D&D: 10 films to inspire your wizard characters

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The kingdoms of Dungeons and Dragons have been allowing players to explore and create new worlds and characters since the 70s, and millions of players have since immersed themselves in the realms of fiction and fantasy. Although the game offers players the option of picking up the sword, bow, or a set of trusty daggers, no adventure is complete without a caster or two in the party.

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Wizards, wizards, wizards and their ilk are practically essential to many parties, from the Fellowship of the Ring to various entries into the Final Fantasy franchise. Although bearded sage is a common trope, some players might want to break with tradition and experiment with their characterization. Luckily, there are tons of inspirational outlets like movies and films to inspire masters of the mystical arts in gamers.

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Fantasy (1940)


There are few more recognizable images in all of wizardry than that of Mickey Mouse commanding the stars and planets as he stands atop a tall mountain. But while “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is just one segment of Walt Disney’s concert feature film, there’s still plenty of inspiration to be drawn from it. Fancy.

From the abstract imagery of “Toccata and Fugue” to the mythical themes of Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony”, a player can weave a beautifully musical magician or even a bard character that draws inspiration from both classical themes and organic elements. A mousefolk wizard certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea either.


The Sword in the Stone (1963)


Sword in the Stone Merlin

There are few wizards more famous or more powerful than Merlin the Wizard, and Disney is responsible for creating one of the most recognizable versions in modern media. The crafty old wizard with the blue pointy hat and long white beard has basically been the cookie cutter mold for many magic users who have come since, and for very good reason.

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Simply put, some stereotypes are fun. For a bit of levity, it’s sometimes fun to play the grumpy old wizard with a familiar pet and a dry sense of humor. Either way, players can’t go wrong using a character like Merlin as a base.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)


A running joke among most dungeon masters is that a campaign can start like the Lord of the Rings but ends up becoming Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That being said, the iconic British comedy is a great source of inspiration for gamers and DMs alike.

Tim the Enchanter is a great base for any wizard or druid in the party, especially if they’re looking to play them a little wild. Like the previously mentioned Merlin, sometimes it’s fun to create a really weird character for comic relief.

The Hobbit (1977)


The Hobbit animated film

JRR Tolkien is one of the biggest names in the fantasy genre, essentially building modern fantasy as gamers know it. its immortal the Lord of the Rings the series is the foundation on which most traditional high fantasy is built, but it’s not as accessible as The Hobbit.


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Peter Jackson may be the most elaborate case, but the 1977 animated version captures more of the mystical undertones seen in the book. Simply put, this is the more traditional approach that any player should take notes on. Wizarding players should pay attention to both incarnations of Gandalf and Elrond if they’re looking for a more bizarre and mystifying approach.

The Lord of the Rings (1978)


Gandalf in the animated Lord of the Rings

that of Peter Jackson the Lord of the Rings is an absolute masterpiece that any fantasy fan deserves to see, but it wasn’t the first to adapt the iconic series. For players and DMs looking for a more traditional and classic approach to their campaign and characters, it’s Bakshi’s version that deserves their attention.


Everything is delightfully over the top, especially characters like Gandalf, Saruman, and the Ring Wraiths. It’s this mix of quirky and traditional that provides great inspiration for the environment and the characters.

Excalibur (1981)


gabriel-byrne-excalibur

The King Arthur Saga is a tale most fantasy fans are familiar with, but Excalibur is a film that puts the epic in the fantastic epic. It’s a highly fictionalized version of the King Arthur legend that emphasizes swords and sorcery more than chivalry and romance.

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The film’s take on Merlin is particularly dramatic, as the wise old wizard archetype is swapped for a mysterious spellcaster who plays just as important a role as any of the Knights of the Round Table. For players who want a wizard more offensive than defensive, they wouldn’t be wrong to take inspiration from this film.

Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)


Howl with a bright smile in Howl's Moving Castle

Although Tales from Earthsea would also be an acceptable Studio Ghibli movie, wizarding fans would be making a huge mistake if they didn’t take a little time to appreciate the heartthrob that is Howl Pendragon. Simply put, Howl is just a Warlock who has maxed out his Charisma stats.

Caliph is his patron, since he essentially owns his heart and soul, and the castle can be considered a masterwork of sorcery or the work of a master craftsman. Either way, Howl and the world he inhabits has more than a few elements that can be applied to a variety of magic users.

The Prestige (2006)


Promotional poster for The Prestige featuring Hugh Jackman, Scarlet Johansson and Christian Bale

Not all wizards are the bearded robe-wearing type, sometimes a touch of class goes a long way in creating a character that stands out. If players are looking to give their spellcasters a touch of showmanship and skill, they should take notes of the two dueling magicians in Prestige.

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Christopher Nolan takes a fresh take on the idea of ​​a wizard’s duel with a sci-fi twist to tie it all together. Since there is a School of Illusion background in a standard wizard build, a stage magician modeled after those seen in the movie would certainly be possible.

Harry Potter series


Harry Potter casting a spell

Perhaps the most obvious source for most magic player-users has to be the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Essentially, JK Rowling incorporates a host of different wizarding marks to create her fantasy realm, and players are practically given an artist’s palette of inspiration to play with.


Old wizards, young wizards, wizards who turn into animals, wizards who follow an evil cult leader, the books and movies offer virtually a full range of spellcasters to experience. The possibilities are almost endless.

Doctor Strange (2016)


Doctor Strange looks tired.

Of course, players can never go wrong when turning to Marvel’s master of the mystical arts, Doctor Stephen Strange. The version of the wizard archetype featured in the MCU relies more on spiritual and cosmic elements to set itself apart from others in the genre. Players drawing from this incarnation will need to be excruciatingly committed to their art.

Wizards in the MCU are the scholars, masters, and professionals of the magical world. They have learned both dark and cosmic knowledge and they know the repercussions of tampering with the fabrics of reality, space and time. A player version of this brand of magic requires exceptional and unquestionable skill.

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