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Old 10-20-2019, 01:50 PM   #31
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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Strength only matters in warfare when you are using muscle-powered weapons...
That's really not true. High Striking ST *to use GURPS' terms) becomes far less important. High Lifting ST arguably becomes more important - modern infantry carries more weight than pre-20th century infantry did by a large amount, and would carry more if they could. Pre-industrial infantry seems to have carried up to about 40 pounds, in general - about the limit for long-duration carry before long-term joint damage becomes likely. These days 110-120 pound loads are common (as are vets with stuffed knees).

In a talk he gave, my RSM back in the day strongly advised us not to carry more than our own body weight in stuff. That meant that 'smaller people' such as himself (he was a lean 5' 6-7" or so) and women would have to watch what they carried very carefully, and even more than everyone else would want to consider buying their own, lighter, ground mats and the like rather than use the heavier issue models.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:35 PM   #32
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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What would you do with such a setting? What would you add to the settings?
I'd set up a ceremony every young girl goes through at a given age that detects if she has the talent or not. Depending on what I was doing with the religion of the setting, this may be part of a religious ceremony, or it may be notable for its non-religious character. A female dominated priesthood with a monopoly on magic could be fun to play with. It would also be interesting to set up the arcane in opposition to the divine, with the church providing the only other major body of scholarship.

I'd place a "wise woman" in the hierarchy of every powerful house. She might be a representative from the magistry, an employee, or even hold a token position and use the magic unofficially. I probably wouldn't have her running the place, but exceptions to that could exist.

I'd set up a training system. This could be apprenticeships, or it could be done in grand schools. Either way, Mages would see themselves as a distinct body, and cultivate their own subculture.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:36 PM   #33
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

One of the possible consequences of women outnumbering men in magic 4:1 could be a form of matriarchal ploygamy, especially if there exists the perceived inheritance of magical power. While the women would likely be dominant in such a relationship, they outnumber and, together, outpower the man, a smart man could benefit from such a relationship. A society could evolve where female mages are practicitioners while male mages are theorists.

When it comes to military matters, RPM negates the utility of high Lifting ST for even nonmages. First, a military unit with a couple of mages can always create portals to your supply depots, so you can always go back for supply. Second, mages can use RPM to enhance mundane soldiers ahead of time, allowing them to potential survive threats that would kill unenhanced soldiers. Third, mages can give conditional spells to mundane soldiers, which would be triggered through a specific action or a specific phrase.

For example, imagine a mercenary company of one hundred with five mages (average Magery 2 and Thaumatology 14). The mages are capable of supporting a total of 80 conditional spells, which is a high amount of versatility, and can create gateways to transport the mercenary company, allowing them to get to engagements quickly (even if each gateway only goes 10 miles, being able to go ten miles in ten minutes would allow a mercenary company to travel across most nations in a single day). In addition, the mages could enhance individual soldiers with Very Fit, allowing them to fight much longer than unenhanced mundanes, and can heal them quickly after battle.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:59 AM   #34
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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I'd place a "wise woman" in the hierarchy of every powerful house. She might be a representative from the magistry, an employee, or even hold a token position and use the magic unofficially. I probably wouldn't have her running the place, but exceptions to that could exist.
E.g., Dune's Bene Gesserit.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:50 AM   #35
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

Why not take a leaf from Courtly Love and from the legendary portrayals of real female warleaders from Aethelflaed to Queen Mum? Have the warriors not just metaphorically but literally enchanted by her? For instance as part of a feudal oathtaking a warrior must voluntarily submit himself to a ritual of ceremonial magic. Those who do not become Ronin as do those whose mistress (in the more respectable sense of the word) has died.

Once they submit they are actually bound to obey her orders and must make a very high Will Roll to disobey. It would be less CoH and more Slave Mentality of whatever degree. There could be any subtleties in this desired.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:32 PM   #36
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

I still say that, since the definition of "Patriarchy" is "an oppressive oligarchy of men only, or with very limited cases of female participation," matriarchy would be the same with women doing the oppression. Now a matriarchy would logically have different hang-ups.

A good example of a hang-up that Patriarchies have that Matriarchies wouldn't is "purity of lineage." Since a woman knows the child is hers when she gives birth, all the stress on chastity and fidelity typical of Patriarchy would make far less sense. This would radically alter the relationship between the sexes. Marriage is about making sure the child is the "Child of the Father." Everyone would know who the "Child of the Mother" was. It would need no emphasis.

