War mage

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War mages are a mutant sub-type of the wizard profession, generally members of the larger races or dwarves.

War mages generally rely on moderately strong physical attacks, utilizing weapons with either high damage factors (such as two-handed swords, including claidhmores) or low base speeds (such as longswords), combined with the utility spell Celerity (506). Due to the low cost of Spell Aiming, war mages are generally (but not always) capable of bolt attacks, although not quite at the same strength as a pure wizard.

Differences from other forms of Wizards

The lower bolt attack strength (AS) is usually a result of a combination of a lack of positive racial Dexterity modifiers, and a low Dexterity stat.

However, physical AS tends to be much higher, as war mages often use Strength (509), have positive or neutral racial Strength modifiers, and a high Strength stat. Additionally, war mages tend to pay more attention to the acquisition and use of enchanted, flaring, and weighted weapons than other wizards might, and some have even been known to train in Combat Maneuvers.

Stat Placement and Race Selection

As the primary wizard statistics, Aura and Logic remain extremely important for training point purposes.

Unlike for bolt-casting wizards, Strength and Agility are more important statistics than Dexterity. Although Dexterity remains an important statistic for war mages, it should be placed at a moderate level, since it rises quickly and generally won't be relied upon early. Additionally, a moderate to high Constitution is useful for improving hitpoints and encumbrance, since a war mage is considerably more likely to be hit than a bolt-casting wizard.

Since a war mage will never be able to achieve the physical AS and redux of a square, it is important that a war mage maximize their AS and defensive strength (DS) however possible. For this reason, it is highly recommended that a war mage select a race with a neutral or positive Strength and Agility modifier. A non-Voln society alignment can also be beneficial, as this makes available AS and DS boosters of up to +35. High enchant weapon, shield (if any) and armor are also recommended.

Primary Training Recommendations

War mages train roughly equally in both physical and magical skills. Important skills include Two-Handed Weapons or Polearms, Armor Use, Combat Maneuvers, Physical Fitness, Arcane Symbols, Magic Item Use, Spell Aiming, Harness Power, Spell Research, and Elemental Lore.

Two-Handed Weapons, Polearm Weapons, or other weapons
This is a war mage's primary attack skill, and should thusly be singled in for life. War mages often rely on weapons with a high damage factor (DF) to make up for their lack of AS. Two-Handed Weapons have an overall higher DF than Polearm Weapons.
A few war mages use one-handed weapons and a shield, but this much less common. The advantages of this are the greater availability of appropriate weapons (often of high enchantment, which helps counteract the low AS inherent to war mages) and the higher DS granted by use of the shield. However, the damage factors available are significantly lower. (An example of this type of war mage is contributor Greysleeve Streambank, who specializes in longswords.) The lower base speeds also mean it is much easier for this subtype of war mage to reduce their roundtime to the minimum 1 second.
Armor Use
War mages take hits more often and cast spells less often than pure wizards. As such, leather breastplate (27 skill ranks) or cuirbouilli leather (35 skill ranks) offer the best combination of protection, spell failure, and training point cost. War mages often settle for full leather (4 skill ranks, no spell hindrance) or double leather (8 skill ranks) until considerably later in their career. (Note that one hand and shield war mages get hit significantly less than the archetypical war mage, so the switch to heavier armor may not be necessary.)
Physical Fitness
It is strongly suggested that a war mage reach their maximum hitpoints as soon as possible. However, although additional training past this point offers some minor mechanical advantages, these training points are best spent elsewhere.
Arcane Symbols and Magic Item Use
Useful for reading/CASTing from scrolls and using wands. Since war mages don't use runestaves, there is little point in training past the point where they can effectively use any scroll or wand, unless these skills are to be used to supplement their abilities or income via enchanting. Some war mages may not train in these skills at all until late in their careers, preferring to avoid the temptation of carrying scrolls or wands and therefore causing encumbrance. These skills are critical if a war mage wishes to also become a serious enchanter.
Spell Aiming
Since war mages generally have lower Dexterity than their pure counterparts, their bolt-casting abilities will be considerably weaker. However, Spell Aiming is cheap to train, and is incredibly useful against turtled creatures, the undead, and creatures with bolt susceptibilities. Additionally, Cone of Elements (518) can be effective at clearing large crowds of creatures. Spell Aiming is highly recommended to train in unless short on training points.
Harness Power
Even war mages need mana, which makes this is a mandatory skill. However, war mages consume far less mana than pure wizards (particularly while hunting), so training beyond 1x may not be necessary. At mid-range levels, even this much may not be essential, as most mana will be used for enhancer spells, not while hunting.
Spell Research
War mages will want as many spell ranks as they can comfortably afford, though most will train 2x in order to leave points available for other skills.
Combat Maneuvers
Despite the lack of maneuvers available to wizards, and despite its high training point cost, Combat Maneuvers remains an important skill to train in. The +.5 AS that comes with each rank is its primary benefit, although Feint and Trip can become extremely effective after three or four ranks when used in combination with Haste (535). Precision is also useful when facing creatures immune to one or another types of damage (such as stone trolls and many golems, which are resistant to punctures.) Note that Trip may only be used with Polearm Weapons and some Two Handed Weapons; war mages who use other types of weapons will find this maneuver useless.
Later in their career, war mages often add a couple ranks of Disarm, as it helps them resist disarming attempts by higher level creatures.

