4
$\begingroup$

In this world you have normal earth like technology and also magic.

There are multiples levels in magic from least powerful to invincible. The number of magicians at a level is inversely proportional to the power of the level.

Assume that there were no invincible magicians.

Considering technology level as an independent parameter. answer:

  1. At what level of technology, will magic become redundant?
  2. If technology is at around 17th century, then how powerful a magician needs to be in order to destroy entire army alone?
  3. Capturing cities and maintaining law and order in conquered places need lot of troops. Can powerful magic circumvent this need?
  4. Does it make sense to raise armies if a single high leveled magician can waste it alone using hit and run tactics?

Repeating again that there were limited amount of high level magicians in the world. (Only one country have more than hundred.)

Assume that both magic and tech have infinite potential.

Also the limitations are purposefully left vague to encourage answers from different perspectives.

Limitations I took originally can be found here. Comments for there motivated me ask this new question.

$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I think you need to describe what this "magic" is. There's many types of common fictional magic systems, and many directions it can go. Is it subtle mind magic? Is it arcane-word magic with magic wands? Is it DnD style magic? Just simply saying "magic" is way to imprecise to give a meaningful answer. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Nov 2 '19 at 15:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If for example, the magic system is "energy" based, could a wizard simply kill someone by telekinetically pinching someone's brainstem? Even a tiny amount of force applied at the right spot can kill someone. Does this mean a wizard could kill an armies' worth of soldiers with only the energy it takes to lift a heavy rock? $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Nov 2 '19 at 15:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another example could be "ritual-style" magic where the individual spell casters can't shot more than a flashlight beam from their palm at short notice but with time, materials, and preparation can preform rituals to cause tsunamis, earthquakes, or whatever. With that type of magic, the spellcasters would be more of a strategic than a tactical asset, but just as powerful $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Nov 2 '19 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek I intentionally used vague wording as there are multiple (hundreds) magic systems in this world. The only thing common is inverse proportionality rule. Also they are not equally developed (some magic systems may not have high level spells as no one ever reached that stage). $\endgroup$ – xax Nov 2 '19 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ "then how powerful a magician needs to be in order to destroy entire army alone" this question, to me, makes no sense. Let's ignore magic for a moment. What capability would a single person need to have to destroy an entire army? Perhaps we should start with what is considered an army - probably a number would be useful but also level of training and equiment. Once we figure this out, then we should move onto the next thing - what does "destroy" mean? Scatter them? Kill every one of them? remove all their equipment? Only then can we talk about "how". $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Nov 3 '19 at 11:22
5
$\begingroup$

Warfare is complex, and often not what you think

It is more complex than simple swords and shields. Multi-faceted political, tactical, strategic, intelligence, procurement, cultural, and logistical factors all influence outcomes.

In your world, magic would be a 'subset' of all these factors, not necessarily a determinant. Ie. just like the advent of gunpowder, or missiles, it alters the factors, but the factors do not diminish.

So:

  • At what level of technology, will magic become redundant?

Magic would never be redundant. Just like hand-to-hand combat is still trained for elite troops, or marching is still a major part of a military, or knives are still a part of a standard kit - Magic would be like any other aspect of the military that would exist even if it is weak or simple. It would be another tool to use in a kit, or a cultural factor to be used in a military.

  • If technology is at around 17th century, then how powerful a magician needs to be in order to destroy entire army alone?

An entire army can be destroyed by the weather (a simple winter). Or a bad commander, who moves his troops too far away from water. I would put forth a magician need not be powerful at all - aspects of deception and good planning can easily outwit an army especially a poorly organised one, or one easily deceived. Your magician can simply feed misinformation, or lure the army to its doom. Worst has happened to armies even without a magician.

  • Capturing cities and maintaining law and order in conquered places need lot of troops. Can powerful magic circumvent this need?

Of course - although it is not needed. A good strategy could be to even hold a threat in-being. Like a fleet-in-being, you could simply be too powerful to resist, and you don't need to commit troops at all. The Mongols intentionally kicked up dust to look like their numbers were huge - cities surrendered to them without fighting because they thought it was better than fighting.

  • Does it make sense to raise armies if a single high leveled magician can waste it alone using hit and run tactics?

Again, warfare is complex. A good commander up against a seemingly powerful magician uses his strength against the magicians weakness. An army could be needed, or simply a small group. Where can you position your forces to capture him? How can you deceive him? Can you chase him to his doom, or lure him to it too? How much does he know, and how mentally tough is he? Can you grind him down through attrition, or outwit him through deception? Are you more disciplined than he?

You may notice none of these questions have anything to do with magic - it does not matter if it's a 17th century group against a modern tank, or a magician against a soldier. In the end aspects of the facets of warfare come into play independent of the level of technology, or the level of magic.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer from a different perspective. Although this is not the answer I was expecting it is definitely a useful one. Thanks for answering. $\endgroup$ – xax Nov 2 '19 at 18:55
3
$\begingroup$

Your question is unanswerable as it stands as the abilities and limitations of your magic system need to be more clearly defined in order to answer them. The power, and what that power can do, is only a small part of answering those questions. Some other important points is how long does it take the magician to cast the needed spells, how quickly can they repeat the spell and how many times can they cast it?

If you had a spell caster who could get portions of the enemy army to turn on each other and cast it with decent speed and often it can have a larger impact than a spell that causes a large amount of destruction with a slow casting speed and limited number of casts.

Another thing to consider is can the magic integrate with technology to make both the technology and magic better. There is a series called "The Irregular at Magic High School" where does integrate with technology and can in fact be used to control it as well. In that series magic has the ability to convert matter to energy which replicates nuclear weaponry without the radioactive downside. There is also magic which can completely dissemble objects (including people) or reassemble objects (think repairing objects and healing living creatures). With powers like this available it really does limit the effectiveness of non magical attacks.

Here is one way to answer your question

  1. Never as the magic is much more powerful and the best technology can hope to do is replicate the power of magic and help improve it.

  2. Not that powerful if they can do a simple mind control fast and repeatedly in order to quickly take over the other army

  3. Yes with magic that can control the behavior of city that forces not only loyalty but other desired behaviors.

  4. Absolutely not, while you may have a single powerful magician if the opposing side can find someway to eliminate that single magician you would lose a significant source of power that could easily cause your destruction by a less powerful force that is more easily able to replace loses.

|improve this answer|||||
$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.