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I am writing a book where the world is split into multiple kingdoms, with each kingdom using a similar magic system to the rest, but using different powers. IE one can control the elements, another does telepathy, another mostly powers associated with the dead, etc.

Is there are any way, assuming the world has progressed via a combination of industry coupled with magic, for guns to not really be a common weapon in war? Or I suppose more specifically, what circumstances - ie cultural reasons, lack of specific resources being available, etc - might have led to the traditional close-quarters army vs army combat remaining prevalent despite the technological advancement?

Crossbows and siege machines such as trebuchets are fine. And of course, if you have suggestions for how armies might be able to defend themselves against magic to allow for such large-scale ground warfare, I'm all ears!

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '18 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ Might consider reading Weber and Evans' Hell's Gate series, where a technological society and a magic society end up going to war with each other. I believe the laws the universe operates by slowly change from one universe to the other, to the point where magic doesn't really work in the tech peoples' universe, while gunpowder doesn't work very well in the magic society's universe. $\endgroup$ – T.E.D. Jul 31 '18 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ Just a short non-answer, or maybe an add-on to one of the answers below: how about providing an environment of extreme humidity, to make any experiments just sort of fizzle instead of revealing the chemicals' true potential? $\endgroup$ – KlaymenDK Aug 1 '18 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ This is my first fantasy world so I worry that I'll encounter far too many unforeseen consequences if I start changing the environment TOO much. Maybe eventually! $\endgroup$ – doplin Aug 1 '18 at 16:01

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As has been pointed out already, it's quite easy to stumble across the technology, and should inevitably happen at some point before the Industrial Revolution. To make it not happen, really the only way is that someone is actively working to suppress progress, such as an all-powerful wizard king who fears the rise of new technologies that could challenge his dominance, particularly weapons, or powerful dragons who fear the rise of technological weapons that would give common people a much easier way to slay them, or psychically gifted "gods" keeping technology in stasis so that the common people cannot develop ways to rise up and challenge them, or... well, you get the point.

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