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Old 08-07-2014, 12:02 PM   #31
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
There are armored spell casters in Arthurian lore, they are generally not represented in Mallory. Icelandic Wizards certainly wore armor and had reputations for being awesome warriors (heck Gandalf used a sword). The Elf king in the English Faerie tale Childe Rowland was a steel armor wearing fae warrior wizard. Warrior Wizards do show up in many traditions.
I'm not saying warrior-wizards never existed in any work of fiction or folktale. That's obviously not true, although the nonhumans aren't relevant. They're precisely the reason why D&D made an exception for Elven fighter/magic users. But I am saying that there are a lot of bodies of fiction and myth where the wizards leave the body armour to the grunts so the statement that the restriction has no basis in fiction or legend is simply false.
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:29 PM   #32
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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Hm I been thinking about this as I consider the day my halfling warrior dies of poorly thought out planning on his sheet, is the fact that Wizards can not use armor without it effecting their ability to use magic just an arbitrary rule for those rpgs with those rules so they don't completely dominate the game? Or does it have precedent in fantasy fiction as a standard trope of sorts?
Not entirely without precedent. Merlin in Le Morte d'Artur doesn't wear armor of note. Nor does Le Fay. Nor does Gandalf in LOTR, and he kicks arse with the armored bad boys.

Several sagas have some the various supernatural wielders as warrior-priests in armor, while others are not warriors, and don't wear armor.

It's a not uncommon trope in literature, but it's not a hard and fast rule.

In D&D, it's as much a play balance thing.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:12 AM   #33
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

Because mages shouldn't take the dungeon or the fighter becomes useless.

Even with IC explanations like "Magic interfering with iron" these mitigating factors tend to just be fluff to explain the reason for balance.

In game worlds where NOBODY wears heavy armor, you tend not to find these balance considerations.

Only general reason I could see outside of forced fluff is "I am not as physically able to take hits or carry tons of armor because I spent my time studying" which isn't even that realistic either, but having two people doing the same thing in a campaign is boring.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:53 AM   #34
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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Because mages shouldn't take the dungeon or the fighter becomes useless.

Even with IC explanations like "Magic interfering with iron" these mitigating factors tend to just be fluff to explain the reason for balance.

In game worlds where NOBODY wears heavy armor, you tend not to find these balance considerations.

Only general reason I could see outside of forced fluff is "I am not as physically able to take hits or carry tons of armor because I spent my time studying" which isn't even that realistic either, but having two people doing the same thing in a campaign is boring.
Hm then why have the fighter to begin with if you can't really justify the wizards being squishy?
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:51 PM   #35
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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Fae might not be able use iron armor. Why can't they use bronze? Or some material found only in Otherworld?

Besides aren't their plenty of tales about fae knights?
They do in Quest FRP. Often an especially tough kind of bronze, made via some phosphor-treatment process.

Human casters of arcane spells use bronze armour and bronze weapons too, since it's only ferrous materials that interfere with arcane magic (and cause direct harm to Faeries). Divine spells are unaffected.

My guess is that back when Quest FRP was made (by a Mike Greenholdt, back in the 80s), the iron rule was there to enforce the robed-wizard trope, but then some clever players (possibly roleplaying some clever characters) found a workaround, in the form of first normal bronze armour and weapons, inferior to good medieval steel in durability and much costlier to make, and then eventually the phosphor-bronze thing, to match the tier-one advanced steel (MS) that some craftsmen characters could already make.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:54 PM   #36
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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But the truth is, wizards were usually squishy well before the first rpg because the archetypical wizard or sorcerer is a scholar, just as the archetypical sorceress is a noblewoman and the archetypical witch is a peasant woman.
The reason early fantasy fiction were squishy is because they couldn't be POV-characters, because back then, the authors didn't even have an excuse for a magic system sufficient to tell stories from their POV, so they were always told from the POV of non-casters - usually muscled barbarians who were slayers of wizards.

Later on, as authors figured out how to actually develop actual magic systems, it became physically possible to tell at least partially coherent stories from the POV of casters.
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:18 PM   #37
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

For values of "later" that include 1610. Unless you don't think Prospero is a protagonist.
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:42 PM   #38
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

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For values of "later" that include 1610. Unless you don't think Prospero is a protagonist.
I'm talking about written fiction told from one point-of-view, or several shifting points-of-view. Letting the reader in on the character's thought processes and decision making processes. You can't do that without at least a half-assed magic system.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:00 PM   #39
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitation?

A sufficiently powerful magician should have invulnerable skin anyway and thus not need armor. :) Like Monkey in Journey to the West.

Gandalf the White implies that the weapons of the Three Walkers wouldn't avail them much against Saruman; he himself incinerates an arrow in mid-air and telekinetically disarms Gimli... which might the only TK in the legendarium.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:40 PM   #40
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Default Re: Is The trope that wizards can't use armor just an arbitrary limitati

IMC it's an issue of campaign balance and mystic TL. Non living things, armor, don't let mana flow well through living conduits, mages. I impose a -1 skill penalty per level of physical DR.

One of the available inventions IMC currently is a variation of the Staff enchantment for organic armor. In a perfect example of "but that's just the way it is" as it relates to new inventions, no PC has ever thought to apply the idea of Staff acting as a physical extension of the mage to armor. After this breakthrough, the dwarves could invent similar for metal, given their cultural understanding of stone and metal as living. For now, that's just the way it's always been.
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