Monday, February 18, 2019

The Frat Boy Wizard

"How are you going to get him to help us?" Tarwyn asked, her hand nervously hovering near her dagger.

"I told you, we go way back," Balthazaar said, shouldering open the door. "Trust me, will you?"

Inside the Iron Skull, the candles were black, and the fire roaring. Ale flowed, and smoke hung thick in the corners where water pipes bubbled, and strange lotus was smoked in deep lungfuls. Gathered round the center table were a dozen acolytes, their hoods thrown back and a gleam in their eyes as one of their number guzzled something thick and dark.

"Chug, chug, chug!" they intoned, pounding the table on every repetition of the word.

Standing at the head of the table, his lips peeled back in a wide grin, was a tall man with a thick head of honey blonde hair. Broad-shouldered, with a green-tinged black ring on his right hand, he appeared both amused and proud as he watched the unfolding binge.

"Bonesmen stand!" Balthazaar called out, his voice cutting through the air. The crowd's dull roar subsided, as all eyes turned to look at him. The tall man with the blonde hair smiled even wider, thumping his chest twice with his ring-bearing hand.

"May your party never die!" the blonde-haired man called out. He gestured toward the bar, already walking away from his table. "Pair of coffin-nails with a side of varnish, Jaren, and hammer 'em fast. Not every day my Eastern brother graces us with his presence!"

Skull and Bones is brutal... no one should ever practice necromancy that hungover.

The Fraternal Order of Wizardly Shenanigans

While it isn't required for a wizard to go to college, there are a number of settings where that is one of the most common methods of learning the ins and outs of arcane magic. Which, of course, begs the question of whether your wizard is a member of either a fraternity or a sorority, and what lessons they learned (or connections they made) as part of this organization?

Unlike a lot of my other character concepts, this one is pretty easy to translate from one game to another. It requires no special feats or unusual powers; as long as you're a wizard, you can make one of these Greek life spellcasters.

Crafting is brutal... but there's nothing worse than conjuration. Nothing.
What was your wizard's order meant to promote, and what experiences did they have that stuck with them? If they were a member of the Skull and Bones (an order of necromancers, natch), did they insist that all members speak a dead language when at official events? Did the Sigma Tau always know where to find the best parties because they could legitimately cast the bones, or gaze into a crystal ball, as a bunch of diviners? Were the conjurers in Selum Sidhe always trying to one-up the illusionists of Pharastine House when it came to who could pull the better practical jokes?

We all know that wizards spend a lot of time reading old, dusty tomes and cramming for practical exams... but what else went on during their school years? And have they stayed much as they were at the time, or have they changed between then and now?

As an example, is your wizard still the same ale-swilling, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants, fireball-preferring evoker they were during their school days? Or would anyone who knows Cassadil Flameheart credit the stories his old fraternity brothers have about this sober, serious-faced man who was once a hot-blooded, often-regretful young man who had a problem saying no to a drink, a dance, or a fight?

Who Did You Know (And What Doors Can It Open)?

If you ask anyone who's a part of Greek life, what you learn is only a small part of why so many people join these organizations. It's about who you can meet, what connections you can make, and what sort of contacts you can network with. The ever elusive, "who you know," that can help you out, get you jobs, etc.

Work that into your concept.

Is your wizard well-connected despite coming from humble roots instead of the aristocracy? Well, perhaps that was because she made so many friends among the Sisters of Meriphon, who adopted her and showed her the good things in life. Does your transmuter know someone even more skilled than himself who was the House Liege in the Order of the Rainbow, the only organization not divided by sex, as a transmuter's very goal is to transcend limitations and labels through transformation? Is the ring on your wizard's middle finger a universal symbol of the Brothers of the Aegis, an order of abjurers fostered by grants from the early kings of the realm, which commands respect and deference from those who see it?

There are all kinds of directions you can go in with this one. So if you want to skip the tried-and-true methods of a self-taught sage, or someone finally being raised to the level of journeyman by their master, consider rushing a frat and seeing what it does for your wizards!

For more food for thought on this topic, don't forget to check out my 5 Tips For Playing Better Wizards! Also, if you're looking for something fun to have at your on-campus bashes, consider these 100 Fantasy Drinks. Or, if your game is set in the far-flung future, 100 Sci Fi Cocktails instead!

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That's all for this installment of Unusual Character Concepts. Hopefully this one gave you something to chew over, whether you're a player, or a game master.

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