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    Default High Magic Utopia

    Forgive me if this topic has come up before, I don't frequent the homebrew section of the forum.

    I'm working on a campaign that should take place in an ultra high magic setting. All essentials like food, water, clothing, and shelter are all created or aided by magic. Think public drinking fountains that take care of hunger, thirst, etc. Another fountain for healing and cure disease, so there is no sickness or disfigurements.

    But for this place to be interesting it needs conflict. So I ask, who would create such a place?

    An insane priest who seeks to pacify all races?
    A vampire who wants an unending feeding ground?
    A group of paladins who swore to end evil by removing any need for violence?
    A mage who want everyone fat and happy so he can enslave them for his conquest of other plains?
    A paranoid council of elders who don't want anyone venturing into the "world outside"?
    A rich group of nobles with a standing bet to find out how society would degrade first?
    Something else?

    Depending on the answer to that question the rest of the campaign could take shape. If the magic fountains need energy, maybe the economy is based on the exchange of power crystals. If the world can only support so many items drawing its power, maybe city states employ soldiers to destroy other cities' items to free up more magical energy for themselves. If this is only a small corner of the world, do the PCs break out? Is it a place so good that it has caught the attention of evil gods who wish to destroy it out of jealousy?

    It really could be anything, but if you have any ideas for how this place/world came to be and who/what would be in charge, I'd like to hear them.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Sounds like the Tippyverse. Have a link.

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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by WyvernLord View Post
    Sounds like the Tippyverse. Have a link.
    Oh, weird, I was just researching this topic this week. Tippyverse is a good place to start, I believe the general consensus in that thread was that you would end up with a world more or less like Eberron.

    I'm compiling notes on a setting using Warrior Rogue & Mage (it's well-suited to high magic), which means that even the lowliest commoner can conjure food and water. I'll share my notes on potential plot hooks here:

    • A city's golems are beginning to run down, since the materials used (power crystals or whatever) are in very short supply. The party is tasked with leaving the city and going into the Wilds to find a new source of the materials.
    • A small village's wards are beginning to fade and noone alive in the village today is skilled enough to renew them. Soon any old monster could just wander into the village and kill everyone.
    • A village has requested that a teleportation gate be constructed to connect them to the network, but they don't have precise geographical coordinates for a wizard to teleport in and do it. This is a big deal, a village turning into a city in modern times is almost unheard of. Guards are needed to escort a member of the Gatebuilder's Guild through the Wilds.
    • As above, except it's a trap, the village in question does not exist (and the man claiming to be from there has had false memories implanted). A militant city wants to kidnap a Gatebuilder outside of his home city, where there won't be any guards or surveillance to stop them from extracting the secrets of the security measures protecting his home city's gate.
    • A number of machines are stolen from a factory and smuggled off to another city. Their builder (and possibly city officials) wants to catch the criminals.
    • An explorer returns from the Wilds with some extremely valuable treasure and he wants to fund an expedition to go back and get more.


    Regarding intrigue, I think that's a bad idea. A lot of people talk about wanting to have such a utopia be corrupt at its core. I don't like that thematically.

    I see two fundamental flaws with a high-magic post-scarcity society being corrupt:

    1) If a ruler wants to exercise power over the people, he can't. Everybody has a box that pops out food and water every day, and if you try to take them away you will start riots. Everyone can communicate with magic. You can't withhold food and information from people to control or oppress them (which is the most common method of real-world dictatorships). It's easier to manipulate rich corporations instead.

    2) Mind control (which is the favorite idea for making a corrupt society) is far too easy to detect. Everybody who has been mind controlled will radiate a magical aura, and you can break it with a dispel check or other means. Also, mind control is scary. The general population will react violently if there is any hint of mind control magic in anything.

