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Setting

In my world, magic has been the predominant force in the way countries have fought war. It's been used to help turn the tide of many battles and because of it every nation has been dependent on it for as long as the nations of the world have conducted war.

Over many years in the world one nation has a particular crazy scientist and is able to come up with the idea of introducing a steampunk version of Mecha. These new war machines soon become a formidable force. They aren't powered by magic and don't use magic, they are extraordinary mobile and have tons of fire power that can tear through armies.

Magic Wielder

For the magic in the world let's say that this is a generic Sword & Sorcery setting, those in the world who use magic are trained in basic combat spells, those who have spent more time learning and spend time honing their craft have access to larger more devastating spells, these spells can be anywhere from creating light in a room to creating calling down a meteor storm.

Mecha

These are more steampunk versions of the type of Mecha that Titian Fall/ Titian Fall 2 has, similar style in design in the way they fight in combat and size, but without the help of the AI, and magic does not operate the machine - it's all gears and technological achievements.

Question

Can magic overcome Mecha?

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the question clearer or if you have a problem with my question please let me know in the comments. I do wish to get better.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by sphennings, Frostfyre, Andon, RonJohn, Vincent Mar 14 '18 at 17:11

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Not everyone may be familiar with D&D - and there are lots of different versions with different spells. Maybe you should describe it as a "generic Sword & Sorcery setting that takes inspiration from medieval times and adds magic that allows for little things, like creating light in a small radius that quite a few mages can do, up to summoning meteors for a few highly trained special people." or some other general way of describing the magic present. Also, I don't see how a Mecha would stand a chance against mages that can transport him to other planes of existence/meteors/... $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 14 '18 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ First, questions along the lines of, "How does the world respond?" are almost always closed for being either too broad or primarily opinion-based. "The world" is a really big place with a lot of different cultures, and they won't all react the same way. Second, since we're utilizing all D&D spells, I would imagine rust ray will become a very common spell. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 14 '18 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ magic missile, fireball, cone of cold... any spell which creates a physical affect will, naturally, affect things in the physical world. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 14 '18 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ How common are the mechas? Your question makes it sound like this: the mecha are an overpowered Zerg rush every political organization has access to; and there aren't enough spell casters, the only beings that can stand up to them, to go around. It makes a big difference if the mechas outnumber the spell casters. $\endgroup$ – KernelOfChaos Mar 14 '18 at 15:59
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    $\begingroup$ Given the Final Fantasy series' love of Magitek, I'm sure this must have come up there at least once. Alternately, go watch the anime GATE. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Mar 14 '18 at 16:04
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If you're talking about D&D-like magic vs. steam-punk mecha, then magic has several things they can work with that are relatively minor changes to existing spells or new versions of old spells.

Because there are so many wizard spells that attack in so many different ways, I suspect they will be sufficient to defeat your mechas. Oh, the wizards will lose in the first round, due to "surprise" at facing these giant puffing, iron, golems. But they'll develop new tactics and spells quickly.

Enhance existing spells.

Bump a spell up to a higher spell level to increase the range. This helps protect your mages while they fight the mechs.

Make a more powerful version of Animate Object to just take control of the mechs from their drivers.

More anti-metal magic

D&D has flesh to stone spell. Use that template to create:

  • Metal to Wood spell. Suddenly your Mecha has a wooden container vessel for their fire-based steam power plant. That's not good. And the thickness of all the load-bearing supports is now insufficient for the weight.
  • Soften Metal spell. This is a spell that basically makes iron or steel more like warm butter. Too soft to hold its own weight.

Anti-fire magic

The fire box of your mechas are also vulnerable to magic.

  • Douse Fire quenches the fire in their firebox, rendering the mechas inert.
  • Boost Fire spell (opposite of douse fire) makes the fire too hot, so it either blows up the mecha or melts the firebox.

And, of course, fireball and delayed blast fireball are always fan favorites for fighting any enemy...

Defense

Whatever your mecha's weapons are, your wizards are going to focus some energy on building defense spells to block it or them.

Novelty attacks

Back in the day, Bigby had all kinds of various "handy" spells. Let's work on a Bigby's Pushing Hand spell that literally just pushes on the mechs. Hard enough to knock them down.

Or let's use some sort of Freezing magic to either quench the firebox or make the metal too brittle to support the stresses they must bear.

Never forget the power of Wish and Limited Wish. Or weather spells to soak the mechas so they get stuck in mud.

Remember, too, that your wizards can teleport in, launch a quick attack from behind obstacles before the mecha even see them, then teleport out to safety.

They can also use scrying spells to see where the mecha drivers stop to encamp for the night. Then, while the crews are resting or restocking their fuel and water reservoirs or whatever, they can teleport in a variety of stealth attacks. Rogues, rust monsters, etc. are all viable options for night attacks against the crews when they're not ready for battle. Remember, if the fire in a steam engine cools, it takes time to build up enough steam pressure to be combat-ready again.

For that matter, they can just enchant arrows and let elf rangers punch holes in the water tank or the steam pressure vessel. Drain the tanks, stop the mechs. Now the crew has to patch the holes, refill the tanks, and then build up pressure again. While taking sniper fire from those rangers, who can take a few shots and vanish into the tree line before counter fire can find them.

As Secespitus mentions, powerful wizards could send the Mecha away. Either teleport them to an active volcano, out over the ocean, or to the elemental plane of fire. Or just a hundred meters up in the air ought to do it, if you don't want to get all fancy.

You can also teleport large rocks above the mecha. My guess is they don't move all that fast, so aiming should be possible.

Cast Darkness on the mech's windshields. Now they can't target you.


Wizards are highly adaptable. Mechas are not. They must use the attack methods they were designed with. That lack of flexibility means they cannot win in the long term.

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    $\begingroup$ You forgot my personal favourite: transport the enemy to the elemental plane of fire. Problem solved. "What problem?" you ask? Any problem. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 14 '18 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus, I've edited this to add in your teleport option. $\endgroup$ – CaM Mar 14 '18 at 16:18

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