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Old 03-20-2012, 06:48 PM   #61
Witchking
 
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by Figleaf23 View Post
But why would mages obey him?
Ayup...I have felt a fair bit of *cough* <realizm> by having mages be:

a- a demographically small group
b- subdivided into about 20 differnet orders of mages (most international) with a wide range of goals, means and methods...sometimes in almost direct opposition to each other
c- further organized into an Mages College (supranational) in a lot of way a trade guild...organizes and regulates the training of apprentices...sets some standards on prices...and Most Importantly...enforces a set of norms on the behavior of Mages...and keeps opposed orders from "warfare" channels it more into Cplllege politics...

The College keeps the mages in line more or less...most national governments the world round in return agree to let them do so and give jurisdiction over magical infractions most of the time...

The College provides training and support services to mages and status too...

The Kings and Nobles and Merchants have a decent idea where to go if they want to pay for/hire magical service X...

Sometimes kingdoms butt heads with the College...(much like early proto states in europe butted heads with the Papacy)...then the College withdraws its members (sure they do not get 100% compliance...mebbe only 90ish%...its enough)...after a while to let it burn...negotiations restart...

I dunno always liked the vibe...of course I also kept most of the healing spells out from the mages so that the Power Investiture (Priests) had fun toys to play with...they have another whole set of politicks going on...
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #62
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by Figleaf23 View Post
Why would mages tolerate a social system that confines them to a life of being controlled by non-mages? How could such conditions be imposed on them except by other mages?
That seems like asking me why people with nuclear weapons would tolerate the confines of being controlled by politicians who do not themselves possess such weapons.

If we're not at TL 0, and we're not at TL 11^, then magic as it exists in its codified form, usable by wizards, has not existed since before the advent of agriculture. I don't think you can go from TL 2 to TL 3 when you have active wizards like is proposed here. You can stay at TL 2, where you have regulated magic that is hidden away and controlled, or you can be TL 11^. Because the application of magic immediately takes you from whatever TL you get access to it to TL11^.

Since we're assuming these people have armies that are fighting, I'm assuming that magic was discovered by someone like Pythagoras. There was already this political structure in place, and then the magic was discovered there, and the rulers immediately acted to control it and suppress it. Because we're not TL 0 and we're not TL 11^ and we have wizards with access to all of these wonderful spells.

Maybe I'm missing something, but that's the way I see this having to go. The wizards allow this control because as soon as magic was discovered--before it could be fully implemented--it was taken control of.

I don't see any other way to get wizards at TL 1 or 2 or 3. Not with anything resembling the sort of structures people expect of them. You could make the wizards rare enough (only a few in the world), or the texts exceedingly rare (the empire only has knowledge of these four spells). But if we want to have access to most of the spells, and to have a significant portion of the population born with Magery, then I don't see any other way to do this. You could have the gods do it, but I find that less satisfactory because then you have gods to worry with too.

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There's no need for him to be king either. Who can defend a throne against people who can read minds and walk through walls?
I would hope that, with all of his wizard slaves and his magic items, the king could.


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But there's an earlier-stage question ... How does he get to position where he can control of it in the first place?
He got to that position because his great-great-great-great grandfather, the great tyrant, immediately had everyone tested for Magery as soon as Merlin figured out the Aura spell. He proceeded to enslave every single one of them and, in the years since, the crown has kept every single wizard child as a slave. It has only been in the years since that the more powerful spells have been discovered. And since they have been discovered by the king's own slaves, he has maintained control of them personally.

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But why would mages obey him?
Because he has each of them since birth trained to obey. Each one is surrounded by a hundred crossbowmen who are instructed to kill them if they cease to obey. Each one is only allowed to know one spell and the wizards never operate together. They are only allowed what knowledge is necessary for them to perform their duties.



