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Old 05-10-2021, 03:42 PM   #38
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

This next bit isn't specifically Yrth, but the reasoning could be similar.

Mage population

1 in 50 humans has magery 0. One in ten of those might have Magery 1; one in ten of those might have Magery 2; one in ten of those might have Magery 3. Of those, one in 100 might have Magery 4. That means that in Farsskal, with an area of about 90000 square miles and a population of 8700000: 174000 people have the aptitude to learn/cast magic; 17400 have Magery 1; 1740 have Magery 2; 174 have Magery 3; and 2 with Magery 4. Just because someone has the aptitude doesn’t mean that they realize they have it, or have the resources to put it to use. So actual practicing mages are less common than the above numbers would indicate. Assume (optimistically) that 1 in 5 mages has realized and utilized their gift, and know some spells. Increased levels of Magery have higher utilization chances: 1 in 10 for M0; 1 in 5 for M1; 1 in 3 for M2; and 1 in 2 for M3. That gives Farsskal 2 M4 Wizards, 87 M3 Wizards, 579 M2 Wizards, 3480 M1 Wizards, and 17400 M0 Wizards.

That's an example for an entire country, albeit a smallish one. (Also note that in my world, different species have different rates of incidence of Magery; what's listed above is only the notes on Human rates.) For those that want more info on this, here is the link to the full article.

Here is my example of the main area of my campaign, the city of Port Karn, which is part of the Tondene Empire, a much larger polity than Farsskal.

Different races have different rates of magical ability. The first number is the total number of people that are born with the ability to manipulate mana (aka "Magery"). Numbers in parentheses are the numbers of mages actually trained to use magic. For clarity, people born with Magery are "mages". People with Magery who are actually trained in spellcasting are "wizards", "spellcasters", "sorcerors", or any number of other terms. Not all mages know how to cast spells; Magery is an inborn talent; spells are skills that need to be learned.

Orcs--58(6)M0, 6(1)M1, 0M2, 0M3, 0M4
Humans--466(47)M0, 47(9)M1, 5(2)M2, 0M3, 0M4
Goblins--164(33)M0, 16(5)M1, 2(1, Joraaki)M2, 0M3, 0M4
Hobbits--96(10)M0, 10(2)M1, 1M2, 0(1, Daisey Dubrow)M3, 0M4
Elves--91(30)M0, 18(9)M1, 4(2)M2, 1(1)M3, 0M4
Dwarves--17(6)M0, 3(1)M2, 0(1, Harald)M3, 0M4
Aarakocra--0M0, 0M1, 0M2, 0M3, 0M4

Port Karn is a major city; one of the largest in the Empire. But this shows how rare mages, and by extension, enchanters are.

In a city of 68,500 people, there are a total of 13 people who could be enchanters (two of which I know aren't: Joraaki and Daisey). That leaves 11 trained mages with enough Magery to possibly (but not necessarily) be enchanters.

As Hal notes, the educational requirements to be an enchanter are steep, about the same as a Masters Degree or PhD. Considering that each spell is roughly the equivalent of Physics in game terms, having to learn at least 11 courses of study with the same difficulty as Physics is daunting. (A better analogy might be the different disciplines of medical school; with each spell being the equivalent of, say, Otolaryngology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Radiology, Surgery, etc.)

In any case, it's one hell of a course-load.
Warmest regards,


My current worldbuilding project. You can find the Adventure Logs of the campaign here. I try to write them up as narrative prose, with illustrations. As such, they are "embellished" accounts of the play sessions.

It is also the new home of the Alaconius Lectures, a series of essays about the various Colleges of Spells.
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