Wizard class get rid of weapon proficiencies

The Wizard class should lack weapon proficiencies.

Not even a staff. Just because a Wizard can use staves as implements - just like wands, orbs, books, and so on - doesnt mean Wizards know how to do kung-fu fighting with a staff.

The Wizard has atwill cantrips. THAT. Is the weapon proficiency of Wizards. Magic is the weapon of choice.


Characters who need to pick up Martial powers, should be multiclassing anyway.   


Wizards, shave and a haircut

I'm not in favor of limiting options as the default.  If I had my way, the weapon you were proficient with (regardless of class) would be chosen by the player when she defined her character concept.  I see no reason to deny a whip weilding mage, which could be a very cool concept, just because wizards have at-wills.  And, to be honest, I'm hoping the at-wills will be removable for those who want to do so.  I want to be able to replace the vancian subsystem, I'm sure some fans will want to remove/replace the at-wills.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

The Wizard class should lack weapon proficiencies.

Not even a staff. Just because a Wizard can use staves as implements - just like wands, orbs, books, and so on - doesnt mean Wizards know how to do kung-fu fighting with a staff.

The Wizard has atwill cantrips. THAT. Is the weapon proficiency of Wizards. Magic is the weapon of choice.


Characters who need to pick up Martial powers, should be multiclassing anyway.   





The Wizard in the playtest is only +1 to hit with his quarterstaff and does only 1d8-1 damage; that hardly makes him a powerful warrior. Anyone can pick up and use a staff to whack someone, but with the limited training of a Wizard they really won't hit very often. It makes sense for a
Wizard to have some, albeit very limited, melee combat abilities. However, if ranged spells fired when the Wizard is standing next to a target do not provoke an attack then the Wizard has less need of melee abilities. Still, I am would hate to remove this very trivial melee combat ability from the Wizard, such an ability is certainly not unbalancing.

Everyone should be proficient in simple weapons. It doesn't take much trainig to stick the pointy end of a dagger into someone or wack them with a stick.
It makes sense for a Wizard to have some, albeit very limited, melee combat abilities.

Why? I think it doesnt make sense.
I have a question.  Even if they're proficient in the basic stick, why would a Wizard want to use it?  It's not what they do.  They do MAGIC!
Everyone should be proficient in simple weapons. It doesn't take much trainig to stick the pointy end of a dagger into someone or wack them with a stick.


What does proficiency actually reflect if everyone has it?  A fighter would be proficient with simple weapons, a bookworm wouldn't. I'd guess that most people on this message board (including me) are not proficient with any sort of weapon-based martial art.

Let simple weapon proficiency come from some backgrounds or themes, it doesn't have to be part of the Wizard.
Everyone should be proficient in simple weapons. It doesn't take much trainig to stick the pointy end of a dagger into someone or wack them with a stick.


It does if that someone is properly trained.

I'll give you a stick and I'll stay unarmed.  Unless you have had training I will have that stick in my possession and you on the ground in less than 6 seconds and there won't be a thing you can do about it. 

It took me quite a while to get to this point but that is the difference between trained and untrained.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Who's to say that a Wizard didn't learn how to use a staff from one of the many books that he's read? I know people who have done self taught martial arts from the many books that you can buy.

During his off time from studying he could have been practicing some basics.
Who's to say that a Wizard didn't learn how to use a staff from one of the many books that he's read? I know people who have done self taught martial arts from the many books that you can buy.

During his off time from studying he could have been practicing some basics.


With who?  Other wizards? 

I can see a background granting it but no real need for it in the class at present with magical attacks for both ranged and melee.

Maybe if you wanted to give up an at will for a weapon proficiency I could see that making some sort of sense.

A wizard doesn't have to use the staff as a weapon to cary one.

Most wizards in fantasy only use staves as a focus and rarely as a thumping device.

Not saying you can't, just saying I don't think there should be a sense of entitlement to a weapon when you have magic that is at will.

I'd rather this than to see the wizard return to a place where that proficiency is necessary.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Who's to say that a Wizard didn't learn how to use a staff from one of the many books that he's read? I know people who have done self taught martial arts from the many books that you can buy.

During his off time from studying he could have been practicing some basics.


With who?  Other wizards? 

