PDA

View Full Version : Reasons why magic does not take over the world



Kami2awa
2010-07-26, 01:00 PM
Hi,

A lot of people have rightly pointed out that, particularly in the common D&D settings, magic should have elevated the world well beyond the medieval tech level or quality of life. Examples are Create Food & Water items that dispense with the need for farming, magical healing and resurrection that provide healthcare (and make hereditary wealth and power a lot less stable), and undead workers or animated objects that create an industrial revolution.

However, it's clear that that doesn't normally happen in D&D settings (Eberron notwithstanding) so I was thinking of some reasons why. Here's a few ideas:

- Magic is illegal. This is either superstition, or the result of pressure from monarchs, worker's guilds, and other organisations whose power base is threatened by magic. Or it could be a more sinister reason - for instance, magic could expose the shapeshifters who have taken over most of the King's Court. This would be a big change to the world as spellcasters would be in constant fear of discovery, and loathe to use their powers in public.
- Mages are unhelpful. Mages and clerics have long taken the view that magic is not for the common man, and prefer to remain cloistered in their (literal?) ivory towers, refusing to use their power for the benefit of society. The land is either ruled by wizards or the rulers are wise enough not to try to force them to do otherwise. PC spellcaster might be rebels against this wizarding subculture, out to use their powers for good (or evil).
- Magic is dangerous. It's (probably) safe in the hand of a trained wizard but letting it out into the open would be analogous to letting everyone having their own nuclear reactor at home. If everyone had magic items, reality wouldn't stand it, or some "Dark Side" would corrupt most of the users (which could explain all the evil wizards you come across). People are probably at least a little afraid of magic and prefer to let magic items stay buried in dungeons, and leave magic to the wizards.
- There isn't enough magic. Magic is a finite (or slowly renewing) resource, like oil. A few wizards don't use up enough to make a difference, but too many would burn out the magic supply in a few days.

Any other ideas?

Telonius
2010-07-26, 01:14 PM
Magic is specialized; people don't want to share, since what they have is valuable. Information is limited; even an INT 28 Wizard won't be able to pull off a killer spell combination if he isn't aware of a spell's existence. Information is fragmented; even the most powerful mind in-game is no match for the hive mind of the Internet.

In order for magic to fully take over the world, the Wizard (or other spellcaster) would need to be in possession of a codex of all known spells, magical items, and monsters, including summaries of all their abilities and effects. No such codex exists in-game, and the agents of Vecna are working actively to prevent such a Codex from coming into existence.

Choco
2010-07-26, 01:16 PM
Magic is specialized; people don't want to share, since what they have is valuable. Information is limited; even an INT 28 Wizard won't be able to pull off a killer spell combination if he isn't aware of a spell's existence. Information is fragmented; even the most powerful mind in-game is no match for the hive mind of the Internet.

In order for magic to fully take over the world, the Wizard (or other spellcaster) would need to be in possession of a codex of all known spells, magical items, and monsters, including summaries of all their abilities and effects. No such codex exists in-game, and the agents of Vecna are working actively to prevent such a Codex from coming into existence.

So basically said Wizard needs to be a PC :smallamused:

CarpeGuitarrem
2010-07-26, 01:17 PM
Pun-Pun. He smites various mages who would bring the Tippyverse into being.

Other than that, not many realistic reasons. Yes, mages might all be sociopathic and reclusive, but eventually they'll start cooperating for the greater benefit. Or steal secrets.

Postmodernist
2010-07-26, 01:19 PM
A few additional suggestions:

-Magic is hard and often unrewarding. Only a few dedicated spellcasters are able to achieve the mastery necessary to wield it properly. Perhaps it takes a great toll on those who use it.

-Magic is a closely guarded secret. Similar to above. Only a handful of great and mighty mystical guys have the know-how to use it properly, and they aren't talking. Could lead to quests for ancient tomes/grimoires/etc.

EDIT: Semi-swordsaged.

Another idea- Magic is inherited. You have to come from a mystical bloodline/royalty/whatever to use it properly.

Reynard
2010-07-26, 01:20 PM
I prefer the Terry Pratchett reasons for magic not taking over the world.

Wizards don't get along.
Witches don't really want to be in complete charge.
Also, the Elder Gods will take everything over if magic is used too much.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 01:27 PM
Magic in Western Fantasy is often just a metaphor for medieval science (or lack thereof). There is no "system" to magic. It's just a bunch of accumulated "tricks" that nobody has a comprehensive understanding of. Even the most profound intellects of an age struggle with the what and why of magic. There is no peer review. The metric system doesn't exist. Everybody has their own hypothesis, but few ever properly test them by the scientific method. And communication is often limited to the speed of travel (which is often bad because roads are ill-maintained or dangerous). And moreover, wizards tend to be jealous of their professional secrets.

Of course, most people are just familiar with the idea of Wizard's Guilds or special academies for gifted young wizards, which plays on none of these tropes. You may as well just send your kid off to Wizarding College the same way you would sending him to Art School. This is pretty much the Harry Potter or World of Warcraft take on magic.

A setting like Eberron takes it to this extreme for the fun of it. Magic is just modern science by a different name.

A setting like Forgotten Realms sort of explains this. Originally, Forgotten Realms was a sandbox setting that wasn't much different from what I described above. But over time, it got embellished with so much canon that this interpretation of magic is somewhat lost in the shuffle.

That said, Forgotten Realms gods don't make a habit of giving help out for free. Even the good gods tend to expect donations or some kind of proof that you follow their ideology. So divine magic tends to be doled out by priests to advance their cause.

Oh sure, a god might decide that he wants to just give out free Raise Dead spells to every sob story, but that ends up stepping on some other god's domain of influence. Divine politics is, perhaps cruelly, propped up by a super god who wants a system where gods, good or evil, compete with each other for influence and power.

EENick
2010-07-26, 01:29 PM
Interesting question: Here are a few thoughts of various quality -

*Magic brings problems, particularly clerical magic where it bring obligations and risks many would rather not face such as the wrath of dark gods.

*Magic has taken over, just not the whole world. Perhaps some socioties are more progressive then others and the PCs just live in a less advanced country where they see much less magic.

*Too much magic is bad. Too much magic in one spot is a bad thing for some reason. A wizards casting a few quick spells in fine but if a whole city starting using magic everyday it would break off from the prime material planes and tumble off somewhere. Mages know this so they make sure not to spread magic recklessly.

*Industrialization is punished: Something, perhaps duids, the gods, the planet etc. etc. has no problem with magic per say but hates industrailization. Any attempt to advance to far with magic or technology is harshly put down and thus most advances are kept privately by powerful mages.

*The status quo is good: Mages simply don't feel the need to elivate the common man. Powerful mages with the power to actually start such a revolution have no need for the wealth or well being of peseants. From their point of the view most people are stupid and dangerous too much so for magic and thusly the status quo is good. Keeping people working in farms ignorant keeps them from learning magic and becoming rivals for potions of immortality and other limited resources the elite currently enjoy which would become hard to get a more people had access to serious magic.

*You can't mass produce magic: Prinicples like mass production and interchangeable parts don't apply to magic. No two spells are ever exactly alike nor any too magic items. As such it is impossible to spread these sorts of things across socioty. Mages must spend their whole lives keeping "current" with their spells as such it isn't practical for magic to replace the mundain.

*Faster isnt' better: Sure a cleric can create food and water, but it tastes terrible. It may keep famies at bay but most people want more. Likewise an army of undead might beable to build a small hut but it will be a crappy hut and only skilled human craftsman can really make a hut a house. While sure a high level arch mage could wish something decent into existence it isn't worth their time or effort to do so.

*Crappy education system: Maybe the typical mage isn't able to cast better then 2nd or 3rd level spells. A self taught mage in the boonies might have come up with a keen spell to get rid of rates but without formal training or knowing how to read they'll never get the kind of power they'll need to make real advancement. The few mages who get real power are simply not enough to revolutionize an ignorat world. After all just about anyone can be put on an assembly line so if a few get killed each week not a big deal but not everyone can read and memorize magic spells several times a day. It takes time and trouble to teach someone enough magic to be useful and if they end up dead due to a miscast spells once a week they can't be quickly or easly replaced by another ignorant peon.

Morph Bark
2010-07-26, 01:33 PM
In Eberron, magic does not take over the world. It already has.

And in Soviet Eberron, magic takes over YOU!!

Emmerask
2010-07-26, 01:41 PM
Because if too much magic is used some elder evil that normally lives in the void is attracted and it feeds on basically any form of energy be it magic, life or just energy created by thinking. When it´s gone it leaves nothing behind, even the sun is gone :smallwink:

Those learned in the arts don´t know exactly what will happen when too much magic is used but they do know that it is something bad :smallsmile:

jseah
2010-07-26, 01:44 PM
While all the above reasons could be used as an in-game rule to make the Tippyverse not happen, industrialization of magic doesn't really take all that much.

For example, there's no reason why a Permanent Wall of Fire cannot be used to power water boilers.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 01:46 PM
It's easiest to explain D&D's early idea of magic by referencing Jack Vance's The Dying Earth, since it exerts a lot of influence on D&D. Pay special attention to the part I have bolded.


In this fashion did Turjan enter his apprenticeship to Pandelume. Day and far into the opalescent Embelyon night he worked under Pandelume's unseen tutelage. He learned the secret of renewed youth, many spells of the ancients, and a strange abstract lore that Pandelume termed "Mathematics."

"Within this instrument," said Pandelume, "resides the Universe. Passive in itself and not of sorcery, it elucidates every problem, each phase of existence, all the secrets of time and space. Your spells and runes are built upon its power and codified according to a great underlying mosaic of magic. The design of this mosaic we cannot surmise; our knowledge is didactic, empirical, arbitrary. Phandaal glimpsed the pattern and so was able to formulate many of the spells which bear his name. I have endeavored through the ages to break the clouded glass, but so far my research has failed. He who discovers the pattern will know all of sorcery and be a man powerful beyond comprehension.

So Turjan applied himself to the study and learned many of the simpler routines.
Mostly, the main reason magic doesn't get industrialized in fiction is that it's not an exact science.

Vitruviansquid
2010-07-26, 01:48 PM
My favorite reason is

There are forces that can compete with Magic.

pendell
2010-07-26, 01:52 PM
Hi,

A lot of people have rightly pointed out that, particularly in the common D&D settings, magic should have elevated the world well beyond the medieval tech level or quality of life. Examples are Create Food & Water items that dispense with the need for farming, magical healing and resurrection that provide healthcare (and make hereditary wealth and power a lot less stable), and undead workers or animated objects that create an industrial revolution.

...

- Magic is illegal. This is either superstition, or the result of pressure from monarchs, worker's guilds, and other organisations whose power base is threatened by magic. Or it could be a more sinister reason - for instance, magic could expose the shapeshifters who have taken over most of the King's Court. This would be a big change to the world as spellcasters would be in constant fear of discovery, and loathe to use their powers in public.


This idea I find laughable. Prostitution is illegal just about everywhere in the world but is still universal. For that matter, back in the Middle Ages they tried to outlaw the crossbow and a lot of other military inventions, and we all see how well that worked out.

Something like magic -- if it works -- will not be stopped by the mere force of human law. If magic hasn't taken over the world, it's because it's nature is such that unscrupulous dictators , religious organizations, underworld figures, etc. can't make it work that way. Because if it could, someone would, laws or no laws.

I like Pratchett's explanation as well: You can wave a wand and get a loaf of bread with sparklies. And then, somewhere along the way, magic will present its bill. You're better off just baking the bread.

Re-writing the laws of the universe -- which is the essence of fantasy "magic", suspending things like the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics, as Create Food and Water do -- is not something that perhaps should be done on a whim. Imagine a software project where everyone has root access to the source code and every engineer makes whatever changes he likes without consideration of the overall design and function, adding and changing features at will. Imagine further that the ability to access the source code is available to, say, everyone above the age of five. Say in fact that the ability is stronger among five year olds.

Dunno how it works with fantasy magic, but real-world software will soon cease to function. It will stop working and cannot be made to work because no one knows all the changes. Easier to start from scratch and do it over.

This is why major software products have configuration management teams -- perhaps a "mages guild". Their function is to license engineers to access the code, and approve changes that will be made. And they'll come down on an unlicensed operative like a ton of rectangular building things, because even small changes can screw up things for everyone else.

That's my explanation, in a world I write, why magic is fairly rare. Magical damage has been so vast in the past that those surviving magic-users band together to police themselves, to keep the patchwork world from suffering further damage. Which is pretty much the function of UU in Pratchett's universe, as well.

Perhaps programming also offers an explanation of the second reason as well -- because programming really is rewriting the rules of a virtual universe. It's the closest you can come to magic in the real world. And yet lots of people don't try to do it, not even those who use computers everyday, because it isn't always an easy discipline. Perhaps, like a magical spell, it's very easy to get a word wrong or a semicolon missing and if you're lucky have nothing happen at all. Get it just right enough, and you get it to work but find yourself in a never-ending time loop or swallowed by demons from beyond or what not.

So maybe it's a combination of need for a certain level of aptitude, a certain level of desire, and a mages guild determined to keep unlicensed users from crashing the world.

Those would be my explanations, anyway.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Amphetryon
2010-07-26, 01:52 PM
Because the minutia of running the world on a day-to-day basis is patently boring to the vast majority of the violent hobos who have a proclivity to the arts arcane.

Clerics don't take over the world because only some small percentage of the deities/forces they worship encourage that goal, while most of the remaining ones actively discourage it both for their own followers and for the followers of those minority deities.

Druids don't take over the world because they're too busy hugging trees. The hippies. :smalltongue:

Vitruviansquid
2010-07-26, 01:54 PM
I find it laughable to think it's impossible to ban magic in a world where there is magic. :smalltongue:

Lysander
2010-07-26, 01:54 PM
The problem with magic is a widespread genius shortage. There are very few people smart enough (or charismatic enough) to use magic. Most people have INT 10. And while magic can be used to improve life here and there, the world is filled with an ever growing number of people and magic just can't keep up. Why are millions of people living in abject squalor in our world despite our advanced technology? Except it's even worse because magic isn't as scalable as technology. Anyone can use a cell phone. It takes a high level wizard to cast sending.

