D&D 5E Discussing Worldbuilding: Why Don't The Mages Take Over The World?

Ixal

Hero
I'll admit I am a bit confused on what the flying is here to accomplish.
1. It lets your soldiers see you.
2. Shows them that you have superpowers on your side, so surely you will win.
This sounds more like an evil magical overlord, than a normal magocracy to me.
Thats just a normal monarchy except that in a magical world its not enough for a priest to say that rulers have a divine right to rule (or are divinity themselves) and instead the nobility has to go the extra mile and show that they are better than normal humans by developing superhuman abilities (=spellcasting)
 

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Fanaelialae

Legend
Thats just a normal monarchy except that in a magical world its not enough for a priest to say that rulers have a divine right to rule (or are divinity themselves) and instead the nobility has to go the extra mile and show that they are better than normal humans by developing superhuman abilities (=spellcasting)
You realize that having superhuman abilities doesn't actually qualify one to be a better ruler, don't you? If it turns out that the court jester is actually a max level bard, does he automagically get to usurp the throne in the setting you've imagined?
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
1. It lets your soldiers see you.
2. Shows them that you have superpowers on your side, so surely you will win.

Thats just a normal monarchy except that in a magical world its not enough for a priest to say that rulers have a divine right to rule (or are divinity themselves) and instead the nobility has to go the extra mile and show that they are better than normal humans by developing superhuman abilities (=spellcasting)


In a high magic world soldiers will know the other side has magic as well, it's not nearly as impressive an inspiration. That's the problem with the idea that it's a justification compared to how it was used it our world.
 

Ixal

Hero
You realize that having superhuman abilities doesn't actually qualify one to be a better ruler, don't you? If it turns out that the court jester is actually a max level bard, does he automagically get to usurp the throne in the setting you've imagined?
There is no qualification to be a noble except people seeing you as legitimate. And being superhuman helps with that.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
There is no qualification to be a noble except people seeing you as legitimate. And being superhuman helps with that.
It doesn't matter what kind of superpowers you have. If you can't do the job, you're going to lose your legitimacy. If you can even achieve legitimacy to begin with.
 

Voadam

Legend
There is no qualification to be a noble except people seeing you as legitimate. And being superhuman helps with that.
If non-magical Batman, and non-magical Green Lantern with a magic ring are considered heroes just like super-powered Flash, I don't think superpower gives Flash a perceived legitimacy over the other two.

It seems more like a level/CR thing in that high level people have more power and resources whether it is magical or not.
 

Ixal

Hero
It doesn't matter what kind of superpowers you have. If you can't do the job, you're going to lose your legitimacy. If you can even achieve legitimacy to begin with.
Thats not really how monarchies worked. Sure you can screw up so badly that people revolt or the blame for a catastrophe might fall on you (which directly impacts your legitimacy) but generally as long as the common people and other rulers percived you as being the rightful ruler you are safe.
And this being the rightful ruler included pretending that god wants you to rule and that you are better than common people.
In D&D being a spellcaster and thus having abilities which look superhuman to normal people would also support said claim of being better then them which of course means you rule and not they.
If non-magical Batman, and non-magical Green Lantern with a magic ring are considered heroes just like super-powered Flash, I don't think superpower gives Flash a perceived legitimacy over the other two.

It seems more like a level/CR thing in that high level people have more power and resources whether it is magical or not.

You mean the Batman which in half his comic appearances is a vigilante and hunted by the police?
Its not a level thing its a "Do the common people percive you as superior to them and do not question your right to rule" thing.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It doesn't matter what kind of superpowers you have. If you can't do the job, you're going to lose your legitimacy. If you can even achieve legitimacy to begin with.
There have been plenty of bad leaders over history. More often than not they have been endured rather than overthrown.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Thats not really how monarchies worked. Sure you can screw up so badly that people revolt or the blame for a catastrophe might fall on you (which directly impacts your legitimacy) but generally as long as the common people and other rulers percived you as being the rightful ruler you are safe.
And this being the rightful ruler included pretending that god wants you to rule and that you are better than common people.
In D&D being a spellcaster and thus having abilities which look superhuman to normal people would also support said claim of being better then them which of course means you rule and not they.


You mean the Batman which in half his comic appearances is a vigilante and hunted by the police?
Its not a level thing its a "Do the common people percive you as superior to them and do not question your right to rule" thing.
I think you're massively oversimplifying. That's one possibility, but out of a myriad of possibilities. People are complicated.

Let's say that early cultures perceived magic as dangerous. This could be for any number of reasons. Perhaps magic in those days was less understood and therefore a tendency to go catastrophically wrong. Perhaps there was simply a period when a disproportionate number of spellcasters were evil, and so people lump all casters in with them.

That could easily cement viewpoints such that in the present of your fantasy world, "dabbling in the dark arts" could well be viewed as something you very much don't want in a ruler. Rulers might even need to go so far as to hide the fact that they have court mages, because having that revealed would make them exceptionally unpopular with their people.
 

Ixal

Hero
I think you're massively oversimplifying. That's one possibility, but out of a myriad of possibilities. People are complicated.

Let's say that early cultures perceived magic as dangerous. This could be for any number of reasons. Perhaps magic in those days was less understood and therefore a tendency to go catastrophically wrong. Perhaps there was simply a period when a disproportionate number of spellcasters were evil, and so people lump all casters in with them.

That could easily cement viewpoints such that in the present of your fantasy world, "dabbling in the dark arts" could well be viewed as something you very much don't want in a ruler. Rulers might even need to go so far as to hide the fact that they have court mages, because having that revealed would make them exceptionally unpopular with their people.
Such societies won't survive for long in a D&D world.
 

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