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The Red Mage

The "player class" family tree is a large, branching kudzu with enough arms to print several dozen sourcebooks. One such branch is The Red Mage, a magician capable of casting spells from two different or even mutually exclusive schools of magic. Much like a magical Jack of All Stats, this cousin to the Magic Knight fuses two otherwise inimical capabilities and gains strength from both... while mastering neither, and perhaps even gaining both their weaknesses!

Theatrics and balance issues aside, the true wonder and claim to fame of the Red Mage is that they are talented, open minded, and have trained in a way that allows them to understand and become able practitioners in two fundamentally different forms of magic. Think about it this way: they are the fantasy equivalent of a Renaissance Man or Omnidisciplinary Scientist, skilled multi-disciplinarians of already complex and taxing fields. While some mages scoff at different forms of magic, the Red Mage takes the time to study them, and by learning them becomes truly versatile.

It's not often a single magic user can pull off a Yin-Yang Bomb, after all.

The most common form of Red Mage combines White Mage and Black Mage with a hint of Glass Cannon/Squishy Wizard. In rare cases, they may also be as physically gifted as a Magic Knight or Combat Medic. However, the Red Mage isn't just a swordsperson who picks one school of magic to go with their blade, but just about any two (and sometimes more) schools of magic. Common pairings include: White Magic and Black Magic, Light and Dark, or Fire and Ice (and occasionally another Elemental Power).

Contrast Crippling Overspecialization and Master of One Magic. See also Class and Level System and Splat. May suffer (and benefit) doubly from Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. To avoid confusion, the Red Mage may well be a single class with access to spells from different classes, or the result of a magician who has studied in more than one magical tradition. Compare Hybrid Monster and Hybrid Overkill Avoidance.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Rezo the Red Priest from Slayers. After failing to heal his eyes with white magic, he turns to shamanic magic, and eventually black magic. His attempts usually end up with him being possessed by the demon that was sealed inside him before he was born.
    • Shamans in general can be considered this. They are the setting's true masters of Elemental Powers, with magical control over Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Lightning, Ice and Spirit. What makes them more than just an elemental version of the Black Mage, however, is that shamanic magic is also utility spells as well as blasting, with spells like breathing water, flight, dispelling magic, breaking curses, creating physical barriers, etcetera. In fact, Word Of God is that White Mages are actually practicing a very specialised form of Astral Shamanism, which means they're basically Red Mages who forgo the elemental attack spells for healing spells.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid: Rio Wesley has affinity with both fire and lightning. Normally, a mage can only have one type of affinity
  • Kotomine Kirei in Fate/Zero is shown to have trained in nearly every discipline of magic, switching when he's just below the point of mastery. Though this was more a result of him Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life than any desire to be an all-rounder.
  • The Visoreds and Arrancar in Bleach are this. The former are Soul Reapers who gained Hollow powers, while the latter are Hollows who gained Soul Reaper powers.
  • Motoharu Tsuchimikado from To Aru Majutsu no Index is an esper and talented magician. And conversely his esper powers, while convenient, are weak and cause dangerous backlashes when he tries using magic.
  • The titular character in Agnis Philosophy is shown to use both lightning magic and healing magic. This is almost certainly a Mythology Gag for the Final Fantasy series' Trope Namer, since it is a tech demo for that franchise.

    Literature 
  • Richard from the Sword of Truth novels has the ability to use both Additive Magic, which can create, and Subtractive Magic, which can destroy things, completely.
  • The Grey Mages/Druids of the Saga of Recluce master both Order-magic and Chaos-magic, seeing them as two aspects of the universe's basic structure.
  • The Order of the Red Robes from Dragonlance are not this - they're Neutral as opposed to the Good (White) and Evil (Black) mages.
  • In the Dresden Files, one of the requirements for being an actual Wizard is having some ability to use every non-forbidden branch of magic. Obviously there exist other reasons, but people who are limited to a single talent, like summoners, are automatically barred, in the same way universities don't give out doctorates of chemistry to people who can only make explosions.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us Jacen Solo, who thinks he can become this. It is totally subverted, as by the end of Legacy of the Force, it's fairly obvious Dark Is Evil.
    • On the other hand, the so-called Grey Jedi (Kyle Katarn is a good example) fit the trope better, rejecting the completely emotionless philosophy of the Jedi while avoiding the It's All About Me philosophy of the Sith.
  • In the Old Kingdom books, the Abhorsens are the only mages to use both Charter Magic and Free Magic.
  • The modern russian fantasy is fond of this trope:
    • In the award-winning Way Home series by V. Zykov (Дорога домой, В. Зыков ) one of the POV characters, K'irsan, is the only known mage to combine the magics of the 3 precursor species - the reptarkhs (lizard people), the reptokhorses (reptilian centaur people) and the "logi", multiverse-travelling dragonlike predators.
    • In the Craft series by Aleks Kosh (Ремесло, Алекс Кош), the local Wizarding School is divided into 4 faculties by the classical elements. During the admission exam, each candidate capable of magic sees a rubik's cube style puzzle and usually manages to solve only one of the sides, choosing the element. Zach, the protagonist, feels pity towards all the messed up sides of the puzzle and reassembles them all, later showing no clear preference for any given element.
