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Why do I play mages?


This blog post came from a question on the Mythras Discord. I recognise that I talk a lot about mages and even create stickers about them. But why do I like to play mages? That is what I am going to try and explain.

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In the beginning

When I first grabbed my boxed set of Basic D&D, I had a quick look through the classes and immediately liked the Magic User. I am not the sort of person who wants to be big and strong and fight at the front of the party. I prefer to use more subtle ways to defeat my opponents. Not that a fireball is subtle!

Characters from books

All my favourite characters from stories are wizards—the mighty Gandalf, Belgariad and Polgara, and even magic-wielding fighters like Elric. I think it is because they can all cast completely different spells from real life. While fighting can happen in any time zone or world, whether fictitious or real, magic is reserved for the pages of fantasy fiction.

If a character other than a wizard had magic, I would take an active interest in them. There was a character who could push opponents into rocks and leave them there. I forget his name, but that appealed to me as well.

If there was a smallest piece of magic, it got my attention. It is the lure of the strange and unbelievable that appeals to me.

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Let’s be creative.

While fighters have a minimal skill set, you run into combat and kill things, the mage has a much more comprehensive range of skills and spells to draw on. Not only are there spells, but there are also creative ways you can use them. In the early days of my GMing career, I would use Passwall under opponents so they would drop through the floor or place Darkness 15′ radius on a small ball that I would unwrap from a cloth and roll into the combat.

Despite spell casters being weak in body, their power was immense when you looked at their spells. I never played a magic user through a campaign, but I would enjoy their power developing as they grew more and more powerful. As a wizard levels, their travelling companions hold them in high esteem.

Never mess with a high level wizard!

Me myself

This last section is at the end so few readers will get here. Playing a wizard or liking magic also stems from my personality. I have always longed to be unique and different from others. Growing up, I was essentially a ‘normal’ person with few ‘special’ qualities. Magic allowed me to feel special and also more powerful. While lurking in my imagination, I would be different, special, and have a power that others would be wary of. I also would have the spells to make a difference. To challenge those who stood against me and to change how I was perceived.

Not too much of this viewpoint since it was too close to my personality and experiences growing up through school.


Magic and spells still hold a significant place in my imagination. I get drawn to spells, whether in fantasy mode or roaming the streets as a mage in Shadowrun. Psionics in M-Space and Judge Dredd also appeal to me. If there is that option for something different, powerful, and possibly avoidable, I will be there. I don’t mind the negatives or the consequences; I am that player who will wield the magic and enjoy every part of it.

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