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Joerg

LM learning and Malkioni reasoning, sorcerers and battles

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  On 12/18/2018 at 6:29 AM, Joerg said:

Lhankor Mhy is rote learning - like knowing all the dates of history, but having no idea how those events are linked, being able to name every single bone in a human body but having no idea about how they interact in force distribution, etc.

We might reasonably say that Lhankor Mhy is more Aristotle than Plato or similar. But jumping from that to 'so, it's irrational' is wildly anachronistic. And, FWIW, I don't think it is very representative of LM either, as LM obviously is interested in sorcery, alchemy, and investigation of the true nature of things. 

  On 12/18/2018 at 6:29 AM, Joerg said:

Knowing all the precendences in a legal conflict, as opposed to knowing the exact terms of a law regulating such exchanges.

I think LM knows both, to the extent that Heortling law works that way. But if we had to choose between the two, that LM lawspeakers literally recite the exact terms of the law before each moot would tend to indicate that they know them. 

After half a week of absence, I find the thread on RQ sorcery closed before I had the chance to reply to David Cake's well-written reply to my rather flippant claims on Lhankor Mhy learning vs. Malkioni reasoning.

Note that the bearded guy is among my favorite cults as a player, offering plenty of attitude and some snobbery. Not so much in the role of a lawspeaker but in the role of the cartographer (rather than pathfinder) of the Otherworlds.

His temple-libraries are magpies' hoards of snippets of knowledge. Possibly comparable to the 19th century antiquity/colonial exotica collections (real and imitation) of the well-to-do white men, and what their catalogers could make of them.

We do know about some of the specialties of the Great Libraries - including one priding itself on its oral tradition "collection".

 

 

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  On 12/18/2018 at 6:29 AM, Joerg said:

I had the impression that centralized control is the defining feature of the Bronze Age high culture

You are not distinguishing between command and control, maybe? Esrolia and Dara Happa have centralised command, but they exercise command over a broad collection of independent authorities, who have their own privileges usually enabling them to control their own internal organisation.

They can't, for example, demand the Granite Phalanx retrain as peltasts. I specifically think the Talars can order the zzaburi to help them defend against a threat, or even join them in a way, but I don't think the Talars can, for example, demand all the Debaldan school switch to learning Furlandan magic, no matter how terrifically handy it would be. 

If that is what you understand by control, then no, no historical realm prior to the spread of "socialist" autocracies had this power. There is no 100% successful conversion of a population to a different cult or sect. Rokarism and New Idealist Hrestolism may come close, but there are strong old-Hrestoli sentiments in Seshnela, and weird non-conformist traditions in Loskalm. A wise ruler will only issue irrational commands in order to exact punishment upon non-fulfillment of said command, like in the case of the Shadowlord Krengen Bik did (HotHP p.72).

 

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I think even the implied central bureaucracy of the Lunar Empire, with its professional Buserians and giant logistics chain, is a bit idealistic, and is a continual struggle to make it work in practice. Mostly units struggle into town with a chest full of cash and begin buying and extorting what they need individually. Everything is a lot more devolved than the idea that the talars can order up a carefully balanced package of sorcery experts would imply. Often, control over an organisation is illusory - it relies on accepting that you can command what they have without expecting to change it, and knowing that there are many commands they will not obey, and might cause them to leave if you try. 

Any bureaucracy comes with a huge dose of "Yes, Minister".

Military logistics always calculates some "living off the land" into their calculations. As long as the units don't start slaughtering their mounts or fellow soldiers for food, everything is within parameters.

Of course there is rather little the Talars can do to influence the curriculum of a sorcerous order, except sponsoring a new one with a curriculum after their wishes or needs. Outside of Loskalm, they have no real understanding of what is going on in sorcerers' education. Inside Loskalm, they will tend to be too tied up in their own upbringing to envision much of a new way (and the same goes for leading sorcerers in the schools anywhere).

