Land Mages - JGD/ROM, 17/May/2015


Fourth draft, 20-DEC-2008 (some edits 17-MAY-2015)
John Dallman
and Rory McLean

Prime Requisite: Intelligence
Requisites: INT 12+, WIS 12+, DEX 12+

                       Spells & Level
Level  Experience   HD   1 2 3 4 5 6
  1             0    1   1 - - - - -
  2         2,250    2   2 - - - - -
  3         4,500    3   2 1 - - - -
  4         9,000    4   3 2 - - - -
  5        18,000    5   4 2 1 - - -
  6        35,000    6   4 3 1 - - -
  7        60,000    7   4 3 2 - - -
  8        95,000    8   4 3 2 1 - -
  9       145,000    9   5 3 3 2 - -
 10       220,000   10   5 4 3 2 1 -

 11       440,000  10+1  5 4 3 3 2 -
 12       660,000  10+2  5 5 4 3 2 1
 13       880,000  10+3  5 5 4 3 2 2
         +220,000    +1

Introduction

The land mages of Midgard are a specialised sub-class of magic-users, whose primary activity is the management of land and agriculture. They can appear superficially similar to druids, but are different, being definitely about human use of land. They protect it from harm so that it is available to future generations, rather than because they worship it. The first land mages were probably trained by elves, although almost all present-day land mages are humans.

Land mages were common on the Plains of Iridian, before the Iridian-Treaty Lands war, when the Iridian government unwisely tried to use them as war magicians, and got lots of them killed. Their absence, along with that of the young men who'd been killed and foolish miss-use of geomancy were important causes of the food shortages that have affected Iridian since. Training programmes for land mages, and the repair of the geomantic infrastructure are ameliorating the situation. While any appropriately trained spell-caster can tap geomantic power in Midgard, the training for this is far commoner amongst land mages than other classes.

Land mages require Intelligence, Wisdom and Dexterity of 12 or higher and gain a 10% experience bonus if the total of these statistics is 42 or higher (they do not have a lesser value which gives them a +5% bonus). They roll to learn spells using the normal Intelligence-based table, however, unless there are exceptional reasons, as the list is so short it is recommended that DMs ignore this and simply give all Land Mages the full set of standard Land Mage spells. Land mages use the combat table, hit dice (D4) and weapon and non-weapon proficiency progression of magic-users, and they can use magic-user weapons, plus any kind of agricultural tool that they are strong enough to wield as a weapon. 'Name' level is 10th. Land mages must be literate, and, preferably, well-organised people. They must frequently manage many different calls on their time, balancing the needs of individual farmers against those of a community.

While their specialisation is narrow, it is deep: they require as much training as a normal magic-user, and can use some spells that normally require elven senses or other special abilities. As well as their own spells, they can learn those of normal magic-users, usually as one spell level higher (e.g. Detect Invisible is a third level spell for a land mage). Spells with no elemental components and no relationship to living creatures, such as Teleport, are learned as two levels higher. Their casting times for spells of other classes are slower than normal: normally 1 melee round plus twice the normal casting time, which makes them poor combat magicians. Land mages can learn geomantic spells at the spell's base level. They can use the Spell Smith enchantment system like normal magic-users, for the spells that they know.

Low and mid-level land mages tend to stay in one place and become very expert in caring for it. Because they tend to become vital to the populations they live amongst, land mages are quite proactive about recruiting apprentices. Once these have become first level land mages, they tend to stay with their master and gradually take over the "practice". Higher-level land mages who have trained several apprentices would ideally act as roving trouble-shooters, but are too rare at present for this to be noticeable.

Land mages are more effective if they have non-weapon proficiencies in Farming, Animal Lore, and Plant Lore. They normally specialise in one or two terrain types, but this is a matter of familiarity and personal preference rather than absolute capability. Some land mages with charisma develop their interpersonal skills and become valued advisers to local governments; this sometimes contributes to people confusing them with druids.

