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Old 06-27-2019, 10:11 AM   #1
Tywyll
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Default Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

This mostly deals with the original ‘issue’ per the old rules system. The new xp system ‘fixes’ this ‘problem’ for the most part.

I have seen a lot of people mention and complain about the ‘Conan the Wizard’ effect of high strength wizards. And I’ve wondered…why is this such an issue? Most people seem to complain something around the point that the wizard should be frail and weak compared to fighters and I had to stop and ask myself, why do they believe that?

It seems to me that most old myths and early fantasy story doesn’t present wizards as particularly frail. Gandalf fights in many melee battles (yes, I know he’s an angel, but that wasn’t how he was presented in the Hobbit). Merlin didn’t fight alongside knights, but as I remember the earlier myths he was only presented as frail due to age, not magic use (and certainly his foes were not old and frail). Norse Rune Casters are mostly Viking warriors as well (not to mention Berserkers). Shaman in native cultures also tend to be hunters as well, not frail fainting flowers. While the wizards in Conan stories were weaker than Conan, who wasn’t? Also of course their weakness served a philosophical agenda. Elric was weak from a birth defect, and needed either drugs or Stormbringer for the strength to cast his spells (when he bothered). So why this seemingly ubiquitous desire for frail magicians?

The only thing I can come up with is D&D and its expectations. Magic-Users are weak, just look at that d4 HP! Though even this ignores that Wizards in D&D could still have an 18 Str or Con (though admittedly depending on the edition it might not benefit a wizard as much as a fighter-which maps to TFT because without a lot of talent points for a weapon skill).

I kind of like that TFT wizards are physically capable instead of being a D&D trope. I like that they are robust and tough. It creates a different setting with different expectations and I think that’s cool.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:13 AM   #2
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

I don't think it is an issue, except when a wizard conceived of as weak or average becomes super strong over the course of adventures, since that kind of advancement undermines the character concept. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the bruiser wizard. TFT's supporting building the character you want is part of what wooed me away from D&D all those decades ago.
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Old 06-27-2019, 12:13 PM   #3
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

I don't think it usually is an issue.

It seems like some people mainly struggle with their pre-conceived ideas about wizards.

The Legacy edition rules mitigate it a lot with the new XP table costs and the staff mana stat.

For me, I do however have a bit of a desire to be able to have some wizards who develop their personal (not item-based) ability to cast more spells, without also having great muscular ST, or being able to survive massive injury too. Of course it can be easily house-ruled in various ways if I want that.
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Old 06-27-2019, 01:32 PM   #4
Ulairi
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

I think just by TFT moving away from a class based system we do away with Conan the Wizard problems. I think with the D&D mindset it was the trade offs that the classes presented. I never played the original TFT but I’m running the new edition and I think the issue has been fixed because it hasn’t come up in our game but maybe it will...
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Old 06-27-2019, 02:40 PM   #5
malchidael
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulairi View Post
I think just by TFT moving away from a class based system we do away with Conan the Wizard problems. I think with the D&D mindset it was the trade offs that the classes presented. I never played the original TFT but I’m running the new edition and I think the issue has been fixed because it hasn’t come up in our game but maybe it will...
With Classic TFT, it only really started to come up later in play. You might see a wizard that had more strength than the warriors in the party so they could power more spells. At which point, they spend the 2 IQ to get the Crossbow skill for when they don't want to throw missile spells.

With the increased cost for stats and the ManaStaff mechanic, I don't see it as a problem any more (I never really had a problem with it, but I understand why others might) - the game still allows you to build a high-strength wizard, but doesn't require it of more advanced wizards.
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Old 06-28-2019, 06:33 AM   #6
Tywyll
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
I don't think it is an issue, except when a wizard conceived of as weak or average becomes super strong over the course of adventures, since that kind of advancement undermines the character concept. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with the bruiser wizard. TFT's supporting building the character you want is part of what wooed me away from D&D all those decades ago.
See that's the part that confuses me...the idea that players have a concept that they don't expect to evolve over the course of play. I mean, sure, maybe your wizard started out weak or average, but they also probably started out with less IQ as well. As you get more powerful, your abilities improve, including your physical ability to cast more potent spells. Your weakling works out and gets strong so they can better channel magic (or they don't spend attribute points on ST in which case they are fast and smart but with little magical stamina which is a reasonable build I guess).

But the complaint that your concept changed over the course of play... I mean, all characters change. A 1st level X isn't still the same person by level 10 in any system.
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:23 AM   #7
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

I'm talking about the fundamental nature of a character changing. Elric never got stronger in the stories, although he certainly changed, and, regardless of how much Frodo adventured, he was never going to be as strong as Boromir. For a real-world example, regardless of how much dedicate myself to getting stronger, my frame will never allow me to be as strong any NFL player; I'm just too small. So, I'm not talking about a character who starts the game an 18-year-old ST 9 wizard advancing to ST 10 or 11 by the time they are 2 years older with some adventures undert their belt. Rather, I'm talking about their advancing up to levels that should be far beyond the reach of someone like them.
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Old 06-28-2019, 09:08 AM   #8
Tywyll
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
I'm talking about the fundamental nature of a character changing. Elric never got stronger in the stories, although he certainly changed, and, regardless of how much Frodo adventured, he was never going to be as strong as Boromir. For a real-world example, regardless of how much dedicate myself to getting stronger, my frame will never allow me to be as strong any NFL player; I'm just too small. So, I'm not talking about a character who starts the game an 18-year-old ST 9 wizard advancing to ST 10 or 11 by the time they are 2 years older with some adventures undert their belt. Rather, I'm talking about their advancing up to levels that should be far beyond the reach of someone like them.
True about some characters from fiction, but I would say that Frodo's ST did improve (because it also represents Health and Fatigue). Conan didn't really improve either, but then character's from pulp, while being the inspiration for D&D and rpgs in general, aren't characters that really change much in the way of narrative arcs.

I don't know, I expect characters to change and improve when I play them. Zero to Hero and all that.
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Old 06-28-2019, 09:52 AM   #9
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

I view this as a kind of stand in for a broader issue with the older experience and advancement rules, which encouraged and permitted all characters to drift toward a common design having ST~DX~IQ~20. Whether you started as Conan or started as a wizard, this is where you would end up.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:03 AM   #10
Tywyll
 
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Default Re: Conan the Wizard...is it a problem?

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
I view this as a kind of stand in for a broader issue with the older experience and advancement rules, which encouraged and permitted all characters to drift toward a common design having ST~DX~IQ~20. Whether you started as Conan or started as a wizard, this is where you would end up.
Yeah, saminess is an issue. But then, I can see builds not working that way. A fighter with 30 Str (the old human max) and a 12 Dex and 9 Int seems perfectly viable for high level play.

As does the Str 14 Dex 22 IQ 14 heavy armor tank (-7 Dx from plate and tower shield, still hits on a 15 or less).

But I get it, none of these characters have 60 points of stats either.
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