D&D General Fantasy Farming

Voadam

Legend
In a high fantasy D&D type setting what are some background fantasy elements that could be used for farming and food supplies to support fantasy populations?

In my current homebrew mashup campaign (started in 3e, later Pathfinder, now 5e) I use elements of the Ptolus campaign setting, Golarion, and others. The Holy Lothian Empire from the Ptolus elements includes a strong imperial henotheistic church of an ascended paladin with a lot of saints and numerous organized clerics and paladins throughout the empire. One of the Lothian saints is Saint Colosum, Keeper of the Dominion who is associated with animals and farms.

This seems a thematic opportunity for some background flavor holy agriculture magic to support farms producing more than historical models so they can support ahistorical populations.

I don't see it being a matter of continual uses of create water or create food and water spells, but more blessing a field or whatever with non adventuring background magic. Any thoughts on appropriate thematic fantasy farming?
 

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Voadam

Legend
I also generally have druid organizations as split into secret societies who don't generally work with others, or a tradition of nature priests who are integrated into certain specific societies. So some Golarion Kellid Celtic barbarian peoples outside of my Lothian Empire will have integrated societal roles of priest and advisor druids who might do seasonal plant growth spells for their communities, while others will have nothing to do with farms.
 

Voadam

Legend
When my then group went with their mountain dwarf PC cleric to his home kingdom under a mountain (Ostohar from the 1e Roleaids Dwarves sourcebook) for an adventure, I described the dwarven food as being farm-raised giant blind cave fish and lots of varieties of savory things from the underground fungal vats the dwarves cultivated and maintained.

Underdark populations are a big opportunity for coming up with some thematic fantastic elements for food chains.
 

Oofta

Legend
I assume that the world in general uses magic in small ways on a daily basis but rarely in large, obvious ways. So when people do that ritual to divine when the best time to plant is, it actually works reasonably well. Holy men granted powers do assist with the growth of crops, common magic items aid a farmer's work. It's not to the industrial level of farming that we have, it still takes a lot of work to plant and harvest crops even if they grow more quickly and are more bountiful than they would otherwise be.

Druids in particular have a vested interest in making sure that crop yields are high so that more wilderness is preserved. They also ensure that population growth is limited by providing birth control, occasionally without the knowledge of the target population.

For underground communities continual flame spells provide enough light for specialized crops. Dwarves that live underground rarely waste any scrap of organic material, including the bodies of the dead. It's quite comforting to people to know that their ancestors are still contributing members of the ongoing society.
 

Voadam

Legend
I assume that the world in general uses magic in small ways on a daily basis but rarely in large, obvious ways. So when people do that ritual to divine when the best time to plant is, it actually works reasonably well.
I generally think of standard D&D high magic differently. There are lots of types of magic and magical traditions and magical things in the world, but magic is still a specific thing and most people are not spellcasters. So commoners do not do magic, and prayers for good crops and such are not actual magical effect blessings, but there might be lots of non adventuring agromancy spellcasting traditions. Maybe elven orchard singers, dwarven brewmancers, or variants of Eberron's 3.5 magewright NPC class.
 

Oofta

Legend
I generally think of standard D&D high magic differently. There are lots of types of magic and magical traditions and magical things in the world, but magic is still a specific thing and most people are not spellcasters. So commoners do not do magic, and prayers for good crops and such are not actual magical effect blessings, but there might be lots of non adventuring agromancy spellcasting traditions. Maybe elven orchard singers, dwarven brewmancers, or variants of Eberron's 3.5 magewright NPC class.
I guess I've always tried to think of how magic actually working would affect the world. People have always been superstitious with various rituals and rites that don't have much external impact, how does the world change if it occasionally does work? If it does occasionally work, why would people not repeat it?

Someone may have stumbled onto that chant (or learned it from a more powerful caster) they do while milking the cows that keeps the milk fresher for a bit longer, but once people get word of what happened milkmaids everywhere would want to learn it.

