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boomwolf
2015-06-03, 08:31 AM
Working on a mini system for a game I have ran into a question. As the system runs the concept of "most people got some magic" with a spell-point like system where you got 3/4 classes have SOME magic power (paladin level, bard level and wizard level) as an answer to "magic users are stronger" (well, part of it. The other part being magic is MAD and plays on all 3 mental attributes)

The mechanical side turned out fine (I'll post it later when the rest of the necessary parts will be fleshed out), but the question came from the fluff point if view.

What happens to a society with that much available magic? Putting aside the tippyverse and assuming no spell trap abuse, but simply a society where most people can cast at least a few basic spells.

What happens to economy? Will they even have classic farmers with water and food creation magic nearly in infinite supply? What sort of trade will happen, if at all? What things cover the basic tradeable needs when a shelter can be conjured, animals hunted by magic missiles, and no real tools are needed?

With near everyone able to learn destructive magic, will they bother inventing weapons? Metallurgy even? What will war look like? Will there be a point in war?

Will there even be kingdoms? When any random commoner can be a powerhouse capable of high destructive magic, how do you even maintain order, let alone enforce your rule?

Maglubiyet
2015-06-03, 08:49 AM
Are spell components still required? That would be where the primary production is focused. Instead of agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, and mining, you'd have component farmers generating the core materials required for the entire economy.

How does everyone learn magic? If it's not innate, then there would have to be a large education system in place to teach 75% of the population. It might look our modern primary and secondary school systems, with some prestigious colleges for the really talented.

Beyond that you'd probably have a service-based economy, with a variety of nice-to-have luxury items and services not necessary for basic survival.

EDIT:

With near everyone able to learn destructive magic, will they bother inventing weapons? Metallurgy even? What will war look like? Will there be a point in war?

Will there even be kingdoms? When any random commoner can be a powerhouse capable of high destructive magic, how do you even maintain order, let alone enforce your rule?

There will always be war and a consolidation of power. Individuals may be powerful, but groups will be even more so. Compare to modern day with freely-available firearms. Law enforcement has responded to the armed robbers with SWAT teams -- a magical world would likely develop the same type of thing (SMAT teams? Special Magic and Tactics...)

Likewise, militaries have artillery, tanks, jet fighters, aircraft carriers, missiles, etc. that seriously outclass even the most heavily-armed individual. Properly funded and trained specialized teams will always perform better than powerful loners.

boomwolf
2015-06-03, 11:41 AM
Component industry. That's an idea, as the spells are mostly the core ones, and as such many require materials.

The magic itself though, is more of a "figuring out" style, not quite natural not quite thought, you learn by experience. Spending skill points to actually gain spells and building up your choices from a set of lists avaliable to your class (complex system, won't get into it here)
Practically, it's rather individual and you need to discover it yourself as each has his own path. Only the magic focused 1/4 will require mentoring due to vast amount of magic they learn. So some teaching infestructure will still sit well.




The problem I encounter in armies, is that every individual bandit can acend to tank or jet fighter equivalent, even unequipped. You don't need the same infestructure in order to get political gamebrakers and WMD threats with magic as tech based armies do.

How does one hope to build a nation that can stand to such forces (though that us quite possibly where adventurers come in. They ARE the elite peacekeeper forces perhaps?)

ZeroGear
2015-06-03, 12:02 PM
Easiest way is simply "anti-magic". The whole idea that one guy can wreck havoc means that there is are half a dozed other guys with powers to counter it. This is also one of the reasons why classical weapons will still be around:
If you have a more "figure it out as you go" style, most people will want something reliable to fall back on once their magic hits some kind of limit (out of spell points, in an unfavorable situation, etc). The main reason why modern police officers are trained in hand-to-hand combat is precisely for times when using firearms is not advised (or they run out of bullets). Therefore, it is easier relying on a less powerful constant than always banking on the "big guns".
Think about the areas that you want to protect the most, then focus your might around those. Let's say the rulers is the most important guy there: he's going to have the mages with the most power in his personal guard, arming them with the most powerful weapons available. Then he is going to have a primary defense line that, while not as powerful magically, is able to face threats more consistently in areas where magic is restricted (say,a field of anti-magic).
This also feeds into the agricultural industry. While magic is all well and fine, people still often seek flavors or textures that are are harder to replicate with magic. Or, for that matter, magic may be augmenting the basic. If one can create infinite water, then it stands to reason they will use that power to take care of their crops.

Often times it doesn't boil down to an "either/or" situation. More often than not, stations "with 'X'" and "without 'X'" are similar, but 'X' augments almost everything.

Mark Hall
2015-06-03, 03:00 PM
Lots of impacts. In Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series, you can pretty easily be resurrected... meaning assassination is a method of sending a message to the person you're assassinating, and the types of assassination include "Dead but revivifiable", "dead dead", and "soul destroyed".

