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Your Favorite Cartoon Sorcerer


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We've had lots of discussions about magic systems and fantasy settings that use them. Magic-wielders, good or evil, have always gotten air time, whether it be old radio shows, Disney movies, or 1980s television cartoons. Who is your favorite animated magician and why? How has he or she influenced your role-playing campaigns or characters? Was it the powers or the panache that got your attention? Bonus points if you stat up your favorite in BRP!

Here are a few modest suggestions, although Disney villains could comprise a whole thread of their own:

Ace Cooper (The Magician, 1999)

A stage magician in a retro-futuristic pulp universe, Ace Cooper used sleight of hand and occasional bursts of the real thing to thwart criminals and bad guys of every stripe.

Mandrake the Magician (Defenders of the Earth, 1986)

Mandrake, possibly the first costumed crime-fighter in the comics, was revived and joined with other King Features Syndicate heroes to battle yet another attempt by Ming the Merciless the conquer Earth.

Presto (Dungeons and Dragons, 1983)

His magic hat produced powerful but frequently unexpected effects as young Presto and his friends attempted to escape a fantasy world filled with, well, you know ...

Skeletor (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, 1983)

Disgruntled heir to the throne of Eternia, Skeletor backed his spells with pulp science fiction gadgetry in his bid to take over. Too bad he was a poor judge of character when choosing assistants.

Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living (Thundercats, 1985)

One of the few truly scary cartoon villains on TV, the withered Mumm-Ra could become awesomely powerful only for a brief time but insisted he could never die as long as evil persisted in the universe. Used the same employment agency as Skeletor for his agents.

Venger (Dungeons and Dragons, 1983)

The winged Big Bad opposed by the Dungeon Master and his underage heroes. Did not play well with others, no regular henchmen.

Jafar (Disney's Aladdin, 1992)

He was running the kingdom and pocketing the rewards anyway, so why'd this ambitious vizier insist on the Sultan's title (and daughter)?

Gargomel (The Smurfs, 1981)

Rural warlock with a taste for small blue humanoids. Given his success rate, perhaps he should have ordered out.


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I'm not sure he qualifies as a 'sorcerer' but John Constantine, from the Hellblazer comics is a favorite. I like the noir aspects of his character, magic as a two-edged sword that eventually has its way with anyone who uses it... dark and fatalistic.

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The fellow in Hanna-Barbera's "Arabian Knights" cartoon who could assume the shape of any animal by shouting "Size ... of __________!" and clapping his hands.

If we were talking comic books, I'd say Doctor Fate, just cuz he looked cool (I recall the Fate stories as generally being inferior to Doctor Strange).

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Avatar, from Bakshi's 1977 Wizards!
"...And here's a little trick Mother showed me while you were out, you bastard!" Heh heh brilliant!

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Oh fine, I'll throw together a quick BRP look at Princess Ariel. I would first note that the world of Thundarr gained some kind of magic when the mysterious planet passed through and caused the apocalypse, OR all the so called magic users are in fact mutants with the Energy Manipulation power? This lets them create all kinds of effects on the material world around them. Dark Matter manipulation perhaps? Tapping into Neutrino energy? Thundarr was science-fantasy, so I guess the people they are helping don't care, as long as it works.

Princess Ariel

STR 12

CON 13


INT 16

POW 18

DEX 15

APP 15

Move: 10

Hit Points: 22 (Heroic level)

AP: 2 (high tech protective cloth) Energy Shield to absorb damage when created.

Heroic-Level Powers: Energy Manipulation* 85% (5D6 effect or lower depending on what she is trying to do) OR you can give her a wide range of powers like:

Magical Blast — Ranged Energy Damage

Disintegration — I think this was non-living material?

Force Constructs — Movable Servants of Energy

Telekinesis — Move an object or two

Cyclone — Area effect

Flash — Blinding light

Failings/Quirks: Must use free hands to focus her power use; Cautious in unknown situations; Hunted by Stepfather/family enemies; Feels Duty Bound to help those in need

Weapons: Seems like she had some Martial Arts training but not much of a fighter.

Skills: Bargain 50%, Climb 55%, Dodge 40%, Drive (Vehicle) 35%, Ride (war horse) 45%, Etiquette 40%, Hide 45%, Insight 50%, Jump 40%, Knowledge (Old Tech) 55%, Knowledge (Old Civilizations) 45%, Listen 45%, Spot 45%, Stealth 35%, Track 25% Language (Mok) 35%

Special Items: Heavy War Horse

*Okay, so in BRP terms this means how many points of effect she can use on the world around her. This can be as simple as the damage she does, the SIZ points she can lift, and so on. Give the Resistence Table a workout. Disintegration of enemy weapons? Yes, she did. Move heavy objects? Constantly. Mind control? Uh, maybe? Force Contructs? Yep. Blinding Flash of Light? Si. Cyclone? Right. The best simple 'magic use' system I ever saw was the original Marvel Super Heroes RPG where you just rolled on the chart for whatever you wanted to do. You needed a higher color for the more demanding stuff, but a good GM could make this work well. Simplified explanation, but it was close to that easy.

Edited by ORtrail
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Good write-up, although I would have given Ariel an APP of 16+. ;D Your magic pool for her demonstrates the difficulty of statting up many characters like this, though. Unlike superheroes, who tend to have well-defined abilities, magicians seems to be able to pull out new powers and stunts as the plot demands. That's why I could never come up with stats for Mumm-Ra, even though writing up the Thundercats and Mutants of Plundarr wouldn't be too hard. The Big Bad could do whatever this week's episode required him to; and he might never exhibit this week's power again. Same deal with old radio's Frank Chandler aka Chandu the Magician. Most of the time, he acted like a detective, settling goons with his fists and only doing unobrusive magical tricks to intimidate thugs and gather information. Then he turned around and teleported himself and his family to the other side of the planet without breaking a sweat.

Edited by seneschal
correct grammar
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Stats for Azriel the cat, or this NEVER happened! :)

It's in Pathfinder, but I'd be glad to post stats for the alchemist/witch Jorma and his cat familiar Magog in that system. I also have stats for some of the named pixies like Twinkles, Jiggery Panky, Ninny Thrush and Chatty Patty Redbeaver.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't thought of it before just now reading this, but I wonder how difficult it would be to adapt the Elements of Magic supp to BRP. Any of ya'all more experienced folk have any thoughts? I can start a new thread or it can be put in my Atomik supps thread so as not to derail this one. I am looking for more variety in magic systems for BRP, not that what D100 already has in it's various incarnations is bad :) Just a "variety is good" kinda guy :D

As for the OP, my fav cartoon wizard/sorcerer would be Merlin from Sword in the Stone or Mickey from Fantasia. They both pretty much inspired me to love spell-casters from the time I was a little kid. I love the humor, absent-mindedness, yet wonder-working natures of these two. Of course Gandalf from the animated The Hobbit was awesome as well. All cliche I know, but cliche was symbolically powerfully and very influential for me as a kid.

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