Why Wizards DON'T rule the world?


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Non-Sequitur,

Timed Durations wrote:
Many durations are measured in rounds, minutes, hours, or other increments. When the time is up, the magic goes away and the spell ends. If a spell’s duration is variable, the duration is rolled secretly so the caster doesn’t know how long the spell will last.

Ya'know, like time stop.


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The Sword wrote:

...

Firstly wizards don’t have access to a PFSRD. Half the spells and items described above wouldn’t even be known to most wizards because they’re scattered across the universe. You can search something out to buy, learn or invent if you do know/can’t imagine what it is. Therefore not all wizards have access to demiplanes, simulacrum, clones or even lantern archon spam.
...

I feel like this is exactly what knowledge checks are meant for. Wizards are decent at those. Also what exactly exists that can't be imagined? Almost by definition nothing in Pathfinder since some writer already imagined it.

If you're thought policing the Wizards I think you've conceded the point. "They are incapable of thinking of that!" That's... no. Just no.


Kharzoug liked this thread*


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They prefer to spend their time on the coast.


Starfinder Superscriber

A better question would be why do people become rulers? (Keep in mind that hereditary titles don't count here as the people are groomed for it usually so it isn't much of a choice)

Usually because they think they can rule better than others and want to improve society (not very common in a medieval setting), or to enrich themselves (and their heirs) in some way.

The high level caster rulers mention earlier account for most of the first set.

And a high level wizard doesn't need to become a ruler to enrich themselves. They can "print money." It's almost like saying "hey, I have two jobs for you that you can do to be a billionaire. You can either go be a CEO and work 100 hours a week and be in the public eye all the time, or you can go work from home on stuff that interests you creatively, whatever that may be."

Which would you choose?


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Graelsis wrote:
Kharzoug liked this thread*

Past tense because of death by adventurer or death by cybernetic time lizard while he was on the John?


ummm john? would not chamber pot be a better word....

anyway. as said, not all powerful wizards want to rule a nation.

my wizard( regardless of what setting or ruleset) has no such deisre to do so and is quite happy in her tower maintaining a library of spell scrolls, spellbooks and ritual magic scrolls, including those rare and hard to get ones.

and failed to mention that the parthfinder version has mythic archmage attached and said tower is in a backwood hamlet on a lesser known trade route.. that just some happens is on a mountain.( she also owns the property that hte hamlet is on...)


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Graelsis wrote:
Kharzoug liked this thread*
Past tense because of death by adventurer or death by cybernetic time lizard while he was on the John?

I cant resist to say it was the lizard's fault. Godzilla time!!!!!


Steelfiredragon wrote:

ummm john? would not chamber pot be a better word....

anyway. as said, not all powerful wizards want to rule a nation.

my wizard( regardless of what setting or ruleset) has no such deisre to do so and is quite happy in her tower maintaining a library of spell scrolls, spellbooks and ritual magic scrolls, including those rare and hard to get ones.

and failed to mention that the parthfinder version has mythic archmage attached and said tower is in a backwood hamlet on a lesser known trade route.. that just some happens is on a mountain.( she also owns the property that hte hamlet is on...)

He's a wizard past level 5. I'm confident he's figured out a way to need neither.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Graelsis wrote:
Kharzoug liked this thread*
Past tense because of death by adventurer or death by cybernetic time lizard while he was on the John?

It'd be the former since "cybernetic time lizards" wouldn't take place in that particular AP. If they did, that entire AP would be a waste of the players' time.

Of course, you could say that the "cybernetic time lizards" just became the new BBEG when they go back in time and slay Kharzoug (a "shouldn't let creatures have that kind of power" ordeal), but then you just needlessly hijack the plot into something really lame and defeats the player agency and AP plot in a really bad way.

"Turn outs the Runelords weren't the biggest problem of this AP, it's the cybernetic time lizards that only just now got a mention! So much for the Runelords rising when they'd just get eaten by cybernetic time lizards eventually, and so much for us rising in level just to have our #1 priority of roleplaying this AP snuffed from under us and replaced with some random entities by a dick GM."

Of course, having an AP where dealing with cybernetic time lizards by themselves would be interesting and fun. But having them come and hijack the plot just to have them hijack the plot is lame as s#!^.


