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Old 03-21-2012, 08:33 AM   #71
ErhnamDJ
 
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by Witchking View Post
Need for control...sure they did...slaves were valuable assests
Right. They weren't going to spend more on controlling them than they were worth. And magical slaves are worth enough to justify those additional controls.

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they needed them not to run away or revolt...they found it impossible to prevents...
Because of what those slaves were doing. It wouldn't have been economical to heavily police people working in mines or fields. It is economical to control the guy that knows Irradiate. I'm thinking of something like in the Wheel of Time, where the wizard characters are captured and chained up and given their own taskmasters. Only, those people should have kept crossbows pointed at them.

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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.
There's ways around that. If it was that big of a concern, only have the children of senators doing that stuff. Each one has thousands and thousands of children (Youth spell, remember) until he gets one with Magery 3. Then that one is raised as a leading member of the political class.

But even if you don't go that far, I don't see how much damage a closely monitored wizard can do. Have him do all of his work in a room with a giant stone block over his head which is dropped at the pull of a lever. Put like fifteen such levers around the room. He's going to have to have some mighty powerful magic to get out of that one. And I'm sure the controls would be individualized. It just seems really easy to keep them controlled once you have them.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #72
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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.
That's an inexact analogy, at best. There are no individuals who possess nuclear weapons. Maintaining and operating them is a huge collaborative enterprise, and building them requires a very high order knowledge and industrial base. In short, nuclear weapons are only possible in the kind of society that can combine and coordinate vastly diverse inputs. Magic circumvent such requirements.

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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.
Well, that assumption certainly creates the best chance for things to play out as you've described, but even then the available control measures seem pathetically inadequate to sustain mundane governments for long against a restive magic class. Consider for comparison the spread of various heresies -- they were assiduously suppressed, but spread anyway, and they didn't grant incredible powers to their possessors.


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The wizards allow this control because as soon as magic was discovered--before it could be fully implemented--it was taken control of.
Except the 'control' you speak of would be ineffective. If you need mages to do things, then they need to know spells. Once they know them, control is gone.


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I would hope that, with all of his wizard slaves and his magic items, the king could.
If Spartacus' army had included the mages of a fictional Rome, I put it to you that the outcome would have been radically different.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:19 PM   #73
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by Figleaf23 View Post
That's an inexact analogy, at best. There are no individuals who possess nuclear weapons.
We could imagine rogue submarine captains. They require a crew and certain infrastructure, similar to ceremonial castings.

But, yes, we don't have Dmitri Ravenoff here quite yet.


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Maintaining and operating them is a huge collaborative enterprise, and building them requires a very high order knowledge and industrial base. In short, nuclear weapons are only possible in the kind of society that can combine and coordinate vastly diverse inputs. Magic circumvent such requirements.
I don't think you're correct here. Training someone in magic is very expensive. Look at the trouble the church had keeping copies of books in the middle ages. We could very easily see something similar with the wizards here. It could require extreme amounts of wealth to support the training of even a few wizards, particularly if certain spells are kept secret, such as Copy. If I was the wizard who came up with the Copy spell, I'd probably just keep that one to myself.

How long does it take for someone to learn five spells? How many years? Let's say they have IQ 11 and Magery 1. They could be spending years getting to the point where they can reliably cast these spells.

Training wizards and everything that entails looks a lot like a nuclear weapons program to me. It's possibly a higher percentage of GDP for your low-tech king to run such a program than it is for a modern state to run a nuclear weapons program. TL 1? That is incredibly expensive. It's still very expensive at TL 2 and 3. That all depends on exactly what spells you have access to, of course. Everyone's going to be trying to keep these things secret. I imagine someone getting hold of the wrong spell is the kind of thing you go to war over.

I would like to come up with some various examples with civilizations based on different historical ones. Sumeria looks real different from Greece from Rome from China. In Sumer, depending on the numbers, they just wouldn't have had very many people with Magery. And they wouldn't have had the wealth to support very many of them, anyway, assuming the mages didn't raise the TL.

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Well, that assumption certainly creates the best chance for things to play out as you've described, but even then the available control measures seem pathetically inadequate to sustain mundane governments for long against a restive magic class.
I tend to agree, but it's really all I can come up with to get the proposed setting.

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Except the 'control' you speak of would be ineffective. If you need mages to do things, then they need to know spells. Once they know them, control is gone.
Well, like I said: keep them separated, kill them immediately if they misbehave.

Maybe you could have it where the monarch has always maintained control since their discovery. Say the guy who invented the spells couldn't himself cast them. Or maybe the king himself invented them. Maybe he received them as a gift from the gods.

My point here is that I think it might be possible to come up with some convoluted series of events that happened just so in which we get this setting functioning in this way.

I don't think it makes sense to have one in every thousand people be born with Magery 3, and to have open access to training, where anyone can go in and learn Enslave or Irradiate if they so please, if they can get someone to pay for their training. That way madness lies.


