This week’s Wednesday Weird isn’t about just any old hedge Wizard, but the classic wize old wizard that is a staple of the fantasy genre. Although Merlin is a heck of a lot older than Gandalf, I’m not sure if he started wearing the pointy hat before Tolkein’s wizard. However, since D&D and most fantasy fiction has (for better or worse) been heavily derived from Tolkein’s work ever since, we’ve seen a lot of wizards in the Gandalf/Merlin mold. They’ve been dispensing sage advice and assisting heroes for ages. Sometimes they have the hat. Sometimes they don’t.
My wizard has the hat. Here’s why.
The PCs establish the traditional relationship with the wizard — advice, counsel, “fool of a Took!” He identifies magic items for ‘em. All that fun stuff.
Somewhere along the line, someone asks the PCs why they’re spending so much time hanging out with the guy everyone else knows as a simple farmer. “Look, he’s a nice guy, Toby, but… he’s just a farmer. Or anyway, he was before he moved into that old tower at the edge of the forest. We’ve been wondering what he’s up to now, because he’s not too bright and we’re kind of worried about him.”
It’s the hat. Toby found it; it’s a very powerful magic item which bestows both the ability to use magic and the skills to use it wisely. Anyone could benefit from it. The party wizard could benefit from it quite a bit. Just, Toby’s the guy who found it.