The Agros

An agros (greek: "field", root of "agriculture") is an area within a larger ecosystem that has fairly uniform terrain and animal and plant life, and thus fairly uniform ecological processes (in modern technical terms, a geographic part of an ecotope). Land mages have a set of spells that allow them to designate the area of an agros as a single entity for magical purposes; this allows their magic to affect much larger areas than is normal for magic-users. The area progression for the Create Agros spells, by spell level, is:

-1      1/400 acre per caster level
 0      1/80  acre per caster level
 1      1/20  acre per caster level
 2      1/4   acre per caster level
 3      1     acre per caster level
 4      5     acres per caster level
 5      20    acres per caster level
 6      80    acres per caster level
 7      400   acres per caster level
 8      1600  acres per caster level
 9      8000  acres per caster level

An agros must all be in one piece, but may have any shape within that limitation. If the height of an agros is significant (e.g., for brewing vats), it is equal to the smallest horizontal dimension of the agros. There are no level zero or level minus one Create Agros spells, but their areas are required for terrain types that impose an area penalty. The Create Agros spells last a year and a month, so refreshing them is often an important part of a land mage's work. Note that adjacent agros do not merge into a single larger one, but retain their separate existence.

A standard acre is equal in area to a strip of land 220 yards by 22 yards. It originates with the amount of land that could traditionally be ploughed with an ox team in a day; the oxen need regular rests and turning them around is slow, so resting them after each 220 yards, then turning them round, was the efficient way to do the work. In practice, the amount that could be ploughed each day depended on the soil consistency to some extent and the size of the acre varied accordingly. With decent soil, two acres will grow enough in a year to feed an adult human for that year; some cultures defined acres on a basis of yield rather than area. The DM needs to decide if land mage spells work on the basis of standard acres, yield acres or ploughing-work acres

The areas of the spells were set on the basis that a 10th level land mage could take care of a maximum of about 10,000 standard acres of cultivated land. This is a little under 16 square miles of actively farmed land, at 640 standard acres to the square mile, and is enough to support about 5,000 people without his aid. He thus needs to refresh the agros magics on about 300 acres of land per working day, and can do this with his single fifth level and two fourth level spells, although he's being worked pretty hard. His lower level spells will take care of actual work on the land, provided that there is no disaster.

Create Agros

The Create Agros spells all have casting time of one turn, duration of a year and a month, and the basic area noted above. That area applies to fields, woods, rivers, coastlines, lakes and marshes, but separate castings are required for each of these terrain types.

The area of effect on meadows, heaths and moors is that of the spell one level higher, because these terrain types have less life, and less variety of life; tundra and deserts give the area of effect of the spell two levels higher.

Gardens give the area of effect of the spell one level lower, because they are artificial, and have a wide variety of species close together.

Compost and manure heaps and similar means of "naturally" processing waste material into fertiliser, which can be of considerable size on farms, also give the area of affect of the spell one level lower.

Storage agros, such as haystacks, and granaries, where the idea is for as little to happen as possible, also give the area of the spell one level lower. A storage agros can be moved, if it is a closed container, but it is rarely cost-effective to create an agros small enough to be mobile.

Agros for silage fermentation, beer fermentation, cheese-making, and other processing by means of micro-organisms give the area of effect of the spell two levels lower.

The area gained on open ocean depends on the amount and variety of life present: shallow tropical seas have far more variety of life than deep cold ones.

Terrain that is within an agros detects as faintly magical, and analysis effects will reveal that a land and agriculture specialist of some kind cast this magic. Dispel Magic will work, within its area of effect, but this is small compared to most agros.

Any land mage may cast spells on an agros to affect the terrain and life within it. Casting on ones own agros, or an agros that one has attuned one's self to (see below) gives a bonus of +2 levels of effect.

Recasting a Create Agros spell before it expires, or replacing it with part of the area of a higher level spell, gives advantages. Other spells cast on an agros are at +1 level effect for each year that the area has been continuously part of an agros, to a maximum of twice the casters level, or twice (casters level+2) for an own or attuned agros. Note that this definitely increases the usefulness of lower-level assistants to a land mage.

To repair a hole in an agros, such as that made by Dispel Magic, re-cast the surrounding agros, but note that the area that was dispelled looses the bonus for being continually part of an agros. The Heal Agros spell (below) avoids this problem. Changing an agros to a different terrain type, such as cutting down or burning a wood to make a field, will dispel any existing agros spells.

