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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Given that magic is as effective as it is against monsters, (moreso than having a man with a sword or dagger chop at them) how long would it take for the "monstrous ecology" to evolve into something ideally suited to either avoid, neutralize or kill spellcasters and what would a world like that look like?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    My guess would be something like an organic adamantine horror.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    However long you think it takes to give them the Spellwarped template.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    I've written up several creatures to solve this very quandry.

    One of them simply is immune to magic. It's a four-footed lizard, not unlike a Komodo Dragon, and is the top of it's food chain, in some of the most inhospitable magic-blasted land theoretically and supposedly explored. Any magic launched at it is simply absorbed, healing it a number of hit points equal to it's spell level, after metamagic considerations. If it is at full health, then they are gained as temporary hit points which are lost first if it is damaged.

    One of them is called a 'reflectadillo', and is effectively a Dire Armadillor with a mirrored carapace. It reflects all ranged touch and save vs spells that do not have an attack roll back to sender, who must then make any appropriate saves. It lives in areas which has been warped by magic of a long-ago era, and is rumored to have been created by the mage responsible for the warping of magic in the area in that long-ago era.

    There's more, but those two are ideally suited to your question.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Well, lets ge generous and assume that 1% of any given population of otherwise normal animals has spell resistance equel to it's hit dice plus a number. Because it is so small, it won't cause evolution on its own. Blast happy mages come through, those with Spell Resistance are more likely to survive and pass this trait on. So, if a small percentage already posseses beneficial anti-magic traits, maybe a thousand generations before magic resistant species evolve (I'm being quite generous)

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Depends how often selection towards magic resistance occurs. If a blast-happy mage comes through every generation, and kills a third of the population (minus those who were resistant), assuming that 1% of the population started out magic resistant then in eight generations, 25% of the population would be resistant, assuming that the trait is dominant. Ten generations would net you 63% of the population, and by generation twelve, you probably will never encounter a member of the species that is NOT magic resistant.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    I would expect avoid mages to be a more successful trait than be resistant to magic. Wizards don't go on a pogrom against every single member of a species at regular intervals, leaving behind only those who could resist their magics. They kill hostile monsters as they encounter them. Avoiding encountering wizards would lend itself better to survival.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    Wizards don't go on a pogrom against every single member of a species at regular intervals, leaving behind only those who could resist their magics.
    I dunno, I've played in games that felt an awful lot like this was true...
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    The problem with evolving a resistance to magic is you have to assume that the PC's let something LIVE to reproduce. I know in my games it's usually a more scorched earth approach.

    Realistically, though I don't think random adventurers happen often enough to help shape a species.

    If you operate under the assumption that the creatures will eveolve this way, SR is the most likely adaptation because a passive mutation is more likely to appear than an active one like the mirrordillo above, (although cool concept I plan on stealing). Other likely adaptations would be heightened detection of magic users, and suppresion of magical energy.

    Agressive anti-magic traits would prolly be rare, becuase if you assume Magic is killing these ceatures, then they will develope defensive, not aggressive, they are the prey not the predators when it comes to magic. although a creature that could steal spell slots would be interesting, a kind of spell vampire.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Talanic View Post
    Depends how often selection towards magic resistance occurs. If a blast-happy mage comes through every generation, and kills a third of the population (minus those who were resistant), assuming that 1% of the population started out magic resistant then in eight generations, 25% of the population would be resistant, assuming that the trait is dominant. Ten generations would net you 63% of the population, and by generation twelve, you probably will never encounter a member of the species that is NOT magic resistant.
    A "Blast Happy" Mage that's capable of wiping out 1/3 of a species population isn't going to be hampered by SR. They've probably got a wide means of overcoming it, and once they do encounter a creature resistant, they should make it a point to ensure it doesn't breed. I know I would.

    If you just want to have the occasional "bigger, more resistant" type of standard creature, just give it the "Fiendish" template in MM-I.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Sardia View Post
    Given that magic is as effective as it is against monsters, (moreso than having a man with a sword or dagger chop at them) how long would it take for the "monstrous ecology" to evolve into something ideally suited to either avoid, neutralize or kill spellcasters and what would a world like that look like?
    The problem with this is that they'd have to have naturally magical predators. Not something that's a once in a while guy who comes around and reaps XP by killing a couple dozen, or even hundred of the species. It would literally have to be something capable of wiping out a significant percentage of the population on a regular basis.

