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Old 05-08-2021, 01:53 AM   #30
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

So I revisited Simple Illusion. And Ceremonial casting. And I was thinking about using Simple Illusion as a wall in front of a group of soldiers, projecting the terrain behind them, effectively making them invisible. In this case, I am imagining a company of archers, just for the sake of argument.

How likely is it that the soldiers would want that invisibility screen? Would they want it enough to spend an hour helping the mage set it up?

If so, it could provide a screen about 200 yards wide, enough to hide said company, perhaps more if the soldiers are stacked 3 or 4 deep (or more, theoretically). My guess would be that it wouldn't be hard to find the 100 volunteers to do it. Just move the non-volunteers away from the casting area to avoid the -5 for non-compliant people (just in case; most non-volunteers would likely not be totally against the plan, just not interested in helping it).
The question then comes down to "how is it maintained?" Ceremonial magic states that "the participants can continue to provide energy to maintain the spell. The composition of the group may change, as long as the ritual continues uninterrupted. Thus, ceremonial magic lets you maintain a spell indefinitely." Okay. Does that mean that the participants can't do anything else? Which means that the 100 spectators can't loose their arrows, since they are busy holding candles, dancing around, and chanting. And if that's the case, the people most likely to want that spell to succeed can't take advantage of it.

Which means it's time for some logistics. And more than a company of archers (here I am assuming that a company is about 100 soldiers). Let's assume 4 companies of archers. One is a reserve unit, perhaps the one with the greenest archer recruits. I will also assume that since this Illusion screen is in all the archers' best interests, and that they realize this, that they would be willing to help. The reserve company becomes the ceremonial spectators.

The mage casts the spell: Simple Illusion, 100yard radius (which he turns into a wall 200 yards wide), costing 100 mana, powered solely by the spectators. They can maintain that spell for about 10 minutes, which gives a total time of 11 minutes. Even if you rotate the companies every 5 minutes or so, that only gives another 30 minutes, or 41 total. Although while it's working, the archers can loose arrows without the enemy being able to see exactly where they are. If they get clever with some practiced maneuvers, they could shift the screen and move around, making it even harder for the enemy to attack back. Although I would think that an arrow barrage from hidden enemies for 10 minutes would still be a useful tactic.

Still not terribly useful on a set piece battlefield. It just doesn't last long enough, and the soldiers will be fighting, not resting. Grrr.

Or maybe hide your troops on the flanks, and set up an illusion of a fat juicy target in the center, in order to draw the enemy into attacking the center while your forces come in from the flanks. Use the illusion to look like a bunch of lackadaisical warriors who aren't ready for battle, perhaps. That way the enemy might think they have an advantage and can catch you unawares. For it to work, though, you would either need to maintain that illusion for a very long time or the enemy has to already be coming for you, (out of some fog or something) and just before they get in range, you pop up the illusion, so you won't have to maintain it for too long. (Still requires ceremonial casting, which in this case requires some pretty damn good timing.) If tactics get too overly complicated, they tend to not work too well....

Mystic Mist, on the other hand, lasts 10 hours. Base cost is 1, same to maintain. Enemies are limited to a 2 yard visual range, move in random directions due to being disoriented, requires a Fright Check to enter, allies get a +1 to defense rolls, and enemies have a -1 to their defense rolls. The only downside is that ceremonially casting this spell takes 50 minutes. Still worth it. And again, it wouldn't be hard to find volunteers to help cast it, knowing how much it will help them fight the battle. The size of the area would be about 220 yards diameter. In fact, this also acts like the illusion screen, as anyone outside of it can't really see in, although those friendly to it can see out. And keeping it up, even for days, would be doable.
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.
StevenH is offline   Reply With Quote