“Sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.”
― George R.R. Martin
On the surface, it would seem, it should be quite easy to replicate the structures of a class-based “magic-user” in a skill-based system like HEX. But the truth is more complex.
The Way of the Wizard
A class-based spell caster in a traditional Vancian system has a much more structured advancement, with increasing levels of power doled out in predetermined increments. HEX is much more fluid, and allows a magical Adept more choice in how they choose magic, and even how magic they want to wield.
Vancian magic places a strict hierarchy on spells, doling out spells in set amounts at set power levels. In HEX, a wizard powers magic with their own stamina, and they can choose which of their spells to cast at any time. In addition, the higher Intelligence required for powerful magic creates opportunities to access Aspects that might be as powerful as their spells.
But the point of these exercises are to streamline the process, and give new players guide-posts on their path of advancement. So grab your grimoires and let’s get to it.
Wizards in the early days did little beyond their spells, and we will follow that method. Most of our Attribute points (4) will be put into Intelligence, with some into Dexterity (2), and the rest increasing Stamina rather than true strength. This will them weak, but they will not be carrying heavy armor or weapons to affect their abilities.
For Aspects, the package only has Literacy and Arcanist, and leaving one point for an additional Universal Aspect. Spell choices are balanced between attacks, defenses, and battlefield control. As the Wizard gains experience, most of their advances will improve Intelligence to gain more powerful spells, Stamina to fiuel them, and Expertise to gain a broader vairiety of spells. Feel free to trade out any of these choices for spells you prefer, or Aspects that make sense for the character.
New Aspect: Arcanist (U) — IQ10
This is the knowledge of the mechanics and theories of magic. Figures with this talent can read magical tomes and understand magical concepts. While it does not confer spellcasting ability, it allows a figure to recognize spells being cast or persistent visible spell affects. The check is 3/IQ, and spells of IQ 15 and above adding -1adjIQ to the test.
Alternate Wizard Packages
From at least the first edition of AD&D the class of wizards became splintered into subclasses of specialties. Players wanted to excel at one type of magic, and were willing to be penalized in other areas for it. In HEX, you could simply choose to focus on type of spells, but that does not offer the same character-building scheme as a D&D style specialty wizard.
There have been many methods of breaking down ‘schools’ of magic and determining their opposites over the years. Most seem cumbersome and a little arbitrary. This breakdown may be just as arbitrary, but aligns well with the spells used in HEX and the types of wizard that players like to create.
Conjuration involves control over portals and planes, summoning creatures to fight for you or making walls appear at will. Opposed by Evocation.
Enchantment is the magic of the mind, from tricking it into believing implanted images to near total command of others. Opposed by Transmutation.
Evocation is the manipulation for pure magical energy, from shooting lightning from your fingers to dispelling powerful curses. Opposed by Conjuration.
Transmutation is using magic to alter the physical world, including healing wounds and taking flight. Opposed by the mental magic of Enchantment.
All other spells form the common arcana, the practical magic that all wizards access equally.
For a complete breakdown of HEX spells and their schools, click here.
Optional Aspect: School Specialization (U) — IQ12
Some wizards focus on one type of magic to the exclusion of others. A specialist wizard gains +2IQ in casting spells of this this school, and gains one free spell for their specialty each time they take an IQ advance. However, a specialist wizard is barred from taking spells for their opposing school.