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  • File : 1247722960.jpg-(163 KB, 1545x1026, 1238244826207.jpg)
    163 KB Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:42 No.5173594  
    So listen /tg/, I have been thinking about this for a while now. Why is it that every fantasy world in which magic exists seems to maintain itself as a feudal society similar to Europe of the middle ages?

    More importantly, why do these societies continue to conduct battles using medieval warfare tactics when magic is available on such a wide scale? (We are assuming a medium to high-magic world.) In such worlds, magic may as well be technology, and just as our world has changed and adapted to these new technologies, it only seems to follow that a D&D world would also.

    For example:

    Any Wizard that can cast Shrink Item could turn felled trees into toothpicks, move up to the walls of a fort invisibly or under other forms of stealth, place said bits of wood into the cracks and mortaring of the walls and then return them to their normal size, decimating the defenses.

    Items and spells that allow Flying add another dimension to warfare that didn't come around in our world until the last few hundred years.

    Fireballs, Evard's Black Tentacles, Cloudkill, and other such spells make fighting in ordered phalanxes extremely dangerous and ineffective.

    Solid Fog and even Obscuring Mist coupled with a simple Widen Spell create concealment nightmares for archer units and infantry attempting to move around the battlefield.

    Logistics are barely of concern when you have items like Murlynd's Spoon or clerics that can cast Create Food and Water. To say nothing of the healing magic that can erase the problems that have hounded militaries for centuries--making fatigue non-existent, raising allied morale and crushing enemy will in seconds.

    Feel free to add your own below. What I want to do is consider the possibilities and brainstorm a society that factors in the logical conclusions of these abilities on warfare. How do they prepare for it, counteract it, use it to maximum effectiveness?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:43 No.5173602
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    The easy-out response seems to be: "Well, not everyone can be a Wizard/Cleric/Druid, duh, so they are too scarce to conduct war on such an advanced scale." Unfortunately this line of thinking falls flat when you consider that not everyone in a modern military is an Intelligence 18 strategic genius, either.

    In order to be a Cleric or Wizard that casts 1st level
    spells, all you need is a Wisdom or Intelligence of 11. That is still within the average. The above-average (12-13) would be capable of the range of more potent spells.

    So it follows that a powerful Empire would recognize this fact and ensure that average citizens are tested and directed toward their ideal class, trained at war colleges where they learn the arts. Even a Cleric who will never be capable of anything except casting Create Food and Water and Cure Light Wounds is more important than some dumb grunt who can poke people with a spear.

    So let's imagine, /tg/.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:46 No.5173623
    Personally, when I imagine a fantasy setting like this magic ISN'T available on a wide scale. A really wealthy and fortunate kingdom MIGHT have royal Wizard who maintains a few apprentices. If magic is too common then you have to change the setting too much. That may be good for creativity but sometimes I want setting sthat are more relatable...

    'cause living a comfortable life in the 20th/21st century means I can easily relate to people living a hard and dangerous life in the middle ages.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:49 No.5173646

    That seems to be the consensus, but then I play under DMs who will put a magic user in nearly every other fight. That or a creature with spell-like abilities which I can imagine being trained and used for wartime situations. With the prevalence of such beings it begs the question.

    Anyway, this thread is for brainstorming and relating such clever uses of magic and how such a world would develop. I want to hear some other good ideas.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:51 No.5173663
    Well, if it is working in a high-magic setting where both sides have a reasonably equal access to magic, then there are several options: Forget the armies and just have your two best wizards duel to see who wins, wizard guerrilla warfare, wizards trained to nullify enemy wizards with specially trained troops to hunt down and kill enemy spellcasters, things like that go on... It all boils down to setting, in a lot of cases it's probably just cheaper to send a bunch of peasants with spears at one another than hire out wizards.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:53 No.5173675
    I thought about this for a very long time at one point, mostly as it pertained to the standard 3.5 core classes and how useless the rock-standard Fighter had become. My eventual conclusion was that the class got Use Magic Device as a class skill, with the idea that someone who fights and tries to win for a living isn't likely to go all caveman compared to every other class's guns, and can take appropriate wand-based feats, etc. as fighter feats.

