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Old 05-08-2021, 08:03 AM   #24
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Hi Stephen,
Many MANY years back, before even the dawn of the Forums, we had GURPSNET (Which still exists I might add) as our fix of GURPS fans of the time.

In it, we had an exercise in which we had Rome Vs Carthage with two different styles of magical learning methods. One, a style in which mages were taught at schools, the other, mages were taught by the Master/Apprentice system. The ONLY spells that were available at that time, were from GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition, and you would be surprised at some of the innovative thinking that went on behind the scenes. It is because of some of these participants, that I had to adopt a certain mindset about the use of Divination spells when used in warfare, along with circle casting of spells and other such issues. The Carthaginians had a fleet of ships (oared propulsion and such). They were the invading force. And when I say "I" had to adopt a certain mindset, I ran this as an "Exercise" where I did all the die rolling, answered all of the divinations as best as possible, in something I called "MAGE WARS". Both sides had equal access to character point for builds, and equal numbers of mages.

I'm not going to get into the entirety of the war or its results, but to say, that for each tactical/strategic use of spells in GURPS MAGIC, there were counters.

So, I VERY much like where you're going with this, and I hope this conversation encourages you to go FURTHER rather than cause you to stop. You would not believe the FUN that can be had when you get a GROUP of players over the net, discussing how they will use their spell lists in aid of their war efforts.

But here is a hint for you: Animal spells provide for the perfect way to scout out formations of enemies, the lay of the land, and provide real time intelligence of aerial reconnaissance. Beast Possession, has an energy cost to maintain by the minute, but if you know it to a skill level 15, your energy cost is such that it will cost no more fatigue than walking at light encumbrance would inflict during an hour's walk. So, ST 10 mage, should last no more than 10 minutes right? Well, yes and no. In those days, a healing potion, when not used to heal actual damage, would provide 2d6 energy per drink. An assistant with Lend energy could also help extend that spell's duration. If said spell caster knew it to skill 20, they could use Beast Possession for hours at end with no energy cost.

You are doing what SHOULD have been done by the authors of the original GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, GURPS FANTASY 2nd edition, and subsequently, GURPS BANESTORM.

Mages as characters are limited by the rules of GURPS MAGIC in what they can do. What they're not limited by is the imagination of human ingenuity. With luck, each proposed use of a spell for the use of the Military, will be accompanied by the mindset of "Ok, if Side A does X, what will Side B do to counter it?"

By definition - an area spell that affects a HEX by volume, is a 3' wide hexagonal column that is 6' high. If you want to have flames shoot 12' into the air, you have to double the cost of what an ordinary 1 hex high layer would cost. If you cast a spell that requires a circle to cast - then it can't be within reach of charging infantry or archers. If a rain of arrows pours down on a position, and suddenly, areas of flame strike nearby - it won't be because a mage cast it from up close, it will likely be because a linked spell was designed to inflict an area casting of Essential Fire where the arrow head impacts against the ground after the words "Ignium" were said prior to launch. If a cavalry force starts to charge against an enemy and suddenly, all of the horses swerve and head towards a beast master mage summoning all horses within a given radius to him - well, that's going to happen.

GURPS MAGIC has quite a few spells, and the entirety of that spell list has to be looked at to see whether or not the history of Yrth's warfare can unfold as the authors said it did or no.
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