Bone Mages look similar to Skeletons, but are pale red in color and carry a staff. They can cast Paralyze, Disorient, Weaken, Lightning Bolt, as well as a spell that summons three Skeletons to aid them.Like Gapers, Bone Mages are cowardly and will attempt to stay 4-5 tiles away from their target at all times, fleeing if approached. Also like Gapers, they will attempt to heal themselves when they are low on Hit Points.
Bone Mages are able to remain targeted on invisible opponents and will cast on them at will. When targeted by a Bone Mage, a Rogue will only be able to Stealth if not in the direct line of sight of the mage.
If hunting in a group, a player that is attacked by a Bone Mage may find it best to do nothing at all. Other members of the group can then fight the mage with ease – it will only run from the person it has targeted.
Bone Mages are weak to most physical attacks. So, the fighters and rogues and pets of the group are often the first (and only) to strike the mage. Clerics, if not preoccupied with healing, can also damage the mage by using the Turn Undead spell.
Bone Mages, being users of magic, can be quickly neutralized through a steady application of the Drain Mana spell. This may be a wizard’s best bet on a group hunt, since Bone Mages are skilled in resisting offensive spells like Lightning Bolt. Likewise, Bone Mages are nearly impervious to arrows, so Rangers might do best to switch to a melee weapon.
One basic offensive strategy is to aggressively chase the Bone Mage with a melee weapon, ignoring any skeletons it summons. Anytime the player is hit by a skeleton, they will have to manually change targets back to the mage.
This strategy can be quickly derailed, however, if the Bone Mage casts Paralyze or Disorient. And as always, chasing anything deeper into the forest will often attract more hostile creatures and must be done with care. Quickness and a bit of luck are the keys to this tactic.
Another strategy is to run circles around the Bone Mage while attacking with archery or wizard spells. This method is much more difficult and time-consuming. Rangers would do well to rely on special attacks such as Aimed Shot.
Wizards using this strategy will need to employ good timing, as the Bone Mage will heal itself once it is near death. Just before this happens, the wizard should unleash a full barrage of two or three Lightning Bolts in rapid succession.
For most wizards, this means that they will need to have some Mana Points stored up in reserve. On the plus side, wizards need not actually run in circles, as long as they quickly do away with any summoned skeletons.
A third strategy involves ‘trapping’ the Bone Mage against a cemetery gate or some other obstruction, like a tree. The main advantage to this strategy is that it involves minimal chasing and is very efficient, but trapping a Bone Mage can be a difficult task.
If near a cemetery gate: the player should allow the Bone Mage to pursue them due westward, until the Bone Mage is adjacent to one of the gate’s entry posts. Then, if the player walks due east, the Bone Mage will not flee and is thus said to be ‘trapped’.
If in the woods: the player should position themselves to the northeast of the mage. The mage must be one step east of a tree. Then, the player should walk due west until they are directly north of the mage. This will allow the player to walk due south, and the mage will remain stationary. (Note: there are other ways to trap a Bone Mage in this manner, approaching from different directions.)
The fourth and most commonly used strategy when encountering Bone Mages is to simply flee.
Bone Mages gained the ability to summon skeletons in the January 2009 update. In the next update (March 2010), the amount of skeletons per summon increased from 2 to 3. In addition to this, the rate at which Bone Mages could summon increased dramatically.
All too often, an encounter with a Bone Mage would result in the entire area being overrun with 30-40 skeletons. To reflect their increased strength, their level was changed from 7 to 8 and later to 10.
Eventually, the summoning rate was toned back down, but the Bone Mages retained their level 10 designation.