D&D 5E Discussing Worldbuilding: Why Don't The Mages Take Over The World?

So, the fact that I could find artwork of a 30 something professor of magic, who was hired by a magical academy, doesn't tell us how quickly a magical education system could train people to high levels of magic?

But alright, fine, can't use the Strixhaven artwork. How about the Archmage from the MM, am I allowed to use that? Guy looks like he is in his thirties, human, and he has access to the "highest levels" of magic in 9th level spells. Is he also a specialized outlier who we can't use to determine how long it might take someone to learn magic?

What about Rath Modar and Azbara Jos, found them by searching DnD beyond. They are Thayan wizards, high level casters, and they also look middle-aged, not old. And they are still human.

How many "outliers" would I need to find before it becomes obvious that they aren't actually outliers?
I don't think you get what the problem is. Yes, these people are wizards who learned magic. This doesn't tell us anything about how common people who can learn magic like this are. Average age of an astronaut is 34. This doesn't really tell us anything about how hard it is to become an astronaut, only about how fast the people who have an aptitude to begin with can do it.
 
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Fanaelialae

Legend
Proficiency in the Arcana skill takes "10 workweeks" or 50 days. according to Xanathar's, minus a number of days equal to Int mod*5. That is also the same amount of time given for learning Medicine.

So yes, according to the rules of the game, it is a few weeks of intensive training to get started. Teaching magic itself could take longer, but we are talking the span of a few years, not the span of decades.



Which is fine. The point of this thread is to discuss ideas. I think my main problem though is that saying magic is difficult or impossible to learn flies directly in the face of what DnD itself is telling us. Magic isn't hard to learn, many of the magical classes DON'T need to learn anything.

So while you can run a world where magic is impossible for other people to learn, and therefore there are only a small handful of casters in the entire world... that just isn't how DnD presents itself anymore.
You are mistaken. The Xanathar's training rules are for tool proficiencies and languages, not skill proficiency. You can't learn a new skill using downtime. Also, just because a PC can use those rules to learn a new tool or skill in that time, doesn't mean anyone can.

Saying that magic is difficult or impossible to learn is not flying in the face of what D&D is telling us. If you look at the 1e and 2e DMGs, they explicitly state that classed characters are a tiny fraction of the total population. Spellcasters were rare even among classed characters.

All the class rules are telling us is what a player character looks like. And whether you use an array or 4d6, player characters will typically have significantly higher starting ability scores than NPCs. Which strongly implies that PCs are exceptionally talented people, who also had access to the right opportunities.

I see the question of why the farmer doesn't learn magic to be akin to asking why someone working a minimum wage job doesn't just earn a competitive wage by starting their own business. While that isn't impossible, it isn't the norm. While it isn't impossible, it certainly isn't easy, and it definitely isn't guaranteed to be a successful endeavor.
 

Why would I assume the apprentice is an outlier? The bandit isn't an outlier. The guard isn't an outlier. The wolf isn't an outlier. Why would the apprentice mage be an outlier? Let alone a MASSIVE OUTLIER?

And, yes, I used the art from Strixhaven. Most of the art from Monsters of the Multiverse for the various wizards depicts people like gnomes and elves. Despite the fact that those statblocks are completely universal, if I brought them up, people would say that "in reality" any human with that statblock would be a wizened old man, and only the fact that they are of another race makes them appear young. Strixhaven had artwork of human mages.

I guess I could have used the Archmage from the MM, but I didn't think about it in time. I assume you have some problem with me referencing a DnD sourcebook using DnD art for a discussion about DnD? We see the same pattern with the Dragonborn bard in the Monsters of the Multiverse, but you wanted wizards specifically,
....

Because nine years old. That's why. Children do not generally get advanced educations. And everyone agrees, the fluff of the wizard indicates it requires an advanced education just to get started. That the Wizard is the fantasy equivalent of a doctor, lawyer, theologian, or other "professional" degree.

And yes, I do have a problem with you using a Magic the Gathering-based supplement. Y'know, a world where literal children can become godlike world-shaking spellcasters and, in particular, referencing a fantasy wizard college that intentionally blurs the line between the medieval fantasy of D&D proper and attending college IRL.
 

Oofta

Legend
Yes, I assume that the noble statblock as it appears in the monster manual is how it appears in the monster manual. Is this some sort of criticism? Should I have deciced to make up, say, a 5th level fighter to compare with instead? Oh... I did. Gave the hp too. Did you need me to calculate out different levels or different hit dice numbers?