    Another thing to note is that entertainment will be a very valuable commodity in a post-scarcity society. People get bored, after all. If copyright exists, then you will get powerful entertainment lobbies in the government (like we have today). However, I would lay down a hard rule that copyright and patents do not exist. This is sword and sorcery, adventure has the party either crawling through sewers or going out into the Wilds, not dealing with lawyers and corrupt officials.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2012-04-14 at 04:18 PM.
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by madtinker View Post
    Forgive me if this topic has come up before, I don't frequent the homebrew section of the forum.

    I'm working on a campaign that should take place in an ultra high magic setting. All essentials like food, water, clothing, and shelter are all created or aided by magic. Think public drinking fountains that take care of hunger, thirst, etc. Another fountain for healing and cure disease, so there is no sickness or disfigurements.

    But for this place to be interesting it needs conflict. So I ask, who would create such a place?

    An insane priest who seeks to pacify all races?
    A vampire who wants an unending feeding ground?
    A group of paladins who swore to end evil by removing any need for violence?
    A mage who want everyone fat and happy so he can enslave them for his conquest of other plains?
    A paranoid council of elders who don't want anyone venturing into the "world outside"?
    A rich group of nobles with a standing bet to find out how society would degrade first?
    Something else?

    Depending on the answer to that question the rest of the campaign could take shape. If the magic fountains need energy, maybe the economy is based on the exchange of power crystals. If the world can only support so many items drawing its power, maybe city states employ soldiers to destroy other cities' items to free up more magical energy for themselves. If this is only a small corner of the world, do the PCs break out? Is it a place so good that it has caught the attention of evil gods who wish to destroy it out of jealousy?

    It really could be anything, but if you have any ideas for how this place/world came to be and who/what would be in charge, I'd like to hear them.
    you also need to include the Ethernet to this setting.

    my problem with the power problem scenario is that it really doesnt add to conflict, especially considering the shear logical fallacy required to allow for such an issue (if the mages of the setting have already solved poverty, hunger, disease, and invented mass transit, why dont they just have a permanent gate to the plane of earth to the choicest mining location for power crystals)

    no, if they have already done that, the conflict needs to be things like the LG Druid who wants to destroy the healing fountain stuff because it prevents natural selection. Innane wars which provide nothing.
    you want to run this setting, you have to be really willing to tear appart American culture, politics, and oppinions.


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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    add a cult of Xenothurgist Liches who're tided to the far realms, who use breachs instead of spells, and instead od fear? They radiate auras of anti-magic

    A couple of Collosi have gained sentience, and want to destroy the magical civilazations (They aslo radiate anti-magic)

    What the poor, poor people don't relaize is that magic is finite! It might come back, but the process takes millions of years. Only a few archmage CEO's even know anythings wrong, and they value profit to highly.


    Basicly, take the world, and make insane dark parodies of it It's a D&D game, go nuts with the whole; real life after you go through the looking glass.
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Link for Xenotheurgy it's a fun system. I like it a lot personally.

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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimsage Matt View Post
    What the poor, poor people don't relaize is that magic is finite! It might come back, but the process takes millions of years.
    Worse. Humanity starts gaining an Immunity to Magic. It's everywhere, in the food, the water, on every corner. After a while, the world becomes so saturated with magic that people start to lose the ability to feel it, to use it. Hell, to be affected by it!

    The PCs could be attempting to reverse this on orders of the King. Or a powerful sorcerer is trying to reverse the process, but his attempts to do so typically involve whole-sale slaughter or horrific experimentation on live wizards and clerics.
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    (Actually, I see this guy anticlimactically ending the campaign impotently hurling lightning at the PCs, and breaking down at seeing nothing affect them anymore).
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    ya, but I was going for high magic Corperate Greed. The modern world with magic
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    my problem with the power problem scenario is that it really doesnt add to conflict, especially considering the shear logical fallacy required to allow for such an issue (if the mages of the setting have already solved poverty, hunger, disease, and invented mass transit, why dont they just have a permanent gate to the plane of earth to the choicest mining location for power crystals)
    Then build the setting so that there is no dissonance. That's called "deconstruction", taking some idea that most narrators never examine in much detail and exploring what conditions would allow that idea to exist, then taking it to its logical extremes.

