Thursday, July 9, 2009

Player Profile: The Wizard (Part 1)

My earlier post was going to start off talking about Vancian magic as segue into a discussion on the magic-user class in B/X. But then I started thinking of diversity in game design (i.e. “if you don’t like Vancian magic, play something else!”) as well as the other games of my youth, many of which were introduced to me by the player of the main magic-user of my old campaign.

Scott (as he was known back then) was a good friend for many years…I met him in the first grade, though we did not start hanging out till the 3rd grade or so, being brought together by a mutual buddy. He and I shared many of the same interests: drawing, science fiction, Shogun Warriors (the robot kind), books, and fantasy (he was big into Terry Brooks, whose Shanarra books I could never get through).

When first thinking of Scott, my initial impulse is to say, “not much of a gamer.” He was VERY creative, very funny (he had a very sly and sarcastic wit that often cracked us up), good with computers, and a fairly good creative writer. But my memory of him doesn’t include a whole lot of D&D gaming, and after Jason (our friend who became a Born Again Christian), he was the first of our gaming group to break away.

However, on closer examination of my memory, Scott WAS a gamer. He just wasn’t much of a D&D gamer. He introduced me to BattleTech and Mechwarrior, ShadowRun, and GURPS. He ran an Advanced Marvel Superheroes campaign for me (and instituted a “negative Karma pool” rule when I continued to kill villains with my Wolverine knock-off). He was the one friend of mine that had a LOT of video games, both console and PC, and we often played these when at his home.

Yeah…now that I think about it, he played plenty of D&D, too, though often when I wasn’t present. Part of that had to do with logistics (he and I weren’t making it to the same game nights) but part of it was purposeful; it may be that he and I had incompatible creative agendas when it came to gaming. Or perhaps we had similar ones...but we had strong enough personalities that we interfered with each other. Hmmm, sorry, I’m musing now…

Anyway, Scott always played the magic-user of the group. No one else wanted the role, and while he had a couple other characters (a MALE Drow cleric, a FEMALE half-elf thief) his usual characters were all magic-users, illusionists, or multi-class MUs.

In some forums, I have read that the Magic-User class draws (or used to draw, prior to D20 and fighting feats) the “munchkins” of the game. Scott was not a munchkin. He simply loved magic and the idea of it, especially the evocation type. Lightning bolt and chain lightning were far and away his favorite and most oft used spells, though I seem to recall him thinking Evard’s Black Tentacles was totally “rad.”

His best known character in our campaigns was his arch-mage named Lucky.

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