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Old 02-14-2018, 04:07 PM   #31
Chris Goodwin
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, the age of "goetics" (magic) didn't begin until someone figured out how to degauss iron so that it wouldn't interfere with magic. "Cold" would therefore refer to iron that hadn't been so treated. In that setting, a magnetic field of sufficient strength would dampen magic in the vicinity as well.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:18 PM   #32
Anthony
 
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
If you read the thread, they actually address that point -- which is why I included the link; otherwise, I just would have quoted "malloyd" too! ;-)
They don't really answer it, though. References to the Secret Commonwealth establish that phrase was in use in the 17th century, but we already knew that.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:32 AM   #33
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

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Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin View Post
In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, the age of "goetics" (magic) didn't begin until someone figured out how to degauss iron so that it wouldn't interfere with magic. "Cold" would therefore refer to iron that hadn't been so treated. In that setting, a magnetic field of sufficient strength would dampen magic in the vicinity as well.
That notion is how I came up with the idea of shackles with magnets embedded in them. If wizards are gonna be tolerated by a society, there *has* to be some relatively easy (i.e., cheap) way to control them. Magnets can be common enough that every jail would have a couple of sets of magnetic shackles (or arm bands).

Magical solutions would be too expensive in my opinion to be feasible.

As an alternative, you could have some form of conditioning (ala the Suk doctors in Dune, who are so conditioned to not take life that they are incorruptible - until Baron Harkonnen finds a way to break the conditioning) that would prevent wizards from disobeying the law. But then, how can you have evil wizards, surely a fantasy mainstay? And there would have to be plausible SEVERE consequences for wizards who break the taboo.

Without a simple way to control wizards taken into custody, the civil authorities will heavily regulate - or even outlaw - wizards.
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Old 02-15-2018, 01:12 PM   #34
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

It seems to me, based on the reading I've been doing, that perhaps the answer lies more in the nature of the iron itself.

From what I've been able to gather, it seems that Steel lacks the attributes of "cold iron" for whatever reason. It occurs to me, based on that, that smelting the ore in order to make steel (including coking and the much higher temperatures required for the entire steel making process), somehow renders the iron no longer suitable for the purpose of resisting magic. Whether that is because of the "impurities" added in the steel-making process, or because of the excessively high temperatures required in that process, I don't know, but in either case, the iron is no longer suitable.

Similarly speaking, Bronze is not Copper -- it is a smelted metal requiring a mix of impurities and different temperatures to allow for its creation by a metalsmith. As a result, bronze is not used for ceremonial purposes, whereas copper is frequently mentioned as a ceremonial metal.

Based on these admittedly speculative thoughts, it seems to me that PURITY might be more important than magnetism or anything else. "Cold iron" might therefore simply refer to pure iron, smithed to make a weapon or tool (such as a ceremonial dagger, for instance), but not smelted to create a stronger, more durable material. Similarly, Copper could be used for some functions (though being a less dense material, it might lack certain properties of iron), simply because it was smithed into a useful shape, but not smelted into bronze of some other variant of the metal.

Meteoric iron might therefore be more effective simply because it is a "purer" form of iron (in game terms, not necessarily "scientifically" speaking) already purified by the nature of space itself -- whatever that might be in your fantasy universe -- and therefore better for anti-magical purposes.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:46 PM   #35
Skarg
 
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Without a simple way to control wizards taken into custody, the civil authorities will heavily regulate - or even outlaw - wizards.
Not necessarily - not all civil authorities feel a need to preempt any ability to resist them. They can threaten and escalate if/when a wizard in custody resists or attempts to escape.

Metal bindings already can get them to -4 DX, -5 IQ, 0 MA. So the main issues are if you don't have a way to stop them casting, they can provoke you into threatening to kill them, some of them may devise ways to escape, and very powerful ones may be able to overcome those penalties and cast effective spells. There is an issue that the more powerful the wizard, the more threatening they are to a captor, and so the more captors may decide they need to kill the captor, creating a reason to kill off interesting high-powered wizards rather than keep them alive.

A similar situation also exists in other situations where one needs to trust a wizard won't cast spells, such as meeting an important person, or being allowed near something that must not be damaged or stolen. So it would really be nice if there were some other way(s) to debilitate a wizard.
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Old 02-17-2018, 10:54 AM   #36
larsdangly
 
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I think of Wizards in most fantasy games as loosely analogous to wildly rich people in the real world: There are not many of them; some societies sort of try to control them but it doesn't actually work and they actually get away with whatever they want to get away with; 99 % of them are ass holes and they are best avoided.
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Old 02-17-2018, 08:05 PM   #37
Steve Jackson
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So maybe there needs to be a Potion of You Aren't A Wizard Today?
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:20 PM   #38
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

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So maybe there needs to be a Potion of You Aren't A Wizard Today?
I'm reminded of the injection Mystique gave a guard, to help Magneto to escape. Something with too much iron in it.