    However, general conclusions:

    -A noticeably higher amount of adventurers, or at least middle-class individuals, would likely rise (nobody needs dirt farmers when the local cleric can just make food)
    -Warfare would be much, much more like modern-day, or at least WWI/WWII warfare. The idea of a castle/fortress is far less effective when an army has a significantly lower reliance on a supply train and can more or less just march around it to get where they're going.
    -Magic items would start to become stupidly common.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)01:55 No.5173685
    >wizards trained to nullify enemy wizards with specially trained troops to hunt down and kill enemy spellcasters
    You know what fantasy book has this?
    Eragon. *sigh*
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:03 No.5173738

    Even in most 'high-magic' settings, the only spellcasters (just like the only Fighters and Barbarians) are exceptional at what they do, even at low levels. Sure, a lv10 Adept can beat a lv5 Wizard, but even a first-level caster is, effectively, a savant. Having something like 18 in an attribute like Int or Cha is not easy to get. Also, your point is one reason I don't like high-magic settings; even with lots of crazy arcane tech and spells, they're not used by a lot of people, which eliminates the problem of 'an army with 50 lv1 Clerics can cast hundreds of "Cure Minor Wounds" each day' conundrum.

    As for the Medieval question, I think that's largely flavor based. Personally I like to blend elements of classical, medieval, and renaissance culture and tech in my games.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:04 No.5173743

    Never read it.

    The way I see it, if you were working in a setting where magic is so prevalent, there would be little to no farming/artisan work when things can just be summoned, soldiers/physical labor could easily be replaced by golems/elementals/other summoned creatures, and there would be little incentive for people to take up professions outside of wizarding (unless of course it was still limited in someway). The society would probably be divided up into whatever your magical specialty was, and your rank in society, conflicts between nations would either be small-scale battles or simply assassination.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:04 No.5173747

    I've reached some of the same conclusions. The problem comes when I begin to try and brainstorm contingencies against these tactics. Magic, even just from the PHB alone, is so varied that it becomes difficult to account for and plan against.

    Some other ideas:

    - Divination magic would become extremely in-demand, with the most powerful wizards and clerics coming close to the higher echelons of power as they scry on enemy movement's or even predict a war before it has begun brewing.

    Lower level Diviners would become supreme Intelligence Agents, with spells like Prying Eyes able to sweep over a field and get the location of enemy troops and points of interest.

    - Castles and fortresses would likely become obsolete. Spells like Alarm would be just one example of a low level spell likely spammed all over government buildings or used to create items that could ward an entire area.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:11 No.5173800
    >wizard guerrilla warfare

    You plannin' to go to war, boy? Don't, you fool. War is hell. Back in sev '23 during the Thay offensive, I was assigned to a squad with 4 of us regulars and 2 of those fancy-pants spell jockeys. We were crossing a bridge just past a day-old camp when the younger of the two saw something good and magical poking out of the bushes. Despite the rest of us hollering at him to stay on the path, he walked over to take it. The Explosive Runes killed him instantly, killed the other one slowly, and nearly killed the rest of us when it touched off that blasting powder the bridge underside was soaked with.

    War is hell.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:13 No.5173820
    if your looking at the basic building blocks of an economy, i.e. agriculture and manufacturing, you hit upon a dilemma that is entirely magic abundance based, depending on the availability of magic in your campaign. if everybody and their mother is a wizard of cleric, then yes, no one would actually do the work when they could just magic it into existence. if there is a slight bit of restriction on magic, it would probably be cheaper to just hire a peasant to do it then to hire a wizard.

    as for warfare? with 3.5 levels of magic, mass armies are relatively worthless against a couple strong casters, specialists and assassins. i mean, a widened fireball is going to tear a huge fucking hole in a battle line. assassins and shadowdancers are just going to appear next to your general and proceed to RAPEKILL the leadership of an army before teleporting away. and a group of 5-8 lvl 1 clerics with wands of cure light wounds would effectively be an entire second wave of infantry for so cheap that every general would have them.

    then again, one good sorceror with maximized meteor swarm is an army in himself
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:13 No.5173823
    Honestly, you'd think that a society that used so much goddamn magic for everything would, at some point, start to realize that engaging in hostilities with each other was futile; thus there would be a reduction of tensions and progress towards detente.

    A few high level mages on each side and you've effectively got MAD policy in place; if a war breaks out it's going to be a matter of who loses *less*.

