If given the option I would also go with the magic user. I’m not sure why. Possibly I like the robes or the hats, or even the long beards! Or it might be that I like the lack of hit points or the power they can wield. In this post, I want to complain about their weapons!
Also, I am going to refer to the spell casters as magic users so that there is no bias against genders
Old and Grey
In my series, you have never had it so good, I talked about how the magic users had a hard life in AD&D first edition.
At the first level, with their robe billowing around them, the magic users prop themselves up on their trusty staff. But why are magic users always carrying a staff with them?
In the Two Towers, Gandalf got his staff into the throne room by stating it was a way for him to stay upright. But not all magic users are old and frail! Black Desert Online started off by making the Wizard class old and with a long white beard. I couldn’t make one up when they were like this! Luckily they are changing their body type soon!
So, if we are removing the stereotype of the magic user being old, frail and grey, could we not change the stereotype of the weapons they are associated with?
Nuke the Mage!
Magic users have great power. When facing one in Shadowrun, there was the saying – “Find and nuke the mage!”. If this was the case in a fantasy setting then, I would want to allow my magic user to blend into the party. Carrying a staff and wearing a pointed wide-brimmed hat, is a classic way of identifying yourself to the opposing forces as the magic-wielding class!
The question is – why wear or carry anything that is going to make the class stand out?
At this point, I have an issue with the class. Why can’t the magic user wear armour? I understand that it probably relates to game balance. Magic users wielding power spells and clad out in plate mail would mean they were too powerful!
Apart from the game balance, there is no rationale for the choice of armour. Many would say that it has something to do with drawing and using the magic from the environment. But this soon falls apart when you look at multi-classes Fighter/Magic-Users. They can still draw the magic in. Also arcane tricksters. They can cast spells while wearing leather armour and carrying a range of weapons.
More than just a staff
With the armour choice having no real justification. Let’s look at weapons! I have already mentioned how we don’t want our magic users to stand out with their staff. So why can’t they use other weapons? Gandalf is often seen wielding both his staff and a sword. He is also very proficient with these. So not only does he have a sword, but he can also duel wield.
In Mythras, there is no restriction on the weapons that people can use or the armour they can wear. If the character wears or carries something that is too heavy for them, then encumbrance comes into play. This really allows characters to be unique! Which party member is the mage? Could it possibly be the character wearing leather armour and wielding a glaive?
Maybe it is time to move away from the stereotypes and start to reinvent the magic-user class!
Some people will always prefer to stay in a realm where diversity is limited and stereotypes abound. They feel somewhat safe in this world. Everyone has their place and what they can do and how they should react in a party.
For me, I think it is time to move away from these stereotypes and the magic-user seems the best place to start. Let us use different weapons and wear armour and keep those opponents guessing who is the most powerful person in the group!