Economics of war


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I want to establish this thread to try and figure out how warfare would evolve in a fantasy world and how that differs from the real world.

For example, a knight from the real world would typically have a Light warhorse, chainmail and a Lance for 270gp worth of equipment (excluding cheaper stuff like saddle, bridle, etc.), making him 1st level. A troop of say 20 would have 5,400gp worth of gear between them. Would a nation invest in equipping such a troop when a single figure with a scroll worth 375gp (less than a tenth) can wipe out the entire troop with one fireball? What would a nation state invest in and why?

If we take this analogy a step further, a nation would then seek to counter lone individuals with scrolls of fireball. How do you do it? Invest in troops with evasion or missile troops who spread out or use stealth. What about a lone individual with a scroll of invisibility which he casts on a lone knight, who can then run down the enemy caster before he gets off his fireball? Or who has been the recipient of a protection from energy spell?

How then would a nation state counter these counters? As you can see it can get horribly complex very quickly. I Imagine different states would seek to solve these problems on the battlefield in different ways, leading to a variety of different types of armies, each buffed differently.

I would like to see what thoughts people have as to what kind of troops would evolve to deal with a magical world.


It's a pretty good question. The simplest would be some sort of antimagic enchant that would "block" any magic within an area around the troop captain. I've seen it done in a few fantasy genres before (though I cant for the life of me remember which).

I think the eberron setting would be a good place to look for other solutions, since they have that odd mix of technology and magic.


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Star forts instead of castles and skirmish troops instead of heavy infantry and knights. It would depend on how common the magic actually is. Cheap simple weapons would give more bang for buck than exotics.

Rather than an expensive siege a small group of infiltrators would be used to open the gates or whatever. The best fort in the world would be a forest or jungle, spell casters would probably be hunted by assassin and ranger types. Wizards have to sleep sometime or go out and about.


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Might as well start with some easy reading

TL:DR

Spellcasters tend to be more like machine guns -- you have to use them carefully when you also have to pack all their ammunition with you. They are fairly easy to sideline, due to lack of range, Area of Effect, and duration. Most of what they bring to the table are things that warfare has already had for millennium.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Might as well start with some easy reading

TL:DR

Spellcasters tend to be more like machine guns -- you have to use them carefully when you also have to pack all their ammunition with you. They are fairly easy to sideline, due to lack of range, Area of Effect, and duration. Most of what they bring to the table are things that warfare has already had for millennium.

Not entirely sure I agree: The Fireball I mentioned would have a range of 600', which only the crossbow can equal, so one lone guy with the proper equipment (i.e. a scroll of fireball) can stay out of range of any missile weapon except crossbows and destroy the troops.

Even the crossbows would get one chance to hit him (If they got initiative) and would be hitting at -8 (although if there are twenty of them, someone is bound to hit). But for another 325gp, you can make ithe scroll a 6th level caster so range becomes 640', beyond the range of even crossbows.

So I don't think lack of range is a problem for the spellcaster. lack of duration might be, but what if you had a troop of spellcasters, each armed with a scroll of fireball? The cost is about the same as outfitting a troop of knights (maybe a little more), but much more effective.


Um... You seem confused...

Quote:
A projectile weapon can shoot to 10 range increments.

Longbow Range increment is 110 feet, which means a maximum range of 1,100 feet.

Heavy Crossbow is range increment of 120 feet meaning a maximum range of 1,200 feet.

Far shot and the penalty is only a -4 (-5 for the bows but wait!), and we are assuming flight arrows aren't in use (which they would be), which would mean a range increment of 130 feet... putting it in the same penalty as the heavy crossbow.

Also concerning the fireball I would suggest reading the thread I posted up, we covered that one pretty well there.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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The answer to the fireball question is very similar to infantry vs. armor in modern warfare. The tank can outrange the infantryman every time, and it's really easy for the tank to kill him if it can see him.

The troop of warrior 1s vs. the fireball mage is similar. They do not fight him without a mage of their own if they can at all help it. Above all they do not let themselves get caught in the open at his max range. They will first try to sneak in close to the mage and bring him down in a surprise round with concentrated missile fire, preferably by using cover to get in close. They will all dive for cover if fireballs start coming in and start advancing by quick dashes from cover to cover. They probably carry things like oils of silence to deal with spellcasters, but they'll have to get in close to make it count.

You have to figure terrain into this kind of thing. Otherwise you will get questions like, "if a single tank can destroy infantry at 3km before they can do anything, why don't we all just buy tanks and not field infantry?" Why wouldn't any army be made up of just spellcasters? There are lots of good reasons this isn't the case, either with tanks or with spellcasters.