    For example, you could say that extraplanar travel doesn't exist so you can't go connect to other planes to retrieve resources. You could say that power crystals, being made of compressed astral residue, cannot be teleported and cannot be moved through planar portals (without violent explosions). You could say that magic is lousy at mass-conjuring magic items, they have to be made by hand. You could say that magic cannot bypass crafting skill, only a gunwright can use magic to make guns.

    My favorite is the idea that cities are low-magic zones. Out in the Wilds magic is strong and unpredictable, but in the cities magic is tame and weak (and this is because no village or town was ever able to survive in a zone with strong magic, there were too many megafauna and magical phenomena). You can't find power crystals or whatever you use to run your constructs anywhere near a city, the magic just isn't strong enough for them to form. So you have to go out into the dangerous wilds and find it there.

    you want to run this setting, you have to be really willing to tear appart American culture, politics, and oppinions.
    Not necessarily. You could also have insane villains who want to tear down this post-scarcity society simply because they lust for power. Post-singularity science fiction like Glasshouse could be a good resource for this. (Dang it, that book tears apart American culture, politics, and opinions... But that's not the point, the point is that it has three greedy villains who want to exercise mind control over people and the impact of extremely advanced technology on that scheme is explored.)

    You could also take the route of corporate greed and organized crime. The owner of a business empire wants to subtly enchant everyone in the city to buy his products. A trade war starts and quickly becomes violent. A new prototype is stolen and the party is tasked with retrieving it.

    Another option would be to have something assault the society from the outside. Perhaps an army of barbarians or powerful magic-resistant monsters shows up with the intent to loot and despoil the city. Or two cities go to war because the leader of one city is a tyrant with delusions of becoming an emperor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjadeadbeard View Post
    Worse. Humanity starts gaining an Immunity to Magic. It's everywhere, in the food, the water, on every corner. After a while, the world becomes so saturated with magic that people start to lose the ability to feel it, to use it. Hell, to be affected by it!
    Something like this is covered in the Bartimaeus trilogy, where there's a cycle of empires rising and falling. Every great empire founded upon magic eventually fell because the rising generation and lower class were infused with the magic. The talents they had were all random, one person might be able to see the true forms of disguised demons, one might be completely immune to magic, one might be able to shut down a demon's magical abilities with a touch, one might have visions of the future, etc. Since only the upper-class used magic and they relied heavily on summoned demons, this made peasant revolts quick and brutal when the upper class eventually became arrogant and corrupt.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2012-04-16 at 02:12 AM.
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomar_of_Uointer View Post
    *Part A cut for length*

    Part B:
    Something like this is covered in the Bartimaeus trilogy, where there's a cycle of empires rising and falling. Every great empire founded upon magic eventually fell because the rising generation and lower class were infused with the magic. The talents they had were all random, one person might be able to see the true forms of disguised demons, one might be completely immune to magic, one might be able to shut down a demon's magical abilities with a touch, one might have visions of the future, etc. Since only the upper-class used magic and they relied heavily on summoned demons, this made peasant revolts quick and brutal when the upper class eventually became arrogant and corrupt.
    A: Meet Civilian Example A: The clueless

    B: he means everyone has SR, not magical tallent


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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    High magic? Well... who would hate high magic? People with no magic.

    In short? Your conflict can come from a naition of no-magic steampunk people who beleive magic should be purged from the land for one reason or annother, and posess the means to break or cancel out any magic they encounter.
    Last edited by Draconi Redfir; 2012-04-16 at 10:00 AM.
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    High magic? Well... who would hate high magic? People with no magic.

    In short? Your conflict can come from a naition of no-magic steampunk people who beleive magic should be purged from the land for one reason or annother, and posess the means to break or cancel out any magic they encounter.
    meet the China Analogue


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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    A: Meet Civilian Example A: The clueless
    I'm just saying that you shouldn't build a society where every aspect of the government is geared towards oppression without good reason. Don't discount the impact of strong, charismatic individuals on society (for good or ill).

