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Dalillama 10-25-2016 04:42 PM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 2052522)
The wind spell is specifically provided for in the description as being able to be cast on a sailing ship, with comments in the description about needing to encompass the entire ship to get the correct effect. Actually, that caveat is attached to a LOT of weather spells useful in guiding a ship, and they all have items as well.

Of course, the items mostly 300 energy each, so they cost roughly $10,000 each. A little high, but stick it on a big enough boat, and its totally worth it. Its better than paying a skill 12 mage $700 a month!

Per LTC3, a medium cog is $140k, so any reasonably capitalised merchant venture could afford a couple of weather itmes, and warships should definitely have them.

Polydamas 10-26-2016 03:43 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 2052550)
<applauds> I'm always happy when other people actually read the book. :)

As the person making the claim, its your job to support it, not everyone else's job to disprove it. My hard copy GURPS books are still in the old country.

Most big, well-equipped ships having a few magic item fits the setting. Rebuilding their whole naval technology based on Weather spells would not be prudent, and basing all shipbuilding on one of those poorly-thought-out elemental spells which may not exist in the setting or may be monopolized by a few wizards who refuse to let the price drop to $20/caster-day when they could keep their price higher, work a day or two a week, and do something fun with the rest of their time.

Some folks on the BBC In our Time podcast say that the Dutch East Indies Company ran a scam like that on the price of spices: they imported less than they could so that European customers would keep thinking that eastern spices were exotic luxuries and paying luxury prices.

CraigM 10-26-2016 03:44 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
A few responses:

* Prevalence of mages. Canon has magery at 2% amongst humans, slightly higher amongst goblins, slightly lower amongst other races except elves (where it's 100%). High magery people make up about 1/10th of that.

Tredroy is a city of about half a million, so that gives us 10,000 mages, of whom about 1,000 are highly talented. Given the value of a ship that can sail against the wind and tide, that seems to me to provide a sufficient supply of mages that much of the shipping will be magically driven.

Ytarria is maintained at a low tech level by a conspiracy of anti-industrialisation mages. In my Yrth, this is largely motivated by economic self-interest. The mages get the bulk of their income by magically substituting for industrial technology; for example, by provided age of sail shipping with the speed, range and reliability of a modern navy.

* Sailing on a beam reach: I know, I was simplifying for the sake of brevity. Regardless, a permanent beam reach calls for a different set of rigging and a different hull design than would be required on a ship intended for all conditions, with the sail plan biased much more towards square sails and raw speed. They'd be horrible to sail upwind if the mage gets KO'd.

* Hostile weather magic: range penalties stop this from being much of a factor; to cast on an opposing ship you need to be virtually yardarm-to-yardarm. You can drop a patch of bad weather in your enemy's path, but it is a simple matter for them to avoid or counter it if they're also mage equipped.

* Items vs mages: all of the weather spells are useful, not just wind. Wind is good for travel, but control of tides and currents are invaluable when docking; they're as good as 21st C Earth manoeuvring thrusters. You can replace some magical abilities with items, but a mage with the full suite of weather spells plus navigation and resupply abilities would more than earn their $700/month.

They don't need to be a magery-3 IQ-14 munchkin PC; skill-11 is just fine for non-combat use, and the spells of the Weather College tend not to have huge prerequisite lists. "Ship's wizard" would be an appropriate training job for an apprentice or journeyman mage.

* Spell list limited to Basic Set: you've got me there. I doubt that anyone actually follows that guideline strictly, though, and allowing coastal wizards to learn weather magic doesn't seem like a huge stretch to me.

Polydamas 10-26-2016 04:23 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CraigM (Post 2052668)
* Hostile weather magic: range penalties stop this from being much of a factor; to cast on an opposing ship you need to be virtually yardarm-to-yardarm. You can drop a patch of bad weather in your enemy's path, but it is a simple matter for them to avoid or counter it if they're also mage equipped.

