#1
Old 07-27-2014, 01:48 PM
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"Red Mage" Origins

Just a quick question to anyone who may know. In lots of video game RPGs (namely Final Fantasy), there is usually a character class that is a mix of curative and destructive magic - the Red Mage.

Would anyone happen to know where or how the term "Red Mage" came to be. The usual poke is that White + Black = Not Red, so where did any of the game developers come up with Red?
#2
Old 07-27-2014, 01:54 PM
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Neutral magic users from the Dragonlance universe (from the mid 80 s) wore red robes. Not saying there's an immediate connection but rather maybe red is just the go-to "neutral" color. I'd guess that green is too connected to nature and blue to water but then you have the obvious red/fire thing going on.
#3
Old 07-27-2014, 02:51 PM
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If I were to guess, I'd say that it started with Final Fantasy 1, with no particular roots. Probably the class had some non-color-related name in Japanese, and the English translation was just named from the artwork which happened to be red.
#4
Old 07-27-2014, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If I were to guess, I'd say that it started with Final Fantasy 1, with no particular roots. Probably the class had some non-color-related name in Japanese, and the English translation was just named from the artwork which happened to be red.
Jophiel's Dragonlance example predates Final Fantasy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raistlin_Majere
#5
Old 07-27-2014, 05:36 PM
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I'm pretty sure it's the Bard, not Dragonlance's Red Wizard, which inspired the Red Mage. FF1 was heavily based on DnD for concepts, if not direct rules.
#6
Old 07-27-2014, 06:07 PM
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Of course, "Red Mage" means totally different things in Dragonlance and Final Fantasy.

In Dragonlance, white, red, and black mages have (mostly) the same repertoire of spells. If memory serves, they might have different "prohibited schools" (e.g. white mages can't learn necromancy while red and black mages can, black mages can't learn abjuration while white and red mages can). The main difference is that black mages are evil and take a quick path to power, and white mages take a slower but ultimately stronger path. A black mage will reach level 13 sooner than a white mage, but a level 13 white mage is more powerful than a level 13 black mage.

In Final Fantasy, white and black mages have totally separate repertoires. White mages cast healing and protective magic, black mages cast elemental magic. The red mage draws from both school as a jack-of-all-trades; by FFXI they were also well known for "debuff" magic. Also, Final Fantasy has blue mages, who learn to mimic the magic of the various monsters they encounter.
#7
Old 07-27-2014, 06:10 PM
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While I am sure they didn't invent them, the first references I remember that explicitly split magic into colors which effected the type of spells you could cast were the game Master of Magic which had colors plus Life and Death Magic and Magic the Gathering which has five colors of magic.
#8
Old 07-27-2014, 06:11 PM
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What about Forgotten Realms? As I understand it, the first publications weren't until the late 80's (too late to predate FF or Dragonlance, I think), but the stories actually originated with stories the author wrote back in the 60's.

Is there anything published that could show that FR's Red Wizards are the origin? (Or perhaps show that the author added them to his setting after they'd be established as a staple elsewhere.)

On another line of thinking: if you follow the origin of languages, apparently there is a common trend in language names. First you have light/dark (white/black) and then the next color added in language is red. It can't be a coincidence that both languages and wizard robes developed this way, even if it's only an indirect psychological correlation.
#9
Old 07-27-2014, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
If I were to guess, I'd say that it started with Final Fantasy 1, with no particular roots. Probably the class had some non-color-related name in Japanese, and the English translation was just named from the artwork which happened to be red.
Nope, Akamadōshi, lit. "Red Magic Adherent"

How big was D&D in Japan? I know it influenced some things, e.g. the Sah(u)agin monster, themselves seemingly inspired by Lovecraft.

