Something I’ve thought about for a while but never tried is giving magic-users a low-power combat power. The main point would be to give low-level magic-users something more to do; a side benefit would be that it would help address our desire to make low level characters a bit more survivable without doing too much to unbalance the design of the game.
What I’m thinking is that magic-users would gain the ability to fire a “magic blast” each round which requires a normal to-hit roll and delivers 1 hit point of damage if it hits. It would have a range of 20′. The way I’ve got it written right now is that on a natural 20, it delivers 2 points of damage instead of 1. The caster would require a wand, staff, or other “focus object” to cast the spell.
I’m not sure about its ability to hit creatures only struck by magic weapons. I’m leaning toward allowing it, but only for those struck by +1 weapons. Some of the more powerful sorts, which are struck only by +2 or better weapons, would be immune to the piddly little magic blast.
I’ve seen others suggest similar things in the past. Has anyone played with something like this? Any feedback or suggestions?
UPDATE: I meant to add that I see this sort of along the lines of the characters in Harry Potter going “Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!” with their wands in the fight scenes.