 

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  On 12/18/2018 at 6:29 AM, Joerg said:

First and foremost they learned about the Invisible God, and most of the God Learner era Malkioni stuck to those principles, with only a variant minority doing the (in hindsight blasphemous) subversion of deities.

The God Learners had not one dubious, in hind sight heretical or unwise, idea, but multiple. 

Calling down Tanian's Fire was of course tampering with powers beyond their control and resulted in the Firebergs as fallout, but the destruction of the Vralos forest pretty much was within the expected parameters. Zzabur's great magics had greater adversary side effects and yet are claimed as necessities, so we may be over-critical when looking at the Jrusteli schools.

As a rule, any big enough magic performed in Glorantha will create an adversary effect that will haunt the originators (or their descendants).

 

Tampering with the structures and protagonists of the myths defining their world was clearly the Malkioneranist branch of God-Learnerism. The Makanist Hrestoli still suffered from Adventurism, but lacked the places to expand into after their Six-Legged Empire had failed and the seas closed.

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I do not think the only God Learners that used some divine magic were the Malkioneranists, but that there were quite a few henotheists (largely those who combined worship of 'accepted' gods like Issaries or Lhankor Mhy), or others who interacted with Pagan deities. The Emanationalists in Pamaltela were not Malkioneranists, but they did deal with pagan deities, although only a few became full blown pure pagans (the Inflamers). There are plenty of Emanationalists following such marginally acceptable deities as Issaries and Lhankor Mhy throughout the Middle Sea Empire. 

Dealing with pagan deities from an equal or even superior position is what sorcerers do.

 

 

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  On 12/18/2018 at 6:29 AM, Joerg said:

The theist gets the option to switch briefly to spell casting in the middle of battle, but only with personal magic. The sorcerous soldier goes into the battle with specific runic protection to avoid that kind of harm.

It works excellently as long as the enemy doesn't do anything unexpected. Which they will be trying very hard to do. Specific Runic Protection is particularly fragile - it relies strongly on having a very good idea of your enemies magical resources, so one bunch of unexpected allies can be devastating. 

While that is true, it goes in the other direction as well. There are ancient enemies of the Orlanthi which made their deity look bad, or at least required him to take a great detour. Summoning Daga in the middle of a battle should stifle much of the Orlanthi magics, manifesting Tarumath would be devastating.

 

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And any explanation of battlefield magic that doesn't include wyters as a major factor is going to be way off, especially for the Orlanthi. 

The magic of standards and their totems is well known to the armies of Seshnela and possibly also Loskalm. The resistance of the units to the wyter-spirits in Dragon Pass may derive from the regimental cohesion magic in these standards in non-Orlanthi (non-wytered) units.

 

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Plus we are simply dragging the rules into territory they are not expected to cover in detail. Push the rules into a corner case, they stop working well, especially when important rules are missing. For example, we literally do not have rules to cover how organised, coordinated long range magical attacks work from a rules point of view - and yet, here we are, arguing about the effects of magic on mass warfare, ignoring literally most of the evidence we have on how large scale mass warfare works in Glorantha! We *know* the Lunars and the SMU focus their magical efforts on long range coordinated magical attack. Maintaining big combat buffs on your front line troops does nothing at all to protect you from otherworldly long range bombardment - and for every sorcerer who has specialised in buffing your troops, that is one sorcerer less to work on magical defences. 

The Dara Happan priests were close enough for Harrek to wade right through them at Pennel Ford, which might limit the "long range" aspect of wyter warfare a bit.

Part of buffing the troops is buffing magical defences, so these sorcerers may not be quite that "useless". And they may serve by lending power to the spells of their better adapted colleagues.

 

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What really happens with our hypothetical unit of sorcerers with big Boon of Kargan Tor buffs and Neutralise Storm? Well, they might end up meeting a bunch of Orlanthi warriors in straight combat, and chew threw them. Or they might have a group of Windlords fly/teleport into their sorcerers stashed behind the lines and slaughter them. Or they might have the Snakepipe Dancers drop a horde of spirits on them from 20 km away. Or get an earthquake dropped on them. 

