“BUT GANDALF WAS A MAGIC USER,”
is the familiar lament.
My response is memorized -
“Gandalf was an immortal or angel , not merely a magic-user. So when your character is 700 years old, then and only then will I let your magic-user use a sword; unless of course, you are willing to give up some spell casting ability in exchange for your desired prowess with a long-sword.”
SEVERAL REASONS WHY I PREFER
WEAPON RESTRICTION BY CLASS:
It is HISTORICALLY ACCURATE, in the past humans defined their role by the weapons with which they concentrated their training:
Samurai specialized with the naginata, the katana and the bow,
Medieval mercenaries excelled in the use of the crossbow,
Renaissance infantry trained either with the pike or the musket,
and Modern infantry are trained with assault rifles and light machineguns,
while pistols are reserved for officers and
submachingeguns are reserved for special forces.
TRUE OCCULT LITERATURE does not support sword welding mages. The sword/ blade/ athame used by traditional magicians is not a weapon but a focus of occult or spiritual energy; see Familiar Spirits by Donald Tyson, Finding the Third Eye by Vera Stanley Adler and Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa. (yes, I have read all three – for education purposes- I am not a self-proclaimed magician or occultist).
Authors like Jack Vance and Michael Morcock allow their spell casting protagonists to use swords; however, I do not consider Turjan and Elric to be true wizards, I would classify them as agents or jacks-of-all-trades (fighter/thief/mage) for which I have created a special class in my DnD campaigns to emulate these characters.
Weapon restriction by class helps the GM to AVOID THE JERK factor; if I place a +1 battle-axe in my game, I understand it is going to be used by the fighter, the barbarian or the warrior. I do not want to sit through a 20 minute argument while the magic-user, thief or the priest tries to justify why their character would be best served by owning the +1 battle axe. If I want to power-up the non-fighter types I will added an enchanted staff, short-sword or mace to the treasure haul.
NOW, instead of using weapon proficiencies (AD&D), I presume PCs will invest their down time between gaming session refining their skill with their current selection of armaments; therefore, characters are proficient with all weapons allowed to their class.
I also allow priests to use those weapons ordained by their deity; for example priests of Diana the Huntress would be allowed to use bows and priests of Ares the Warrior would be allowed to use the spear and the gladius.
I respect individual GMs right to create their own worlds and campaigns containing their own unique flavors and tastes; therefore, weapons available to a character class would be agreed upon or modified before game play commences.
Now players being players, they always want to bend the rules or operate outside of their character’s expertise.
I simulate the probability of a PC successfully deploying a weapon not standard to their class
or attempting a skill for which they have no training by
rolling d12 (instead of d20) allowing the normal modifiers (ability, circumstance, role playing, etc.) for the situation.