    • In the Dancing Flame by Valentin Ivashchenko (Танцующее Пламя, Валентин Иващенко) a necromancer, suffering because of common Black Magic preconceptions, figures out a system of Geometric Magic granting anybody access to any magic, thus turning people into red mages of all kinds.
  • In Dragon Keeper Chronicles, Regidor is an example of this, mixed with Lightning Bruiser and One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce. Most wizards have one power, say Light Magic, Sound Magic, or Swamp Magic. Regidor, by the time he turns twenty, is better at each of these than centuries-old wizards who have specialized in them. Of course, he is a Meech Dragon.
  • The titular unaligned mages of The Quest of the Unaligned are capable of using all four elemental magics as a result of an ancient pact with the land of Caederan, whereas all other well, almost all other mages are restricted to one element. However, every time an unaligned uses a given element, he becomes slightly stronger at that element and slightly weaker at its opposite. For this reason, unaligned tend to have a weak ability in all four elements.
    • There are also orahs and hosheks, which get outside the elements entirely to become attuned to pure Light and Darkness respectively. They have power equal to that of a full aligned mage in each element, and orahs have demonstrated the ability to combine aspects of different elements into the same spell, something even unaligned can't do.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, there are two types of magic users that can be used: Elementals, who use fire, water, air, earth, and Adepts, who specialize in one type of magic, which can be anything from Necromancy to Teleportation to Shapeshifting. Generally, people can use only one type or the other of magic. The only ones who can are new magic users whose magic hasn't "settled" yet, or extremely rare Red Mages who innately can use both Elemental magic and specialize in an Adept discipline.
    • Valkyrie falls into the first category of Red Mage. Skulduggery falls into the second.
  • A Mage's Power: Basilard is skilled in many forms of magic from standard Black Magic to White Magic to his clan's unique Blood Magic, but his illusion magic is as bad as a novice mage. He's about twenty years older than his students, so he's had time to study, and it's all basically Rule Magic anyways.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Ars Magica: At it's heart, Bonisagus' magic theory theoretically gives all Hermetic magi, the standard magic using player character in the game, the potential to become this. However, in Ars Magica, magic is not a science, but an art, different individuals have different ways of working magic. The game strongly suggests that all magi characters have at least some form of Hermetic flaw, to represent imperfect understanding. Nevertheless, one of the strengths of Hermetic magic is that it is very broad in what can be learned, though the greatest heights can still be reached by specializing. In some ways, Bonisagus' theory takes the Red Mage Up to Eleven. Although certain non-hermetic traditions can break certain rules of Hermetic Magic, they do so at the cost of extreme specialization, usually also requiring a disproportionate amount of time of study to be able to create such effects.
  • An example of this would be the Cleric/Mage multiclass from Dungeons & Dragons, as well as the Mystic Theurge prestige class from 3rd Edition.
    • Without multiclassing, the plain old Druid comes awfully close - Druids have access to effective healing and attack magic, and like Final Fantasy's Red Mage, they can also fight effectively.
    • AD&D First Edition example: Witch Doctor.
    • Heck, the basic generalist mage in Dungeons and Dragons is himself this. Having access to as many as eight schools of magic, when specialist mages have to give up all knowledge of spells from a different school (in some editions, as many as three!)
      • To clarify for the layperson: A third (and second) edition mage has access to a spell list that is designed to be able to create almost as many effects as possible, limited only by the power available (so no blowing up cities, or turning an army invisible with 1st level spells). Even if you manage to think of something that isn't covered by some combination of spells the rulebooks include guidelines that allow you, with the approval of the DM, to create your own. However this specifically excludes healing magic, an area best covered by clerics, who also get solid defensive and divination spells, plus a small array of reasonably powerful attack spells and a few miscellaneous/other categories including necromancy. To cover all areas the best option, with the core classes at any rate, is a cleric/wizard dual class. This does requiring you to split your level advancement between both classes until you qualify for the mystic theurge prestige class, which allows you to advance your cleric and wizard spellcasting powers simultaneously.
    • The Mystic Theurge Prestige Class in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. Very much the Master of None, Multiple attribute dependent, no synergy (divine casters can cast in armor, arcane ones can not, Mystic Theurges can not wear armor if they want to use their arcane spells) and very poor action economy (you have double the spells of a cast 3 levels lower than you, you can still only cast one or rarely two per turn) last but not least, they are 3 exponential power levels below a single classed caster.
      • Yes, but that's only if you're looking at Wizard / Cleric type combinations. By looking for the right class (usually in add-on books) you can match up an Arcane spellcasting class with a Divine one, resulting in a Theurge that suffers from not a single one of the problems you mentioned. For example, the base class Wizard matches up with the Archivist class. Both are Intelligence-based,(looking for a Charisma-based Divine? Try Shugenja.) both are unarmored (and if you want an armored arcane? War Mage.) both use familiars, and both maintain spellbooks, which grants you, essentially, access to ANY spell you could run across, as Wizards can (at DM's discretion) learn any arcane spell through study or transcription, and Archivists do the same with Divine. Still a Red Mage, but the Mystic Theurge doesn't HAVE to have all the flaws listed above (just being two or three spell levels behind and having more spell slots than are reasonably useful in a day's worth of encounters).
