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Old 05-10-2021, 04:08 PM   #41
maximara
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
If you mean Paut as the alchemical equivalent of power stones, then no, GURPS FANTASY 1st or GURPS MAGIC 1st and 2nd did not have that. Being able to recover energy by means of being unwounded and drinking Healing potions is kind of nice when you get down to it. No need for Lend Energy if you can simply drink Health Potions.
Paut was limited to Classic: Egypt (1996) and Cabal (2001) and was insanely expensive: $700 a dose (Egypt pg 92)

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But what you touched upon in passing, and needs to be mentioned up front is that any kind of enchantment assembly line is going to require what few enchanters you do have, be available on hand for long term training.
Enchantment assembly lines (ie industrial magic) didn't appear until Technomancer (1998) and wasn't generalized for other TLs until Magic Items 3 (2003)

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Enchantment as a bottleneck, was initially based upon the fact that only 9% of the "Mageborn" population could have magery 2+. If Magery 1 was 10 times more prevalent than Magery 2, and Magery 2 was 10x more prevalent than magery 3, that means that for every 10 magery 1 - we had 1 magery 2+
Ignoring the wonky way the 1998 errata is written (which as written has twice as many people knowing spells than have magery at all mana levels) 1 in 100 people had some form of magery in normal mana areas and in low mana areas that cratered to 1 in 500 people.

Technomancer kept this 1 in 100 ratio but only for those born in Trinity's Shadow which is high mana. Even with organized Mage Guilds Enchantment in general is going to be insanely rare on Yrth and only seen in the larger cities.
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:13 PM   #42
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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Well you also need to take into account, unless SJG wants a reboot of Yrth, and since they literally wrote the story from Fantasy 3rd Ed forth, that didnīt make sense. Also there were publications that made the available spell list a lot bigger.

And if Dr. Kromm says common that means by his own words only that the knowledge is widespread enough that you can learn it openly and in a lot of places, it doesnīt mean that a eremite in the great desert or the whitehood mountains doesnīt knows spells otherwise unknown.
Before we try to interpret, lets lay out the actual data and not just our third-hand memories of the data.

The whole idea of being "mage-born" is another can of worms, I don't remember any hints that magic works like that in GURPS 4e products. Nobody assumes that people are Combat Reflexes born (or doomed to forever lack that advantage) or Green Thumb born (or doomed to forever lack that advantage) in GURPS settings. GURPS 3e had some restrictions on buying attributes and maybe advantages after character creation which GURPS 4e changed.

Common spells are the ones which affect society. The one lich who develops something horrible is a disaster, not a system. Junior mages specializing in Earth to Stone and building marble or iron palaces change the world.

Edit: a fundamental aspect of Yrth is that it has not, as far as I know, ever claimed to be a rational setting (a setting which is the logical outcome of assumptions made in advance). It tries to do many different things, like allowing "my SCA buddies in fantasyland" and allowing different types of adventures and different tropes. So to make a rational version, I think you would have to work hard to choose the magic rules which allow fantasyland adventures. Reducing child mortality and allowing more towns and goods is probably helpful, cheap mage-iron or agricultural magic which allows a population of only 10% rural farmers is probably not.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:01 PM   #43
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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Edit: a fundamental aspect of Yrth is that it has not, as far as I know, ever claimed to be a rational setting (a setting which is the logical outcome of assumptions made in advance). It tries to do many different things, like allowing "my SCA buddies in fantasyland" and allowing different types of adventures and different tropes. So to make a rational version, I think you would have to work hard to choose the magic rules which allow fantasyland adventures. Reducing child mortality and allowing more towns and goods is probably helpful, cheap mage-iron or agricultural magic which allows a population of only 10% rural farmers is probably not.
The problem is easily used common magic (Low Fantasy) is incomparable with a realistic fantasyland (High Fantasy).

Unless magic is curtailed in someway (like can only be done ceremonially) is is going to FUBAR a TL3 society to the point that as far as ETL is concerned it isn't TL3 anymore.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:18 PM   #44
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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The problem is easily used common magic (Low Fantasy) is incomparable with a realistic fantasyland (High Fantasy).

