Tell me about your useful magic-user


Tell me about your magic-user from a pre-2000 edition of D&D or AD&D who was not useless after he’d cast his spell(s). (Bonus points for stories of first-level magic-users.)

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Couldn't they have been one thread?

I admit that I see where the Professor is going, but I'll try not to ascribe motives here. It does seem a little odd to have two threads, both worded pretty much identically, but with marginally different subjects.

But then, that's been going around a lot, lately.


First Post
Useful Magic User

Alright, I'll bite :p

AD&D, 1E. Hopefully, a Druid can be considered a "magic user". Technically, a druid is a subclass of Cleric, and may not be considered a 'magic user' in the same sense as a Wizard. All the same, they cast spells.

I am currently playing a 1st level Druid named Kreuwig Thadon. After he's cast all of his spells, he's still more than a handful with a quarterstaff.

I don't know about Wizards, though. I once nearly lost a Wizard to a kitten. On the other hand, I'm terrible at playing AD&D Wizards.


I ran a magic-user named Slithelex from 1st level until 9th level. He was a slithering tracker (SR #5) who was polymorphed into a human. Well, mostly polymorphed; the character had long, gross hair and was always covered with a thin layer of slime. He devoted his life to alchemy, hoping to create a potion that would permanently restore him to his previous form. By the end of his career (he retired to pursue his dream), he had 27 hp, had amassed a surprisingly large collection of spells, and had purchased a large building in town to house his alchemical laboratory. In combat he stayed out of melee and relied on quick thinking and -- at higher levels -- on his arsenal of spells. Thanks to a generous DM, however, he wielded a mean two-handed sword if things got a little too rough.

In some ways, it was easier to play a low-level magic-user in the pre-2000 editions. There were just so many little tasks that were not covered by the rules. While the fighters were doing their jobs, the magic-users were often left to coming up with clever strategies and tricks to tip the balance of combat. It was a lot of fun. I recently ran several marathon weekend sessions of a megadungeon campaign, which included a magic-user who reached 2nd level. I think over the course of nearly 20 hours of play he only cast one or two spells. The rest of the time, he was pulling little tricks out of thin air and using them to great effect.


In 2e, I played a wizard who focused on the item spell and related transmutations (though he wasn't a specialist). He even created three or four custom, personalized versions of item, one of which was a higher level version that was effectively equivalent to casting permanency along with item. His shrunken items also took the form of a plaque/card with a picture of the item, rather than a cloth mini of the item.

Rarely, if ever did he cast direct damage effects. Instead, he was focused on preparation and unorthodox solutions to problems. He carried around several decks of cards that he'd gathered over time, and always seemed to have the right tool for a job (for clarification, the items were actually tracked, not some sort of kender bag). He had a stack of itemized hot meals that the party loved. The canopied feather beds were nice, too. But things like the battering ram, extra weapons, and (of all things) spare doors were really what won the day.

I would dare say that he was considered more important to the group than the artillery wizard. He was actually an elven wizard/thief, which added more utility, an actual chance to hit with a bow, and some framework for dealing with installing/removing various "nailed down" collectables (like the afforementioned doors).

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