Spell ranges are quite short, what do blaster war wizards do on a battlefield?


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So here you are in the Pathfinder re-enactment of Agincourt, under longbow volley fire from 200 meters (600 feet). Someone turns to you and says “you are a mighty wizard, can’t you just blow those archers up?”

At this range they are basically firing aoe mode aiming at the block of infantry and not individual targets. However, they were still effective.

What are your options?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In Pathfinder, it would take several direct hits from a longbow to get you down, in real life one would suffice.

There goes the comparison.


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Cast Wall of Wind 120 feet forward, then walk to be on range of stuff like Horrid Wilting or Meteor Swarm that are 500 feet range.


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Gorbacz wrote:

In Pathfinder, it would take several direct hits from a longbow to get you down, in real life one would suffice.

There goes the comparison.

20 archers firing once are statistically going to roll one 20 and then you take 2d8 + 1d10.

You would not be level 1 for that due to CR, if we are assuming a “balanced” encounter.


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Kyrone wrote:
Cast Wall of Wind 120 feet forward, then walk to be on range of stuff like Horrid Wilting or Meteor Swarm that are 500 feet range.

I do not know the altitude reached by a longbow volley fire. Will it pass over a 30 foot wall?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
krobrina wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

In Pathfinder, it would take several direct hits from a longbow to get you down, in real life one would suffice.

There goes the comparison.

20 archers firing once are statistically going to roll one 20 and then you take 2d8 + 1d10.

You would not be level 1 for that due to CR, if we are assuming a “balanced” encounter.

First you say that they're firing AOE, now that they're firing 20 people at one target. Make up your mind.


To make this clear, we're using Pathfinder rules for range and spells in a real world situation. When longbows have a range of 100 feet? I guess as a spell caster I wouldn't worry. They've got a -10 to hit me and my allies. I don't know how if they have enough high level fighters to overcome that penalty, but I'm just going to move up 100 feet and start throwing fireballs?

Also, with that -10 to hit, even a 20 is likely to miss.


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Ruzza wrote:

To make this clear, we're using Pathfinder rules for range and spells in a real world situation. When longbows have a range of 100 feet? I guess as a spell caster I wouldn't worry. They've got a -10 to hit me and my allies. I don't know how if they have enough high level fighters to overcome that penalty, but I'm just going to move up 100 feet and start throwing fireballs?

Also, with that -10 to hit, even a 20 is likely to miss.

Range INCREMENT of 100 feet.


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krobrina wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

To make this clear, we're using Pathfinder rules for range and spells in a real world situation. When longbows have a range of 100 feet? I guess as a spell caster I wouldn't worry. They've got a -10 to hit me and my allies. I don't know how if they have enough high level fighters to overcome that penalty, but I'm just going to move up 100 feet and start throwing fireballs?

Also, with that -10 to hit, even a 20 is likely to miss.

Range INCREMENT of 100 feet.
Core Rulebook pg 279 wrote:

Attack rolls beyond a weapon’s range

increment take a –2 penalty for each additional multiple
of that increment between you and the target.

So... I'm 6 increments away. So -10.


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Gorbacz wrote:
krobrina wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

In Pathfinder, it would take several direct hits from a longbow to get you down, in real life one would suffice.

There goes the comparison.

20 archers firing once are statistically going to roll one 20 and then you take 2d8 + 1d10.

You would not be level 1 for that due to CR, if we are assuming a “balanced” encounter.

First you say that they're firing AOE, now that they're firing 20 people at one target. Make up your mind.

I can’t see what you are getting at? If arrows are falling randomly onto a squad, the squad will still lose effectiveness. If the wizard runs ahead, the wizard will be targeted.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

1. There is considerable debate that "volley" fire happened to a large degree, or at least regularly at ranges you suggest.

2. The longbow has a 100ft range, so long range combat would be at a -10 to hit at 600ft.

3. It's fine that there's a segment of the game that a wizard doesn't immediately solve, even if it's a niche hyper-long range warfare.

4. Wall of Wind would sufficiently protect anyone adjacent to it from volley fire unless the volley originated on the immediate other side of the wall of wind.

5. A war wizard could use invisibility to approach and drop debilitating area effects and blasts

6. A war wizard is likely best suited to standing by and holding their limited spells for strategic moments. A general would be foolish to expend spells at the volley stage, and should prefer to hold them for when the tide of battle calls for it.


