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View Full Version : [D&D] A City Surrounded by Darkness - what do the citizens do?



Kensen
2010-09-03, 04:33 AM
Imagine a city surrounded by perpetual darkness. There's no morning, day, or evening, just an endless night. The Church - the only legal religious organization in the city - upholds law and order in the city, and they have also monopolized the production of food and magical lighting. Any spellcasters that are not members of the Church are hunted down, tried, found guilty of witchcraft and executed. Military grade weapons are also controlled. To obtain or use a sword, for example, you need a licence or your sword will be confiscated and you'll be arrested.

Long ago, the Church had a tall stone wall built around the city, so as to keep the darkness and any monsters outside (and to prevent any citizens from escaping but shhhh that's not the official truth). Paladins and city guards keep watch, making sure that no-one or nothing enters or exits the city.

It's an interesting setting for a campaign but then I started thinking about the citizens' daily life and verisimilitude. Without crops to tend to, trees to fell and other cities to trade with, life in the city must be dramatically different from "ordinary" D&D cities.

I suppose some people feed the government issued artificial food (=create food and water spell) to their pigs and cows to grow "real food", and people do some crafting with recycled materials, but that's not much since all resources are scarce.

So, the question is: What do you think the citizens do with their time in such a setting?

DragonOfUndeath
2010-09-03, 04:37 AM
pray
eat
sleep
pray
research/ scholarly things
pray

FelixG
2010-09-03, 04:40 AM
Probobly worship at the church, many would probobly become suicidal.

It is likely a good portion would be devoted to coming up with entertainment as they would not be able to rely on sources outside providing such things so they would be forced to provide for their own.

If not their boredom and strain would turn to depression then psychosis. Would not be a fun place that is for sure.

JadedDM
2010-09-03, 05:00 AM
It is likely a good portion would be devoted to coming up with entertainment as they would not be able to rely on sources outside providing such things so they would be forced to provide for their own.

I agree. The villagers outnumber the clergy and paladins, I assume. They would likely revolt sooner or later without some kind of distraction such as entertainment or whatever.

Brigham
2010-09-03, 05:24 AM
Probobly worship at the church, many would probobly become suicidal.


Not necessarily. Ethnocentrism is the enemy here. The people in this city are raised in the culture and would generally have a difficult time seeing anything wrong with life in the city.

First, I'll recommend some reading. "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula LeGuin. It is a short story about a utopian society hinged on a dark reality, one which causes some citizens to leave of their own volition. It won't answer your question, but it will aide you in a broad sense. A general knowledge of Aristotle's regarding politics/social organization would help you, also. (I'll track down some links later).

It sounds as though everything is provided in this town. Food, protection, shelter, etc. A class system would likely develop with the Authority at the top, followed by the Enforcers (paladins, guards, etc), and then the laity (everyone else). You are capable of fleshing out the first two categories and how they affect town life. The laity would likely be a servant class (cooking, cleaning, metal-smithing). I don't know that currency as such would play a role in the setting you've described. Still, the luxury of provision allows for advancements.

This sounds like a highly cultured place, though authoritarian. People are free to pursue art (though the content might be regulated), philosophy, medicine. Society as a whole would be fairly advanced. An Eberron flair within a Greyhawk setting. While "backwards" in some ways, the town is rich with peculiar technology and technique.

I'll ponder this a bit more. A very fun idea.

hewhosaysfish
2010-09-03, 05:59 AM
People are free to pursue art (though the content might be regulated)
That's just means there'll be a thriving black market. Well, not a market as such since the only real commodity people will be able to trade for illict goods/services is more, different illicit goods/services.


I agree. The villagers outnumber the clergy and paladins, I assume. They would likely revolt sooner or later without some kind of distraction such as entertainment or whatever.
Revolt? Against the people who magically food in a place where nothing grows? Only really feasible if there are clerics of an alternative god operating secretly in the city and the revolutionaries plan to replace the current authorities with this other religion.


So this City In Shadows has secret vice clubs and cabals of revolutionary cultists... or to put in another way, plot hooks, adventure seeds and campaign ideas :smallbiggrin:

Kensen
2010-09-03, 06:21 AM
Not necessarily. Ethnocentrism is the enemy here. The people in this city are raised in the culture and would generally have a difficult time seeing anything wrong with life in the city.

I think so too. The majority of the people are content with what they have because they have never heard of anything better. The Church gives them food, so they have no reason to believe that they have ulterior motives. The laws are very strict, but as the Church puts it: "The laws are there to protect you." To return the favor, the Church expects you to perform duties they assign to you (such as joining the city guard or fire brigade).


It sounds as though everything is provided in this town. Food, protection, shelter, etc. A class system would likely develop with the Authority at the top, followed by the Enforcers (paladins, guards, etc), and then the laity (everyone else).

Yep, each registered member of the Church that attends the daily mass get their daily ration of food. (The clerics cast spells and have magical items that create food.) Paladins do most of the field work (supervising the duties of the city guard, guarding religious sites and hunting criminals and witches), while the clerics generally take care of the more administrative duties.


The laity would likely be a servant class (cooking, cleaning, metal-smithing). I don't know that currency as such would play a role in the setting you've described. Still, the luxury of provision allows for advancements.

Trade is probably mostly commodity-based since raw materials are scarce in such an isolated community. If the city has no access to metal ore, all unused metal (including coins) would probably be recycled.


This sounds like a highly cultured place, though authoritarian. People are free to pursue art (though the content might be regulated), philosophy, medicine. Society as a whole would be fairly advanced. An Eberron flair within a Greyhawk setting. While "backwards" in some ways, the town is rich with peculiar technology and technique.

Yep, that might happen. Well-off people would have a lot of time in their hands, so they'd try to figure out ways of making something out of nothing, i.e. come up with more efficient processes for production and invent tools and gadgets that make up for the scarcity of resources. But I doubt that the society as a whole would be advanced.


I'll ponder this a bit more. A very fun idea.

Thank you, I appreciate that. :smallsmile:

W3bDragon
2010-09-03, 06:28 AM
It seems to me that food ration writs would naturally become currency. The church could make paper notes to the effect of: "The bearer of this writ is entitled to one ration of food and water." or some such.

Once some kind of currency start circulating, trade, illicit or otherwise, will naturally develop.

Kensen
2010-09-03, 06:33 AM
That's just means there'll be a thriving black market. Well, not a market as such since the only real commodity people will be able to trade for illict goods/services is more, different illicit goods/services.

So this City In Shadows has secret vice clubs and cabals of revolutionary cultists... or to put in another way, plot hooks, adventure seeds and campaign ideas :smallbiggrin:

A very active criminal underworld, I like that idea. :smallcool: I'm thinking there might be a literal Undercity, a network of conveniently spacious sewers and catacombs that some people use for passage, and some people even live there (criminals, "witches" and other people on the run.

And then there are the Seekers, a secret society that tries to uncover the past of the city that is for the most part shrouded in mystery (and propaganda). They also explore the Undercity and the dark world beyond the Wall.

W3bdragon: Food coupons as currency, I like that idea. :smallsmile:

Morph Bark
2010-09-03, 10:27 AM
Depends on how long this has been going on. If it has been that way since the dawn of man, everyone will likely have developed darkvision to a degree. Or low-light vision at the least.

A "day" might also be different from them and people will be more used to working in shifts, because there is no day-night cycle to screw them over anyway. Stores and the like might be open 24/7, just tended to by different people at different times, unless the church for some inexplicable reason decides to put out a curfew, but in that case it'd be best if there'd be a way to measure time. Like in Menzoberrenzan a wizard or priest would go to the center of the city to a stone pillar to imbue it with magic and the light would slowly go up and become brighter, before going down again, but that might give it a day-night cycle of sorts that you don't want.

Psyx
2010-09-03, 10:41 AM
Heh. find out: http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com

Magic would have to provide food, and as all licensed magic comes from the church, they control the food, and hence the population.

I can see people growing mushroom and whatever as well.
Silk from silkworms in attics.

But no new metal or wood. I'm wondered what everyone is going to *do* with their time. I'd expect massive unemployment, as Rome suffered. With the proles entitled to nothing much other than food rationing.

To keep the populous happy you need a distraction. Violent sport is a classic for a reason.


I'd also take a look at SLA Industries, for a good (if sci-fi) idea about life in a monopolist urban sprawl with rife unemployment.

Kensen
2010-09-03, 12:59 PM
Depends on how long this has been going on. If it has been that way since the dawn of man, everyone will likely have developed darkvision to a degree. Or low-light vision at the least.

It's been going on for at least 100 years. Maybe only a handful of people (old elves and dwarves to be more precise) can actually remember what happened, or maybe it's been too long for anyone to remember. The highest ranking members of the Church probably know the truth, but either they consider it better not to tell what really happened because people are mostly OK with their lives, or maybe the Church was involved in it somehow. There are many popular theories about it, or course.


A "day" might also be different from them and people will be more used to working in shifts, because there is no day-night cycle to screw them over anyway. Stores and the like might be open 24/7, just tended to by different people at different times, unless the church for some inexplicable reason decides to put out a curfew, but in that case it'd be best if there'd be a way to measure time. Like in Menzoberrenzan a wizard or priest would go to the center of the city to a stone pillar to imbue it with magic and the light would slowly go up and become brighter, before going down again, but that might give it a day-night cycle of sorts that you don't want.

Good point. Option 1: People work in shifts and have no concept of "day" and "night", or Option 2: The Church artificially maintains a day/night cycle by activating the magical lights when it's "daytime" and dismissing the spells when it's the "night".


Heh. find out: http://echobazaar.failbettergames.com

Magic would have to provide food, and as all licensed magic comes from the church, they control the food, and hence the population.

I can see people growing mushroom and whatever as well.
Silk from silkworms in attics.

Perhaps they've made mushrooms illegal so they can better control the population. But of course, some people don't care and they secretly eat them (and use them for recreational purposes...)

Real-world silk worms eat plants, and without sunlight there won't be any plant life, so there won't be any silk worms unless they can eat either mushrooms or the magically created gruel. :smallbiggrin:


But no new metal or wood. I'm wondered what everyone is going to *do* with their time. I'd expect massive unemployment, as Rome suffered. With the proles entitled to nothing much other than food rationing.

To keep the populous happy you need a distraction. Violent sport is a classic for a reason.

I'd also take a look at SLA Industries, for a good (if sci-fi) idea about life in a monopolist urban sprawl with rife unemployment.

Yep, no new metal or wood. Metal can be recycled, but the lack of wood is going to be a problem... Of course, if the people feed pigs and other animals with the magically created food, they get bone and other materials for crafting. Bone can be used to make tool handles and such.

The Daylight spell, of course, can be used to grow plants. Maybe they have a greenhouse, a kind of "Noah's Ark" for plants.

I was thinking about blood sports, too, but maybe it'd make more sense if it was more of a Fight Club type of thing than a church-sponsored event.

Umael
2010-09-03, 01:11 PM
I apologize if this has been answered already, but I am curious about the nature of this darkness. Is this darkness such like one of the great underground cities of the Underdark? Is this darkness because the city is above ground, but enclosed, like a giant arena dome? Is this city in darkness because of magic, and if so, is this darkness considered "normal" (i.e., you can see just fine with a torch (well, 20' radius), or is this darkness more resistant (i.e., you need magic light to push it aside)? How high does this darkness go - if the darkness was something similar to being underwater, than it would get lighter further up?

I have more, but how this darkness functions is the primary one on my mind.

Seracain
2010-09-03, 01:22 PM
Another point to consider, magic is creating new food and water, but where is the trash, remains and other non-desirables going? Without a method of removal, the build up would grow too large.

Kensen
2010-09-03, 01:40 PM
I apologize if this has been answered already, but I am curious about the nature of this darkness. Is this darkness such like one of the great underground cities of the Underdark? Is this darkness because the city is above ground, but enclosed, like a giant arena dome? Is this city in darkness because of magic, and if so, is this darkness considered "normal" (i.e., you can see just fine with a torch (well, 20' radius), or is this darkness more resistant (i.e., you need magic light to push it aside)? How high does this darkness go - if the darkness was something similar to being underwater, than it would get lighter further up?

I have more, but how this darkness functions is the primary one on my mind.

Good question, and no, it hasn't been answered already. It's a "natural" darkness, an absence of light. Maybe it's a demiplane where there is no sun or equivalent light source, or maybe the sun just didn't rise one morning. (The planet's rotation changed to synchronous with the sun, leaving the city in an area where it's always dark.) There are no significant changes in temperature. It's always around 15-20 degrees Celcius, or 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Torches and light spells function normally, just as they would in a lightless dungeon or at night.

Crow
2010-09-03, 01:46 PM
I'd bet a lot of people kill themselves. Seriously. I've heard of studies finding that people who live in areas of "gloomy" weather are more likely to commit suicide than those in "happy" climates.

Perpetual dark...Pretty gloomy.

Umael
2010-09-03, 02:03 PM
Good question, and no, it hasn't been answered already. It's a "natural" darkness, an absence of light. Maybe it's a demiplane where there is no sun or equivalent light source, or maybe the sun just didn't rise one morning. (The planet's rotation changed to synchronous with the sun, leaving the city in an area where it's always dark.) There are no significant changes in temperature. It's always around 15-20 degrees Celcius, or 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Torches and light spells function normally, just as they would in a lightless dungeon or at night.