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If Spartacus' army had included the mages of a fictional Rome, I put it to you that the outcome would have been radically different.
Those slaves were able to escape because of the economics of their conditions. Wizards as slaves would have entirely different conditions. They would have to be both to be contained, and for us to get a society where we can march armies at one another containing wizards attempting to use ceremonial castings.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:22 PM   #74
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

Hmm. I think you may have come up with a way to mobilize a good fraction of mages in a kingdom... against your example, ErhnamDJ. :)

I know if I were a mage and an empire hellbent on enslaving all mages in perpetuity was invading my kingdom (or hell, even located near enough to be known!), I would be plenty motivated to start tossing sticks into their wheel spokes. The mages of this opposing kingdom are not limited to one spell each, and they are cooperating together to blast your god-emperor to smithereens, and to dismantle his empire of servitude.

Of course, since your premise was that all mages everywhere would be enslaved by the pharoah, I am assuming there are no groups of free mages around anymore? How about those 'free' aristocrat mages? Any of them feeling a golden chain around their throats? What if the pharoah decides to lump them with the slave-mages? After all, what guarantees does the pharoah have of their loyalty and unlike the slaves, these people would have the skills and contacts to fashion a coup instead of a slave revolt. What about normal artistocrats? Any of them worried that the pharoah is using his tame mind-reading mages to ferret out plots and corruption? In the end, who can the pharoah trust?

I think enslaved mages might work as enchanters, but giving them a battlefield role might be dangerous in extreme. After all, it is so easy to lose a battle because your scryer lies to you, or your battlemage drops that big killing spell on your general and his aides, or onto your elite troops. And as soon as you trust them to protect you with magic... Well, remember that a mage can cancel his own spell by spending one fatigue... Also, many coups (especially in Imperial Rome) happened through the palace guards (praetorians), who were supposed to protect the Emperor.

I mean, you can certainly posit such a society where it would work. People being what they are, I doubt everyone would be happy to toe the line, though. To reiterate my earlier post's point, this would work much better in a society where the head honcho also controls the source of the magical power, such as being the earthly regent of a god and the mages are actually priests of the said god.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:33 PM   #75
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by Whyte View Post
How about those 'free' aristocrat mages? Any of them feeling a golden chain around their throats? What if the pharoah decides to lump them with the slave-mages? After all, what guarantees does the pharoah have of their loyalty and unlike the slaves, these people would have the skills and contacts to fashion a coup instead of a slave revolt. What about normal artistocrats? Any of them worried that the pharoah is using his tame mind-reading mages to ferret out plots and corruption? In the end, who can the pharoah trust?
This is by design. We have to have people fighting here. The majority of the mages are kept as slaves and run by the king solely to keep this from advancing to TL 11^.

The king benefits. He gets his power. So he has incentive enough to keep the game running. We can have multiple kings each running the same setup, but fighting each other. None of them want the wizards to go free. That's mutually assured destruction. They'll fight battles. They'll have proxy wars. But no one will ever, ever risk the wizards going free. Because then every politician everywhere loses their power.

So, you could have a duke or an earl or whatever lead a civil war and that's fine, as long as the wizards aren't freed.

Quote:
I think enslaved mages might work as enchanters, but giving them a battlefield role might be dangerous in extreme. After all, it is so easy to lose a battle because your scryer lies to you, or your battlemage drops that big killing spell on your general and his aides, or onto your elite troops.
And that's when their families are sold into slavery, or their home village is burned, or whatever. The king has mind reading and mind control. He can force each slave to tell him how to make them comply, or else attain that information through other magical means. Once you have them, they are easy to control. Maybe get the more dangerous slaves with a Great Geas spell. You can make items with that spell. Just have everyone with Magery 3 wear one of those. Problem (expensively) solved. But there are mundane ways as well.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:35 PM   #76
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

I imagine that mages could found secret societies and keep it secretive. And I think a kingdom with powerful free wizards will mop the floor with this tiranic kingdom full of low level mages, as the mages probably wouldn't like to this tiranic kingdom to keep mages enslaved.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:49 PM   #77
ErhnamDJ
 
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by BaHalus View Post
I imagine that mages could found secret societies and keep it secretive. And I think a kingdom with powerful free wizards will mop the floor with this tiranic kingdom full of low level mages, as the mages probably wouldn't like to this tiranic kingdom to keep mages enslaved.
I'm sure of both of those things too. But then you don't get armies with wizards with ceremonial magic. If we want to get something like the battles in Master of Magic or Age of Mythology, then we're going to have to come up with something convoluted.

I think what we really need for these armies are a few things: limited number of mages, limit training for the mages, and limited spell access even for the rulers. If we give them access to every spell, then they'll just use the more powerful spells every time.