Yes, and it all depends. The sorcerers are likely to have defences up against spirits and deities attacking them - that's expected behaviour of the enemy, and as standard procedure as providing a wooden palisade for a post-Marian Roman field camp.

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Sorcerers are absolutely great at developing perfect plans, as we have had several times explained. How often those perfect plans survive contact with the enemy is another thing entirely. 

Sure. It still beats the Leroy Jenkins attitude you can expect from an Orlanthi army.

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27 minutes ago, Joerg said:

 Note that the bearded guy is among my favorite cults as a player, offering plenty of attitude and some snobbery. Not so much in the role of a lawspeaker but in the role of the cartographer (rather than pathfinder) of the Otherworlds.

The distinction is welcome. If the Talking God's "writing system" is based on the tattoo needle and not the pen there's room for a more shamanic approach to the lands beyond as well as the beard's relatively sorcerous or "logical" understanding.

As far as planning to fail against an army of flying Leroy Jenkins, it's an interesting point. Blue sorcery works best when it sublimates the messiness of reality into a relatively neat, predictable, rules-based and stereotyped set of behaviors. We can control our own behaviors but the important thing here is forcing the enemy into a categorical box that our plans can then manipulate to most efficient effect. "Demonization" seems to be an exception that proves the general rule: if your categories fail, the last resort is to ascribe "chaos" and aim your sorceries accordingly. 

But day to day this may work opposite to "experimental" heroquesting: instead of opening up new pathways, your tactical objective is to close off unknowns in order to banish more effectively. Much formal blue sorcery probably revolves around banishing. Once you know the runes your opponent draws on, you know the classical responses and their demonstrated effectiveness.

 

 

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On 12/22/2018 at 12:49 AM, Joerg said:

His temple-libraries are magpies' hoards of snippets of knowledge. Possibly comparable to the 19th century antiquity/colonial exotica collections (real and imitation) of the well-to-do white men, and what their catalogers could make of them.

I absolutely think that yes, the temple-libraries are disorganised piles of things - not just scrolls, but collections of things that attracted the attention of a sage one time, historical artifacts that a sage absolutely intends to cast a lot of extended Reconstruction spells on some time, maps with scribbled geomantic notes, collections of rocks or pressed plants or foreign fabrics. Many of the books will be in languages most of the temple doesn't speak, some in languages no one speaks (and may not even be known, just bits filed away in the hopes someone will be able to translate them in the future). The grand Temple in Nochet has a bit of the feel of the Pitt-Rivers museum in Oxford, a grand collection of fascinating things all jammed in. 

But if the Buserian sages differ, its only in that they are less interested in foreign knowledge for its own sake. The Irippi Ontor sages, while they have no prohibition on foreign knowledge, have a far greater pile of 'official' Lunar knowledge to focus on - individually, they might be as curious about foreign knowledge as any Lhankor Mhy, in practice as an institution keeping on top of the great pile of Lunar and Solar knowledge keeps them pretty busy. Neither cult has modern organised libraries. 

My real point though is that none of these cults think of themselves as anything other than both rational and learned. They might scoff at the ways of the others, and certainly IO and Buserian scholars might make fun of a provincial hill clan Lhankor Mhy who mostly functions as a lawspeaker and handles difficult questions by dream interpretation after sleeping under a leather sheet - but a Lhankor Mhy sage from Jonstown or Nochet has the same attitude about their more rural cousins too. Lhankor Mhy especially is a socially complex that adapts to its social role, and includes many different 'archetypes' of scholar - philosophically sophisticated sorcerer, proto-scientist natural scholars, book learned sages, lawspeakers who are repositories of oral tradition and poetry,  sword sage, economically prudent specialists in evaluation or document trading, etc. There is certainly a debate within the cult on what is the ultimate source of knowledge - empiricism, pure reason, or magical revelation - but in practice all three are used by most sages, and the same debate happens within Malkionism. The idea that any of the three is considered 'irrational' is very much a modern epistemological argument.