*nod*

Thank you for answering that. I hope you don't mind if I have a few more questions because of your answers.

Given that both the stars and the moon can provide some (meager) source of light, I take it that neither of their illumination touch the city. Clouds can block light from the stars and the moon, but a number of cities are detected at night from over the horizon by the glow of the lights from the city. Thus, I take it that there is neither star nor moon nor cloud overhead.

Of course, without cloud, you do not have rain, which means water is going to be an issue, but that's for later.

Pardon me for going back, but you did not answer how the darkness demarcates from the light. Is there a definite zone between the light and the dark, or is it gradual lightening (such as with underwater lighting)? As a demiplane (if that is your concept), is the demiplane defined in three-dimensions (i.e., it is just as dark where the air is thinner than a bird can fly as it is on the ground), or is there a zone (or a transition)?

If you wanted to think of the darkness like water, that would make the city walls like the sides of a tank - does that mean the darkness can "spill over"? Will a hole in the wall breach the dyke? Or will it work the other way, where a hole in the wall will cause sunlight to flood into the city?

(I would advise against having the planet's rotation be in synch (i.e., tidally locked) with the sun. That creates a lot of problems, as well as not addressing the issue of moonlight and starlight.)

The temperature being constant is important too, but for now, the way the light works is the only thing right now.

Sallera
2010-09-03, 02:08 PM
Another point to consider, magic is creating new food and water, but where is the trash, remains and other non-desirables going? Without a method of removal, the build up would grow too large.

S'what gelatinous cubes and the like are for. That's the ooze's ecological niche, after all, and you can just use the classic method of keeping them in smooth-walled pits.

I don't know that the suicide rates would be much higher than normal after a generation or two. If it's all you've ever known, there wouldn't be too many psychological effects, and I presume magically created food provides all the necessary nutrition; if it didn't, the society'd have collapsed from malnutrition decades ago.

I can see there being a lot of desire to explore the dark among the younger members of the population. Desire for the unknown, and all. Paladins constantly repairing the walls, collapsing tunnels that have been dug underneath...

fusilier
2010-09-03, 02:13 PM
What about fuel? How do people keep warm or cook meals (when not magically prepared)? The destruction of wooden buildings and furniture, would only last so long. Tools wear out too, and without raw materials to replace them they will become increasingly scarce.

Basically it sounds like you are describing siege conditions -- and sieges don't need to last for over a hundred years for things to become desperate. I see a gradual breakdown of trade. As tools and raw materials become increasingly rare the ability of craftsmen to produce will drop. Life for the ordinary people will probably become one mainly of ensuring food rations, and making sure dwelling places don't collapse. Civic government may have a section that inspects buildings, and orders repairs, or orders them demolished if they are deemed unsafe (raw materials from a demolished building can be reused to build new ones).

It's not entirely clear to me what maintains the economy of a city, but complete isolation from the surrounding country will probably result in a total collapse of the city's economy.

Zore
2010-09-03, 02:14 PM
The humans, at the very least, will be rather unhealthy overall both physically and mentally. They will be given to bouts of suicidal depression and malaise even with the best of entertainment and luxuries. They will generally die sooner and be sicker than people in the real world because much of the human body relies on ultraviolet radiation to function.

Based on this I would assume that most of the human populace has either died off or adapted in some way, possibly by magic. I would assume a large emphasis would be placed on community and staying around other people at all times as it would partially make up for the lack of sunlight. Most people would be loathe to go places alone, especially when young, and there would be enormous demand for healing magic and practices.

Finding a way to artificially emulate the sun would probably be a huge priority for those who remember it.

*Edit* Also, the psychological and physical effects of the absence of the sun would not disappear without thousands of intervening generations. People without sunlight have very negative physical reactions that no amount of being accustomed to will overcome.

Tyndmyr
2010-09-03, 03:10 PM
Another point to consider, magic is creating new food and water, but where is the trash, remains and other non-desirables going? Without a method of removal, the build up would grow too large.

Throw it over the wall, solving the problem FOREVER.

Undesirable people? Well, the ultimate punishment...yup. Over the wall.

I really like this concept, evoking an imagine somewhere between Dark City and Aeon Flux. You start to wonder about the history of the place, and how it started.

Players could arrive via Ring Gate, say. So...one way out. Provided they know where the ring gate to get back is.

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-03, 03:14 PM
Perhaps they are like the people on the planet Cricket from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series?

Crow
2010-09-03, 03:45 PM
I would talk to your players a little before running this too.

To me, this seems very bleak, and not in a good way. Basically a giant dark prison cell with totalitarian guards, and pretty much just un-fun.

That's why I would check with your players and see if this is something they want to run.

Skorj
2010-09-03, 04:23 PM
I would talk to your players a little before running this too.

To me, this seems very bleak, and not in a good way. Basically a giant dark prison cell with totalitarian guards, and pretty much just un-fun.

That's why I would check with your players and see if this is something they want to run.

It deosn't have to be quite so bleak - City of Ember is this as a children's movie. Plenty of adventure.

Strawberries
2010-09-03, 05:01 PM
To me, this seems very bleak, and not in a good way. Basically a giant dark prison cell with totalitarian guards, and pretty much just un-fun.


And that is not awesome...why? :smallconfused: I'll be very happy to play in a setting like that.

One thing I can see are arcanists being kept under a very tight leash. If I uderstood correctly, the power is church-based, which means that clerics are running the show. They would want to keep an eye on other sources of magic, so as to not have people threaten their role.

So, what do people do...burn rogue witches on the stake? After all, "bread and circuses" have alvays be used keep people happy.

KillianHawkeye
2010-09-03, 05:19 PM
It deosn't have to be quite so bleak - City of Ember is this as a children's movie. Plenty of adventure.

I'm seconding watching City of Ember. Very similar themes: an isolated city struggles to keep itself lit and running in a very dark place. Just replace technology with magic. The main mode of entertainment is apparently singing.

Kensen
2010-09-03, 05:26 PM
Thanks for the questions and comments! They really help me because they make me think about things that I otherwise wouldn't come to think about. :smallsmile:

Umael: Whichever scenario I'll use, the zone of darkness will go on for miles in every direction, maybe hundreds of miles. There may be places where the sun shines, or maybe there are none (and the only way to get out is a Ring Gate as Tyndmyr suggested). No-one knows because I haven't decided yet. Anyway, it's not going to affect the daily lives of the citizens unless foolish brave heroes go out and explore.

How to get rid of trash and refuse: There are two possible uses for the feces: Fertilizer and fuel. That actually also answers some other questions. :smallwink: Who needs wood when you can burn poo! Sounds nasty but people do worse things to survive. The upper classes who are too good for that probably do what Tyndmyr suggested: throw it over the wall. Trash will be re-used or recycled. There are few things you cannot use, really.

Is the setting too bleak? Not everybody's cup of tea, that's for sure. I might run a short campaign in this settings here on GitP forums sometime in the future. I'll find the players who like it bleak. :smalltongue: And it's not like there's nothing for adventurers to do. Join the Seekers!

ArcanistSupreme: What are the people of Cricket like? Forgive me my ignorance.

The psychological and physical effects of living in the dark and eating artificial food: First off, water won't be a problem. Whether it rains or not, clerics have Create Water as a 0-level spell. There's also a wondrous item that creates water.

The food isn't particularly tasty, but as the spell description puts it: it's "highly nourishing". The bigger problem is that they're going to need quite many 5th level clerics to support a large population. Maybe the poor people eat mushrooms and other things that grow in the dark, as someone suggested.

The lack of sunlight.. yes it is quite depressing. I live in an area of "gloomy" weather so I think I have an idea. People around here actually use light therapy as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder. So maybe the clerics illuminate their cathedral with Daylight spells every day, thus reinforcing the idea that they're the only hope the people have, a light in the dark. :smallwink:

I'm sorry I probably didn't answer all questions yet, but keep 'em coming. :smallsmile:

KillianHawkeye
2010-09-03, 05:39 PM
So maybe the clerics illuminate their cathedral with Daylight spells every day, thus reinforcing the idea that they're the only hope the people have, a light in the dark. :smallwink:

I really like this idea. Let's say the cathedral is right in the center of town. It's probably also the largest structure anywhere, so it should be visible from just about any part of the city. Thus, the church becomes the literal and figurative center of the people's lives!

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-03, 05:59 PM
ArcanistSupreme: What are the people of Cricket like? Forgive me my ignorance.

While the series itself is completely hilarious and pretty much the opposite of what you're trying to build here, a surprising amount could possibly be taken from that particular bit.

For thousands of years, the planet Cricket was surrounded by a dense nebula that completely prevented any view of the outside galaxy. No stars, no planets, nothing. The way they functioned is that they simply didn't notice this lack, as it was all that they had ever known. The sky has always been black, what of it? When the nebula disperses, however, and they are forced to accept a universe in which they are not alone, they decide they prefer the way things were. So they build an army of robots bent on eliminating every other form of life in the universe.

Aside from the whole extreme xenophobia thing and a slightly genocidal disposition, they are, on the whole, incredibly nice people. :smallbiggrin:

Basically, I would think that they would be incredibly xenophobic as well. A stranger would probably stick out like a sore thumb, as everyone that lives there is probably a bit pale. And if they ever find ways to other worlds...

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-03, 06:23 PM
1. Is the city expanding?
If they don't have wars, monsters, disease, or food shortage, then we should expect continous population growth. As more people are born, more clerics are born, and thus more food and light can be provided. The city expands in all directions.

Unless

A. They have china-style anti-overpopulation laws
B. Rebellion and crime takes a serious portion of their populace
C. MONSTERS EAT THEM

2. Is the city advancing?
If they have a single uniform government, and a system that requires virtually no labor to sustain (Cast create food. Hand it out. There's the day's work and it took an hour) then there's no reason why they shouldn't have well distributed research and an excellent academic system.

Yahzi
2010-09-03, 06:35 PM
Entertainment.

Your people are going to be very bored. Expect a lot of musicians, performers, and actors.

You'll have so many plays on every night that eventually your people will invent... reality plays. Cheaper than a regular play since you don't have to pay a scriptwriter!

Sylivin
2010-09-03, 06:38 PM
Cool idea!

Like others have mentioned - people adapt. I'm sure it would be a pretty gloomy place for the first couple generations, but if we're assuming the party has been born here then it won't be so bad (plus getting your daily bread provides you that spiffy injection of UVs from the daylight spell).

They would simply have a slightly demented form of a modern service economy. The majority of the workforce is involved in fulfilling the needs of the rest of the citizens. Everything from song and dance to social work to garbage collectors. Those that recycle and create new things from the old would be probably the closest to a merchant class as they create what the city is lacking.

In addition, it is likely that there is a large investment by the church in the arts and sciences (or if not science then magical theory). There's no need to outlaw mages when the mages are raised, study under, and are employed by the church. Magic is likely to be the main form of "modern art" as well, since paints and dyes would be hard or impossible to come by, so magical shows and illusions would be an entire art form by themselves.

The church would likely hold contests, magical shows, plays, festivals, and whatever else to help keep people entertained. In addition the common people would keep themselves entertained with parties, get togethers with their neighbors / friends, and any other excuse they had to have a little fun. Their service jobs would keep them busy, but they would have more time on their hands than a typical feudal society so would be able to spend more of it on leisure - which is also what a black market would cater to.

A common trope of "cities surrounded by dangerous wilderness" is to have a contest once children come of age (16ish perhaps). The ones that impress the leaders or clergy in this instance would venture a little bit into the darkness to scout it out / protect the city. It is entirely possible to make that an entire coming of age event for boys and girls. Once you come of age you are "touched by the darkness" to show your own inner light as it were by facing the fearsome inky blackness and also reinforcing in everyone's minds why they need the church.

gomipile
2010-09-03, 07:12 PM
Based on what others have said about the need for entertainment, I would imagine bards to be quite common.

Given that, a level 3 bard with Prestidigitation and the Craft Wondrous Item feat could create a magic "salt shaker" which makes the created food and water taste excellent. Using the standard item guidelines it would have a base price of 1000g or 900g depending on activation type, and using the magical trap guidelines, it would have a base price of 250g.

Quietus
2010-09-03, 08:12 PM
Speaking of magical traps, you can solve the need for many clerics level 5+ by simply having one of them thought up the idea of a Create Food And Water trap, tippyverse style. When people enter the church, they walk over the threshold; That sets off the trap, which creates a new bowl of food in the dining/serving/whatever room. Exactly enough food is created every day to feed every individual who comes to church. How everyone else feeds themselves, well, that isn't the church's problem is it?

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-03, 08:15 PM
Speaking of magical traps, you can solve the need for many clerics level 5+ by simply having one of them thought up the idea of a Create Food And Water trap, tippyverse style. When people enter the church, they walk over the threshold; That sets off the trap, which creates a new bowl of food in the dining/serving/whatever room. Exactly enough food is created every day to feed every individual who comes to church. How everyone else feeds themselves, well, that isn't the church's problem is it?

What everyone else?

NO ONE AT ALL has ANYTHING better to do! It's not like they'd have jobs or anything.

Jolee
2010-09-03, 09:24 PM
Anyone else immediately think of the phrase "I attack the darkness" after reading the thread title?

