The mysterious arcane knowledge that these persons wield is often frightening. At the outset, these people may not seem to present a challenge for a good sword or a stout club, but as their studies grow, they have been found to be formidable opponents. They can be limited by their power level, but more than one mage has been known to inflict great fear in others and when they were seemingly defeated, disappear. Not dead of course, but preparing to return and finish the job they started. The prime requisite of Mages is INTelligence, allowing them to learn powerful spells.
Mages in General
Mages specialize in casting offensive spells. They can generally do more damage than many other classes as long as they do not become depleted of their mana; this dependence upon their mana supply may be their greatest weakness.
Mages, with their in-class transportation spells and surging ability, can obtain and enchant gear more easily than most other classes, which makes them handy either for equipping their alternate characters or for earning money by selling enchanted gear to other players. Also, mages and wizards are the only two classes that can charge shields, which is very handy both for themselves and for charging shields for other characters.
Their ability to solo more easily than melee or healer classes may make mages especially appealing to players whose circumstances do not always allow them to conveniently fight in groups. Mages, sadly, tend to die more frequently over time than other classes for a variety of reasons, including their fewer hit-points and the fact that mana gear, which enables their damage abilities, is not very protective in combat. For this reason, it can be argued that tank gear is more important to mages than any other set of gear, accompanied by an ability to change into it rapidly (using effective gear-changing aliases) at moments of mortal danger.
Characters of any race may be mages but some races are far better suited for magery than others. Characters of races with relatively-high intelligence, such as centaurs, drow, and elves, tend to make excellent mages. Conversely, races with relatively-low intelligence, such as giants, goblins and troglodytes, tend to be poor mages with either low mana and/or high rates of spellcasting failure, although some people still choose to play mages of such races because they enjoy their novelty or difficulty. Other races such as gargoyles and lizardmen have subhuman intelligence but no inherent spellcasting penalties, and thus make decent, if mana-starved, mages.
Certain races carry inherent bonuses when casting the arcane spells - these manifest as:
- cheaper spells - requiring less mana to cast them, and
- ability to become nofail upon reaching a certain level of expertise, most often 95-100%. This means they will not fail to cast a spell once they practice it fully.
Races such as Elves, for example have both, and are thus an excellent choice for this class.
You can see the Racial Spell Cost Modifier table for more information about spell costs for different races.
Mages at Lowmort Tier
As with any new characters, train wisdom first, followed by Intelligence and Constitution as early as you are able to. Intelligence will increase the amount of mana you gain per level, so be sure to keep that as high as possible by wearing level gear.
Strength and Dexterity is less important for mages, because none of their skills depend on it. As with all classes, strength will increase your carrying capacity and add a point of Hit Roll and Damage Roll; while Dexterity will add -10 Armor Class. But beyond those effects, they have no impact on mages until they learn skills like Disarm and Bash at hero.
Mages adept their skills at 95%, so view the Intelligence table to see what amount of intelligence you need to spend as few practice points as possible.
In general, all damage spells are worth training, with a few exceptions:
- Magic Missile isn't a prerequisite for anything, and is overshadowed by Chill Touch 2 levels after you're able to learn it, so you can opt to skip this one.
- Energy Drain damage enemies and restores your hit points in the process, but if it fails you will lose HP and experience too. Most people avoid using this spell.
- Spell Recovery is a useful spell for most races, but if you are an Elf or other race that doesn't fail their adepted spells, you can skip this one to save some practices. (But do remember to practice it at hero, because you can still fail spells if a mob scrambles you.
On the other hand, definitely practice these spells as soon as you are able:
- Meditation improves your mana regeneration.
- Identify takes the guesswork out of equipping yourself.
- Arcane Knowledge allows you to use wands and staves, to cast spells you otherwise wouldn't learn.
- Teleport and Portal are invaluable for quick transportation for you and your groupmates.
- Surge will multiply spell damage by up to 5. Makes soloing much easier. Do note its high mana cost, though.
- Chaos Channel will halve all of your damage spell costs as long as you aren't in direct combat with a mob, and aren't surging. Required for maintaining your mana pool when you're in a group.
- Disintegrate disintegrates.
Mages, as with all classes, may choose to worship a god or goddess at level 10 or beyond. Some deities, though, are better suited for mages to worship than others, particularly Bhyss, Shizaga, and Quixoltan.
|EFFECTS PER DEITY||Bhy||Qxl||Shz|
|Regeneration Rate||Hit Points||-10%||-20%||-10%|
|Combat Damage||Melee Weapon||better||better||worse|
|Combat Experience-Point Gains||+05%|
|Death Experience-Point Losses||-25%||+200%|
|Levelup Gains||Hit Points||worse||better|
|Effective Int for Practicing||-0.5||-2.5||-0.5|
Bhyss vs. Shizaga vs. Quixoltan: Quixoltan and Shizaga are most popular among Avatar MUD's mages. Both of these deities increase their worshippers' spell damage, which is very beneficial to mages because they do most of their damage via their spells. Bhyss increases spell damage more than Shizaga or Quixoltan do. Bhyss and Quixoltan also increases melee damage, while Shizaga decreases it. The melee bonus Quixoltan and Bhyss provide is somewhat useful on brutish races that switch into hit gear while fighting, but otherwise is not significant.
