Friday, April 15, 2011

Magic Users

M is for Magic Users in the thirteenth installment of the Deepest Sea A-Z.

Called Wizards, Witches, Mages, and worse, Magic Users can been seen as the sine qua non of D&D.  Sure, some argue that the fighter is the core class of D&D, but really, you could have a fighter in any role playing game.  No, magic is what makes D&D tick, and magic needs people to wield it, and thence, Magic Users.  What makes the monsters exist?  Magic.  What makes the magic items? Magic.

So magic users are integral.  However, how do they work in the game?  Most of the time I would guess that players think of magic users as being like this:

However, in the game, wizards are more... squishy, particularly at the lower levels.  First level Magic Users only have one spell! Rolling a d4 for hit points does not help things either, as even a middling blow with a weapon puts them near death.  It is only at higher levels that magic users start to become powerful, and of course at the highest levels they are as powerful as armies.

In the Deepest Seas setting, magic is rare, with only as few as 1/10,000 humans having any sort of magic ability. Elves are rather more magical, and dwarves less so.  Magic is viewed with a heavy suspicion, since it was through magic that the Titans managed to enslave the world thousands of years ago.  While Remoos was alive, the study of magic was banned, and magic users were crucified or had their tongues torn out.  After Remoos died, the fervor over magic passed, and secret societies sprang up to promote the study of magic.  These grew through the years, until magic was no longer banned, but became a part of the Empire.  Mages accompanied the legions as they fought the enemies of the Empire, and back home, worked to improve and

When the humans came riding out over the plains, it was found that they too had magic, and the elves taught what they knew to the eager human wizards and warlocks.  When the Empire fell a scant few years later, many of the human wizards left with the remaining elves, and set up colleges in the City.  Over time, other places of study were set up in the new human cities, and magic use was regularized as a part of life.

Now, magic use might not be against the law, but it is suspicious.  Those that find they can use magic often run away from home, and head to a large city where they might have the chance to learn more.  If they can not make it away, they often end up as the crazy old wizard on the outskirts of town.  Sometimes they are called witches and killed by those suspicious of their power. Female magic users are more likely to be branded witches than men, and are therefore less likely to make it away.

Magic users are not able to wear armor when casting spells, nor can they carry a shield.  Many find that iron weapons inhibit their connection to magic flows, and consequently most do not use swords or axes. Staves and knives are common weapons used by magic users, as they feature as ritualistic implements and are easily enchanted.  Magic users learn to read Titanic and Servile  as part of their education, and most spells are written in a form of High Titanic.  Spell books are extremely valuable, and are quite rare.  Finding new spells is the goal of all magic users, and part of the reason that they are feared, as the pursuit of new spells brings them closer and closer to the power of the Titans.

NPC Magic Users or random PCs have a 3/4 chance of being male, and a 1/4 chance of being nobles. 2/3 of the time they will be human (modified by location). 2/3 of the time they will be from the country in which they are currently located. 1/4 of them are 18-25 years old, 1/2 of them are 26-35, and 1/4 are 36-60. In any random adventuring party, 1/10 of the members are magic users.

For human wizards, I favor the Perry miniatures pack Cu28.  Just look at that last dude and tell me that he is not casting a spell. 
(picture cribbed from Perry Miniatures)
Saturday, more Deepest Sea A-Z with Nords.

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