I can see a background granting it but no real need for it in the class at present with magical attacks for both ranged and melee.

Maybe if you wanted to give up an at will for a weapon proficiency I could see that making some sort of sense.

A wizard doesn't have to use the staff as a weapon to cary one.

Most wizards in fantasy only use staves as a focus and rarely as a thumping device.

Not saying you can't, just saying I don't think there should be a sense of entitlement to a weapon when you have magic that is at will.

I'd rather this than to see the wizard return to a place where that proficiency is necessary.



Wizards don't study magic 24 hours a day. I'm sure they have time in which to do other things like, you know, adventure.

I've agreed with Haldriks opinions in many of his threads, but this one I do disagree with. For the simple reason of it divorces the Wizard from the Common man at too soon a point in the game. As a starting Wizard, striving to rely completely on your magic ability is the goal, not the case.

For example, it's implied that a 1st level Wizard has completed some training. We could equate that to a Journeyman, now traveling to continue his training. He's not yet a Master, and so must still fall back on mundane means. A proficiency with some simple weapons is not out of question.

On the other hand, if it was possible at character creation to choose what abilities he had, that would eliminate this argument. It would then be a matter of the PCs individual experience as defined by the Player. Some wizards would have more or less abilities with weapons, as each Player created his idea of what a Mage should be.
Not everyone imagines a Wizard as simply a book worm. When I think of a Wizard, I think of an adventurer. I think of someone who knows how to survive, how to fight for his life. Proficiencies in quarterstaff, dagger, and sling make sense. They're common, very simple weapons. Just because someone is using a staff doesn't mean they're fighting "kung fu style". There are many different martial art styles, and not all of them are asian, fyi.

A wizard has his at-will cantrips, but he didn't just wake up one day and say, "Hey. I think I'll cast these cantrips whenever I want to." Mastering those spells so that he COULD cast them at-will took time, and practice. In the meantime, maybe learning to defend himself with a staff or a dagger or whatever seemed like a better idea than relying on magic. After all, hitting someone with a stick could get you in trouble. Hitting someone with a magic missile could get you burned alive.
This seems like a good idea on the surface, but breaks down if you put it into play.  For instance, if the wizard doesn't have any proficiencies, then all weapons become equally viable since they all equally suck.  Practically speaking, this means the wizard should carry around the highest damage weapon possible, just in case someone casts Silence and he needs an alternative to casting.  And now you have a bunch of wizards stocking up on magical greatswords, because why not?
That's a good point Compliant makes there at the end. What kind of campaign is being run?

Low-magic; where magic is rare and feared by the ignorant masses. Burned at the stake, buried at a crossroad and drowned are all unpleasant consequences of using your magic inappropriately.

Mid-magic; Where it's known to be useful but is the domain of lords and kings advisors, or Mageocrocies who use it to rule. There are likely to be rules on when and how magic is used, with unattached or 'rogue' mages distrusted.

High magic campaigns are their own special creatures, and frequent use of magic likely commonplace enough to justify removal of a mages weapon proficiencies.
Simple weapons are weapons everyone can use. You get the proficiency simply by being a sentient being.

Anyone can use a club or dagger in the world of D&D. Not anyone is an expert, however. That's reserved for weapon specialization feats and the like.
The Wizard has atwill cantrips. THAT. Is the weapon proficiency of Wizards. Magic is the weapon of choice.


What if the wizard's ability to use a staff proficiently in combat is because of magic? That is, instead of wielding the staff like a fighter or martial artist, they're animating it with magic spells?
This seems like a good idea on the surface, but breaks down if you put it into play.  For instance, if the wizard doesn't have any proficiencies, then all weapons become equally viable since they all equally suck.  Practically speaking, this means the wizard should carry around the highest damage weapon possible, just in case someone casts Silence and he needs an alternative to casting.  And now you have a bunch of wizards stocking up on magical greatswords, because why not?



Good point.  Why not?
Parenthood: Gain rage class feature. While enraged, take ongoing psychic damage equal to half the child's level. Dealing damage while enraged is against your Code of Conduct and you will be depowered.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/13.jpg)

^^Wow, is that really how I came across in that personality thing or was this chosen at random?
Mechanically it is a TERRIBLE design mechanic to have any class that is literally incapable of defending itself with at least a basic weapon other than its fists.  Situations very easily can arise in games that would prevent the wizard from being able to use his magic for one reason or another, and if that happens, what then?  If he's not allowed to use any weapons at all period, he's now a peon with extra hit points and zero method of defending himself, especially since he can't wear armor, which could be the very reason he can't use his magic.

