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elliott20
2007-02-01, 02:28 PM
I personally always felt that the default D&D settings does not utilize magic enough in it's day to day usage.

Most spells we have in the PHB concerns itself directly with combat in some way. However, you don't see a plethora of spells out there that might say, help the local plant life develop stronger roots, or yield more crops next harvest. Or in the case where such magic exists, it is often almost never used by average folk. For a society that holds the power to shift balances of the universe daily, people are awfully exclusive about their magical use.

I don't know, but I think it would actually make a lot of sense for settings with a high proliferation of magic to have farmers running around with a magical plow or a seamtress to have a needle that helps do stitching work or a blacksmith with a magical anvil that can help extract out more of the impurities within the metal. These are not really earth shattering magic, just little things people do to make their lives a little easier. and to me, I don't see why the local Adept might not want to produce these things for peasants with the money to do so.

I mean, if you consider it, most of these things are probably stuff that can be counted as level 0 cantrips, which means crafting a magical item for it might cost around 1000 gp tops. (If it's something that has infinite uses) Granted, 1000 gp is not something to sneeze at, and not every joe should have one.

But anyway, so I thought it would be cool to put down some little items that people can use to help proliferate a high frequency magical world with little tidbits of stuff that help make people's lives easier.

Scribing Pen

This pen, upon command, will write down whatever the user dictates until the user says the command word to stop it's function. This pen has enough ink to scribe approximately 100 pages worth of text prior to it's magic expiring.

Curing Balm (I'm not sure if this is already in the DMG)

A small balm often used as an emergency kit for people working in the field. This balm, when applied onto a wound, can heal effectively 1 hit point worth of damage per application. Each balm has enough for 3 doses.

Plow of Great Sowing

This plow, when used, will help renew some of the nutrients within the earth through it's magic while seeding the fields. This gives the farmer using it an effective +2 circumstantial bonus when farming.

Mending Needle

Upon command, this needle will sew two pieces of cloth together as the "mending" spell.

Eye of the Merchant

This little monocle, when worn, gives the wearer a +2 bonus to all appraisal checks.

Eye of the Medicine Man

This monocle, when worn, will give the wearer a +2 bonus to all HEAL checks.

Strengthened Nail

These nails, produced and reinforced through magical means, are extra sturdy and anything built with them will receive a +1 to it's hardness.

Indon
2007-02-01, 03:05 PM
I love this idea, and these proposed items. What are their prices, though?

Also, regarding the nails: Wouldn't the nails add hit points, rather than material hardness? I mean, hardness makes something more able to completely slough off damage; hit points make something last longer. Diamonds are durable due to hardness; the Great Wall of China is durable due to hit points.

Inyssius Tor
2007-02-01, 03:21 PM
Masterwork idea! Plus one to nifty! Possibly with an additional +1 enchantment bonus to both coolness and nifty (does not stack with masterwork nifty bonus)!

Also, have you ever checked out the Eberron Campaign Setting? I think these items would fit in perfectly there; they have NPC Magewrights who specialize in doing mundane things with magic, and generally the flavor looks similar.

Fax Celestis
2007-02-01, 03:26 PM
The reason such spells and items do not exist is because PCs would rarely (if ever) need them. They probably do exist, but they're not detailed because players would never utilize them except under strange circumstances.

elliott20
2007-02-01, 03:45 PM
The reason such spells and items do not exist is because PCs would rarely (if ever) need them. They probably do exist, but they're not detailed because players would never utilize them except under strange circumstances.
Yeah, that did occurred to me since these items would not be useful for the PCs. I personally think that these things could just be used to add a little bit more texture to the setting with lots of magic.


I love this idea, and these proposed items. What are their prices, though?

Also, regarding the nails: Wouldn't the nails add hit points, rather than material hardness? I mean, hardness makes something more able to completely slough off damage; hit points make something last longer. Diamonds are durable due to hardness; the Great Wall of China is durable due to hit points.
The prices I'll have to figure out later since I don't have access to the SRD or my books at the moment. But rest assured, these items were all created with the wondrous item creation table in mind, so their prices can be estimated.

As for the nails... hmm.... you're right. Perhaps the usage of these nails would give the item in question +20% hp or a minimum of +1 HP, which ever is greater.

I'll have to look up the Eberron campaign as I have never actually read through it...

Here are some more ideas

Image Glass

A little glass piece that projects little animated images onto the space surrounding it. Such images are programmed by the creating wizard. These image quality are not good enough to be passed as an illusion, nor does the glass give off any sound. Glasses of higher quality can display images with slightly better quality or store longer sequences.

The usage of these devices have ranged from being used as a toy to communication devices, storing information and what not.