But if they only have access to Create Animal and its prerequisites, then they can start thinking about doing interesting things on the battlefield with it. Maybe you get a war wagon full of people churning out elephants.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:50 PM   #78
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
... I don't think you're correct here. Training someone in magic is very expensive. Look at the trouble the church had keeping copies of books in the middle ages. We could very easily see something similar with the wizards here. It could require extreme amounts of wealth to support the training of even a few wizards, particularly if certain spells are kept secret, such as Copy.
I don't really see that. The Church managed to semi-educate sufficient priests to serve in tiny manors and parishes, and it did this without the advantages magic would supply to the effort.

I can see it taking incredible resources to apply state control over magic, but its not all that inherently expensive to train the mages to do magic. You get IQ-1 in a spell for 2 points just like you get DX-1 in flail for 2 points.


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If I was the wizard who came up with the Copy spell, I'd probably just keep that one to myself.
I think that undermines your argument -- if mages can keep new spells secret from the authorities, how can the authorities purport to control them? And if one mage can come up with something, surely eventually another can too -- further undermining the premise that magic can be controlled.


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How long does it take for someone to learn five spells? How many years? Let's say they have IQ 11 and Magery 1. They could be spending years getting to the point where they can reliably cast these spells.
In GURPS, character points are fungible. It requires the same amount of time to learn 5 points in fighting skills or magic spells.


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Training wizards and everything that entails looks a lot like a nuclear weapons program to me.
I don't see that. One wizard can train another without any significant infrastructure or logistics.


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Wizards as slaves would have entirely different conditions. They would have to be both to be contained, and for us to get a society where we can march armies at one another containing wizards attempting to use ceremonial castings.
Contained by whom?
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:05 PM   #79
ErhnamDJ
 
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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I don't really see that. The Church managed to semi-educate sufficient priests to serve in tiny manors and parishes, and it did this without the advantages magic would supply to the effort.
Was that enough for them to be considered to have a point in the skill? Or were they running off default or using the Dabbler perk?

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I think that undermines your argument -- if mages can keep new spells secret from the authorities, how can the authorities purport to control them? And if one mage can come up with something, surely eventually another can too -- further undermining the premise that magic can be controlled.
Under my scenario, everyone is tested at birth for Magery, and everyone with it is taken away and controlled for their entire life.

To create new spells, you have to make a Thaumatology roll, which defaults to IQ-7. Thaumatology skill is not taught to the slaves. The papers with that knowledge would be kept secret, probably encrypted. And you have to have an expensive workshop.

So the person coming up with new spells is probably the prince of the duke or one of the senators or someone like that. And then they would have an incentive to keep those new spells secret: they don't want people in other kingdoms getting hold of them and they don't want to risk escaped slaves getting hold of them.

Sure, this requires all of the rulers to be paranoid. But I can at least picture how all of this could work in my mind. It's a coherent setting.

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Contained by whom?
The rulers. Their owners. Keep them chained up.

If you have slaves working in a field, it's to make money. You can't spend more on preventing a revolt than you would make. It would defeat the purpose.

It's not so with wizards as slaves to further political ends. You can spend an incredible amount of money making sure they do not revolt. Making sure there is no possibility of such a thing happening. After all, rulers spent huge sums on achieving those same ends. How much did the helepolis cost? How much did a navy? An army? Castles? If you had wizards, you could use some of the funds that would have otherwise been spent on those things and use them to raise your wizards and make sure they're kept under control. Keep them shackled and gagged. Give each of the more powerful ones their own castle and army to guard them. Probe their mind to make sure they aren't planning escape. I don't think there would be any expense spared on making sure the guy that casts Youth or the guy that casts Resurrection is kept under complete and total control.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:22 PM   #80
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Different strokes...my demographics assumption for any magery is about that...with a pyramid for the distribution of Magery 0/1/2/3+, with about 50% of potential mages being found and trained (although the upper reaches of the pyramid tend to be found more often than the lower levels...)

But I want my magic to be rare...mages to be special (as PCs or enemies)...and mages to be an important factor in world affairs...not the end all be all...

But then again I divide the Magic book up so no one order of mages can 'cast all spells' so there are choices to be made...and all mages have a flavor of their own...sitting down a PC with the entire text of Magic and saying 'have fun' is about the last thing I would ever want to do...

YMMV tho...
Any society that conducts a census will have a ~100% mage detection rate (Less if mages are subjected to being stolen away for training so there is benefit in hiding it, also potentially less if there is a windfall for having a mage-child and people try to game the system) .

Census takers just need a magelight- wave in targets face, if pupils dilate they have at least magery 0. The census taker does not even need to be a mage themselves, just wave the magic stick around and check eyes.

Edit:

Also ErhnamDJ- you seem really married to this 'wizards as slaves' concept; but no one agrees with you, perhaps you should just agree to disagree and let it go- or start a new thread about 'Why wizard's as slaves will work' and just post the link here.

Last edited by starslayer; 03-21-2012 at 01:32 PM.
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