The best fantasy army, just like in real life, will be a combined arms force. It will have spellcasters, heavy cavalry, flying units, archers, regular infantry, and possibly even burrowing or teleporting elements.

An army of this sort will also be incredibly expensive to field.


Thank you Charlie.


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Another thing to consider. The tactic of using spells on scrolls higher level than you can cast scales very poorly for armies---ESPECIALLY low trust armies. Consider. a 5d6 fireball in the hands of a level 1 wizard. He makes a caster level check with a DC of 6 I believe. That fails about 25% of the time. Then a DC5 wisdom check for a backfire, with the stipulation that it always fails on a 1. So if you use a lot of these, you're going to get a lot of backfires by military standards, many of which generate 'friendly fire', or friendlies on fire. What's worse though, you're likely to get a fair number of 'backfires'---where it didn't really backfire per the roll. The unpredictability of the weapon creates a very useful 'plausible deniability' mechanic does it not? They're great for adding punch for small groups where trust is implicit, but large organizations IMO will steer clear of them most of the time.

In general though, the higher the magic level in an engagement, the more the tactics are going to migrate towards skirmish formations and more modern tactics. Lower magic levels (or groups with really really good counter-magic capabilities) will gravitate towards close order troops and massed charges (getting hit in skirmish formation or even open order by an attack column or even a line gets you massacred most of the time).


Fireball wand = cannon. Look at how armies changed when cannon became common.


plus a rather anemic dc of 13... average roll is a 10.5
average damage for 5d6 is 17.5 before the save throw, 8 points after.


dot


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Ok, so, you spend 600 on a wizard, and you go to war. Now, how does your single wizard hold the enemy village? The enemy city? How does he avoid being sniped by farmers with bows 24/7? How does he avoid being poisoned, how does he avoid being mobbed by the peasant trash?

The reason kingdoms raise up armies is the same reason the US recruits soldiers to this day, despite having tons of drones, self-guided missiles, long range rockets, and other weapons of destruction.

Because you can't control anything without boots on the ground. You may be able to wipe out an enemy force by yourself as a wizard, but you can't control anything as a single wizard. You need boots on the ground keeping the peasants from revolting, keeping control of the city, preventing looting, preventing enemy spies, and so on.

So, what do you do about that enemy wizard with his fireball?

You don't have mass battles like we are used to in the real world, except as sieges. And you hire your own wizards, and you put up anti-magic spells around your HQ, and you get cloaks of resistance for your officers, and you invest in magic attacks of your own. Hopefully, your magic counters your enemy's magic, or you lose.

Sovereign Court

How to get rid of the wizard : sniper.

Create a spell that increases the range of the crossbow (or bow), cast it on your marksman, make sure his blts are loaded with CON damage poison, then pepper the wiz while your knights charge and cut down the riffraff;

Interestingly enough, there are no spells for this, probably because so much of the game focuses on close combat in ruins.

One point though : as wizards cause a lot of casualties, lords and such would probably create bigger armies, expecting high attrition.


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Armys are for clean up the PC's do all the real fighting.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Another thing to consider is that triage would be a lot simpler when a wand of CLW will stabilize even the most grievously wounded combatant with a standard action.


If we use the combat system: archers and crossbow men in bulk: at least 5% chance of hitting a target at over 1000 ft range, even with no training.
-------------------
With magical food supplies and teleportation, siege tactics will change. Flying changes the effectiveness of walls, so castles and cities will change.

Undead troops would seem like the greatest thing ever, especially if they can create spawn. Catapult some wights into a city...


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Gavmania wrote:
For example, a knight from the real world would typically have a Light warhorse, chainmail and a Lance for 270gp worth of equipment (excluding cheaper stuff like saddle, bridle, etc.), making him 1st level. A troop of say 20 would have 5,400gp worth of gear between them. Would a nation invest in equipping such a troop when a single figure with a scroll worth 375gp (less than a tenth) can wipe out the entire troop with one fireball? What would a nation state invest in and why

Well, you could look at the cost of the scroll as "ONLY 105 gp more than the knight's gear", or you could look at it as "375 GOLD FOR ONLY TAKING OUT A FEW MEN! ARE YOU MAD!"

Let's ignore the player centered economy here. Everything that a common person owns might be worth less than that scroll (even with inflation and such, it would cost at least what? $5,000?). From the profession skill, it might take decades to afford it (maybe more reasonable if we use pfs day job system, but that could still be months for most)

Even for the rich, their wealth might lay more in tied up assets like land and they can't go around wasting money on something like that. It might be far easier to give that to a warrior in order to hire him than to actually buy the scrolls. He might also end up killing more than 20 people (or at least he would leave some slightly less than mint condition armor laying about after he dies). Face it: in the medieval economy, people are just more expendable. Now it would be more reasonable if you had the actual mage hired out, but that still would be rather expensive to hire a wizard powerful enough to fling fireballs about on a regular basis.

