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5E How do you handle the "economy killing spells" in your game?

Savevsdeath

First Post
Also have consequences for using "powerful" magic. Eddings did this in his novels. The main character Garion creates a huge storm to stop a battle, after which his uncle has to travel hither to "reset" the proper weather patterns to avoid droughts, floods, etc....

This can be okay, but i personally don't want to punish players for using their powers. That's an old and overused trope that is almost never fun to play with at the table; having a power and not being able to use it because 'oops, you screwed up everything in a ten-mile radius' gets old very quickly. I know some settings use similar ideas - Dark Sun's world of Athas comes to mind - but i have lost count of the number of times i've seen 'the whole world hates magic and you will be hunted down with torches and pitchforks' or 'magic always has bad side-effects' or 'magic makes you go insane' as a 'limiter' on magic use. That runs counter to letting players have and enjoy being powerful, though again it can create adventures on its own those adventures nearly always involve the player character using magic and by extension their partymembers working outside of law or tradition and being, if not badguys, then at least outlaws by default. Some players won't like that (I hated it).
 

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Stalker0

Legend
This can be okay, but i personally don't want to punish players for using their powers).


I think it comes down to what level you think your game may go to. If certain level spells will never happen, then putting a setting restriction on them explains why they don’t effect the world in a reasonable way.
 

darkrose50

First Post
[1] I suppose it would depend on:

(a) how common a casting type is,
(b) how common a caster of the level of the spell would be, and
(c) the social-economic ramifications of wealth-transfer

[2] For example, say that for a human we start at adulthood ~18 that on average it takes a number of years equal to the next level to gain a level.

[3] Figure ~100 years life expectancy.

33 was the average medieval life expectancy for a male. If a male survived until 25, then his average life expectancy bumped up to age 58. This would somehow influence the numbers somewhat, but let us leave that one with a pin in it.

[4] Then say each level above has ½ the number.

1st = 1-year = age 19 . . . ~2048 / ~4095
2nd = 3-years = age 21 . . . ~1024 / ~4095
3rd = 6-years = age 24 . . . ~512 / ~4095
4th = 10-years = age 28 . . . ~256 / ~4095
5th = 15-years = age 33 . . . ~128 / ~4095
6th = 21-years = age 39 . . . ~64 / ~4095
7th = 28-years = age 46 . . . ~32 / ~4095
8th = 36-years = age 54 . . . ~16 / ~4095
9th = 45-years = age 63 . . . ~8 / ~4095
10th = 55-years = age 73 . . . ~4 / ~4095
11th = 66-years = age 84 . . . ~2 / ~4095
12th = 78-years = age 96 . . . ~1 / ~4095

[5] Then let us compare these numbers to ~ historical medieval England. Evidently there were ~6000 knights and/or knightly manors . . . so let us multiple the above ~4095 numbers by 1.5 for simplicity sake.

1st = 1-year = age 19 . . . ~2048 x 1.5 = ~3072
2nd = 3-years = age 21 . . . ~1024 x 1.5 = ~1536
3rd = 6-years = age 24 . . . ~512 x 1.5 = ~768
4th = 10-years = age 28 . . . ~256 x 1.5 = ~384
5th = 15-years = age 33 . . . ~128 x 1.5 = ~192
6th = 21-years = age 39 . . . ~64 x 1.5 = ~96
7th = 28-years = age 46 . . . ~32 x 1.5 = ~48
8th = 36-years = age 54 . . . ~16 x 1.5 = ~24
9th = 45-years = age 63 . . . ~8 x 1.5 = ~12
10th = 55-years = age 73 . . . ~4 x 1.5 = ~6
11th = 66-years = age 84 . . . ~2 x 1.5 = ~3
12th = 78-years = age 96 . . . ~1 x 1.5 = ~1.5

[7] There were likely more than one knight per manor (brothers, uncles, sons, and so on).

So likely more than the above.

[8a] Then share those casters somehow among the eight (?) classes.

1. Bard
2. Cleric
3. Druid
4. Paladin
5. Ranger
6. Sorcerer
7. Warlock
8. Wizard

[8b] Perhaps we use the numbers in step 5 to estimate the number of divine casters, and we also could assume an equal number of arcane casters . . . this could make figuring out the probability for a given spell being cast a bit more simple. This would also make 1-mage-ish = 1-cleric-ish = 1-knight. I would think that they would at the least have equal social standing.
 