Spell List

     1st
 1 Create Agros I
 2 Detect Agros
 3 Attune to Agros
 4 Alarm
 5 Attune Plants
 6 Control Pests
 7 Read Calendar

     2nd
 1 Create Agros II
 2 Fertility
 3 Control Disease
 4 Control Parasites
 5 Attract Symbiotes
 6 Speak With Animals
 7 Predict Weather

     3rd
 1 Create Agros III
 2 Fallow
 3 Border
 4 Flow
 5 Attune Animals
 6 Environmental History
 7 Analyse Poison/Fertility

     4th
 1 Create Agros IV
 2 Cleanse Agros
 3 Heal Agros
 4 Speak with Plants
 5 Enter Agros
 6 Replenish Agros
 7 Predict Climate

     5th
 1 Create Agros V
 2 Attune People
 3 Commune with Nature
 4 Agros Defence
 5 Manifest from Agros
 6 Dispel Agros
 7 Establish Calendar

     6th
 1 Create Agros VI
 2 Agros Frasso
 3 Frasso Sense
 4 Frasso Recognise
 5 Frasso Signal
 6 Frasso Empathy
 7 Spirit of the Land


Spells have a casting time of 1 round per level, unless otherwise specified below. "Crops" can be vegetable or animal, or by-products such as honey.

Explanation of Land Mage Spells

1st Level

Create Agros I: See Create Agros above.
Level: 1st.

Detect Agros: This allows the caster to tell if he is within an agros, and to see its borders. The names and effects of any agros-affecting spells that are present and known to the caster is also detected, along with the presence (although not names or effects) of any other agros-affecting spells. Moving across the borders will allow inspection of a neighbouring area. Range line-of-sight, duration 5 rounds/level. At 10th level, land mages gain this spell as a permanent ability. Lower level ones often become highly skilled in navigating the area they care for.
Level: 1st.

Attune to Agros: This allows a land mage to attune himself to an existing agros that he is within. He can be attuned to a maximum of (Level + Intelligence) squared agros at one time, excluding any that he cast himself, so there isn't usually a problem with numbers. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 1st.

Alarm: Cast on an own or attuned agros, this will alert the caster if any significant damage is done to the terrain or life within the agros. The trivial damage caused when walking through an area or working in a field is ignored, but a deliberate attempt to damage plants, the effects of a storm or flood, and similar effects alert the caster if he is within 1 mile/level. If the caster knows Attune Animals (below) they can use a casting of this spell to warn them if the animals are moved off the land, or are giving birth. Duration: 1 week/level.
Level: 1st.

Attune Plants: Adds plants, including fungi, to an agros harmoniously. This is a requirement for the agros to be used to assist with growing them as crops, or to preserve them as a store. The casting time lasts while the plants are being sown, planted out or whatever is appropriate for the species in question. The spell is not required for plants that were seeded or otherwise grown by plants that are part of the agros, provided that no outside intervention was involved in their planting. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 1st.

Control Pests: Cast on an agros, reduces the effects of animal (including bird and insect) pests on a single kind of crop. The effects vary with the environment, but the yield will generally be increased by at least 2% per level of caster, and bonus levels for time under an agros and the caster's own or attuned agros are applicable. Cast on a storage agros, such as a granary or haystack, it halves losses to animal pests per level of caster. For example, at third level losses are reduced to one-eighth. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 1st.

Read Calendar: This spell tells the caster the date in the local calendar, along with the current season, and how far through the season it is. If a Land Mage calendar has been set up with the fifth level spell Establish Calendar, she can read from it.
Level: 1st.

2nd Level

Create Agros II: See Create Agros above.
Level: 2nd.

Fertility: Cast on an agros, this increases the growth rate of a single kind of crop without depleting the soil or damaging the environment. The effects vary with the environment, but the yield will generally be increased by at least 5% per level of caster, including bonus levels. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 2nd.

Control Disease: Cast on an agros, this protects a single kind of crop from all diseases. The effects vary with the environment, but the spell normally dramatically reduces the incidence of bad crop years. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 2nd.