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On 12/22/2018 at 12:49 AM, Joerg said:

Summoning Daga in the middle of a battle should stifle much of the Orlanthi magics, manifesting Tarumath would be devastating.

To be honest I have doubts about both of these specifics. Daga is a god whose powers do not exert themselves instantly or directly - a might foe of the Orlanthi it is true, but one with strategic value rather than tactical. 

And Tarumath... well, I don't think is easily contacted by sorcerous means anyway, as Tarumath is a fundamentally mystic entity, and it is a fairly close contest between even Lokomayadan and Garindarth - sure, Lokomayadan defeats Garindarth, but at a huge cost to his army. And thats with the greatest follower of Tarumath who ever lived, backed by thousands  of followers- just summoning up Tarumath by sorcerous means and hoping for instant victory probably isn't terribly reliable. 

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FWIW, one of the favourite RQ games I ever ran ended with a huge plot around the Lunars invoking Daga in Prax - they (mostly the Red School of Masks at Moonbroth) adapted the Daga myth, so it became about using the power of the Sun Eagle (as analogue for Yelm) to imprison the Thunder Bird (as analogue for Heler) within the Sea Dragon at the centre of the Puzzle Canal. The PCs did a mighty version of the Aroka myth, travelling around Pavis in a giant spiral that saw them collect the various winds and other ritual items from various opponents (defeating Lunar shamans, Gagarthi bandits, chaos vermin, and various others along the way), and then their Wind Lord leader defeated the dragon by unleashing the gathered elementals and spirits on it, while the rest of the PCs battled the Coders attempts to interfere in the fight. 

But I very much had Daga as a long term strategic threat (that was keeping all of Prax in drought so everyone not near a water source was suffering, which meant all the Praxian tribes were kept out of Prax but the Lunars could survive near the Zola Fel and Moonbroth), the PCs defeated Daga the same way Orlanth did - not by direct confrontation which always failed, but by freeing a powerful Water power. 

I do think that most Gloranthan army level battles tend to see the summoning of high powered magical entities, be they god or spirit or demon, as the ultimate trump card (despite my scepticism about Daga or Tarumath being particularly good choices), and the cornerstone technique of magical warfare. I think that an organised group of sorcerers, by they orthodox or heterodox, is ultimately pretty likely to base their war strategy around something like that (though there are a few rare war magician orders who focus on buffing troops, for sure). Summoning giant magical entities is something that comes up all the tine in Gloranthan sources. I think they are far more likely to do that that do attempt elaborate bureaucratic schemes for trying to cope with all contingencies by trying to have just the right set of buffs known by some otherwise barely competent soldier somewhere. 

In short, I think large groups of sorcerers involved in magical warfare mostly do the same things other magicians do - concentrate on techniques around collaborative collective magic and the summoning of powerful magical entities. Wyters (or whatever the sorcerous equivalent is), major summonings, coordination of long range attacks, regiment level magic, etc. 

On 12/22/2018 at 12:49 AM, Joerg said:

The sorcerers are likely to have defences up against spirits and deities attacking them - that's expected behaviour of the enemy, and as standard procedure as providing a wooden palisade for a post-Marian Roman field camp.

My examples of magic that sorcerers would find hard to cope with (an attack of spirits, etc) aren't really intended to show that sorcerers are vulnerable to attacks - its intended to show that sorcerers are likely to behave like normal magicians at war (collaborating to create regimental level magic defences, or coordinate powerful magic assaults utilising many spirits/etc) rather than in coordinating bureaucratic army level buffing schemes. The question is how would they create those magical defences? I do not think it is by managing to keep high powered Spirit Warding on all their soldiers at all times, or even usually a low level one  - they have bound entities on watch, are prepared to cast large Protective Circles to protect troops, and similar means. 

