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Old 04-24-2021, 08:17 AM   #21
hal
 
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

If anyone would like - you can always send me an email or a private message asking "is this advantage/disadvantage available in GURPS 2nd edition", as I have booklets still.

Eventually - whether in this thread or in a different thread - I'd like to discuss what "Things" mages can do to help or hinder their armies in battle using ANY of the three different versions of GURPS MAGIC (ie GURPS FANTASY 1st edition - where we have Yrth first introduced), GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition, as well as GURPS FOR 4e.

If there is sufficient interest, I can perhaps put a summary post towards the end of the thread, that advises GMs who want to be largely able to stick to the original timeline/history of Megalos and Caithness etc - and point out those spells that were introduced after GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, that may very well make it VERY difficult to keep the original written history as detailed in either of GURPS FANTASY 1st or 2nd editions. BANESTORM, is largely a rewrite of GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, although it VERY strongly tries to retain the original material where it could (this is my opinion, and is worth what you paid for it - ie, nothing).

One other thing I'd like to point out as far as Differences between GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition - and its Newer cousin GURPS MAGIC for 4e.

In the first two version of for GURPS MAGIC, an Enchanter with a skill of 12, could STILL craft a Power 20 Magic item. The problem was - they had to trade TIME for skill in enchantments. Spending twice as long to enchant an item increased the power of the item by +4. Each "base time" beyond doubling of time, added +1 to the power.

For example:

We have a single enchanter with Enchantment 12, Fireball 11. Enchantment is treated as a power of 11 for the Item in question (presumably a rod). If it takes 800 days to create the Rod, then 1600 days enchantment will increase the power of the Rod from 11 to 15. 2400 days will increase the power to 16.

Note that in the Books for GURPS FANTASY 1st edition and GURPS MAGIC, the key phrase is (under Slow and Sure enchantment)

"This method can be combined with "Power for skill," to let a mage take a very long time and make (almost) sure he has enough skill to do the job."

Be aware that this differs from the rules in GURPS MAGIC for 4e.

The reason I point this out is because magical items will likel play a role in making armies better or worse on the battle field.
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Old 04-24-2021, 08:52 AM   #22
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

[QUOTE=hal;2376894]Note that in the Books for GURPS FANTASY 1st edition and GURPS MAGIC, the key phrase is (under Slow and Sure enchantment)

"This method can be combined with "Power for skill," to let a mage take a very long time and make (almost) sure he has enough skill to do the job."

In Magic 2e it bacame "This method can be combined with “energy for skill” (p. 15/B151), to let a mage take a very long time and increase his effective skill."

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Be aware that this differs from the rules in GURPS MAGIC for 4e.

The reason I point this out is because magical items will likel play a role in making armies better or worse on the battle field.
While the trade time for skill mechanic was in the 4e basic set (B346) it only implied this could be applied to enchantment. It wouldn't be until GURPS Thaumatology (2008) that this formally became an option for enchanters. (p 104)

I might add that GURPS Thaumatology was effectively a sea change regarding GURPS Magic as they system could be tweeked into something barely recognizable. That work also changed how limitations affected Magery (Partially Limited Magery) effectively invalidating all the examples of limited magery in the Basic Set.
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Old 04-24-2021, 10:16 AM   #23
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

[QUOTE=maximara;2376900]
Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Note that in the Books for GURPS FANTASY 1st edition and GURPS MAGIC, the key phrase is (under Slow and Sure enchantment)

"This method can be combined with "Power for skill," to let a mage take a very long time and make (almost) sure he has enough skill to do the job."

In Magic 2e it bacame "This method can be combined with “energy for skill” (p. 15/B151), to let a mage take a very long time and increase his effective skill."