      • For bonus points, "Ability to cast second-level divine spells" did not necessarily mean having levels in a divine class (beyond the one to seed the theurge advancement). Several races with no or little level adjustment recieved the ability to cast certain divine spells based on combined level, the most obvious being the Aasimar and the Tiefling, part-angels and part-demons respectively. Being three levels behind on your clericing and only one on your wizarding was pretty nice, given that "wizard with heals and cures" is what most players were going for, most of the cleric damage and utility stuff over the second level being redundant or worse than wizard anyhow.
      • The now defunct Twinking out with Red Mage gave us an actual homebrew Red Mage Prestige Class. Almost identical to the Mystic Theurge, except it also possesses a sheet of paper that looks exactly like the player's Character Sheet. For added versatility, the Red Mage can also swap the numbers on this piece of paper for one hour (lest the Dee'M catches him). This, of course, only works because the Red Mage is so deluded that this has any actual effect that they, in fact, do.
    • Other "theurge" prestige classes were published or posted as well — the Cerebremancer (arcane/psionic), the Psychic Theurge (divine/psionic), and the Ultimate Magus (spontaneous arcane/prepared arcane) to name a few.
      • The Ultimate Magus is a particularly bad piece of irony, in that it's a class that spends a lot of time and focus into combining two ways of casting the exact same magic (arcane spells) into a single class that is ultimately worse at it than both the classes whose components it's made up from. Mystic Theurges can, with the right focus, get the ability to cast either 9th level arcane or divine spells. The Ultimate Magus cannot cast 9th level arcane spells with either of its two classes without Practiced Spellcaster.
      • Then there's the warlock/other combos introduced in Complete Mage. Eldritch Disciple is invocation/divine (usually warlock/cleric), while Eldritch Theurge is invocation/arcane (usually warlock/wizard). Both prestige classes can be pretty damn lethal.
    • The Geomancer merges the thought pattern of the theurge classes, while not gaining the spellcasting strength, they gain the ability to choose which advantages and disadvantages of their classes to use. Casting Arcane spells with no Arcane Spell Failure? Done. Using Int to cast Divine spells? Done.
    • The True Necromancer has a lot of the qualities of the Mystic Theurge, except with a specialty in necromancy. However, it pretty much forces the character take levels in Cleric (since it requires access to the Death domain, which can generally be acquired only through Cleric levels or other prestige classes), and generally a pure Cleric will be a better necromancer than a True Necromancer (or even a Wizard with a focus in necromancy).
      • True Necromancer is an unfortunate victim of both Crippling Overspecialization and Gameplay and Story Segregation. The fluff implies them to be lord of undeath—however, the considerable requirements to enter the class coupled with its incomplete spellcasting progression (many levels improve one of the two casting line required to enter the class, and the choice is hard-coded, i.e. a given level "+1 level to Arcane" while another is "+1 level to Divine," the character can't even focus on one to the detriment of the other) means that a True Necromancer will never learn 9th level spells and will Rebuke Undead as much a weaker Cleric would. A straight Cleric (perhaps with the Divine Magician substitution to dabble in otherwise Arcane-only necromancy) will always be a better Necromancer.
      • The Dread Necromancer is a single player class that blends some of the abilities of divine and arcane casters with a twist all it's own, and manages to be a Red Mage with Crippling Over Specialization. The spell list pulls from both, cleric and wizard spell lists, but they're all cast as arcane spells, and, while all 9 levels of spells are available in normal progression, each level has a fixed spell list already given, with a focus on necromancy, death, destruction, evil, and fear. The class does allow some variance though. Every 4 levels, you can add a single spell from either the cleric or wizard spell lists as long as you can currently cast spells of that level, however it does have to be a Necromancy spell.
    • The general Mystic Theurge prestige class was developed from the Forgotten Realms-only Hathran (female Rashemi shaman), which was a lot less powerful as a spellcaster (you could only level one class' spellcasting ability each level instead of both) but gained a few extra abilities. Including proficiency with the whip.
    • Yet another Red Mage in this setting are Bards. They can cast certain Cleric and Mage spells like a Sorcerer, albeit they have much slower spell progression and average attack bonuses. For extra crimson, they also have average-ish combat abilities and Rogue skills. Dungeons and Dragon Bards were actually the inspiration for the Red Mage, possibly making them the Trope Maker.
    • But the irony here is that there's a prestige class in Forgotten Realms called the Red Wizard who is the complete opposite of this trope: he's a very focused specialist.
    • In 4th edition it is possible to make this. The Artificer is a leader, the wizard is a controller... combine the two and you have the potential for +5 in melee and ranged attacks, AND healing (though more limited than the straight-up Artificer... does that class qualify alone?)
      • Hybrid or multiclass Swordmage/Artificer gets you even more stabbing, and the Swordmage bit lets you teleport everywhere imaginable whilst shielding your party from an enemy. Also works well with Wizard, but Defender/Leader is a good combination.