Unless magic is curtailed in someway (like can only be done ceremonially) is is going to FUBAR a TL3 society to the point that as far as ETL is concerned it isn't TL3 anymore.
I think that really depends on the nature of the magic (love spells powered by fickle spirits, or enchanting untiring men of bronze to do the work?), and fantasyland is not a historical medieval society. Its a mish-mash of tropes from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. I already gave one example of a change from historical societies which can help make fantasyland, and one example of a change which can hurt.

D&D settings are an example of irrational high fantasy with common magic which would change the world if they were rational settings. The Magic Goes Away is a famous example of rational fantasy where the magic affects societies.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:21 PM   #45
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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The whole idea of being "mage-born" is another can of worms, I don't remember any hints that magic works like that in GURPS 4e products.
There are no new GURPS 4E fantasy settings. Dungeon Fantasy isn't a setting. It's something you plug into D&D settings.

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Nobody assumes that people are Combat Reflexes born (or doomed to forever lack that advantage) or Green Thumb born (or doomed to forever lack that advantage) in GURPS settings.
All together now: That's a world building decision. Settings do exist where any rando can learn Clinging, Extra Mouth, Hermaphromorph, Mind Reading or Penetrating Vision but there are far more where it would at least require exposure to something very rare and exotic to make acquisition of traits like that possible. And there are plenty of settings where magery is a heritable trait unavailable to those who did not win the genetic lottery. There never been any indication in Yrth that there's a way short of a Wish for an adult human to acquire Magery.
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Old 05-10-2021, 09:25 PM   #46
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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There are no new GURPS 4E fantasy settings. Dungeon Fantasy isn't a setting. It's something you plug into D&D settings.
There is one in GURPS Fantasy ("Roma Arcana"), several in GURPS Thaumatology. Oh, and Infinite Worlds! And the Collegio Januarii, and Bill Stoddard's "students in the college of magic at a medieval university" setting ... I think one was published as a series of articles in Pyramid #3 ... and GURPS Thaumatology: Age of Gold

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There never been any indication in Yrth that there's a way short of a Wish for an adult human to acquire Magery.
Does GURPS 4e Banestorm say anything at all about who has magery, how they get it, or how common it is? GURPS 3e Yrth had some passage like that.

Lets put the sources on the table before we try to draw conclusions from them.

Edit: GURPS 4e Banestorm pp. 23-26 has carefully weasel words about genetics, magery, the demographics of mages, and available spells. To this published writer, this section seems to have been worded so GMs can interpret in different ways. It does warn that some unnamed spells in GURPS Magic do not exist or are known by only one wizard.

Edit: my rule of thumb is that a starting character or minor NPC should not be able to destroy your setting. So I am much more concerned with the ability of journeyman earth mages to replace miners and stonemasons and destroy castles than I am about estoeric issues. Few adventure settings are plausible (there are way too many interesting murders in Brokenwood, NZ!) but a game setting should be able to resist one character whose player feels mischevious, and that resistance should flow naturally out of the setting and not feel like the plot hammer coming down. If a setting can survive that kind of pushback, most players and GMs can suspend their disbelief. So I would work out rules of thumb of what magic can do on Yrth which pass this test while preserving as many core ideas of old GURPS Fantasy as possible. Creating a completely rational setting with magic is a red herring, when at the table, the biggest issues are creating a shared sense of how the world works and keeping the Brian van Hooses of the world from seizing power.
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:31 PM   #47
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

Re: spells available in different areas of Yrth....

Let's introduce something I call "Ethnothaumatololgy". That is, the collection of spells that a culture has access to. In other words, their spell list. Each different group/culture will likely have different spell lists, or, if using "basic magic", which spells are available to learn in that culture. Gate spells may never have even been developed.

For a world I built (and never got a chance to run, dammit) I went through with the prerequisite charts and figured out which spells each culture had, based upon their needs and requirements.