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Wait, okay, this seems like it's stuck somewhere between real world scenario and "by the books" game situation. What are you looking for?

In we're running this in the world world, yeah, this totally works! Fire arrows blindly in a large mass and let them fall over soldiers. But also... magic isn't really a thing?

But by game logic and rules, even if those archers are rolling 20s, they're going to need to be more than your standard rank and file level -1/0/1 nobodies to hit equivalently leveled units. They don't even stand a ghost of a chance against a spellcaster high enough to cast fireballs or anything of the sort.


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Okay, I'm having fun with this as a thought exercise. For now, I'm ignoring the wizard as we haven't been given enough information about this hypothetical.

We have two forces. One a squad of soldiers armed with, what I'm assuming are melee weapons. The other with longbows. The longbowmen are raining down arrows from 600 feet away. This gives them a -10 to hit with their attacks. We can mock up some quick soldiers.

Let's start with AC. They've got their armor + Dex, which should come out to +5 (I'm assuming they're wearing armor appropriate to their Dex score). They're also at least trained, so another +3. So an AC of 18.

Attack wise, let's assume the archers have +4 in Dex and the soldiers have +4 to Str (though this won't truly matter as much as the archers). The archers are trained with their bows, so they have a +7 to hit. However, let's make them fighters to make things more in their favor. Now they're experts and have a +9 to hit with their bows. Nice!

From their range, they would need to roll an 19 or a 20 to hit the soldiers. A 20 would knock that hit up into a crit and trigger the deadly trait. Not good! Of course, all of that becomes moot if the soldiers have shields and raise them, taking their AC up to 20. That means that the archers can only HIT the soldiers on a 20, which would be difficult in a real world situation (like the aforementioned Battle of Agincourt), but we've got a wizard! And I'm assuming a higher level one, too!

I'm not sure at what level you want this spellcaster at, but anyone who can cast a fireball should be more than qualified to handle things without fear of eating a stray arrow.

Edit: All of this assumes that the soldiers and archers are level 1 and that, for whatever reason, the soldiers don't have Shield Block. If they did, well... yeah, I think they'd just wait out the arrowstorm while their wizard did all the work.


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WatersLethe wrote:

1. There is considerable debate that "volley" fire happened to a large degree, or at least regularly at ranges you suggest.

2. The longbow has a 100ft range, so long range combat would be at a -10 to hit at 600ft.

3. It's fine that there's a segment of the game that a wizard doesn't immediately solve, even if it's a niche hyper-long range warfare.

4. Wall of Wind would sufficiently protect anyone adjacent to it from volley fire unless the volley originated on the immediate other side of the wall of wind.

5. A war wizard could use invisibility to approach and drop debilitating area effects and blasts

6. A war wizard is likely best suited to standing by and holding their limited spells for strategic moments. A general would be foolish to expend spells at the volley stage, and should prefer to hold them for when the tide of battle calls for it.

1. It happened at Crecy and again at Agincourt. When used by the English using their tactics and training, the longbow really did do this. You can reduce the range a little if makes you happier, or you're assuming mainland European archers (They do not suck. Their army just did not do this so they were not trained for it).

2. In pathfinder you would still crit enough to hurt things. A GM might house-rule an additional flat DC check for extreme range fire vs point targets. Against a block of troops, things are different as that's an area target.

3. Battlefield mass combat is not "niche" to the fantasy setting of Pathfinder. It's fine that there is a gap in the game, because it is a game about small groups, but someone should be able to explain to me what wizards do nations go to war.

4. Agree, but we need to know how high volley fire arcs. The wall is only 30 feet high. I can tell you the answer for a machinegun, but not an English longbow.

5. Agree

6. Agree


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Ruzza wrote:
From their range, they would need to roll an 19 or a 20 to hit the soldiers. A 20 would knock that hit up into a crit and trigger the deadly trait. Not good! Of course, all of that becomes moot if the soldiers have shields and raise them, taking their AC up to 20. That means that the archers can only HIT the soldiers on a 20

Natties always crit on an attack roll. They're different from task checks.

CRB pg. 278 wrote:
When you make an attack and roll a natural 20 (the number on the die is 20), or if the result of your attack exceeds the target’s AC by 10, you achieve a critical success (also known as a critical hit).

As a specific rule for attacks, this over-rules the generic task check system.