      • If you go for the Divine Version of this, there's Cleric|Invoker or Invoker|Paladin. If you go for Primal, the Shaman is basically this by himself, but the Druid's high Heal checks give him a bonus there. Heck, the Warlord can also be this and the Bard comes close by himself, but truly shines with Bard|Warlock in this.
  • Warhammer has a few of these if a given book has more than one set of spells, or said character can choose from all of the core Lores. Most obvious are the Grey Seers of the Skaven, who are able to combine spells from both Lores in the Skaven army book, whereas the Warlock Engineers can only select spells from the Lore of Ruin and the Plague Priests can only select spells from the Lore of Plague. Note that due to how you select spells (rolling a dice and consulting the chart) selecting from multiple lores means that you have a smaller chance of landing on the spell you want, while concentrating on one lore means that you'll not only gain more spells from that lore, but also stand a higher chance of getting the stuff you want. The Game system innately penalizes players trying to go Red Mage.
    • Then there's Kairos Fateweaver, a Greater Daemon who can theoretically know spells from all eight Lores. At once. Four lores per head.
    • Perhaps the most classic example is the High Elf Loremaster of Hoeth, a character who has access to the signature spells from all eight lores of magic at once as well as formidable swordsmanship skills. Teclis, High Loremaster of Hoeth and the best wizard in the game, can choose to have one spell from each lore too, but if he does so then he chooses whichever spell he likes, rather than automatically getting the signature spell (though his swordsmanship is pretty feeble!). Slann Mage-Priests can get a similar effect using the Wandering Deliberations upgrade, and they tend to be better at it because their magic level is higher...but they lack the Loremaster's melee skill, forcing them to rely on their Temple Guard and solid Toughness and Wounds scores to keep them alive.
  • Neo-Mages in Age of Aquarius. Normally a mage believes in some kind of spirits and derives his power from them, be it Goetic demons for Hermetic Magic, Norse gods for Rune Magic, nature spirits for shamanism, etc. But you can believe in a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world and be able to use spells from all traditions. The drawback? You only get the most basic spells and abilities.
  • Made extremely simple in the Legend System. Each class has three "tracks", or sets of abilities. To multiclass you simply replace one track with a track from another class. An appropriate Red Mage build is Tactician with Tactical Insight swapped out for Shaman spellcasting, and maybe the player's choice of a combat track from one of the warrior classes.

    Video Games 
  • Promoted magic users in Fire Emblem generally gain access to attack magic (if they were staff users first) or become able to use healing staffs (if they were attack magic users) at promotion. Mist in Path of Radiance (who gains swords) is one of the few exceptions to this. Also worth noting is in The Sacred Stones, the branching promotion trees means that in order to balance out classes that have the same abilities as well as skills like 'summon' and 'slayer' as the other or higher movement, certain branches were given the attractive opportunity to have more types of magic, ie: A sage in that game can use anima, light magic and staves, druids can use anima, dark and staves, and 3rd tier pupils can use all three, as well as the former two being able to use staves. Bishops and Valkyries also mixed Light Magic with staves, while Mage Knights got Anima magic along with Staves.
    • Through glitching in Sacred Stones, you can steal the stone spell from enemy gorgons. Casting it enough times increases your Dark Magic rank, thus allowing any character to use dark magic once it's raised to D (as Flux, the lowest level Dark tome, requires a D and not an E). In the case of the Sage, this lets him become a superior version of the 3rd Pupil.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has Dark mages and Sorcerers, who mix the Anima of the mages with Dark Magic, and counts as a more offensively alligned Red Mage compared to the Sages who mix Anima with Staves to be more support based. Dark Mages also have high defense, a trait more commonly seen in physical units.
  • Averted by actual Red Mages in Battle for Wesnoth, who are pretty standard Glass Cannon fire-casters. Played straight by Saurian Augurs and Oracles, who are fast and agile, half-decent in melee, have strong ranged spells and some healing ability. Also, Mages of Light, though they are more Combat Medic oriented.
  • Andy, and to a certain extent characters like Adder (a CO with normal stats for all units) in the Advance Wars series. Taken Up to Eleven in Dark Conflict since every CO has equal firepower/defense ratings for all units, except if the CO is present on the battlefield.
  • In Disgaea getting healers attack spells via either the reincarnation system or the pupil system is key to leveling them up decently (they don't gain XP from healing, leaving the only other option being combo attacks)
    • Those games also feature single element mages (fire, ice, wind, and star). Level them up enough and the prism mage (master of the first three elements) and galaxy mage (all four) unlock... But note that the prism and galaxy mages don't learn the highest-level spells in each element. (at least not without using the pupil system)
    • For that matter, EVERY character in Disgaea can be the Red Mage with enough time. If you want to level and reincarnate them enough, a character can know every single spell and have maxed out proficiencies in every single weapon, at which point the only question is what kind of stat growth you want them to have.
