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    Default Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Building a Magitechnocratic Society


    In this here project I will hope to display that, as opposed to the Tippyverse, one does not need high level spells or levels to radically change the basic foundations of a society within the common D&D world. Through the most basic spells of magic and beyond we can introduce commodities we all take for granted every day and truly ask, if there is the means why wouldn’t a town in D&D operate under such a familiar model. As mentioned this “magitechnocratic” (it’s a mouthful) society is based off the fundamental idea of a Tippyverse but radically scaled down. This author feels the mass abuse of Wish spells and other high-level effects make the possibility of a Tippyverse considerably unstable in being formed & consistent. For the purposes of this project the spells & powers used will be restricted to 3rd-level as this puts us not only in a “sweet spot” for most towns/cities to be able to accomplish but also allows E6-based games/campaigns to access the ideas within it.

    The first, and most pivotal, part in constructing a magitechnocratic society is found in the education & labor of Artificers. Be it magical or psionic Artificers are the life-blood of a magitechnocratic community as they not only propel the upgrades necessary for a town or city to become something greater, but do so with greater ease than any other occupation. The second part in constructing a magitechnocratic society is having a well-providing source of experience points for the Artificers to harvest. No xp means no upgrades, so the xp must flow. If we were to use unsavory methods quick factories of soul harvesting and such from The Book of Vile Darkness could be utilized but I feel that is a weak element to build such a society on. It is not only unquestionable vile but also may lead to riots/unrest in revulsion of it. So we see some other opportunities open up for the Artificers. The first is large scale “safari” expeditions in which they are lead by Rangers, Scouts & other suitable guides to hunt down dangerous animals. With wands & items of Ray of Stupidity these Artificers can collect a great deal of experience points taking down intellectually-challenged monsters. The second is mini-fight clubs within firms (the collective of Artificers) which ultimately won’t bring in as much experience points as option #1 but is significantly safer & quicker to achieve. Two Artificers go a couple rounds bare-knuckle fighting, they’re doing non-lethal damage and at the end of it they’ll be quickly healed. The third is taking the basic proponent of both the first and second ideas and making it into a spectacle. Using the rules for xp transference we have the society institute gladiator-scale events as a means to “farm” xp. Barbarians, Fighters, Monks, Rogues and more all show up and compete in different games or obstacles and the winner than is paid a wealthy sum to pour his newly gained xp into a magic item. This author personally feels the third option is the best not only for flavor purposes (who doesn’t like a steam-punk style society with Roman elements?!?) but it provides a stimulus for the masses as well as a consistency as to why martial professions still exist in such a world. The third part in constructing a magitechnocratic society is underlying a strong focus on education. With the upgrades magic and such bring to any community the extremely high need of commoners to work in the fields is lowered dramatically, and with the ease at which one may become educated bringing people out of serfdom into schools is a realistic hope. While there is still a need for a physical work force a commoner can see to it that their child is set on a road towards higher achievements. Education is what ultimately leads to the stability of an upper-class filled with Artificers and other elite classes.

    Health, Hunger and Higher Learning, Oh My!

    Obviously the first step to achieving step number three is reducing the need of agriculture in a society. This is done as to push those who would work the fields into other fields, such as mining & other resource collection, while putting more money in their pockets. This is initially done by each community, no matter how small, obtaining a wondrous item of Goodberry. This first level Druid spell turns any single berry into a full nourishing meal for a medium humanoid as well as heals one hit point. This alone redefines what a D&D society regards as poverty. When you can feed a human on three berries a day (which also heals them) you can begin to make some big changes. People begin to become less scared of famine as it is near free to provide for anyone in a community. The next item that naturally compliments the Goodberry magic item, let’s call it a Goodbearer Box, is a magic item of Create Water. A 0-level Druid & Cleric spell that creates two gallons of pure, clean water on command pretty much makes irrigation significantly less concerning. Simply setting up one of these Magic Fountains in the middle of a town square means all can have access to useable water for drinking, cooking, agriculture and more. Now that these two inventions are instituted we steer towards upgrading the situation. We have to really ask what still needs to be grown and the answer is still everything, by a lot. Even with the use of magic or psionics the needs and duration of such basic requirements requires an agricultural force to be of constant use. But just like our own societies we can have dedicated individuals handling this as opposed to the lowest of the low having to farm to survive. Agriculture becomes an actual force of the economy and not a dire need. Animals still need to be raised for food & resources (like wool), while tobacco and other luxury items are still grown for economic purposes, and fruits & vegetables are grown because in the end spells or powers like Psionic Minor Creation and Create Food & Water can’t simulate fine culinary delights.

    But let’s focus on these spells and powers. Create Food & Water says, “The food that this spell creates is simple fare of your choice—highly nourishing, if rather bland.” It provides enough of this simple, nourishing but bland food to feed three medium humans per casting. If we really break down what the spell provides a society gets a lot of food that is very good for them but doesn’t really taste amazing. It sounds almost like a nutritious microwave dinner… Obviously one could use something like a magic item of Prestidigitation or a Spice Jar (Magic of Faerun pg. 165) to add flavor but if all a society is getting is nutritious gruel I don’t see them discarding traditional agriculture. That is where the beauty of Psionic Minor Creation comes in and the splendor that is, “Unattended, nonpsionic, nonmagical object of nonliving plant matter, up to 1 cu. ft./level.” A nonliving plant matter is effectively any crop that can be grown which, when used economically, would allow a society to be able to summon an apple, some juice or a bushel of corn. Because it has a duration of 1 hour per level, we can’t exploit it to produce items like high-powered alcoholic spirits but it provides a very strong argument against necessity driven agriculture.