Any mundane security the noble or fighter had, the wizard would have. There is zero reason to think that just because a king learns a few spells that their castle and guards are ripped away by the forces of plot. If the assassin could get to the wizard, they could get to the fighter or noble. If the security of the castle is enough to stop the assassin, then it stops the assassin in both cases.



The assassin in the MM is already a 7th or 8th level character, more powerful than the 5th level spellcaster I'm proposing. Unless you think that 5th level characters are so terrifying that the assassins would jump to 13th or 14th level to compensate?

And you are again, correct, in the vast majority of cases the personal abilities of the ruler don't mean anything. In the minority of cases, the ruler who is less personally capable dies. More capable rulers are less likely to die. Magic makes you more capable, ergo, magical rulers would die less often. Therefore, rulers would prefer to be magical, to extend their own chances of survival.
I don't assume every noble is exactly the same as the sample from the book, assassin is a general term. If an assassin gets past the guards of a king, I assume they'll be prepared to take out your wizard. Rulers don't die by the bucket load because they have the state to protect them, even if the ruler is killed the odds of getting away are minimal. The odds of being assassinated is incredibly low for most nobles. If there's a .05% chance of being assassinated changing the odds to .01% doesn't really mean much.

You're proposing an incredibly extreme static and unrealistic world. One where the only possible "noble" is the one defined in the book (does that apply to newborns?) with no classes while your wizard noble has HP and defenses. Except it's quite the conundrum. Once the wizard is made a noble doesn't that mean, by your logic, that they are now defined by the noble stat block? After all if they can't be a champion and a noble, they can't be both a wizard and a noble, right? :unsure:

Have fun defining the rules of every campaign in such static terms. I don't see the point.
 

TheSword

Legend
By medical doctor, I mean an MD. A fully trained medical doctor.

What you're describing sounds closer to a trained EMT. Which, sure, I believe you can volunteer at a first aid squad at 18. But it's a far cry from being a fully trained MD.

I would say that in game terms of becoming a wizard, this level of training would be more along the lines of having some proficiency in the Arcana skill.

If you believe that magic is something that anyone can do after a few weeks of intensive training, rather than something a talented individual requires years to learn, it kind of makes sense that you believe that a magocracy would be inevitable. Everyone would be a magic user and therefore the leader would also by definition be a MU. Although at that point it's less a magical system of government and simply more of a fully magical society.

If that's the kind of setting that you want to world build, go for it. It's not the type of setting I'm interested in, so I start from different principles in shaping my world (namely, that for most people magic is difficult or even impossible to learn).
I heartily support this. My partner is in medical school. It’s kinda amazing how much knowledge he is learning and how much he had beforehand to be able to absorb as much as he does now.

His aptitude tests were in the top 10% of applicants (not of the population.. of applicants for medical school) and he only got into 1 of his 4 choices of medical school because standards were so high. (The good news is it does only take one though)

I think being a doctor is a good equivalent for being a spellcaster that learns their craft rather than it coming from some natural spark. I.e it’s bloody hard work!
 

James Gasik

Legend
Are we still going on about our personal interpretations of how long it takes to become a wizard? One of my earlier posts showed canonical evidence that characters can become spellcasters at young ages in previous editions (one from a Spelljammer supplement being all of nine years old!), and 5e has no rules for starting ages (indeed, it has no rules for aging effects at all, as several wild magic sorcerers have found out). Come on, people, there's examples of young spellcasters all over the place in fiction (and I'm not talking about Harry Potter!)- how long it takes to become a member of any character class varies from person to person. The old man with a long beard is a stereotype- notice how, even in D&D art, male spellcasters are pictured this way often, but female spellcasters are not.

It doesn't help that sometimes D&D books contradict themselves on this matter, showing that individual writers have their own opinions- 2e's Complete Wizard's Handbook says that apprentices younger than 20 are unusual, but then TSR 9549 College of Wizardry states:

College.jpg

Bottom line, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this subject, but you're not going to find a hard rule that says "you must be this tall to ride this ride" with regards to arcane magic use. And if we're just arguing that one person's opinion is somehow more or less valid than another's, this conversation will never go anywhere of substance.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Are we still going on about our personal interpretations of how long it takes to become a wizard? One of my earlier posts showed canonical evidence that characters can become spellcasters at young ages in previous editions (one from a Spelljammer supplement being all of nine years old!), and 5e has no rules for starting ages (indeed, it has no rules for aging effects at all, as several wild magic sorcerers have found out). Come on, people, there's examples of young spellcasters all over the place in fiction (and I'm not talking about Harry Potter!)- how long it takes to become a member of any character class varies from person to person. The old man with a long beard is a stereotype- notice how, even in D&D art, male spellcasters are pictured this way often, but female spellcasters are not.

