Mages are more than just magic casters. Once you have acquired the Arcane Warrior style, you can easily exchange the strength of armor and weapons to wield or wear them for Magic. You can then use spells and a sword. The armor will protect you from physical damage and you don't have to keep your distance. Use all the spells desired and still get up close with your enemies. Note: This ability is obtained in the "Nature Of The Beast" quest with the Dalish Elves. You must go into the temple and find a vial that seems odd. A short cinematic starts and it speaks to you. After a long series of questioning, it offers to pass on its talents of an arcane warrior to you and your party in exchange for its freedom.