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The Pressman
2010-07-12, 11:08 PM
I've been thinking about this for a while now, and here it is:

Science is a fixture in our modern world. How would you work it into a campaign world, without losing the feel of classic D&D? Someone had to make those water clocks.:smallsmile:

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-07-12, 11:12 PM
Mages make prediction, theories, and test such through MAGIC! In the end, the scientific method is the scientific method. "If I do X, Y happens" type stuffs.

Terazul
2010-07-12, 11:18 PM
Mages make prediction, theories, and test such through MAGIC! In the end, the scientific method is the scientific method. "If I do X, Y happens" type stuffs.

I thought mages were scientists in default D&D already. What with their wacky homemade television sets for viewing people, 9 page formulas for how to cast Gate, bat poo for making fireballs...

Really it's not that difficult to adapt.

valadil
2010-07-12, 11:18 PM
I imagine that magic would make it a lot harder to test things and get a repeatable outcome.

PId6
2010-07-12, 11:19 PM
"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"

Stompy
2010-07-12, 11:21 PM
Someone had to make those water clocks.:smallsmile:

...that I have never seen anyone use or buy?

Honestly, I agree with Thrice Dead Cat (http://www.airshipentertainment.com/growfcomic.php?date=20070617).

Optimystik
2010-07-12, 11:22 PM
By "science" do you mean technology? The two are different concepts.

If you do mean the latter, do what Eberron did - Magic is the power source, Technology is the framework that puts it to use. I have no clue how an elemental functions or how they come to exist, but I know they can make my airship fly and my train run on time.

The Pressman
2010-07-12, 11:29 PM
Allow me to clarify. By science I mean the accumulation of knowledge by studying nature, using that knowledge to form a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, making things, not necessarily using magic. That might create technology, but the power source would not be magic, but rather...other sources.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-07-12, 11:33 PM
I imagine that the more sorcerous would be against such, claiming magic to be just that. However, wizards are likely to try to solve that issue. Clerics could go either way. So, much like the RL in general with some people following it, others against it, and others who subscribed to just the idea that "this works."

Optimystik
2010-07-12, 11:34 PM
Then this might help:

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/unscientific.png

I'd say it's possible to do that in D&D.

(I mean test beliefs by experiment of course, not zombify scientists... though you can do that in D&D too.)

PId6
2010-07-12, 11:35 PM
Allow me to clarify. By science I mean the accumulation of knowledge by studying nature, using that knowledge to form a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, making things, not necessarily using magic. That might create technology, but the power source would not be magic, but rather...other sources.
Testing of hypothesis and natural laws is probably done as usual, without changing the campaign world much. The existence of Divination spells may preclude the need for testing completely, even. The issue is that technology like that of our world really isn't necessary when magic exist; why would you need to build a steam engine when you can bind elementals to do the same thing but better?

The Pressman
2010-07-12, 11:40 PM
Not to be snippy, but I was just wondering how you would work it into a campaign, not how it wouldn't work. And because some people don't have magic.

Serpentine
2010-07-12, 11:41 PM
I imagine that magic would make it a lot harder to test things and get a repeatable outcome.This, I think, would be my main concern. However, my idea of it is that magic is just another part of the universe, and energy, the energy that makes the substance of atoms perhaps. This energy is much easier to use and manipulate than the real-world equivalent, but when left to its own devices acts in much the same ways.

The Pressman
2010-07-12, 11:43 PM
Then this might help:

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/unscientific.png

I'd say it's possible to do that in D&D.

(I mean test beliefs by experiment of course, not zombify scientists... though you can do that in D&D too.)

And that's why a string theorist wouldn't survive in D&D. They'd get happier the less they knew.

PId6
2010-07-12, 11:50 PM
Not to be snippy, but I was just wondering how you would work it into a campaign, not how it wouldn't work. And because some people don't have magic.
How much do you want? If you just want a bunch of natural philosophers looking into natural laws, try adding a few societies of such fellows performing research, and maybe occasionally tasking the PCs with quests such as finding rare animal specimens or getting tools/materials they need for experiments. It probably wouldn't affect the world too much.

If you want more of a technology focus though, that would require a bit more work. Do you want trains, guns, and blimps all over the place? That'd likely end up more steampunk than high fantasy, which can be quite fun but is likely lacking that "classic D&D" you're looking for. YMMV.