FF also has other colors that similarly don't make sense. A Blue Mage is someone who learned magic from enemies he has encountered. A Green Mage in FFT does status effects, sort of but not exactly like what was earlier called an Oracle. Time Mages often wear indigo. Summoners seem to wear green most of all, but not exclusively?
#10
Old 07-27-2014, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Quoth dracoi:

On another line of thinking: if you follow the origin of languages, apparently there is a common trend in language names. First you have light/dark (white/black) and then the next color added in language is red. It can't be a coincidence that both languages and wizard robes developed this way, even if it's only an indirect psychological correlation.
Long before Final Fantasy or D&D, Tolkien's Istari (wizards) were associated with various colors, but they were Grey, White, Brown, and two Blues.

EDIT: Oh, and thelurkinghorror, almost everything in Final Fantasy 1 is lifted directly from D&D. The four fiends are all D&D monsters (mostly with the same names, except Kary was a maralith), Sorcerer = illithid, Eye = beholder, WizOgre = ogre mage, dragons of various colors with matching breath weapons, and so on.

Last edited by Chronos; 07-27-2014 at 07:16 PM.
#11
Old 07-27-2014, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Long before Final Fantasy or D&D, Tolkien's Istari (wizards) were associated with various colors, but they were Grey, White, Brown, and two Blues.

EDIT: Oh, and thelurkinghorror, almost everything in Final Fantasy 1 is lifted directly from D&D. The four fiends are all D&D monsters (mostly with the same names, except Kary was a maralith), Sorcerer = illithid, Eye = beholder, WizOgre = ogre mage, dragons of various colors with matching breath weapons, and so on.
Also a Wizard "of Many Colours!"

Now that you mention it it's familiar as D&D. Like Tiamat being explicitly a dragon instead of based directly on the myth.
#12
Old 07-27-2014, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
Is there anything published that could show that FR's Red Wizards are the origin? (Or perhaps show that the author added them to his setting after they'd be established as a staple elsewhere.)
The Red Wizards of Thay the opposite of what the OP is looking for. They are hyper-specialists (and never wield curative magic).

D&D wizards (circa 3rd edition, at least) cast arcane spells; with a few exceptions, each spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A wizard may specialize in one school of magic, and gain additional proficiency with that school and the ability to cast extra spells from that school each day; as a trade-off, the wizard gives up the ability to learn spells from (usually) two other schools. A Red Wizard gives up additional schools and gains additional prowess with their specialty school.
#13
Old 07-27-2014, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Max the Immortal View Post
The Red Wizards of Thay the opposite of what the OP is looking for. They are hyper-specialists (and never wield curative magic).

D&D wizards (circa 3rd edition, at least) cast arcane spells; with a few exceptions, each spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A wizard may specialize in one school of magic, and gain additional proficiency with that school and the ability to cast extra spells from that school each day; as a trade-off, the wizard gives up the ability to learn spells from (usually) two other schools. A Red Wizard gives up additional schools and gains additional prowess with their specialty school.
Right... I was thinking of the color connection itself.
#14
Old 07-27-2014, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Long before Final Fantasy or D&D, Tolkien's Istari (wizards) were associated with various colors, but they were Grey, White, Brown, and two Blues.

EDIT: Oh, and thelurkinghorror, almost everything in Final Fantasy 1 is lifted directly from D&D. The four fiends are all D&D monsters (mostly with the same names, except Kary was a maralith), Sorcerer = illithid, Eye = beholder, WizOgre = ogre mage, dragons of various colors with matching breath weapons, and so on.
Well, now I'm going to have to check the Monster Manual for WarMECH.
#15
Old 07-27-2014, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
Right... I was thinking of the color connection itself.
Likewise, I wasn't trying to say that wizardry in Krynn had anything to do with spells in Final Fantasy but rather that it also uses red as a seemingly arbitrary middle ground between the colors white and black. Regardless of what those colors directly represent.
#16
Old 07-27-2014, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Well, now I'm going to have to check the Monster Manual for WarMECH.
Modron, maybe? Or else they lifted from more than one source.
#17
Old 07-27-2014, 09:57 PM
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Well, OK, yeah, WarMech wasn't from D&D. And was a horrible bastard to have to fight (much harder than Chaos), but I digress.
#18
Old 07-28-2014, 06:25 PM
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Once again, the Red Mage is a Bard. He was a Bard from the start, and he's still a Bard now even in games where there's an actual Bard class in the game.