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Gwarok

Explorer
Some campaigns couldn't give a hoot about economics, in which case this discussion isn't really for you....

So this is in reply to the original poster, as I'm not reading all the way through a berjillion other posts on the topic. It reminded me of a similar conversation I had with my brother who didn't like high level because the power of high level characters was "game breaking". When you have just a few individuals who can slaughter hundreds, maybe thousands of regular soldiers, it would all fall apart. That someone who could blow up a whole platoon with a wave of their hand, soldiers wouldn't be able to cope and just flee the battlefield. My response will be the same for the economic side of things.

Look at modern society. We have increased production to levels that actually far exceed what you're describing. We've achieved military power that can level, even with conventional weapons, square kilometers at one shot. Artillery and missile strikes that make Meteor Swarms look like a backyard firework. Yet we haven't "broken the game" of real life. Just keep that in perspective and you can DM it from there.
 


darkrose50

First Post
This could turn into philosophical debate but,

Poverty comes from; available resources in any given area vs. number of people in that area. Attitude of governing bodies towards it's general populace and also ability of general population to use available resources.

Just if you give someone house and land and car/farming equipment does not mean it will work for them in the long run. Or that will be used to max of it's capacity.

Removing poverty starts with education and self-control, not with money being thrown your way.

Social capital is the idea that behaviors are learned and passed down. A first generation fisherman would be at a disadvantage competing against another fisherman with generations of built up social capital. Money works the same way.

Stress causes people to do stupid things. Lacking resources is stressful. People lacking resources do stupid things due to stress.

Effort and money are not always coupled. It is my experience and observation that they are often not related.

I have a 4.0 GPA in grad school, but could not finish student teaching. No matter the effort. I will not earn money as a teacher.

I nigh-effortlessly earn on average a 13.3% return on my stock market investments (2004-2018).

I work as an insurance agent. I am taxed at a higher rate for my work, than for my nigh-effortlessly generated investment money. My actual work income is temporally bound (a flat amount), and my nigh-effortlessly generated investment income is not temporally bound (a percentage). People power-game the heck out of this!

Make no mistake those with money can be lazy all-day-long, and those with little money can work all-day-long. I would wager that there are a lot of lazy wealthy folks (making money with money is the ultimate super apex of effortless work). Being poor . . . that is often, but not always, hard work.

Money does not care how hard you work.

Give me $100,000 and I will make it earn more money (I am from a middle class background, I learned the some merchant skills from my police-officer father who likes antiques, but otherwise I collected ideas about money from curiosity). Give someone without money skills $100,000 and perhaps see them buy a fancy car, and a trip to the Behamas. Poor people have little experience with money. This is often true. Not having experience with a topic is not the way to excel at a topic.
 
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Krachek

Adventurer
I think it’s more interesting to dream about how « raise dead » can influence a society.
How much power can such a spell give to caster? How much a church leader will ask to raise a dead king or heir?
Our historical Pope were having a strong power just by allowing divorce. Imagine now raise dead!
 

cbwjm

Hero
I think it’s more interesting to dream about how « raise dead » can influence a society.
How much power can such a spell give to caster? How much a church leader will ask to raise a dead king or heir?
Our historical Pope were having a strong power just by allowing divorce. Imagine now raise dead!

The benefits with being the dominant religion. The good thing about most DnD worlds is that if one High Priest won't do it, then there are others who will likely be more willing to gain favour with the king. Of course, that's assuming the next in line doesn't actively work to prevent it.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
The benefits with being the dominant religion. The good thing about most DnD worlds is that if one High Priest won't do it, then there are others who will likely be more willing to gain favour with the king. Of course, that's assuming the next in line doesn't actively work to prevent it.
And some bard and sorcerer can be in line too to do the job.
Dm interested in building world with different kingdom or culture have a wide possibility of outcomes.
The different ways magical power can be applied can produce very different setup.
 

gyor

Legend
I think it’s more interesting to dream about how « raise dead » can influence a society.
How much power can such a spell give to caster? How much a church leader will ask to raise a dead king or heir?
Our historical Pope were having a strong power just by allowing divorce. Imagine now raise dead!