Teleportation is relatively easy and common, meaning there's a business in blocking teleports to and from a location, and tracing teleports.

Assuming all magic isn't simple to pick up, you'll have magical specialists... people who know how to do things that are not common, and make their living (for money to spend on the services of others) by simply knowing how to do things most people don't bother to learn to do.

In many ways, it's a post-scarcity, service-based economy. Everyone has enough to eat and drink, so it becomes a matter of "what can you do for me" rather than "what can you get me".

(Another side effect: in Brust's books, wearing heavy armor tends to attract combat magic, so most people don't wear armor. If simple magic completely overcame the benefit of wearing armor, then no one is going to bother to wear armor).

Maglubiyet
2015-06-03, 03:25 PM
The problem I encounter in armies, is that every individual bandit can acend to tank or jet fighter equivalent, even unequipped. You don't need the same infestructure in order to get political gamebrakers and WMD threats with magic as tech based armies do.

How does one hope to build a nation that can stand to such forces (though that us quite possibly where adventurers come in. They ARE the elite peacekeeper forces perhaps?)

Presumably, if there are bandits out to grab whatever they can, there will also be people who are invested in society willing fight to preserve their homes, family, friends, property, and way of life.

Some of these people will likely also be super powerful. And unlike the villains, they will enjoy the support of the state. They won't have to hide and they'll be able to draw on resources and manpower to bring criminals to justice.

Having the PC's track down the toughest cases sounds like a good premise for a campaign.

The Evil DM
2015-06-04, 01:17 AM
The effects of very common magic can be profound and require a lot of thought.

For the following discussion I am making the following assumption.

Every mortal creature in the campaign world over the human equivalent of age 14 can cast at least one cantrip, with full fledged adults at the age of 21 able to cast up to three.

Using rule set for D&D 3.5 which does not allow infinite cantrip use like pathfinder. (pathfinder makes this discussion even more interesting)

For simplicity I will assume all these commoner casters cast at level 1 power.

Assuming that 60% of the population is equivalent 14 or older with 50% at 21 or older the population can cast a distributed average of 1.6 cantrips per member of the population per day. This is not including any higher level casters.

Take a single cantrip, for this argument I will start with create water.

How will this affect the world.

A small town of 5000 people is suffering from drought. So the local ruler might declare, everyone create water into the wells or containers that can prevent evaporation. At 5000 people, 1.6 cantrips each and 2 gallons per cantrip they can create 16000 gallons of water. It is not a lot for the population but it is enough to prevent the people from dehydrating and enough to supplement any natural source no matter how low it gets.

16000 gallons is enough to fill a 20 foot x 20 foot by 5 foot deep pool.

in lands of frequent drought, this practice might even continue in good times to fill cisterns in preparation for shortage.

Note: I used this once long ago as a player in a desert campaign. We came across a village starving for water, GM mentioned they would pay 2gp per gallon. I was a low level character but still could cast enough create water to make 30 gallons per day. I went to an innkeeper and asked to buy jars. made a killin for the first couple of days until the GM got irritated that I had a source of endless gold. Sure it was only 60g per day but it was 2nd ed and gold wasn't as deflated as it is in 3rd ed. The mob wanting both their water and their money was fun.

Purify Food and Drink can also assist in a drought situation if people have access to bad water. But each level 1 application of Purify Food and Drink makes approximately 8 gallons of water drinkable rather than 2. (1 cubic foot of water is almost 8 gallons)

Purify Food and Drink can impact winter hunger by simply purifying rotting stores rather than throwing them out or to the pigs.

Other impacts can occur as well.

The mending cantrip - This cantrip can singlehandedly destroy a consumer economy, even more damage can be had through its big brother Make Whole. How many tailors, shoe makers, barrel makers etc make their living replacing broken items. Now everyone in the whole world can simply "Mend" an item if the use the magic before things are destroyed. Where these craftsmen now need to focus their efforts is on style. Mending cannot fix something that goes out of style. I can see it now..... Conan and Zoolander in a walk off.

Read Magic - Is everyone now suddenly literate, but only literate in the arcane?

As you can see this is a very complicated question that changes many things about a typical sword and sorcery campaign. In the campaign I run the long term strategy of a group of players was to build an empire with lots of babies. So they integrated into their fledgling religion, a small army of midwives who specialized in using their healing magic specifically to support child bearing and prevent death of either mother or child during that event. In effect the player created a magical version of prenatal care to increase the rate of population growth.

Magic can effectively substitute technology at large scales. Even a few spells cast over and over have big impact. The poster's above are correct that counter magic becomes much more critical. It would naturally become an arms race.

The nature of magic completely changes and you as GM need to put a lot of thought into each spell's impact on the whole setting.

neonagash
2015-06-04, 01:57 AM
I would think that assuming this has always been the case population would be either much lower or deeply stratified.