Actually the real answer is that the ole Runelord was killed by Adventurer because he never went around being a white room wizard and thus never attracted the ire of the Time Squad.

But lets shift topic gears. Since we've established that Time Squad > Wizard, let us ask why the world isn't ruled by a recursive army of trans-temporal great time wyrms.

I personally think the world is already ruled by such a force and the TN nature of the beasts keeps them from mucking with the natural order any more than they must. Also wouldn't be surprised if all the Gods aren't just various iterations of the Time Squad after they assassinated various deities in the past and/or just zerged them with as many cybernetic Great Time Wyrms with frickin laserbeams as necessary and stole their domains (certainly doable considering Lamashtu's origin).

Remember kids, no fiat.


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Because they're dumb.

There's no way I can portray a character with higher Intelligence than mine, and mine's not that high. So despite what mental ability scores will have you believe everyone in my world is pretty block-headed.

So the Wizards either never think of being the ruler, or they never manage to get or keep the position because they're bone-headed. Generally anyone who manages to keep rulership for any length of time did it by not pissing off someone just smart enough to kill them.

Grand Lodge

Wizards do run the world but it's done through proxies, dominated people, debt (from granting wishes etc. We will never know.


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:


There's no way I can portray a character with higher Intelligence than mine,

It's difficult, but not impossible, particularly if they're only going to show up as a BBEG for a climactic flight; spending hours thinking through options for a climactic fight of a few rounds simulates being smarter in the moment reasonably well IME.


MageHunter wrote:

There seems to be a high correlation between powerful overlords gaining ground and death by scrappy ragtag underdogs. It's the funniest thing...

I mean, Tar Baphon was a mythic 10 Archmage Lich Wizard 20. How do you screw THAT up? He even killed the Herald of Aroden, which is like... really hard...

Just remember: One of the scrappy underdogs working against Tar-Baphon was Iomedae. Add in the fact that the Shield of Aroden breaking destroyed his form, and didn't actually kill him.... Well, suffice to say that for all the effort that went into stopping him has mostly just delayed him.


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Tarik Blackhands wrote:
But lets shift topic gears. Since we've established that Time Squad > Wizard, let us ask why the world isn't ruled by a recursive army of trans-temporal great time wyrms.

I figure we can recontextualize all of history to be a battle between the Great Wyrm Time Force and the Veiled Masters, taking place entirely through catspaws and proxies.

Time Wyrms, you see, dislike getting wet.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
But lets shift topic gears. Since we've established that Time Squad > Wizard, let us ask why the world isn't ruled by a recursive army of trans-temporal great time wyrms.

I figure we can recontextualize all of history to be a battle between the Great Wyrm Time Force and the Veiled Masters, taking place entirely through catspaws and proxies.

Time Wyrms, you see, dislike getting wet.

Would that make Earthfall a show of force from the GWTF? Possibly involving some futuristic doomsday weapon


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I imagine the answer may well be "other wizards."
Plus clerics, demigods, demon lords, angels, and many other beings with Wish/Miracle-grade superpowers.
Except Wizards beat all of them no problem. There is nothing a Cleric can do that a Wizard can't, and Wizards can summon and defeat the other stuff you mentioned with just one spell.

PLAYER wizards beat all of that.

Actual, in setting wizards typically have to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and need a cup of coffee to wake up in the morning. An in setting wizard can be taken by surprise and shanked.

PLAYER wizards can stop time at 6 second intervals in order to provide an infinite amount of time to consider the situation and plan accordingly. PLAYER wizards are finely tuned machines that are ready at a moment's notice, sleep with 5 other people in the same room because assassins are likely going to show up ("Why even bother describing all this if there isn't going to be an encounter?"), and they have a preternatural ability to notice a fight has started because they can sense an otherworldly being is rolling the world's initiative.

Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.

This also applies to conquest- a PLAYER conqueror can rule the entire world, usually because they still have turn based rules that allow them to look over everything- when dealing with those game mechanics, the PLAYER conqueror might not even keep track of petty things like sleep anymore. In setting conquerors find themselves swamped with the petty banalities of rulership after conquering a few hundred square miles- even a wizard boosted with various spells would likely get sick of it after a few tens of thousand of square miles.