I imagine there are a few places here and there where power hungry wizards have either conquered themselves little kingdoms, or benevolently created paradise cities. But those places are exceptions to the norm. There are too many opposing forces (good wizards, outsiders) for power-hungry wizards to conquer too much of the world, and the world is just too big for benevolent wizards to help on a large scale.

Oslecamo
2010-07-26, 01:55 PM
For example, there's no reason why a Permanent Wall of Fire cannot be used to power water boilers.

There is actualy.

Monsters


Magic isn't the only special thing in D&D. There's plenty of rampaging monsters at every corner on top of the orcish and kobold hordes.

So if a bunch of mages try to get togheter to make Tippyverse happen, they're just making themselves a big tasty target for the nearby giant tribes, the mindflayer enclaves, the rampaging elements. Heck, there's pretty dangerous monsters who like to eat magic stuff!

Plus, high level wizards and clerics just become detached from reality as they get more powerfull. Why bother about the ball of mud where you were born when there's much more fascinating worlds and planes out there to explore?

Thus most of the world stands on a medieval age, because most casters don't care for the little man and those who do are too busy stoping the countless monsters out there from destroying any remains of civilization.

And then the inevitables don't take lightly to anyone trying to change the status quo.

EDIT:Also the 10 mental stats thingy. An expert can't use magic, but at least can put food in the table and a ceiling over his head, while joe average could at best cast cantrips if he tried to learn magic. And cantrips alone won't make Tippyverse.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 01:56 PM
I actually prefer it when there isn't a clear distinction between divine or arcane magic.

In Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, sorcerers are often priests by profession. The high priest of Set, for example, is usually the premier magician of Stygia. Priests may also dabble in certain magics as a part of their office. However, it's also just as possible to get priests who have nothing magical about them; and may do nothing more than fill a ceremonial role. Likewise, there are sorcerers who are not priests.

Also, Howard's Hyperborea tends to have a lot of physical gods. So while a "god" might know magic or be inherently magical, they don't necessarily grant spells to thousands of organized worshipers. It's more likely that a god like Set (and Set's "children") has doled out information, or that they simply don't care if humans pick over the artifacts of their dead civilization.

It really fits into an idea of magic where magic was often used as a technology by advanced Lovecraftian beings. There is the occasional human who dabbles in magic, perhaps to great success, but those few wizards will not (or cannot) go to the trouble of industrializing their knowledge.

Lysander
2010-07-26, 02:14 PM
While all the above reasons could be used as an in-game rule to make the Tippyverse not happen, industrialization of magic doesn't really take all that much.

For example, there's no reason why a Permanent Wall of Fire cannot be used to power water boilers.

There is one big reason: wood is cheap. Yes you could have a powerful wizard create an infinite heat source, but you could also just pay of bunch of peasants a few silver to chop wood for you and set it on fire.

Untrained laborers make one silver a day. A permanent Wall of Fire costs 10,900gp. At that price you could hire a guy to chop wood and toss it into a fire for almost three-hundred years! And that's paying in installments over many generations instead of one huge up-front sum.

That's the problem with magic. It's wonderful but it's also absurdly expensive. Labor is cheap if slower and less flashy.

ericgrau
2010-07-26, 02:32 PM
I believe the standard reason is because it's rare. Most NPCs are commoners, most of those that aren't have 1 or 2 class levels, and most of those aren't wizards. Such a wizard can't do much for quality of life except make certain routine chores a little easier. The most such a cleric can do to improve the quality of life is supply drinking water for himself and about a dozen others.

Anyone prestigious enough to reach 5th level is the leader of something or is some other elite, meaning you can count the number in your typical town. Many people in town might know their name even though they never met them. Now Mr. Cleric can feed a dozen people too. But as one of the few 5th level clerics in town that's simply not enough, and he's busy with more important matters.

Anyone who reaches 11th level is a legend, as defined by the Legend Lore spell.

The Shadowmind
2010-07-26, 02:41 PM
With the craft and profession rules, the normal npc is ridiculously poor, making even a 1-level spell trap very expensive. While a king/noble instead of making a huge castle make a normal sized one and use the extra money to pay for a mage to create the mage-tech needed to create a more advance civilization, the cost is extremely expensive based.

So a excuse for why magic doesn't take over the world is that the start up costs are just to high for a even a normal king/noble. While the rewards would be worth it, using magic the way PCs do is a bizarre practice.

Telonius
2010-07-26, 02:55 PM
Another possibility: XP poverty. In order for there to be ridiculously powerful magic items, there must be a sufficient amount of XP. If you start trying to bring about the Tippyverse, high-level monsters will be hunted to extinction in order to fuel the magic. When there's no more high-level monsters to hunt, the mages will start turning against their own kind.

Choco
2010-07-26, 02:56 PM
Another possibility: XP poverty. In order for there to be ridiculously powerful magic items, there must be a sufficient amount of XP. If you start trying to bring about the Tippyverse, high-level monsters will be hunted to extinction in order to fuel the magic. When there's no more high-level monsters to hunt, the mages will start turning against their own kind.

Or start Polymorphing pebbles into dragons and slaying them.

Telonius
2010-07-26, 02:58 PM
Or start Polymorphing pebbles into dragons and slaying them.

I don't think that would actually give them any XP, though. I'd count that as though it were a Summoned monster.

Dr.Epic
2010-07-26, 03:06 PM
Our world exists in just one plane composed in a vast multiverse. Taking over the world with magic is like settling for just one small town in the entire world. Maybe they try to take over other planes. Not to mention the LG wizards and clerics types would probably stop evil casters.

Ashiel
2010-07-26, 03:23 PM
In my campaign world, magic has taken over. At least twice. Magic as a science was a tool of the gods (arcane magic), and people didn't have enough faith for divine magic; and hadn't become strong willed and strong minded enough to awaken sorcery or psionic power inside them. The gods gave the mortals magic to help balance them against the mightier creatures of the world.

They shaped the world with their magic to the point that even the common folk were effectively rich in lifestyle. But they got a bit too greedy, and accidentally opened themselves up to fiendish invasion (devils wanted their stuff, and demons did too); which were powerful enough creatures - and in such numbers - that it brought about the end of the world as they knew it. While they eventually managed to end the wars, and push the fiends back, the world has been a shadow of its former self. People are re-discovering magic, divine casters draw on their own faith for power, psionicists compete with arcanists in a race to develop psionic power faster than wizards can re-learn arcane powers; and people explore the world anew for treasures from the lost time.

In the world, it is not uncommon for villages to be powered by magical industry. Decanters of endless water, or adepts, and clerics, are used to provide clean drinking water in harsh climates; while continual flames are luxuries of city life. Magic is an industry; and it's not even really that rare; since adepts are many, and alchemy a popular profession.

It's still mostly pseudo-medieval because of magic, not in spite of it. When you can enhance a bow or a sword, you don't need to develop bazookas and chain-saws. A single arrow of detonation turns a longbow into a silent napalm strike; while a 6th level fighter with a +1 adamantine greatsword can tear his way through a six foot thick stone wall in a matter of minutes.

Because of magic's ability to simply make existing things better, there's little need to try and develop the mundane technology any higher. Steam technology might exist; since magic's ability to create infinite heat and infinite water would do well for this; but why bother producing airplanes when you can make a ship fly, or ride on a carpet?

Generally magic allows you to take something mundane, and make it much better without an advance in traditional technology; also removing the need for the advance to begin with. So it is my belief that it is not in spite of magic that the worlds are pseudo-medieval, but because of it.

Another_Poet
2010-07-26, 03:23 PM
A little bit of intelligent DMing, plus some flavour text for the world, pretty much handles this.

The tippyverse food and water traps don't come into being because the DM doesn't have to follow RAW. Trapmaking rules are not meant as a way to gain unlimited castings of a helpful spell, they are meant as a guideline for a GM to estimate how strong a trap is. I have never seen a DM who sits down and prices the BBEG's wealth and then deducts the craft cost of each trap in the dungeon. However a GM might look at the BBEG's caster level and think, "Oh, he couldn't make this trap." Or he might look at a standard MM kobold and say, "Well, even if they just took 1 level in wizard, they could make this trap" so the kobold tribe has a few of those traps.

Nothing in the DMG prevents players (or NPCs) from building the tippyverse but a good DM is going to say no to auto-reset traps of Bull's Strength, Shield, Mage Armour, Resist Energy, etc. - unless that DM is specifically building a tippyverse campaign.

Beyond applying DM fiat to the rules, many campaign settings contain certain assumptions that limit magic. Some, like the default setting of Castles & Crusades, assume that there are very few wizards in the entire world, and those that do exist may not be high level, and those who are high level may not have any way to learn all of the spells they want to learn.

Some, like Iron Kingdoms, attach a stigma to certain kinds of magic use and offer cheaper/safer alternatives which naturally pushes the cultures of the world toward those alternatives and away from the tippyverse.

Many settings restrict what spells are available, with no Resurrection being a common rule. Others impose dangers on casting high level spells, as a West Marches style game I used to play in did.

The rules of D&D are there to facilitate your imagination, so really you can answer your own question. "Why doesn't magic take over everything? Well, why do you say it doesn't take over?" Whatever reason you give is the reason it doesn't take over in your campaign setting. It might be rare, difficult, unstable, frowned upon, or less potent than RAW magic. It might be tightly restricted by a deity, a guild, a dictator or a church. The source of mana might be running out. On the other hand if your answer to the question is, "But I *do* want it to take over!" then welcome to a campaign world where it does. Epic casters live in undetectable pocket spaces editing reality as they see fit. PC's start at high levels and their background includes how they managed to be part of the select few who broke magic wide open and mutated the multiverse. Anyone under 20th level (and many who are 20+) is at best living in the Matrix, ignorant of the true power that rules them; or if you prefer, they are all the hopeless thralls of the ruling oligarchy.

It's your game, imagine any world you want and edit the magic rules as needed.

ap

unimaginable
2010-07-26, 03:31 PM
If you start exploiting magic for food production, the population will explode. Soon there will be no wilderness left anywhere -- there will just be massive cities of trillions of actually quite miserable people. Increasing food supply has scarcely ever, in the history of humanity, improved anything. As far as we can tell, the hunter/gatherers actually lived a much happier life than we've got nowadays.

Thus, the force that keeps it all in check: druids.

Ashiel
2010-07-26, 03:38 PM
If you start exploiting magic for food production, the population will explode. Soon there will be no wilderness left anywhere -- there will just be massive cities of trillions of actually quite miserable people. Increasing food supply has scarcely ever, in the history of humanity, improved anything. As far as we can tell, the hunter/gatherers actually lived a much happier life than we've got nowadays.

Thus, the force that keeps it all in check: druids.

Sounds like Ravnica. A world that is actually a massive city that spans across the planet; ruled by several guilds. Being a setting from Magic the Gathering, it is not surprising in the least that the world is not only heavily magical, but also built on magic.

unimaginable
2010-07-26, 03:44 PM
I reiterate, though, that quality of life will be poor. The more alienated people become from the source of their livelihood, the less of a connection to the world they'll feel, and the weaker their sense of identity will become. Because things are provided for them, they won't have to work, and because they don't have to work, they won't have a sense of purpose. Some few would rise above that and make their own sense of purpose (say, with creative expression), but many more would just be perpetually unhealthy and depressed.

ericgrau
2010-07-26, 03:45 PM
If you start exploiting magic for food production, the population will explode. Soon there will be no wilderness left anywhere -- there will just be massive cities of trillions of actually quite miserable people. Increasing food supply has scarcely ever, in the history of humanity, improved anything. As far as we can tell, the hunter/gatherers actually lived a much happier life than we've got nowadays.

Thus, the force that keeps it all in check: druids.

I kinda like not being a hunter gatherer.

I only know of one major increase in food supply in history and it was one of the biggest factors in the end of the dark ages and beginning of the renaissance.

Talon Sky
2010-07-26, 03:47 PM
The problem with magic is a widespread genius shortage. There are very few people smart enough (or charismatic enough) to use magic. Most people have INT 10. And while magic can be used to improve life here and there, the world is filled with an ever growing number of people and magic just can't keep up. Why are millions of people living in abject squalor in our world despite our advanced technology? Except it's even worse because magic isn't as scalable as technology. Anyone can use a cell phone. It takes a high level wizard to cast sending.


^ This. It's easier to learn to swing a sword then to spend your life learning magic (unless you take the Elan path). As far as Sorcerers, at least in my campaign, they're rare. You're either born capable of magic or you have to spend your life studying it; there's just not enough magic users to keep a world like that afloat in my campaign.

Plus, I also wiggle in that using magic slowly....very slowly....undoes the fabric of reality. That and creation/polymorph spells are permanent....yes, you can create food and water, and consume it for the time being, but it will eventually fade back into the universe. It's more of a hold-over...."Drink this magically-created water until we reach some real water, and then down that."

GenericGuy
2010-07-26, 03:54 PM
I go with a nuclear weapons Mutually Assured Destruction route. Every time great empires rise that rely on magic the inevitably destroy one another resetting the clock on civilization. Its cynical I know, but does leave plenty of ancient powerful goodies for the PC's.

Lysander
2010-07-26, 04:01 PM
There's also something on tvtropes that I'm charitably not going to link to called "Medieval Stasis." Basically that's the cliche of storytellers assuming that technology remains the same over thousands of years, which is why in fantasy novels people still use swords and castles no matter how far into the future the story goes.

The way that ties in here is that one possible answer to "why magic does not take over the world" is that it just hasn't gotten around to it yet. Maybe magic is slowly becoming more widespread and more powerful, and in a few decades or centuries there will be a tippyverse. It's like looking at computers in our world and asking "Why haven't the robots conquered us yet?" Just give it time.

Talon Sky
2010-07-26, 04:05 PM
I reiterate, though, that quality of life will be poor. The more alienated people become from the source of their livelihood, the less of a connection to the world they'll feel, and the weaker their sense of identity will become. Because things are provided for them, they won't have to work, and because they don't have to work, they won't have a sense of purpose. Some few would rise above that and make their own sense of purpose (say, with creative expression), but many more would just be perpetually unhealthy and depressed.

Like....modern society? Lol

Gnomo
2010-07-26, 04:08 PM
I also think the main reason is rarity of magic, I think characters with access to magic should be like maybe 0.1% of the population, and with high enough level to make permanency something useful is much less than that.