Warmth Cloak

this cloak is enchanted to emit a gentle heat upon those donning the cloak, keeping them a little warmer in cold environments. This cloak can infer an effective resistance to cold of 1.

mabriss lethe
2007-02-01, 04:10 PM
A thought on cost.

As an example, Say you have an animated plow to help in the fields. fine and dandy. That sort of enchantment would probably, in terms of your average joe farmer, cost an arm and a leg. He could hire out a couple of local unskilled workers as field hands for coppers a day and get things done in nearly the same amount of time.

Larger plantation owners and the like would have the money to drop on a frivolity like that, and might even do so, just as a conversation piece. It would still be much cheaper in the short and middle runs to pay someone to do it the good ol' fashioned way.

Yeah, in a high magic world, these items would exist. Most of them just wouldn't see much daily use. They'd be relegated to the status of curios and exotic toys for the well to do. More of a status symbol than anything else, like that neighbor you hate who buys a new Benz every other year just because he can.

elliott20
2007-02-01, 04:23 PM
hmm... that is definitely true.

from an economic stand point, the farmers would have to be able to justify this cost by seeing the benefits of such. So, unless the plow, for example, is more efficient than the helped hands and it's costs can be recovered quickly enough, it will not be worth the money.

However, this is not a plow that REPLACES his workers. this is a plow that aids his workers in doing the work better. Now, again, this still has to be weighed against the cost/benefits scale. 1000 gp for an extra 2 gp earned every week would take about 500 weeks, or almost 10 years to recover. (Since a +2 to a profession skill essentially translates to roughly an extra 2 gp per week) That's just too prohibitive. Thus, the benefits of such a device must be economically viable in order to justify it's existence.

However, the secondary problem of considering this economic viability is when you must consider the wages of a helping hand. D&D assumes that all costs are static, and that there is no such thing as inflation or economies of scale. So, a piece of magic will always be worth the same amount, regardless of supply and demand.

This is the crux of the issue, I believe, since in a high magic campaign, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that magic should be more abundant and thusly cheaper for consumption.

Icewalker
2007-02-01, 09:52 PM
I like this idea. If you make a high-magic world however, what you say would be true, which would make for an interesting economy. The average farmer joe would be a lot richer than he would in other settings, which could cuase a very happy wealthy society, with few poor/homeless, and relatively wealthy farmers.

I think this would be a great idea, especially once the little changes like the one mentioned here were found and worked out, it could make for a very interesting setting.

Also, maybe the Curing Balm should be useable to give a bonus on Heal checks, helping stop the bleeding from a wound and such.

elliott20
2007-02-02, 12:33 AM
well, I think the Curing Balm's effect would not need to grant a Heal check bonus seeing as it directly acts upon injuries. But I guess you could always assume that somebody with the ability to make curing balms from scratch would essentially have the herbal/magical knowledge to add an additional hitpoint healed everyday.

As for the net effect of having more magic powers available, the best way to measure such is by comparing the wealth increases. (again, we're assuming that prices would remain static, so no forces of inflation will work here)

Well, how does one earn better money from these improvements in life? The answer would be reflected in their profession skill again. (This, of course, makes another false assumption that a skilled worker is also a skilled merchant, an assumption that has caused innumerable start up companies to go bankrupt in the real world.)

But I digress.

I checked the SRD, and according to the SRD, using your profession skill earns you half of your roll in gold every week. So, a farmer with a +2 bonus would earn an extra 1 gold per week.

An item of such kind would cost 400 gp (bonus squared x 100) to create. That's a crap load, considering that in the equipment entry in the PHB, a set of masterwork tools is 50 gp. However, these bonuses to stack, so it's a matter of figuring out a way of overcoming this limitation.

I do believe, however, that with the CRAFT skill, you can do just that...

to be continued, since I need to wake up tomorrow morning for work.

Fizban
2007-02-02, 12:49 AM
Well, I don't know about common magic items, but there's plenty of ways for low level people to get a little magic for themselves. There's some SLA feats in Complete Arcane, and one could easily make new versions with other handy spells. The humble unseen servant for example, gives you and hour of free simple work. Great for making yourself more efficent aroudnd the house. Same for prestidigitation. Heck, following the feats from CA, you could do:

Handy Around the House
Benefit: You may use Prestidigitation, Mending, and Unseen Servant 1/day each with a caster level of one.

Those three spells can save on a lot of household costs and labor (fix broken stuff, clean faster, servant cleans while you cook etc), as well as brightening dinner and such with the other functions of prestidigitation.

And that's not even touching the feat from Player's Guide to Faerun that let's you pick your own 4 cantrips when you take the feat (regional and 1st level only though...).

I looked at the Adept's spell list and I have to say: for being the helpful community shaman type, it has practically no non-combat spells. Kinda sad.

