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Haruspex_Pariah
2012-02-05, 01:21 PM
I wonder if any story ever made it work? I can't think of a fantasy story where a mundane warrior and a "pure" magic user adventured side-by-side and were of roughly equal power.

Now I'm of the opinion that a good story is not the same as a good game, where the issue of balance is more integral to it's overall quality. But I have to wonder if our works of fiction failed to prepare us for the very idea that a mundane warrior and a magic user could stand at the same level.

Or maybe I haven't read enough, and need to watch more shows. :smallwink:

Saph
2012-02-05, 01:31 PM
I wonder if any story ever made it work? I can't think of a fantasy story where a mundane warrior and a "pure" magic user adventured side-by-side and were of roughly equal power.

Every comic book story ever? :smalltongue:

There's basically no connection in comics between where your powers come from and how effective you are. Power sources include mundane, magical, religious, spiritual, alien, technological, mutant, and a ton more. Trying to guess the outcome of fights based on which one is magical and which is mundane is pretty much a waste of time.

If you're looking for epic fantasy, Tomas and Pug from Magician spring to mind, although they don't exactly "adventure together".

Eakin
2012-02-05, 01:35 PM
In a fantasy setting, even pure fighter types tend to have magical equipment, so I don't know how mundane they can honestly be.

First thing I thought of was Slayers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slayers) though, but I know there are a ton of other examples out there.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-05, 01:51 PM
Generally speaking no. At the least they are rare. Largely the point of magic is that it does things beyond the possible, so enforcing a parity is rather missing the point. (Incidentally this is why Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards is a good thing, if rare magic isn't superior in some way what's the point?)

Though plenty, maybe even a majority, go with magic being inferior as a direct power. Sure that witch might kill you with a ritual from across the country, but get in the same room with her and she's defenseless. Even where there is direct power, abused 3.5 style Wizard kills you in seconds is pretty rare. Only ones like that I can think of off the top of my head are Channelers from the Wheel of Time, but they aren't even pretending to be balanced even in the pen-and-paper d20 written for it.

(Also discounting cases where the fighters get their own powers, even if it isn't called magic superpowers are close enough)

Oh counting guns and modern tech for fighters I can think Dresden Files are moderately balanced.

Haruspex_Pariah
2012-02-05, 02:03 PM
Every comic book story ever? :smalltongue:

There's basically no connection in comics between where your powers come from and how effective you are. Power sources include mundane, magical, religious, spiritual, alien, technological, mutant, and a ton more. Trying to guess the outcome of fights based on which one is magical and which is mundane is pretty much a waste of time.

If you're looking for epic fantasy, Tomas and Pug from Magician spring to mind, although they don't exactly "adventure together".

I was thinking more swords and sorcery, LOTR/D&D/Warcraft kind of fantasy. I should have specified. I'll look into the Riftwar Saga next time I'm at a bookstore.

But you raise a good point. In a generic superhero setting it wouldn't be unheard of for a mundane character (using technology, presumably) to team up with a more mystical character and not be overshadowed. Power is power, regardless of the source.

But in a sword and sorcery kind of world? Similarly it'd have to be a setting where there is no clear distinction between power source. Or one where magic users are saddled with some kind of limitation.

Oh, I just remembered Fullmetal Alchemist. Though only two of the big hitters were really "normal" (Olivia and Sig). And they were pretty overshadowed by the epic alchemy that went down in the final act.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-02-05, 02:18 PM
Oh, I just remembered Fullmetal Alchemist. Though only two of the big hitters were really "normal" (Olivia and Sig). And they were pretty overshadowed by the epic alchemy that went down in the final act.
True, but...
Do keep in mind that the final fight was everyone physically beating down Father, even down to a fistfight between that guy and Ed.
:smallbiggrin:

For what it's worth, The Lord of the Rings actually had a good portion of this. The Hobbit, less so, what with Gandalf's firecone diversion and Big Bear Shapeshifter later on. But in LOTR, Gandalf's powers didn't kick in to win fights; they kicked in to allow him to face off against threats on a totally different tier. (I probably don't need to spoiler things from LOTR, but you never know...)

Gandalf's powers gave him access to arcane lore (though as seen with the Hollin Gate into Khazad-Dum, he was still fallible at that point! :smalltongue: ) and Cleric-y powers of radiance (vs. the Balrog, for instance, or driving off the Fell Beasts), but when it was time to smack down against the hordes of Mordor, it was the hack-and-slashers who carried the day, not Gandalf. Even the Army of the Dead wasn't commanded by magic; it was bound by an ancient oath to a legendary hero.

In LOTR, magic is clearly something tied into a mystical level of the world, but that mystical level does not overshadow the "mundane"; rather, it supports its reality. The one cannot function without the other.

Traab
2012-02-05, 02:22 PM
The thing is, there is often a lot of overlap in the strict pairings. Take Tarma and Kethry from the Oathbound series. Tarma is a pure weapon wielder. Oh she can call upon her goddess but its not something she does for spells, its more of a guidance sort of thing. Her partner is Kethry. Now she is a mage. But the thing that blurs the line is, she has a magic sword called Need. Its most effective ability is, if you are a mage, it lets you fight like a swordsman. If you are a warrior, it protects you from most magic. So since she is a mage that emans she is also able to fight in melee combat effectively.

They are fairly balanced, and in fact the main thrust of the story is how they are a more or less equal pairing. One steps forward and takes over when the events are in line with their specialty, the other takes over when its up to them. In combat they work well together, neither is really more effective. Tarma is most definitely better in hand to hand, but kethry can kick ass from range, (till her energy runs out, she cant just blast things with lightning all day) So even though it isnt a strict one uses magic only, one uses melee weaponry only, its fairly close.

Its also fairly rare to see JUST a pairing like that. Often you end up with a group. Take The Belgariad by Eddings. In the main party you had 2 wizards, 3 warriors, a thief, a bowman, a useless princess, and a farm boy. Its hard to determine who is more useful than whom since the burden is spread across a large number of people.

Eakin
2012-02-05, 02:24 PM
Honestly, Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards) is most often an issue for video games, tabletop RPG, and miniature/wargame type settings where their power has to be quantified and "balanced" for enjoyable play experiences. From a purely narrative standpoint it's not hard to constrain them in other ways for the sake of the story.

Jade Dragon
2012-02-05, 02:32 PM
Avatar The Last Airbender? Then again, Sokka's still behind them. He's a turning point in evenly matched battles and occasionally pulls a trick the others can't do (hitting the assassin in his one weak point, his mind's eye, but that was still quite a bit of luck, as I'm not sure he knew that was the weak point), but even after training with Piandao, he's still not as good as the others.