A short rundown:
- If you are interested in a fast leveler (with a remort goal in sight), and/or an efficient enchanter for making gear, worship Shizaga. Or if you're more concerned about enjoying play than maximizing hit points. Shizaga is the most popular choice among Avatar's mages due to versatility, good mana gains, decreased spell lag, slightly decreased spell cost, improved enchanting, and no significant penalties.
- For those seeking to maximize their hp, Quixoltan is the best choice. However, Quixoltan makes characters slow to cast their spells, regenerate slower, and have a daunting penalty with each death. There is also the higher spell cost, no-boon for sacrificing corpses, and lack of an experience bonus. Finally, there is zero evidence that the extra int point (when devoting to this God) increases mana pools. Mana gains are identical to Shizaga with ample anecdotal evidence to sustain this.
- Bhyss is popular with casters at Lord tier since characters are well-developed by then and the level-up penalties are not as significant. The damage bonus Bhyss provides outweighs all other penalties at Lord tier. Bhyss also reduces spell cost. If you care about your level-up gains, worshipping Bhyss throughout hero tier is not recommended.
As with all classes, most lowmort mages should have little trouble soloing from level 1 to level 11 very quickly. Afterward, gaining experience alone will grow increasingly difficult and mages should seriously consider grouping with other players. Once mages practice surge at level 25, they will find soloing easier once again.
Soloing: Once mages learn Surge, they will have a much easier time soloing than a melee class such as a warrior or rogue. Surge soloing enables mages to quickly kill enemies that would otherwise kill them in prolonged combat, but at a high cost to their mana. For example, a surge level of 2, which doubles spell damage, more than triples spell cost. A surge level of 4 actually costs 10 times what it normally would. Surge is an incredibly useful skill that mages will use constantly from lowmort to lord, but do note that surge can fail. Avoid fighting mobs so difficult that they require maximum surge to kill, since a single failure might spell death.
Tanking: Mages hardly ever serve as tanks at lowmort tier, although there are rare exceptions. Mages become much better able to tank groups during hero after practicing certain hero-tier skills (see below).
Hitting: Mages usually serve as hitters in lowmort groups. Mage hitters should normally wear mana gear to maximize their available mana, upon which they are highly dependent for doing damage. Once a mage has learned Chaos Channel, they should avoid surging unless it is required to prevent the death of a groupmate, because it will halve the cost of all attack spells as long as Surge or Quicken is disabled.
Healing: Although clerics and their like are usually preferred as healers, they are not always available. Lowmort mages may substitute for a real healer by practicing arcane knowledge that will enable them to use brandishes to cast spells they otherwise haven't learned yet. Common healing staves are the Shard Of Durrite, Limestone Staff , Fingerbone Of Senex, and the Gold Dragon Orb which is a handy item to have both as level gear and for healing. The White Marble Cross is used to cast Sanctuary on the room.
Mage Prestige Options
As long as you are not a no-sun race (with the exception of Gargoyles) you can prestige as a Stormlord. Stormlords gain more hit points but less mana, and will not be able to surge as high. See Stormlords for more information about their unique weather oriented sustained spells.
As long as your race started life with over 14 Wisdom (includes Gnome, Centaur, Ent, among others) you can become a Wizard. Wizards are essentially "mages, but more so." They gain fewer hit points but more mana, they forego out-of-class psionic spells and combat skills such as Dodge, Parry, and Bash, but will be able to do more damage with their attack spells as well as learn unique spells through the use of spellbooks.
Mages at Hero Tier
Mages at hero tier will be able to train their intelligence five higher than at lowmort tier and to train their other statistics two higher than at lowmort tier. They will continue to be able to raise each of their statistics up to three more than they can train them to (respectively), unless they devote themselves to a deity, in which case these amounts may be modified slightly. See Devoting below for more information about this subject.
Mages should continue to practice skills with mage trainers and should usually keep their intelligence as high as possible while doing so, just as at lowmort tier. Hero mages may continue to practice their skills up to 95%. See Mage Hero Skills and Spells for more detail about what skills mages may practice at hero tier, at what level these skills may be practiced, and how useful they are.
Bhyss: Mages who devote themselves to Bhyss will recieve even less HP than they would due to decreased constitution, but will get somewhat better mana gains. Since mages do not typically rely on melee damage, the strength boost is of marginal use, while the lowered dexterity will reduce their Armor Class by 10 points.
Shizaga: Devotion to Shizaga carries smaller benefits - a point of increase to dexterity will net 10 more AC, while the reduction in wisdom may or may not reduce practice point gains. Overall, there is little reason not to devote to Shizaga.