Roderick_BR
2007-02-02, 12:57 AM
The Dungeon Master Guide has a quick overview on "using magic as technology". It takes some work to don't let magic become dumb there.
Plus, remember that wizards are people with special training. You won't find a "Wizard's College" just every big city. They are rare.
And the price. It all starts in gold pieces. Your typical commoner exchange good in cooper and, rarely, silver pieces. A gold piece would be the money from 2 months of work. And a wizard needs around 25-50 to cast a 1st level spell.

Many stories usually have characters like the Adept, the local healer, herbalist, or something. Using higher level spells is risky in some campaigns.

I could be wrong, though.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2007-02-02, 01:04 AM
I think it's an interesting point. But I think for WoTC to put all that kind of stuff in there is silly. It just doesn't come up enough in games for them to warrant it being put into the source books (at least in any game I've ever been in it hasn't). I think that kind of stuff works well to flavor a game, but when it comes down to it, I don't think that kind of thing plays that crucial of a role.

sigurd
2007-02-02, 02:13 AM
Its fun to develop magic in your setting but it will never change the shared setting for D&D.

I think the problem is that if you followed what magic can do into the mundane world you'd very quickly displace most of the sense of history that D&D clings to.

Besides the perpetual arguments about the fabricate spell, even cantrips would change everything - just lighting a fire or having heat with no fuel would rework the entire setting. Magic is rare and difficult in D&D but often it amounts to something for nothing. In real world terms it would be a terribly disruptive technology.

Applying it rationally warps the gameworld into something hard to explain or picture.

The setting winks on magic and has peasants content to be peasants doing menial tasks that magic would do much better. "Mending" alone would put thousands out of work.


my .02

Sigurd

Fizban
2007-02-02, 03:40 AM
For those of you suggesting that DnD commoners are dirt poor, I direct you to this (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=719384).

For those unwilling to click the link, some simple math shows that an average DnD commoner family can save about 200gp a year for extra expenses.

elliott20
2007-02-02, 09:55 AM
I can't access that link at work, so you'll have to explain me how the commoner family can save 200 gp a year. What are the assumptions we're using? what kind of household and in turn, what kind of expenses are we assuming?


Its fun to develop magic in your setting but it will never change the shared setting for D&D.

I think the problem is that if you followed what magic can do into the mundane world you'd very quickly displace most of the sense of history that D&D clings to.

Besides the perpetual arguments about the fabricate spell, even cantrips would change everything - just lighting a fire or having heat with no fuel would rework the entire setting. Magic is rare and difficult in D&D but often it amounts to something for nothing. In real world terms it would be a terribly disruptive technology.

Applying it rationally warps the gameworld into something hard to explain or picture.

The setting winks on magic and has peasants content to be peasants doing menial tasks that magic would do much better. "Mending" alone would put thousands out of work.


my .02

Sigurd
That is very true. One of the most common reasons why technology does not progress and gets spread around is because of barriers to transmit. In essence, kind of like a trade barrier.

there is no real network for magic to truly spread beyond a loose affiliation of casters without any real institution. You have to ask yourself why that is though. My intuition is that the cost of the education is just too much. I mean, most undergrads now a days probably pay enough money every semester to pay for a damn car. Back in those days, where paper is actually quite a bit more valuable, an education is probably something that is reserved strictly for the truly blessed.

The second point is also valid, where magic is essentially getting something for nothing. That means that resources are in essence unlimited. Being able to tap into it readily with little cost of entry would just avalanch civilization to the point where eventually we have the problem of Tech vs. Magic again.

Indon
2007-02-02, 11:09 AM
Now, while an enchanted plow or such might be rare, I can see this sort of thing being rather common to the middle classes.

Artists, merchants, scribes, administrators, I can definitely see using the occasional magical trinket to make life better.

sigurd
2007-02-02, 11:09 AM
Elliot - I like the thinking


there is no real network for magic to truly spread beyond a loose affiliation of casters without any real institution. You have to ask yourself why that is though. My intuition is that the cost of the education is just too much. I mean, most undergrads now a days probably pay enough money every semester to pay for a damn car. Back in those days, where paper is actually quite a bit more valuable, an education is probably something that is reserved strictly for the truly blessed.

I'll take any rationalization to keep the world going round. Mostly I think its just necessary game structure. If wizards were just like engineers they'd get no respect either :)

elliott20
2007-02-02, 11:37 AM
Now, while an enchanted plow or such might be rare, I can see this sort of thing being rather common to the middle classes.

Artists, merchants, scribes, administrators, I can definitely see using the occasional magical trinket to make life better.
well, that assertion would require two things.

1. define the middle class within the d&d world
2. figure out the population sample from such a definition.

