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Thread: The Common Commoner
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 08:25 AM #131
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
You would think they would pay attention but I imagine many of them don't. IRL, athletes and entertainers are ripped off on a rather regular business. A fair number of adventurers probably fall into the same category. One day Galvan is fighting other low-life scum in the basement of the Mermaid's Smile to entertain the rubes. The next day, some low-mid level adventurers who just had their fighter die on them blow into town and say, Galvan, how about you come with us and kill some orcs and take their treasure. I'll spot you a bit of money for a breastplate and you can borrow this masterwork sword (it belonged to the last fighter but we won't tell you that). So Galvan goes with the adventurers and when they succeed and dole out the treasure, he's richer than he's ever been in his life. Now, supposing he doesn't blow all his money on ale and whores (despite the fact that his armor is in desperate need of repair), is he going to know enough to take the proper precautions when he goes to buy that cloak of resistance?
It could happen just as easily with a wizard. Loren learned magic at the Academe' in Wintershiven. Everyone was scrupulously honest because the masters would assign them penance if they weren't. After completing his training, he leaves his sheltered life and goes out with some companions from his home town. They guard a silver caravan from Eltison to Rel Mord and are attacked by brigands as soon as they leave the Pale. Nyrond isn't a safe place. Fortunately, they prevail, and the brigands were carrying good stuff. Loren, however, isn't very good with his crossbow and he can only master 4 1st valence spells a day. He wants a wand in case he ever runs out. So, he asks around a bit and a respectable looking wizard walks up to him with a wand. Loren hands over his money without even thinking that the wizard would be less than honest and walks off with a stick enchanted with Nystul's Magic Aura. (And it wasn't a real wizard who sold it to him either).
Sorcia was clever and canny. She learned early on that you always pay for a certificate of identification from the Nellix College of Sages and Sorcery when you're buying a magic item. And if you're really careful, you get your wizard friend to cast Identify on it too. She bought her periapt of wisdom +2 through the temple of St. Cuthbert--reliable fellows even if they've got too much of a stick up their but to serve Lydia. But, now that Lydia has seen fit to channel divine flame through her, Sorcia is starting to think she should get some better protection than the battered suit of banded mail that has served her since her days as a novice. She's been saving her money and she wants to buy some good fullplate, enhanced to the second circle and moderately fortified. Good stuff. So she examines the certificate of identification, gets her wizard friend to identify it, and hands over the money. It didn't occur to her that, when 16,650gp is at stake, you can pay for a really good forged certificate and it's worth casting both Misdirection and Nystuls Magical Aura. Heck, it's even worth investing in a rod of extension to make sure the magic vestment you put on it to simulate the enhancement bonus last for long enough that you're two dozen miles away before the victim finds out about it.
Skill in one area of life doesn't necessarily transfer well to another. Galvan is really good at fighting but, he needed a couple dump stats and since charisma is what gets him chicks, he chose wisdom and to a lesser extent int. He may well go his whole life without ever figuring out that people are using him and ripping him off and if he does figure it out, he won't figure out why people are able to rip him off. He'll wreak a bloody revenge on the person who he caught, probably get outlawed or pay a huge bribe and then fall right into the hands of the next con man to come along and say "you see, I'm not like them. I'll treat you right." Loren has led a sheltered life and can tell you the spell like abilities and vulnerabilities of type III-VI demons without consulting a book and quote the third answer to the fourth question of the Pholtan catechism of light without skipping a beat. However, it takes him a while to get the hang of his life on the edge. He'll make most of the mistakes in the book, but he'll only make them once each. He might even make fewer as soon as he realizes that there's a way business deals are done and follows that path strictly. Sorcia will probably learn from her experience too. Once you start looking at big ticket items, you want extra security. Dispellings "just in case." Escrow and waiting periods to make sure the magic is permanent. Maybe even an Analyze Dweomer spell instead of a mere identify. It costs more money to secure a big ticket transaction but people are willing to spend a lot more money making the con work so you need to be more careful.