The city expands in all directions.

Unless

A. They have china-style anti-overpopulation laws
B. Rebellion and crime takes a serious portion of their populace
C. MONSTERS EAT THEM

This is a good point to consider. If the population is expanding, then where are the extra people going? The city can only go so far outwards before it reaches the edge of the darkness. So are building getting taller to accommodate or is the lowest class reduced to living in the sewers or even holes dug into in the ground? Does this dome of darkness extend underground? If it doesn't then it seems like the civilians would slowly migrate into an underground city immediately below the old one modelled after the dwarves so that the older city's houses could be recycled for materials.

I'm not gonna touch B, I know it can easily work but I'm draw a blank right now.

If monsters are threat to the city, then where do they come from? Have roving bands of housecats taken to hunting commoners in the poorer parts of town? Oooh, vampires would be scary in this sort of situation, they lose one of their biggest weaknesses and can now easily blend in with the rest of the sun-starved citizenry. From a thematic standpoint, you may choose to populate the world with monsters that are stronger in darkness than in light so that the over-lit church serves as a haven from the beasties (this can be relatively easily done by tweaking a few existing templates such as Dark or Shadow Creature). Either way, I'm sure the powers that be would be doing everything possible to stop the masses from panicking.

Oh! Another way to cap the population would be to include decreased fertility as one of the unhealthy symptoms caused by the darkness.


It deosn't have to be quite so bleak - City of Ember is this as a children's movie. Plenty of adventure.
They made it into a movie? Either way, I agree with the recommendations that you look this up. You should note that Ember went stagnant since nobody understood the technology on which they were dependent; even the engineers only knew how to reattach the parts that fell of the generator. In the same vein, if the setting's church decides to withhold certain forms of "higher knowledge"* from the masses in addition to arcane magic then you can probably maybe assume that the rate at which the society advances/adapts to its new circumstances will be slowed down in such areas.

*if this were the case I'd assume the justification for banning these academic pursuits would be to ensure the status quo is unchanged. If the church is only restricting arcane magic then you can certainly expect progress.
EDIT: I should make clear that I meant "higher knowledge", "societal advancement", and "stagnation" in terms of technology only.

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-03, 09:25 PM
Speaking of magical traps, you can solve the need for many clerics level 5+ by simply having one of them thought up the idea of a Create Food And Water trap, tippyverse style. When people enter the church, they walk over the threshold; That sets off the trap, which creates a new bowl of food in the dining/serving/whatever room. Exactly enough food is created every day to feed every individual who comes to church. How everyone else feeds themselves, well, that isn't the church's problem is it?

But the issue here is that the clergy need a way to control the food supply. If anyone could activate them, there would be no need for the clerics. In a way, preparing the spell would be better. Either that or require the user to be a cleric.

Randel
2010-09-03, 09:57 PM
1). Cannibalism.
One casting of Create Food and Water from a 5th level Cleric can feed 15 people. A 5th level cleric has maybe one or two 3rd level spell slots ready to cast each day and thats assuming he doesn't use them for thing like continual flame or daylight (all 3rd level spells for clerics).

Thus, in order to feed people using magic (be it from Create Food, or food grown using Daylight spells) you would need about one out of every thirty or so people to be a 5th level Cleric. Thats pretty unlikely to happen unless its a really high magic campaign world and these Clerics are really into getting roleplaying XP.

Besides, all that magically created food is bland. And while you could use that precious life sustaining nourishment from the gods to feed an animal to slaughter (Create Food can feed three humans or one horse per level) that would mean that three people would go hungry until that animal became fat enough to eat.

Solution: Kill and eat anyone who isn't contributing to society.

Unless the Clerics whip up a Create Food and Water Trap (which can cast the spell constantly forever in order to feed something like 216,000 people a day and thus makes food a complete nonissue) then food is going to be incredibly precious. Good citizens get magically prepared food, average citizens work in farms that are fertilized by human feces and are used to grow mushrooms or something, bad citizens get killed and cooked up into "bacon".

This little fact can solve pretty much anything regarding crime, depression, or what happens to enemies of the church.

Burglar broke into someones house and stole something? Put him on trial, execute him, cook him up, and good citizens get a little meat with their gruel.

Living in a world with no day/night cycle and nowhere you can escape to made you suicidally depressed? Tell the clerics, be humanely euthanized, get cooked up, and the good citizens get a little meat with their gruel while they talk about what a nice person you were and how your noble sacrifice won't be forgotten.

Wizard trying to cast spells behind the churches back? Find him, put him on trial, execute him, and then feed the corpse to the sacred swine since the flesh of a wizard is tainted with evil and is not worthy of being fed to the righteous. Then a few months later the sacred swine is butchered and the elite clerics get to enjoy some genuine delicacies forbidden to the general public.

Plus, the bones can be saved and carved into things... with no light then trees would either be extinct or really precious (the only trees are in the sacred greenhouse where the apples are harvested for the elite and only the twigs that fall from the branches on their own can be burned... as a sacred incense). Bones could instead be carved and made into all the tools and furniture that wood is normally used for.


2). Blood Sacrifice
After generations of living in the dark with a city cut off from the rest of the world... I think spell components would be extremely rare. Unless they have mines or some other way to get new materials then I think any spell components would have been used up long ago.

However, they may have a feat somewhere (or alternate class ability or whatever) that allows spellcasters to substitute blood for spell components.

Don't have 50 gp worth of Ruby Dust for a Continual Flame spell? That's okay, the church will accept 50 gp worth of human blood!

No idea how valuable blood would be for this purpose but I'm sure the church can get it out of their loyal flock. After all, the people have to come to the church to get their food and water right? It's only fair that the people give something in return.

So, anytime the church needs to create a new lantern to help give precious illumination to the world, they just need 50 gp worth of blood. It could be extracted from just one person during a human sacrifice (see also the cannibalism part.) or they could just get ten or so healthy young people to donate some blood during the ritual. Casting Continual Flame takes up a 3rd level slot which could have been used for food... so anyone willing to sacrifice their own daily bread and a bit of their blood to help bring light to the world would be looked on favorably by the church.

Oh, and lets not even go into what would be needed for a Raise Dead spell. A 5th level spell that takes either 5,000 gp of precious diamond dust that was likely dug up before the cataclysm that darkened the sky... or 5,000 gp worth of blood. Just to bring someone back to life and have another mouth to feed? Unless the dead guy is a Cleric or someone absurdly important then its likely not going to happen. Though if the church has something like a hundred unnecessary people laying around that they wouldn't mind bleeding dry...

I can just imagine that any time the church would decide to bring someone back to life then the next day would have a feast the likes of which has never been seen in the history of the city (plus, since the population would be 99 people less than it was before then there would be a little more meat for everyone).

3). Goodberries
I think there is a cleric domain somewhere that lets them take goodberry as a 1st level spell. Goodberry would likely be on every clerics spell list.

The farms can grow mushrooms or something, they bring them to the clerics, the clerics bless them into goodberries (now as nutritious as a full meal) and distribute it amongst the masses. A person gets say... three goodberries a day if they are fairly well off though they could probably survive on one or two.

4). Pearls of Power
Pearls of Power would be particularly necessary to give the clerics some extra spells per day to work with. Extra 1st level spell slots for goodberries would be feasable with blood components (maybe there is a holiday where everyone gives blood at the church, they put it in bowls, rush them all to one central location and collect about 1,000 gp of blood to make one pearl of power). A 3rd level spell would need 9,000 gp for a pearl... possibly doable depending on how well blood stores for magic purposes or how valuable it is... or how many people they can use up at a time.

Though if they can regularly pull together enough blood for a 3rd level pearl then a Raise Dead might not be so hard to do.

5). Prison
Prison is basically where they keep people before they are sent to be executed/butchered/sacrificed. Technically they could keep people there for a period of time before letting them go but that sort of defeats the point. Why keep someone alive while feeding them if they aren't doing anything for anyone in the mean time?

Church prisons basically keep people alive until they have enough people around to harvest their blood for a magic item or spell. They typically announce a holiday once they have things set up... they collect enough warm bodies to sacrifice, they then as their numerous congregations to donate blood, then they bring all the prisoners and blood to one place to perform the ritual (the day afterwards they have a feast with meat). If someone is in jail and you need to break them out then you should know how long you have by the announcement for the holiday.

Some criminal organizations have prisons of their own for essentially the same purposes. Could be a crime ring who enjoy a little meat occasionally or an evil wizard who needs blood for his witchcraft. Wizards don't always kill their prisoners, they just bleed them a little over time in the hopes to maximize their gains. If an evil wizard kidnaps someone then its best to find them quickly because 99% of the time they have everything set up beforehand and will perform the sacrifice as soon as possible to avoid detection. Only a few of them feel safe enough to keep people alive long enough to collect blood over time (even then they kill them before they can reveal their identity).

6). Currencies

Tea Bricks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_brick) - A brick made of tea leaves. Varies in value by the quality of the tea leaves in it. Can be broken up and eaten or made into tea. Keeps for a very long time.

Koku (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koku) and Masu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masu_%28Japanese%29) - Defined as 'the amount of food a person needs for a year' (Koku) and 'the amount of food a person needs for a day' (Masu). Denotes either the given volume of rice, an adjusted volume of some other food, or a currency note which can be redeemed by the church for that much food.

Due to the fact that food created by magic loses its nutritional value after a time, the church tends to accept the money days or weeks beforehand so that they can arrange for each casting and how the food will get wherever. Rich families basically pay the church one Koku at the start of the year and have their favorite cleric cast the spell and arrange for their meal every day for that year.

This denomination of money/food can also be provided in rice, goodberries (three goodberries for a masu), or tea bricks.

Hemosu - A measurement used by spellcasters for determining how much gp worth of magic they get from a volume of blood extracted from a person.

I have no idea how it would be measured in hp, level drain, experience loss, or ability damage per gp. I'm tempted to say you get 50 gp for sacrificing an average citizen while getting 5 gp for a donation that leaves the donor weakened for a few days. (maybe donating blood lowers their max hp for a few days and returns to normal once they are healed back up).

Regardless, one Hemosu is basically the equivilent of one gold piece worth of spell components.


7). Underground tunnels
Maybe some organizations want to dig tunnels underground. If there are things like cave fish then they could learn to farm those. Otherwise, if they need storage space then just dig a little tunnel underground and put stuff there. People would be used to the dark so it shouldn't be that bad. Also, if they dig a tunnel to the outside of the city then they could potentially move out.

Not sure what they would do outside, but its likely that they could at least dump incriminating evidence out there. Unless there are actual monsters out there then a cleric with an everburning torch or lantern should be able to explore the outside world with their light source and producing food for themselves.

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-03, 10:26 PM
1). Cannibalism.
Oh, and lets not even go into what would be needed for a Raise Dead spell. A 5th level spell that takes either 5,000 gp of precious diamond dust that was likely dug up before the cataclysm that darkened the sky... or 5,000 gp worth of blood. Just to bring someone back to life and have another mouth to feed? Unless the dead guy is a Cleric or someone absurdly important then its likely not going to happen. Though if the church has something like a hundred unnecessary people laying around that they wouldn't mind bleeding dry...

Yeah, but keep in mind that the material component is based on value rather than amount. So a tiny bit of diamond dust would do it, and it would also reduce the amount of diamond dust and increase the value of the remaining dust. This, in turn, would mean that the next casting would require less dust. So sure, they'd have a limited number of castings and use them incredibly sparingly, but if they had any diamonds they could get by according to RAW. :smallamused:

Mnemnosyne
2010-09-03, 10:55 PM
General breakdown and entropy is going to be a major concern. Stuff breaks, and without materials to replace it, the society would have an eternally decreasing level of existence. City of Ember, as mentioned earlier, was a good example where they were slowly running out of stuff, everything was breaking down and working less and less often, and so on.

The only mitigating factor would have to be high level mages, clerics, and psions using Wish, Miracle, and True Creation to produce new raw materials. You'd really only need one or two of such high level casters since the spells would only have to be cast rarely, but they'd need to be around.

I disagree with the concept that everyone would be content because it's all they know - especially if there is history or stories passed on from before the darkness. If the people are not kept entertained or somehow pacified, things would go bad. Even self-destructive. People don't tend to be rational all the time, they tend to be self-destructive in a lot of crisis situations. If the church didn't keep people happy, revolts and riots would be commonplace.

Population control would be an issue, unless the city is constantly expanding into the darkness. As others have noted, with no monsters, if disease and food are taken care of for everyone, death would be uncommon so population would increase. Not to mention with nothing to do, people would be having a lot more sex just out of boredom, resulting in a higher population growth from that.

I would expect the society to become decadent, possibly evil/cruel. High ranking people would do whatever they want to entertain themselves, possibly often at the expense of the peasants. Depending on the god they worship, I'd also have an issue with the paladin idea personally, since I can't see any church that puts magic users to death for the "crime" of using magic being considered Good, and therefore paladins wouldn't really fit. Some sort of knight-inquisitors would probably be more appropriate.

Magically created food would not be the only source of food, either. Consider underdark cities, many of which do not gain food from trade. They have their own locally grown food. There are also huge swaths of creatures in D&D that live in lightless environments, so farming and the like would not be entirely out of the question provided there's room for it. Again, only if the church is evil and actively oppresses the population would these factors be entirely impossible.