Consider how many unskilled laborers a single golem or elemental could replace. And they never get old, sick, hurt or need a break. 24/7.

why have bussers when the manager has unseen servant?

why dish washers with prestigitation?

Why porters or movers with floating disc?

Magic everywhere puts huge segments of the population out of work without creating much in the way of replacement industries.

The Evil DM
2015-06-04, 02:01 AM
I would think that assuming this has always been the case population would be either much lower or deeply stratified.

Consider how many unskilled laborers a single golem or elemental could replace. And they never get old, sick, hurt or need a break. 24/7.

why have bussers when the manager has unseen servant?

why dish washers with prestigitation?

Why porters or movers with floating disc?

Magic everywhere puts huge segments of the population out of work without creating much in the way of replacement industries.

All of the above is true. While I limited my conversation to cantrips even just a few casters able to sling out several fabricates per day can destroy industry.

Wall of stone replaces construction work.

Why wall of stone, when you have spell engines and wall of force.

Massive change to the campaign environment.

LokiRagnarok
2015-06-04, 02:03 AM
Side note: If it is a "figure out as you go" style, the rulers may put a lot into keeping the masses in the dark about how it works. For example, tell the people that yes, everyone can learn "household cantrips", but anyone trying battle spells without proper guidance by a state-funded battle mage will be consumed by unimaginable things from beyond the veil of reality, and the same fate will befall everyone they love and their dog.

Doesn't matter if it's not true. For inspiration, you may want to look into the first book of the Magician's Guild series by Trudi Canavan.

The Evil DM
2015-06-04, 02:09 AM
It could be interesting if a political movement rose up amongst the peasants to do away with magic interfering with jobs.

I could see anti-golem sentiment. Workers protesting the illegal use of golems as a labor force.

But, alternately one could go all happy and star trek where the people are all cared for by the golem labor force, and they are free to spend their entire lives in pursuit of the arts and high culture.

LokiRagnarok
2015-06-04, 02:23 AM
Oh, if we are talking about anti-golem-sentiments, you want to look at "Feet of Clay" by Sir Terry Pratchett, may he rest in peace.

Mark Hall
2015-06-04, 11:12 AM
I would think that assuming this has always been the case population would be either much lower or deeply stratified.
...
Magic everywhere puts huge segments of the population out of work without creating much in the way of replacement industries.

But a lot of it also comes down to whether or not you're a post-scarcity society.

If you still have a scarcity-based society... if average people need work to make either the basics of living or money to purchase those things, then mass unemployment because of magical doodads becomes a real problem.

If there's enough magic, well-enough distributed, to enable everyone to eat, be clothed, and have shelter, then a lot of the work normal people do becomes superfluous... no one needs to farm because there's available food and clothing, which are two of the main things you get from food.

Then you start moving into discussions common in sci-fi... what happens in a post-scarcity society.

neonagash
2015-06-04, 11:40 AM
But a lot of it also comes down to whether or not you're a post-scarcity society.

If you still have a scarcity-based society... if average people need work to make either the basics of living or money to purchase those things, then mass unemployment because of magical doodads becomes a real problem.

If there's enough magic, well-enough distributed, to enable everyone to eat, be clothed, and have shelter, then a lot of the work normal people do becomes superfluous... no one needs to farm because there's available food and clothing, which are two of the main things you get from food.

Then you start moving into discussions common in sci-fi... what happens in a post-scarcity society.


Even if you take scarcity out of it when it comes to food you still need to presumably pay rent and taxes. Plus there's always the fantasy equivalent of a huge plasma TV or escalade.

People still need to work to maintain quality of life. Were probably never going to be rid of the keeping up the Joneses effect either.

Heck there's lots of studies showing retirement age people who keep working live longer.

Even if you did create some Star Trek style utopia you might conversely wind up lowering life expectancy.

Mark Hall
2015-06-04, 11:47 AM
Even if you take scarcity out of it when it comes to food you still need to presumably pay rent and taxes. Plus there's always the fantasy equivalent of a huge plasma TV or escalade.

Perhaps; depends on how deep the magical effect goes. What if 1 out of every 10 people can cast Leomund's tiny hut 3/day? Or there's an effect where any three people can get together and do it, all without components? Without defining the extent to which magic lessens scarcity, there's a lot of potential.


People still need to work to maintain quality of life. Were probably never going to be rid of the keeping up the Joneses effect either.

Yes, but what sort of work? You seem to assume employment, to acquire goods and services above what is basically provided, and some will go that route... but others will do minimal work to maintain their level of comfort. They may be happy with just a few possessions. They may find work that they enjoy because they're freed of the need to be garbagemen.

It's the guidance counselor question of "What would you do with your life if you didn't have to worry about money?" Not many would answer "Garbageman." More than are willing to admit it think "I want to sit around in my underwear and play Xbox."

neonagash
2015-06-04, 11:37 PM
Perhaps; depends on how deep the magical effect goes. What if 1 out of every 10 people can cast Leomund's tiny hut 3/day? Or there's an effect where any three people can get together and do it, all without components? Without defining the extent to which magic lessens scarcity, there's a lot of potential.