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krobrina wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
From their range, they would need to roll an 19 or a 20 to hit the soldiers. A 20 would knock that hit up into a crit and trigger the deadly trait. Not good! Of course, all of that becomes moot if the soldiers have shields and raise them, taking their AC up to 20. That means that the archers can only HIT the soldiers on a 20

Natties always crit on an attack roll. They're different from task checks.

CRB pg. 278 wrote:
When you make an attack and roll a natural 20 (the number on the die is 20), or if the result of your attack exceeds the target’s AC by 10, you achieve a critical success (also known as a critical hit).
As a specific rule for attacks, this over-rules the generic task check system.

Sorry to say...

Whoever this guy is, he seems to disagree.

I mean, but he could be wrong. I'm not sure if I've seen his name anywhere on the book. Maybe I should check the cover.


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Ruzza wrote:


CRB pg. 278 wrote:
When you make an attack and roll a natural 20 (the number on the die is 20), or if the result of your attack exceeds the target’s AC by 10, you achieve a critical success (also known as a critical hit).

Sorry to say...

Whoever this guy is, he seems to disagree.

I mean, but he could be wrong. I'm not sure if I've seen his name anywhere on the book. Maybe I should check the cover.

The book could be wrong due to editing errors.

The developer could be wrong due to dev brain (remembering a playtest version of the rule) or he could be adjusting the game on the fly to tell a story.

The situation is unclear. I would accept either, but the RAW is that natties crit.


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?????????????????????????????????????????

I mean... okay.


Huh?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Fireball is available as early as 5th level, and I suspect that in an actual mass combat situation, a wizard is not going to have much trouble getting within 500 feet of someone who deserves a fireball.

It's not like two armies are going to just sit there shelling each other with inaccurate arrows; at least one side will want to close to melee for one reason or another.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Friendly reminder that you only crit on a 20 if you actually hit on a 20. A 20 bumps the degree of success up by one, not automatically critically succeeds. If a 20 is a failure it only hits for normal damage. And if it is a critical Failure it is a straight up miss. With a -10 range penalty and aiming at someone at least 5 levels above you, you actually might critically fail on a 20.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Friendly reminder that you only crit on a 20 if you actually hit on a 20. A 20 bumps the degree of success up by one, not automatically critically succeeds. If a 20 is a failure it only hits for normal damage. And if it is a critical Failure it is a straight up miss. With a -10 range penalty and aiming at someone at least 5 levels above you, you actually might critically fail on a 20.

This helps eliminate the 1000 archers kill a great wyrm WHY DO WE NEED HEROS! argument.


In the movies, whenever the besiegers of a castle are going to use a battering ram, they often have a guy with a shield next to each of the smucks holding the ram so that the defenders have difficulty hitting the smucks.

It seems like the evoker could benefit from a similar arrangement. Put him/her in a chariot, and he/she could use all 3 actions to cast....

That being said, if military fantasy has taught us anything, it is that the primary use of magic users in large scale battles is to negate the other side's magic users.


He casts Elemental Form to turn into an Air Elemental to close the distance, then again to turn into an Earth Elemental and murder them all from underground while they can't attack him back at all.

Or he summons a dragon.


Aratorin wrote:
Or he summons a dragon.

It'd have to be a pretty small dragon. Summon spells never summon anything more powerful than [your level -2].


Draco18s wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Or he summons a dragon.
It'd have to be a pretty small dragon. Summon spells never summon anything more powerful than [your level -2].

I don't see that we established a level for the Wizard, but Summon Dragon is a 5th level spell. A Flame Drake should be perfectly capable of dealing with -1/0/1 level schmoes.

Exo-Guardians

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Mechagamera wrote:
That being said, if military fantasy has taught us anything, it is that the primary use of magic users in large scale battles is to negate the other side's magic users.

TBF this happens in real-life warfare too... when forces are reasonably symmetrical, tanks mostly end up fighting other tanks, planes fight other planes, artillery does counter-battery fire, etc. So if both sides in our hypothetical PF battle have a corps of war wizards, then they'll most likely spend a lot of their time trying to counter each other.

If only one side has wizards though (or if the wizards on one side manage to neutralize their counterparts and achieve "magical superiority"), I don't think war mages would have much trouble dealing with ranged units 600+ feet away: Invisibility heightened to 4th lets you stay invisible while attacking, so that plus Fly would let them quickly get within spell range and fling fireballs with impunity.


(I am assuming its two people chariots/horses, because of mount/minion rules)

Also the way a wizard or other caster is used in war is entirely dependent on the tactic being employed.