Thematically, the quintessential fantasy-universe wizard is Gandalf.  Given that a large portion of D&D and modern fantasy exists because of Tolkien's work, I believe its fair to use Gandalf as a reference point.  Not only was Gandalf trained in direct combat with his staff, he was also trained in the use of a sword, mounted combat, and could even dual-wield his staff and sword simultaneously.  THAT is the wizard that inspiration should be drawn from, and has been in fantasy writing since 1937.
This seems like a good idea on the surface, but breaks down if you put it into play.  For instance, if the wizard doesn't have any proficiencies, then all weapons become equally viable since they all equally suck.  Practically speaking, this means the wizard should carry around the highest damage weapon possible, just in case someone casts Silence and he needs an alternative to casting.  And now you have a bunch of wizards stocking up on magical greatswords, because why not?



Good point.  Why not?


Actually that is all possible without modifying the rules.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Mechanically it is a TERRIBLE design mechanic to have any class that is literally incapable of defending itself with at least a basic weapon other than its fists.  Situations very easily can arise in games that would prevent the wizard from being able to use his magic for one reason or another, and if that happens, what then?  If he's not allowed to use any weapons at all period, he's now a peon with extra hit points and zero method of defending himself, especially since he can't wear armor, which could be the very reason he can't use his magic.

Thematically, the quintessential fantasy-universe wizard is Gandalf.  Given that a large portion of D&D and modern fantasy exists because of Tolkien's work, I believe its fair to use Gandalf as a reference point.  Not only was Gandalf trained in direct combat with his staff, he was also trained in the use of a sword, mounted combat, and could even dual-wield his staff and sword simultaneously.  THAT is the wizard that inspiration should be drawn from, and has been in fantasy writing since 1937.



The same thing that happens when a fighter wakes up in a cell.  He uses his fists.

You can take a fighters sword away more easily than you can take away a wizards cantrip.

The last sentance in the first paragraph isn't making a lot of sense to me, how is not wearing armor impeeding his magic?

Gandalf was multi-classed?

Wizards have been around a lot longer than since 1937, I don't recal Merlin with a sword in any of the early works. 

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Mechanically it is a TERRIBLE design mechanic to have any class that is literally incapable of defending itself with at least a basic weapon other than its fists.  Situations very easily can arise in games that would prevent the wizard from being able to use his magic for one reason or another, and if that happens, what then?  If he's not allowed to use any weapons at all period, he's now a peon with extra hit points and zero method of defending himself, especially since he can't wear armor, which could be the very reason he can't use his magic.

Thematically, the quintessential fantasy-universe wizard is Gandalf.  Given that a large portion of D&D and modern fantasy exists because of Tolkien's work, I believe its fair to use Gandalf as a reference point.  Not only was Gandalf trained in direct combat with his staff, he was also trained in the use of a sword, mounted combat, and could even dual-wield his staff and sword simultaneously.  THAT is the wizard that inspiration should be drawn from, and has been in fantasy writing since 1937.



The same thing that happens when a fighter wakes up in a cell.  He uses his fists.

You can take a fighters sword away more easily than you can take away a wizards cantrip.

The last sentance in the first paragraph isn't making a lot of sense to me, how is not wearing armor impeeding his magic?

Gandalf was multi-classed?

Wizards have been around a lot longer than since 1937, I don't recal Merlin with a sword in any of the early works. 

Yes, a fighter stripped of his weapon has to use his fists, but again mechanically, are you going to be putting the kind of Strength into your Wizard that a Fighter would have to back up those fists?  It's not nearly the same level of crippling.  With the current Ability score setups a Wizard could take Str as his dump stat with virtually no problem since he doesn't have to worry about the weight of armor.

The sentence that confuses you was, I admit, a bit poorly constructed.  What I meant is that if he WAS wearing armor, he automatically loses all of his magic.  I know he almost certainly wouldn't voluntarily put on armor and silence himself, but there could be in-game reasons that cause it to happen; such as the party is infiltrating an enemy garrison by dressing up as the enemy soldiers, but that requires everyone to actually be wearing the enemy armor.

