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D&D 5E Dnd World Demographics Excel Tool - Rarity of Classes and Spells

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I view undead as maintaining a partial connection to the actual person. This part is incomplete and confused but is still part of the person.

In this view, undead labor can be exploitative and cruel.

Constructs however are automatons. These are ethically fine.
 

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Ixal

Adventurer
Wrong focus.

If undead or constructs are essentially infinite sources of labor, the living people that manage to be serfs are the lucky ones. Most of them are destitute.
Most people whos work could be replaced by simple undead would already be destitute.
Or they would be farmers, having to fulfil their obligations to their lord with manual labour and would not mind not having to do it and instead tend their farm for longer. Remember that the entire economic system used to be very different in the times most fantasy games seek to emulate.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
having to fulfil their obligations to their lord with manual labour
The point is that in a world with cheap undead and constructs, manual labor is worth much less, possibly worth nothing, in much the same way skilled kitchen labor is worth little to a McDonald’s franchise.

Remember that the entire economic system used to be very different in the times most fantasy games seek to emulate.
Not just that, but the economic system in a world with standard levels of DND Magic the economy would be even more dystopian than a feudal system, because there is no need to feed the serfs.

Either you have money, magic, land, or can steal or kill things really well, or you will probably starve.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
The point is that in a world with cheap undead and constructs, manual labor is worth much less, possibly worth nothing, in much the same way skilled kitchen labor is worth little to a McDonald’s franchise.


Not just that, but the economic system in a world with standard levels of DND Magic the economy would be even more dystopian than a feudal system, because there is no need to feed the serfs.

Either you have money, magic, land, or can kill things really well, or you will probably starve.
I don't think unintelligent undead would replace farmers. They would replace draft animals and beasts of burden, so a cart would not be pulled by an oxen but for zombies for example. But you still need a living person to steer.
So I do not see why people would starve. Farmers would still be farmers and mainly produce for their own consumption + a little bit extra and skilled labour certainly won't be replaced by zombies anyway. Only untrained day labourer, the poorest of the poor and usually already dependent on soup kitchens might find competition from undead.

Undead labour might have an effect on some branches, for example they could be used for spinning which was very time consuming, but not complicated which might affect prices which in turn might affect normal peasants which also spun thread as second income. But even there, experience matters so a undead might not be able to spin the best thread which might make it not a very economical choice to have an undead for spinning.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
I don't think unintelligent undead would replace farmers. They would replace draft animals and beasts of burden, so a cart would not be pulled by an oxen but for zombies for example. But you still need a living person to steer.
So I do not see why people would starve. Farmers would still be farmers and mainly produce for their own consumption + a little bit extra and skilled labour certainly won't be replaced by zombies anyway. Only untrained day labourer, the poorest of the poor and usually already dependent on soup kitchens might find competition from undead.

Undead labour might have an effect on some branches, for example they could be used for spinning which was very time consuming, but not complicated which might affect prices which in turn might affect normal peasants which also spun thread as second income. But even there, experience matters so a undead might not be able to spin the best thread which might make it not a very economical choice to have an undead for spinning.
They aren't all that unintelligent (skeletons have an int of 6; as do flesh golems; ghouls have an int of 7 ), and there a intelligent overseers available, too, like Vampire Spawn (cr5) and Ghasts (cr2). I assume an int of 11 is more than sufficient.

Serfs weren't valuable because they were skilled, they were valuable because mechanization didn't exist yet. Serfs that don't require food are even better (that is, skeletons, flesh golems, vampire spawn, ghouls, etc).

A medium to high level Necromancer (or wizard who feels like casting Animate Dead regularly) can have a very large labor force that won't strike or complain and do not require food. This is like mechanized farming; and small scale farming wouldn't stand a chance.


Serf labor would be worth much less than it would be a non-magical economy, and serfs would thus starve. In fact, wheat may not even be worth growing as a cash crop because the serfs don't have the funds to buy bread.
 

Quartz

Hero
I remember a story in which stevedores had been replaced with undead and were causing trouble for the militia. The owners of the harbour were making money hand over fist - no wages to pay - until the necromancer controlling the undead revealed his other plans...
 

Ixal

Adventurer
They aren't all that unintelligent (skeletons have an int of 6; as do flesh golems; ghouls have an int of 7 ), and there a intelligent overseers available, too, like Vampire Spawn (cr5) and Ghasts (cr2). I assume an int of 11 is more than sufficient.

Serfs weren't valuable because they were skilled, they were valuable because mechanization didn't exist yet. Serfs that don't require food are even better (that is, skeletons, flesh golems, vampire spawn, ghouls, etc).

A medium to high level Necromancer (or wizard who feels like casting Animate Dead regularly) can have a very large labor force that won't strike or complain and do not require food. This is like mechanized farming; and small scale farming wouldn't stand a chance.