  • Job based Final Fantasy titles; in addition to the actual Red Mage (which can learn non-exclusive white and black magic up to level 7, but doesn't get the best spells like Dia, Warp and Exit, but makes up for it with heavy armor and powerful weaponry, plus the spells in question can be cast from items in the GBA/PSP remake for no MP cost.), you can normally make a White Mage that has a Black Mage commands (or vice versa). You also have the option that is more effective than the Red Mage or Black Mage/White Mage in the Summoner who has both healing and offensive summons in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, and the original Final Fantasy Tactics. In Tactics A2 the Seer job is introduced, getting second rank magic (The Red Mage only gets first rank) in healing and the 3 attack elements (For bonus points, it is best used as a secondary job for Magic Knight jobs, as it allows attacks and magic to be used at the same time on multiple opponents).
    • Final Fantasy IV has Rydia, who, as a young girl, is effectively a Red Mage with moderate white and black magic.
      • Final Fantasy IV The After Years has Leonora, who is able to learn Black Magic after a plot event and begins with natural White Magic learning ability (which she emphasizes).
      • 4 tends to limit Red Mages to keep them from being too overpowered. Rydia loses her ability to use White Magic early on and never gets it back. Tellah has limited MP, not enough to cast the most powerful spell in the game and poor stats. Fusoya is a little better as he has enough MP to cast every spell in the game and slightly better stats but still not that great. And the two of them are the only characters you can't use for the final Dungeon. In After Years Fusoya returns...with the exact same problem, and you can't use him in the final chapter again. Leonora on the other hand has great stats, and you actually can use her for the rest of the game, but she doesn't learn the more advanced Black Magic spells until much higher levels than the other black mages (we're talking level 80-90) and some of them like Meteor she can't learn at all.
    • Final Fantasy V has Red Mages as one of the jobs: while their ability to cast both black and white magic tends to be outclassed quickly both due to the ability to give both to a single character and because characters can change class at any time if they need more physical offense, their main attraction once mastered is Dualcast, which allows them to cast 2 spells in a single turn.
      • Red Mages in the Spiritual Successor Bravely Default Flying Fairy function in a similar manner, although since everyone can take multiple turns by default, their main secondary ability is to be able to gain BP in a variety of situations: randomly when getting hit, after defeating an enemy, when inflicted with a Standard Status Effect, when low on HP and when evading an enemy attack. However, unlike in Final Fantasy V, Red Mages can actually be a viable class to use with the right builds and their skillset: "B/W Magic", which would normally be useless, is preferable over simply giving a character both "Black Magic" and "White Magic" due to how the Job system works in that game.
    • Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV also have the Sage class, which can cast both White and Black magic at maximum efficiency as well as Summon Magic in the former. This is usually balanced by giving them less MP or magical power than a pure White or Black Mage, and none of the physical combat ability of the actual Red Mage.
    • Final Fantasy XI has both the literal Red Mage and the Scholar. The former tries and largely fails to play up the Magic Knight aspects of the class, but makes up for it by making it good at Standard Status Effects. The latter is essentially the spiritual successor to the Sage plus metamagic.
      • Often missed due to “Stop Having Fun” Guys being very common. The Red Mage spends a large chunk of levels as the most effective tank in the game. The combination of Phalanx, Stoneskin, Refresh, Spikes and enfeebling spells makes them nearly invulnerable, even against leveling mobs, until you reach about level 50 where the effectiveness of mobs starts growing exponentially instead of linearly and specialization becomes a must.
    • Several of the PCs from Final Fantasy IX combined several of the classical FF jobs. Freya Crescent, although outwardly a Dragoon, also had MP-based spell-like abilities, something that other games' Dragoons rarely had. She could heal friends and hurt enemies with these abilities , but not as effectively as the actual Black or White mages, could wear heavy armor, and didn't fight quite as well as the Knight. She wears a red coat reminiscent of a Red Mage's cloak—and even a Nice Hat.
      • Some have also considered Kuja a Red Mage for his ability to use both the highest level black and white magic spells, along with a few of his own exclusive ones.
      • The class is also namechecked with a random, otherwise anonymous NPC you can talk to who is identified only as "Red Mage."
      • Arguably, Garnet/Dagger counts as well; for the first two Discs, she functions almost solely as a White Mage (her Summons are unavailable for plot-related reasons), but once she starts re-learning her Summon Magic, she veers more into this: her White Magic, while always useful, isn't as extensive or complete as Eiko's, and her Summons - which consist mainly of elemental attacks - are also useful, but don't have the same range as Vivi's Black Magic, leaving her as a useful middle-ground between the two characters.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Terra is also a good candidate: Red outfit, can naturally learn healing and attack magic, has access to the best equipment of the game. In her case, she is not a Jack of all trades but a Person of Mass Destruction. Celes is also a candidate (she has access to all the same equipment as Terra, and is the only other character to learn magic naturally), but with less raw power (whereas Terra's unique ability is a powerful but time-limited Super Mode, Celes can absorb magic once per turn).
    • Even the villains get in on it; Seymour of Final Fantasy X (for the one fight you get to use him) displays this, by having a skill-set composed of the first half of both Lulu and Yuna's Sphere Grid paths, all while having physical power comparable to Auron as well. Oh, and he's a Summoner too. Basically, if it's magical or physical, Seymour can do it.