Multi-classed, that's the argument you're seriously going to go with?  There is no Class structure outside of game-mechanics.  Gandalf was a wizard by trade but took the time to learn combat to defend himself.

The actual original writing of the stories of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth saw him a competent battlefield commander, strong magician, and overall force to be reckoned with on the field of battle.  The more modern interpretation of Wizard as little more than Court Magician and tutor to Arthur did not even exist in the original tales.
How is a crossbow somehow more complicated than a Longbow [which should be where you put the Heavy Crossbow]? While certainly, crossbows are built with composites [developped in parallel with composite short-bows I might add], they are fairly simple to use, and a little less fragile than the largest bows. At least it looks like so far a Longbow isn't dealing 7+ attacks per round anymore.

On the subject of crossbows: this would likely have to be a module, but it would be very nice if it was in there early on and in an official manner, that they finally actually get to be an attractive option, instead of bar-none the worst ranged weapons in the game [Since at the least 2e, to Pathfinder and Fantasy Craft]:
 -You can just as easily create a crossbow which those of high enough strength can span by hand, as fast as a bow [aim's easier though]
 -You can just as easily create a crossbow with a much higher draw than one could span by hand [in fact that was most of the time], requiring mechanical aid and additional time to span, but providing prodigious output [those steel arbalests that took upwards of 30 seconds to ready were winched to 600+ pounds, while the largest bows were rarely beyond 130]

-You can create something in the middle: Perhaps this STR16+ crossbow requires STR12, but uses a dragonsfoot to load, slowing it compared to hand-spanning or a crank.

I would suggest subdividing the categories just a little more: The main groups can be kept as-is, but obtaining a proficiency would be for a more specific subgroup.

As the weapon list is at this moment, there's not really a problem, but it will grow, especially the Martial list. It makes as little sense for a wizard to  know how to use ALL or NONE of the basic weapons as it does for a fighter to have professional qualification with 63 [that's how many martial weapons there are in Pathfinder, not counting the eastern and bronze/stone-age stuff] different melee and ranged weapons. For the sake of gaming and simplicity, smaller groups instead of the old individual-weapon rules would be just fine.

It could be as simple as Martial:Bludgeoning, or Missile:Crossbows, or more specific, such as "Finesse: Dagger, Rapier, Short-Sword".
Daggers, slings, and quarterstaffs is fine.  As long as it's not "simple weapons" it shouldn't be a problem.  Those three weapons have been the wizard's options throughout the game, and if the goal is making Next "feel" like D&D, they should stay.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

And crossbows. Slings may be ridiculously simple to craft, and their operation in theory is bloody easy, but a crossbow's got it beat on "easy to learn, easy to aim". They're pretty compact, though the non-siege european models often suffered from having too short of a stroke, something that would be readily fixed by the multicultural and more scientifically-minded [though that mindset's applied mostly to magical theory] people of a fantasy setting would quickly remedy, especially the races that like the things like dwarves.

Daggers, Quarterstaves, and simple crossbows [Wizard can't be bothered to learn to maintain a Windlass, but a goatsfoot, hook/stirrup or hand-spanned should be no issue], maybe slings and darts if we want to allow thrown daggers as well, would be a solid list.
The thing being forgotten here is that the wizard has better things to attack with than weapons.

He has at will magic that in many cases trumps weapon use.

Trade all of your at will magic except detect and gain weapon proficiencies instead.

Otherwise multi class.

Classes are a way of describing a characters training in a particular area.

Cross classing is a perfectly viable solution.

You may not like to hear it but if you want your wizard carying weapons that rely on something other than his magical prowess I don't see trading some magical benefit he may gain as an unreasonable solution.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Why not concentrate on feats to stop situations that will prevent magic use.

Make silent casting feats etc.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

The thing being forgotten here is that the wizard has better things to attack with than weapons.

Quoted for truth.





I dont see how a Wizard can be proficient with mundane weapons. For me, a Wizard wielding a “sling”, makes as much sense a Wizard throwing their spellbook at someone.