It never made sense to me that the only spells in existence would be those useful for adventurers. Magic doesn't need to be flashy or cast with the snap of your fingers in order to be useful.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Let's see... we've got alchemical fertilizers, a nation that's partially put themselves in the hands of druids to turn their settlements into magical greenhouses three seasons out of the year, tamed fantastic creatures used as dray beats/aerators/pollinators, and of course magical genetic manipulation to make Mendel jealous.

Also bumping the baselines so normal people have rituals for this kind of thing, both religious and not.
 


Voadam

Legend
I guess I've always tried to think of how magic actually working would affect the world.
Sure.
People have always been superstitious with various rituals and rites that don't have much external impact, how does the world change if it occasionally does work?
Well there is the key IMO. D&D magic seems to require more than just performing a ritual or rite. They don't just occasionally work.

Saying "I wish" does not magically cause things to happen in D&D on its own, even occasionally. Saying "I wish" combined with casting a 9th level spell slot wish spell, or being granted a wish by a wish granting entity (djinn, efreet, certain demons), or wearing a wish granting item (ring of wishes, etc.) can cause magical things to happen.
If it does occasionally work, why would people not repeat it?

Someone may have stumbled onto that chant (or learned it from a more powerful caster) they do while milking the cows that keeps the milk fresher for a bit longer, but once people get word of what happened milkmaids everywhere would want to learn it.
If spellcasting is just sayng the right short magical phrase it would probably be pervasive in a lot of instances.
It never made sense to me that the only spells in existence would be those useful for adventurers. Magic doesn't need to be flashy or cast with the snap of your fingers in order to be useful.
I agree. I think a high fantasy D&D world would have lots of non-adventuring magic. I generally presume the PH has the most common magic for adventurers but that NPCs can have different magics and magic traditions as well.
 

Yora

Legend
Morrowind has kwama, very large insect creatures that lay eggs which are a common food. There are numerous large caves all over the island that are used as egg mines, where the egg miners tend to the flocks of kwama.
Though where all the kwama get their food from to make all the eggs isn't mentioned.

I took the idea to create giant bee honey caves. The giant bees naturally build their hives in caves, and there's a number of tricks that allow skilled workers to get inside these caves and collect honey without getting attacked. The cat sized bees fly out during the day over summer to much on fruits from which their honey is made.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Consider what a 1st level wizard can do with cantrips and rituals. In an 8 hour day they can do the work of dozens, if not hundreds of people. Spend a little time actually planning it out for what could be done on a farm and it is really interesting. Is it cheaper to have 30 people woring on your farm or 1 1st level wizard.
 

Oofta

Legend
Consider what a 1st level wizard can do with cantrips and rituals. In an 8 hour day they can do the work of dozens, if not hundreds of people. Spend a little time actually planning it out for what could be done on a farm and it is really interesting. Is it cheaper to have 30 people woring on your farm or 1 1st level wizard.
Depends on how many 1st level wizards you have. One logical use would be to have them come in at harvest and planting time to help, the rest of the year there's still work to do but not as much.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
There's also the Create Food/Water spells to take into consideration.

Sure they are high-ish level, but with that and Goodberries, food production can be boosted a little. Feeding goodberries to your herd of cows can save a lot of time and resource for a farmer.

Then you have charm animal spells, to have your beasts of burden toil in the fields without human supervision. You can even have awakened trees to help coordinate the growth of your orchards and whatnot.

Weather shaping (requires a high level spellcaster) can be organized to optimize food production depending on the time of the year.
 

I always imagined a D&D world to have more or less normal Medieval type farming, which is basically very labor intensive, and magic won't really enter into it... unless something bad comes along that would threaten harvests. New crop/livestock diseases, for example, or drought, early/late freezes, things like that...
 

jgsugden

Legend
Depends on how many 1st level wizards you have. One logical use would be to have them come in at harvest and planting time to help, the rest of the year there's still work to do but not as much.
I think there is a lot they can cover.

