Tips for playing a Magician of Dessi?


Hello everyone, first post. It's also the first time that my gaming group and I have played Lone Wolf (saw it at th store, had to buy it).

We've been playing for a bit, and one of my players decided to play a magician of dessi. The class reminded us of Grey Star, but without the requisite Shianti-plot-tomfoolery that would be needed to make it work in the game.

But so far, because we're new, he's a bit frustrated. The Kai Lord, Brother of the Crystal Star and the Shadaki Buckaneer(sp?) seem to be much more capable.

My players are all between levels 5-7, and we were wondering if people had advice for how to play an effective Dessi mage. Not just in combat but overall. I'm going to relay the advice to him.

It all depends on how he wants to play. You said he wawnts to play an effective dessi overall. Ok, for that, first of all he needs to see if he is comfortable with the class roleplaying wise. Does he enjoy playing a sorceror class; does he enjoy speaking in riddles, being mysterious, etc etc.

Second, effectiveness game-mechanic wise: I will need to see the stats he has put down for his class to comment on that. For now, suffice to say make sure he has high wisdom (higer elder art dc's), and high intelligence (bonus to magical attack rolls). After that, it agains depends on how he wants to play it; if the char will go into melee put the second highest stat in dexterity, then charisma, the con and strength.

Also, make sure he is using his wizards staff correctly. Re-read its desc again jsut to be sure. Keep in mind it adds a +2 attack AND damage bonus to all attacks, ranged (wizard bolts) or melee.

Lastly, remember the dessi uses his magical combat skill when attacking with his staff, or his elder arts.
What Xex said.
The Magicians of Dessi work unlike most of the other character classes.
They also, as a class, tend to rely the most on an innovative/flexible GM.
Powers like Alchemy or Elementalism require the player to think up new and interesting ways of using them.
If you have Alchemy as a power and never try to invent new potions/recipes for example you will get a lot less out of your powers than, say, a Brotherhood mage who blasts away with lightning hand in every single battle.
Same with elementalism. Be creative. Elementalism can be used for tons of stuff. I suggest, if your player hasn't read the GreyStar gamebooks, he should head over to project Aon to get some inspiration.
GreyStar used Elementalism to topple bridges with giant waves(Water), to move his ship on the see when no wind was blowing (Air), to burrow himself out of a prison cell (Earth) and for tons of other stuff.
It can be really quite potent if you are imaginable and your GM agrees with how you use it.
Your Sorcery power won't ever match a Brotherhood Wizard's combat and defense spells, so if you want a blaster-mage go for a Brother instead.
If your Dessi is forced into combat, try to hang back and use the powers of Enchantment a lot. Tricking and charming enemies is most often easier than killing them.
When you have to fight agressively, USE your Wizard's staff and don't hesitate to blow your Willpower. Better you loose Willpower than loosing your life.
With your magical combat skill and your staff, you will hit better than your groups Kail Lord and with your Willpower-enhanced damage, you will hit a lot harder than he (or the Shadaki) does as well. Don't hesitate to use Fate's blessing if you think you have to and watch your Endurance. You aren't build for long-term combat, so try to make it quick.

Lastly, a Dessi's most important stats from my personal perspective: Charisma
A nice Constitution score wouldn't be bad either if you can afford it.
FallenAngel said:
They also, as a class, tend to rely the most on an innovative/flexible GM.
Powers like Alchemy or Elementalism require the player to think up new and interesting ways of using them.
If you have Alchemy as a power and never try to invent new potions/recipes for example you will get a lot less out of your powers than, say, a Brotherhood mage who blasts away with lightning hand in every single battle.
Same with elementalism. Be creative. Elementalism can be used for tons of stuff.

I agree completely with FallenAngel.
This class can be REALLY powerfull if you play it well. And "well" means to be creative and flexible (as a player AND as a GM).
Think that Dessi are not only a "spell-casting-fireball-spitting" class but they are true masters of very very ancient powers.

Just my opinion...
Hmm. Interesting info.

Xex, I think my player can handle the roleplaying aspect of it. We're all reasonably good at that sort of thing. Even though he hasn't read the LW series entirely, I had him read some of the relevant passages about folks at Dessi. I think he's good for that.

