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Old 05-12-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

I just wanted to start a discussion concerning the strategic and tactical effects of energy accumulating path ritual magic. I would like to limit the discussion to the more subtle Paths: the Path of Cunning, the Path of Dreams, the Path of Health, the Path of Knowledge, the Path of Luck, the Path of Nature, the Path of Protection, and the Path of Spirit. We will assume that the optional rules of canceling and dispelling rituals, combined ceremonies, conditional rituals, and sensing ritual attacks are in effect. For the purpose of this discussion, we will also assume that the advantage of Path/Book Adept does not exist and Magery above the third level does not exist.

I will start the discussion with the Dream Shackles Ritual. A mage with IQ 14 and Magery 3 could purchase Symbol Drawing-14, Ritual Magic-18, and Path of Dreams-18 for a reasonable 27 CP, so we will use those levels for the baseline capabilities in the example. We will most likely receive a +1 to effective skill from Symbol Drawing and, since we are part of a friendly army, we will receive a +3 from twelve acolytes (increasing our effective skill to 22, since elements modify skill and ritual parameters modify cost). Since the maximum energy allowed is effective Skill+5, that means that the mage may attempt to acquire a maximum of 27 energy for Dream Shackles.

With 27 energy, we are capable of adding 14 energy points of parameters to the base 13 energy points required for Dream Shackles. If we want to target an enemy commander before a battle, we would probably need to accept a +4 energy for a distance of 10 miles, leaving us with 10 energy. We want the energy commander ineffective, so we will make the duration one day, leaving us with 6 energy. We want to effect four of his subordinates as well, leaving us with 2 energy. We leave 2 energy in case any of our targets has two levels of Magical Resistance.

If we are successful on our ritual roll (with a skill of 18, it is quite likely), the enemy commander will sleep for 24 hours regardless of what occurs around him or her. Without the enemy commander and his or her immediate subordinates, the junior officers will have to lead without their guidance. Depending on the nature of the conflict, the enemy army might flee as soon as they cannot wake up any of the senior officers. Even if they do stay and might, the capabilities of the junior officers are probably inferior to the capabilities of the senior officers, meaning that our side will likely win. What is your example?
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:08 PM   #2
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Another ritual with long term strategic implications is Sterility (the Path of Health). If we use the previous assumptions, we end up with 27 energy points for a 6 point ritual, giving us 21 energy points for ritual parameters. While it would be tempting to use Sterility on the crops of an enemy nation, it is probably more damaging to use Sterility on select people (meaning that we need a one decade duration, which would cost us 12 energy points). With 9 remaining points, we could spend 7 energy points for a range of 300 miles, allowing us to reserve 2 energy points for overcome magical protections.

What would be the effect? Well, Henry VIII started the English Reformation because he could have sons with Catherine of Aragon, and he was hardly unique. By targeting the leaders of your enemy with Sterility, you cause chaos as their relatives start positioning to inherit their position when they die. For additional chaos, target the men rather than the women, so that the men cannot even sire children on their concubines and/or mistresses, meaning that the virility of the leaders becomes questioned by his followers.

Since the ritual would likely require less than half a day, your mage specialist could wither two men a day without major effort. Within a year, your mage specialist could wither 400 men in a nation without extraordinary effort. With the highest nobles and/or wealthiest elites being sterile, the psychological impacts would be quite devastating to the enemy. Within a decade, an entire generation of leaders could be lost, as 4,000 of the most important men in a nation could be deprived of their fertility.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:13 AM   #3
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Since no one is offering their own suggestion, I will continue on to the Weatherworking ritual. The Weatherworking ritual is quite powerful and is capable of being used for strategic and tactical concerns. Using the previous assumptions (with an cost of 10 energy points, we would have 17 energy points remaining), we will look at one strategic use in this post.

One strategic use for the ritual would be reversing the desertification of a friendly region. Causing drizzle in a desert has a probability of 5-, so a soaking rain would have a probability of 4-, since it is more likely than an inland hurricane. Increasing the probability from 4- to 12- would cost 8 energy points, leaving us with 9 energy points. We probably will probably want 12 hours of rain, which would cost us 3 energy points, leaving us with 6 energy points. With 6 energy points remaining, we can change the weather for a radius of 7 miles, around 154 square miles. We would choose a soaking rain of 0.25 inches an hour to maximize the benefits of the ritual.

