for example by transmuting earth to mud to screw the enemy cavalry. In a way, he ought to be like the Starcraft ghost - extremely useful but not suited for forming the backbone of an army (and wizard class in most RPGs makes me wonder why do they have conventional armies at all).


This is the case in D&D3.5, for instance. A Fighter 20 will always be more efficient than a Wizard 20 with only damage-dealing spells (or even a Sorcerer 20), because it can fight for longer durations without having to rest. Where the Wizard 20 becomes useful is with access to more intellectual spells: charms, walls of force, weather control, illusions, baleful polymorph ...

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Perhaps your problems lie in trying to fit characters into predefined archtypes. Instead of warriors and mages you have characters. Those characters could be proficient in any number of things, not limited by the stereotypical view of what makes RPG characters. Then you could very easily have a magic user that is exceptionaly strong or someone who fights well with a sword that is more intelligent then the magic user.

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Original post by CIJolly
Same goes for skin. At the end of a game the fighter could have 1000 hp. They either have magic skin, or it is supposed to be an abstraction showing that they have gotten better at using cover and dodging blows (which kind of falls apart when you see the hit land and a little number float from your characters head).

A decently realistic mental picture of the massive-HP scenario is Die-Hard (note the third tagline). Hence the name. In a sense, he's so bent on winning, he just keeps taking the pain. The pain fuels him into pushing even harder, somewhat resulting in each encounter making him even more rugged and tough.

I would probably say this is more about fortitude than HP. But that's what I've always seen max HP as anyway. Your will to fight on, regardless of damage. Some people give up quickly, others fight until they fade to black.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by CIJolly
You ask why warriors don't become cannon fodder. It is because they have magical muscles and magical skin.
As a mage goes from level 1 to level x, they get more and more powerful magic. A fireball could do 100 times the damage of a magic missile. I have no real reference point for that to seem unrealistic, so I accept it.
But as a warrior approaches level x, their punch could do 100 times the damage of what it did at level 1. That's impossible, it defies suspension of disbelief. Thus they must have magic muscles. Or cybermuscles, or nanotech muscles, or bioamplified demon quantum muscles or whatever fiction is used to justify it.
Same goes for skin. At the end of a game the fighter could have 1000 hp. They either have magic skin, or it is supposed to be an abstraction showing that they have gotten better at using cover and dodging blows (which kind of falls apart when you see the hit land and a little number float from your characters head).


Another way you could interpreate this is that by training there bodies have become tougher by building up scar tissue and tough muscles. If you dont believe this is possible look up some videos of Shaolin Monks, find videos of "iron shirt" "iron eggs" or "iron palm". I've seen people in demonstrations have concrete blocks broken with a sledgehammer while it was on there back and take bars of metal (not sure what metal it was) and smash them over there own heads, and these are the "standard" tricks these guys do who have been practicing this kind of thing.
Here's some examples of the iron palm technique:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=iron+palm&search=Search
iron eggs:

iron shirt:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22iron+shirt%22&search=Search

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Even though I play D&D and also CRPGs, when designing a game, I will abandone all this and look to the past and mythology to define a mage or warrior.

In Mythology, mages are more cunning thatn smart. They use their inteligence to outwit their popponents, rather than just outright kill them. In the past, the Wizards (actually a form of priest or shaman) where suposed to be abel to commune with the spirits and the natural world to bring about helpful conditions (or unhealpful to their enemies). Looking at the History of Magic, it has never been about throughing fireballs and other stuf, it has been about protection from evil and cursing others.

So in games I do not use Mages as someone who does a lot of killing, but someone that can aid others is doing so or protect them from being killed. Also, they need to be able to use effects that, although not leathal, can be used to hinder opponentes. This will be things like having vines tangle enemies and stop them from moving, creating illusions, charming enemies, and so forth.

I think that mages should not be fireball toteing psudo-artilery, but that they have a rich and extensive role as support or as leaders.

Merlin never cast spells that directly damaged opponetes, instead he use it in way to outwit his enemies or give his allies an advantage (prophecy, etc).

Magic as artilery is a limited use of magic, but it seems that it is the only use to which it is put in todays games (be they computer or pen and paper). Magic has a much greater scope than this and can create very interesting gameplay. It's just lack of creativity that keeps us on the "Magic = Artilery" road.

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The thing that always pisses me off is this.

Why must I be some basement-dwelling, pale, weakling to be a mage? I want to be the buffest motherfarking mage there ever was!

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Original post by Kevinator
The thing that always pisses me off is this.

Why must I be some basement-dwelling, pale, weakling to be a mage? I want to be the buffest motherfarking mage there ever was!


