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Old 05-10-2021, 05:15 AM   #35
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Originally Posted by StevenH View Post
Regarding making magic swords....

It's an inefficient way to win wars. Takes too long, and ties up too many mages for too long a time.

My guess is that Megalos would make magic tools that made their "mundane" armies more effective. A magic sword under most circumstances isn't much better than a mundane sword. (Or, more likely spear, as spears beat swords in most cases, as history has shown since the Stone Age.)
Largely agree with you there. I just used Swords as an example. The whole process overall however, does require 4x longer to make for ALL regions than for most regional theater items.

Originally Posted by StevenH View Post
So: Quality of Life items, food, anti-disease, healing, communication, movement. Logistics. Engineering (bridges and roads, perhaps rails). Air Golem (1st ed, now called Dancing Object I think) works great on a hand-pump rail car (or a pedal-powered one).
Air Golem is especially useful as you note. So, I'd vote on that as well. In theory, one could link the air golem to oar butts and used them for oared powered galleys. One could also in theory, use it in lieu of oxen for plows, etc.

As a player, working out how to use some spells effectively based on how they are written, I can say a lot of things are good in GURPS MAGIC in general. As a GM, I would have written some of those spells a little differently. More on that later. But in GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, AIR GOLEM did not exist. With the introduction of that spell in GURPS MAGIC - that is one "milieu changing" spell right there.

Originally Posted by StevenH View Post
The point is, why make an item that makes only 1 person slightly more effective, when you can make items that make large groups of soldiers more effective? Besides, you need to get the biggest bang for the buck out of your enchanters. And if you can beg, borrow, steal, or sacrifice to do it with Quick and Dirty, you will. And if talismans of Paut are available, pair up an enchanter mage with an alchemist (I don't think Yrth has Paut as an option, especially with "1st Ed only" as a rule).
If you mean Paut as the alchemical equivalent of power stones, then no, GURPS FANTASY 1st or GURPS MAGIC 1st and 2nd did not have that. Being able to recover energy by means of being unwounded and drinking Healing potions is kind of nice when you get down to it. No need for Lend Energy if you can simply drink Health Potions.

Originally Posted by StevenH View Post
Speaking of alchemy, that's also a pretty cost effective way to get better effectiveness out of your soldiers. Not terribly expensive in many cases, and if you have any special forces squads they can definitely get access to even the more expensive ones.

<snipped some good comments about Alchemy>
The only thing I'll say about what you've pointed out as being worth the while is that Alchemical production ramped up as you suggest means that Alchemy will become the new "munitions" industry in that era.

But what you pointed out - would require some "comparisons" between GURPS FANTASY 1st vs GURPS MAGIC 1st and 2nd editions, vs the final form of GURPS MAGIC for 4e. What wasn't possible in the first incarnation of Yrth may have become possible in the 2nd incarnation of GURPS MAGIC 1st edition. Does it change the narrative a bit? Sure. But it also means that when you take "Potion" based warfare into Caithness - that those potions only have half the duration/effect in low mana than they do in normal mana.

But what you touched upon in passing, and needs to be mentioned up front is that any kind of enchantment assembly line is going to require what few enchanters you do have, be available on hand for long term training. Why long term? Each "Item" being made requires that the Mage enchanter be facile in both Enchantment and the Underlying spell being enchanted. In addition, regardless of the Enchanter's skill with Enchantment, the "Power" of a magic item is the lower of both Enchant and the Underlying spell. Thus, Enchanters who can make MULTIPLE different items are going to have to branch out.

GURPS 3rd edition (and I can check 2nd edition later on after I finish writing this) had a specific limitation on the number of points that could be invested in a starting character based upon character age.

"And note that a beginning character may not put more than (2 x age) points into skills; a 12-year old child could have a maximum of 24 points in skills."

