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Battlemages; Do you use them?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by shangrila, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Originally in my world no one can directly use magic. Magic could only be manipulated through the use of magi-tech devices. In the upper world, a small bottle-civilization either located in the upper atmosphere, a space station, or on the moon (I haven't decided which yet) it's still like that since they are a remnant of the pre-apocalypse civilization.

    In the lower world, due to being exposed to a high amount of magical radiation for centuries, just about everyone has mutated to be able to absorb, store, and process magical energy as spells. This includes the warriors who use magic to reinforce and strengthen themselves and their body. There's also more traditional mages who throw fireballs and stuff. Finally, those that would be considered traditional battlemages that combine both the internalizing of magic of warriors and the externalizing of magic of the mages exist, but due to their split focus they aren't as powerful in either discipline as a specialist.
     
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  2. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    I use a multitude of magical practices, Battle Mages among them. I don't know if I'll call them something different but for now it's battle mages. And, as battle mages usually go into military, law enforcement or other such areas they are in ranks based on their strongest magic. Those who are better with shields go in the field and help protect their comrades or set shields around vehicles and such. Those with the greater offensive powers, fireballs, making themselves strong as an ape etc, are in the field. Although those who throw things like fire are either in a plane or behind lines giving cover fire for the ape-fighting types.
     
  3. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I have tons of battlemages. The question comes down to focus I guess. Neither training to fight effectively with weapons nor training to fight effectively with magick is something that can be done in a day, so you frequently have people that are very good at this or that, but not both. Still, in WotA, magick is something that is ingrained in almost every person of every race, so almost everyone at least complements their martial prowess with magick flavor.
     
  4. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    Must check it out then
     
  5. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Actually, Dragon Age does have battlemages,two types: Arcane Warrior and Knight Enchanter. That may not be pertinent to the question att hand, but I just felt it should be mentioned.
     
  6. Chuck

    Chuck Dreamer

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    The issue I would have with a mage/warrior would be how armor and magic affect each other. If someone is wearing plate armor, a fireball or lightning bolt would conduct through the armor and hurt the caster. Also, heavy armor would limit fine movement, so if casting requires intricate hand movements, that would slow down the casting.

    I like the idea of using magic to enhance the warrior. He casts a spell to give his sword additional damage. Another spell strengthens his armor. Occasionally he might cast a force bolt, hitting his victim like a battering ram.
     
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  7. Angry Briar Rabbit

    Angry Briar Rabbit Dreamer

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    If a character is going to be GREAT at welding a sword, then that is all they do. Think of it like a musician, if someone wants to be excellent with a guitar, they will not be grand at anything else. That being said, I would not exclude the possibility and I like the idea of a warrior being able to cast a solid spell. They might be limited in their spell repertoire, however. A kind of "special attack" that they develop over time.
     
  8. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    If you are not wearing armour you would still get fried by a lightning bolt or fireball though. I don't see how that would change. If anything, magical armour could help. And while armour maybe wouldn't stop a fireball it would stop an arrow, which is just as likely to kill you on a field of battle.

    Also, armour doesn't limit movement nearly as much as films want us to believe.
     
  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    most of the 'battlemages' on my world were legionaries who tested positive for magical talent. They'd already been trained with sword and spear and crossbow. Even afterwards..,well, the wizards of my worlds are wimps in magical ability. Spells for fixing and finding, petty wards and misleading illusions, the occasional 'trip them up' or entanglement spell. Not many could manage fireballs and lightning bolts.
     
  10. Archunt3r

    Archunt3r Dreamer

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    I've got something akin to Battlemages in some of my books, which as mentioned strong physically and mentally, that will don armor whether it be plate armor, chain mail, or whatever but will fight with sword and shield, as well as magic when it's needed. Either used for misdirection or for damage or help buffing/augmenting.
     
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  11. Chuck

    Chuck Dreamer

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    Heat and electricity take the path of least resistance. When the fireball or lightning bolt leaves the mage's fingers, if it connects with the metal armor, it would conduct through the armor. Without the armor, it would fly away from the mage.
     
  12. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    Not really. At least not on a macro scale. Lightning seeks a path towards the biggest difference in charge. Which is pretty much always the earth. It is why you shouldn't stand in an open field in a thunderstorm. The metal armour makes little difference here, unless it has a lot of spikes.

    Of course, you can always apply some "because magic" reasoning. You need to anyway, since I suspect that the lightning bolt otherwise jumps to the earth as fast as possible. I.e. right in front of the mages feet...
     