Additionally, if all it is is dark outside, there's no particular reason why people would remain in the city. Especially early on when it had just happened. Get a Continual Light amulet and get ye on your way. The darkness would have to be more threatening than just being dark in order to keep people there, I would think. Either it's impenetrable magical darkness in which all but the most powerful (custom-created by the church) light spells do not illuminate, or there are lots of really nasty monsters out there.

Those are my thoughts thus far, at least.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-09-03, 10:56 PM
maybe you can use these ideas in your world:

Priests: Homebrew a Priest of the Church class that has create food and water as a level1 spell that nourishes 1 person, create more food and water as a level2 spell that feeds 2 people and so on. the wouldn't have many offensive spells or hp but would be able to solve daylight and food problems. also class feature: can use blood (not necessarily human) instead of material components as long as the value of the blood is the same as the value the material component.

Food Coupons (money): every time a citizen listens to a sermon or donates 1gp of blood (max 2 per day and reduces hp by 1D2+1 for 2 days) he receives 1 coupon for a ration. he can transfer that coupon to anyone and refund it at anytime.

Work: the church can set up Institutes for research, building, acting etc. citizens can work there for coupons to support their family etc.

Coming-Of-Age: on a specific date every year any citizen who turned 16 in the last year leaves the city for a day to brave the horrors of the darkness. These expeditions might be followed by an expansion of the city walls to provide more room for the citizens in the city.

Randel
2010-09-03, 11:01 PM
Yeah, but keep in mind that the material component is based on value rather than amount. So a tiny bit of diamond dust would do it, and it would also reduce the amount of diamond dust and increase the value of the remaining dust. This, in turn, would mean that the next casting would require less dust. So sure, they'd have a limited number of castings and use them incredibly sparingly, but if they had any diamonds they could get by according to RAW. :smallamused:

A merchant is working at Akbars Genuine Homeopathic Ancient Spell Component Emporium (Not a huge scam).

Akbar gets a vial of diamond dust worth 10 gp,
He then takes out a pair of tweezers and puts one speck of dust into a bottle.
He then fills the rest of the bottle with 1 cp worth of ground up glass.
He slaps a 5,001 gp price tag on it.

Akbar: Heh heh heh, thank you Wizards of the Coast.

Zhalath
2010-09-03, 11:10 PM
Bread and circuses? Seems like a great way to keep the people happy. Considering there'd be a lot of arrests, they could have gladiator fights with prisoners.

Zaq
2010-09-04, 12:54 AM
What, exactly, is preventing trade with the outside world? People are really damn tenacious when it looks like there are other people with whom they can swap stuff (or from whom they can forcibly take stuff, but let's be charitable). A little bit of darkness wouldn't stop people from coming in, especially in a world with magic. Does the ruling class enforce a policy of isolationism? If so, why and how? There would still likely be at least a black market, since unlike, say, an island nation, there's no harbor or other chokepoint for getting stuff in.

gomipile
2010-09-04, 01:05 AM
What, exactly, is preventing trade with the outside world? People are really damn tenacious when it looks like there are other people with whom they can swap stuff (or from whom they can forcibly take stuff, but let's be charitable). A little bit of darkness wouldn't stop people from coming in, especially in a world with magic. Does the ruling class enforce a policy of isolationism? If so, why and how? There would still likely be at least a black market, since unlike, say, an island nation, there's no harbor or other chokepoint for getting stuff in.

I think the OP mentioned that the darkness might be very deep and full of nasties.

FelixG
2010-09-04, 01:07 AM
What, exactly, is preventing trade with the outside world? People are really damn tenacious when it looks like there are other people with whom they can swap stuff (or from whom they can forcibly take stuff, but let's be charitable). A little bit of darkness wouldn't stop people from coming in, especially in a world with magic. Does the ruling class enforce a policy of isolationism? If so, why and how? There would still likely be at least a black market, since unlike, say, an island nation, there's no harbor or other chokepoint for getting stuff in.

it is likely the ruling class only had to enforce the policy of no one leaves for the first few generations, after that if the rules are strict enough the next generations wouldn't really even consider there was anything else elsewhere..

For example look at the planet Krikit from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Also if these people develop customs and are use to the status quo then things to change it could be considered a hostile action, turning the people xenophobic and in the face of outsiders violent, even if someone DID come from the outside i seriously doubt these inverted folk would welcome them with open arms.

As for the how of keeping people out, i believe it was mentioned before that there are critters in the dark, and unless anyone has a reason to go into the dark they probably wont.

Endarire
2010-09-04, 01:13 AM
Does this reference the movie Dark City?

Mordokai
2010-09-04, 01:46 AM
The humans, at the very least, will be rather unhealthy overall both physically and mentally. They will be given to bouts of suicidal depression and malaise even with the best of entertainment and luxuries. They will generally die sooner and be sicker than people in the real world because much of the human body relies on ultraviolet radiation to function.

Based on this I would assume that most of the human populace has either died off or adapted in some way, possibly by magic. I would assume a large emphasis would be placed on community and staying around other people at all times as it would partially make up for the lack of sunlight. Most people would be loathe to go places alone, especially when young, and there would be enormous demand for healing magic and practices.

Heh, this one gave me a fun idea, one that OP will probably not like, but I had to throw it out here anyway.

What if, by some yet unexplained reason, a whole city was plane shifted into a negative energy plane? But the shift didn't result in people dying... but undying? It happened one fateful night (and yes, I realise how cliche that sounds) and the church may have a responsibilty. Or they may know the reason for it and are actually trying to prevent people from learning about it, because it's actually for their best to know as little as possible about it.

This eliminates pretty much all diseases and even a need for food and light. You would probably have to homebrew your own dimension, since even while I imagine that negative energy plane isn't a bright and sunny place, I don't know if it has a total darkness the OP is looking for. Creating a special domain of the dread, much like in Ravenloft seems like a perfect solution there.

If the shift happened a long time ago ( a century? a millenia even?), it would probably be forgotten by most residents. Yes, waking up as undead can be quite alarming, but after a while you get used to it. Especially if it's your new way of life which you share with couple of other hundred undeads. Players could be undead themselves ( I think Libris Mortis has some ideas on how to run undead campaign, might be fun), or arrive via malfunctioned spell. The first shock turns into a fascination for party's necromancer and sets a new standard for party paladin and/or good aligned cleric. I see quite a lot of possibilities there.

Strawberries
2010-09-04, 01:51 AM
Is the setting too bleak? Not everybody's cup of tea, that's for sure. I might run a short campaign in this settings here on GitP forums sometime in the future. I'll find the players who like it bleak. :smalltongue: And it's not like there's nothing for adventurers to do. Join the Seekers!

Or, join the underground criminal society! Or work from inside/outside the system to overthrow it! Plenty of things for adventurers to do. Hey, if you decide to run it on this forums, you can count me in as a player, if you want me. I love bleak, gritty settings. :smallcool:


The lack of sunlight.. yes it is quite depressing. I live in an area of "gloomy" weather so I think I have an idea. People around here actually use light therapy as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder. So maybe the clerics illuminate their cathedral with Daylight spells every day, thus reinforcing the idea that they're the only hope the people have, a light in the dark. :smallwink:

I like that idea. Basically, you have a dictatorship in place. What every dictatorship needs is means to legitimate/enforce their power. So, grandiose displays every once in a while would make sense (I'm thinking festivals, parades, the likes). Also, to squash dissent a lot of totalitarian governments use the strategy to unite the subjects against a common enemy. It may be real or imagined, but if the people are focused on the outside less of them would think about rebelling. So, have tales of some frightening enemy outside in the darkness?


Bread and circuses? Seems like a great way to keep the people happy. Considering there'd be a lot of arrests, they could have gladiator fights with prisoners.

We think alike. :smallwink:



One thing I can see are arcanists being kept under a very tight leash. If I uderstood correctly, the power is church-based, which means that clerics are running the show. They would want to keep an eye on other sources of magic, so as to not have people threaten their role.

So, what do people do...burn rogue witches on the stake? After all, "bread and circuses" have alvays be used keep people happy.

Coidzor
2010-09-04, 08:11 AM
What kept them from just leaving the city when this veil of darkness happened?

The_Admiral
2010-09-04, 08:27 AM
sounds like the City Of Ember

stenver
2010-09-04, 08:51 AM
I imagine it would be something like this:

Warning. 1 "only for grown-up" or "dirty minded" word in this idea:

http://www.imagepoop.com/image/913/The-Eat-****-Drink-Sleep-Alarm-Clock.html

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-04, 10:17 AM
A merchant is working at Akbars Genuine Homeopathic Ancient Spell Component Emporium (Not a huge scam).

Akbar gets a vial of diamond dust worth 10 gp,
He then takes out a pair of tweezers and puts one speck of dust into a bottle.
He then fills the rest of the bottle with 1 cp worth of ground up glass.
He slaps a 5,001 gp price tag on it.

Akbar: Heh heh heh, thank you Wizards of the Coast.

Exactly! Although it would be funny if there were side effects for using impure components. Imagine coming back with shards of glass in your eye. Or a glass eye. Or two glass eyes.

Actually, that's an interesting idea. As has been previously mentioned, their short on material components, so they turn to substitutes. Problem is, the substitutes don't work exactly like they're supposed to. For example, goodberry works on mushrooms, but it also turns the eater's eyes completely white for 24 hours. It could be fun.


For example look at the planet Krikit from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Oh yeah, that's how you spell it. It's been a while since I've read the series.

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-04, 10:22 AM
1. There is only one diamond in the city
2. As such, that diamond is the only source of ressurections
3. As such, that diamond is infinitely valuable
4. As such, the portion of the diamond used in casting is 1/X, where X is infinity.

Kensen
2010-09-04, 04:53 PM
1. Is the city expanding?
If they don't have wars, monsters, disease, or food shortage, then we should expect continous population growth. As more people are born, more clerics are born, and thus more food and light can be provided. The city expands in all directions.

Good point. Perhaps the Church gives food only to those who directly assist them. Guards, pig farmers, mushroom farmers, people who salvage useful materials, inventors, artists, etc. are hired by the Church and get paid in food. Some people grow their own food, or obtain food coupons through illegal means. The excess people die, no need for additional population control measures. :smalltongue: Reduced life spans and fertility might also be a factor.

Using a trap to make food (as someone suggested) sounds like the hydra burger thing in OotS. It's ok in a fantasy parody, but in a serious setting, a trap that produces food cannot be justified simply by "the rules allow it". Of course, it's possible to make a custom wondous item that does the same thing, but in a setting where the scarcity of materials is one of the main themes, having an item that gives you infinite food is a bad idea. Cannibalism isn't the solution I'm looking for either. The situation is not that desperate.


What kept them from just leaving the city when this veil of darkness happened?

Some of them probably did. Some came back because shelter + food is better than not having them. The official story is that other cities weren't so lucky. And that the darkness outside the Wall is inhabited by wraiths, chaos monsters and worse. Only particularly brave and foolhardy individuals (i.e. adventurers) want to test that theory.


Does this reference the movie Dark City?

No, why? Apart from the perpetual darkness, I don't see many similarities.


Cool idea!

Like others have mentioned - people adapt. I'm sure it would be a pretty gloomy place for the first couple generations, but if we're assuming the party has been born here then it won't be so bad (plus getting your daily bread provides you that spiffy injection of UVs from the daylight spell).

They would simply have a slightly demented form of a modern service economy. The majority of the workforce is involved in fulfilling the needs of the rest of the citizens. Everything from song and dance to social work to garbage collectors. Those that recycle and create new things from the old would be probably the closest to a merchant class as they create what the city is lacking.

Service economy - yes, something like that. Production is minimal, so apart from food and old items, it's going to be favors, i.e. services that you trade.


In addition, it is likely that there is a large investment by the church in the arts and sciences (or if not science then magical theory). There's no need to outlaw mages when the mages are raised, study under, and are employed by the church. Magic is likely to be the main form of "modern art" as well, since paints and dyes would be hard or impossible to come by, so magical shows and illusions would be an entire art form by themselves.

The problem with arcanists and rogue divine casters is that they cannot be controlled. Any gross violation of the tenets of the Church will strip a paladin or cleric of his powers, but rogue clerics and mages suffer no such ill effect if they betray the church. A single tier 1 caster can be very very dangerous as you know. That's a metagame concept that the Church has never heard of, but they surely know the power that wizards, clerics and druids wield.


The church would likely hold contests, magical shows, plays, festivals, and whatever else to help keep people entertained. In addition the common people would keep themselves entertained with parties, get togethers with their neighbors / friends, and any other excuse they had to have a little fun. Their service jobs would keep them busy, but they would have more time on their hands than a typical feudal society so would be able to spend more of it on leisure - which is also what a black market would cater to.

Yep, they have festivals and things like that for sure. :smallsmile: And the criminals take care of the other kind of entertainment - gambling, prostitution, etc.


Depending on the god they worship, I'd also have an issue with the paladin idea personally, since I can't see any church that puts magic users to death for the "crime" of using magic being considered Good, and therefore paladins wouldn't really fit. Some sort of knight-inquisitors would probably be more appropriate.