That's what I can come up with for why you have this sort of setting where you have wizards trying to do ceremonial castings on the battlefield. It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense, though, considering they could drop a large lead ball from low orbit on the enemy troops while they're camped. Some spells would have to be disallowed.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:51 PM   #63
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
That seems like asking me why people with nuclear weapons would tolerate the confines of being controlled by politicians who do not themselves possess such weapons.
-- Poor example in a number of ways. But really, in such a situation those individuals with nuclear weapons wouldn't be controlled by politicians - certainly where individual actors are reckoned at the national level this largely holds true!
-- A better example is how you would control a group of people who can manipulate your decisionmaking, carry extraordinarily powerful weapons even when naked, and have access to special information about the world.
-- The Aura spell (Magic, p. 101) is a bit BS, I'll give you that.
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If we're not at TL 0, and we're not at TL 11^, then magic as it exists in its codified form, usable by wizards, has not existed since before the advent of agriculture. I don't think you can go from TL 2 to TL 3 when you have active wizards like is proposed here. You can stay at TL 2, where you have regulated magic that is hidden away and controlled, or you can be TL 11^. Because the application of magic immediately takes you from whatever TL you get access to it to TL11^.
-- Not with GURPS magic you don't. You can do some pretty whacky stuff with mass magic, but it's actually a bit crappy compared to high-TL industry and technology in many ways. Certainly it's not necessarily cheaper!
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Since we're assuming these people have armies that are fighting, I'm assuming that magic was discovered by someone like Pythagoras. There was already this political structure in place, and then the magic was discovered there, and the rulers immediately acted to control it and suppress it. Because we're not TL 0 and we're not TL 11^ and we have wizards with access to all of these wonderful spells.
-- Yeah that worked terribly in real life TL0-2 societies when people didn't even have real magic. Add real, undeniably effective GURPS magic and they will have to go full-on witchhunter to keep things under control as every dude who even thinks they have Magery will be working to find the right combination of skills and techniques to make things happen.
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I would hope that, with all of his wizard slaves and his magic items, the king could.
-- And the second any one of those slaves learns a spell that controls his "master"?
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Because he has each of them since birth trained to obey. Each one is surrounded by a hundred crossbowmen who are instructed to kill them if they cease to obey. Each one is only allowed to know one spell and the wizards never operate together. They are only allowed what knowledge is necessary for them to perform their duties.
-- So a variation of "a wizard did it." This type of system didn't work terribly well when they tried it with the Janissaries I'll point out - and they were fundamentally more limited than a corps of mages - especially because of the obvious advantage you will have if you "loosen" the rules to have your mages learn just one more spell than the other guy (and its prerequisites) ...
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:48 AM   #64
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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-- A better example is how you would control a group of people who can manipulate your decisionmaking, carry extraordinarily powerful weapons even when naked, and have access to special information about the world.
You're assuming that these wandering wizards can come to be in the first place. To become a wizard, you need specialized materials and a teacher. The teacher has to find a student capable of learning this stuff. That means he's either going around with a magic item and looking for people who can pick it out, and then hoping they have at least Magery 1 (which might be only one in one hundred people with any Magery at all). Or he's going around testing people with the Aura spell. It's all very obvious.


If a monarch can take control of it all at the beginning, when it is first invented, he can get all of the books encrypted such that even if someone finds them, they can't learn from them. It's such a difficult process to learn these spells anyway that I think you could ferret out people who slip through the cracks. Not that I think there would be any. The monarch would also want to put a heavy social stigma on casting spells. It's easy. Because you do accidentally summon demons sometimes.

How long would someone have to be surreptitiously learning these spells to get something really useful? They might have to learn four or five prerequisites to get to it. And those are Hard skills. It takes a very long time to learn them. And while you're learning them, you're going to be chanting and doing weird dances. It's going to be incredibly obvious who is casting spells. And that's going to be in a society where books are either at the church or at some wealthy person's library. It's going to be obvious what someone is doing when they show up with these weird books and start training someone.