Serf labor would be worth much less than it would be a non-magical economy, and serfs would thus starve. In fact, wheat may not even be worth growing as a cash crop because the serfs don't have the funds to buy bread.
Wheat never was a cash crop. The medieveal economy was very different from today and less money driven. So you can't simply use todays capitalistic view to judge the effect undead labour would have.

Even with a vastly higher food output you are not earning X times more money. Without refrigiration you can't store that food for longer than a season, so most of it is wasted. And the human farmers wouldn't be really affected much by the surplus as they did not produce for a market to earn money but mainly to have enough to feed themselves, so the price of food does not matter to them much. Rather, they would see low food prices as a boon as they could still manage to buy some in the times of need.

On the other side, a overproduction of food would allow a much higher rate of skilled labour than what was historically possible which might have positive effects on the overall development and progress of the nation.

Also, Int 6 is still pretty stupid and probably won't achieve the same results a farmer would.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Wheat never was a cash crop. The medieveal economy was very different from today and less money driven. So you can't simply use todays capitalistic view to judge the effect undead labour would have.

Even with a vastly higher food output you are not earning X times more money. Without refrigiration you can't store that food for longer than a season, so most of it is wasted. And the human farmers wouldn't be really affected much by the surplus as they did not produce for a market to earn money but mainly to have enough to feed themselves, so the price of food does not matter to them much. Rather, they would see low food prices as a boon as they could still manage to buy some in the times of need.

On the other side, a overproduction of food would allow a much higher rate of skilled labour than what was historically possible which might have positive effects on the overall development and progress of the nation.

Also, Int 6 is still pretty stupid and probably won't achieve the same results a farmer would.
Farmers where allowed to produce for their own consumption because the machinery of state wasn't that efficient at extracting resources from them, and the consent of the serfs was needed in order to grow the food.

The Malthusian trap meant that the land was more important than the marginal productivity or more people working on it. Those farmers would grow food and keep as much as they could to feed their families, which grew in size (over generations) until there wasn't enough. The local government would attempt to take the food (via taxes) to feed the nobility and city folk, and be resisted as the farmers would rather feed their family than some stranger.

If you can replace the farmers with constructs or undead that don't grow in numbers and don't require food themselves, you don't have serfs who every few generations require aggressive tax collection and/or thinning them out in a war.

Farmers who eat 90% of the food they grow are relatively easy to compete with productivity wise to the owner of the land.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Wheat never was a cash crop.
But it would have to be when you don't need it to feed your labor force. Otherwise, you wouldn't grow very much of it but for what a handful of elites may wish to eat.

Farmers who eat 90% of the food they grow are relatively easy to compete with productivity wise to the owner of the land.

Why would these farmers have access to the land in the first place, if they'll only eat the bulk of the harvest? What power over and above the Mage-Lord would be slicing out land and giving it to peasants?

The Malthusian trap meant that the land was more important than the marginal productivity or more people working on it.
Yes, only now the people aren't even necessary in the first place to produce anything. And they don't have funds to purchase anything, either.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Farmers who eat 90% of the food they grow are relatively easy to compete with productivity wise to the owner of the land.
Productivity didn't matter much though. This is a modern concept.
Food production was a means to an end, not a source of money. At best you had security because of large stores and maybe some small income (although when you overproduce food who is going to buy it?).
Food could neither be stored for long nor traded over long distances (although undead might help with that) except in very specific circumstances. There was no market you could dump food on and make money that way.

Taxes too were usually not in food but money and it was the peasants job to earn money for the taxes. That sometimes included selling food in the city, but also spinning, labour and many other sources.
So a living serf would often mean higher taxes for the lord than an always working undead.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Taxes too were usually not in food but money and it was the peasants job to earn money for the taxes. That sometimes included selling food in the city, but also spinning, labour and many other sources.
All replaceable with automatons that don't need to eat and don't complain.

With the added bonus that they can convert to a fighting force with minimal effort.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
All replaceable with automatons that don't need to eat and don't complain.

With the added bonus that they can convert to a fighting force with minimal effort.
No, not really.
Even today in the real world most jobs can not be easily replaced by robots which are far smarter than unintelligent undead. A zombie would never be able to do even a semi skilled job like charcoal burning without producing a lot of waste because its too stupid to do it well. Same for farming. It might cultivate more land than a living farmer and not eat the product itself, so it still will be a net gain in the end, but the chance for harvest failure would be higher because its dumb.

And everyone realized that converting your farmers and labourers to soldiers is a very bad idea.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
No, not really.
Even today in the real world most jobs can not be easily replaced by robots which are far smarter than unintelligent undead.
No, the robots are not smarter than undead - particularly because undead do not need to be unintelligent, but also because an intelligence 7 creature is capable of far more adaptation than some of our most sophisticated automation at this point.

There are Int 11 CR2 undead to be had.