A wizard (if AoE spell can harm objects) would reck enemy camps with fire and other effects, very much a bombardment. On the otherhand, a defending wizard could use wall spells to protect archers or baricade a door. (Albeit for a limited time).

As far as level is concerned, it depends on how good/trained the units are. A small group of elite units can easily beat a large group of unskilled units. So a group of elite archers can be quite deadly. Lets assume its a unit of 200 soldiers, if only 1 in every 10 archers is level 5, thats 20 lv 5 archers spread over a 100-500 ft distance. I have trouble imagining that many lv 5 wizards being available, maybe 10: It really depends on how many wizards are taught/enployed by the army.


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10 5th lvl wizards

One casts invisibility sphere to cover the group. They all approach from a flank with a 5th lvl ranger or scout who has Silent allies and was also effected by invis sphere. Once in range say 300' or so they all cast "Widened" Fireballs for two rounds for a total of 20 fireballs that each have a 25' blast radius utterly devastating the opposing archers (even if there are 20 lvl 5 Fighters among them) each ball covers a 50' radius and they can overlap them quite a bit with 10 at a time.

On the 3rd turn they all cast personal invisibility spells or whatever to cover their retreat back to the main lines.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Timeshadow wrote:

10 5th lvl wizards

One casts invisibility sphere to cover the group. They all approach from a flank with a 5th lvl ranger or scout who has Silent allies and was also effected by invis sphere. Once in range say 300' or so they all cast "Widened" Fireballs for two rounds for a total of 20 fireballs that each have a 25' blast radius utterly devastating the opposing archers (even if there are 20 lvl 5 Fighters among them) each ball covers a 50' radius and they can overlap them quite a bit with 10 at a time.

On the 3rd turn they all cast personal invisibility spells or whatever to cover their retreat back to the main lines.

Yup.

Also, just because I know someone else with nit-pick this, I believe you meant 50' diameter, not radius. :)


Aratorin wrote:
I don't see that we established a level for the Wizard, but Summon Dragon is a 5th level spell. A Flame Drake should be perfectly capable of dealing with -1/0/1 level schmoes.
Quote:
flame drakes thankfully lack the intelligence and ambition of their larger cousins

See? Small.

(Yes, I realize its actually Large Size; but that doesn't mean it can't be smaller than other, larger, dragons).
I have no idea how well it fares in a fight, though.

That said, in order to summon it, you need a 5th level spell (ie. "be level 9"). So its going to fight things that are 2 levels above it and 2 levels below you.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:

If only one side has wizards though (or if the wizards on one side manage to neutralize their counterparts and achieve "magical superiority"), I don't think war mages would have much trouble dealing with ranged units 600+ feet away: Invisibility heightened to 4th lets you stay invisible while attacking, so that plus Fly would let them quickly get within spell range and fling fireballs with impunity.

Military units above a certain size should have some kind of vision and counterspell item the same way that police in a large city will. It's not possible for them to do their job otherwise. It probably isn't as good as your own wizard, but it should stop a few abuses.


Seems reasonable that army + magical support (or their own wizard) beats a single Wizard unless levels are totally unbalanced in the sole wizard's favor though?


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krobrina wrote:

Military units above a certain size should have some kind of vision and counterspell item the same way that police in a large city will. It's not possible for them to do their job otherwise. It probably isn't as good as your own wizard, but it should stop a few abuses.

Yes but now you're moving the goal posts. Your OP just said it was a wizard against archers, now it's against a properly equipped fantasy army with wizards assigned to each company like a medic.


Kelseus wrote:
krobrina wrote:

Military units above a certain size should have some kind of vision and counterspell item the same way that police in a large city will. It's not possible for them to do their job otherwise. It probably isn't as good as your own wizard, but it should stop a few abuses.

Yes but now you're moving the goal posts. Your OP just said it was a wizard against archers, now it's against a properly equipped fantasy army with wizards assigned to each company like a medic.