A but how do u fit all teh body building in with all that time studying, and the mages guild dosnt even have a gym :)

most games make u choose u either can only do one or if u trade off then u take penalties for example the more u spend in other stats like str of const the less int and less spells you have

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Guest Anonymous Poster
i think INT does not really refer to "intelligence".
someone just began with this, and others continued.
i think you should replace it with "education".
since medieval knights commonly could not read or write, mages learn from their books, so they have to know how to do this.

in my opinion, warriors also use some kind of magic.
they use their willpower to influence the environment, thus resulting in magical resistance.
this is especially true for paladins, they use god powers and are blessed to resist magic and physical damage.

personally, i would like to see a game where warriors and mages really fight with each other.

in nowaday games its always like this:
player1 fights player2.
p1 hits p2.
p2 gets damage.
p2 hits p1.
p1 gets damage.

there seems to be no place for magic.

i would love the idea of fighting mages.
they could summon a magic shield or what to block while casting a blast with the other hand or something. they could use some "instant" spells to do attacks, blocks or some cool jumps. there is no need for them to stay away from the warrior, they are full-powered spellcasters.

this is also true for using bows or what. who said, a bow is not for near combat ? the arrow even has more power and you can hardly miss your aim.
you just have to use your bow to block attacks, too.

if you want to see what i mean, just watch the lord of the rings.
watch how legolas can fight in meele combat.
also gandalf uses a sword quite naturally, and some magic powers him up.

i dont see why this cant be done in computer games.

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It similiar to Real Life Stereotypes...

** Not Poking Fun **

But can assume

(( High school for example ))

Are you a "Buff" "Dumb" Jock that plays sports and thats how they get through HS?

or

A small "wimpy" kid that studies and graduates at top of his class...


** Its jus a stereotype i see in movies and such **

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think that a mage is some kind of medieval scientist. He has to learn and research a lot of things to do his magic right. As an base requirement you need 'intelligence' to do all this things.
On the other hand there is time. Time is very important. Every 'character' gets a certain amount of time per day. What to do with this time ?

Here we got the major reason why a mage is not also a big and powerful warrior and a warrior is not a mighty wizard. You need a lot of time to either research your magic (='science') or to practice your skills (='fighting'). Without intensive time investment in either research or skill-training you can't reach the level of a 'hero' like warrior or mage.
It is like a marathon runner. Running only 5 km per training session will not be enough to be the best, the hero-like, marathon runner. You have to devote your life to be the best marathon runner, there won't be much time left to be also the best scientist !

It is just the matter of what you want your world to be. Either you get a more or less realistic world, where your character has to invest a lot of time to reach their'hero' goal or you get a world of super-heroes, like superman, spiderman, or x-men, where their skills and powers are not acquired by learning and praticing.

Eventually each character has a natural intelligence, strength, is handsome or whatever. So a mage might be quite strong, or a warrior quite intelligent, but this 'starting attributes' are at a more or less 'low level'. A standard level, but not a hero level. A character devotes his life to a certain goal, like 'I want to be the most feared warrior in the known world'. But it needs a lot of hard work to reach this goal. So some 'attributes' will increase over time, where others 'attributes' like intelligence (more in the sense of education) will remain the same or even decrease.

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For me, when I play any 'wizard' class I generally try to use non-direct damage spells. I really like to think of magic as going outside the box in a combat situation. Not just 'damage x' and 'heal y'.

For example in the game Nethack I might play as a wizard and use the standard ForceBolt spell. Not only to attack enemies but to destroy bolders or blast down doors (really loved that about Nethack, the way you could destroy stuff even if the graphics weren't super) or use 'knock' to unlock stuf remotely or use stone to flesh to turn boulders into giant hunks of meat.

In the Dungeon and Dragons rulebook ( I look around through the spells in the hypertext d20. never played the game due to lack of friends) I really get interested in those spells that allow for teleportation, animating objects or making stuff levitate...

imagine going against a wizard and he animates a broom to fight you... you slice it in half only to find that each half grows into a now broom!

Turn a stick into a poisonous snake

Disapear in a burst of fire and smoke

Make the furniture dance and charge at your enemy

Create a wall of wicked thorns

Cast a spell that inverts the chance-to-hit against you (a point-blank shot in the back will always miss, but tossing an orange at you while blindfolded hits dead-on)


Anyway, I don't really play wizards much in console RPGs... in final fantasy Tactics I was more interested in Monks because I liked how they could fight so well without using weapons. Theives because they could steal items (when they weren't using 'charm' to mix up their enemies. Really charm should have been a wizards magic spell.


One more unrelated note, I just finished reading Gregory Maguire's "Wicked, the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West" a revisionist look on the Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Doesn't have really much in the way of any magic spells or theories on witches one could put in a traditional RPG. But I think that game designers could do well by looking at stories and movies for inspiration on knights and wizards. At the very least for a good read.

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