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Old 04-11-2024, 10:06 AM   #81
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Embedded power stones are mostly for cases where you expect to need a large amount of energy in a short period, and then won't need to use the item for an extended period, so it's a bad match for the normal use case of wizard eye.
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Old 04-11-2024, 01:14 PM   #82
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Shape Fire also specifies in its description that the effect can be moved. Also, the caster moving is optional, not required (note that burning 100 fatigue for a radius 25 powerful windstorm that can lift 750 lb and move at speed 50 is quite possibly a better investment in destruction than create/shape fire anyway).
I've about decided thatt he Create Elemental option rules and rules all. For battlefield use it's the ability to customize the stats and specifically to add DR.

Against an adventuring group you might not bother. Earth Elementals are Homogenous and the rest are Diffuse so most attacks againt one would only do 1 or 2 pts. With a company of archers 50 hits doing 1 pt each is much more doable.

So you give your Elementnals something like DR 10 and spears and arrows from ordinary soldiers don't affect them.

Demons would be less flexible and seem not great from the sample one in Magic. The flexibility for the GM of making demons one at time with ithe full possibilities of the Basic set seems more useful when only one is going to show up. You might want to go back and get the Random Demon Tables from the 3e versions of Magic and Grimoire.
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Old 04-11-2024, 02:03 PM   #83
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
At this point,* I still have a battered copy of GURPS Magic Second Edition** with its Spells and Enchanting rules.
Which hold pretty much for 4th edition.

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Assuming I didn't imagine this second option,*** one can also embed a Power Stone into a magic item to cover some or all of its Energy needs.
As listed for "'Dedicated' Powerstones", in Magic-for-3rd on p.47, and Magic-for-4th on p.70.

The Power enchantment works well for sustaining spells, since it works just like cost reduction for skill. Dedicated Powerstones do not, since they recharge at normal Powerstone speeds.
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Old 04-12-2024, 05:37 AM   #84
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

I would say that any side that has lower magic capabilities than the other would go "scorched earth" and just use meta magic to create no Mana zones. This could become a very well used strategy, with armies depending solely on that, perfecting good ol' sword and board tactics with just a few wizards to make sure the other side can NOT use their wizardry.

This could create a sort of blighted world, and if wars start to ravage the lands for too long, the very land would start to literally die.

But it does make sense thou. If you can't match the enemy in that regard, than you make sure the enemy can't make use of his advantage. This could be a viable strategy for hordes like the Mongols for example, mastering mundane combat but without all those arcane universities to breed tons of battle mages.
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Old 04-12-2024, 06:11 AM   #85
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Also, fortifications can have large no Mana zones around them, turning the magic debate mute during siege warfare. In fact, since the would still be Mana INSIDE the fortified walls but not on the outside, and given spells like create food and water, Siege Warfare would be a big no no.

You could in theory have a nation inside a nation for... Centuries. Imagine that the Romans conquered all of the Greek countryside, but the cities themselves remain stubbornly independent, surrounded by roman walls with a no mana no man's land between the Greeks cities' walks and the Roman siege walls.

Without any clear possible decisive win, diplomacy would eventually have to kick in
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:15 AM   #86
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

One of the other threads noted that the primary way to make No Mana Zones, Drain Mana, costs a level of Magery on a Critical Failure. That's probably not something most mages are going to be willing to risk, particularly considering that if you are using it as a large-scale military strategy you are definitely going to have many critfails. Looking through its prerequisite chain, Suspend Mana might be more feasible - its radius shrinks by a yard per hour, but a good size one could probably last for most of a battle (also, if casting it ceremonially, you could easily just recast every few hours provided you stay outside of the area of effect), and the loss of Magery from a critfail only lasts about a week unless you manage to critfail again on the recovery roll, at which point it becomes permanent. Alternatively, Suspend Magic might help, although skilled mages can still punch through that. All of these have the issue of having a large number of prerequisites (Suspend Magic calls for 9 other spells - Counterspell, Suspend Spell, and any 7 others; Suspend Mana calls for 11 - Suspend Spell and all its prerequisites plus any 1 other; Drain Mana calls for 13 - Suspend Mana and all its prerequisites, Dispel Magic, and at least 1 other to qualify for Dispel Magic), some of which call for Magery 1. That's a lot of investment just to make it so nobody can use magic. If you're using houserules that allow for some sort of anti-mage/magebreaker who can only learn anti-magic spells but doesn't need nearly as much investment, that certainly changes (the Powder Mage Trilogy is set up where the Privileged - elementalist-type wizards - can opt to sever their connection to magic and become magebreakers, becoming personally immune to any magic that isn't ridiculously powerful as well as being able to negate magic in an area centered on them, with the size and potency of the effect being dependent on how powerful they were before switching over; that wouldn't really work here, however, as you'd need a high-Magery character to become a magebreaker to actually affect a battlefield; your typical Magery 0 type would likely only be able to protect a small squad).
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Old 04-12-2024, 07:39 AM   #87
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