The way I see it, experts are probably the most likely people to qualify for this kind of thing, and with the proper amount of synergies in place, it is conceivable that a middle class person might be able to earn the money needed to have these magical trinkets a little faster.

Perhaps I should run some numbers on that later...


I'll take any rationalization to keep the world going round. Mostly I think its just necessary game structure. If wizards were just like engineers they'd get no respect either :)
Yeah, the mentality that I'm suggesting to make this kind of thing a reality would require that a wizard must actually make it his full time job to sit there and make... mundane level-0 magical items.

the default d&d setting argues that most wizards are too stuck up to ever want to do something like that for a living.

Yakk
2007-02-02, 11:44 AM
That economic essay forgot the taxes of up to 5 gp per week they have to pay for the use of the land. And the 4 months of winter in which profession(farmer) doesn't work that well.

Nobles and/or landowners will determine how much they can tax their low-power commoners so that the commoners will be barely breaking even. This is because there is almost always a surplus of people compared to land, together with the fact that in D&D a handful of skilled warriors can slaughter armies of unexperienced peasants.

elliott20
2007-02-02, 11:57 AM
sigh, I wonder if the catgirl slaughtering rule applies to socioeconomic theories as well as physics. I can feel the great disturbance in the force as catgirls were silenced for eternity. (or jubilation, I'm not sure how the force looks upon catgirls.)

Indon
2007-02-02, 12:10 PM
sigh, I wonder if the catgirl slaughtering rule applies to socioeconomic theories as well as physics. I can feel the great disturbance in the force as catgirls were silenced for eternity. (or jubilation, I'm not sure how the force looks upon catgirls.)

Socioeconomics probably exterminates a different kind of anthromorph.

Perhaps... bulls and bears? *ba-dum-bum!*

Roderick_BR
2007-02-02, 12:48 PM
True, middle classes in big cities could afford it. Actually, there's some magazine that suggests how more important people, like nobles and such, tend to spend money on "security systems" in their houses.
We could try to work that idea. Get Adepts and make them "special technicians" to deal with special techs.
Let's see...
* Fabricate: Could be used, but maybe only middle class and up would bother the cost.
* Mending: That's a lot less expensive. Maybe the "techs" would use it for big repairs. A peasant wouldn't use it to fix his house's door, but to fix something bigger and important fast, he would call a tech.
* Torch: There's a spell that makes a unlimited torch effect. These would be put in the streets to light the way. People would still use wood and fire inside their houses because they need the heat too.
* Create Water: These would be used in places that are in a drough. The caster would just save himself the work of carrying buckets from others places.
These are just some examples.

And can't forget the limited uses/day some spells have. Imagine if a wizard, maybe a druid, makes a magical well that aways create water when drawn from it? The place would never run out of water again, but the item would be costly.

Roderick_BR
2007-02-02, 12:54 PM
For those of you suggesting that DnD commoners are dirt poor, I direct you to this (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=719384).

For those unwilling to click the link, some simple math shows that an average DnD commoner family can save about 200gp a year for extra expenses.
True, I didn't mean they are poor. But an unexperienced adventurer makes more than that in one afternoon.

I read a magazine once using the following example:
The peasant has this little shop. He makes a rather good money with it.
Then came in an adventurer. He buys some food at 5 cooper pieces, And gives him a gold piece. He just gave him 10,000% profit. Now imagine if more adventurers start to buy more things there.
"Hey, I want that thing over there"
"I'm afraid, sir, it may be a bit expensive"
*Drops a bag of gold coins in the table*

That's the kind of gap between an adventurer and a common people. I mean, a non-magical full plate costs 1,500 GPs! A commoner will have to work for 8 years to get it. An adventurer will get it in 2 weeks.
Then you get a wizard that whose spell casting price list is based in Gold Coins.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-02-02, 01:36 PM
He buys some food at 5 cooper pieces, And gives him a gold piece. He just gave him 10,000% profit.

Uhhhh... no. It was actually a 1,900% profit.

elliott20
2007-02-02, 03:03 PM
well, PCs do not belong within the economy that they continue to wreck havoc upon. PCs are in themselves, an abberation of how any normal economic model can work. As such, trying to define reality through the PCs eyes is flawed.

Neek
2007-02-02, 03:19 PM
True, I didn't mean they are poor. But an unexperienced adventurer makes more than that in one afternoon.

I read a magazine once using the following example:
The peasant has this little shop. He makes a rather good money with it.
Then came in an adventurer. He buys some food at 5 cooper pieces, And gives him a gold piece. He just gave him 10,000% profit. Now imagine if more adventurers start to buy more things there.
"Hey, I want that thing over there"
"I'm afraid, sir, it may be a bit expensive"
*Drops a bag of gold coins in the table*

That's the kind of gap between an adventurer and a common people. I mean, a non-magical full plate costs 1,500 GPs! A commoner will have to work for 8 years to get it. An adventurer will get it in 2 weeks.
Then you get a wizard that whose spell casting price list is based in Gold Coins.