IRL, nobody goes through the kind of planning and investment seen in Ocean's Eleven to knock over the local 7-11. It's not worth it. So 7-11s can afford to have security that Mr. Ocean can beat with ease. On the other hand, banks and casinos have a lot more money and need to have a lot more security. They are worth Mr. Ocean's time. The trick is that adventurers have to know when they're 7-11s, when they're banks, and when they're casinos. Adventurers who don't figure out what game they're playing are going to get taken. Through foolishness, naivete' or simple misjudgement, a lot of them will make mistakes.
Originally Posted by VirgilCaine
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Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 09:48 AM #132
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
Sure there is- material spell components.Withholding spells: Spellcasters in D&D have NO REASON not to use every spell they get every day of their life. None.
YOU might not use them in your campaign, but I do.
And sometimes, those casters just don't have the resources to find or purchase components to cast a particular spell as many times as they want. Or at all.
There are other reasons, too.
Injury, spite, the law, fear, dead or wild magic zones, etc.
But component expense and scarcity are REALLY good brakes on spellcasting.
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 10:21 AM #133
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Lie To Your Players (A Little ....)
If our benevolent thread founder wishes to adopt a "country bumpkin" (i.e., peasant) feel for his campaign, he might want to consider the following options:
3. Royal Thaumaturgy
4. Saintly Relics
After taking these components into consideration, one can produce a variety of cool scenarios ... for example:
Although most peasants have never seen a real magic item, they have access to plentiful bogus magic items.
Fake peasant fetishes [like the finger bone of a "wise" king that can supposedly heal the sick] can provide your PCs with an interesting wild-goose chase when they try to search for an expensive magic item in a small village.
When your PCs finally discover the fraud, it will be a good object lesson to them on the verisimilitude of your game AND you'll get the double-bonus of pulling one over on them.
Just don't forget to have the village undertaker make a few more pine boxes and start digging some yokel holes.
Last edited by The Thayan Menace; Wednesday, 27th July, 2005 at 06:38 PM.
RED ROBES: SMOOTH CRIMINAL
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 02:20 PM #134
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Removed by author.
Last edited by Raven Crowking; Saturday, 16th July, 2011 at 06:34 PM.
No longer associated with this site
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 04:01 PM #135
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Uh... just meant it as a joke, not a social commentary.Originally Posted by Raven Crowking
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 05:00 PM #136
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Except for opportunity cost. They can swing a sword around, but while they do that they aren't doing anything else. So how will they afford to feed themselves?Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
Whereas spellcasting doesn't take much time at all. Up to an hour to prepare your spells for the day, then a few minutes at most (for almost all spells). So the opportunity cost of spellcasting is very low.
Except that's not how D&D works. You just can't cast spells beyond your limit, period. You can't even try.Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
It doesn't have anything to do with your body or mind; all spellcasting does is take away your ability to cast more spells. So there's something expended there, in the amount of spells you can cast per day, but that's it.Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget
"If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
-- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
Burning Empires: Boldaq
Keep on the Shadowfell
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 05:26 PM #137
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I just thought of quite a good anology.
How many people in the real world know of technology? Loads know of it.
How man people know specific technology and what it does specificly? Fewer.
How many people can work these modern wonders (Defibulators, C+, and other things.)
It seemed a better in my head.....
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 07:54 PM #138
Gee, I never knew so many professional mercenaries, bodyguards and security experts were gamers!Originally Posted by kigmatzomat
Yes, the people who you game with do stupid things--thats okay, we're playing a game. People make mistakes in games.
But gamers aren't their characters. Not a valid comparison.
Good examples and good points.Elder-Basilisk
And one reason why the Guild was created--to keep wizards from being feared and distrusted. Thats one of the functions of the Guild--stamp out dishonest confidence men (i.e. Bards) and Renegades and the like.
