#8 – Othniel Charles Marsh – Blue Mage

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

Othniel Charles Marsh - Blue Mage

Please see #7 – Edward Drinker Cope for the first of this pair of designs.

There are some historical figures that only work when paired with one another. Just like Butch makes no sense without the Sundance Kid, as Marie Curie needed Pierre, Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh would have been nonsensical without each other. Of course, unlike Butch or Madame Curie, Cope and Marsh hated each other. Hated hated hated each other. Like tiny little mustachio’d Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

Cope and Marsh were both prominent archaeologists back in the mid-19th century, when the railroads were just beginning to truly open up the American west. Edward Drinker Cope was an archaeologist of the old school; a gentleman, in fact. He operated on the principles of polite society, and expected others to do the same. Conversely, Othniel Charles Marsh was closer to a businessman of the era. Marsh saw paleontology as a business to be exploited, and they way you did that in the 1800s was by setting up a trust — what we’d call a monopoly today. You got control of a resource and you wrung it until all the money came out.

As strange as it might seem, the two got along at first. They were both learned men of science, and although they came from different backgrounds, their interests were largely the same. Cope had found an excellent source of fossils in New Jersey, and when Marsh asked to see it, well, Cope the gentleman could hardly refuse. Unfortunately, Marsh was so taken by the fossils that he went around Cope’s back and paid the man who shipped the fossils to send them to Marsh’s office instead. Bitter words were exchanged, and the two began a rivalry that would last their entire lives.

This period of archaeology is generally known as the Bone Wars, or the Great Dinosaur Rush. Despite the rather unpleasant personalities involved, it marks one of the greatest eras of prehistoric discovery, with the efforts of Cope and Marsh alone introducing almost 150 new species of ancient animals and providing spectacular evidence for the brand new theory of evolution. Although Cope and Marsh spent their declining years largely sniping at each others bank accounts and fossil collections, the end result of their intense hatred for each other was, strangely enough, positive.

Since Cope and Marsh basically approached the same subject from radically different angles, it made sense to give them classes that did the same. Cope’s class is the Monster Hunter, also known as the Monster Tamer or Trainer, a job that specializes in trapping enemies. The use of this varies by game, but the most common one has the Hunter either training the monster for use in combat on the player’s side, or harvesting them for items. Conversely, Marsh’s class is the Blue Mage. Blue Mages are fairly straightforward magic-casting classes except for one major detail: all of their abilities have to be harvested from monsters in some way. In some games, this is done by collecting certain items, while other games require you to actually be damaged by specific skills in order to learn them. Either way, both classes rely almost entirely on monsters in some way for their effectiveness in combat, and although their methods vary, both can be exceptionally powerful with a large enough collection.

Category: 2011, Fantasy

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I'm a video game critic and artist for RandomNPC.com, a site dedicated to console and PC role-playing games.

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