I think the prices in the PHB account for the disparity. Or rather, the "PC characters will get screwed over." If my brother were the town blacksmith, I think I'd be able to square away a good deal for the manufacture of some full plate. A smart DM would reflect that price fluctuation in a small community.

I'm currently, though, in the process of reviewing the Fabricate spell versus the old fashioned method, to see which is more economical (paying a mage to do it, or paying people to do it: the it, being a house).

elliott20
2007-02-03, 01:54 PM
I think the prices in the PHB account for the disparity. Or rather, the "PC characters will get screwed over." If my brother were the town blacksmith, I think I'd be able to square away a good deal for the manufacture of some full plate. A smart DM would reflect that price fluctuation in a small community.

I'm currently, though, in the process of reviewing the Fabricate spell versus the old fashioned method, to see which is more economical (paying a mage to do it, or paying people to do it: the it, being a house).

In that case, we need to figure out how much things would really cost for someone who the wizard knows can't afford the items. After all, in order for someone to make a profit on something, they have to be able to sell it first. And grossly over-pricing their merchandice does not help doing that.

Now, seeing that the cost of creation for these items are typically half the sticker price in the book, I suggest we use that as a base and then work our way up from there. (All we need is to figure out a suitable profit margin and stick to that.)

prufock
2007-02-03, 02:22 PM
My campaign world is fairly high-magic, and stuff like this isn't uncommon. I don't generally bother with pricing, since the PCs usually have little use for them, but they are nice touches. I like the Plough of Great Sowing.

Fizban
2007-02-03, 10:03 PM
I can't access that link at work, so you'll have to explain me how the commoner family can save 200 gp a year. What are the assumptions we're using? what kind of household and in turn, what kind of expenses are we assuming?
Hmm, it's all relevant, so here's the post:
If you have been on these boards long enough, you have seen (if not made) posts that decry the D&D economy as being "broken" because the poor, poor commoners could never afford anything because they only make 1 silver a day, and everything is just so terribly expensive, etc etc etc, right? The only problem is that it just isn't true. The commoners make more than enough money to get by on, and even make enough money to save it for expensive purchases. The following article will focus on the misconceptions of how the rules work, and will show an example of a "standard" commoner family, how much money said family makes in a week, and how much money they use in a week.

But, before we get into that, the linch pin in the "itís broken!" argument is that commoners only make 1 sp a day. In the majority of cases, I argue that this is not true. The 1 sp a day salary is for completely unskilled, clueless laborers. The ditch diggers or migrant day laborer types. This is not what the majority of commoners will be. Letís look at the Commoner entry in the DMG, paying special attention to their skillpoints. They get 2 skillpoints per level, with the standard x4 at level 1. Now look at their class skills, and you'll notice that they have both Craft and Profession. On top of this, like any other class, they get a feat at first level. For the purposes of this article, the commoners in question will be assumed to have 8 skillpoints and 1 feat to spend. Obviously, humans will have 9 points and 2 feats, but I'm going to work it as a generic so that it applies to everyone. We can assume the humans spend their extra point and feat on personal things that don't contribute to their overall ability to survive day to day life (like a rank or two in Knowledge [Local]).

Now then, let us assume that the typical commoner family consists of 5 individuals; a mother, a father, a teenage son, a child daughter, and a baby.

Joe Commoner lives in a small village, and has a small farm out by the woods. He built the main house himself, with help from his father as a youth when he was old enough to move out on his own. They used wood harvested from the nearby forest, and did the work themselves, meaning the house was essentially free. Joe learned how to farm from his father, and has been a farmer for as long as he can remember. Mechanically, Joe is in his mid 30's, and is a 2nd level commoner. He's not as fit as he was in his younger days, but he's a little wiser. We will still assume that he has a +0 modifier to all of his stats though.

Jill Commoner is Joe's wife. She helps her husband with the farming by working in the fields part of the day, and also does the cooking, cleaning, and mending of clothes, as well as watching after the children. Mechanically, she is a first level commoner, also with +0 mods to all of her stats.

Billy Commoner is Joe's oldest child, a 15 year old boy that grew up much the same as Joe did, and will soon be old enough to start his own family, but for now is still helping dad around the family farm. Billy is a first level commoner with +0 stat mods.

Susy Commoner is the middle child, and helps her mother with the household chores. Susy is a 0th level commoner, and has only 2 skillpoints.

Baby Commoner is a baby, and gurgles a lot, but is too young to provide any meaningful contribution to the family's financial situation.