Light spells can work like 'grow lights'. Shape Water can be used to freeze water so that it can be easily relocated, to move it into a water tower for watering crops, or to do a variety of things. Prestidigitation can be used to make simple trinket tools like snips to cut plants. Mage Hands can pick fruit from tall trees. Create Bonfire and Fire Bolt could be used to clear brush or light an area. Familiars can scout for pests, pick hard to reach ffruit, etc.... Alarm can secure areas to notify of trespassers (humanoid or beast). Unseen servants can service the fields. Floting Disks can carry crops, tools, and other materials. Those spell slots can be used for sleep spells to protect the crops from pests.

I have thought about this a lot as I have a society in my setting where everyone goes to magic school. If they fail, they are banished. In my setting, the PC types are 'Got Touched' which allows them to learn class abilities at a faster rate. People that are not God Touched learn class skills far more slowly. Most humans spending their entire life pursuing magic would only achieve 5th level after a lifetime of work. These people that achieve 1st level wizar status and are not God Touched are usually about 30 years old when they exit school. Regardless - magic replaces a lot of mundane labor in this setting. When PCs visit the culture, the world is very different in comparison to the other more typical fantasy setting locations.
 

In my Jewel of the Desert DW game, farming-type magic is pretty much exclusively the province of Kahina (druids and shaman.) Druids practice it by interacting directly with the "living" spirits of things actively moving in the material world: elementals, the spirits of trees* and the conceptual spirit/essence of what it means to be a given beast or plant. Shaman practice it by dealing with the "dead" spirits of the afterlife: the spirit of Owl or Desert Fox, for example, or the ghosts of creatures killed in a forest fire that still linger in the spirit world, etc. Druids quicken and invigorate living spirits, calling them to greater action. Shaman call on those abstract-idea/animal spirits to reach across the veil, or push the spirits of the unquiet dead to "pass on" and thus give their energy back into the cycle of life and death.

A village with Kahina aiding it (or a neighborhood within a larger town/city) will generally have healthier crops and vegetation and be overall more comfortable to live in. The Kahina are not centrally organized, but in general they try to make sure most areas have both one druid and one shaman (ideally, a pair of close friends or lifemates) as their skills tend to be complementary. In Ye Olden Dayse, every tribe needed some Kahina in it just to survive, as the Genie-Rajahs ruled the cities and the desert wastes outside Genie-Rajah control were not particularly hospitable to life (think Bedouin for these Nomad Tribes.) Modern-day Nomads benefit from trade with the City-Dwellers, but still prefer to have at least one Kahina among them (often several; sometimes, the position of Chief and Kahina is merged into a single role.)

*Which can slowly develop into the spirit of a forest, if the forest lasts long enough; many spirits are gestalt entities, simultaneously their own independent being and a collection of constituent spirits that have "been together" long enough to operate in unison. The party Druid has briefly interacted with the Spirit of All Winds, for example, which is an extremely powerful and old spirit, but one that doesn't really "think" about mortal-level concerns very much.
 

The answer can be radically different according the setting (Eberron or Dark Sun) but also if Hasbro wants to produce a D&D farming simulation videogame, a subgenre becoming popular now.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
If you cast Plant Growth spell over 8 hours, you enrich the land. All plants in a half-mile radius centered on a point within range become enriched for 1 year. and yield twice the normal amount of food when harvested.

thats 2000 odd acres innit? A reasonably sized farm

of course All plants also includes weeds so …
 

bloodtide

Adventurer
Well.....

1.Barrel of Endless Water
2.Barrel of Endless Fertilizer
3.Animated farm equipment
4.Unseen Servants
5.Conjured animals
6.Animated really scary scarecrows to really scare birds and everyone else away
7.Custom spells like Bless Field and Protect field from Vermin
 


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