D&D General D&D, magic, and the mundane medieval

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Says who?
The DMG. That's what relatively few in number as the default means. If 1 in 100 is common, then that literally cannot be the default number. It has to be significantly less common than that.
It literally does. If they are in every major city, they are common.
So just being in a major city makes you common? Migrating from the outskirts to major cities make them common. It just concentrates the rare spellcasters into a few locations, making them seem more common than they actually are.
The idea that named vs not named matters on any level in this discussion is very strange. From where do you even derive that idea as a premise?
No names are irrelevant to the setting. I mean, does it matter if there are 10 bakers or 100 bakers in a city? No. It changes nothing. Nor does getting rid of the unnamed minor spellcasters, leaving only the very few(relative to population size) named ones are are actually important to the setting.
if a book says that a given place has 1000 spellcasters, but only names 1 of them, then that place has 1000 spellcasters. Either that information informs how you run that place, or you are deviating from the written setting and making it your own version. Which is great and I encourage all DMs to do exactly that with all settings and APs and anything else they use in their game, but let's not pretend that unnamed spellcasters don't count toward how common spellcasters are in a place.
I disagree that it informs you of how the city runs. Spellcasters don't run around constantly casting spells in front of people, because spellcaster. They're just going to be walking around buy, selling, eating, drinking and merrymaking just like the bakers, potters, farriers and the rest of the non-magical folk. You will rarely see a spell being cast in a city, but at that point it's not going to feel like spellcasters are common. Removing the minor casters and just having that rare spell you see be cast by a rare wizard keeps the exact same feel.

The city will run the same with or without spellcasters being common.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Among Caucasians, redheads comprise ~2% of the population in the US. The next time you're thinking of X in a 100 or a thousand, now you have something to compare it to.
That's cool as trivia, but it really doesn't tell me much. The rate at which much of the population changes hair color on a fairly regular basis makes trying to judge the true numbers of any given color pretty much impossible when going on what I see as I walk around. :p
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
FWIW, about 1% of the world's population (adult 25 and older) has a Ph.D. Now, for most people, I would think that would be sort of rare. 🤷‍♂️

That is about the ratio I used for magic-using creatures in my world. Now, by "magic-using", most of those creatures know cantrips and maybe a 1st-level spell. Such as the racial traits of elves, the odd magic initiate, and then those with the spellcasting feature.

The chance of getting to the "next level" (in PC class terms) is about 30-40%. So, in a city of 150,000 people you might find a single 9th-level (or equivalent) caster-type, while in a 1 million population area you might have a 12th-level, etc.

It isn't exact of course, just a general rule of thumb for me and my game worlds.

As for things like magic-farming, it isn't likely AT ALL. They have better things to do with their time, energy, and focus. Now, using magic to prepare for battle, sure, if they know those spells.

Frankly, I am not a big fan of innate magic like for elfs, etc. For some creatures, sure, but for most magic must be learned and mastered to be used safely. Most who try to master magic should fail, the PCs are some of the few who succeed.

That's just how I roll. ;)
 





doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oh, a bit of trivia I learned the other day;

Among Caucasians, redheads comprise ~2% of the population in the US. The next time you're thinking of X in a 100 or a thousand, now you have something to compare it to.
And we gingers are not considered rare by most people. 🤷‍♂️
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The DMG. That's what relatively few in number as the default means. If 1 in 100 is common, then that literally cannot be the default number. It has to be significantly less common than that.
You're extrapolating and acting like it's plain in the rules.
So just being in a major city makes you common? Migrating from the outskirts to major cities make them common. It just concentrates the rare spellcasters into a few locations, making them seem more common than they actually are.
Every major city.
No names are irrelevant to the setting. I mean, does it matter if there are 10 bakers or 100 bakers in a city? No. It changes nothing. Nor does getting rid of the unnamed minor spellcasters, leaving only the very few(relative to population size) named ones are are actually important to the setting.
It makes an enormous difference whether a city has 10 spellcasters or 100 spellcasters. How important each one is to the setting has literally nothing to do with what the number of spellcasters in a city says about that city.
I disagree that it informs you of how the city runs. Spellcasters don't run around constantly casting spells in front of people, because spellcaster. They're just going to be walking around buy, selling, eating, drinking and merrymaking just like the bakers, potters, farriers and the rest of the non-magical folk. You will rarely see a spell being cast in a city, but at that point it's not going to feel like spellcasters are common. Removing the minor casters and just having that rare spell you see be cast by a rare wizard keeps the exact same feel.

The city will run the same with or without spellcasters being common.
That's a very strange take, but have fun with it.

A city with very few blacksmiths is going to run differently from one with many, nevermind spellcasters. A city where the blacksmiths guild teaches its most capable members a couple rituals or cantrips or both is going to feel even more different. A city where there are wizards guilds and bard's colleges and temples, all with at least a few spellcasters, to the point where you can reliably pay for a first level spell from one of them, is certainly dramatically different from one where there might as well be none.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You're extrapolating and acting like it's plain in the rules.
It doesn't give a number, but you said 1 in 100 is common. Since the default is rare, it cannot be 1 in 100. Rare =/= common.
Every major city.
There aren't that many in a typical world. Very few have the population and size of Waterdeep and not all major cities will even have a wizard's guild.
It makes an enormous difference whether a city has 10 spellcasters or 100 spellcasters. How important each one is to the setting has literally nothing to do with what the number of spellcasters in a city says about that city.
What difference? It's not like they're selling spells. Even spells of 1st and 2nd level cost 10-50gp. The vast majority of workers are unskilled labor and make 4 gold a month. Out of that they need to pay for rent, food, clothing, taxes, some trips to the ale house, etc. They're pretty much never buying a spell. A skilled worker makes a lot more, but still isn't going to want to spend up to an entire month's gross wages(they still have to pay all that other stuff) on a 1st or 2nd level spell. That leaves just the wealthy merchants and nobles, who are few in number, won't need spells often, and may have a caster friend because of their status.

At best a caster or three will be able to make a living in a city, and they will be higher level. The low level casters can be in the city or not and nothing will change.
A city with very few blacksmiths is going to run differently from one with many, nevermind spellcasters. A city where the blacksmiths guild teaches its most capable members a couple rituals or cantrips or both is going to feel even more different. A city where there are wizards guilds and bard's colleges and temples, all with at least a few spellcasters, to the point where you can reliably pay for a first level spell from one of them, is certainly dramatically different from one where there might as well be none.
Blacksmiths don't charge 1-12 months gross wages(spell level and worker type) for their products, either. Many more of them will be supported by a city.
 

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