      • Kimahri is set up to be this, crossed with blue magic overdrive skills. He starts off at the centre of the Sphere Grid in all configurations, and can function well in pretty much any role (although not as well as the designated character). His Strategy Wiki entry even describes him as a character who can either become a jack of all trades or a useless blue bag of empty stats and abilities. Whether players actually follow this Red Mage route, though, is a matter of individual choice; it's completely possible to have him follow one character's progression path and confine him to a single class. Indeed, with the flexible nature of the sphere grid, especially the Expert Sphere Grid, it's 100% possible to deliberately configure all characters to be Red Mages.
    • In Final Fantasy VII you can, and it's entirely advised, to give everyone healing magic, along with any other magic they may use like enemy skills, Summmons or plain old offensive magic. Final Fantasy VIII is also like this, at least with characters you actually equip the ability to use magic to, though the characters that actually fit would be Selphie, Quistis and Rinoa later on due to their limit breaks being based on various types of magic.
  • Despite being a Wicked Pretentious SOLDIER, Genesis from Crisis Core is also very much like a Red Mage. Aside from actually being dressed in Red, having a fancy dress sense, he also uses a Sword that gets enchanted by Magic and likes to spam Fire Spells whenever he gets the opportunity. It's said his skills in magic along the sword is what led him to being a SOLDIER First Class.
  • Sazh Katzroy from Final Fantasy XIII could qualify. He gains access to useful buffs far earlier than the rest of your party in addition to attack magic, and also majors in the Commando skill, which specializes in physical attacks.
    • Lightning is another example, being a great Commando while also getting the Ravager (Black Mage) and Medic (White Mage) classes. She even fits the trope by getting spells of every element, but only going up to to level 2 in each. Except Thunder, because she wouldn't be Lightning without THUNDAGAAAAAAAA!!!
  • Trivially easy in Final Fantasy XII, in which all four kinds of magic are easily available to everyone in exchange for license points. Want an entire party of red mages? Pick a low-level location and begin depopulating it. On the other hand, with enough investment you can bring them to max in all of them, and indeed are given a special Bragging Rights Reward for covering the license grid for every party member.
  • In the Final Fantasy games that have blue mages as a job class, they have abilities with similarly wide ranges of effects to red mages. The key difference is that blue mages must learn their abilities from enemies.
  • The Mage/Priest of Runes Of Magic is one of the most popular class combinations for the mix of healing and attack magic.
    • It's not popular for being a red mage. It's popular for being an over-the-top glass cannon with an instant five second invulnerability shield which also heals you back to full health. Said invulnerability shield also lets you cast as normal while shielded, albeit with a slightly increased mana cost.
  • In Sa Ga Frontier, there are several different schools of magic, and most of them have an opposite school (for instance, Rune magic opposes Arcane magic, Realm opposes Mystic, Time opposes Space, etc). The general rule is that no character can possess two schools that oppose each other (i.e. the same character can't have both Rune and Arcane). However, one of the main characters, Blue, gains the power to cast nearly every spell from every school as part of his storyline. He only misses out on Mystic and Evil magic (and he can even get Mystic if you know what you're doing), and even gains a unique hidden school (Life magic) as a result!
  • Wizardry has the Bishop, a class that can cast from all four spellbooks, and can Turn Undead like the Priest class.
  • Mass Effect brings this to a sci-fi setting with the Sentinel character class, which combines tech and biotic abilities, but doesn't get the strongest abilities of either type. In the first game Sentinels were durable because they got the defensive bonuses from both ability sets, but had the weakest combat skills, which was a problem since they also couldn't deal much damage with their powers. In Mass Effect 2 they got a makeover, and are now absurdly tough with a power that brings their shields back at full every time they go down, and enough biotic and tech powers that they can get through pretty much the entire game without firing a shot. Mass Effect 3 continues them into Jack of All Stats territory, giving them greater weight capacity than the specialized tech and biotic classes as well as dual-wielded omniblades.
    • With the right achievements, however, Sentinels got much more dangerous because you could give them a single additional talent. Once you get the Bastion Prestige Class, you now have two different shield boosting talents, Stasis Mastery, several skills that can completely incapacitate foes for a time, the ability to overload shields, and one more skill of your choice, which can be anything from a weapon skill to one of those talents you missed out on.
    • In the first game, the Sentinel was this primarily by Gameplay and Story Segregation. In theory, they were supposed to be this. In practice, they weren't actually good at anything. The only thing that made them vaguely useful was possessing some of the Adept gamebreakers, which they were less effective at using.
    • The Sentinel class sees the least representation on Shepard's squad. Only Kaidan and Miranda join permanently in any game. A third, Nyreen, is a Guest Star Party Member that only appears in a DLC. EDI is also technically a Sentinel, but unlike the other examples she's limited to purely tech powers.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, there is no traditional RPG-style "Cleric" class, because the church in the game disapproves of magic and its clergy has no supernatural powers. Healing spells get left to Mages, who can access four different schools of magic, with Creation being the one for healing. Interestingly, there's no extra benefit to sticking to just one school or penalty for dabbling in more than one, other than a limited number of skill points available. So basically every Mage PC is a Red one, with variations depending on whether offense or healing is emphasized in the build. Even a character who takes nothing but nuke spells can still take the Spirit Healer specialization. And if you take the Arcane Warrior specialization, you can be a literal Final Fantasy-style Red Mage, using your Magic stat to be able to wield swords and wear heavier armor while still casting spells. This is gimped made somewhat inconvenient by the fact that some spells take longer to cast while wielding a weapon other than a staff, and that heavier armor imposes a fatigue penalty, which increases mana cost for spellcasting.
