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

TheSword

Explorer
Economics may be the problem, but Economics fixes it.

Plant Growth
As supply of fresh food exceeds demand then prices will reduce. Traders then must find new markets, however the perishable nature of farmed goods would limit the range. There would probably substantial immigration with neighboring Labour forces seeking food. Towns and cities would swell and increase with abundant food and Labour.

This sounds like a feature to me rather than a problem. I don’t actually have an issue with Druid’s supplementing produce like this. After all harvest festival is a religious tradition in many real countries. Chauntea in the FR practically embodies this approach.

Fabricate
If you want to limit wealth creation limit markets. The number of the population able to buy plate armour for 600gp should be very limited. Even the king should be wary about equipping a 100 of his guards with plate armour. This would cost 60,000 GP but he would probably be able to recruit 600 guards at least for the same cost.

Some other considerations...

- Plate armour was fitted to size so is not easily mass produced, that’s why it’s so expensive - essentially made to order
- Plate armour needs substantial upkeep and repair. There’s no such thing as stainless steel (unless you invent it)
- Plate would be massively encumbering for many regular soldiers, not to mention unwieldy.

Even with all that though. Is it a problem that a relatively powerful wizard has improved the lot of the realm. Stories are filled with stories of powerful wizards performing feats to aid the kingdom, building castles overnight, binding a terrible foe etc.
 

S'mon

Legend
- Plate armour was fitted to size so is not easily mass produced, that’s why it’s so expensive - essentially made to order
Yeah I think the purchaser would need to have his measurements taken by the wizard-smith prior to Fabricating. I could imagine breastplates & helmets being mass produced in a range of sizes, though. It's the limb armour that would need the most individual tailoring.

Edit: This reminds me - recently saw childrens' film "The Kid Who Would Be King" where Merlin Fabricates plate armour for the entire student body of a London high school to fight Morgana's
skeleton warriors. :)

Edit 2: If the spell really is game breaking then do the Cinderella thing and have the Fabricated goods return to their original form at midnight!
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
Reply to OP.

In my campaign, Plant Growth and Fabricate are not economy killing spells.

So much ecological damage has been inflicted upon the world that the remaining city-states go out of their way to find and intimidate/persuade any druid they can get their hands on into living on the farmlands surrounding each city, so they can use Plant growth to increase the soil's fertility year after year.
The backstory of the Elf Druid PC in my group is that his parents were two such individuals captured and imprisoned by one of the city-states for this exact purpose.

Those able to cast fabricate in my campaign are almost immediately elevated to high-ranking positions within the various Artisan Guilds and Merchant Houses.
 

muppetmuppet

Explorer
Is there a limit to who can wear plate? A strength limit or something in 5e I seem to remember. Not sure how many guards will have the needed strength if so.

I checked you need 15 strength. Admitedly I have no idea how you determine stats for guards.

Ok I found guard stat block they have strength 13 so they can't use the plate mail.
 
Last edited:

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I think there are a number of limiting factors.

You must consider the demand side of the equation, not just supply. Who has the money to buy all of these suits of armor? The local baron probably isn't interested in paying such a ransom to armor his footmen, and the soldiers almost certainly can't afford it themselves.

Sure, there might be the occasional knight or lord, but even if they aren't superstitious about the armor's origins, there aren't going to be hundreds of them lining up at the wizard's door.

Then we also have to consider the local powers that be. The local lord may get a bit suspicious at all of this armor the wizard is stockpiling. (It's altogether plausible that the local guilds would be whispering in his ear, encouraging this line of thinking.) It might not be long before a small army pounds down the wizard's door. After all, all that armor and gold could fund a peasant uprising (plus, if all goes well, all that wealth now belongs to the lord).
 

Horwath

Explorer
I would go with multiple casting required to have an item permanent.

I.E. Fabricate would last only 24hrs, and would require month, 6 months or a year of daily casting to make an item permanent.