Secondary Training Recommendations

Elemental Mana Control (EMC)
Since war mages use relatively little mana, they will not need to rely on Mana Leech (516) as much as pure wizards do. Consequently, it is relatively unimportant for a war mage to immediately train in EMC. Eventually shoot for 24 ranks (102 skill bonus) in EMC. EMC's main benefits (other than sharing) are the reduction (but not elimination) of risk from the use of Familiar Gate (930) and its modifiers to Enchant Item (925), so war mages considering more extensive use of those two spells may find this skill more important.
Elemental Lore
The addition of Elemental Lores, particularly Elemental Lore, Air, have made war mages even more effective. 24 ranks in Air Lore will gain war mages an additional two Floating Disk (511) items and Tonis Bolt, and {most importantly, a -1 second reduction in Haste roundtime} (needs editing).
Elemental Lore, Earth also provides useful benefits, such as an increase in Strength (509)'s AS boost, as well as an increase in the hardness of Stone Skin (520).
Very few, if any, war mages train in Elemental Lore, Fire or Elemental Lore, Water, as neither provides a combat benefit except through the use of attack spells (such as bolt spells, Immolation, and Earthen Fury), which war mages generally prefer not to use.
Climbing and Swimming
Get them if you can't get where you need to go. 20 ranks or so should be plenty, at least until reaching a very high level.
Perception, Survival, First Aid, Spiritual Mana Control, and Mental Mana Control
All provide useful benefits, if you have the training points available. Perception, Survival, and First Aid can significantly affect the amount of treasure collected from hunting via searching and skinning.

Spell Training

War mages train similarly to pure wizards, with regards to spells. Key ranks of spell research are Elemental Targetting (425), Floating Disk (511) and Melgorehn's Aura (913).

Haste (535) is also extremely useful as a hunting enhancer (to the point that young war mages almost invariably learn it as soon as they can). Most consider this spell to be the defining spell of the war mage's existence.

Defensive Spells

All of these spells are extremely important to a war mage, and should be trained to as soon as possible, with the exception of Elemental Barrier (430), Stone Skin (520), Temporal Reversion (540), and Wizard Shield (919).

Offensive Spells

Although most war mages do occasionally use bolt spells, they primarily rely on their weapons for their offensive capabilities. It is *not* imperative to learn bolt spells as soon as they become available.

Disabling Spells

The most important disabling spell for war mages to achieve is Tremors (909), which is considerably more effective against like-level and above-level creatures than Elemental Wave (410). However, Elemental Wave is useful when hunting in busy areas, so as to not disturb those hunting nearby.

Damaging Spells

War mages tend to have a lower AS with these bolt spells than typical wizards. Depending on the differential, specific war mages may choose to use these spells frequently, rarely, or never. Earthen Fury (917) and the two Minor Elemental spells are not bolt spells and therefore not subject to the same limiting factors.

Continued Training

Further training in Spell Research past learning all of the available spells provide the following combat benefits:

Minor Elemental Circle: +.5AS/rank (until 74 ranks), +.25CS/rank (until 72 ranks), .5 MRB DS/rank (indefinitely), .5 Elemental TD/rank (indefinitely)
Major Elemental Circle: .25DS/rank (indefinitely), .5 MRB DS/rank (indefinitely), increased maximum Stone Skin (520) thickness.
Wizard Circle: .25 MRB DS/rank, 1 DS/rank, .33 Elemental TD/rank
MRB DS: Melee, Ranged, and Bolt defense strength

Due to the attack strength bonus granted by Elemental Targetting (425), war mages should train in the Minor Elemental Circle until maximizing its benefit at the 74th rank.