    • It's possible but less feasible in Dragon Age II, as a fully balanced healer-nuker requires a mode-shift that leaves half of your spell investment unusable. A Black Mage can learn and make good use of light healing, but a Healer can't cast direct damage spells. Anders is an example of extreme impracticality; not only can he not sling attack magic while his great healing talents are active, he also can't heal himself or others while amplifying his damage spells.
    • The Player Character's sister, Bethany, is an example of a Red Mage. She has a rather even selection of restorative, destructive, buffing, and debuffing spells in her spell trees.
    • Likewise, Mage!Hawke can heal their allies and, with the right talents, extend their Arcane Shield to encompass them. All while flinging fireballs at enemies like there is no tomorrow.
  • Just about every Force-sensitive player character in the Star Wars video games can be this, gaining access to both defensive "Light" powers like Force Heal or Force Speed and offensive "Dark" powers like Force Choke or Force Lightning. Canonical examples include Kyle Katarn, but virtually all of the main characters can pick up talents on each side of the Force. They truly fall into this trope if (like in Knights of the Old Republic) your spells take a hit to effectiveness if you're not aligned properly.
  • Yosuke in ''Persona 4 is a Jack of All Stats version of a Red Mage. He is fast and able to inflict good damage with both physical attacks and wind-aligned offensive magic. He also has access to some support magic but is unable to learn advanced healing spells.
  • The Tales Series is fond of red mages. At least one member of your party will fit the description of this trope:
    • Tales of Symphonia : Kratos (no, not this one) and Zelos.
    • Tales of Legendia: All three of the spellcasters would fit, with Norma and Will knowing multiple elemental spells along with healing and/or buffing ones, while Grune knows only curse and sea element magic, which are opposing elements.
    • Tales of Xillia: Elise Lutus utilizes healing and shadow element magic.
    • Tales of Xillia 2: Muzet is primarily an offensive caster, but she's the third most effective healer.
  • In World of Warcraft, all healing classes (Priests, Druids, Shamans, and Paladins) have the capacity to deal damage if the player wants to specialize as such. As well, most classes have some sort of self-healing available to them, if not to the extend of the classes listed before. Warlocks, for example, can drain health from their opponents.
    • Of note are Priests with the Discipline specialization; it is equally good both healing and dealing damage, though it's not as good at one or the other as Holy or Shadow.
  • One could say that Riku of Kingdom Hearts is this. He uses the powers of darkness and the powers of light, as well as fighting with a sword. He's not very good at it, though, having very few spells that he uses often from either branch. You can play Sora like this as well, except he can only use powers of light.
  • Dragon Quest III has this with the Sage, who has all the spells of the Mage and Cleric, with most of their equipment, but more physically-based equipment as well.
    • This is a common occurrence in the series, though execution varies. In Dragon Quest VII, they're a Prestige Class that supplements the Priest/Mage spells they already have with more powerful abilities, and in Dragon Quest IX, they keep the weaker Priest/Cleric spells while gaining a unique pool of attack spells (not to mention the only guaranteed resurrection spell.)
  • Ultima III gives us many hybrid classes. The Red Mage is the Druid and, for more physical power, the Ranger.
  • Due to the secondary Profession system, any magical character in Guild Wars can do this.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has Runekeepers, Elves and Dwarves who are able to use magical rules in order to dish out damage or heal their allies. The rub of this is that the more damaging spells used, the less healing spells you can use. Conversely, the more you are the healer, the less damage spells you can do.
  • The Might and Magic RPG series had the Druid class from III to VII. In III to V, the Druid's spell list mainly contained a combination of spells from the Cleric and Sorcerer lists (with some special Druid spells), while in VI and VII the Druid is capable of wielding all magic from the Elemental and Clerical schools. In VI, that allowed them to master all schools of magic but Dark and Light magic, while VII restricted them to the second-best level of mastery, but made the inability to learn Dark or Light magic slightly less stinging by restricting the other two strict spellcasters to one of the twonote  and giving Druids a potential edge in spell points (Druid was the only class that could gain grandmastery in Meditation, a skill that directly added spell points to the character's pool. They also benefitted from both spellcasting stats in both VI and VII)
    • In addition, the Ranger from III to V, being the martial version of the Druid class, has access to some Druid spells and also to steel, allowing for a wide variety of abilities.
  • Your character in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can become one rather easily. Not only will you have access to all six schools of magic, but you can also use weapons to add to your arsenal.
    • Skyrim, too. Your character starts with a healing spell and a fire spell. You can even dual-wield one of each!