I was replying to a post that talked about wizards on either side. Go bother them about moving goalposts instead :-)


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Of course, the real goalpost here is how well a single wizard (with accompanying forces) handles a siege situation, because that might actually be relevant to the fantasy medieval warfare aesthetic, given that actual pitched battles on the field were a comparative rarity to long, drawn out conflicts centred on defensive fortifications. Though we'd best not delve too deep into fantasy realism because there's not bad odds that sufficient magical artillery in a setting retroactively invalidates the existence of castles, which I don't think anyone wants that.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Of course, the real goalpost here is how well a single wizard (with accompanying forces) handles a siege situation, because that might actually be relevant to the fantasy medieval warfare aesthetic, given that actual pitched battles on the field were a comparative rarity to long, drawn out conflicts centred on defensive fortifications. Though we'd best not delve too deep into fantasy realism because there's not bad odds that sufficient magical artillery in a setting retroactively invalidates the existence of castles, which I don't think anyone wants that.

Ironically, magic fixes this problem as easily as it creates it.

Fixed points are easier to enchant. Casting a spell that blocks fireballs is hard, but magically reinforcing a wall to resist fireballs is relatively easy.

Castles are a convenient edifice upon which to heap your defensive enchantments, basically. :)


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The better question is "What countries actually train blaster war wizards to fight in battle?"

Given the real life parallels, the English Longbows were incredibly difficult to master, to the point that a couple of English monarchs declared that archery contests must be conducted using the longbow so that, if he had to raise an army, the people already had some experience in using them.

Now, if we assume similar circumstances in Golarion (adventurers being the exception), consider how much more difficult training war wizards must be. The years of study required to learn master magic, combined with any additional military training, means that each war wizard powerful enough to cast spells that can effect an army (like fireball) is a significant investment of financial resources. For the same cost, you could probably train a couple dozen more longbowmen.

As such, I expect we'd only see blaster war wizards deployed by countries like Nex, where society revolves around magic and there are a lot of wizards available. They'd likely be deployed as an entire unit of war wizards, with some assigned to cast spells like wind wall and other countermeasures while the remainder shelled the longbowmen with fireballs.

For other countries seeking to use war wizards, I expect we'd see them more in a support capacity or used for specific missions as opposed to deployed onto a battlefield between armies.

As for troops being equipped with magic items that allow them to see invisible wizards...

Searching on Archives of Nethys, I find the following items grant either see invisibility or true seeing effects[/i]:

Third Eye (Level 19; 40,000 GP)
Crystal Ball (Selenite (Level 15; 7,000 GP); Obsidian (Level 19; 32,000 gp); Requires 10 minute activation time and a successful casting of scrying first)
Robe of Eyes (Level 17; 13,000 GP)
Staff of Divination (Level 6; 230 GP; requires a caster with the spell on their spell list)
Thurible of Revelation (Moderate (Level 10; 900 GP); Greater (Level 18; 19,000 GP; Requires an action and 5 gp worth of incense)
Wand of either spell (requires a caster with the spell on their spell list)
Truesight Potion (Level 16; 1,500 GP)

Now, of these options, the Staff of Divination or a Wand of the relevant spell is the most cost effective option at 230 GP, and requires a caster with the spell on their spell list to cast it.

TL;DR: For the cost of training sufficient blaster war wizards for use on a battlefield like Agincourt, you could probably train and equip a couple of armies that give you a numerical advantage. Give them all shields with which to deflect incoming arrow barrages using a turtle formation, and they could likely force the archers to abandon their position with minimal casualties on the way there. It is far more cost effective to use your war wizards as support to improve supply lines and logistics, to protect your own forces, as glorified siege weaponry, or for surgical strikes against the enemy leadership.

Equipping all of your military units with anti-caster safeguards is also not the most cost effective use of resources. Best to assume that most wars are not fought with blaster war wizards.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm not sure training a caster is significantly more expensive than training a longbowman; just notably more time-consuming. Given the opportunity, most places would opt to do both, to have the advantage of at least some magic. After all, if the choice is between 600 longbowmen and 0 wizards or 595 longbowmen and 1 wizard, the 1 wizard probably brings more to the table than 5 longbowmen.

Also, while fully-fledged battle wizards are likely time-consuming to train, learning cantrips is easy (especially for humans). I wouldn't be surprised to see a division of soldiers that can all cast Electric Arc or some such, for example.


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It makes me think of one of the Pathfinder Tales novels where the protagonist sees a ship's bow disintegrated. As the reader I knew what was happening from the spell description, but the main character, a very experienced pirate captain was dumbfounded. He had never even considered that use of magic let alone seen it's use, despite the fact that any group of PCs worth their salt would definitely try something similar.


This is turning into an even more fascinating discussion of large-scale and asymmetric warfare in high magic environments, generally.

