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OK here's the scenario.

After 1000 years, the elves were able to build a kingdom for themselves. They were given by their creator God the ability to wield unimaginable magic, magic that can shape the lands or destroy it. For they were called to protect God's creations. Within these 1000 years, the civilization of man rose into power and made their own kingdoms. Men forged weapons to expand their never ending greed.

Now the question. Will it be practical for elves to make weapons if they can use magic without exhaustion and limits?

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    $\begingroup$ It depends on how fast the spells are cast. If it takes a minute, a man with a bow or sword can cut you down. If it takes but a moment you could still gain something if magic can be detected and averted. Also your magic is so powerful you are looking at cold war like events. "we have a few magicians hidden, if you destroy our known cities they will wreck yours". The only way to wage war would be small-scale until one side is so threatened they might magic their way out, then make peace for a while before war starts again. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jan 8 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Elves don't need/want weapons - up to the point where some greedy guysstabs his unexpecting neighbour (who only ever expected magic being used) in the back. $\endgroup$ – Nicolai Jan 8 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ You've created godlike creatures and asked if they'd ever need anything but their power? I'm personally not a fan of stories with godlike beings - they tend to be difficult to believe because there's nothing to relate to (not being godlike myself). Out of curiosity, what can their god do that they can't? Can they resurrect fallen commrades? Create impenetrable shields? Flush whole valleys with life-sucking energy? Cast continent-wide detection nets? Why would they bother to stand up? Please tell us what their limitations are. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 8 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ I think that if you think enough of the question to spend time answering it, that makes it worthy of an upvote. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jan 8 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Demigan's comment should be made an answer and accepted. Really, with magic that powerful, it's only vulnerability on close combat is how fast a spell can be cast, and in any case no one is going to attack an elf for fear of retaliations. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jan 9 at 10:43

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magic without exhaustion and limits?

To see for yourself how well this goes:

1-) Buy Magicka on Steam. It has the exact context you mention - magic without exhaustion nor limits.
2-) Find three friends who also have it.
3-) Add a house rule that the ressurection spell is forbidden, nobody should ever cast it.
4-) See how many decades (real world time) you take to finish just the first stage.

You will die from friendly fire faster than you can say "whoops". Skill level has little to do with it. Replace magic with technology, and it would be like saying "imagine a civilization where everybody has portable energy weapons with infinite output".

In the very least those elves should enchant some weapons. The chances to kill yourself with an enchanted weapon pale in comparison with the chances of dropping a block-busting explosive fireball on your foot because your newbie squadmate hit you with a magic missile by mistake.

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    $\begingroup$ Why would you send 4 mages to do one mage job? $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 8 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ SZCZERZO KŁY - Something, something, how many mages do you need to change a light bulb? $\endgroup$ – Battle Jan 8 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Battle none as there is a light that never goes out $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 8 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @SZCZERZOKŁY "Why would you send 4 mages to do one mage job?" You've never played Magicka, haven't you? $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jan 9 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Rekesoft I do and that's the question. Single players is much "faster" and get the job done when with many players you use time just to distribute tasks and tell what not to use (for example only one healer and no active elemental armours) $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 9 at 10:46
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No.

When humans want to kill, they need to make a weapon, use this weapon and only in the case of enough skill of its wielder, successful use and no opposing force they will kill something. When an elf wants to kill a human, he only needs to snap his fingers which is faster, easier, less time consuming and no storage space wasted on keeping all those weapons and weapons accessories.

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    $\begingroup$ And don't forget the psychological benefit of being far away from the victims, thus not seeing the result of the killing. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 8 at 13:56
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Weapons are tools.

I have the ability to go to my well's holding tank and grab a bucket of water then bring it into the house. Let's even say that I never get tired doing this. Do I still want indoor plumbing? Oh yeah.

Or let's say I am so strong I can carry unlimited (or as many as I can fit) numbers of grocery bags hanging from my arms. Yet I still want a backpack. It leaves my arms free and is a lot more comfortable.

Doing things isn't just about brute strength and not getting tired. If your elves find themselves having to fight humans a lot, they're going to want to create some tools to make it more efficient.

Weapons for humans are extensions of their strength and other abilities. Guns throw small pieces of metal a lot faster and more accurately than human arms can. Swords reach, cut, and penetrate better than sticks, which are better than fingernails.

Weapons also include protective gear. A shield or armor can save you even if you don't see it coming.

For the elves, magic and weapons aren't unrelated systems. They would use magic to help make weapons and they'd give the weapons magical properties. But would they have them? Of course they would! Weapons outside of their own bodies protect and extend those bodies.

Now, the elves' weapons may not look like the humans'. Humans can only wield one sword at a time (if the other hand is holding a shield). Elves may have several flanking them. Arrows might not need bows (or bows might not need two hands). Elvin weapons need not be made of metal (or certain metals) because their magic ensures they will not rust, bend, or break. They might even be enhanced birds, or artificial ones.