---

As a D&D character, Joe has maxxed out his ranks in Profession (Farmer), and has also taken Skill Focus (Farming), for a total of +8 to his skill checks. He also has 3 ranks in Craft (Woodworking), and 2 ranks in Knowledge (Local).

Jill Commoner has 2 ranks in Profession (Farmer), 2 ranks in Profession (Cook), 2 ranks in Craft (Clothing), and 2 ranks in Heal (for all the family's normal ailments).

Billy Commoner has 3 ranks in Profession (Farmer) that he learned from his father, Martial Weapon Proficiency (longbow), 2 ranks in Survival (he uses his bow to go hunting in the nearby woods), 2 ranks in Craft (woodworking), and 1 rank in Knowledge (Local).

Susy Commoner is too young to do much, but has 1 rank in both Profession (Cooking) and Craft (Clothing).

---

Joe Commoner takes 10 on his Profession (Farmer) check, for a total of 18. Jill and Billy both use Aid Other to help Joe with his check. Jill has a 60% chance of getting her Aid Other to succeed, while Billy has a 65% chance of succeeding. We'll be a bit conservative and say that, on average, one of them succeeds in giving Joe +2 to his checks, for a total of 20. Since you earn half your check in gold per week, this means the family has a weekly income of 10 gp, which is substantially better than the 21 sp (or 2.1 gp) they would have gotten as unskilled labor. The other skill ranks for the other family members do not factor into weekly income, and serve only to round them out and allow them to do things like carve their own wooden bowls, make their own clothes, etc.

---

We will assume that Joe, Jill, and Billy each eat the equivalent of 1 common meal and 2 poor meals per day (5 sp per day, each), and that Susy eats the equivalent of 2 poor meals per day (2 sp per day), and that the baby does not eat enough to be worth factoring into this.

That means they eat, on average, 1.7 gp of food per day, as a family, for a total of 11.9 gp worth of food per week. Whoops, thatís too much, as they only make 10 gp a week, right? Wrong, thatís the price for if you are buying your meals from someone else. Jill and Susy both have Profession (Cook) and make their own meals out of what they grow on the farm, plus whatever meat Billy brings home from when he goes hunting, meaning they are crafting their own meals, which means they pay half price, or 5.95 gp per week for food. Letís also assume that once per week Joe heads down to the village tavern for a mug of ale with the neighbors for 4 coppers, which brings it up to 5.99 gp per week.

So, the Commoner family is making 10 gp per week, on average, consuming 6 gp a week in food. That leaves 4 gp per week that can be spent on things like raw cloth for sewing clothes out of, assorted metal tools and implements from the blacksmith, or just squirreled away for a rainy day.

We'll assume there are 50 weeks a year (with a total of two weeks off for holidays and the like), that means our Commoner family can save upwards of 200 gp per year for luxuries, or the gods forbid, healing potions for injuries or sicknesses that are too severe for Jill to handle with her Heal skill.

Even without Aid Other, Joe would have a Take 10 check of 18 with his farming, meaning they would only lose out on 1 gp per week, which would still let him feed his family the same food, provide the same living conditions, and still be able to put away upwards of 150 gp per year, probably more because that would free Billy up to go hunting and gathering in the forest more often, meaning the weekly food bill would go down as well.

And, with that much money available per year, it is not a stretch of the imagination in any way to think that Joe could hire some help to expand his farm, upgrade his house, buy better equipment, and potentially get the equivalent of masterwork farming tools for another +2 to his checks so he can make even more money.

---

Now, in closing, it should be said that the idea of them having this much money does not necessarily mean they actually ever see that much actual coin. Joe and his family are capable of outputting 10 gp worth of produce per week, and consuming 6 gp worth of goods per week. It is almost guaranteed that most of the food money is actually coming out of what they grow (so they grow 10 gp worth of food, then turn around and eat 6 gp worth of it every week), and that anything else they get from others in the village is in the form of barter (2 bags of potatoes for that new hoe, for example).

So, while this commoner family may not have much money, they are in no way destitute, and are quite capable of living very comfortable lives, without the need to overall the entire D&D economy just to make it more "realistic" for them.

Mewtarthio
2007-02-05, 01:03 AM
That economic essay forgot the taxes of up to 5 gp per week they have to pay for the use of the land. And the 4 months of winter in which profession(farmer) doesn't work that well.

If Profession (Farmer) ever fails, he can fall back on any other Profession. Heck, the entire family could have Profession (Barrister) or Profession (Executioner) or Profession (Lady of the Night) if they wanted: Nothing prevents them. Well, except I'm not sure how Taking 10 works with Profession (Executioner). Still, at least one member of the family can bring in some extra cash with Profession (Cook) or Craft (Foodstuffs).

elliott20
2007-02-05, 01:23 AM
That article is actually pretty close as to how I would calculate the income of most commoners. (But it make several more assumptions differently)

1. changes in housing costs. Traditional D&D housing costs assumes that maintenance for a house every year is about 10% of it's sticker price. Of course, considering that we're probably talking about a 100 gp thatched roof, 10 gp a year is not all that bad.