Still, it would be valuable in taking out key targets. Many comparisons have been made to various bits of modern heavy artillery, and that is appropriate.


Knowing the existence of area effect spells, you probably wouldn't travel around all bunched up. So the fireball would probably only hit six or seven people. From a scroll, the reflex save is going to be pretty easy. The ones that pass - half of them? - have a good chance of still being in positive hit points. The ones that fail will probably be alive but on negative hit points. If there's a level 1 cleric in the area, the injured men can be brought back to full health pretty quickly. And this assumes that frontline soldiers are level 1 characters, which (judging by all the level 3 town guards, level 5 bartenders, and so forth) may not be the case.


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You lead your attacks with peasant infantry. The mage can either waste his fireball taking out fodder, or be run through with pitchforks.

The expensive troops are for more specialized operations.


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Gavmania wrote:

I want to establish this thread to try and figure out how warfare would evolve in a fantasy world and how that differs from the real world.

For example, a knight from the real world would typically have a Light warhorse, chainmail and a Lance for 270gp worth of equipment (excluding cheaper stuff like saddle, bridle, etc.), making him 1st level. A troop of say 20 would have 5,400gp worth of gear between them. Would a nation invest in equipping such a troop when a single figure with a scroll worth 375gp (less than a tenth) can wipe out the entire troop with one fireball? What would a nation state invest in and why?

The "nation" didn't typically invest in equipping troops; the troop commander did.

E.g. the king would say "I need you to supply me with a knight and ten men-at-arms," and you'd pull together the unit the king demanded. It would be your choice as to how much you are willing to spend equipping your people; you could send them out with the bare minimum, because you're cheap and expecting them to die anyway, or you could equip them well in the expectation that they come back and that better kit would help that.

The other issue, of course, is that chainmail and a lance are reusable, but a scroll of Fireball isn't. If you decide that instead of sending a knight and men-at-arms, you will talk the king into letting you send a first-level mage with a scroll, you'll use up a lot more scrolls than you will men at arms, because the scrolls will NOT be coming back.

Basically, the mage is an artillery unit (and has been since the days of Gygax's Chainmail). The king would no doubt be happy if you supplied him with artillery instead of infantry. But if what you have is a first-level mage with a single Fireball scroll, it's not a very good artillery unit -- it's a one-shot glass cannon that won't integrate well with the rest of the army, and is therefore quite vulnerable.

What do real armies use to protect their artillery units? Rows of infantry in the front and armor or cavalry to the sides.

... which gets back to the king still needing that knight and the men at arms.


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The impact of magical spells on warfare depends entirely on how common magic is. If magic is somewhat rare and magic items are expensive and treasured, then warfare would not be impacted much beyond the tendency for troops to be more widely dispersed than they were in historical medieval combat.

If magic is common then it is highly likely that combat would more or less be entirely magical and warfare would more resemble the way the US and other technologically advanced nations do it today, which is with highly targeted strikes against specific targets provided by high quality intel and most "wars" would last a few hours at most as one side or the other would take out the command and control capabilities of the enemy in short order.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Like charlie said, we deal with this in the real world all the time. A wizard is kind of like the advanced tech modern armies have. They are impressive, they are effective, but they cant win battled on their own.

We have drones, and bombers, and hellicopters. We have spy satellites, radar, stealth, all sorts of awesome things. We still need soldiers, marines, special forces, snipers, machine gunners etc. There are dozens of reasons for this.

1. Wizards are going to be expensive. There is a cost listed in game for how much spellcasting costs to rent/buy. Caster level × spell level × 10 gp. Sure one fireball could take out a whole platoon. But that 5th level fireball just cost you 150gp. To win a war you might need a thousand such fireballs. And once you use it you have nothing to show for it. Its spent much like artillery shells, or more accurately, like smart bombs and missiles. Really effective, but also really expensive, and spent once they are used.

150,000gp in troops, will probably have been able to kills as many enemies at the 1000 fireballs. But afterwards, you still have most of those troops. They can still do things, like occupy cities, guard you while you sleep, or go on to other battles.

2. Someone has to cover the wizards back. As others have said, the wizard is just one person. No matter how powerful, he can be swarmed and killed eventually, or attacked from stealth, or sniped. Much like a modern battle tank, he needs support, protection, so he can throw his fireballs and black tentacles around. Thats where normal troops come in.