Control Parasites: Cast on an agros, this drastically reduces the incidence of weeds, parasitic plants and fungi, etc. on a single crop. The effects vary with the environment, but the yield will normally be increased by at least 3% per level of caster, including bonus levels. Cast on a store, it halves the effect of plant and fungus parasites per level of caster, as Control Pests does for animal pests. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 2nd.

Attract Symbiotes: Cast on an agros, this attracts insects needed for pollination and other useful symbiotes for a single kind of crop. Using Attune Animals (below) to make them part of the agros works better, but is a higher level spell. This reduces the incidence of bad crop years, less dramatically than Control Disease, but very usefully. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 2nd.

Speak With Animals: As Druid spell.
Level: 2nd.

Predict Weather: As Druid spell.
Level: 2nd.

3rd Level

Create Agros III: See Create Agros above.
Level: 3rd.

Fallow: Cast on an agros, restores its fertility as if the land had been allowed to lie fallow for one year per five full caster levels (including bonus levels). This can increase yields by a half or double them, depending on the crop rotation cycle in use. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 3rd.

Border: This spell generically confines an agros within its border; the kind of confining must be specified when the spell is cast, but several applications can be used for different effects. The commonest use of this is reducing the incidence of rivers overflowing, unless extremely overfull, but it can also be used to keep seeds from spreading, attuned animals from moving outside their agros, and the like. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 3rd.

Flow: This spell generically controls a flow through an agros; the kind of flow must be specified when the spell is cast, but several applications can be used for different effects. The commonest use of this is to keep rivers flowing smoothly without silting up, but it can also be used to boost geomantic energy flows, migrations of attuned birds or fish, and the like. Duration: one year and one month.
Level: 3rd.

Attune Animals: Adds animals of any kind, including birds, fish, or insects, to an agros harmoniously. This is a requirement for the agros to be used to assist with growing them as crops; it is not required for animals that were born/hatched/etc. to animals that are already part of the agros. The casting time lasts while the animals are being introduced to the habitat: they (or a representative sample) must be ceremonially walked or carried round its borders. For a store, this can be used to attune guardians such as cats or dogs; this will cause them to stay in the area, and prevent them fouling the stored material. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 3rd.

Environmental History: tells the caster about the health, general resilience and "spare capacity" of an environment. It will give some idea of the plants and animals living there, and how the environment has developed over time, including an impression of, but not any exact details of, previous external pressures. It does not reveal anything about the name(s) of the place, its inhabitants, presence of magic or unusual materials, (un)holyness and so on, though something of the influence of these might be felt as the environment changed over time. Also, precise dates will not be known (you would get "a few days ago", "last season", and so on). Range: 12" radius, or the area of an agros it is cast on. Duration: instantaneous. This is also an Elf spell.
Level: 3rd.

Analyse Poison/Fertility: has one of two effects, selected at the point of casting. Analyse Poison: Will detect things which are damaging, or risk damaging, an environment, as well as things more traditionally thought of as poison. It will not detect the poison of a natural creature, while it is within that creature. A (magical) creature that is poisonous by its nature, such as a cockatrice, will be detected. It also tells something of the nature of the poison, though not its precise nature. Careful examination of the poison, and a study of any damage that the poison has done, will work best, in particular given alchemical or poison knowledge. Analyse Fertility: Will allow an assessment of the fertility of a (natural) place, in terms of soil, water supply, drainage, sunlight, climate, and also a holistic view. The amount of plant and animal life an area could reasonably support, year-round or seasonal/migratory, can be assessed. The assessment will generally take at least a turn, though some problems may be immediately obvious. Duration: 1 turn, or more if complex assessment is required. Area of effect: path as per Detect Magic, or the area of an agros on which it is cast. This is also a pair of Elf spells.
Level: 3rd.

4th Level

Create Agros IV: See Create Agros above.
Level: 4th.

Cleanse Agros: This removes the effect of a poison or pollutant from an agros, or will de-attune plants, animals or persons who have been attuned to the agros but are intrinsically harmful to it. Sadly, it does no good with people who are just careless or deliberate vandals. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 4th.

