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View Full Version : What is a post-Create Food, post-Purify Food and Drink, post-Fabricate society like?



Cyclone231
2007-12-24, 11:09 PM
Just like the topic says - what happens to a human society with these key low-level spells?

reorith
2007-12-24, 11:10 PM
my guess is it becomes very boring.

Solo
2007-12-24, 11:11 PM
Well, Food and clean food would be easier to come by, and casters with Fabricate would be able manufacture things more easily, but the effects may not be as far reaching as you think, for few high-level casters will spend a lot of time Fabricating things.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-12-24, 11:11 PM
It becomes an Utopia, or a disastrous mess.

MammonAzrael
2007-12-24, 11:15 PM
Like Star Trek, but replace replicators with Sorcerers.

Brom
2007-12-24, 11:22 PM
I can answer this question.

In my campaign world, I have a race called the Tiscern Empire. It's an all human Empire. They have entire standing armies of paladins -- the Church and state have a symbiotic relationship. The State supplies spies and rangers, the Church supplies warriors. Due to so many Paladins, the people in society have easy access to healing, remove disease, break enchantment, everything. It's a very healthy society.

I would say much the same thing would happen: While it may not exactly be the same as easily coming by food and water, not losing population due to disease would be roughly equivilant.

So what happened to my society? Expansion. Empire. That's what I would think would happen to yours. With more food easily on tap, you can support greater population, but that doesn't change the fact you need more space, which means you'll naturally infringe on the territories of others at some point. You'd have a very healthy, middle-class style where the working class could easily focus on something other than producing for the society, as spells could do that en masse.

Alternatively, your society could become hyperdeveloped in response to this; with no need to put serious work into basic supplies, they could study the abstract and become masters of technology.

I personally see the former more common, though, as I have seen historical examples of groups of people who are well supplied and fed turning to war when expansive motions fail initiailly. For further evidence, read about the Fertile crescent in modern day Iraq.

Emperor Tippy
2007-12-24, 11:30 PM
Those aren't actually the big spells.

The real question is "What is a society with Teleportation Circles like?"

And those spells become more useful when put into item form.

Look at the Decanter of Endless Water. 10 of those, for a total cost of 90,000 GP, provide enough water to cover the needs of New York City. Just build aqueducts around the city and the proper infrastructure and everyone has virtually unlimited clean, fresh water.

Decanter's of Endless water also provide unlimited energy, use them to power water wheels connected to generators.

Get a 20th level caster to create a use activated item of Create Food and Water. For 120,000 GP you can feed 8,640 people for ever.

For 900 GP you can get an at will item of Prestidigitation which means that the food can taste like whatever you want, you are always clean, your clothes are always clean, you house is always clean, etc.

JMobius
2007-12-24, 11:39 PM
For 900 GP you can get an at will item of Prestidigitation which means that the food can taste like whatever you want, you are always clean, your clothes are always clean, you house is always clean, etc.

Isn't even 900 GP a ridiculous sum for your average commoner? Its been a while since I've seen the stats on such things, but I'd think that would be well out of the price range of even the middle class.

RandomFellow
2007-12-24, 11:41 PM
@JMobius
Yes. But it isn't for several hundred commoners setting up a public food flavoring post.

Emperor Tippy
2007-12-24, 11:54 PM
Isn't even 900 GP a ridiculous sum for your average commoner? Its been a while since I've seen the stats on such things, but I'd think that would be well out of the price range of even the middle class.

Yes and no. It's a lot for a single commoner but not that much for a city.

Every time you come to pick up your food for the day the guy handing it out asks you what you want it to taste like today and cleans you and your clothes.

Or make the item Use Activated (for a cost of 1,000 GP) and make the activation condition "Pressing the button". Whenever the people come to pick up their food they press the button and then have an hour to use Prestidigitation.

Ralfarius
2007-12-24, 11:57 PM
It all depends on how prevalent magic really is. If every muddy hamlet had a low level cleric/druid/etc hanging about, then I could see Brom's explanations of imperial expansion or philosophical introspection. If a person with actual levels in a class that can cast those spells is a rare sight (which it supposedly is, in most worlds), then muddy hamlets aren't going to be any less muddy/hungry/broken down than in a world without such spells.

Also, another possibility is that such magics are guarded jealously by the highest rung of society. Perhaps growing food becomes illegal, punishable by horse-whipping/outlawing/execution? The peasants are hungry, and they must do the bidding of the people whom control the supply of conjured food and water. Everything is rationed out based on who has or hasn't curried favour with the controller of said magic, and resistance is difficult at best after a few generations without knowledge of growing/collecting food.

Sort of an Orwellian view of things, I suppose, but it seems entirely likely to me.

Mark Hall
2007-12-25, 12:18 AM
Get a 20th level caster to create a use activated item of Create Food and Water. For 120,000 GP you can feed 8,640 people for ever.


There's a problem, here. Once you've got those 8,640 people fed, they're going to make babies. Which means you've got 8,640+ people, who will need more food. Now, granted, you might be able to construct another of these 120,000gp devices, but you keep running into the same problem... you feed all of your people, they're going to keep making people. Since the food so created can't really be traded (it becomes inedible in 24 hours without magical intervention), your creation of masses of food is most useful for things like deployed armies and emergencies and other situations where your people aren't expected to be productive, or food production has been interrupted.

Mind you, it's wicked useful to have such a device; a military with that can deploy rapidly, and stay out far longer than any other military would think possible... but it's of limited civilian use for a growing population.

Emperor Tippy
2007-12-25, 12:28 AM
Yes, you need to do other things for a growing population, like construct more food production items.

Oh, one of my favorite spells is Smoky Confinement (Complete Mage). It's a 6th level wizard spell that turns a person to smoke and stores them in a small crystal vial (focus that costs 100 GP). They can stay in there indefinitely with no problem. It's a great way to put people in stasis and has interesting effects on society if its use is widespread.

Woot Spitum
2007-12-25, 12:32 AM
Unless it's an absurdly high-magic society, there are not going to be enough spellcasters for it to make much of a difference, even if said spellcasters were willing to dedicate their lives to becoming the equivilant of fast-food joints.

Emperor Tippy
2007-12-25, 12:40 AM
Unless it's an absurdly high-magic society, there are not going to be enough spellcasters for it to make much of a difference, even if said spellcasters were willing to dedicate their lives to becoming the equivilant of fast-food joints.

That's why it only works if you can make it into items.

Although the one spell that really changes the world the most is Teleportation Circle.

Woot Spitum
2007-12-25, 12:47 AM
That's why it only works if you can make it into items.

It would change warfare a great deal. A few strategic casts of Mordekainen's Disjunction could bring an entire country to its knees.

Emperor Tippy
2007-12-25, 12:50 AM
Not really.

Mark Hall
2007-12-25, 12:57 AM
Yes, you need to do other things for a growing population, like construct more food production items.

Then you run into problems with supplying the capital for these food production items, ET. It's 120,000 per item; average cost is just under 14 gold per person... but also 4800 XP per item. These items quickly become an ineffecient way to support your society.

tyckspoon
2007-12-25, 01:10 AM
You'd see a lot more villages and towns in deserts, swamps, and other traditionally non-inhabitable places. The usual problem with having any large amount of people living in such areas is a lack of drinkable water. Create Water or a Decanter of Endless Water takes care of that problem, while an item of Purify Food and Water can act as a desalination or purification plant for places that have salt or swampwater.

Cuddly
2007-12-25, 05:49 AM
Then you run into problems with supplying the capital for these food production items, ET. It's 120,000 per item; average cost is just under 14 gold per person... but also 4800 XP per item. These items quickly become an ineffecient way to support your society.

14gp/person is pretty cheap for unlimited population growth. You can support people anywhere. Combine that with some ritual magic to have everyone contribute xp to the pool (now we tax your lifeforce AND pocketbook!).

Now that farmers don't have to spend all their lives growing food, you can put them to work doing better things. Imagine a society where thousands of commoners have to labor to support a dozen of the upper class.

Cuddly
2007-12-25, 05:55 AM
14gp/person is pretty cheap for unlimited population growth. You can support people anywhere. Combine that with some ritual magic to have everyone contribute xp to the pool (now we tax your lifeforce AND pocketbook!).

Now that farmers don't have to spend all their lives growing food, you can put them to work doing better things. Imagine a society where thousands of commoners have to labor to support a dozen of the upper class.

Also, after the initial population explosion, you'll see the population growth begin to slow down for the following (potential) reasons:
1. Education. Lower birthrates are (almost) always coordinated with the education of women.
2. Higher cost to raise a child. It costs a lot to put a child through college and provide the proper cultural rites (car, xbox, etc).
3. A move away from an agrarian society reduces the need for 8 pairs of hands to help with the crops.

Emperor Demonking
2007-12-25, 06:00 AM
You'll have your population of wizards on one class and then have poulations of commoners helping the wizard. You'll have less undeveloped land as well. I doubt fabricate will be used bery much.

Cuddly
2007-12-25, 06:04 AM
You'll have your population of wizards on one class and then have poulations of commoners helping the wizard. You'll have less undeveloped land as well. I doubt fabricate will be used bery much.

Presumably we'd see greater upwards mobility. Those with the talent to become a wizard (ie, high int score) would do so, no longer limited by circumstance.

Thrythlind
2007-12-25, 11:49 AM
PC classes make up a very small percentage of a game world.

Percentage rundowns will tend to look like this:

75% commoners of any level
15% experts of any level
6% warriors of any level
2% aristocrats of any level
1% adepts of any level
1% PC classes of any level

the PC classes are split pretty evenly, originally just between the original classes:

Bard 9.09% of any level
Barbarian 9.09% of any level
Cleric 9.09% of any level
Druid 9.09% of any level
Fighter 9.09% of any level
Monk 9.09% of any level
Paladin 9.09% of any level
Ranger 9.09% of any level
Rogue 9.09% of any level
Sorcerer 9.09% of any level
Wizard 9.09% of any level

each of which comes to about 0.0909% of the total population.

which roughly means that, for every druid and/or cleric of any level there are approximately 5,000 people.

and similar for every wizard and/or sorcerer

this is why magic as a whole does not have a massive effect on society.

There are simply not enough spell casters to provide food for everybody.

Theli
2007-12-25, 12:01 PM
Even with a decent amount of paladins and clerics...don't most religions have a work ethic?

Likely, the people capable of this believe that their gods would prefer if their people fed themselves through hard work. (Even good gods may not want their power abused, when people can just as easily feed themselves. And not every priest is a cleric besides..)

OR, the majority may be a bunch of elitists that don't give a damn about commoners.

Either works fine.

We have the capability to feed everyone in the world RIGHT NOW. But we don't, because of culture, politics, ideology, greed, etc, etc, etc.

So you're asking the wrong question. It's not why the made-up DnD society doesn't keep everyone from starving. It's why WE don't.

Merry Christmas!

FlyMolo
2007-12-25, 12:33 PM
Actually, I've thought about this some, and magic wouldn't have much effect. Fabricate is basically like a factory. Faster, maybe, and takes up less space.

Also, you have to be 10th level to cast fabricate. Which makes you really really rare. Basing demographics on the HD, how many people can take 3 times the punishment of your average joe? Even an extremely experienced commoner would have at most 3 levels of commoner. Magic would be around, certainly, but the cost of most magic items is simply prohibitive. Each gp is 1/50 of a pound, right? And the cost for things scales interestingly. A pound of wheat is 1/10th of your average weekly wage as a manual laborer, while a spyglass costs 20 pounds of gold. A +1 dagger costs 2302 gp. That's 23020 sp, or 23 thousand weeks of work for an unskilled laborer, or 46 pounds of gold. The reason people become adventurers seeking treasure despite the mortality rate is because you can earn a simply ridiculous amount of money.

And 14 gp is 140 weeks of manual labor. Almost 3 years. So not really that cheap for governments.

PirateMonk
2007-12-25, 12:36 PM
PC classes make up a very small percentage of a game world.

Percentage rundowns will tend to look like this:

75% commoners of any level
15% experts of any level
6% warriors of any level
2% aristocrats of any level
1% adepts of any level
1% PC classes of any level

the PC classes are split pretty evenly, originally just between the original classes:

Bard 9.09% of any level
Barbarian 9.09% of any level
Cleric 9.09% of any level
Druid 9.09% of any level
Fighter 9.09% of any level
Monk 9.09% of any level
Paladin 9.09% of any level
Ranger 9.09% of any level
Rogue 9.09% of any level
Sorcerer 9.09% of any level
Wizard 9.09% of any level

each of which comes to about 0.0909% of the total population.

which roughly means that, for every druid and/or cleric of any level there are approximately 5,000 people.

and similar for every wizard and/or sorcerer

this is why magic as a whole does not have a massive effect on society.

There are simply not enough spell casters to provide food for everybody.

One out of seventy-two commoners (using 3d6 stat generation) have at least one mental stat high enough to be an excellent caster, if they somehow received the proper training. With proper investment by the state, those numbers could change drastically.

Of course, this is unlikely to happen, due to the problem of most governments being unwilling to create threats to their power.

JackMage666
2007-12-25, 12:50 PM
Eberron happens....

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 01:11 PM
I would like to note that the very first effect would be that almost nobody would have a job anymore. Not that they would need one.

With free food, water and items being mass manufactured by just a couple of items/wizards, there would be no more peasants, no smiths, no other manufacturers. The entire economy would stop working as it used to. Some people express concern about the gold costs of all of this - I am not even sure whether such a country would even continue using a currency, if everything is basically for free anyway.

So how would this proceed? A short brainstorming brings these options to mind:

I. Utopia
With everyone having so much time, they use it to study and further themselves mentally. They develop arts and technology so far unheard of, hone their magical skills, and everyone becomes a true master in something. Every commoner is a wise sage, every person in the streets is a guru of unheard of mental discipline and knowledge. Growing more and more mysterious and incomprehensible to their neighbours, the people of this realm do not seem quite like other humans anymore - they have transcended to a higher state of consciousness. However, in their wisdom, they remain friendly towards their less fortunate former fellow men, and help out with their superior reflection and knowledge, whenever asked for help.

II. Apathy
Without a purpose, a thing they need to do, the people lose all will to live. They just go around, doing insignificant and useless things, without any true emotion while doing so. Their lives are dull and drudgery, but they fear to change anything, for fear of losing their self-created paradise. All vitality and force is drained from the realm; if you venture through the streets, you might think the people are ghosts, silently stumbling around without purpose, and not living people anymore. Think Brunnen G from LEXX.

III. Warrior society
All the freed up workers and peasants can be drawn into the military. That the military is even further boosted as compared to their neighbours thanks to their infinite supplies in the field, without logistical problems, is a further bonus. Suddenly, instead of having, what, 1%? 5%? of the population at arms, it's 95%. The masters of the art of war become renowned and admired in the realm. It begins to spread and conquer neighbour after neighbour, with nigh nobody being able to withstand its power.

IV. Dystopia
Infinite time, and no purpose - so the people become decadent, they hunger for enjoyment, lust for entertainment - but soon, they have already done everything, tried everything, tasted everything, so their appetites grow stronger, darker - to end their boredom, some turn to violence, torture and intrigues, directed against anyone. Nobody is save on the streets anymore; death and gore are everywhere. The art of creating pain becomes as much admired as the art of creating beauty. Soon, the entire realm revels in an unheard of orgy of sin and torment. Think Dark Eldar from Warhammer 40k.