It doesn't help that sometimes D&D books contradict themselves on this matter, showing that individual writers have their own opinions- 2e's Complete Wizard's Handbook says that apprentices younger than 20 are unusual, but then TSR 9549 College of Wizardry states:

View attachment 262560
Bottom line, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this subject, but you're not going to find a hard rule that says "you must be this tall to ride this ride" with regards to arcane magic use. And if we're just arguing that one person's opinion is somehow more or less valid than another's, this conversation will never go anywhere of substance.
Precisely. It's equally valid to decide that magic is difficult to learn for even talented individuals and requires many years of dedicated study, as it is to choose for it to be something that anyone can pick up after a few weeks of training. You can find some evidence to support either position, but D&D (particularly in more recent editions) largely leaves that answer open to the DM.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
There are tales of kingdoms ruled by Wizards and the like but they always inevitably fall to ruin.

Turns out regular bureaucracy and a distrust of arcane magic results in the longest standing civilizations.
 

Voadam

Legend
There are tales of kingdoms ruled by Wizards and the like but they always inevitably fall to ruin.
All kingdoms inevitably fall to ruin. :)
Turns out regular bureaucracy and a distrust of arcane magic results in the longest standing civilizations.
Can you give some examples? Thay and Rashemen in the Forgotten Realms seem to have stuck around.
In 3e Thay had been around for over four centuries under magocratic rule by the Red Wizards.

Rashemen under their rule by the Witches of Rashemen had been going for over 5,000 years.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
All kingdoms inevitably fall to ruin. :)

Can you give some examples? Thay and Rashemen in the Forgotten Realms seem to have stuck around.
In 3e Thay had been around for over four centuries under magocratic rule by the Red Wizards.

Rashemen under their rule by the Witches of Rashemen had been going for over 5,000 years.
I agree that magocracies aren't any more (or less) likely to fail vs other types of kingdoms.

However, I think magocracies do seem to have something of a tendency to fall in spectacular fashion.

For example, the Priest King of Istar brought the Cataclysm down upon Krynn.

The Dragon Kings of Athas helped usher in the current state of affairs, of a world on its last legs.

And while it hasn't resulted in catastrophe yet, on Mystara mages in Glantri harness the power of what they call the "Radiance", the continued use of which will not only drain all magic from Mystara permanently, but could also result in an explosion that would wipe Glantri off the map!
 

James Gasik

Legend
I agree that magocracies aren't any more (or less) likely to fail vs other types of kingdoms.

However, I think magocracies do seem to have something of a tendency to fall in spectacular fashion.

For example, the Priest King of Istar brought the Cataclysm down upon Krynn.

The Dragon Kings of Athas helped usher in the current state of affairs, of a world on its last legs.

And while it hasn't resulted in catastrophe yet, on Mystara mages in Glantri harness the power of what they call the "Radiance", the continued use of which will not only drain all magic from Mystara permanently, but could also result in an explosion that would wipe Glantri off the map!
There's also the fall of Netheril in the Realms, when it's most powerful wizard decided to try and use magic to usurp a God, disrupting the Weave and basically undoing the very magic that held the Empire together.

And then the Imaskari, in response to a plague that devastated their numbers, opened portals to other worlds, bringing Orcs (well, one group of Orcs, at least) to the world, as well as the Mulhorandi and Untheric civilizations (which may even be peoples from Earth!).

Of course, there are remnants of these empires to this day, in the form of the Netherese Shades, Halruua, and the Deep Imaskari, but their mistakes changed the world forever.

The Realms is lousy with ancient empires who achieved greatness, then met folly, and of course, being a fantasy world, they tend to be magocracies, like the Elven empire that created the Mythals and Elven High Sorcery (with Cormanthor being ceded to the encroaching humans, Myth Drannor overrun by demons, etc. etc.), or the Nar, who also found out the hard way that one shouldn't play with demons.