In Cormyr resurrecting the King is illegal, and the raised King would no longer be allowed to remain King. When this became law I don't know.

A lot of laws would exist to regulate powerful magic realistically, so that economic and social chaos does not result fromnabusing certain spells. Just like counterfeiting money is a crime, using magic to mess up the economy would be banned or regulated.
 

WaterRabbit

Explorer
I think it’s more interesting to dream about how « raise dead » can influence a society.
How much power can such a spell give to caster? How much a church leader will ask to raise a dead king or heir?
Our historical Pope were having a strong power just by allowing divorce. Imagine now raise dead!

An interesting take would be requiring a soul for a soul to raise dead. That would cast raise dead into the morally questionable realm. Anyone raised would want to keep it a secret, which would give the caster powerful leverage.

I tried something previously where I had only one priesthood able to bring back the dead. Each time someone died I required a miniquest from the "friends" of the dead to retrieve the soul. I was working OK, but I had to add an intermediate step to keep from derailing the adventure too much. So raise could be cast by other priests but only within an hour of the time of passing since the soul was still hanging around the body. I was leaning on making it 1d10 minutes per level of the character to add some randomness to it.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
An interesting take would be requiring a soul for a soul to raise dead. That would cast raise dead into the morally questionable realm. Anyone raised would want to keep it a secret, which would give the caster powerful leverage.

I tried something previously where I had only one priesthood able to bring back the dead. Each time someone died I required a miniquest from the "friends" of the dead to retrieve the soul. I was working OK, but I had to add an intermediate step to keep from derailing the adventure too much. So raise could be cast by other priests but only within an hour of the time of passing since the soul was still hanging around the body. I was leaning on making it 1d10 minutes per level of the character to add some randomness to it.

What I've been mulling over for my next campaign is making lifespan a fixed quantity, and requiring that the caster give at least half their remaining lifespan to the one being raised. For example, if the cleric would have 50 years left to live normally, he could raise someone by giving that person 25 of those years. The priest and the target would then have 25 years of natural lifespan remaining to them. If the priest raised a second target before a significant amount of time had passed, the priest would lose 12.5 years of lifespan and the target would gain 12.5 years.

As such, raising the dead would be a non-trivial sacrifice, which likely results in a significantly reduced lifespan for both the caster and the target (discounting the fact that the target was dead).

I'm considering making it so that willing participants can split the sacrifice between themselves. So if 4 participants and a cleric raise someone, each would lose one tenth of their remaining lifespan, which would be added to the no-longer-dead target's lifespan. (1/5 because there are four participants plus the cleric dividing the loss, times 1/2 since a single participant would normally only lose half their lifespan).
 

Well, one inherent limit on raising the dead, in the given rules, is that the people have to want to return, which can be quite limiting; most good people are probably happy in their afterlife (and evil people are less likely to have others try to raise them). I imagine strongly LN and CN people enjoy Mechanus and Limbo, too.

As for nobles, kings, etc. -- that's really destabilizing (IE, a duke dies, and their heir gets the title; a year later someone with a resurrection spell comes along and raises the old duke. What if the new duke doesn't want to give up the title?) I figure that most NPC spellcasters would be unlikely to set up situations like that unless it's really worth it.

In my own world, there are other limits. One is that divine spellcasters are much rarer than arcane spellcasters, and high-level spellcasters of any type are rare. (The most common spellcasters are wizards, by a major margin.) Most towns and all but the largest cities, and many of the smaller kingdoms and nations, simply don't have anyone who can cast raise dead, much less resurrection.
 

I think it would be fair to say that in a feudal society where resurrection is a thing, there would be specific rules to address succession of deseased nobles. Some societies might downright outlaw its use for the nobility, or grant a “mourning period” before the crowning of the heir whereas the decreed is allowed to claim its throne back.

But I’d imagine it would still be a source of conflict. “The king is back after 10 years of exile!”. “He is the direct descendant of the king’s son born after his first death. His lineage is purer than the bastards sons of his successors!”
 
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WaterRabbit

Explorer
I imaging in a society with Raise Dead, people would wait for at least 10 days before choosing a successor. Also, if someone were going to kill a king, etc. they would make sure the corpse is in no condition for a Raise Dead spell to work on it. The same applies to Resurrection as to making sure the body cannot be exhumed all it. Since Resurrection can bring someone back from up 100 years in the past, that could be destabilizing but precautions would be taken I am sure.
 