Whichever option one would take, it is quite likely to be, at the same time, a magocracy - the wizards who provide the infinite supply allowing for these societies would probably take over. This also means that, possibly, these wizards might struggle amongst each other for power, completely unrelated to what the rest of the society does.

Sebastian
2007-12-25, 01:30 PM
Those aren't actually the big spells.

The real question is "What is a society with Teleportation Circles like?"

And those spells become more useful when put into item form.

Look at the Decanter of Endless Water. 10 of those, for a total cost of 90,000 GP, provide enough water to cover the needs of New York City. Just build aqueducts around the city and the proper infrastructure and everyone has virtually unlimited clean, fresh water.

Decanter's of Endless water also provide unlimited energy, use them to power water wheels connected to generators.

Get a 20th level caster to create a use activated item of Create Food and Water. For 120,000 GP you can feed 8,640 people for ever.

For 900 GP you can get an at will item of Prestidigitation which means that the food can taste like whatever you want, you are always clean, your clothes are always clean, you house is always clean, etc.

of course all this is based on some assumptions, that could not be necessariliy true.

For example, that just because a magic item is possible by the rules it is also possible in your world, or your casters automatically know how to create it. Something that apparently is not stated strong enough in the core books is the "rules" to create magic items are not rules at all, those are guidelines, subjected more than any other part of the book to the DM approval.
Another thing to consider are the gods and their interaction with men, all those are Divine spells, the gods could have their reasons to not allow a unlimited source of food to their believers (for example, in 2nd edition i had some strong guidelines about when one could use create food, use it when no other source of food was availlable was perfectly ok, use it when there were other source of food but you have some reasons to not use them was acceptable at least for short periods (i.e. you were in the forest and you could hunt but choose to use Create Food to save time), but use it just to save the money when there is a perfectly good inn in the village was ground for a warning and some slot left blank when asking for spells. Of course, that was 2nd edition, I don't even think that would be possible in 3rd, but I digress...)
and, of course, the last assumption, that exist a caster of high enough level to create it and he is wulling to use 4 months of time and the thousands of xps necessary to create it, the weakest of them, but still a strong assumption in same worlds.

Valairn
2007-12-25, 02:01 PM
PC classes make up a very small percentage of a game world.

Percentage rundowns will tend to look like this:

75% commoners of any level
15% experts of any level
6% warriors of any level
2% aristocrats of any level
1% adepts of any level
1% PC classes of any level

the PC classes are split pretty evenly, originally just between the original classes:

Bard 9.09% of any level
Barbarian 9.09% of any level
Cleric 9.09% of any level
Druid 9.09% of any level
Fighter 9.09% of any level
Monk 9.09% of any level
Paladin 9.09% of any level
Ranger 9.09% of any level
Rogue 9.09% of any level
Sorcerer 9.09% of any level
Wizard 9.09% of any level

each of which comes to about 0.0909% of the total population.

which roughly means that, for every druid and/or cleric of any level there are approximately 5,000 people.

and similar for every wizard and/or sorcerer

this is why magic as a whole does not have a massive effect on society.

There are simply not enough spell casters to provide food for everybody.

Of course that's assuming the campaign setting even uses statistics like that. I doubt very many actually do.

puppyavenger
2007-12-25, 02:33 PM
umm actaly, check the PC class demographics for the standard amount of PC's.

Valairn
2007-12-25, 03:05 PM
Like I said, it depends on the campaign setting, that fact can't even be argued, just because some book somewhere in the cosmos has a listing of statistics concerning PC's does not make it so for every campaign setting. Take FR for instance, there are high level wizards running around everywhere, and you can't even be considered a major player until you are almost epic-level.

There is no wand waving technique that says all campaign settings must use these demographics! Seriously.

RandomFellow
2007-12-25, 03:09 PM
My campaign settings tend to have 20% PC-classed. Otherwise, the PCs can go around butchering people wholesale with very little (or very delayed) chance of consequence.

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 03:19 PM
I don't mean to put words into the OP's mouth, but I strongly presume that when the OP asked what impact these spells would have on a society, he intended these spells to be sufficiently available to have an impact in the first place.

Of course, without specifications how much, exactly, these spells are available, this still leaves the freedom to discuss how a higher or lower availability would lead to different societies, but hey, all the more opportunities to be creative, right?

So how about we drop the discussion about the prevalence of PC-classes and return to the effects the spells would have on a human society? I'd still love to hear someone comment on my proposals on what would happen assuming a very high availability of these spells. :smallwink:

Tura
2007-12-25, 03:23 PM
First of all, if indeed some kind-hearted casters roamed the villages and supplied food for everyone, the entire economy would instantly collapse. The poor farmer would have food on the table, that's nice, but who would he sell his crop to? He would have nothing of value to exchange, and would forever lack anything at all he can't produce by himself. He would be unable to pay taxes to his liege lord who, supposedly, protects him in return, so he would end up in jail or worse. And so many others would go out of business: merchants, plow-makers... You see, in a medieval setting, big money may be in enchanted items or (more realistically) spice and the like, but the huge majority of the people lives on.. food.

However, it would never get to that point. Having the arcane/divine knowledge to make food for everyone doesn't mean you can do it. Not unless you happen to be an impossibly powerful man SOCIALLY. What we sometimes forget in AD&D is that a powerful PC (and Gandalf was a 5th level wizard, I remind you :smalltongue: ) isn't a decision-maker. A 1st level aristocrat who was just crowned King has practically more power than your 6th level adventuring party. If you piss him off, he'll send on your head an army, a band of assassins and all the wizards/clerics he can find. And if he has a lick of sense, he'll do just that the minute you start giving food away. Because the existence, lack and surplus of food was the way the ruling class controlled the people. They would never allow their resources to be scattered in the wind like that without the prospect of profit.

Being able to make food doesn't necessarily mean you want to. It's like the real world. We have all the resources we need to feed the entire planet and provide a decent quality of life for everyone. We don't do it. And not for lack of technology, but for lack of will. It'll reduce our profits...

PS- Yeap, I scored 97% on the "Are you more a Utopian or Dystopian sort?" test.:smalltongue:

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 03:38 PM
Ah, much better. :smallbiggrin:


First of all, if indeed some kind-hearted casters roamed the villages and supplied food for everyone, the entire economy would instantly collapse. The poor farmer would have food on the table, that's nice, but who would he sell his crop to? He would have nothing of value to exchange, and would forever lack anything at all he can't produce by himself. He would be unable to pay taxes to his liege lord who, supposedly, protects him in return, so he would end up in jail or worse. And so many others would go out of business: merchants, plow-makers... You see, in a medieval setting, big money may be in enchanted items or (more realistically) spice and the like, but the huge majority of the people lives on.. food. Perfectly agreed; however, you seem to be running on the assumption of an ordinary economy and an ordinary medieval setting, into which suddenly the possibility to create food supplies out of nothing is introduced. What if the society was already built with the premise of this magic being available? Then there is no poor farmer who will be driven out of business by food-supplying casters, because there are no farmers in the first place - there is no need for any. For the same reason there will be no liege lords, because nobody will require to loan large amounts of land (no farmers), and there will, in fact, be no such thing as an economy, at least not in the sense we mean it.


However, it would never get to that point. Having the arcane/divine knowledge to make food for everyone doesn't mean you can do it. Not unless you happen to be an impossibly powerful man SOCIALLY. What we sometimes forget in AD&D is that a powerful PC (and Gandalf was a 5th level wizard, I remind you :smalltongue: ) isn't a decision-maker. A 1st level aristocrat who was just crowned King has practically more power than your 6th level adventuring party. If you piss him off, he'll send on your head an army, a band of assassins and all the wizards/clerics he can find. And if he has a lick of sense, he'll do just that the minute you start giving food away. Because the existence, lack and surplus of food was the way the ruling class controlled the people. They would never allow their resources to be scattered in the wind like that without the prospect of profit. Agreed; if this was suddenly introduced into a world so far working on a medieval society, that's pretty much what would happen. Now, depending on the numbers, charisma and guile of the food-supplying casters, this could well throw the entire country into civil war, if the masses, driven by the promise of a no-work no-hunger paradise, would side with the casters and not the old ruling class. This, incidentally, also provides us with a motive for the casters - they are not acting out of altruism, they want to replace the old ruling class (and, being the sole supply of food and items in the following society, their rule would be a firm one indeed - they could, in fact, be just about as tyrannical as they wished to, once the masses have forgotten how to grow their food for themselves, and still nobody would be able to rebel).


Being able to make food doesn't necessarily mean you want to. It's like the real world. We have all the resources we need to feed the entire planet and provide a decent quality of life for everyone. We don't do it. And not for lack of technology, but for lack of will. It'll reduce our profits...See above.


PS- Yeap, I scored 97% on the "Are you more a Utopian or Dystopian sort?" test.:smalltongue:I admit that, amongst the scenarios I set up in my pre-previous post, I find the Dystopian one the most interesting as well. :smallbiggrin:

Arakune
2007-12-25, 04:13 PM
Everyone loves theoretical distopias... :smallbiggrin:

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 04:29 PM
Of course! They make for an awesome source of conflicts and provide a great backdrop for heroes to find out where they stand, to fight, to struggle (and fall :smalltongue: )!

Yaki
2007-12-25, 04:32 PM
However, it would never get to that point. Having the arcane/divine knowledge to make food for everyone doesn't mean you can do it. Not unless you happen to be an impossibly powerful man SOCIALLY. What we sometimes forget in AD&D is that a powerful PC (and Gandalf was a 5th level wizard, I remind you :smalltongue: ) isn't a decision-maker. A 1st level aristocrat who was just crowned King has practically more power than your 6th level adventuring party. If you piss him off, he'll send on your head an army, a band of assassins and all the wizards/clerics he can find. And if he has a lick of sense, he'll do just that the minute you start giving food away. Because the existence, lack and surplus of food was the way the ruling class controlled the people. They would never allow their resources to be scattered in the wind like that without the prospect of profit.
unless a high level caster is able to kill and replace the level 1 aristocrat. this is pretty easy to do for a high level caster.

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 04:36 PM
unless a high level caster is able to kill and replace the level 1 aristocrat. this is pretty easy to do for a high level caster.Maybe, but that would be boring. A full-blown civil war, with half the people siding with the aristocracy and the other half with the apparently altruistic (but in fact having a secret agenda) casters would make for a much more interesting scenario to roleplay in. Hence, the aristocrat should definitely have some magical-assassination-countermeasures. :smallwink:

Azerian Kelimon
2007-12-25, 04:38 PM
Cue GNR's "Civil War", and cue some kind of superpowerful Will o' the Wisps which are immune to ALL spells and ready to cooperate.

Solo
2007-12-25, 05:00 PM
Those aren't actually the big spells.

The real question is "What is a society with Teleportation Circles like?"

And those spells become more useful when put into item form.

Look at the Decanter of Endless Water. 10 of those, for a total cost of 90,000 GP, provide enough water to cover the needs of New York City. Just build aqueducts around the city and the proper infrastructure and everyone has virtually unlimited clean, fresh water.

Decanter's of Endless water also provide unlimited energy, use them to power water wheels connected to generators.


But what do you do with the excess water? Have the water wheels feed it into a Sphere of Annihilation?

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 05:06 PM
But what do you do with the excess water? Have the water wheels feed it into a Sphere of Annihilation?Oooh, that's nice, too - just let them flow as they wish to, forming a river which goes, well, somewhere. Out of view, out mind, not their problem anymore.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, a few hundred miles farther away, a lake begins to form where never a lake had existed before. Or maybe the ocean levels begin to rise. At any rate, the kingdoms at the lake/coast begin to lose their land, and are forced to go to war (to conquer more land to replenish their losses). Little do they know that this supposed Utopia is the real cause for their anguish...

Et voilà, you have created a society which causes environmental damage, destroying the world and the "lower" civilisations. :smallbiggrin:

Sebastian
2007-12-25, 05:07 PM
Ah, much better. :smallbiggrin:

Perfectly agreed; however, you seem to be running on the assumption of an ordinary economy and an ordinary medieval setting, into which suddenly the possibility to create food supplies out of nothing is introduced. What if the society was already built with the premise of this magic being available? Then there is no poor farmer who will be driven out of business by food-supplying casters, because there are no farmers in the first place - there is no need for any. For the same reason there will be no liege lords, because nobody will require to loan large amounts of land (no farmers), and there will, in fact, be no such thing as an economy, at least not in the sense we mean it.


But 20 level casters not just spring out of nothing, so before you can have the first caster able to create the first magical feed-everyone machine (because you will never have enough clerics to feed everyone ) there must be some kind of society and very probably in that society procuring food (either by farming or hunting) will be a large part of the economy.

Tura
2007-12-25, 05:13 PM
however, you seem to be running on the assumption of an ordinary economy and an ordinary medieval setting, into which suddenly the possibility to create food supplies out of nothing is introduced.
That's perfectly true. I arbitrarily assumed that we have a more or less standard setting. Because otherwise, it wouldn't even remotely resemble the medieval fantasy setting as we know it, or as it is described in the books.

What if the society was already built with the premise of this magic being available?
Ooo, that's intriguing, let's go wild!

Then there is no poor farmer who will be driven out of business by food-supplying casters, because there are no farmers in the first place - there is no need for any. For the same reason there will be no liege lords, because nobody will require to loan large amounts of land (no farmers), and there will, in fact, be no such thing as an economy, at least not in the sense we mean it.
Yeap, pretty much.:smallsmile: Although about the economy part, I think it'll be exactly as we know it, only not in the Middle Ages and not in the country, but in today's big cities, where nobody produces food, it's all "imported" (magic!). So in this case, I imagine abandoned fields and crammed cities-states where food is not an issue, yet everyone still works for a living. When one human need is met, two more spring up (the Hydra effect.:smalltongue:). Or rather, once the basics are covered, there's only one need left: social advancement. How this is achieved depends. Today it may be a nice car, house, a prestigious job, or fancy clothes and gadgets. Things the middle class can achieve with hard work and luck, and the lower class can usually only look at and envy, and settle for an older model. I think similar needs for a "medieval" setting would just mean a horse instead of car and a slightly different fashion sense.

And what jobs would those be? Well, few people (commoners) would actually produce anything, so they would be mostly providing services for the rich(er). Show me the lord who prefers to be served by an Unseen Servant than by a pretty young girl, and I'll show you a madman.

Of course, all that assumes social advancement is actually possible (no matter how unlikely), so a caste system wouldn't work.

being the sole supply of food and items in the following society, their rule would be a firm one indeed - they could, in fact, be just about as tyrannical as they wished to, once the masses have forgotten how to grow their food for themselves, and still nobody would be able to rebel).
That makes perfect sense. (And then this Prometheus guy steals the spell-book and educates some trusted disciples who in turn educate the people, and it's suddenly 1789. See? I can do Utopia too.)

....
So, to wrap it up. This is all very interesting, but also very complicated. A DM has to think a lot of things through before running it, and has to rewrite the whole fluff, basically. Alternatively, you can have most of the world as in the standard setting, and make an isolated area/ faraway nation/ secret island where all these crazy things happen.

