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I have a Mage who wields more power than any other (think a hundred thousand normal Mages). He gathered an army of cat warriors from the Guderian forest to his banner and attacked the Kingdom. The cat warriors are bound to him via his powers (he has the power to control all living things except humans). His armies are besieging the last human-controlled city in the kingdom and it is on the verge of falling. My hero has set out on a quest to stop him by slaying him.

The Mage lives in a tower of vines and trees that he grew using magic to accelerate growth of his plant tower. He has no guards because he doesn't need them. The area has a similar flora density to the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. My hero has to somehow kill him, despite the fact that almost all the material around him is alive and is therefore can be placed under the direct control of the Mage.

Magical Rules:

Anyone can use magic, but very few have the strength of mind to use it. In my world there is an afterlife and the dead are constantly trying to return to the Earth. They try to get into people's bodies and hide from the Spirit Guards there but usually most people have strong enough minds to unknowingly kick them out (even children do).

However, when you use magic it takes away from your bodies natural defenses and you are left vulnerable, both physically and spiritually to attacks. This wizard has been using magic to extend his life for ten thousand years, making him the oldest and most mentally well-built of the Mages. My hero has the limited ability of a level 1 wizard (meaning that he only has the ability to use telekinesis and fly by casting vocal spells).

Spirits are almost totally no physical although they can control fog to make impressions, they can not speak or hear. There are numerous magical artifacts, one of which our hero uses called the Flaming Word of Türbrik that can start flames, shot said flames, and control existing flames with its own magic, although it cannot make large flames it can start them and control them once started.

The forest itself is magical naturally which allows the plants and natives to channel this energy for their own purposes. The Mage can control the plants which in turn control a virtually infinite amount of magic within a fifty foot radius.

Question

How can my hero defeat this life-controlling Mage in his own environment? Also assume his maximum range is 100 feet and we are working with medieval tech levels. Take note that as long as conditions for plant life are good he can sped cell growth of the plant up to near infinite speeds.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cats already have the ability to move, but plants don't really. Even if that Sunflower really wanted to strangle you, it's not going to get up and move. (or can magic give plants the ability to move themselves via telekinesis?) Do you still consider the telekinesis of moving plants around as "nature" magic? Personally, I would think its the sudden growth of dangerous plants you'd have to look out for, not the plants already there. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Mar 24 '15 at 17:31
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    $\begingroup$ I'd like to point out a flaw in every plan we might conceive: your wizard is thousands of years old. Unless he's an idiot, he should have figured out every manner in which he might be overcome and placed appropriate defenses. Thus, he can't be beaten on home ground except by an even stronger mage. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 24 '15 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ Can you verbally invoke a spell but not actually cast it? Would be neat to trick the mage into defeating himself, by trying to counter your spell that was never actually cast. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Mar 24 '15 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ Immortal nature mages are one thing. It is impossible to believe that any one man could get a group of cats going in one direction for very long. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jul 17 '15 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, "(he has the power to control all living things except humans)" why not make people's gut bacteria kill themselves to destroy the stomach lining, or destroy all the crops, or make the rats and birds attack, or the fleas and lice tear into their skin? TL;DR there's no reason to use cats, and he would have killed all his enemies by now. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 6 '17 at 21:30
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For all his vast power he can die to any regular attack. All your hero needs is to get close enough to perform it. Some options that would potentially work are:

1) poison his water supply. Being a nature mage he may be able to detect this easily (in fact I would make sure he could, because this is anticlimatic otherwise), however, if he can't he could be easily killed with limited effort. If he detects natural poisons use heavy metal or a non-biological poison instead.

2) fly above and drop anything that will create posionous fumes that will chock or kill him on his tower

3) wait until the middle of the night, fly into his tower, and stab him in his sleep. He has no gaurds, so he would have no warning so long as there is a way to get into his tower.

4) burn the place down, as already said. I doubt this would kill him, but it would force him away from his area of strength and bring him out in the open, and once in the open a simply arrow to the chest can kill if not expected.

5) find an area where magic doesn't work and lore him into it, if such a thing exists. Alternatively find a way to mess with magic yourself.

6) get a dozen people to work together to fly something really heavy over his tower and crush him.

