Ok, let’s get something straight: even in Shadowrun and Exalted, I have never, never, claimed that we Mages (or Magic user variants) can match up to the big bruisers in a stand-up fight. Raistlin Majere was feared, even by the gods of Krynn, because of his magical power, not his physical prowess. Which was actually inversely proportional to his ability to wield the arcane.
Still, it was absolutely hilarious to read in the comments section of Chapter LVII of Shamus’ excellent DM of the Rings about how well a Level 1 Magic User of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) variant – otherwise known as the classic mage – would stand up to a cat.
Yes, a cat. Like that big tabby we all love to cuddle and overfeed.
Comment is from reader Telas:
Dunno about the actual odds, but A cat has 2 hit points, and 3 attacks per round for a full attack action, at +4/+4/-1 for 1 damage each. If our 1st level Wizard loses initiative (very possible against a 15 Dex cat), and misses with his first attack (possible with 0 BAB against an AC14 cat), he will be attacked six times, four of which will hit 70% of the time.
On average, he’ll be hit by three of the claws and one bite for 4 damage, which takes him to 0 HP. If the wizard is unarmed, and taking a -4 nonproficiency penalty to punch the cat, then he will almost certainly die.
This is probably why casters are famous for being cat-friendly.
God, we suck. Which is why the first thing WoW Mages and Federal Mystics learn is “how to keep the enemy at spellcasting range.”
Or as we once taught the new Mystic blood entering the battlefields of Novus for the fist time: get Hiatus as quickly as you can. It will save your life.