D&D General Fantasy Farming

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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.
I agree with you that some cantrips - mold earth especially - would be very useful. But I don't think that a cantrip could be cast every round, minute after minute, hour after hour - the caster would just get exhausted. Sure that's not in the rules, but the rules don't cover every situation, and we can use logic/common sense. The same way a person can't swing a sword hours on end, a caster shouldn't be able to cast cantrips at will forever.

that being said - even if the caster is using a cantrip every 5 min, that is still extremely useful.
 

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Ixal

Hero
One thing often forgotten that magic just growing more food alone is not enough to vastly increase population sizes. That food also needs to be transported which is also a big problem unless you live at a river and stored to not spoil.

Just saying magic grows more food means that the village sits on a big pile of food which they can't transport to the city in significant quantities and having it rot in a short time.

You could have a system where instead of having farms and villages are spread out everywhere only the immediate vicinity of a city is farmed from where you can reasonable transport food and also by having fewer farms you need less spellcasters which do not need to travel. Thus they can stay close and with plant growth might be able to have one harvest per week or two weeks.
 


One thing often forgotten that magic just growing more food alone is not enough to vastly increase population sizes. That food also needs to be transported which is also a big problem unless you live at a river and stored to not spoil.

Just saying magic grows more food means that the village sits on a big pile of food which they can't transport to the city in significant quantities and having it rot in a short time.

You could have a system where instead of having farms and villages are spread out everywhere only the immediate vicinity of a city is farmed from where you can reasonable transport food and also by having fewer farms you need less spellcasters which do not need to travel. Thus they can stay close and with plant growth might be able to have one harvest per week or two weeks.
if you can grow lots of food in a small area then things change rapidly as say siege might go on for decades as food is no longer an issue
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I can't see to many Druids wanting to cast plant growth.

If anything they would want farms to fail imho. They're hugely destructive to the natural environment, wetlands, wildlife and water supplies.

It's the old people think magics common enough spellcasters are available to duplicate industry irl.

Druid would be more likely to cast call lightning on the farmers and use plant growth on new trees or whatever imho.

Using plant growth to feed people just delays when more land needs to be cleared to feed the extra population that using plant growth would entail.
 

I can't see to many Druids wanting to cast plant growth.

If anything they would want farms to fail imho. They're hugely destructive to the natural environment, wetlands, wildlife and water supplies.

It's the old people think magics common enough spellcasters are available to duplicate industry irl.

Druid would be more likely to cast call lightning on the farmers and use plant growth on new trees or whatever imho.

Using plant growth to feed people just delays when more land needs to be cleared to feed the extra population that using plant growth would entail.
if you make it so they can mass-grow food without taking it from nature you can keep the nature safer, plus you assume there is no other force that can grant the necessary spells.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
if you make it so they can mass-grow food without taking it from nature you can keep the nature safer, plus you assume there is no other force that can grant the necessary spells.

More food produced expands the population though.

See population book once potatoes hit Europe.

Most things that can use that spell are tied to nature in some way.

Nature clerics for agriculture gods maybe? But that could cause conflicts with druids.
 

Voadam

Legend
Plant growth in 5e is a 3rd level druid and bard spell list spell in general, and bards with their limited spells known are unlikely to take it. So druids mostly.

If there are druids as part of the kingdom political structure then it would plausibly be used and give an advantage for farms in those kingdoms. So in Birthright the fantasy viking area of The Rjurik Highlands has a strong druidic faith integration and so it is a place you would expect at least some 5th level+ druids to work with the fantasy viking farmers and cast a one day spell to support individual farms yearly.

In the Forgotten Realms there is the fantasy Celtic Island kingdoms of the Moonshaes which have strong druidic integration as well so it is plausible there as well.

Mostly though D&D posits druids as the Old Faith that still exists in the hinterlands and wilderness secret societies but that most civilization areas go with the clerical faiths. Druidism may be practiced, but not something a non-druidic faith kingdom will have working for it on any real scale.

Plus there are things like Eberron's Winter druid sect whose big goals are not helping out civilized political kingdoms and population centers thrive. Druidism fits in well with witchcraft traditions too, or even Cthulhu mythos Shub Niggurath Dark Goat of the Woods type roles.

Edit.

Nature domain clerics get it as a domain spell, so clerics of Chauntea in the Forgotten Realms, Beory in Greyhawk, and Demeter in the Greek mythos, would work as well for some kingdoms. This is probably going to be a minority of clerics compared to all druids, but probably more of an impact than the occasional Johnny Appleseed bard concept.
 
