You Shall Not Pass
Wizards are usually scrawny nerds. I mean, if you can wield phenomenal cosmic powers
, why would you also
go to the effort to swing a big stick effectively? Deal with the Devil
? Who needs a sword? Put in years of study? Clearly you didn't spend time working out.
In a lot of cases, this is a balance issue. When the wizard wields a weapon, what good is the Dumb Muscle
? Other times it's a good reflection of Truth in Television
; you can only master one thing. If you've taken the time to master arcane powers then, no, you haven't also taken the time to master martial arts.
Sometimes, though, people like to defy convention
, or maybe they wrote before the convention was a thing
. Either way the result is someone who can warp the very fabric of the cosmos by sheer force of will, and also poke things with an over-sized pin. Because awesome.
In a way, that makes this the adventuring parallel of the Omnidisciplinary Scientist
, the adventurer who can do it all on his own. Because of that, this character can be a Mary Sue
. Doesn't have to be, though.
Note that this is different from the Bare-Fisted Monk
. That's when someone's study of the arcane leads to them being a badass fighter, this is when the study of the arcane is separate from the study of weapons or weaponless fighting.
Adventurers who swing both ways
- Motherfuckin' Gandalf, from the Lord of the Rings. Staff in one hand, magic sword in the other, he destroys a demon of smoke and flame.
- The Sword of Truth's Richard Cypher. He focuses more on the magic sword than on the magic, but every book sees him pull some sort of magic out of his ass to save the world.
- FitzChivalry Farseer from the Realm of the Elderlings. His ability with the Skill is intermittent and untrained, but he's still the most talented and powerful user alive. Also, he's a trained assassin who has toppled kings and faced dragons.
- Rand Al'Thor and all the male channelers of the Black Tower in the Wheel of Time series can not only wield the One Power, but also swords.
- Cashel Or-Kenset, of David Drake's The Lord of the Isles is a borderline example in that he's a fearsome wrestler and staff-wielder who can also force his way through the planes and fight magic users through sheer force of will and innate power, however his strength and power in battle are based somewhat on his magical nature, which is far more innate than trained.
- Stile, the Blue Adept, from Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series. As the Blue Adept, he's one of the most versatile and powerful magicians in the land of Phaze, while as Stile he's one of the most universally capable athletes and gamers in Proton.
- Wizards of the Saga of Recluce are almost always incredibly skillful with some form of weapon. For Order Masters, because order and killing are anathema, it's usually a Simple Staff, but swords aren't unknown.
- Dungeons & Dragons fundamentally built the Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards trope and codified the separation between the arts arcane and martial. Because players want to be awesome, later editions have come up with various classes that mix the two in various ways, from guys in armor with swords and fireballs to more agile monk-like wizardwarriors.