He also knows how to navigate maps, but he could just teach the others and then be useless at that.

Eldan
2012-02-05, 02:34 PM
I can recall quite a few stories where mundandes defeat wizards. Does that count? The classics, certainly. Ffarhd and Mouser took down more than one spellcaster. Conan, too, and without magic of any kind. But in those settings, casters wouldn't go adventuring. They'd be studying. A caster would be very annoying, until you got to him, at which point he'd be rather dead. I can think of one exception, where a spellcaster, basically, "buffed" himself enough that he was able to fence with Ffarhd and Mouser, and be better than either, for a while. They had to use trickery to kill him.

Still, the further back you go, the bigger the chance, probably, that the mundanes is the one winning over the spellcaster. Odysseus (though more a trickster than a fighter, there) defeated Circe, as an example. Though, granted, he had the blood of gods, was advised by a gods and used magical items.

Eldan
2012-02-05, 02:35 PM
I can recall quite a few stories where mundandes defeat wizards. Does that count? The classics, certainly. Ffarhd and Mouser took down more than one spellcaster. Conan, too, and without magic of any kind. But in those settings, casters wouldn't go adventuring. They'd be studying. A caster would be very annoying, until you got to him, at which point he'd be rather dead. I can think of one exception, where a spellcaster, basically, "buffed" himself enough that he was able to fence with Ffarhd and Mouser, and be better than either, for a while. They had to use trickery to kill him.

Still, the further back you go, the bigger the chance, probably, that the mundanes is the one winning over the spellcaster. Odysseus (though more a trickster than a fighter, there) defeated Circe, as an example. Though, granted, he had the blood of gods, was advised by a gods and used magical items.

Saph
2012-02-05, 02:40 PM
I was thinking more swords and sorcery, LOTR/D&D/Warcraft kind of fantasy. I should have specified. I'll look into the Riftwar Saga next time I'm at a bookstore.

Well, Conan is the obvious example. In the books it's Conan who does pretty much all the heavy lifting. In the movie, the "wizard" does about one thing in the entire film then disappears.

If you want something more video gamey, the Phantasy Star universe has swords, magic, and lasers, often all in the same adventuring party. These are all treated as roughly equal in effectiveness.

Most of the Ancient Greek heroes went up against characters with divine powers at some point or other and they generally won. (If I remember right, Ares, who was the literal God of War, got beaten up and sent running by a mortal hero at one point.)

Traab
2012-02-05, 02:40 PM
Honestly, Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards) is most often an issue for video games, tabletop RPG, and miniature/wargame type settings where their power has to be quantified and "balanced" for enjoyable play experiences. From a purely narrative standpoint it's not hard to constrain them in other ways for the sake of the story.

One of the things I liked that was done in a few stories is the concept of a narrative "mana bar" In many games, like mmorpgs, the "wizard" type class is capable of powerful stuff, but they run out of gas fairly quickly. They are front loaded damage types that drop to nearly nothing if the battle drags on. So while that wizard may be able to obliterate a couple of squads of bad guys, after that he is done, while the warrior is still hacking and slashing away. Take my earlier Oathbound series example. Kethry is what is known as a journeyman mage. Meaning she basically has her own personal store of energy in a fight, and thats it. She cant just set an army on fire, she has to use her energy intelligently and carefully or else she collapses and dies/gets killed. So the fact that she is killing squads of bad guys before tarma even gets to draw her blade is offset by the fact that she cant keep it up very long. So in a quick skirmish that wouldnt trouble either of them anyways, kethry seems more powerful, but in a real battle, she cant do much magic without exhausting herself and being in danger. So the balance is a lot closer.

Yora
2012-02-05, 02:53 PM
I think Rune Soldier has it fairly balanced.

Louie just sucks at magic and Ila, while very talented, doesn't seem to know any combat magic. Melissa is a capable combat caster, but she's a cleric.

But Genie, being pure fighter, is still by far the most dangerous character. Lilly seems quite dangerous, but I don't think she would have any means to stop Genie, if she wants to kill her.
Jenkins maybe could, but he's a monk.

Jade Dragon
2012-02-05, 02:59 PM
(If I remember right, Ares, who was the literal God of War, got beaten up and sent running by a mortal hero at one point.)

That happened if he ever got wounded, which probably happened about once every war.

As for a specific example of that... Percy Jackson? He's the only hero I know of that fought Ares in a duel. Hercules, Perseus, Achilles, Odysseus, Jason... nope.

Eakin
2012-02-05, 03:02 PM
One of the things I liked that was done in a few stories is the concept of a narrative "mana bar" In many games, like mmorpgs, the "wizard" type class is capable of powerful stuff, but they run out of gas fairly quickly. They are front loaded damage types that drop to nearly nothing if the battle drags on. So while that wizard may be able to obliterate a couple of squads of bad guys, after that he is done, while the warrior is still hacking and slashing away. Take my earlier Oathbound series example. Kethry is what is known as a journeyman mage. Meaning she basically has her own personal store of energy in a fight, and thats it. She cant just set an army on fire, she has to use her energy intelligently and carefully or else she collapses and dies/gets killed. So the fact that she is killing squads of bad guys before tarma even gets to draw her blade is offset by the fact that she cant keep it up very long. So in a quick skirmish that wouldnt trouble either of them anyways, kethry seems more powerful, but in a real battle, she cant do much magic without exhausting herself and being in danger. So the balance is a lot closer.

Exactly. That doesn't work in video games because running out of power 10% of the way through a fight/level and being worthless for the rest isn't any fun. So most games with a Mage class either give them the ability to regenerate their casting resource easily or, in tabletop games, rarely throws so many encounters at them that they have to worry about running dry. Slow and steady may win a marathon but it won't work in a 100 yard dash

Comet
2012-02-05, 03:12 PM
This is only a problem as long as both the warrior and the magic user are only about killing stuff, no?

You could perfectly well have the warrior be the one that delivers the violence while the wizard could, among other things, manipulate the environment, gather clues via divination, read minds, transport the pair around, enchant the warrior's weapons, heal the warrior, confuse the opponents or give them proper burial rites so that they don't come back as ghosts or something.

That way the warrior gets to do what he does best but the wizard is still powerful and mysterious and all that. They just do different things, which is why they need each other.

Really struggling to come up with an example at the moment... Still, I maintain that the only problem with wizards and warriors getting along is the notion that they should be doing the same thing.

Dienekes
2012-02-05, 03:18 PM
That happened if he ever got wounded, which probably happened about once every war.

As for a specific example of that... Percy Jackson? He's the only hero I know of that fought Ares in a duel. Hercules, Perseus, Achilles, Odysseus, Jason... nope.