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 05:52 PM
But 20 level casters not just spring out of nothing, so before you can have the first caster able to create the first magical feed-everyone machine (because you will never have enough clerics to feed everyone ) there must be some kind of society and very probably in that society procuring food (either by farming or hunting) will be a large part of the economy.In a world in which magic has existed for thousands of years, there can be either casters or the items themselves available when some empire collapses and a new society has to be built. Yes, I realise how much more probably it would be to be replaced by yet another regime of the stronger ones, but hey, it would be possible to write a story explaining this in detail. Real history is full of weird stuff happening too, so why shouldn't we toy around with interesting ideas? :smallwink:


That's perfectly true. I arbitrarily assumed that we have a more or less standard setting. Because otherwise, it wouldn't even remotely resemble the medieval fantasy setting as we know it, or as it is described in the books. That's true, it would not. Then again, I interpreted the OP as asking for our opinion how a society which put these spells to massive use would differ from the ones presumed ordinarily (possibly just because I found that interpretation to lead to the most interesting debate :smallwink: ).


Ooo, that's intriguing, let's go wild!Right at it! :smallbiggrin:


Yeap, pretty much.:smallsmile: Although about the economy part, I think it'll be exactly as we know it, only not in the Middle Ages and not in the country, but in today's big cities, where nobody produces food, it's all "imported" (magic!).Good point. Of course, we still have stores, offices (which partially are occupied with creating stuff as well, like programmers, and partially with bureaucracy to manage the production, import and so forth) and repair facilities, all of which would not be required in this society either. So the focus on the little jobs that remain would be much larger than in our society, or they would start coming up with jobs even our society has not heard of yet.


So in this case, I imagine abandoned fields and crammed cities-states where food is not an issue, yet everyone still works for a living. When one human need is met, two more spring up (the Hydra effect.:smalltongue:). Or rather, once the basics are covered, there's only one need left: social advancement. How this is achieved depends. Today it may be a nice car, house, a prestigious job, or fancy clothes and gadgets. Things the middle class can achieve with hard work and luck, and the lower class can usually only look at and envy, and settle for an older model. I think similar needs for a "medieval" setting would just mean a horse instead of car and a slightly different fashion sense.Possibly there would be a great growth in the demand for art. When everyday-life items can be mass-produced, the real distinction between wealthy and poor would become their possession of stuff that can not be - or was not, even if it could have been - mass-produced.


And what jobs would those be? Well, few people (commoners) would actually produce anything, so they would be mostly providing services for the rich(er). Show me the lord who prefers to be served by an Unseen Servant than by a pretty young girl, and I'll show you a madman.And a lot of servants would it be - with the entire population living in the cities, and in such wealth, with so little available jobs, the vast majority would become servants. I imagine that, while the birth rate would finally slow down as the education would go up, it would still take a few generations to do so, during which there would be a population boom of incredible proportions. There would be servants for everything, any petty wish the lord might have. Perhaps a servant at every door to open it for him? Servants serving his servants? Probably, there would also be lots of designers, artists, performers - all the jobs which can not be replaced by mass-production. Statues, paintings and tapestries everywhere, the cities growing in beauty, houses with curious design, and music and poetry at every step? Maybe!

In short, we would be looking at a very hedonistic culture, prone to falling to decadency, but also revelling in art, luxury and aesthetics. This could lead to either spiritual development (assuming a very optimistic stance; in fact, probably rather assuming a very fairytale-like stance, but that's fine, we're in a fantasy world after all), with art, wisdom and philosophy blooming like never before - or maybe rather in cruelty and a society which tries to satisfy even the darkest passions of those in power (or maybe even everyone), as the Utopia makes a heel turn and plummets into the darkest Dystopia imaginable :smallamused: .

Sounds fun! :smallbiggrin:


Of course, all that assumes social advancement is actually possible (no matter how unlikely), so a caste system wouldn't work. True; maybe (though that's rather unlikely, and unnecessary in a society which is already so much off the norm) they would implement some curious system for determining social ranks, something like who can outperform the other in a given discipline (martial arts, music, whatever).


That makes perfect sense. (And then this Prometheus guy steals the spell-book and educates some trusted disciples who in turn educate the people, and it's suddenly 1789. See? I can do Utopia too.)At least until this setting's version of Robbespierre shows up. :smallamused:
But it would be a most fascinating scenario to play in!


....
So, to wrap it up. This is all very interesting, but also very complicated. A DM has to think a lot of things through before running it, and has to rewrite the whole fluff, basically.I thought that's why this particular DM turned to this forum with this very request? :smallbiggrin:


Alternatively, you can have most of the world as in the standard setting, and make an isolated area/ faraway nation/ secret island where all these crazy things happen.That's more or less what I assumed to be the intent of this.

Cuddly
2007-12-25, 05:58 PM
and there will, in fact, be no such thing as an economy, at least not in the sense we mean it.

What do you mean?
Just because food can be fabricated doesn't mean people won't wish to purchase things.

In fact, I would argue that we are currently living in a post-Create Food society, or something very close to it. We in the West spend very little on food. Most food we eat is for cultural or aesthetic reasons- not nutritional. Yet we still have an economy.

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 06:24 PM
What do you mean?
Just because food can be fabricated doesn't mean people won't wish to purchase things.

In fact, I would argue that we are currently living in a post-Create Food society, or something very close to it. We in the West spend very little on food. Most food we eat is for cultural or aesthetic reasons- not nutritional. Yet we still have an economy.If you continue reading, you'll notice that I already admitted to having been utterly wrong about this part in the very next post. :smallwink:
Though it is still correct in the sense that the economy will have little semblance of medieval economy - in the medieval economy, the vast majority of the population worked on farms (agriculture), a smaller part at the creation of items (industry), and the smallest part at providing services. If I remember the Sociology lessons from school in 5th grade, thirteen years ago, correctly, those are called the first, second and third economic sector, respectively. In our society (and also the one we are discussing in this thread), the proportions would be pretty much reversed - nigh everybody would work in the third sector, nobody would work in the agricultural sector anymore.

Tura
2007-12-25, 06:24 PM
Possibly there would be a great growth in the demand for art. When everyday-life items can be mass-produced, the real distinction between wealthy and poor would become their possession of stuff that can not be - or was not, even if it could have been - mass-produced.
Great! And here's another idea, something that definitely isn't mass-produced: home-cooked food. It is possible that agriculture won't be entirely abandoned, but kept in selected areas, to feed exclusively the upper class. The rest eat the same (sustaining, but barely intriguing) magical... gruel. The rich may eat boiled potatoes and consider it an exotic curiosity. Imagine what roast pheasant will look like. Moreover, the rich enjoy diverse tastes. [Try to eat your favorite food six days in a row. You'll hate it from the bottom of your heart.] Big bucks!


Probably, there would also be lots of designers, artists, performers - all the jobs which can not be replaced by mass-production. Statues, paintings and tapestries everywhere, the cities growing in beauty, houses with curious design, and music and poetry at every step? Maybe!
..patrons of the arts, few privileged artists, hundreds of dirt-poor ones begging for some noble's attention. We drop middle-ages altogether, and take renaissance for basis?


In short, we would be looking at a very hedonistic culture, prone to falling to decadency, but also revelling in art, luxury and aesthetics. This could lead to either spiritual development [...] or maybe rather in cruelty and a society which tries to satisfy even the darkest passions of those in power
The possibilities are endless.


At least until this setting's version of Robbespierre shows up. :smallamused:
What can I say, my utopias tend to be a bloody mess too.:smalltongue:


Just because food can be fabricated doesn't mean people won't wish to purchase things.

In fact, I would argue that we are currently living in a post-Create Food society, or something very close to it. We in the West spend very little on food. Most food we eat is for cultural or aesthetic reasons- not nutritional. Yet we still have an economy.
Yes, I think we covered that, the idea was that the economy will have no similarity to the agricultural one of your standard D&D setting.
EDIT- Ah, ninja'd. Never mind.:smallsmile:

PS- Also, for those who argue how a high-level party could eat the low-level king for breakfast...
Even if that is technically true, it ignores all the social aspects of the game. Congratulations, you killed the king, long live the king! Now what? And wait, there are five of you... which one? And all those back-stabbing nobles and rich merchants (nine out of ten, the ones actually ruling...) who now bow gracefully in front of you, will put all their cunning and resources to get you out of the way as soon as they realize you don't serve their interests. Will you kill them all? Replace them with trusted allies? How many allies can you trust, really?

Of course, all that applies to a role playing-orientated game. The king's assassination would work like a charm in a hack'n'slash game. But hack'n'slash, by its very definition, deals with monster CRs, and not with "what (would the society be like) if?" questions, like this one. :smallsmile:

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 06:43 PM
Great! And here's another idea, something that definitely isn't mass-produced: home-cooked food. It is possible that agriculture won't be entirely abandoned, but kept in selected areas, to feed exclusively the upper class. The rest eat the same (sustaining, but barely intriguing) magical... gruel. The rich may eat boiled potatoes and consider it an exotic curiosity. Imagine what roast pheasant will look like. Moreover, the rich enjoy diverse tastes. [Try to eat your favorite food six days in a row. You'll hate it from the bottom of your heart.] Big bucks!Pretty much anything that could be created or fabricated by magic could still retain a hand-made version exclusively for the nobles (nevermind whether it is superior, equal or possibly even inferior - it's displaying one's social status that counts!).
Ironic how, suddenly, instead of the peasants hardly ever seeing any sorts of magic, and the only magician in a few dozen miles radius being the court mage of the nobleman, it would be the common folk who would live off magic, and the nobles who surround themselves with non-magical creations. :smallbiggrin:


..patrons of the arts, few privileged artists, hundreds of dirt-poor ones begging for some noble's attention. We drop middle-ages altogether, and take renaissance for basis?It's reasonable that this society would take a great cultural leap. But, indeed, renaissance fits like a glove.


The possibilities are endless.I kinda begin to have the desire to include such a society in a setting of my own creation. :smallamused:


What can I say, my utopias tend to be a bloody mess too.:smalltongue: Well, considering roleplaying is like telling stories, and all stories revolve around some sort of conflict, I think here this is a good thing! :smalltongue:


PS- Also, for those who argue how a high-level party could eat the low-level king for breakfast...
Even if that is technically true, it ignores all the social aspects of the game. Congratulations, you killed the king, long live the king! Now what? And wait, there are five of you... which one? And all those back-stabbing nobles and rich merchants (nine out of ten, the ones actually ruling...) who now bow gracefully in front of you, will put all their cunning and resources to get you out of the way as soon as they realize you don't serve their interests. Will you kill them all? Replace them with trusted allies? How many allies can you trust, really?Ooooh, another fascinating setting. Too bad my players would never do such a thing. But hey, this thread is a goldmine for awesome ideas! :smallbiggrin:


Of course, all that applies to a role playing-orientated game. The king's assassination would work like a charm in a hack'n'slash game. But hack'n'slash, by its very definition, deals with monster CRs, and not with "what (would the society be like) if?" questions, like this one. :smallsmile:I think next time when people ask me why I prefer the storytelling approach, I'll just redirect them here. :smallbiggrin:

Eldritch_Ent
2007-12-25, 07:04 PM
Okay, I'm going to ignore the philosophical side of it and go for the simple economuic side of it... Fors the most part.

120,000 gold and 4800 xp (Which comes out to 24000 gold's worth of XP) betwen 8400 people... That's 14 gold and 30 silvers per person, and about 1 xp per 2 people. (Remember, item generation costs may be payed by anyone with the proper spell or resource, so we can split the xp costs.)- Let's say the males of the families have to give up 1 xp. Even for a level 1 commoner, that's practically nothing. (Just slaughter an extra pig this year to make up for it.)

And after they work the cost off, however they do it, they start "making a profit"- Now that they've covered their costs with their income (which for a regular peasent would have more or less gone entirely into food, cleaning, new clothes... Staples), Now is suddenly generating a surplus, which can be, say, taxed at a 50% rate if they have children- So now not only are the peasents not costing any upkeep, they're still generating the same income as before, which can be applied to building more peasents, etc.


As for population growth, here's the funny thing about it- more people means proportionally more work. Sure you might have to build another food item ever year, Assuming they have one child for every existing person, of course. This will eventually plateu, as any given technology can only support a given population, but it's FAR more efficient than farming.

So my question is, how often is a PC character born? One out of every 1000 people? If so, that's probably another wizard or cleric out of each "unit" of people, One who can- with a few levels, perhaps tutored by the wizard who started this whole thing, make these devices on his own, and so on and so forth...



In short, OP- "MASSIVE SUSTAINABLE POPULATION GROWTH".

Tura
2007-12-25, 07:16 PM
I kinda begin to have the desire to include such a society in a setting of my own creation.
Heh. Curiously enough, I'm currently building a world with a few nations, one of which happens to be (*cough) an anarchist's utopia. Remote island, no monetary system, magic used for the good of the people [Creating Food and Everything!], collective decision-making etc. Obviously I'm ignoring a lot of the statistics "how many commoners in the population" etc, because this is a land where everyone is equally (and more than adequately) educated, and most rules simply don't apply. [Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" is one of my favorite books and obvious inspiration.] Now, I want to keep it mostly nice, fair and just, actually, but it absolutely has to have a subtle twist.
... Any ideas?

(I think this is very relevant with the topic, I'm not trying to hijack the thread.:smallsmile: )

Winterwind
2007-12-25, 07:34 PM
Heh. Curiously enough, I'm currently building a world with a few nations, one of which happens to be (*cough) an anarchist's utopia. Remote island, no monetary system, magic used for the good of the people [Creating Food and Everything!], collective decision-making etc. Obviously I'm ignoring a lot of the statistics "how many commoners in the population" etc, because this is a land where everyone is equally (and more than adequately) educated, and most rules simply don't apply. [Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" is one of my favorite books and obvious inspiration.] Now, I want to keep it mostly nice, fair and just, actually, but it absolutely has to have a subtle twist.
... Any ideas?I presume it's supposed to be a strictly sociological twist, not something resembling Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" Omelas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_From_Omelas)", or such a simple thing like "They lived so long in reclusion, on such a higher standard than all other tribes, that they have grown to despise all barbaric foreigners", huh?
Okay, how about this: Since everyone is equal, they had to come up with a solution who, in their society, is responsible for passing judgement when crimes (however defined in this society, it can be a completely different definition than usually) ever occur after all - they don't have a lord who could do that, and they don't even want to go as far as to give someone as much authority as a judge would have - you said this was an anarchistic utopia, after all. Therefore, they decided that all their judicial decisions shall be made by children. Those are innocent and pure (might also be believed to have divine input, perhaps especially if the children in question are, actually, suffering from mental illnesses), and won't misuse this power, right? What's that you're saying, Mr.Golding? I can't hear you! :smallwink:

Justyn
2007-12-25, 08:24 PM
What do you mean?
Just because food can be fabricated doesn't mean people won't wish to purchase things.

In fact, I would argue that we are currently living in a post-Create Food society, or something very close to it. We in the West spend very little on food. Most food we eat is for cultural or aesthetic reasons- not nutritional. Yet we still have an economy.

That is something that would definately work: The created food would be fare that keeps your gut full enough so that you have no need for subsistence farming. Now, at this point, things can go in one of two ways: and it depends on wiether the people suppling said goods are malevolent or benevolent.

