Superior magic

From: Bernuetz, Oliver: WPG (
Date: Fri 23 May 1997 - 20:08:25 EEST

Peter Metcalfe responds to Trotsky:


>>Heck, I like the Dara Happans as much as
>>anyone, but I don't see any evidence their magic works better than anyone
>>elses. I think their success is due to quite different reasons.

>Then why were the Lunars able to defeat the Carmanians? Why
>were the Lunars able to defeat Sheng Seleris when he was at the
>height of his powers and then some? Why have the Lunars been
>able to defeat Orlanth in the very land where he was born and the
>Praxians within the confines of their Sacred Land?
>To say that the Dara Happan magic works no better than anybody
>elses is like saying that the Technology of the 19th Century
>Europeans is no better than anybody elses IMO.

Which is like saying that 19th century Europeans managed to take over so
much of the world solely on the basis of their technological superiority
which strikes me as false IMO. I'd say that it's pretty darn rare that any
group on Earth has dominated or beaten another group solely on the basis of
superior technology. There's usually been some other mitigating factors (in
many cases quite decisive factors).

For example:

The Spanish/Portuguese conquest of Central and South America. They won in
part because the locals were divided and many groups joined in with the
conquerors to overthrow their former overlords. Not to forget disease as a

The Germans in Russia in WWII. This is a complicated example because in
some cases the Germans had the best technology while in one big instance the
Russians did i.e.. tanks. The Germans benefited from their technological
advantage but benefited even more from their superior utilization of it. If
the Russians had used their tanks like the Germans used theirs the war might
have gone quite differently. The fact that Hitler eventually took over the
command, on top of Russia's size, bad winter weather conditions, their
outproducing and outnumbering the Germans certainly helped them beat them.

In the case of the Lunars in Prax they "won" because as usual the major
tribes couldn't ally due to the fact that they hate each other more than any
outsider. It's easy to play "what if" but would the Lunars have won if all
the major and minor tribes had allied together? Maybe but I doubt it. Was
their magic more powerful or is it more accurate to say that their magic was
better utilized/co-ordinated than that of the Praxians? I believe that the
KOS suggests that Argrath will be a success in part because he copied the
Lunar College of Magic model. A bunch of shamans and khans who weren't used
to warfare on the scale the Lunars were would have a hell of a time
co-ordinating their magical offensive. The Lunar army of conquest in Prax
(if memory serves me) was basically a big whack of heavy infantry with
pointy sticks, some light auxiliaries (I think) with missile weapons, the
Sable's heavy cav, and some damn fine artillery/quartermasters corp/medics
in the form of Lunar magicians. All of the Lunar forces (with the exception
of the Sables) were regular army, well trained, well led and well
coordinated. They were up against basically a bunch of small armies each
under their own leadership, each of which had historical reasons for
disliking and mistrusting one another. Individually their warriors may
have been better than the Lunars (the Agrimori, Rhino Riders) but they were
severely lacking in leadership and co-ordination. If there'd been more
Praxians or less mistrust they may have won.

There's only been one battle between the Praxians and the Lunars so far
it'll be interesting to see what happens next time.

The gist of all this if it's not too clear (and I'm sure it isn't) is that
it's inaccurate to attribute any group's success over another to a single
factor like superior magic/technology.

Oliver D. Bernuetz


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:59:49 EEST