2. the choice of profession in this case is irrelevant, since we assume labor mobility and so the only thing that matter is the capacity of said labor. In this case, we're assuming that the average household head would be roughly a level 2 commoner, with a max possible profession check bonus of +9, if you include the feat they get at first level.

So as far that analysis goes with commoner income, that's not an issue.

The real issue, however, is the cost of magic. The cost of magic is not a linear cost, and this was meant to prevent players from too quickly acquiring artifacts of ancient power too quickly.

The problem is that low magical items do not do enough on their own but their costs are already very prohibitive. For what they do, they simply just cost too much. The cost benefit ratio of most low level magical items simply just don't warrant the cost that is put to them.

If Joe commoner wants buy an item with some level 0 spell on it with a command word, he'll have to spend somewhere around 900 gp to get it. So say Joe Commoner wants a wand of "Purify Food and Water" in order to better improve the quality of his grown foods so that he can charge a premium on the food, he'll need to figure out where to get himself 900 gp for it. Now, coming up with the money might or might not be a problem, depending upon the various financial institutions that are available to him. (He could borrow it from a money lender or simply just save it up for some time.)

the issue is the recouping process. Indeed, how much more would cleaner food cost over say, food that is not as fresh? If this can give him a big enough bonus to his income, with say, an additional 250 gp a year (that's about an extra 5 gp or a +10 to his profession check, or the equivalent of having 5 extra farm hands successfully aiding him every week without fail), then such an investment might be worthwhile since you can recoup the investment in about 3-4 years. That's a worthwhile investment.

Of course, he doesn't have to go that route, necessarily, as he could always get a 50 charge wand to do the job for him at 375 and get 50 cubic feet of worth of food purified. But in the long term, it's worth more to simply get the command word version and sink 900 gp.

But still, I wouldn't bank on a level 0 spell providing a +10 bonus to his profession check.

Indon
2007-02-05, 11:07 AM
I would like to note one huge advantage even the most feeble of magical items has over mundane tools:

Magical items wear out much, much more slowly, if at all.

So yes, while it may take years or even decades in some cases to regain the cost of a magical item, it wouldn't be surprising for that magical item to last decades or generations.

And that's a benefit that even a +1 to a skill tool would carry (which would cost 100 gp and return 5sp/day on profession checks, for 200 weeks to make up the cost). Even a weak magical item's probably going to last more than 4 years.

elliott20
2007-02-05, 11:50 AM
true, the cost depreciation is not exactly an issue with magical items. At least, not one's without charge limits.

Neek
2007-02-05, 12:53 PM
D&D is a lot of things. One thing it's not, however, is an indication of real-world economies.

Let's start out with an abstract and then move ourselves from it towards something more concrete. The Profession (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/profession.htm) skill implies that you're full capable of doing this task to making money. The skill does not account for:

1. Amount produced (Take for example, John Lumberman, a Level 1 commoner. He put all 4 starting skill points in Profession (Lumberjack), and took Skill Focus (Profession (Lumberjack)), so he's get a +6 to his role.) We know that in a week's time, John Lumberman can, by himself, make 8 gp. How is that in actual wood? What of Jim Blacksmith, how many horseshoes could me make in a week?

2. The rules make no indication that he needs anything pertinent to his Profession. In the middle of the desert wearing nothing but what his diety gave him, he could make a Profession (Lumberjack) check. A sensible DM would rule, "No." Certainly, this is a common sense sort of thing. But it should be accountable. Mr. Lumberman needs his axe, and needs something to chop. Mr. Blacksmith needs metal to make those shoes.

This is a question that's important. I want to build a house. With the Fabricate spell, I'm merely paying a Wizard to do the labor. The goods have already been gathered.

This question wants me to create a system where players (or NPCs) can manage a community, for a seige situation or long-term community building (i.e., the Marcus Headpriest sends the Bob Paladin to Whereverwoods to build a missionary with 100 level 1 commoners, &c. &.c).

Back to the subject at hand, however.

Indon: Your calculations are correct, that it would ultimately take 200 weeks (4 years) to recoup the cost of even a +1 item, but think! Like you said, the farmer with the plow +1 (or the lumberjack with the axe +1, or the lady of the night with her tassles +1) may make 5sp/week, however his gain may be higher than that. Unless he's having to dig mithril and magicite out of his farmland, normal wear and tear wouldn't effect the item. I'm not sure what the cost (or time) of maintenance on a hoe would be, but the fact that never has to be worried about again is a very large factor (in my book).