    So start thinking post-Cuba Cold War. Shit moves into the political & diplomatic scene, with major powers angling for influence in low-intensity brush wars in nonaligned minor countries.
    >> TheLionHearted !HAGYQOveO. 07/16/09(Thu)02:15 No.5173829
    I did something like this once. The party came upon two massive armies fighting on landscape (consisting of a dried up riverbed, a large field and the ruins of a once majestic castle), after a bit of investigation the party finds out that this battle has been going on for nearly a century. The participants had literally gotten up everyday for their entire adult lives trotted out to the battle field and resumed killing as many people as possible. This achievement is made difficult, considering the large amount of magic involved in the fight. The kicker is that no one can truly recall what the war was for and even though the party attempts to assuage any conflict between the two armies, they'd just prefer to carry on killing each other.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:15 No.5173830

    This thread just got awesome.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:15 No.5173831
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    Frankly, I've been trying to figure out how to make a magic-based internet by using 3.5e Intelligent Item crystals that communicate with each other and can display information using illusion spells.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:19 No.5173850

    This is only true in 3E. They even said it in complete warrior. In 4E most battles work like late medieval battles (with magic working like early gunpowder weapons)
    >> Cegorach 07/16/09(Thu)02:22 No.5173872
    >Shit moves into the political & diplomatic scene, with major powers angling for influence in low-intensity brush wars in nonaligned minor countries.

    Yep, exactly. And the "major powers" are not states, but magical guilds/groups/academies as in Harry the Plucking Fotter.
    MAYBE those wizard entities care to use a state as their front. Maybe not.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:28 No.5173917
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    Fantastic example of medieval warfare with lots of magic items.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:29 No.5173925
    Uho, so then we get the ever-popular "advisor" figures in play.

    "Gentlemen, the Stormwatch Mages would never engage in open hostilities against the Sorcerous Pact. This is a well-established *fact*. There is no benefit and everything to lose in such an arrangement, and we continue to fulfill our terms of the Ivory Treaty in regard to scaling back of research into Spellcraft of Mass Destruction.

    ...However, it is no secret that we have had arcane advisors attached to the warmage academies of Rhuthall, so it should come as no surprise that said advisors have taken the field - in a strictly limited and advisory fashion - with Rhuthall's forces in their recent actions against the Free River Provinces..."
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:29 No.5173926
    To say nothing of the effect magic has on warfare and everyday life, its ability to prolong life, and more importantly, return to life those great heroes/leaders who were taken too soon, that alone can change the way a world evolves. The greatest scientists, diplomats, generals - you name it - no more assassinations, no more random illnesses, no more accidents falling from a horse. Oh, they still happen, but the local high priest waves their hands over some diamonds and your leader is back, just a little less shiny than before.

    Personally, my thought in magic settings is that they tend to have very poor sustainability when imagined over time. Just as with nukes, as the highest level wizards, clerics and otherwise developed in power, each kingdom/power would be afraid to unleash such might (unless the evil terrorist/crazy necromancer did). And what of the rampaging monsters? Depending on if gods are interfering, you'd think most of the worst monsters would be wiped out. Though we should keep in mind that many of these magic settings have Over-powers influencing the flow of the world.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:33 No.5173946

    >So start thinking post-Cuba Cold War. Shit moves into the political & diplomatic scene, with major powers angling for influence in low-intensity brush wars in nonaligned minor countries.

    So, Eberron?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:35 No.5173954
    Roughly speaking, sure.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:37 No.5173968

    Of course, this problem could be taken care of by handwaving the Gods away. Either they refuse to raise after a certain period or some other arbitrary limit.

    Thinking on it, why would a society of powerful Wizards of this degree allow the Gods to continue living as a threat to their power? Gods are fickle and can't be trusted.

    Seems there could be a war between massive religious factions and these arcanists at some point in history.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:39 No.5173984
    game we are playing in now, magic is untrusted with no schools or large scale training. centuries ago a huge crusade was run against the drow, eventually going so far as to turn against all those the human crusades saw as lesser, it was stopped but many other races retreated from the politics and wars of men. The players are all different races following a displaced prince who was forced to flee his country with dreams of taking back what's his. As it's gone on, they have brought several of the other races to back him, especially those with strong ties to magic. Several of the other kingdoms hate these upstarts and want to stop them, but the new type of warfare they bring with magic, half-orcs, shifters, halflings, and eladrin backed by the first official school of magic started by one of the pc's years ago in game time has them trying to figure out how to fight what may grow into an empire of united races.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:41 No.5174000
    I've always seen it as one big back and forth.
    Both sides casters are constantly casting, modifying, and countering the enemy casters to the point where it looks like nothing is being done at all. Every so often you'll have a spell or 2 go through and do it's thing but it's more of a wildcard than anything. It's only near the end of the battle when caster's on both sides are weak/dead from the invisible warfare that one side starts to dominate a little if they still have anything left to cast.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:41 No.5174001
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    God she's so hot
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:42 No.5174010

    Some crazy ass wizard is attempting to kill the gods. Help him defeat those meddling inhuman beings, or stop him from becoming the new super God of Everything?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:45 No.5174024
    Sounds like Kurohime

    Speaking of which is there a system for magic guns or guns that shoot enchanted bullets?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:46 No.5174030
    We did a homebrew based on the following ideas:

    1) In DnD high-magic warfare, only your biggest heroes matter. Pike-wielding armies are crushed with ease by a single high-level party, so it's the hero-on-hero violence that matters.