Now, the Malevolent type has been done several times already. Let's take a look at what the benevolent type might look like:

If the producers of the infinite amounts of food are banevolent, than they are probably going to make enough food of suffincent quality to keep the populace fed, content, and alive. And for the most part, likely nothing else. Most likely nothing above preserved meats like salt pork and corned beef, some bread, maybe some cheese, and water. Most likely everyone will be given one, two, maybe three sets of clothes per season, and more likely than not, a jacket, coat, or cloak for the colder months. If you want anything else, you're going to have to buy it yourself.

Now that all of the basic needs are met, it's really not all that good, huh? Comparing it to the life the peasants had before, it is awsome; they don't need to worry about famine or ill weather. But when you get to it, it's still not very good: if everyone has everything that they need, what will they do?

Have we concidered that they don't have everything that they want? When you eat the same thing everything everyday, that gets old pretty fast. Now we start to get into luxury goods: things that are wanted but not needed to live. So you want some chicken for dinner tonight? Okay, go to the poultry farm and pick one up. Yup there's about a dozen jobs right there, taking care of chickens. You want a leather coat? Go to a tailor and have one made: That employs the tailor, the tanner, and the people that on the cattle farm. Now you want to go down to the local pub and show off your nice new jacket after dinner, you have a drink. You get some beer. You just supplied the pub owner, the waiter/waitress, the people that work and the brewery, and the people that work and the farms that produce the barley, the hops, and the other starches used in the production of said beer; top that off with the fact that beer comes in both ale and lager, so there are two different breweries right there. What if you want wine? Your money goes to the vineyard and the distiler instead.

And what if you want some fancy clothing? Made of cotton? Your money is going to that horde of people that have to pick that cotton. Wool? Shepherds like to eat. Silk? Silkworms have to be taken care of in order to produce that nice fabric. And on top of all those people working to produce the raw goods, it will be more likely for the people who own the textile plants to just pay about 10gp a day (3sp per day per worker x 30 workers) for labor rather than 10th level wizards at around 500gp for each cubic foot of raw material. That's simply business: businesses are in business to make money, and it is most cost efficient to hire lots of mostly unskilled workers for a decent wage rather than one wizard for an exorbitant rate. Not only will the business owners get more money, but the economy will be boosted by lots of jobs and lots of money moving around.

And here's something: even with the fabrication going along? You will still need to get more and more raw materials. Recycling will not solve every problem out there, there are going to be people out there that are collecting swords: those people are not going break those swords and give them to be reforged as scrap: that metal is going to sit on a shelf, slowly corroding to worthlessness (it will take hundreds or even thousands of years to get there if made well and properly taken care of, mind you). All of the goods that are taken off the market for good need to be replaced: miners won't lose out on jobs.

I'm tired now. Anyone not get where I'm going here?

Jack_Simth
2007-12-25, 08:25 PM
How many different ways can a high magic society go?

Mechanically...

Let's see... if we permit custom command-word items of spells not useful in combat 5th level and below as by guidelines (spell*caster*1800+miscellaneous stuff), and keep it just to the Core spells, a society where the casters in charge are; assuming that the caster has a homunculus do the actual usage of the item (as an intelligent construct, it isn't restricted on using command-word items, and as a construct, it needs no rest), and the people making this happen actually want a utopia:

Create Food and Water: a 27,000 gp market item, feeds 216,000 people forever ... if you can get that many in one spot willing to eat bland food.
Prestidigitation: a 900 gp market item, makes the Create Food and Water stuff palatable. You need two Homunculi, one to work each item. Feeding those 216,000 people costs you 16,050 gp and 1,272 xp. Now, Core, you need two characters to do this - Prestidigitation is a Sor/Wiz spell, and the spell requirements for a homunculus are all Sor/Wiz spells, while Create Food and Water is a Cleric spell, but we'll assume a Warlock, Artificer, Mystic Theurge, or whatever doing this). Ideally, we find something better than a Homunculi to do the work of distribution, but they're core. The big downside of Homunculi, however, is that when you're committing them to this, you can't really leave and have them continue to do the job.

Wall of Stone: A 81,000 gp market item (40,500 gp and 3,240 xp) gives basic shelter to everyone. Make a wall where you can, smash it up, and lay the pieces down elsewhere for a base for a new Wall of Stone. You can now put housing virtually anywhere you've got land. Shelter for everybody, that needs no maintenance. We are, however, getting into a spell that has combat applications - as Wall of Stone can be used to entrap. You really only need the 27,000 gp at-will item if you want to get everyone under cover overnight - for the most part, you'll just want to cast this directly. Making an item of it is for when you want to have your intelligent construct servants go out and deal with the construction (send along a real golem or a Complete Mage Effigy creature, or whatever, to do the lifting/carrying/bashing; put it under the command of the homunculus). Shape Stone (Cleric-3, 27,000 gp market) is also a very useful thing to have at will in initial construction, for making doors/windows/and so on (if the moving parts clause causes it to fail, just try again).

A bunch of Decaturs of Endless Water - lets go with 10, just for grins- mounted and left on Geyser and feeding an Aqueduct system (made by way of Wall of Stone) and everyone has fresh water available as needed (4,500 gp, 360 xp each).

Let's see... one Mystic Theurge that can cast as a Wiz-9 and a Cleric-9 (basic MT Build: 12th level character) doing this needs two Homunculi (1,050 gp and 78 xp each) and one Effigy Creature (an Ape, maybe, at a 5,000 gp body with 4 HD; market price 13,000 gp, cost to create 9,000 gp and 320 xp), plus at-will Create Food and Water (1,080 xp, 13,500 gp), at-will Stone Shape (1,080 xp, 13,500 gp, using the Cleric version), at-will Wall of Stone (40,500 gp and 3,240 xp), ten Decanturs of Endless Water (4,500 gp, 360 xp each, so 45,000 gp and 3,600 xp), and at-will Prestidigitation (450 gp, 36 xp) can make a city basically overnight, and support a very big population with no real difficulties, for 9,512 xp, 123,000 gp, and nearly a year of crafting ... and this city can support 216,000 people, in isolation. Can also be done with one 5th level Cleric and one 9th level Wizard.

Now, that's if one 12th level (or one 9th level and one 5th) character(s) with the right feats and a lot of cash and XP to burn want(s) to set it up. Lesser Planar Binding / Lesser Planar Ally for a Lantern Archon for a few days is a pretty easy way to deal with lighting.

Really, if the custom items are permitted, you could hire the items needed in basically any D&D Metropolis for under 250,000 gp.

But that's just the mechanics; quite frankly, you don't really care. What will happen depends on who tries to live in this city, and the character of those who run it.

Someone who doesn't really know what they are doing will give free food and shelter to everyone who comes. This is bad on that scale - most people can't do nothing long-term, and that's what most of them will end up doing. Eventually (unless it's stopped by whoever sets it up) you'll end up with a bloody mess - almost nobody has any real value to society, when it comes down to it, and people's thoughts about others will eventually fall into line with this. This is how you get the town of ghosts with little to no will to live (they can't see any value in themselves), rampant gang violence and lawlessness (nothing better to do), or dueling in the streets (they have to do something to keep themselves entertained).

A better option will be to charge something for the food and shelter, and use the money to hire everyone. You'll need varying levels of shelter (you'll want everything from dirt-cheap apartments that basically amount to a 10x10 room with a door and a window facing the street, to mansions with multiple floors, servant's quarters, and Illusory Wall decorations (cast directly - they're all unique), all at differing amounts of rent). You hire them, and make sure they have something to do - whatever they do for you, you want them doing something measurable and useful. People's pay (and thus, their living arrangements) are based on how good they do the task (you need to keep them working, and keep them striving for better things). Long-term, you can't make a monetary profit (there's really only so much coinage, so you can't take it out of circulation) but you can get all the goods you want this way (and you need to make a lot of goods, because you want everyone who is able to do so working - just to give them something to do). You'll want to take Leadership for the followers to run the government for you, but managed well, this will turn into whatever the person at the head wants - whether that's a society of artists, a society of craftsmen, a society of sages, a society of warriors, some mix, or something else - assuming no outside interference. Food will still be grown the old fashioned way, at the request of the rich.

There's a problem, though - the food and water supplies are based on a very small handful of very valuable objects. These can be stolen, damaged, or destroyed very easily - and when they are, society collapses completely due to starvation. There can be something of a buffer, but this city is going to be starving itself out in a matter of days if that single at-will item of Create Food and Water is stolen or destroyed ... and it takes a month to craft one. Enter the PC's....

Moff Chumley
2007-12-25, 08:29 PM
An interestng circumstance would be if low-level wizards replaced farmers socially? Perhaps a new NPC class could be designed that allows a character to cast very few non-combat spells many times per day. 'Twould be very interesting for players to wander into a society were almost everyone is a low-level spellcaster, who were treated like dirt by everyone else.

Also, with almost all the need for manufacturing cleared up, everyone could devote their time to other activities: adventuring. :smallamused:

Tura
2007-12-25, 08:42 PM
I presume it's supposed to be a strictly sociological twist, not something resembling Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" Omelas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_From_Omelas)"
You presume correctly.
[Another LeGuin's favorite, but it has little to do with systems of government and everything to do with the Harming The Innocent Vs The Greater Good problem. Like Watchmen, only shorter. :smallamused: ]


Therefore, they decided that all their judicial decisions shall be made by children. Those are innocent and pure (might also be believed to have divine input, perhaps especially if the children in question are, actually, suffering from mental illnesses), and won't misuse this power, right? What's that you're saying, Mr.Golding? I can't hear you!
Ahem... I don't think a Lord of the Flies twist qualifies for "subtle". :smalltongue: I don't want my PCs running into something obviously irrational or morally unacceptable, but something that will make them stop and say "wait, there's something fishy here" or perhaps "oops, this can't work forever because resources run out/ citizens are getting fed up with that damn magical gruel and want to taste quails from the continent for a change" etc etc.
That said, it's a very interesting idea. (Divine input doesn't fit with the setting, but.. whatever.)


There's a problem, though - the food and water supplies are based on a very small handful of very valuable objects. These can be stolen, damaged, or destroyed very easily - and when they are, society collapses completely due to starvation. There can be something of a buffer, but this city is going to be starving itself out in a matter of days if that single at-will item of Create Food and Water is stolen or destroyed ... and it takes a month to craft one. Enter the PC's....
That was also a very nice analysis, and it kind of answered my own question too.
... I think I'll go to sleep now. It was rewarding, but exhausting. :smallsmile:

FlyMolo
2007-12-25, 09:31 PM
I think that basically, what you're going to get is a hiveworld. Wall of Iron, fabricate, and create food and water? A wizard with these items is just going to build up and out. A soon as somebody catches on to the create food and water item and sells cheap food in a city to raise enough cash to afford the other items, it's all over. It's like Pun-Pun. Once it starts, it simply baloons out of control. Homunculi building crews raising apartments in a matter of days. Permanent animated objects to aid in lifting the walls of iron into place. Undead, if it comes to that.

Basically, the surface of the world will expand outwards and down into the earth. The ultimate in high-rises. Gang warfare would be a distinct possibility. Perhaps magocracies battling it out over control of the wands of create food and water and wall of iron. Eventually, the weight of all those above would render the lower reaches dangerous. Get a wall of force to hold them up. Reverse gravity or giant balloons of helium.

This gives me an idea for a setting or two. The golems created to build and repair were constructed especially to expand such a city upwards and outwards. Someone forgot about them. (and if the golems weren't supervised, there'll be no maps, and people sent to stop the golems could get lost.) There was a rash of disease, and everyone fled an area, or there was a war. Regardless, there's now a seemingly endless warren of passages and apartments. It's pretty close to endless. People can huddle in the center, or be spread out, or be dead. It doesn't matter, because the golems will keep building forever. Give them a wand of make whole, a wand of create food and water, and a wand of wall of iron, and they can build out and sustain people and themselves indefinitely. If they're given some means of replication, they could fill a whole plane. Give them some way of making everburning torches or whatever they're called, and adventurers will run across an infinite series of rooms, all lit and comfortable. The Plane of Hallways. An entire plane filled from end to end with comfortable rooms lit with torches. Some time thousands of years in the past, the golems were let loose and people stopped paying attention. If everyone died out, there could be structural instabilities, planar flotsam, random mages and liches making their home there. In fact, if the particular wall spell was wall of stone, it's a typical dungeon crawl on an infinite scale. Given enough time, those golems would fill the universe. If a pair of kobolds somehow end up here, with a create food and water item, they could breed and make an empire. Sooner or later, you get a powerful wizard, who then makes another item, allowing more and more expansion. You could write a book.

Eesh. This went on longer than I thought. If you skipped the big paragraph(and I don't blame you), the world would expand outward in a self-replicating apartment complex.

BarroomBard
2007-12-25, 10:07 PM
Something that i believe has been missed here, is the fact that this sort of thing has already happened. This scenario is essentially an Arcane Industrial Revolution. If a better, faster form of production becomes available, the economy will build itself around this. We now live in a society where, for all intents and purposes, the majority of people in an industrialized nation has access to unlimited clean water and food. The number of people in this country who make a living as farmers is miniscule, and the number who farm for their own subsistence is even smaller.
In a fantasy world the people who worked as farmers would get new jobs, wether as low level food wizards, artists, bureaucrats, etc. In fact, I believe the most striking difference in such a world would be the development of quill pushers: forever confined to some medieval cubicle doing mindless, mostly useless tasks for their wage, simply because they need a job.
Demographically, I think all fantasy worlds have this to some extent. This sort of economy is necessary to the development of cities. In a world where the majority of the populace farms for a living, it'll be rare to have any population center we could even call a city.

horseboy
2007-12-25, 10:17 PM
Great! And here's another idea, something that definitely isn't mass-produced: home-cooked food. It is possible that agriculture won't be entirely abandoned, but kept in selected areas, to feed exclusively the upper class. The rest eat the same (sustaining, but barely intriguing) magical... gruel. The rich may eat boiled potatoes and consider it an exotic curiosity. Imagine what roast pheasant will look like. Moreover, the rich enjoy diverse tastes. [Try to eat your favorite food six days in a row. You'll hate it from the bottom of your heart.] Big bucks!Very true. The Aristocracy will never eat what the peasantry dines on.



PS- Also, for those who argue how a high-level party could eat the low-level king for breakfast...
Even if that is technically true, it ignores all the social aspects of the game. Congratulations, you killed the king, long live the king! Now what?By this axe I rule!
And wait, there are five of you... which one? And all those back-stabbing nobles and rich merchants (nine out of ten, the ones actually ruling...) who now bow gracefully in front of you, will put all their cunning and resources to get you out of the way as soon as they realize you don't serve their interests. Will you kill them all? Replace them with trusted allies? How many allies can you trust, really?
You just answered your own question. You marry the rest of the party into the strongest political groups. They believe that they have an "in" with you, and you've got people that you've trusted your life to time and again still watching your back. Provided you weren't a **** to them before, mind you.

13_CBS
2007-12-25, 10:25 PM
I just realized:

Would anyone actually be interested in playing in such a world? A world where, due to endless food, water, and housing, everything is different?