A culture will only really use what works for them (not including edge cases and outliers). So the spells they teach their mages will not (under most circumstances) be the full spell list. A culture whose settlements are all high up in the mountains may not have discovered/figured out any spells related to the ocean. An underwater species won't typically develop fire spells, because fire doesn't work underwater. It's not a tool in their tool box.

So Megalos will have one set of spells, Caithness another (likely severely truncated, since they live in a low mana zone*), and al-Wazif yet another. Everyone has different priorities, although there will obviously be a lot of common spells and overlapping uses.

* Which also implies that since magic is less reliable, they will likely focus on other means of solving problems. Means that will be reliable anywhere. (And I always considered their low mana zone to be their best defense, especially against Megalos and their reliance on magic.)
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Old 05-10-2021, 11:49 PM   #48
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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Unless magic is curtailed in someway (like can only be done ceremonially) is is going to FUBAR a TL3 society to the point that as far as ETL is concerned it isn't TL3 anymore.
Any world with magic in it to any noticeable degree will not look like our TL3. The existence and use of magic would have changed it.

But I get your point. But if you assume the 1 in 50 incidence for Magery, of which only some are capable of learning (as in a decent IQ), of which only some are trained (due to finding a teacher, or just having the desire to learn that stuff), there aren't a lot of mages. At all. And enchanters are even more rare. So rare that magic items won't have the chance to disrupt economies simply because there aren't enough of them to make a difference. Locally, perhaps, and for a short time, but not on any macro level.

Mages, selling their spell skills, on the other hand....

Here we have a different story. Spellcasters are still exceedingly rare, but most people would have heard of them, and someone living in a big city will likely have seen one or two. Because the wizards will go to where they will be compensated for their abilities, and the Powers That Be will want control of or access to them. And the PTB will most likely be in the cities.

Commoners won't really have access to wizards. They wouldn't be able to afford them, even if the wizards realized the commoners were there. The rich and powerful get to play with the wizards, and all of the wizards' time will be taken up by the needs and requests of the PTB. (In this case, the rich are lumped into the PTB, even if the rich aren't an official part of the government...money is power.)

Even then, wizards are still so rare and valuable that 1) the PTB won't risk them (too much), and 2) most of the moving and shaking in the world won't be due to the mages--it will still be mundane actions. The mages might nibble around the edges, but unless there are some very powerful magics then what they can do is pretty minimal, on a national scale.

Unless assassination becomes a commonly used tool of the State. In which case it won't be about nationally scaled actions, it will be small ones in secret. And it turns into an arms race of magical or magically augmented attacks vs magical defenses. Who has the best security? How do you bypass it? How do you find out what it is in order to try to bypass it? Instead of armies, you have the magical version of the IMF. Or, more accurately, you have armies acting as a diversion for the magical IMF. (Ethan Hunt, stealth mage extraordinaire!)
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Old 05-11-2021, 12:16 AM   #49
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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Does GURPS 4e Banestorm say anything at all about who has magery, how they get it, or how common it is? GURPS 3e Yrth had some passage like that.
It describes Magery as "usually hereditary" with magic capable parents more likely to pass on their ability than non-mages. It specifically says nobody born without "some kind of potential" can become a mage. It says magery is probably genetic but not in a simple way. If all your parents and grandparents were mages, you are very likely to be one as weell.

Additionally it describes people who are non-mages as such but are born with other supernatural gifts such as Medium and Oracle. There is some indication that these things can also be mastered with great dedication by the mystically inclined.
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Old 05-11-2021, 01:47 AM   #50
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Default Re: Discussing Yrth History & Evolution of GURPS MAGIC

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It describes Magery as "usually hereditary" with magic capable parents more likely to pass on their ability than non-mages. It specifically says nobody born without "some kind of potential" can become a mage. It says magery is probably genetic but not in a simple way. If all your parents and grandparents were mages, you are very likely to be one as weell.
From the description Magery would seem to follow basic Mendel genetics while the level follows the rules for things like eye and hair color.
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