Then the only thing you might consider useful would be spells like create water, purify food and drink, light, mending, cure spells, burning hands... and considering the small amount of people capable of casting those, I guess they make use of magic only at clerical temples or wizardry towers.

TheThan
2010-07-26, 04:38 PM
I like the idea that magic is difficult and dangerous to practice. So only those willing to devote the time to study it, and risk their lives to practice it manage to become wizards. Most people don’t wish to, or can’t invest the time it takes to study it, and others don’t want to partake in that risk.


Another idea is that not everyone can even use magic. It takes a special “spark” if you will to be able to control the elemental forces of magic. So only those people with the natural ability can learn it. Granted this works best in dnd with just sorcerers as the only real spell casters.

Megaduck
2010-07-26, 05:17 PM
My fall back was that "Permanent" spells aren't really Permanent. Yes, you can create a flame trap and it will sit there for a hundred years but it will only fire and reset a few times. A permanent wall of fire isn't really going to be there next year, it'll just be there for longer then the spell would normally last.

So any Magitek would need a dedicated wizard to keep it working and no ones rich enough to keep a wizard on call to heat up the bath water.

Prodan
2010-07-26, 05:40 PM
As far as we can tell, the hunter/gatherers actually lived a much happier life than we've got nowadays.

What with the lack of indoor plumbing, a steady food supply, law enforcement, the rights of man, dentistry, internal medicine, painkillers, and antibiotics...


I don't think that would actually give them any XP, though. I'd count that as though it were a Summoned monster.

You get XP for defeating summons. And it wouldn't count as a summon anyways.

GenericGuy
2010-07-26, 05:46 PM
What with the lack of indoor plumbing, a steady food supply, law enforcement, the rights of man, dentistry, internal medicine, painkillers, and antibiotics...

Luddite's for the win.......:smallconfused:

Mark Hall
2010-07-26, 05:53 PM
I kinda like not being a hunter gatherer.

I only know of one major increase in food supply in history and it was one of the biggest factors in the end of the dark ages and beginning of the renaissance.

In history, perhaps. In pre-history, however, the Neolithic explosion was a major factor in the growth of human population and societies beyond tribal. It was heralded by the development of agriculture

EDIT: Oh, duh, I'm kinda an idiot. We're CURRENTLY living in one. The mechanization of farming lets HUGE numbers of people not farm. While there are problems with hunger in the world, it's much more an issue of distribution and economics than lack of available food.

Sebastian
2010-07-26, 05:58 PM
Magic, or better magic users are rare; not everybody can learn to use magic, you need a Gift, a Talent or how do you want to call it. Or being a PC. :). You just never have enough wizards to make a magitek scenario workable, if not in a limited zone.

Magic in large quantity is dangerous, When you cast a spell or use a magic item it leave behind a "taint", a residue. Normally it is not a big deal and it eventually goes away reabsorbed by the system, but if you use a lot of magic for a lot of time it pile up and bad things start to happen, the undead start to raise spontaneously, demons appear without the need of a summon, gate to other planes open up, Cthulhu came to say "hi", things like that. Many ancients empires of the past where destroyed this way, magic become too common and then, boom!

So magic can take over the world, but when it happen is never for long.

Evard
2010-07-26, 05:59 PM
Magic users are rare... Why? Final Fantasy 8! Yes my brothers and sisters one of my favorite games explains it all :)

Only X people in the world will have magical abilities (this includes liches)... When one dies then his/her power is given to someone else (minus the time compression/time travel) and then they will either be a sorcerer or wizard (or something in between)... They will have the ability to do so and they will do it although if they use it for good or evil is up to them.

:)

Sebastian
2010-07-26, 06:08 PM
Beside magic is not so efficient as one could think. Many mention the "use magic to create food" scenario, but try to find out how many clerics you'd need to feed a small town with magic? (Hint: a lot more than that town could possibly have, if I didn't messed up the math, of course)

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 06:11 PM
Magic users are rare... Why? Final Fantasy 8! Yes my brothers and sisters one of my favorite games explains it all :)

Only X people in the world will have magical abilities (this includes liches)... When one dies then his/her power is given to someone else (minus the time compression/time travel) and then they will either be a sorcerer or wizard (or something in between)... They will have the ability to do so and they will do it although if they use it for good or evil is up to them.

:)
Actually, they don't even initially tell you if the sorceresses make any moral considerations at all, being that all the current sorceresses are evil. Where they come from or what their motives are aren't really explained until much later in the game.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 06:16 PM
If you start exploiting magic for food production, the population will explode. Soon there will be no wilderness left anywhere -- there will just be massive cities of trillions of actually quite miserable people. Increasing food supply has scarcely ever, in the history of humanity, improved anything. As far as we can tell, the hunter/gatherers actually lived a much happier life than we've got nowadays.

Thus, the force that keeps it all in check: druids.
Yeah, sorry. You deserve the mandatory nerd-flogging for this one.

Luddism and the desire to escape to our "roots" is as at least as old as Shakespeare's Tempest. And even there, Shakespeare mocked it with a couple of clowns. It's much like trying to crawl back into the womb.

And as people are probably tired of hearing me repeating:
I attribute Neo-Luddism as a driving component of white guilt.

If you think serfs or desperate tribesmen "had it better," you're just kidding yourself. Increased food supply has reduced disease and increased quality of life, while allowing humans more leisure to develop skills and knowledge. It's also nice to have weekends and fourty-hour work weeks; I don't think I could survive tilling earth nearly every waking hour.

Prospero is not permitted to break his staff or drown his books. Pandora doesn't get to stuff everything back in the box. Neither Adam nor Eve get to uneat their Fruit.

Things just don't work that way. Better to let the world burn from Promethean fires, than to piss away knowledge in the hopes of ignorant bliss.

Mark Hall
2010-07-26, 06:23 PM
Beside magic is not so efficient as one could think. Many mention the "use magic to create food" scenario, but try to find out how many clerics you'd need to feed a small town with magic? (Hint: a lot more than that town could possibly have, if I didn't messed up the math, of course)

One of the core components of the "Tippyverse" is auto-reseting magical traps that Create Food and Water. Trip the trap (maybe with a key phrase like "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.") and the trap produces enough food to feed X number of people. Since the trap instantly and auto-resets, you can feed as many people as you can get to trigger the trap, times the amount of food you can create.

Prodan
2010-07-26, 06:23 PM
And buffing!

Orzel
2010-07-26, 06:29 PM
The easy answer

Wizard die easier than they appear. Sure high level spellcasters are strong.... but you have to make it to high level. Most wizards die at before they reach mid level. Most divine characters force themselves into suicide actions to appease their patron. HP maybe be overrated in most games but in this world, your enemies are brutal.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 06:33 PM
The easy answer

Wizard die easier than they appear. Sure high level spellcasters are strong.... but you have to make it to high level. Most wizards die at before they reach mid level. Most divine characters force themselves into suicide actions to appease their patron. HP maybe be overrated in most games but in this world, your enemies are brutal.
That assumes that all wizards obtain their skill through adventuring.

Which shouldn't necessarily be the case, unless that's what your setting explicitly states.

Being a hale-and-hardy has no bearing on whether your knowledge can benefit civilization; ideas being the contagious and resilient things that they are.

AslanCross
2010-07-26, 06:56 PM
Actually, even in Eberron, high-level magic isn't available to everyone.

1. Most clergy members are actually not clerics but experts. Thus, resurrection magic is very, very rare, and healing magic is more expensive than most can afford.
2. There are very few casters above Lv 5 of any kind.
3. Most mages-for-hire are magewrights and not pure wizards or even artificers.
4. Dragonmarked Houses strictly control the use of magic that can be used to meet the needs of society; Dragonmarked Houses like Ghallanda that can freely cast create food and water only do so for people who are willing to pay the price.

The Houses buy out anyone capable of competing with them. There is thus a strict monopoly on magic that can be industrialized.

Thus, magic has taken over the world in the economic sense. However, the extent of the Dragonmarked Houses reaches only as far as Khorvaire and even then not the entire continent. (There's the Eldeen Reaches and the Demon Wastes, which prove impenetrable.)

This economic domination is kind of self-limiting---where there is no profit, there is no business, and where there is no business, there is no influence. Thus, on Xen'Drik (a continent of impenetrable jungle and ruins), Sarlona (which is Communist controlled by the Inspired), and Argonnessen (HERE BE DRAGONS!), the Dragonmarked Houses hardly hold any sway.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 06:58 PM
Actually, even in Eberron, high-level magic isn't available to everyone.

1. Most clergy members are actually not clerics but experts. Thus, resurrection magic is very, very rare, and healing magic is more expensive than most can afford.
2. There are very few casters above Lv 5 of any kind.
3. Most mages-for-hire are magewrights and not pure wizards or even artificers.
4. Dragonmarked Houses strictly control the use of magic that can be used to meet the needs of society; Dragonmarked Houses like Ghallanda that can freely cast create food and water only do so for people who are willing to pay the price.

The Houses buy out anyone capable of competing with them. There is thus a strict monopoly on magic that can be industrialized.

Thus, magic has taken over the world in the economic sense. However, the extent of the Dragonmarked Houses reaches only as far as Khorvaire and even then not the entire continent. (There's the Eldeen Reaches and the Demon Wastes, which prove impenetrable.)

This economic domination is kind of self-limiting---where there is no profit, there is no business, and where there is no business, there is no influence. Thus, on Xen'Drik (a continent of impenetrable jungle and ruins), Sarlona (which is Communist controlled by the Inspired), and Argonnessen (HERE BE DRAGONS!), the Dragonmarked Houses hardly hold any sway.
Which is to say that magic, as a cultural and technological influence, has still taken over the world.

Got it.

Coidzor
2010-07-26, 07:03 PM
Which is to say that magic, as a cultural and technological influence, has still taken over the world.

Got it.

Well, the civilized world. Darkest Xen'drik has yet to be penetrated and enlightened, after all.

And they've yet to send Commodore Perry to open up Argonessen.

Jack_Simth
2010-07-26, 07:22 PM
Beside magic is not so efficient as one could think. Many mention the "use magic to create food" scenario, but try to find out how many clerics you'd need to feed a small town with magic? (Hint: a lot more than that town could possibly have, if I didn't messed up the math, of course)
Actually, one 6th level Cleric with a Wisdom of 13, Craft Wondrous Item, and a Wizard-1 Cohort/follower can pull it off, if he's got a decent chunk of XP and investment capital. And, if he thinks that way, he can also get much of his invested wealth back in surprisingly short order in a dense population area. Oh yes, and given enough time without noticeable interference, he'll accidentally conquer the city. Seriously.

(Spoiler tags used due to length)

The Magic Trap Rules (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/traps.htm#magicDeviceTrapCost) let you create spots on a path that will cast spells on anyone walking over them ... or even that fire off arbitrarily every so often.
So you make a Create Food and Water trap with Prestidigitation (Prestidigitation: The only reason for the Wizard-1 Cohort/Follower), an Endure Elements trap, a Cure Light Wounds trap, a Remove Disease Trap, a Remove Blindness trap, and a Remove Deafness trap. You have some followers at the door. They charge five coppers to go through with your bowl (half a day's wages for an untrained laborer).

When you first step along the path, you're hit with Endure Elements. You're warm and cozy for the rest of the day; that light drizzle outside isn't going to bother you.
The next step hits you with Cure Light Wounds. Those minor aches and pains are gone.
The next step hits you with Remove Disease: You're now disease-free... and there's very few diseases that have an incubation period less than one day, so as long as most people stop by, no plague.
The next step hits you with Remove Blindness, the one after that, Remove Deafness. Not that most people will notice.
After you've walked the path, you push your bowl into the trough, and low and behold, it's full of a surprisingly tasty (Prestidigitation - random flavor from a very long list) soup (Create Food and Water).

Now you don't need to worry about disease, injury, staying warm, or starvation.

The investment is as follows:
{table=head]Spell|Level|GP|XP
Create Food and Water|3rd|7,500|600
Remove Disease|3rd|7,500|600
Remove Blindness|2nd|3,000|240
Remove Deafness|2nd|3,000|240
Endure Elements|1st|500|40
Cure Light Wounds|1st|500|40
Prestidigitation|0th|250|20
Total||22020|1,780[/table]

Theoretically, you could actually do this at 5th level, with a bit of start-up capital. But you'll want 6th for Prestidigitation to make things tasty.

The reason for charging is twofold:
1) You want to make back your gp investment (and you do - after 440,400 customers. In a city with, say, 10,000 commoner-1's working as untrained laborers (who'd likely consider this a SWEET DEAL), you make that in a little over 44 days, unless you have competition).
2) People who don't do anything cause problems. You need to keep them busy, so they need to have a reason to continue working.

But you have a problem: When you're running this, you're a cash sink; once it's set up, you need... someone watching the door. And as your running expenses are basically nil, the guy watching the door and collecting the money doesn't even need to be very good at it, he just needs to be able to collect from most. When you've got much more coin coming in than going out, there is an eventual lack of coins in the local economy... and cash is, like blood, essentially transport (for goods, materials, services, and waste products, rather than for materials, calories, oxygen, and waste products). With no coins, nobody can buy anyone else's goods or services. Sooner or later, if you're a cash sink in high demand, the economy crashes.

To solve this, you need to get money back into the economy - so you hire people, at a little below prevailing wage (say, 9 coppers/day for untrained laborers), to make Trade Goods (or walk the city wall with a sling and some rocks, or peel grapes and feed them to you one by one, or dance for you, or fan you, or whatever else strikes your fancy). But your total cash into your business, and your total cash out of your business, ultimately needs to balance out (unless, of course, you're hiring miners, refiners, and coin minters - but the surrounding economy really does need to be net-0 on coins).

Of course, as you're the one producing the goods everyone needs (food, 'shelter', medicine), you may very quickly find you're the only employer in the area... everyone works for you, directly or not. At which point, you've pretty much taken over the city ... and not necessarily on purpose.

Of course, someone who hates you because you drove him out of business, or a mischievous rogue (disable TRAPS class feature), could put an end to the civilization once farmers stop farming, but the above is the beginning of a Tippyverse. One 5th or 6th level Cleric.