Yes, but what sort of work? You seem to assume employment, to acquire goods and services above what is basically provided, and some will go that route... but others will do minimal work to maintain their level of comfort. They may be happy with just a few possessions. They may find work that they enjoy because they're freed of the need to be garbagemen.

It's the guidance counselor question of "What would you do with your life if you didn't have to worry about money?" Not many would answer "Garbageman." More than are willing to admit it think "I want to sit around in my underwear and play Xbox."

Economic outliers will always exist. But they are outliers.

They will never define society or economics as a whole any more than hipsters or billionaires do now.

It will always be the vast, uncountable hordes in the middle who define and make up those things.

Maglubiyet
2015-06-06, 05:02 AM
Even if you take scarcity out of it when it comes to food you still need to presumably pay rent and taxes. Plus there's always the fantasy equivalent of a huge plasma TV or escalade.

People still need to work to maintain quality of life. Were probably never going to be rid of the keeping up the Joneses effect either.

In a post-scarcity society, most of the jobs will be geared toward service. When everyone has enough to survive comfortably, the focus goes to intangibles, like quality. Create Food and Water is no longer good enough -- people want to experience the haute cuisine from the Realm of the Skylords and the spicy dishes from the Marakhal Islands. Chefs and caterers will be masters of mixing and matching different flavors using the Prestidigitation spell.

You'll have interior decorators who specialize in getting just that exact shade of Wyvernshell Rose and Twilight Shadow with Presitidigitation for your dining room color scheme. They'll coordinate it with the Permanent soft-glow Light spell orbs produced by the Arclight Guild. Oh, and the wife wants to accent it with a Permanent Silent Illusion by the famous artist Fabiozo. Along with the latest Sculpt Sound stone by the artist Jemma, it'll create the perfect ambiance for the dinner party tonight.

Won't that Lyza Jones be so jealous!

Mark Hall
2015-06-06, 09:11 AM
Economic outliers will always exist. But they are outliers.

They will never define society or economics as a whole any more than hipsters or billionaires do now.

It will always be the vast, uncountable hordes in the middle who define and make up those things.

Who are the economic outliers in that? I'm honestly confused by this response.

boomwolf
2015-06-06, 01:06 PM
Wow it's hard to get reception in a pillbox.
You guys gave some great ideas there, but let's sharpen up the situation.

Not every know every magic, or are even able to. Most are limited to fields they are naturally talented at, and have a well bound repertoire of similarly natured spells. Not every can create water, or use read magic. But everyone has SOMETHING. Some spells are common and practically anyone can get them, but most are rather personal and "you get what you are good at" kind of spells.

Of the total population about a quarter are near-sorcerer equivalent. Knows a quite a few spells of various levels, and can cast quite a few quite well. These guys need proper education, as they can expand beyond their "natural talents" into practically any field they choose. They are mostly viewed as "blessed" individuals.
This level if magic tends to lead to disregard of the body though. Many of them are physically weak compared to other people.

Another quarter is bard level. Knows less, and are far more restricted in their potential spells by their personal natural talent. they have lower potential in what they can aquire and how powerful the spell be.
Can probably make a living off it, because as though as they need to find their niece-they tend to excel at it, and use mundane skills to compliment it. Balanced, health lifestyle.

The third are ranger/paladin varaity. Able of very little, very specific magic (though specifically different for each person). They cannot rely only on magic, but they probably use and therefore train their body the most. These people will do mundane things complimented by magic, rather than the other way around.


The last quarter, are the magical inept. They lack any and all magic, and are therfore limited to the most physical labor, and generally don't get too far in life.
They are the source of trouble. Following your ideas of how such magic heavy economics will work I imagine them as a naturally occurring poor caste, as they simply can't compete.



So. Would be get a "legend of korra equalists" scenario here? Magic hate and attempts to out-tech magic and/or harm the "blessed"?
Perhaps even religiously flavored old school hatred and" witch hunts" (who are an ironically bad idea when said witches are very real, very powerful and the majority)

The leaders of the world on the other hand, are likely to be" blessed", and the best of the bunch. They may very well attempt to guide the young "blessed" into their own molds of "proper" magic. Maybe even without the younger being aware of the manipulation.

Maglubiyet
2015-06-06, 01:37 PM
This is very much like the modern world. It's possible for almost anyone to learn how to maintain their car/change their oil, make their own furniture, grow their own food, repair and replace aging roof shingles, paint the interior of their houses, cook Indian food, sew their own clothing, load their own ammunition, etc.

But in reality, we usually don't. Most of us invest a lot of time in our jobs and leisure activities. It's easier (and often cheaper) to just hire a specialist to do each of these tasks. In this magic-dominant world it would likely be the same. Why spend hours preparing spells daily when you could just pay some guy? You just focus on your particular specialty and probably get paid for doing it.