It is easier just to raid a neighboring nation if you need to borrow a cup of sugar as a material component- you don't need to take full ownership, you are strong enough to simply take what you want from others and then go home to your dictatorship. Viking style, basically. I think most sage kings just view excessive conquest the same way you might look at the friend that buys a juicer they saw on TV and then use it all of once.


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Who are some powerful wizards in the real world? Oppenheimer? Richard Feynman? Albert Einstein? Fritz Haber? Dr. Lister? Dr. Salk? Werner von Braun? Gregor Mendel? Mikhail Kalashnikov? Important people, even powerful people, but I think the simple fact is that power over the physical world is not the same thing as political power. And the striving for power over nature is simply not the same thing, either. I think people who want the one do not usually want the other.

Also, what is the skill set required for each? Who gets to rule over other people? I think the general answer is rich, charismatic people, someone who looks good standing on top of a tank with his cloak or necktie flapping in the breeze delivering a speech written by someone who is smarter and less-handsome to inspire stronger people to stand with him and be equipped by even smarter people.

Grandlounge wrote:
Wizards do run the world but it's done through proxies, dominated people, debt (from granting wishes etc. We will never know.

Maybe. Now you are are talking about J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sacks. Or Giovanni de Medici, maybe. That was Grand Nagus's advice to his son:

Grand Nagus Zek wrote:
You don't seize power: you accumulate it--QUIETLY!


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lemeres wrote:


Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.

So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
lemeres wrote:


Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.
So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.

I have to think every single table's turn at RotR was one instance of the GWTP casting that spell on a different set of random people who happened to be in Sandpoint at the time. Sometimes, the group doesn't finish the AP so they can't go with that one.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
lemeres wrote:

Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.

So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.
I have to think every single table's turn at RotR was one instance of the GWTP casting that spell on a different set of random people who happened to be in Sandpoint at the time. Sometimes, the group doesn't finish the AP so they can't go with that one.

New theory: all adventure paths that PCs go through are actually just repeated simulations run by time travelers to determine the most efficient way to achieve their goals with the minimum interference possible.


Avoron wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
lemeres wrote:

Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.

So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.
I have to think every single table's turn at RotR was one instance of the GWTP casting that spell on a different set of random people who happened to be in Sandpoint at the time. Sometimes, the group doesn't finish the AP so they can't go with that one.
New theory: all adventure paths that PCs go through are actually just repeated simulations run by time travelers to determine the most efficient way to achieve their goals with the minimum interference possible.

Alternatively it's a game that members of the GWTP do when off duty. Eternity is a long time to spend murdering uppity wizards. Gotta keep yourself entertained.


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YO.

AM WELCOME, BY THE WAY.

Silver Crusade

Because they've got more important s*~! to do and are smart enough to know that it really isn't worth the hassle. When you rule the world everyone is going to come whining to you when something goes wrong, I'm sure they just don't have time for that sort of pressure.

Now Sorcerers...
They've got the power AND the Charisma behind it.


Avoron wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
lemeres wrote:

Player characters in general are infinitely more prepared and efficient than a nonplayer equivalent being of the same type/league. The player subtype is far more frightening than undead.

So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.
I have to think every single table's turn at RotR was one instance of the GWTP casting that spell on a different set of random people who happened to be in Sandpoint at the time. Sometimes, the group doesn't finish the AP so they can't go with that one.
New theory: all adventure paths that PCs go through are actually just repeated simulations run by time travelers to determine the most efficient way to achieve their goals with the minimum interference possible.

PCs take a path with Minimum interference?


The Sideromancer wrote:
PCs take a path with Minimum interference?

All you change is the actions of a few individuals, which in turn brings massive effects.


Yeah, it's about minimizing the amount of direct interference the GWTP has to engage in, not about minimizing the ripples of those actions.

Butterfly flapping its wings causing a thunderstorm, and all that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I imagine the answer may well be "other wizards."
Plus clerics, demigods, demon lords, angels, and many other beings with Wish/Miracle-grade superpowers.

All of whom are powerful spellcasters, which were explicitly mentioned in my original post, before you misquoted me by omission of context.

I'm going to assume that you simply didn't read all of my post, rather than operate under the assumption that your seemingly snarky response was a deliberate attempt at malicious libel meant to make me look like an idiot.