Reasons this doesn't happen are not, of themselves, rule-based. House rules (aka, Traps not actually being infinite; big boom when too much magic is used, et cetera), or social reasons (Controlled monopoly, the deities not accepting such competition, people who *could* pull it off not seeing any reason to do so, et cetera) need to dominate... in D&D 3.5, at least.

Small Grey Cat
2010-07-26, 07:37 PM
Reasons this doesn't happen are not, of themselves, rule-based. House rules (aka, Traps not actually being infinite; big boom when too much magic is used, et cetera), or social reasons (Controlled monopoly, the deities not accepting such competition, people who *could* pull it off not seeing any reason to do so, et cetera) need to dominate... in D&D 3.5, at least.

I've always figured that, as far as D&D worldbuilding goes, filling in gaps in the RAW with stuff like the above is necessary. After all, the RAW makes the Locate City Bomb possible as well. That's an extreme example, of course, but still possible without house rules/ DM interference.

As far as the OPs question goes; most people average INT, WIS or CHA 10, 12 at most. You're not building a brave new magical world on the back of cantrips.

Orzel
2010-07-26, 07:46 PM
That assumes that all wizards obtain their skill through adventuring.

Which shouldn't necessarily be the case, unless that's what your setting explicitly states.

Being a hale-and-hardy has no bearing on whether your knowledge can benefit civilization; ideas being the contagious and resilient things that they are.

That assume that adventuring is the easiest way to gain experience and gain new spells. And if most wizards die young there's a good chance you have to travel to get to the resources of the living ones.

Jack_Simth
2010-07-26, 08:03 PM
I've always figured that, as far as D&D worldbuilding goes, filling in gaps in the RAW with stuff like the above is necessary. After all, the RAW makes the Locate City Bomb possible as well. That's an extreme example, of course, but still possible without house rules/ DM interference.

Yep. World building: Taking care of the nitty-gritty. Alternately, run with it. The ultimate result of (ab)using Trap Creation Rules makes for a "points of light" campaign. Once you've got the Cleric's 5 cp soup kitchen and cure-all line, there's very, very little reason for anyone to leave the city, really. You'll still need various minerals on occasion (and so miners and mines), wood and other plant products (and so, forests and woodcutters), and you're likely to want to engage in some amount of trade for materials that can't be picked up locally (and so, roads away from the city). But a city can be built over the mines, buildings can be made out of rocks, and most goods can be made out of iron or stone. A coal mine and an iron mine, and you can build a city this way. Break the company law? You're fired and/or exiled from the company town.

But what happens?

Someone (a Rogue-1, potentially) disables one of the traps on which the city depends. Now it's a race against time to get supplies in for the 10,000 people who'll starve in the eight days it takes for the Cleric-5 to replace that Create Food and Water Trap.

The miners have dug into a goblin/kobold/dwarf/whatever community, and the mines are closed until the issue is handled... meanwhile, more people are being born, and there's no materials to build houses.

No trading caravans have come through in the last several weeks... what manner of event might have closed off the main roads?

A particularly virulent disease has broken out. Sure, the traps cure it, but it's so virulent that it doesn't matter (Incubation period measured in hours). Who could have caused it, why, and how can it be stopped?

... and so on. Alternately, it's quite the adventure to leave the city at all... because the city has very, very little reason to police the area just outside it's own walls.


As far as the OPs question goes; most people average INT, WIS or CHA 10, 12 at most. You're not building a brave new magical world on the back of cantrips.
Ah... you've got a problem with that:

On 3d6, getting a 13 or higher in a given stat (Wisdom, in this case) is about 26%. The nonelite array has a 13 in it. While *most* people have 10's or 11's (average), about 1 in 4 will have a Wisdom high enough to pull off the initial Tippyverse setup, provided they can get to the point of being a Cleric-5 or a Cleric-6. Craft Wondrous Item is a rather useful feat. The DMG random community generation tables say that the highest level Cleric in the city is 1d6+Community modifier. 1 in 6 Villages will have a 5th level Cleric; 1 in 3 Small Towns will have a 5th or higher level Cleric. 5 out of 6 Large Towns will have a 5th level Cleric or higher. *Every* small city is generated with at least one 7th level Cleric per the DMG rules (and anything larger than a Small City will have even higher level clerics).

And a 6th level Cleric with an Int-10 Wizard-1 helper (or a Charisma-10 Sorcerer-1 helper, or even a Charisma-10 Bard-1 helper, if they learn Prestidigitation) can do this. Oh yes, and in certain locations, there's feats available that makes the Bard/Sorcerer/Wizard helper unnecessary.

Prodan
2010-07-26, 08:11 PM
As far as the OPs question goes; most people average INT, WIS or CHA 10, 12 at most. You're not building a brave new magical world on the back of cantrips.

Prestidigitation can lead to an incredible upsurge in basic hygiene and clean operating rooms.

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-26, 08:11 PM
That assume that adventuring is the easiest way to gain experience and gain new spells. And if most wizards die young there's a good chance you have to travel to get to the resources of the living ones.
D&D works in such a way that that players you know, actually play the game; as opposed to having their characters sitting around studying and then winning the game.

But I think it's not unfair to assume that some wizards simply do just that: Sit around and study until they come into their power.

Lhurgyof
2010-07-26, 08:14 PM
"The gods do not will it"

Jack_Simth
2010-07-26, 08:18 PM
"The gods do not will it"
Yeah - social reasons. Of course, you've still got the minor problem that a sufficiently high-level Bard can do the same thing with Heroes' Feast...

Evard
2010-07-26, 08:42 PM
Arcane and Divine magic makes you sterile! or at least a high chance of it!

Yahzi
2010-07-26, 09:06 PM
Another possibility: XP poverty.
Best answer. Also, similiar to my own. Funny how that works. :smallbiggrin:

Maho-Tsukai
2010-07-26, 09:28 PM
As far as clerics go the fact that their tied to a god and a church is enough to end the level 5 cleric based typpeverse. Generally, the church would not want their cleric to raise everybody's standard of living because then the church leaders would lose their power to that one cleric and you know how Medieval church leaders just love having all the power. Likewise, some good aligned gods may frown upon their clerics doing such a thing because they would either consider it domination and/or extortion or be disgusted with the fact that their emissary was using the magic they gave him/her as a means to profit rather then to help those in need.

However, archivists can at level 5 do the same exact thing as a cleric and not have to worry about the same social implications that come with being a cleric. Archivists are tied to no god. They have no higher power to answer to. Thus, anything a level 5 cleric could pull off, a level 5 Archivists could pull off AND not have to worry about being b**** slapped by their god or church for doing so. Also, clerics generally have average or SLIGHTLY above average intelligence scores so an Archivists with his gigantic int score is far more likely to think of creating the typpeverse then a normal-ish int cleric would anyway.

Ashiel
2010-07-26, 09:45 PM
Clerics are not required to be tied to a god either. A cleric devoted to the philosophy or ideal of peace, prosperity, or community could not only do it; but they would have reasons to desire such autonomy for their villages.

Maho-Tsukai
2010-07-26, 10:01 PM
True, but most clerics lack int. I highly doubt somebody with only 12 int could be shrewd and cunning enough to pull such a thing off, at least in any game my girlfriend DMs. Then again, this just may be her views on things, since I have seen people who say that characters with 12 int have enough smarts to be scientists and such. I would like to know, though, what the populist view of 12 int characters is? Could a 12 int character graduate in the top 10% of his high school class? Could a 12 int character be a good tactician and also be an master planer/schemer? Is 12 int enough to be shrewd and cunning? If my girlfriend was DMing she would say no to all of those, which bars the cleric from making any typpeviers unless he gimps himself by pumping int. However, I know some people who have played 12 int characters as quite intelligent, so I want to know what the general population sees a 12 int character capable of smarts wise before I use int as a serious debating point.

Of course, the int argument bars cloistered clerics who can usually take more int because they don't need to focus on strength as much, and I already mentioned archivists as an alternative if clerics are just too dumb.

AslanCross
2010-07-26, 10:13 PM
Which is to say that magic, as a cultural and technological influence, has still taken over the world.

Got it.

The civilized world. Khorvaire is the smallest continent and is always on the brink of war. It's nowhere near as stable as the sway the Inspired have over most of Sarlona. The Inspired have established their hold over Sarlona through centuries of brainwashing and ruthless suppression; psionics is mostly just an added power source for them.

Furthermore, what I'm saying here is that magic does NOT turn life into a Tippyverse where life is easy for everyone (as that's the impression I got from the OP, where healing magic and resurrection was supposed to improve public health). The average subsistence farmer will probably not get to ride on the lightning rail more than once in his life (if he's lucky at all), neither will he or she get to ask House Jorrasco to heal their baby of diptheria.

Drought-struck farmers can't afford to pay House Lyrandar to water their fields; it's the feudal lord who pays the House to do so.


Hi,

A lot of people have rightly pointed out that, particularly in the common D&D settings, magic should have elevated the world well beyond the medieval tech level or quality of life. Examples are Create Food & Water items that dispense with the need for farming, magical healing and resurrection that provide healthcare (and make hereditary wealth and power a lot less stable), and undead workers or animated objects that create an industrial revolution.

None of these have happened in Eberron, and considering the monopolizing nature of the Dragonmarked Houses and the price involved in purchasing their services, likely won't be. Magic is still the privilege of the rich, and the influence of the oligarchy stops where the business does. They have no control over the Lords of Dust, the Daelkyr, the Inspired, the Quori, or the various power groups that have infiltrated deep into civilized society.

So thus I submit my reason for why Magic simply doesn't make life easy for everyone: It's rare and expensive, and those who sell it have only the Bottom Line in mind.

Lhurgyof
2010-07-26, 10:16 PM
Gods of forsight and planning forsee the tippyverse, and smite those who will start it.

Andion Isurand
2010-07-27, 12:20 AM
Answer: to give the non-casting populous and mooks room to breed and grow proud in their ignorance, improving the comedic value of the facial, verbal and phsycial expressions they exhibit in thier final moments.

Ormur
2010-07-27, 12:20 AM
The reason magic hasn't industrialized society, yet, in my campaign is that magic hasn't been understood to the level of D&D RAI until recently by the mage guilds and universities. I imagine that new spells have had to been researched by wizards jealous of each other for the past thousands of years without being formally studied. My inclusion of a large mage guild even despite wizard paranoia must however mean magic gets better understood and it's practical uses explored.

Magic both divine and arcane is still the province of the upper classes that are the only ones that have to money to educate their children as wizards and clerics, apart from the occasional talented commoner taken as an apprentice. A virtual monopoly on magic is necessary to keep their hold over society so they aren't inclined to spread it much or apply it to mundane problems. It inevitably changes society but not to the extent of the modern day or the tippyverse.

There are signs that things are changing. A prosperous merchant class is starting to get access to magic though their money and they as well as ideological upper class mages are more willing to change society. Centralized governments are also arising and they have an interest in expanding the use of magic to become more powerful than their neighbours and perhaps break the hold of the old ruling classes over magic and the land.

The utilization of magic like industrialization takes time and the right societal conditions and D&D society doesn't have to by static in the long term, it's just at a certain level in the present.

Oh, and I wouldn't allow continually resetting traps of utility spells so this is all aside from that.

RE:Insanity
2010-07-27, 12:34 AM
Anyone else with magic can dispel it.
Too many people constantly changing crap.
The presence of an alternate dimension that auto-corrects everything.
The powers that be smite anyone who takes over.
Magic takes a lot of energy out of you.

grimbold
2010-07-27, 05:09 AM
If one magician took over the world then another magician would immediatly come and challenge him and their fight would destroy most of the world. I think that mages realize this and thus feel they should not conquer the world.

Also possible magic releases pollution mayhaps? greenies dont like to much magic as it hurts the environment

hamishspence
2010-07-27, 05:12 AM
Spellwarped template is one way to represent magical pollution. Living spells can be another.

Psionics has also been known to cause pollution- in Faerun, the undersea wreckage of the psionic kingdom Jaamdath, turns ordinary creatures into psionic creatures.

Werekat
2010-07-27, 05:46 AM
First, I really like Ashiel's version, and it's pretty much what our group does, (except the apocalypse did not happen. Yet. As far as the PC's know. Though I like the idea). We use the following details in a pre-apocalypse world.

We play in a high-magic world - meaning, a ninth-level caster is reasonably good, and could be a paid lecturer in a mage's academy, but is really very much "middle of the food chain."

And the following conventions are implicit:

- Distances are vast (Think Siberia, or very Northern America). With the exception of Teleportation spells, which cost a normal person's yearly wages, travel is difficult. This makes it difficult for low-level casters (who are far more eager for any advantage they can get their hands on than higher-level casters, and thus somewhat more prone to sharing spells rather than hoarding them) to travel and share. Higher-level wizards have a much vaster multiverse to explore, and not many of them remain interested in power over their homeworld.
- For the mid and low level mage, there are many races with many interests, and quite a few of them are smart enough to target the casters first thing when their interests cross with the PC's races. Being a wizard is a dangerous profession: the aforementioned mid-level wizard might get a few assasination attempts on his life just because he's a mid-level wizard and thus a relatively powerful wildcard. And, as good as casters are, they fare badly when taken by surprise by creatures with the appropriate abilities, and there are quite a few of those races in the Monster Manuals.
- As a consequence, overt magical academies with high-level mages are rare enough (because of their overt danger, they make prime targets for surprise attacks before an all-out assault), and are generally a staplemark of extremely high-magic cultures that are usually so remote as to be left alone (such as elves). Of those cultures, each has its own stopper: for example, most of the aforementioned elves have the second edition desire to do most of the things they want to do under their own power and skills, rather than through paid labor, resulting in a *lot* of dabblers.
- Industrial-type mage guilds exist in less remote societies, but they are composed of mostly mid-level mages, and are viciously competitive.
- Magic cancels out magic. When conflicts arise, mages generally vie against other mages, leaving the others out of their battlefields or manipulated into, er, "level-appropriate encounters" (because you should move pawns where you can actually use them and not just waste them). Sort of like dragons. The sole exception to the rule are areas left behind after such conflict, which commong folk tend to wander into. These are rather common, and the main reason Teleport is not a universal solution to communications - a great many places are unstable spatially).
- Types of mages also compete - warlocks try to gain an equal footing with the more classic arcanists, sorcerers disrupt wizards' activities, wizards try to develop more versatile tools against the others, but their developments commonly find their way into new warlocks' invocations or sorcerers' inherent magic.