Our mage will want to travel fourteen miles a day after doing a ritual, so he or she can do one successful Weatherworking ritual a day without extreme effort, meaning that he or she could produce rain for 3080 square miles in four weeks, which would be a nice workload. With twelve rotations per year, our mage produces an average of 27 inches of rain a year. If we assume that 10% of the resulting land will be used for grain production, a TL3 civilization will support 49,000 people on that land, with the remaining land being used for forestry, pasture, etc.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Another ritual with long term strategic implications is Sterility (the Path of Health). If we use the previous assumptions, we end up with 27 energy points for a 6 point ritual, giving us 21 energy points for ritual parameters. While it would be tempting to use Sterility on the crops of an enemy nation, it is probably more damaging to use Sterility on select people (meaning that we need a one decade duration, which would cost us 12 energy points). With 9 remaining points, we could spend 7 energy points for a range of 300 miles, allowing us to reserve 2 energy points for overcome magical protections.

What would be the effect? Well, Henry VIII started the English Reformation because he could have sons with Catherine of Aragon, and he was hardly unique. By targeting the leaders of your enemy with Sterility, you cause chaos as their relatives start positioning to inherit their position when they die. For additional chaos, target the men rather than the women, so that the men cannot even sire children on their concubines and/or mistresses, meaning that the virility of the leaders becomes questioned by his followers.

Since the ritual would likely require less than half a day, your mage specialist could wither two men a day without major effort. Within a year, your mage specialist could wither 400 men in a nation without extraordinary effort. With the highest nobles and/or wealthiest elites being sterile, the psychological impacts would be quite devastating to the enemy. Within a decade, an entire generation of leaders could be lost, as 4,000 of the most important men in a nation could be deprived of their fertility.
There was, after all, a reason why it was illegal to perform a horoscope on the monarch...

Presumably this would also be behind the various blessings, amulets and similar things that play part of royal ceremonies. The Romans were famous for their apotropaic amulets.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:58 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Thank you for the reply. Depending on the assumptions of the setting, astrological modifiers may modify Path Magic, though that depends on the individual setting. In those settings, I imagine that important people will hide their birthdays (and probably their real names behind titles) in order to limit the effectiveness of enemy rituals.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:59 PM   #6
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

I have been puzzled for a long time by the Hand of Glory ritual. Specifically, the way everyone in the building who fails to resist is paralysed, but conscious and aware. This seems like a really bad feature for magic intended to help in burglary, because it makes the supernatural nature of what happened obvious. Causing them to fall asleep, or just giving them -5 to all Sense rolls, would seem far more useful.
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Old 05-15-2018, 05:12 PM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

I tend to agree. The opening of every lock is good, but everything else is bad about it. Slumber would probably be a better choice.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:06 PM   #8
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

We will now look at the tactical applications of the ritual of Weatherworking for the purpose of creating tornadoes. Using the previous assumptions, we have 17 energy points available for the ritual parameters. Tornadoes are probably a 3- probability for the purpose of the ritual, so we will need to spend 11 energy points for a 14- probability, leaving us with 6 energy points. We probably want to be a decent distance from the target area, so we should spend 4 energy points for a distance of 10 miles, leaving us with 2 energy points. A duration of 1 hour is probably sufficient, so our last 2 energy points will be spent on duration.

Now, what do we get from the ritual? Sometime in the 12 hours after our ritual, an area with a radius of 1 mile will have a 90% chance of be subjected to an hour of tornadoes. Imagine that your enemy has just stopped for the night to prepare for camp and you successfully cast the ritual. During the middle of the night, the enemy camp will experience tornadoes for one hour, causing massive destruction to the enemy forces and supplies, as a single tornado is capable of destroying three square miles in an hour. Your ritual has a 90% chance of destroying the enemy before your forces engage the enemy in battle.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:17 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Correction to the two Weatherworking ritual posts. The modification to probability is based on Effectiveness roll, not energy, which means that Weatherworking is even more powerful than I initially suggested. If we assume an Effectiveness roll of '10' on a Path skill of '18', the probability of a soaking rain is 12- and the probability of tornadoes is 11-.

The first example could cover a radius of 15 miles, meaning that one mage could provide rain for 14,000 square miles of desert and support over 200,000 people. The second example could occur within an hour of finishing the ritual, meaning that the mage could potentially send four sets of tornadoes against an enemy position within an eight hour period. In each case, the effects of Weatherworking are much more powerful than I first suspected.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:58 AM   #10
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: Strategic and Tactical Uses of Energy Accumulating Path Ritual Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I have been puzzled for a long time by the Hand of Glory ritual. Specifically, the way everyone in the building who fails to resist is paralysed, but conscious and aware. This seems like a really bad feature for magic intended to help in burglary, because it makes the supernatural nature of what happened obvious. Causing them to fall asleep, or just giving them -5 to all Sense rolls, would seem far more useful.
It sounds a lot like reported experiences of sleep paralysis (which has sometimes been interpreted as a magical attack). Presumably it's more useful in a society where such things are expected.
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