    And because SR isn't an absolute, it make it all the more difficult. SR is just a resistance, not an immunity. Immunities spread quickly among a population over time where those non-immune face peril. Resistances not nearly as much so - unless the resistance also aids in being considered the ideal mating target.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by rollfrenzy View Post
    The problem with evolving a resistance to magic is you have to assume that the PC's let something LIVE to reproduce. I know in my games it's usually a more scorched earth approach.

    Realistically, though I don't think random adventurers happen often enough to help shape a species.

    If you operate under the assumption that the creatures will eveolve this way, SR is the most likely adaptation because a passive mutation is more likely to appear than an active one like the mirrordillo above, (although cool concept I plan on stealing). Other likely adaptations would be heightened detection of magic users, and suppresion of magical energy.

    Agressive anti-magic traits would prolly be rare, becuase if you assume Magic is killing these ceatures, then they will develope defensive, not aggressive, they are the prey not the predators when it comes to magic. although a creature that could steal spell slots would be interesting, a kind of spell vampire.
    Very true.

    An environment that could well be host to denizens that are magic immune could be a species living in a magic-hostile environment. A Large Demi-Plane that has persistant magical health drain attatched to it for example. If one is thinking of the concept of evolution and not bio-engineering, then there needs to be an environment which would require the complete immunity to magic and it's effects.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by rollfrenzy View Post
    Realistically, though I don't think random adventurers happen often enough to help shape a species.
    You sure? From what I've read the economies of several campaign worlds are seemingly entirely based on the adventuring industry
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    I dunno, I've played in games that felt an awful lot like this was true...
    Player: "So, what'll we be dealing with in this new campaign?"
    DM: "Rats."
    Player: "Cool, our first adventure we'll be fighting rats? Ah, nostalgia. But what's the setting? The tone? The BBEG?"
    DM: "No, you misunderstand. This campaign is to travel the entire world, killing rats. With magic. But only one spell per rat, and if they survive it, you leave them be. Gotta breed that resistance back into the population."

    Quote Originally Posted by okpokalypse View Post
    A "Blast Happy" Mage that's capable of wiping out 1/3 of a species population isn't going to be hampered by SR. They've probably got a wide means of overcoming it, and once they do encounter a creature resistant, they should make it a point to ensure it doesn't breed. I know I would.
    This is exactly right, I meant to make this point earlier. Something with a little SR that encounters a mage is much more likely to be killed with a little more effort than usual than to survive.
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2007-03-23 at 10:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    I don't believe that magic would really cause significant natural selection in an animal community.

    I DO believe that magic would cause significant mutation in an animal community, however. And because it's magic, it's not fish-with-three-eyes mutation, but more adolescent-mutant-martial-artist-aquatic-animal mutation.

    I'll bet Splinter has SR, and damn good saves and touch AC to boot.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Sardia View Post
    Given that magic is as effective as it is against monsters, (moreso than having a man with a sword or dagger chop at them) how long would it take for the "monstrous ecology" to evolve into something ideally suited to either avoid, neutralize or kill spellcasters and what would a world like that look like?
    Honestly? I think it'd take long as it takes for somebody to start getting annoyed at Wizards constantly nuking their critters and do something about it.


    As to what such a world would look like, I imagine the terrain would have very sharp, incredibly blatant demarcations between areas that have different "caretakers". As in "transition between zones in WoW" blatant. Likewise, each area would have whatever creatures suited the tastes of their protectors. For example:

    -One area could be a dense forest filled with cute, fuzzy creatures that is defended by Druids, Fey, and the aforementioned fuzzy creatures that are much more vicious than they look.
    -At one point, the trees would just stop right at the edge of a territory that a particularly powerful Dragon has staked out as his personal lunch box. Every last creature in the entire area is either "tasty", or too small for the Dragon to bother with. Any other creatures would be destroyed to make room (and reduce competition) for the aforementioned "tasty" animals.
    -Just far enough from the Dragon's lair to not be worth his time, the terrain would change to the towns and farms of a Human kingdom, guarded by its army of mooks and even more powerful (if unofficial) army of Adventurers. All the animals would be what you would typically expect in a farm or town.
    -Wedged between the Humans and Druids might be a Wizard's tower. Nobody there was strong enough to stop him from nuking what he wanted, so he set up shop and now keeps other Wizards from coming in and nuking what he sees as his living targets.
    Last edited by Artanis; 2007-03-23 at 11:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Ecology people- you need an entire region of magical creatures. People are likely to be a rare event in most animal's interactions. When you add magical abilities to predator/prey interactions, things would get interesting.