In sum, this creates a world where high-level magic can be found on former mages' battlefields, or hoarded in reclusive places, mid-level magic is accessible enough, but you need to know where to find it and is a dangerous trade, and low-level magic (up to third level) is fairly common, and accounts for technology not moving forward as per Ashiel's model.

And, of course, world-ruling is left to those who buy the mages' resources and put them to the time-consuming task of world-ruling.

Clerics are actually more interesting to consider for this than arcanists, because they nearly always have an active agenda in the world they live in (unlike high-level mages), but that's another long story. To cut it short, those agendas often conflict, and "magic cancels magic" comes into play.

Zen Master
2010-07-27, 06:47 AM
Mages and their ilk are feeble old men. Whenever they get up to their 'world domination' shenanigans, the young and physically buff son of some random farmer turns out to be a warrior without compare, and despite all the odds he slaughteres the feeble mageling in his lair, where his defenses are strongest, using only his trusty hoe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoe_%28tool%29).

The reason buff young warriors do not subsequently go on to conquer the world is that their simple minds get twisted by the viles of beautiful redheads, who in time poison them in their sleep, for their own nefarious ends (which usually involve another, younger and buffer warrior).

Telonius
2010-07-27, 07:29 AM
You get XP for defeating summons. And it wouldn't count as a summon anyways.

Never heard of that one. From Wizards (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnD_DMG_XPFinal.asp):


5. Divide the total XP among all the characters who started the encounter. (Even if they are knocked unconscious, everyone who took part in an encounter gains experience for that encounter.)

Do not award XP for creatures that enemies summon or otherwise add to their forces with magic powers. An enemy’s ability to summon or add these creatures is part of the enemy’s CR already. (You don’t give PCs more XP if a drow cleric casts unholy blight on them, so don’t give them more XP if she casts summon monster IV instead.)

Ethdred
2010-07-27, 08:50 AM
The reason for charging is twofold:
1) You want to make back your gp investment (and you do - after 440,400 customers. In a city with, say, 10,000 commoner-1's working as untrained laborers (who'd likely consider this a SWEET DEAL), you make that in a little over 44 days, unless you have competition).
2) People who don't do anything cause problems. You need to keep them busy, so they need to have a reason to continue working.

But you have a problem: When you're running this, you're a cash sink; once it's set up, you need... someone watching the door. And as your running expenses are basically nil, the guy watching the door and collecting the money doesn't even need to be very good at it, he just needs to be able to collect from most. When you've got much more coin coming in than going out, there is an eventual lack of coins in the local economy... and cash is, like blood, essentially transport (for goods, materials, services, and waste products, rather than for materials, calories, oxygen, and waste products). With no coins, nobody can buy anyone else's goods or services. Sooner or later, if you're a cash sink in high demand, the economy crashes.

To solve this, you need to get money back into the economy - so you hire people, at a little below prevailing wage (say, 9 coppers/day for untrained laborers), to make Trade Goods (or walk the city wall with a sling and some rocks, or peel grapes and feed them to you one by one, or dance for you, or fan you, or whatever else strikes your fancy). But your total cash into your business, and your total cash out of your business, ultimately needs to balance out (unless, of course, you're hiring miners, refiners, and coin minters - but the surrounding economy really does need to be net-0 on coins).

Of course, as you're the one producing the goods everyone needs (food, 'shelter', medicine), you may very quickly find you're the only employer in the area... everyone works for you, directly or not. [/spoiler]At which point, you've pretty much taken over the city ... and not necessarily on purpose.

Of course, someone who hates you because you drove him out of business, or a mischievous rogue (disable TRAPS class feature), could put an end to the civilization once farmers stop farming, but the above is the beginning of a Tippyverse. One 5th or 6th level Cleric.

Reasons this doesn't happen are not, of themselves, rule-based. House rules (aka, Traps not actually being infinite; big boom when too much magic is used, et cetera), or social reasons (Controlled monopoly, the deities not accepting such competition, people who *could* pull it off not seeing any reason to do so, et cetera) need to dominate... in D&D 3.5, at least.

I'm not sure if it's 'social reasons' as such, more just filling in the gaps of the system. As a basic example - how long would it take to get 10,000 people through this system? At a minute each, that's over 160 hours or more than 6 days. So everyone gets fed once a week. OK, you could set up several feeding lines, one healing line etc, but that starts increasing your overheads. Not only do you need somewhere to put all this, but you need, at least, some way of controlling the queues - one guy taking the copper pieces won't do (have you ever been to a stadium event?) And you need to deal with inevitable queue jumping, egos trying to barge in etc. Then there's dealing with people's other needs - I've not seen anyone yet say how magic is providing people with clothing or furniture. You would in no way take ove rthe city, accidentally or otherwise. There would be plenty of other people with their own sources of power and income who would oppose you, not to mention all the people who wouldn't want to work at your wages.

Of course, there could be some people who would set up some traps out of the goodness of their heart (eg a remote cave which cast resurrection on anyone left overnight) but even then there would be issues around preserving the trap, people trying to take them over to restrict their use to their followers, things like that. I know Tippyverse and such are thought experiments, but you need to extend the thought to see how they would really work.

As for what such a society might look like - I can think of one real world society where the people didn't have to work to keep themselves - the Spartans.

Calemyr
2010-07-27, 09:54 AM
There are two settings I've been involved in that have dealt with this issue, and they both dealt with it differently.

In one campaign, the explanation was simply that nobody had the creativity to come up with the idea of magitek. Wizards suffer from higher education, which drains all creative thought from a person and replaces it with rigid (if effective) thought processes - they never try anything new as long as there's a tried and true alternative. Sorcerors don't have the control or versatility to accomplish much on a large scale. Clerics are tome-bound to the philosophies of their gods and too involved in divine politics to worry about it in any event. Druids would just as soon see the civilized world burn. It was the appearance of the first artificer (my character) that introduced radical changes in societal views on the potential uses of magic - particularly for non-martial reasons. Three campaigns (and twelve centuries) in the setting later, this proved to be a bad thing.

The other is a story I've worked on off and on in my free time. The problem there is that spells do not consume all (or even half) of the energy released in their casting, allowing the excess energy to linger and build up. This energy has a mutational effect on creatures and objects exposed to it, which in turn creates monsters. So the amount of magic used in a region has a direct relationship with the quantity and quality of the monsters found therein. Since monsters target mages as their prey of choice, it really becomes a self-regulating system. Reliance on magic has other shortfalls as well - since most mages serve society as healers, for instance, medical science has not advanced in centuries and healers are useless when magic is not a viable course of treatment. As a result, people born with any resistance to magic rarely survived their first year, much less to adulthood.

Those were two approaches I thought were worth sharing, at least.

Prodan
2010-07-27, 10:01 AM
Never heard of that one. From Wizards (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnD_DMG_XPFinal.asp):

Ah. That never came up in any of my games.

Sindri
2010-07-27, 01:37 PM
I see three main possibilities.
The first is that, since everything needs to come from somewhere (summoned monsters from the outer planes, heat from the elemental plane of fire, etc.) it stands to reason that magic itself st come from somewhere. If there is a limited amount of magical power in the world, then that means that individual mages are deific only as long as they're rare; if everyone, or even a significant portion of the population, were mages, then each would barely be able to cast cantrips.

The second is the explanation given in the DragonLance setting. After the world was nearly destroyed by high level sorcerers, the gods of magic got together and gave the mortals a deal: magic becomes easier to learn, more standardized, etc. but in exchange everything is under the control of one big magical organization, which is then under the control of the gods of magic. Rogue mages and "wild" sorcerers aren't allowed; high level divination magic combined with the fact that the leaders of the big organization are more than twice your level mean that you join, don't do magic, or die. There might be a few individuals outside of the big organization, but they never do anything dramatic to avoid attracting attention. All magic is controlled by one group, which is then required by their gods to not get into politics or make any major changes to the setting, to avoid the chance of accidentally destroying the world.

The third is that there always has to be a balance. In this setting, stronger races are less smart, smarter races are less strong, and races that are both stronger and smarter learn more slowly and never get to as high of levels. Likewise, no matter how many orcs you kill, they're born at the same rate, so that the GM never needs to worry about things like extinction. Thus, it's not unreasonable to assume that magic works the same way; there's always a price to whatever you do, even if you're not aware of it. Maybe every resurrection kills someone on the other side of the world. Maybe every fire spell lowers the average temperature to concentrate the heat where you point. Maybe Conjuration (Creation) is actually a subset of (Calling) and the food you made for this starving family is food that some other family will never get to eat. This would mean that large scale things like raising every corpse or feeding a nation with nothing but magic would be impossible, because as soon as you start "creating" food for thousands and never growing it in the first place, someone else summons the food away immediately so it's gone a second after it arrives. If you have massive factories powered by permanent fire spells, they drop the temperature in the surrounding area to the point where the citizens need their own fire spells to survive, and eventually you get to the point where the whole world is icy wasteland spotted with occasional refugees huddling around a wall of fire. The gods, and epic level mages, know this and prevent it from happening.

Sebastian
2010-07-27, 02:21 PM
One of the core components of the "Tippyverse" is auto-reseting magical traps that Create Food and Water. Trip the trap (maybe with a key phrase like "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.") and the trap produces enough food to feed X number of people. Since the trap instantly and auto-resets, you can feed as many people as you can get to trigger the trap, times the amount of food you can create.

Of course that wholly depend on the fact that auto resetting magical trap with create food exist/are possible at all. Too many forget that just because something (monster, magic item, spells or other) is in a book doesn't mean it actually exist in the game world or that everybody know it, and this is doubly true for things like magic items and magic traps, which rules are simply guidelines meant for balancing and not hard-coded absolute.

So magic food dispenser (like any other magic tiem) not are necessarily possible in every world and even if would be possible it is not automatic that people know how to build them.

Talon Sky
2010-07-27, 03:11 PM
he third is that there always has to be a balance. In this setting, stronger races are less smart, smarter races are less strong, and races that are both stronger and smarter learn more slowly and never get to as high of levels. Likewise, no matter how many orcs you kill, they're born at the same rate, so that the GM never needs to worry about things like extinction. Thus, it's not unreasonable to assume that magic works the same way; there's always a price to whatever you do, even if you're not aware of it. Maybe every resurrection kills someone on the other side of the world. Maybe every fire spell lowers the average temperature to concentrate the heat where you point. Maybe Conjuration (Creation) is actually a subset of (Calling) and the food you made for this starving family is food that some other family will never get to eat. This would mean that large scale things like raising every corpse or feeding a nation with nothing but magic would be impossible, because as soon as you start "creating" food for thousands and never growing it in the first place, someone else summons the food away immediately so it's gone a second after it arrives. If you have massive factories powered by permanent fire spells, they drop the temperature in the surrounding area to the point where the citizens need their own fire spells to survive, and eventually you get to the point where the whole world is icy wasteland spotted with occasional refugees huddling around a wall of fire. The gods, and epic level mages, know this and prevent it from happening.

I like this, I'm gonna use it in my game world.

Also, no one seems to be considering that some people like being farmers. It's a good, honest living. It's hard work and satisfying. Maybe magic hasn't advanced to this point because people simply didn't need it to.

ScionoftheVoid
2010-07-27, 04:25 PM
Also, no one seems to be considering that some people like being farmers. It's a good, honest living. It's hard work and satisfying. Maybe magic hasn't advanced to this point because people simply didn't need it to.

My campaign world is ruled by magic for the most part, but keeps small areas of wilderness inside the massive cities to let people live in a more "simple" way as entertainment (and they can leave if they get bored of it) for this very reason.

I prefer the conclusion that magic-users have taken over the world, but realise that dealing with those who don't like change is bothersome and/or inefficient and leave non-magically ruled areas for those peoples' sake.

Dr.Epic
2010-07-27, 04:32 PM
Reason why magic hasn't taken over the world: a wizard did it.

Also, what about all the other things that could take over the world: dragons. Most ancient ones could take down the tarrasque, and unlike that monster, there are more than one of it.

Jack_Simth
2010-07-27, 05:17 PM
I'm not sure if it's 'social reasons' as such, more just filling in the gaps of the system. As a basic example - how long would it take to get 10,000 people through this system? At a minute each, that's over 160 hours or more than 6 days.
You can set all the traps off in one move action (you're walking down a hallway). All you need to do is put your bowl through the trough and move on. It takes 1 round, tops, to get one person through. It's not so much "6 days" as it is "16 hours".

So everyone gets fed once a week. OK, you could set up several feeding lines, one healing line etc, but that starts increasing your overheads. Not only do you need somewhere to put all this, but you need, at least, some way of controlling the queues - one guy taking the copper pieces won't do (have you ever been to a stadium event?)
So you have ten booths. They all feed into the same hallway. Oh yes, and as there's no particular limit to the size of the trigger area, it can be a very wide hallway. How long does it take for 10,000 people to walk down a hallway 15 feet wide, touch a wall, and continue on down the same hallway? Sure, it's not instant... but it doesn't take all *that* long.

And you need to deal with inevitable queue jumping, egos trying to barge in etc.
Less than you might think. You don't have to charge *everyone*, you just have to charge *most*. If 2% of the people sneak/intimidate/rush past the guys running your booths... it doesn't matter. You do take steps to keep up appearances - put up wanted posters, offer actual rewards for brining them in, that kind of thing - but it doesn't really eat into your profit margin significantly. The only real reason to charge for this is to prevent a revolution and keep people busy. The fact that it lines your pockets is a plus, but not a necessity.

Then there's dealing with people's other needs - I've not seen anyone yet say how magic is providing people with clothing or furniture.
Clothing or furniture? No. But when it's the dead of winter, three feet of snow, and you're perfectly comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans (Endure Elements, remember), clothing becomes a matter of society only. Furniture is only marginally necessary.

But then, you also have a need to employ a large number of people. Might as well have them make useful things the old fashioned way.