While the trade time for skill mechanic was in the 4e basic set (B346) it only implied this could be applied to enchantment. It wouldn't be until GURPS Thaumatology (2008) that this formally became an option for enchanters. (p 104)

I might add that GURPS Thaumatology was effectively a sea change regarding GURPS Magic as they system could be tweeked into something barely recognizable. That work also changed how limitations affected Magery (Partially Limited Magery) effectively invalidating all the examples of limited magery in the Basic Set.
To be sure of what you're saying, even 4e now permits what Earlier versions of GURPS MAGIC permitted prior to 4e?
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Old 04-24-2021, 10:45 AM   #24
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

[QUOTE=hal;2376909]
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To be sure of what you're saying, even 4e now permits what Earlier versions of GURPS MAGIC permitted prior to 4e?
Yes and it allows even more. The expansion to limitations and enhancements to Magery is kind of ridiculous and that is not counting perks like stable casting

For example, here is how, in 4e, Power Investiture is "built" from magery:

Magery (Functions as a Different Talent ±0%; Sanctity Replaces Mana: ±0%; No Zero-Level Requirement +10%; Inspired Learning +20%; No Spell Prerequisites +30%; Pact -10%; No Magic Item Sensitivity -20%; Limited spell list -30%) - Thaumatology pg 67

I should mention that in their base form Ritual Magic in Classic and 4e are different in terms of their power source. Classic is annoying vague on it but it is clear ist is not Mana.
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Old 05-03-2021, 04:48 PM   #25
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Eventually - whether in this thread or in a different thread - I'd like to discuss what "Things" mages can do to help or hinder their armies in battle using ANY of the three different versions of GURPS MAGIC (ie GURPS FANTASY 1st edition - where we have Yrth first introduced), GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition, as well as GURPS FOR 4e.

I've put a bit of thought into this. Not as much as I need to, but sometime I am going to sit down with some friends who have been in the military and go over all the spells and try to see how useful they would be.



But until then....


The best spells I have found for military use are various Comm&Emp spells, mainly for communication, and Illusion/Creation spells to A) hide your forces from the enemy; B) make the forces the enemy sees larger or smaller (depending upon the tactics used); C) change up the appearance of the terrain to hide nasty surprises; D) change the apparent force type of your army (so that the enemy doesn't know how many archers you have, for example); E) Augment any other casters to make their magic seem bigger and badder and nastier. Even Simple Illusion can hide a group of soldiers by using an image of what's behind them as a camouflage screen.



Glen Cook does a lot of this kind of thing with his Black Company wizards (Goblin and One Eye, who are barely more than charlatans, but what they lack in power they make up for in panache, chuzpah, and devious cleverness). Smoke and mirrors.



Circles can also be easy to get in an army; most soldiers will be willing to be spectators for a big spell, especially if it's helpful. Such as a Q&D enchant of a Cook pot (a decent hot meal? what soldier doesn't want that?) or Umbrella spells, or a big Mud to Earth spell to get rid of the mud in the camp and make it solid earth. There's plenty of grunts who will gladly aid a spell like that.



Create Food: fairly easy to learn (few prerequisites). Castable by Magery 0 mages. Favorite people of the common soldier. Weevils in your hardtack? No problem. Cast Create Food on it, and your problem is now a sandwich with more protein. And again, with plenty of spectators willing to help power it, large amounts of good food can be made.
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Old 05-04-2021, 04:03 AM   #26
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

What I probably should do, is compare the spell lists from GURPS FANTASY 1st edition against the spell lists from GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition and see what is "new" relative to the first spell list. Those new spells add additional "functionality" of sorts - but they also further separate out "paths" required for mages who want the extra spells.

Put another way - by expanding out with more spells, each mage who can cast the really desirable spells, may have to spend another 50% extra points in spells - those same extra 50% that either could have been used to improve spells to higher levels, or to diversify their portfolio.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:06 AM   #27
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenH View Post
I've put a bit of thought into this. Not as much as I need to, but sometime I am going to sit down with some friends who have been in the military and go over all the spells and try to see how useful they would be.

<snipped stuff for sake of brevity>
Hi Steven. :)

If you would, just for the sake of interest - flesh out the bare bones of a GURPS MAGE for purposes of the discussion - assuming you like the challenge. ;)

By bare bones, All of the Attributes in GURPS 3e values (ie 100 point characters) along with pre-magery 0 and post magery 0 (assuming you even want to go that route), plus a simple "X points in spells".

The reason for this is to simply compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges as to "mage capabilities".