You're forgetting Diomedes, though technically he was guided by Athena. In any case, Ares always comes out looking like a chump.

Tiniere
2012-02-05, 03:26 PM
The mages and warriors of all sorts in final fantasy games are usually at parity with each other, with mages emphasizing frailty and warrior classes being tougher. The style of play is slightly different, but in terms of power and usefulness over all they're typically well balanced against each other.

averagejoe
2012-02-05, 03:35 PM
IIRC the anime series Scrapped Princess did this pretty well. Though, also IIRC it was a pretty terrible series besides having a fairly interesting premise, so eh.

tyckspoon
2012-02-05, 04:54 PM
The mages and warriors of all sorts in final fantasy games are usually at parity with each other, with mages emphasizing frailty and warrior classes being tougher. The style of play is slightly different, but in terms of power and usefulness over all they're typically well balanced against each other.

Most of the games actually wind up with the warrior types significantly outdoing the mages, largely because the scaling factors applied to weapon attacks cap out much higher than those applied to magic (the base damages on spells are usually higher, which makes them strong nukes in low levels, but they fall off badly later on.) It's especially true in the games with cast-times on the spells; it doesn't do you much good to summon Bahamut or cast Meteor or whatever for 8000 damage when the physical attackers in the party can attack 3 times for 6000 each over the time needed to get the spell off..and then there's FF6, where spell damages can be pumped so high you do max damage with a first level spell and actually wrap around the damage calculation if you use the high-end spells, and there are accessories that let you double-cast spells for near free and a spell that gives you two extra turns, so you can chain cast 2 spells + give yourself an immediate extra turn for several hundred turns in a row..

The other extreme was probably 8, where the Junction system meant any spell *worth* casting was a spell you didn't *want* to cast, because your stats were directly reliant on how many copies of said spell you had in stock. So instead of casting them, your best strategy was generally to attach your Ultimas and Meteors and whatnot to Zell and Squall and just let them physically beat the crap out of the monsters.

(Mind, that's only within the battle system, and I'm pretty sure is just due to each game's particular idiosyncrasies and not a deliberate attempt to portray either the mage or warrior-type characters as more powerful. Within storyline sequences and cut scenes, FF usually depicts the mage characters as more important or more powerful.)

Bastian Weaver
2012-02-05, 04:56 PM
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, obviously. Mouser is a fledgeling wizard, very proud of his doubtful powers, while Fafhrd is a pure fighter.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-02-05, 05:59 PM
Still, the further back you go, the bigger the chance, probably, that the mundanes is the one winning over the spellcaster. Odysseus (though more a trickster than a fighter, there) defeated Circe, as an example. Though, granted, he had the blood of gods, was advised by a gods and used magical items.
Interesting question here: does the power of the wizard compared to the mundane increase in fiction on its own, or because D&D made it so?

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-05, 07:39 PM
(Mind, that's only within the battle system, and I'm pretty sure is just due to each game's particular idiosyncrasies and not a deliberate attempt to portray either the mage or warrior-type characters as more powerful. Within storyline sequences and cut scenes, FF usually depicts the mage characters as more important or more powerful.)

While its not always explained how the fighter types in FF have a way of pulling stunts that are essentially magic anyways. Hi there Jump command among others.

Eldan
2012-02-05, 08:02 PM
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, obviously. Mouser is a fledgeling wizard, very proud of his doubtful powers, while Fafhrd is a pure fighter.

Right. I forgot that Mouser was a wizard's apprentice. He doesn't use his powers often, much more often relying on his rogue skills (and yes, he'd be a D&D rogue/wizard, with the wizard part being low-level and the rogue part being rather high). He uses slings and swords much more often than spells. I can only think of a handful occasions in all the stories I've read. (Though there was an amusing event where he miscast a spell and exploded the heads of an entire circle of wizards).

Traab
2012-02-05, 10:29 PM
While its not always explained how the fighter types in FF have a way of pulling stunts that are essentially magic anyways. Hi there Jump command among others.

Personally, im a big fan of trying to understand how cyans quadra slam could be considered a single attack. Even more so when paired with the relic that lets you hit everything on screen at the same time. In fact, I cant remember, its been awhile, but if you have the genji glove that lets you dual wield, doesnt he get 8 hits in a single round?

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-05, 11:57 PM
Personally, im a big fan of trying to understand how cyans quadra slam could be considered a single attack. Even more so when paired with the relic that lets you hit everything on screen at the same time. In fact, I cant remember, its been awhile, but if you have the genji glove that lets you dual wield, doesnt he get 8 hits in a single round?

Yeah you needed two items and I normal used them with Locke as he could so help me Cyan couldn't use the best swords.

Oh course FFIV is really a case in point of magic reigns supreme. Make your enemy invisible then cast any death effect spell. Works on almost everything. (So of course they nerfed out the this in later editions)

Lord Raziere
2012-02-06, 12:53 AM
To make the Wizard and Fighter equal, is simple really.

Wizards often have access to all sorts of magic and such, which is the equivalent of a Fighter being able to wield all weaponry, fight in any kind of armor, and being able to do a hundred different feats of athleticism, including jumping over mountains and being so fast they can run across water.

simply limit the Wizard to controlling only a couple things, treat each kind of magic technique as a tool, a weapon on par with the fighter's tool, the sword.

The Wizard becomes a lot more manageable when all they can control is spells involving pure water and nothing else. selecting one or two things thats okay for a Wizard to control and barring them from everything else really brings them down to earth and keeps them on the fighters level.

Jayngfet
2012-02-06, 03:36 AM
...just don't give casters access to things like fireball and mage armor.

I mean there's plenty of cool magic stuff you can do without stepping on any toes.

I mean look at Game of Thrones: A spellcaster can change the way things looks, read the future, save people from death, go into the minds of animals, look into the past, and in general an individual magic user is an invaluable part of whatever group they belong to or assist.

They cannot however just wave their hands and shoot death at you. Such an act would completely invalidate the whole idea of an army if every group had someone who could shoot lightning and had eye beams.

Feytalist
2012-02-06, 04:29 AM
IIRC the anime series Scrapped Princess did this pretty well. Though, also IIRC it was a pretty terrible series besides having a fairly interesting premise, so eh.

Hmm. I found the series quite enjoyable, actually. But you're right, the magic users in that setting were rather low key. I think it had something to do with the effort and time involved in casting spells. The one exception to this was the one main character mage, the... sister, wasn't it? She was only powerful because she had found shortcuts that allowed her to cast spells more quickly and easily. And magic in that setting was mainly defensive, wards and shields and such, as far as I recall.

Totally Guy
2012-02-06, 04:57 AM
We've got to be specific in a thread like this.