Its not hostile magic as much as situations where my ship is trying to go upstream between these two sandbanks full of logs, and your ship is trying to go downstream ditto, and the winds and currents which help me do that make what you want to do impossible. I would rule that winds and currents don't vanish at the edge of the area of effect, but start to be opposed by the natural current until their force is completely lost.

Or a shallow harbour with a fragile bed which can't withstand strong currents from unusual directions (Earth spells can make dredging cheap, but we know that the Earth college is one of the problematic ones for Dungeon Fantasy or low fantasy. Actually, the Current spell might also help with dredging harbours which tend to silt up).

Or Low Mana and No Mana zones, or ships which lose their mage and have nobody to activate their magic items any more. Routine castings of Earth to Stone and Bless Plants bother me, but shipbuilders who rely on Weather magic being always available are taking some big risks.

Because GURPS (4e) Magic is so amorphous and contains spells which were never meant to exist in the same setting, it would probably be a good idea for everyone to take some time and spell out how magic works in their Banestorm in terms of general capacities, then think about specific spells and how common they are.

CraigM 10-26-2016 04:54 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Polydamas (Post 2052674)
Its not hostile magic as much as situations where my ship is trying to go upstream between these two sandbanks full of logs, and your ship is trying to go downstream ditto, and the winds and currents which help me do that make what you want to do impossible. I would rule that winds and currents don't vanish at the edge of the area of effect, but start to be opposed by the natural current until their force is completely lost.

Or a shallow harbour with a fragile bed which can't withstand strong currents from unusual directions (Earth spells can make dredging cheap, but we know that the Earth college is one of the problematic ones for Dungeon Fantasy or low fantasy. Actually, the Current spell might also help with dredging harbours which tend to silt up).

Or Low Mana and No Mana zones, or ships which lose their mage and have nobody to activate their magic items any more. Routine castings of Earth to Stone and Bless Plants bother me, but shipbuilders who rely on Weather magic being always available are taking some big risks.

Because GURPS (4e) Magic is so amorphous and contains spells which were never meant to exist in the same setting, it would probably be a good idea for everyone to take some time and spell out how magic works in their Banestorm in terms of general capacities, then think about specific spells and how common they are.

* Weather magic interference: per RAW, a wind or current spell cast on a ship affects that ship alone, with the magical effect disappearing at the ship's boundaries. That's how I run it. It's reasonable to rule it your way, though; that'd just require a bit more care while in harbour.

* Dredging: yup. My Ytarrian wizards spend a lot of time on that sort of thing. Most of 'em aren't fireball-slinging adventurers.

* Marine mana variance: I see this as the prime factor keeping Ytarrian navies coastal. Otherwise, the infinite range provided by food and water magic would make global exploration trivial.

* Losing your mage: yup, catastrophic. The advantages of mage-driven shipping make it seem worth the risk, though, for the same reasons as why you'd sacrifice sailing ability by installing a possibly unreliable steam engine. Circumventing the limitations of sailing weather is a huge advantage. Two mages per ship (journeyman and apprentice?) plus a lot of small powerstones seems likely.

* Assumptions about the available spell list: when a player comes to me with a character concept, I draw upon the entire Magic book to give them the abilities they're after. Any individual spell that bothers me can be prohibited, but it doesn't come up much.

As I rule it, the Basic Set spells are known everywhere, but the additional spells from Magic are known wherever they're appropriate. For example, mages who work with the forestry or shipbuilding industries tend to know the appropriate woodshaping spells, detective mages know information and mind control spells (the Michaelites are very effective), construction mages shape stone and earth, etc. etc.

My Yrth is fairly obviously magical, outside of Caithness and al-Haz. For example, an instantly notable difference when going from North or East into West Tredroy is that the sorcery-rejecting Hazi's have no magical street lighting or sewage treatment.

Fred Brackin 10-26-2016 09:15 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Polydamas (Post 2052667)
As the person making the claim, its your job to support it, not everyone else's job to disprove it. My hard copy GURPS books are still in the old country.
rices.