Hyooz
2010-07-12, 11:52 PM
I don't see this as being a huge issue. DnD can work at a variety of technology levels (Eberron, as already noted, is really high-tech, but with magic instead of nuclear reactors), and since DnD tends to be a storytelling game, and most stories don't span hundreds of years time, a scientific discovery or theory is likely to be no more than a plot device or a MacGuffin.

I mean, you can invent all the electricity and lightbulbs you want, but making them really impact a game is... well, hard at best, pointless at worst.

Stompy
2010-07-12, 11:55 PM
Not to be snippy, but I was just wondering how you would work it into a campaign, not how it wouldn't work. And because some people don't have magic.

I would not work it in, unless the method is the BBEGs "end-of-the-world" timer, a big sweeping PC puzzle, or the PCs want to invent stuff. Everything else seems like tedious bookkeeping.

I may be missing the point, but the OP question is vague.

Yukitsu
2010-07-12, 11:56 PM
If you want to add hard tech while making it feel backwards, go the 40K route.

"Strike the first rune upon the engine's casing employing the chosen wrench. Its tip should be anointed with the oil of engineering using the proper incantation when the auspices are correct. Strike the second rune upon the engine's casing employing the arc-tip of the power-driver. If the second rune is not good, a third rune may be struck in like manner to the first. This is done according to the true ritual laid down by Scotti the Enginseer. A libation should be offered. If this sequence is properly observed the engines may be brought to full activation by depressing the large panel marked "ON".

(rough translation: Smack it with a wrench, douse it in motor oil, and hit the switch.)

The Pressman
2010-07-13, 12:01 AM
I would not work it in, unless the method is the BBEGs "end-of-the-world" timer, a big sweeping PC puzzle, or the PCs want to invent stuff. Everything else seems like tedious bookkeeping.

I may be missing the point, but the OP question is vague.

Just what kind of concept you would work it into. For the record, you've answered it.

Math_Mage
2010-07-13, 12:02 AM
Since the topic is science in D&D, this article might be relevant:
The Atomic Theory of the Elemental Planes (http://www.mimir.net/essays/planarphysics.html)

The Pressman
2010-07-13, 12:03 AM
How much do you want? If you just want a bunch of natural philosophers looking into natural laws, try adding a few societies of such fellows performing research, and maybe occasionally tasking the PCs with quests such as finding rare animal specimens or getting tools/materials they need for experiments. It probably wouldn't affect the world too much.

If you want more of a technology focus though, that would require a bit more work. Do you want trains, guns, and blimps all over the place? That'd likely end up more steampunk than high fantasy, which can be quite fun but is likely lacking that "classic D&D" you're looking for. YMMV.

The first option. I just want there to magic, like there is, but have there be science.

devinkowalczyk
2010-07-13, 12:06 AM
I agree with PiD6 (sp?)

Science and Magic are basically synonymous if you don't have in depth understanding of something.
Wireless internet = divination/magic ball?
semtex = fireball?




The math and science/magic of it all kind of add up to the same results.


Science/magic, like space/time, are the SAME =-O

Morithias
2010-07-13, 12:54 AM
Check out the Ravenloft setting, it probably has the most 'modern' style stuff in there. In one of the books there's actually a class called "learned physician" or something like that. Yeah, a doctor. Another lets you do stuff like specialize in studying chemistry or biology.

Plus there's that Create Device feat, which is always good for a laugh.

INWranger
2010-07-13, 02:01 AM
Campaign idea: The scientists (base them on Da Vinci, or Galileo, or whomever), are making the same kinds of discoveries (planets, physical laws of conservation of matter, allowing for transference from different planes or whatever), and the mages' guild doesn't like that they are reducing magic to equations and lectures that normal people can understand, so they are trying to silence the scientists. The church did it when the scientists expressed ideas that went against current church doctrine. What the scientists are doing is changing how people think about the world and about magic, and the mages don't like it.

The Pressman
2010-07-13, 02:16 AM
Campaign idea: The scientists (base them on Da Vinci, or Galileo, or whomever), are making the same kinds of discoveries (planets, physical laws of conservation of matter, allowing for transference from different planes or whatever), and the mages' guild doesn't like that they are reducing magic to equations and lectures that normal people can understand, so they are trying to silence the scientists. The church did it when the scientists expressed ideas that went against current church doctrine. What the scientists are doing is changing how people think about the world and about magic, and the mages don't like it.

...I like how you think.