    2) The rulers that win the throwdown have access to powerful divination and conjuration. They will use this to maintain their own power by recruiting potential heroes, forcibly if needed, with magically-enhanced efficiency.

    3) The ability to gain resources via magic means that the peripheral areas of an empire are less important than usual.

    So, the result was a huge empire with a small number of very awesome cities, and a completely backwater countryside. Peace is the rule, since the winner of the original throwdown had such an immense resource and intel advantage that no significant threat could challenge it without being found and eliminated.

    Pretty nice in some ways, dystopian in others.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:47 No.5174034
    >>Why is it that every fantasy world in which magic exists seems to maintain itself as a feudal society similar to Europe of the middle ages?

    Which is easier to both make and explain?

    "So it's like the layman's interpretation of the middle ages BUT with magic!"


    "Well, basically, in order to fully understand the entire setting, you have to realize that magic is real and has been practiced ever since the Gods gave the Dragons the Twelve Books of Arcane Mysteria. From there, the Dragons bestowed it on the prehistoric early races, who practiced primitive magic. Magic was versatile, but only in the hands of the learned, while tools were available to everyone. Without the need for hunting and gathering (what with magic providing conjured food and water) civilizations started to form. Power lay in whoever could wrest it with arcane might. This continued on for many centuries AND OH GOD KILL ME!!!"
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:51 No.5174062
    Basically, when you come down to it, it has to do with memes. No, not rickrolling and lolcats. Memes in the more traditional sense.

    The "medieval" meme is deeply embedded in the shared consciousness. In the same way that we don't have to explain what a "time machine" is or that the wheel and fire were developed by cave people going "UG AH!", you don't need to stretch the mental capacity of people too far by going "medieval BUT WITH MAGIC!". There mind fills in the logical gap. Same reason why Eberron is "Victorian BUT WITH MAGIC!" or Darksun is "Arab BUT WITH MAGIC!" or Spacejammer is ... you get the idea.

    Of course, I'm not saying that you shouldn't do this. In fact, I really like some of the ideas that people have come up with. Just saying that you're going to need to overcome the mental inertia of whoever is going to play in your setting i.e. ":whine: Why do we have to read 20 pages of backstory? Can't we just adventure in Faerun like we always do?"
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:52 No.5174066
    perhaps because the writers don't really fuss that much about thinking how magic would affect society, and that the feudalish feel is actually kinda cool for a lot of them.

    Damn logic, damn realism, and damn having to think about the ins and outs of a magic-fuelled society!

    Then again, I'd like to try and work out the details on how a society such as this would work out for studying purposes...
    >> TheLionHearted !HAGYQOveO. 07/16/09(Thu)02:52 No.5174067
    This could be taken so far as there are no small cities, everyone has realized the futility of living in the country side and has moved to the metropoli of the age.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:52 No.5174075

    /tg/ gets shit done tiem? The new setting is called Cold World. The 40 year world brought a massive magical destruction that destroyed half the cities in the meridian kingdoms and only the backwards barbarian northern kingdoms were left unscathed. The magical cataclism also brought the Thaumic Winter and everything is Russia-like cold.

    Since such apocalyptic display of power, the lord magicians began a cold war, afraid of the consequences of open warfare. Can the peoples of the great kingdoms of yore find peace and unity? or will they doom the land with another war?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:53 No.5174078

    Artesia (there's a RPG game) needs its own HBO telly show. Well the comic need to get finished/continued too.. still.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:54 No.5174085
    Yeah, not to mention it would take some serious work to construct a realistic society founded on magic. Every little thing you mention or imply has to be examined for consistency with the magical capability the sort of person in question has access to. IMO, you're basically heading for a post-cyberpunk style future-shock explosion. Plus, if you're the kind of person who even cares about this, you're going to try to do it right. No wonder there are more lower-effort settings.