Well, I'm thinking the D&D alignment system is not well suited for this setting. There is no objective Good or Evil, just varying shades of gray, and subjective views of what is good and what is evil. First and foremost, the paladins are paragons or law. They believe their god is good, so it makes sense to them that the laws that the Church upholds are "good". As long as the paladins think they're doing the right thing, they cannot fall.

gomipile
2010-09-04, 07:41 PM
Using a trap to make food (as someone suggested) sounds like the hydra burger thing in OotS. It's ok in a fantasy parody, but in a serious setting, a trap that produces food cannot be justified simply by "the rules allow it". Of course, it's possible to make a custom wondous item that does the same thing, but in a setting where the scarcity of materials is one of the main themes, having an item that gives you infinite food is a bad idea.


Actually, all that trap is is a custom magic item to create food and water. The idea of the rules, as far as I can see, is that if your magic item can satisfy the triggering and construction conditions that make it act like a trap, then the item is cheaper to make.

Mechanically, if not flavor wise, its no different than having greenhouses of Daylight with farming constructs growing food for the populace.

MarkusWolfe
2010-09-04, 09:05 PM
So.....evil. So.....bloody.....evil.

Anyways, as a player that plays barbarians exclusively, I have noticed there is no room in this city for barbarians.....or rangers or druids for that matter. That got me thinking.

Maybe the reason no one dares leave the city is because there are barbarian hordes and many beasts (on which the barbarians feed, but are still dangerous enough to kill you) outside that have been turned into vicious killing machines by the darkness. These barbarians (60% barbarians, 30% rangers and 10% druids) are not evil however, and tell terrible and dark stories about 'the city from which the darkness emanates'. It's basically everything Randel described.....but also that the joint's religion is run by VAMPIRES who in turn answer to A BEING OF PURE DARKNESS which is causing the lack of sunlight. You could come up with some way for characters from all groups - cleric of the church, rogue from the underground, caster fleeing a witch hunt, barbarian/ranger from outside the city, and maybe an average joe from the city - meet up, figure out what's going on and realize that maybe - just maybe - if they all team up they can defeat this evil being and bring the sun back to this world.

If you're not going to use that in you're campaign, somebody here better turn that into a book.

Coidzor
2010-09-04, 09:32 PM
Some of them probably did. Some came back because shelter + food is better than not having them. The official story is that other cities weren't so lucky. And that the darkness outside the Wall is inhabited by wraiths, chaos monsters and worse. Only particularly brave and foolhardy individuals (i.e. adventurers) want to test that theory.

So it's a case of either A. there's no place that isn't covered in darkness or B. the darkness is big enough that the church's lies have convinced the populace that escape is impossible?

Sounds like they'd develop a post-apocalyptic mindset.

Hmm, the allegory of the cave comes to mind for some reason...

jiriku
2010-09-04, 10:10 PM
Dark City and City of Ember both immediately came to mind. I hope you've watched them both.

In any medieval society, subsistence farming is the #1 occupation. In a more advanced society, it's manufacturing, and in even more advanced societies it's the creation and consumption of entertainment and luxury goods. Take your pick. My money's on the mushroom farms, because NO WAY does the typical population distribution support enough mid-level clerics to magically feed tens of thousands of people.

Zhalath
2010-09-04, 10:14 PM
We think alike. :smallwink:

Or you planted the idea in my mind with psionics. INCEPTION.

Maybe the actual government should set up a fake figurehead government, that votes on meaningless issues (color of city hall, whether to add dirt to a road), and have it be composed of elected people from the normal population. This will distract them a little, and make them think they have power. Also, adding scandal and encouraging dumb gossip.

Grendus
2010-09-04, 10:45 PM
I would suspect two things in a society like that:

1. As in feudal Japan, people would probably learn unorthodox styles of combat, using non-traditional weapons. Martial arts are just that, martial. They're intended to be a way to protect yourself without weapons. Monk would be the most common class for NPC's expecting combat, and easily concealable weapons and improvised weapons would be the most common used in regular brawls.

2. Depending on just how authoritarian the church is, there will be varying levels of resistance. If the church is fairly lax, if they merely require, say, that you worship at the temple every day and in return you get enough bread and water to live comfortably, people probably wouldn't be too troubled. You would have your rebels and misfits, but most people wouldn't join them. If, on the other hand, you have an entire government of Miko's, people would probably be running a fairly powerful resistance. Maybe an underground society, a very strong black market, and a few revered traders who sneak out and make the perilous journey to another city to trade. I can think of a lot of opportunities for quests in a world like this.

I would also suspect that Dwarves would take to this kind of life more than the other races, seeing as their mines would be in perpetual natural darkness as well. Humans and Elves would have extreme trouble with it, as both races are fully above-ground oriented. Gnomes and halflings would deal with it, both like warrens but both also like to come above-ground. One way the church might manage more control would be a large central light source, an artificial sun over the cathedral (which would, of course, be in the dead center of town for effect).




Of course, it would be interesting to see the normal "evil authoritarian church" trope subverted. The scenario you've given makes that seem difficult, but you're the DM, you have the final say.

DragonOfUndeath
2010-09-04, 10:49 PM
a few revered traders who sneak out and make the perilous journey to another city to trade.

wait what? i thought we were talking about a single city surrounded by complete darkness.

Randel
2010-09-05, 02:00 AM
More ideas:

Menial Labor
If every casting of Create Food and Water can either feed one horse or three humans and there isn't enough to comfortably feed all humans then there should be fewer horses. There may be a few horses or other animals but they would be especially protected and basically there to ensure horses don't go extinct.

Most of the labor normally done by draft animals will be done by people.

Plowing a field? Get a bunch of people to plow it because there aren't any horses or oxen to do the job.

Riding across the city? Get a rickshaw or a carriage pulled by a person.

If the same amount of food can either feed one draft animal or three people, then just give the food to the three people and have them do the job of the draft animal. People are alot easier to train than animals are in most cases. So if the players need to ride across country or something then they won't be buying horses to ride on, they'll probably have to get a few peasants to pull carts or carry them on those little carriage things.


Halflings
Small sized creatures don't have to eat as much as medium sized ones. Thus, if halflings only eat say 3/4ths as much as a human eats then a family of four halflings only has to buy three meals of Create Food and Water while a human family needs four.

Halflings thus save money and either get richer if they are paid the same as humans, or can work cheaper and thus get hired more than humans. Halfling gangs would have the advantage of moving around in tight spaces that humans have trouble in and making do with less resources. So expect halflings or other small sized races to have an advantage here.


Listen checks
In a world of darkness, put ranks in Listen before you put ranks in Spot. Also, people might start writing signs in Brail so that they can read them without looking at them.

The sound of Bells
People could use bells to alert others of their presence. If you find yourself lost in a place with no light source than an friend could pull out a bell and ring it, you follow the sound of the bell to find him. Expect other uses of sound-based mechanisms like whistles, drums, or rattles.

Perhaps, they could have something set up like an hourglass full of water. You know how a dripping faucet can be noisy in the dark? If there is a dangerous hole somewhere or another feature that we would normally put up a DANGER sign for it but there is no light to see it then put up a dripping mechanism. The device is filled with water and constantly emits a noise at regular intervals to alert people that something is there. Or it could be clockwork if the setting has that in it.

These noise makers are basically warning signs to alert people that this is not an area to walk around in without light. There could be people whose job it is to make sure that these devices are not left unwound or unfilled or whatnot.

Fireflies and Will-o-Wisps
I can't believe I didn't think of it before. If there are fireflies or other creatures that naturally emit light then they might have a special place in the city. People cultivate and grow them (maybe leave out sugar for them) and then catch the fireflies to keep them in lanterns.

Or there could be will-o--wisps that float around and cast light on areas. These might be seen as either valuable or deadly. Good will-o-wisps fly in reliable patterns or can be tamed to follow people or light the paths... or you can catch them to use in lanterns if you feed them bread crumbs or something. Bad will-o-wisps however delight in leading people astray or pretending to be someone with a lantern.

There could even be some will-o-wisps who act as pets, they choose a child or person they like and follow them around to illuminate the area around them. If their owner points somewhere they fly out to illuminate an area for them to see. Paladins could have their own Tracker Wisps who follow them and sniff out traces of magic or something, anyone trying to hide from a Paladin finds themselves being chased by giggling little balls of light that show the Paladins where they are hiding.

Though the wisps may be annoying at times, acting childish and spouting novel facts that they learned (their brains aren't quite like human brains).

Gnomes
Gnomes have Dancing Lights as a once a day spell-like ability, plus prestidigitation that can do lots of stuff. Not sure if these powers are enough to make the clerics go after them.

The Batman Wizards
Arcane spellcasters can have bat familiars who not only can use echolocation but grant their masters an empathic link and a bonus to listen checks. So, even if an arcane caster never plans on using spells then they can still get some power through their familiars who can guide them in the dark.

Who knows, maybe there are some familiars who are intelligent in their own rights. Like a bat familiar who once belonged to a wizard during the time before the darkness fell, he stays alive as long as his master lives. His first master was killed by the church but he escaped and found a new master... possibly summoned by a new wizard wanting power or he 'seduced' an upstanding man with promises of arcane might and possible wealth. Every time a master dies then he quickly finds a new master, possibly giving them special knowledge in the process.

Regardless, a wizards empathic link with his familiar gives him a little extra information he could use to his advantage. I suspect that bats would be quite capable of surviving an age of darkness as long as there are bugs in the air. (note that moths would be attracted to big shining lights, so there could be moths flying after the big artificial sun the church sets up which then get eaten by flocks of bats).

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-05, 08:22 AM
More ideas:

Menial Labor
If every casting of Create Food and Water can either feed one horse or three humans and there isn't enough to comfortably feed all humans then there should be fewer horses. There may be a few horses or other animals but they would be especially protected and basically there to ensure horses don't go extinct.

Most of the labor normally done by draft animals will be done by people.

Plowing a field? Get a bunch of people to plow it because there aren't any horses or oxen to do the job.

Riding across the city? Get a rickshaw or a carriage pulled by a person.

If the same amount of food can either feed one draft animal or three people, then just give the food to the three people and have them do the job of the draft animal. People are alot easier to train than animals are in most cases. So if the players need to ride across country or something then they won't be buying horses to ride on, they'll probably have to get a few peasants to pull carts or carry them on those little carriage things.

Fortunately, I don't think that mushroom farmers will need plows. :smallbiggrin:

The whole carriage thing makes sense, though. Fortunately the larger races would get a monopoly on this business, so those darn smaller races don't get everything.

CubeB
2010-09-05, 09:49 AM
You could always create a Resistance. The Church is pretty damn suspicious, even if they aren't behind the darkness.

You could look at Praetoria (http://goingrogue.cityofheroes.com/en/) for ideas. Praetoria is a city where most of the outside world has been ravaged by monsters and nuclear war. There are people on the outside, but for the most part they might as well be non-existent.

Few people can get in, and no one can get out without help. The people are placated via special chemicals in the water (In D&D terms, it would be as though the water had a perpetual charm effect directed at the government placed upon it.)

In your setting, here are some things I'd consider...

Artifacts and Incantations
The Create Food and Water issue assumes that each priest is casting spells on their own. This doesn't have to be the case.

First, assuming that there is or was at least one powerful enough priest capable of casting miracle, you could easily use that to solve the food and water issues. As for why they wouldn't use the spell to restore light to the city? That's up to you.

Also, Incantations (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/incantations.htm) allow a bunch of low level priests to do the work of a single high level one. Every so often, they can cast a ritual to summon food to the city.

Artifacts can also do the same job.

If you wanted to be sinister, you could have a charm effect placed upon the result of these spells.

Kensen
2010-09-05, 01:30 PM
I would suspect two things in a society like that:

1. As in feudal Japan, people would probably learn unorthodox styles of combat, using non-traditional weapons. Martial arts are just that, martial. They're intended to be a way to protect yourself without weapons. Monk would be the most common class for NPC's expecting combat, and easily concealable weapons and improvised weapons would be the most common used in regular brawls.

That largely depends on how often people have to defend themselves. There are no wars, and the Church does its best to thwart crime in the city. The Undercity has no laws, though. Professional bodyguards (and probably the paladins, too) study unarmed martial arts.


Of course, it would be interesting to see the normal "evil authoritarian church" trope subverted. The scenario you've given makes that seem difficult, but you're the DM, you have the final say.

They're not evil per se, they just blindly obey the law. As I mentioned earlier, the standard alignment system doesn't work quite so well in this setting. If the law says "People who cast arcane spells are witches and must be killed", the paladins will do their best to capture any "witches". Most of the paladins and clerics consider themselves the "good guys". They're definitely authoritarian, but they think it's the only way the city can survive in such an unforgiving environment.

The Seekers - the organization the PCs are most likely to join - aren't "good", either, they are just people who want the truth.

The criminal underworld, referred to as the Guild, are not "evil" either, they're people who break the law to make a living, and to make the endless darkness a little more tolerable (i.e. the illegal kind of entertainment).

Then there's the Coven, or that's what the Church calls them. They're the principal enemy of the Church because they seek to overthrow the theocratic government. The Church tends to lump up all their enemies, making the Coven something of a straw man, an artificial entity rather than a real organization. In reality, the number of people who actively try to organize a resistance movement is relatively small, and they don't necessarily have any diabolical agenda as the Church claims. The real problem with any resistance movements is that they don't have anything better to offer. The Church, at least, gives (most) people food and protection.


wait what? i thought we were talking about a single city surrounded by complete darkness.