Jack_Simth
2007-12-25, 10:35 PM
Hmm.... inspired by FlyMolo

The Apartment Golem:
Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 13d10+20 (91 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (+0 size, +0 Dex, +10 natural) touch 10, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+14
Attack: Slam +14 melee (2d8+5)
Full Attack: 2 slams +14 melee (2d8+5)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Construct traits, damage reduction 10/adamantine, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to magic, low-light vision, Apartment Finishing, Cleaning Station, Self-Replication, Fast Healing 1
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +8
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 11, Con —, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 17
Skills: Craft(Apartments) +21, Knoweledge(Architecture and Engineering) +21, Spot +19, Concentration +19
Feats: Skill Focus(Craft(Apartments)), Skill Focus(Knoweledge(Architecture and Engineering)), Skill Focus(Concentration), Skill Focus(Spot)
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or Work Crew (2–4)
Challenge Rating: ?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 10–24 HD (Large); 25–54 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: —

This golem has a humanoid body made from stone. An apartment golem can be fashioned in any manner, just like a stone golem.

An apartment golem is 5 feet tall and weighs about 600 pounds.

An apartment golem cannot speak or make any vocal noise, nor does it have any distinguishable odor. It does, however, understand three languages of it's creator's choosing. It moves with a ponderous but smooth gait. Each step causes the floor to tremble unless it is on a thick, solid foundation.

Self-Replication (Sp): Over the course of a full month of continuous, dedicated labor, an apartment golem can build a copy of itself out of essentially nothing. For all purposes, the new apartment golem is considered to have been created by the same person who created the original apartment golem, and by default, the new golem is treated as having been given the same orders that were given to the creating golem.

Apartment Finishing (Sp): Once per month, an Apartment Golem can spend 24 continuous hours to create a cafeteria of sorts - a slanted half-tube (open at the top, running ten feet long, and dropping from six feet high at the high end to three feet high at the low end). At the top, a bland mush (as Create Food and Water), the consistency of oatmeal, is continuously created, and slides down the half-tube towards the low-end, where it falls into a longer tunnel, ending in a hole that disintegrates (as the spell, caster level 11, Fort save DC 18) anything falling into it. If anyone mentions a particular type of food while standing in front of the half-tube, the oatmeal takes on that flavor and color (this effect persists for an hour, as Prestidigitation). The Apartment golem usually creates toilets near the cafeteria in such a way that waste will also slide down into the disintegration tube, never getting into the cafeteria.

Water Trap (Sp): Once per month, an Apartment Golem can spend 8 continuous hours to create a self-resetting Create Water trap. This is generally used to create a hand-washing station.

Spell-like abilities (caster level 13th, the save DCs are Charisma based):
At will: Disintegrate (DC 19), Wall of Stone (DC 18), Fabricate, Create Food and Water, Create Water, Purify Food and Drink, Make Whole, Continual Flame, Stone Shape, Prestidigitation

Immunity to Magic (Ex): An apartment golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance.

Combat:
Upon discovering that an area is already inhabited by intelligent beings, unless ordered otherwise, an Apartment Golem will simply abandon the area to find another place to build; it's purpose is not war. However, if it thinks that it is being threatened by something that isn't intelligent, it will attempt to eliminate the threat (usually by repeated castings of Disintigrate), then continue building when it deems the danger has passed.

NoDot
2007-12-26, 01:01 AM
You just answered your own question. You marry the rest of the party into the strongest political groups. They believe that they have an "in" with you, and you've got people that you've trusted your life to time and again still watching your back. Provided you weren't a **** to them before, mind you.And if the Aristocrats who you couldn't marry into decide to get uppity, then that means the meatshield can take a few days off to go and kill the Aristocrat in question. Then, you can put someone else in charge. If that individual won't listen, then kill him/her. Eventually, someone'll get the non-literal point.

After all, you're level six. The local peasant revolt means you get to take a few days off and go kill the peasant army. And no, that isn't a joke. Level six adventurers means level ten Kings.

Jack_Simth
2007-12-26, 01:26 AM
And if the Aristocrats who you couldn't marry into decide to get uppity, then that means the meatshield can take a few days off to go and kill the Aristocrat in question. Then, you can put someone else in charge. If that individual won't listen, then kill him/her. Eventually, someone'll get the non-literal point.

After all, you're level six. The local peasant revolt means you get to take a few days off and go kill the peasant army. And no, that isn't a joke. Level six adventurers means level ten Kings.

Depends on the size of the army, and the tactics of those who are getting uppity.

Size of army:
If, for instance, you find yourself surrounded by commoner-1's with slings (their only weapon - proficiency doesn't matter, as they're only going to hit on a nat-20 regardless), in a large, open field, all pelting you at once....
400 commoner-1's will average 20 hits per round, of which one will crit. So that's an average of 21d4 (52.5) damage every round, which drops at a rate of roughly 1d4 (2.5 damage) for every 20 commoners you remove from play.
How fast can you kill them, and how much HP do you have at level 6?

Tactics of those getting uppity:
Remember, these aristocrats are the guys who already had the king wrapped around their little finger. They're very wealthy. They've also got Bluff as a class skill, and most PC's do not take Sense Motive seriously enough to matter. The Iconic Four, at 6th level, are a highly concentrated threat, with four members that, if removed from play, end the threat. D&D city population tables for Metropolises will occasionally put 19th level characters with PC class levels into play (and 15th is very, very common). Do you really think they can't just buy their way out of the situation by hiring four assassinations?

tyckspoon
2007-12-26, 01:43 AM
Tactics of those getting uppity:
Remember, these aristocrats are the guys who already had the king wrapped around their little finger. They're very wealthy. They've also got Bluff as a class skill, and most PC's do not take Sense Motive seriously enough to matter. The Iconic Four, at 6th level, are a highly concentrated threat, with four members that, if removed from play, end the threat. D&D city population tables for Metropolises will occasionally put 19th level characters with PC class levels into play (and 15th is very, very common). Do you really think they can't just buy their way out of the situation by hiring four assassinations?

If there are characters of that high a level in the area you have taken over, you already rule with their implicit approval (and if you're at all politically savvy, you've gotten their explicit approval and public endorsement). If they disapproved of you, they would have kicked you off the throne already (and trivially easily, given the level disparity) without anybody else having to ask. And if the high level people aren't also the aristocratic class, chances are the aristocratic class can't actually produce anywhere near enough cash to matter to the high level people.

For the commoner army.. well, if a group of four characters lets themselves be engaged like that, they deserve what's coming to them. Still, there's a lot they can do: Protection From Arrows at 6th level provides an effective extra 60 HP versus nonmagical weapons. Wind Wall can cut off ranged attacks entirely for 1 round/level; with other magic to play with during that time (like a wand of Fireball), it should be doable to eliminate around half of the peasant army. Obscuring Mist or Fog Cloud (or just darkness, but it's not as good) could prevent the peasants from seeing the Four while they blindly fire bows, fling spells, or lob alchemic bombs into their opponents. With some time to prepare, a Wizard could use Fly and Invisibility to do a leaflet-dropping campaign with Exploding Runes'd leaflets.

Or if you want to be really nasty, have your Cleric cast Sanctuary and put a Protection From Arrows on him. Let him walk out to the opponents and cast Contagion on one of them to inflict the Shakes. Recast Sanctuary and go home; within a week, most of the peasants should be dead of disease-inflicted Dex damage (Shakes is chosen because it infects by contact.)

Jack_Simth
2007-12-26, 02:03 AM
If there are characters of that high a level in the area you have taken over, you already rule with their implicit approval (and if you're at all politically savvy, you've gotten their explicit approval and public endorsement). If they disapproved of you, they would have kicked you off the throne already (and trivially easily, given the level disparity) without anybody else having to ask. And if the high level people aren't also the aristocratic class, chances are the aristocratic class can't actually produce anywhere near enough cash to matter to the high level people.

If they actively disapprove in such a way that they'll worry about knocking you off? Yes, they'll have already attempted it.

If they actively approve, they might help you in a pinch (if they're adequately compensated).

Most, however, are unlikely to care (what matters kings to such as them?). For this group... well, consider your own gaming group. Someone knocks off the current king, and a new king is crowned. The party is approached by an aristocrat who claims that the the king was assassinated, and that the king's killers now sit on the king's throne; anyone who speaks against the assasins are killed. He offers X amount of money for you to go remove the king's killers so that the rightful heir can take the throne. He leaves it an open offer, and lets you check. All sources (gather information checks, Augury, Commune, Contact Other Planes, whatever you go with) verifies the aristocrat's story (where they get any information at all - remember, in the situation above, the aristocrat has the benefit of being truthful). How big would X need to be for you to take the job? Do you really think a consortium of 30 nobles wouldn't be able to come up with that kind of money?

Yaki
2007-12-26, 02:09 AM
A society like this would most likely lead to more people becoming casters, after all, what else is there to do. This leads to more stuff being done by magic. Now, once higher level casters become more common, teleportation circles start getting plastered all over the place. A use-activated item to create Teleportation Circles would cost 460,000gp according to the DMG guidelines, but we're reaching a state in which gp costs are absolutely meaningless. The biggest issue at this point is XP costs. Perhaps a giant holding area where high-XP creatures can freely breed and grow in numbers. This area is opened up to kill stuff whenever people are in need of XP. These creatures would be preferably unintelligent so as to not escape. Perhaps more intelligent creatures could be kept stupid with int damage. Also, teleporting creatures = bad. Anyway, back to the teleportation circles. Teleportation circles would begin to be placed in every home, starting with the richer people first obviously.

Spells that would be relevant to this thread that haven't been mentioned yet:
Wall of Salt (Sandstorm) - Salt would make that food taste better. Plus I'm sure there are other uses for I haven't thought of.
Transmute Metal to Wood (PHB) - if you need any wood, just Wall of Iron and then transmute it.
Wall of Eyes (Book of Vile Darkness) - another one of these permanent Wall-type spells. The interesting thing about this one is that the creator can essentially use each eye as a remote camera. Also, anyone touching it must make will saves or get hold person'd and then vaporized after 10 rounds. This could be used by law enforcement.
Move Earth (PHB) - for ease of construction. you can make land flat, very quickly.
Warp Wood (PHB) - repair of wood objects / shaping to a desired shape
Mending/Make Whole (PHB) - repair of objects
Hallow/Unhallow (PHB) - this can function for entire buildings with a single casting.
Soften Earth and Stone (PHB) - if you need any mud, then just Wall Of Stone first and then follow up with this.
Stone Shape (PHB) - Speeds up the process of using Walls Of Stone to build things

I'm sure I missed plenty of others.

Talic
2007-12-26, 02:10 AM
Magic is outlawed, except as practiced by the State. Decanters are locked away, indeed, the nation makes the nation arid and inhospitable, though rich in resources still. The nation then uses state-sponsored sorcery to sell food to the commoner, keeping them poor, and totally dependent.

Too many friggin optimists. When such bounties are available, the average politician will figure out how to take advantage of both it and others.


If the society is free magic, and prolific, then you have to take baby steps. Start with magical terrorism (state sponsored). In the name of preventing this terrorism, certain magical sanctions are imposed. As the terrorism ramps up, the sanctions get harsher and harsher, requiring casters register themselves. Eventually, once everything's properly ID'd, those that can be recruited are, those that cannot, die. From then on, the state's magical defense agency keeps terrorism at bay (and never lets the people forget it) and funds its operations by selling food and water to a land that gets more arid daily, from some remains of a terrorist attack.

horseboy
2007-12-26, 02:23 AM
And if the Aristocrats who you couldn't marry into decide to get uppity, then that means the meatshield can take a few days off to go and kill the Aristocrat in question. Then, you can put someone else in charge. If that individual won't listen, then kill him/her. Eventually, someone'll get the non-literal point.Clearly your players have not suffered through enough Vampire to try something so crash.


After all, you're level six. The local peasant revolt means you get to take a few days off and go kill the peasant army. And no, that isn't a joke. Level six adventurers means level ten Kings.
Why would there be a peasant army? After all, you're the one bring free bread, what's the king done for you?

Randel
2007-12-26, 02:29 AM
What about spells like goodberry and plant growth?


low level druids (or other spellcasters that can cast druidic spells... maybe wizards if they learn the spells and adapt them) can turn simple berries into whole meals that also heal injuries. Get one or two spellcasters that can cast Plant Growth and your farms are now producing better crops than ever.


If you really want to, create a public school system that teaches the population as much as they can and searches for those with the mental ability scores that can let them be spellcasters of some sort.

Have higher level spellcasters adapt create food and water, goodberry, create water, and other utility spells and get them on all class lists. That way, you can get as many minor spellcasters out there as possible who can magically sustain society.

Though, why would you do this?

1) Zombie plan. You know that its only a matter of time before the zombie hoards try to take over the world, and while you might be able to fight them off with your army you think it wouldn't hurt to be able to grab as many citizens as possible, get them into big walled up castles and then let them create food without needing the hard-to-defend farmlands.

2) Underground society. The surface hates you so you use magic to create the food you need. Of course, all those big monster people with sharp swords keep barging down into your domain and trying to steal your valuables... damm them all!

3) You were sent to another dimension. Your civilization exists in the elemental plane of fire/water/earth/wind/heart and you have conjure food because the native stuff isn't that good.


If outside forces make it necessary for people to magically generate their own goods, humans might be forced to adapt and eventually become essentially a magical race... maybe they give up either bonus skill points or bonus feat to get create spells as a spell-like ability.

horseboy
2007-12-26, 02:43 AM
3) You were sent to another dimension. Your civilization exists in the elemental plane of fire/water/earth/wind/heart and you have conjure food because the native stuff isn't that good.

What kind of lame dimension is heart?

LOL

Yaki
2007-12-26, 02:52 AM
What kind of lame dimension is heart?

LOL
ask him:
http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l244/arnottt/Stuff/Ma-Ti.jpg

Thrythlind
2007-12-26, 03:02 AM
Like I said, it depends on the campaign setting, that fact can't even be argued, just because some book somewhere in the cosmos has a listing of statistics concerning PC's does not make it so for every campaign setting. Take FR for instance, there are high level wizards running around everywhere, and you can't even be considered a major player until you are almost epic-level.

There is no wand waving technique that says all campaign settings must use these demographics! Seriously.

Agreed, but the tone of the question seemed to indicate a question as to why those campaigns that don't seem heavily affected aren't. IE, the more traditional LotR fantasy type setting.

I did not assume such high-magic settings as FR and...oh heavens Eberron

Also, you don't need to shift from those percentages for most games. PC classes by the nature of what they are, are more likely to run across other PC classes and other weirdness than a commoner is.

Most commoners will go through life without ever encountering a fighter, though they might encounter a goblin warrior.

Just that most campaigns assume that the characters are very unusual in some form or fashion and so they are not the standard of the world.


Also, for comparison, we easily have the ability to produce enough food to feed the world in RL, what we lack is the ability to transport and distribute it fairly.

Level20Commoner
2007-12-26, 05:48 AM
If you continue reading, you'll notice that I already admitted to having been utterly wrong about this part in the very next post. :smallwink:
Though it is still correct in the sense that the economy will have little semblance of medieval economy - in the medieval economy, the vast majority of the population worked on farms (agriculture), a smaller part at the creation of items (industry), and the smallest part at providing services. If I remember the Sociology lessons from school in 5th grade, thirteen years ago, correctly, those are called the first, second and third economic sector, respectively. In our society (and also the one we are discussing in this thread), the proportions would be pretty much reversed - nigh everybody would work in the third sector, nobody would work in the agricultural sector anymore.