    One option for world-building is to construct a society around "founding fathers" or philosophers who greatly impacted its development. Go look at the biography of any famous historical president or leader of a country and you'll see some relation between the leader and the society (Antonio Lopez, for example).

    You can still make a dystopia, of course. Just make it interesting for the PCs. If the villains are a family which has been running things that way for centuries, then you get the opportunity to have a royally screwed up family of NPCs to cast as villains. The party can take down one, but then they have eight others to deal with.

    Another option is to have one or two villains in the government, but with other officials who strongly disagree with them and are willing to help the PCs. It makes the most sense for the NPC allies to be elected, because if they're appointed then the villain is going to dispose of them with extreme prejudice.

    Toapat, what political situations would you consider to be fun for a D&D game?
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2012-04-16 at 02:15 PM.
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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomar_of_Uointer View Post
    I'm just saying that you shouldn't build a society where every aspect of the government is geared towards oppression without good reason. Don't discount the impact of strong, charismatic individuals on society (for good or ill).

    One option for world-building is to construct a society around "founding fathers" or philosophers who greatly impacted its development. Go look at the biography of any famous historical president or leader of a country and you'll see some relation between the leader and the society (Antonio Lopez, for example).

    You can still make a dystopia, of course. Just make it interesting for the PCs. If the villains are a family which has been running things that way for centuries, then you get the opportunity to have a royally screwed up family of NPCs to cast as villains. The party can take down one, but then they have eight others to deal with.

    Another option is to have one or two villains in the government, but with other officials who strongly disagree with them and are willing to help the PCs. It makes the most sense for the NPC allies to be elected, because if they're appointed then the villain is going to dispose of them with extreme prejudice.

    Toapat, what political situations would you consider to be fun for a D&D game?
    Ideal societies in DnD lead more to a game that works as a deconstruction of American politics.

    i prefer setting that lend themselves to problems, such as a dyson sphere world, where time holds little correlation to what we know of it, where humans hold no lands, Elves and dwarves share a (small) continent, and kingdoms are just starting to form for the first time. sorta like Eberron, but without the insane scope that ends up crushing any real storyline that you could put together in it.


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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    Okay, here's an interesting idea.

    Let's say that due to mismanagement and political pressures, you have a large group if people in a city who want to move out and settle someplace else? The Wilds are all about you, so nothing's stopping you from going out there, claiming land, and building on it. That could be an adventure of its own, dealing with nearby humanoid tribes, clearing out monsters, dealing with strange diseases and animals, keeping ancient evils from awakening underneath your new site, etc etc. With everyone having access to magic you could do a lot more than the average settler.
    "...I worry that modern gaming is gradually shrinking the wide spectrum of gameplay mechanics into a single narrow red bar with "KILL" written on it sideways. Exploration, navigation, puzzles, platforming, all gradually shrinking away until only one thing remains, being taken by the hand from room to room, moving on only when nothing remains alive in each one." - Yhatzee Crosshaw

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    Default Re: High Magic Utopia

    that could work

    Ok:

    Home Nation: Basically modern day NJ, except without that abomination that warrants the application of the death sentence to all involved in that travesty of a TV show

    Steampunkville: Victorian England. Everyone here is civil and has a cockney accent.

    Dungeonpunkville: China, these guys really want what your nation has, and will do what they well please to do so. Dungeon punk is best known from Eberron

    Wilds: South America.

    Homeville has corrupt nobility, the civilians have access to the Ethernet and Wizzipedia, other things like A-pods exist.

    Dungeonpunkville will use people as fuel, and wants to expand its empire. Everything is X% cheaper when it was originally produced there, but has between -2 and -10 hardness if not made from wood
    Last edited by toapat; 2012-04-16 at 06:43 PM.


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