[QUOTE=Pursuivant;2520876]
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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Case 1: The battalion mage is rear-echelon support.

Alternate battlefield roles for "rare magic mages": Bodyguards/guards for high value targets, Healers, Special Ops (especially for mages with Teleport)

Exact role depends on a given mage's skill set. If magic is rare, mages can't just be trained according to doctrine. Powerful mages might also be more or less left to do their own thing, like Gandalf in LOTR. Weak mages with relatively useless spells might not get any special consideration. ("Cool, you can light fires using magic, but we need spearmen.")



At this level, it's possible that there are actual schools of magic and that mages can be trained for a given battlefield role. They take on the roles of other skilled specialists, possibly cooperating with their mundane counterparts. E.g., A Communication & Empathy mage of limited talent gets paired with a mundane signaler or scout.

It's also possible that the army screens for magical aptitude or trains suitable non-mages with basic spells.

For a "common magic" setting, low-level mages are assigned on the squad or platoon level, just like medics or radio operators are in modern armies. They have a small set of whatever spells the military thinks they need to do their jobs.

At this level, there will definitely be training programs for battle mages.

At any level of magic, don't forget that mages are likely to be a) smart/educated, b) literate, which puts them far ahead of your typical TL3 farm boy recruit. That means that it's really up to the commander as to how their talents will be used. ("Sure, you're a great food mage, but for the duration of the war you're an intelligence analyst).
This. In the case of very rare Mages, they would just simply be Wildcards. They'd do whatever they wish, occasionally becoming part of the war rooms of kings.

In the case of more common magic, they would become specialists like medics, radio operators and artillery operators of today.

What's more, there would be no Mages learning "useless" spells. The spells Mages would learn would be those dictated by the Battle Mage School. And they would be job-specific. Intelligence officers would get Divination, special forces would get battle spells. No time to waste learning "purify water" for an intelligence officer. Individuals could in theory try to learn on their own, but that would probably be discouraged, access to spell literature would be restricted and controlled, and perhaps even punishable; a logistic mage that is supposed to only be learning purify water and create food could face all kinds of punishments if anyone were to find that he have been secretly learning scrying spells; only the death penalty wouldn't be applied, saved for the most brutal regimes, like the Mongols, Chinese Empire, the Shogunate or the Babylon and the likes.

I would also like to talk about the societal impacts of that, because they bear consequences on how societies would form, but also on how their military would work. We could say that a "typical" TL 3 fantasy society operates within something like Medieval Europe, in which case the ranks from which Battle Mages would come would be from the Nobility and/or the Priesthood. If "Cleric" is something distinct, than Mages would be exclusively part of the Nobility class. This means that Mages would offspring other Mages, but you could have a mixed system with 2 kinds "Nobles" in a mixed Nobility system - one body of Nobles master the "mundane" warfare, and another master Magic. That works better if Magery has some "genetic" component built into it, and this would most likely lead to a caste system, similar to the Brahmins and Warriors at the top on old India.

If Magery is NOT genetic thou, then there's 2 options: the first one comes from study. You go to the "College Arcanum", and you get Magery. In this case, you could have the Nobility holding the administrative power (Kings, Dukes, Barons and so on), which would be the title inherited by the firstborn, while the other children are sent to "school" to become Mages (rather than becoming priests like in medieval Europe).

Then you would have a system pretty similar to medieval Europe, with a Mageocracy organization taking the place of the Catholic Church as the structure of society. Unlike the Church however, such an organization would be Nation specific.

There could also be a Meritocracy like the Chinese Empire, with Magic Schools opened to those who are most talented. In this case, it would be unlikely to exist an hereditary nobility, being replaced by a meritocratic bureocracy (exactly like the Chinese Empire).