(not that sorcerers don't spend magical effort on buffing their soldiers - for the Brithini in particular, it is the core of their strategy - but when they do its a core group of sorcerers casting on a core group of soldiers, not a Fordist army wide magical assembly line)

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In case of sorcerers at a battle, I expect protective circles to be used in a similar way Argrath had the defenders of the Cradle set up Wardings.

Finding entities or conditions in which Orlanth was forced from the battlefield is a challenge, of course, Orlanth being  the major bully for much of the course of the Gods War. But then, there is one power which renders the Storm King as tame as a bunny, and that's the authority of the Earth Queen. Not exactly the forte of the sorcerers, even though their ancestral ties to their local goddesses of the land are fairly good (even for the atheist Brithini),, but that would require to have the female priesthood acknowledged on the battle field.

 

Can sorcerers attack at a distance with discorporate entities? Obviously they can, as shown by Sir Narib's company which is one of the slightly better mounted magician units (though not quite on par with the Egglords). It doesn't appear like it took Sir Narib much (if any) effort to participate in the same game as the Eaglebrowns or the Eleven Lights, and his unit might have had that ability prior to his allegiance to Argrath.

I could as easily make an argument for sorcerers calling in physical magic attacks akin to those of the WInd Children, Crater Makers or the Cannon Cult - the classical ranged damage dealing that you find in the genre literature of sorcerous battles, thoroughly underused in the Dragon Pass style board games (I mean if you devote an entire section of the magical combat rules to this ability, you really could have more than three such units in the board game).

 

Attract Magic, Attract Spirits and Attract Missiles could have powerful effects on the battlefield, too, especially if the Malkioni armies have effigies which are basically immune to the incoming attacks, or can easily be sacrificed or protected, or even tap what is incoming. When sorcerers have the opportunity to prepare the battlefield with such neutralized or aggravated magical zones, their armies can use counterattack tactics to the fullest.

We don't hear of chariot use in western armies, or huge beasts carrying howdas, so there don't appear to be anti-magic tanks on wheels. Do the sorcerers use carpets or possibly pavilions? Attacking the dread gazebo might be a sound tactic if it harbors enemy sorcerers or offers a magical fallout shelter to enemy troops.

Magical mine fields - whether remote triggered from the observation post or by troops crossing some line - are another rather overlooked form of battlefield preparations. Releasing or summoning hostile or noxious entities or conditions is just another thing you don't want to experience as a normal grunt in a sorcerous battle. Enraged normal-sized bees/wasps/hornets or noxious smoke have been reported and re-created by experimental archaeologists from classical age battles. Release of enraged elementals doesn't really require controlling them at first.

 

Fire in battles is a trope way overplayed by Hollywood, which has haphazard salvos of fire arrows in every yet so ludicrous fashion. We have Rain of Fire magics in the sorcery rules, noxious air, and possibly caustic rain or dust storms, too (although air as a damage vector might be unwise in conflicts involving Orlanthi). Firearrow as a spirit spell is fairly effective in the amount of damage it promises, but rather limited in use over the course of a battle unless each participant has multiple MP storage devices (which would make plundering a battlefield quite lucrative).

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On 12/25/2018 at 4:02 AM, davecake said:

My real point though is that none of these cults think of themselves as anything other than both rational and learned. They might scoff at the ways of the others, and certainly IO and Buserian scholars might make fun of a provincial hill clan Lhankor Mhy who mostly functions as a lawspeaker and handles difficult questions by dream interpretation after sleeping under a leather sheet - but a Lhankor Mhy sage from Jonstown or Nochet has the same attitude about their more rural cousins too. Lhankor Mhy especially is a socially complex that adapts to its social role, and includes many different 'archetypes' of scholar - philosophically sophisticated sorcerer, proto-scientist natural scholars, book learned sages, lawspeakers who are repositories of oral tradition and poetry,  sword sage, economically prudent specialists in evaluation or document trading, etc. There is certainly a debate within the cult on what is the ultimate source of knowledge - empiricism, pure reason, or magical revelation - but in practice all three are used by most sages, and the same debate happens within Malkionism. The idea that any of the three is considered 'irrational' is very much a modern epistemological argument.