Quixoltan: Quixoltan's devotion carries the largest impact of the three; the intelligence and constitution bonuses will allow for even better level-up gains, the strength bonus is of marginal use, while the wisdom and dexterity penalties may or may not impact the character. Again, if you are worshiping Quixoltan for the gains, you can only benefit by devotion.
Mages at hero tier may have more trouble finding groups than other classes. This is especially true at lower hero sublevels, where mages tend to die more readily and tend to run short of mana during runs.
Soloing: Mages will almost always solo for their levels unless they choose the tanking path. Mages will find it best to regenerate in mana gear, then to change into either tank gear or hit gear in order to fight, using a surged disintegrate spell to kill mobs. Popular areas for low-hero mages include:
- Shashwat Nisha: populated with non-aggressive "yaks" and cobblynau (although they assist at hero)
- Sir Michael's Stronghold: populated with wandering peasants
- Shadow Keep: rotting corpses and hound dogs are both generally non-aggressive and wimpy, but do not sleep in places they wander or they will attack!
Popular areas for higher hero mages are:
- Tortuga Cay: filled with tortugas that are immune to sharp weapons, but fall easily to spells.
- Necromancer's Tower: has many undead mobs that tend to bunch up, allowing easy kills especially if you are able to area-spell with Acid Rain and survive. Regardless, you need to Move Hidden or they will attack.
- Greed's Gallows: has two "sides" to it. The upper side has many good aligned mobs which should prove no difficulty, and the lower side has many evil aligned mobs that are aggressive, but more numerous.
More difficult areas for higher hero mages include:
- Transfigured Forest: is highly aggressive and fraught with dopplegangers and other nasty beasts, but has many good opportunity for area spelling with Acid Rain.
- Ruined Lairs: similarly aggressive but ideal for area spelling.
Tanking: Mage tanks at hero are fairly common due to the difficulty they experience in finding groups to hit for. In fact, after practicing dodge, parry, shield block, and charge shield, mages can become formidable tanks. Wear full tank gear for protection and carry a warded and charged shield for extra damage. If you decide to tank, consider appointing one of your hitters to be a back-up rescuer, since Rescue for a mage has 10 seconds of lag.
Hitting: Mages rarely serve as hitters in hero groups. If you want to hit, make sure that you have practiced Second Attack, Third Attack, and Enhanced Damage as soon as you are able, and have a set of hit gear you can quickly change into. Mages don't do a lot of melee damage, but combined with Disintegrate it can be a decent chunk of damage in a group. Also, if you worship Quixoltan, you shouldn't be missing out on the melee damage boost he gives you. Start the run fully regenned in mana gear, and swap into hitgear as soon as you reach your base mana (otherwise you will lose mana each tick that you spend over max mana). If you have the mana to spare, you could also swap into hit gear immediately and Surge 2 down to base mana, then return to unsurged spells (but if you have that much mana, you probably have enough hero experience to not need this guide). Also consider having a shield handy to Bash, as you'll still want to be useful to your group after you've run dry on mana (and you probably will).
Healing: Just like at lowmort, mages can use brandishes to heal their group at hero. The main difference is that you have access to better staves like the Black Staff Of Typhus (3 lbs, 20 charges of Heal) and Emerald Sceptre Of Light (15 lbs, ~10 charges of Heal), both much better than the Gold Dragon Orb though it is still useful simply because of how easy it is to acquire. Also note that you can Recharge wands and staves once you have learned the spell that the item casts (in most cases, that will be Heal).
Mages at Lord Tier
Mages are always welcome in groups at lord tier because they excel at dealing damage and there are only a few runs where they are useless. Unlike hero tier mages are almost a requirement for most Lord running. They are also considerably larger and more robust than Wizards and Sorcerers (bested only by Mindbenders and Stormlords hp-wise), permitting them to serve as tank on smaller runs if their gear allows it. This physical advantage over the more powerful remort and prestige classes is moderated by their reduced usefulness in terms of available mana for damage purposes. They may also practice a spell that enables them to rename objects.
Side note: Mages are the least of a liability when they run in AC gear. Despite their status as "hitters," they should probably not run in DR gear, as it will do little for their damage and make them a liability. In addition, while it can be wise to regen in HP or Mana gear, if nothing else than for an extra oomph to clear the shift, it is advised against running in these kinds of gear, as again, they can make the Mage an instant splat, instead of someone who has a chance to survive.
Mage Remort Options
Creatable races that are well-suited for this class include Centaurs, Elves, Drow, Half-Elves, Gnomes and Deep Gnomes. Remort races that are well-suited for magery include dragons, high elves, tuataurs, and sprites. Despite their relatively-high intelligence, griffons are ill-suited for spellcasting and thus tend to be poor mages. See Remort Races for information on the requirements for each of these races.