I'm curious, anyone seen a paladin level "goodguy" arcane caster?
My GM and I were having a discussion about this, his stance being "Of course there are good wizards in roleplays." and mine being "Then where are they?!?!"
In my 7 years of table top roleplaying, I've only ever seen wizard players and npcs be outrightly EVIL or some neutral "Anything for power" bullshit, which usually ends with them making a deal with a Devil/Evil God.
Erm, yes. The current mage contact we have is a quintesntial goodguy. Hells, the entire mages guild is more or less focused on helping the town in one way or another.
It's just rarer to find good guy mages, for precisely the reasons you said. That doesn't mean they don't exist though.
I think it's a combination of a few things. First, if you're going to make someone that good, then the temptation is to stick them in a class that reflects it. AKA paladin or cleric.
Second, there's the idea that good mages have been "done to death" a la Gandalf. Of course, the trope is so widely avoided these days that it's no longer true, but that's still the first instinct when people propose it.
Third, there's the fear for NPCs that if you make them a totally good guy that the PCs will walk all over them getting them to do the quest for them or do them favors. "Gimme loot" or "go kill that bad guy for us". A healthy level of haughtiness and risk helps keep the NPC from being a doormat.
Fourth, the typical player character isn't terribly good no matter what the class, unless he's forcibly constrained to be good by rules mechanics or an overbearing DM. And in those cases usually that is only applied to explicitly good classes.
Fifth, power corrupts. Go name a paladin-level good guy politician. Go ahead... I'll wait. Is there any? Back in 2008, Obama was hailed as the Messiah, a superhuman "lightworker" who could heal America's spiritual wounds by sheer power of his own awesomeness. Now, either you believe that all that was a cynical lie to garner votes, or that once in office the pressures of power changed him. Either way, power corrupts. You could easily say the same for any politician, though I can't think of another one who's been upheld as the avatar of all that is good. Most people understand and accept that politicians are morally questionable at best. So are CEOs, religious leaders, leaders of powerful activist groups, university administrators, and celebrities.
So give someone 10-20 levels of wizard, and regardless of who they were when they started out, they'll turn into someone very different.
One exception to all this: Bards. Not that they're actually good. But most aren't mustache-twistingly evil. They're good guys in the sense of being nice and fun and jovial rather than in terms of making good-aligned decisions. And they give themselves incredible PR.
It's the Quagmire effect: the lovable sex offender. You get a guy who does horrible things but somehow their shenanigans come off as cheeky and fun rather than cruel and tragic.
(Good example: Bill Cosby. I was hearing these rape allegations about him going back to the late 80's/early 90's. But he just kind of laughed them off and the media didn't touch him.)
Of course, Bards have something else going for them: their overall power levels are lower than wizards. Both in game balance terms and in the sense that I often see 20th level wizards in setting books and campaigns, but I almost never see 20th level bards. The bard NPCs are all in their mid levels at best.
Am I unusual for playing Lawful Good wizards and doing my best to actually be Lawful Good?
In my setting, the Church runs the government, so the "goodguy" divine casters are mostly just looking out for the status quo.
The Mages' Guild isn't out there campaigning in the streets, but they are responsible for all of the quality of life advancements of the general population.
The average commoner doesn't see that though, they just see the smiling paladin patrolling the street.
I too once desired to play a Lawful Good wizard with a Paladin code of honor and a religion behind him pushing him along.
I played this character a few years ago, he was a character I had intended to break the "I'm a careless wizard with no regard for anything trope" I always see on /tg/. At first everyone thought I was simply just playing a Wizard as a cleric; a character who simply got their spells from God every morning.
But no, this was a Man who knew what it meant to be good, to respect his people's traditions and spirituality yet not draw his power from a higher power but to apply the practical teachings through magic.
In combat if I was asked to describe my actions I would either say I was applying an old technique passed down or for the big spells I would simply refuse to acknowledge I casted any spell and that simply by adhering to a righteous path that things turned in out favor.
I think the problem is that while there is objective good and evil in DnD there's still no real reason for a Wizard to adhere to a set of principles that reflect our understanding of the universe. To a man who understands the different planes and planar travel it's not that big of a deal to kill six million Kobolds because you know they'll all be preserved in some cuddly Kobold afterlife
>which usually ends with them making a deal with a Devil/Evil God
Well, my wizard would gladly to make such a deal with Good gods or angels, but they somehow not answering the phone. So not his fault.
I have not only played a good wizard, but a Lawful Good necromancer. My DM allowed it, liked the sourcebook I was using, the whole nine yards.
One of his big traits was his insistence on using necromancy for the benefit of other people. He didn't even consider himself a wizard first and foremost; he was a scholar first, an architect second, and third he was a Journeyman of the Animator's Guild of the Free City-State of Hollowfaust.
He got along surprisingly well with the party's elf paladin-wizard. They had wonderful debates on the ethicality of using other people's corpses for public works projects.
He was also a complete 180 from your stereotypical necromancer in terms of personality. To sum it up?
>Was friendly and outgoing.
>Was not pale or sallow in terms of skin tone.
>Would've happily worn bright-colored clothes if the dark overcoat, scarf, and hat weren't basically a uniform.
One of his most endearing traits, according to my fellow players, is that he had zero concept of the value of money, as the Guild had basically always paid for all of his expenses. He knew the value of magical items, but as for actual coin?
Well, let's just say that he was much more comfortable giving his share of money to other PCs and asking them to manage it.
Yeah, I've seen this kind of thing before. It's a great idea. I've especially seen settings do this for egyptian-themed necromancers, whose job it is to ease the natural path of life to death and protect the spirit making that transition. But who are capable of greater feats when necessary to protect the natural order and the people.
It's a refreshing approach, though it does sometimes require some juggling of spell lists. All too often, developers decide "well, this is an evil spell, therefore it's negative energy, therefore it's necromancy". Making the Spell School = alignment trope hard to break.
Erana from quest for glory series was a good wizard.
Although she did do some things you could view as morally reprehensible, like mindfuckery pacification spell cast over a city.
Erasmus from the same series was a kindly wizard as well, but he did not exactly go out of his way to dispose of an evil witch infesting the area.
Anama follower detected.
Get back to your shame island and enjoy your roach infestation, luddite.
My current character is a sorcerer that's a pretty nice guy. Aside from the fact that he wills magic into existence he's just a normal guy that understands the struggle of life in the setting and will do what he can with his powers to make things just a little easier for the good folks he meets along the way.
I mean there's nothing inherent in "they use arcane magic" that implies they shouldn't be good, i think it's just that the typical power hungry magician trope has become so prevalent for whatever reason.