He also need to know where to throw those fireballs. Sure he has spells for that, but again each spell is money spent. Even if the wizard doesnt charge you by the spell, he is still going to be comparatively expensive. A few rangers scouting out the enemy targets will allow the wizard to make much more efficient use of his time and resources.

3. Availability. You will only have so many wizards. You might not have enough to cover every location you want to do battle in. There are tons of people that can be turned into 1st level warriors. Again much like the real world, our troops stay on the ground in the battle zone. Our planes and helecopters go in and out to support them because we have only so many, and they will eventually run out of bombs and fuel (like a wizard will run out of spells).

4. Time of production it will take years and years to train a wizard. (look at the starting ages). It wont take as long to train 1000 soldiers. Again, this is parallel to the real world. In times of war, conscription and mobilization takes months. Ramping up production on the machines of war takes years.

5. Tactics - there are ways to deal with wizards. If that is all thats in your army, your enemies will perfect those tactics, and you wont have an answer in battle. 1 monk with a +5 cloak of resistance might very well be able to take down a wizard of a similar level before the wizard gets a spell through. You've now lost your very expensive and difficult to replace wizard. The monk was far less costly, and the enemy probably could have afforded to lose several of them before getting your wizard.

Just look at modern wars. Particularly the Soviet war in Afganistan. They brought their 'wizards' to bear on that land. It didnt work. Even today, if the enemy has the proper tactics and terrain, and isnt so worried about losing infrastructure, wars can only be won by soldiers on the ground.


Kolokotroni, when you refer to Afghanistan and other "modern wars" you are not talking about warfare so much as you are talking about dealing with intractable insurgencies. And as should be clear from the last fifty years of experience, not even "troops on the ground" are effective against entrenched, intractable insurgencies. All troops on the ground accomplish is enforcing some level of control for as long as you keep them there.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Um... You seem confused...

Quote:
A projectile weapon can shoot to 10 range increments.

Longbow Range increment is 110 feet, which means a maximum range of 1,100 feet.

Snip.

Yeah, You're right. I read it was 5 range increments, but that was for thrown weapons, not projectiles.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Kolokotroni, when you refer to Afghanistan and other "modern wars" you are not talking about warfare so much as you are talking about dealing with intractable insurgencies. And as should be clear from the last fifty years of experience, not even "troops on the ground" are effective against entrenched, intractable insurgencies. All troops on the ground accomplish is enforcing some level of control for as long as you keep them there.

Baring getting government to surrender to you, and the populace decided to accept that surrender, 'intractable insurgencies' is what you get. Where in the last 500 years has there been any other kind of result to warefare except when the local populace has been wiped out, or integrated into the conquering society? I am having trouble coming up with any example where something happened beside a slight shifting of borders.

Intractable insurgency IS modern warfare. Unless the major powers go to war (which they dont want to because of the destruction and economic codependence), there isnt any other kind of warfare in the 21st century. But the example of afganistan is a good one to show why overwhelming firepower alone doesnt work. You need a large occupying force of individual soldiers.


Romans and earlier empires knew how to deal with insurgencies and had the will to do so. Essentially if you annoyed them enough with your insurgency, they'd just ethnically cleanse your entire province/nation/etc and move new colonists in. That's likely how most fantasy empires are going to behave. Even the knowledge that you MIGHT do this tends to tamp down the insurgencies.


You seem to miss another possible way battles could be fought just use low level monsters as war slaves then have someone with summon monster iv to demoralize behind enemy lines or supply lines.


Kolokotroni wrote:

Like charlie said, we deal with this in the real world all the time. A wizard is kind of like the advanced tech modern armies have. They are impressive, they are effective, but they cant win battled on their own.

We have drones, and bombers, and hellicopters. We have spy satellites, radar, stealth, all sorts of awesome things. We still need soldiers, marines, special forces, snipers, machine gunners etc. There are dozens of reasons for this.

1. Wizards are going to be expensive. There is a cost listed in game for how much spellcasting costs to rent/buy. Caster level × spell level × 10 gp. Sure one fireball could take out a whole platoon. But that 5th level fireball just cost you 150gp. To win a war you might need a thousand such fireballs. And once you use it you have nothing to show for it. Its spent much like artillery shells, or more accurately, like smart bombs and missiles. Really effective, but also really expensive, and spent once they are used.

That's the cost for a Spell. I am sure that a nation can get hold of spellcasters - a 1st level one can do -and scrolls can be stockpiled against a war. One spell = one enemy troop destroyed = enough armour, weapons, etc. to repay your investment.