    In practice, it seems the implications are either ignored (ick) or magic, while being powerful, operates largely outside of the usual physical domain. The kind of thing where magic is pushing everything, but you'd have to be a wizard to see it (e.g. Fortress in the Eye of Time).
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:54 No.5174088
    There's a bit in "The Forever War" that I think makes a good analogy. The reporter was embedded in Afghanistan, and they were entrenched across the lines from Taliban fighters. Way up in the sky, a B-52 slowly circled, making a huge arc that passed overhead every half hour. Each pass, they dropped more bombs. The bombs fell into the Taliban lines like clockwork, killing scores of men each.

    The Taliban fighters that ran opened themselves to fire from the American forces. The ones that stayed in the entrenchments could do nothing but wait for death.

    That's what I see warfare like in this kind of high-magic setting: if you're side doesn't have a few 7th level wizards, you sit around and wait for death.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:58 No.5174111
    If you use a setting with no gods, no problem, but if you view gods as they typically are in fantasy settings (at least those who aren't vague abstractions as is the Creator in the Wheel of Time), they are far more powerful long before the mighty wizards gain their power. The wizards only gain power through foolish arrogance on the part of the gods, or absenteeism, or even just curiosity. Gods are already epic. Wizards have to build to it.

    As for the fickleness of the gods, depends entirely on the setting and thus, on the whims of the authors. In just as many settings, humans are corrupt and power hungry, etc, and just as likely to be terrible leaders. Very often, the gods are former mortals who gained power and then went on to let it go to their heads.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)02:58 No.5174112
    It's not hard, a magic fueled society does not need any technological advances that magic can do just as easily.

    Still any good high magic setting needs to have a shadow group dedicated to making sure that the technology does not outdo or replace something magic can do. It's hard to keep the common folk in check when they don't rely on wizards for everything.

    Also, I highly recommend Hell's Gate it shows what would happen if an a typical high magic civilization fought with one that has no concept of magic at all baring fiction.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:07 No.5174161
    >>...the technology does not outdo or replace something magic can do
    Strange, I have always felt that putting advancing technology in a high magic setting (after magic is already established) is kinda stupid.
    Why built a steampowered self-driving vehicle that requires a shitload of water and wood/coal, when you can simply boost the horses to go 60kmh?
    Why built mechanical teleportation if you already have magical that even works better (as established in ThatOtherGame )?
    >> TheLionHearted !HAGYQOveO. 07/16/09(Thu)03:10 No.5174184
    Because horses freak out about every little thing. I had a palomino that basically killed itself because it was afraid of it's reflection in the trough.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:10 No.5174186
    Well enchantments can be limited depending on the setting.
    Still, in setting where not everyone can use magic it stands to reason that eventually someone will get tired of wait for a wizard to on by the village and think of a way to do things without.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:11 No.5174196

    Completely honestly, if you want a culture that not only has high powered spell casters that are somewhat common, but also USES them, check Naruto.

    Yes, I am 100% serious.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:14 No.5174219
    Wouldn't they be more likely to figure out how to magic it themselves?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:14 No.5174220
    Technology is just using natural laws to achieve an end via a device. It follows that in a magical world, "technology" will include those parts of natural law covered by magic as well.

    They won't build a steam engine as we're familiar with it, they'll build one fueled by an eternal flame that conjures its own water.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:15 No.5174224
    If someone were going to extrapolate such a setting, where magic is used realistically, and if we assume it has D&D-type power/utility, then I would wholeheartedly suggest simply eliminating divine magic/gods, or at least relegating any gods to non-interfering or abstract figures. D&D gods, unless they adapted to be technogods, would be unlikely to allow magic to become so important in the lives of the people.

    So if we eliminate divine magic (let's say we still have the standard schools, but the necessary divine spells just roll into the arcane, to use D&D terms), we're left with magic as a damn good tool.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:17 No.5174240

    Now let's also assume no wierd drawbacks like mutations or wild magic. No portals that open to an underworld, etc. Magic is just a tool, a harnassable force/energy that can be manipulated through the proper application of study, components/materials, etc. Assuming magic isn't created/discovered late in the world's timeline, it is likely to be as common as any other ability man possesses, such as athletic prowess. Some people run fast, others learn to fly. Some will quickly become better than others, or maybe everyone can access some magic (though some would still be better than others due to genetics and environment, assuming we're not in some utopian wet dream).
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:19 No.5174252
    You can now try too apply all the various effects to a magic world. For the most part, because of your own limits as someone from a nonmagical world, you'll only be able to imagine so much, mainly replacing real technologies with magical equivalents. Teleportation, airships, etc. They'll make many more things possible. But how does man react? When we dominate the world around us, where do we go? Other worlds? Other planes? Do any of them exist? Do we create them with our magic?