GURPS 4th edition did away with that entirely. But - getting back on my original point:

Enchantment as a bottleneck, was initially based upon the fact that only 9% of the "Mageborn" population could have magery 2+. If Magery 1 was 10 times more prevalent than Magery 2, and Magery 2 was 10x more prevalent than magery 3, that means that for every 10 magery 1 - we had 1 magery 2+

That's 1/11th of the entire mage born population, which was stated initially to be 2% of the general population (ie 1 in 50).

Which brings me back to the overall initial thought - Enchanters were a major limit upon who or which mages could even begin to study Enchantments, let alone craft them. Then the prerequisite system of spells meant that enchanters had to diversify from the start, into multiple colleges of spells, which meant that they would have to specialize in with those spells deemed most commercially viable (ie worth learning in order to sell your services to your employer).

Mageborn - in terms of Society, are "Coins" to be spent. Translation: Each mage is essentially a specialist, that once put to use in society by their specialization, can't be spent elsewhere.

What opened my eyes as a GM running a campaign using ALL of the GURPS rules in say, GURPS 3e revised, was this:

Tracking which spells YOUNG mages learn in order to track their educational progress means that many of the "Good" spells take time before the mageborn can learn them, let alone use them.

Part of me wants to start up a thread, not in the GURPS area, but in the GENERAL ROLEPLAYING area or even in the play by post area, where - I set up a general TL 3 model containing 10 "Landed Knights" at TL 3, with 25,000 people inhabiting some 10 villages. Going STRICTLY by demographics as existed by social class in Historical Earth Circa 1200 AD in England, assign various "NPC" types by social class break down, and from there, by demographical breakdown by magery. From there, break them down by gender as well as by age.

Then the entire THREAD would be based on a joint "world building team" making suggestions on how to spend those mageborn. Some mageborn won't study magic because they're not born to the right family perhaps (Ie social class opportunities). Some just don't have the intellectual capacity to enjoy magery based activity. Some may very well specialize in things simply because they love being a crafter despite their inate ability with magic.

Some "enlightened Lords" may very well tell one of their "Serfs" that in lieu of having to pay the Lord in free labor for their responsibility, they can pay some of that labor in kind (ie substituting specialized things the lord wants instead of tax money, or best animal, or what have you). Then there is the Church that demands 1/10th of your income/labor/food as its Tithe. If your Goose lays 10 eggs, by right, 1 of those eggs belongs to the Parish Priest.

The idea here is to say "hey, let's detail 10 villages and see where it takes us".

Once you start to spend your mages on various pursuits, then you can REALLY see just how prevelant or how rare those mages doing what they do, really are. We can also perhaps see what kind of spells are going to be needed by the professional mage within a community of over 2,550 people (assuming roughly 550 families total and about 5 people per family average).

The only problem I see with this kind of effort is having the interest level to actively pursue it.

For instance? GURPS makes the presumption that a given "worker" earns X amount of income, pays Y amount of upkeep, and the rest of the income is discretionary. But in the case of the Alchemist, whose potions retail for $1,200 (just picking a number out of thin air), isn't going to have a lot of low income (aka struggling income) customers. Claiming that there will be one Alchemist per X number of farmers is going to require justification for their business, let alone how MANY there are.

That however, is a thread for a different time, different topic.

And yes, this is a WORLD BUILDER style thread rather than a GURPS thread - as KROMM is wont to say...

"This is a role playing game, not a Simulation" (or words to that effect) It is however, this very STRUCTURE that makes thinking "What if" that made me enjoy those Alaconius lectures in the first place. I LOVE the implications of the spells in GURPS MAGIC, and I especially love to put my love for History to use. Had someone told me at age 21, that I'd purchase a translation of the Domesday Book (from Latin to readable English) I would have told them they're nuts! But I did.


On that note, time to bring this to a close. If anyone WOULD Be interested in my taking the time to do that set up, please private message me, or better yet, email me. If I get at least three people interested in this, then I'll take the time to detail those 10 villages.
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