Worst case you need a handful of weaker wizards for a particularly massive force, but that easily managed.

And everyone realized that converting your farmers and labourers to soldiers is a very bad idea.

Unless under attack, and the undead laborers convert much more quickly, and create fodder for their replacements in combat, if it comes to that. The laborers are all already a military force, there is no conscription or equipping or anything like that required.

This is a bit like how every level 2 ranger can feed 20 people per day with effectively zero labor. The magic system in 5e completely breaks any kind of economy modeled after anything we've seen in the real world. High magic worlds either need tremendously powerful organizations clamping stuff like this down or it becomes a dystopian free for all very, very quickly.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
No, the robots are not smarter than undead - particularly because undead do not need to be unintelligent, but also because an intelligence 7 creature is capable of far more adaptation than some of our most sophisticated automation at this point.

There are Int 11 CR2 undead to be had.

Worst case you need a handful of weaker wizards for a particularly massive force, but that easily managed.



Unless under attack, and the undead laborers convert much more quickly, and create fodder for their replacements in combat, if it comes to that. The laborers are all already a military force, there is no conscription or equipping or anything like that required.

This is a bit like how every level 2 ranger can feed 20 people per day with effectively zero labor. The magic system in 5e completely breaks any kind of economy modeled after anything we've seen in the real world. High magic worlds either need tremendously powerful organizations clamping stuff like this down or it becomes a dystopian free for all very, very quickly.
And why exactly do you think the intelligent undead will work around the clock and for free? (And yes, robots are much more intelligent for the specific task they were created for).
The living serf pays you for the privilege to farm your land so that he can feed himself. The undead labourer probably wants to be paid to grow food which is, when done in large quantities, essentially worthless once you have enough as you can't trade it away.
Again, stop thinking in a capitalist, market driven way. That was not how the economy in those times worked.

And if you convert your farmers and craftsmen to soldiers and you lose you have no way to replace them fast and face famine and a lack of labour. Even if you can recover corpses, the cost of creating more undead is prohibitive. So you are best of not to do that.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
And why exactly do you think the intelligent undead will work around the clock and for free?

Because they are bound to the necromancer via Create Undead.

And if you convert your farmers and craftsmen to soldiers and you lose you have no way to replace them fast and face famine and a lack of labour.

There is no famine because you only need to feed a handful of people; possibly as few as one.

With high level magics available, there is no need for serfs, so practices that sustain them (like allowing them to work land) aren't necessary.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Because they are bound to the necromancer via Create Undead.

Which needs to be recasted every 24 hours which costs 150 gold for each 3 ghouls. Not economically at all unless you gather your own onyx and also not sustainable for larger numbers of undead or when they are spread out over a large area like for farming.
There is no famine because you only need to feed a handful of people; possibly as few as one.

With high level magics available, there is no need for serfs, so practices that sustain them (like allowing them to work land) aren't necessary.
Then food is worthless, so why farm it?
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Then food is worthless, so why farm it?
You wouldn't, that's what I said.

You don't need it, and it wouldn't even be worth selling because the serfs that need to eat it don't have money.

In short - any economy resembling what we've had in the real world would collapse with high level magic users in the equation.

Which needs to be recasted every 24 hours which costs 150 gold for each 3 ghouls.
Reread the spell. The onyx is not consumed.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
You wouldn't, that's what I said.

You don't need it, and it wouldn't even be worth selling because the serfs that need to eat it don't have money.

In short - any economy resembling what we've had in the real world would collapse with high level magic users in the equation.


Reread the spell. The onyx is not consumed.

Create Undead​




6th-level necromancy

Casting Time:1 minute
Range:10 feet
Components:V, S, M (one clay pot filled with grave dirt, one clay pot filled with brackish water, and one 150 gp black onyx stone for each corpse)
Duration:Instantaneous

You can cast this spell only at night. Choose up to three corpses of Medium or Small humanoids within range. Each corpse becomes a ghoul under your control. (The GM has game statistics for these creatures.)

As a bonus action on each of your turns, you can mentally command any creature you animated with this spell if the creature is within 120 feet of you (if you control multiple creatures, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

The creature is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stops obeying any command you have given it. To maintain control of the creature for another 24 hours, you must cast this spell on the creature before the current 24-hour period ends.

This use of the spell reasserts your control over up to three creatures you have animated with this spell, rather than animating new ones.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a 7th-level spell slot, you can animate or reassert control over four ghouls. When you cast this spell using an 8th-level spell slot, you can animate or reassert control over five ghouls or two ghasts or wights. When you cast this spell using a 9th-level spell slot, you can animate or reassert control over six ghouls, three ghasts or wights, or two mummies.

The SRD makes no mention of the onyx not being consumed. Its a component, not a focus.
And even if that is the case and even if you could reuse the same onyx for multiple undead the need to recast this spell every day makes it unreliable and limits the number of undead that can be created that way.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.


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