What is the story about? What are the conflicts?

In My Little Pony one of the the characters has loads of magic but it can backfire. But mainly the conflicts presented within the context of the show are not ones that magic will solve explicitly. We learn that the greater magic for those conflicts is friendship which is something each of us has the ability to use.

:smallamused:

deuterio12
2012-02-06, 07:27 AM
Hmm, Warhammer, both the fantasy and 40K, has quite a few of those.

In the fantasy setting, we have the dwarves that are completely unable to use magic at all, but on the other hand they refined the art of crafting weapons and armor to a point they can stand toe to toe with everybody else. They also developed multiple methods of countering their oponent's magic with mundane runes and special anvil vibrations and whatnot.

In 40K we have the emperor itself, suposedly the greatest wizard psyker that ever existed. Suposedly could solo the four chaos gods. Got beaten to almost death by a nameless ork warboss if not for Horus rescung his golden ass.

We also had leman russ (no magic/psykery at all) breaking Magnus the Red, the second strongest wizard psyker of the IoM.

Even among the four chaos gods, the strongest of them all is Khorne, that completely abhors magic and completely refuses to have wizards psykers under his worshipers, either ordering his champions to kill them on the spot or stripping them of their powers. Doesn't stop him from being the strongest chaos god of them all, his legions unleashing untold devastation without any need of magic trickery.

The SM chapters are usually leaded by "mundane" chapter masters and captains, while the librarian wizards psykers take a secondary role.

The Dark Eldar have stuff like fighters so skilled they can find a chink in in terminator armor with a pointy stick, and dodge laser hammers even if surrounded by all sides, just thanks to centuries of hard training.

Well, on the other hand it also helps that in Warhammer wizardrdy psykery is very dangerous business. Like " there's always a chance daemons jump out of nowhere and eat your brains" dangerous.

dehro
2012-02-06, 07:32 AM
I don't think they're supposed to be equals, from a narrative point of view. it wouldn't work.
in literature, the only way you can determine the equal level of 2 "pure classes" is to keep a kill count. (a bit like legolas and gimli, except harder to do)
it much depends on what kind of magic we're talking about anyway..
and on your definition of power.
on the whole, I consider a mage capable of moving mountains, stopping time or making brussel sprouts taste good a heck of a lot more powerful than a warrior..even though maybe by law of magic, lack of skill or willpower he cannot or won't kill anybody...so how do you compare that?
also..how do you pit them against one another? if the mage is impervious or insta-heals from bladecuts and physical damage in general, he'll win..if the warrior is epic level and immune to magic, he'll get the mage in the end. unless both of the above are true, there cannot be a real balance.
then of course there are magic wielders who pack a punch, and warriors with magical skills or equipment...blurring the scene further
the only medium in which this can somehow work is videogames..but I've yet to find a game where you can pit 2 heroes (villains don't count as they are designed to ultimately be defeated) one against the other and have a proper brawl with one using exclusively spells and the other using only martial skills deprived of magic effects.

Eldan
2012-02-06, 07:36 AM
But, at least in the current edition of Warhammer, Magic is quite clearly king. A competent wizard can cast several spells per turn, any of which can turn around a melee engagement or wipe out one or even several units of enemies. Sure, they will blow up their heads, vanish in the warp or even suck away everything for several meters around them, but they are still some of hte most valuable units.

Another example, kind of: the Dresden Files. Dresden can do some very impressive things. By the current state of the series, he has a divination spell over the entire city of Chicago. He can kill or find people from miles away. He has a bulletproof coat. He can step into the fairy world. He can blow up buildings. His curses are very impressive and he has shown remarkable skill at redirecting enemy rituals and spells in several cases. He defeats trolls, ogres, gruffs, vampires and powerful fey.
And yet, as one other character remarks: all it takes is a sniper, somewhere half a mile away with a good scope, and he'd never see it coming. He almost loses a hand to a mook with a flamethrower.

And any bets on how it would go if Michael Carpenter went up against him?


And there are settings were magic is rather unimpressive. Give me half a day, and I'll write you a (badly written) short story where all mages can do is make things that weigh less half a gram hover above metal surfaces. It's certainly doable. Magic can be as weak as you want it to be.

Traab
2012-02-06, 08:53 AM
Oh, and dont forget Drizzt. Early on at least, (it may have changed in later books) he had little respect for wizards, even powerful ones, when he compared them to the martial skills. He had the ability to choose either, and the talent to excel at them, and he dismissed the wizard path with near contempt. Yeah a wizard can fire off massive blasts of energy and wipe out tons of things, as well as have a great deal of utility, but drizzt never met the wizard he couldnt kill if sufficiently annoyed. :p

MLai
2012-02-06, 10:05 AM
The best in-game universe I've seen regarding this is Ars Magica. It is a "realistic fantasy" Medieval Europe universe where Wizards are at the top of the food chain, and fighters (and rogues/clerics/rangers/etc) are their paid underlings.

If you think about it that's really how it should realistically be. Parity would be the unrealistic illogical thing. You're a Wizard, which means you have to be (1)smart, (2)rich, (3) respected, and (4)influential. Like a tenured professor in an Ivy League university. Fighters? They're just muscle for hire. Muscle for hire is a dime a dozen.

Armed servants. They're not your friends or your equals. If you're an Ivy League professor, do you hang out with boxers and bouncers? No you hire them.

Lord Raziere
2012-02-06, 10:27 AM
oh no MLai, thats making the assumption that Wizards do indeed have more power than fighters, and if they do, and are not equal, its only "realistic" if applied to God-Wizards.

to wizards more similar in power to fighters it doesn't, because its a completely different assumption, therefore your example isn't really helping the discussion.

and I agree with Eldan, magic can be as weak as you want to be, with any limitation. magical fire that can be parried by a warrior's blade is perfectly possible, or only be able to be used for combat purposes that cannot expand beyond the scope of a fighter because the god of war said so are perfectly possible limitations.

I mean really, this discussion only comes up so much because things like WoD Mages, 3.5 wizards and Gandalf are ubiquitous while settings with actual limitations on their magic actually seem to be rarer for some reason. look at Sokka, from the Avatar: Last Airbender he was plenty useful. which either means people like the god-wizard archetype or are too lazy to actually think the magic through, or both.

Eldan
2012-02-06, 10:39 AM
How about another interesting, but kinda useless wizard... Rincewind.

What are his skills? He can see and feel magical energies. All wizards can. He also speaks dozens of exotic languages, and knows a lot about dangerous geography, as well as other arcane knowledge. He is a double university professors, so he gets two buckets of coal a day. Finally, and most importantly, he can run away from danger really fast.

