"You don't want that, old man," one of them said, brandishing his thick, ugly blade. "Go back to your drink, and leave us to our work."
"I'm afraid I just can't do that," he said, drawing a slender, ebony wand from nowhere. He raised his hands, a maestro ready to conduct an unseen orchestra.
"The bloody hell does he think he's doing?" one of the footpads asked.
"Get down!" the third shouted, rolling behind a hefty stack of crates.
"And now," the conductor said, fire in his eyes as he smiled. "Allow me to play you the Symphony of Destruction!"
|A one, and a two, and a...|
Magic Is An Art
When we think of wizards, we tend to think of those who have mastered the arcane science of magic. When you say the right words, make the right gestures, and present the right focus or material component, then you get a certain result. However, as I mentioned in both What Do Your Verbal and Somatic Components Look Like? and What Does Your Spell Preparation Look Like?, every spellcaster does things in their own unique way. Some cast in infernal, others in orc, and some prefer classic draconic, for example. Some cast in big, sweeping gestures, others in short, sharp thrusts. Some casters use fresh material components, and others have learned how to work without them (as long as they cost less than a gold piece).
Which proves an important point; magic is an art just as much as it is a science.
|Sometimes it's an industrial art, but it's an art nonetheless.|
Now, you have to have all the necessary components to get the results you want... but the artistic wizard assembles them in a way you might not expect.
For example, the conjurer might sing self-composed hymns to summon celestial creatures. The illusionist might paint on the air with a brush that is also a wand. The abjurer might draw symbols on their skin, or those of their subjects, creating unique brands and images to represent their spells. Or an evoker could conduct the flow of lightning and fire as if it were a concert that only he can hear.
The key to designing an artistic wizard is to ask how they see their magic, and how they use art to empower it. Music, language, painting, poetry slams, rap battles, interpretive dance, and any other form of art that can be done on the fly can work with this concept. And, while you won't technically need ranks in the Perform skill (since not all art is good art, and it's more to focus your magic than to impress the audience), it can't hurt if you have leftover skill points. For some spells it might even be possible to create more permanent pieces of art, such as using a sketchpad as part of a divination spell to ask questions of the gods, or making a pot to shatter when casting a foretelling. The limits are your creativity, and what your DM will let you get away with.
Because we tend to think of wizards as stodgy, set in their ways, and gray with learning and wisdom. But of those who went to college, surely some of them got liberal arts degrees, and used that to launch a career as an adventurer?
That's all for this week's Unusual Character Concepts. Hopefully folks enjoyed it, and come back when I have another to share. If you want to make sure you don't miss any of my updates, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. And if you want to help support me so I can keep bringing you more concepts, crunch, and fluff, then head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron today. All it takes is $1 a month to help me out, and to earn some sweet gaming swag of your own.