    I'd expect you'd see animals with magical abilities for hunting first. First stage would be animals with unerring senses(divination ability); their prey would develop mind blank or other anti-scrying abilities. Then you'd have ones that can enhance their fighting ability a limited number of times a day. An animal herd/pack with a member who could heal injuries would stay much larger and stronger. Heck, have plants with charm spells- they convince animals to eat something else, or at least spread their seeds further away. If you have an entire forest of these, I'd assume they could work together to keep something under their control(a forest and its pet druid?).

    Once you have a large number of creatures that fight/defend with magic, anti-magical abilities would make more sense. Take a large omnivore with an anti-magical shell around it. Those enhanced predators would lose, and its prey would be unable to defend.

    Now, make this an isolated area that has been developing for a few hundred years, and then your PCs are going to be afraid of every squirrel they meet.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Sardia View Post
    Given that magic is as effective as it is against monsters, (moreso than having a man with a sword or dagger chop at them) how long would it take for the "monstrous ecology" to evolve into something ideally suited to either avoid, neutralize or kill spellcasters and what would a world like that look like?
    The Balhannoth from the MM4. It eats spellcasters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
    Has a dimensional lock effect, strong grappling, antimagic on grappled creatures, sees magic auras, literally eats magic (along with any unfortunate caster who happens to be infused with it), etc.
    Last edited by OzymandiasVolt; 2007-03-23 at 12:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    How about exposure to magical energy sources that influence creatures' developments?
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by ExHunterEmerald View Post
    How about exposure to magical energy sources that influence creatures' developments?
    Not DnD I know but the early Discworld books had descriptions of creatures that evolved in areas with high background magic. These areas were the result of fallout from magical wars/battles and where the laws of physics took a back seat. There was some interesting stuff on how creatures could harness magic (as with any other natural resource) to thrive in these environments.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by Om View Post
    You sure? From what I've read the economies of several campaign worlds are seemingly entirely based on the adventuring industry
    A fan of "Tough Guide to Fantasyland"?

    In response to Sardia's original question: about as long as it took the nature gods to notice, which would be about 1 week/Divine Rank *prior to the start* of any such eradication programme (I'd say wiping out entire major species is something that significantly impacts a portfolio). Expect nightmarish druidic/divine wrath.

    As for 'evolving' spellkillers into an environment: who's to say that magical equivalents of the various anti-psi creatures from the XPH don't already exist? VT's probably already statted up a few (linky below --v)
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2007-03-23 at 12:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Well, outside of Abeir-Toril, spellcasters aren't exactly ten a penny...it seems unlikely monsters would evolve that were specifically anti-magic unless, as already stated, they were somewhere where natural magic was extremely strong and dangerous. After all, schmoes with swords are considerably more common than wizards, but (with the possible exception of rust monsters ) there aren't any creatures that have evolved specifically to combat those!

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    It wouldn't ever happen.

    Because generally speaking, spellcasters don't go around smacking monsters. There's a great deal of them that just sit in their village and have great fireworks.

    That being said; Ecology would only work if monster were hit by magic, and survived, thus making their genes the best for resisting magic, thus making their offspring even better at resisting magic....it would take centuries, if not more.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Why don't you just take a page out of Magic the Gathering

    http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/Card...aspx?&id=97096

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Be careful, I think some catgirls are in peril of being slain with some of the discussing here...

    Seriously, though... the only real reason why a breed of critters developed magical resistances/immunities is because a) the environment has been so contaminated with magic (i.e. radiation) that the creatures had to mutate to survive it, or b) they were artificially created creatures or an altered species of a base species which turned out to be viable.

    Example, in my world, there are places which were leftover from the Great Mage Wars which are so tainted by magical energies that the creatures in the area were warped by the magical taint. For example, you could find crocadiles which shoot lightning bolts from their tails, or frogs which can burst into flame which doesn't actually hurt the frog, but will hurt anyone trying to touch it, or 'archer fish' which actually shoot magic missiles. In such an environment in which many of the predators use magical means of bringing down prey, some prey species would develop resistances or immunities or defenses against these magical attacks, or would become exinct.