I like this. Much.

Kloster

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

In case of sorcerers at a battle, I expect protective circles to be used in a similar way Argrath had the defenders of the Cradle set up Wardings.

Totally. Some sorcerers rely on that sort of magic heavily (I always think of Protective Circles as a bit of a Zendamalthan specialty, but it is too classic a trope). 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

I could as easily make an argument for sorcerers calling in physical magic attacks akin to those of the WInd Children, Crater Makers or the Cannon Cult - the classical ranged damage dealing that you find in the genre literature of sorcerous battles,

I think it could happen, but its fairly rare for sorcerers too. It implies an elemental specialist school, and there actually don't seem to be too many of those about in Orthodox Malkionism. 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Attract Magic, Attract Spirits and Attract Missiles could have powerful effects on the battlefield, too, especially if the Malkioni armies have effigies which are basically immune to the incoming attacks, or can easily be sacrificed or protected, or even tap what is incoming. When sorcerers have the opportunity to prepare the battlefield with such neutralized or aggravated magical zones, their armies can use counterattack tactics to the fullest.

And once again we are back to the trope of sorcerers doing quite well when they are able to prepare and have the battle go according to plan, and vulnerable when they have to improvise. Which seems appropriate. 

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

We don't hear of chariot use in western armies, or huge beasts carrying howdas, so there don't appear to be anti-magic tanks on wheels.

The Loskalmi sorcerers are generally armoured cataphracts. But yeah, I think the Brithini and Rokari don't go in for any kind of tank tactic that I've heard of. I assume the zzaburi mostly stay away from the battle front. 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

there is one power which renders the Storm King as tame as a bunny, and that's the authority of the Earth Queen. Not exactly the forte of the sorcerers, even though their ancestral ties to their local goddesses of the land are fairly good (even for the atheist Brithini),, but that would require to have the female priesthood acknowledged on the battle field.

Someone more optimistic than me might say "battlefield sorcery is the continuation of witchcraft by other means" and that zzabur only fights Orlanth when intermarriage / conversion has failed. 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

But then, there is one power which renders the Storm King as tame as a bunny, and that's the authority of the Earth Queen.

There are occasions when Ernaldans will take to the field in various clan vs clan fights, armed with axes.  They aren't much good, but do have decent access to shield of Arran and healing spells.  Fighting is Barbeester Gor's job after all.  Orlanthi have no obligation to be nice to Earth Worshipers who stand against them, and this will happen quite often.  Equal rights = equal decapitation opportunities.  The minute someone becomes a combatant, the social taboo protection of non-combatants no longer apply.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

I could as easily make an argument for sorcerers calling in physical magic attacks akin to those of the WInd Children, Crater Makers or the Cannon Cult - the classical ranged damage dealing that you find in the genre literature of sorcerous battles, thoroughly underused in the Dragon Pass style board games (I mean if you devote an entire section of the magical combat rules to this ability, you really could have more than three such units in the board game).

I'm pretty sure it is the Thunder Brothers who call down Sartar's "blockbuster storm" ability that either destroys one hex or floods all the rivers.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Magical mine fields - whether remote triggered from the observation post or by troops crossing some line - are another rather overlooked form of battlefield preparations. Releasing or summoning hostile or noxious entities or conditions is just another thing you don't want to experience as a normal grunt in a sorcerous battle. Enraged normal-sized bees/wasps/hornets or noxious smoke have been reported and re-created by experimental archaeologists from classical age battles. Release of enraged elementals doesn't really require controlling them at first.

This is a really good point, and has got me thinking.  Consider the equivalent of a protective circle that is a "Destructive circle", that disrupts magical protections then damages the people within them like some sort of warding. 

