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Old 09-21-2019, 07:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Campaign Jam: Magic Vrs. Technology

Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
Question 1: How are the factions of magic and science opposed? Many small cabals in an otherwise neutral society? Two (or more) large political entities in open warfare? Are many independent nations dominated by one ideology, with a widespread underground following the opposite one? Or something different?
Question 1a: Are magic and technology opposed mechanically through genre settings, or merely societally?
Answer 1a
Both magic and technology have a detrimental effect on the other. However the effects are quite different, magic wrecks havoc with technology at a local level, devices cease to function or are even destroyed in the presence of large enough magics. This requires a deliberate act on the part of the magic user and is not a mere byproduct of magic use.
However the presence of sufficently advanced technology makes magic difficult in the extreme, indeed individuals who wish to become powerful users of magic limit their access to the benefits of technology.
Answer 1
Yes. There are factions, they are rather evenly divided, 'technologist' factions tend to live in the large cities, centers of manufacturing and while this would normally mean they are close to the centers of power, the magic factions maintain their presence within the cities as well (uneasily). However the more magically inclined factions tend towards the rural, where technology is ruthlessly kept in check. This means the technologists control the flow wealth, and sometimes resources (those more difficult to acquire with low tech), while the magical factions control food and 'low tech 'resources' such as wood, stone, low grade textiles (wool, hides, cotton, silks, etc, generally in a lower quality state).

As well any ruler worth his salt knows to balance their decisions between these factions, even if the technologists make bold claims about better crop results, better fabric qualities, etc.

Follow Up On 1a
For every level of TL above 0 a device or technological practice is, it generates an 'anti-magic field', lowering the local mana level. An object of only a few pounds literally only affects itself (field size equal to 1 foot per 100 pounds), while large objects, or endeavors with lots of participants can cover a significant area. So a TL 4 Musket (a prized piece of tech indeed!) would have an innate MR of 4, it wouldn't affect it's user* or anything else, whereas a production line building muskets might reduce the Mana level by -4 for a mile or more. This is why most cities are are at -3 to -5 to the local Mana levels.

Likewise, simply knowing sufficient advanced sciences or technological skills gives the practitioner a magical resistance (for every TL they buy above world baseline they must also purchase 1 level of MR). This does not carry over to "usage" skills like Firearms, Gunner, etc. Only to the crafts and hard science skills.

Because of this, most mages of low to middling power wear rough handspun garments, or crudely hand tanned leather. Their tools are almost all hand made, even if of beautiful quality, anything else invites dreaded "technological corruption"*. Beware a Mage that wears metals, or carries tools made with advanced technological techniques (they are either potent or charlatans).

Magic is not repeatable. There is no 'one formula' for casting a Fireball. Each Mage comes to their techniques their own way. Maybe they sat under the ancient oak in the heart of the forest and listened as it whispered it's secrets and passed on it's duty to the trees, or stole a piece of wool from the back of one of the Skelfilegur flock. Regardless of how, each Mage grows his power and knowledge individually, despite learning the rudimentary fundamentals at the feet of their master. A prized few apprentices might even be gifted the old master's fetishes or methods as he passes from the world.

Mechanically, this means for every level of Magery a Mage buys past 0, they need to take some corresponding 10 point Disad for free. If they violate the disadvantage, an Alcoholic being deprived of alcohol, they lose that level of Magery. This can be a Dependency on a substance or item, in this case going without the item or substance does not deal damage, but rather they lose the associated levels of Magery. You can reduce the cost of Magery by this... but I wouldn't. Magery is potent enough as it is. To make up for this, I recommend having no No Magery zones, just increase the penalties for casting, and decrease the rate of FP/ER return correspondingly.

What does this mean for Alchemy? Because repeatability trends toward technology, actual Alchemy (the magical practice) has no workable recipes. Alchemists do not teach† their "recipes", and their individual knowledges are closely guarded secrets. They will train apprentices in the practice, the general knowledge, and use them to gather materials (and teach them how to safely handle dangerous materials), but each budding Alchemist must discover their own 'how it works' for them. Indeed, so closely held are recipes that Guild Wars have broken out when recipes were stolen and distributed rendering them unworkable. Yes, most Alchemists do probably repeat their steps (certainly over the course of a lifetime), but each batch is done slightly differently than the last to avoid catastrophe.

The detriments of magical energies upon technology. As mentioned, such deleterious effects can be produced, however this takes a deliberate engagement of spells or rituals. Spells are the simpler method, brute force method, and there are many known to the Mages. However as technological devices inherently resist the effects of magic, this can be difficult for the novice. Instead their is the sure and sure method or Ritual Magic. By slowly attuning and aligning magical forces, a Mage can raise a local force of energy, and unstable and chaotic force. Such a force imparts causes technological devices to malfunction, however it makes spells inherently riskier as well. Effectively this raises the local Mana temporarily to Very High. This has the standard effects on magic as well as imparting a Malfunction penalty on all devices equal to their inherent MR. If a device normally has no Malf rating, it gains one for MR 1, and then further levels increase the Malf rating correspondingly. Frex, a crucible steel sword (TL 5 materials) has a Malf Rating of None and an MR of 5. If a Mage set off a magical storm, increasing the local Mana level to Very High, it would first gain a Malf 17, then this would be reduced to a Malf rating of 13. So any failure on a roll of 13 or higher is a critical failure use (if you want to develop different Malfunction Charts for types of devices have at it).

* For anyone with Magery, they take a penalty of half the objects TL to any magical practices, be they Spells, Alchemy, or Ritual Magic. Thaumaturgy and Hazardous Material (Magic) are not affected.

† For each other Alchemist that know a recipe beyond one, each 'user' of that recipe takes a -1 to their skill.

Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Question 5
Is there a middle ground that can be walked involving using both magic and technology? If so, is there a cost or detrimental effect for sitting on the fence?
Answer 5
Yes. But it is a tough road to go. Alchemy is currently on this field of study, it walks precariously betwixt pure nonsensical magics and repeatable "natural philosophies". There are those in the more theoretical magical guilds, that study the philosophies, that actually believe that Alchemy and it's natural cousin (yet unnamed) should be separate philosophies, though they haven't gained traction yet.

For a Mage to walk both the path of magical power and the power of philosophic technology is a difficult one. Many have found themselves burned out bereft of magic and sanity. Though stories tell of the few that can master both and wield either power as is needed.

Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
Question 2: What is the TL? How evenly distributed is this tech level?
Answer 2:
I recommend a world baseline of 3. Whether by magic or tech, most people live lives at this level and work and have tools of this durability and quality. Cities of industry might climb to 5 for the types of goods it produces and the background "anti-magic level" (Low Mana), but the commoner lives an ugly short brutish life of TL 3; whereas magical enclaves would 'drop' to 1 or even 0, but should still be treated as a luxurious quality of life of TL 3 for most people in such a commune (Mages might live rougher, but that's the trade off they might make for their power).

Any higher and the above ideas of mine should be temper, tossed out, or at least really, really given a good long thought as it will make Mages rather weak.
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