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I was searching this post since the muscle mage debate started, finaly i found it. :D Its a short but interesting read about mages and physical fitness. Its from the Steve Jackson Games forum, from the user D10000, enjoy: Sorry for the text background color but I have no clue how to change it. Myth v. Stereotype, or "My Wizard Wears Plate and Has a 14 Strength" In another thread on plate armor and spell casting I got off on a Semi tangent relating to magic user stereotypes and their conflict with magic user's in pre-D&D fantasy (this also overlaps and parallels Elves). When I think of wizards I think of Odin, Mercury, Gandalf, Feanor, Elric, Kane or Simon Magus. Do any of them strike you as a skinny old bookworm? In many, many settings physical vitality is a prerequisite to surviving or excelling at magic use. To me, a mage is either 1) a superior being or 2) a man with a particular skill set which is for no reason incompatible with him being 7 feet tall and able to kill with an axe, especially if he's an adventurer. I mean, even computer geeks in the army have armor and know how to shoot guns, and adventuring is way more dangerous. If Bookmouse wizards exist they're doing bookmouse things, not getting their hair clipped by throwing axes in some hellish pit. Another example is the sorcerer Xaltotun from the Conan story "Hour of the Dragon", who is almost physically perfect in addition to being a super sorcerer. I feel like the weak wizard is more a projection of modern bookworm stereotypes than most genre literature that went before. There's some evidence that good looks, physical fitness and brains often cluster in the same individuals I real life, though obviously not always it makes evolutionary sense (it makes sense to evolve attraction to traits that are associated with the genetics for physical and mental fitness). Though it's not exactly fair I think plenty of us have met the straight A trackstar who became a stockbroker, or someone like him. IRL there's no guarantee of balanced CP, even if PCs are for character creation reasons there's no reason NPCs should be. Now put aside the character point issue for a moment (this is one reason I like random character attributes, and I've rolled them in GURPS before) it seems to me that somewhere the public image of wizards changed to be a lot different than Magi, wizards and sorcerers of the past. Sure, they're often ugly or anti-social, but wizard from Mazdaran to Baba Yaga are noteworthy for freakish, superhuman vitality. The difficulty of killing and keeping a wizard dead is central to many mythical plots from Iran to Scandinavia, and those are just the ones I'm familiar with. And characters not explicitly identified as wizards, but who use sorcery and magic, are often quite vital; I.e. the virtually-unkillable-except-by-brute-violence elves of Poul Anderson's the Broken Sword, where the Elf jarl is hung over continually burning coals with no food or water for weeks or months and recovers in a few days, or Tolkien's Elves and the Norse Ljosaelfar and Vanir, our the Finnish shape shifting smith-heroes. To pick an explicitly wizardry example, probably the most archetypsl 'wiz-ards' ever look at the gods of magic and knowledge, Odin or Mercury. One a god of war and kingship, the other of athletic speed; neither bookish or easily outdone in a fight.
How important is lore fluff to you? Is it important? Do you feel it is unimportant? Personally, I love finding books and other such items that you can read to find out more information about the history of the realm, other nations and people. I feel it really adds to the polished feel of the game and depth of the environment. Having said that, I always collect books and think of it as a mini game in a way. I like having somewhere to keep my collection.