Is there something inadequate about attaching iron to someone in a way it can't easily be removed?

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[...] you could have some form of conditioning that would prevent wizards from disobeying the law
A convenient system of enforced loyalty changes the society completely in so many ways, making a lot of stories difficult to tell. And what about wizard adventurers who cross jurisdictions, do they get conditioned by everywhere they visit?

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ala the Suk doctors in Dune, who are so conditioned to not take life that they are incorruptible until Baron Harkonnen finds a way to break the conditioning
This never made sense to me: threatening a loved one is the obvious first method anybody would try for breaking conditioning.

On the other hand we know Yueh's wife Wanna fell in love with him when she wasn't supposed to, and we know Bene Gesserit can mess with minds. I think the natural explanation is that Wanna made Yueh fall in love with her with an intensity beyond the normal limits of human romance. The conditioning found itself in a regime where it had never been tested and the irresistible force moved the immovable object. That only leaves the question of how Harkonnen figured it out.
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Old 02-18-2018, 12:12 AM   #39
JLV
 
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Default Re: How Do You Imprison TFT Wizards?

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I think of Wizards in most fantasy games as loosely analogous to wildly rich people in the real world: There are not many of them; some societies sort of try to control them but it doesn't actually work and they actually get away with whatever they want to get away with; 99 % of them are ass holes and they are best avoided.
That's probably not a bad analogy, if we disregard Tolkien. Most wizards (I'm looking at Vance, especially, in everything from Lyonesse to the Dying Earth, but Zelazny and many others do this a lot too -- and, come to think of it, even Tolkien does to some extent; what else is Saruman or the Mouth of Sauron but a Wizard gone bad?) seem to be primarily interested in their personal issues, and normal people are just something that gets stepped on along the way. Very much like most modern celebrities (and by "modern," I mean anything from about 1500 on up...).
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:25 AM   #40
Skarg
 
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So maybe there needs to be a Potion of You Aren't A Wizard Today?
That would help, though of course how expensive and available it is would be a factor. The question is just what that should require (a potion? a magic item? a particular type of collar (e.g. magnetic?)?

Having a "can't cast spells" effect would be really useful. Also for various semi-trusting situations that aren't prisoner situations but you'd also like to be able to have social interactions without having a wizard able to cast spells so you can relax and negotiate or whatever, without wondering if a wizard is about to cast a spell.

A spell that works like Ward but for magic might be useful for those social situations, too, so you could know if a high-IQ wizard or rogue with a magic item is silently casting spells. I can see some wizards wanting to use such a ward and/or "can't cast spells" for certain situations in each others' company to help everyone relax and not be suspicious or become suspects if/when someone misbehaves and casts a naughty/criminal/deadly spell in a wizards' guild hall, or palace or bank or whatever. (The pentagram variant idea I mentioned before would be useful for those situations too, where it would prevent spells cast inside it.)

After all, spells are even more powerful than having weapons at the ready, and can do a lot more things, and can be done by some without being detected (a spell/enchantment which can make even silent spellcasting conspicuous to everyone (over an area, over a fairly long time) would also be useful).

Otherwise, a nasty high-IQ visiting wizard (or item user) could be going about unnoticeably casting Persuasiveness, Analyze Magic or Spellsniffer, Curse, Blast Trap, or other misdeeds.


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Is there something inadequate about attaching iron to someone in a way it can't easily be removed?
That's -4 DX, which is ok but can be overcome by DX, repeated tries, or Aid.

You can/should also blindfold them, or else they could do a lot of things. Blindness adds more targeting penalties and prevents creation spells. However it's inconvenient if this is just someone you want to be able to talk to the king or witness his own trial, or be able to see things you're asking him about during an interrogation.

You should also probably bind his hands to he can't cast spells above IQ -5, though if the wizard has that much IQ, he can cast those spells without giving any sign that he is doing so, letting him try a lot of times, do clever subtle things, etc.

If it's a prisoner, you should also probably bind his feet/legs just in case.

If it's a wizard you want to be able to see and talk and maybe even sign documents or do other things, then it gets more and more potentially dangerous.

I could tell you a few stories about people trying to bring wizards in as prisoners, when they had reasons not to hurt them too much. Even some not-very-impressive people with spells.
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