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"So, you have phenomenal cosmic power to shape the very planes of existence themselves?"
"Yep."
"And you're off to a zoning board meeting?"
"Yep. We've got this parcel that's in a perfect spot for mixed-use multi-occupancy, but it's currently zoned for single-occupancy agriculture."
"That's going to take all your eldritch might."
"Don't I know it."


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quibblemuch wrote:

"So, you have phenomenal cosmic power to shape the very planes of existence themselves?"

"Yep."
"And you're off to a zoning board meeting?"
"Yep. We've got this parcel that's in a perfect spot for mixed-use multi-occupancy, but it's currently zoned for single-occupancy agriculture."
"That's going to take all your eldritch might."
"Don't I know it."

"Couldn't you just create an entire new zone by making a demiplane?"

"Yeah, but that would require putting in a portal in the original plane, and adding enough infrastructure in order to let people get to the portal. So we would still need a zoning meeting, and to give out new notices to inform people about the content of THAT meeting."


My running theory has three big points:

Point one: Spellcasters capable of possibly taking over a nation/continent/etc. are actually rather rare.

I've always posited that players tend to see an overrepresentation of potent spellcasters, both in their parties and in the NPCs they encounter. This is because that is strictly more interesting for most group than the opposite. I've always imagined the magic has a learning curve similar to high-end science or philosophy with the added risk of accidentally summoning an extra-dimensional brain eater if you sneeze in the midst of your calculations. Anecdotally, how many astrophysicists do you know? Non-BS philosophers?

From figures I've found on the United States, STEM fields make up 3.2-9.3% of the workforce depending on the state in question. Considering only 59.9% of the United States is employed (according to a Pew research article from 2017) a bit of lazy math says only somewhere in the range of 5% of the population is involved in STEM fields.

If we equate STEM fields to Intelligence-based magic, I think we can safely multiply that by three to account for Wisdom and Charisma-based magic. So only 15% of the population has the potential or talent for magic. This, however, goes only for the modern United States which, while it has more than a few flaws, probably has better education and aptitude testing than most nations on Golarion.

Assuming Golarion is roughly equivalent to 1800s England in terms of education rates, we're looking at about 50% illiteracy rate (according to this one graph I googled). So about half the population is uneducated, and that percentage is cut down again to 7.5% magical population. This is assuming of course that education plays into Wis/Cha casting for at least improving a caster's odds of not exploding/asphyxiating/temporally erasing/calling down the wrath of some divine/eldritch being upon themselves.

So 7.5% of the population is not only magical but able to express their abilities in a meaningful way and able to advance and grow in power.

Point two: Most spellcasters are meaningfully employed in specialized fields.

First, read this wikipedia article. It perfectly explains were most people's concerns lay. 7.5% of the population has marketable skills that are hard to get elsewhere. They will likely be employed in gainful positions across Golarion. Being a wage-mage is a great way to ensure you have most of your needs taken care of, so most of your time is going to be devoted to work and remaining relevant in a competitive and constantly shifting field. Sure ruling the land with an iron fist sounds nice at first glance but what's the point if that little bakery you stop at on the way to the Arcanairium every morning is reduced to a smoldering ruin?

Next consider the huge difference between being able to seize power and being able to hold power. Mages might have incredible cosmic power but that means little when they have no idea how to effectively run a nation. Establishing a foreign policy, laws, public works projects, these take time, effort, and skill. Fail too hard and eventually you'll piss off enough people that they'll start throwing bodies at you until your magic can't keep up.

Finally, the desire to actually crush a nation to your will is pretty rare. Conquering a nation is a violent and cruel process, and even at its most bloodless implies a certain lack of morals. Frankly, it is pretty sociopathic, understandable considering that we are asking from a player perspective and player characters tend to be pretty sociopathic towards the worlds they inhabit. Sociopathy tends to show up in about 3-5% of the population. We're looking at a negligible 0.0375% of the world's population having the talent, magical potential, and disposition to try taking over a nation.

To do so, they would have to contend with other casters, trained anti-magic forces, and just countless warm bodies who might not be so happy to let some new face take over and throw the status quo into disarray. Then there are the other powers...