Mark Hall
2015-06-06, 02:39 PM
I think you're unlikely to see a Korra-like equalist faction, because of the demographics. In LoK, the non-benders are the vast majority, with a small bending minority wielding disproportionate power because of their abilities... being a bender doesn't make you a better ruler, but it's pretty much a requirement for the upper classes. The equalists were protesting the unfair advantage that bending gave people, even in fields that didn't really require bending.

In this case, the non-magical group is a distinct minority. This is going to breed far more resentment, with occasional stand-outs of brilliance.

Kitten Champion
2015-06-06, 03:35 PM
The reverse seems more plausible, magic-wielders discriminating against muggles due to their inherent inferiority or perceived inability to contribute to society. Particularly if magic is conflated with divine mandate or providence, the lack of magic could be symbolic of disfavour or some kind of karmic punishment for sins in past lives - naturally justifying a whole system of durable inequality wherein the Sorcerer Kings have heaven's mandate to rule while the muggles toil in obscurity.

Mark Hall
2015-06-06, 04:09 PM
The reverse seems more plausible, magic-wielders discriminating against muggles due to their inherent inferiority or perceived inability to contribute to society. Particularly if magic is conflated with divine mandate or providence, the lack of magic could be symbolic of disfavour or some kind of karmic punishment for sins in past lives - naturally justifying a whole system of durable inequality wherein the Sorcerer Kings have heaven's mandate to rule while the muggles toil in obscurity.

Sorry, had to cut off too quickly. I meant that there's going to be a lot more resentment, with occasional flares of brilliance, from the non-magical underclass. You will have rare individuals who lack magic but are still able to excel in their chosen field, but most of the non-magical ones will have a lot of resentment towards a magical upper class.

One example you might look at is the later books of the Halfblood Chronicles; while Elvenbane doesn't go into it, Elvenblood and Elvenborn go more into the position of elves who have little to no magic in their society. Whereas humans are enslaved (their natural psionic abilities are suppressed by elven magic), the most powerful of elven lords are close to deities and able to act with impunity against the lower classes.

Darth Ultron
2015-06-06, 08:24 PM
The ability to cast a couple spells per day per person, won't effect a world too much. Even more so if you limit the magic to the ''Core'' spells. At least 75% of the core spells are for pure combat and can do little else. And most core spells have very short durations, so they won't have much of a big impact on the world.

And the ''blessed'' with the magic, are not also blessed with intelligence, wisdom, creativity or even common sense. So while in theory a blessed spellcaster might have tons of magic power....they use it for things like levitation of a mug of beer.

And there is a separation between the ''easy'' magic way and the old fashioned way. Just take unseen servant. It sounds like a good idea that a blessed magic user can just cast the spell and never hire another worker again. The caster needs to stay close to the unseen servant, they can't just cast the spell and walk away. And they can't give it a list of things to do. The unseen servant can't do a lot of heavy tasks and no complex ones. A sack of dirty laundry can weigh 20 pounds and it can't lift that. And you have to cast the spell. You want the work started at 5am? You need to make up and cast the spell. In lots of cases a servant or worker would simply be better.

And with good and bad blessed you have a perfect ''arms race''. For every sneaky thief with invisibility is a guard with see invisibility. And so on.

Ettina
2015-06-07, 10:07 AM
Magic everywhere puts huge segments of the population out of work without creating much in the way of replacement industries.

Without creating replacement industries? I doubt this. All those people who would otherwise be unskilled laborers, bussers, porters, movers and dishwashers all have magic too.

Some of those jobs would stay, only using magic. For example, dishwashers use prestigitation, and wash way more dishes in the same time than they would otherwise. Porters and movers make and control the floating disks. It seems reasonable to me that a guy who uses the exact same spell every day for his work would be more skilled at using it - eg closer clean with prestigitation, less likely to accidentally drop something with floating disks...

As for jobs that would truly be obsolete, such as unskilled laborer, well, that's hardly the only job that guy could do. Maybe he'd be the one bossing the golem around, or something. (Incidentally, what 15 laborers could get accomplished is peanuts to what 15 golem-commanders could do. And the golem-commanders would work a lot less hard to do it.)

I mean, look at our society. When the Industrial revolution came, a lot of people were afraid that it would put large segments of the population out of work. But in fact, the unemployment rate was only around 8% per year during the height of the Industrial revolution (http://fee.org/freeman/detail/the-industrial-revolution-working-class-poverty-or-prosperity), not a huge change.

Even in our post-industrial society, with robots and computers replacing many jobs that existed during the Industrial revolution, massive 'technological unemployment' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_unemployment) has not occurred. Mainly because there's been a huge rise in IT jobs (the equivalent of the 'guy who gives the golems commands', among others).