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More food produced expands the population though.

See population book once potatoes hit Europe.

Most things that can use that spell are tied to nature in some way.

Nature clerics for agriculture gods maybe? But that could cause conflicts with druids.
an army with fire and steel would beat most druids.
 

Oofta

Legend
More food produced expands the population though.

See population book once potatoes hit Europe.

Most things that can use that spell are tied to nature in some way.

Nature clerics for agriculture gods maybe? But that could cause conflicts with druids.

For most of history the population was capped by how much food people could grow. We've seen the explosion of population over the last century or so because of fertilizers and the industrialization of farming. Which is why in my campaign world I have relatively little farm land (in historical terms) to support the population while also limiting population growth.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
For most of history the population was capped by how much food people could grow. We've seen the explosion of population over the last century or so because of fertilizers and the industrialization of farming. Which is why in my campaign world I have relatively little farm land (in historical terms) to support the population while also limiting population growth.

Well potatoes caused a pop explosion.

Can't remember what they called it starts with M. They were concerned they couldn't feed them in 18th century iirc
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
One thing often forgotten that magic just growing more food alone is not enough to vastly increase population sizes. That food also needs to be transported which is also a big problem unless you live at a river and stored to not spoil.

Just saying magic grows more food means that the village sits on a big pile of food which they can't transport to the city in significant quantities and having it rot in a short time.

You could have a system where instead of having farms and villages are spread out everywhere only the immediate vicinity of a city is farmed from where you can reasonable transport food and also by having fewer farms you need less spellcasters which do not need to travel. Thus they can stay close and with plant growth might be able to have one harvest per week or two weeks.

Grains keep and ship well. The romans, using no magic whatsoever, kept Rome supplied in grain, feeding a 1 million population.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I can't see to many Druids wanting to cast plant growth.

If anything they would want farms to fail imho. They're hugely destructive to the natural environment, wetlands, wildlife and water supplies.

It's the old people think magics common enough spellcasters are available to duplicate industry irl.

Druid would be more likely to cast call lightning on the farmers and use plant growth on new trees or whatever imho.

Using plant growth to feed people just delays when more land needs to be cleared to feed the extra population that using plant growth would entail.
This is a good point - but priests of a deity of agriculture or fertility totally would cast plant growth. It would give this religion very significant power.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
This is a good point - but priests of a deity of agriculture or fertility totally would cast plant growth. It would give this religion very significant power.

They might but nature domain for example is a poor fit imho for such a deity.

A faem/agriculture domain would likely have the spell.
 

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.
A circular area of half mile radius would be about 500+ acres. 30 acres (a virgate) is the area one person can plow in a season with a two oxen team. This would enhance 17-20 virgates. One acre to feed one person for a year. 600 acres to feed and provide sufficient wealth to support one knight and horse. The local baron might control 1000 - 2000 acres. Make friends with your local 5th level druid and have them stay a week. Gifts, maybe a keg of wine or mead wouldn't hurt.

This is, of course, off the cuff and looking at a nearly 1000 year spread of time in Europe. But, it's a starting place.
 
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I'd think it would come down to 'would it be all that necessary for magic to be used in agriculture?" I'm no expert, but I always had the idea that medieval farming, inefficient as it was compared to modern farming, generally got the job done, as in, they usually grew enough to feed most of the people most of the time. If that's true, then I'd think that no one would generally bother to combine magic with agriculture, the usual human trait of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it." OTOH, if I'm wrong, and most of the people in medieval times were on the edge of starvation all the time, then yes, a magical world would definitely be looking at magical ways to fix the problem...
 



Zardnaar

Legend
I'd think it would come down to 'would it be all that necessary for magic to be used in agriculture?" I'm no expert, but I always had the idea that medieval farming, inefficient as it was compared to modern farming, generally got the job done, as in, they usually grew enough to feed most of the people most of the time. If that's true, then I'd think that no one would generally bother to combine magic with agriculture, the usual human trait of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it." OTOH, if I'm wrong, and most of the people in medieval times were on the edge of starvation all the time, then yes, a magical world would definitely be looking at magical ways to fix the problem...

I think the people near starving is a myth. 4000 calories a day.

But wasn't a balanced diet and a bad season away from things looking grim.

Also depending on where you are. Southern France being a bit nicer than say farming the PLC.
 

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