Let me explain.

Much like the DnD Bard, the Red Mage uses lighter but still effective weapons. He's reasonably tough but not nearly so as the warrior-type classes. He has a good number of spells but they're mixed between healing/defensive and attack/magic.

He's a Bard. It's only not-obvious if you don't see how much of FF1 came out of DnD. Now, as far as I name, I can only assume they wanted to give him a distinctive coloring. I mean, the White Mage wore white robes. The Black mage wore black robes. (Well, blue, but it was an early NES title and the background was black.) Their options for colors were few. I can't rule out the Krynn-Red-Wizard theory, though, as that could have been the origin of the name.

In terms of the abilities, though, he's absolutely the Bard. Likewise, the White Mage is a cleric, if made more squishy.
#19
Old 07-28-2014, 06:59 PM
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Except that, at the time FF1 was made, bards used strictly arcane magic, the same as wizards. The ability to use both kinds of magic is kind of the defining feature of the Red Mage, with the armor and weapons strictly incidental.
#20
Old 07-28-2014, 07:34 PM
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Earliest I can remember is FF1, I read the D&D Dragonlance books later. Raistlin was the red mage and those mages were described as not trusted by the good folks because they considered red to be just a lighter shade of black, or something like that.
#21
Old 07-28-2014, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Earliest I can remember is FF1, I read the D&D Dragonlance books later.
I know you're only talking about your own experiences but the first Dragonlance module was published in March 1984 and included Raistlin as a player character. The first DL novel was published in November 1984. The first Final Fantasy game was released in 1987.

That said, I have no idea if they're related or not. I was more saying that "red" may just (coincidentally) be the go-to chromatic middle ground between black and white, be it alignment determinate or spell groups. In Dragonlance, it's likely because the schools of magic (as in alignment, not 'evocation', 'conjuration', etc) are governed by the three moons. One is white, one is black and the third red. Presumably based off the real moon and the full moon, new moon and blood/harvest moon. In Final Fantasy, I'm guessing it just looked good as an 8-bit sprite.
#22
Old 07-29-2014, 01:31 AM
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I just wonder why nobody ever went with the really obvious but dull Grey Mage?
#23
Old 07-29-2014, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Except that, at the time FF1 was made, bards used strictly arcane magic, the same as wizards. The ability to use both kinds of magic is kind of the defining feature of the Red Mage, with the armor and weapons strictly incidental.
No, that's not correct - not when Final Fantasy was released. In fact, the Bard at that time was a hybrid triple-class (yes, triple-class) of Fighter, Rogue, and Druid - and Druid's were split even then between more offensive-type magic and cleric healing-type magic.
#24
Old 07-29-2014, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
I just wonder why nobody ever went with the really obvious but dull Grey Mage?
Sorry, should have responded: this may have been due to the graphics limitations of the time. You didn't (couldn't) get a lot of color details on an 8-bit system.
#25
Old 07-29-2014, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Sorry, should have responded: this may have been due to the graphics limitations of the time. You didn't (couldn't) get a lot of color details on an 8-bit system.
Well not just them but the pen and paper D&D. Now that I think about it, red is a weird middling color. Grey is the obvious choice between white and black.
#26
Old 07-29-2014, 07:44 PM
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...Huh. I just Googled it, and yup, FF1 was released in 1987, with AD&D 2nd not coming out until 1989. I guess that I just assumed that 2nd was older than it was, back when I started playing.
#27
Old 07-29-2014, 11:24 PM
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It actually first came out in '81 in an issue of Dragon Magazine, so a great many players were using the 2nd edition-ish version earlier. But I have dollars to bet that certain ideas may not travel as well as others.
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