    Example 2: Many of those mages created many truely wierd creations which they either used as shock troops or as utility. When your favorite spell is, say, fireball, you want to build minions which are immune to flame so you don't kill them off when you blow up the invaders.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    ... or frogs which can burst into flame which doesn't actually hurt the frog, but will hurt anyone trying to touch it ...
    Because we all know they can't grab you if you're on fire.

    (not to be the off-topic guy or anything; this is actually a favorite idea of mine. Carry on...)
    Last edited by Inyssius Tor; 2007-03-23 at 10:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    I think that society might adapt to wizards. You can be absolutely sure that any merchant of more than moderate wealth is going to invest in, at the very least, an eyeglass that lets them detect magic, recognize temporary things and effects that will eventually disappear / would disappear if dispelled, and--for even more wealthy merchants--identify things as well.

    No merchant who buys and sells magical items is going to be without a way of figuring out what they're dealing with, nobody who buys and sells large numbers of horses will be without a way to spot people trying to sell them temporary animals created by mount, and so on. Likewise, constructs will often be oriented towards magic resistance (and they generally are). Most resourceful who create undead will probably kit them with whatever they can to stop turning and spellcasting.

    But, um, animal populations? The wildlife population will have spell resistance if and when Ao or whichever local god created your setting decides to give it to them (or their personal god--many settings have gods for specific races who created that race and, presumably, have the power to modify it.) Your scaled creatures might get spell resistance if a Sarrukh decides to go around granting it with Manipulate Form. And so on. This isn't the real world we're dealing with here.

    Now, with that thought in mind, it's entirely possible that the local god of trolls will one day look down, notice how many of his trolls are dying to simple mind-affecting spells or whatever, and grant them some sort of immunity...
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2007-03-23 at 11:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    The only effective way to survive agienst a competent wizard is to be a more competent wizard, no amount of spell-resistance, spell-immunity, or even anti-magic will change that.

    Thus, if you want to make creatures who have adapted to fight wizards, give them spell casting abilities, or at least spell-like abilities. I acually designed a creature once that eats magic, they can use greater dispel magic at will, and whenever they successfully dispel/counter a spell they gain hp equal to the spell-level squared. Naturally casting high level spells around them isn't the safest proposition.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    A spellcaster-killing ecology?

    Grass that generates anti-magic fields.
    Voracious bugs that eat spell components.
    Coyotes. Man-eating coyotes.

    What are the wizards going to do about it? Rule a considerable number of peasants and have them mow down the grass annually until its extinct?

    Well, probably, but some wizard is inevitably going to try and harvest it.
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    Default Re: Spellcaster-Killing Ecology

    In a 'normal' environment, where the wildlife mostly knows better than to mess with the humanoids and gets annihilated if it forgets, you're not going to have spellcasters selecting in favor of magic-resisting monsters. Even if your convoy's wizard fails, to everyone's horrified surprise, to blast some excessively aggressive bear, the swordsmen will dispose of it all the same.

    If, on the other hand, sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you...that is, either encounters often occur with CR +3 or worse odds, or encounter difficulties are so widely distributed that while some are easy or manageable some are overwhelming, you would have a selective pressure for SR, save bonuses, and energy resistances. Because there will be monsters getting into fights with magic users, and some but not all will be surviving, and it's a certainly true that a couple more points of resistance could make the difference.

    (I'm only referring to CR because it's convenient...I'm talking about what happens to the general run of people exposed to the wildlife, not some hypothetical party.)

    And you don't have to be a spellcaster to beat a spellcaster. Maybe you have to be a spellcaster to beat a CR-appropriate spellcaster (um, maybe), but when we're talking about ecology rather than encounter balancing there's no law saying you can't have something the size and general capabilities of a badger packing SR 40...

    As for why such a creature would ever exist...If some kind of small magical beast that depends on a spell-like ability to hunt is a major predator of these mammals, and the SLA originally had a low caster level (not surprising), there would have been a strong pressure for the prey animal to develop spell resistance. From there, an evolutionary arms race would tend to ramp up the SR and CL of the predator and prey. As for the predator...it's probably something like a wolf with SLA sleep at CL 30 or so.

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