I have heard of something similar in which people were grouped together as follows: "those who work, those who fight, those who pray."

What would be even more interesting in this strange setting would be if the majority of wizards had forgotten all of the adventurer-esque spells their progenitors used because knowledge of such flashy, wasteful spells was lost or prohibited by law. If one adopts a utilitarian stance about your civilization, than a wizard who casts a fireball spell is taking food right out of the mouths of starving women and children who missed dinner because the wizard didn't cast "create "food and drink". Wizards would be transformed into nothing more than finger-wiggling engineers who would never dream of lobbing fingers of death and disintegrate rays like they were laser pointers. All the spells they would prepare each day would be things like detect magic, minor creation, summon monster, etc. For an interesting adventure hook, you could have a PC be such a coke-bottle glasses wearing nerd, and in a fit of anger, he could lash out against his Mr. Spacely-Landed-Gentry type Supervisor and burn him to cinders with a spontaneously cast scorching ray or some such. Then all the wizard-engineers would discard their pocket protectors for flowing robes and cast "cubicle shape" to form a crude but serviceable tunnel out of their office space labyrinth and destroy the lawful evil establishment once and for all.

I also don't think you've given much thought to the outside forces that surround this Utopia of yours. You're telling me that you have a society filled with art, piles of food and drink and high technology, and NO standing army and the Orcs, Hobgoblins, and every other race of mustache-twirling monster men is just going to leave them be. A magic laden society would need a large standing army and heavy fortifications up the wazoo, which incidentally, gives the peasants something to do other than raise livestock and grow vegetables.

Dervag
2007-12-26, 05:53 AM
Alternatively, it survives by the threat of overwhelming power. For instance, the wizards might have some kind of conscription scheme so that some percentage of them are a dedicated defense force at all times. Or it might be that there's an "arsenal" of scrolls carrying various useful offensive and defensive spells, kept by the ruler. In time of war, the scrolls are passed out and every high-level caster in the kingdom can copy them into his books- so suddenly you have swarms of medium to high-level casters kicking around.

Also, a society with so much wealth is well suited to hiring mercenaries (adventurers), and to producing well-equipped elite forces of its own.

Talic
2007-12-26, 06:26 AM
Alternatively, it survives by the threat of overwhelming power. For instance, the wizards might have some kind of conscription scheme so that some percentage of them are a dedicated defense force at all times. Or it might be that there's an "arsenal" of scrolls carrying various useful offensive and defensive spells, kept by the ruler. In time of war, the scrolls are passed out and every high-level caster in the kingdom can copy them into his books- so suddenly you have swarms of medium to high-level casters kicking around.

Also, a society with so much wealth is well suited to hiring mercenaries (adventurers), and to producing well-equipped elite forces of its own.


Or by hiring the Goblins, Hobgoblins, and gnolls, then enslaving them.

Oh wait, that's Thay.

Level20Commoner
2007-12-26, 06:29 AM
And if the Aristocrats who you couldn't marry into decide to get uppity, then that means the meatshield can take a few days off to go and kill the Aristocrat in question. Then, you can put someone else in charge. If that individual won't listen, then kill him/her. Eventually, someone'll get the non-literal point.

After all, you're level six. The local peasant revolt means you get to take a few days off and go kill the peasant army. And no, that isn't a joke. Level six adventurers means level ten Kings.

Surely you jest! Even if your Lvl 6 Fighter is custom built for taking out the 0th level trash (Cleave comes to mind), there's no way he can hope to fight an entire army. All the peasants need are clubs and slings to prevent attacks of opportunity and to surround you on all sides and eventually they will kill you by attrition (or rather because of critical hits). My apologies if I come across as being a little antagonistic, but your statement reminded me of a very similar statement by Haley Starshine prior to the Azure City battle in Oots itself. Besides, I am the lord sovereign of all commoners, and I will not rest until my people are given the proper respect they deserve. :smallwink:

PirateMonk
2007-12-26, 09:33 AM
I also don't think you've given much thought to the outside forces that surround this Utopia of yours. You're telling me that you have a society filled with art, piles of food and drink and high technology, and NO standing army and the Orcs, Hobgoblins, and every other race of mustache-twirling monster men is just going to leave them be. A magic laden society would need a large standing army and heavy fortifications up the wazoo, which incidentally, gives the peasants something to do other than raise livestock and grow vegetables.

The "mustache-twirling monster men" could simply be hunted to extinction by commoners-turned-adventurers trying to produce XP for item creation or high level casters.

Winterwind
2007-12-26, 12:53 PM
Ahem... I don't think a Lord of the Flies twist qualifies for "subtle". :smalltongue:Oh, I did not mean something quite as evil immediately :smallcool:, but you're right, of course.

EDIT: Damn, accidentally killed half of my post. Oh, nevermind, let's see, what did I want to say here...

I don't want my PCs running into something obviously irrational or morally unacceptable, but something that will make them stop and say "wait, there's something fishy here" or perhaps "oops, this can't work forever because resources run out/ citizens are getting fed up with that damn magical gruel and want to taste quails from the continent for a change" etc etc.Fair enough. What you could also do, instead of having the society running on a few magic items, would be to have it running on daily cast spells from a lot of wizards. Now, the twist could be that either the number of ordinary people grows faster than that of the casters, or the number of casters is in decline for some reason (the latter could serve as adventure plot, too). At any rate, the civilisation is destined to fall within a few generations (or years, or months), if things do not change; and the people have long forgotten how to grow food and fabricate stuff on their own. You could leave it at that, or you could add that the people really, really care about their rare and avaluable casters now - which means that they hide them away, where no harm can happen to them. Every child showing signs of magical prowess is forced to learn the ways of creation and fabrication, no matter what their own desires might be. They are kept in rich palaces, cages out of gold - but with solid bars nevertheless...


I also don't think you've given much thought to the outside forces that surround this Utopia of yours. You're telling me that you have a society filled with art, piles of food and drink and high technology, and NO standing army and the Orcs, Hobgoblins, and every other race of mustache-twirling monster men is just going to leave them be. A magic laden society would need a large standing army and heavy fortifications up the wazoo, which incidentally, gives the peasants something to do other than raise livestock and grow vegetables.Nobody said they could not have an army anymore - this particular, hedonistic culture might not have. However, if you remember, one of the four variants I presented how this culture might turn out on the first page was the following:

III. Warrior society
All the freed up workers and peasants can be drawn into the military. That the military is even further boosted as compared to their neighbours thanks to their infinite supplies in the field, without logistical problems, is a further bonus. Suddenly, instead of having, what, 1%? 5%? of the population at arms, it's 95%. The masters of the art of war become renowned and admired in the realm. It begins to spread and conquer neighbour after neighbour, with nigh nobody being able to withstand its power.

It wouldn't need to fall into this extreme, of course, but it does not need to get rid of its army, either.

Thrythlind
2007-12-26, 01:09 PM
Surely you jest! Even if your Lvl 6 Fighter is custom built for taking out the 0th level trash (Cleave comes to mind), there's no way he can hope to fight an entire army. All the peasants need are clubs and slings to prevent attacks of opportunity and to surround you on all sides and eventually they will kill you by attrition (or rather because of critical hits). My apologies if I come across as being a little antagonistic, but your statement reminded me of a very similar statement by Haley Starshine prior to the Azure City battle in Oots itself. Besides, I am the lord sovereign of all commoners, and I will not rest until my people are given the proper respect they deserve. :smallwink:


Not to mention that they, like many others, have forgotten to take into account aid another.


Aid another, both a good way to shave off some of the actions in a round so you don't have to worry about them too much, and a way to make low level monsters more dangerous.

Take the peasant army.

Most of the army will be made up of commoners with a few warriors and experts sprinkled throughout.

Eight commoners surround one PC with AC 20.

Assume 1st level commoners with an average of 12 strength. This means they all need 19s to hit the target normally.

Now start throwing in aid another.

Four peasants use aid another for one of their group for a total bonus of +8 for him. Another four peasants use aid another to increase the Attack of a second of the group, giving him a +8 as well.

In this one round, only one attack is leveled against the PC, but it will hit on an 11 or higher as the point peasant now has +9 instead of +1. This makes it a 50/50 chance. And this doesn't even have to represent sound tactics, I just use it to represent the way a horde of pointy objects coming in against you would tend to disorient you and get in your way. IE, everybody is trying to hit the PC, but only one or two guys are going to get that opening in all the chaos.

Assuming a pitchfork or short spear for the weapon, doing 1d6+1 damage, for an average damage of 4 per hit, meaning about 8 damage per round.

Assume the PC, a 6th fighter with 16 strength (minimum), Weapon Focus and at least a masterwork weapon, meaning a total of +11 to hit natural, +6 with the second attack. Also assume Great Cleave and 16 Con and average HP. That means 53 HP.

Assuming the peasants have ACs of 12 normal, then the 8 peasants would probably still die, though they've given the PCs first target an AC 20 rather than 12, through aid another, and its conceivable that he'll miss.

Even if he does cleave through all the peasants each round, it is still likely that he'll take damage every round, assuming both aided peasants each time, it will only take 56 peasants to kill him, assuming that they hit only half the time (more reasonable) it will take 112 peasants to kill him, on average.

This is realistic to trained, armored warriors fighting peasants of the day, but it also does not take into account some basic tactics used even by peasants of the day:


Trip Attacks, grapple attacks, disarm attacks, ranged attacks to soften up the enemy, etc.

All of these, especially when you add Aid Another, start becoming very dangerous for the player character.

Yaki
2007-12-26, 01:23 PM
I also don't think you've given much thought to the outside forces that surround this Utopia of yours. You're telling me that you have a society filled with art, piles of food and drink and high technology, and NO standing army and the Orcs, Hobgoblins, and every other race of mustache-twirling monster men is just going to leave them be. A magic laden society would need a large standing army and heavy fortifications up the wazoo, which incidentally, gives the peasants something to do other than raise livestock and grow vegetables.
With this much resources you probably wouldn't need an army that big. Anyone powerful enough to be a threat can make their own city exactly like this.

NoDot
2007-12-26, 07:54 PM
Surely you jest!No, I'm not. Further reading on this view can be found here (http://bb.bbboy.net/thegamingden-viewthread?forum=1&thread=698). The section in question is "Temporal Authority in D&D," although the blurb under "The Basis for Hereditary Rule in D&D" sets the best tone, IMO.

Armads
2007-12-26, 08:05 PM
He's referring to the fighter being able to take out a commoner army, which is impossible without scrolls of spells.

Tobrian
2008-01-16, 08:33 PM
Like Star Trek, but replace replicators with Sorcerers.

No need for sorcerers... just use the Artificer from Eberron setting. He can make tons of magic items or temporary enchanted stuff for dirt cheap at low levels.

The WotC Magic Item Compendium is full of relatively cheap items that create food and drink, feed for animals, all sorts of stuff that is useful in everyday life.


Those aren't actually the big spells.

The real question is "What is a society with Teleportation Circles like?"

And those spells become more useful when put into item form.

Look at the Decanter of Endless Water. 10 of those, for a total cost of 90,000 GP, provide enough water to cover the needs of New York City. Just build aqueducts around the city and the proper infrastructure and everyone has virtually unlimited clean, fresh water.

Decanter's of Endless water also provide unlimited energy, use them to power water wheels connected to generators.
(snip the rest)

Very true. Unfortunately, many Fantasy or RPG authors never think that far (i.e. water wheels), or don't want to think that far, because they want to artificially preserve their setting as a pseudo-"medieval" society.(*) *groan* But using a captured dragon to turn a crank would be totally ok, I guess, because dragons are a "fantastic element".

Same goes for constructs and golems, they don't need food or other energy, so you're basically converting magic power into cheap work. Ouch. Terry Pratchett demonstrated in his Discworld novels that using golems to do menial work can radically change a whole society. No need for mules, or dirty coal-driven steam engines, or water wheels. No need for infrastructure, or cutting down forests for wood to make coal, or hunting whales to turn into oils.

The common cleaning and mending spells alone would put thousands of washerwomen, barbers and tinkerers out of jobs. Not to mention there's no need to kill animals and cook them for soap if you can clean your clothes with a simple spell, and use an unseen servant to clean your house. (For examples of magical household items and sentient weapons see Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's "Deathgate" novels.)

Societies don't stand still, but Fantasy authors always try to keep them static, by ignoring the uses for all that magic they're injected into the setting, and that annoys me. That's why I like the Adventure Pulp direction WotC has taken with Eberron.

About the teleportation circles... well, look at settings like Planescape, or Faerun, or many computer games where "transportation portals" abound. Of course these are usually only used by the PCs for some reason...

The characters of the Nodwick comic once accidentally ended up on Dark Sun. All that sand was perfect for a picknick on the beach, they decided, so their wizard took a Decanter of Endless Water from his Bag of Holding and set out to create a nice little sea. Which triggered a massive war between rival factions trying to control that source of water. One wonders why Dark Sun preservers never got the idea to create such a portal to the plane of water...

--
(*) That's why WotC threw out the gnomes out of 4E, because apparently players have complained about the magitek; "too technological" they said. (Apparently most people don't know that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Chinese had technology that was lost and wasn't reinvented again in Europe until the 18th century. Mechanical clocks. Even a primitive steam engine.)

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-01-16, 10:10 PM
I just realized:

Would anyone actually be interested in playing in such a world? A world where, due to endless food, water, and housing, everything is different?Hell yeah. I've been trying to find a DM to run a high-magic world taken to it's logical extreme for months. Is anyone willing to turn these ideas (particularly the infinite warren made by golems) into a PbP? Please?
http://vaultmedia.ign.com/vnboards/pre2006/tv_beastboykitten.gif

DeathQuaker
2008-01-16, 10:36 PM
I don't take it to extremes, but I do try to keep some of these spells in mind when working on my campaign world. I honestly don't know how "realistically" I handle it because I lack the appropriate degrees in sociology, public health, and economics, etc. But this is generally what I keep in mind...

Based on the "demographics" mechanics provided in the DMG, high level spellcasters are rare (so finding "Fabricate" and even "Create Food" isn't too, too common), but even the smallest hamlet is likely to have at least one Adept, if not a PC spellcaster or two. Even at low levels, they'll have access to the 0 level "Purify Food and Drink" and "Create Water" spells.

I would say that these low level casters would likely be expected if not coerced to help protect a given population zone's food and water supplies with these spells. And spellcasters are generally pretty well respected in most areas in fact because of this (though with some exception; more on that later).

This means that food and waterborne illness is quite rare. No amebic dysentery, no blinding trachoma, etc. etc. So quality of living is good--there's not a lot of disease, under-five mortality is rare, etc. Starvation can still be an issue if there isn't a high enough level w/ Create Food (and even that only makes food that sticks around for 24 hours, and only so much, which on a population provision level has its limits).

BUT, there isn't necessarily a huge burst in population world wide, there isn't necessarily massive advancements in life (although there is a healthy labor force, which still theoretically results in a fairly solid economy, etc.). Why? Still magic, still a fantasy world--people aren't dying from tainted water, but the Trogdor still comes in the night and burninates for fun. Savage humanoids have their shamans too so they're also healthy for good, long, raids, etc. Sure, they have "cure disease" and "heal" but they also have people who can cast "Summon Tactical Nuclear Missile" at will.

