My latest RPG love is Swords&Wizardry-Whitebox version.
I adore the rules-light bare bones essence of the first issue white box edition of D&D.
Just the basic three booklet rules from the very first edition of the game. No supplements at all. Thats cool I thought, and moved on. But then I noticed something in the Magic-User spell lists.
NO MAGIC MISSILE. Huh, what? The one singular offensive low level spell gone. Sleep is a defensive spell to me. So if the original spell list didn't have it. Then maybe the designers of the game had a different role for Magic-Users? Not death-dealing fire-spitting artillery of the later versions. What then? Well using the same literary sources as the designers. I looked at the mage characters in the books that inspired the game. They were learned scholars with knowledge of great many things. They are the historians and scientists and teachers of their worlds. Peering into the depths of great mysteries and acquiring fantastic knowledge. So now to translate this idea into the flow of game reality.
Fighter: (pulls a sword from a pile of rubble) Hey whats this?
Cleric: (looks over the runes on the blade) Its something evil from the foul pits and should be destroyed.
Magic-User: No wait! (takes the sword from the fighter and looks at it carefully) By the Eldritch lords. This is the blade of Aradior, he used it at the first battle of Holistan. During the the demon siege 1000 years ago. Its blade is rumoured to sear the the flesh of the hell-spawn....
In my game magic-users learn a lot about the world, its history and other subjects while studying magic. Once out in the field they can help the party in many ways. Identifying magic affects and items. Providing knowledge in areas the party has no experience.
I like that better than just another magic-charged cannon pointed at the bad guys.