While obviously you need soldiers to oppress the locals if you're doing any conquering of foreign lands, and something like an enemy strongpoint (with walls, etc.) will require some sort of siege preparations to isolate and cut off.

So at what point (given the cost of maintaining a standing army) do more specialized troops like heavy cavalry and archers start to be less cost-effective than counter-measures to large bodies of infantry troops like putting a few local sorcerers on retainer?

This is starting to look like where the counter to [i]that[i] is a group of lower-level sellsword adventurers to go scout out and disrupt, disable, or (at higher levels) disintegrate enemy spellcasters, admittedly.


MaxAstro wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Of course, the real goalpost here is how well a single wizard (with accompanying forces) handles a siege situation, because that might actually be relevant to the fantasy medieval warfare aesthetic, given that actual pitched battles on the field were a comparative rarity to long, drawn out conflicts centred on defensive fortifications. Though we'd best not delve too deep into fantasy realism because there's not bad odds that sufficient magical artillery in a setting retroactively invalidates the existence of castles, which I don't think anyone wants that.

Ironically, magic fixes this problem as easily as it creates it.

Fixed points are easier to enchant. Casting a spell that blocks fireballs is hard, but magically reinforcing a wall to resist fireballs is relatively easy.

Castles are a convenient edifice upon which to heap your defensive enchantments, basically. :)

Ooh, yes! I especially appreciate this comment because I knew I was forgetting a caveat in there somewhere. Yes, my favourite hand wave to bring back castles in a setting is that the structure is designed with wards against magical attacks as much as to repel physical assault.

Phntm888 wrote:
A lot of valid stuff about the cost and difficulty of training specialized units such as archers and mages.

Indeed, how difficult it is to train a mage is a very important factor to the setting. Certainly mages would have to be a specialized type of unit, but also thinking in terms of a Golarion style setting where individuals level 1-5 are considered the 'Standard', a wizard or cleric at these levels is not inherently rarer than a fighter of those same levels, which is what I would describe a master archer to be.

(the rank-and-file soldiers would not likely be NPCs with class levels, analogous to warriors in the PF1 sense, however I do think warfare is one area where we would see a higher than average number of people running around with class levels, becoming more common as you go up the chain of increasingly elite units)

An important thing, to me, it to note that humans (and let's say humanoids) are exceedingly good at turning the tools at their disposal into an actionable advantage, so if they have magic available to them in some format, they will be sure to use it. Even if we assume magic is fairly rare, it provides significant enough advantage that governments will do whatever in their power to be the ones wielding it, whatever it takes, provided they are physically able to. Unless magic is prohibitively difficult and expensive to learn (which, given that there are magic schools in the setting and NPC wizards in towns, I should think not), it's going to appear in battle in some form or another, if not a way we expect (intelligence gathering strikes me as a good use).


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The Eberron setting has some interesting bits about how large-scale magical warfare would play out. Lots of cool little details.

I think it'd develop very differently from how human medieval warfare developed. You'd almost have to imagine the moment battle mages become fairly common being similar to the learning curve in WWI, and then go from there. OP's question presupposes that there'd be a battle like Agincourt, which may not actually be the case in a world where fireballs and obscuring mists and wind walls exist... Or that magical "artillery" rituals haven't been created in the as-yet-unpublished large scale war supplement


I would like to remind that this are back seat calculations with often minimal knowledge of how to run an army much less a government.

You dont just decided to get more unit. You have to plan and scheme, planning on a few wizards takes years to gain. Lords and commanders would have to debate whether they want to focus on the easy and "cheap" of getting a decent number of archers and soldiers: Or, spend money training a handful of wizards for years. Its this type of debate that led to Lowbow vs Crossbow vs Guns.

* P.S. I do know that when it comes to soldiers you have to pay for living expenses, clothing, armor, weapons, and food. Wizards would also require the cost of schooling, materials for magic, maintaining the magic academy, paying the professors, research and development, etc.


Temperans wrote:

I would like to remind that this are back seat calculations with often minimal knowledge of how to run an army much less a government.

You dont just decided to get more unit. You have to plan and scheme, planning on a few wizards takes years to gain. Lords and commanders would have to debate whether they want to focus on the easy and "cheap" of getting a decent number of archers and soldiers: Or, spend money training a handful of wizards for years. Its this type of debate that led to Lowbow vs Crossbow vs Guns.