Of course those are all boring answers, they wouldn't work to make a good story. SO some more story-based ones:

1) earn the mage's trust, as a protege, a minnion, or someone promising to betray the others to him. Get him to agree to talk with you. Once your close enough to see him in person killing him is a mater of acting when he doesn't expect it. An arrow in the back the moment his back is turned, or push him out of a tower and let him die. Of course the faster the better, less time for him to work magic to save himself, so I would say a suicide attempt that uses a posionous gas, or simply using all your magic to make a big boom that take you both out together would be best. As long as he doesn't have time to react his cosmic power is worthless.

2) can he control undead? If not perhaps intetionally baiting undead into the bodies of those he has hurt or who are close to death and then using them to attack him could work. Can his cat warriors also be controlled by the dead? If their being controlled by magic then I would imagine they must similarly have very resistance to undead. What if you can help arrange for them to all be possesed by spirits at once, removing his army and getting an army yourself. Or if you can arrange for just one cat person to be possesed, but make it one close enough to him to assasinate him that would be enough

3) Find out how he has managed to not be possesed. You said yourself that excessive use of magic will cause others to be posessed, and yet he has gone this long without it. What is he doing to protect himself, and can you somehow mess with whatever trick he uses to keep spirits from posessing him? If it's simply strength of will then can every one of the villagers of a town he is about to destroy agreeing to all try to posess his single body when they die be enough to overwhelm his defenses? Even if they don't overwhelm him enough to destroy him, which is anticlimatic, they could leave him so focused on resisting spirits to be unaware of the hero slipping in to attack him.

4) figure out a way to cut the plants off from magical energy, which leaves them pretty weak and useless to control.

5) attack the spells that are keeping him alive, if that can be interfered with he could age and die quickly. As I said any sort of anti-magic trick would work here.

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    $\begingroup$ I have been considering what will happen upon possession and a really nice twist would be if the spirits could use infinite magic. That would be a deterrent that has severely limited the number of possessions over the years. Or maybe he has already been possessed? $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Mar 24 '15 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @DustinJackson Having him be a spirit that possessed the powerful mage who went too far with magic, without anyone knowing it, would be an interesting twist. However, it's not much of a twist if it's known that spirits can use magic and users of magic usually are possessed, all mages would likely be spirits. However, if you made it so that this spirit had the unique ability to use magic, and can use magic freely now since he can't be repossesed, that would be interesting. Maybe his experimenting with life energy at the time of possession caused some odd feedback that allowed the .... $\endgroup$ – dsollen Mar 24 '15 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ life magic, usually untouchable by spirits, to be accessible by the spirit that possesed him? If I went this route I would say that he was actually a good person, using nature magic to help grow food to address starvation etc, but no one knows that because of what he became. I would even have him be 'defeated' by driving the spirit out, and leaving him still alive and in control of his body, with a unique understanding of magic no one else could get without being possessed, but with everyone hating him. That offers so much potential for the sequel to explore. $\endgroup$ – dsollen Mar 24 '15 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ I like your undead idea...and I like the idea of driving evil spirits from him to make him good again. What to do.... $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Mar 24 '15 at 19:58
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Light the forest on fire and watch the world burn.

Other option would be to suicide/die then come back and attack the mage as a spirt. If he is so strong and uses so much magic, he has have made himself vulnerable to attack.

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    $\begingroup$ Unique answer. The spirit idea would be a good plot twist. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Mar 24 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Vulcronos Fire may not be as viable as you think. Any competent nature mage is going to utilize some kind of magical mist or fog to protect his plants against fire. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 24 '15 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ How is mist or fog natrual enough to be controled by a nature mage? $\endgroup$ – Vulcronos Mar 24 '15 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Vulcronos I suppose it depends on what the OP is considering "natural". I would imagine that a process of nature is natural. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 24 '15 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ Boiling oil and incendiary weapons were used in the middle ages and earlier. Perhaps the hero could use ranged weapons to start the fire. $\endgroup$ – aebabis Mar 24 '15 at 20:42
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If all else fails, salt the earth so that nothing will ever grow again.

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Since the hero is completely out-classed in a simple one-vs-one situation, you either have to rely on the nature Mage being too distracted to fight well (and defeating him as you would any other mage) or try an "assassinate" type operation.