Let's face it, a fully equipped knight costs about as much as a fireball. A fully equipped knight has a 50/50 chance of killing another such knight, whereas a fireball can destroy about 50 such knights - for the same price. Knights would be the first casualties in our magical war.

Kolokotroni wrote:


150,000gp in troops, will probably have been able to kills as many enemies at the 1000 fireballs. But afterwards, you still have most of those troops. They can still do things, like occupy cities, guard you while you sleep, or go on to other battles.

It would depend on the troops. 150000gp would give you about 500 knights. You only need 10 of your fireballs to take that many out.

On the other hand, the same amount will buy 2000 Longbows, which can shoot our lone mage from beyond the range of fireballs, but training Longbowmen is a labour intensive job not reflected in it's cost. Light Crossbowmen would be better, you can get more than twice as many and they can be given to peasants who are then shown how to load, point and loose after a few hours training.


dotting for awesome discussion.

Also, I half expected this thread to be about the financial numbers behind THIS

But I'm not disappointed.


Kolokotroni wrote:
2. Someone has to cover the wizards back. As others have said, the wizard is just one person. No matter how powerful, he can be swarmed and killed eventually, or attacked from stealth, or sniped. Much like a modern battle tank, he needs support, protection, so he can throw his fireballs and black tentacles around. Thats where normal troops come in.

Not sure about the swarmed, but granted about the ambushes. Of course, they need to find the Mage woithout getting hit by Fireball or Fear. Then they have to find all the spellcasters: Remember all you need is a first level spellcaster with reasonable UMD to cast from scrolls (UMD isn't neede for wands), if you have several of them you can spreas them around and it would be hard to get them all. Dress them like the rest of your army and how do you distinguish them. Given that any troop can be decimated by Fireball, Fear, etc. our lone mage is not going to be protected much by a bodyguard unit - that would only make a nice big target. It would come down to an initiative roll - a very sad way to run a battle.

Kolokotroni wrote:
He also need to know where to throw those fireballs. Sure he has spells for that, but again each spell is money spent. Even if the wizard doesnt charge you by the spell, he is still going to be comparatively expensive. A few rangers scouting out the enemy targets will allow the wizard to make much more efficient use of his time and resources.

Totally agree.


By RAW you need at least warriors or aristocrats to use longbows. Commoners only get proficiency in one simple weapon, which longbows are not. I suppose a few will have smoked a feat to get proficiency---maybe in lands like England where longbow proficiency is handed down from grandfather to father to son over many generations. But crossbows on the other hand you can train even commoners to use.


I want to think stone call will be useful even if not a third level spell. Sure it may be only 2d6 but long range and difficult terrain for the enemy.


It doesn't really do to think too hard about the impact of magic on warfare. Most fantasy authors develop work arounds. The bottom line is that with easily available magic warfare does not resemble medieval warfare in any way and is much more like the "empty battlefield" of the 20th and 21st century where once you know where your enemy is you can kill it. Attacks would only ever be made in open skirmish order where your fireball kills two or three at most, and there would be a concentration on accuracy and stealth over numbers. God wouldn't fight on the side of the biggest battalions, but on the side of the best shots. You'd get small, highly professional armies like those of the UK/USA/EU rather than large, conscript armies of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; or possibly well armed, flexible and expensive mercenary companies (parties of PCs?). Until a long campaign killed off the high level professionals and left you with low level recruits.

On the other hand, it's best not to think too hard about the impact of magic on ANYTHING. Items of unseen servant would make labourers redundant, sending and teleport give instant communication, healing (and resurrection) means that no one important EVER dies, scrying spells mean that there are no important secrets...

Each GM needs to decide what they want their campaign world to look like and make the rationales they feel are necessary. Happily, it's possible to just tell your players "ok, it may not make much sense, but this is how it IS". You CAN have your cake and eat it too. I personally prefer to say that the gift of magic is very rare and while in principal a scroll of fireball costs 375 gp and the poor sap who's going to cast it another 100gp a month (or whatever), in practice this isn't available. Magic item shops in Elinor's world are absent.


Kolokotroni wrote:

3. Availability. You will only have so many wizards. You might not have enough to cover every location you want to do battle in. There are tons of people that can be turned into 1st level warriors. Again much like the real world, our troops stay on the ground in the battle zone. Our planes and helecopters go in and out to support them because we have only so many, and they will eventually run out of bombs and fuel (like a wizard will run out of spells).

Mediaeval nations were all about getting as many knights as possible. They invested years into their training, money into their equipment and scial prestige into ensuring they have a vested interest in winning the war. Do the same for mages and you will have enough.