But let me give you a scenario where he felt frustrated:

The group (Kai Lord, Brother of the Crystal Star, Knight of Summerlund & Magician of Dessi) pursue a Dark Cultist leader across the Stornlands. Finally, the cult leader seems to come to stop in a burnt out temple in an abandoned town.

The group, hot on his heels, charges in to find an awaiting group of half-a-dozen giaks and a Helghast waiting in ambush. A lucky roll by the Brother of the Crystal Star and quick thinking by the Kai Lord allow them to go fast enough to charge the Helghast. Despite the blu-fire burns and kicks and screams, the Kai Lord charges the Helghast and carries him outside the temple into the shallow river, the Brother right on his heels, allready chanting a protection spell.

The Knight figures his two friends can handle it, so he charges the Giaks and tired cultist. The Giaks form up and begin a pitched battle, bogging down the knight. The cultist goes next. Seeing his dire situation and his exhaustion, he needs to change the tide of battle quickly. He sees the still-flat-footed mage and chants his spell, "Chain the Will." The Magician fails his roll, but the grace of Fate saved him, letting him reroll and succeed the will saving throw.

Now, here's the magician's turn. He has Alchemy, Elementalism, and Prophecy. He hash to aid his friends, and it seems like defeating this cultist is the best way to start doing that. What would you do?

Here's what my player did:
Lynn thrusts her staff forward and lets forth with a pair of powerful magic blasts. The first one hits (4d6) but the second one misses. This staggers the cultist. Next round, the cultist tries a new tactic, casting Mind Grasp on the knight (who fails his roll pitifully). However, the Giaks are aware of this tactic and form up to hold the knight away. He's now at a severe disadvantage, but holding his own.

Lynn is frustrated that she can't help her comrade by clearing his mind. She runs up, trying to force the cultist to focus on her, slamming him with her staff for a frightful 3d6 damage. (The player of Lynn, James, is having a bad night rolling, and his consistently rolling low for damage).

Anyways... The fight went on like this. Lynn doesn't really have any effects that would be applicable here. Now, I'm all for being creative with Elementalism, but there is a finite limit on how much damage it can do. This damage doesn't ignore hardness or anything like that, so it's not like Lynn could collapse the old temple or burn the Giaks to death in a flash. She has a healing potion ready (which saves the knight's life later) and she does win, but it takes awhile and in the end it was the Brother's magic that felled the wizard (they made quick work of the Helghast).

Now, Lynn would have been meat against 8 Giaks. That kind of all out brawl really isn't what she's designed for. She probably could have beaten the Helghast 1v1 but not without serious injury (and still might have lost). Really, this cultist was the best place for her to focus.

So, how could James have made Lynn act differently? The only real idea I've had about this was to use Elementalism to try and light the cultist's clothes on fire, which probably would have worked pretty well...

Any other suggestions? If anyone has any concrete examples for us (like the one above) they'd be incredibly helpful.
It seems to me like the frustration of your player in this situation should target his dice rolls more than his character class :wink:

Considering all your players are in the 5-7 level range the Dessi with his staff easily has the highest damage potential.
Neither the Kai Lord, the Brother, or the knight have anything even remotely as deadly as the 5d6+2 blasts the Dessi can throw around with his staff. He uses his Magical Combat skill to hit with his staff or bolts, adding his intelligence mod and a +2 bonus on top(mastercrafted, magical), likely making him the most accurate party member too.

So, in essence, the most deadly thing on the entire battlefield was the Dessi. A single blast of him should have splattered a Giak all over the place and would have probably killed the cultist in one shot too(He probably had around 20-25 hp, a full-power 5d6+2 blast could have roasted him in one go).

You said yourself that your player had some horrible rolls and consistently bad damage rolls.
Nobody can do anything if he rolls bad all the time.
The Knight can't hit if he rolls bad, the Brother can't cast spells if he rolls bad and so on.