Their weapons might have eyes to see what the elf carrying it can not see (from the back perhaps). They might have volition. They also might not be just pointy things and head-bashing things. Weapons to capture humans might be desirable. Magical weapons can stay back and guard a pass after the elves leave. They can go ahead to scout.

Many of the elves' weapons would likely be forged swords, shields, pikes, plus bows and arrows. Because they are useful and familiar (because they never needed weapons before humans came along, so they'd start off by copying them). However they look, they'd have them.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, now I'm simply thinking about what it would be like to have a city which has replaced indoor plumbing with magic. Some of those spells are going to have to have some hilarious somatic components! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 8 at 15:06
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What if the humans construct a "magic jammer" or "magic repeller"? The humans could also develop a magic immunity through natural selection. Kind of like how anitbotics have created "super bugs". You never want to become a one trick pony.

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There would be no need for conventional type weapons, even magical ones. The Elves would just erect a barrier around their domain if they felt it necessary. If the humans attempted to breach it or the Elves decided to expand they could just expand the borders of their barrier and deal with the humans at their leisure.

Lots of stories are like this, any stray human who gets inside or is allowed inside the faery realm falls immediately into a deep slumber and is dealt with in various ways. But the vast majority have no point of ingress or even knowledge that it exists.

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There is no such thing as "limitless" magic, unless your elves are as powerful as Star treks Q (basically spell casting take no preparation & is instantaneous, effects are immediate or faster (i.e. can make things "not" have happened).

If they're not this powerful, then there are limits to their power. Whatever the limits are (spells stop when caster sleeps, spells stop when caster dies, spells weaken and need to be renewed etc) people will use those weaknesses and exploit them.

Also, there will be elves who schism from the main Elven society, some of whom will side with the humans, you will get half-elves with some magic ability, some of their more human descendants might have some magic ability.

Eventually the humans gain enchanters, they have enchanted weapons, they - eventually - have enough magic to challenge the elves, at which point the elves will need weapons to counter the human weapons.

So yes, the elves will - eventually - need regular weapons . . . unless their magic is actually & properly limitless

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I have a similar situation in a story that I am working on. Though I don't take the Elves to the extremes you do (it is just extremely easy for them).

If Elves are extreme magic then make Dwarves be the opposite. They ground out any magic that comes into contact with them or with Dwarven made equipment.

It doesn't matter how much magic you can cast or how strong it is if the Dwarves can just ignore everything you throw at them and chop down your trees because your trees are better for forging some metals than coal.

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A bow focuses the innate power of men into a single point making it deadlier. It also gives it more range. It allows alot of power to be channeled into a single moment when it is released. This would still be true if the men never got exhausted.

So your magical weapons would be exactly the same. They would aid you in channeling and concentrating the magic into a deadlier version.

Obviously they wouldn't need them against non mages, but they would need them to fight each other. This would even be true if they really had no limits, because your enemy would be in the same position, and you would want an advantage. A limitless blast that's focused by a weapon would be able to pierce a limitless shield.

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Yes, it will surely practical!

  • Using magic obviously denounces you as an elf.

For some type of kills you prefer that humans are blamed, and humans have no magic. So it is wise to use human weapons.

  • religious prescriptions.

There can be also places where using magic is forbidden by the elves religion. Using a human weapon would allow the pious elves to still kill and respect the dictates of their religion.

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Tradition

Elves might have an unlimited amount of magic as you said, but that doesn't mean they should cast endless spells. Maybe it's a cultural/religious tradition to only cast magic on emergency periods, and not all the time.

For those non-emergency events, you should rely on weapons.

Not everybody knows magic

Elves are very well known for their powerful magic, but that doesn't mean all elves know magic, right? Humans are known for the usage of weapons, but no every folk knows how to draw a sword. The same for elves. Some elves use magic, other, without talent, practise or likes uses weapons.

It's too overpowered

In order to kill a fly, would you use a nuclear bomb? Sometimes magic is too powerful just to beat a few soldiers. Casting explosive or poisonous clouds on a city would have devastators effects. It has the same explanation of why in some countries police don't have fire weapons, to avoid collateral damage. For those moments, you would need weapons.

It's too visible

Casting magic reveals that you are an elf and it might produce a very visible beam of light or sound from the mage. Casting magic reveals the position of any infiltrated elf in human society. They must learn the usage of common non-magical weapons.

They are afraid of teaching humans magic

Humans have proven to be a very peculiar race, raising their technological level very quickly. Elves think that if they cast too much magic, humans may learn how to reverse-engineering it a cast by themselves. That is why they reverse they magic only for emergencies.

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protected by James Jul 8 at 14:47

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