Just like real world technological advances, mass availability of magic in D&D would not put great gobs of people out of work. Instead, it would massively increase productivity while creating new jobs that did not exist before and changing how many previous jobs are done. Meanwhile, unemployment rates would stay mostly the same. A few people in highly specialized areas of work would become unemployed (think lace-weavers when industrial looms were invented) but the majority of people would replace obsolete jobs with new jobs.

Cluedrew
2015-06-08, 05:22 PM
Whenever this question comes up I'm always of two minds.

Well that would just lead to a world like ours.
Something completely different.

Honestly, without an actual fantasy world to examine, our world is the best sources of data on cultural evolution we have. ... But it just isn't as fun is everything is as it is except magic (to me). It is easier to write though so you have a valid choice to make. You can just take some period of history and stick magic in front of everything to make it work.

Personally I would try to make it different just for fun. For instance the spell components industry, golem commanders and the like.

However... I don't think D&D style magic is the type you want for this. The spell slot system was created to represent a style of magic with very few, very powerful and very smart practitioners. Here you are essentially at the other end of the spectrum, with many weaker magic users. And as a set of game mechanics for adventures it might still work, but on this level I think you might have to make some adjustments, even if only in the flavour text.

For instance using magic makes you hungry, and therefore farmers still have to grow food. Or perhaps the "law of conservation of effort" applies in some way (although it followed to closely makes magic a bottle of effort for later, not D&D like). Maybe magic draws strength from some ambient force and as it is used the force in the area weakens, "You enter a low magic zone" deal.

Perhaps none of those work for you and that's fine. But the limit of D&D magic has usually been how hard it is to learn, if only in the narrative sense, and this removes that limit without really adding a new one. Maybe you can work with that but I would at least consider adding a new one.

anti-ninja
2015-06-08, 06:09 PM
Without creating replacement industries? I doubt this. All those people who would otherwise be unskilled laborers, bussers, porters, movers and dishwashers all have magic too.except 25% has none what are they gonna do most liely grants tords education go to the most talented (sorcerer level people and the occasional bard level)because they can put it the most use ,those 25%well all of the not exceptionally creative ,smart ect. are screwed (a.k.a) most of them ,because you cant even be a waiter cause Jim can wait twice as fast with unseen servant or manual laborer "I have tensers floating disk why do i need you?"and so it goes up the chain paladin level resent bard level because there magical prowess just puts them in the service industry, bard level hate sorcerer level cause sorcerer's get all the top positions in government and business despite bards amazing innate magical talent and finally the rare poor sorcerer resents everyone because despite his massive talent he cant devolve it do to his place in society .

boomwolf
2015-06-09, 03:54 AM
However... I don't think D&D style magic is the type you want for this. The spell slot system was created to represent a style of magic with very few, very powerful and very smart practitioners. Here you are essentially at the other end of the spectrum, with many weaker magic users. And as a set of game mechanics for adventures it might still work, but on this level I think you might have to make some adjustments, even if only in the flavour text.

The system is not an issue, as mentioned I'm making my own (heavily modified spellpoints system that factors all three mental attributes. Int for learning, wis for points and cha for power. as MAD as non casters. Perhaps even more. Half/third casters will be a "bit of everything" types)



Anti-ninja's hatred chains make sense to me. I think I'll capitalise on that and make inequality and the civil unrest and resentment it creates a major plot point.

The comparison made to the industrial revolution by ettina feels flawed if only for the reason everyone can learn to operate technology, but in the scenario, you might be born with no magic at all-you literally CAN'T learn "technology"


I think I'll play with the population concentration a bit. 15/20/40/25. Making the total magical population the same, but tilting them to lower magic,with truly exceptional casters being slightly less common. (opening the path for them to actually be considered special)



So. Into naming. Each class has got to have a name after all, preferably one that is used as easily ooc and ic.

The top would be "Gifted". They got natural talent in spades and lucked out on the roll of life.
The next should be "Adept" highly skilled and a competition to the Gifted, despite being not quite as lucky.
After them, you got the "Demotic". A name both for the fact they are more, and they are "nothing special".
And the bottom class will be "Brutes" a slur to their lack of magic and stereotype low mental skills as much as indication of their mechanics as magicless.

Cluedrew
2015-06-09, 02:25 PM
Fun fact, "D&D style magic" makes so little sense from a narrative perspective that even the D&D books don't use it. Well some of them mention it occasionally, but they don't stick to it.

But how exactly does magic work then? What costs are associated with it, how reliable it is, how easy is it to learn? These things are important. I recall a story were ~35% of people (or so) had superpowers but they were so random and inconsistent that there was no real societal change from it.

On the other hand if even 1% of the population has control weather you might get a bouncing clouds effect, bad weather comes and goes as wizards push the clouds away from them.

Flickerdart
2015-06-09, 02:42 PM
Let's go one step further: everyone in the world is wizards. Commoner? Now you get a pointy hat. Fighter? Now you get a pointy hat. Wizard? Now you get a second pointy hat.