Of course, if you get a 9th level Wizard involved, you can get an Extended Minor Creation trap to make temporary basics from nothing, or a Fabricate trap to make real basics from raw materials. Oh yes, and as the Fabricate spell lists the raw materials as the material component, you really only need that at crafting time. So you can make a Fabricate (Gold Coins) trap that actually creates gold coins from nothing... although you need the materials for 100 times the "trigger yield" (well, 33.3333... times the trigger yield - material costs are 1/3 the price of the finished product) when you're making it, plus the stuff for the trap itself.

You would in no way take ove rthe city, accidentally or otherwise. There would be plenty of other people with their own sources of power and income who would oppose you,
Social reasons and interference. Listed as things that could stop this.

not to mention all the people who wouldn't want to work at your wages.
You don't force them to work at your wages. They say "no, I'm not going to work at that salary", you say "okay, have a nice day". If people aren't working for you, the local economy is slowly drained of coinage (unless everyone boycotts your business). When the weaponsmith can't sell his shortspear for 1 gp because nobody has a gold coin to pay him with, 9 cp for a day's labor looks good. Especially so when the guy offering the 9 cp for a day's labor can demonstrate that it's a livable wage, that will even get him some off time (to support himself, he needs to work five days out of every nine).

You don't have expenses other than people collecting money (and the stuff you choose to waste money on), and so if you're not actively spending money, the buck pretty much stops at you, and builds up. After a point, the economy suffers for a lack of coins. And while yes, the guy who's making something you aren't doesn't technically work for you, almost everyone who buys his stuff, does. Oh yes, and because after a point you're hiring people for no other reason than to waste people's time so they don't think about a violent revolution, you can easily pay people to produce whatever that guy makes. And because your workers are paid less, simple business competition drives him out of business. After which point, he's a lot more likely to be willing to work for you.




Of course, there could be some people who would set up some traps out of the goodness of their heart (eg a remote cave which cast resurrection on anyone left overnight) but even then there would be issues around preserving the trap, people trying to take them over to restrict their use to their followers, things like that. I know Tippyverse and such are thought experiments, but you need to extend the thought to see how they would really work.
I did.



As for what such a society might look like - I can think of one real world society where the people didn't have to work to keep themselves - the Spartans.

A society where there is not a survival-related need for labor from 99% of the populace will generally end up looking like whatever the people who're bright enough to keep the 99% busy want it to look like (and it will reflect the method by which they keep the 99% busy).

With this trap setup, I have need for maybe 1 person in a thousand manning a booth to take coin. I maybe need 99 people in a thousand making the stuff that wears out only very slowly (bowls, spoons, knives, clothing, that kind of thing). Bearing in mind that I have reason to keep as many people employed as feasible, what do I do with the other 900 people?

If I'm militarily-inclined, I maybe have a big chunk of them making weapons & armor, and a big chunk drilling and patrolling the walls (or building the walls).

If I like art, I have most of them as artisans, or support for artisans (gathering materials, making the tools the artisans use, that kind of thing).

AslanCross
2010-07-27, 05:29 PM
Also possible magic releases pollution mayhaps? greenies dont like to much magic as it hurts the environment

I think this is what happened in Dark Sun.

dgnslyr
2010-07-27, 05:36 PM
Simple answer: Magic users, and people with PC levels in general, are rare. High level casters more powerful than the PCs are rarer, and most of them are already elderly archmages who spend their days studying in their towers. Learning magic is incredibly difficult, and few can achieve success.

Now, if you want to have a more interesting setting, maybe many kingdoms in the past have used magic, but they've become too powerful and collapsed, and magic is now feared. Better yet, have that magic-induced collapse happen now instead of some time in the past.

AslanCross
2010-07-27, 05:48 PM
I think the overall point of this thread is that the only place where magic works the way the Tippyverse has it is the Tippyverse. I feel this echoes what happens in the real world a lot: technology really only makes life better for a few. There are always other considerations that prevent the entire campaign setting from becoming a Mago-utopia.

Endarire
2010-07-27, 06:26 PM
Because people want to play Fighters.

Jack_Simth
2010-07-27, 07:08 PM
Simple answer: Magic users, and people with PC levels in general, are rare. High level casters more powerful than the PCs are rarer, and most of them are already elderly archmages who spend their days studying in their towers. Learning magic is incredibly difficult, and few can achieve success.
The 'basic' Tippyverse can be initiated by a 5th or 6th level Cleric, and can arrange to support a city of 10,000 without overly much trouble. Unless you're playing E6, or the PC's are the biggest non-monster on the block, alternate reasons for it not happening are needed if anyone looks at things too deeply.

Now, if you want to have a more interesting setting, maybe many kingdoms in the past have used magic, but they've become too powerful and collapsed, and magic is now feared. Better yet, have that magic-induced collapse happen now instead of some time in the past.Oooh, that makes for an interesting alternate reason.


I think the overall point of this thread is that the only place where magic works the way the Tippyverse has it is the Tippyverse. I feel this echoes what happens in the real world a lot: technology really only makes life better for a few. There are always other considerations that prevent the entire campaign setting from becoming a Mago-utopia.
Uh... define "a few". Sure, combines, chicken factories, and mass production make a small number of people incredibly wealthy... and also make it so most the people in the civilized world really only need to work for maybe eight hours a day... at jobs that do not require heavy lifting, have minimal risks, and are not overly subject to random chance. I think I would call that a very significantly better life than most subsistence farmers had two or three hundred years ago. This applies to ... the majority of the population of the United States, the majority of the population of England, France, and quite a few other places. Refrigeration seriously improved food safety. Better tech usually does eventually make the common person's life easier - it's just not as noticeable as it is for the few, and it takes longer.

Because people want to play Fighters.
Nothing stopping them. Fighters are as useful in a points-of-light semi-Tippyverse as they are in a normal campaign.

Endarire
2010-07-27, 07:22 PM
I believe the main reasons magic doesn't rule the world like it would logically is metagame constraints. People generally don't want a magicopolis around every corner because it lacks the classic fantasy feel.

Besides, people in general are far more familiar with the classic tropes than "MagiTech."

deuxhero
2010-07-27, 07:26 PM
It did.


Seriously. Just do it. It makes a more unique (read:interesting) world that Middle Earth rip off 1523453.

AslanCross
2010-07-27, 07:53 PM
This applies to ... the majority of the population of the United States, the majority of the population of England, France, and quite a few other places.


Which is not really most of the world's population.

I live in a third world country. Our population amounts to about 1/3 of the US's population. Our land area is a fraction of that of the US. Yet even within the capital, majority of the people do not have access to basic sanitation and potable water. Their children walk barefoot to schools with classrooms built for 30 students entertaining an average of 60 (often more), sharing a single book in the darkness without electricity.

I'm fortunate enough to afford to have broadband wireless Internet installed at home, and that I have enough money to actually put in the bank. The minimum daily wage here is about US $6. Many people earn below that.

And we're only at the median as far as per capita income is concerned.

No, I don't think technology has saved the world. It has only saved those who could afford it.

Jack_Simth
2010-07-27, 08:17 PM
Which is not really most of the world's population.
No, but I don't think I can effectively argue why that's immaterial to the discussion at hand without tripping over the forum's "Real-world politics" ban, part of the Forum Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1).

AslanCross
2010-07-27, 08:27 PM
No, but I don't think I can effectively argue why that's immaterial to the discussion at hand without tripping over the forum's "Real-world politics" ban, part of the Forum Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1).

I'd rather not pursue such a direction either, but I do think that since magic is often considered a vaguely veiled metaphor for science as artifice is for technology, I just find the resemblance uncanny.

Small Grey Cat
2010-07-27, 10:58 PM
Maybe, in light of the above, the best answer to the question might be, a la deuxhero, "It will."

Imagine people living in a D&D world, playing an RPG set on Earth in, let's say 1550. The community of that game would probably be asking, "Why doesn't this 'science' stuff take over the world, anyway? They totally could have heavier-than-air flying machines by physics-as-written."

In our world, there are people who believe that genetic engineering and biochemistry and so forth will, eventually, yield a race of immortal, disease-free superhumans. In D&D worlds, the equivalent mode of thinking would be people convinced that magic will inevitably lead to the eventual creation of a "Tippyverse".

PS. I'm new here. Why "Tippyverse", exactly?

ScionoftheVoid
2010-07-28, 12:12 AM
PS. I'm new here. Why "Tippyverse", exactly?

Named for Emperor Tippy, the poster who compiled and created most of the staples of such a world (trap abuse being the big one). I could be wrong, of course. One important note in the workings of the 'verse is that it doesn't use any houserules or non-RAW assumptions. The trap cost rules are rules, even for magic traps whereas the magic item creation guidelines are just that (and are therefore not relied on in RAW discussions). As long as there is a settlement of about city size there are enough casters of a level to carry out the needed steps, and Sigil is assumed to be a part of the gameworld (DMG, in the Planar section of the Adventures chapter) so you are more or less gauranteed enough. Even if you discount those unwilling to help.

Personally I find the ideas behind such a setting wonderful and interesting to think about and use. Others... don't.

jseah
2010-07-28, 02:08 AM
For those interested, the Runecaster can do exactly the same thing the trap rules can:
Player's Guide to Faerun, Page 70

It's a PrC enterable at 6th level. Thus at ECL 14, you gain the ability to make runes (which are essentially traps not unlike Glyph of Warding) that have charges per day.

Which impose no further cost after construction.

AslanCross
2010-07-28, 02:12 AM
PS. I'm new here. Why "Tippyverse", exactly?

It's a world where magic rules (specifically magic item creation rules) are taken to their logical conclusion and used to provide technology that can create an essentially self-sustaining society. An example is creating traps auto-reset but instead of using hostile magic, they cast buffs on friendly units or create food and water.

In such a world, traditional methods of acquiring resources are rendered completely obsolete.

Kami2awa
2010-07-28, 03:15 AM
Maybe, in light of the above, the best answer to the question might be, a la deuxhero, "It will."

Imagine people living in a D&D world, playing an RPG set on Earth in, let's say 1550. The community of that game would probably be asking, "Why doesn't this 'science' stuff take over the world, anyway? They totally could have heavier-than-air flying machines by physics-as-written."

In our world, there are people who believe that genetic engineering and biochemistry and so forth will, eventually, yield a race of immortal, disease-free superhumans. In D&D worlds, the equivalent mode of thinking would be people convinced that magic will inevitably lead to the eventual creation of a "Tippyverse".

PS. I'm new here. Why "Tippyverse", exactly?

I like this idea. Leonardo da Vinci drew designs for modern machines hundreds of years before they became real. Eventually, magic might take over the world; and that might be good or bad.

FatR
2010-07-28, 05:48 AM
Hi,

A lot of people have rightly pointed out that, particularly in the common D&D settings, magic should have elevated the world well beyond the medieval tech level or quality of life.
All DnD settings, except deliberately grimdark ones have the quality of life, if not tech, far above most medieval levels. All DnD settings without exception are controlled by vastly powerful magical beings, who do not take over everything openly (when and where they don't) because the most powerful active faction of them is vaguely benevolent and doesn't want to micromanage.

Therefore, the magic does change them irrecognizably. Just not to the extent rules as written imply.

Orzel
2010-07-28, 06:00 AM
Well here are the reasons from my homebrew worlds.

In Sunken Cities, it did already. But the archangels and archdevels didn't like this and covered the world with a epic spell that weaken all other spells. Only sunken cities are not affected.

In Rogue notes, magic attracts powerful mage possessing spirits and every casted spell creates another one back in their plane. Like Dragon Age but the demons are very strong.

In New York Rumble, too many magic immune sniper rifles. Sure you can see the shooter before he shoots but it's hard to be on defense all day when you can be offed anytime. So few magic users go public.

Kami2awa
2010-07-28, 06:34 AM
It's a world where magic rules (specifically magic item creation rules) are taken to their logical conclusion and used to provide technology that can create an essentially self-sustaining society. An example is creating traps auto-reset but instead of using hostile magic, they cast buffs on friendly units or create food and water.

In such a world, traditional methods of acquiring resources are rendered completely obsolete.

However, the medieval culture was a very long way from any kind of welfare state where the wealthy provide very much at all for the people. While there might be lost examples in the ancient world, it really took until the post-Renaissance era for this kind of idea to even be considered.

hamishspence
2010-07-28, 06:36 AM
Didn't the Romans have the "corn dole" which all the commoners of Rome could make use of?

It's far from a welfare state, but it might be one of the first steps.

AslanCross
2010-07-28, 06:56 AM
However, the medieval culture was a very long way from any kind of welfare state where the wealthy provide very much at all for the people. While there might be lost examples in the ancient world, it really took until the post-Renaissance era for this kind of idea to even be considered.

Which is along the lines of my reasoning earlier. The Tippyverse is purely theoretical, IMO--a thought experiment about the rules of the game.

Just because magic exists in society doesn't mean that the Tippyverse is inevitable. There are many, many issues in human/oid society that would prevent this from happening.

ScionoftheVoid
2010-07-28, 09:48 AM
Which is along the lines of my reasoning earlier. The Tippyverse is purely theoretical, IMO--a thought experiment about the rules of the game.

Just because magic exists in society doesn't mean that the Tippyverse is inevitable. There are many, many issues in human/oid society that would prevent this from happening.

I disagree with your first paragraph, I find something at least similar to the Tippyverse far more pleasurable than the default, pseudo-medieval game world. But that's a difference in opinion, and I don't care enough about it to drag out a discussion about how someone might be "wrong" on the internet (this applies to the opinion part of the post only).

However in your second paragraph I believe you mean "could", more spells can bypass at least some issues and many others rely on social quirks which may not exist (or exist in the same form) in a world where magic is obviously real and most people in a big city would probably know that there is an afterlife tied to your alignment or deity, though probably not from personal experience.

Morph Bark
2010-07-28, 10:21 AM
I reiterate, though, that quality of life will be poor. The more alienated people become from the source of their livelihood, the less of a connection to the world they'll feel, and the weaker their sense of identity will become. Because things are provided for them, they won't have to work, and because they don't have to work, they won't have a sense of purpose. Some few would rise above that and make their own sense of purpose (say, with creative expression), but many more would just be perpetually unhealthy and depressed.

Behold: the pessimistic Marxist.


What with the lack of indoor plumbing, a steady food supply, law enforcement, the rights of man, dentistry, internal medicine, painkillers, and antibiotics...

You get XP for defeating summons. And it wouldn't count as a summon anyways.