You don't often hear about warding spells being used in combat, but it would be possible to have javelineers cast warding staff javelins in the opening skirmish that a priest then enchants, provided they know which ones they are.  This could turn a pretty passive spell into a more aggressive territory controlling spell.  If you want to defend a crucial place in a battle, Warding would be invaluable too.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

We don't hear of chariot use in western armies, or huge beasts carrying howdas, so there don't appear to be anti-magic tanks on wheels. Do the sorcerers use carpets or possibly pavilions? Attacking the dread gazebo might be a sound tactic if it harbors enemy sorcerers or offers a magical fallout shelter to enemy troops.

A pavillion is a fixed tent.  Do you mean palanquins?  I would personally put them in armored wagons with integrated protective circles.  I suspect that most Zzaburi stay well back, in any nearby garrison town with the bulk of the supplies.  Their job is merely to prepare for the next time they are needed to buff a unit with sorcery.  While I have no doubt sorcerers could unleash a barrage of effective spells, that probably isn't the best use of their MP.  They are probably more dangerous if they enhance their troops with +2d6 damage bonus and magic protection.

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

A pavillion is a fixed tent.  Do you mean palanquins?  I would personally put them in armored wagons with integrated protective circles.  I suspect that most Zzaburi stay well back, in any nearby garrison town with the bulk of the supplies.  Their job is merely to prepare for the next time they are needed to buff a unit with sorcery.  While I have no doubt sorcerers could unleash a barrage of effective spells, that probably isn't the best use of their MP.  They are probably more dangerous if they enhance their troops with +2d6 damage bonus and magic protection.

The spells described for the Barmalan school are pretty good examples of this. Far more focused on augmentation and enchantment rather than big flashy spells.

In RQ:G terms, I imagine the most important Barmalani spells would be Boon of Kargan Tor, Dampen Damage, Neutralize Armour, and Ward Against Weapons; with Attract Missiles and Protective Circle also being popular.

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

You don't often hear about warding spells being used in combat, but it would be possible to have javelineers cast warding staff javelins in the opening skirmish that a priest then enchants, provided they know which ones they are

Whenever there is a line of reasoning that is basically 'if you just make this particular weird set of assumptions about how spell casting works then Gloranthan life would be changed forever', I tend to reject those weird assumptions. I think it is implied that Warding stakes are placed by the caster, and it's a Ritual that takes a little time, rather than a normal cast. 

6 hours ago, Darius West said:

If you want to defend a crucial place in a battle, Warding would be invaluable too.

12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Not really for open battlefields - all it requires is one well defended leader type (eg with a lot of Shield) to pull out a stake, and it will be pretty obvious (and risky) to have your priests performing Warding rituals in view of the enemy. But for an already defensible position, absolutely. Enough that a crucial job of magicians in any assault on a well defended position is to be ready to take down Wardings. 

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

I suspect that most Zzaburi stay well back, in any nearby garrison town with the bulk of the supplies.  Their job is merely to prepare for the next time they are needed to buff a unit with sorcery. 

Their job is also to respond to enemy magical attack, not just buff. But they do have Range, so while they probably want to be in sight of the battle where possible, they don't need to be very near it. 

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

There are occasions when Ernaldans will take to the field in various clan vs clan fights, armed with axes.  They aren't much good, but do have decent access to shield of Arran and healing spells.  Fighting is Barbeester Gor's job after all. 

Fighting is Babeester Gor's job - most Ernaldans do not even own an axe, or have the faintest idea how to wield one in combat. And everywhere but Esrolia, Babeester Gor is a tiny minority cult of miserable fanatics. 

There are the Maran Gor axe maidens, but again a tiny minority most places (except Old Tarsh). 

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2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

The spells described for the Barmalan school are pretty good examples of this. Far more focused on augmentation and enchantment rather than big flashy spells.

 

While clearly there are a lot of augmentation spells, I think "Strike enemy combatant dead" from that spell list strikes me as a pretty flashy direct attack spell. 

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2 minutes ago, davecake said:

While clearly there are a lot of augmentation spells, I think "Strike enemy combatant dead" from that spell list strikes me as a pretty flashy direct attack spell. 

Agreed.

Sometimes you do get some flashy stuff it must be admitted. Just not as common.

