Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wizards in Middle Earth

I have altered the magic-user class a tiny bit for my Middle Earth campaign. Let's face it, we all know that wizards can swing swords, because Gandalf does it! So here is my write up for Holmes Magic-Users:


Magic-users — humans who elect to become magic-users cannot wear armor and may carry only a dagger or a staff for protection. They can, however, use all magical items, but not magical weapons (other than swords or daggers). They have the advantage (shared with Rangers and some elves) of being able to work magical spells. At the start, however, they can cast only one spell and must advance a level in experience before they can learn another. Thus the magic-user starts out as an extremely weak character, but if he survives and rises in experience, he becomes increasingly powerful. The types of spells and the way they are used are discussed in a later section. Magic-users, of course, may be good or evil, lawful or chaotic, and most of their spells remain the same.

As you can see, magic-users can now use daggers, staves, and (only) magic swords. They cannot wield normal swords or weapons, but they have an affinity with magical swords. Now, obviously due to poor attack tables, and no armor - most magic swords should be given to fighters first - but if more than a couple are found, feel free to let your wizard have one.


  1. As blasphemous as this might sound, it's worth your consideration to look at how the Bard is designed fro 3.X and retro-design it for 0E, White Box, Holmes, etc. The class can fight and all of its various magical effects can be defined by using oratory, very consistent with what we see from the Istari in Tolkien. Model your spell list as a blend between 1E Druid spells and Ench/Charm sorts of spells, excluding things like Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Fireball, etc.

    If you want to have "sorcerers" who are capable of those sorts of magics, it is somewhat plausible. After all, most of the Counsel of the Wise mistook Sauron's Necromancer deception as simply being a powerful, but mortal, spell caster. Great idea by the way and looking forward to more of this series of posts.

  2. Keep in mind that Gandalf actually does do a lot of fire magic in the Hobbit. Arguably his preferred method of solving problems is "kill it with fire." Throw in a little ventriloquism and some enigmatic behavior and you're good to go.

  3. What about Turn Undead? Or Turn Shadow, or something like that? I'm thinking of Gandalf vs. the balrog in Moria, or Gandalf vs. the Witch King during the siege of Gondor. Then again, he doesn't necessarily "turn" them does he? Is protection from evil an M-U spell in Holmes?