    Beyond the matters of replacing agriculture magic can be properly utilized in the expansion & improvement of it through the use of Plant Growth. This simple, third-level spell offers a community the opportunity to instantly “raise their potential productivity over the course of the next year to one-third above normal,” up to a half-mile distance. There are a couple ways we can interpret this but this author is going to follow the most exploitable while still conservative. Upon casting on a field of standard vegetables you raise their initial harvest by one third. Come the next day you cast Plant Growth again and raise the previous improved harvest by one third again. See a pattern? Following this any community can expect to produce an amazing harvest given a typical season. The spell won’t speed up the process by any account but for nothing more than the initial cost of casting Plant Growth you can extract more out of your investment. A conservative approximation of corn, which would take around 90 days to grow, would bring in thirty times more corn than a typical season (if Plant Growth was cast every day). Your standard D&D economy is going to see a supreme shift in prices and vegetables, fruits and other planted commodities will become very cheap.

    So we are left with some magical items that resolve agriculture of being an absolute necessity but not enough to get rid of it all together. But as we shift our gaze from one of hunger we look towards health. Even easier than agriculture, curing an individual of a disease or wound in a magitechnocratic is as easy as setting up some quick magic items of Remove Diseases or Cure Light Wounds. An option that jumps out in familiar ways to the Goodberry spell is Estanna’s Stew from the Book of Exalted Deeds, a spell which not only summons a stew (so there you go for a nice meal) but also heals 1d6 points of hit points. Any assortment of these in a community effectively eases all the necessity from healers or the clergy to provide their services.

    Finally we stumble upon the first look into economic factors regarding commoners & such. A basic commoner (four ranks in profession: anything, skill focus [profession: anything] and a 12 in wisdom) can be expected to bring in around eight gold pieces per week. Now this author doesn’t know the intricate budgeting of a medieval commoner but with food not necessarily being a vital proponent of said budget (if they stick to items made exclusively from a Goodbearer Box or an item of Create Food or Water/Psionic Minor Creation) they can begin to put the money that would go towards food into investments like learning magical training (much like the feat of the same name) or a psionic talent (through Hidden Talent). This is the first building block to radically altering the typical D&D campaign structure. You are giving your lowest citizens a chance to better themselves.

    Education; or How Those Spellbooks Aren’t Going to Read Themselves…

    In our previous section it was discussed how through the elimination of poverty and hyper-improvement of agriculture the lowest citizens of a magitechnocratic may be able to shift their budget around to offer themselves greater means. A commoner picking up the Magical Training feat immediately gains access to some 0-level spells (like Acid Splash, Arcane Mark, Mending, Prestidigitation, and others) as well as the ability to use eternal wands freely. But beyond the connivance of having a few spell-like abilities at command it opens up the chance for a commoner to invest in the future of their child. Given enough years is it really too crazy to think that a commoner couldn’t afford the training of a 1st-level Wizard for their child? It takes no real amount, by RAW, to receive such training but for the academies, universities and such a magitechnocratic society can see a shift towards magical training.

    And from a purely RAW perspective there is nothing to really stop a society from sinking a ridiculous amount of focus towards education in result seeing the influx of 1st-level Wizards increase radically. All an individual needs is an intelligence score of 11 and the will to learn. But stretching beyond the hope of a wizard’s world a magitechnocratic has other means of pushing a doctrine of education. The first is through magic items of Amanuensis a.k.a. your new printing press. With a simple 0-level spell not only does the vast publication of the written word become a reality, but a great deal of citizens to any community become informed (and possibly interested) in knowledge, cultural events, ect... If the printing press ushered in the “period of modernity” for our own world who is to say the same couldn’t happen within a D&D campaign?

    The second handy item contributing to the improved education system of a magitechnocratic society is the first-level spell Scholar’s Touch which allows an individual to read any sized book in a round. Now the spell doesn’t grant any hard upgrades to a character like skill points but it does give the individual an understanding of the book’s contents as if they had read it, which is still huge. Imagine an education system where a child could read a hundred books a day with no effort at all. It would be something similar to The Matrix in how Neo downloads martial arts & such. History, geography, geometry and more immediately become easier to devour as academic subjects. And while a character isn’t earning any skill points they are becoming more knowledgeable about any subject they desire. Because if it only takes a minute to read ten large tomes on a subject, you’re character is going to be better…

    So in conjunction with a magic item of Amanuensis and Scholar’s Touch we have a society which can pump out knowledge and devour it in very quick speeds which opens the door even wider to a magically-influenced “period of modernity.”

