Shadows of the Muscle Wizard


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


We've all heard of the "muscle wizard" meme. We've all thought about playing something similar: the PC that masquerades as another class. I'm talking paladins that pretend to be fighters, barbarians pretending to be rogues (Thorg open door good!), and any rogue that's ever noodled with the counterfeit mage archetype.

Have you ever played such a character? And if so, how did you make the "big reveal" to the rest of the party?

Comic for illustrative purposes.


Well in fourth edition it was much easier... i had a gnome dragon mage whom the paladin tried to throw onto a balcony. I rolled an opposing strength check and threw them on the balcony instead...


Not on purpose, but back in ye olde days of APG-hasn't-even-been-released-yet-Pathfinder my group kept forgetting that my fighter did not in fact have any levels of barbarian.


Not as a masquerade thing. There's no real reason a wizard has to wear robes or be genetically shrimpy. I rarely max out my spellcasting stat anyway since eventually gear will make up the difference. It's handy being able to swing a greataxe if you're up against the wall.


I have played both sorcerers and wizards who make use of the various armor proficiency feats and arcane armor training feats to appear as a fighter in a group of fighters.

Once you start casting it will be pretty obvious that the enemy should treat you like a caster, but until then, you look just like one of the guys.


I put a lot of thought into a mesmerist that pretends to be an NPC noble. He would be focused on painful stare (half orc favored class bonus too), and he would just grab a longsword and wear a mithral breast plate (armor expert to grab that for free).

Combine this with cunning caster (broken with occult classes), and he could pretend he is 'perfectly normal'.

...and given the fact that this is a mesmerist, this would be completely within character for the class.

Shadow Lodge

I made an Arcanist/Dragon Disciple and had some fun with that. Occasional fights I wouldn't even Polymorph. I'd just wade into the fray with an Impact Greataxe and enjoy the fun.


I played an inquisitor once who was formerly an ex-paladin, and was trying to keep up the image of being a paladin. It was a fun time. Sadly, the campaign didn't really continue long enough for any kind of reveal.


blahpers wrote:
There's no real reason a wizard has to wear robes

...once someone on Golarion invents fanny packs.


Recently I built a fun hellknight signifier NPC that's a lot of fun. Not exactly a total brute but wears fullplate and wields a heavy flail.

With haste, bull's strength, enlarge person, stoneskin and shield up they make a decent melee combatant, and, you know, they're a wizard.

They're not optimized, but increasingly I've found fun =/= optimal.


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In a recent campaign, I wanted to play an elf with the old "fighter-magic user" vibe. Well, I never did end up taking levels in fighter, or any relevant weapon-oriented feats, but elves get automatic proficiency in a few weapons like swords and bows, so for the first few levels I wasn't a complete waste of space as an archer or even swinging my sword.

The big trouble concerning melee combat is that a spellcaster is so highly vulnerable to damage, with a low AC and few hit points.


blahpers wrote:
Not as a masquerade thing. There's no real reason a wizard has to wear robes or be genetically shrimpy. I rarely max out my spellcasting stat anyway since eventually gear will make up the difference. It's handy being able to swing a greataxe if you're up against the wall.

So like... Does the fury of your orc ancestors live in that particular bonded item?


I've found that it's become less popular as time as gone on. You have to have a reason to conceal "what you really are". When every intelligent group of monsters guns for the wizard first then the wizard will want to stop "looking like a wizard" even if it means putting on faux armor that provides zero mechanical benefit.

In 3.0 my druid disguised herself as a noble woman. Took a bath, wore nice cloths, put on perfume, and threw a silver chain leash on her wolf companion. We were infiltrating a city where we figured the guard was on the lookout for our group.

Besides, in pathfinder you're just one hat of disguise away from looking like whatever you want to look like making the "muscle wizard" a novelty concept at best, fun until its not.


DRD1812 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Not as a masquerade thing. There's no real reason a wizard has to wear robes or be genetically shrimpy. I rarely max out my spellcasting stat anyway since eventually gear will make up the difference. It's handy being able to swing a greataxe if you're up against the wall.
So like... Does the fury of your orc ancestors live in that particular bonded item?

That is certainly an option. : D Or you're just practical. Harry Dresden may be a ridiculously powerful practitioner, but he still carries a revolver just in case. Similarly, having a powerful mind is no reason to completely neglect the body, which is why smart wizards don't dump Con.


Well back to 3.5 I played a bard/ Chameleon it was very fun because I could be a fighter, a cleric, rogue, wizard, paladin, in the end all the classes except for psionic classes, the bad things is I need a lot of bag of holding to get all the equipment to the adventure


Currently playing a Barbarian who is convinced he is a wizard. Using magic items for his 'spellcasting'.

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