Magic? He has a single spell memorized (quite Vancian, really), that he can never cast, as it is too powerful for him.

Meanwhile, Cohen the Barbarian is over eighty years old and can still deal with rooms full of trolls or ninjas.

Tiki Snakes
2012-02-06, 10:59 AM
How about another interesting, but kinda useless wizard... Rincewind.

What are his skills? He can see and feel magical energies. All wizards can. He also speaks dozens of exotic languages, and knows a lot about dangerous geography, as well as other arcane knowledge. He is a double university professors, so he gets two buckets of coal a day. Finally, and most importantly, he can run away from danger really fast.

Magic? He has a single spell memorized (quite Vancian, really), that he can never cast, as it is too powerful for him.

Meanwhile, Cohen the Barbarian is over eighty years old and can still deal with rooms full of trolls or ninjas.

The thing to remember is that the 'proper' wizards, who do know a number of spells, are often less useful than Rincewind and just as outclassed by Cohen.

dehro
2012-02-06, 12:29 PM
The thing to remember is that the 'proper' wizards, who do know a number of spells, are often less useful than Rincewind and just as outclassed by Cohen.

yes..but the reason for that is "plot"..otherwise they would win too easily and the movie/book would be over.
look at eddings..in his books, especially the belgariad and the mallorean sagas..(also the redemption of althalus)..magic could potentially do just about anything except outright "unmaking/killing" someone. yet fighters still get ways to work around this or plot devices are found to limit this fact.. because otherwise, with a bit more logic and thinking through things, magic per se could pretty much wrap up the adventure within the first few chapters.

Eldan
2012-02-06, 12:53 PM
Would you really call it plot? I'd say the reason that Cohen outclasses them is that, to become a mage, you clearly have to be at least slightly insane from the start, and only get more so as you go along. Combined with that, using too much magic gets you eaten by magic-immune demons.

That's not plot. That's a limitation on magic. Of course, if your magic has no limitations and no rules, it's all powerful. But there are works where magic is very limited. It can't do certain things, and it has nasty side effects.

I also like the idea that magic still obeys certain laws of physics, there (weird as they are on the disc). You better compensate for the fact that on the other side of the world, the person you try to teleport is spinning through space in a different direction, moving relative to you. And you have to move the same weight the other direction.

Tiki Snakes
2012-02-06, 01:16 PM
yes..but the reason for that is "plot"..otherwise they would win too easily and the movie/book would be over.
look at eddings..in his books, especially the belgariad and the mallorean sagas..(also the redemption of althalus)..magic could potentially do just about anything except outright "unmaking/killing" someone. yet fighters still get ways to work around this or plot devices are found to limit this fact.. because otherwise, with a bit more logic and thinking through things, magic per se could pretty much wrap up the adventure within the first few chapters.

Actually, I always got the impression that staggering incompetance and general buffoonery was the entire point of Discworld Wizards and the Unseen Academy lot specifically.

Or maybe I just need my dried frog pill.

Eakin
2012-02-06, 01:28 PM
We've got to be specific in a thread like this.

What is the story about? What are the conflicts?

In My Little Pony one of the the characters has loads of magic but it can backfire. But mainly the conflicts presented within the context of the show are not ones that magic will solve explicitly. We learn that the greater magic for those conflicts is friendship which is something each of us has the ability to use.

:smallamused:

Let's not kid ourselves, Twilight is VASTLY BETTER at EVERYTHING than any of the Mane 6. Uses TK to harvest apples faster than the pony who's special talent is apples. Needs to beat Rainbow Dash, who prides herself on speed, in a race? Teleport. If she cut loose on any other pony she would wipe the floor with them. [/completelymissingthepoint]



Another example, kind of: the Dresden Files. Dresden can do some very impressive things. By the current state of the series, he has a divination spell over the entire city of Chicago. He can kill or find people from miles away. He has a bulletproof coat. He can step into the fairy world. He can blow up buildings. His curses are very impressive and he has shown remarkable skill at redirecting enemy rituals and spells in several cases. He defeats trolls, ogres, gruffs, vampires and powerful fey.
And yet, as one other character remarks: all it takes is a sniper, somewhere half a mile away with a good scope, and he'd never see it coming. He almost loses a hand to a mook with a flamethrower.

And any bets on how it would go if Michael Carpenter went up against him?


Dresden has a ton of power, but the series is pretty explicit that wizards are only unbeatable if they have prep time and know what they're up against. If Michael gets the drop on Harry, and can bring his full paladin powers to bear, he'll probably tear him apart. If Harry knows he's coming, he doesn't have a chance.

Karoht
2012-02-06, 01:52 PM
Gold Diggers

Bio tech, mecha tech, lasers, rail guns, dragons, kung fu, boat loads of magic, magical tech, technologically powered magic, and pretty much anything and everything in between. All very decently balanced. Hand to hand fighters constantly face off against mages, and it's very rarely a one-sided affair.

SoC175
2012-02-06, 02:04 PM
Most of the Ancient Greek heroes went up against characters with divine powers at some point or other and they generally won. (If I remember right, Ares, who was the literal God of War, got beaten up and sent running by a mortal hero at one point.)Well, the mortal hero and the invisible deity behind him deflection Ares' blows and guiding the mortal's strikes

First thing I thought of was Slayers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slayers) though, but I know there are a ton of other examples out there. I don't think that's a good example. Lina is much more powerful. Sure, Gourry is deadly with his sword of light, but Lina is capable of destroying the world if her more powerful spells go awry

...just don't give casters access to things like fireball and mage armor.

I mean there's plenty of cool magic stuff you can do without stepping on any toes.

I mean look at Game of Thrones: A spellcaster can change the way things looks, read the future, save people from death, go into the minds of animals, look into the past, and in general an individual magic user is an invaluable part of whatever group they belong to or assist.

They cannot however just wave their hands and shoot death at you. Such an act would completely invalidate the whole idea of an army if every group had someone who could shoot lightning and had eye beams.However they can conjure things that kill you a thousand miles away.

Traab
2012-02-06, 03:16 PM
yes..but the reason for that is "plot"..otherwise they would win too easily and the movie/book would be over.
look at eddings..in his books, especially the belgariad and the mallorean sagas..(also the redemption of althalus)..magic could potentially do just about anything except outright "unmaking/killing" someone. yet fighters still get ways to work around this or plot devices are found to limit this fact.. because otherwise, with a bit more logic and thinking through things, magic per se could pretty much wrap up the adventure within the first few chapters.

True to an extent, but at least eddings worked fairly hard at providing a reasonable in universe answer for why belgarath didnt just instantly save the day or wave his hand and kill every problem in their path. Instead of just ignoring the fact that belgaraths power is relatively limitless and could solve all problems, eddings went out of his way to explain why he didnt just solve everything 5 chapters into the first book.