On the other hand, several people in this thread suggest the background should grant weapon proficiencies. That makes sense to me.

The Fighter class masters *all* weapons. Of course this class grants proficiencies with all of them. The Warpriest Cleric build emphasizes a sacred weapon, and grants its proficiency. And so. But usually it should be background that grants the relevant weapon proficiencies.

Someone with woodsy flavor should be able to choose among several backgrounds, each granting proficiency with one or more weapons. A deer hunter would know how to use a bow. A tiger hunter would know how to use a spear. Likewise a spear-fisher.

A *shepherd* will know how to use a sling. Also a crook (the hooked staff) and by extendion a staff. Probably a dagger too. Shepherds use these specific weapons to *knock* straying sheep and goats, but also to defend the herd against thieves and wild predators.

And so on. Many - most? - medieval farmers know how to use weapons, including swords, but especially bows, and other inexpensive weapons, like knives, axes, spears, maces, and staves. It seems natural for a Wizard to come from a countryside estate, before ones parents paid to send them to “foster” under the tutilage of a Wizard, or to apprentice under an arcane guildmaster, or to study in a school of magic. Wizards with this background will know one or more simple andor inexpensive weapons.

But Wizards exist - often the children of Wizards - who have nothing to do with such “mundane” weapons. They grow up with ambition to be great *Wizards*.

Dont get me wrong, a background that specializes in using a staff as an implement might also confer proficiency to wield it as a Martial weapon. Such a background seems cool. But the same can be true for a background that uses a sword as an implement.

The playtest Wizard has the Magic-User background that grants extra cantrips and makes cantrips atwill. (It seems a Fighter can take this Magic-User background too!) I can easily see another background that instead grants weapon proficiencies. Between the two, I would choose the Magic-User background for my Wizard, and probably never touch a mundane weapon for the entire 30 levels of Wizardry.

  

Using backgrounds to grant relevant weapon proficiencies - along with the rest of the skill set - makes sense.

The Wizard player should enjoy a diversity of backgrounds to choose from, including those with interesting weapon proficiencies.

But the Wizard class lacks the business of Martial weapons. The class itself doesnt seem to grant proficiency.
I have a question.  Even if they're proficient in the basic stick, why would a Wizard want to use it?  It's not what they do.  They do MAGIC!



Gandalf
It makes sense for a Wizard to have some, albeit very limited, melee combat abilities.

Why? I think it doesnt make sense.



Because, as several others have said, it doesn't take much knowledge to pick up a stick and try to hit someone with it. It does take more training to actually be good at it, which is why the Wizard has a +1 to hit compared to +6 for a Fighter, if I remember my playtest numbers correctly. Wink
BillW,

Nobody said your wizard couldn't pick up a stick.

Just don't expect to avoid having disadvantage in it without some sacrifice to your magic studies.

Anyone who has any martial arts training will tell you that the staff is not any easier to learn than a sword and that learning to use it against a sword takes serious work. You don't just pick it up and swing.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

It makes sense for a Wizard to have some, albeit very limited, melee combat abilities.

Why? I think it doesnt make sense.



Because, as several others have said, it doesn't take much knowledge to pick up a stick and try to hit someone with it. It does take more training to actually be good at it, which is why the Wizard has a +1 to hit compared to +6 for a Fighter, if I remember my playtest numbers correctly. Wink

(Ninjad by Valdark.)


To me that argument means: Its easy for the Wizard to whack someone with his staff ... without a proficiency bonus. Its no different from picking up a rock and throwing it at someone. Presumably you use a Dexterity attack ... without a proficiency bonus.




In D&D terms, Gandalf is a Paladin, not a Wizard. He doesnt use a spellbook. He detects evil and wards off evil. He is clearly a Charisma-based class. He wields a holy sword. Is trained in staff-fighting. Is even trained in two-weapon fighting! Heals. Removes curses and other conditions. Fights demons. Turns undead. Even has a spirit Warhorse that he can conjure atwill.

So Gandalf is clusterphobic and hates armor. Big deal. He optimized around a Dex build.
Thank you Haldrick!!!

