First of all I'm a human magic-user level 2:

Except for the spell sleep and charm person and some other spells that were useful for X situation out of combat, (Enlarge person, Mount etc.)

I could not do much things, there's no shops around for now because we're out of town.

The only thing I have is a dagger and a sling (-5 to hit)

We are against flying birds humanoids and I killed 2 of them via the sleep spell (I used enlarge on our fighter earlier) because they were flying and they fell to their death, an NPC had a flying magic wings item and I took it to do so, luckily I was not as high in the air as the other enemies because my DM made the enemy magic-user (that we weren't aware of) sleep on me and I lost 8 hit points (thanks to my cat familiar and constitution (and luck on HP roll) I have 15 HP), the enemy turned invisible and did some other tricks before turning invisible again, I (and my cat) could pinpoint where he is via superhearing, but I feel powerless since he went back in his tower and our party nearly died and we're escorting lots of NPC and the enemy has 2 children that he kidnapped in his tower, most of the party is Chaotic Neutral but I'm Neutral good and our NPC healer is Loyal-Good, I think I have no choice but to abandon the poor children to their death (we're not even sure that they are still alive).

There was still one bird left (15 to hit is required) so with my Sling 19-20 in my case (16 Dex)

The magic-user enemy is at least level 5...

Sleep is very powerful and as a human I guess the only thing that can protect me is my party and some future magic items/spells... unless I could learn some useful spells I'm not aware of...

  • \$\begingroup\$ one barbarian level 1 (still accepts some magic buffs in our campaign, lifetime friend), 2 level 3 thieves (1 female drow 1 female half-elf),lots of charmed NPC, and our human cleric is lvl 5. The Drow could use dispel magic once at least, but can't pinpoint the magic-user, I guess fleeing is pretty much our only option now... I have no spells left, and my magic mules were used to transport the cart... \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 9:32
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Congrats on being as effective as you were! \$\endgroup\$
    – Verdan
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


There’s a trope about Linear Fighters and Quadratic Wizards

Like all good tropes it’s not true; it’s just mostly true.

The fact of the matter is that low-level characters in AD&D all suck - wizards just suck harder. The payoff is that if you survive, you get to be part of the 1% that bestride the world like a god.

AD&D is a brutal game - we never bothered to name our characters until they hit 3rd level - there’s no sense getting attached to a walking dead man. Names also got recycled, my longest lived character adventured alongside Jesus “Crusher” Christ I, II and III before I got my head ripped off by a grell at about 8th level - happy days .

How can I be effective as a low level human magic-user in a boss battle against a more powerful magic-user?

You can’t. You can only survive. Your dreams of heroically saving children from evil sorcerers belong to other adventurers in kinder RPGs.

Seriously, you are doing as well as can be expected. Buffing the fighter with Enlarge - tick. Using Sleep to thin the minions - also tick. Your work is now done. Time to run away and leave it to the PCs who can still do something useful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So only our Cleric has a chance it seems, ok it's time to run away! thank you @Dale M, \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 10:01
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes, the days of playing a wizard in AD&D where a dagger could 1 shot you! \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 11:39

In AD&D (1e or 2e), it is possible to interrupt the spellcasting of an opponent if your initiative is earlier. So, after you run out of your memorized spells, you can try to choose a fast weapon (small speed factor) and hope to roll a lucky initiative and then a lucky attack roll.

Once you get to higher levels, Silence, 15' radius also becomes available (cleric 2nd level, illusionist 3rd level spell), which might be useful to block casting of spells with verbal components. But I believe in 1e, magic-users do not get a hold of this spell, perhaps you can suggest it to your cleric friend.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The magic-used magic device twice or 3 times, used 2 spells that created chaos among players twice (IDK the spell) invisibilty once or twice, he must be short on spells, so perhaps with the magic wings, our cleric has a chane or our female drow still has dispel magic, (I or my cat (on her shoulders maybe) but I think only I understand mu cat) coult help her pinpoint the location of the invisible magic user (in his tower now I'm concentrating and I heard him on top of it) if the magic-user goes down he's gonna be fu*cked by our barbarian/thieves and our NPCS, but we could fail... \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fleeing seems better but the magic-user is vulnerable now, perhaps it's our last chance to kill him, what will happen when he regains his spells... he might catch up on us... I don't know what to do, I'm pretty much the leader of the group, The mission is to escort NPCS but the ''Lord'' to his land is our top priority, perhaps I should flee with the NPCs and leave the group and the Cleric to try and kill the wizard, I'm pretty useless anyways but with the armed NPCS I might stand a chance of saving the Lord against the ennemies we faced until now, if the mage come toward me I'll hear him. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 8:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I could perhaps create sugar or flour with a cantrip and throw a bag on him to show his location to others I guess. the cantrip ''Dust'' might be the greatest thing I could achieve right now. I'm pretty sure I have it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 8:49

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