    Many would simply try to dominate the world around them (harder if everyone has the power).

    Ultimately, we'd have the same questions we face in the real world, solving them with "science". In your setting, you'd just have magic, which might do some things quicker or easier, but won't give you any answers you can't imagine yourself as the author. *shrug*

    Have at it, if you will. I recommend reading alternative history texts for a conception of how changes might have affected human development.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:19 No.5174260

    This is more accurate than I'd like it to be. Yeah, you've got no chance of democracy, power is inherent to individuals rather than accessible to anyone who can pick up a gun, and your town is at the mercy of whatever loon happens to be close. There is no amount of tiny men with bamboo spears that can even threaten a moderately-trained child who possesses Talent or The Gift or whatever, much less a master.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:28 No.5174320
    If someone shoots a ninja, do they bleed?
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)03:36 No.5174396
    Well, sure. Shoot a ninja and they'll cut you.
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    >> Cegorach 07/16/09(Thu)03:49 No.5174465
    >power is inherent to individuals

    Yeah, but (in my setting at least) people are born with magical power randomly, no matter whether prince or swineherd - and there's lots more swineherds.
    Being a mage and successfully competing apprenticeship makes you the heir to the master's magical business and/or position, because his/her children by birth are most probably giftless.
    Where do your loyalties lie, how you balance ties of blood and trade?
    Of course, if magical power is somewhat , then it's the mages who are the endogamous aristocracy, with a rare "halfblood prince" from an affair maybe.
    >> Cegorach 07/16/09(Thu)03:55 No.5174491
    Of course, if magical power is somewhat = somewhat reliably inherited.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)04:41 No.5174674
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:17 No.5174797
    Here's the thing about magic versus technology:

    Both are essentially similar. They involve using the natural laws to achieve a desired effect. The magic in use is part of that, but it's something that only experienced casters can do. This is where it differs from technology:

    Where technology is concerned, you have several people: You have the inventors who create ideas, engineers who make the ideas workable, manufacturing plants to make the workable plans into a reality, and then you have the finished product. Where magic is concerned, you have a number of known spells that can be manipulated and laws to manipulate them with, but no matter how powerful the spell you come up with is, it's still a spell. A magic wand is not a gun; guns can be mass-produced, but a wizard has to spend XP to make a wand, and even that requires a specialist who knows what he's doing to operate it. After that, it can't be recharged, you need to make a completely new one. You could mass-produce wizards in theory, but this requires you to find specific specimens and indoctrinate them on the ways of the arcane, which takes years to do. Even then, only the cream of the crop can be high-level wizards. In my campaign world, a general rule I use is that, out of a large population, 80% are infrastructure (laborers, farmers, merchants, etc.), and 10% of the remainder are wizards. Half are first- level; for every level up, the number decreases by 50%. So in a whole big world with half a billion people (mass society never really comes into play, no population boom), that makes 10 million wizards total, but only 9 or 10 at 20th level. Wizards above 12th-level, however, number in the thousands.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:44 No.5174959

    Cheap magic items might turn the tide of war, but a supply of wands of magic missile with charges enough to mow down a small army would be too expensive for most countries to make. In addition, while a high-level wizard might be able to take care of hundreds of enemies at once, strategic planning and superior strategy would allow the other army to overwhelm the opposing army, and without his meatshields even a high-level wizard wouldn't be able to survive long in a battle. Wizards aren't like WMDs; they can't destroy cities in a flash and make the area uninhabitable for years to come. They're more like extra-versatility artillery: good for long-range covering fire but not much else.

    Heroes of Battle makes a point about high-level characters: If your characters are wading through low-level enemies, killing them by the dozen, the enemy is likely to send their high-level characters after you so you'd stop killing their dudes. In this way, combat becomes stratified; high-level characters fight each other while the mooks do all the territory-grabbing. Another point could be made in that a small group of heavy-hitters with gear tailor-made for the task could teleport in, assassinate the wizard while he's on the can, then teleport out. A few dozen low-level magic items used intelligently with the element of surprise added could fell a wizard many levels higher.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:51 No.5175001
    One of the problems with the "magic so technology doesn't happen" argument means that magic would have to common enough, easy enough to use, predictable enough to find people who can train in it, and useful enough so that everyone, EVERYWHERE would never even want another way.
    Except that a lot of settings paint magic as "rare" so then this situation could of course never happen, except THEN they go right back to saying magic prevents technology.
    This is especially jarring in Sword and Sorcery style settings. A good example of magic done right in a setting like that is Robert E. Howard stories.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:54 No.5175021

    >but not much else.

