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Old 11-26-2018, 05:48 AM   #1
XRaysVision
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default I New - help me understand wizards

I'm new to TFT. I had an opportunity to play Melee and Wizard over the Veteran's Day weekend. I love Melee. Wizard--not so much. It seemed to me that wizards are weak and fragile. Doing anything "magical" just left them as empty husks in no time and they are prohibited from using any mundane weapons or armor. Decidedly un-fun.

Was I doing something wrong? Granted, I could have insanely over-power my character, but that's no fun. How does a beginning wizard live long enough to gather any experience?

In a mixed party, won't the wizard just die first?

Obviously, people are having big fun with TFT, so I must be doing something wrong.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 11-26-2018, 08:33 AM   #2
hcobb
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

TFT isn't just Melee+Wizard. It's a roleplaying game, which means it is a storytelling game. The party wizard brings a lot of story hooks that can be used, or ignored.

The greatest advantage that a wizard has is guild membership, and this doesn't have to be the wizard's guild. That's because the second greatest thing about being a wizard is the power of specialization.

If your main guild is the wizard's guild then you're a tower kid and have at least passing acquaintance with the great wizards of the area. (Literacy, Aid and Dectect Magic spells, etc.)

If your most used membership card is the Mercenaries guild then it is a ticket to adventure. You've got a window into the military planning of the area. Take Staff and several combat skills.

Or if you're a member of the Thieves Guild take the Silent Movement talent or spell, Streetwise and Lock/Knock.

The Wizard's Jobs table on page 59 is tiny, but it is a start.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:34 AM   #3
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

Setting aside the roleplaying elements, I suspect that you have not found your way to strategies that take advantage of Wizards' strengths in combat.

Magic in TFT is exceptional - perhaps unique - because it is built on a core of rules and specific spells engineered for tactical combat in small groups. Magic is used in combat in other fantasy roleplaying games, but typically exists as a sort of 'trump card' that can be dropped to achieve some fight-winning or scene-stealing act, and typically follows rules that mostly amount to theater of the mind.

Most magic in TFT produces rigidly rules-bound effects that lead to balanced outcomes in simple, direct conflicts, despite a great deal of diversity in possible tactical approaches. I would say this is the main strength of TFT's game design: you really can't say with any confidence what sort of character is 'best' in a one-on-one or small group fight. If you expect a magician to be able to drop the bomb on a fighter (or other non magic user) then you will be disappointed. On the other hand, a well designed and well played wizard is clearly competitive with a fighter in a toe-to-toe fight. So, if that is not your experience then you are probably using the rules in some non optimum way.

Maybe I could give more specific advice if you described a real fight you played out (not some white-room thought exercise - a real gladiatorial fight you played).
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:05 AM   #4
Skarg
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

Wizards have to be careful and learn how to use their spells in ways that won't leave them too vulnerable. One main thing a wizard needs to learn is how to cast spells that will do what is needed without running out of Strength. And, how to use time, distance, terrain and other figures. They are designed to be balanced with fighter starting characters, when played well, but they are very different from fighters.

Once you learn some techniques that work, you may find that wizards seem more powerful than fighters... (A fighter who gets Sleep or Freeze cast on him may complain wizards are overpowered...)

As with everything in TFT, what happens and who dies has more to do with the situation than the ability levels of the characters.

One of the simplest wizard tactics is of course to not fight alone but with non-wizard friends who keep foes away (and who stand in the way of arrows).

Another is to summon things to fight for you.

Another is to use spells which give you a huge advantage or directly take out enemies with single spells.

Last edited by Skarg; 11-26-2018 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:00 PM   #5
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

Wizards certainly have ways of defeating fighters with similar stat totals, and some of these strategies have minimal ST costs. Sleep and Freeze are good examples; an illusion is another good choice. Most fighters have a poor chance of disbelieving an illusion and can't handle a bear in a 1 on 1 fight. But the most obvious and cheapest paths to victory do incur significant risks, as the spells that seem simplest have to be cast at close range to have any chance of success - one failed roll and you are at the fighter's mercy. It's a bit like fighting with an arquebus: that damage roll certainly looks tasty, but you have to take it in just the right tactical situation and you better not miss.