Well put sir.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

 I actually think wizards should be better at using weapons than they are. Your average 1st level wizard isn't a magical powerhouse without at will magical attacks. At my table those at wills are a pipe dream. The magic user doesn't rely on magic to solve problems all the time, they don't have the spell power to do that. They need to be capable of pulling their own weight when their three spells are gone. No group I've ever played with is going to stop the adventure just because the mage has expended her last spell.   

I don't think learning magic is so difficult that it precludes other martial training. How do you explain how sorcerers and warlocks use spells, they certainly don't waste time learning the intricacies of magic. Weapons training seems like a good way to better oneself, especially since they can't cast those spells any time they want to.

Sure they shouldn't be getting multiple attacks as they advance in level since they are using that time to master the new spells they have found and this will take the time they would other wise spend learning the finer elements of combat, and their growing reliance on their spells might cause their martial skills to atrophy so that at later levels they aren't much better at throwing knives or swinging sharp pointy things than they were at 1st level. They certainly aren't magical power houses in the beginning and anyone who whines that their mages aren't magical enough just don't get the idea that they are people first and users of magic second.

People don't automatically use magic they learn how to use magic



 
If your Wizard doesn't use a staff, sling, or dagger, then it doesn't matter if you have the proficiency or not. It's automatic (i.e. free) so it doesn't use up any of your character resources.

My Wizard, on the other hand, DOES use a staff, and I'd like to keep that proficiency thank-you-very-much. Even if it doesn't fit with your idea of what a Wizard should be.

Respectfully,

compliant_screenname
It may be best to instead limit them in the number of proficiencies.

If a fighter is proficient in most weapons, then the wizard is proficient in a precious few. Two or three simple ones, or one more complicated one. He can learn more later as he fights [surely there'll be bonus proficiencies as we level a lot, to buy up the simpler weak mechanics stuff like weapon focus, right?] or focus on what he started with.

It won't prevent him from getting torn apart in melee without armor.
It won't prevent him from being nowhere near as capable with it as a dedicated master of that weapon.

But it lets the guy swing around something that he's used to. Maybe he learned magic at a land-grant university, and had to spend an extra two semesters doing drill with hopeful army recruits. Maybe it seemed a better choice of exercise than scrubbing floors or tilling fields. Maybe his master was an old-style adventuring mage who often found himself envious of the bigger better staff his soldier companion kept him alive in combat with, and decided his pupil's staff would have a pointy solid and steel edge, that he can stab things from behind the dwarf, instead of trying to bash them with a thick stick [quarterstaves are more like long wooden clubs thicker at the top; a 'mage staff' as opposed to a fighting staff] from right in front of them.
Tlantl,

Sorcerers are heavily restricted on what spells they can use. That is the trade.

Warlocks get almost no spell diversity at all an an at will attack.

Another trade.

So trading at wills back in for weapons isn't unreasonable.

If you don't want to make the sacrifice you have the disadvantage.

I fail to see how this isn't a fair choice to offer.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

It may be best to instead limit them in the number of proficiencies. If a fighter is proficient in most weapons, then the wizard is proficient in a precious few.
• Two or three simple ones,
• or one more complicated one.
He can learn more later as he fights [surely there'll be bonus proficiencies as we level a lot, to buy up the simpler weak mechanics stuff like weapon focus, right?] or focus on what he started with.

What you are saying sounds appealing, but it sounds like a feature that a background determines. Some backgrounds grant two or three common weapons, while other backgrounds grant one noble weapon.

• A Wizard who wants skills in martial arts with several common weapons, should choose a background that grants proficiencies with these weapons. For example, a Shepherd background might grant proficiencies with a staff and sling. A Tenant background might grant a variety of common weapons (mace, spear, staff, dagger), along with a Nature bonus for farming.

• A Wizard can even choose a background that focuses on a specific weapon. A Street-Urchin background might grant proficiencies with daggers and throwing-daggers, plus stealth and intimidation. One Wood Elf background might grant a noble sword, while another Wood Elf background grants a forest longbow (the same thing as a self-bow). A Nomad background might grant skills relating to horseback riding plus skill with a shortbow (the same thing as a composite-bow) to shoot while on horseback. A background can even be a successful wrestler, in sporting events, that grants unarmed proficiency plus grappling and jumping skill(s). And so on.

