How Magic Affects Kingdoms

Magic changes many things from the medieval system we all know on Earth, with several major areas that are changed drastically. History has shown us that those privileged enough to rule usually took care of themselves and their continued wealth before all else, and so all rulers in Pathfinder must spend some of their resources on magical aids. This includes protection magic, hired clerics and wizards, magical castle defenses, etc.


Historically, messages not getting somewhere in time has been shown to cause the rise and fall of empires. In a magical setting, high-level critical communication is far more reliable, so armies will almost never steal the march on anyone that isn’t a commoner. For smaller groups or more remote outposts, ravens serve if magic is not available.


Transportation is relatively unchanged. Due to the expensiveness, physical discomfort, and occasional side effects of teleportation travel, nobles probably would opt for a more mundane means of travel. In addition, most had retinues of retainers, guards, and servants to move around with them, and so it’s unlikely that you’d see a noble travelling via flight or teleportation very often.

Magic in Mass Combat

This is an area that magic has a huge impact on. Any standing army of merit would likely have a wizard, alchemist, etc. and one, if not a whole group of, divine healers as part of their contingent. As a battlefield commander, having an arsenal of magic would be one of your most powerful tools. Additionally, having a brew wagon with a store of potions and a potion brewer could be the difference between victory and annihilation. Being able to scout enemy positions with levitate, invisibility and even clairvoyance potions would be hugely informative. As these are all expensive additions to an army, the funding would mostly come from the spoils of war, which would be even more sought after than normal.

Aerial Combat and Defenses

A major aspect of battle that no one was worried about during the middle ages was aerial attacks. Not so in Golarion. Even if your opponents have no flying combat units, you could still be assaulted by drakes or other magical flying creatures from time to time, or be surveyed from the skies by flying enemy surveillance. Castle turrets should all be covered, ballistas should be able to swivel up and around, and archers should become even more of a required commodity.

Brevic rules about Magic:

  • Casting any sort of spell (even a cantrip) in the presence of a high noble (Baron and up) is punishable by death on the spot. A formally written request must be made and granted to allow this to anyone beyond that noble’s personal staff.
  • All rulers will have significant magical defenses, including:
    • Magical Detection and Mind-Shielding Devices
    • Teleportation Blockers
    • A Personal Wizard/Witch/Sorcerer, usually equipped with an item that offers arcane sight. Anyone visiting the noble would be scrutinized by this spellcaster.
  • Necromancy and Mind-Controlling spells are outlawed completely in Brevoy. Anyone witnessed casting one of these spells is sentenced to death.
  • Pharasma, a major deity in Brevoy, speaks for the dead, and such requires that her reign be respected.
    • Speaking with the dead is not allowed except when done at the request of a ruler directly to one of her high priests, and even then it should only be in the case of a state of emergency of most dire need.
    • Raising/Resurrecting the dead requires that a priest of Pharasma be consulted and her permission granted before anyone receives either of these spells. All other priests in Golarion know of this requirement and typically will not cast these spells without consulting with one of her priests. Who receives approval and who does not appears to be random to those not of her calling, and even her own priesthood do not always understand decisions handed down by their goddess. In general, requests are often denied.
    • If anyone wishes to risk the wrath of Pharasma and not ask permission, they run the risk of a visit from one of her magical servants.
    • The official period of mourning for a fallen ruler is a fortnight, or the length of time that it would be possible for a priest to intervene with a Raise Dead spell. After this time, the scion officially inherits the rulership, regardless of whether that person is brought back afterwards or not.
    • Reincarnation is an abomination of the Old Gods, as it bypasses the judgement of Pharasma completely and alters the lifestream of the recipient. Typically only those druids of the old ways (most notably the Green Faith) that dwell in the Gronzi Forest would cast reincarnate. A ruler who is reincarnated immediately loses all rights as a noble and is considered a commoner.

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