The Realms is still kind of wacky though- Cormyr is lousy with wizards, many who work for the government, yet you still don't see common folk using magic to their benefit or spells being used to bolster the infrastructure as you do in Halruua- then again, since magic tends to freak out every time there's an edition change, I can't say I blame them for not 100% trusting it!
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
There's also the fall of Netheril in the Realms, when it's most powerful wizard decided to try and use magic to usurp a God, disrupting the Weave and basically undoing the very magic that held the Empire together.

And then the Imaskari, in response to a plague that devastated their numbers, opened portals to other worlds, bringing Orcs (well, one group of Orcs, at least) to the world, as well as the Mulhorandi and Untheric civilizations (which may even be peoples from Earth!).

Of course, there are remnants of these empires to this day, in the form of the Netherese Shades, Halruua, and the Deep Imaskari, but their mistakes changed the world forever.

The Realms is lousy with ancient empires who achieved greatness, then met folly, and of course, being a fantasy world, they tend to be magocracies, like the Elven empire that created the Mythals and Elven High Sorcery (with Cormanthor being ceded to the encroaching humans, Myth Drannor overrun by demons, etc. etc.), or the Nar, who also found out the hard way that one shouldn't play with demons.

The Realms is still kind of wacky though- Cormyr is lousy with wizards, many who work for the government, yet you still don't see common folk using magic to their benefit or spells being used to bolster the infrastructure as you do in Halruua- then again, since magic tends to freak out every time there's an edition change, I can't say I blame them for not 100% trusting it!
Yeah, even looking to our own world, simply imagine how much worse things might have been if someone like Hitler, Stalin, or Nero could cast 9th level spells. I can imagine the people in a world where something like that happened making darn sure it could never happen again.

It would be quite a reasonable justification for laws that outright forbid MUs from holding positions of authority. Not unlike Dragon Age or The Wheel of Time, where mages live in service to the people (at least in theory).
 

Yeah, it just seems like it's easy for a single mage to be a combination of talented and ambitious and decide to try and dethrone the gods to violent results. It's like if you study or train hard enough, you'll have a personal nuke that you can lob from your fingertips.

Don't really blame people distrusting magic overall when it doesn't take too many mages to overthrow what might've previously been a stable system. Figure with magocracies, you get at least a short period that's really great, a short period that's really rotten, and then it just collapses. That's not to say trying to come up with a halfway functional magocracy isn't a fun worldbuilding exercise.
 


Stalker0

Legend
I think a number of people have already answered why a single high level wizard doesn't rule. I actually posted such a thread a few years ago about whether a 20th level wizard could solo the world, and there were several good answers on why they couldn't.

So the real question is.... why wouldn't a group of wizards take over the world? Whether its a cabal like the Red Wizards of Thay, or just a wizard academy... wouldn't they have the means to do it?

For this example we can look at our own modern world....and the modern military. A group of wizards and a modern military force have a lot in common, both have powers far and away over the "civilians" of the world. Both contain the means for exceptional feats of destruction, espionage, very fast mobility, and great logistical power.

So why doesn't the modern military take over the world? There are a few answers:

1) Well....they do! Many a country has fallen to a military coup and become run by its military. So the idea of a world controlled by a highly disciplined mage organization is completely plausible.

2) Civilian Oversight: Nearly all militaries for 1st world countries answer to a civilian government. And they are indoctrinated under that approach, civilian oversight is good, civilian oversight is necessary, etc. Their highest military general (the president or prime minister) generally has some checks and balances from the rest of the government that can take on the leader should they start to flex military prowess, and once again the military is indoctrinated that this is a good thing, and must be respected.

So likewise it makes sense for a mage organization to have civilian oversight. Mages trained at an academy are taught the evils of their power, and how its important to keep those forces in check for the good of society (and other propaganda pieces aimed at preventing magical "coups")

3) A divided world: Just as our modern world is divided into countries, a fantasy world may be divided up into kingdoms. The mage organization from one is opposed by the mage organization from another. No organization ever can amass too much power, as there would be attacks or counters by rival organizations.
 

Ixal

Hero
3) A divided world: Just as our modern world is divided into countries, a fantasy world may be divided up into kingdoms. The mage organization from one is opposed by the mage organization from another. No organization ever can amass too much power, as there would be attacks or counters by rival organizations.
And yet if every kingdom is ruled by a mage or other caster, spellcasters do rule the world.