In 4e, the Wizard has irresistable feats to train in staff-fighting. The staff becomes useful defensively, and even mitigates the vulnerability to melee attackers when casting ranged spells. This sounds like an appropriate choice for a background. There can even be a whole arcane staff-fighting theme to follow up on this background. Of course, many Wizards dont ever use a staff, not even as an implement. For players who like staff-fighting, the Wizard can choose a background that dabbles in the Non-Wizard Fighter powers. This choice makes the Wizard gishy.


 
It won't prevent him from getting torn apart in melee without armor. It won't prevent him from being nowhere near as capable with it as a dedicated master of that weapon. But it lets the guy swing around something that he's used to.

The fact a Fighter weapon is pointless for the Wizard class, is a reason for the Wizard class to not grant it.

If a player wants to be good at the Fighter’s fighting style, the player should full-on multiclass in the Fighter class. If the player just wants to dabble in some Fighter flavor, then there can be various backgrounds to choose from. There can even be a Gish background for those who like their Wizard to have a dash of Fighter.



Maybe he learned magic at a land-grant university, and had to spend an extra two semesters doing drill with hopeful army recruits.

Yes, this background makes sense. The character studied at a “land grant” university, whose feudal lord requires all citizens to be competent at Martial weapons. Therefore the arcane student spent time training with “army recruits”. But even as you say it, this is obviously a kind of *background*.

Also, even as you say it, it is obvious these fellow “army recruits” are training in the Fighter class. The weapon-fighting training has nothing to do with the studies in the Wizard class.

Maybe his master was an old-style adventuring mage who often found himself envious of the bigger better staff his soldier companion kept him alive in combat with, and decided his pupil's staff would have a pointy solid and steel edge, that he can stab things from behind the dwarf, instead of trying to bash them with a thick stick.


Exactly. A Wizard who is “envious of his soldier companion” will therefore multiclass in the Fighter class like the soldier does.


  
Players use the background to choose their skill set. Weapon proficiency is a kind of skill bonus. It makes sense for certain backgrounds to include one or more weapon proficiencies in the skill set. Players can choose whichever backgrounds feels most appealing.
It may be best to instead limit them in the number of proficiencies. If a fighter is proficient in most weapons, then the wizard is proficient in a precious few.
• Two or three simple ones,
• or one more complicated one.
He can learn more later as he fights [surely there'll be bonus proficiencies as we level a lot, to buy up the simpler weak mechanics stuff like weapon focus, right?] or focus on what he started with.

What you are saying sounds appealing, but it sounds like a feature that a background determines. Some backgrounds grant two or three common weapons, while other backgrounds grant one noble weapon.

• A Wizard who wants skills in martial arts with several common weapons, should choose a background that grants proficiencies with these weapons. For example, a Shepherd background might grant proficiencies with a staff and sling. A Tenant background might grant a variety of common weapons (mace, spear, staff, dagger), along with a Nature bonus for farming.

• A Wizard can even choose a background that focuses on a specific weapon. A Street-Urchin background might grant proficiencies with daggers and throwing-daggers, plus stealth and intimidation. One Wood Elf background might grant a noble sword, while another Wood Elf background grants a forest longbow (the same thing as a self-bow). A Nomad background might grant skills relating to horseback riding plus skill with a shortbow (the same thing as a composite-bow) to shoot while on horseback. And so on.

In 4e, the Wizard has irresistable feats to train in staff-fighting. The staff becomes useful defensively, and even mitigates the vulnerability to melee attackers when casting ranged spells. This sounds like an appropriate choice for a background. There can even be a whole arcane staff-fighting theme to follow up on this background. Of course, many Wizards dont ever use a staff, not even as an implement. For players who like staff-fighting, the Wizard can choose a background that dabbles in the Non-Wizard Fighter powers. This choice makes the Wizard gishy.


 
It won't prevent him from getting torn apart in melee without armor. It won't prevent him from being nowhere near as capable with it as a dedicated master of that weapon. But it lets the guy swing around something that he's used to.

The fact a Fighter weapon is pointless for the Wizard class, is a reason for the Wizard class to not grant it.

If a player wants to be good at the Fighter’s fighting style, the player should full-on multiclass in the Fighter class. If the player just wants to dabble in some Fighter flavor, then there can be various backgrounds to choose from. There can even be a gish background that specializes in the staff, for those who like their Wizard to have a dash of Fighter.