Point three: New kid on the block

Getting to the nation/continent/world conquering level of power is exceedingly rare. Having the raw magical muscle to leverage yourself into a position of power and stay there is insanely rare, the handful of entities on Golarion who have managed to do so must be pretty jealous of their positions, paranoid, and generally not the sort of thing you want to get tangled up in. As the new kid on a block full of hideously cunning and experienced sociopaths enwrapped in paranoid mind games with each other, you would likely end up used up and tossed aside.

TL;DR: Look, you little Voldemort knock-off, stick with dad's magical bakery. You'll never go hungry and if you train up an apprentice, you'll get to retire early.


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lemeres wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:

"So, you have phenomenal cosmic power to shape the very planes of existence themselves?"

"Yep."
"And you're off to a zoning board meeting?"
"Yep. We've got this parcel that's in a perfect spot for mixed-use multi-occupancy, but it's currently zoned for single-occupancy agriculture."
"That's going to take all your eldritch might."
"Don't I know it."

"Couldn't you just create an entire new zone by making a demiplane?"

"Yeah, but that would require putting in a portal in the original plane, and adding enough infrastructure in order to let people get to the portal. So we would still need a zoning meeting, and to give out new notices to inform people about the content of THAT meeting."

THIS, THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY


another point- most wizards can begin to generate luxurious amounts of funds once they hit about level 5, and they start to get into crafting.

Why bother with ruling a nation when you can have a huge mansion with tons of servants just by making various baubles and +1 or +2 items?

Any mage guild worth its salt would make sure that the local nobility and merchants are more than kowtowed enough to leave them alone.


I like that example they had in Oots.

Order of the Stick Tarquin Backstory:

As soon as you start amassing a large force, literally everyone else is going to fight you and you can't take them on.

So instead, they had nations with fake wars and alliances to carefully juggle negotiations and gradually increase the size of all of them.

Every few years one of the nations would topple and rebrand itself so no one caught on. That way the only target was the idiotic figureheads that were easily replaced.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:

Actually the real answer is that the ole Runelord was killed by Adventurer because he never went around being a white room wizard and thus never attracted the ire of the Time Squad.

But lets shift topic gears. Since we've established that Time Squad > Wizard, let us ask why the world isn't ruled by a recursive army of trans-temporal great time wyrms.

I personally think the world is already ruled by such a force and the TN nature of the beasts keeps them from mucking with the natural order any more than they must. Also wouldn't be surprised if all the Gods aren't just various iterations of the Time Squad after they assassinated various deities in the past and/or just zerged them with as many cybernetic Great Time Wyrms with frickin laserbeams as necessary and stole their domains (certainly doable considering Lamashtu's origin).

Remember kids, no fiat.

I mean, the obvious one is that the interpretation of infinite recursive time lord lizards is incorrect and the 3 times in a lifetime thing is shared across all iterations of said time lizard or that the way time travel itself works is such that time clones don't work that way.

Going with the interpretation that time lord lizards are a thing and endlessly recursive and won't get embroiled in infinite war across all space and time with one another, then, no.

The only possible interpretation remaining is that everything capable of attracting the infinite time lizards is, in fact, now already replaced or eliminated by the time lizards and always was so.

Time Lizards, all the way down.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are Wizards in charge of different areas of the world, and in some areas Magocracy, one that springs to mind is specifically Necromancers in Geb.

There is also in Taldor the Wizard Knights whom come from noble blood, current king there as well [even if he is strangely low leveled one]
often nobles are the only ones that can afford to send their children to a school for wizards rarely can a commoner show up on the doorsteps to gain entry.

Inserting a little logic here and there does mean the world shapes up a little differently but not dramatically so. Just means most of the powerful caster's are adventurer's that when they retire often do so [wizards] as teachers to younger generations, prestige means teaching well situated students [ie/nobles]

Especially is a noble suddenly can cast spells early on- ie Sorcerer or a naturally talented individual. Which can include the common folk. Which might be the real reason why certain people don't like them. ;-)


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Avoron wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


So basically, the Great Wyrm Time Police actually stopped Karzoug by casting Invoke Player Possession on four random 1st-level adventurers in Sandpoint.
I have to think every single table's turn at RotR was one instance of the GWTP casting that spell on a different set of random people who happened to be in Sandpoint at the time. Sometimes, the group doesn't finish the AP so they can't go with that one.
New theory: all adventure paths that PCs go through are actually just repeated simulations run by time travelers to determine the most efficient way to achieve their goals with the minimum interference possible.
Alternatively it's a game that members of the GWTP do when off duty. Eternity is a long time to spend murdering uppity wizards. Gotta keep yourself entertained.