And I think you're way overestimating what a real person could get out of this. I don't know how many spells a real person could learn over, say, ten years, but I doubt it's very many. And the king could search out all the books and control what spells people could learn. He wouldn't let someone learn enough spells to be a threat. He allows one guy to know Seeker. And then that's it. That's all he gets to know. And some other guy can know Aura. And someone else gets Lend Energy. And so on. Most of these people aren't walking around as threats. And those who are threats can be kept on a leash and controlled. One guy that knows Enslave isn't a threat. Only let him know it at skill 14 and then keep him gagged. Do that with all the more powerful spells. If he gets loose and starts casting, have his guards shoot him.

It looks really easy to control this stuff. Once you get control of the books, you can encrypt them and destroy all of the old copies. You can use Seeker to find all of the old ones. You can test every single person with Aura to see if they're a potential threat. And then make sure they never can be.

And it seems exceedingly easy to test everyone. You train up a lot of people with Ease Labor and Aura and then you have them deliver all of the babies. Everyone gets tested. "Oh, this one could accidentally summon demons." Look at the history of infanticide. There was a lot of infanticide in the ancient world. I don't think it would be difficult to get people to accept the removal of the demon-summoning babies.

It's only a matter of getting control in the first place. Which the Pharaoh could do. Wizards are powerful, but they can still be killed. They can be hunted down. An army could stop them. Because they're not going to know twenty or thirty different spells. They're going to know something like two spells, or five spells, or maybe ten spells if they've spent a considerable amount of time learning these spells. And that doesn't seem possible when spells are so dangerous.

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-- Not with GURPS magic you don't. You can do some pretty whacky stuff with mass magic, but it's actually a bit crappy compared to high-TL industry and technology in many ways. Certainly it's not necessarily cheaper!
Give Democritus access to those Knowledge spells. Give them to Ptolemy. Give them Measurement, Hawk Vision, and Small Vision.

And that's before you even get into the fact that they now have multiple ways of creating perpetual motion machines. Keep your version of Archimedes in his youth for a few hundred years and see what he can do with those.

I could go through and list some spells and things they could do with them, but it gets to the point of absurdity all of the things these people could do with them.

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And the second any one of those slaves learns a spell that controls his "master"?
How would he do that? Are spells something one can sit and meditate on, without knowing any thaumatological theory, and come up with? Even so, they're still bound and gagged. So they can't cast them. And I would do occasional mind control sweeps of all the wizards just to make sure they hadn't accidentally learned anything or were working on it. Send the person that knows Compel Truth around with a team of people with Lend Energy and have them test everyone. I figure most of the people who are Magery 1 would end up being taught nothing but Lend Energy. And then they would follow the big dogs around and power them.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:23 AM   #65
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

A simple answer to all of this.

The mature wizard has magery 3 and 25 points in spells.
If we assume he was born with Magery 0 and 5 points in spells.
He still needs 50 points worth of training to reach his mature state.

The king spends the same 50 points of training focusing on administration and diplomacy.

Which country is going to run better?
The one run by the king who subjugates the wizards, forcing them out.
The one run by the wizards who subjugate the king, preventing him from using his own judgement. Sometimes the boss needs to be told no that won't work.
The one run by the king assisted by the wizards. King does politics. Wizards do magic.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:54 AM   #66
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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How would he do that? Are spells something one can sit and meditate on, without knowing any thaumatological theory, and come up with? Even so, they're still bound and gagged. So they can't cast them. And I would do occasional mind control sweeps of all the wizards just to make sure they hadn't accidentally learned anything or were working on it. Send the person that knows Compel Truth around with a team of people with Lend Energy and have them test everyone. I figure most of the people who are Magery 1 would end up being taught nothing but Lend Energy. And then they would follow the big dogs around and power them.
Uhmmm ok...that level of totalitarian thought pretty much does not come into being until the industrial revolution...magic aside...nobles acting in <things much less than this manner> historically had many of their serfs...run away...to the forests to become bandits...to the estates of less tyranical nobles and when they came into being...to the church...to cities to become craftsmen and eventually the middle classes...if it floats your boat have at it...but all of this elaborate machinery and bureaucracies and hundred crossbowmen with leveled crossbows on mages (what happens when one guy has a muscle spasm?) strikes me as fairly cumbersome when compared to a monarch who hires the talents he needs and pays a resonable wage...the monarch will not get everything he wants but likely 90+% of it...