Maybe he learned magic at a land-grant university, and had to spend an extra two semesters doing drill with hopeful army recruits.

Yes, this background makes sense. The character studied at a “land grant” university, whose feudal lord requires all citizens to be competent at Martial weapons. Therefore the arcane student spent time training with “army recruits”. But even as you say it, this is obviously a kind of *background*.

Also, even as you say it, it is obvious these fellow “army recruits” are training in the Fighter class. The weapon-fighting training has nothing to do with the studies in the Wizard class.

Maybe his master was an old-style adventuring mage who often found himself envious of the bigger better staff his soldier companion kept him alive in combat with, and decided his pupil's staff would have a pointy solid and steel edge, that he can stab things from behind the dwarf, instead of trying to bash them with a thick stick.


Exactly. A Wizard who is “envious of his soldier companion” will therefore multiclass in the Fighter class like the soldier does.


  
Players use the background to choose their skill set. Weapon proficiency is a kind of skill bonus. It makes sense for certain backgrounds to include one or more weapon proficiencies in the skill set. Players can choose whichever backgrounds feels most appealing.


I see where you are coming from... I'm still not convinced that this is enough trade off from adding additional at wills that are non combat oriented.  It seems that the bulk of background options veer away from combat oriented options.

They are, so far, all skills and a non combat related RP enhancer.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I see where you are coming from... I'm still not convinced that this is enough trade off from adding additional at wills that are non combat oriented.  It seems that the bulk of background options veer away from combat oriented options. They are, so far, all skills and a non combat related RP enhancer.



Right, there needs to also be backgrounds to choose from that veer toward combat-flavor options.

You remind me, the designers are using the backgrounds to meet the needs of noncombat “exploration” encounters. But its fine to add a weapon proficiency on top of this wherever it makes sense.
  
Balancewise, granting a weapon proficiency is no big deal. The Wizard is already more powerful at combat by means of spellcasting. (And a Rogue is already more powerful at combat by means of a dagger fighting-style. And so on.) A proficiency doesnt really add anything except Fighter flavor. Its similar to armor proficiency. Doesnt matter. In 4e, it is legal for a Wizard to use feats to wear armor. But most dont, because its just unhelpful. Same with gaining Fighter-class weapons. Even if there are Fighter-style backgrounds, most Wizards wont choose them because they are rarely helpful in combat.



On your point about utility cantrips, I agree, extra utilities are a much better choice for a Wizard. Most players will and should choose a Wizard-style background.

At the same time, players who want their Wizard to be more gishy will choose a Fighter-style background, and this background will also include Fighter-style non-combat utilities, usually in the form of skills.
I see where you are coming from... I'm still not convinced that this is enough trade off from adding additional at wills that are non combat oriented.  It seems that the bulk of background options veer away from combat oriented options. They are, so far, all skills and a non combat related RP enhancer.



Right, there needs to also be backgrounds to choose from that veer toward combat-flavor options.

You remind me, the designers are using the backgrounds to meet the needs of noncombat “exploration” encounters. But its fine to add a weapon proficiency on top of this wherever it makes sense.
  
Balancewise, granting a weapon proficiency is no big deal. The Wizard is already more powerful at combat by means of spellcasting. (And a Rogue is already more powerful at combat by means of a dagger fighting-style. And so on.) A proficiency doesnt really add anything except Fighter flavor. Its similar to armor proficiency. Doesnt matter. In 4e, it is legal for a Wizard to use feats to wear armor. But most dont, because it just unhelpful. Same with gaining Fighter-class weapons. Even if there are Fighter-style backgrounds, most Wizards wont choose them because they are rarely helpful in combat.



On your point about utility cantrips, I agree, extra utilities are a much better choice for a Wizard. Most players will and should choose a Wizard-style background.

At the same time, players who want their Wizard to be more gishy will choose a Fighter-style background, and this background will also include Fighter-style non-combat utilities, usually in the form of skills.


No no no, you completely misunderstand the entire purpose of backgrounds.

They aren't to eek out combat advantage.  They are to help players who are unfamiliar with the concept of non combat usefulness by making it a seperate part of the character creation process.

Themes is what you are looking for if you want combat oriented options.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.