Heal Agros: This spell is not much like the clerical spell Heal. It can be cast in two ways: firstly to diagnose a problem with an agros, and secondarily to "re-seal" it after harmful things or creatures have been removed or changed. The duration can be up to an hour for the first version, if the problem is complex, and is instantaneous for the second. This spell will repair holes in an agros, such as those made by Dispel Magic, without loosing the bonus for continuous agros status, provided the hole has existed for less than one day per level of the caster.
Level: 4th.

Speak with Plants: As Druid spell.
Level: 4th.

Enter Agros: This allows a land mage to "become one with an agros", provided that the agros was created by at least a fourth level spell. His body and equipment disappear, and his perceptions extend to the full area of the agros. He can cast spells on himself and the agros, but cannot use equipment. Damage to the agros does not harm him, but causes some pain. He can leave the agros at any time during the spell duration, re-forming his body and equipment at any desired point within the area. While part of the agros, he is nourished by it, and can sleep if desired. Only one land mage can be part of an agros at one time: if another tries, compare their effective levels (including bonus levels) using the Dispel Magic rules. If the one trying to enter looses, he doesn't enter the agros, and the winner knows where he is; if the resident one looses, he is ejected at the point where his attention was most focussed within the area. Duration: 3 hours per level.
Level: 4th.

Replenish Agros: Replenishes an agros' soil, in whatever way is required by the caster. The usual use of this is to dispense with the need, in many crop rotation cycles, to grow pulses instead of grain every 2 or 3 years to restore the levels of fixed nitrogen in the soil.
Level: 4th.

Predict Climate: This gives a general long-range weather forecast for the remainder of the current season, or, at the caster's option, for the next season if the current season is more than half elapsed. It primarily tells her what the season will be like, discounting any meddling that has not yet taken effect, relative to the normal for the area. The area of effect is the local climatic zone: this may be fairly small for such places as a mountain valley, but can extends as far as 10 miles per level radius on a prairie.
Level: 4th.

5th Level

Create Agros V: See Create Agros above.
Level: 5th.

Attune People: This spell attunes sapient creatures to an agros. They gain the benefits that attuned animals would gain, as well as the benefits of the first level spell Attune to Agros, if they were land mages. They must be shown round the area while the spell is cast. This effect is not needed for ordinary farmers; it is useful as complete protection from Agros Defence and as a symbol of oneness with the area.
Level: 5th.

Commune with Nature: As Druid spell.
Level: 5th.

Agros Defence: This makes an agros a hostile environment to any creature not attuned to it. Typical farming agros cannot usually mount deadly attacks, unless someone insists on swimming in a deep pool under willow-trees or the like. However, they can make themselves impassable to armies and very difficult territory for adventurers and monsters, tripping them with plants, attacking them with animals and insects, and so on. All attacks will be random unless the caster has entered the agros, when he can direct them. A successful Dispel Magic targeting this effect makes the area of the dispel non-hostile, but animals and insects can still enter such an area. Duration: 1 hour per level.
Level: 5th.

Manifest from Agros: This spell allows a land mage that has entered an agros to manifest a copy of his body, with either his real equipment or non-magical copies of it, at any place within the agros, in one round. The caster's attention is with the body by default; it can move back to the agros in half a melee round, but that leaves the body asleep. The body has hit points equal to the caster's, and vanishes if reduced to zero hit points; equipment remains if it was real, or vanishes if it was copied.
Level: 5th.

Dispel Agros: This spell will dispell an entire agros, if it overcomes the target agros spell on the Dispel Magic table. An ordinary Dispel Magic will only dispell the part of an agros that falls within the Dispel Magic's area of effect. If a land mage has entered an agros that is successfully dispelled, he return to his normal form, with his equipment, stunned, at the point where his attention was focussed at the moment of the Dispelling. If a land mage has entered an agros that survives a dispell attempt, he will know that this has happened, and the location where the attempt was made. Duration: instantaneous.
Level: 5th.