As to containing spells...it is possible to slow the spread...but remember...it is possible to learn without a teacher...someone had to think up the spell in the first place...so a state will at best have limited success in containing the knowledge...once you know it can be done...
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:14 AM   #67
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Uhmmm ok...that level of totalitarian thought pretty much does not come into being until the industrial revolution...magic aside...nobles acting in <things much less than this manner> historically had many of their serfs...run away
A few thoughts: the ancient world was full of slaves. If, in this society, the only slaves are the wizards, then the people would be much freer than they would be in some real world ancient society. They were able to keep a lot of people subjugated a lot of the time. You had whole cities full of people slaughtered.

Let's say that one in two thousand births has Magery 1, one in ten thousand has Magery 2, and one in twenty thousand has Magery 3. That's a very small percentage of the population that is taken as slaves. In the Roman Empire's sixty million people, that's only thirty-nine thousand wizards kept as slaves, if every wizard is a slave, which they wouldn't be. Some would be born into the aristocracy and be allowed to live their lives more normally. Those numbers are nothing as far as slaves go in the Empire. And I imagine these people will be treated much better than the average slave.

This level of control is nothing special. Maybe it's a bit more than in a ludus, but not by that much. I'd expect any political prisoner to be treated way worse.

If you put this directly into the Roman Empire, I don't see very many of the serfs running away over it. Because there are going to be actual demons accidentally summoned by these people. They can cage up a demon and cart it around to show everyone what happens if you let these people loose. Get the religious institutions to back you up.

None of this seems the least bit implausible to me. This is nothing compared to some of the stuff the ancients did. Look at infanticide rates and then compare those to the number of people that would be taken as wards of the state here. It's nothing. Even compare it to conscripted soldiers. It's still nothing. Especially in comparison to what loose wizards going about could do. Maybe let loose a person with Explosive Fireball to show the people why you're taking their children, if it's that big a problem. Or let them keep the children. Move the whole family with them. It would be expensive, but the whole thing is already. What does the emperor care? He has wizards.

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As to containing spells...it is possible to slow the spread...but remember...it is possible to learn without a teacher...someone had to think up the spell in the first place...so a state will at best have limited success in containing the knowledge...once you know it can be done...
That's setting dependent, for sure. I would try to control it at the source and remove all the people born with Magery. That would take care of it. But you still wouldn't want them getting to people in other countries. I would encrypt all the spells and write them in some secret made up language. So even if the other kindoms' wizards got hold of them, they still couldn't do anything with them. Maybe pass them verbally in song. I don't know if there's any way to do it that couldn't be deciphered with magic, though. Keeping the physical books controlled would probably be easiest.

Then you're left trying to figure out how much effort it took to create all of these spells. Were I creating a setting for this, it would have been someone like Pythagoras with their own school, and hundreds of man years devoted to this stuff, with subsequent discoveries being rare.


And then I would have multiple kingdoms with this same general setup having wars with one another. And that's where we would start looking at the battlefield effects of them having access to wizards. That's the goal we're trying to achieve with the setting: a low TL society where people still have large battles with armies, but where they have these wizards with these spells. That's going to require the removal of a lot of spells. I don't think they get to keep most of the Gate college, for instance.

Edit:

I just looked at the Player-Created Spells section in Magic. You have to have Thaumatology skill to create new spells. So just don't teach that. The default is IQ-7. And it requires a workshop. Definitely won't be allowing the slaves access to either of those.

So, that would be limited to the aristocracy. Some slave in his cage couldn't do that. And the king is protected enough by his army and wizards and his own personal magic items that it wouldn't be a threat, or at least I'm sure that would be the idea. Even the aristocratic wizards would be monitored, I'm sure. Allowing the aristocracy access to magic does make it possible to have these wars where they employ wizards while keeping a low TL. So that makes sense. Maybe the princess marries off the to the king of somewhere else, and now both kingdoms have this same wizard setup. Until all the kingdoms have it. Now you have your wars and we can think about them using ceremonial castings in battle. There's going to be information asymmetry there. Not every kingdom will have all the spells. That's a really interesting concept to explore.