Just as in Patriarchies males, if they have the right kind of wealth and status, can have children by many different women, in Matriarchies, high status women would have their children by such men as pleased them. In a Matriarchy of Warrior Witches the Matriarchs might have spells to transfer the pregnancy to someone else. Thus a powerful enchantress with multiple lovers and healthy well cared for female slaves might get pregnant by up to a dozen men in one year and transfer the pregnancies to her slaves to do the work of gestation, birth, and lactation.

My point is that a real matriarchy, or a fantasy magical matriarchy, would be very alien to our eyes.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:48 PM   #37
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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I still say that, since the definition of "Patriarchy" is "an oppressive oligarchy of men only, or with very limited cases of female participation," matriarchy would be the same with women doing the oppression. Now a matriarchy would logically have different hang-ups.

A good example of a hang-up that Patriarchies have that Matriarchies wouldn't is "purity of lineage." Since a woman knows the child is hers when she gives birth, all the stress on chastity and fidelity typical of Patriarchy would make far less sense. This would radically alter the relationship between the sexes. Marriage is about making sure the child is the "Child of the Father." Everyone would know who the "Child of the Mother" was. It would need no emphasis.
The primary male caregiver to the children would probably be maternal uncles - if your sister has given birth you know that you're related to the child. Of course, an Analyze Heredity spell solves that. Many societies have hangups around menstruations - there could be something similar around wet dreams (from males).
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:38 PM   #38
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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The primary male caregiver to the children would probably be maternal uncles - if your sister has given birth you know that you're related to the child. Of course, an Analyze Heredity spell solves that. Many societies have hangups around menstruations - there could be something similar around wet dreams (from males).
There's a whole category of societies called Avunuculate were the sister's child is the heir.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:28 AM   #39
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, which possesses a system more like Sorcery than RPM. The Aes Sidai are the mages of the setting and are rare rather than uncommon.
Also worth noting is Andre Norton's Witch World, which got a GURPS supplement back in in the 1980s.

For the situation as described, magic is likely to be a female profession and perhaps even a monopoly (Witch World again) but since the vast majority of men and women lack magic power the ruling class might be female dominated but ordinary society is probably not going to be matriarchal. To get a strongly matriarchal society you'd probably need a situation where all women had Magery and no men did.

That said, I suspect biology drives a lot of patriarchy - controlling the means of reproduction. Simply having women more powerful on average then men would get you a female first society but to really get oppression going men would have to possess something worth controlling.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:55 AM   #40
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Default Re: Magical Matriarchies [Fantasy]

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I still say that, since the definition of "Patriarchy" is "an oppressive oligarchy of men only, or with very limited cases of female participation," matriarchy would be the same with women doing the oppression. Now a matriarchy would logically have different hang-ups.

A good example of a hang-up that Patriarchies have that Matriarchies wouldn't is "purity of lineage." Since a woman knows the child is hers when she gives birth, all the stress on chastity and fidelity typical of Patriarchy would make far less sense. This would radically alter the relationship between the sexes. Marriage is about making sure the child is the "Child of the Father." Everyone would know who the "Child of the Mother" was. It would need no emphasis.

Just as in Patriarchies males, if they have the right kind of wealth and status, can have children by many different women, in Matriarchies, high status women would have their children by such men as pleased them. In a Matriarchy of Warrior Witches the Matriarchs might have spells to transfer the pregnancy to someone else. Thus a powerful enchantress with multiple lovers and healthy well cared for female slaves might get pregnant by up to a dozen men in one year and transfer the pregnancies to her slaves to do the work of gestation, birth, and lactation.

My point is that a real matriarchy, or a fantasy magical matriarchy, would be very alien to our eyes.
By definition as men and women are roughly equal in numbers and an oligarchy is a minority there is no such thing as a patriarchy. If there is such a thing (an oligarchy following Salic Law for instance), there has to be more qualifications than masculinity. As for "oppressive" it is hard to say how the mere word "patriarchy" gives any information about it's benignity or rigorousness. It is better and simply to say, "In an abstractly conceived patriarchy a given male has a higher status than a given female." It would therefore follow that a given female has a higher status than a given male in a simple matriarchy. As the addition of magic indicates there are other status-deciders as there are in real life societies, there are numerous ways that can be made. This can include "matriarchal" reflected in the fact that females have a higher chance of access to the upper crust of power just as the loose definition of "patriarchy" means the reverse.
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