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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default English question: what does city utility mean?

    Hello everyone, I am not a native English speaker, I am not sure what “utility” means in this context, can you tell me?

    This is an ability the cleric has in the modern magic of 5th edition:

    Starting at 2nd level, you can use your channel divinity to call the city for aid. As an action, you present your holy symbol, and any city utility within 30 feet of you either works perfectly or shuts down entirely for 1 minute (your choice)

    What is a city utility? Cars, trains, metro, are those utilities?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    It's #3 here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utility

    Quote Originally Posted by M-W
    3 a : public utility
    b (1) : a service (such as light, power, or water) provided by a public utility
    (2) : equipment or a piece of equipment to provide such service or a comparable service
    So yeah, it's basically what you think -- electricity, water, gas, sewage, that type of thing.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    In this context my guess is that it means things like electricity, gas pipes, radio antenna, sewerage, communications (telephones, internet) and similar elements of infrastructure. Perhaps extending to electric tramlines and rail lines? Maybe traffic lights?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    It might not apply to cars in general, because those don't typically belong to the city. If you were being followed by government vehicles, you might be able to shut off their cars for a minute.

    Likewise with radio receivers and transmitters, a lot of them are privately owned rather than a public service. Any radio provided by the city could be targeted.

    In general, water, electricity, and waste disposal are city utility services. Yes, traffic lights and metros and other public transportation would likely be something you could affect, but I'm not sure you could do much more than turn it on or off.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ninja_Prawn's Avatar

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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    I'm a building services engineer so, as far as I'm concerned, utilities are the things that come into a building from a public network of some kind:

    • Mains water
    • Mains electricity
    • Mains gas
    • Mains sewerage
    • Telecom lines
    • District heating pipes

    Personally, I wouldn't consider anything else a 'utility'; 'amenity' or 'street furniture' would be the proper terms terms for things like tram lines, street lights, fire hydrants, rubbish collection and traffic lights.
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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    I would definitely say street lights and fire hydrants were intended to be covered by this ability. It would surprise me greatly if they weren't specifically thinking of the Deluminator as an intended application of this power.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    Thanks everyone, you have been very helpful

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I would definitely say street lights and fire hydrants were intended to be covered by this ability. It would surprise me greatly if they weren't specifically thinking of the Deluminator as an intended application of this power.
    I thought they were thinking about warchdogs when writing this ability

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    Default Re: English question: what does city utility mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Myth27 View Post
    Thanks everyone, you have been very helpful



    I thought they were thinking about warchdogs when writing this ability
    That too. He can mess with streetlights and traffic lights IIRC.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
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