Kolokotroni wrote:
4. Time of production it will take years and years to train a wizard. (look at the starting ages). It wont take as long to train 1000 soldiers. Again, this is parallel to the real world. In times of war, conscription and mobilization takes months. Ramping up production on the machines of war takes years.

You only need a 1st level wizard (or Bard or Sorceror or Magus or Witch). Not much more than a knight to train.

Periods between wars can be used to stockpile enough scrolls or wands to last the war. Used properly, Magic needs only be deployed in small amounts to be cost effective.


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There are several key assumptions being made going into this thread, assumptions which are vital to a discussion of economics.

A: Items, magical and nonmagical, are freely available.
B: All prices are perfectly stable.

In the original poster's illustration, anyone with 375gp can acquire a scroll of fireball without very much effort, as that is the price set by the Core Rulebook. Now, what's important to keep in mind here is that those prices reflect a situation in which a few player characters are going shopping, where their actions do not carry enough weight to affect the overall market.

But when we're talking about the actions and reactions of the macroeconomy, the world beyond the buying decisions of four to six individuals, the above assumptions create a world which really doesn't make any sense.

Why is a scroll of fireball priced at 375gp? If an arcanist is scribing a scarce and desired scroll, why doesn't he charge 400gp for his time, effort, and materials? Or 500? Or 1000? He is obviously producing a valuable and desirable good, as 375gp is obviously a heck of a deal for the ability to blow up twenty armored knights! What divine force somehow mind-controls the entire world, dictating that the value of the arcanist's time and scribing materials is exactly and always 375gp?

What about the makers of the arcanist's materials? Why is it that those materials always seem to cost 187gp and five silver? Is there no scarcity of raw materials? Do the inkwells never stop flowing? Do the paper mills always run? Does sulfur fall from the sky? Does the world have an infinite amount of bat poop?

Just as I can spend $10,000 on tuna fish and not have enough of an effect on the tuna market to actually influence the price of tuna, player characters can fill up their scroll cases, backpacks, and spell component pouches and not actually influence the prices of scrolls, rations, and bat guano. The prices in the Core Rulebook might function for a small group of individuals in isolation, but they don't work very well when referring to a whole world in evolution.

A world with freely-available goods and perfectly-stable prices doesn't really make any sense. In other words, in a world where it is known scroll of fireball could take out a troop of armored knights, that scroll would not be so cheap. So before we ask about the investments of nation-states, it's more important to first ask "Why does that scroll of fireball cost 375gp?"

-Matt


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Gavmania wrote:


You only need a 1st level wizard (or Bard or Sorceror or Magus or Witch). Not much more than a knight to train.

Periods between wars can be used to stockpile enough scrolls or wands to last the war. Used properly, Magic needs only be deployed in small amounts to be cost effective.

I'll just train 20 mid to high level rogues, send them into your country and have them burn your stockpiled scrolls before I launch an attack on you. Oh, and I'll have them slit the throats of all your mages over level 5 while they are at it.

Then I'll send in a few thousand 2nd level grunts to take over the place while your mage's get slaughtered by 1st level crossbow conscripts when they show themselves

Or I'll just blow up all your magic scrolls and watch your country go bankrupt trying to catch up again. :)

Concentrating that much wealth into non-negotiable bonds (face it, you can't sell your weapons of mass destruction to people who might use them on you can you? can you?) means you are at a loss if you need funds. You can rent out soldiers, or melt their gear down and sell the steel. But the scrolls are only usable to attack you with.


Kolokotroni wrote:
5. Tactics - there are ways to deal with wizards. If that is all thats in your army, your enemies will perfect those tactics, and you wont have an answer in battle. 1 monk with a +5 cloak of resistance might very well be able to take down a wizard of a similar level before the wizard gets a spell through. You've now lost your very expensive and difficult to replace wizard. The monk was far less costly, and the enemy probably could have afforded to lose several of them before getting your wizard.

A +5 Cloak of resistance costs 25,000gp A scroll of Fireball costs 375gp. I can get about 60 or so mages each with a scroll of fireball for the same price as your Monk. Can he kill them all before they get in range? I don't think so.

Granted, troops can be used to defeat your Mage, but that's not a cost effective investment.


OK, so far we've got that bowmen can loose at a distance greater than low level spells. Invest in a wand of True strike (750gp) and your likely to have a pretty good hit rate for your troop.

Now, how do you counter a troop of bowmen armed with True Strike and extreme Range?


If the terrain your fighting on though has a high monster population with casting abilities of their own then your battle has increased in difficulty & expense.