The landscape surrounding the city is a desolate wasteland devoid of any plant life, and consequently, few creatures live there. Perhaps there are forests of giant mushrooms there, cannibalistic grimlocks, undead shades, and worse. Few people know what's out there.


So it's a case of either A. there's no place that isn't covered in darkness or B. the darkness is big enough that the church's lies have convinced the populace that escape is impossible?

Yes, either A or B. If it's B, it may be that the Church is lying, but not necessarily. It may be that they tried to find other survivors or areas not covered in darkness but failed.

Kensen
2010-09-05, 02:05 PM
So.....evil. So.....bloody.....evil.

Anyways, as a player that plays barbarians exclusively, I have noticed there is no room in this city for barbarians.....or rangers or druids for that matter. That got me thinking.

The traditional ranger, barbarian and druid have no place in the city. There may be humanoid creatures of other races living in the dark that have ranger, barbarian or druid levels.

As for PCs originating from the city, I'm thinking I'll use urban variants such as the urban ranger. Unearthed Arcana and Cityscape have urban variants for many character classes. I may have to do some homebrewing, too, if necessary.


More ideas:

Menial Labor
If every casting of Create Food and Water can either feed one horse or three humans and there isn't enough to comfortably feed all humans then there should be fewer horses. There may be a few horses or other animals but they would be especially protected and basically there to ensure horses don't go extinct.

Halflings
Small sized creatures don't have to eat as much as medium sized ones. Thus, if halflings only eat say 3/4ths as much as a human eats then a family of four halflings only has to buy three meals of Create Food and Water while a human family needs four.

Listen checks
In a world of darkness, put ranks in Listen before you put ranks in Spot. Also, people might start writing signs in Brail so that they can read them without looking at them.

Fireflies and Will-o-Wisps
I can't believe I didn't think of it before. If there are fireflies or other creatures that naturally emit light then they might have a special place in the city. People cultivate and grow them (maybe leave out sugar for them) and then catch the fireflies to keep them in lanterns.

Gnomes
Gnomes have Dancing Lights as a once a day spell-like ability, plus prestidigitation that can do lots of stuff. Not sure if these powers are enough to make the clerics go after them.

The Batman Wizards
Arcane spellcasters can have bat familiars who not only can use echolocation but grant their masters an empathic link and a bonus to listen checks. So, even if an arcane caster never plans on using spells then they can still get some power through their familiars who can guide them in the dark.

Horses & other animals: Yeah, I thought about that too. Some animals are kept around because bone and leather are good crafting materials and you can eat the meat, too. Horses.. well paladins have special mounts so maybe they don't need normal horses, and as you said, people can do what horses normally do.

Halflings, gnomes and other races: Good point. Many races have something that makes them useful in the setting. Halflings are small, dwarves have darkvision, etc. Not sure about what the church thinks about gnomes. The cantrips they have as spell-like abilities are not dangerous, but if their extermination is justifiable by the Church's interpretation of the law, gnomes might be persecuted, too.

Braille: Hmm yes, a system like Braille could be used. Though all major streets in the city are lit with spells or everburning something-you-can't-steal-too-easily.

Fireflies, etc.: Very good, I like that idea. I'll do some research on bioluminescent animals. :smallsmile:

Randel
2010-09-06, 01:50 AM
Fireflies, etc.: Very good, I like that idea. I'll do some research on bioluminescent animals. :smallsmile:

Oh, that reminds me:

DnD has all sorts of animals and plants and stuff that survive in dungeons but somehow can't survive in direct sunlight. With the darkness covering the land then these darkness dwelling life forms would have a chance up on the surface.

The SRD has some here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/dungeons.htm#slimesMoldsAndFungi)

Bio-luminescent moss or fungus
There could be a type of edible luminescent fungus or mushroom. Have a field full of mush, have the fungus grow on it, and the workers can easily spot the 'fruits' because they glow. Not sure how good it would taste, but they would be easy to grow due to not needing to light up the field with other spells. I'm not sure if the mushrooms could really cause enough illumination to be useful as torches or anything, it just makes them easier to spot.

Heh, bio-luminescent plants could become somewhat common in the world of darkness due to them becoming visible to animals. Like how flowers attract bees with their colors to spread their pollen, the luminescent plants give off light so that certain animals provide them with fertilizer or whatnot. Like dung beetles would roll dung up to patches of glowing moss or fungus so that the moss would grow and provide food for the beetles.

After generations, the various slimes, molds, and stuff that was once limited to dark damp dungeons could start making their way out onto the surface. Eventually luminescent plants could appear in small patches outside the city. Might not provide enough light to really see whats going on out there but brief moments where 'something gets in the way' would let watchmen see that somtheing is moving out there.

Perhaps an innocent glowing patch of moss a good distance away from the city shows up and just sits there reminding people that there is a world outside they can't see. Unless the church sends someone out to destroy it then the moss will just sit there... always... just sitting there glowing and letting them know that its there.

Green Slime
Nasty slime that eats organic material. Its killed by sunlight or fire of which the church has access to. If the city makes use of green slime in waste disposal then there is the very real and dangerous chance that some of it may get loose. Green slime left alone in a world without sunlight would likely start devouring all organic material it touches... the church could protect against it with sunlight spells but if its outside then it could run rampant.

I'm reminded of a story on NOVA I watched many years ago about a sudden outbreak of a fast-growing seaweed or algae that was spreading like wildfire across a coral reef and damaging the ecosystem. They looked at it but didn't recognize it until they traced it back to its origin point that was right next to an oceanic research building... and found that someone had a decorative aquarium (with a specially bred aquarium seaweed that can survive in aquariums) and had just dumped it out the window into the water. The seaweed was basically a super-seaweed compared to natural strains and caused massive damage to the environment.

Imagine if the city had a waste disposal system pre-darkeness that used green slime to destroy organic waste and turn it into cheap fertilizer (by burning the resulting slime) however at some point someone just dumps a bit of it over the wall instead of burning it. Without sunlight, it could grow rapidly, and with nobody looking over the edge of the wall then they might not notice it until it somehow leaks through under a door or something.

Though, it could turn out that there are zombies out there who can't come near the city due to the green slime outbreak since its grown around the city like a moat of some sort (due to people dumping stuff over the edge and unintentionally feeding it)... if someone gets rid of the slime then the monsters out there suddenly find that they aren't getting eaten by slime anymore and can safely attack the city!

Brown Mold
Brown Mold eats heat... not sure how the absense of the sun would affect it but if its able to survive on the surface in the darkeness than any warm-blooded creature out there might accidentally run into a patch of it. Fire makes it grow bigger but cold kills it... so if the world still has a winter season then I guess the Brown Mold would get killed when it snows.


Perpetual Boilers
Another way of powering the place with magic. If the church has access to a permanent Wall of Fire, or some sort of constant Heat Metal magic then they could build a boiler that constantly heats water without needing fuel. Like have one huge boiler or water heater powered by a permanent wall of fire heats up water from a river (or decanter of endless water). Then they can run hot water pipes all through town to distribute hot water to the populace.

The water could go to individual houses, or maybe to centralized locations like bath houses, artificial hot springs, or wells. If people need a bath then they go to church operated bath houses to clean up with hot water. If they need hot water for their home then maybe have a big fountains in the middle of the place where they can fill buckets with it to bring home (or have pipes to lead to the buildings).

As long as there is a centralized source of permanent magical heating and a means to distribute the heat (like through hot water) then the need for fuel for fires would be decreased or eliminated.

Or maybe they could develop a spell like Continual Flame that produces heat instead of light. Like a permanent version of Heat Metal. Then they make metal plates that are constantly hot enough to boil water on them and install them in stoves or water heaters for people to use.

Recycling Bins
Due to limited resources, just throwing stuff out would be a sin of gluttony (or rather a sin of wastefulness). If there is organic waste then they put it in a bin that goes to be turned into fertilizer for the mushrooms. If its glass, wood, or ceramic items then they can be put into other bins to be reused.

Spells like Make Whole or Mending can be used to restore glass or wood items to their original state. There could be communal yard sales or something like Goodwill where people can make sure that their old furniture or clothes are given to those who need them.

If something has been damaged then they are encouraged to go their local cleric and inform them of what happened. Since there aren't many new trees growing then its not like wooden furniture can be easily replaced (unless druids start rapidly growing trees but then again druids are filthy heathens so forget that). Thus, valuables and possessions must be properly cared for and only a cleric with their divine magic can properly restore damaged objects.

So, if a family breaks the leg on one of their chairs then they could bring it to the church where the cleric mends it in a ceremony while reminding people that many objects they have today were made before the darkness fell. Perhaps every chair or bit of furniture that is repaired through divine magic has its history recorded in a book... so that present generations learn that the dining chairs they use were used by their parents and grandparents and great ancestors and such even during the time where there were countless trees that enjoyed the sun and where carpenters could make new things every day.

People are reminded that resources are scarce and they must preserve, ration and maintain everything to ensure their children may have it some day. Also, only the church has the power to restore these priceless artifacts of those days (they can't really make violins anymore).

Wizards might be tempted to the arcane arts due to the limitless potential uses for prestidigitation or mending. Anyone who keeps their home unnaturally tidy or their possessions in too good of repair may get people suspicious.

Kensen
2010-09-06, 03:49 AM
Randel, you are full of good ideas. :smallbiggrin: Thank you!


Perhaps an innocent glowing patch of moss a good distance away from the city shows up and just sits there reminding people that there is a world outside they can't see. Unless the church sends someone out to destroy it then the moss will just sit there... always... just sitting there glowing and letting them know that its there.

I like that idea! Probably any such patches would be dangerous to approach because predators lurking in the dark would be able to spot creatures easily when they go near the illuminated area.


Imagine if the city had a waste disposal system pre-darkeness that used green slime to destroy organic waste and turn it into cheap fertilizer (by burning the resulting slime) however at some point someone just dumps a bit of it over the wall instead of burning it. Without sunlight, it could grow rapidly, and with nobody looking over the edge of the wall then they might not notice it until it somehow leaks through under a door or something.

Though, it could turn out that there are zombies out there who can't come near the city due to the green slime outbreak since its grown around the city like a moat of some sort (due to people dumping stuff over the edge and unintentionally feeding it)... if someone gets rid of the slime then the monsters out there suddenly find that they aren't getting eaten by slime anymore and can safely attack the city!

Interesting ideas, I'll give them some thought. :smallsmile:


If the church has access to a permanent Wall of Fire, or some sort of constant Heat Metal magic then they could build a boiler that constantly heats water without needing fuel. Like have one huge boiler or water heater powered by a permanent wall of fire heats up water from a river (or decanter of endless water). Then they can run hot water pipes all through town to distribute hot water to the populace.

Awesome, I really like this idea! Maybe they have built a huge paladin statue with a torch in one hand and a stone tablet (with laws written on it) in the other :smallwink:. There's a permanent circular wall of fire on top of the torch. There's a decanter of endless water built into the statue, and the wall of fire heats the water. Like the Cathedral of Light, the monument not only provides hot water to bath houses and other buildings, it reminds the people of who's in charge. Fire is one of the domains the clerics can choose, so casting Wall of Fire won't be a problem. As for Permanency, maybe they built the momument before arcane magic was outlawed. :smalltongue:


Due to limited resources, just throwing stuff out would be a sin of gluttony (or rather a sin of wastefulness). If there is organic waste then they put it in a bin that goes to be turned into fertilizer for the mushrooms. If its glass, wood, or ceramic items then they can be put into other bins to be reused.

Yep, what you said about recycling and repairing items makes sense. Something occurred to me a few days ago - clerics have spells with which they can create and shape stone. Neither spell requires costly components, so it's possible to make stone buildings and objects out of nothing. There's also a lot of stone under the city, so I imagine that stonemasonry would be one of the few industries that could thrive in the city. Stone benches and tables would probably be fairly common because wood is scarce.

Psyx
2010-09-06, 04:48 AM
I'd bet a lot of people kill themselves. Seriously. I've heard of studies finding that people who live in areas of "gloomy" weather are more likely to commit suicide than those in "happy" climates.

Urban myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_rate

Darkness causes SAD, but causes less people to throw themselves in front of traffic than -say- unemployment or a broken heart.
Suicide is more to do with social and economic pressures... Which would be enormous. Few people would have any gainful employment. Cities exist as nexuses of trade and industry. Without raw materials or a trade network, there isn't going to really be any industry; especially because new items would likely be created via magic.

I'd also recommend reading Ghormenghast.




I was thinking about blood sports, too, but maybe it'd make more sense if it was more of a Fight Club type of thing than a church-sponsored event.

The opiate for the masses needs to be accessible and legal. People need to get their mob mentality out on show on a large scale. Look at Football.
That's not to say that there wouldn't be an underground, too.




1. Is the city expanding?
If they don't have wars, monsters, disease, or food shortage, then we should expect continous population growth. As more people are born, more clerics are born, and thus more food and light can be provided. The city expands in all directions.

A state of decay would be better and bleaker. With so few jobs, I can imagine the church being only too pleased to offer sterilisation in return for a life-long 50% increase in ration cards. After all: It saves food in the long run. Thus: Only those who have jobs can really afford a family, and -say- 70% of the buildings lie empty.