Never heard of that one. From Wizards (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/DnD_DMG_XPFinal.asp):

Happiness does not necessarily require being well-cared for.

Also, if the summoned creatures were part of a trap, defeating them would count as defeating the trap, so you'd still get XP for it.


^ This. It's easier to learn to swing a sword then to spend your life learning magic (unless you take the Elan path). As far as Sorcerers, at least in my campaign, they're rare. You're either born capable of magic or you have to spend your life studying it; there's just not enough magic users to keep a world like that afloat in my campaign.

Plus, I also wiggle in that using magic slowly....very slowly....undoes the fabric of reality. That and creation/polymorph spells are permanent....yes, you can create food and water, and consume it for the time being, but it will eventually fade back into the universe. It's more of a hold-over...."Drink this magically-created water until we reach some real water, and then down that."

Create Water has an "instantaneous" duration though, so that's one that would work. Create Food and Drink though, that one has a set limit to its duration so it could be said that it would disappear from your bowels after 24 hours. Heroes' Feast also, but the way it reads seems, perhaps even by RAW, to suggest it only lasts for 1 hour + 12 hours because it takes 1 hour to consume and 12 hours until the effects wear off.


Reason why magic hasn't taken over the world: a wizard did it.

Also, what about all the other things that could take over the world: dragons. Most ancient ones could take down the tarrasque, and unlike that monster, there are more than one of it.

Obviously all the Wyrms and Great Wyrms are playing Xorvintaal in a giant dungeon sealed off from the world, where they have created their own little Tippyverse. :smallamused:

big teej
2010-07-28, 10:48 AM
This idea I find laughable. Prostitution is illegal just about everywhere in the world but is still universal. For that matter, back in the Middle Ages they tried to outlaw the crossbow and a lot of other military inventions, and we all see how well that worked out.

Something like magic -- if it works -- will not be stopped by the mere force of human law. If magic hasn't taken over the world, it's because it's nature is such that unscrupulous dictators , religious organizations, underworld figures, etc. can't make it work that way. Because if it could, someone would, laws or no laws.

I like Pratchett's explanation as well: You can wave a wand and get a loaf of bread with sparklies. And then, somewhere along the way, magic will present its bill. You're better off just baking the bread.

Re-writing the laws of the universe -- which is the essence of fantasy "magic", suspending things like the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics, as Create Food and Water do -- is not something that perhaps should be done on a whim. Imagine a software project where everyone has root access to the source code and every engineer makes whatever changes he likes without consideration of the overall design and function, adding and changing features at will. Imagine further that the ability to access the source code is available to, say, everyone above the age of five. Say in fact that the ability is stronger among five year olds.

Dunno how it works with fantasy magic, but real-world software will soon cease to function. It will stop working and cannot be made to work because no one knows all the changes. Easier to start from scratch and do it over.

This is why major software products have configuration management teams -- perhaps a "mages guild". Their function is to license engineers to access the code, and approve changes that will be made. And they'll come down on an unlicensed operative like a ton of rectangular building things, because even small changes can screw up things for everyone else.

That's my explanation, in a world I write, why magic is fairly rare. Magical damage has been so vast in the past that those surviving magic-users band together to police themselves, to keep the patchwork world from suffering further damage. Which is pretty much the function of UU in Pratchett's universe, as well.

Perhaps programming also offers an explanation of the second reason as well -- because programming really is rewriting the rules of a virtual universe. It's the closest you can come to magic in the real world. And yet lots of people don't try to do it, not even those who use computers everyday, because it isn't always an easy discipline. Perhaps, like a magical spell, it's very easy to get a word wrong or a semicolon missing and if you're lucky have nothing happen at all. Get it just right enough, and you get it to work but find yourself in a never-ending time loop or swallowed by demons from beyond or what not.

So maybe it's a combination of need for a certain level of aptitude, a certain level of desire, and a mages guild determined to keep unlicensed users from crashing the world.

Those would be my explanations, anyway.

Respectfully,

Brian P.


next time a player of mine insists that magicians should have taken over the world, I'm using your programming example, thankye,

(immidietly followed by smacking him with the DM'S guide)

Mark Hall
2010-07-28, 11:35 AM
I think this is what happened in Dark Sun.

Not quite. In 2e Dark Sun, magic was using the life-energy of plants (and, at high levels, animals and people) to power magic. Defilers just took it, while preservers took some, used it, and returned the rest. With a defiler, you destroyed all plant life within a radius based on total spell levels cast from that location.

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 11:36 AM
I just find the resemblance uncanny.
It is a bizarre fact that even in the 21st century there are still people living stone-age lifestyles in various parts of the globe.

Magic should have even less global impact since it can't scale like technology can. You don't have to be smart to be an engineer, just hard-working; but you actually have to have a high IQ to be a wizard.

So you could run a world where parts of it are magic-dominated and parts aren't.

However, I think XP Poverty is the only real answer. The fundamental flaw in D&D is that it treats XP as an infinite resource. Whenever you have an infinite resource you're going to wind up with a society that doesn't match anything we recognize. For the D&D world to make sense, there has to be limits of production on the most valuable resource in the game-world.

In my world it's simple: XP is zero-sum. If you want some, you have to take it from people who already have it. XP does not poof into existence because the DM said you were clever. It is physically there in the world, like gold, and if you want some, you have to take it from the people who already have it. This fixes so many problems...

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-28, 11:46 AM
Again, the whole notion of XP as a real thing is silly. It's a meta-game device.

There's really no reason why a wizard wouldn't just sit around and study to "level up." But that just isn't as interesting as adventuring for the players.

I'll grant that intensive study is a rarity in the population; but you still need to stop taking the rules so seriously.

Tiki Snakes
2010-07-28, 11:50 AM
In my world it's simple: XP is zero-sum. If you want some, you have to take it from people who already have it. XP does not poof into existence because the DM said you were clever. It is physically there in the world, like gold, and if you want some, you have to take it from the people who already have it. This fixes so many problems...

Wouldn't this mean that you can no longer receive XP rewards for solving problems through anything other than violent murder?
Or does talking someone down from conflict, or tricking the brutish Ogre into letting you past, now actually drain XP from them?

ScionoftheVoid
2010-07-28, 12:00 PM
Wouldn't this mean that you can no longer receive XP rewards for solving problems through anything other than violent murder?
Or does talking someone down from conflict, or tricking the brutish Ogre into letting you past, now actually drain XP from them?

Though they said it fixed some problems they never mentioned whether or not it opened the way for far more. A zero-sum of XP problematic rules?:smallamused:

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 12:00 PM
Again, the whole notion of XP as a real thing is silly. It's a meta-game device.
Except that the DMG treats it exactly like gold. Like 5 pieces of gold, in fact.


There's really no reason why a wizard wouldn't just sit around and study to "level up." But that just isn't as interesting as adventuring for the players.
This is the narrativist/simulationist argument again. For worlds which exist solely for the players, you are correct. But for game worlds that have other characters than the PC, it doesn't work.


I'll grant that intensive study is a rarity in the population;
Why? It's not rare in our population. Few people become doctors, true, but then doctors can't bring back the dead. Being a doctor, in other words, does not lead to the highest rewards our society can offer. In fact, chasing leather balls can make you more money than being a doctor. And lots of people invest a lot of time into chasing leather balls.


but you still need to stop taking the rules so seriously.
Why?

First off, it makes running the game easier; second off, it's fun. D&D is and always has been a resource management game. Letting players manage the most valuable resource adds to the fun. My players have to choose between a) leveling up, b) investing in magic items, c) leveling up their followers, or d) sometimes just paying the dang bills.

When the DM assigns XP, he takes away the player's power to affect the game-world and their own fate. When the DM provides rules on how to get XP, he empowers the players to come up with their own schemes (i.e. adventures). And trust me, if you are going to turn the players loose, you better have a solid production limit system in place or your players will bust your world wide open like a rotten tomato.

Theodoriph
2010-07-28, 12:03 PM
It's probably a combination of:

1) Costs
2) Rarity of magic
3) Low population density of humanity
4) Fear of magic
5) Wizard Apathy
6) Lack of incentive
7) Regulation (e.g. guilds)
8) A bajillion more important things to do


As an aside, making the world more magical could very well be detrimental to the world. People need to work.

Ormur
2010-07-28, 12:06 PM
The comparison between the Tippywerse and technology is apt but the problem as pointed out is that Tippyzation can be accomplished by a lone mid level cleric and then the idea spreads around and other mid level clerics other mages can copy that. It only takes a relative instance to convert an agrarian society of subsistence farmers into a society where the primary producers are as small a percentage of the labour force as in the wealthiest 21st century economies.

My own society is one of those and was a relative latecomer but the shift has still been a century and a half in the making and the earliest industrial countries had double that time to adjust.

Industrialization was caused both by new techniques in agriculture freeing up labour over time and new services and industries being created by a better educated population and new demands.

Only the former happens in the Tippyverse at first so you'd probably end up with a large idle population like happened sometimes when job creation didn't catch up with increases in productivity, except multiplied many times. The social upheaval would be more than almost any in history. You'd have to effectively create a service and industrial economy in a few years from scratch to keep the peace.

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 12:07 PM
Wouldn't this mean that you can no longer receive XP rewards for solving problems through anything other than violent murder?
Welcome to grimdark D&D!

It's not quite that bad, however. Basically gold and XP are interchangable, so you can swindle people out of gold and then spend the gold on XP.

But yes, defeating traps no longer produce XP. This is not a flaw, it is a feature. If traps produced XP, then the players would seek out traps as the safest, most cost-effective way to level. This is boring.

In my world it is a very real challenge to the players: how can they level up and remain Good-aligned when leveling up means killing intelligent beings? It creates an interesting moral dynamic.

If you are interested, my sig leads to a whole host of (free) game materials I created to explain how this all works. I realize the idea of tangible XP is startling - every one of my players was dubious at first - but once you start using it you realize it was supposed to be like that all along.

Prime32
2010-07-28, 12:08 PM
Clearly, this means that everyone in D&D-land eats the souls of their enemies.

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 12:09 PM
Though they said it fixed some problems they never mentioned whether or not it opened the way for far more. A zero-sum of XP problematic rules?:smallamused:
Really, it fixes so many things. Even the so-called "flaws" in the system turn out to be fixes. :smallbiggrin:

Coplantor
2010-07-28, 12:11 PM
Maybe, in light of the above, the best answer to the question might be, a la deuxhero, "It will."

Imagine people living in a D&D world, playing an RPG set on Earth in, let's say 1550. The community of that game would probably be asking, "Why doesn't this 'science' stuff take over the world, anyway? They totally could have heavier-than-air flying machines by physics-as-written."

In our world, there are people who believe that genetic engineering and biochemistry and so forth will, eventually, yield a race of immortal, disease-free superhumans. In D&D worlds, the equivalent mode of thinking would be people convinced that magic will inevitably lead to the eventual creation of a "Tippyverse".

PS. I'm new here. Why "Tippyverse", exactly?

Thing is, 1550 people had the theories, but not the tools needed, it took about 300+ for those things to become real. And look around the "science stuff" is taking over.

But magic? Magic is instantaneous, they already have it completly developed, it takes ony one smart guy to realize that the tippyverse is around the corner, and guess wich is the main stat of the wizards? :smalltongue:

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 12:13 PM
Clearly, this means that everyone in D&D-land eats the souls of their enemies.
Yes! Yes!

Doesn't that create just the right vibe? I mean, isn't that what you want your adventurers to be - dangerous people with powers bought at a terrifying price?

Theodoriph
2010-07-28, 12:21 PM
Yes! Yes!

Doesn't that create just the right vibe? I mean, isn't that what you want your adventurers to be - dangerous people with powers bought at a terrifying price?


Lol.


I assume farmers level up by eating the souls of their wheat and cattle! I'll never look at a farmer's daughter the same way.

jseah
2010-07-28, 12:31 PM
But magic? Magic is instantaneous, they already have it completly developed, it takes ony one smart guy to realize that the tippyverse is around the corner, and guess wich is the main stat of the wizards? :smalltongue:
It gets better than that.

Magic is not only instantaneous, it's also nearly effortless once the study/XP has been accrued and is basically costless except for time.

It can manipulate and process information. With some creativity, it can be used to research how to better use magic.


Do I smell a technological singularity?

Coplantor
2010-07-28, 12:36 PM
It gets better than that.

Magic is not only instantaneous, it's also nearly effortless once the study/XP has been accrued and is basically costless except for time.

It can manipulate and process information. With some creativity, it can be used to research how to better use magic.


Do I smell a technological singularity?

Actually... (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7635746&postcount=49)

Please notice the thread title:smallwink:

LurkerInPlayground
2010-07-28, 12:45 PM
{Scrubbed}

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 12:48 PM
I assume farmers level up by eating the souls of their wheat and cattle! I'll never look at a farmer's daughter the same way.
Farmers don't level up. They are how nobles level up.

A 1st level commoner is worth a little bit of XP; when he dies that XP goes to the land lord. This is how people who aren't adventurers gain levels. It also explains why anybody keeps large feudal fiefs full of smelly peasants.

You know how in regular D&D the party is usually 9th level top-tier classes and the local rulers are like 5th level aristocrats? This means the PCs push the local authorities around like they push monsters around. But under my system the local rulers are high-level adventurers, because they get all of their society's XP.

But you're still right: your players won't look at the farmer's daughter in the same way. They will look at her as a unit of economic activity instead of as a person. Which is pretty much how actual medieval nobles looked at peasants.

(And probably your PCs already evaluated every single creature they met based on how much XP they could get from it; so this just gives you an in-game reason for why your PCs act the way they do!)

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 01:02 PM
Yeah, therefore a logical conclusion of setting is that there are stores that sell XP for 10 gp a piece. (Middle men. Am I right?)
No. A feature of the medieval economy was price controls: the price of XP is rigidly set by tradition, so even during regular boom and bust cycles it doesn't really change much.

(Edit: also, there aren't middle men who sell gold coins for twice as much as the price of gold. XP, like gold, is a medium of currency in my world.)


Your logic is oddly backwards. The only rules that need exist are those that details what the players do.
I take this to mean you don't know what narrativist and simulationist mean.

