The feedback I’ve received so far on the magic blast idea has been great. Lots of good points and suggestions have been made both here and on the thread I started over at the Labyrinth Lord forum. I’ll admit that I’m more than a little confused over the objections to the idea that some are raising, not because I don’t like objections but because I don’t really understand what it is that they’re objecting to. That will be a different post, maybe.
For now, I’m curious about how others play low-level magic-users, particularly regarding the “magic-users should be doing other stuff during combat” statements that many objections to magic blast contain.
I personally have never played a lot of magic-users, due in great part to low-level play looking fairly boring most of the time. I’m not necessarily saying that, if magic-users existed, being one would be fairly boring. I’m saying that being a player controlling a low-level magic-user in a game looks like it could be fairly boring most of the time. I also must say that I haven’t had a lot of players choose to play magic-users over the years, though I can’t say for sure that it was due to fear of boredom. All in all, I’d guess that around 90% of the non-multi-classed magic-users who have been in PC parties in nearly 30 years of gaming have been NPCs (a few of them henchmen controlled by players) and not player characters. Due to this, I haven’t really seen a lot of creative magic-user play in my gaming career.
So just what is all this “other stuff” that magic-users should be doing when they aren’t casting their one or two spells for the day? Particularly during combat?
I’ve got some of my own ideas, but I’d love to hear what other people do. I think I’ve been “missing something” for a long time.
Yes, I realize that certain situations may require specific actions. Freeing prisoners while the fighters hold off the goblins and the like. Some of those specific actions would be ideal magic-users. Also, being mapper (or caller if you use one) could make sense. But the reason they would make sense is because the magic-user player/character HAS NOTHING ELSE TO DO ANYWAY.
I’m particularly interested in things where the player DOES something. “Holding the torch” is one of the first suggestions I saw for magic-users during combat. That may be vitally important to an adventuring party but it is not a lot of fun for the player. It’s a game. Fun playing trumps “realism” every time. Magic-users are a core class of the game and I want them to be fun.