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  13. Angry Briar Rabbit

    Angry Briar Rabbit Dreamer

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    Magic energy attracted to other magic energy, perhaps? ABR
     
  14. Patrick-Leigh

    Patrick-Leigh Sage

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    My flintlock fantasy setting has all kinds of battle mages, including (drum roll please) GUN MAGES!!! (Think Samus Aran's arm cannon, only with flintlock weapons.)
     
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  15. StrawhatOverlord

    StrawhatOverlord Minstrel

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    Yes, in a few ways. Royal and Imperial armies have mage divisions. Some rulers have "paladins" (I'm not gonna call them that but haven't named them yet) who can do some magic, but it's not scholarly wizardry. Priests of the war gods would mostly be warriors as per their demands of worship, but that's not traditional mages either. Then there's legit actual wizards who are also legit warriors, called battlemages (unless I find a more original name that also sounds cool later), but most of them tend to specialized in one or the other much more, or be not that great at both. A few are actually very good at both and they're basically living legends, referred to as "Battlemage_insert name_".
     
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  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Rather than start a new thread (which I already did over here Traditional battle mages ), I'll append to this one. No question, just sketching out some thoughts.

    So, yes, I do have battlemages. But of course I had to consider where they come from and what roles they would play in a traditional medieval society that had evolved with magic present. In Altearth, magic is unreliable because it is poorly understood; actually, is understood incorrectly. So, a battlemage can't simply dial up a fireball, set the speed and arc, and launch it like artillery. With training and discipline, a greater effectiveness can be achieved, but not a perfect one.

    There are battlefield considerations. Any sort of ranged attack, for example, has some considerations. The enemy might flank you. The enemy might be widely dispersed. You have to know where the enemy is and you might not know that. At some point, your guys have to close with their guys--battlefields are secured only with infantry--at which point ranged weapons become more of a danger than a help.

    So there's that.

    Close combat magic is problematic in a multitude of ways, depending on how it's deployed. But the effects of friendly fire cannot be discounted, even there.

    Maneuverability is another factor. How do these mages get around? Do they move as groups or individuals? How are they protected from countermeasures? What's the rate of fire? Do they get overheated and their magic jams?

    But I'm letting all that cook for the time being. Right now, I'm more interested in societal and organizational questions. See next post.
     
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  17. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    In Altearth, mages come in a wide variety of types, but the two of most interest are court mages and tower wizards. The former are obvious: kings and great princes find it to their advantage to have one or more magicians directly dependent upon them. Such mages are going to be more valuable at court than on the battlefield simply because more is done at court.

    Tower wizards is that category of magician who lives on his own, isolated in a tower, engaged primarily in research. Such wizards might be hired by a prince, might even reside at court for a time, but they have their own resources and their own agenda. (a third type worth mentioning is the professor, for universities in Altearth are bastions of magical reserach and teaching, but they don't enter directly into the battlemage discussion)

    Mages present multiple challenges for the prince. One, they're expensive to retain and maintain. Princes solve this, gradually and reluctantly, by granting lands to mages in exchange for service. The tendency is for such mages to become more independent, having their own sources of wealth, they naturally begin to have aims that don't always coincide with that of the prince. Or of the new prince. What had been an ally can become an adversary.

    Two, recruitment is spotty. The first universities were founded in an attempt to secure for the prince a steady stream of mages who could at least be relied upon to do basic stuff like astrological charts, discovering deceptions and poisons, and so on. This has had varying success, for another problem is with the prince himself. This generation might support and promote while the next generation neglects and drives mages to penury.

    Moving to actual military expeditions, mages prove exceedingly difficult to manage. They're worse than barons. They are prideful and independent minded. They tend to negotiate terms of service, and princes are notoriously erratic in payment.

    Worse, mages with combat experience are rare. They are high value targets on the battlefield. Not all are courageous, and getting them to act in concert is difficult, not least because battlefield communications are unreliable. And if you think maintaining a wizard is costly, just think what a whole military academy worth of them costs. It just can't be done.

    All in all, therefore, the very notion of battlemage is vague in Altearth. Yes, princes would love to have several death-dealing mages who could strike the enemy without error (or even with high accuracy) and on command. Every once in a great while, a leader emerges who can do this. Charlemagne did. Aelfred did. Afonso the Great did. But the list of failures is much longer. And then there are the cases, like with Henry III of Anglia, where a king established such a group of mages, experienced and effective, and they sort of looked at each other and decided they themselves should rule.

    Be careful what you wish for, and be even more careful what you train for.

    All this is world-building for me, trying to get a sense of where "battle magic" would stand at the time of my story ( = 13thc Europe).
     
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