Ravens_cry
2010-07-13, 02:38 AM
Since the topic is science in D&D, this article might be relevant:
The Atomic Theory of the Elemental Planes (http://www.mimir.net/essays/planarphysics.html)
I like that, I like that a lot.
Science is the accumulation of knowledge through the creation of hypothesis to explain phenomena and testing said hypothesis through experimentation. Considering that in D&D that the combination of bat guano and sulphur, plus the right vocalisation and precise hand and arm movements result in, and I quote, "the creation of a ranged spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less then 1850 Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X,Y, and Z coordinates", I would say magic is a pretty repeatable phenomena in D&D and so can be scientifically analysed.

Eldan
2010-07-13, 02:45 AM
It's an interesting idea.

In such a world, I could see senior mages frowning upon items that allow "anyone" to cast a spell in some form: Feather tokens, potions, magic rings, things like that:

"Magic should not be available to the common peasant. Only a trained mage has the wisdom and knowledge to use it wisely and safely. If the gods had wanted the peasants to have magic, they would have made them wizards."

(And don't mention sorcerers to those people).

Devils_Advocate
2010-07-13, 06:35 AM
Science is a fixture in our modern world. How would you work it into a campaign world, without losing the feel of classic D&D?
I'd just... use a perfectly standard campaign world? Classic D&D doesn't lack science in the campaign world, but in the campaign; it doesn't have it going on onscreen. The focus is generally on combat, travel, conversation, and other things. Now, you could totally run a session where the PCs, say, attempted to puzzle out the non-Euclidean geometry of a recently discovered demiplane, for instance, but that would be a fantasy sci-fi adventure (http://tailsteak.com/archive.php?num=435), not a standardized game of Dungeons & Dragons.


Allow me to clarify. By science I mean the accumulation of knowledge by studying nature, using that knowledge to form a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, making things, not necessarily using magic. That might create technology, but the power source would not be magic, but rather...other sources.
Note: Replace "magic" with "electricity" in the above and it still makes precisely as much sense as before.

Once a civilization discovers something that is super extra good for making things work the way that they want them to, pretty much all technology above a certain level of sophistication will tend to be based on that thing, up until a new, even better thing is discovered.

Gears should work just fine in D&D, and some fairly complicated steampunk stuff may even be feasible. Various sources of unlimited energy should make powering it a breeze. But a universe based on the classical elements isn't going to have the same charged particles and whatnot that ours does, so there aren't going to be any electronics. Stuff of that level of sophistication is magical in D&D, and just runs on a completely different paradigm than our tech.


I imagine that magic would make it a lot harder to test things and get a repeatable outcome.
That's funny. I imagine that it would make it easier.


Since the topic is science in D&D, this article might be relevant:
The Atomic Theory of the Elemental Planes (http://www.mimir.net/essays/planarphysics.html)
Mimir.net seems to have bunch of in-universe cutting edge wild speculation theory. There's a whole section on cosmology (http://www.mimir.net/mapinfinity/index.html), even.


Campaign idea: The scientists (base them on Da Vinci, or Galileo, or whomever), are making the same kinds of discoveries (planets, physical laws of conservation of matter, allowing for transference from different planes or whatever), and the mages' guild doesn't like that they are reducing magic to equations and lectures that normal people can understand, so they are trying to silence the scientists. The church did it when the scientists expressed ideas that went against current church doctrine. What the scientists are doing is changing how people think about the world and about magic, and the mages don't like it.
But... wizards are scientists. Clerics would be the stand-in for clergy, except that they actually are clergy instead of a stand-in.

I've seen one setting where arcane magic is bad at healing in particular because (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JustifiedTrope) arcane healing was suppressed by the church for so long. Given that the first person narrator is basically an Artificer, lots of other thaumaturgical considerations are discussed, too.

"Of course the light in a refrigerator stays on when the door is closed. Why wouldn't it? Having it turn off would require an extra enchantment for no added benefit."

"It can be tricky to work out how to most efficiently layer multiple enchantments. Magic resistance tends to best be applied last, obviously..."

Snake-Aes
2010-07-13, 06:48 AM
Allow me to clarify. By science I mean the accumulation of knowledge by studying nature, using that knowledge to form a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, making things, not necessarily using magic. That might create technology, but the power source would not be magic, but rather...other sources.

That is merely judicious application of the scientific method and attempting to put it to use. Like the guy above said, he has no idea how an elemental works, but know they are a reliable power source. Tapping it is the result of experimentation.