Most people in the world are still level 1 with 10s and 11s across the board. This means cantrips, and one 1st level spell per day. Most people are still subsistence farming because that one spell per day doesn't do them a whole lot of good.

Meanwhile, the handful of elites in the world who are high-level will be doing the same amount of casting they've always been because they were already spellcasters.

boomwolf
2015-06-09, 02:55 PM
A bit hard to explain without the custom classes ready, but it's sufficient to say you get a limited pool of spells to choose from based on a set of level 1 choices (akin to picking domains-in multiples, expect it unlocks the ability to learn, not the spell itself) , and you spend skill points for actually learning spells. (the "gifted" class also has some features allowing them to brake beyond their "domains" a bit,akin to advance learning)

Wisdom score grants bonus spell points to enhance your pool beyond what is granted by your class, and charisma governs caster level and DC. Making pure int spam not enough to power a caster.

Once you LEARN the spell, it's as reliable as vacian casting, as long you got spellpoints to fuel your spells, regained at rest. Higher level spells naturally cost more to cast, and to learn.


Take flicker's note to the extreme. Every non-brute is likely to know a handful of low level spells of his "domains"(you level up from just living after all, role playing and social" encounters " grant xp.) although much slower than adventurers, warlords, BBEG, and other high risk characters. Even the farmer will hit level 3-4 with time.) but higher level spells won't be rare, as there are a LOT of casters of the gifted level, and even a mere demotic will be slinging mid level spells as he ranks up.

Knaight
2015-06-09, 03:39 PM
Much of the thread thus far has assumed specifically D&D spells, with associated costs. That's far from the only type of magic there is, and for this to be worked out, what magic can and can't do needs to be pinned down with some precision, along with some detail for how that is distributed. An actual list of magical effects would be really useful.

Cluedrew
2015-06-09, 04:16 PM
I've been assuming D&D because it was modified off of D&D, or at least it sounds like it was. It was right?

There seems to be some sort of wear on the user so the can't cast spells infinitely. Add on some sort of spell component cost and I think that becomes a reasonable cost, also if "levitate" takes more energy than lifting something that going over there and picking it up might be a better option most of the time. I feel this gives a good base so that not everything becomes magic.

Then you can decide when magic is a more effective option. That is what becomes spells and effects society. This will actually effect the players as well. For instance this is probably not a spell; Slash: If the cast uses this spell while holding a weapon the weapon will levitate and slash out about 1/2m before returning to the user's hand. Why isn't it a spell? because it is better to swing it with your arm. Even if such a spell existed it would not be taught that often because of its relative uselessness. So the players would probably not know it, it wouldn't appear in society and would not effect the setting.

On the other hand lets say almost everyone has some basic fire spells. A simple side effect of this is that flint and tinder may not included in a basic survival kit because in the unlikely event no one in your party can start a fire with a gesture you can pick it up on the side.* Or farms might be smaller with teams of people chanting spells to make the corps grow faster and renew the soil. You get to choose exactly what happens.

*Also, you're an adventurer: pick it up anyways.

Mark Hall
2015-06-09, 04:27 PM
Fun fact, "D&D style magic" makes so little sense from a narrative perspective that even the D&D books don't use it. Well some of them mention it occasionally, but they don't stick to it.

A lot depends on the book, I suppose. The fiction from the 1e and 2e era tended to mention it specifically, IME. Dragonlance, especially, made its function a pretty core part of the history. While the casters don't sit there explicitly studying every morning, they're mentioned to be doing so often, and the limitations form part of the setting.

Cluedrew
2015-06-09, 04:45 PM
Dragonlance, especially, made its function a pretty core part of the history.

Odd... I've read the entirety of the main Dragonlance and a lot of the other side stories (F- Firrr... Fireball!) but the only refrence to memorization I can recall is from the something Enchantress, Book 3 of the main Dark Sun books. It was only mentioned once when they ran out of spells.

Personally I think it has potential to be used in stories but it has often been glossed over.

Mark Hall
2015-06-09, 04:54 PM
Odd... I've read the entirety of the main Dragonlance and a lot of the other side stories (F- Firrr... Fireball!) but the only refrence to memorization I can recall is from the something Enchantress, Book 3 of the main Dark Sun books. It was only mentioned once when they ran out of spells.

Personally I think it has potential to be used in stories but it has often been glossed over.

This is a couple decades ago, but IIRC, it's a core part of why the Wizards of High Sorcery didn't just blow away all the people attacking them during the Lost Battles.

I mean, sure, memorization or lack thereof is convenient to story, but that'll be true of most magics.