Establish Calendar: A Land Mage calendar is a set of annual events, relative to some or all of a normal civil calendar, the natural solar or other astronomical calendar, or the seasons. This spell enables such a calendar to be read using Read Calendar anywhere within the spells area of effect. That area consists of all the agros that the caster has created, all the agros to which she is attuned, and up to (Level + Intelligence) squared additional agros. Additional agros must be in the general vicinity of a caster's own or attuned agros, but need not border them, and need not be specifically chosen by them: the spell is commonly set to "all my own and attuned agros, fill in between them, and spread out from there". Since, for example, a 12th level caster with 16 Intelligence can cover 784 additional agros, a single casting can propagate a calendar over quite a large area. Duration: indefinite until replaced by another calendar; dispelling only affects the area of the dispel.
Level: 5th.

6th Level

Create Agros VI: See above.
Level: 6th.

Agros Frasso: Collects any number of own or attuned agros forming a contiguous area into a frasso, a barricade or fence (Again, a Greek term). A given agros can only belong to one frasso; they are usually made from the outermost agros of an area, although it is perfectly possible to create several frassos as nested rings of agros. The plants and animals of a frasso can be treated for certain purposes, described below, as a single subject for other frasso spells. All of these spells have a duration of a year and a month, like an agros, except where noted otherwise; agros making up a frasso can be refreshed without disrupting the frasso.
Level: 6th.

Frasso Sense: Cast on a frasso, this allows it to use a single sense, to the extent to which it is possessed by plants and animals within the frasso. Sight, hearing and smell are confined to animals; plants are much better at sensing movement and passage (especially grass), pollution and poisoning. Negotiate with the referee for other senses.
Level: 6th.

Frasso Recognise: Cast on a frasso, this allows the frasso to recognise objects, creatures, weather conditions and other things using senses mobilised by Frasso Sense.
Level: 6th.

Frasso Signal: Cast on a frasso, this allows the frasso to signal to the caster that it has recognised something via Frasso Recognise. A wide range of subtle signals is possible, chosen by the caster when the spell is cast.
Level: 6th.

Frasso Empathy: Cast on a frasso, allows the caster to perceive with the frasso's senses, and to cast spells on any of the agros within the frasso; Enter Agros and Agros Defence are obvious possibilities. Having one of these spells running affects the caster's ability to concentrate on other things, so it is rarely done unless trouble is expected. Duration: 1 day per level.
Level: 6th.

Spirit of the Land: Allows the caster to communicate with the spirit of the land for an area. These spirits are usually very slow-moving and acting, but can be roused by such events as severe mis-rule of lands which are magically connected to their rulers, sustained abuse of land magics, and the like. Spirits of the land may well seem like deus ex machina to mortals; referees are advised to use them sparingly.
Level: 6th.

Examples

These have progressively less detail, and don't cover every possible application of land magery by a very long way.

A village and its crops

Gromore is a 6th level land mage, who lives in a village of 100 people, with 250 acres of cultivated land and 1000 acres of meadows and uplands for grazing. Her single third level spell per day allows her to create an agros of 6 acres of cultivated land, or 30 acres of grazing land. The 250 acres of cultivated land thus make 250/6 = 42 agros, and the 1000 acres of grazing make 34 agros. She has 76 agros to maintain, which only requires casting three of them every two weeks, so she has no problems with that.

Using Control Pests, Fertility, and Control Parasites on the cultivated land increases its yield by a total of 10% per caster level, and since all the agros are her own, she counts as 8th level, for +80% crop yields. If she keeps this up for eight years, the bonus for continuous agros status increases the yields to +160%. She also uses Control Disease and Attract Symbiotes to reduce the incidence of bad crop years. At harvest time, she creates agros from the villages granaries and haystacks, and uses Control Pests, Control Parasites, and Attune Animals to reduce losses in storage.

Since the village has a lot of grazing land, they're less in need of her services for making it able to feed their sheep and goats. However, the same spells as are used on cultivated land improve the fertility of the animals and protect them from pests, parasites and diseases, increasing their net yield by the same amount. Her Alarm spells are also invaluable for protection against animal theft and for warning at lambing time. When any new animals are bought, they need to be added to an agros with Attune Animals, to maintain this protection.

However, she needs to maintain the land magics fairly continuously: she might manage a couple of months away during winter, with pre-planning, but she needs to be present for all the planting, so that she can use Attune Plants on the seeds or plants. While she could cram all the agros renewal into two-and-a-bit months, it's safer to distribute it over the year, so that it fails more slowly if she's unavailable and can be caught up fairly rapidly. An apprentice who was first or second level would help a lot: he could take care of some of the Attune Plants, help with the Alarms and Control Pests spells, and so on.