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Gavmania wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
5. Tactics - there are ways to deal with wizards. If that is all thats in your army, your enemies will perfect those tactics, and you wont have an answer in battle. 1 monk with a +5 cloak of resistance might very well be able to take down a wizard of a similar level before the wizard gets a spell through. You've now lost your very expensive and difficult to replace wizard. The monk was far less costly, and the enemy probably could have afforded to lose several of them before getting your wizard.

A +5 Cloak of resistance costs 25,000gp A scroll of Fireball costs 375gp. I can get about 60 or so mages each with a scroll of fireball for the same price as your Monk. Can he kill them all before they get in range? I don't think so.

Granted, troops can be used to defeat your Mage, but that's not a cost effective investment.

A scroll costs 375 gp, but how much does the mage cost? You are assuming somehow that the scroll is the only cost. I have to assume the wizard will charge for his service. And the cost of spellcasting according to the rules is rather high, even given the effectivenss of magic against troops.


mdt wrote:


I'll just train 20 mid to high level rogues, send them into your country and have them burn your stockpiled scrolls before I launch an attack on you. Oh, and I'll have them slit the throats of all your mages over level 5 while they are at it.

They'd have to find them first. Then they'd have to destroy them. meanwhile, my own mid to high level Rogues, Fighters, paladins, barbarians, Clerics, etc. will be hunting them down.

It's a given that there will be a kind of shadow war prior to the real war in which this goes on on both sides. Even if they succesfully killed all of my Mages over level 5 (Yeah, like that's gonna happen), I would still have loads of 1st level Mages (and Sorcerors, bards, Maguses, Summoners and witches) Who can use scrolls or wands - which I can still import from neutral nations if I don't have enough of my own.

Not to mention the cost of equipping and training 20 mid to high level
Rogues, nor the security measures I can put in place to make it difficult if not impossible.

Let's face it, if it was that easy our modern Rogue equivalents (spies) would be doing the same and the war would never start. Even with magic, this would be difficult (magic can be dispelled, teleport can be blocked or trapped, etc.)

mdt wrote:
Then I'll send in a few thousand 2nd level grunts to take over the place while your mage's get slaughtered by 1st level crossbow conscripts when they show themselves

What makes you think I won't have crossbow conscripts of my own? with True strike so they can hit at extreme range? and/or make my Mages invisible so they can get in range?

mdt wrote:
Or I'll just blow up all your magic scrolls and watch your country go bankrupt trying to catch up again. :)

Good luck withy that.

mdt wrote:
Concentrating that much wealth into non-negotiable bonds (face it, you can't sell your weapons of mass destruction to people who might use them on you can you? can you?) means you are at a loss if you need funds. You can rent out soldiers, or melt their gear down and sell the steel. But the scrolls are only usable to attack you with.

I don't see why not. We sell arms to other nations, it would be the same thing. of course you should diversify your investments. Stockpile crossbows, wands of True strike, scrolls of invisibility. Hire out your men to keep money coming in, whatever you need to do.


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This is starting to sound like "but I have an invulnurability piercer proof invulnurability shield!"

also, your fireball does nothing against a pile of level 2 warriors and a level 1 cleric. Half the warriors pass the save, feed the cleric a potion, and then he channels to heal.

or the warriors spread out and take cover. For a +3 total to their save. You will hit 5 or 6 guys, and they wont even go down. Then the cleric heals them.

also, towershields stop fireballs, since bursts don't go around cover.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yep.

Which was the point of my post. Gavmania keeps spouting about how you only need wizards...

Until someone points out rogues, now he needs wizards and rogues of his own.

Until someone points out grunts with crossbows, and now he has his own.

It seems to me, if we keep this up, we're going to end up with two countries, each with a 10,000 man standing army, dozens of casters on each side, magical artillary stockpiled, and neither side willing to start the war because they have invested too much to lose it in a war.

Sounds kind of like the US and USSR doesn't it?


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Gavmania wrote:

Mediaeval nations were all about getting as many knights as possible. They invested years into their training, money into their equipment and scial prestige into ensuring they have a vested interest in winning the war. Do the same for mages and you will have enough.

No, actually, they weren't. Or more accurately, they were only into getting knights if they had enough other stuff on hand (because knights were usually the time-consuming and expensive bit to acquire). You could scrape together a company of peasant levies in any farming community just by shouting a bit.

But the actual gold standard on the medieval battlefield were the pikemen and the crossbowmen, because those were the troops that could actually stand up to the knights. Cavalry is great for mobility and shock value, but taking a redoubt from a unit of pikemen and crossbowmen was an easy way to lose most of your knights.

Which, again, gets back to the superiority of combined arms. Knights had a fairly specific tactical role to play, and they were usually in shorter supply than pikemen, but they weren't better than pikemen. In fact, they usually lost to pikemen, which is why you didn't send your knights to charge the pikes if you could avoid it. (Your wizard, for example, would make a great anti-pike-formation unit; pikemen make lousy skirmishers.)