I have no idea why everyone here immediately jumps to "one or a group of wizards conquering the world by force" instead of the much more obvious and likely scenario that the ruling class all pick up levels of spellcasting because they are so useful, as nobility they have the time and ressources to learn it as they do not need to work for a living and because knowing supernatural powers keeps the common people in awe of them.
And there you have it, the world is ruled by spellcasters. Not a single spellcaster or unified group or even very powerful spellcasters, but spellcasters nontheless.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That’s a pretty large supposition. It takes a PC that length of time, those rules don’t apply to NPCs.

It also depends on the demographics of the world, what the spread of intelligence is amongst NPCs.

Being able to learn arcana is not the same as being able to use magic as well. There is a big step between learning anatomy and being a surgeon.

D&D 5e presents magic as present but not common. Magic items aren’t for sale on street corners, and in typical location there will be a handful of casters described. It’s one in a hundred, not one in four.

The spread of intelligence doesn't matter at all, because 50 days, or a month and a half (approximate) is for an Intelligence of 10. Unless you are saying the NPCs average starts at Int 6, we are well within the range of the normal spread.

And yes, this was just learning arcana, but here's the point I was making.

Per the rules (and yes, these rules only apply to PCs) someone with an intelligence of 12 can gain proficiency in Arcana in a month of dedicated training. Let us say that it takes four times longer to learn the basics and qualify for level 1 wizard. We are approaching half a year of study to become a wizard for a PC.

What's the multiplier for the difference between PC and NPC? Some people have proposed that being a 1st level wizard should take a decade, minimum! However, think about that, that means that PCs learn at TWENTY TIMES the normal rate. That's too much. That is a massive disparity that would need extreme explanations. My proposal would be that PCs only learn at two or three times the rate of normal people. Meaning it would take your average NPC about a year to a year and a half.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I don't think you get what the problem is. Yes, these people are wizards who learned magic. This doesn't tell us anything about how common people who can learn magic like this are. Average age of an astronaut is 34. This doesn't really tell us anything about how hard it is to become an astronaut, only about how fast the people who have an aptitude to begin with can do it.

Okay, but these are two ENTIRELY separate points. They aren't even related points.

The age isn't an argument for how common magic-users are. It is an argument set-up as a counter-point to "But it takes a decade of study to even be a 1st level wizard, so no noble could ever have the time". Well, if we can demonstrate that "those who have an aptitude to begin with" can go from level 1 to level 12 in the span of a decade or two, then we can demonstrate that going from level 1 to level 5 shouldn't take more than a couple of years.


Your problem with that seems to be that those people won't be common. But there is a significant problem with that theory. Firstly, there are multiple different styles and sources of magic. We have humanoids like orcs, goblins and gnolls which use magic in their leadership, yet have no formalized structures like education. We have faith based magic. Music based magic. Nature based magic. And, most fundamentally problematic for your argument, we have wizard/artificer magic and Warlock pacts. Wizard/Artificer magics are EXPLICITLY learned skills. They simply require someone to be taught how to use them.

Now, I know you are bound up with this idea that not everyone can learn everything, but I fundamentally reject that assumption. There is no one in this world who cannot be taught to read. There is no one in this world who cannot be taught to do math. Yes, Dyslexia and Dyscalcula exist, but people with those learning disabilities can still read and can still do math, even if it is harder for them. There is not something special about the brain of a surgeon that allowed them to learn medical knowledge. There is no something special about the brain of an astrophysicist that allowed them to learn complex astrophysics. ANYONE could be taught these things. Some people simply find these things easier or harder, and then generally if they find it too hard and have no driving reason to learn it, they give up.

But there is a driving reason to learn magic. Magic has practical applications. The biggest impediment to teaching someone advanced knowledges is "when will I ever use this". There is no "practical application" for understanding space-time and gravity waves. However, understanding magic gives you practical applications.


And all of this, ALL OF IT, ignores that you don't even need to learn anything to be a Warlock. Someone who is deaf, blind and mute can make a deal with a great power and become a warlock. All it takes is the ability to accept a deal. And every mortal has that.

So, who has the aptitude to gain magic? Everyone. It is a magical world. Some people are born with it, others need to study it, and still others just pick up a weapon which accepts an ancestral pact and get magic.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
The spread of intelligence doesn't matter at all, because 50 days, or a month and a half (approximate) is for an Intelligence of 10. Unless you are saying the NPCs average starts at Int 6, we are well within the range of the normal spread.