DM: I'm telling you Karl, I'm not letting you reroll your stats. YES even if you go back in TIME!


Michael Talley 759 wrote:

There is also in Taldor the Wizard Knights whom come from noble blood, current king there as well [even if he is strangely low leveled one]

often nobles are the only ones that can afford to send their children to a school for wizards rarely can a commoner show up on the doorsteps to gain entry.

I've always liked Aristocrat/Wizards. I think it makes sense that Stavian III didn't progress very far, when you think about it, he spends a lot more of his time being Emperor than he's likely to studying magic.

Taldoran nobles love arcane magic because it's elitist, you can build on and buy it, and magic items last essentially forever. Most of them aren't going to be the most dedicated to pure theory or adventuring, though, they're too rich. Being just wizard enough to pump out low level magic items, potions, glamers, and one-up local rivals is what they've going to be most motivated to do.


The story of Diogenes and Alexander might be pertinent here...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
outlawpoet wrote:
Michael Talley 759 wrote:

There is also in Taldor the Wizard Knights whom come from noble blood, current king there as well [even if he is strangely low leveled one]

often nobles are the only ones that can afford to send their children to a school for wizards rarely can a commoner show up on the doorsteps to gain entry.

I've always liked Aristocrat/Wizards. I think it makes sense that Stavian III didn't progress very far, when you think about it, he spends a lot more of his time being Emperor than he's likely to studying magic.

Taldoran nobles love arcane magic because it's elitist, you can build on and buy it, and magic items last essentially forever. Most of them aren't going to be the most dedicated to pure theory or adventuring, though, they're too rich. Being just wizard enough to pump out low level magic items, potions, glamers, and one-up local rivals is what they've going to be most motivated to do.

heh. That's true enough. I myself will be playing a Noble in the upcoming adventure path of House Merrosett.

Going Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer 'Golden' child of the family because magic comes so naturally to him and is being billed as such in his history. :-) Hoping it'll be a lot of fun. Level 1 he'll start with Noble Scion & Noble Stipend just to make the background work really well :-)

Liberty's Edge

Obviously it's because wizards are nerds.

The real question is why don't sorcerers rule the world?


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

To paraphrase Pratchett;

"The reason wizard's don't rule the world is very simple. The basic element of Wizardry is 1 Wizard. Anything more than that is called an argument"


Because they have high intelligence and already rule the laws of physics. Why conquer when you can create your own land? Why rule when you can create life without free will in the most effective form for what you need? Money is pointless when you can make most everything and make something to get anything else. I can't think of anything a high level wizard might gain from ruling. It does seem a lot of work for no gain

Dark Archive

So, the main reason people seek political power is the fringe benefits. Power equals Wealth which in turn guarantees good food, drink, the nicest living spaces, and all other desirable forms of comfort and ease.

Now, Actually BEING IN CHARGE of something large like a country, and trying to do even a halfway decent job of it is a LOT of work. Being a decent ruler and providing a decent life for your subjects is hard time consuming work. And that's assuming no one under you is betraying you with the intent to usurp you.

But what if you're a Wizard? With access to spells up to 9th level. Do you desire good food? A Lush well appointed Home? With many Servants to cater to your every whim? Mage's Magnificent Mansion, as soon as you can cast it, lasts 26 hours and has 26 staff.
If you have crafting feats, you can make years worth of GP by crafting a single item and selling it at market price.
And, if you are a high level Wizard, your spells also mean that no-one can really FORCE you to do anything. You are essentially above the law since, Who but another level 20 wizard could possibly stand against you to make you obey?

So, if you can have all the benefits of high office without any responsibilities, WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE ON THOSE RESPONSIBILITIES when you don't have to?
Altruism, that's about it.


Silly... it's because nobody would buy a book about Gandalf. It's about the adventures of some half pints fumbling about....


Niemand wrote:
Silly... it's because nobody would buy a book about Gandalf. It's about the adventures of some half pints fumbling about....

