Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-12-2024, 09:41 AM   #91
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

The cheap alternative to no mana zones is pentagrams. A large summoned creature can destroy them, but you can have a lot of them sprinkled around.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2024, 05:27 PM   #92
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
In terms of military advantage, none of those compare to scrying, communication and maybe weather.
Agreed, but many of the C3I spells can be cast before the battle begins allowing mages to take on other roles once the fighting starts. Also, since C3I mages have to stay fairly close to army or unit commanders (effectively HQ staff officers) they could also have secondary roles as their bodyguards and healers.

There's also the matter of a particular mage's skill set. In a rare or "relatively rare" Magery setting, the military has to work with each mage's unique abilities. A dedicated Healing or Making & Breaking College mage is going to be assigned to the support role that best uses their talents, even if it's suboptimal from a military perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Those guys are irrelevant to the discussion; the defined cases refer to number of mages who are militarily useful, not mages in general.
But what counts as militarily useful? If magic is rare or relatively rare any mage is going to potentially have some military value, even if they're a complete waste on the battlefield. If a nation is desperate, it might round up all its mages and draft them as enchanter's assistants or participants in ceremonial spells or train them to learn one militarily useful spell and slot them into support roles. For things like weather or C3I spells, having a big casting circle of otherwise unfit-for-service mages at a distance from the front lines could make a difference.
Pursuivant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2024, 09:20 PM   #93
KarlKost
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Brazil
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
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.
That would be dependant on the commitments on both sides to open gates / counter gates. But yes, I see your point.

In what other ways would siege warfare be affected? Because it has the potential to turn medieval fortifications (castles, walls) into absolutely useless or absolutely impenetrable.
KarlKost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2024, 09:41 PM   #94
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlKost View Post
In what other ways would siege warfare be affected? Because it has the potential to turn medieval fortifications (castles, walls) into absolutely useless or absolutely impenetrable.
Magic makes building fortifications cheaper but makes the threats to them much cheaper.

Without Magic, TL3 fortifications require huge expenditures on troops and engineering. In particular, large SOTA engineering projects like trebuchets.

With Magic there are many ways to pass city walls and fortifications. Fly over, dig under, completely circumvent with Teleport. You can even push strsight through.

If there are Pentagrams you can't cast into them but any human can break them. To stop both normals and supernaturals you need Utter Dome or at least Utter Wall. There is at least a known way to make an Utter Wall Permanet but it's 400 energy per yard.

My assessment is that you can only rely on passive defenses against low level threats. Against threats with significant magic resources you have to rely on quick and powerful reaction forces to deter.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2024, 12:36 PM   #95
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Agreed, but many of the C3I spells can be cast before the battle begins allowing mages to take on other roles once the fighting starts. Also, since C3I mages have to stay fairly close to army or unit commanders (effectively HQ staff officers) they could also have secondary roles as their bodyguards and healers.
That depends on their skill set; mages who are good at C3I spells might not have had extra study time to allocate to healing or combat spells.

Quote:
But what counts as militarily useful? If magic is rare or relatively rare any mage is going to potentially have some military value, even if they're a complete waste on the battlefield. If a nation is desperate, it might round up all its mages and draft them as enchanter's assistants or participants in ceremonial spells or train them to learn one militarily useful spell and slot them into support roles. For things like weather or C3I spells, having a big casting circle of otherwise unfit-for-service mages at a distance from the front lines could make a difference.
For our purposes, that would make them Militarily useful mages, because they're involved in casting useful spells. Militarily useful is defined here as "able to cast spells which will tangibly affect military operations in some way." The idea of the thread is to think about how TL3 military operations would change with reliable access to spell magic as described in GURPS Magic, which includes as a basic axiom that militaries have reliable access to the magic that would be most useful for them. If C3I specialists are the best use of relatively limited magic resources (e.g.), then that is what commanders will have, whether by selective conscription, specialized academies, applied religion, or whatever other means, the details of which are irrelevant for these purposes and may vary depending on the nation.
Dalillama is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2024, 01:19 PM   #96
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Magic makes building fortifications cheaper but makes the threats to them much cheaper.
Magic makes building fortifications ridiculously cheaper, and fundamentally changes their role -- fortifications aren't expected to stop anything, they're expected to slow the attacker and bleed resources.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2024, 12:02 PM   #97
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Magic makes building fortifications cheaper but makes the threats to them much cheaper.

Without Magic, TL3 fortifications require huge expenditures on troops and engineering. In particular, large SOTA engineering projects like trebuchets.

With Magic there are many ways to pass city walls and fortifications. Fly over, dig under, completely circumvent with Teleport. You can even push strsight through.