Now, consider how a village that's been used to having the services of a land mage like this for several generations will cope when she's called up to the army, taken away for not just a month or two but six, and never comes back because she's been killed. Crop yields abruptly drop in a year to 38% of what they were used to, less any reductions for less people available to work, and the need to let land lie fallow, with a lot more variation: 38% is a good year. It's a disaster.

Now, consider a government that's willing to take lots of such people away from the communities they sustain. That's a government that is both unaware of the full importance of land mages, and very desperate. That was Iridian, at the time of the wars.

A brewery

Bullshanks Brewery employs a third level land mage, Hopper, to improve its operations. He manages hop fields in much the same way as a village land mage, and the brewery buys its grain from farmers. He also treats the stream from which the brewery takes its water as an agros, which improves the quality of its product. However, Hopper's main work is with the brewing vats. A first level spell from him has an area of 3/400th of an acre, roughly 30 square yards, which makes a circular vat 18 across and 18 high, big enough for any low-tech brewer. With a Create Agros in place on it, he can use Alarm to inform him of problems, Attune Plants when yeast is added, and Fertility, Control Disease and Control Parasites to improve the yield. He has to re-cast the spells each time a vat is emptied and cleaned-out, which means that this isn't as an effective a use of a land mage as primary crop growing would be.

A fishing village

Muscel is an eighth level land mage, based in a fishing village that exports dried and salted fish to a nearby town as its main "cash crop". The temperate ocean bay that her village is on has a fairly simple ecosystem, so her fourth level agros spell handles 50 acres per level, or 400 acres per casting, just under 2/3 of a square mile. Casting that spell 300 days per year allows handling about 185 square miles, a semi-circle with the village at the centre and a radius of nearly 11 miles. Using Detect Agros allow her to find the borders of her agros accurately at sea and thus refresh them efficiently. One can't be sure that fish will stay in the area at all times, so the effectiveness of the Control Pests, Fertility, and Control Parasites spells may be limited. Picking a bay that fish tend to stay in, and using nets to control their movement allows for a kind of very large fish farm, and may well increase yields towards the maximum +200%. Muscel counts as 10th level for her own agros, and keeping the agros maintained for ten years raises the effective level to 20th; the three basic yield-increasing spells together give +10% per level yield. Using Control Disease and Attract Symbiotes will reduce the incidence of bad years. Accurate weather prediction makes the life of a fisherman much safer.

However, theres more food in the sea than just deep-water fish. Using third level Agros spells on shallow waters, tidal areas and beach allows for raising shellfish, edible sea plants, and evaporating seawater in summer to make salt. She also looks after conventional fields and pasture, since a diet of pure seafood is tedious at best. If there are salmon or other fish that migrate to fresh water, management of the rivers is also likely to be effective. Again, the storehouses benefit from Control Parasites, Control Parasites, and Attune Animals.

A country estate

This includes a wide variety of types of agros. As well as fields and orchards for grain, hay, vegetables, and fruit, and pasture for animals, it would include gardens for herbs and decorations. Woodlands could include a mixed wood for firewood, nuts, and forage for pigs, plus less-intensively managed areas for hunting. Chicken runs, ponds for ducks and geese, and for fish-farming, and a river could all be managed as agros, as could a rabbit warren.

Historical Notes

"Agros" and "Frasso" are used to substitute for the terms used by Land Mages, which are Elvish words with similar meanings. They are quite close to Old Speech terms of related meaning, which may have something to do with the considerable, if understated, power of these spells.

There exist archaic versions of the Create Agros spells, which have a more "normal" duration, of a year and a day. These proved to be unwieldy in use: they required a very inflexible, almost ritualised yearly cycle of operations, with no spare time available to handle the natural variations of the seasons. The alternative was early renewal of the spells and a gradual drift of the renewal work backwards through the year. Once it was clear that the duration was the problem, the modern versions were created. They have slightly less area of effect than the archaic spells, but are more useful in practice.

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(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - May 2015
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