For instance - per the rules in Spell backfires, in a circle casting, all who participate are subject to critical failures. Having a Demon show up is of course, the worst nightmare, but too, having the spell produce the reverse of the intended effect can also prove to be nightmarish. Having a spell that cripples the right arm of all who participate for a week can also prove to be "interesting". Taking damage equal to a sword stroke (ie 1 die of damage) may very well make participants in a spell casting circle cringe about being asked to join in a ritual casting. The following phrase was present in both GURPS FANTASY 1st edition and GURPS MAGIC 2nd edition, yet somewhat lacking in GURPS MAGIC for 4e:

"Sincere belief and desire to help is requred; you cannot collect a crowd off the street , pay them a fee, and use them for spectators."

4e changed it to:

"A spectator must support the ceremony of his own free will. A mind-controlled subject cannot focus sufficient will to contribute energy."

As a consequence of this - Prior to GURPS MAGIC for 4e, getting Ceremonial help with spectators was somewhat problematical. I developed a spreadsheet that allowed the user to randomly determine reaction rolls of all participating spectators - with the ability to modify the reaction roll by a given value (positve or negative) to reflect how much people wanted or believed in the ritual ceremonial spell being cast. For instance, two farmers who hate each other, watching the mage cast Bless Plants for their hated rival could very well choose to oppose the spell simply on an emotional level, not necessarily a conscious decision to oppose the spell.

None the less - Ceremonial spell casting is slightly harder in the earlier editions of Magic vs the Newest edition.

So - what spells did you have in in mind for Illusions etc, and presume that such mages only have access to maybe a total of 20 energy for spell casting at any given time. If you want to get "creative" - if you have three mages who know Illusion College spells at skill 15+ for their bulk of spells and each have 1 ten point power stone, what could they do then?

Please note: Earlier versions of GURPS did not have Energy reserve for spell casting only, and it wasn't until just before GURPS COMPENDIUM I that we had the ability to purchase Extra fatigue for spell casting only at 2 fatigue per level.

When comparing mages builit using GURPS 2nd edition rules or early GURPS 3rd edition (ie pre-revised edition version), extra fatigue was not generally available.

Just interested in seeing what you can do with the concepts you just put forth in your post. :)

(this is an attempt to draw people into both a world building mindset and/or a challenge to build mage characters for others to enjoy.)
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:50 AM   #28
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Just for giggles:

Illusion Mage using strictly only GURPS FANTASY 1st edition spells.

ST 10, DX 10, IQ 13 HT 10 - costs 30 of 100 character points. Magery 3 costs another 35 character points. Net cost for this character is 65 points. Assuming 30 points in spells, another 5 points elsewhere - we're able to buff up the character by taking up to 40 points in disadvantages and 5 in quirks.

For now, relative IQ is 16, and we have 30 points in spells. Note - per original "demographics" in GURPS FANTASY 1st edition, Mages with Magery 1 were more common than mages with magery 2, who in turn were more common than mages with magery 3. In general, Magery 3 mages are more valuable for other spells and tasks, but not everyone goes the route of learning the best spells... ;)

Spell list where 1st value before the slash is points spent, send value after the slash is skill level:

Illusion 2/15
Sound 1/14
Complex Illusion 2/15
Perfect Illusion 2/15
Illusion Disguise 2/15
Control Illusion 1/14
Dispell Illusion 1/14
Create Earth 1/14
Create Object 2/15

Create Animal 2/15

Seek Water 1/14
Purify water 1/14
Create Water 1/14

Seek Earth 1/14
Shape Earth 1/14
Earth to Stone 1/14
Create Earth 1/14

Sense Foes 1/14
Truthsayer 1/14
Mind-Reading 1/14
Mind-Sending 4/16

So, this character is capable of participating in ceremonial spell casting. Let's further stipulate that each of these mages has a 10 point powerstone. I almost mentioned "Wizard's staff" but it appears that Wizard's staff wasn't "invented" until GURPS MAGIC came out.

So, what can you do with Illusion that three mages in a circle can cast with a combined energy of 27 fatigue (9 points from each of them) plus 30 from three power stones? Note that All illusion spells have a duration of 1 minute, half that to maintain. A 7 hex diameter illusion would have a cost equal to 3x the base cost of the spell less 1 fatigue (due to skill being 15). So, if Base cost is 1 per hex radius, a 3 hex radius would cost a total energy of 2 instead of 3, and only cost half that to maintain. The rules also specify that the maintenace cost is also reduced by 1, so that would drop our cost to mainain down to 1 fatigue per minute.