For example: A wizard asked the local artisan to make him a fancy new robe, but the guy just took so damned long to make it .
Then he has an idea: I could automatize part of the production!
He goes and researches for a while, and discovers he can modify the Invisible Servant spell to house it on a spider-shaped tiny golem, and that way it'd have a permanent duration and a limited intelligence that allows it to make a single craft check to reproduce any given pattern

Tadaaa! You just made a 200gp work-free loom!

Eldan
2010-07-13, 06:49 AM
Well, it depends how magic works, really.

If a powerful being (the World Serpent, as an example) can change the flow of magic, early scientists may be tempted to label it as "completely random" or "supernatural". If, then, magic also influences gravity, the atmosphere, electricity, temperature and so on, these would also be more difficult to study.

On the other hand, you have divination magic. Want to know how fire works? Send Imix a short message! Want to look at bacteria*? Invent Mage's Microscopic Vision! Didn't someone on the forum plan a super computer based on contingencies and divination?


*Bacteria might not exist. Decomposition comes from negative energy, disease from foul vapours and curses.


Still, in the end, magic is an energy source, and it follows a set of laws. Therefore, science can study it, and technology can be based on it.

Spells are technology.

The Pressman
2010-07-13, 12:01 PM
The main thing I was getting at, was that there are some people in the world who wouldn't have access to magic. Granted, this might not be a problem for some, but it seems like they would do something else to get their work done.
Simple things, like poultices and medicines, to complex things, like clocks that don't weigh a ton.

Prime32
2010-07-13, 12:04 PM
The main thing I was getting at, was that there are some people in the world who wouldn't have access to magic. Granted, this might not be a problem for some, but it seems like they would do something else to get their work done.
Simple things, like poultices and medicines, to complex things, like clocks that don't weigh a ton.Except that sorcerers are the only ones who "have access to magic". The others are normal people who learn it. Why learn clockwork when you could learn animate objects, other than as a novelty?
(I'm only counting arcane magic here, but you get the point)

Eldan
2010-07-13, 12:24 PM
It depends on world building and your own fluff, I guess.

Wizards can be rare. Perhaps there is a special talent required beyond simply intelligence. Perhaps, the necessary institutes of learning are few and far between and only take a handful of apprentices. If there's only dozens of wizards instead of thousands, magic becomes much rarer. And in that case, technology becomes valuable.

Really, if magic is common enough to be cast for common items (Eberron, perhaps even more so) why invent swords? A summoned blade is usually better.

The Pressman
2010-07-13, 12:41 PM
It depends on world building and your own fluff, I guess.

Wizards can be rare. Perhaps there is a special talent required beyond simply intelligence. Perhaps, the necessary institutes of learning are few and far between and only take a handful of apprentices. If there's only dozens of wizards instead of thousands, magic becomes much rarer. And in that case, technology becomes valuable.

Really, if magic is common enough to be cast for common items (Eberron, perhaps even more so) why invent swords? A summoned blade is usually better.

Ah. I was under the impression that there were haves/have-nots in magic wise.

PId6
2010-07-13, 12:46 PM
Ah. I was under the impression that there were haves/have-nots in magic wise.
Well, pretty much anyone can be a wizard/cleric/druid, as long as they have the requisite training and mental ability scores. For wizards, you would likely need some form of wealth to get said training and you have to be reasonably bright, but that's probably true of successful natural philosophers too.

super dark33
2010-07-13, 01:09 PM
wizards will summon titanium and chlorine elementals

Eldan
2010-07-13, 01:12 PM
As I said, fluff.

In one world, anyone with enough intelligence to cast spells might become a wizard with training.

IN another world, a rare special talent for magic might be required.

Mark Hall
2010-07-13, 03:20 PM
I imagine that magic would make it a lot harder to test things and get a repeatable outcome.

Not necessarily. For one thing, you can simply eliminate magic from the equation with AMFs (not an easy solution, but it does the job). Even Detect Magic will eliminate most questions of magical interference.

Spellcasting is an art, yes, but it apparently functions on some simple, repeatable, principles. Magic is, in a sense, a science for determining how the world works.

Ravens_cry
2010-07-13, 03:30 PM
This even "explains" why sorcerers are effectively one level behind wizards, the former is muddling along, reinventing the spells they use, while a wizard is scientific about it, learning the theory and the practice.