And yes, this was just learning arcana, but here's the point I was making.

Per the rules (and yes, these rules only apply to PCs) someone with an intelligence of 12 can gain proficiency in Arcana in a month of dedicated training. Let us say that it takes four times longer to learn the basics and qualify for level 1 wizard. We are approaching half a year of study to become a wizard for a PC.

What's the multiplier for the difference between PC and NPC? Some people have proposed that being a 1st level wizard should take a decade, minimum! However, think about that, that means that PCs learn at TWENTY TIMES the normal rate. That's too much. That is a massive disparity that would need extreme explanations. My proposal would be that PCs only learn at two or three times the rate of normal people. Meaning it would take your average NPC about a year to a year and a half.
I already debunked that actually. You cannot learn new skills from training, only tool proficiencies and languages.

Please don't perpetuate misinformation.

If I am the one who is mistaken, please let me know where I can find the relevant rules so that I can be corrected. However, if it's from the Downtime Training section in Xanathar's, it clearly states that it only allows you to learn tool proficiencies and languages, not skills.

As an aside, even if you house rule it to allow skills, four times more for NPCs is not reasonable. Under these rules, a fairly intelligent PC could learn blacksmithing in 8 workweeks. In medieval times, a blacksmithing apprenticeship lasted somewhere around 8 years (roughly 400 weeks). That would mean that taking 50 times as long for an NPC to learn something is not unreasonable, at least if you extrapolate from the rules as you were doing. Though I don't actually agree that it's reasonable or sensible to try to derive NPC "rules" from rules built to serve PCs. It seems obvious that the 10 workweek rule in Xanathar's exists as a nod to verisimilitude, but is so short because otherwise training would be pointless in most campaigns.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You are mistaken. The Xanathar's training rules are for tool proficiencies and languages, not skill proficiency. You can't learn a new skill using downtime. Also, just because a PC can use those rules to learn a new tool or skill in that time, doesn't mean anyone can.

Already addressed the "just because PCs can doesn't mean others can"

I did forget that this was just for Tools and Languages, but you can also get feats via training, skilled is a feat that gives three skills. So, it is still obviously possible to learn new skills, we just don't have as clear a timeline. So, do you think it should be twice as long for a skill? Three times? Tools are basically skills, so how much more difficult should it be?

Saying that magic is difficult or impossible to learn is not flying in the face of what D&D is telling us. If you look at the 1e and 2e DMGs, they explicitly state that classed characters are a tiny fraction of the total population. Spellcasters were rare even among classed characters.

"were rare" is kind of an important point. There is not a single class in 5e that cannot use magic by 4th level. Spellcasters are FAR from rare amongst classed characters.

And yes, saying that learning magic is impossible does fly into the face of what D&D is telling us. Wizard and Artificer magic is explicitly learned. It cannot be impossible to learn magic whose entire identifying feature is that it can be learned. That is like saying that it is impossible for an apple to be red. It is kind of a defining feature.

All the class rules are telling us is what a player character looks like. And whether you use an array or 4d6, player characters will typically have significantly higher starting ability scores than NPCs. Which strongly implies that PCs are exceptionally talented people, who also had access to the right opportunities.

Okay? Every wizard statblock from the Monsters of the Multiverse seems to have an Intelligence between 16 and 18. They ALL are exceptional, if we assume normal is 10's. The entire point we have been told for rolling 4d6 is that it creates a population curve. So, people of any level of stats can be NPCs. This doesn't prove or disprove anything.

And, remember, part of this OP as a fundamental concept, is that "have access to right opportunities" would be Nobles, because those with money and wealth have more access, and those with magic have more access to wealth and hard coin, and more access to teaching magic to others. These two things would combine.

I see the question of why the farmer doesn't learn magic to be akin to asking why someone working a minimum wage job doesn't just earn a competitive wage by starting their own business. While that isn't impossible, it isn't the norm. While it isn't impossible, it certainly isn't easy, and it definitely isn't guaranteed to be a successful endeavor.

Wonderful! Now, why can't an independently wealthy millionaire from a rich family start their own business? Like a make-up line, or a fashion line, or a perfume line. You know, these things that independently wealthy people start all the time, because they have the money to make it happen?

Farmers aren't the ruling class of the world. Nobles with money and access to education are. Exactly the people who would be more likely to succeed at something that would take money, time, and education.
 

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