And you will have wizards that manage to escape and do things. But they'll be the very rare exception. Something for a player character, most likely.

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Old 03-21-2012, 07:36 AM   #68
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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If you put this directly into the Roman Empire, I don't see very many of the serfs running away over it. Because there are going to be actual demons accidentally summoned by these people. They can cage up a demon and cart it around to show everyone what happens if you let these people loose. Get the religious institutions to back you up.
Ummm...first roman control over slaves was nothing like you are postulating in this thread.

Second even with a looser standard of control there were runaway slaves and slave rebellions.

The Spartican slave rebellion threatened the EXISTENCE of the empire...

Slave revolts happen...mage slave revolts <shudder>...

Even in a high magic setting...magically scanning EVERY live birth...that doesnt happen in the first world now...
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:05 AM   #69
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Ummm...first roman control over slaves was nothing like you are postulating in this thread.
That's because they didn't have the need for such control.

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mage slave revolts <shudder>...
But a 'mage' is not a homogeneous commodity. Only some mages would need those extreme controls. Others could be kept in less strict controls. The guy with Lend Energy doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Explosive Fireball, who doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Enslave, who doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Irradiate.

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magically scanning EVERY live birth...that doesnt happen in the first world now...
It would if wizards could be born. They pretty much have to do it this way for the sake of the scenario. We're assuming that something is going on that prevents this world from fully implementing magic and taking the advances from it to their logical ends.

So, I'm saying they have trained up ten or fifteen people with the Aura spell, and a few thousand people with Lend Energy, and now they send those people around to check everyone for Magery. And now they train a large number of people with both Ease Labor and Aura at low levels and have them take care of all the births. Maybe give everyone a tattoo proving they've been tested. It's expensive, and it's a lot of effort. But it's within their technological means. It doesn't require any extraordinary leaps of the imagination to envision this being implemented. And people will go along with this because, first off, their labor is being eased, and secondly, because these people accidentally summon demons.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:19 AM   #70
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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That's because they didn't have the need for such control.



But a 'mage' is not a homogeneous commodity. Only some mages would need those extreme controls. Others could be kept in less strict controls. The guy with Lend Energy doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Explosive Fireball, who doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Enslave, who doesn't get the same treatment as the guy with Irradiate.



It would if wizards could be born. They pretty much have to do it this way for the sake of the scenario. We're assuming that something is going on that prevents this world from fully implementing magic and taking the advances from it to their logical ends.

So, I'm saying they have trained up ten or fifteen people with the Aura spell, and a few thousand people with Lend Energy, and now they send those people around to check everyone for Magery. And now they train a large number of people with both Ease Labor and Aura at low levels and have them take care of all the births. Maybe give everyone a tattoo proving they've been tested. It's expensive, and it's a lot of effort. But it's within their technological means. It doesn't require any extraordinary leaps of the imagination to envision this being implemented. And people will go along with this because, first off, their labor is being eased, and secondly, because these people accidentally summon demons.
Need for control...sure they did...slaves were valuable assests...they needed them not to run away or revolt...they found it impossible to prevents...as did the US South and every other slave/serf society in history...see Pharoh and Moses for further reference.

Mages are de facto intelligent (to be of any use) intelligent people with special capabilities trying to get them to use their talents...often together (ceremonially and enchanting) while preventing them from conspiring against you...comes close to my definition of impossible. As to monitoring them with other mages...have you seen Babylon 5? Because they had the Psicorps who the norms created to control psis...it didnt turn out too well...

Trained up 10-15 with Aura....and have them followed by A FEW THOUSAND people with Lend Energy...so its a movement akin to a military assault...people who dont want to risk losing their kids to lifetime slavery...hide them (maybe in a basket in the bullrushes) but plenty of warning from the advancing COLUMN...

I get that you are wedded to the scenario so I am going to leave you to it...but as a historian and a player I don't know that I would buy it...and if I were playing in it I doubt I would want to play a mage...
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