    Infusing the Common Man

    But taking a step away from a traditional approach to how we know education and self-improvement there is the lovely feat Hidden Talent which bestows a first-level power, two power points and the psionic subtype. That is a lot for a first level feat, especially for a commoner. A commoner could be throwing around energy rays, creating matter, drawing upon knowledge of the universe, and more which in a way could resemble the mutants from the Marvel universe. The sorcerer equivalent of the Magical Training feat provides a similar benefit (although not as substantial as Hidden Talent) providing solid 0-level spells like Ghost Sound, Mending, Message and Prestidigitation (and with a little cheese via Precocious Apprentice you can possibly open up 2nd-level spells like Unseen Crafter, Alter Self, Whispering Wind, ect…). And I they are tough enough they can pick up teleportation, briefly fly and spit orbs of acid via Shape Soulmeld from Magic of Incarnum. This all comes together to showcase a campaign society in which every single individual can be magical/special and every single individual is a unique entity within the world they occupy. And when it comes down to it a first level commoner with two feats is more likely to sacrifice one for the ability to jump through space & time over picking up toughness…

    And with this we see a shift in attitude towards the mystical and mundane. In a traditional D&D campaign magic and the supernatural are possibly viewed as just that, supernatural. But in a world in which your milk man can telepathically control you and your co-worker at the market place can manifest illusions conceptions regarding the supernatural begin to change.

    Economic Models

    Within the previously expanded upon magitechnocratic society we’ve seen how the wonders of magic can other supernatural aspects can elevate a traditional D&D society into something a little bit more “futuristic” as we would come to acknowledge it. What follows is a look at how some of these aspects reflect in different parts of the society as actualized through game mechanics.

    Transportation
    Typical transportation within low-level D&D is what most would expect when approaching it, fairly basic. Most shippers still use wagons to get across mountains and ships to make it over the blue oceans. And while most of the heavy duty teleportation spells (the kind that the Tippyverse commonly utilizes) aren’t open most of the magical or supernatural options stick to that basic model. But even when structured to that familiar mode, a lot of fun can open up.

    The first radical upgrade in a magitechnocratic society when it comes to transportation is the adoption of the Astral Skiff as found in the Planar Handbook. It costs $10,000 gp and doesn’t disclose any information regarding how it is made (or what it is composed of construction-wise) so we have to stick to that hard price. The Astral Skiff is typically used on the Astral plane and while in its description it notes it typically doesn’t work on a Material plane it doesn’t actually apply any restriction so we can go ahead and use it on our typical, gravity-based world. It’s a huge vehicle with a 120 ft. speed that can carry three people & 1 ton (possibly more people if storage space is removed to allow such a convenience). This is, under seventh-level, the cheapest & best option for a transport. It’s cost is reasonable for what it offers and allows us to populate our society with mini-space ships for combat, economic and other reasons. They won’t be owned by everyone but for those who need them, they are accessible.

    But for those with stricter budgets another option jumps up as affordable, reasonable and eye-catching; effigies. Found in Complete Arcana the rules for constructing effigies are easy, cheap and open for a lot of creative uses. For your basic model, a large 3 hit-die creature, you’ll look at a base price of 14,000 gp which is more expensive than the Astral Skiff but with cost reducers (Magical Artisan, Apprentice: Craftsman, Extraordinary Artisan, and restricting the use via skills/class as to make each item special order) would knock it down to somewhere around 4500 gp. These can act as private “hovercycles” as they are ridden around the high skyscrapers of a magitechnocratic society.

    And than of course for the minimalist a wondrous item of Tenser’s Floating Disk which could very well act as a “hover-board” akin to the ones in Back to the Future 2. For a little over 800 gp an individual could hover around a city at a safe, calm speed of 30-40 ft. per round which sadly doesn’t offer the style or customization of an effigy but is cheap & practical.

    Finally we leave the practical concerns of common transportation behind as we examine how under seventh-level planar travel is entirely possible & reasonable. Opening up to psionics the powers Astral Caravan and Astral Traveler both present options for those wishing to embark beyond their own world. If offers significant risks jumping to the Astral plane and passed it to possibly unknown regions of the universe, but by sixth level a world can have “space travel” (something this author thinks is wildly cool).

    Production
    Unlike the Tippyverse which is to a degree rather independent of resources a magitechnocratic society still has to farm standard resources if only because the short term duration of most magical spells & effects. But while such physical labor is required there are ways for magic to assist in the formation & production of such resources. An easy section by far with three spells: Magecraft, Unseen Crafter and Fabricate. The first two assist in the expert crafting of items by not only pumping the crafter’s skill by a whole margin (+5) but also not even requiring him to lift his finger. And while Unseen Crafter is almost a magical substitute for a factory production line-up it pales in comparison to Fabricate (found as a 3rd-level spell via the Trapsmith’s spell list). With Fabricate a new, quicker economy can begin to blossom as items are immediately made in minutes. And because Fabricate needs a crafter for higher quality items each of the fabricated items will can be of high-quality, as opposed to lesser-quality factory conditions.

    And once again, found in the Trapsmith’s spell list, Wall of Stone as a third-level spell allows a magitechnocratic society to quickly, very quickly, build foundations. A kingdom is significantly sturdier when it can buffer its outer walls ten or more inches thick at no cost. And on a more domestic angle home buildings become easier, if a bit formulaic.

    Labor & Servants
    Through the use of constructs, primarily effigies, people can begin to adopt “helpers” as their more personal assistants. Now, because of the high base cost, these helpers will never beat having a consistent work force (of living individuals) as their pay will always be lower. But for more personal reasons such as physical chores around a home or farm a helper may be of some use. For example an effigy of a Goliath will routinely cost somewhere around $2,600 gp and will grant an individual a loyal construct who requires almost no upkeep, can protect them in case of intrusion and with a strength score of 18 will be able to lift anywhere from 100 lb. to 600 lb. (and push or drag 1,500 lb.).

    War

    Just like any setting a magitechnocratic society suffers the brutalities of war, but approaches it in drastically different ways than a traditional method. As opposed to the classic line defense of shields & swords a magitechnocratic society adopts a more modern approach to battle as influenced by the technology of the settings. Swords and shields are good but when your enemy is firing bolts of energy that warp right through armor, things change.

    The first change in typical combat is the assumption that an army couldn’t mount a force armed in magic. There is nothing to really support the idea that only Fighters can handle a fierce battle. The flavor reason is that it is radically easier to train a Fighter than a caster, but in a true military situation training a specific type of caster could happen right along the training of basic infantry. Now in a magitechnocratic society wars aren’t primarily fought with the Fighter class anymore. They have been subbed out in favor of the Ranger. Packing better skills (heal, hide, listen, move silently, spot, search, ect…) your typical infantry soldier is significantly more capable in a war-based situation as they can heal a fallen comrade, plan/spot an ambush and navigate rough terrain. In addition through favored enemy bonuses they are doing nice damage to their chosen foe (likely whatever the rival enemy primarily is). In addition by having them pick-up the feats like Magical Training and Precarious Apprentice they have the opportunity to snag a reserve feat (like Fiery Burst or Winter’s Blast) and begin throwing out some arcane artillery while still packing a solid combat chassis via the Ranger class.

    But beyond those on the front lines the serious upgrade in technology quickly finds its way to a battlefield. Be it from using the Stronghold Builder’s Guide to build rudimentary tanks storming across a battlefield in solid protection to dropping magic items of fog cloud in the middle of a battlefield to provide cover the use of technology in war would be outstanding. A command word activated magic item of Fireball would alone make the idea of a traditional battle terrifying to behold as soldiers are blown up every round. But the pinnacle of weapon technology would be in the military application of both Energy Missile & Swarm of Crystal psionic powers. Both 2nd level powers they each offer a lot when compacted into the hands of a weapon for an infantry soldier to use. Energy Missile has a range of 130 ft. and targets up to five creatures with 3d6 points of damage of either a cold, electricity, fire or sonic variety. There’s a saving throw (reflex or fort) to half the damage but on average a soldier can reliably take down a five 1st-level character with one of these each round. Right alongside that is Swarm of Crystals which fires thousands of tiny crystal shards forth in a 15ft. cone, dealing 3d4 points of damage and offering no save. If you find yourself in a cone you are going to get hit which means a 1st-level character is likely to get torn apart if they are so unlucky. Both of these, when made into magic items, are expensive weapons but alter the landscape of traditional war through immense fear.

    Conclusion

    I feel, as shown above, that one does not need to bring in higher-level spells to properly elevate a D&D world into a higher, bolder world as seen in the style of a Tippyverse. All you need is the will to look at the tools at hand and see how to actively implement them in creative ways.
    Last edited by Zonugal; 2012-05-12 at 12:55 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Trippyverse in under six levels!

    This was very interesting. I'm going to steal it for my next game. This truly makes for a more creative world. Every game that I have ever played in has used the standard system, but this will completely reflavor the entire game.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Trippyverse in under six levels!

    Tippyverse. Its spelled Tippyverse without an 'r'.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Trippyverse in under six levels!

    I'd like to point out that even with your premise of trying not to use above 3rd level spells, you quote quite a few 4th and higher spells (Wall of stone comes to mind as the most prominent, though I like wall of stone enough to not worry about it).

    Otherwise, very interesting. I had something similar in mind (as a culture, not as an essay) for an island nation in an e6 game, so this should be very helpful.

    Another factor to point out is the fact that you don't need training or money to get Wild Talent, so anyone could just spontaneously develop it. Makes slave-holding in fantasy societies a lot less pleasant.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Trippyverse in under six levels!

    I actually run an E6 game with a setting where major cities are just now breaking into magitech society and culture, so some of this is old hat to me, but I nevertheless found the article to be a fascinating reference, so approved, subscribed, and bookmarked.

    One thing to note, however, is that the Unseen Crafter and Magecraft are not necessarily the only things necessary to perform crafting. While Unseen Crafter and Magecraft are useful for producing artisan-quality products as well as specialized production, it's not necessarily useful to have on a large-scale basis, because of the sheer quantity of uses necessary to get mass production in effect. It's also worth noting that a vast majority of common household items and implements can be crafted with a low Craft check (as low as 5 or 10), and that Craft is a skill that you can take 10 in quite easily (the capacity to even make a Craft check implies you are not being threatened or rushed), so a regular Unseen Servant is capable of performing most mundane Craft checks (representative of unskilled labor). This is significant because it allows the spell Servant Horde (Spell Compendium p. 182) to effectively replace Unseen Crafter wherever quantity trumps quality, such as the production of mundane implements and everyday tools and devices (at 2d6+1/caster level). This means that factory-level mass production can take place in the form of supervisors with eternal wands of Servant Horde pumping out 4d6+10 servants per day to do mass-production of mundane crafts, and skilled labor being handled by Unseen Crafter or by trained artisans with the assistance of Magecraft.

    Here's where things get a little seedy: Unseen Servant can only make checks with a DC of 10 or less that can be made untrained, representing an unskilled commoner taking 10 on all checks. If it is accepted, however, that an Unseen Servant can use tools, then an Unseen Servant sitting at a workbench with masterwork tools of Craft (x) can pass a DC of 12. That would allow an Unseen Servant to work on crafting leather armor, heavy shields, simple weapons and bows, and the Servant Horde spell to produce these en masse. (If there are trigger-activated traps of Magecraft that the servants are walked through at the beginning of their workday, or some other, more advanced structure being implemented, they can pass higher checks--for instance, Magecraft allows them to make all light and medium armors, martial weapons, acid, fine china, and other high-quality items.) The ability to manufacture 4d6+10 suits of armor, shields, or simple weapons per day with a single wand of Servant Horde and someone capable of using it makes it very easy to arm a large number of people very cheaply and quickly, albeit not with very high-quality equipment (it is literally mass-produced, mediocre-quality material). This makes it very easy for a single person with the means of production to, say, bandy a militia together (allowing for the potential for personal armies of the rich, or at least moderately wealthy), but it also allows for state-run "build-your-own-armies" to sprout up relatively quickly, with the possibility for an entire town to be armed with basic, easy-to-use weaponry in short form. This alone may necessitate the use of Warriors and Fighters, or simply large quantities of armed Commoners, to take field in battle, because they can simply be churned out in large quantities to overcome weaker forces. Yes, Wizards and Psions do exist (and they are devastating even at low levels), but they are probably placed into positions of command, or into shock-trooper positions where they are sent in on low-risk, high-reward missions (being more innately valuable and scarce than their subordinates) while the massive infantry numbers handle the bulk of the warfare. This may also act as a culling mechanism of the world to handle overpopulation brought about by ready access to food, as nations expand outward to handle the mass of people and eventually clash into each other.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Trippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by VGLordR2 View Post
    This was very interesting. I'm going to steal it for my next game. This truly makes for a more creative world. Every game that I have ever played in has used the standard system, but this will completely reflavor the entire game.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by JeminiZero View Post
    Tippyverse. Its spelled Tippyverse without an 'r'.
    Thanks for catching the mistake, it has been remedied.

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    I'd like to point out that even with your premise of trying not to use above 3rd level spells, you quote quite a few 4th and higher spells (Wall of stone comes to mind as the most prominent, though I like wall of stone enough to not worry about it).
    All the spells used in the original post are third level, they are just taken off of obscure spell lists like the Trapsmith.

    I primarily used this thread to locate them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Tylenol View Post
    I actually run an E6 game with a setting where major cities are just now breaking into magitech society and culture, so some of this is old hat to me, but I nevertheless found the article to be a fascinating reference, so approved, subscribed, and bookmarked.
    Thanks for the support and the mention of the difference between Unseen Servant & Unseen Crafter!

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Very interesting post! I have, however, a couple of points to think about:

    a) You are assuming that NPCs gain and spend XP in the same way as PCs do. This is not necessarily true, and could remove the need for the Roman-style games.

    b) Also, most of the NPCs should take levels in NPC classes. Is it possible to obtain the same low-level magitechnocratic society with a majority of Adepts and Magewrights, instead of Clerics and Artificers?
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Awesome thread! Thanks for that, OP!

    I was going to mention Magewrights right now, I think they could reasonably replace some of the positions originally held by Experts.

    And on Experts, I think it is reasonable to expect that over a very short time they would replace ALL the Commoners. In a society where you have no use for cheap, "dumb" labor, people tend to specialize in some fields and become really good at something. An Expert farmer, for example, could have max ranks in Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (geography), Profession (farmer), Handle Animal and Survival. He even has space for some leisurely pursuits, like Perform (lute) and Profession (cook)!
    Last edited by Larkas; 2012-05-12 at 09:00 AM.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    As a guideline for the cost of wizard school, I suggest using the value of the starter spellbook as a rough estimate. This should include something like twenty cantrips(exact number will vary by specialization), and 3+int mod 1st level spells, for somewhere around a 2500 gold cost to purchase.

    This gets you a reasonably high value of wealth to the average commoner, but not one that's out of the range of possibility for a well off family with an intelligent child.


    Now, let's look at this society from the standpoint of needs. Food, clothing, shelter, light, water...these are all essentials. The more magic can handle them, the more magitech a society will be.

    Food: Well, Goodberry starts handling it at level one, fairly efficiently too. Create Food & Water, as a level 3 spell, is a more general way to handle it. Purify Food and Drink, as a cantrip, is also quite helpful. Ditto Prestidigitation. For anyone who still cares about crops, we have Plant Growth at druid 3.

    Clothing: As a cantrip, Mending can greatly extend the useful life of clothing and other goods. Unless you miss the "damaged but not destroyed" window, stuff is effectively good for forever with enough castings of mending. At second level, Make Whole is a more effective version of the same thing.

    Shelter: Well, we have Rope Trick as a temporary means at level 2. Endure Elements can be used to improve protection provided by existing shelter, but likely isn't great. However, druids shine here at low levels, as Soften Earth and Stone, Wood Shape and Warp Wood basically take most of the actual work out of home building, and Tiny Hut provides the arcanists with another housing option.

    Light: Lots of short term options, but as a third level spell, Continual Flame basically solves light problems for an entire society. For 50 gp, you have light indefinitely. I would expect them to be...pretty common.

    Water: See food.

    So yeah, all of life's essentials are mostly handled solidly by level 3. I'd expect life to be all about pursuit of the better things.

    Oh yeah, and invisible servants and wrights would in fact take over all mundane dumb labor. Or undead, if that's your flavor.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    As a guideline for the cost of wizard school, I suggest using the value of the starter spellbook as a rough estimate. This should include something like twenty cantrips(exact number will vary by specialization), and 3+int mod 1st level spells, for somewhere around a 2500 gold cost to purchase.

    This gets you a reasonably high value of wealth to the average commoner, but not one that's out of the range of possibility for a well off family with an intelligent child.
    I like your idea here, but I also like what little is mentioned in Complete Arcane through the Arcane Order section in the back. That dues to be in the order are 30 gp a month and tuition for students currently training at the school is 200 gp per month.

    If we use these two we might say that it takes around 10-12 months for a student to fully become a 1st-level Wizard (which in this low-scale world is pretty good on its own).

    Regarding the huge cost there is always the option of loans and such, with a 1st-level Wizard likely to find enough work to pay it off given time.

    Quote Originally Posted by sol_kanar View Post
    Very interesting post! I have, however, a couple of points to think about:

    a) You are assuming that NPCs gain and spend XP in the same way as PCs do. This is not necessarily true, and could remove the need for the Roman-style games.

    b) Also, most of the NPCs should take levels in NPC classes. Is it possible to obtain the same low-level magitechnocratic society with a majority of Adepts and Magewrights, instead of Clerics and Artificers?
    A.) You are pretty right here. My approach towards NPCs is drastically different than how the rules might prescribe them to be. But I tend to see adventures & challenges in even mundane life.

    B.) I'd have to ask why most NPCs should take levels in an NPC class. I mean I understand for the citizens who have to harvest resources or do manual labor, but for actually specialized fields I don't see the purpose to handcuff ourselves to a very slim selection of classes.

    To your second part, B2, I'd say sort of. You can replace the vast underbelly with Magewrights & Adepts, and still have a magitechnocratic society operate well. But you ultimately need Artificers to implement technology far outside the realm of these NPC classes to elevate the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkas View Post
    Awesome thread! Thanks for that, OP!

    I was going to mention Magewrights right now, I think they could reasonably replace some of the positions originally held by Experts.

    And on Experts, I think it is reasonable to expect that over a very short time they would replace ALL the Commoners. In a society where you have no use for cheap, "dumb" labor, people tend to specialize in some fields and become really good at something. An Expert farmer, for example, could have max ranks in Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (geography), Profession (farmer), Handle Animal and Survival. He even has space for some leisurely pursuits, like Perform (lute) and Profession (cook)!
    Here is how I might approach out-lining the different tiers of a magitechnocratic society skill/power-wise.

    * 1st-level Commoners: These are your basic laborers in that they just aren't good/smart/skilled enough to do anything else.
    * 1st-level Experts, Adepts, Magewrights: These are the basic occupations of skill and expertise that land in a single field.
    __________
    * 1st-level Ranger: These are your basic infantry & police enforcement within a military or city.
    * 1st-level casters: These are specialized experts contracted for jobs. From alchemists, healers to even fancy butlers they can jump from job to job fairly well (and such find employment easily).
    __________
    2nd-level Rangers: These are experienced soldiers and cops.
    2nd-level Clerics: These are expert healers who in our modern realm would be known as Doctors.
    2nd-level Aristocrat: This is your basic politician.
    __________
    3nd-level Wizard: These are scholars and the equivalent to professors.
    2nd-level Rangers/1st-level Warblades: These are captains or military leaders in command on a battlefield.
    3rd-level Artificers: These are the basic engineers who produce a large stock of the wondrous items seen throughout the world.
    __________

    After this point is where most citizens/people stop leveling. Following this line are really good people. Adventures or superb experts in there field. Super crafters akin to Tony Stark, pioneers in magic, highly revered clergy, generals in militaries, ect...

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Cool. Few ideas:

    • You can apply metamagic to items when making them, right? Invisible Spell on your Wall of Stone items.
    • Can Artificers make traps? Auto-reset traps are a lot cheaper than wondrous items.
    • I'm thinking that Tenser's Disk could pretty much entirely replace conventional methods of transporting heavy objects- one command-word item can cast any number of them, and they'd last an hour each, so you could carry huge objects long distances by using multiple castings from the object.
    • Floating tanks. You can mass-produce stone hulls for them with items of Wall of Stone and Stone Shape, so they're dirt cheap, and you can operate them with a single 1st level Psion that knows Mindlink and Tenser's Floating Disk (it's got a power version in Secrets of Sarlona). The hardness means that it's basically immune to infantry weapons, and it can be as thick as you like as long as it's not too heavy for the disk. You can then mount it with whatever weaponry you like- this will be the only element that costs money, so anything would do here. You could go with an item of Fireball, which would cost 27k before cost reducers (7.5k if it's a trap instead), or something cheaper like an item of Swarm of Crystal (10.8k if item, 3k if trap). You shouldn't have a problem seeing the battlefield, since you have that invisible stone, but you probably can't hear a damn thing. That's what Mindlink is for.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    I wrote a generic list for doing tippyverse sort of stuff some time ago...

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...Je09i8KWw/edit

    I always like to hawk that in these sorts of threads. Maybe there is something you missed? I am going to read up now, I just skimmed...

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Hey, where are those XP-transference rules you reference located?

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    "And there are two places which have rules for Sharing XP in crafting, here:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050118a
    and here:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060526a "
    Last edited by Gavinfoxx; 2012-05-14 at 06:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    Hey, where are those XP-transference rules you reference located?
    I believe right here!

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    multiple people can contribute to the crafting of a single item, and each can contribute to a different aspect of the creation.

    the artificer contributes his skills, feats, and class features, while the fighter contributes his XP. whenever it matters, the standard exchange rate between gold and exp is 5 gold: 1 XP. i've used this before to get magic items at roughly 3/4 market value, because buying the exp to make an item is still cheaper than buying the item itself, the trade-off being the time it takes you to make it, and the feats you invested to be able to make it.

    edit: ninja'd!
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Much fun - thanks, Zonugal.

    As others have mentioned, the concept of well-managed safaris and boxing matches in order to drive up XP seems so metagame as to be silly to me. In theory, players don't need to adventure at all. They just get up in the morning and punch each other until they're 20th level.

    I think that the astral skiff is clearly not a workable part of your plan. The Planar Handbook explicitly states that they're useless on the material plane.

    Many fun ideas and images, though.
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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zonugal View Post
    Ah, okay, thanks. Those'll be useful.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    There's also the other one I linked to.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    I'm pretty sure that an Artificer could use the Paladin's Mark of Justice on criminals.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    As per this thread: 2.5 megajoules of steam power, for under 2000 GP! There may not be electricity in a magitech society, but steampunk definitely isn't implausible. Steam-powered rifles, vehicles, mills, and even explosives! I won't kill more catgirls by trying to stat these devices, though.
    I don't know how important steam-power is as magic is already the prevalent "energy" source.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    If not every law enforcement officer has See Invisibility goggles, how often can criminals with Invisibility coats get away with their crimes?
    Invisibility is a pretty potent ability be it from spell or metamagic (such as throwing Invisible Spell on Disguise Self) but law enforcement does have more reactive provisions.

    While invisibility helps in the act of the crime, powers like Object Learning & Sensitivity to Psychic Impressions help considerably in tracking down a foe.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Thanks to Wands of Knock, are raised gates the preferred means of preventing access into certain places, rather than doors with locks?
    I might imagine, or simply plopping a log/piece of wood to block the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Are criminals, slaves, and livestock branded via Arcane Mark every month, or is Erase so common that doing so is futile?
    I don't see why they wouldn't be branded in a traditional way unless we rule that a healing spell would immediately remove scars.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Do Magic Missile launchers replace conventional ranged weapons, due to their high accuracy?
    I'd say no as even though Magic Missile has remarkable accuracy it has a pretty low damage output. I would rather use items of Energy Ray or Crystal Shard, both which target touch ac (which is going to be remarkably easy to hit on average).

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Does Mage Armor replace actual armor, due to its superior efficiency?
    Cost-wise it doesn't, it would show up in special forces or other types of occupations who needed to be immediately armed. For example using considerable feats to reduce the cost down, a wondrous item of Mage Armor would come around 770 gp. For such a price you get +4 ac that brings no acp, asf or speed reduction, and even protects against incorporeal foes to a limited extent.

    In contrast we could get a chain shirt for 100 gp that offers +4 ac, -2 acp, and 10% asf. Making it masterwork brings it up to 250 gp but we reduce the acp to -1. Adding a +1 enhancement bonus and than adding the same reducers applied to the wondrous item of Mage Armor above puts the magical chain shirt at around 530 gp. With the left over money, 240 gp, we could add a Dastana (from Oriental Adventures) to add another +1 to ac (as well as -1 acp & -5 asf) for 25 gp, a light steel shield for +1 ac (and -1 acp & -5 asf) at 9 gp and armor spikes for 50 gp. With 156 gp left over we have a combined +7 ac, -3 acp, 20% asf.

    So I mean there advantages to Mage Armor, but I don't think enough... If anything I see wondrous items of Resist Energy becoming the "energy armor" of such a society to use in addition to traditional magic armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    How can cities be defended from invaders, if they can use Pass Without Trace and/or Disguise Self to get close before attacking?
    They can't, just as we can't really prevent spies from wreaking havok from the inside. But I don't think an army needs to use heavy uses of the Disguise Self spell to infiltrate an city. Such a tactic can be had by the disguise skill itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    What if Whispering Wind functioned as a pseudo-telephone system within a city's walls?
    Its a cool idea.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zonugal View Post
    Cost-wise it doesn't, it would show up in special forces or other types of occupations who needed to be immediately armed. For example using considerable feats to reduce the cost down, a wondrous item of Mage Armor would come around 770 gp. For such a price you get +4 ac that brings no acp, asf or speed reduction, and even protects against incorporeal foes to a limited extent.

    In contrast we could get a chain shirt for 100 gp that offers +4 ac, -2 acp, and 10% asf. Making it masterwork brings it up to 250 gp but we reduce the acp to -1. Adding a +1 enhancement bonus and than adding the same reducers applied to the wondrous item of Mage Armor above puts the magical chain shirt at around 530 gp. With the left over money, 240 gp, we could add a Dastana (from Oriental Adventures) to add another +1 to ac (as well as -1 acp & -5 asf) for 25 gp, a light steel shield for +1 ac (and -1 acp & -5 asf) at 9 gp and armor spikes for 50 gp. With 156 gp left over we have a combined +7 ac, -3 acp, 20% asf.

    So I mean there advantages to Mage Armor, but I don't think enough... If anything I see wondrous items of Resist Energy becoming the "energy armor" of such a society to use in addition to traditional magic armor.
    Again, though, you use wondrous item rules. Traps are cheaper, why not use them? Before any cost reducers (because I don't know which, if any, can be applied to trapmaking), a reusable trap of Mage Armor is 500 GP.

    Besides, that wondrous item should be reusable, which means you only need one per squadron. If eight people use it, it's cheaper than chain shirts.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2012-05-15 at 03:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    One problem with Create Water-powered stuff, though, is that constant creating of water all over the world, over a long period of time, leads to... a hell of a lot of extra freshwater in the world. That doesn't just go away. In the long term, it would be better to have something that appears, creates power, and then disappears. After all, then the only extra thing you're getting is energy, and that causes far fewer problems.

    Gust of Wind, for example, would be much more sustainable, though far more expensive.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2012-05-15 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Assuming they think that far ahead, or recognize they are at fault for rising sea levels?
    Presumably, if they're foresighted enough to dream up and enact this kind of society, they'll definitely want to consider its sustainability.

    By the by, I think traditional warfare would quickly become supplanted as bombs created by explosive runes traps become common. Once you place enough castings in one bomb, you get to the point where nothing made of less than adamantine won't be utterly vaporized, and you can cast it once per 6 seconds per 7.5k GP trap. It wouldn't take that long to produce massive stockpiles of bombs, and with that kind of firepower (and the capability to have people fly far overhead and drop bombs with little-to-no warning for the enemy city) traditional warfare becomes irrelevant.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2012-05-15 at 07:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Then I'd imagine regular shipments of excess water into the Astral Plane via Astral Caravan.
    That's an option, but do you know how quickly they'd have to be shipping the excess water? Astral Caravan takes a long time, I don't think it'd work out. Besides, at that point, why not just use Gust of Wind?

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatThePhysics View Post
    Let's assume that everyday, 1 gallon of water is created for each person, and there's a global population of 7 billion. Assuming this source's math is right, the sea level would then rise by ~0.27 mm each year. That's ~6.31 times slower than the rate of sea level rise between 1950-2009 in the real world, based off Wikipedia's numbers. A rather slow rate, given the scenario's assumptions.
    Point. Still, that much water vapor (equivalent to 72,000 gallons per CL 1 trap per day, or about 2.7255 x 105 kg if I've done my math right) should have some kind of problem associated with it. That's a lot of steam that has to go somewhere.

    Not to say that Gust of Wind is a bad idea, though. It's a much better solution, in the long run.
    I've been looking for a lower-level spell that can be used similarly. Haven't found one yet. Really, anything temporary would...

    ...Actually, now that I think about it, the possibilities of a Psionic Minor Creation trap are immense and could probably apply here. The casting time is ten times that of Create Water, but... biodiesel is plant matter.
    Last edited by Lateral; 2012-05-15 at 09:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    You just transferred excess fresh water to air pollution. I personally think the former is preferable, especially since you can make factories in deserts and the resulting perspiration from the steam will water it.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    You just transferred excess fresh water to air pollution. I personally think the former is preferable, especially since you can make factories in deserts and the resulting perspiration from the steam will water it.
    No, actually, since the point is that after an hour the oil disappears. Presumably, if you burn it, so will the products. However, the movement of whatever it's pushing? Logically, it couldn't just "un-move" and all the energy would disappear. That doesn't make any sense.

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
    No, actually, since the point is that after an hour the oil disappears. Presumably, if you burn it, so will the products. However, the movement of whatever it's pushing? Logically, it couldn't just "un-move" and all the energy would disappear. That doesn't make any sense.
    The energy was part of the matter though. This is of course one of the issues with magic (it disobeys the laws of physics).

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    Default Re: Building a Magitechnocratic Society; Tippyverse in under six levels!

    A problem I could see is the setting will be very cloudy, and rains often.

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