Things like the fact that magic makes a "sound" other magic users can hear and it would be like playing one of the stealth missions in a COD or MOH game and using your unsilenced weapons to take down sentries. really not bright. Or that they had limits to how much they could do. Eventually, they get tired. Or they attract enemy casters and they have to work twice as hard because these (admittedly less skilled) wizards are fighting against everything they would try to do.

In Redemption, I think it was a combination of Emmy making sure things went how she wanted them, combined with a lack of knowledge on the words he could use and how to use them. Yeah he spent a long time studying the book, but he spent virtually no time learning to use what he learned. It was mostly an on the job kind of thing.

random11
2012-02-06, 04:17 PM
Few examples from books I know:

Codex Alera series / Jim Butcher

The main hero is practically the only guy around without magic in the main culture, often teaming up with casters.
His lack of magic is one of the things that forced him to be smarter than others.

Dragon knight series / Gordon R. Dickson

The hero is an apprentice wizard, the rest of the team is mostly non magical.
Sir Brian, Dafydd and I guess Aragh also counts even if he's a talking wolf.

Tyndmyr
2012-02-06, 04:43 PM
Every comic book story ever? :smalltongue:

There's basically no connection in comics between where your powers come from and how effective you are. Power sources include mundane, magical, religious, spiritual, alien, technological, mutant, and a ton more. Trying to guess the outcome of fights based on which one is magical and which is mundane is pretty much a waste of time.

In fairness, this is also true based on level of power instead of power source.

Comics are a confusing and crazy world, in which author fiat is often the only consistent way to explain things.

Additionally, some mystical characters tend extremely hard toward the "complete author fiat" end of the spectrum. Zatanna or Doctor Strange would definitely qualify.

Karoht
2012-02-06, 05:49 PM
I don't think that's a good example. Lina is much more powerful. Sure, Gourry is deadly with his sword of light, but Lina is capable of destroying the world if her more powerful spells go awry
Right, but if Lina misses with the Dragon Slave, Gourry or any similar powered swordsman can easilly off her while she's waiting for her power to come back. As very nearly proven by (insert a number of melee focused Slayers villains).

dehro
2012-02-06, 06:44 PM
Would you really call it plot? I'd say the reason that Cohen outclasses them is that, to become a mage, you clearly have to be at least slightly insane from the start, and only get more so as you go along. Combined with that, using too much magic gets you eaten by magic-immune demons.

That's not plot. That's a limitation on magic. Of course, if your magic has no limitations and no rules, it's all powerful. But there are works where magic is very limited. It can't do certain things, and it has nasty side effects.

I also like the idea that magic still obeys certain laws of physics, there (weird as they are on the disc). You better compensate for the fact that on the other side of the world, the person you try to teleport is spinning through space in a different direction, moving relative to you. And you have to move the same weight the other direction.

you're forgetting Sourcerers...eight sons mages of eight sons mages..or wielders of the octavo... they virtually had no limits except their own conscience and a brick in a sock.

also..are you saying Cohen is sane instead? :smallamused:

tyckspoon
2012-02-06, 06:51 PM
also..are you saying Cohen is sane instead? :smallamused:

From the right viewpoint, yes. He's the epitome of a Barbarian Hero; everything he does makes perfect sense from that perspective, although it may appear crazy to less Barbaric or Heroic people. Discworld Wizards, on the other hand, come up with ideas that even other Wizards think are crazy.

Eldan
2012-02-07, 10:56 AM
He's comparably sane, I'd say. He goes on crazy adventures, true. But he knows that as long as he goes about it the right way, i.e. following his code, he will survive them, at the very least, and likely also get money and sex out of it. And even apart from that, he seems pretty sensible about a lot of things.

Philistine
2012-02-07, 06:15 PM
Seems like there was also a number of Discworld books in which magic threatened to rip a hole in the fabric of reality and let Lovecraftian Horrors loose in the world. That seems like a pretty significant drawback to me, and a perfectly valid reason why wizards in the setting would strictly limit their use of magic.

*****

The flip side of the OP's question: Has any other system or setting ever made magic so safe, so inexpensive, so powerful, and so flexible as it is in D&D 3E? Settings where magic does anything and everything, and does it better than any mundane method could possibly hope to match? I can't think of any.

D&D 3E-esque "Wizzardz Rool Fightarz Drool" is in no way necessary to a fantasy setting. Indeed, magic in stories pretty much has to be limited, otherwise there would be no stories. And when that happens, it's not because "power of plot made magic weaker than it should be," it's because "magic isn't real, so the rules can be whatever any given author wants them to be."

There are any number of possible limitations that can be placed on magic in a setting without compromising its essential "magic-ness." "Scarcity" is one - not a great one for a literary setting, unless you really mean to play it up, and an absolutely terrible one for a game system. (It's amusing how people will argue that magic should be powerful because it's so "rare"... in the context of a game system in which essentially anyone who chooses to can learn to use magic, basically rendering this supposed balancing factor completely meaningless.)

"Cost" and "risk" are much better, and if made severe enough can balance even very powerful and flexible magic systems. A more ritualistic magic system might be able to pull off virtually any effect given several hours or days of prep time - that'd be an example of cost. Or powerful magic might cause a powerful backlash as cosmic forces come back into balance, so that effects tend to rebound on the caster - that'd be an example of risk. Or here's a relatively common one: working magic could be physically exhausting, leaving casters spent and unable to act in their own defense after using magic for anything of significance - a cost that's also a risk.

Authors can also work from the other direction, strictly limiting the power and kinds of effects magic can produce. Most settings either implicitly or explicitly rule out certain classes of effects - flight, teleportation, and raising the dead are common examples of things that just can't be done via magic. Other settings specify instead a very limited number of effects that magic can accomplish - divinations (whether "fortune telling" or "prophecy") and "curses"/"blessings" to change the target's fortunes are common in myth, legend, and folklore. And occasionally "magic" is basically limited to the creation of powerful items - commonly magic swords, armor, or rings - and nobody in the setting really "does magic" at all in the usually-thought-of sense.

So no, there's nothing necessary, natural, or inevitable about D&D's Quadratic Wizards Linear Fighters paradigm. In fact, the references to Leiber's "Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser" and Howard's "Conan" stories demonstrate that it's not even a good representation of the fiction D&D was ostensibly created to emulate.

Jayngfet
2012-02-08, 03:40 AM
The best in-game universe I've seen regarding this is Ars Magica. It is a "realistic fantasy" Medieval Europe universe where Wizards are at the top of the food chain, and fighters (and rogues/clerics/rangers/etc) are their paid underlings.