Again: Taking a leaf from SLA industries and our own society: depressed impoverished living conditions lead to violence. Gang violence and people taking a shot at surviving blood sports in return for riches or 15 minutes of fame may nicely keep the population under control.

Another source of inspiration would be to watch Logan's Run. That's a good way to control population, too.

Such an environment is also going to breed serial killers.

I would expect magic to be the 'education' that people aspire for. As magic creates the food and economy, those who can do it may be admired of feared.
Or perhaps learning magic is a caste-based thing, or kept from the masses.



1). Cannibalism.

Also: Watch Soylant Green



1. As in feudal Japan, people would probably learn unorthodox styles of combat, using non-traditional weapons.

Or -as with every other society, pretty much everywhere- people would use knives. A knife has been pretty much the carry-everywhere essential tool for most of mankind's toll-using history. You can't really stop a medieval populous carrying or using a knife.



Feeding garbage to oozes seems wasteful. Rats make for a tasty kebab. Seems a shame not to have rat (and maybe cat) farms.


Arcane spellcasters can have bat familiars who not only can use echolocation but grant their masters an empathic link and a bonus to listen checks.

Or people could just learn primitive echo location themselves. Maybe make it a skill. It's not too difficult: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation



I would ban any of the 'detect evil/good' line of spells, or similar. Otherwise corruption in the church and the underground would be rooted out too easily.

Kensen
2010-09-06, 09:51 AM
The opiate for the masses needs to be accessible and legal. People need to get their mob mentality out on show on a large scale. Look at Football.

The idea of having gladiatoral games is fun and cool, but I can't see the Church advocating bloodshed. Perhaps they have sports events and martial arts contests (wrestling, running, discus throwing, etc.) which all castes can participate in, and nobody usually dies. AND then there are illegal fights in which people do die.


A state of decay would be better and bleaker. With so few jobs, I can imagine the church being only too pleased to offer sterilisation in return for a life-long 50% increase in ration cards. After all: It saves food in the long run. Thus: Only those who have jobs can really afford a family, and -say- 70% of the buildings lie empty.

Perhaps, perhaps. Or maybe they mount "expeditions" every few years, sending reluctant valiant "explorers" out into the darkness to boldly go where no-one wants to go. :smallbiggrin: Their job is to find other cities, or something. Of course, no-one expects them to return and they rarely will. I'll have to think about it.


I would expect magic to be the 'education' that people aspire for. As magic creates the food and economy, those who can do it may be admired of feared.
Or perhaps learning magic is a caste-based thing, or kept from the masses./quote]

Indeed, clerics and paladins are the most prestigious classes/professions in the city. However, the entry requirements for the training are very strict (background, ability scores, etc.) so a relatively small percentage of people are eligible for training. They actually have tests and interviews that measure your commitment to the Church and their ideals, your personality, mental capacity and physique.

[quote]Or -as with every other society, pretty much everywhere- people would use knives. A knife has been pretty much the carry-everywhere essential tool for most of mankind's toll-using history. You can't really stop a medieval populous carrying or using a knife.

I agree. Although metal objects are becoming increasingly expensive, every family can afford to have a knife or two. Besides, they're not military grade weapons, so everybody is allowed to carry one.


Feeding garbage to oozes seems wasteful. Rats make for a tasty kebab. Seems a shame not to have rat (and maybe cat) farms.

That would work too. :smallsmile: I'm sure rats taste a lot better than mushrooms grown in feces... though rats probably are more resource-intensive to grow.


I would ban any of the 'detect evil/good' line of spells, or similar. Otherwise corruption in the church and the underground would be rooted out too easily.

Yep, I'm thinking I might remove the good/evil axis altogether. Or make it largely irrelevant.

Malbordeus
2010-09-06, 10:55 AM
strikes me as very Gormenghast :)

you have the church in control, heavily degenerate noble families, and citizens who are forced to toil for their food and get very little else. (money would have little meaning in such a city, food/food vouchers would effectively replace currency to a degree, and anyone with a cleric or other caster capable of making it would be very wealthy indeed)

the walls are long established, wo the archetecture would go upwards, or be dug underground, effectively turning the city into a crazy metropolis tower eventually...

awsome world setting:)

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-06, 12:14 PM
Wall Of Iron solves your metallic woes.

Rod of Wonder can create gemstones; over time these can accumulate to provide the material components for Raise Dead/Resurrection.

In such a city, Artificers thrive, because they can produce long-lasting good (and because they count as two levels higher for purposes of qualifying to be able to make items (but not for caster level OF said items) so a level 3 artificer could make Daylight items)

Force
2010-09-06, 12:50 PM
Wall of Stone can be cast by Clerics (even high level ones) and provides plenty of building material. I'd expect that the entire city would be made of stone, if enough clerics are available. Wall of Iron would be useful, but the Church would need archivists with the proper scrolls in order to gain access to it.

Planar Ally or Planar Binding (via Archivist) might also come into vogue. Lantern Archons, for example, have Continual Flame as an at-will SLA-- no more burning spell slots or rare components. Trumpet Archons cast as 14th level clerics. etc.

Kensen
2010-09-06, 01:17 PM
Wall Of Iron solves your metallic woes.

Unfortunately, each casting costs 50 gp in gold dust. (Not to mention it's not on the cleric's spell list). Back when the darkness began, they probably used most of their gold to produce iron with the spell, but later they ran out of gold and also, the witch hunt began, so while they still have a substantial amount of iron around (mostly as weapons and other objects), there's no easy way to make more of it.


Rod of Wonder can create gemstones; over time these can accumulate to provide the material components for Raise Dead/Resurrection.

Hahah good catch. Though I presume that the Church, being lawful stupid and all, would vehemently oppose the use of any such a chaotic and unpredictable device. Statistically speaking, for each handful of gems, you'd also get a few permanently purple, blue and green people and people reduced to 1/12 of their size. :smalltongue: (The criminally inclined Guild might use the rod, however.) Also, it is not specified which kind of gems the rod creates. The spells specifically state that you need diamonds.


In such a city, Artificers thrive, because they can produce long-lasting good (and because they count as two levels higher for purposes of qualifying to be able to make items (but not for caster level OF said items) so a level 3 artificer could make Daylight items)

If artificers exist in the setting and if the Church's interpretation of the law doesn't condemn them as witches, yes, they would be very useful. :smallsmile:

Randel
2010-09-06, 01:50 PM
Aquaculture

In addition to the mushroom/rat farming, they could have aquaculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaculture) ponds set up. There are some hearty breeds of fish that lend themselves to being grown in ponds and fed on scraps.

Leftovers can be dumped into a pond where they get eaten by fish or aquatic bugs or whatnot. Not sure what types of fish or aquatic life could be easily fed with leftovers (or sewage) but there are farms that grow things like oysters, clams, turtles, soft-shell turtles, goldfish, tilapia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilapia), and others.

Oxygenation of the water could be a problem (unless there is a spell that could pull it off like a modified form of Water Breathing) but could be pulled off by using sunlight spells on water with algae or seaweed in it. Or maybe by blowing bubbles through the water I guess.

Actually, does the city have access to a river or an ocean? If they have access to seawater then they could boil it to get salt which would be GREAT as salt has so many uses as a seasoning, preservative, or the like.

If the whole planet is covered in darkness then the oceans would be in trouble since ocean algae also uses sunlight to make oxygen. Though there are underwater vents and animals that survive on sulfur and such. People could also dump their waste into the ocean and existing aquatic microbes could eat it to provide food for fish or filter feeders.

Of course, even if the ocean is miles away and they knew about the ocean before the darkness fell then they could send people to the ocean with some way to collect salt from the saltwater... even if its just a way to get rid of troublemakers who they don't expect to come back.

The city could have had an aquaculture pond ages ago with a few fish in it, since the darkness cut off trade then they put a sunlight spell over it to keep the algae alive and breed the fish or turtles or freshwater mollusks in it.

Stone Walls
If the clerics have access to stone shaping spells then there should be no reason why they can't expand the city outward (even if its done secretly). Just cast Wall of Stone twice to make two protective walls on either side and they can continue straight ahead in a path while being protected from whatever monsters may be coming from the sides. Or they could dig a tunnel and reinforce the tunnel with stone.

Stone Tools
With wood being valuable and metal presumably being scarce (unless they use Wall of Iron which still uses gold as a component) then there could be alot of stone, ceramic, or bone being used in tools and the like.

Stone to Flesh
If anybody has the ability to cast this then they can make hamburger every day!

Nonlethal Weapons
Maybe the church allows for friendly fights but they all need to use weapons that deal nonlethal damage like saps or whips. Bareknuckle boxing might actually make sense because people fighting barehanded tend not to aim for the face or head because punching the hard bone in a persons skull can seriously hurt your knuckles, they would tend to aim for the chest or stomach first.

Boxing is funny because if a fighter wears boxing gloves then they can't easily hurt their opponent by punching them in the gut, they have to aim for the head. Thus, boxers are very likely to get serious head trauma in a fight due to their opponent punching them in the face all the time. Take away the gloves and their opponent would gash up their knuckles if they hit a hard jawbone or the like.

So... in a friendly fight then the combatants would either be using unarmed strikes or some form of nonlethal weapon while their being rules against hitting an opponent in the head. Illegal cage fights wouldn't have this limitation and might allow headshots (that might cause damage to int or wis).

Weapons that deal nonlethal damage include saps, bolas, and whips. These could be relatively common weapons allowed by the church so that people aren't killed in fights. A Sap deals 1d6 nonlethal damage and costs 1gp (I think they are basically Batons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baton_%28law_enforcement%29)) however they are listed as martial weapons. Maybe the church allows for citizens to buy and carry saps so that they aren't all carrying knives or the like. If someone takes a class about baton use then they can become proficient in its use even if they aren't proficient in martial weapons.

Kensen
2010-09-06, 02:07 PM
Wall of Stone can be cast by Clerics (even high level ones) and provides plenty of building material. I'd expect that the entire city would be made of stone, if enough clerics are available. Wall of Iron would be useful, but the Church would need archivists with the proper scrolls in order to gain access to it.

Yes, Wall of Stone is useful as I mentioned earlier in the thread. Wall of Iron requires gold dust.


Planar Ally or Planar Binding (via Archivist) might also come into vogue. Lantern Archons, for example, have Continual Flame as an at-will SLA-- no more burning spell slots or rare components. Trumpet Archons cast as 14th level clerics. etc.

Planar Ally sounds good to me and lantern archons are thematically very appropriate. The only problem is that the deity chooses the creature, so you might get something less useful. Calling lantern archon's might be associated with a festival of some kind. Seeing dots of light descending from the dark sky and then making magical lights would probably seem quite impressive to the common folk.

Randel
2010-09-06, 02:11 PM
Lantern Archons can also cast continual flame as a spell-like ability, so any spell that summons or calls them can have them constantly create continual flames without using up costly spell components.

Kensen
2010-09-06, 02:21 PM
Lantern Archons can also cast continual flame as a spell-like ability, so any spell that summons or calls them can have them constantly create continual flames without using up costly spell components.

Yep, that's what Force suggested. That would make it possible to light up the city like a christmas tree, so I think I'll have to come up with an in-world reason for limiting it somehow or soon the poor archons are going to have to cast continual light on every damn rock in the city. :smallbiggrin:

ArcanistSupreme
2010-09-06, 03:31 PM
Yep, that's what Force suggested. That would make it possible to light up the city like a christmas tree, so I think I'll have to come up with an in-world reason for limiting it somehow or soon the poor archons are going to have to cast continual light on every damn rock in the city. :smallbiggrin:

Maybe, as you suggested, they are only summoned one day a year/every five years/decade as part of the church doctrine? That way they only have a limited amount of time to be casting it, and the church will let each family (or only the most affluent families or whatever) bring one item to be blessed with light. The archon then leaves until next time, and summoning it early is considered blasphemy. This would give the church a lot of control over who gets light and solve your problem of making light too readily available.

It would also make light sources precious, and make obtaining one for trips into the darkness pretty tricky for adventurers. Gee, I wonder if that glowing rock slowly moving away from the city is the one that got stolen.

Force
2010-09-06, 06:38 PM
Yes, Wall of Stone is useful as I mentioned earlier in the thread. Wall of Iron requires gold dust.


Wall of Iron does require gold dust... but it produces a heckofalot of iron. Assuming a 12th-level caster, it produces 60 ft of 3-inch wall or 180 square feet of iron. That's almost 7200 pounds of iron from one casting-- two or three automobiles of weight. That's probably equivalent to a sizeable fraction of the amount of iron mined per year in medieval England. For a single city, that should last a WHILE, especially if they're unable to mine iron conventionally and are used to scrimping and saving metal.

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-06, 09:46 PM
50 GP of gold is used per casting.

If the church's entire stockpile is 2,000 gold (A pretty low estimate) then they can cast the spell 40 times.

Hundreds of pounds of iron each casting means that they can make a CONSIDERABLE stockpile. Particularly if they go ahead and make it into a magic item so that an artificer can spend an infusion to Twin it.