  • Stealth and using telekinesis to fly a blade to his heart would be ideal

  • If that is not possible, putting as much focus on his mind elsewhere is important so the hero can try to match him in a classic battle. If the hero could draw an especially strong spirit to the nature-mage that would be good.

It would be cool if our hero only had access to his one or two spells, but had a natural talent for them that put his ability much more than the regular mage using the same spell, or, if he just managed to use the spells in extremely creative ways.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good answer. Another idea might be to fly over him and drop stuff on him......I don't know if that might work because of its simplicity. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Mar 24 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @DustinJackson Depends on whether he was prepared for an aerial attack. Perhaps there are a lot of spores in the air he can control, or the skies are watched over by birds. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Mar 24 '15 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ I had to stay very general because the nature mage really could have any trap in place to counter the hero. Even being ready for him to come up through the ground. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Mar 24 '15 at 20:38
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Use The Flaming Word of Türbrik. I assume the mage has some way of quenching the fire once it nears him, or destroying him would be trivial. Since his magic seems to be limited to the control of living things, he could probably use excessive plant growth to smother the flames (as you say, they are not very large). He could even probably make the plants too wet to burn. But given the small range of the mage's abilities (100 feet) there is another option. Heat the ground more than a hundred feet away from the mage. If you can heat it to lava quickly enough, the mage might just die from the heat. If you cannot, a workable method might be to heat the ground to a sufficiently high temperature that all the water in the area evaporates. With no water, conditions are hardly "good" for plant life. Thus his ability to control plants would be weakened. Whether this would be enough to stop him, I don't know. But it would be a start.

Another possibility is this. If the cat warriors are being controlled by this nature mage, perhaps their minds are not entirely on the defensive. Perhaps, in the process of controlling them, the mage has left them vulnerable to spiritual possession. If that is the case, encouraging spirits (I assume that the mage has left plenty of dead behind him) to possess the cats might deprive the mage of his main allies outside of his small sanctum. What's more, if the mage has connected his mind directly to the cats, this could potentially offer a route of spiritual attack against the mage himself.

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Get an iron spear (yes even the shaft). Work out by experimentation how to tell when you're flying exactly over something. Burn forest (trebuchet + burning oil projectile). Get a long distance over target mage while he's standing around figuring out what to do next. Drop iron spear.

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Water is Life. Thus the secret to destroy life is in the water. Your hero, knowing he had little chance to defeat the Nature archmage, infected and poisoned himself by drinking poisonous water.

He battled the archmage in his green tower. As they were locked in battle, the archmage summoned a ravine with thorns. One of the thorns pierced your hero and got infected by this poison. The battle ensued, with the last vestige of life, your hero dying to the poison he drank but it looked as he died, so did the power of the archmage, because unknowingly, the poison spread from the thorn down to the ravine, the roots, the tower and into the archmage's heart. Now the two bodies collapsed, one a few feet from the other. Then after a heavy-breathing struggle, your hero reached out, for the last time, standing with the aid of on his sword and looked at the archmage who lied breathing on the other side, hands trembling over his chest, as if conjuring another spell but failing........(go on)

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Sloooow Poison! Actually some sort of poison or mineral that breaks down the cell walls of plants. It'll will be a slow process, but will make the super-mage more and more vulnerable to fire magic attacks, possibly without him noticing.

Maybe he finds a magical super fungus or bacteria that weakens plants by devouring the minerals and stuff that the plants need. The end result would be to gradually weaken the super-mage without him noticing, opening him up to a sucker punch. additional conflict is jinned up because the effect of this new biological strain would possibly cripple future crops, etc.

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How about turning this warriors weakness into a strength? This mage ridicously outclasses him, so he'll be cocky, careless. So the warrior lures him out of his tower by hit and run fire bombing the forest, or supposedly revealing one of the mages enemies, and the mage pursues him into an old rock quarry that has had all plants removed as part of a trap. The wizard of course notices that there are no plants, but he's so sure of himself that he doesn't even care. He has the hero cornered, and then the worlds greatest bowman shoots him in the back with a poisoned arrow. Pick your poison. Probably something not biological, or maybe something that blocks magic.

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