I am making a world for a story and my question involves the displacement of a new technology to replace an existing one (magical). This is a medieval fantasy world with magic, but without demi-humans(i.e. no elves, dwarves, etc.)
Current level of magical technology involved the development of 'runes' to channel mana through (your standard floating magic circle with lightning shooting out of it). It can be used for a large number of mundane things as well as combat, but I will be focusing on combat. The magic circles are designed to control the flow of mana efficiently like a circuit, and manipulate it into the form the caster wishes it. Because these circles are built from pre-existing components that others have researched (requiring a lot of memorization), the flexibility isn't the best, but it gets the job done for most things. Mana circle is created by the caster on demand, and to cast magic like this requires a mana pool of a certain size.
- 2 in 3 people generally have mana pools are large enough to use that to a minimally useful level within a population(stuff like cooling yourself with a cold wind on a hot day).
- 1 in 3 people are capable of using it in personal combat to some extent (this can be very basic things such as summoning a gust of wind to throw dirt in your opponent's eyes).
- 1 in 10 people have a mana pool large enough to cast decent wizardly spells in personal combat(small fireballs and the like)
- 1 in 500 people are capable of launching magic over a long range, and are able to cover enough area to be able to hit multiple enemies (about 5 meter radius, at a distance of max 500m), these are the ones that generals consider to be of the 'mage' group in combat potential, and their general roles are usually to sit at the back and fire off artillery at the enemy ranks, while at the same time intercepting the same attacks from enemy mages when possible. Attacks are generally fatal for a direct hit, and about 30% death rate for those being splashed. 90% of those who survive generally are unable to continue fighting
- Some of those 1 in 500 people decide to undergo special training to form teams of about 20 mages, in order to work together to fire off single extra large magical artillery (20m radius blasts at a range of 1km). Highly lethal within the inner 15m radius, outside is about same as the single shooters.
- 1 in 1 million people are monsters that are blessed/cursed with great mana pools, that are capable of firing off 20m radius blasts at a range of 1km easily on their own
Generally, within the public, people require about 1.5 months of training (costs money for a tutor, or to enroll in an academy, standard education costs) to cast the most basic weak spells, about 6 months to have a usable spell for combat, 2 years to be able to use a single spell for the 'mage' group (generally you want 3-4 offensive and defensive spells for flexibility), and another 5-10 years to train together to form the single spell of the 20-mage combined magic.
Given that this is the current state of the world's magic, I want to introduce a new revolutionary technology into the world: a stone of crystallized mana, that can have runes engraved onto it, and used as a disposable 'bomb'. These are fist-sized stones that require about 3 days of training for your average peasant to learn how to activate them whilst not blowing themselves up in the process (results may vary). These stones on activation, have a fuse timer built-in (unless the craftsman who made it was having a bad day), which upon expiry, will detonate in about a 4m radius explosion for a decent stone. Varying qualities of stone can lead to varying degrees of destructiveness, from a simple child's toy to a blast that can wipe out an army. To create stones as a craftsman takes about 8 years of study, and a further 2-4 years of apprenticeship. Afterwards, the rate to produce stones (given that supplies last), is about 8 stones per day per craftsman, can vary up to 15 stones for the extremely skilled.
The technology will eventually become more advanced and have various other spells engraved on it for mundane uses other than explosions, and be able to eat the stone slowly instead of instantly, but on its introduction, this is what it does.
My questions are:
- for this new stone to displace existing mages, and turn them mostly into a research type role, how cheap would it have to be to make?
- How Abundant would the supplies need to be?
- How easily accessible would those supplies have to be?
- And, upon its introduction, how long would it take to displace mages to that point within the country of origin, how long would it take to dominate battles within the world in general, and how long would it take to completely displace all battle mages within the world?
- If it is unlikely to displace current magic in its introductory form, what changes should be made so that it can?
- Edit: Also, are there any special tactics that these stones can be used in other than having your basic farmer toss them at the enemy/strapping them to arrows?
Ideally, the answer should have the barest parameters for the displacement to occur (i.e. no free unlimited magic stones), and the longest reasonable time-frame for it to happen, as I want to write a story the occurs in the middle of this displacement.