The final option is that Magery is random. Individuals are born with it, or manifest it, completely at random. In that case, I believe society would turn completely into a Mageocracy without any other sort of Nobility, where the Mages hold all the political and cultural power, and Magic aptitude is sought out more or less like the Jedi Order of Star Wars is always searching for Force users. Magery would be an instant "lottery ticket" for many families, and I can see Mages being turned into instant spoiled and pumpered a-holes. Tyrannical Magical orders would be the order of the day.

All those considerations will influence how Magic will be used in battle. Tyrannical Mageocracies would probably be less likely to throw Mages in battle, while Nobility systems would be far more likely. Strangely thou, the Caste system would perhaps have the most organized Magic-Military of all, since you would have generations of "Logistic Mages" and "Healer Mages" and "Comm Mages". There would also be families of exclusively Special Forces Mages.

Speaking of which: Special Forces. In case of common Magic, we can expect units of Battle Mages Commandos to be formed with heavily offensive spells, the best powerstones and the best enchantments available - even if enchantments are rare (specially if they are rare). Those groups would be legendary juggernauts, and almost as sought out by assassins as the general staff itself, and would be amongst the most privileged and revered people in any society. They can also form the backbone of the elite guards of kings and other powerful people, or the elite "Pretorian Guard" of Emperors.

Schools of Magic could be closed guarded secrets of individual (HUGE) "families" (or "clans") in the case of a caste system, or each "clan" could be the "keepers" of their own path/book spells. Stealing those secrets could become the roots of many bloody feuds between clans, with many societal pressures like shaming the clan and some such. The Japanese practice of Seppuku comes to mind (suicide before dishonor).
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Old 04-12-2024, 08:12 AM   #88
KarlKost
 
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
One of the other threads noted that the primary way to make No Mana Zones, Drain Mana, costs a level of Magery on a Critical Failure. That's probably not something most mages are going to be willing to risk, particularly considering that if you are using it as a large-scale military strategy you are definitely going to have many critfails. Looking through its prerequisite chain, Suspend Mana might be more feasible - its radius shrinks by a yard per hour, but a good size one could probably last for most of a battle (also, if casting it ceremonially, you could easily just recast every few hours provided you stay outside of the area of effect), and the loss of Magery from a critfail only lasts about a week unless you manage to critfail again on the recovery roll, at which point it becomes permanent. Alternatively, Suspend Magic might help, although skilled mages can still punch through that. All of these have the issue of having a large number of prerequisites (Suspend Magic calls for 9 other spells - Counterspell, Suspend Spell, and any 7 others; Suspend Mana calls for 11 - Suspend Spell and all its prerequisites plus any 1 other; Drain Mana calls for 13 - Suspend Mana and all its prerequisites, Dispel Magic, and at least 1 other to qualify for Dispel Magic), some of which call for Magery 1. That's a lot of investment just to make it so nobody can use magic. If you're using houserules that allow for some sort of anti-mage/magebreaker who can only learn anti-magic spells but doesn't need nearly as much investment, that certainly changes (the Powder Mage Trilogy is set up where the Privileged - elementalist-type wizards - can opt to sever their connection to magic and become magebreakers, becoming personally immune to any magic that isn't ridiculously powerful as well as being able to negate magic in an area centered on them, with the size and potency of the effect being dependent on how powerful they were before switching over; that wouldn't really work here, however, as you'd need a high-Magery character to become a magebreaker to actually affect a battlefield; your typical Magery 0 type would likely only be able to protect a small squad).
True. Then this would have a much smaller limited use.

On the other hand thou, fortifications could be carefully built at great cost over decades (or even centuries) of planning, with Mages that end up sacrificing their talents being revered by their societies. In this case, fortifications would be built primarily under the assumption of the "Geography of Mana" rather than the mundane geography, with places that are more apt to being properly prepared - aka a no mana "sea" with an "island" at the middle with any level of Mana, depending on the needs, rather than at mountain tops.

While building castles and forts, the Mages that participate in the construction would basically be "set for life", with a sort of "insurance" in the case of "magical crippling".

This could turn an undesirable fate into something that is actively sought out by most except for the most power hungry archmages (that prefer to keep their powers for court plotting devices, thank you very much).

Over the course of centuries, the entire structure of cities could be based on the geography of Mana, with the simple fact that, those cities that were settled in an area with Mana surrounded by No Mana terrain would be the ones that survived the test of time, while the others perish. Over time, Empires are built by those city-states that were born under such conditions, while the other cities became subjugated people.