    Mistyped there, I meant, "but not melee combat." A zerg rush on a wizard, and the natural 20s would add up to him being dead, if they manage to get an antimagic field on him.

    Anyway, I've done a bit of thinking about how a feudal society could develop and stay stable.
    1. The kings never gain large amounts of overseas territory, and so can rule their domains effectively without the status quo being overthrown.
    2. The age of reason becomes focused on the advancement of arcane knowledge, which doesn't lend itself to the scientific method. Each wizard does things differently, even if they use the same principles. The only way a wizard can have a control is by doing everything himself. Cooperation, therefore, is less advantageous for arcane research.
    3. The marauding monsters around makes ruling large kingdoms and empires messy. A stratified system allows a small county to operate independently for its own good even if it becomes cut off from the rest of the kingdom by an evil lich.
    4. Attacks from within, such as a revolution, cannot benefit for long if there are attacks from without to worry about. As long as the monsters attack every so often, the status quo is more or less safe.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:55 No.5175022
    In Howard's stories magic is very uncommon, and isn't a "natural" force. It's controlling the elements of the world with nothing but pure willpower: what's natural about that? It's flat-out impossible as a matter of fact.
    The magic in those stories always comes from pacts or deals with demonic/alien entities, or magical items imbued with power that they use.
    In a High Fantasy (like Tolkien) setting it's actually even more jarring: the Wizards in Middle-Earth wern't even human in the first place, and that was the only reason they could even use magic.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)05:58 No.5175038
    In stuff like the Elric stories (or anything by Moorcock really) magic, once again, isn't a "natural" force, it's power lent or borrowed from powerful beings/gods/whatever.
    Basically, the whole notion of magic as a "natural force" that certain special people can "naturally use" probably COMES from DnD in the first place, since it doesn't appear very often at ALL in old fantasy literature, of any genre or style almost.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)06:02 No.5175058

    Keep in mind that this doesn't last _forever_, but it might slow things down enough such that thousands of years may pass with very little advancement overall. Note that although technology may stand still, minor societal changes and military tactics, among other things, may yet change. Women gain the same rights men do, tactics take on a more modern bent, peasants might find a better way to plow, whatever.
    >> Manyfist !!TggEaf+C4RP 07/16/09(Thu)06:15 No.5175146
    Which is why I love Eberron. Magic is common and is used as a shoe-in for technology. However most even those who went to war for years were very low level. Only those whom are actually a threat ro the PCs are the Kings & Queens, High ups, and of course the Demons and Angels...etc.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)06:57 No.5175402
    An Idea that has just struck me is the following: A specific kingdom, due to paranoia (Probably justified) about wizards inevitably taking control of everything, blankets all his towns in antimagic, and then invests in technology rather than trying to attract high level casters with giant bribes.

    I'm not suggesting it would subsequently take over everything, but the territory it had would become virtually unassailable. Rival nations would have to wait until people came out of towns, and discreetly brainwash them to try and remove the antimagic. But would such a strategy be economical?
    >> Cegorach 07/16/09(Thu)07:01 No.5175421
    >minor societal changes...
    Yes of course. Mages-in-power may have a broader interpretation of what constitutes "status quo" and be less hung up on nobility and pedigrees in general. Or maybe stick ears deep in their own traditions and superstitions, just as silly but different.
    >Women gain the same rights men do...
    Yes of course. If half of people with magical talent are born female, that's a shining beacon of equality and stuff. And what if magic, or at least a certain kind of it, is woman-exclusive??? Think Andre Norton...
    >tactics take on a more modern bent
    Assuredly so. A formation of knights in shining armor kinda warrants being fireballed; a bunch of guerillas is harder to catch.
    >peasants might find a better way to plow, whatever.
    Running water, sanitation, medical care, communication - basically, any advances of technological civilization, but a wizard did it. Of course, the slope into magicpunk is very slippery.
    >> Fuuka the Bitch Queen of /tg/ 07/16/09(Thu)07:07 No.5175457
    I kind of like the idea of a medieval style world where typical army to army world has been abolished simply because it doesn't work.

    Wars are fought more modern style.. guerrilla warfare. Skirmishes rather than battle formations. You never ever get two organized forces marching at eachother. The battle field is anywhere.