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Jenna's base class was a textbook example. She had decent access to Kill It with Fire powers, an exclusive series of multi-target healing powers, and some decent buffs/debuffs. Ivan was the same thing with no healing. Of course, the Golden Sun series being known for its elaborate Class and Level System, any character can be customized into something like this, from the resident White Mage to the local Mighty Glacier.
  • In Academagia, your character can easily become this during the game. They can learn just about any combination of the different magic skills, including with the right circumstances the forbidden magic of Gates and Mastery and the only real limitation is the finite school year.
  • All of the healers in League of Legends also sport offensive spells, though special mention goes to Kayle who can be played as a carry and who is also capable of switching between melee and ranged attacks.
  • This is actually the standard for mages in Duel Savior Destiny with the sole shown exceptions of Lily and possibly Lobelia. Thus, mages like Rico are perfectly capable of dishing it out and covering some healing, though they usually leave that stuff to local white mage Berio.
  • Ana in MOTHER 1 was the best PSI user out of the two in the game. She is the only playable character with offensive PSI, and, in a rare case, her support PSI was actually better than Ninten's, the White Mage.
    • Earthbound and Mother 3, instead of having a White Mage protagonist with a Red Mage female party member like the first game, makes them both Red Mages. In both games, the protagonist learns a powerful line of signature PSI moves and also powerful Healing and support PSI, while the female characters are focused more on Offense and have more versatile attack PSI, but still with support PSI (and in the case of Mother 3's Kumatora, some healing as well). Earthbound also adds a third Red Mage to the party, Poo, who is a mix of Ness and Paula and has both powerful healing PSI and a powerful line of signature offensive PSI as well as two of Paula's elemental PSI.
  • Star Ocean
    • Ioshua Jerand of Star Ocean 1 is effectively a Black Mage with a few healing spells. He remains functional offensively in the late game, arguably even better than Ronyx in the remake due to weapons that actually boost his magic stat, but in the healing field, he's essentially a Crutch Character to be replaced by Millie. Joshua's sister, Erys, lies in the middle of the spectrum on paper, with all of the same healing, status recovery, and revival spells as Millie, but none of the status spells. Her offensive magic is much more limited than Ioshua or Ronyx, but there are pretty much no enemies in the game that resist both Fire and Light. Between the wide coverage of her offensive spells and the uselessness of status magic, she ends up as a Master Of All in practice.
    • Noel Chandler of Star Ocean: The Second Story has healing and status recovery spells, but no revival spell, and his offensive magic covers different elements than Celine or Leon, but his magic power is lower than all three of his fellow mages. His one saving grace is his ability to equip Bloody Armor and participate in a strategy that effectively makes all four party members invincible.
    • Star Ocean Till The End Of Time went with the Red Mage route for both of its dedicated magic users. This may have something to do with why it's the one game in the series that magic users are considered the most useless.
    • Myuria of Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Lymle has better damaging spells and Summon Magic, and Sarah has better healing spells and buffs, with Myuria falling into a good middle ground.
  • Pokemon have "Dual types" as any variation of the Red Mage (As in: Red Rogue, Red Tank, Red Glass Cannon, the list goes on...), Dual Types gain STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) from two types, learn moves from both types, but also gain the weaknesses of both types, and the may even make them extra vulnerable to a certain element. The ability "Protean" takes it up to eleven by allowing the user to switch its type to the type of the move it's about to use to gain the STAB boost from it, and also gains that types respective weaknesses.
    • This can actually work in a Pokemon's favor, by giving the Pokemon 4x resistance to a type or outright immunity to a type.
    • There are also several Pokemon that use both attacks and support moves. For example, a typical moveset for Hitmontop is three powerful attacks and Rapid Spin (which removes entry hazards).

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The titular Avatar of Avatar The Last Airbender is a reincarnated mystical keeper of peace (basically the local superhero) who is most well known for being able to learn and use all four of the normally mutually exclusive Elemental Powers of the settings. They usually demonstrate great talent with their original element (as the title suggests, The Hero Aang is the Last of His Kind) and have to learn the other elements one by one, which is the main driving plot of the series.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle knows spells that have a variety of effects. These include (but are not nearly limited to) powerful telekinesis, teleportation, cloud-walking, flight, altering the dietary habits of other creatures, total control of another's body, and item enchantment. Most unicorns get spells related to whatever their inherent talent is, but Twilight's inherent talent is magic itself.
    • Twilight Sparkle actually inverts the Master of None part of the trope, given that she exhibits telekinesis at a much higher level than other unicorns, as well as demonstrating an improved version of other unicorns' spells, such as Rarity's gem finding. Eventually it culminates in ascending to alicorn status.
    • The Alicorns are a good example of this. Earth Ponies has physical strength and endurance, Unicorns have magic, and Pegasi have flight. Alicorns embody all three: flight, magic, and as Princess Luna showed once, the strength to crack stone with the stomp of her hoof.


Rebellious PrincessVideo Game CharactersRequired Party Member
White Magician GirlWizards and WitchesBlue-Collar Warlock
Reality Warping Is Not a ToyPower at a PriceRequired Secondary Powers
Pure EnergyMagic and PowersSentient Cosmic Force
Recurring ElementImageSource/Video GamesFinal Fantasy I

alternative title(s): Red Mage
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