That in fact would constitute a more interesting world in fact; imagine that Rome, for instance, is a High Mana terrain, while everything outside of its gates is No Mana, up to the Rubican; meanwhile, most of their "Empire" consists of conquered cities with no such luck; then Anibal's war of conquest would make sense, since he would waging "normal magic siege" throughout the entire Roman empire, but then he would know that it would be utterly impossible to enter the gates of Rome, since he would have to throw arrows against Roman Battle Mages.

But then again, Carthage would have to be surrounded by the Romans "ad perpetuum", with Roman Mage Engineers summoning Earth walls around the No Mana zone that envelops the city of Carthage. Carthage would become an island city state surrounded by a no man's land that neither side can cross, and completely cut off from the outside world.

The Roman (or Chinese, Ottoman and any other) Empire could have a few of those areas inside of their Empire; independent city states that were former empires, reduced to their "Mana Islands" cities, and under constant watch from the newer and stronger empire that took the rest of what was formerly theirs.

Imagine a secluded Babylon surviving for centuries, with some backwater and ingrained culture. Cut from the outside world, the culture developed by those could become really weird.

What's more, this could leap up to a few stances of "resurgent empires". Our Babylonian island for instance, surrounded by the Persian Empire, could eventually "break out" of their perpetual siege should the Persian Empire collapse.

Imagine Rome starting to collapse; then Carthage one day realizes that the "Roman Golems" at the watchtowers of the Roman walls are crumbling into dust... And thus Carthage makes a move for the first time in 1.000 years, rampaging through North Africa in a world that has become alien to them.
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Old 04-12-2024, 08:38 AM   #89
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Another consideration is that perhaps, instead of armies clashing, warfare turns into a much uglier affair that tries to undermine the economy and societal cohesion of the adversary. Rather than worrying about using weather mages in the field of battle, inimical nations would try to use them to destroy the crops of their enemies and to protect their own.

Magical plagues and diseases would be much more used and studied than what we could think about the more "logical" spells for the fields of battle. Mind spells to brainwash "agitators" amongst the enemy.

"Warfare" would be most of the time be Hybrid War rather than open field clashes. And they would be much more destructive. I see a system akin to the Tzarist/Soviet/Modern Russian system of a secret police brutalizing their own populations while sending endless waves of mage-spies/saboteurs towards the enemies.

Sabotage would be so much easier and cost effective that this would be the most common kind of warfare. If we throw in the mix Gate spells, then it gets almost trivial. Depending on the level, nations would see themselves locked in perpetual "Cold Wars" with their neighbors, since actual war would be akin to mutually assured destruction for both beligerants, to the benefit of none except their other neighbors watching the carnage taking place.

Even if there's extensive use of countermagic, specially against Gate and Divination spells, those would most likely be used for higher priority targets rather then the entire extension of the Empire, therefore Saboteurs could target hundreds of villages for the purpose of psychological warfare (the Empire can't protect us).

Open warfare could just simply see the genocide of hundreds (or even thousands) of small to medium sized villages, murdered by crazied Gate wizards coming from nowhere.

Maybe there wouldn't be "villages" at all, since those would be so unprotected that they just simply wouldn't be feasible to live in. In which case, "civilization" would become a bunch of isolated big cities surrounded by the wilderness.

Last edited by KarlKost; 04-12-2024 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 04-12-2024, 09:37 AM   #90
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

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no mana "sea" with an "island" at the middle with any level of Mana,.
This woon't work out as Teleport works on any place with Mana regardless if a "lione of effect" in the material world would cross an NMZ. People who are so anti-magic that they have to be protected by NMZs are going to have to live in the middle of one.

Also, I am not sure how high the NMZ extends. If it's the 12 feet of most Area Spells then arttifical NMZs are going to be tightly "Tactical" such as NMZ dungeon cells rather than whole fortresses.

Then there's the gripping hand where there's a Restore Mana as well as a Drain. This Spell ends an NMZ giving the Area the average Mana level of the surroundign are. With Ceremoinial casting you could "tunnel" into an NMZ from a locationw ith Mana 200 yards per time. There's no loss of Magery on Crit fails either.

I have a vision of a magic-using Roman Empire building a "magic road" into the NMZ at Masada.

Drain and Restore both have a one hour Casting time so that's 10 hours with Ceremonial so there are some limits on restrucring the Manasphere ths way.
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