Ettina
2015-06-11, 09:29 AM
The comparison made to the industrial revolution by ettina feels flawed if only for the reason everyone can learn to operate technology, but in the scenario, you might be born with no magic at all-you literally CAN'T learn "technology"

Analogy = cognitive disabilities and learning disabilities can make you unable to use certain kinds of technology

If you go off the mental stats & casting rule, only those with negative modifiers for Int, Wis and Cha would be unable to cast, which would be a pretty small proportion. (The majority would know cantrips/orisons, and a lucky few would have more power.) I think it would be reasonable to have them viewed as disabled.

Anyway, my point is that we've never had any real-life change that caused a substantial percentage of the population to be unemployed over the long-term, despite that outcome being predicted many times. I kind of suspect it's fundamentally impossible to have an economy with more than 10% unemployment for any substantial length of time, whatever the circumstances.

BTW, this thread has me really inspired. Mind if I steal this idea?

neonagash
2015-06-11, 02:29 PM
Without creating replacement industries? I doubt this. All those people who would otherwise be unskilled laborers, bussers, porters, movers and dishwashers all have magic too.

Some of those jobs would stay, only using magic. For example, dishwashers use prestigitation, and wash way more dishes in the same time than they would otherwise. Porters and movers make and control the floating disks. It seems reasonable to me that a guy who uses the exact same spell every day for his work would be more skilled at using it - eg closer clean with prestigitation, less likely to accidentally drop something with floating disks...

As for jobs that would truly be obsolete, such as unskilled laborer, well, that's hardly the only job that guy could do. Maybe he'd be the one bossing the golem around, or something. (Incidentally, what 15 laborers could get accomplished is peanuts to what 15 golem-commanders could do. And the golem-commanders would work a lot less hard to do it.)

I mean, look at our society. When the Industrial revolution came, a lot of people were afraid that it would put large segments of the population out of work. But in fact, the unemployment rate was only around 8% per year during the height of the Industrial revolution (http://fee.org/freeman/detail/the-industrial-revolution-working-class-poverty-or-prosperity), not a huge change.

Even in our post-industrial society, with robots and computers replacing many jobs that existed during the Industrial revolution, massive 'technological unemployment' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_unemployment) has not occurred. Mainly because there's been a huge rise in IT jobs (the equivalent of the 'guy who gives the golems commands', among others).

Just like real world technological advances, mass availability of magic in D&D would not put great gobs of people out of work. Instead, it would massively increase productivity while creating new jobs that did not exist before and changing how many previous jobs are done. Meanwhile, unemployment rates would stay mostly the same. A few people in highly specialized areas of work would become unemployed (think lace-weavers when industrial looms were invented) but the majority of people would replace obsolete jobs with new jobs.

The thing is that the industrial revolution is an incredibly poor analogy for this.

Those early machines were huge and required a lot of people to maintain them and supervisors to oversee those maintenance workers, labor simply shifted. Golems require no maintenance at all. Thus no maintenance workers and no supervisors.

The transportation industry grew and that needed people and more maintenance workers for the cars, trucks and trains. Magical gates mean no truckers. So no drivers or maintenance again. Elementals, golems and even undead could easily do the carrying from gate to gate. Sure you need a supervisor still. But you only need one (slightly more for undead) so one guy replaces dozens or hundreds.

Moving companies, sure you need a guy to cast tensers floating disc or use the want. But thats one guy. Everyone else, including the driver is replaced by one or two low level golems or clockwork automatons.

The list goes on and on. But basically the industrial revolution opened up new jobs by allowing people to specialize more and other technologies were developing at the same time. With magic thats just not the case.

Also of note is that I mentioned the population would likely shrink. And if you look it up families in western nations have gotten noticeably smaller and smaller from the time before the industrial revolution which allowed us to spend more on education per pupil to take advantage of developing tech.

This is much more akin to the coming robot evolution of the work force where many experts and studies agree that between 40 and 75% of jobs will be lost by 2040. Including in white collar fields previously thought immune like computer programmers, para legals, secretaries and office workers, even bartenders and if the google car actually works professional drivers.

You might say they need programmers, but no they dont. Because we are ALSO developing robots that can program other robots. Which I think is a recipe for a terminator apocalypse personally, but whatever....

Point is that while on the surface the industrial revolution looks like an analogy once you go any deeper it actually because pretty clear what a truly poor comparison it really is.

Cluedrew
2015-06-11, 04:19 PM
Who says magic is that convenient? I'll admit it often is shown as such, but a lot of times that is mere hand waving to explain why one wizard is able to do so much. If you want to examine the realistic implications of magic on the world, you should also examine the realistic implications of the world on magic.

The signs that animate golems wear down and their joints give out. Magically growing food from land could drain nutrients from the ground. And this is ignoring any built in limits in the magic system itself.

I do agree with the shrinking population thing. Even if you can't get a job casting spells even just preparing spell components could be a full time job. Etching out runs might take years of study to do properly. So there would be a place for the non-spell casters, although they would probably have to be trained for it.

Also the robot rebellion is a ways away yet. Computers can learn but they cannot discover.