I suspect that Black Company use of Illusions to hide a large region of battlefield would not be practical in GURPS MAGIC, but it could be used to hide a relatively small number of pit traps, caltrops, etc. But for t his example, 3 mages couldn't really engage in that level of magic use with illusions.

Now the Mind Sending spell. That has good applications. For 4 energy, the character has a 50/50 chance of getting their spell off for where they can send a message to someone within 100 miles. This permits one to converse one way, for a message of 60 seconds worth in duration. Any army that learns to communicate in code, could easily enough pack a fair amount of information in such a tightly packed code.

Being able to create pure water from nothing permits the soldiers to have potable water providing they do not journey into a mana dead region. However, it should be noted that critical failures can strike under unexpected circumstances. Forgetting the spell as a result of a crit failure is bad enough, but having pure water become tainted as a result of a critical failure could also be bad.
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:44 AM   #29
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Given the mana costs, your three illusionists would be better served in scouting squads: smaller number of allies to hide/camouflage, and easier to influence enemy scouts. You don't need to fool an entire army; just make the data coming in from scouts incorrect.

Depending upon the local politics, changing some banners (assuming you don't have access to plain old cloth in the correct colors/design) might be useful by making it seem as if an ally changed sides or is at least aiding the enemy. It might throw confusion into the enemy camp. (A Dye spell could do the same, perhaps more easily).

While a Purify Water spell might go awry, a Purify Water Ring won't. It only costs 50pts to enchant, and takes an hour. And it would be easy to get enough soldiers in camp to help be spectators ("Who doesn't want dysentery? If you don't want watery bowels, focus on the success of Mage Bob over there, hold this candle, and chant 'oogabooga' over and over until Bob says stop.") Of course, smart militaries will have been doing this for decades, and have a big box of them in a warehouse somewhere, ready to hand out to each squad/platoon. Perhaps built into the fill opening of a 5 gallon jug that everyone fills their canteens from. (Filling it might require that each soldier put in 1-2 gallons every day.)

Darkness and Blackout also come to mind (although those are Light and Darkness spells, not illusion). Darkness exists in 1st Ed Fantasy; Blackout doesn't. They cost about the same as Illusion spells per hex, but the enchantments are by square foot (1st Edition Darkness is by hex, so it isn't as useful). If you allow enchantment by the square foot, then you can have a roll of cloth 6" wide and 12' long for Darkness for 72 pts with a Q&D enchantment. That gives you useful way to hide half a dozen archers. Blackout is a bit more expensive, at 90 pts for the same size, but it's slightly more effective at hiding the troops behind it.

Power is an issue with any war mage. There just isn't enough mana available to them for any real battlefield effects. It's got to be buffs, debuffs (if an enemy is in range), maybe some healing to get soldiers back in the fight, and maybe the occasional Missile Shield on an officer or two.
I haven't really been able to come up with anything that could affect a battlefield easily. Mages are outranged by missile weapons, since they take a -1 to skill for each yard of distance. Missile spells are spendy in the mana department, especially those that have a decent chance of going through armor. It was not uncommon for a professional soldier/mercenary in the 15th century to have gambeson+chain shirt+brigandine vest for armor, which is a pretty damn good combination that was only bested by the much more expensive full plate harness.


Doing the math, the basic magic system isn't really battlefield-ready. It's better for support. I still think it's one of the best magic systems out there*. Staff of Power helps, as do large powerstones and Paut potions. But battles can last all day, and even with several powerstones, a mage can be tapped out in less than 10 minutes. That means that an army can't count on a mage to be very helpful. So they have to be surgical. Perhaps as a stealthy, invisible assassin that sneaks into the enemy camp and kills the officers or poisons the water/ale supply or something.



*Context: I used to play Rolemaster, and loved it. When I saw GURPS Fantasy 1st ed, I rewrote the RM spells to the GURPS way, and used the GURPS magic system in my RM game for several years until I finally got tired of Chartmaster and went full GURPS.
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Old 05-08-2021, 01:53 AM   #30
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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.
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