Gandalf the Grey used very little real magic.

What magic he did use was well within the scope of what could be done with the ring he wore.


My homebrew uses the convention that for any level X person there are about two level (X-1) people. A 20th level wizard looking to conquer the world isn't pushing around a bunch of 1st level warriors organized into armies, he's trying to not get murdered by a pair of 19th level wizards who are in turn trying to not get murdered by a quartet of 18th level wizards and so on.

If you believe the CR system, four level X characters will convincingly squish a single level X+2 character, so total social power actually *decreases* with level. Yes, one 20th level character beats one 19th level character, but since there are twice as many 19th level characters, the lower level characters *as a group* have more power than the 20th level characters. Power becomes political, not personal. Large groups acting in concert have more power than individuals.

If power is ruling over vast multitudes, then successful leadership is balancing factions, allocating resources, cultivating productivity, raising standards of living and so on. If 15th level characters outnumber 20th level ones by 32:1, then an archmage can't stand against thirty angry lords (some of whom are 8th level casters, some of whom are fighters or rogues equipped by 8th level casters). "I make a demiplane" doesn't cut it, you need leadership or the lords rise up and replace you.

Politics is power, magic is going to effect what your political struggles look like, but the winners of those struggles are going to be the best politicians, not the best anything else. What I most like about this approach is it moves power and relevance down to more ordinary people acting in large groups, not up in an ever escalating arms race of "dragons stop them, and uh solars stop the dragons taking over, and uh evil gods stop the solars from taking over and, uh uber-gods keep the evil gods in check".


As we know from all of the stories, ultimately someone with a sword will overcome all odds and defeat the wizard. The warrior will nearly fail, but then the wizard becomes a victim of their own pride. There’s always a lesson in these face offs, right?


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Who says they don't rule the world? Most rulers in the Inner Sea region are casters of some sort, if not "wizards" per se, and most of the rest have some sort of high-level magic backing them (or did until recently):

Andoran: Codwin I, Paladin 14
Brevoy: King-Regent Noleski Surtova, Aristocrat 5 / Warrior 3 (Previously Red Dragon(s))
Cheliax: Queen Abrogail II, Aristocrat 2/Sorceress 16
Druma: High Prophet Kelldor, Oracle 15
Galt: Citizen Goss, Mesmerist 13
Hermea: Mengkare, Gold Dragon
Irrisen: Queen Elvanna, Witch 10/Winter Witch 10
Isger: Steward Hedvend VI Aristocrat 4/Rogue 5 (vassal of Cheliax)
Kyonin: Queen Telandia Edasseril, Wizard 15
Lastwall: Watcher-Lord Ulthun II, Paladin 6
Mendev: Crusader Queen Galfrey, Paladin 15
Nidal: Umbral Court, a group bound by pact to Zon-Kuthon, and including Eloiander of Ridwan, Druid 15 and Kholas, Vampire Sorcerer 14
Nirmathas: Forest Marshal Weslen Gavirk, Ranger 11
Numeria: theoretically Kevoth-Kul, Barbarian 15, but actually the Technic League, which is described as being mae up of "mages" or "arcanists".
Qadira: Satrap Xerbystes II, a vassal of the Padishah Emperor of Kelesh, whose stats we don't have, but we do know his empire is said to be supported by wishcraft of bound genies.
Razmiran: Razmir, Wizard 19
Taldor: Grand Prince Stavian III, Aristocrat 8/Wizard 4

That leaves the following:
Absalom
The Hold of Belkzen
Five Kings Mountains
Lands of the Linnorm Kings
Molthune
Realm of the Mammoth Lords
The River Kingdoms
Ustalav
Varisia
The Worldwound

Most of those don't even have 1 central ruler, and some of the smaller factional rulers (Ileosa Arabasti or Castruccio Irovetti come to mind) have magical powers. Absalom, Ustalav, and perhaps Molthune seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule (though Molthune was part of Cheliax less than a century ago).

Are they all "Wizards"? No. But could a Wizard 20 take Abrogail II down, or handle the entire Technic League, or defeat Mengkare, or whatever divine powers Nidal or Mendev can rally to their aid? Probably not. Brevoy would probably be the most vulnerable, but you never know if you'll have to deal with an infestation of Red Dragons any day now.

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