If there are Pentagrams you can't cast into them but any human can break them.
Fill the pentagrams with angry poorly controlled elementals and nobody will want to break them. Lay a ring-shaped Pentagram (or two concentric ones if that's prohibited by the spell description), and put the walls inside their circuit. Loose a few elementals in there and dare anyone to break them. (Gates become a problem in this scenario. Maybe the elemental moat is only active when you're expecting to stand seige)
Dalillama is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2024, 02:29 PM   #98
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Fill the pentagrams with angry poorly controlled elementals and nobody will want to break them. Lay a ring-shaped Pentagram (or two concentric ones if that's prohibited by the spell description), and put the walls inside their circuit. Loose a few elementals in there and dare anyone to break them. (Gates become a problem in this scenario. Maybe the elemental moat is only active when you're expecting to stand seige)
The Pentagram is a star-shaped design on the floor or ground and the cost to cast is 1 per square foot protected. There's a likely looking illustration on p.125 of Magic of the traditional "star in a circle". Gurps Pentragrams might actually be hexagons . :)

A quick search turned up the statment that the smallest medieval castles covered a few hundred square meters though the largest could be several thousand square meters. so we need to convert from square meters to square feet. For one square meter I get 10.76 square feet. For the sake of convenience I'm goign to round that down to 10 square feet.

a "few hundred square meters" could be 300 so we could call it 3000 energy to cast Pentagram around a small fortress. If it was a square tower it'd only be 17-18 feet on a side. So putting large fortifications inside a single Pentagram looks pretty thoroughly impractical.

I've always assumed that Anthony was talking about multiple Pentagrams "tiled" together edge to edge to make a larger obstacle to magic.

Nasty questions about "How lose together?" was close enough to stop the magic from snaking around tche edges of the multiple Pentagrams. If the Pentagrams are inlaid into stone surfaces to make them durable there would be limits to how close you could make parallel lines while keeping them distinct. Is a millimeter enough for the magic to sneak though?

Also, the rules text in Magic seems to be mostly thinking of Pentagrams as an indoor phenomenon. A Mage is said to be able to "ritually cut" a permanent/inlaid Pentagram with a chalk mark. So what about an outside Pentagram that has leaves blown across it? Or what about mud if there's been even moderate flooding?

Then there's putting "moat monsters" inside your "moat" of Pentagrams that are topuching each other. Those supernatural creates who can cross the Pentagram walls get to "test" the Pentagram once per day with ST+IQ/2 v the skill with which the Pentagram was cast. That's 365 attempts per year and the monster will get lucky evenutally. 500 pt Elementals wouldn't even need to get all that lucky.

We may be seeing an other case where Gurps Magic doesn't really scale up very well either in linear dimensions or over time. Keeping a single demon trapped in your basement for one hour is one thing but Permanent barriers v. Magic appear to be another.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2024, 03:43 PM   #99
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I've always assumed that Anthony was talking about multiple Pentagrams "tiled" together edge to edge to make a larger obstacle to magic.
You assume correctly. There are certain unclear assumptions about how pentagram actually protects, most notably what the actual shape of the protected area is (the image on magic 125 suggests a circular diagram with a pentagram inscribed within it), how close to the edge of the pentagram hostile magic can reach (we know the pentagram can't be broken with spells... but can you come really really close and do the last part with something else?), whether it has the normal vertical extent of an area spell (it's a lot easier if you can just tile the top of a wall and have the protection move down), whether you can put a pentagram on something portable like a rug, and so on.

Still, it doesn't hugely matter. Pentagrams, much like walls, are in the broad category "not invulnerable, but they cost the attacker time and resources, buying time for the defender to respond".
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2024, 09:17 PM   #100
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Magic on the TL 3 battlefield

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
whether it has the normal vertical extent of an area spell (it's a lot easier if you can just tile the top of a wall and have the protection move down), whether you can put a pentagram on something portable like a rug, and so on.
Just to complicate matters, Pentagram's category isn't "Area". It's "Special". It's figuring costs by the square foot rather than the hex is unique as far as I can remember too.

Ju.st for fun I just now checked the version of Pentagram in Fantasy 1e and there were substantial differences in cost. It was 50 per hex back then. That chnged in Magic 1e to 10 per hex. I suppose the strange per square foot measurement is a 4e change. The category has always been "Special" though.

I did catch one helpful thing. In both Fantasy 1e and Magic 1e there is the statement that any hex that contains part of a Pentagram is protected. That would solve the "edge " problem of adjacent Pentagrams.

There was more than one "portable Pentagram" magic item in the 3e Magic Items books.

I've found nothing about altitude though. I might try putting "tiled" Pentagrams inside a hollow space inside a castle wall. They wouldn't protect the stones of the outer walls but humans couldn't just run up and ritually "cut" them.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
magic, mass combat, tech level

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:32 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.