The fight could have just as well turned out so that the Dessi killed the cultist in turn 1, turned the Giaks to ash by round 3 or 4 and be done fast enough to finish off the Helghast while the other party members were still wondering who called the heavy artillery :)

Oh, about the earth elementals not being able to collapse the temple because it couldn't do enough "damage" against it's "hardness".
Bullshit, I say :wink:
If you start to measure an elemental spirit's effectiveness by how much damage it does, you can forget elementals alltogether, because just chucking force blades would be easier and more effective.
Calling an elemental to DIRECTLY damage a creature will only result in inflicting your base magical damage, yes.
Calling an elemental to influence the terrain should enable you to do pretty much anything you want(within certain reasonable limits), like telling an earth elemental to undermine the tempels weak infrastructure to bring it crashing down on the cultist and his allies or to summon an air elemental to create a sandstorm that blinds your opponents.
I agree, level 10 and below, the dessi can dish out the highest damage to enemies out of any class. If rolls are bad, well, nothing to be done about that. Just let the player know the next time will be better; if he does not agree just run a 5 minute test scenario, pit him agains the same cultist again for fun, and this time his rolls will probably be higher. Also remember that unlike the brotherhood mage's lightning hand the dessi's staff has a critical range (the value depends on class features ancient power), allowing him to do far more damage on a crit.

You mentioned you had the player read over the lw books' entries on the dessi; maybe you should also show him the entries in the grey star books on how grey star uses elementalism.

Oh and at level 8 the dessi will get the ability to erect a shield in psychic combat, which the brotherhood mage cannot do. It can be very useful, given the fact that many foes in magnamund have the ability to engage in psychic attacks.
Like any game system (other than Amber roleplaying or the new Marvel Superheroes game, Lone Wolf d20 is dependent on numbers for its damage calculations. Let's look at the Magician of Dessi.

Magicians of Dessi are a mixed lot, depending on what Elder Arts they choose. A Dessi without Elementalism, Sorcery, Enchantment, a devoted Vakeros Knight, or other allies, has only one recourse for offense, his or her's Wizard Staff. The Wizard's Staff is a brilliant weapon, but its use in combat can drain Willpower very quickly. Let's assume we have a 7th level Magician of Dessi with 15 for their mental stats, and has applied his one point boost to intelligence, raising to a 16. (Note, yes I know that rolling 4d6 and taking the best 3 will not always provide such high stats, but at least Wisdom and/or intelligence should be paramount, along with Cha).

Taking average rolls for his Willpower (note, the use of the male term is reference for the entire class of Dessi Magicians, and is not meant to represent that women of Dessi cannot become Dessi Magicians or that female Dessi Magicians are inferior in anyway), the result comes to 30.
The Dessi has an adjusted attack bonus with his Wizard's Staff of the following: (no strength mod for melee damage, assuming a strength of 10)

Base Magical Combat Value +7/+2
Intelligence Bonus +3
Mastercraft and magical bonus +2

Total=+12/+7 for 1d6+2 each
Using the staff as a double weapon +8/+3 and +8 for 1d6+2.

With two attacks, the staff does 6 points per round on the low end, 10 points average, and 16 points maximum. With three it goes to 9, 15, and 24 respectively. Not bad for an old stick :twisted:

In melee, the Dessi in question can spend 3 points of willpower per strike to add 3d6 damage to each attack in melee. This adds 3 points to each strike on the low end, 9 per strike on the average, and 18 per strike at maximum. Combining this with the base staff damage for two attacks, the Dessi inflicts 18 points per round on the low end, 28 on the medium, and 60 at maximum! :shock: With three attacks, it goes to 18, 30, and 78. The Dessi would spend either 6 or 9 pts of Willpower per round following this attack pattern, so he would be out of Willpower in 5 rounds, or down to 3 in 3 rounds of a 3 strike attack routine.

For ranged combat at the maximum of effect, the Dessi can shoot two 5d6+2 blasts at a range of 60 feet. This does 14 at the low end, 34 on the medium, and 64 maximum. The Dessi in question could keep this up for 2 rounds, and then have 10 Willpower left.
Or in other words:

Taking the 30 Willpower point example from above:
- 5 to 7 Willpower to blast the cultist
- 2 Willpower for each Giak (16 total for 8 Giaks)
- 7 to 9 Willpower points left for the Helghast

The Dessi easily has enough juice to deal with all enemies in this encounter.
Not that he has to anyways, the knight should be able to deal with a few of the Giaks and the Kai and the Brother will probably at least injure the Helghast before the Dessi blasts him.
It was pretty much an ideal combat situation for the Dessi.
The knight had the melee opponents(the Giaks) distracted, the Kai and the Brother had the ranged attacker(Helghast, if he had a Bluefire staff) distracted and all he had to do was blast the low-hp cultist to hell and then roast everyone else :wink: