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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    13. The languages in 95% of settings, especially published ones. Common works fine as a lingua franca, sure, but in that case most people should speak it as a second language, rather than their primary. Sometimes people from different areas of the same country can barely understand one another in real life, so the idea of most of the world speaking the same language mutually intelligibly is mind boggling. Especially when most people are uneducated, and there are no global media to reinforce a language standard. And don't even get me started on the silliness that is racial languages (e.g. Dwarven) and environmental languages (e.g. Aquan).
    Yes, oh yes. This bothered me so much that I ended up giving each continent a seperate lingua franca (kind of like English for North America, Spanish for South America, English/French for Africa and German for Europe -- at least German used to be that, sort of). The only "racial" languages are Dwarven and Jotun, and they are moreso just named that. Dwarven is not just dwarf-specific, but also used for engineering terminology, and Jotun is called that for simplicity, as there simply are very few of them.

    This is also why I decided to split languages into different categories: major (spoken in large areas, continents even), minor (regional or ethnic languages), hidden (such as those spoken by otherplanar beings) and secret (such as Druidic or code languages).
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    II see this complaint a lot, and I think it's a side effect of living in a culture that sees things from a monotheistic perspective. People being "cast into the Abyss for doing bad things" doesn't happen in D&D, at least not with that value judgment attached, and people don't do things "for the evulz" any more than they do them for the good...ulz.

    If you're good, do lots of good things in life, and follow the teachings of a good god, you're sent to a Good afterlife as a reward. If you're evil, do lots of evil things in life, and follow the teachings of an evil god, you're sent to an Evil afterlife as a reward. That's the key thing to remember: evil people are judged by their evil patrons, not good gods. People who love slaughtering innocents and inferiors all day find the Abyss as rewarding as someone who loves working with math and logic all day finds Mechanus rewarding. If you're lawful good and follow a lawful good god and don't act lawful good enough, you're not sent to the Abyss, that's where chaotic evil people go. You still go to Celestia, it's just that people who try being lawful good and suck at it become lantern archons or merge with the plane itself instead of becoming a more powerful outsider or serve their god more or less as-is.

    The demons and devils aren't lying when they tell you that sacrificing things to them is the easy path to Phenomenal Cosmic power, they just neglect to mention that if you want to start out in the Abyss as the torturer rather than the torture-ee when you die, you need to be really really evil, or you get to be a lemure or mane because you suck at being evil. Petty theft and manslaughter are worse crimes for an evil person to commit than grand theft airship and first degree murder, because it shows a lack of commitment to their ideals. And the fact that people can just phone up the Powers with commune and contact other plane and have them explain that, yep, evil gods reward evil behavior only provides more justification for evil people to be evil, not justification for them to repent.

    So you shouldn't be trying to convert to a good religion no matter what, you should find the religion that matches your goals and outlook best and follow it as best you can, since that's the simplest path to the afterlife that's best for you. In fact, the worst thing that can happen to a villain is for him to be redeemed! If a demon-worshiper converts from CE to LG right before dying in a heroic sacrifice, the CE gods probably won't want him because he let them down, the LG gods probably don't want him because no one likes a traitor, and the N gods probably don't want him because doing very very evil acts and very very good acts in the hopes that they'll balance out is a Stupid Neutral way of seeing the world.
    I TOTALLY disagree with you here. Reading the books on Hell or the Abyss they specifically say they are punishments and the upper planes are rewards. Furthermore the hell you describe of people going there because they enjoy torturing innocents etc is people doing for the evil nature of what they do. Not because it is easy, simpler, shapes the world into a prefered mold, and/or gives them the ability to not thing about parts of themselves they don't like...as in real normal motivations in murder etc. Once the afterlife is known to have the kind of rules that are described in DnD furthermore mortal law and judgement are pretty much rendered moot and silly anyway.
    And as for 2e planescape. Never was I closer to leaving the game than that book. I hurts how many problems that book has and takes every minor issue that one can have with alignments and turns them into game breakers

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    [QUOTE=PairO'Dice Lost;13899988]
    This is misused a lot in most 'brews, granted, but long histories aren't innately a bad thing. Earth is over 4 billion years old, after all, and the universe over 14 billion years old. Human history is comparatively short because we had to work our way up from amino acids in conditions lethal to humans all the way to our present state, and technological development has only skyrocketed fairly recently in geological terms because for the longest time our first priority has been survival and living long enough to do all that R&D.

    Even if you assume a world like Earth and creatures like those in real life instead of the gods magicking everything into existence, when you have creatures like demons, dragons, elementals, and so forth who can survive early-Earth conditions easily, it makes plenty of sense for there to be an Age of Demons/Age of Myths/etc. like settings often do before humanoids come along. Ancient empires of more advanced races make a lot more sense when you consider that even elves with lots of predators, poor nutrition, and other early-human handicaps live much longer than modern humans do, giving them a chance to develop magically, societally, and otherwise much faster than humans once they develop sapience.[/QUOTE}

    first of all the age of the planet doesn't really matter, heck the Permian explosion of multicelled life is far more important for this discussion and that was less than 1Billion years ago and much more important to homebrew is the fact human "civilization" as we know it has been around for less than 25K years....and I'm being generous there. 12K years for permanent settlements, farming, most tool making speciallists etc. As for the Elves etc I'll give you that it buys you some leeway but not the multiple shifted decimal points that we are so ubiquitous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    You're assuming that there's just one path of technological development, that "developing technology" means progressing exactly as Western Europe did in reality, but that isn't the case. Certain technologies might be developed much earlier than expected (e.g. the Romans had steam power but didn't bother to do anything with it), later than expected (e.g. there are still people today using stone tools in the rainforest), differently than expected (e.g. you can make cars with many different fuel sources), and more. So magic aiding technological development doesn't mean it gets you to guns and computers much faster than normal, necessarily, nor does it mean you get magical guns and magical computers.

    You're also missing that D&D magic items basically are technology. Vancian magic is basically a field of science and/or engineering: it's quantifiable, repeatable, predictable, testable, reliable, logical, and able to be learned and used without any form of innate talent. Its magic items are classified and stratified, widely recognized and standardized, and sold on the open market (by private individuals if not the stereotypical Magi-Mart). They have no reason to develop what we'd think of as technology, even enhanced by magic; you might as well expect the modern world to give up transistor-based computers and digital storage to start over with vacuum tube computers and magnetic tape, or even more drastically go back to using bronze and iron swords instead of modern weaponry but use modern processes and engineering to produce them.

    No I'm not making the assumption of west europe based tech. What I am assuming is that if you have enough people to have specialist in crafting various things and semi regular communications via travel to distribute new knowledge is that technology grows. I don't care if it is mills, swords, clothing or even(in fact especially) magic as field there will be growth. If a culture doesn't grow it will loose out to those that do.
    I really don't care how development goes but as long as the impuse to do so is present. If it is not working there needs to a retardent force present. A government or church that presents an idealised lifestyle and sees new tech (which a spell would be an example of) as a potential threat. A cycle of a rising deamon horde that wipes out almost everyone and sets humanity back to the stone age. Whatever force is holding things back is irrelevant and setting based. However if you don't have one then technology (which includes magic-spells are basically inventions) should be advancing. And if the world looks like midevil europe then I would expect the tech to match.
    And as for magic driving material technological growth you missed my point though I don't think I explained my reasoning there. Magic allows a civilization to discover things faster. How stone works or how stone it is by magical testing and vision etc allows one to select stone for properties that would otherwise need chemical testing. Magic makes purification of things used in lamp, weapon or whatever else manufacturing. It can make higher tempreture forges to work metals that before couldn't me made or used. It provides guidence, ideas, and solutions to problems during technological development.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Oh I agree, just saying.
    Urban fantasy! Most urban fantasy in general puts a really bad taste in my mouth. I'm talking about stuff like Harry Potter or World of Darkness (the former moreso than the latter), the specific variety of "Okay, so the world's exactly like our world, except vampires and stuff are real and just managed to keep themselves very well hidden/covered up by a government conspiracy/whatever."

    Depending on how the thing is handled, it pisses me off in one of two ways.

    1. The setting just comes off as well, lazy. The author doesn't have to actually invent anything about how the real world works, they only have to come up with details about the supernatural stuff. The the "very well hidden" part means they don't have to bother coming up with how the two worlds interact.
    Haveing GM and created worlds both for WoD and DnD high fantasy type games I'd have to say the WoD cities are deffinatly not lazier I found it much harder actually. The real world creates bounds that both inspire lots of interesting things but also limit things. Especially for larger ideas.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2012-09-15 at 02:10 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    What do I dislike? Humanized Outsiders.

    Outsiders are theoretically the physical embodiments of the cosmic forces that drive the universe, so they really shouldn't behave like mortals. I would think they would have completely alien mindsets. Even Angels would have a slight undertone of Lovecraftian otherness.

    The biggest offender I feel is Planescape. A babau is literally the desire to murder made manifest. Why is it sitting in a tavern booth in Sigil having a tankard with its buddies?
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    My turn offs:
    1. Everything not human has to UNRELATABLE ALIENS THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE AT ALL! Even the dwarves and elves must be unable to relate to humans in any way!

    2. Too much linguistic separation, thus making everyone unable to understand each other at all.

    3. monocultures.

    4. not different enough from real world.

    5. any non-demon race designated as always evil.

    6. not enough variety in general.
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    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    13. The languages in 95% of settings, especially published ones. Common works fine as a lingua franca, sure, but in that case most people should speak it as a second language, rather than their primary. Sometimes people from different areas of the same country can barely understand one another in real life, so the idea of most of the world speaking the same language mutually intelligibly is mind boggling. Especially when most people are uneducated, and there are no global media to reinforce a language standard. And don't even get me started on the silliness that is racial languages (e.g. Dwarven) and environmental languages (e.g. Aquan).

    Yeah, I know Common is supposed to be an abstraction to represent whatever the PCs and DM speak, and I know it's super nitpicky. I'm a linguistics major, though, so this completely destroys my suspension of disbelief. Similar to how a biologist must feel when he looks through the Monster Manual, I suppose.
    Well, to be fair, Common is pretty much English. English is the bastard child of at least two major language families with a few bazillion loanwords, spread around the world because the countries with it as their native tongue are very influential in the world; swap Latin and Germanic for, say, Elven and Goblin and swap American and the UK for Humanity, and you get Common. I still prefer Common as a trade pidgin over an actual language, but it's not really that bad.

    And the elemental languages are the languages of creatures made of the elements; things made of fire and water can't speak the same way humanoids do and wouldn't use the same means to record anything in written form, so it makes sense that they'd have their own means of communications. Now, it doesn't really make sense that humanoids could speak those languages easily since their vocal apparatus aren't built for it, and they'd have a really terrible accent if they tried. I generally play those languages as Shyriiwook from Star Wars: a water elemental walks up to a human and is all "blubblublubbwooshwooshblubwooshblub" and the human just responds with "You said it, Chewie" and doesn't bother trying to speak Aquan back.

    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    I TOTALLY disagree with you here. Reading the books on Hell or the Abyss they specifically say they are punishments and the upper planes are rewards.
    As I said, the WotC version of the planes doesn't make any sense at all, since they're just imposing monotheistic biases on a polytheistic world. Having the Fiendish Codices say that Kord is better than Tiamat or similar is like having a book on mythology saying Zeus is better than Hades: in actual mythology neither one is good or evil, they were brothers, and they got along relatively well, but the popular conception of Hades is of being a bad guy, partly because in our culture we're used to having a major divine bad guy to balance out a major divine good guy and partly because of the fact that the Disney version of Hercules cast him as a bad guy.

    Furthermore the hell you describe of people going there because they enjoy torturing innocents etc is people doing for the evil nature of what they do. Not because it is easy, simpler, shapes the world into a prefered mold, and/or gives them the ability to not thing about parts of themselves they don't like...as in real normal motivations in murder etc. Once the afterlife is known to have the kind of rules that are described in DnD furthermore mortal law and judgement are pretty much rendered moot and silly anyway.
    D&D settings are ones in which you have roving bands of insane murder hobos wandering the land, killing anyone they can get away with and stealing their stuff, and those are the good guys. Murder in such a setting is still a way to get what you want, it's just that there are now religions you can follow who actually reward you for it.

    And as for 2e planescape. Never was I closer to leaving the game than that book. I hurts how many problems that book has and takes every minor issue that one can have with alignments and turns them into game breakers
    Than "those books," technically, there were several Planescape sourcebooks. If a group already has a common understanding of alignment and fleshes them out a bit--my PS group had a common interest in philosophy, so we had lots of discussions of morals and ethics as applied to alignments anyway--then you won't really have issues with Planescape, and if alignment is a game-breaker for you then you will, lots of them. You can love or hate Planescape, but its take on alignment and the afterlife makes a hell of a lot more sense than the 3e version.

    first of all the age of the planet doesn't really matter, heck the Permian explosion of multicelled life is far more important for this discussion and that was less than 1Billion years ago and much more important to homebrew is the fact human "civilization" as we know it has been around for less than 25K years....and I'm being generous there. 12K years for permanent settlements, farming, most tool making speciallists etc. As for the Elves etc I'll give you that it buys you some leeway but not the multiple shifted decimal points that we are so ubiquitous.
    My point was precisely that the age of the planet is more important than the rise of humanity as far as most settings' history are concerned. You've heard the common fantasy trope of "Foolish humans, my race was building flying cities while you overgrown monkeys were still making fire!" and so on? Same here. 100,000 year histories make no sense at all if you're working on human timescales, but if you're talking about magical creatures who were ruling the world while humanoids were still crawling out of the seas, you can have an Age of Demons that makes perfect sense.

    No I'm not making the assumption of west europe based tech. What I am assuming is that if you have enough people to have specialist in crafting various things and semi regular communications via travel to distribute new knowledge is that technology grows. I don't care if it is mills, swords, clothing or even(in fact especially) magic as field there will be growth. If a culture doesn't grow it will loose out to those that do.
    I really don't care how development goes but as long as the impuse to do so is present. If it is not working there needs to a retardent force present. A government or church that presents an idealised lifestyle and sees new tech (which a spell would be an example of) as a potential threat. A cycle of a rising deamon horde that wipes out almost everyone and sets humanity back to the stone age. Whatever force is holding things back is irrelevant and setting based. However if you don't have one then technology (which includes magic-spells are basically inventions) should be advancing. And if the world looks like midevil europe then I would expect the tech to match.
    Well, first off, magic is a technology that's advancing. Spells aren't named after wizards for no reason. If you look at Eberron you can see that settings with logically-used magic have basically reached the modern world technology wise (1950s-era tech, if not Information Age tech). Secondly, D&D and other fantasy systems that assume ancient ruins with forgotten artifacts do assume catastrophes that set everyone back decades or centuries. Looking at Eberron again, the Last War left society looking pretty much the same instead of sending everything back to the Stone Age; however, the Mournland wiped out Cyre, destroying an entire nation's infrastructure and breaking up a major lightning rail hub; the Treaty of Thronehold (mostly) destroyed the means to create warforged and other large-scale magical items; most of the more powerful spellcasters died in the war; and so forth. If the equivalent of losing the last decade's computer advancements and bombing half of Europe off the map isn't a setback, I don't know what is.

    And as for magic driving material technological growth you missed my point though I don't think I explained my reasoning there. Magic allows a civilization to discover things faster. How stone works or how stone it is by magical testing and vision etc allows one to select stone for properties that would otherwise need chemical testing. Magic makes purification of things used in lamp, weapon or whatever else manufacturing. It can make higher tempreture forges to work metals that before couldn't me made or used. It provides guidence, ideas, and solutions to problems during technological development.
    With your above clarification, this part makes more sense. And magic is doing that. You need magic to perform alchemy, forge mithral, and similar.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2012-09-15 at 02:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Well, to be fair, Common is pretty much English. English is the bastard child of at least two major language families with a few bazillion loanwords,... Now, it doesn't really make sense that humanoids could speak those languages easily since their vocal apparatus aren't built for it, and they'd have a really terrible accent if they tried. I generally play those languages as Shyriiwook from Star Wars: a water elemental walks up to a human and is all "blubblublubbwooshwooshblubwooshblub" and the human just responds with "You said it, Chewie" and doesn't bother trying to speak Aquan back.
    Common is annoying. However it is a usefull trope...especially for new players. In some settings it even makes a degree of sense (Taldan as Common in Pathfinder for example). But do agree on the pigin (actually a homerule I use for non new players).
    Really like that solution to your Elemental languages issue. It's bit of a cheat but a homerule that my players have liked in the past was to make the communication one way unless the player is in physical contact with the elemental-who have a natural ability to understand human languages that are also being mentally "progected" by a intelligent being who knowns their own language.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    As I said, the WotC version of the planes doesn't make any sense at all,... Disney version of Hercules cast him as a bad guy.
    D&D settings are ones in which you have roving bands of insane murder hobos wandering the land, killing anyone they can get away with and stealing their stuff, and those are the good guys. Murder in such a setting is still a way to get what you want, it's just that there are now religions you can follow who actually reward you for it.
    Exactly. . . That to me proves the system is broken quite possibly beyond repair. Not that it is in any way good. It's a system that requires definition, gives partial definitions, and then promptly disagrees with itself. The system can't break free of a monotheist base but added in polytheistic framworks and trys to simplfy the range of human behavior in order to keep the game mechanics simple enough to use....Which is fine as long as everyone promises to play nice and not look at it too hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Than "those books," technically,.... You can love or hate Planescape, but its take on alignment and the afterlife makes a hell of a lot more sense than the 3e version.
    My problem is the same as your solution. Get a group of people who like to discuss philosophy....apply it to the alignment system. We could never make it even start to work. It becomes a de facto DM's personal upbring vs the ability of the player to agrue their idea. It was always a dealable issue in most games. It wouldn't break the system get in the way of people having fun etc. In Plansecape it did damn near every time. Or it totally wrecked people's ability to get into the game or enjoy it. As for it compared to standard 3.5e it makes about as much sense to me in effect-I don't really see the change at the level that average NPC living their life in this world come to...thus it's drivers on their behavior remain the same...thus it creates non sensical behavior in NPC's and NPC societies which hurts the immersive feel of the game and the development of the PC's character (as their foils have less credibility). Though I will admit it makes more sense on a philisophical level-that boon is limited to player discussion only I think and if anything provides false cover for bad storytelling.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    My point was precisely that the age of the planet is more important than the rise of humanity as far as most settings' history are concerned. You've heard the common fantasy trope of "Foolish humans, my race was building flying cities while you overgrown monkeys were still making fire!" and so on? Same here. 100,000 year histories make no sense at all if you're working on human timescales, but if you're talking about magical creatures who were ruling the world while humanoids were still crawling out of the seas, you can have an Age of Demons that makes perfect sense.
    But the age of the planet is not more important. Never has been-it has always been the age of civilization-no matter what beings are making that civilization. The flying cities while humans still learning to spell your name type stuff has always struk me as A: interesting but why would humans survive when these folks didn't B:Why didn't humans raid the ruin LONG before now and get a huge leg up on their development -you'd only need a couple tribes pulling it off and either they'd be copied or would grow. And there are several more problems just as bad. Furthermore while yes a 100K year history using non humans may get something of a pass (even if I overlook the enviromental and physical effects of that long of a civilization which is a whole kettle of fish just as bad-or wonder why in their 40K year history as great and powerful empires the *insert non-human race of great age and drama* never got beyond 14th century europe human technology-which looking at the ruins of, say, the Age of Deamons you never seem to) that isn't what annoys me as much as the very common 100K histories of HUMAN and near human histories. And this a thread of what annoys us in homebrews. Like I said above it's possible to make almost anything I dislike work with proper backing information and working that into the setting. I'm not saying they could NEVER work it is just that 95% don't and should be avoided as a general rule.


    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Well, first off, magic is a technology that's advancing. Spells aren't named after wizards for no reason. If you look at Eberron you can see that settings with logically-used magic have basically reached the modern world technology wise (1950s-era tech, if not Information Age tech). Secondly, D&D and other fantasy systems that assume ancient ruins with forgotten artifacts do assume catastrophes that set everyone back decades or centuries. Looking at Eberron again, the Last War left society looking pretty much the same instead of sending everything back to the Stone Age; however, the Mournland wiped out Cyre, destroying an entire nation's infrastructure and breaking up a major lightning rail hub; the Treaty of Thronehold (mostly) destroyed the means to create warforged and other large-scale magical items; most of the more powerful spellcasters died in the war; and so forth. If the equivalent of losing the last decade's computer advancements and bombing half of Europe off the map isn't a setback, I don't know what is.
    First of all looking at Eberron-I think this is one of the Commercial Brews that has the LEAST problem with this. It has NEW technology (magic based and non) entering into the world in its history along with the advent of created monsters (such as the undead or constructs). It also does more to explain loss of technical skill than almost any other. However the skills have not really been set back very far in most of the large events descibed....no really look again....a few very advanced techniques have been lost, others have like Very large floating mobile fortresses don't have the need or money but they still exist, they have plans and records and most importantly the principals of how to do these things are still there and really that's the key to technology level...all the research in these applied disciplines could be recreated in a generation or two of applied effort. New things just as complex and advanced will soon start coming out of those principals-maybe not as fast but it isn't a big step backwards. No my issue is when a party goes plumbing a ruin from the age of Deamons, From the Hobgoblin Empire etc there is same basic menu of weapons that have had to redeveloped who knows how many times....except they haven't. Those same tech's are being used by Galifar, Karrn the Conquerer, or even you local PC. The relics of the time of Galifar (the first) wouldn't be as strong as modern weapons, or farming techniques etc. Yet every treasure haul (as found in the books) seems up to date and just ready to fit in with modern campighn world like the last 1000 years of growth didn't matter. It is FAR worse in most published worlds and far far worse in most homebrews. On a general scale technology either dies in it's infancy because a use can't be found, too expensive, government doesn't like it etc or it starts to spread. And once it does-the idea of it-the understanding of the principals that make it work those are VERY hard things to kill off. The genie is out of the proverbial bottle. Sure there are counter examples but to have that happen on the scale that it would have to have happened in the "Book" histories of most Commercial Settings much less homebrew I think ripps a big hole in their logic and feel.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2012-09-15 at 04:33 PM.

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    Common can make sense in a setting. Look at our world. Greek was spoken from Spain to India for centuries. They even used a kind of Greek referred to as the "common language" for trade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Of, few more things:

    9) When there are more planes that I have fingers - this is related to the lack of sense of scale. (Pocket dimensions are excused, because they are, by definition, small.) Because often it raises questions like "why can't these be different places in the same world?" Extra minus points if the setting has realistic cosmology (ie. planets), but adds loads of planes on top of that. Congratulations, you just ignored loads of poorly-explored vastness to add more of it! Extra extra minus points if said planes are infinite, or at least as large as the universe. Gee, this tiny dot of land you detailed feels really important amidst these incredibly huge weird places.

    10) Using magic to repeat real technologic stunts - no, a magnetic train is not more interesting me when it runs on Lightning Elementals rather than electronics. Likewise, rather than say those ancient-but-impressive ruins were "build by MAGIC", why not say they were "build using archetechtural and metallurgical understanding that died with the culture". I find it tasteless to invoke poorly-defined supernatural elements merely to introduce "modern" or "futuristic" elements to a fantasy setting. It feels lazy - do your research and use science for your science fiction elements.
    All I'm gonna say is that your 10 is something that can be done... if the structures would require full-out unnatural stuff to build them.

    Like if they had non-euclidean hallways, or they were like those towers in the ?Shadow Out of Time? where the bases were way smaller than the tops...

    Other than that, I agree with most of these, as well as:

    I HATE HATE HATE transplanted morality: Dear setting authors; why are your morality systems/religions so simplistic?

    I wanna see something more like Digger or the Malazan Book of the Fallen, where religions are weird and wonderful.

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    2) "Every myth is true" - where every tale of monsters, gods and treasure corresponds to real monsters, gods and treasuse. D&D is perhaps the worst offender. (Evidence: Monster Manuals.) Just because some supernatural elements are true, doesn't need to mean that all tales told of supernatural elements need to be true.

    3) "Fantasy kitchen sink" - related to the above, when every nook and corner is filled to brim with bizarre creatures from every conceivable mythology. It's more than a bit redundant to have goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, trolls, oni etc. as separate species when you could have one "petty evil race living in the dark" that could explain all of these peoples.
    My presonal turnoff is when people try to cram everything they can int othe setting. Like in published D&D settings - every one must have Mind Flyers, Yuan-Ti, Beholders etc. I would really preffer if most of D&d unique monsters were unique and keept on one part of the world.

    4) Peoples as species - There are some fringe cases where it makes sense for all members of a single species to also be of one culture. Beyond that, there is no reason to have "woodloving hippies" be elves or "hard-working mountainfolk" be dwarves, if you can as easily have both peoples be different varieties of humans. On the flipside, each species should have multiple differing cultures.

    5) Non-humans as humans with fancy hats - an immortal lich is going to have vastly different mental and physical needs than a human, and this should show. As noted above, if you can do something with humans, you don't need non-humans - so if you're going to inroduce non-humans, make them feel non-human.
    Yeah, I dislike those two too.

    6) "God needs prayer badly" - recently I've started to feel that the idea of gods being dependant of worship has become somewhat overused in fantasy settings. More than that, most don't think too deeply of how this actually works, which causes it to run head first into many of the same logic problems as point 1).
    I belive the rammifications of that should be more explored really. Like in comics series Fables, where characters from Fairy Tales are dependant on people's belief in them - characters who are well-know and popular cannot be killed, s Snow White can take a bullet to the head and survive, but this also means that less known Fables, like Rose Red, are very vunarable and won't return to life if shot. Another thing is that it's quite territorial, which means that in Russia, where everybody knows Baba Yaga, the outcome of her battle with witch from Hansel And Gretel will be different than in United States, where latter's story is much more popular. it can also be abused - Jack Horner, who is every jack in every fairy tale, made a movie trilogy about himself and harvested his new popularity. think of how these rammifications could work in fantasy. If the power depends of how many people in certain area belive in you, gods would be very territorial and intorelat to other religions, sending their people on missions toconvert villages in other gods territorie, slaughtering their messangers and even leading crusades to enforce belief in themselves, to become more powerful. If it's territorial, no god would leave the area where they have the most belivers and would probably travel only with hundreds of pilgrims at hand, many plans would me made to kill other god into luring him on enemys theriroy, where they are weaker, and gods would meet only on boders out of fear of the other guy trying to drag them into their land ans defeat. If they can be spread by gaining followers, gods would actively do heroic deeds to convert people or send their clerics to do so.

    7) No place for the natural - many fantasy setting put plain too much emphasis on the supernatural elements of their setting. But you don't need to invoke supernatural elements to convey and create a fantastic feel - just take a look at all the crazy stuff real world has.
    Oh yeah, my buddy recently started gmind Deadland, that's his main complaint - behind every problem hides supernatural, it's never normal bandits who rob the train, it's undead ones.

    Another thing I dislike are badly used "no stats" - characters who are said to be so powerful that players cannot match them. It's not really bad itself, I mean, Cthulhu in pathfinder is good example - power beyond anything, one that game overs you when he wakes up, because he is a very old god. Same with that giant bird from deadlands or Cain. But guys like Stone from Deadlands, who is just Revenant who made pact to get a lot of power, or that religious leader whose name I forgot - these are normal guys in that setting, jsut strong, nothing in their files puts them above players' usual level, there is no reason for them to be best in everything and have no stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Common can make sense in a setting. Look at our world. Greek was spoken from Spain to India for centuries. They even used a kind of Greek referred to as the "common language" for trade.
    Yes as a trade language, a scholars language etc. In the majority of the area it was used it was a secondary language or a national language of the post Alexander states and greek colonies. And that's fine to translate. What I think most of us take umbrage with it the A: World spanning nature of the language. B: That most people speak it as their first language-even if the "common" originates in a far off land.
    Untill WWII most people in eastern Europe spoke German. It was a secondary language for most but at least a few people in each village did. Only a few people who a few dealing with government or outsiders didn't speak it. But the former AustroHungarian Empire had over 20 significant languages. It's the role of common that I think many people want but it turns into German as the common language of the various german states of the former Holy Roman Empire. It's common because if people speak anything else it is UN-common.
    Or at least that's my issue with how common is most often found. It's a pretty easy fix though.

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    You know, after reading this, I kinda want to make a setting that is a single city, with a blasted wasteland outside (think what happens around Tanelorn when the forces of Law attack it), where all the other planes are actually just (extraplanar "shadow") districts, kinda like demiplanes.

    I kinda like the idea of the River Styx being a nickname for the sewer system, and reaching the "lower planes" involves navigating the sewers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Exactly. . . That to me proves the system is broken quite possibly beyond repair. Not that it is in any way good. It's a system that requires definition, gives partial definitions, and then promptly disagrees with itself. The system can't break free of a monotheist base but added in polytheistic framworks and trys to simplfy the range of human behavior in order to keep the game mechanics simple enough to use....Which is fine as long as everyone promises to play nice and not look at it too hard.
    My point wasn't that Good PCs get away with murder, it was that in D&D, violence is actually a good solution to your problems. In the modern real world, someone being murdered is a horrible thing that happens occasionally because some unstable psychopath is committing a crime; in D&D and in the ancient real world, people dying to violence is something to be expected and taken for granted. Killing someone is not incompatible with being Good in a world where a big evil monster can and will eat your neighbors and reanimate their corpses to kill you if you don't kill it first. That's not a matter of monotheism vs. polytheism, that's a matter of Iron Age values vs. Information Age values.

    But the age of the planet is not more important. Never has been-it has always been the age of civilization-no matter what beings are making that civilization.
    The age of other civilizations is exactly what I'm talking about. The original complaint was that having a 100,000-year history for various civilizations doesn't make sense, and I said that while it doesn't make sense in the context of humans it makes sense in the context of whatever beings came before them.

    The flying cities while humans still learning to spell your name type stuff has always struk me as A: interesting but why would humans survive when these folks didn't B:Why didn't humans raid the ruin LONG before now and get a huge leg up on their development -you'd only need a couple tribes pulling it off and either they'd be copied or would grow.
    It's case B. What do you think adventurers are for? Your party isn't the first one to go off, find a bunch of priceless magic items and dump them on the market for people to study and reverse-engineer because they don't kill monsters fast enough for you.

    And there are several more problems just as bad. Furthermore while yes a 100K year history using non humans may get something of a pass (even if I overlook the enviromental and physical effects of that long of a civilization which is a whole kettle of fish just as bad-or wonder why in their 40K year history as great and powerful empires the *insert non-human race of great age and drama* never got beyond 14th century europe human technology-which looking at the ruins of, say, the Age of Deamons you never seem to) that isn't what annoys me as much as the very common 100K histories of HUMAN and near human histories. And this a thread of what annoys us in homebrews. Like I said above it's possible to make almost anything I dislike work with proper backing information and working that into the setting. I'm not saying they could NEVER work it is just that 95% don't and should be avoided as a general rule.
    What settings have 100,000-year human histories? Pretty much every 'brewed setting I've read starts off with "A bazillion years ago, gods created stuff" then moves onto monsters and dragons, then gets down to elves and dwarves, and then has humans show up relatively recently. It's entirely possible that I haven't seen many of those because the ones that do that are bad enough that I don't make it to the human part of the timeline, I suppose.

    No my issue is when a party goes plumbing a ruin from the age of Deamons, From the Hobgoblin Empire etc there is same basic menu of weapons that have had to redeveloped who knows how many times....except they haven't. Those same tech's are being used by Galifar, Karrn the Conquerer, or even you local PC. The relics of the time of Galifar (the first) wouldn't be as strong as modern weapons, or farming techniques etc. Yet every treasure haul (as found in the books) seems up to date and just ready to fit in with modern campighn world like the last 1000 years of growth didn't matter. It is FAR worse in most published worlds and far far worse in most homebrews. On a general scale technology either dies in it's infancy because a use can't be found, too expensive, government doesn't like it etc or it starts to spread. And once it does-the idea of it-the understanding of the principals that make it work those are VERY hard things to kill off. The genie is out of the proverbial bottle. Sure there are counter examples but to have that happen on the scale that it would have to have happened in the "Book" histories of most Commercial Settings much less homebrew I think ripps a big hole in their logic and feel.
    That's not really as far-fetched as you'd think. If you look at modern technology and picture what would happen if our civilization collapsed, give it a few thousand years and all of our written works, all of our digital technology, and pretty much everything else that's fragile or biodegradable would be completely gone. Only the sturdy mechanical, non-degradable stuff would survive. Now look at magic items: enchantments don't fade over time, and they're not biodegradable, so if you dig up an ancient hobgoblin sword it'll work just fine. Basic Medieval/Renaissance weapons are the substrate for Age of Demons magical technology, with only the materials and enhancements changing over time, just like how the basic car body hasn't changed much in shape and layout since the Model T--we still have four wheels, an engine, a steering wheel, etc.--and it's the body shapes, the materials used in the body, the computerized systems, and other "under the hood" technologies that are really where the advancement lies.

    Once you get past Medieval-/Renaissance-level tech, you're getting into guns (which they wouldn't develop and which wouldn't last), so finding a sword in the ancient crypts that looks only a bit different from a modern sword but glows like the sun under Detect-Magic-O-Vision makes sense. And since all of the enchantments in use are pretty obvious ("hit stuff better" or "fire everywhere!" or "make shooty thing shoot farther") I don't see why finding a flaming longsword in the ruins that works like a modern flaming longsword would be out of the ordinary.

    Yes as a trade language, a scholars language etc. In the majority of the area it was used it was a secondary language or a national language of the post Alexander states and greek colonies. And that's fine to translate. What I think most of us take umbrage with it the A: World spanning nature of the language. B: That most people speak it as their first language-even if the "common" originates in a far off land.
    [...]
    Or at least that's my issue with how common is most often found. It's a pretty easy fix though.
    In my settings, no one gets Common as a default language; there's a Human language for humans if we're going with racial languages or regional languages for everyone if we're going with more logical languages, and everyone gets Common or the equivalent on their bonus language list. It's worked out well so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    You know, after reading this, I kinda want to make a setting that is a single city, with a blasted wasteland outside (think what happens around Tanelorn when the forces of Law attack it), where all the other planes are actually just (extraplanar "shadow") districts, kinda like demiplanes.

    I kinda like the idea of the River Styx being a nickname for the sewer system, and reaching the "lower planes" involves navigating the sewers.
    "Welcome to the cosmologistic administrative horror that is known as the Great Wheel City. Leave your morality at the doorstep and get your sanity card punched before entry. Don't forget to bring your blue orange-flavoured skindrops to protect against elementary duststorms."
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    "Oh, and stay away from the prison district; man, whose idea was just boarding up the exits?"

    Actually, I was thinking of basically just using a variant on alignment that I saw somewhere where alignment doesn't exist, and alignment subtypes are replaced by the [Spirit] subtype.

    Basically, the entire thing would be very, very "human centric", for lack of a better word; the big guys probably won't even be running around (plus, I just find it easier to map a city than to map a world, when you get down to it.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    My point wasn't that Good PCs get away with murder, it was that in D&D, violence is actually a good solution to your problems. In the modern real world, someone being murdered is a horrible thing that happens occasionally because some unstable psychopath is committing a crime; in D&D and in the ancient real world, people dying to violence is something to be expected and taken for granted. Killing someone is not incompatible with being Good in a world where a big evil monster can and will eat your neighbors and reanimate their corpses to kill you if you don't kill it first. That's not a matter of monotheism vs. polytheism, that's a matter of Iron Age values vs. Information Age values.
    I'd give you the Iron age vs Information age values if the rest of the game system supported it. But even in 2e murder was bad. Ravenloft flat out said it. It was described as one of the reasons to force a change of alignment on a PC. Good basically became "when it was convenient for the DM". And That big evil monster just wants to feed his little monsters and thinks that letting a soul get eaten up by the outer planes to be eventually merged into the planar fabric is just horrible and must be prevented. It's a totally ethnocentric idea of "good and evil" that doesn't stand up to itself. Replace the PC's with any given NPC (take a hobgoblin or ogre to make life interesting) and it falls apart. Your Iron Age/Info age analogy sounds good but I don't think it holds water.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    The age of other civilizations is exactly what I'm talking about. The original complaint was that having a 100,000-year history for various civilizations doesn't make sense, and I said that while it doesn't make sense in the context of humans it makes sense in the context of whatever beings came before them.
    Still doesn't. Why? because those oh so great civ's have the same tech level as the humans. Sure not in the fluff but when it come down to what the players actually deal with. The rare exceptions are called artifacts and have all sorts of warnings plastered all over that part of the book. Those were meant to have been powerful even at the time of their creation. So no you can replace any given race that had a civilization 100K years ago and if it lasted 5K years or more it should have developed at least somewhat comparable tech, or been so alien that humans find it hard to use anything they find there-take your pick. The clock kicks off for each civ when it begins no matter the race. Non humans may get a multiplier of either lesser or greater speed. But any issues I have with a human civilization lasting 10K years or more I'd have with a civilization of any intelligent beings lasting that long....but with more acceptance of storytellers slowing things down, speeding them up or otherwise messing with it. To make matters worse many of the races that are used this way develop much slower that RW humans but have int bonuses - seems odd. I guess one easy way to explain it is to look at Forgotten Realms-Look at the Yuan Ti or the Elves. Yes both fell from great heights....but even so they have been where they are now being just as smart and seem no more advanced than they were 100 years after they fell.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    It's case B. What do you think adventurers are for? Your party isn't the first one to go off, find a bunch of priceless magic items and dump them on the market for people to study and reverse-engineer because they don't kill monsters fast enough for you.
    Yep that sounds like what adventurers should be doing. But it stretches my suspension of disbelief that most of these places hadn't all ready been looted if they are that old. Also It's not just the magic items that would be so valuable. It would be plans or forges, stone-working tools, craft tools of all kinds, those would all be far more valuable than a magic item-because the idea can spread and be used in any and every blacksmith shop in the land in only a few years if it's a really good one (or library, or where ever it is used). And that is what would have driven the advancement of the stone age humans (or whatever the next civilization to come along) to a level not very far behind the one that collapsed-even faster if the fallen one was literate. Comprehend writing isn't a high level spell. Even if technology isn't directly translatable it would still communicate principles that the following civ would take advantage of.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    What settings have 100,000-year human histories? ...bad enough that I don't make it to the human part of the timeline, I suppose.
    I've seen enough. While not 100K ..20K isn't that uncommon in homebrew...which is only twice as long as RW people have been farming. And a decent chunk of an ice age was thrown in that length of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    That's not really as far-fetched as you'd think. If you look at modern technology and picture what would happen if our civilization collapsed, give it a few thousand years and all of our written works, all of our digital technology, and pretty much everything else that's fragile or biodegradable would be completely gone. Only the sturdy mechanical, non-degradable stuff would survive. Now look at magic items: enchantments don't fade over time, and they're not biodegradable, so if you dig up an ancient hobgoblin sword it'll work just fine. Basic Medieval/Renaissance weapons are the substrate for Age of Demons magical technology, with only the materials and enhancements changing over time, just like how the basic car body hasn't changed much in shape and layout since the Model T--we still have four wheels, an engine, a steering wheel, etc.--and it's the body shapes, the materials used in the body, the computerized systems, and other "under the hood" technologies that are really where the advancement lies.

    Once you get past Medieval-/Renaissance-level tech, you're getting into guns (which they wouldn't develop and which wouldn't last), so finding a sword in the ancient crypts that looks only a bit different from a modern sword but glows like the sun under Detect-Magic-O-Vision makes sense. And since all of the enchantments in use are pretty obvious ("hit stuff better" or "fire everywhere!" or "make shooty thing shoot farther") I don't see why finding a flaming longsword in the ruins that works like a modern flaming longsword would be out of the ordinary.
    Wait-why wouldn't they develop guns or their magical equivalents? And why wouldn't they enchant the guns, cars, aeroplanes, computers etc to make them stronger, faster, and otherwise better? And thus why would only the enchantments on the things humans can already make still work to preserve them? That just makes no sense. Also you've just hand-waved away more modern tech away as not lasting-but things with more advanced materials would probably last just as well if not better than the old-that's why they replaced them. Also all the "under the hood" stuff you describe are magic and well only really applies to magic. And lots of things HAVE changed massively over time. The model T was only where people start thinking about cars because it was the first mass produced. Before then the car changed allot. Which changed allot from the carriages from before that..also if its been THAT long then the stonework and buildings that adventurers explore would be just as gone as the fragile materials inside and only in those areas that either naturally or magically preserve things would you find anything beyond a few scattered enchanted items-which isn't very adventure hook friendly.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    In my settings, no one gets Common as a default language; there's a Human language for humans if we're going with racial languages or regional languages for everyone if we're going with more logical languages, and everyone gets Common or the equivalent on their bonus language list. It's worked out well so far.
    Sounds like a good fix.-it's easy enough. I just mark certain languages as "trade languages" that have spread far beyond their boarders. and make those languages available as bonus ones across large areas. So some nations may have two or even three "commons". But yours is nice and simple.

    On a point I saw a while back about there not being many Non western Europe based settings and those that are seam to pick Egypt, China, Norse (which honestly I think of as western Europe but I get your point), or Japan. Brought up Maztica and Al Quadim as examples of what hasn't been seem much in the last few years. To make those work people need a pretty good knowledge of the culture or at least need to be able to pretend that they do. I did a bit of homebrew in the mesoamerican tradition and found it hard to stick very close to it. I was using mostly older sources back then but getting my players hooked on those kind of cultural references was hard. I'd researched enough to find things fascinating but found it hard to get people excited about it. I think that probably translated into poor sales of professionally done games which has led the rules and systems to support the kinds of things that would appeal to the New world homebrewer harder as well as just finding players is harder.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2012-09-15 at 07:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    I'd give you the Iron age vs Information age values if the rest of the game system supported it. But even in 2e murder was bad. Ravenloft flat out said it. It was descibed as one of the reasons to force a change of alignment on a PC. Good basically became "when it was convenient for the DM". And That big evil monster justs wants to feed his little monsters and thinks that letting a soul get eatten up by the outer planes to be eventually merged into the planar fabric is just horrible and must be prevented. It's a totally ethnocentric idea of "good and evil" that doesn't stand up to itself. Replace the PC's with any given NPC (take a hobgoblin or ogre to make life interesting) and it falls apart. Your Iron Age/Info age analogy sounds good but I don't think it holds water.
    Murder != killing. The stereotype might be referred to as "murderhobos" but actually, unless we're talking about killing monster children or something, there's no reason to label killing things as an Evil act when Good kills Evil all the damn time. The paladin's signature smiting ability is all about killing Evil faster and more effectively, and he gets it before he gets any healing or defensive abilities.

    Murder, then, is put in a different context relative to normal violence. It's not the fact that you killed someone at all, that as you put it murder "is easy, simpler, shapes the world into a prefered mold, and/or gives them the ability to not thing about parts of themselves they don't like." Killing evil things is easy, simple, and shapes the world as desired (i.e. to have fewer evil things in it). So of course if you take WotC's misguided view that killing is evil in such a world and equate murder with killing the alignment system isn't going to make sense.

    Still doesn't. Why? because those oh so great civ's have the same tech level as the humans. Sure not in the fluff but when it come down to what the players actually deal with. The rare exceptions are called artifacts and have all sorts of warnings plastered all over that part of the book. Those were ment to have been powerful even at the time of their creation.
    The only distinction between artifacts and normal magic items is that magic items have a known means of creation and artifacts. So if you set aside things that current civilization can't make, then by definition anything left is stuff at the current civilization's tech levels. That's like the Enterprise running into a planet outside the Federation that's roughly the tech level of modern earth and having that planet dismiss the Federation as being at the same tech level. "Pfft, the oh-so-great Federation is just like us! They still wear clothes, sleep in beds, communicate with walkie-talkies, use antibiotics....yes, you have the rare exceptions like, oh, replicators, warp drives, that sort of thing, but those are different."

    Yep that sounds like what adventureers should be doing. But it stretches my suspension of disbelief that most of these places hadn't allready been looted if they are that old.
    Old caches of valuables tend to come with traps and monsters. The first adventuring party to make it through the Tomb of Horrors wasn't the first to explore it, it was the first to survive it.

    Also It's not just the magic items that would be so valuable. It would be plans or forges, stoneworking tools, craft tools of all kinds, those would all be far more valuable than a magic item-because the idea can spread and be used in any and every blacksmith shop in the land in only a few years if it's a really good one (or library, or whereever it is used). And that is what would have driven the advancement of the stone age humans (or whatever the next civilization to come along) to a level not very far behind the one that collapsed-even faster if the fallen one was litterate. Comprehend writting isn't a high level spell. Even if technology isn't directly translatable it would still comunicate principles that the following civ would take advantage of.
    Well, what do you think old tomes full of magic rituals are? They're the magical equivalent of blueprints and technical manuals.

    Wait-why wouldn't they develop guns or their magical equivilants? And why wouldn't they enchant the guns, cars, aeroplanes, computers etc to make them stronger, faster, and otherwise better? And thus why would only the enchantments on the things humans can already make still work to preserve them? That just makes no sense.
    I already said that if a civilization has a magical infrastructure, expecting them to take a break from working on tried-and-true ways to shoot magical fire, fly magically, store knowledge magically, and so forth to start developing primitive, unwieldy technological equivalents doesn't make any sense. They already have the magical equivalents in the form of wands, magic carpets, and so forth.

    Also you've just handwaved away more modern tech away as not lasting-but things with more advanced materials would probably last just as well if not better than the old-that's why they replaced them.
    If you throw a laptop, a few dozen books, and a Glock into an area full of bad weather, wild animals, deathtraps, and other hazards, they wouldn't last more than a few years at best. Throw a sword into the same conditions and it'll be battered but workable. There are exceptions of course--AK-47s can be buried in swamps and work fine--but in general more modern tech wouldn't survive as well as more primitive technology. And since civilizations are developing magic based on the civilizations that came before, if one empire finds a bunch of enchanted swords they're more likely to improve upon sword-based enchantments than to take a few-decade detour to develop guns.

    Also all the "under the hood" stuff you describe are magic and well only really applies to magic. And lots of things HAVE changed massivly over time. The model T was only where people start thinking about cars because it was the first mass produced. Before then the car changed allot. Which changed allot from the carrigies from before that..also if its been THAT long then the stonework and buildings that adventurers explore would be just as gone as the fragile materials inside and only in those areas that either naturally or magically preserve things would you find anything beyond a few scattered enchanted items-which isn't very advernture hook friendly.
    You were complaining that the adventurers are finding swords in the ruins, and they have swords themselves, so obviously they haven't advanced at all. Take a Model T and a 2012-model car and you'll see the same general similarity. It's the non-obvious stuff that really matters--better composites and an assembly line for the cars, better enchantments and craftsmanship for the swords--so saying "they both use swords so nothing changed" isn't accurate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    13. The languages in 95% of settings, especially published ones. Common works fine as a lingua franca, sure, but in that case most people should speak it as a second language, rather than their primary. Sometimes people from different areas of the same country can barely understand one another in real life, so the idea of most of the world speaking the same language mutually intelligibly is mind boggling. Especially when most people are uneducated, and there are no global media to reinforce a language standard. And don't even get me started on the silliness that is racial languages (e.g. Dwarven) and environmental languages (e.g. Aquan).

    Yeah, I know Common is supposed to be an abstraction to represent whatever the PCs and DM speak, and I know it's super nitpicky. I'm a linguistics major, though, so this completely destroys my suspension of disbelief. Similar to how a biologist must feel when he looks through the Monster Manual, I suppose.
    I used to feel the same way, until I tried to run a game that subverted this and made the language situation in the world more realistic considering the geopolitical and technological constraints of the setting.

    Now I just toss out language entirely and have everyone everywhere speaking Common. Why? Because the "puzzle" of "Oh no, the people here all speak a language you don't understand! You need to find a way to communicate with them!" is simply not fun, especially when it happens every 15 minutes, real time. When your players pool their entire WBL to get a magic item just so they can bypass your setting and get back to adventuring, there's a major problem.

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    also remember in a society with magic the very smartest people will be working magic rather then the smart inventors will be studying magic not technology dramatically slowing technological growth.
    on top of that you can't just teach someone how to cast magic their are no shortcuts after someone invents a 9th level spell he can teach it to other people but if they want to use it they still need to be able to caste 9th level spells.

    that's not even including the tendency for wizards to horde and jealously guard their magic.

    in regards to ancient empires with little in the way of technological advancements. first off elves and dwarves are often depicted with better technology then humans elven chain mail and dwarven plate just to name some examples. but it also makes sense that they would advance in technology slower both species are extremely long lived this means that the leadership has lots of time to get set in their ways. for example elves have a cultural affinity for swords and bows its quite possible such a society would consider trying to replace them with guns as an insult to their culture preventing them. you might argue that any society that is unwilling to adapt or change would eventually die out, but remember those elven and dwarven empires are usually depicted as having greatly declined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Murder != killing. The stereotype might be referred to as "murderhobos" but actually, unless we're talking about killing monster children or something, there's no reason to label killing things as an Evil act when Good kills Evil all the damn time. The paladin's signature smiting ability is all about killing Evil faster and more effectively, and he gets it before he gets any healing or defensive abilities.

    Murder, then, is put in a different context relative to normal violence. It's not the fact that you killed someone at all, that as you put it murder "is easy, simpler, shapes the world into a prefered mold, and/or gives them the ability to not thing about parts of themselves they don't like." Killing evil things is easy, simple, and shapes the world as desired (i.e. to have fewer evil things in it). So of course if you take WotC's misguided view that killing is evil in such a world and equate murder with killing the alignment system isn't going to make sense.
    Totally disagree murder is simply killing that you don't support. Or killing that is done by good people in an easy cop out. If something is murder is based allot on perspective. Murder vs mercy killing-Perspective, Protecting Family farms-lands from raiders? vs Genocide of the goblin hunter gathers-Perspective, Lawful Execution of Traitors vs Oppressive state sanctioned butchery-Perspective. Perspective comes from where-alignment in D&D lexicon. So it seems to be a self licking ice cream cone. Define murder by evil and evil by murder (replace murder with whatever other evil it largely still works but murder is one of the clearest and easiest)

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    The only distinction between artifacts and normal magic items is that magic items have a known means of creation and artifacts.....They still wear clothes, sleep in beds, communicate with walkie-talkies, use antibiotics....yes, you have the rare exceptions like, oh, replicators, warp drives, that sort of thing, but those are different."
    If you take that idea then fine, however it comes with a consequence. The artifacts loose their rarity. These are the kinds of things that the ancient cultures would be able to crank out with no more trouble than they did the lesser magic items. The artifact level items would be expensive but not really that big a deal. What I'm saying is that given how rare, unique, weird, requiring of deities that artifacts are as described in the books then they can not be logically taken as a technological baseline for the culture that produced them. Basically anywhere important to that culture would have one if not several artifacts. These would get recycled into any new civ rather quickly considering how useful they would be. Basically It would break the game. Now you could say that was true but most of the have broken down, need multiple parts to work etc. But it would be a major shift from standard D&D mythology and could be a major tent-pole of that setting (in fact would be pretty cool)

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Old caches of valuables tend to come with traps and monsters. The first adventuring party to make it through the Tomb of Horrors wasn't the first to explore it, it was the first to survive it.
    True....but given that humans have had it sitting around for 5K years plus and the PC's are 5th-10th level .... Wait the math really breaks down here. It's a common complaint for me that there are lots of old ruins that people haven't gone to yet even though they are not very hard and they have been around a long time. I'd give you a dungeon with a CR 18+ anything but those are the exception rather than the rule. If all the low level dungeons are still out there then a slightly cowardly group of 6th level characters could make a very nice (and not too challenging) livelihood by plumbing all of those they could find. And even if only 10% of the ruins or plumbed in the first 200 years enough information about building materials, crafting, etc would come out (especially if magic was available to answer questions like "how was this made" or " where did the sand that was used to make this glass come from") that the raiding civ would catch up to the previous civ enough that the fact they have not surpassed it in the time since that it strains credibility

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Well, what do you think old tomes full of magic rituals are? They're the magical equivalent of blueprints and technical manuals.
    For a single category of technology-spells. Now where is the rest....unless most of the crafters, artisans, etc of that lost nation were casters (possible but limited in actual use) then what about everybody else? It's not just the magic users who matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I already said that if a civilization has a magical infrastructure, expecting them to take a break from working on tried-and-true ways to shoot magical fire, fly magically, store knowledge magically, and so forth to start developing primitive, unwieldy technological equivalents doesn't make any sense. They already have the magical equivalents in the form of wands, magic carpets, and so forth.
    Since making magical items takes XP and that is a limited resource I'd disagree with you. A wizard who churns out magic item after magic item may be a trope of the D&D world but it isn't one that could really last. He'd have to go earn the XP somewhere. Magic items are great when they are rare and as a wizard are not expected to build them for everyone else. I'd postulate that magic items would be used heavily in researching thing that lead to technological advancements, but making a magical version be the baseline drains your wizard quickly. Also the non magical version would could be built and used by anyone instead of your limited wizard population. One of the main reasons crossbows came to dominate European warfare even though they were more expensive than a longbow, caused less damage than a long bow (then-they got better late in the game), and had less range than a cross bow was that they were far easier to train and the power was in the weapon not the user thus the leader of a crossbow using nation has less to fear from the unruly peasants -they had not been off training with advanced weaponry for the last several years. The same principal would apply to magic as technology.


    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    If you throw a laptop, a few dozen books, and a Glock into an area full of bad weather, wild animals, deathtraps, and other hazards, they wouldn't last more than a few years at best. Throw a sword into the same conditions and it'll be battered but workable. There are exceptions of course--AK-47s can be buried in swamps and work fine--but in general more modern tech wouldn't survive as well as more primitive technology. And since civilizations are developing magic based on the civilizations that came before, if one empire finds a bunch of enchanted swords they're more likely to improve upon sword-based enchantments than to take a few-decade detour to develop guns.
    The sword would be useless too. Corrosion etc would eat at the blade just as fast if not faster than the Glock. There is a reason the blade needs to be oiled and cleaned just like a gun. Also the grip would be gone just as fast. Would it last longer yes-long enough to be counted in the type of civilization hopping we have been discussing-not much better chance than anything else. Heck to look at the Romans the best bet for what to find would be shoes. The conditions in which blades would survive are close enough to what would allow that book, or the glock to survive that while the blade would be more common it wouldn't account for the other things never showing up. If you are using magic to protect thing all things will get protected (not in equal numbers but most things will have a few fans)


    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    You were complaining that the adventurers are finding swords in the ruins, and they have swords themselves, so obviously they haven't advanced at all. Take a Model T and a 2012-model car and you'll see the same general similarity. It's the non-obvious stuff that really matters--better composites and an assembly line for the cars, better enchantments and craftsmanship for the swords--so saying "they both use swords so nothing changed" isn't accurate.
    Advancements in enchantments I'll buy but that the basic blade is still the most advanced way of non magically hurting things still don't fly to me. I'm not ignoring that craftsmanship would improve over time. Today's machetes have much better steel and composites than swords ever had when they were front line weapons of war.....but that would be ignoring guns as if machetes where what we sent our armies out to fight with. I see what you are saying but incremental change is just that. This is denying the capacity of the current civilization to make any kind of revolutionary change. I'm not comparing a 2012 car with a model T I'm comparing it with a Horse. The goal posts of the technology never seem to move from one civ to the next. They are all playing on the same field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    also remember in a society with magic the very smartest people will be working magic rather then the smart inventors will be studying magic not technology dramatically slowing technological growth.
    on top of that you can't just teach someone how to cast magic their are no shortcuts after someone invents a 9th level spell he can teach it to other people but if they want to use it they still need to be able to caste 9th level spells.

    that's not even including the tendency for wizards to horde and jealously guard their magic.

    in regards to ancient empires with little in the way of technological advancements. first off elves and dwarves are often depicted with better technology then humans elven chain mail and dwarven plate just to name some examples. but it also makes sense that they would advance in technology slower both species are extremely long lived this means that the leadership has lots of time to get set in their ways. for example elves have a cultural affinity for swords and bows its quite possible such a society would consider trying to replace them with guns as an insult to their culture preventing them. you might argue that any society that is unwilling to adapt or change would eventually die out, but remember those elven and dwarven empires are usually depicted as having greatly declined.
    Um…..you are assuming that all geniuses would focus on magic or not be able to see the downsides of it, and wouldn't instead opt to develop what everyone can use instead of magic which wouldn't be much use to anybody.

    and that is even assuming we are working with DnD magic! there could be magic that works completely different than you think!

    and furthermore, the long-lived people can always go the shorter lived humans to show their inventions and get a fresh viewpoint, thus making the humans develop the technology while the older ones suddenly have to adapt to keep up with the short lived ones….
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    an elf could go to a human and ask for a fresh view point but that would be admitting his view point is wrong. that's incredibly difficult for humans how hard do you think it would be for a species known for their arrogance to seek advice from something it considers a crude brute no older than a child.

    while its possible that smart people would chose not to study magic they would have a hard time acquiring funding. scientist comes to king i want money to study farming on the off chance i can maybe possible come up with an incrementally better method of crop rotation.

    then caster pops in and says pay me and ill give you a magic item of once a week plant growth it will be exponentially more effective and is definitely going to work and can be implemented with in a week.

    which one do you think is going to get the money. their will be little incentive to fund the study of physical science or even the training of scientist when wizards are so much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    which one do you think is going to get the money. their will be little incentive to fund the study of physical science or even the training of scientist when wizards are so much better.
    Actually looking at the scenario you present-the scientist. Why? Because the science can be distributed and used without needing the wizard ever again, especially if his kingdom is big enough to need two of the item. Or he could chain the wizard up until he makes lots of item but that might dissuade other wizards asking for funding. Also who is to say that wizard won't soon be setting up just outside your boarders selling food by the ship load? Sounds great until he just put most of your peasants out of a job selling their excess - and you as king- now need to deal with their problems and unrest. Even the possibility of these things would dissuade many kings.
    Research a spell that's 5th level or above that does amazing things. Great. But only a very tiny few of the most advanced arcane citizens can use it. One or more of them then needs to sacrifice life force-part of their very being and part of what makes them so powerful in order to caster it permanently or put it in a magic item. The number of citizens who can use that same ability granted by scientific means is vastly larger and as king you are not in hock to the very wizard who you paid. Magic is amazing at point source change - it can powerfully change individual situations very easily but science can change whole societies on a distributed way. Now the key with allot of the magic effecting society is to figure out how to use a point source change to make a knock on effect. But it also means that you build a society focused on various critical points-which is not how every king would want it.
    It is careful balance to hit and lots of DM and homebrew writers make assumtions that leave plot holes with this. Generally players walk right around them-even if they see them just to get along playing the game.

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    not all elves are monoculture stereotypes….

    and if the King does accept the Wizards proposal over the Scientists- a greater abundance of crops is exactly what leads to more population and eventually more people to become scientists and study science. more science eventually leads to an industrial society. and who said scientists were not open to magic? science and magic aren't exclusive things, since science is a method, and magic a tool.
    all scientists have to do is convince wizards to adopt their methods, and lo, the wizards and scientists are one. science could probably even improve the effectiveness of magic through experimentation. and once the scientists prove that they can make magic itself more effective, they can then prove that they can make everything else more effective without it through experimentation.

    assuming that the culture even likes wizards. not everyone is accepting of change and new ideas, and wizards change things far faster than scientists. scientists sound sane by comparison, that and wizards are easily more dangerous. a scientist is merely studying your crops, but can you trust a wizard not use his magic for his own advantage and say make all who eat said crops, loyal to the wizard and not to the king?
    and soon, the wizard is the new king once he has made all the crops in the kingdom brainwash people into being his followers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sktarq View Post
    Totally disagree murder is simply killing that you don't support. Or killing that is done by good people in an easy cop out. If something is murder is based allot on perspective. Murder vs mercy killing-Perspective, Protecting Family farms-lands from raiders? vs Genocide of the goblin hunter gathers-Perspective, Lawful Execution of Traitors vs Oppressive state sanctioned butchery-Perspective. Perspective comes from where-alignment in D&D lexicon. So it seems to be a self licking ice cream cone. Define murder by evil and evil by murder (replace murder with whatever other evil it largely still works but murder is one of the clearest and easiest)
    Murder, by definition, is unlawful, premeditated killing. Self-defense, manslaughter, homicide, and executions aren't murder. Adventurers killing goblin raiders isn't murder, nor is goblin raiders killing adventurers. Executions aren't murder regardless of whether the state is a benevolent government executing criminals or a tyrannical government executing innocents. Private citizens killing other citizens is, however, murder.

    If you take that idea then fine, however it comes with a consequence. The artifacts loose their rarity.
    They don't lose their rarity any more than any other items lose their rarity. Artifacts can be just as rare, dangerous, hard to make, etc. as top-tier "modern" magic items, or they can be just as common, safe, and trivial as bottom-tier modern items. Heck, there are even two tiers of artifact, lesser and greater. They're just not things that current civilizations can make. There are mostly unique and powerful artifacts in the book, but really a hammer of thunderbolts isn't all that much different from an enchanted warhammer and a staff of power is quite similar to a staff of the magi.

    As I said before, the artifacts are just magic items something that can't be made by current civilizations, that's all they are, and you can't try to prove there hasn't been any progress by claiming that all the ancient items you dig up are the same as the modern ones and because you're just ignoring the ones that aren't the same.

    If all the low level dungeons are still out there then a slightly cowardly group of 6th level characters could make a very nice (and not too challenging) livelihood by plumbing all of those they could find. And even if only 10% of the ruins or plumbed in the first 200 years enough information about building materials, crafting, etc would come out (especially if magic was available to answer questions like "how was this made" or " where did the sand that was used to make this glass come from") that the raiding civ would catch up to the previous civ enough that the fact they have not surpassed it in the time since that it strains credibility
    And how do you know that's not happening? Current civilizations have to pick up knowledge of +1 adamantine swords and 3rd-level spells from somewhere, after all.

    For a single category of technology-spells. Now where is the rest....unless most of the crafters, artisans, etc of that lost nation were casters (possible but limited in actual use) then what about everybody else? It's not just the magic users who matter.
    Honestly, it is just the magic users who matter as far as technology is concerned. Every field of engineering is just a field of applied magic. Chemistry and chemical engineering? They're alchemy in D&D, which require being a magic user to work with. Mechanical engineering? All of the clockwork creature and devices in D&D require magic to be constructed. Electrical and computer engineering? Magic is the only equivalent to digital devices and electronics. Nonmagical engineering will get you the substrates to be enchanted, but if you already have magic (and they do) there's no sense in investing in nonmagical engineering for anything very advanced.

    Since making magical items takes XP and that is a limited resource I'd disagree with you. A wizard who churns out magic item after magic item may be a trope of the D&D world but it isn't one that could really last. He'd have to go earn the XP somewhere. Magic items are great when they are rare and as a wizard are not expected to build them for everyone else. I'd postulate that magic items would be used heavily in researching thing that lead to technological advancements, but making a magical version be the baseline drains your wizard quickly.
    Crafters earn XP the same way anyone else does. However your mid-level NPCs got to that point--adventuring, RPing XP, DM fiat--those crafters got there the same way and can continue earning XP the same way. There are many magic users in the world of many different classes, so individual crafters don't have to work at a breakneck pace to keep up with demand. Keep in mind also that casters using their own spells is as good as technology, and those don't have a cost or limit; a druid who goes around casting plant growth in his spare time is as good as (or better than) a magic item that you give to a farmer to cast on his fields, for instance, since you don't need to make multiple items or pass one item around when the druid can do it himself.

    Also the non magical version would could be built and used by anyone instead of your limited wizard population. One of the main reasons crossbows came to dominate European warfare even though they were more expensive than a longbow, caused less damage than a long bow (then-they got better late in the game), and had less range than a cross bow was that they were far easier to train and the power was in the weapon not the user thus the leader of a crossbow using nation has less to fear from the unruly peasants -they had not been off training with advanced weaponry for the last several years. The same principal would apply to magic as technology.
    On the contrary, a nation using crossbows has more to fear. If your country relies on longbows and you don't want a revolt, restrict who can train with it and crack down on people practicing with them. If your country relies on crossbows, the peasantry can pick up a bunch of crossbows and revolt at the drop of a hat. Which would you rather have in circulation, a wand of scorching ray that only spellcasters and specially-trained people can use, or a machine gun that anyone can use?

    The sword would be useless too. Corrosion etc would eat at the blade just as fast if not faster than the Glock. There is a reason the blade needs to be oiled and cleaned just like a gun. Also the grip would be gone just as fast. Would it last longer yes-long enough to be counted in the type of civilization hopping we have been discussing-not much better chance than anything else. Heck to look at the Romans the best bet for what to find would be shoes. The conditions in which blades would survive are close enough to what would allow that book, or the glock to survive that while the blade would be more common it wouldn't account for the other things never showing up. If you are using magic to protect thing all things will get protected (not in equal numbers but most things will have a few fans)
    Again, we're not talking someone digging up a weapons and immediately trying to use it, we're talking someone digging up ancient weapons and reverse-engineering them. Pull out a Renaissance-era sword and you'll find a sword that's rusted and rotted away, but it's obvious what it does (hold this, swing that, stab thingy) and a quick mending or make whole will fix the damage. Pull out a Renaissance-era gun and you have
    a big metal tube with no obvious use that's rusted and rotted away, and people are going to guess that it was a magical item of some sort before they guess you need to put a certain kind of chemical in with a certain kind of metal projectile and light a certain hole to activate it.

    Even if they're all warded away and safe, you have a bootstrapping problem. If Joe Blacksmith finds a magic sword, he has the technology to make more swords. If Joe Blacksmith finds a magic Glock, he needs to make the technology needed to make the technology needed to make the technology to make more Glocks.

    Advancements in enchantments I'll buy but that the basic blade is still the most advanced way of non magically hurting things still don't fly to me. I'm not ignoring that craftsmanship would improve over time. Today's machetes have much better steel and composites than swords ever had when they were front line weapons of war.....but that would be ignoring guns as if machetes where what we sent our armies out to fight with. I see what you are saying but incremental change is just that. This is denying the capacity of the current civilization to make any kind of revolutionary change. I'm not comparing a 2012 car with a model T I'm comparing it with a Horse. The goal posts of the technology never seem to move from one civ to the next. They are all playing on the same field.
    Again, you'll never have a technological revolution if no one's working with technology. The car went from a horse-drawn carriage to a horseless carriage via steam power, then internal combustion, and now we're working on fuel cells and other energy sources. Airplanes have been refined with better power sources, better control surfaces, and more, and we've developed helicopters, drones, VTOL, and other variations on the theme. To get there, though, someone had to be trying to figure out how to make a horseless carriage go or figure out how to make things fly.

    If a wizard wants to make a cart go on its own or make something fly, he has a few dozen ways to accomplish it (enchant an item, animate a mundane item, construct a rolling/flying golem, cast a spell on it, etc.) There's no process of discovery or refinement, just 0 to flying in 6 seconds. There's no technological base to build on to get from horse to airplane, and there's no reason to create one when you have magic.
    Last edited by PairO'Dice Lost; 2012-09-15 at 11:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Murder, by definition, is unlawful, premeditated killing. Self-defense, manslaughter, homicide, and executions aren't murder. Adventurers killing goblin raiders isn't murder, nor is goblin raiders killing adventurers. Executions aren't murder regardless of whether the state is a benevolent government executing criminals or a tyrannical government executing innocents. Private citizens killing other citizens is, however, murder.
    And I'd say that to the family of the goblins who died that bunch of humans just came in and murdered two dozen of their fellows who were trying to defend their homeland. And I'd say homicide is murder. Sorta goes with the territory. Heck large numbers of people charged with one of the above crimes could just as easily be charged with another and often are in plea deals. Those don't change what happened. And by your definition then genocide is no longer murder. It is no longer murder on a mass scale. So Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, etc are not murderers? Comes as news to me but they were not private citizens they were the leaders of their nations. So no I think using that definition of murder in this case is inappropriate. Killing is killing. Murder is killing a society disagrees with. And only they and those who choose to respect their choice will call it such.
    INSOMNIA EDIT: And even if I did accept your application of this definition It runs into another problem. Unlawful killing...so depending on the local laws different things are murder depending on where one is....or what tribe you belong to if you go by the "take your legal system with you" train of thought. Laws are a social construct....they are the social contract of a group laid out a regularized form. Now that works fine to aid in the smooth running of a society which is how they worked in RL; what it is very bad at is being the base of a system by which creatures are sent to various places in the afterlife. If various groups get to define murder themselves then defining "evil" by murder is going to be different by each group which means their souls may go to different places not depending on their actions but depending on the social contract (an place within that society which effects their standing under said laws) they were born into. That is not how I read any of the source material published by either TSR or WotC; I think I'm in the majority on that. The D&D great wheel system relies on a universal system of good and evil that applies equally to all races, societies, ages, slaves, or kings (who by your definition in an absolute monarchy would be incapable of murder). Also any killing that would be done on those who do not share the same code of laws/social contract would be unlawful in the eyes of the the group killed-some societies would share enough of their social contracts in common or have rules dealing with such things to recognize declarations of war etc but otherwise It is still unlawful and thus still murder. So thus two groups looking at the same event and deciding if it is murder depending on perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    They don't lose their rarity any more than any other items lose their rarity. Artifacts can be just as rare, dangerous, hard to make, etc. as top-tier "modern" magic items, or they can be just as common, safe, and trivial as bottom-tier modern items. Heck, there are even two tiers of artifact, lesser and greater. They're just not things that current civilizations can make. There are mostly unique and powerful artifacts in the book, but really a hammer of thunderbolts isn't all that much different from an enchanted warhammer and a staff of power is quite similar to a staff of the magi.
    I see a total disconnect between the artifacts as you describe them and as they are written. In both 3.5e and 2e D&D. they are not JUST things that the current civilizations can not make. That is one of their traits to be sure by not the be all end end all of what makes an artifact. They have a significant number of special rules, unique destruction methods off the top of my head. And it does effect their rarity because if the old civ could build them as relatively easily as they could build any other magic item (on a similar sliding scale of expense) then why didn't they when they would be so useful? There are a ton of ways that level of magic would be all over. It seems inappropriate so use such special items as a baseline for what the previous civ could do on a regular basis. And that's my issue artifact (particularly greater ones) could never have been commonplace. The only time I've seen that addressed is in forgotten realms when the rules of magic changed with the Karsus. Artifacts exist in D&D largely to act as McGuffins and story - if applied to the game in any more common way the whole concept of "game balance" goes out the window.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    As I said before, the artifacts are just magic items something that can't be made by current civilizations, that's all they are, and you can't try to prove there hasn't been any progress by claiming that all the ancient items you dig up are the same as the modern ones and because you're just ignoring the ones that aren't the same.
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    And how do you know that's not happening? Current civilizations have to pick up knowledge of +1 adamantine swords and 3rd-level spells from somewhere, after all.
    Yes. and if it has been happening for any length of time then there would be no more low level ruins to search after more than a few hundred years (being somewhat generous). Which means that low level adventurers need to find a different source of plot material. Its not that those things could not happen but it seems very inconsistent with the other material presented as normal in the majority of D&D.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Honestly, it is just the magic users who matter as far as technology is concerned. Every field of engineering is just a field of applied magic. Chemistry and chemical engineering? They're alchemy in D&D, which require being a magic user to work with. Mechanical engineering? All of the clockwork creature and devices in D&D require magic to be constructed. Electrical and computer engineering? Magic is the only equivalent to digital devices and electronics. Nonmagical engineering will get you the substrates to be enchanted, but if you already have magic (and they do) there's no sense in investing in nonmagical engineering for anything very advanced.
    Magic as technology entirely now. hmmm... Clockwork creatures-we still have not made those with 21st Century science so I'm fine in calling that magic. And frankly the same goes the above. The technology is there. Magic can be a tool for it but it is no more necessary than a physics degree is for being a blacksmith. So there is a ton of reasons to study non magical science and technology. also see below


    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Crafters earn XP the same way anyone else does. However your mid-level NPCs got to that point--adventuring, RPing XP, DM fiat--those crafters got there the same way and can continue earning XP the same way. There are many magic users in the world of many different classes, so individual crafters don't have to work at a breakneck pace to keep up with demand. Keep in mind also that casters using their own spells is as good as technology, and those don't have a cost or limit; a druid who goes around casting plant growth in his spare time is as good as (or better than) a magic item that you give to a farmer to cast on his fields, for instance, since you don't need to make multiple items or pass one item around when the druid can do it himself.
    And the math doesn't come close to covering what you are asking them to do. Creating enough magic items and/or advancing in level enough to cast many of the more socially useful spells (as in useful to society not charm) eats a huge amount of XP. Society has limited amount of XP available at a time-because people are born, grow and die. And only a small part of that will directed at either magic item creation or supporting the levels of casters. Casters are not common enough (at least in DM Guide, and the Cityscape splat-book on character levels found in population centres after you account for all the experts, rogues, aristocrats, fighters, and other non casters) to fill the role in society you are asking them to. If all your upper level characters in a city were casters with no experts, cleric, fighters etc and they pushed themselves and had little or no lives of their own I could just barely see it working. Also as you advance in level casters would be actually slightly lower in XP totals than their peers as some has gone to build items-so that seems even more skewed (A fighter has nothing else to do with XP than sit on it). Three low level experts socially acting as druids studying the harvest generation on generation will provide more help over the long term than a caster druid in terms of plant growth over the same time. Is it three to one yes, but those three are about the same cost to hire. No spell-casting fees and those three can help others who can then help others in turn through techniques and technology. That caters depending on level could cast plant growth how often in his "spare time"? He/She/It has a life to lead -other things to do XP to earn-so say three or four days a week-anything more and he is no longer a Druid he is the local plant growth machine that can also walk-basically would have to life for the community instead of in it. So how many spells you could expect the local wizard to cast for the town on a regular basis? Not that many really-besides if they did do that very often the the prices charged in the DM manual makes NO sense at all. If they are giving them out free often enough to be counted on to replace technological advancement.
    INSOMNIAC EDIT: Also making magic items is a massive drain on time-particularly the permanent ones like say flying carpets. Its a large process and during the construction time one can't be off earning that additional XP (which unless the DM is going to be VERY generous with RP XP then is dangerous and the NPC may well die-I basically say what works for the PC works for the NPCs just offstage) It just doesn't turn around very well. That wizard must be pretty high level to be making that item -that implies he/she/it has more important things to do with his time at least on a regular basis. So they can't punch out even enough flying carpets to satisfy a couple dozen people which would leave the rest of the city including those rich nobles who didn't have the connects to get a carpet, or even a family member who is jealous of his brother who did looking for a way to fly that doesn't need the one wizard in the city powerful enough to do it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    On the contrary, a nation using crossbows has more to fear. If your country relies on longbows and you don't want a revolt, restrict who can train with it and crack down on people practicing with them. If your country relies on crossbows, the peasantry can pick up a bunch of crossbows and revolt at the drop of a hat. Which would you rather have in circulation, a wand of scorching ray that only spellcasters and specially-trained people can use, or a machine gun that anyone can use?
    No they don't and more importantly DIDN'T I wasn't making that up as a hypothetical. It is easier to control the crossbows and the few people who can make them than the larger number of people who could use a longbow. And if the crossbowmen become unhappy it is easier to take them away and hand them to somebody new than take away someone's longbow and give it to someone else (the power being in the user not the tool in a longbow). Also you can keep many extra crossbows for when you really need them and only have a few out "in circulation" at a time. Then when war breaks out hand them to the most loyal people who can be picked at that time. The only people who need to keep happy with crossbows are the few who can make them, the few who hold your supply and just enough people to use them at the time you want to. Its not JUST about being able to put down the revolt if it happens but to have a large dangerous army when you want it (something the longbows were better at) and being able to prevent that group from being able to overthrow, threaten, blackmail, or otherwise impinge on the freedom of the leaders during peacetime (which the cross bow was better at).
    And as for your wand of scorching ray vs machine gun question. I'd want exactly two machine guns. One to give to a friend and one friend with another to point at the first if I ever want to take his machine gun away. Visa versa works too there. If anyone can use it I only need two friends who can be ANYONE I want-and I can change who-and they know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Again, we're not talking someone digging up a weapons and immediately trying to use it, we're talking someone digging up ancient weapons and reverse-engineering them. Pull out a Renaissance-era sword and you'll find a sword that's rusted and rotted away, but it's obvious what it does (hold this, swing that, stab thingy) and a quick mending or make whole will fix the damage. Pull out a Renaissance-era gun and you have
    a big metal tube with no obvious use that's rusted and rotted away, and people are going to guess that it was a magical item of some sort before they guess you need to put a certain kind of chemical in with a certain kind of metal projectile and light a certain hole to activate it.

    Even if they're all warded away and safe, you have a bootstrapping problem. If Joe Blacksmith finds a magic sword, he has the technology to make more swords. If Joe Blacksmith finds a magic Glock, he needs to make the technology needed to make the technology needed to make the technology to make more Glocks.
    Actually you seem to be making my point from earlier that the nifty stuff that ends up in adventures bag's of holding is less useful than the forges and tools they so often leave behind. Grab those and you get the tech to make the tech and so on-rather quickly works too if you have access to basic spells and a modicum of communication-oh and a supply of ready, willing, brave and slightly foolhardy types to set off the traps for you. And looking at what is found in the treasure tables and even your earlier post about protected magic items the ready to wipe off and run into battle with type stuff does seem well "cannon". And If you've got a magic sword that's protected why not a magic gun? And as for figuring out how to use that metal tube putting the fire in one end and all - adventurers are already casting identify, commune, and other divination spells left right and centre in order to get the command words and ID for the magical items they found-why would the gun be any different? It would also put the idea in their head and start experimentation - which since they have a working model as a guide then it shouldn't take too long.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Again, you'll never have a technological revolution if no one's working with technology. The car went from a horse-drawn carriage to a horseless carriage via steam power, then internal combustion, and now we're working on fuel cells and other energy sources. Airplanes have been refined with better power sources, better control surfaces, and more, and we've developed helicopters, drones, VTOL, and other variations on the theme. To get there, though, someone had to be trying to figure out how to make a horseless carriage go or figure out how to make things fly.

    If a wizard wants to make a cart go on its own or make something fly, he has a few dozen ways to accomplish it (enchant an item, animate a mundane item, construct a rolling/flying golem, cast a spell on it, etc.) There's no process of discovery or refinement, just 0 to flying in 6 seconds. There's no technological base to build on to get from horse to airplane, and there's no reason to create one when you have magic.
    You won't have technological revolution if nobody is working on technology. True. But that works on the assumption that nobody is. Which doesn't fly with me. Nor does it seem to account for the experts and non spell-casters with access to Knowledge (Engineering) or (Nature) let alone the social sciences-or the fact that only in D&D do you need magical ability to copy the alchemical things people do in the RW and did centuries ago (making drugs, paint, dyes and various other real world applications that would get otherwise put under Alchemy)-and If you want to call it craft specialties I suppose that works but those would also have a Knowledge base that would just as appropriate to grow technology from. And if a wizard want to make something fly yes he can get there in several ways. However, there are plenty of reasons not to use magic. The single largest is that magic is very expensive to buy and someone with technological skill will look to undercut the cost. I can buy wizardry acting as a brain drain to normal technological advancement but for every one that does you have a wizard who uses magic to learn how to make and sell airplanes or other technological gizmo much faster because of his magic and he can sell that tech cheaper than the wizard down the road can do with his spells-esp after you take getting the wizard to where you want the gizmo, rare components in magic item manufacture, repeatable treatment etc. The wizard who invented the technological version can even delegate the construction once he or she discovers it and use the proceeds to fund more research or an endless stream of hookers and "invigorate" potions. The spellcasting only wizard has to trudge off and actually cast the spell every time that king fellow wants it cast disrupting his day, he can only be in one place at a time (a few short term exceptions), his spell choice for the day is being set by someone else and if he wants to avoid that he has to give up some of his very self to pay the XP cost of the item - double bad if he isn't high enough to make a permanent item. Also the tech researching wizard can pass this new family business down to his children even if they are not casters. Thus it would make more sense for a wizard will his ability to analyze, support, fabricate, and conjure to use his skills to research new non arcane tech than almost anything else-at least from a financial point of view.-Like an Edison coming up with invention after invention as his employees toil away one his old designs that rake in gold from far away lands except where his competitors can be found like that damnable sorcerer Tesla!

    FINAL INSOMNIA EDIT: Been looking over the thread. I hope the rest of you all are enjoying the show and sorry if Rolling Dante and I have highjacked the thread.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2012-09-16 at 05:46 AM. Reason: Insomnia

  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    When there are more planes that I have fingers - this is related to the lack of sense of scale. (Pocket dimensions are excused, because they are, by definition, small.) Because often it raises questions like "why can't these be different places in the same world?" Extra minus points if the setting has realistic cosmology (ie. planets), but adds loads of planes on top of that. Congratulations, you just ignored loads of poorly-explored vastness to add more of it! Extra extra minus points if said planes are infinite, or at least as large as the universe. Gee, this tiny dot of land you detailed feels really important amidst these incredibly huge weird places.
    I have to disagree with this. Whether or not you detail it, there's likely a whole universe around whatever setting you make anyway. We live here on Earth, surrounded by billions and billions of lightyears of strange and wonderful things that none of us will ever experience in our lifetimes. Does that make our adventures boring or pointless?

    If your adventurers save a magical kingdom with 200 residents, and this kingdom is on one of a thousand inhabited planets in a galactic empire in one of the hundred known parallel dimensions (and that's not even getting into their afterlives, elemental planes, pocket dimensions, etc.), they still saved 200 people, and that's still important.

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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    One thing to interject into the argument.

    First, the Confederate States of America basically were stalled in their development of industry.

    Why? Because they had slaves. Which were, to them, good enough to do everything.

    Because humans are lazy; why bust our asses designing something that may or may not work when you can cast a spell that costs some of your capacity for growth (that's what XP is, not life force), which you probably won't even notice is gone.

    Because you can go get more.

    On a different note...

    Once a wizard is a high enough level, assuming he knows the right spells, he can make a virtually unlimited number of clones, that can each cast spells.

    So he clones himself, uses any of the many spells that alter minds to make them do what he tells them to, and uses to them to solve everyone's problems.

    That, in my mind, is one of the problems with magic as set down by D&D.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durazno View Post
    I have to disagree with this. Whether or not you detail it, there's likely a whole universe around whatever setting you make anyway. We live here on Earth, surrounded by billions and billions of lightyears of strange and wonderful things that none of us will ever experience in our lifetimes. Does that make our adventures boring or pointless?

    If your adventurers save a magical kingdom with 200 residents, and this kingdom is on one of a thousand inhabited planets in a galactic empire in one of the hundred known parallel dimensions (and that's not even getting into their afterlives, elemental planes, pocket dimensions, etc.), they still saved 200 people, and that's still important.
    Also, when referring to the planes, it's very possible they are about as empty as our own universe.
    For example, the part of the plane of fire connected to your setting is an earth-sized ball of lava, surround in a thick atmosphere of fire, and with the exception of the rough equivalents of planets/suns in the system, there is nothing except an incredibly empty sea of raw heat for lightyears around.

    3) "Fantasy kitchen sink" - related to the above, when every nook and corner is filled to brim with bizarre creatures from every conceivable mythology. It's more than a bit redundant to have goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, trolls, oni etc. as separate species when you could have one "petty evil race living in the dark" that could explain all of these peoples.

    4) Peoples as species - There are some fringe cases where it makes sense for all members of a single species to also be of one culture. Beyond that, there is no reason to have "woodloving hippies" be elves or "hard-working mountainfolk" be dwarves, if you can as easily have both peoples be different varieties of humans. On the flipside, each species should have multiple differing cultures.
    They start to blurr together after a while anyway.

    I think these COULD work together you you took both of them at face value though: have so many species that there is simply barley enough space on the map to fit them all: and so each species is confined to a small civilization on one area on the map, that slightly overlaps with the other groups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    "In his free time, he gates in Balors just so he can kill and eat them later!"

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    2. On a related note: all races and cultures worshiping the same pantheon. Hopefully not treading too hard on the forum rules here, but even Abrahamic religions, which ostensibly have the same god, are quite at odds with one another and have hundreds of denominations. Fantasy folk all worshiping the same gods in the same way puts a large strain on my suspension of disbelief.

    3. ^ Although it does make sense if gods are concrete, confirmable entities. But I don't care for this because it saps all the mystery out of the world. If you know with 100% certainty that gods are watching and evaluating you, and will cast you into the Abyss for eternity if you do bad things, no one except the extremely mentally ill would do anything worse than petty theft.
    I think interesting way around this would make religion colvoluded. There is one pantheon, but is mysterious, keeps it for themselves and is worshipped by different cultures, races and sects who calls them many names and follow different rules. Every vilage and city has it's own myth about particular diety and every diety is known as several incarnations, each with it's own attributes and characteristis, who sometimes overlap with other diety's domain. Fun starts when players run into a place where people belive two incarnations of the same god to have duked it out. This way you don't know which form of the god is real one and which religion tells the true codex gods wants you to follow.

    4. People worshiping evil gods for the sake of evil. Real people might worship an evil god for power or desperation, but no one does it "for the evulz". I sort of feel like this is related to the inherent silliness of the alignment system (see #10). It smacks of laziness and results in over-the-top, Card-Carrying Villains.
    This one may have some explanation if they belive evil god to be actually good and wanting them to commit evil acts. In Black Company there is a good example of what I mean:

    Spoiler
    Show

    In Books of South there is evil cult of assassins who are worshipping Godess of Death and are working on starting Year of Skulls - time so horrible, where war and death rampage all around, that it will awaken their godess. They however belive, that once the godess will awaken, she will destroy the world and recreate it as paradise without evil, where all souls will be washed from their sins.


    I could see evil *******s who join cult like this to just be evil, because they belive they'll walk scott-free in the end anyway.

    6. Resurrection magic. It cheapens death and 99% of the time confirms the existence of the afterlife (see #3).
    This, ressurection, atonment and all other ways to make it too easy for players are ruining the game very hard.

    7. Races being more or less the same as the ones from D&D, which are themselves watered-down versions of Tolkien's races. Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien, but it seems like 50% of all fantasy settings are "knock-off Gucci purse" versions of Middle Earth. Conversely, I love it when races get returned to their original roots (fairies being inhuman sociopaths, hobgoblins being Dobby, orcs not existing because Tolkien made them up, etc.).
    8. All members of a single race having the same culture. Looking at real-life humans, the idea of this is pretty crazy. Races should ideally have several different religions, lifestyles, beliefs, worldviews, etc. etc.
    Except if that race is ecountered only in one location. If Goblins live on single island it's okay for them to have one culture. If Goblins live on one archipelage, they should have similiar cultures, but each island should have their differences. If they live on continent too, continental goblins and island goblins should have vastly different cultures.

    9. Always Chaotic Evil races and species. A) It's not at all realistic, B) It's pretty xenophobic, and a little too similar to the real-world nastiness spewed by hate groups and such.

    10. The alignment system in general. It makes sense if you have concrete religion like in #3, and I suppose I can see its merit as a roleplaying device, if it helps you in that regard. But other than that it's completely arbitrary and I wish more people phased it out of their settings.
    Both very much.

    12. Obvious alignment. If the abyss, hell etc are real and the place where people go when they die, and people through magic or what not KNOW this then why would anyone risk it? It directly follows that evil for evil makes even less sense in a world where this is true. Evil has to attract it followers who presumably make most of their choices at least somewhat rationally. I mean people don't wake up and choose to BE EVIL anywhere but in comics and BADLY written RPG's as far as I can see.
    Reminds me of one of Xykon's best speeches, about being undead.

    15. Magical solutions that avalible but not used. Control weather inst that high level a spell to cast. You agriculture priest can cast Augry? please tell me why there isn't a damn near perfect two week forecast posted on the front of the temple. Can cast wall of ice? A cold drink business in the making! Why have none of the mages in the mage guild thought of this and are instead waiting for people to pay them just as much reading books all day? And the big kicker magic beyond the grave. Speak with dead? makes a murder mystery rather boring. and assasinating a king (or anyone who has much chance of affording/ being in with the church enough) is almost impossible due to resurrection and the related spells. Cuts down the kind of stuff the members of court can expect to get away with agaisnt each other.
    I coudl see it pulled out if there are some rules of magic that forces you to be more responsible. Like, if controlling weather would cause the opposite efect to happen somewhere else, wizards would be taught to refrain from using that, unless its really necessary.

    Settings that would not be sustainable without the players using their genre knowledge to mention the obvious solutions that nobdy had ever been thinking of.
    Actually, obvious solutions nobody had ever tought of are pretty common. This joke describes it well:

    After Columbus discovered America, many people were saying things like "It's nothing special, would I have a ship, I would do that too." One day Columbus told to group of people he heard talking like this "You want to know why I'm so special? Try to make this egg stand on it's narrow tip." Each one them tried, but not a single one could make it stand. When the last one has give up, Columbus took the egg, smashed it's narrow tip and made it stand.
    "That way anybody could do it!" Yelled one of the critics.
    To which Columbus said "But I did it first!'

    Then there is Alexander The Great and Gordian Knot - obvious solution but only he had thought of it. Sometimes you need to think outside the box to see seemingly obvious solution.

    When I see a jesters cap, that sourcebook is done for me. Oh how much I hate those!
    You haven't read 4chan's Black Jester story, did you?

    Another one of my world-building turn-offs - when people try to cram too many things into them. If your game is about chasing ghosts, what the hell is powerful mega-corporation with advanced cybernetic technology bent on world domination doing there? It's the problem I generally have with World of Darkness - why do their world need all of that supernatural BS, including several cosmologies, 3 ancient conspiracies, ****load of alternate dimensions with magical mumbu jumbo, ghosts, undeads, vampires etc. It's one thing when all these things seemingly fit or are coming from one source, but in WoD we have several games going around separately in one world and it just doesn't make sense. I had this problem once, trying to make setting emulating many anime with unpleasant twists all around, until I realized that I actually created several separated games in one world and they would work much better had I just divided them into multiple separeted settings.

  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Default Re: World-Building Turn-Offs

    Oh, man, now I want to visit the Jupiter of the Elemental Plane of Water.

    Yeah, the environment would probably kill an unprotected human instantly, but I'll wear an old-timey diving suit. I'm sure it'll be fine.

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