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Old 03-18-2012, 05:03 PM   #21
Witchking
 
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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I am playing with the idea of it being two different specialties of war magic - Tactical (for close range, FP based) and Strategic (for long range, possible Thresh based powers). Ritual Magic probably does not apply to the strategic mages in this setting, though, because I don't think any amount of onlookers can mitigate an increasing amount of stress on the forces that hold the material plane together. :p
I do not know that I would be in that much of a hurry to make magic *more* powerful...there are dozens of spells in base Magic system that with some creativity can bend the curve in favor of the casters side...

Illusion Disguise + Illusion...zot not terribliy expensive infiltrators...when you don't feel you can trust *anyone* teamwork and discipline takes a beating...plus issuing false commands is fun too...

Nightvision + Hide...cast on 2-4 commando types (per mage) can make sentry removal much easier and surprize night assaults more fruitful.

Glue + Link scattered across a projected avenue of attack becomes a (fairly cheap) defacto minefield that shatters enemy formations and can make 1-6 soldiers (per megahex) into archer meat...

Quick March...one mage casting this spell can double the strategic movement speed of an infantry squad or calvary troop....cast ceremonially with battalions of true believers lined up and bingo entire companies can break land speed records...


There are many many more...again like Gurps magic in general they are support funcitons not damage ones...but IMHO mages are quite dangerous...really the only hang up is explaining why the mages will choose to do this instead of...

...reseach, shattering the worlds economy with <see other threads> spell scheme, etc, etc...

Good Luck Troopoer!!
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:05 PM   #22
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

  • If I'm going to mind control someone, it might be a servant or guard to the general or high officer. Either to gain intelligence or make a costless assassination attempt. A good general is engaged with his troops-- but you can't shield an army's worth of minds. The general and his senior officers and staff are probably protected, with screenings for others who come in regular contact with him. But there are bound to be slips. Not to mention if you use extortion: use divination to identify the hapless servant's beloved daughter back at home and then secure the servant's cooperation by threats.
  • That ceremonial elemental creation technique? Might be useful in retreat. By the time the elemental breaks free, what's left of your army has retreated and you've got it riding herd on the pursuing enemy.
  • What about Pestilence? Disease caused far more deaths in the armies of the ancient world than actual battles. Useful in besieged cities. A highly contagious plague with a nice quiet incubation period is devastating not because it can't be magically cured, but because your available healing magic becomes overwhelmed by the sheer number of the afflicted.
  • Divination has problems with forecasting when you have conflicting diviners, but it's still quite valuable for getting real-time intelligence or information on the very recent past.
Except for the elemental, none of these require ceremonial casting. They just become part of the magic/countermagic arms race.

But overall, I agree with Brackin. The number of wizards in a regular game world with magery 3 is very, very small. Players just pay their points and collect the magery, but the general can't order them like pizza. These guys are cloistered in their towers, jealously guarded by their guild as they're trained, or studying obsessively to climb the thaumaturgic/academic ladder. The ones easily seduced by loyalty to kingdom will probably die as apprentices because they've been fighting rather than studying. The ones with the spells you need got them by staying out of such mundane concerns.

Some weaker mages might well end up in His Awesomeness's Service. And there, we'll see healing and food-creation and mapping and scrying and divining. And maybe some combat spell-casting. Specialists who actually fit the stereotypical role of fantasy magic in warfare.

I see it as almost being like the role of the Church in medieval history. When the Wizard's Guild does firmly take a side, watch out. But it's comparatively rare. That's not to say they won't get involved; history has examples of Cardinals and even Popes personally intervening in battles. But they aren't the general's personal shotguns.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:21 PM   #23
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

This thread reminds me greatly of the classic DOS game Master of Magic, in which strategic and tactical spellcasting plays a major role. In that game, the majority of spellcasting (with the exception of spells cast be heroes who have their own MP) is fueled by "Mana Crystals", the equivalent of Paut. These crystals are produced through rituals at shrines and temples, or harvested from natural nodes, and are basically a strategic resource available to the Archmage. How might the inclusion of reserves of Paut or Manastones impact these massive, strategic-level spells? I could see it either as supplementary to or a replacement for Ceremonial casting.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:26 PM   #24
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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I do not know that I would be in that much of a hurry to make magic *more* powerful...there are dozens of spells in base Magic system that with some creativity can bend the curve in favor of the casters side...
I'm not really suggesting making it any more powerful than it already is, just having a different option. Though, you are right that anything that mitigates range penalties is probably going to result in more powerful casters. It would definitely require limiting, otherwise all of warfare would just be a few mages on one hill slinging magical napalm at some mages on another hill a mile away.

I guess, in theory, a long range mage might have significant penalties when fighting an ambusher who is only a few yards away. This would probably make the Strategic magic unattractive for PC's, who often find themselves fighting enemies who come upon them suddenly from cover.