One question, Elliott, how do you determine that a Wand of Purify Food and Water would cost 900 gp? Though a five use wand would probably jsut as effective.

elliott20
2007-02-05, 02:10 PM
from the SRD wondrous item price estimation table
item with unlimited casting on command word: spell level x caster level x 1800 gp

treat level 0's as half of level 1 spells. 900 gp.

Legoman
2007-02-05, 02:42 PM
A single farmer sinking 900 gp into a CW purify food and water? Of course not.

A village of farmers applying for a micro-loan, using the wand on the entire village's agricultural output? Why not? Even if it only gives a +4 to each farmer's check, with enough farmers, you'll recoup the cost in no time.

We should write a new compendium about how to be the Jeffery Sachs of D&D.

Indon
2007-02-05, 03:05 PM
Is Create Water a 0'th level spell?

Because I can definitely see domestic use for that, especially in places vulnerable to drought. Every day, just pour some fresh water back into the well.

elliott20
2007-02-05, 03:17 PM
yeah, create water is a level 0 spell.

hmm... legoman, I can see that proposition working out very well. A wand with infinite charges of purification of food could potentially increase food output for an entire region by a significant amount and is conceivable that an entire village might pitch in for it.

Legoman
2007-02-05, 11:01 PM
yeah, create water is a level 0 spell.

hmm... legoman, I can see that proposition working out very well. A wand with infinite charges of purification of food could potentially increase food output for an entire region by a significant amount and is conceivable that an entire village might pitch in for it.

Right, let's work this one through...

Say for example that that 900gp get each farmer in the village a +4 circumstantial to their profession check, since basically, their food will stay good a lot longer, and won't have any spoilage to begin with. Say that we have 10 families in this village, that each include a farmer, an of-age son, and a wife. Say the father is a 2nd level commoner with Skill Focus: Profession(Farmer), so he gets, say, +9. The wife gets a +5 on her (unrelated) profession check, as does the son, who is also a farmer.

So, taking ten, we have 10 families all getting a total of 49 gp/week, meaning that the entire village is earning, call it, 250gp/week, or 1000gp/month, in profit.

So, the first month they form the commonwealth, they all pitch in their earnings, and get the wand of purify food and water. With a +4 to 20 checks, that's another 40gp/week, communally. The wand will pay for itself by the end of the second month.

So, now the commune is garnering 1160gp/month in profit. They save up for the rest of the year, and buy a CW Wand of Soften Earth and Stone, giving them another +4 circumstantial, and easing their labors. Now they're up to 1320/month. After another couple of years, they go for a CW Minor Creation. After a few more, Wall of Iron, and so on...

Basically, with communal efforts and leveraging, it's more than possible for them to turn their po-dunk farming community into an agricultural powerhouse in the span of one lifetime - to the point that farming is just silly, and they'll just use their items to create most whatever they need.

Given enough time, the D&D world will be one massive, gigantic metropolis.

Yakk
2007-02-06, 09:21 AM
Except then the undead hordes kill them all, because they didn't spend any money tithing to support a church, or the orcish hordes slaughter them all because they didn't spend any money supporting an army...

:)

Indon
2007-02-06, 09:27 AM
Except then the undead hordes kill them all, because they didn't spend any money tithing to support a church, or the orcish hordes slaughter them all because they didn't spend any money supporting an army...

:)

That is _so_ what adventurers are for.

"Hey, you random-looking fellows who look like you don't fit in together! We'll pay you half of what we would a regular force if you wipe out these nearby orcs for us!"

elliott20
2007-02-06, 09:45 AM
ahhh yes, and thus everything comes in full circle as we figure out where how the economy runs.

but seriously, this is a great way to begin mapping out the beginnings of a communal development.

Now, these are all under optimal conditions and assuming that nothing horrible happens during their life time.

It also assumes the following assumptions

1. that magical items and spells confer a given bonus for a certain action. In this case, a level 0 is capable of giving a +4 bonus to farm checks.
2. the community can effectively leverage their resources together
3. somewhat stable environment
4. availability of such items

the last three assumption are merely a matter of GM choices and are inconsequintial. Of course, so is the first one if you want but we do in fact have a scale to use for this.

A level 0 spell, guidance, gives the target an effective +1 to any check they might perform. (Skill check included)

Now, due to the flexibility of the spell being able to do so for just about any action, I'm arguing that the +1 bonus is merely to ensure the spell can remain in first level and allow it the flexibility it needs. If the purpose was more specific, I dare argue that a +2 bonus to a particular skill check is perfectly logical.

Okay, so it's not as good as a +4, but with the fact that the magic doesn't run out, it would still pay for itself in no time at all.