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Old 04-07-2024, 12:36 PM   #21
Witchking
 
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
One in 1000 isn't that rare. Fewer people are doctors or engineers IRL, and that's in the modern world, at TL3 those were even rarer
Keep in mind for most GM's running demographics, that 1 in 1000 (or what ever number the GM has picked) is just the first number.


Of that pool how many will not even be tested because of prejudice (based on race, class, gender, or religion)?

Of that population how many are tested identified as mages? Then what percentage of people who test positive are given the education to be a mage?
Of that group what percentage of people have the tools (mental, emotional, general attitude) to actually become a mage?

All up to GM decision of course but in a marginally reality related world having the talent to be a mage only the first step. A critical step, but just the first step on a long road.
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Old 04-07-2024, 12:52 PM   #22
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Witchking View Post
Keep in mind for most GM's running demographics, that 1 in 1000 (or what ever number the GM has picked) is just the first number.


Of that pool how many will not even be tested because of prejudice (based on race, class, gender, or religion)?

Of that population how many are tested identified as mages? Then what percentage of people who test positive are given the education to be a mage?
Of that group what percentage of people have the tools (mental, emotional, general attitude) to actually become a mage?

All up to GM decision of course but in a marginally reality related world having the talent to be a mage only the first step. A critical step, but just the first step on a long road.
Again, the defined case here is a military where there is one effective mage available per roughly 1000 troops. The path whereby that occurs is, as you note, flavortext. Maybe it's a miliraristic regime where everyone who can do magic is in the army, maybe mages are a dime a dozen, but almost all of them are civilian specialists of various sorts, and if they can't buy their way out of the draft or otherwise wind up in the army they'll be pike-pushers like all the other recruits. (That case actually will have further implications; if a lot of the army can use spells, but most of them aren't directly relevant, camps and quarters will look/feel very different to how they do/did IRL. The guy who knows Haircut makes sure his unit is always correctly shaved/trimmed per local military style, someone who knows Clean, Repair, Soilproof or the like can always trade favors, Boil Water gets you your tea/coffee/xocolotl/etc. in a hurry and without a fire that might show your position (if that's a concern) or won't stay lit (if nature or enemy weather mages are raining on you too hard), etc.)
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Old 04-07-2024, 01:16 PM   #23
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

As this is the second time someone has clearly been confused by what I thought was pretty clearly worded, I just wanted to second what Dalillama has written:

The ratios given for the three scenarios in the opening post clearly state that they're talking about how many mages per [insert number] soldiers. The first figure given even specifies "useful mage" (emphasis added). If someone's assumptions differ from that, they're shifting the topic. Which, so far as I know, is perfectly fine, but probably needs to be acknowledged as such. ;)
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Old 04-07-2024, 05:07 PM   #24
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
In terms of military advantage, none of those compare to scrying, communication and maybe weather.

t.
I looked at the nuts and bolts of battlefield magical communication and they are not that friendly.

The Communicate Spell was mentioned earlier but that's (VH) and costs 4 per minute to cast and maintain. Nobody is going to be keeping up a Communicate through the length of a whole battle. The rules text also mentions that Communicate is not secure so that might limit its' use even on a strategic/kingdom level.

Telepathy might be more secure but is still (VH) and costs 4 per minute to cast and maintain. Probably more secure but still not battlefield stuff.

Going over to the Sound College gets you more candidates but there are gM decisions about how common Sound Spells are.

The first Spell to look at is Great Voice but like many candidate Spells it works better if only one side knows it. The king with a GV caster on his side might use it for non-critical uses like his "inspiring" pre-battle speech anyway. If the King on the other side decides to GV his "inspiring" speech at the same time it probably lowers everybody's morale. Or King2 could sing "99 kegs of beer on the wall" during King1 's speech and only K1's morate lowers. :)

GV starts to look more useful when you look at the clause that allows the caster to choose "only a few" persons to hear it. How many people is "only a few"?<shrug>I'd rule 3 to 4 but not a whole army. So K1 could tell his GV caster ""Send to Lords Abel, Baker and Charles that they are to advance upon the enemy". Sounds workable maybe but he could ahve blowna trumpet and gotten the same effect.

What I'm mostly seeing is the opportunity for mage and counter-Mage to create masses of useless noise. Then in the middle of the battle the Priest of the Trickster God shows up and GVs "Treachery! Treachery! We are betrayed!" to _everybody_.

There's an odd possibility in Far Hearing where the caster can hear any conversation he can see. This increases if the caster can cast Hawk Vision but Far Hearing is sort of expensive and Hawk Vision adds at least 50% to that and it could also be sued to compromisse the security of the enemy's sound-based communication. Lot's of Mage v Mage.

If you keep going til you get to Message there's a real possibility.. Message costs 1 per 15 seconds so at Skill-15 you can send those 15 second Messages all day. Note the Spell is not Maintained. cost is by length of Message and there is only one recipient possible.It still may not be secure if K2 has a Far Hearing Mage eavesdropping on the Message caster.

Message also has a non-negligable prereq chain and the Item costs 1000 energy. that chaos-causing Great Voice is much simpler and its' Item only requires 200 energy. :)

You might be reduced to using your Mages to send up the equivalent of flares but you're also back to "He could have blown a trumpet.".