If you think about it that's really how it should realistically be. Parity would be the unrealistic illogical thing. You're a Wizard, which means you have to be (1)smart, (2)rich, (3) respected, and (4)influential. Like a tenured professor in an Ivy League university. Fighters? They're just muscle for hire. Muscle for hire is a dime a dozen.

Armed servants. They're not your friends or your equals. If you're an Ivy League professor, do you hang out with boxers and bouncers? No you hire them.

...you do realise that Fighters generally spend years honing their skills before taking their first level right?

Warriors are the random underlings you pay.

Fighters are trained warriors who've spent years mastering all manner of weapons and armors and honing their bodies to such a degree that they have a level of physical power and endurance far beyond an average human just starting out.

That 1d10 hit dice and bonus feat generally means their average is a level of physical conditioning a non specialized human can't ever hope to reach, and without harsh barbaric conditions can't hope to surpass.



There is a REASON people like that were historically the wealthy, powerful elite, or else descended from them.

MLai
2012-02-08, 09:11 AM
oh no MLai, thats making the assumption that Wizards do indeed have more power than fighters, and if they do, and are not equal, its only "realistic" if applied to God-Wizards. To wizards more similar in power to fighters it doesn't, because its a completely different assumption, therefore your example isn't really helping the discussion.
The point is, if you're trying to add "realism" to magic, then ALL wizards are god-wizards. Therefore fighters are NEVER the equal to wizards.

You're thinking RPGs where every schmo kid who looks like Harry Potter can go to wizard school and become a wizard. Look in any myth cycle you can think of; this never happens.

In all myths, wizards are powerful individuals. Why? Because only ppl who are mentally and spiritually uber-powerful can actually learn magic. And then, either because they are rich to begin with, or because they know magic, they are also rich and influential. It's not uncommon that they also happen to be kings or at least well-respected wise men/women.

Look at Merlin's magic. Not in AD&D, but in the original book. It's ****. A level 1 AD&D magic-user with 1 Magic Missile can probably kill him. And yet, he's a king's trusted adviser. A king. A king surrounded by heroes of renowned martial skill that are still pretty well held up even by today's fighter-standards.

So why does Merlin's **** magic put him on par with still-awesome fighters like Tristram and Lancelot? Because it's MAGIC. By definition that is just more awesome than even Lancelot. Look in other myths you find the same thing.

And then in today's world, you get wizards with EVEN BETTER magic. But the fighters are still pretty much the same standards as back then, bar a few exceptions.

I'm assuming magic is not cheap because I look to myths for foundation, not games. Using games or novels blatantly deriving from earlier sources is a poor way to set a frame of reference. The definition of frame of reference is to be the source, therefore look to the source. That's IMO.


...you do realise that Fighters generally spend years honing their skills before taking their first level right?

That 1d10 hit dice and bonus feat generally means their average is a level of physical conditioning a non specialized human can't ever hope to reach, and without harsh barbaric conditions can't hope to surpass.

There is a REASON people like that were historically the wealthy, powerful elite, or else descended from them.
Umm wait. First you're quoting AD&D (I think), and then you're using that to back up your "historical" observations??

Jayngfet
2012-02-08, 04:01 PM
Umm wait. First you're quoting AD&D (I think), and then you're using that to back up your "historical" observations??

That's actually 3.5, which was the only rule set I had physically on hand. The point however is that realistically if you want to get into an actual dnd style world, using random dice rolls to generate thing's you'd get maybe a couple of wizards at tenth level realistically.

And of course YOU brought up that a wizard needs to be "(1)smart, (2)rich, (3) respected, and (4)influential".

Bear in mind though that again, an good fighter is a trained warrior in expensive fullplate with an equally trained mount, wielding an array of weapons worth more than an average person makes in several years.

It works both ways. That's why fighters get to be considered equals in most RPG's and in worlds where magic isn't intentionally overshadowing everything. By the time you've learned more than a few low tier spells, they've already got the equipment and skill to kill a dozen men in their sleep.

Getting the money and connections to GET all this equipment usually takes something akin to nobility, or a level of esteem and prowess equal to it.

Soras Teva Gee
2012-02-08, 04:41 PM
Right, but if Lina misses with the Dragon Slave, Gourry or any similar powered swordsman can easilly off her while she's waiting for her power to come back. As very nearly proven by (insert a number of melee focused Slayers villains).

Not really, Lina can cast Dragon Slaves in fairly close succession. She can also deal with someone like Zangulus or Gourry with lesser spells she can just plain spam. And Gourry isn't exactly running on human limits either quite aside from the Sword of Light.

The problem in Slayers is that most of their opponents can tank a few Dragon Slaves, teleport spam around them, or both. They beat things that are simply not supposed to be beaten by humans.

Philistine
2012-02-08, 08:13 PM
There's a serious logical problem with that, MLai: you are assuming the very thing you're trying to prove.

The point is, magic isn't real. So any author can use any rules of magic that happen to be necessary to tell a given story, and it's all equally "realistic." The "realistic" rules for a given setting may put magic-users on top of the world, or they may make mages pariahs to be driven out or even hunted down (as with non-Dragon-Reborn male channelers in WoT), or they may have any result at all. It is not in any way necessary or inevitable that all Wizards should become God-Wizards. Well, except in D&D. You're assuming a lot about magic - how it works, how it's acquired, and its effects on an individual's status in society - and you can't simply assert that your opinion, founded on these unexamined assumptions, is the only "realistic" way it could be.

And if you're going back to original sources, it's generally not magic that make a Merlin or a Gandalf so valuable to the high and mighty - for either of them, actually using magic seems to be a rare event. No, it's their extensive knowledge and wise counsel that earn them a place at the high table - which also happens in the mundane world, no magic required.

averagejoe
2012-02-08, 11:16 PM
Hmm. I found the series quite enjoyable, actually. But you're right, the magic users in that setting were rather low key. I think it had something to do with the effort and time involved in casting spells. The one exception to this was the one main character mage, the... sister, wasn't it? She was only powerful because she had found shortcuts that allowed her to cast spells more quickly and easily. And magic in that setting was mainly defensive, wards and shields and such, as far as I recall.

I think the way the sister used magic was mostly to ward/shield, but offensive spells existed. IIRC they didn't run into many magic users, but at some point Shanon sword fought some girl who was both a decent sword fighter and a powerful magic user and won.

Gnoman
2012-02-12, 10:57 PM
The flip side of the OP's question: Has any other system or setting ever made magic so safe, so inexpensive, so powerful, and so flexible as it is in D&D 3E? Settings where magic does anything and everything, and does it better than any mundane method could possibly hope to match? I can't think of any.


