Why J’Rhazha Will Carry a Short-Sword (Even Though the Rules Say He Isn’t Allowed to Use It)

“Like many things about J’Rhazha, his sword is an illusion. Perception is sometimes more important than function.”

I’ve never been a fan of the idea that wizards not only are bad at using swords, they cannot use them at all. It’s even stranger to me that they’re allowed to be proficient with daggers and staffs, which strike me as much harder weapons to master. You can give someone a shield and a sword who doesn’t have much fighting experience and they’ll be able to bang away with the sword and block a few blows with a bare level of competence. I’m not saying that they won’t be killed by someone who knows what they’re doing, but actual proficiency with a staff as a combat weapon (beyond just trying to hit someone with a long stick) or┬áknife-fighting or┬áknife THROWING is a completely different animal. It strikes me as easier for a wizard to awkwardly flail at a foe with a medium length piece of relatively light-weight and purpose-balanced metal than knowing how to lithely move in for a killing blow with a dagger.

The other point I bring up in my argument in favor of wizards using swords is the number of magical swords showing up places. I can see a wizard making a magical weapon for their own use and protection. I can’t see wizards making a surfeit of powerful magic items that are of no practical use to them. Sure, you can argue that maybe they wanted their lieutenants to have magical weapons, but I’d think wizards would want to keep their edge and not make stuff that could be turned against them, especially not in the bulk you see in typical fantasy settings.

I would also point out that the difference between a Fighter’s combat ability with weapons and a mage’s ability is reflected mainly in THACO: the level 6 Magic user flails his weapon about with the same competence (THAC0 19) as a level 2 Fighter. Surely this should be enough to fairly represent the differences in ability without having to say that all wizards would either turn their nose up at wielding a sword or, holding one in their hand, would stand there and say “I just can’t use this. I mean, if I had to get significantly close to my opponent to attack with a short blade, maybe, but I – Oh, god, you’ve stabbed me while I was holding this sword and not using it!”

But this is AD&D and I’m not going to press the DM on the issue. Instead, I’m going to adapt it to the character.

As a Rakasta, J’Rhazha comes from a warrior background; it would not be unexpected to see a Rakasta wielding a blade, and a Rakasta wielding a blade is not someone with whom you would want to fuck. But this Rakasta is an illusionist and trickster (maybe even a coward), not a fighter. But he likes to maintain the illusion that he is.

J’Rhazha – Defining a Trickster Through His Attitudes Regarding Magic

So, the character I’m wanting to play is a Rakasta Illusionist. I’m trying to get a feel for the sort of character he’ll be by thinking of how he sees his craft.

In this setting, Rakastas are generally non-magical, though have a tradition of mysticism. The character, therefore, may see himself as an aspect of the Trickster, whatever it is for his culture (probably a kitten).

Though he gained his powers (or thinks he did) by protecting his people (he killed and drank the blood of a wizard who attacked his tribe), he is an outcast from his people for what he has become.

Anyway, i wanted to get a feel for the character by trying to come up with what he thinks about his powers and how he uses them. This will likely change as he becomes more powerful and taps into the realm of shadows, but for now, he’ll be content being a mischievous mage-blood drinking cat.

Audible Glamour – “Always with the tinkling. It bothers J’Rhazha, maybe it will bother them?”
Change Self – “Everyone should be capable of change.”
Color Spray – “Look at the bright lights! See how distracting they are?”
Darkness – “J’Rhazha thinks sometimes it is better not to see than to be seen.”
Detect Illusion – “J’Rhazha thinks this is not what Jo’Rhazha thinks this is.”
Detect Invisibility – “J’Rhazha can see you!”
Gaze Reflection – “J’Rhazha hears that when one stares into darkness, sometimes darkness stares back. But when darkness stares back, darkness does not see J’Rhazha!”
Hypnotism – “You will do what J’Rhazha wants you to do.”
Light – “Sometimes seeing is better than not being seen.”
Phantasmal Force -“J’Rhazha has many ways to bother and confuse you.”
Wall of Fog – “Where has J’Rhazha gone? Where has anything gone?”

Yeah, I know, he’s just a Khajiit knockoff (though Khajitt are knockoffs of Rakastas are knockoffs of other earlier sci-fi/fantasy cat-men), but I think he’ll be fun to play.