It is also worthwhile to train in the Major Elemental Circle until receiving the -1 RT Haste bonus (or proceeding to 40 ranks to gain use of Temporal Reversion (540).

Beyond reaching those goals, it becomes most effective to use further Spell Training ranks in the Wizard Circle to increase the DS bonuses of its spells - notably Prismatic Guard (905) and Melgorehn's Aura (913).

Haste (535)

This section needs updating

Haste (535) is the single most critical spell in a war mages' spellbook. It allows the war mage to attack with a greatly reduced roundtime. Below is a transcript of a war mage attacking a like-level mountain troll.

> incant 506
You recite a series of mystical phrases while raising your hands, invoking Haste...
Your spell is ready.
You gesture.
You begin to notice the world slow down around you.  Strange.
Cast Roundtime 3 Seconds.
(Forcing stance down to guarded)

> stance def
You are now in a defensive stance.

A mountain troll swings a flail at you!
  AS: +190 vs DS: +266 with AvD: +43 + d100 roll: +36 = +3
   A clean miss.

> stance off
> kill
You are now in an offensive stance.
You swing a vultite maul at a mountain troll!
  AS: +193 vs DS: +73 with AvD: +38 + d100 roll: +59 = +217
   ... and hit for 75 points of damage!
   Whoosh!  Several ribs driven into lungs.
   The mountain troll is stunned!
Roundtime: 5 sec.
Roundtime changed to 2 seconds.

> kill
You swing a vultite maul at a mountain troll!
  AS: +193 vs DS: +52 with AvD: +38 + d100 roll: +28 = +207
   ... and hit for 60 points of damage!
   Internal organs bruised.
Roundtime: 5 sec.
Roundtime changed to 2 seconds.

> kill
You swing a vultite maul at a mountain troll!
  AS: +193 vs DS: +50 with AvD: +38 + d100 roll: +2 = +183
   ... and hit for 45 points of damage!
   Blow to back cracks several vertebrae.
Roundtime: 5 sec.
Roundtime changed to 2 seconds.

> kill
You swing a vultite maul at a mountain troll!
  AS: +193 vs DS: +48 with AvD: +38 + d100 roll: +60 = +243
   ... and hit for 111 points of damage!
   Crushing blow to the spine!
  The mountain troll slumps to the ground.
The mountain troll falls to the ground and dies.
The deep blue glow leaves a mountain troll.
Roundtime: 5 sec.
Roundtime changed to 2 seconds.

> stance def
You are now in a defensive stance.

As the war mage gains ranks in Major Elemental Circle and Elemental Lore, Air, roundtimes will continue to reduce, allowing the war mage to wield larger weapons in a shorter roundtime. Gaining 27 ranks in Major Elemental Circle and 24 ranks of Elemental Lore, Air will drop a war mage's 5 second attack RT to 1 second, rather than 2 seconds, effectively doubling his or her attack speed.

Advantages

  • War mages are very flashy, often impressing those who watch them in action.
  • Up until around level 20 or so, war mages are able to successfully hunt creatures roughly twice their level.
  • War mages have a very effective bolt defense, making them much less vulnerable to bolt attacks than the typical two-handed weapon user. This is even more true of the one hander/shield subtype.
  • War mages have a wide variety of attacks, making them effective against most creatures.
  • With enough training in Elemental Lore, Air and the Major Elemental spell circle, war mages can swing heavy weapons such as two handers and polearms in one second using Haste.
  • War mages have higher TD and offensive stance DS than squares.
  • The rare one-hand-weapon/shield war mage can have a rather effective physical defense, at the cost of taking longer to kill their prey (as the damage factor is lower); however, this is still effective as they can effectively kill anything that they can consistently hit without being consistently hit themselves. It is possible to achieve 1 second sword roundtimes and "cut to ribbons" your prey.

Disadvantages

  • Their low AS compared to squares means that war mages may find themselves falling back to using bolt spells more regularly as they gain levels. (However, there have been reports of war mages who did not find this necessary until at least their late 60s.)
  • War mages do not gain any redux due to their spell training and must therefore be careful to not get hit, lest they suffer serious damage.
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Wizard Profession - edit
Spell Circles: Wizard Base Spells | Major Elemental Spells | Minor Elemental Spells
Professional Highlights: Bolt spells | Call Familiar | Enchanting | Charge Item
Popular Archetypes: Pure Mage | War Mage | Enchanter