Coidzor
2010-09-06, 10:24 PM
Yep, that's what Force suggested. That would make it possible to light up the city like a christmas tree, so I think I'll have to come up with an in-world reason for limiting it somehow or soon the poor archons are going to have to cast continual light on every damn rock in the city. :smallbiggrin:

Nah, 7th+ level casters probably have better things to do after establishing enough light for order to be possible, so more like enough to illuminate the main and side streets, major areas and buildings, and quite possibly a buffer field around the city walls, maybe alleys too.

Balain
2010-09-06, 10:46 PM
Reading the OP I had a flash of HHGTTG. When the people realize that something exists outside the sphere or darkness/nothingness they decide everything must be destroyed because it doesn't fall into their belief/understanding of the universe/multiverse

Kensen
2010-09-07, 12:52 AM
Wall of Iron does require gold dust... but it produces a heckofalot of iron. Assuming a 12th-level caster, it produces 60 ft of 3-inch wall or 180 square feet of iron. That's almost 7200 pounds of iron from one casting-- two or three automobiles of weight. That's probably equivalent to a sizeable fraction of the amount of iron mined per year in medieval England. For a single city, that should last a WHILE, especially if they're unable to mine iron conventionally and are used to scrimping and saving metal.

Aye, you're quite right now that I think about it. It makes sense for them to have a lot of iron and they're using it very sparingly. So, the prices of metal objects have gone up by, say, 100%, but they're still available for purchase (except for controlled weapon and armor types for which you need a licence).

Ironically, wood is going to be one of the most expensive materials. Can you think of any spells or magic items that you can use to create wood?

The Mending spell will help a lot because "Ceramic or wooden objects with multiple breaks can be invisibly rejoined to be as strong as new." It's reasonable to assume that at least 95% of all broken wooden objects are repaired because Mending is a 0-level spell. New wooden objects, however, are very very rare. There are trees in the holy garden, but usually only fallen branches and twigs are used for crafting.

Psyx
2010-09-07, 04:18 AM
If there were anyone with access to Plant Growth, it would speed up wood production...

DragonOfUndeath
2010-09-07, 04:20 AM
to SPEED UP wood production you need to HAVE wood production Psyx

Kensen
2010-09-07, 04:26 AM
to SPEED UP wood production you need to HAVE wood production Psyx

I thought about it, actually. The clerics do have a garden where they grow many plant species (they use the Daylight spell to activate photosynthesis in the plants). If they have access to the plant domain, they can grow things faster. But just about anywhere else in the world, there are no plants just as newD&Dfan pointed out.

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-07, 06:23 AM
I thought about it, actually. The clerics do have a garden where they grow many plant species (they use the Daylight spell to activate photosynthesis in the plants). If they have access to the plant domain, they can grow things faster. But just about anywhere else in the world, there are no plants just as newD&Dfan pointed out.


Daylight isn't exactly super rare or super expensive. Why limit it to the greenhouse?

Kensen
2010-09-07, 06:31 AM
Daylight isn't exactly super rare or super expensive. Why limit it to the greenhouse?

It's a 3rd level spell (and so is Create Food and Water :smalleek:). The duration is 10 min / level and the radius is 60' + 60' of shadowy illumination. It's going to take several castings each day to give plants in the area a sufficient amount of sunlight. Whether it's possible to illuminate other areas than just the greenhouse with it largely depends on how many clerics of level 5 or above the Church has.

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-07, 10:25 AM
It's a 3rd level spell (and so is Create Food and Water :smalleek:). The duration is 10 min / level and the radius is 60' + 60' of shadowy illumination. It's going to take several castings each day to give plants in the area a sufficient amount of sunlight. Whether it's possible to illuminate other areas than just the greenhouse with it largely depends on how many clerics of level 5 or above the Church has.

Remember, artificers can make items 2 levels higher than they actually qualify for, so you could have level 3 artificers making these. Heck, you'd only need one. And it'd only take him a week. (I forget whether crafting time works off of price to craft or base price. Two weeks at the worst)

For 8100 you get a Command Word item of Daylight. Now, the fun part about this is that it mimics casting the spell daylight, except without burning a spell slot.

Remember, the spell causes an object to become luminous. So that means that someone with the Rod Of Light can poke something every round, and whatever they poke glows for 30 minutes.

Thus, if it's a standard action to poke and a move action to move 30 feet, they can make a light and then move on all in one round.

Thus, such a person could travel 5400 feet (30 feet per round, 6 rounds per minute, 30 minutes. 30x6x30) illuminating as they go, resulting in a 5400x60 (or 324,000 square feet) of area as bright as daylight. That's slightly more than seven acres. You're not talking about a greenhouse so much as a small farm- PER ROD.

Of course, you couldn't actually have a straight strip, because you'd have to have it set up so that the Illuminator could wind up back at the start so that at the end of the half hour as soon as the first light went out he could snap it back on. Unless you had TWO, in which case you could have twice the width and one person heading north and illuminating half the field as the other one heads south and illuminates the other half.

Of course, plants only need sunlight for part of the day. (I wonder; would they supergrow if they were in an area with full bright daylight 24/7? Or would that be bad? I am not a farmer). Thus, you could schedule "night time" for the plants that would free up the rods for illuminating the city.

That would create a day-night cycle (Citizens would get light during the hours when the plants didn't, and they'd alternate) and a job: People to carry the rod and run around with it.

Force
2010-09-07, 11:07 AM
Even with farms, wood is still going to be rare and valuable; considering the number of spells required to produce it (Daylight several times per day at a minimum, plus plant growth at least once per "season"). I'd say it's more likely the church raids the outside world (if there's anything left) for gold and tries to make as much as possible out of iron.

Gralamin
2010-09-07, 11:21 AM
Thus, if it's a standard action to poke and a move action to move 30 feet, they can make a light and then move on all in one round.

Thus, such a person could travel 5400 feet (30 feet per round, 6 rounds per minute, 30 minutes. 30x6x30) illuminating as they go, resulting in a 5400x60 (or 324,000 square feet) of area as bright as daylight. That's slightly more than seven acres. You're not talking about a greenhouse so much as a small farm- PER ROD.


Your math is incorrect. (And not just because its 10 rounds a minute)

In order to maximize efficiency, assume its poke then move each round.
Round 1: Poke first object, 60-ft radius light.
Round 2: Poke 2nd object. Since you are only 30 ft away, you are still within the light from last time, and thus only generate a percentage more light.
Round 3: Poke 3rd object. Since you are only 30 ft away from the second, and 60 ft away from the first, its the same situation as round 2.
This is repeated for each round, which gives us the following diagram:
http://img245.imageshack.us/img245/9066/diagramj.th.png (http://img245.imageshack.us/i/diagramj.png/).

The first 60 foot burst is 192 5ft squares. Each additional one is adding only 136 5ft squares. This means the area is actually:

(192 + 136*(Round-1)) 5ft squares for Round >= 1
0 for Round < 1

So, 10 rounds * 30 minutes = 300 rounds
192 + 136*299 = 40,856 squares.

Convert that from 5-ft squares into feet, and you get 204,280 square feet.

Kensen
2010-09-07, 01:53 PM
For 8100 you get a Command Word item of Daylight. Now, the fun part about this is that it mimics casting the spell daylight, except without burning a spell slot.

According to SRD, "A creator can create an item at a lower caster level than her own, but never lower than the minimum level needed to cast the needed spell." I don't know if the Artificer can ignore this rule as I'm not familiar with Eberron-specific classes.

Anyway, the part of the DMG that describes custom item creation says the prices given in the table are guidelines for estimating the value of an item. The passage further elaborates that "Not all items adhere to these formulas directly. The reasons for this are several. First and foremost, these few formulas arenít enough to truly gauge the exact differences between items. The price of a magic item may be modified based on its actual worth. The formulas only provide a starting point. The pricing of scrolls assumes that, whenever possible, a wizard or cleric created it. Potions and wands follow the formulas exactly. Staffs follow the formulas closely, and other items require at least some judgment calls."

Thus, by RAW, the actual worth should be considered (you can cover an area over 200 times that of the Daylight spell!), and a number of other things. Indeed, if it was possible to create at-will items for a price smaller than that of equivalent wands, wands would not exist in D&D.

I'd put the price somewhere around 50,000 gp. If it's an item that casts Daylight on itself, 8,100 might be appropriate.

For the same reason, the trap of Create Food and Water discussed earlier in the thread (technically a Wondrous Item) should have a price much higher than what the trap creation table says.

thompur
2010-09-07, 03:52 PM
Re:Arcane casters. Are ALL arcane casters perrsecuted and hunted?
If a young citizen discovers he has arcane abilities(a sorcerer or a warlock) and comes to the church for guidance, would the church immediately condem the child, or enlist him into the service of the church, and cultivate a potentially powerful resource?

Also, do you envision the church to be monotheistic, or would they worship a pantheon?

Kensen
2010-09-07, 05:13 PM
Re:Arcane casters. Are ALL arcane casters perrsecuted and hunted?
If a young citizen discovers he has arcane abilities(a sorcerer or a warlock) and comes to the church for guidance, would the church immediately condem the child, or enlist him into the service of the church, and cultivate a potentially powerful resource?

Also, do you envision the church to be monotheistic, or would they worship a pantheon?

Yes, all arcane casters plus divine casters of rival religions, any incarnum users, psionicists, etc. Basically any abilities that register as "magic" expect paladins and clerics of the Church. Arcane components, spellbooks, (un)holy symbols of other religions, and all powerful magic items are illegal and will get you arrested and prosecuted. For this reason, most arcane casters take Eschew Materials and choose spells that don't attract too much attention.

The Church won't enlist a child with sorcerous powers because witchcraft is the worst of all crimes. If he's lucky, they'll try to cure him and keep him under surveillance. If he's not so lucky, he'll be either executed or exiled.

The religion is generally understood to be monotheistic. The god never speaks to the clerics directly, so it may well be that they actually worship a personification of ideals rather than an actual deity.

There is no canonical pantheon in the setting. Any PC clerics may choose two domains and worship the ideals those domains represent, or actually give their god a name if they wish.

Randel
2010-09-07, 05:56 PM
Well, if you're making an item of Daylight then perhaps the item itself could be stationary and it is used to cast Daylight into little lanterns or the like. Have it cast Daylight into the lanterns every round and then people carry the lanterns quickly to the farms.

Perhaps there is a network of wires or cables that run above the greenhouse farms that constantly move and carry the lanterns overhead, like one of those ski-lifts but instead of carrying cars it carries lanterns that are temporarily enchanted with daylight.

There could be multiple 'fields' each with their own day/night cycle. Which they switch around every day. Perhaps, the whole system is one big circle in which it takes around 100 minutes for a lantern to make a round trip. Half the time, the system runs clockwise and the lit lanterns have 50 minutes to reach the site opposite the daylight device before going out. The other half of the time it runs counterclockwise so that the lanterns illuminate the other half of the field.

If the cables and the lanterns can be seen from the city area then there could be a sort of day/night cycle with half of the city illuminated and the other half not.

shadow_archmagi
2010-09-07, 05:56 PM
204,280 square feet.

Oh, darn, I forgot to account for the fact that the circles are circles so there's some little triangles of darkness.

:-/

@Kensen and the "Real Cost" of items:

Artificers do get to defy the normal minimum caster level rule here.

It's true that the DM has the final say in any matter, particularly something as dodgy as item crafting.

A scroll of a 3rd level spell at 3rd caster level costs 25x3x3 (225) (Half that to make it yourself)
A wand of a 3rd level spell at 3rd caster level costs 750x3x3 (6750) (half that to make it yourself)
An infinite use item of a 3rd level spell at 3rd caster level costs 1800x3x3 (16200) (half that to make it yourself)

As such, for 99% of items, it's much more economical to make a wand or scroll. A wand is worth 50 scrolls, but it costs as much as 30 scrolls. An infinite use item costs as much as 72 scrolls (or 2.4 wands)

An infinite use item is only cheaper than a limited-use one if you're intending on casting the spell over 100 times. Otherwise it's wasted value.

Kensen
2010-09-08, 12:39 AM
It's true that the DM has the final say in any matter, particularly something as dodgy as item crafting.

My point was that by RAW, as in, it's actually written there in the rules, the table alone should not be used to calculate the price of a magic item. It's not just a matter of the DM's final say - the rules in the DMG are intended primarily for the DM anyway.

RAI (the intent of the rules text), too, seems to support that. Skip Williams, one of the three guys who created the third edition, said in this article (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050118a):

"Keep in mind that the rules and advice in Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide are intended to help a reasonable person estimate what an item is worth in play. It's always a mistake to try to create the most powerful item possible for the lowest possible price or vice versa."

A Glove of Infinite Cure Light Wounds is ridiculously cheap if you use the lowest price possible, yet you could theoretically heal entire armies with it. It would be an amazingly useful item even for a standard high-level adventuring party because Cure Light Wounds is not one bit less useful than a Cure Serious Wounds if you have preparation time between fights. Another example of inappropriate pricing could be the Ring of True Strike described in Skip's article.

In a campaign where darkness is one of the defining themes, a Daylight at-will item should be something the Church considers one of their holiest relics, maybe even an artifact. Not a trivial item that you run around with. :smallbiggrin:

The item itself is a brilliant (thank you for the idea :smallsmile:), it's just the pricing that is wrong, both by RAW and RAI.