WaterRabbit

Explorer
Fanaelialae said:
What I've been mulling over for my next campaign is making lifespan a fixed quantity, and requiring that the caster give at least half their remaining lifespan to the one being raised. For example, if the cleric would have 50 years left to live normally, he could raise someone by giving that person 25 of those years. The priest and the target would then have 25 years of natural lifespan remaining to them. If the priest raised a second target before a significant amount of time had passed, the priest would lose 12.5 years of lifespan and the target would gain 12.5 years.

As such, raising the dead would be a non-trivial sacrifice, which likely results in a significantly reduced lifespan for both the caster and the target (discounting the fact that the target was dead).

I'm considering making it so that willing participants can split the sacrifice between themselves. So if 4 participants and a cleric raise someone, each would lose one tenth of their remaining lifespan, which would be added to the no-longer-dead target's lifespan. (1/5 because there are four participants plus the cleric dividing the loss, times 1/2 since a single participant would normally only lose half their lifespan).

I like this idea. It makes it a real sacrifice. However, instead of a fixed quantity you could just bring the person back but cost the caster 10 years or something. You could also roll for the lifespan of the person who died and then the cost becomes variable.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I like this idea. It makes it a real sacrifice. However, instead of a fixed quantity you could just bring the person back but cost the caster 10 years or something. You could also roll for the lifespan of the person who died and then the cost becomes variable.

Those are certainly viable options.

I didn't go with the flat amount, because that makes it fairly negligible for longer lived races, like elves.

I didn't base it on the target's lifespan because then you end up in situations where it becomes nigh impossible for a human priest to raise an elf, but relatively negligible for an elf to raise a human.

As for how it would work, I would roll the characters' lifespans in advance, and track them in secret. Certain powerful divinations might reveal someone's lifespan, but otherwise they don't know with certainty.

It also means that a human who is raised by an elf would have an abnormally long lifespan, since he received half the elf's remaining years (which will typically more than a single human lifespan). On the other hand, an elf brought back by a human would have (in elven terms) very little time. That elf might very well start behaving more human, rushing to check things off their bucket list as it were. This would likely result in a belief that the soul is shared in when one is brought back, which could lead to all sorts of interesting repercussions, such as elitist elves shunning the raised elf because he's be "tainted by humanity".

But yeah, you can totally mess with it. The 50% from the caster(s) was just something from my gut. I wanted to make it costly but not crippling. The average PC would need to cast raise dead an improbable number of times in order to have it impact them within the scope of a campaign (mine tend to run a few years of in-game time at most).
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
So you would allow fabricate to turn a lump of coal into diamond?

Forget the armor, this is the new fortune making scheme.

If Superman can do it....

I'm considering making it so that willing participants can split the sacrifice between themselves. So if 4 participants and a cleric raise someone, each would lose one tenth of their remaining lifespan, which would be added to the no-longer-dead target's lifespan. (1/5 because there are four participants plus the cleric dividing the loss, times 1/2 since a single participant would normally only lose half their lifespan).

So, what if we got a big ritual used hundred or thousands of participants to resurrect the assassinated and beloved king? We're sending what, half of a thousandth of total life per participant? In most cases a few hours? That's a neat idea.
 
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Fanaelialae

Legend
So, what if we got a big ritual used hundred or thousands of participants to resurrect the assassinated and beloved king? We're sending what, half of a thousandth of total life per participant? In most cases a few hours? That's a neat idea.

Thanks. Yeah, that could totally work. However, at least for my version, the key is that the participants must be willing. That implies a certain level of trust which might discourage larger rites. After all, if someone says they are willing but isn't, or changes their mind during the last moments of the spell, the rest of the willing participants end up holding the bag. So it becomes a question of whether you can trust the other participants, or you end up sacrificing a larger amount of your lifespan than anticipated because the others weren't being genuine.

I could imagine a situation where the king's best friend (genuine), his priest (genuine), and 98 "loyal" courtiers (wish the king would remain dead so they can make a bid for the throne) participate in a raise dead spell. The best friend and the priest each sacrifice 25% of their lifespan because the other participants weren't actually willing. Presumably, there a three people who are going to be rather miffed and 98 others who suddenly have a vested interest in making three problems go away...
 

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