I don't see either Communication & Empathy or Sound Spells really enabling the "War is like Chess!" cult but if you have 50 mages for your 50,000 troops and they're all Healers you might save hundreds of your casualties and your Mages don't have to come onto the battlefield until the fighting is over.
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Old 04-07-2024, 06:19 PM   #25
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I looked at the nuts and bolts of battlefield magical communication and they are not that friendly.
Well a long time ago I learned that if you think on it there usually is a spell or three in Base Magic that can get the job done.

Note I probably would not much bother with Magic for Communication on a tactical level; bugles, drums, flags and banners have managed that for millennia.

Magical commo beyond line of sight however I see as very worthwhile, especially if you are doing it better than the other guy, or if they are not doing it at all.

I can think of 3 just in the Animal College that could get the job done.

Beast Possesion at 20+ or Permanent Beast Possesion could be used to 'operate' Pigeons (or another flyer) like a drone to courier messages basically as long as the mages were awake.

Twoish such mages per Army Corps and Napoleon would have a communications edge tough to match.

Shapeshift is also a way a mage could courier messages at 80ish mph or so at least 2-4 times faster than a courier on a horse.

Semaphore games with Light spells, Teleporting Couriers or Teleport Other on a 1 pound dispatch case, Telepathy may cost 4 a minute but the subjects 'know the entirety of each other's thoughts' and 'communicate at the speed of thought'.

IME there a lot of ways to solve the problem. Base Magic has a lot of utility tools. It can do damage also but I usually have found more success going in other directions.
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Old 04-07-2024, 06:57 PM   #26
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
The Mage has 100 spectators with 10 FP who can be used to maintain as well as cast. They could cast the Create/Shape combo and then Maintain it 4 times. That could be 5 minutes and 1000 yards total movement.
So, a pool (so to speak ) of 1000 FP where each participant contributes 10 FP?

Looking at Magic p. 12. Doesn't that require all the participants to be mages that know the spells at level 15+?
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Old 04-07-2024, 08:15 PM   #27
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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So, a pool (so to speak ) of 1000 FP where each participant contributes 10 FP?

Looking at Magic p. 12. Doesn't that require all the participants to be mages that know the spells at level 15+?
No, not Mages. This is only spectators of which you may have 100. Not a freely applicable pool of 1000 pts either. Just 100 people who can contribute 1 pt 10 times.Create Fire and Spae fire have the same costs to Cast and Maintain so you first cast Create for 100 pts and Create an Area of fire 50 hexes in radius. You don't have to be in the middle of that or calculate penalties to the middle. You can do it to/from the hex nearest you. So the Area of fire starts right next to the Mage leading the Ceremony (or at least next to the tip of his extended staff). Then it extends 100 hexes (literallly 101 because of the way Gurps counts Areas) towards the enemy.

10 turns later (because Ceremonial takes 10x the time to cast) you cast Shape Fire and the Fire starts towards the enemy at Move 5.

Doublechecking Magic IO see that both Create and Shape only take half as much to Maintain so 1 minute after you cast the create you tap 50 spectators to Maintain your fire and 10 seconds after that you tap the other 50 to Maintain the movement.

You could do this 4 time and you'd get 5 minutes 50 seconds of movment. All of your spectators started Do Nothing actions after they hit 0 FP or something like that and your fire winked out when there was no juice to maintain it any more even if there were 10 seconds left on the Shape.

The Opfor Mages can cast Rain over 100 hexes for 10 energy so they don 't have to do it Ceremonially but they would take regular range penalties. It's also always a gamble if you have the Mage you needed in the right place. Rain is a Spell with good military usefulness so there's a decent chnce they have one. They probably need to wait almost until it touches them because of the range penalties. Even if you can do this the grunts won't be happy about a football field-sized wildfire charging straight at them.

The Fire also blocked line of sight through its' Area so who knows what their enemy was doing when you couldn't see them?

This is by no means an automatic game winner but it's also a tactic that can't really be ignored. So you can chew up time and dictate enemy responses for a while.
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Old 04-07-2024, 11:31 PM   #28
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

More likely instead of rain, the opfor's mages will be casting their own Shape Fire to either break some part of your line or try to force your fire back at you(whereupon it becomes a Contest of skills iirc), Which now means the fire is lunging around the battlefield threatening both sides. Not that this would necessarily stop it being employed, of course.
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Old 04-08-2024, 12:50 AM   #29
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
More likely instead of rain, the opfor's mages will be casting their own Shape Fire to either break some part of your line or try to force your fire back at you(whereupon it becomes a Contest of skills iirc), e.
I've never seen the topic discussed.

Without a Ceremonial group up and ready they'l never be able to affect any large part of keep control long enough to make it go very far enough.

The Rain Spell is probably the better counter. Especially in terms of energy when the Opfor caster may be stuck using only his own FP and maybe a smallish Powerstone..

Fighting Fire with Fire (especially without a Ceremonial group) looks like a blown IQ roll to me.
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Old 04-08-2024, 12:57 AM   #30
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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I've never seen the topic discussed.

Without a Ceremonial group up and ready they'l never be able to affect any large part of keep control long enough to make it go very far enough.

The Rain Spell is probably the better counter. Especially in terms of energy when the Opfor caster may be stuck using only his own FP and maybe a smallish Powerstone..

Fighting Fire with Fire (especially without a Ceremonial group) looks like a blown IQ roll to me.
Why wouldn't opfor have their own Ceremonial group if they need one? If you're fighting anything close to a peer power, you have to assume they can throw similar resources at the fight as you can.
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