<shrug>Who was making which claim? You started this by saying that Area weather spells wouldn't move with a sailing ship. I replied that Wind and several other spells had a specific exemption to that in their rules text. Without verifying that you implied that you didn't believe me.

Perhaps until you get access to your books again you should stop disputing statements by people who do.

sir_pudding 10-26-2016 09:27 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CraigM (Post 2052668)
They don't need to be a magery-3 IQ-14 munchkin PC; skill-11 is just fine for non-combat use, and the spells of the Weather College tend not to have huge prerequisite lists. "Ship's wizard" would be an appropriate training job for an apprentice or journeyman mage.

This assumes that routine casting is safe, which is a subtle but significant design switch that I don't think is implicit in GURPS Banestorm, so you could easily go the other way and only have maritime wizards on retainer or weather items on hand for emergencies.

Fred Brackin 10-26-2016 10:04 AM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CraigM (Post 2052668)
A few responses:

* Prevalence of mages. Canon has magery at 2% amongst humans, slightly higher amongst goblins, slightly lower amongst other races except elves (where it's 100%). High magery people make up about 1/10th of that.

Tredroy is a city of about half a million, so that gives us 10,000 mages, of whom about 1,000 are highly talented..

I just looked in Banestorm and it lists Tredroy as being a city of 200,000 not 500,000. It is described as definitely being the second largest city on the continent.

Magery in general is said to be less than 2% with most of those being Magery 0 with only a tenth being _any_ higher. I could not find it in the current version but I believe in earlier versions a rule of descaling 10ths was followed.

This would make the population of Mages born in Tredroy less than 4000 but of those 3600 will be Magery 0. of the remaining 400, 360 would be Magery 1, 36 would be Magery 2 and probably only 3 would be Magery 3.

Of course ambitious and finically motivated Mages go _to_ Tredoy because it is the biggest trading center in Cardiel rather than leaving it to go to sea to make money. This would probably double the Mage population of Tredroy but that comes at the expense of the rest of Cardiel.

these numbers are in line with the suggestion that a large Duchy (or presumably a medium-sized country) would have no more than 10-20 "great" Mages. The list of Master enchanters (who can lead Q&D circles) is almost certainly not larger than the number of "great" Mages and the great majority of those will live in Tredroy which is a river port only with probably little market for Weather spell enhanced ships.

All of Cardiel might have no more than 100 Mages even theoretically capable of doing Enchantments (Magery 2 w/ IQ that allows them to reach the required level 15 in Spells to be Enchanted). Of the 90% of them who are only Magery 2 those are most likely work as seconds in a Master's Q&D circle.

300 energy is also beyond the economic breakpoint for Q&D even with the Powerstones that are common among the local Mage community. So such a 300 pt item is a S&S product done circa once a year.

Given these facts and assumptions I'm not seeing more than 1-3 Wind items produced per year in all of Cardiel and it won't matter how big the demand is. Demand is likely to be equally high for other items and the key resource (Enchanters) is not elastic.

It really looks to me that Weather magic is not going to be ubiquitous among seagoing traders. Either in the form of Mages or Magical Items. A Mage with a usable level of talent can make $700 a month on land.

dcarson 10-26-2016 12:36 PM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
I'd expect that if there aren't enough mages to have a mage on most large merchant ships that you would have a harbor pilot mage at any serious port that can get ships in and out of the port even if the winds are against it so you don't have ships trapped in port or just outside port for days like happened historically.

Michael Cule 10-26-2016 04:30 PM

Re: Banestorm Navies
 
Ambitious mages from Al-Haz (especially those with an ambition to learn the Art and stay alive and free afterwards) are likely to move to Tredroy as well.

You know I've never played (nor even noticed) the ruling that only the spells from the core book are commonly available. That may explain the difference in tone of my campaigns.

Thing is if that's true I don't see the mages being powerful enough to keep the Underground Engineers from overthrowing the Ministry of Serendipity and their equivalents.


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