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mdt wrote:

Yep.

Which was the point of my post. Gavmania keeps spouting about how you only need wizards...

Until someone points out rogues, now he needs wizards and rogues of his own.

Until someone points out grunts with crossbows, and now he has his own.

I like to think of it in terms of rock-scissors-paper.

Cavalry beats infantry. Artillery beats cavalry. Infantry beats artillery. (Although Doug Haig did his best to find a way to keep the British infantry losing to the German artillery in 1917.)

And, yes, it does strike me as someone screaming "All you need is ROCK!"


In the great war of fireball Armageddon, 100 scrolls of fireball were used. They were placed into the hands of 1st level wizards and sorcerers to use for the Imperial artillery.
Of these 100, 20 were not successful at first attempt to activate, and 5 of those 20 were extremely unsuccessful (probability would predict 4 such backfires, but one of the five was in fact treason covered by plausible deniability). The backfire rule being used was that the spell went off, but the opposition got to determine where it was directed. Coupled with the use of enchantment spells and the like on the battlefield, this great confusion resulted in the imperial artillery deciding to use wands in the next war.


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tonyz wrote:
Fireball wand = cannon. Look at how armies changed when cannon became common.

Despite what many people seem to assume, the answer to this is "no real change". Close order fighting did not end when cannons were introduced! Cannons were fairly common in Europe by the last part of the 100 Years War. Lets say early 1400's to be easy.

Now fast forward 500 years!!!!. Armies are still fighting in close formation charging shoulder to shoulder across no mans land into the teeth of cannons and machine guns, same as the US Civil War, Revolutionary War, Napoleonic Wars, 30 Years War, etc., etc. (without the machine guns)

Close order combat was the norm in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Early firearms in fact encourage close order fighting in order to maximize the effect of generally inaccurate weapons.

I would expect that rather than magic changing the battlefield, countries would expect their magic to nullify the enemy's magic.


Even if you do fireball the column of mounted knights,
1) they take up 10' x 10' each and the fireball has a 20' radius blast. So at best you'll hit about a dozen of them. Spread them out a bit and it's fewer than that.
2) You just fireballed my 10gp Silent Image.


Orfamay Quest wrote:


But the actual gold standard on the medieval battlefield were the pikemen and the crossbowmen, because those were the troops that could actually stand up to the knights. Cavalry is great for mobility and shock value, but taking a redoubt from a unit of pikemen and crossbowmen was an easy way to lose most of your knights.

That's later Mediaeval and largely responsible for the demise of the knight.

What I meant was, the entire mediaeval economic setup was designed to raise, train and equip knights: entire villages existed to support their lord who was raised to war, trained for war and equipped for war. The entire feudal system was based on this.(To be fair, I am talking about western European Mediaeval society).

Once the crossbow (in particular) was introduced, you had a weapon that was cheap to make, easy to use and could kill your knight who had spent years training at a distance before he even got a look in at the battle. Knights feared the crossbow, and rightly so. They lingered for a long time after it's introduction, but they were a waning force. Society takes time to change, but it does make sense for entire communities to be dedicated to the raising, training and equipping of what is effectively a dead weight. Sooner or later the peasants will revolt, only this time they've got crossbows, and they win...

Orfamay Quest wrote:


Which, again, gets back to the superiority of combined arms. Knights had a fairly specific tactical role to play, and they were usually in shorter supply than pikemen, but they weren't better than pikemen. In fact, they usually lost to pikemen, which is why you didn't send your knights to charge the pikes if you could avoid it. (Your wizard, for example, would make a great anti-pike-formation unit; pikemen make lousy skirmishers.)

I'm not arguing against combined arms, but which troop types? How why and where would they be deployed? How would you counter them? what magic would or could be used to improve them? These are all questions that any would be general would ask. I see no point to a society that is dedicated to raising, training, and equipping knights if they are useless due to magic. For the cost of equipping 1 knight, you could destroy fifty with magic, that's far more devastating than crossbows ever were. You seem to think that combined arms means we have to have heavy horse, heavy infantry, etc., but I would argue that they are too vulnerable to magic. Our modern armies do not use such troops for exactly the same reason - they are too vulnerable (in our case to grtenades, mines, mortar fire, etc.)

The kind of warfare you are talking about (Pike, Horse and MIssile) is strongly reminiscent of the warfare of the 1600's (English Civil war, Thirty years war, etc.) except of course they used muskets instead of crossbows, but that was developed from late mediaeval practices.

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