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12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Do the sorcerers use carpets

Interestingly, the only mention of a flying carpet in Glorantha that I can recall is Ernalda magic (Orane weaves wove Dumela, the carpet that flew her and Durev out of the clutches of Endon the Cruel. I'm guessing it might involve some Storm magic from Durev too). 

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8 hours ago, davecake said:

 

13 hours ago, Joerg said:

I could as easily make an argument for sorcerers calling in physical magic attacks akin to those of the WInd Children, Crater Makers or the Cannon Cult - the classical ranged damage dealing that you find in the genre literature of sorcerous battles,

I think it could happen, but its fairly rare for sorcerers too. It implies an elemental specialist school, and there actually don't seem to be too many of those about in Orthodox Malkionism. 

Not necessarily elemental schools. There ought to be spells that manipulate matter without summoning the elements. E.g. using the forms instead. (I sort of miss the Mineral rune option. Earth has way too many functions.)

 

7 hours ago, Darius West said:

I'm pretty sure it is the Thunder Brothers who call down Sartar's "blockbuster storm" ability that either destroys one hex or floods all the rivers.

No, that kind of thing is Exotic (aka mystical) magic, not physical magic.

Sometimes a wind is just moving air and not a spirit. Sometimes a hail of stones is minerals falling down from above. Even in Glorantha.

 

8 hours ago, davecake said:
13 hours ago, Joerg said:

We don't hear of chariot use in western armies, or huge beasts carrying howdas, so there don't appear to be anti-magic tanks on wheels.

The Loskalmi sorcerers are generally armoured cataphracts. But yeah, I think the Brithini and Rokari don't go in for any kind of tank tactic that I've heard of. I assume the zzaburi mostly stay away from the battle front. 

I managed to miscommunicate. I wasn't talking about physically armored vehicles, but about mobile protective circles.

37 minutes ago, davecake said:
13 hours ago, Joerg said:

Do the sorcerers use carpets

Interestingly, the only mention of a flying carpet in Glorantha that I can recall is Ernalda magic (Orane weaves wove Dumela, the carpet that flew her and Durev out of the clutches of Endon the Cruel. I'm guessing it might involve some Storm magic from Durev too). 

Who said anything about floating carpets?

I was talking about cloth spread on the floors that has all the inscriptions you would like to have for protective circles, serving as receptables. Or (in similar manner, and slightly more mobile) pavilions with such a circle active that might be moved by servants lifting up all the poles in unison and carrying it about like a giant parasol.

7 hours ago, Darius West said:

A pavillion is a fixed tent.  Do you mean palanquins?  I would personally put them in armored wagons with integrated protective circles. 

A palanquin carrying the entire protective circle would be quite the thing, unless you have it carried by giant creatures (like e.g. elephants or dinosaurs).

The land version of the turtle barges usually gets bogged down away from paved roads and has no practical use in warfare. Armored howdas are problematic, too, if the armor is more than moderate protection against arrows and similar light missiles. Slack silk tents acting as ballistic cloth would be possible in weak winds, however.

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5 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Not necessarily elemental schools. There ought to be spells that manipulate matter without summoning the elements. E.g. using the forms instead.

You mean like Plant or Beast magic? I guess, but I don't think I'd equate it with the sort of direct physical effect implied by DP Physical Magicians. And we don't really have evidence of that sort of magic, while we do know of elemental magic used for warlike magic. 

 

{on the Stormwalkers_

7 minutes ago, Joerg said:

No, that kind of thing is Exotic (aka mystical) magic, not physical magic.

I agree it is 'exotic' in the DP sense and not to be confused with the sort of physical magic talked about, but I don't think that means it has to be mystic in nature (and I think most DP Exotic magic is not in any way connected with mysticism). 

 

12 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Or (in similar manner, and slightly more mobile) pavilions with such a circle active that might be moved by servants lifting up all the poles in unison and carrying it about like a giant parasol.

I find this image hilarious but implausible. 

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