I don't consider the society "medieval/dark ages" -- more like "Agricultural Revolution/Age of Reason, without the early tech because there's magic instead." People are fairly enlightened and public health is good, but they also have hazards to deal with that we can only dream of.

High-level magic users are a lot harder to convince to use their magic for benefit. Why feed the world when you can dominate it? So while low-level beneficial magics are encouraged, high-level magics are often strictly regulated or other things keep magic in tow. It varies from society to society how this happens.... the gnomes are the magic whizzes in my world, so they use TONS of magic, but they also like to experiment, so they do as much harm as good with their magics. The Elves are careful not to screw around with nature. One of the human-dominant empires very strictly regulates magic--especially economy blasting stuff like "Fabricate"--and requires various tests and licenses, slowing its use and advancement. Another nation is ruled by an ambitious magocracy, and the magic users in that land are too busy killing each other off to help other people with it. And so on.

In short, I feel there are things that balance it out. Hopefully that seems a somewhat reasonable application of the concept.

As far as gameworlds go, my thought is--what is these society like with these spells? Whatever you would like it to be like...

pasko77
2008-01-17, 03:38 AM
Simply, it would be Harry Potter's world.
Just wave a wand, and things happen.
I'm still wondering why the hell they still have coins.
I mean, what would you need to buy if you can create stuff?

hewhosaysfish
2008-01-17, 07:12 AM
Simply, it would be Harry Potter's world.
Just wave a wand, and things happen.
I'm still wondering why the hell they still have coins.
I mean, what would you need to buy if you can create stuff?

Because not everything can be created by magic.
And few people will have the necessary skills to create everything they need by themselves.

Dervag
2008-01-17, 08:07 AM
With some time to prepare, a Wizard could use Fly and Invisibility to do a leaflet-dropping campaign with Exploding Runes'd leaflets.Wow! Good thing our village can't afford a schoolhouse!

(that was just a joke, but I couldn't resist).


Magic is outlawed, except as practiced by the State. Decanters are locked away, indeed, the nation makes the nation arid and inhospitable, though rich in resources still. The nation then uses state-sponsored sorcery to sell food to the commoner, keeping them poor, and totally dependent.

Too many friggin optimists. When such bounties are available, the average politician will figure out how to take advantage of both it and others.

If the society is free magic, and prolific, then you have to take baby steps. Start with magical terrorism (state sponsored). In the name of preventing this terrorism, certain magical sanctions are imposed. As the terrorism ramps up, the sanctions get harsher and harsher, requiring casters register themselves. Eventually, once everything's properly ID'd, those that can be recruited are, those that cannot, die. From then on, the state's magical defense agency keeps terrorism at bay (and never lets the people forget it) and funds its operations by selling food and water to a land that gets more arid daily, from some remains of a terrorist attack.The only problem with this approach is that over time the state becomes weaker as a result of government control, rather than stronger or of constant strength. Eventually, a neighboring magic-wielding nation that does not sterilize its own countryside and suppress its population will become more powerful.


The common cleaning and mending spells alone would put thousands of washerwomen, barbers and tinkerers out of jobs. Not to mention there's no need to kill animals and cook them for soap if you can clean your clothes with a simple spell, and use an unseen servant to clean your house. (For examples of magical household items and sentient weapons see Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's "Deathgate" novels.)I think the trick is restricted magical availability. It's not established as a feature of most RPG settings because of the desire to make magic available to the players, but I think the best way to do this is to put wizards and other magic classes on an apprenticeship system. If it takes several years to train a wizard to even the lowest level of ability and most master wizards train only a few apprentices in their lives, the pervasiveness of magic goes down and the effects on the world economy are reduced.


(*) That's why WotC threw out the gnomes out of 4E, because apparently players have complained about the magitek; "too technological" they said. (Apparently most people don't know that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Chinese had technology that was lost and wasn't reinvented again in Europe until the 18th century. Mechanical clocks. Even a primitive steam engine.)Yes, but the technology wasn't integrated into a framework that would change society. The Hellenic-era Greeks may have invented Hero of Alexandria's steam engine, but that steam engine was never used to pump water out of mines or to pull carts along rails or anything else that would have been useful enough to ensure its survival.

A similar effect could easily apply to D&D magic- a thousand years ago a wizard decided to create a magical engine for feeding everyone in the valley. It worked great for 10 or 20 years, then the High Priest of the Trickster God stole it or the Hairy-Eared Boojums descended from the hills and wrecked the entire civilization or whatever. The specific incantations for doing it aren't known anymore. Any of a large number of wizards could theoretically duplicate the device, just as any number of scholars could theoretically have duplicated Hero's steam engine. But just because they could doesn't mean anyone will.


Simply, it would be Harry Potter's world.
Just wave a wand, and things happen.
I'm still wondering why the hell they still have coins.
I mean, what would you need to buy if you can create stuff?
Because not everything can be created by magic.
And few people will have the necessary skills to create everything they need by themselves.Also, because it can still be useful to have a universally agreed on medium of exchange even when any useful thing can be created with sufficient effort by any person. For example, any wizard might be able to make a bunch of 'Every Flavor Beans.' But it might be much more efficient for me, personally, to make something else and trade it for 'Every Flavor Beans,' because I haven't got the inclination to make the beans and someone else does. However, if that's the case then we would both profit from some defined medium of exchange that allows me to say exactly how many beans my labor is worth without us both having to haggle over how many pouches of Every Flavor Beans I can get for making one flying broomstick.

Yahzi
2008-01-17, 10:57 PM
Look at the Decanter of Endless Water. 10 of those, for a total cost of 90,000 GP, provide enough water to cover the needs of New York City.
Not quite.

Average per capita water usage in NYC is 125 gallons a day. That means a Decanter can only support 3456 people.

Assuming a less opulent use of water (say, 12.5 gallons a day) and 10 Decanters still only yields 340,000 people. No where near NYC, but on the other hand, impressive enough to justify a city in the middle of a desert.

Well, assuming they didn't have to water crops. :D

Anyway, the point is that Tippy is right (even though he's wrong). Fabricate is an unimportant spell. Zone of Truth, Detect Alignment, Raise Dead, Teleport, and Gate (which is what a Decanter is) are the big society-changing spells, because they do things we just can't.

FlyMolo
2008-01-17, 11:12 PM
Hell yeah. I've been trying to find a DM to run a high-magic world taken to it's logical extreme for months. Is anyone willing to turn these ideas (particularly the infinite warren made by golems) into a PbP? Please?
http://vaultmedia.ign.com/vnboards/pre2006/tv_beastboykitten.gif

I was actually thinking about this, and it became a PbP game, sorta-kinda-almost like this. A high level wizard with divine ranks is playing god-chess against Asmodeus, and you get to be the pieces. Eventually, my PCs are going to run into this warren, but *ssh* they don't know yet.:smallwink:

linkie! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69255)

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-01-17, 11:19 PM
I'm not entirely certain if this has been explored yet; however.
The consensus as I understand it is that 'economy' in some form is a necessary aspect of civilization. However, in a society where most vital resources are not scarce, and may in fact be functionally infinite, the traditional basis of a market economy- those self-same resources- is moot.

My assumption would be that economy in a society with unlimited food, water, and energy resources would be based on intangible resources; social capital, if you will.
Prestige, association with others, passing on one's genes, leadership, living space, and aesthetic resources are all more or less viable foundations for a substitute economy.

Also; certain tribes in rural regions of, for instance, Australia engage in what I think is called a 'gift economy'- what's asked for is given, with the only real barter-esque factor being communal opinion. The recipient is free to be as ungrateful or as grateful as he or she likes. In a society where almost everything is abundant, it might make sense for this kind of generosity to be predominant.

pasko77
2008-01-18, 02:51 AM
Also, because it can still be useful to have a universally agreed on medium of exchange even when any useful thing can be created with sufficient effort by any person. For example, any wizard might be able to make a bunch of 'Every Flavor Beans.' But it might be much more efficient for me, personally, to make something else and trade it for 'Every Flavor Beans,' because I haven't got the inclination to make the beans and someone else does. However, if that's the case then we would both profit from some defined medium of exchange that allows me to say exactly how many beans my labor is worth without us both having to haggle over how many pouches of Every Flavor Beans I can get for making one flying broomstick.

Wow, i wasn't expecting serious answers :)
HP books have some flaw in logic, expecially on what can and cannot be done. Anyway that's not the point of the topic. I just think that "Harry Potter society" is what i expect a "post-Create Food etc.." society to be. IMHO, the "medieval" setting is given to D&D only to suit the majority of tastes, but its rules are more fit for a high (very high) magic scenario. Among all the answers, i liked most the "industrial revolution" (very dystopic i think) and the "renassaince utopia".

hewhosaysfish
2008-01-18, 06:43 AM
My assumption would be that economy in a society with unlimited food, water, and energy resources would be based on intangible resources; social capital, if you will.
Prestige, association with others, passing on one's genes, leadership, living space, and aesthetic resources are all more or less viable foundations for a substitute economy.

Makes me think of Ian M Banks' Culture novels, where the Culture have the technology required to meet any and all of their needs (including AIs to run the infrastructure) ands so spend their lives on arts, games, sports, social networking and persistently meddling in the affairs of other "less fortunate" societies.
There is no currency; all trade is in the form of favours, services or occasionally artwork.

Istari
2008-01-18, 08:38 AM
Since everyone seems to be pointing out money or material issues.
The government can just hire adventures to find treasure so the government can buy stuff from other people with the adventurers getting a decent finders fee.

Beleriphon
2008-01-18, 09:05 AM
the proportions would be pretty much reversed - nigh everybody would work in the third sector, nobody would work in the agricultural sector anymore.

That would be primary, secondary and tertiary production levels, or the first, second and third estates. The fourth estate is the church, and the fifth estate (a modern one) is the media.

This brings up a fun point. Media in post-Fabricate worlds (not that Fabricate is really all that relevant) becomes interesting because now people would want to know what is happening around them rather than just trying to keep from dying from some horrible disease or starving to death. Suddenly "The News" is big business.

Randel
2008-01-19, 01:43 AM
I was thinking of this today and started wondering what would happen if people made 'traps' that cast the spell with automatic reset.

essentially, make a piece of wonderous architecture that could cast the spell repeatedly. Spells like Create Food and Water would be pretty good to be put in an immobile spot in someplace like a dungeon or other complex where you might not have ready access to farmed food.

But for everyday peasants, healing spells in traps would probably be the big ones. Cure Light Wounds might be good to have in barracks or places with souldiers. Remove Disease would be great to have as well. I imagine that if someone in a standard setting installed a device that cast Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Remove Blindness/Deafness, or Regenerate in a temple then the place would quickly become a holy site.

People from all around would gather to be cured of their ailments and have wounds fixed. Even if you don't have a fee for its use then mere donations (or 'donations' to ensure someone gets to the front of the line) could quickly turn a profit not only for the temple but the surrounding village as well (though if such sites are rare and expensive expect bandits to start going after the people heading there).

However, this isn't nearly as world-destroying as what could potentially be made with magic traps. Consider that according to the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/traps.htm#magicDeviceTrapCost) a magic trap that cast True Resurrection would cost 2,576,500 gp 6,120 gp and take 7 years 22 days to build.

A bit pricey but since such a device would resurrect ANYBODY who died in the last 170 years with no level loss, and with a casting time of 1 minute if it ran around the clock it could bring back 1440 people a day. (actually it would be less if it takes time to reset the trap)

But you can imagine something like this causing problems. First, getting 2,500,000 gp worth of diamonds to build it (the spell component x 100) would need some major work with dwarven miners (or 500,000 xp to get a wizard to wish for diamonds 100 times) getting a high-level cleric (or artificer or team of crafters) to build the thing would be no easy task, plus expect every Marut in existence to go after you.

Then... then after you build something that can true resurrect people, and after you start bringing back everyone worth bringing back in the last 170 years, and after the recently raised start talking about it and the common folk maybe getting a little use out of it...

What if people start worshiping it and it gets divine ranks?

If people suddenly have access to magic devices that can provide even the common folk with food, clothing, health... and even life itself... what happens to the Gods?

Does the combined will of the planets population throw out the gods of old in favor of the gods of the infinite food machine? The Fountain of endless water? The pool of resurrection?


I sort of thought about this and I imagined a world where several True Ressurection pools were built and after a bunch people started worshipping them it gains divine ranks (attracting the attention of not only Marut inevitables but those ones that try to keep people from attaining godhood) since its followers can be brought back to life at a rate of 1 per minute with no level loss then the ressurection pools are soon guarded by extreamly powerful guards and armies.

Then... the gods are overthrown and mankind becomes virtually immortal in the material plane. But even with death held at bay (mostly from the Pools divine ranks kicking its natural resurrection capacity to overdrive) and disease, famine, and old age (someone invents the fountain of youth) gone then mortals have new problems.

Bandits, ogres, goblins and demons also have access to these things, if only through the knowledge that they exist. Give orcs a source of unlimited food and they can raise armies quickly. Let them hijack a source of resurrection (even if they get a trap that uses Raise Dead) and their generals can keep coming back.

Eventually... the gods of war, lust, and greed get to make a comeback. With high-powered magic around due to all the resurrected wizards and overpopulation looking like a problem... people start exploring the outer planes!

Castles in the plane of fire, underwater colonies in the plane of water... armies of humans, elves, and battle-ready constructs invade the lower planes, laying waste to the demons and monsters that claim the abyss...

...


Okay, that may be a bit beyond the create-food-and-water thing, but you have to admit that making beneficial magic available in traps has the potential for Waaay more destruction than the worst destructive magic in those same traps.

Dervag
2008-01-19, 05:30 AM
Castles in the plane of fire, underwater colonies in the plane of water... armies of humans, elves, and battle-ready constructs invade the lower planes, laying waste to the demons and monsters that claim the abyss...I like this part.

NephandiMan
2008-01-19, 06:27 AM
While this is all very interesting, the question on my mind is: what would a society that could produce infinite energy drinks look like?

(In before "We already have one.")

Tobrian
2008-01-19, 11:46 AM
But for everyday peasants, healing spells in traps would probably be the big ones. Cure Light Wounds might be good to have in barracks or places with souldiers. Remove Disease would be great to have as well. I imagine that if someone in a standard setting installed a device that cast Remove Disease, Remove Curse, Remove Blindness/Deafness, or Regenerate in a temple then the place would quickly become a holy site.

Check out the 5th level cleric/druid spell Hallow (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/hallow.htm) (and Unhallow for the evil clerics' temples).

Hallow makes a particular site, building, or structure a holy site. This has four major effects.

First, the site or structure is guarded by a magic circle against evil effect.

Second, all Charisma checks made to turn undead gain a +4 sacred bonus, and Charisma checks to command undead take a -4 penalty. Spell resistance does not apply to this effect. (This provision does not apply to the druid version of the spell.)

Third, any dead body interred in a hallowed site cannot be turned into an undead creature.

Finally, you may choose to fix a single spell effect to the hallowed site. The spell effect lasts for one year and functions throughout the entire site, regardless of the normal duration and area or effect. You may designate whether the effect applies to all creatures, creatures who share your faith or alignment, or creatures who adhere to another faith or alignment. At the end of the year, the chosen effect lapses, but it can be renewed or replaced simply by casting hallow again.