* P.S. I do know that when it comes to soldiers you have to pay for living expenses, clothing, armor, weapons, and food. Wizards would also require the cost of schooling, materials for magic, maintaining the magic academy, paying the professors, research and development, etc.

Which especially comes with the additional question of whether or not to hire out for blaster mage mercenaries who already have the skills you desire, perhaps in the form of a fantasy mage equivalent of the Landsknecht, or prefer to have the investment of your own home-grown mages more guaranteed toward loyalty, especially if chosen from among members of your own nobility. First child gets the title, second child goes into the priesthood, third child trains to be a knight or a wizard and goes to find a liege to be vassal to, who will support the expenditure required to train and equip them for combat.


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Shield My Castle from Magic Shenanigans

Ritual.

Casting time 24 hours. 1 caster and 1,000 gp per level per 100 feet of perimeter. Duration 1 year.

Puts up a magic shield of the given level around the perimeter. Spells passing in either direction must roll to penetrate the barrier using the 10.5 table for DC by level. A dispel effect targeted at the barrier that penetrates its resistance reduces the barrier by 1 level.

During the ritual you can create a number of tokens that allow the bearer to cast though the barrier unhindered. These tokens last one year and can be permanent or consumable at your option.

Disclaimer 1: Completely untested rules.

Disclaimer 2: Magically augmented beings like liches may experence "minor discomfort" on encountering the barrier.


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If you're interested to see how armies operate in Golarion, check out Ironfang Invasion. The Ironfang Legion doesn't have wizards, but it does have clerics and enough alchemists to blow stuff up real good.

Liberty's Edge

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MaxAstro wrote:
I'm not sure training a caster is significantly more expensive than training a longbowman; just notably more time-consuming.

This is probably untrue from an IRL perspective on learning the longbow. In order to get good longbowmen, you start with very young children and then they train extensively pretty much their whole lives. This is because of draw weight (and developing the necessary and highly specific musculature over time, then maintaining it) rather than learning to aim (which is quicker), but it does require starting from the age of seven or so.

Now, being a Wizard is more like getting a PHD in physics, inasmuch as you need certain prerequisites and then to devote a specific and significant block of time to doing it, but such training can start later in life in a way learning to be a longbowman usually can't.

So...it depends on how you define 'time consuming', really. The longbow thing takes more years, but becoming a Wizard may be more hours in total. Combining the two would also be possible, of course, though even more time consuming.


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As others mentioned, it depends a great deal on the setting.

In Golarion, 10th level used to be where most of "unnamed" folk would cap out in power level (according to Paizo's original descriptions, not necessarily the magic market stats). I say "used to be" since that's crept upward, but not nearly to the point of Faerun. One country had (has?) an enormous council of archmage leaders (18th+) and the elite, statted-out mercenary force of hundreds of troops had Rings of Spell Turning. All of them.
Meanwhile, 9th level PCs in Golarion (in a PFS scenario) can have a major effect on an assassination in one of the stronger countries (while plucky low-level PCs in the other room are witnessing history unfold at the beginning of an AP.)

Gygax, who indulged in real-world war simulations, had several good examples of D&D warfare in his fiction. Illusions were often used to deplete the stronger magic of opponents. Summoned hordes would fight summoned hordes before both sides were left with only real troops (think Cheliax vs. the World Wound). Basic troops might serve as a distraction for an elite, high-level force attempting to take out the rival leaders. Lower level hordes used haunted forests as paths to avoid aerial attacks (taking the losses to monsters as the lesser cost).
And an unleashed highest tier monster might simply auto-win, devastating the landscape until a counter-force (led by PC types) could be assembled (though in one instance, an evil god's avatar drove off the best of these!)
Flight, and anti-archery for those flying, were key as well. Dogs (often magical variants) were useful for sniffing out Invisible folk, as was mud for seeing tracks. Lots of mundane tools were used to protect against magic, and fire was commonplace. Of course, Teleports had to be countered w/ Gorgon or Basilisk blood painted on walls, as well as ethereal intrusion. And so goes the ebb & flow, with esoteric "system mastery" being quite important!

Brent Weeks has some good examples too in his novels. Spreading the troops wide was a major anti-wizard tactic. So much for pike walls and other real-world formations. Combat in a magic-heavy world might just approach modern warfare that much quicker.
Who has what tech? Or intel?


Improved invisibility actually isn't that good, RAW the archers will know where the wizard is so invisibility just halves the damage they take. So if there's a lot of archers they're still dead

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