Areas of strong physical or magical energy may make teleportation more hazardous or even impossible. -Teleport
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 09:05 PM #139
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
My gaming group does, or has, included people from all branches of the military, at least two professional body guards, a police officer, and several computer security experts.Originally Posted by VirgilCaine
The police and computer security folks made the fewest mistakes, and oddly the military types some of the most; not paranoid that way, I guess. (The most goes to certain people who consistently make poor decisions when they have less than a week to contemplate their actions.) Though everybody has the occasional "D'oh!" moments.
Last edited by kigmatzomat; Thursday, 19th August, 2004 at 09:06 PM.
Thursday, 19th August, 2004, 10:49 PM #140
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by barsoomcoreExcellent point. My argument SHOULD read -- Spellcasters in D&D have no reason not to use every spell that doesn't consume resources every day. If a spell's components are trivial, the point stands. If the components are not trivial, then casting the spell consumes resources, and obviously the casting is not a resource-free operation.Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
But for many spells there are either no material components or trivial ones (all the Cure spells, for example, or Remove Disease, or Plant Growth, or Purify Food and Drink -- pretty much all the spells that have been referenced here are devoid of material components), and so those spells are free to cast -- they consume zero resources on the part of the spellcaster and so the spellcaster has no reason to NOT cast them. He or she gains nothing by withholding those spells.
In contrast to the moron who spends all day swinging his sword in pointless circles around him -- he's NOT eating, NOT killing bad guys (or good guys), NOT making friends and influencing people, NOT putting away a little for a rainy day, NOT helping out his community -- he's just obviously a mental case. Casting spells accomplishes stuff AND costs nothing. We don't have anything like that in our world. In my life, the only way you can accomplish things is by expending resources. Spellcasters get spells for free. It's interesting. You start to wonder very seriously why EVERYONE doesn't learn magic. It's not like you need to be a genius -- even someone with an 11 Intelligence can cast first-level spells. And being able to cast one first-level spell every day for free is better than not being able to cast one first-level spell every day for free.
If I were king, I'd ORDER everyone to learn magic. Especially if even my big cities are getting attacked by deadly creatures on a daily basis. Your society could easily take the short-term effort of getting everyone at 11 or higher Intelligence or Wisdom casting spells for the long-term benefit of having thousands upon thousands of spell-casters available throughout the kingdom. It just makes sense.
It seems very likely to me that free power radically changes the way people organize themselves.
As would (and this is a related but tangential point) "religion" based on demonstratable truths. If you KNOW your god exists, is your religion really a religion the way we think of it? This is different from pagan beliefs that have existed on our world -- the priests of a D&D world can invoke miraculous powers reliably and repeatedly. There is no doubt that they possess that power. And so belief isn't a matter of faith anymore, it's a matter of picking sides.
I don't know if that's really "religion". I don't think that's how pagan systems worked. I mean, IRL, you can't easily tell a false priest (somebody whose view of the world is wrong) from a true priest (someone whose view is correct). But in D&D you can -- the guy who's just mad and running around making stuff up can't cast spells. The guy who is actually worshipping his god correctly can. So people can't just come up with crazy stuff and start convincing people through force of will, because those people will sensibly say, "Fine, cast your Cure Light Wounds, buddy."
Now of course a priest of some evil god might be able to fool people into thinking he's a priest of some other, less offensive deity (though I suspect Mr. Less Offensive would have something to say about that eventually), but that's not the same thing as people just making stuff up and turning it into religion.
Which is something that happens regularly in our world because religion isn't about picking the right side. It's about having faith in something bigger than what you can comprehend. And the D&D gods can be comprehended by man. Ergo, they will not fulfill man's (or elf's, or dwarf's) need for the religious experience.
Dunno what to do about that, but that's what I think. Religion is HARD to get right in a fantasy world. Not many authors get it convincingly, and even fewer DMs. I certainly never have.
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