Spell effects that may be tied to a hallowed site include aid, bane, bless, cause fear, darkness, daylight, death ward, deeper darkness, detect evil, detect magic, dimensional anchor, discern lies, dispel magic, endure elements, freedom of movement, invisibility purge, protection from energy, remove fear, resist energy, silence, tongues, and zone of truth. Saving throws and spell resistance might apply to these spells’ effects. (See the individual spell descriptions for details.)

An area can receive only one hallow spell (and its associated spell effect) at a time. Hallow counters but does not dispel unhallow.

Material Component

Herbs, oils, and incense worth at least 1,000 gp, plus 1,000 gp per level of the spell to be included in the hallowed area.

I admit in my houserules I have rewritten this spell so that every faith can link any one (or on occasion more than one) divine spell to their holy site, provided it's a common spell or a spell that is part of the domains of the deity in question. That way, clerics of Pelor can create shrines of healing with Heal , Remove Curse or even Regeneration linked to it (think Lourdes), judges of Wee Jas or Heironeous can hallow a church with a permanent Zone of Truth, and clerics of Fharlanghn the god of travel can outfit secret rooms in their chapels with Teleport circles or planar portals. Clerics of a god of fate or prophecy can hallow their shrines with spells like Augury or Scrying or whatever, so that pilgrims who sleep there overnight can receive visions of the future or their loved ones far away.


Does the combined will of the planets population throw out the gods of old in favor of the gods of the infinite food machine? The Fountain of endless water? The pool of resurrection?

Fairy tales already have items that can provide unlimited food (and really tasty foodstuffs, too!), basically a banquet... see the German Grimm's fairy tale "Tischlein deck dich" (lit: Little table, lay yourself) or in its complete title: "Tischlein deck dich, Goldesel und Knüppel aus dem Sack" (The table, the donkey and the stick). D&D only added the ability to mass-produce magic items.

Pool of Resurection? In Irish and Welsh folklore, the magic Cauldron of Anwynn, one of the treasures of the Tuatha de Danann, can resurrect any warrior placed inside overnight. Also, both Celtic and Norse mythology knows cauldrons that can produce unlimited food (like the Greek cornucopia) or magic animals that can be slaughtered ,eaten and that return to life the next morning... Thor had a pair of goats that drew his charriot that also served as provisions on long travels.

OF course these things in mythology are usually of divine origin, or possessions of gods, making them epic. But then lots of heroes in myth borrow, steal or get given such magical treasures whenever they need them. With the large number of former adventurers in D&D worlds who retire from a life of dungeoncrawling, and all the artificers in Eberron, such items such be a dime a dozen.

Personally, food-creating items are my explanation of how the Underdark can support all those civilisations and cities and whatnot, especially in places where there's no rich neighbors to raid and no "magical background radiation" that conveniently allows whole ecosystems to exist from thin air (see D&D authors ass-pull). Settlements will invest in items that grant them magic food supplies, fresh water, even fresh air. Fire stones to cook, because seriously, where do you get enough material for heating and cooking in the Underdark? There are not enough large animals to create enough dung to burn it... can you imagine mindflayers or drow warming themselves on dung fires? :smallbiggrin: Not to mention where do they get enough leather, silk, cloth and other stuff for all their fancy clothes, bondage gear etc? Trade? Are you kidding me?

D&D societies in the Underdark and elsewhere already rely on turning magic energy into matter. In the Forgotten Realms whole cities are built with magic! Which means artificers and wizards will come to dominate such societies. In the real world, warlords became nobility because they conquered, owned and defended LAND. Land (including lakes and rivers and coasts) is the basis of the agrarian community because it provided all the resources, and even today, people still go to war over natural resources. In D&D, MAGIC is the most important resource. With magic, you can literally MAKE more land, open portals to other planes, create demiplanes, put castles in the sky, create fertile fields out of bare rocks. The only reason the D&D magic cannot make gold from lead is because the authors wanted to bae the currency on gold. But look at how much inflation there is... the amount of gold in a mind-level dungeon crawl could buy you a castle.

mostlyharmful
2008-01-19, 06:44 PM
An interesting alternative to all this Utopian society theories is to examine why humanity, and by extention why intelligent races in general, settled down from a hunter-gatherer existance in the first place. Why create argiculture and settlements when druids and Sorcerers can do it all for you. In the real world there are any number of theories (my personal favorite being a change to grow the ingrediants of a primative form of beer, making brewer the oldest profession:smallwink: ) as to why humanity started permenat settlements but in a magically empowered world most of them just don't exist. Especially when you put them up against the obvious short term benefits of primative forms of magic.

Lyinginbedmon
2008-01-19, 07:15 PM
If we assume a beginning as a nomadic existence for the humans that acquire this capability, we can also assume that it would become a magrogacy (Civilisation ruled by spellcasters), because they would be primary experts on providing necessary sustenance, as well as considerable firepower against opposing tribes.

mostlyharmful
2008-01-19, 07:20 PM
If we assume a beginning as a nomadic existence for the humans that acquire this capability, we can also assume that it would become a magrogacy (Civilisation ruled by spellcasters), because they would be primary experts on providing necessary sustenance, as well as considerable firepower against opposing tribes.

And from that point onwards never change. Just get more and more refined/advanced/powerful until magical cataclisms are a possibility. the Mother of all Invention is nessecity. And you just don't have that in a magically based society. Technology never develops but then it never has too.

GoC
2008-01-20, 12:20 AM
So what happened to my society? Expansion. Empire. That's what I would think would happen to yours. With more food easily on tap, you can support greater population, but that doesn't change the fact you need more space, which means you'll naturally infringe on the territories of others at some point.
Actualy people only need space to grow food on. Without that need it'll take a very very long time for their city to grow so much the countries borders can't contain it. Something like 50 generations. I think birth control will have been invented by then...


I personally see the former more common, though, as I have seen historical examples of groups of people who are well supplied and fed turning to war when expansive motions fail initiailly. For further evidence, read about the Fertile crescent in modern day Iraq.
They still required space to grow their food. Items of create food and water require only 1 square foot of space.

I once created a high magic society. The population was all magicaly enhanced and lived very well. However there were the Supervisors... Each person had to go to the Supervisor to register what their next task was going to be (this could be a work of art, a new spell or something), the Supervisor would then give you a deadline. At or before the deadline you need to present your project to the Supervisor, if he deems it unsatisfactory or you pass the deadline certain privileges would be revoked. If you stopped giving in projects you would find yourself expulsed from the demiplane. Of course, you could ask for a new Supervisor if you thought the current one was too harsh. There were many extra tools people could use for their projects such as various scrying devices, wands of cure wounds and capes of teleportation. How well you do previous tasks may limit what you can use.

The entire country was actualy a single city on a large demiplane (30 mile radius) created and ruled by an epic wizard. There were numerous portals to other planes (including the material plane) were people could go to relax or complete their projects. Some projects could even involve slaying a Terrasque or conquering a kingdom! Telling an outsider about the demiplane would result in a memory wipe and possible expulsion.

In fact this society most resembles a university...

Randel
2008-01-20, 01:54 AM
I think birth control will have been invented by then...

I think they would find a population limiter before then... namely monsters.

So you can make tons of food from a 1-foot square device? Great, but now you dump a lot of scraps in the garbage and that attracts insect swarms and dire rats.

You're careful to not dump too many scraps away but have about a million people living in a huge mega-city... thats one heck of a sewer system you need to handle a well-fed population... and now its crawling with oozes and giant worms.

You equip you sewer maintenance personnel with crossbows, but now the bugbears in the woods are upset that they have to scrounge for roots and berries while you just press a button to get food. They gather an army and you either have to fight them or give them food... either through regular tributes or by giving them a food-generator.

Now the bugbears go away and behave themselves for a while... but unfortunately bugbears only do three things. Hunt for food, fight stuff, and make more bugbears. Now that they have plenty of food, they just make lots and lots of bugbears... and fight with whoever gets near them out of boredom. Once they grow too numerous to be sustained by the food-maker they have, you now have a huge army of bugbears ready to start fighting again.

Dervag
2008-01-20, 02:38 AM
An interesting alternative to all this Utopian society theories is to examine why humanity, and by extention why intelligent races in general, settled down from a hunter-gatherer existance in the first place. Why create argiculture and settlements when druids and Sorcerers can do it all for you. In the real world there are any number of theories (my personal favorite being a change to grow the ingrediants of a primative form of beer, making brewer the oldest profession:smallwink: ) as to why humanity started permenat settlements but in a magically empowered world most of them just don't exist. Especially when you put them up against the obvious short term benefits of primative forms of magic.Ah, but a new reason crops up- wizards and sorcerors are high level specialists. They rely on a very wide variety of other trades to do their bidding for them. Someone has to gather those herbs, work those little elaborately jeweled statue material components, and so on. In theory, an extremely powerful wizard could use magic to create all his needs from scratch, but wizards who have not reached that ultimate peak of ability still rely on outside supplies for their material components. And even wizards who can create everything for themselves may not want to waste time and energy learning how to be a jeweler when it's less work for them to keep a jeweler on retainer.

So you still need people to support arcane casters because arcane casters still need things that they cannot make for themselves or would have to waste a lot of time making for themselves. And unless wizards are very dense on the ground, a wizard's time is valuable enough that they aren't going to want to waste it making things like barrels and clothing that those people need, even though they could do so. So you also need support industries to support the people who provide the wizards with material components, and to support those industries, and so on.

In fact, the only industries that would be missing from even the most magically 'advanced' society are the ones that a wizard or other caster can easily replace, such as food production and iron mining. Since most people are not qualified to be high-level casters by their lack of the necessary ability scores, it makes more sense to have those people making stuff like clothes than for the wizards to waste time making clothes out of thin air.

Thus, instead of getting sedentary communities created by the need to keep the farms going year round, you get sedentary communities created by the local wizard's need for supplies. Or rather, you don't get wizards until civilization has built up communities with the industries required to support them. Obviously, nobody could have cast a spell that requires worked metal material components until the craft of metalworking emerged.

Certain types of casters don't need to rely on material components and communities, but these casters are also the most self-sufficient types. Not every group in the world will have one, and the ones forced to shift for themselves will evolve in the 'normal', nonmagical way.

So, to sum up, I believe that cultures capable of using magic to fulfill all their needs will not arise until they have a large civilization that could meet those needs by less efficient means to 'piggyback' on, just as more efficient technologies for growing crops and making goods in real life didn't emerge until there was a background of technology for them to spread in.


I think they would find a population limiter before then... namely monsters.

So you can make tons of food from a 1-foot square device? Great, but now you dump a lot of scraps in the garbage and that attracts insect swarms and dire rats.

You're careful to not dump too many scraps away but have about a million people living in a huge mega-city... thats one heck of a sewer system you need to handle a well-fed population... and now its crawling with oozes and giant worms.

You equip you sewer maintenance personnel with crossbows, but now the bugbears in the woods are upset that they have to scrounge for roots and berries while you just press a button to get food. They gather an army and you either have to fight them or give them food... either through regular tributes or by giving them a food-generator.

Now the bugbears go away and behave themselves for a while... but unfortunately bugbears only do three things. Hunt for food, fight stuff, and make more bugbears. Now that they have plenty of food, they just make lots and lots of bugbears... and fight with whoever gets near them out of boredom. Once they grow too numerous to be sustained by the food-maker they have, you now have a huge army of bugbears ready to start fighting again.I think this is a good argument. Cultures that try to grow without staking out a secure perimeter of patrolled territory will always be threatened by enemies. A megalopolis supported by magical food generators has no strategic depth, and unless it has a very good defense force it will be vulnerable to invaders.

And if it does have a very good defense force, it will usually end up beating back the hostile forces on its borders much as real-world colonial settlements tended to expand at the expense of the natives.

Tobrian
2008-01-20, 07:55 PM
Very interesting essays in this topic. :smallsmile:


In fact this society most resembles a university...

Or a self-contained space station.

Even in utopian societies, stuff still needs to be done to keep everything running. And some things can't be done by robot/constructs.

Jack_Simth
2008-01-20, 08:19 PM
I think they would find a population limiter before then... namely monsters.

So you can make tons of food from a 1-foot square device? Great, but now you dump a lot of scraps in the garbage and that attracts insect swarms and dire rats.

There are no scraps leaving the city. Everything falls into a Disintegrate-trap, and becomes a pile of dust (which then gets Disintegrated into a same-sized pile of dust when the next blob of waste hits).

Hmm.... periodic-trigger (once per round - we want the effect to be a constant-running food trough, essentially, going downhill - plop a serving into a bowl with a serving spoon - next person) Create Food and Water "trap" at caster level 5 would run 7,500 gp, 600 xp (you'll want a couple of them, though, for convenience, and you'll also want to incorporate a Prestidigitation trap for 250 gp and 20 xp so that it's got a random, nice flavor); the Disintegrate trap would run a bit more - 33,000 gp and 2,640 xp (and you pretty much just need one per city). All waste flows to the Disintegrate trap; most vermin fall to the Disintegrate trap, too, keeping their numbers down.

Tobrian
2008-01-20, 08:23 PM
And from that point onwards never change. Just get more and more refined/advanced/powerful until magical cataclisms are a possibility. the Mother of all Invention is nessecity. And you just don't have that in a magically based society. Technology never develops but then it never has too.

Terry Pratchett described such a society in his recent novel "Making Money" (as part of a background story about where the Discworld golems came from). They where the first golem makers... their golems were far more advanced than those later generations and later cultures made, because the knowledge died out with them. They had sentient and obedient golems to do their work, till their land, dig, carry and build, fetch water, fight fire, fight their battles, they even had golem horses. They never invented anything else, not even the wheel, because they never needed to. In fact, the secret of making golems was the only invention their priests had ever made; and after that, their society stagnated. The magic took care of everything.

Of course, the current Discworld societies of the "present time" had wizards for millenia, but their magic was never good for anything normal people needed, because magic has a life of its own. So they invented technology first (parts of the Discworld are currently on a Renaissance/early 19th century tech level, except for steam engines... it's so much easier to have a golem turn a crank.). Then a new generation of "inventor-wizards" in the city-state of Ankh-Morpork adapted arcane technology from a foreign empire, and now there's a lot of bizarre arcane gadgets around, driven by tiny summoned imps.

The humans in Ankh-Morpork still use golems (but have lost the knowledge to make them) to power their industrial revolution. The Discworld dwarves have a good grasp of mechanical things, like pumps and gears, for use in their mines, but also own ancient arcanotechnological "devices" that basically run on magic instead of mundane energy.

Imagine an industrial revolution that doesn't need coal, wood, oil or gas to burn, no water or wind power, but instead runs on golems, raw magic power or "energy crystals" or rune magic to make things move, float, burn, etc. I've seen several examples of "arcane technological societies" in modern fantasy literature. Either magic and technology occur side-by-side (or fighting each other) or they merge.

Examples that mix magic with (steampunk) technology:
- Arcanum video game
- Castle Falkenstein RPG
- Death Gate Cycle, novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
- Death of a Necromancer, by Martha Wells, and the other novels set in the same universe
- Eberron, of course

Basically, mankind will use whatever natural resources are available, and magic is a powerful "supernatural" resource if it can be harnessed and controlled.

Now, what happens to such a society if magic energy, "mana", seems limitless at first but turns out to be a finite resource? If spells diminish or stop working? Larry Niven wrote a novel in 1981 on that topic: "The Magic Goes Away".