It could be one of those situations where the "high fantasy" feeling of mega-spells being slung across a battlefield like artillery bombardments is cool to have in the world but not really something you want to put into the hands of PCs.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:33 PM   #25
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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This thread reminds me greatly of the classic DOS game Master of Magic, in which strategic and tactical spellcasting plays a major role. In that game, the majority of spellcasting (with the exception of spells cast be heroes who have their own MP) is fueled by "Mana Crystals", the equivalent of Paut. These crystals are produced through rituals at shrines and temples, or harvested from natural nodes, and are basically a strategic resource available to the Archmage. How might the inclusion of reserves of Paut or Manastones impact these massive, strategic-level spells? I could see it either as supplementary to or a replacement for Ceremonial casting.
I loved that game!
Ley Lines can help but what the Nodes were would be more like a Mana Spring or Mana Basin. Mana Basin is described in Fantasy, Mana Springs apparently were 3e and didnt make it to 4E
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:36 PM   #26
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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It could be one of those situations where the "high fantasy" feeling of mega-spells being slung across a battlefield like artillery bombardments is cool to have in the world but not really something you want to put into the hands of PCs.
I think the intent of Ceremonial Casting in general is to provide an explanation for "epic" spellcasting, without giving the PCs an easy tool for exploiting it. Another option is to make high-concentration mana a strategic resource (ie, massive reserves of Paut; see above). A third way is to provide some sort of extremely expensive, extremely immobile "Casting Enhancer" - for example, a Wizard's Tower that lets a mage, using extended rituals, cast certain spells with Long Distance modifiers instead of the Regular penalties. This would of course be entirely in the GM's control; it would be up to him what exactly the effects of this amplifier are, what the requirements of use are, and how difficult it is for PCs to gain access to it.

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I loved that game!
Ley Lines can help but what the Nodes were would be more like a Mana Spring or Mana Basin. Mana Basin is described in Fantasy, Mana Springs apparently were 3e and didnt make it to 4E
Hehe, yeah. After following this thread a bit I had to boot up my old copy again, for old time's sake.

Yeah, the Mana Basin looks pretty appropriate. There still needs to be some way to transform the accumulated energy into a transportable medium; in that particular setting it seems to occur naturally, or at least with the aid of spirits. Also, for mana provided by ceremonial worship, I suspect it's not a bunch of clerics casting "Manastone" over and over, but something more akin to the Meditation rules in Thaumatology - each pilgrim-day of prayer provides one energy point, with the cleric overseeing the ritual somehow converting that into a crystalline form. Again, in keeping with the strategic nature of the setting's magic, this may not be through his personal power but by some enchanted artifact present in the temple (the altar would be a good choice).

Last edited by vierasmarius; 03-18-2012 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #27
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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How could Ceremonial Magic best be used in an Army?


Thoughts?
Logistics. Many from the Food College, Create/Purify/Essential Water, Quick March, Weather Dome, Continual Light, minor healing spells to sanitize and patch up the wounded and cure plague/sickness.

Proper application of all of those brings up the average fighting ability of your forces because few soldiers are suffering from deprivation/injury/illness, and increases overall mobility because scouts and messengers can move around faster, and you don't need to haul around the staggering amount of supplies of food, water, and torches/lamp oil.

There are a ton of minor but useful enchantments that would help improve the fighting readiness of small groups (like a squad).
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #28
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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We discussed this in another thread by snaps (It would have been useful for him to have provided that information). Basically no regular, or thrown, 'front line' spell will be of any use in cerimonial magic casting because.
Actually, I never accepted that conclusion. If magic exists in a game world I think the military will find a way to apply it to the battlefield. In every way possible.

Long range attacks with spells require either Magery 3 or allowing the Techniques to be bought to increase the range of spells. There are also several other rules in Thaumatology for increasing range, especially during Ceremonial Casting.

Magery 3 gives you access to Telecast, Delay, Hang Spell, etc. An army with access to these spells will own the battlefield. The mage doesn't even have to leave his tent. Spells can be delivered by arrow, catapult or other spells over great distances to unleash hell on the other army.

Rain of Ice Daggers can be set off above the enemy, mages could fly over troops, dropping 100 yard spheres of flame down on soldiers, etc. (But really, with Delay its better to just create short lived bombs, mortar, etc.)

Telecast is even worse. One second your army is fine, the next they are all on fire.

You can always protect your supporters with a Force Dome. It can block even light from escaping, nicely protecting your supporters and removing any chance of unwilling observers reducing the energy available.

A race like Elves, who all possess even Magery 0 is unbeatable I think. There is no limit to how many elves can contribute energy to a Ceremonial Casting. 1000 elves = 3000 energy, 10,000 elves gets you up to 30,000 energy.

Mess with their forest and they might just turn your capitol into a crater . . .
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:28 PM   #29
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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Actually, I never accepted that conclusion. If magic exists in a game world I think the military will find a way to apply it to the battlefield. In every way possible.

Long range attacks with spells require either Magery 3 or allowing the Techniques to be bought to increase the range of spells. There are also several other rules in Thaumatology for increasing range, especially during Ceremonial Casting.

A race like Elves, who all possess even Magery 0 is unbeatable I think. There is no limit to how many elves can contribute energy to a Ceremonial Casting. 1000 elves = 3000 energy, 10,000 elves gets you up to 30,000 energy.
Well those options from Thaumatology are optional so not part of the standard system which makes them a whole other topic.
As for the Elves, unless they ALL know the same spell there still capped at 100 total.
So were probably talking about only the most basic spells getting a big boost over that 100 cap. Mind you I am not saying an Elven army is not dangerous just that the example was somewhat overstated.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:37 PM   #30
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Default Re: Ceremonial Magic used to support an army.

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I think the intent of Ceremonial Casting in general is to provide an explanation for "epic" spellcasting, without giving the PCs an easy tool for exploiting it.
Don't forget that one of the original target genres for GURPS Magic magic was horror. Several Pyramid adventures give magical terrors half a dozen random spells, and several early writeups for the undead give them spells instead of advantages. The circle of cultists with candles engaged in an awful rite is a classic element of horror.
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