Sages are fairly clearly delineated into two camps by their choice for Sage's Wrath. Lungbreaker vs. Stutter Step is also a stylistic decision, certainly, but one with less far-reaching consequences. Melee-focused sages with Just Blade can at times look almost like mundane martial artists who happen to have a glowing sword, charging into the fray of battle and hacking away in between using magical tricks to hinder their foes and aid their allies. For those truly interested in raw damage capability, Smiting or Rage can be excellent substitutes for Force of Will. In fact, Incantation and Just Blade have some interesting interactions once a character has Mystic Focus.
On the other hand, sages with Arcane Lore usually appear as much more traditional mages, firing bursts of magical energy from their hands, alternating between waves of life-sapping force and columns of fire bursting forth from the ground. Trading Sage's Wrath for Shaman Casting can create a character more focused on party enhancement.
Sages are most common among those races which blend physical and mental talents, and thus uncommon among the zhadi. Taking that into account, the brutal and straightforward style of magic utilized by sages does appeal to some zhadii, who may manifest powerful weapons with Just Blade or hurl fire and ice at their foes with Arcane Lore. Dwarven mages more often follow the path of the Tactician, but nothing makes them inherently unsuitable sages. In fact, dwarven sages (most often using Just Blade) often surprise foes with their endurance.