Basically, there are two approaches to gaming: one is telling a story, and the other is simulating a world. For people who want to tell stories, all that matters is what the PCs can do. The NPCs can do whatever the DM wants them to do whenever he wants them to. Of course, this makes you wonder why NPCs even have hit points and attack rolls; why don't they just hit when the DM thinks it would be most exciting and die when the DM thinks it would be most dramatic? (Actually... in some game systems, this is in fact how it works.)

In the simulationist approach the DM creates a world that operates by its own internal logic, and then presents it to the players as a toy for them to interact with.

D&D is pretty clearly a mixture of both. There are extensive rules for NPCs, as if to suggest that the world should operate according to fixed order. But there are special rules for PCs (actually not that many) and worse, there are rules missing (like why you can't disarm the same trap over and over again to level) which require the DM to make up special rules.

If you are into simulationist gaming, you are going to find my system really, really helpful. If you are into narrativist gaming... you might still find it pretty cool, because it adds drama and weight to the process of gaining levels (and the responsibility to use that dearly-bought power wisely).


That NPC's study to learn magic isn't an unreasonable assumption given its pedigree in fantasy literature.
That PCs don't is.

In fantasy literature, the main characters are shown doing the same thing as the other characters. D&D departs from literature by explicitly asserting two sets of rules for PCs and NPCs. Admittedly, literature depicts two different outcomes - the heroes win and the bad guys lose - but it pretends that they are operating on the same rules.


And don't accuse me of thinking along some sort of arbitrary school of gaming thought..
It would be easier to avoid doing that if you would avoid doing it.


In a subsistence-based agriculture; study is prohibitively expensive if having a good crop is the difference between starving to death and living.
Half of this thread is about how a 6th level character can feed a city, and yet you complain I need to "actually read what people are trying to communicate?"


My point exactly is that the rules are there to prop up that game. But it's not like you have to literally treat them as HOLY CANON.
My point is that there is good reason - both in the DM and PC quality of experience - to do precisely that.

Talon Sky
2010-07-28, 01:33 PM
Clearly, this means that everyone in D&D-land eats the souls of their enemies.

"Now, be careful, Fry. And if you kill anyone, make sure to eat their
heart to gain their courage. Their rich, tasty courage." -Professor Farnsworth

Oh my, yes.

Amphetryon
2010-07-28, 01:42 PM
<SNIP>I take this to mean you don't know what narrativist and simulationist mean.

Basically, there are two approaches to gaming: one is telling a story, and the other is simulating a world.<SNIP>The notion that there are but two, binary, choices is, so far as I've seen, unique to this post and poster. Even the most hardcore GNS theorists that I've come across would add a 3rd option, Gamist - the 'G' in GNS Theory. Almost all GNS theory advocates that I've personally encountered or whose ideas I've read admit to gradations within those three discreet boxes, as well, leading to a far more varied gaming landscape than 'two approaches' would indicate.

Yahzi
2010-07-28, 02:03 PM
The notion that there are but two, binary, choices is, so far as I've seen, unique to this post and poster.
GNS is not without its detractors. For example, I'm not sure what the difference between Gamist and Simulationist is. I don't think anybody plays RPGs strictly to "win." And I did pretty clearly say D&D is a mixture.

Also, there have been many, many, many, many, many threads on the role of simulation vs story on these boards. This distinction seems to be far more useful to the kinds of discussions I engage in than GNS.

But hey, YMMV. :smallsmile:

Darthteej
2010-07-29, 03:31 AM
This thread has now inspired me, my first homebrew world focuses mostly on dwarf society, only these take advantage of the powers of clerics and wizards(yes, WIZARDS) spells in order to further their industry. They transport by teleportation, use magic items, abuse WoF+Permanency to power forges, create food supplies, and have cute little medium and small size golems :smalltongue:

mint
2010-07-29, 06:34 AM
I am filling in as DM for my group this summer. The world I made for them solves it like this:
All young humans smart enough and with the desire can educate themselves to become paperwizards. They work for the Bureau of Signs and Portents and function sort of like 28k modems.
I take the magic as a subset of science route. Limit the available spells known to mostly divinations and spells for communication and some illusions.
The explanation being that knowing chemistry isn't the same as knowing computer science and similarly divination and necromancy can have an analogous relationship.

Though, I guess magic has taken over the world in my campaign. That's more of an explanation for why magic users in general don't rule the world.

Tiki Snakes
2010-07-29, 09:20 AM
Welcome to grimdark D&D!

It's not quite that bad, however. Basically gold and XP are interchangable, so you can swindle people out of gold and then spend the gold on XP.

But yes, defeating traps no longer produce XP. This is not a flaw, it is a feature. If traps produced XP, then the players would seek out traps as the safest, most cost-effective way to level. This is boring.

In my world it is a very real challenge to the players: how can they level up and remain Good-aligned when leveling up means killing intelligent beings? It creates an interesting moral dynamic.

If you are interested, my sig leads to a whole host of (free) game materials I created to explain how this all works. I realize the idea of tangible XP is startling - every one of my players was dubious at first - but once you start using it you realize it was supposed to be like that all along.

So, you can't level up by defeating 99% of the Tomb of Horrors, but spend a few months prospecting with the dwarves, and you can buy yourself a couple of levels?

If it works for your group, then more power to you. But I'm really not seeing how it could be described as 'how it was supposed to be all along'.

Small Grey Cat
2010-07-29, 01:21 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but, back in the halcyon days of yore (1st ed. D&D or thereabouts. One of the early ones, anyway), didn't gold pieces actually literally equal XP? Parties levelled up by hauling millions of gold back to town on carts. If that's true, I think Yahzi has discovered that D&D still hasn't gotten that assumption completely out of its system. But whether or not that's true, you're right, Yahzi, the DMG does treat XP as equal to 5 GP. The astuteness of your observation is wonderous to behold.

And, Coplantor and jseah, my point was that the, let's call it the Magitek Revolution, was inevitable, but that the current level of understanding doesn't necessarily allow it. Magic is "completely developed" in the PHB and the splatbooks, but I don't think that even Mordenkainen or Elminster has the Spell Compendium, Complete Mage and Unearthed Arcana sitting in their libraries.

Even the most intelligent and visionary minds are prisoners of the level of knowledge in their societies. You and I have access to all the necessary information, spelled out clearly without any distracting half-truths or speculations laced in around it. That doesn't mean that the wizards and clerics of an average D&D setting have access to that same information. Especially since there isn't a peer-review process for magical research. The necessary information about magical traps, for example, might be scattered between thirty different texts, all by a different spellcaster and all containing equal parts (or more likely, unequal parts) workable knowledge and random myth and legend.

You're right in that, eventually, all the pieces are going to be put together. But I think you've mistakenly assumed that the information we, the players, have access to is also equally available to the "in-universe" people. Only the most exceptional scholars (and probably not even them) are going to have access to the kind of in-depth information on the Lords of the Nine Hells that Fiendish Codex II gives us, why should copies of the DMG be on the shelves of your local wizards' guild library?

Yahzi
2010-07-29, 01:58 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but, back in the halcyon days of yore (1st ed. D&D or thereabouts. One of the early ones, anyway), didn't gold pieces actually literally equal XP? Parties levelled up by hauling millions of gold back to town on carts.
Oh, so very true. But I know this fact not due to any erudition or sagacious knowledge, but simply because I played 1st D&D. Back then it was the only game in town, and we had to haul our gold uphill. Both ways.

You are also right that my point is that D&D still hasn't erased that assumption; in fact, my point is that it can't. Magic items give you power; a 1st level with 200K of gear will curb-stomp 5th level characters. Magic items require XP to make. Levels give you power and require XP. It's all interconnected at the root level of mechanics.

D&D is a resource-management game, and XP is the most important resource.


Even the most intelligent and visionary minds are prisoners of the level of knowledge in their societies.
This is an excellent and oft-overlooked point. I'd like to quote the incredible Frank Trollman on this:


Bringing the World out of the Dark Ages

It is historical fact that you can take a ridiculous and crumbling imperium with serfs and horse-drawn carts managed by a tyrannical and squabbling aristocracy and boot strap it into being a technologically sophisticated global power that can win the space race and such in a single generation even while being invaded by an evil and genocidal empire. The people at the top don't even need to be nice or sane, they just have to understand that economics is an entirely voodoo science, and the limits of production can be broken by thousands of percentage points by getting everyone to buy on credit, work on projects that people looking at the big picture tell them to work on, continuously invest in productive capital, and believe in the future.

Right. That's called Communism, and it ends the dark ages immediately even if it isn't run well.Presumably if it was being run by Paladins who actually radiate goodness and Wizards who are inhumanly intelligent and can cast powerful divinations to determine projected needs and goods could be distributed to the masses with teleportals – it would work substantially better. That sort of thing is not outside the capabilities of your characters in D&D. It's not outside the capabilities of the people in the village your characters are saving from gnollish invasion. It's not even technically complicated. But it isn't done.

Partly it isn't done because we're playing Dungeons & Dragons, not Logistics & Dragons. While it is true that you can fix the world's ills in a much more tangible fashion by industrializing the production of grain and arranging a non-gold based distribution system such that staple food stuffs are available to all, thereby freeing up potential productive labor for use in blah blah blah… the fact is that to a very real degree we play this game because telling stories about slaying evil necromancers and swinging on chandeliers is awesome. But the other reason is that the society in D&D really isn't ready for a modern or futuristic social setup. Noone is going to understand how they are supposed to interact with Socialism, Capitalism, or Fascism, things are Feudal and people understand that. Wealth is exchanged for goods and services on the grounds that people on both sides of the exchange aren't sure that they would win the resulting combat if they tried to take the goods or wealth by force of arms.

Rome had steam engines. Actual difference engines that propelled a metal device with the power of a combustion reaction through the medium of the expansion of heated water. Really. They never built rail roads because slaves were cheaper than donkeys and the concept of investing in labor saving devices was preposterous. In D&D, the idea of having an economy based around trust in the government and labor/wealth equivalencies is similarly preposterous. It's not that the idea wouldn't work, it's that every man, woman, and child in society would simply laugh you out of the room if you tried to explain it to them.


~ Frank Trollman, http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547

His point is that we taken all sorts of knowledge - like for instance that economics is even a science that can be manipulated - for granted. As DMs we need to curb this in our players so we can create living, breathing fantasy worlds that feel real.

FatR
2010-07-29, 03:31 PM
Yes! Yes!

Doesn't that create just the right vibe? I mean, isn't that what you want your adventurers to be - dangerous people with powers bought at a terrifying price?
Not in the slightest. I'm bored of murderous hobos and ****ty worlds.

zalmatra
2010-07-29, 07:48 PM
in eberron magic has kind of taken over the world. but you still need skill and focus to become a wizard/cleric/druid otherwise your a adept or that other class

the wizards/clerics/druids represent the pinnacle 20% of those capable/intelligent enough to progress magic

jseah
2010-07-29, 08:18 PM
And, Coplantor and jseah, my point was that the, let's call it the Magitek Revolution, was inevitable, but that the current level of understanding doesn't necessarily allow it. Magic is "completely developed" in the PHB and the splatbooks, but I don't think that even Mordenkainen or Elminster has the Spell Compendium, Complete Mage and Unearthed Arcana sitting in their libraries.
Would you then agree that the first step to such a revolution is say... the setting up of a mage university someplace?

A bit like how the university of Cambridge was set up in the 1200s.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With the trap rules, it doesn't even take all that much. As it has been explained, it only takes 1 kindly cleric with craft wondrous item per large city. Without any technological advances apart from wanting to feed the poor.
- In fact, economics understanding would make the enterprising cleric hesitate. It's better if the cleric is a head-in-the-clouds idealist.

Then again, I dislike those trap rules.
So either it takes 14th level Runecasters from FR (which can craft a per day trap)
or a magical university in order to make use of magical technology (e. wall of fire steam engines)

Given that MotAO comes from an arcane guild, complete with it's own organization and libraries, what's there to say that said university doesn't already exist?

Jack_Simth
2010-07-29, 08:42 PM
You're right in that, eventually, all the pieces are going to be put together. But I think you've mistakenly assumed that the information we, the players, have access to is also equally available to the "in-universe" people. Only the most exceptional scholars (and probably not even them) are going to have access to the kind of in-depth information on the Lords of the Nine Hells that Fiendish Codex II gives us, why should copies of the DMG be on the shelves of your local wizards' guild library?

Considering the number of magical traps that show up in your standard dungeon, and that it really only requires spellcasting and a feat that any full spellcaster qualifies for at 3rd level, it can't be *that* hard to figure out how to make one.

Certain PrC's explicitly go with guilds.

How much of a stretch is it, really, to go from noticing that those pesky traps tend to keep going off until acted upon by a skilled rogue, to noting that the same techniques could be a real time-saver?

The food trap becomes especially likely if there's a siege going on. And once you've got that... the others are much, much more likely.

Lapak
2010-07-29, 10:00 PM
I agree that the rules of 3.x as they stand don't provide any real reason that magic doesn't quickly become the technology of any given D&D world, and some settings take note of that.

For myself and my setting, I've been gradually evolving something vaguely similar to Yahzi's solution and riffing on Dark Sun. XP isn't an actual obtainable resource in my setting, but there is a finite amount of it to go around in any given area - and it's the soul-energy that allows for life. The experience any given character has, and the experience sunk into magical item creation, is a measure of how much of this energy is being drawn from the overall pool of soul-stuff to sustain that person/object. Charged items release the energy as they are discharged; permanent items (and people) hold it until they die or are destroyed; permanent items that have a triggered effect - like traps, or Fiery Burst swords - draw this energy each time they go off.

A few items, or a few high-level characters, don't really impact the world around them much. But mass-produced items - or items that are in constant use - draw off all the energy that would otherwise be going into new lives. Start overusing magic? Crops fail, birth rates drop, livestocks are gradually depleted. This is also why elves and dwarves have low birth rates in my setting - the average elf is higher-level than the average human due to a long life, but their population is stunted. All cultures tend to shy away from mass production of magical aids due to history and legends of what happens to cultures that do.

In addition, this gives a reason for all of the lovely ruined civilizations that provide settings for Adventure - empires that rose, became mighty, went magi-tech, and turned themselves into a wasteland. Ruins, dungeons, lost cities, all kinds of good things result.