Also consider that you might be comparing a TFT wizard to wizards from modern editions of D+D, where various mechanisms have been introduced to let them cast spells more or less constantly, all day, every day. That isn't what was going on in 1980 when these games were created. Your 1st level D+D wizard was also under severe constraints on spells cast per day and had to be pretty creative to be successful.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:19 PM   #6
malchidael
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

In my opinion, 32-point beginning Wizards do have a slight disadvantage compared to fighters in combined Melee/Wizard - they have to balance all three stats, where a fighter can leave IQ at 8 without concern. This is less true once you start using the full In The Labyrinth rules, but only by a little bit.

Blur on self is very useful to avoid getting hit; but, it does cost ST every round. Summon Wolf is nice because the high DX of a wolf lets it strike faster than most 32-point opponents and can draw their attention. An illusion can work just as well with less ST cost if you don't think your opponent can disbelieve easily. Create Wall can provide cover for you while your illusions/minions attack.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:21 PM   #7
malchidael
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

Oh, and Welcome! It's always great to have new players discovering TFT.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

If your illusion is working then defend or dodge with the wizard.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:58 PM   #9
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

It is true that wizards have to think about all three stats from the beginning, but it is hard to say if that is a disadvantage in a straight up fight; the only test of that is who wins the fight. In my experience it is hard to choose between a 32 point wizard and a 32 point fighter in a 1 on 1 cage match.
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:36 PM   #10
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: I New - help me understand wizards

Welcome aboard XRay,
Even a beginning wizard can seem too powerful if used right.

Areas to consider: attributes, plan to avoid damage, how to use spells by type, and ST management:

As pointed out already, beginning wizards need to balance ST, DX and IQ. Most important for will be DX. Say at least 12. ST is the least important. And don't start with IQ over 12 otherwise you DX will be a problem (missed spells at critical times can be deadly). You can do a lot with lower IQ Wizards.

Opponents will target wizards. Just injuring a wizard will lessen how much she/he can cast. That makes wizards prime targets for archers. All other foes you need to make sure they don't get next to you. So, you need a plan to block missile weapons and another to block fighters from reaching you. This can be done through spells and allies. Have a plan for each.

The type of spell dictates the best way to use it:

Missile Spells: best using this against a target that is engaged or already acted this turn. This way you are not wasting your ST because he dodged it. It means you need a partner or creature to engage him. If he is heavily armored this is not a good choice for beginning wizards (3 die fireball or magic fist is best again an unarmored foe).

Creation Spells: this are great because you do not loose DX due to range. For a beginning wizard the best creation spells are: Illusion and Summon Wolf/Myrmidon. Somewhat helpful are Create Wall (keep arrows away) and Fire (best against an engaged foe) and Rope. Higher summon spells will cost you too much ST. Wolf with MA 12 can go to HTH with most foes, this is downright mean. If only up against Fighters or animals, Illusion is awesome. Even if they suspect illusion they will have to waste turns trying to disbelieve it, meanwhile it is tearing into them. For only 2 ST, create two illusions or one illusion and one summoned creature.

Defensive Thrown spells: Reverse Missiles is awesome for those pesky archers. If your DX is high enough to cast this before the first arrow arrives, then it makes for a very fun first turn. You won't have to maintain the spell long as they will soon abandon their bows or at least stop shooting you. Blur is nice on a allied fighter. You want to avoid entering battle, so think of defensive spells on allies.

Offensive Thrown spells: Sleep or Freeze are almost game enders. But you got to get very close to your foe. This means letting someone else engage them and coming up 2 hexes away. A bit risky, but sometimes the fight comes to you so good to have a spell like this. Even Trip can be very helpful if you have an ally that can put them away while down. 2 points into Clumsiness and you made them useless and a great target for shield slam from an ally.

Other spells can be great in the right situation. Like Speed Movement sounds lame, but if you have an ally with a halberd or battle axe put it on him and hope to win initiative. After they move he could zip behind one and kill him. The speed will be a surprise. You need to be creative.


Now about ST management. Your ST is going to be low. Maybe 8 or 9. So, don't bother with spells that take too much ST (like summon bear). Instead look for the bargains. Sometimes a single spell can double for both offense and defense. For example, a wolf illusion is cheap and engaging a foe keeps him from you and hurts him. If my foe is an archer, I am sending a wolf (gets there fast). If he is an armored fighter, I am sending a bear (he can't win). Also, use terrain feature to help. That is, hide behind a pillar instead of casting a spell to protect yourself. You should aim to beat someone in 2 spells. For example: Summon wolf followed by trip spell to make sure the wolf gets on top of him. Then beat on him with your staff to help the wolf. Or two bear illusions.


Try this for a starter: ST 8, DX 13, IQ 11.

Good luck.

-Alan
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