    And this still makes mundane characters useful in a war. Most magic users would be low leveled.. and it takes a very powerful magic user to be prepared 24/7 for every contingency that may threaten their life. Only one in a great many will be immune to someone sniping them from hiding.. or just leaping out and cutting their throat before they know someone is there.

    or just their fighter not being able to keep your fighter back and putting a sword through the chest of the caster.

    Would be quite interesting.
    >> Cegorach 07/16/09(Thu)07:13 No.5175474
    >blankets all his towns in antimagic

    Another very common and very-very wrong concept of classic fantasy at work. "Magic is Ancient Lore and Just Works, since time out of mind". The hell???

    A living, breathing magical tradition in which thousands are trying to outdo each other will create something very similar to the present-day IT industry. Every generation of mages creates a slew of new spells and new uses of old ones... think scientific papers and degrees - you're not promoted personally till you've proved your ability to benefit magic as a whole.
    So anybody offering a perfect antimagic field that works forever will be like a vendor offering the perfect antivirus/firewall - a dishonest seller looking for a deluded buyer.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)07:20 No.5175499
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    Magical Cold War, eh? Funny, that's almost exactly like our current GURPS game is shaping up to be. A generally bronze age world where magic is almost unknown, but with two opposing "superpowers" with using advanced magical Lost Technology (no, not the edible kind) who use the mundane humans as pawns in their little game. They may be slowly starting to catch on, though... and to complicate matters, there may actually be more than two of these factions around.

    The PCs belong to one of these "superpower" factions as some of its newest recruits, they know their own faction isn't exactly pure good (what with essentially being an absolute dictatorship ruled by the most powerful magic-user and all) but the opposing side seems to be even worse.

    I guess my fandom of Babylon 5 may have subtly worked itself into the nature of the setting, now that I think of it. I did intentionally base one of the villains on it (pic related).
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)08:10 No.5175681
    You forget, however, Counter-Spells, A few high level wizards whose job is to stand there, and keep other casters from throwing spells would greatly increase the survivability of the army, not to mention most high level mages I know would rather take on the other caster single handed, so that would remove the main arcane casters from either side. Sure, magic would tear great holes in ranks, but so did arrow volleys by the english, and that didn't stop people from fighting wars. And Shadowdancers and Assassins would be more precise, to strike down Lords and Leaders of another army, thus, the scene of a medieval battle turns into a modern day stand off, The technological advantage is replaced by sorcery, the clerics are just way better medics, and normal soldiers still fight in mass numbers.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)08:13 No.5175696
    Sherri S. Tepper's Lands of the True Game series. Super-powered individuals with a chess motif would meet and fight each other in armies, while the powerless 'pawns' would sit by and wait for the powered ones to get tired.

    Then they'd move in with their pitchforks and axes and slaughter each other and any of the other side's powered individuals they can get their hands on.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)10:09 No.5176257

    One problem with this model is that 'adventurer' or hero-level combat happens on a very different time scale than army combat. Even in the U.S. Civil War, it took an assembled, standing, veteran army days or weeks to get where the needed to go, even though they were already equipped and in camp and had trains.

    In contrast, hero-level combat, usually called an 'adventure', is completely resolved in days. You have an early period of frantic maneuvering and scheming, and then the killing starts. They have access to at least basic divination magic and fly to get to their targets. 9th-10th level heroes have access to scry, teleportation, powerful divination, planar allies, and the rogue can hide from you in the middle of a featureless desert.

    By the time the armies are mustered and marching, the heroes have played through City of the Spider Queen or whatever and now one side or the other is out of heroes. So one army never gets to the battlefield - unopposed wizards are free to drop cloudkills from above while immune to arrows, rogues are killing officers with impossible-to-detect stealth, and a barbed devil or whatever occasionally shows up in the middle of your ranks.

    So yeah, guerrilla war.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)10:12 No.5176276

    what's the world coming to when any faggot with UU or 2W can counter anything you like, no skill required?

    Don't even get started on creatures, I mean, you only need R or RB for that.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)10:15 No.5176304
    Also keep in mind that the winning side of hero-on-hero violence is perversely going to have stronger heroes than they started with. The winning side is going to loot the losers, and level up from the XP gained by killing them (assuming each side is deploying their PCs).

    Fatalities on the winning side of hero-on-hero violence are handled by any of the various Raise Dead effects. The losers rot at best; at worst, they lost to Team Evil and now their souls are getting used to make even more powerful magic items for the winning team.
    >> Anonymous 07/16/09(Thu)10:45 No.5176486

    Unfortunately, the random high-level crap like the Lords of Dust and such destabilize the setting badly.

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