Some of Harry Turtledoves books (The Case of The Toxic Spell Dump amd the Derlavian War series for example) would probably count. In the latter, even common infantrymen shoot magic fire.

Philistine
2012-02-13, 12:22 AM
Being that it was Turtledove, did said "magic fire" essentially mimic the characteristics of firearms from either the American Civil War or World War Two eras?

Knaight
2012-02-13, 12:37 AM
I mean look at Game of Thrones: A spellcaster can change the way things looks, read the future, save people from death, go into the minds of animals, look into the past, and in general an individual magic user is an invaluable part of whatever group they belong to or assist.

They cannot however just wave their hands and shoot death at you. Such an act would completely invalidate the whole idea of an army if every group had someone who could shoot lightning and had eye beams.

I seem to remember murdering three kings from across a continent with a bunch of leeches. So, there's that.

As for the main point, magic can be set wherever the author using it sees fit. If it's highly limited in power, and can only subtly influence things, impressive nonmagical skills could dwarf it. If it is very powerful (anywhere near D&D levels, for instance), less so. By virtue of magic not being real, there are a lot of options.

Gnoman
2012-02-13, 12:39 AM
Being that it was Turtledove, did said "magic fire" essentially mimic the characteristics of firearms from either the American Civil War or World War Two eras?

In Derlavi, to a large extent (though there are some significant political and tactical differences, Derlavi is in many ways a magitek WWII.) Toxic Spell Dump is rather different, being mostly a mystery.

Fiery Diamond
2012-02-13, 04:26 PM
The point is, if you're trying to add "realism" to magic, then ALL wizards are god-wizards. Therefore fighters are NEVER the equal to wizards.

You're thinking RPGs where every schmo kid who looks like Harry Potter can go to wizard school and become a wizard. Look in any myth cycle you can think of; this never happens.

In all myths, wizards are powerful individuals. Why? Because only ppl who are mentally and spiritually uber-powerful can actually learn magic. And then, either because they are rich to begin with, or because they know magic, they are also rich and influential. It's not uncommon that they also happen to be kings or at least well-respected wise men/women.

Look at Merlin's magic. Not in AD&D, but in the original book. It's ****. A level 1 AD&D magic-user with 1 Magic Missile can probably kill him. And yet, he's a king's trusted adviser. A king. A king surrounded by heroes of renowned martial skill that are still pretty well held up even by today's fighter-standards.

So why does Merlin's **** magic put him on par with still-awesome fighters like Tristram and Lancelot? Because it's MAGIC. By definition that is just more awesome than even Lancelot. Look in other myths you find the same thing.

And then in today's world, you get wizards with EVEN BETTER magic. But the fighters are still pretty much the same standards as back then, bar a few exceptions.

I'm assuming magic is not cheap because I look to myths for foundation, not games. Using games or novels blatantly deriving from earlier sources is a poor way to set a frame of reference. The definition of frame of reference is to be the source, therefore look to the source. That's IMO.


The problem with this is - wait, someone else already said it:


There's a serious logical problem with that, MLai: you are assuming the very thing you're trying to prove.

The point is, magic isn't real. So any author can use any rules of magic that happen to be necessary to tell a given story, and it's all equally "realistic." The "realistic" rules for a given setting may put magic-users on top of the world, or they may make mages pariahs to be driven out or even hunted down (as with non-Dragon-Reborn male channelers in WoT), or they may have any result at all. It is not in any way necessary or inevitable that all Wizards should become God-Wizards. Well, except in D&D. You're assuming a lot about magic - how it works, how it's acquired, and its effects on an individual's status in society - and you can't simply assert that your opinion, founded on these unexamined assumptions, is the only "realistic" way it could be.

And if you're going back to original sources, it's generally not magic that make a Merlin or a Gandalf so valuable to the high and mighty - for either of them, actually using magic seems to be a rare event. No, it's their extensive knowledge and wise counsel that earn them a place at the high table - which also happens in the mundane world, no magic required.

And I'll reiterate: You assume that there is some "most valid" frame of reference to use. This is false. You may prefer to use myths as your frame of reference, which you rightly stated as your opinion. This does not invalidate others disagreeing with you who are using other frames of reference, or saying that no actual source need be taken as a frame of reference at all - the author of a story can make magic behave however he/she wishes, regardless of how it is portrayed in any other source. Your stance is no more correct or incorrect than theirs; and holding up yours as somehow being "more realistic" is where you are going wrong with your argument.

Gnome Alone
2012-03-09, 04:43 PM
Right. I forgot that Mouser was a wizard's apprentice. He doesn't use his powers often, much more often relying on his rogue skills (and yes, he'd be a D&D rogue/wizard, with the wizard part being low-level and the rogue part being rather high). He uses slings and swords much more often than spells. I can only think of a handful occasions in all the stories I've read. (Though there was an amusing event where he miscast a spell and exploded the heads of an entire circle of wizards).

If memory serves, the Mouser casts that head-asploding spell in "The Lords of Quarmall," which was prepared for him by Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, casts a black magic spell on an evil duke that wracks both caster and victim with pain in "The Unholy Grail," and plays around with some magical doodads that don't even work in "Adept's Gambit." He mentions fooling around with magic from time to time when he first meets Fafhrd, but I believe those are the only times he ever explicitly gets wizardy. He's way more of a swordsman, and I always got the impression that when it came down to it he was probabely a little better than Fafhrd actually - he has the higher body count anyway.

Dark Tira
2012-03-10, 12:52 AM
Let's not kid ourselves, Twilight is VASTLY BETTER at EVERYTHING than any of the Mane 6. Uses TK to harvest apples faster than the pony who's special talent is apples. Needs to beat Rainbow Dash, who prides herself on speed, in a race? Teleport. If she cut loose on any other pony she would wipe the floor with them. [/completelymissingthepoint]


That's a bit of hyperbole. Twilight can not out do pretty much anything Pinkie Pie does. Not that Pinkie Pie can do everything that Twilight does either, but for lacking magic she holds her own just fine.

LordVader
2012-03-10, 04:46 PM
Fullmetal Alchemist sort of does this; characters such as Olivier Armstrong and Teacher's husband (don't know his name) are able to stand against very powerful enemies and contribute just as much to the fight as magic users.

You could also consider Fuhrer-King Bradley to be an excellent example of this; he's got his Ultimate Eye, which is sort of magical, but all he ever fights with is a sword, and he kicks a lot of ass while doing so.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is also a potential example in that Willow gains vast magical power by the end of the series, yet Buffy, the bog-standard smash-faces-in Slayer, still does a majority of the heavy lifting with Willow functioning more so as support.