Druids, plant growth might only require week or two of daily casts to enrich the land for agriculture. If the druid will cast it in the 1st time.
He might use that as a leverage to prevent settlers of advancing more into the wild.
Most druids that I played were of Sylvanus, border line eco-terrorists :D
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
TANGENT:

I, for one, don't like the quick progress of XP and leveling in 5E compared to AD&D/2E. There is no reason why just about every elf and dwarf over 150 years old wouldn't likely be 20th-level if they wanted. I can just imagine an elven wizard who magic missiles one goblin a day, every day, for 20 years... and he will be 20th-level. If he wanted to increase the difficulty of the monsters when he got higher level spells, he could do it much quicker...
I've never had a problem with that, because it seems to me that it takes a special kind of crazy to go on what amounts to multiple suicide missions. Fighting dangerous creatures is deadly, and the vast majority of people just don't want to do that. Exp from non-combat situations should be very slow going, so most elves and dwarves that even have class levels at all wouldn't be mega high level.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yep, my player absolutely did with fabricate. We have both made a gentlemen's agreement. I say he is "very rich", which comes with some perks, he doesn't try to break it.

So basically...I handwaved it. But its left a taste in my mouth I don't like, hence the thread.
A few assassins would have been appropriate at that point. I mean, if I were the collective blacksmiths of the realm and one 7th level wizard tried to put us all out of business, I'd do something about it.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
The wealthiest people in our world could solve homelessness and poverty if the just donated most of their money to the community.
 

dave2008

Hero
I handle it basically as [MENTION=6801204]Satyrn[/MENTION] described in post #3. 99.999% of the population is level 3 or lower. It is the rare exception (i.e the players) that make it past level 3. So most "clerics, priest, druids, etc. are basically similar to their RW counterparts. With the exception of some ritual casting.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I've never had a problem with that, because it seems to me that it takes a special kind of crazy to go on what amounts to multiple suicide missions. Fighting dangerous creatures is deadly, and the vast majority of people just don't want to do that. Exp from non-combat situations should be very slow going, so most elves and dwarves that even have class levels at all wouldn't be mega high level.
When you get to a certain level, defeating/killing a single goblin is hardly dangerous or suicidal.

It is a flaw in the system IMO that you continue to earn XP for very easy encounters, and as I understand it our DM doesn't award XP if the encounter's XP total doesn't reach at least Easy.
For example, a couple Hell Hounds (CR 3, worth 1400 XP total) would not be enough to meet the 1800 XP to warrant an Easy encounter for three 10th-level characters.
 

Dausuul

Legend
When you get to a certain level, defeating/killing a single goblin is hardly dangerous or suicidal.

It is a flaw in the system IMO that you continue to earn XP for very easy encounters, and as I understand it our DM doesn't award XP if the encounter's XP total doesn't reach at least Easy.
For example, a couple Hell Hounds (CR 3, worth 1400 XP total) would not be enough to meet the 1800 XP to warrant an Easy encounter for three 10th-level characters.
If you assume the XP system is the universal physics of the world, rather than a narrative device that applies to PC adventurers, you will end up with far bigger worldbuilding challenges than a few 4th-level spells.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
The "gritty realism" rest variant from the DMG goes a long way making magic having a lesser impact of on economy. Suddenly, casters are 7 times less effective, and a bit more paranoid overall.

Also, if one spellcaster is the equivalent of hundreds of craftsmen, it becomes tempting for competitors to eliminate that single caster. Any economy relying on that individual would be screwed if the realm's spellcaster disappeared. Thus you need back-up, and protection, not to mention employment for the hundreds who would have been craftsmen (or farmers).

However, now that we mention it, most D&D settings don't have half the rural population to support their cities in a medieval-level of agrarian technology, so some magic needs to be invoved.

The somewhat-lazy-yet-convenient solution to economy-breaking spells is that magic doesn't break economy. Why? For thousands of reasons that are difficult to take into consideration. It doesn't prevent the odd individual from trying, but it never works for long for all kinds of reasons. They have been trying these shenanigans for hundreds of years, but it has never worked. Or perhaps it did in a distant golden age where everything was more magical and people used to ride dragons and all, but it has to do more with mythology than history.

TL;DR: :):):):) happens. when it does, hundreds of craftsmen can deal with it better than one magic-user.
 
Last edited:

SkidAce

Adventurer
Make the populace superstitious of mages & magic. ‘Druids on the farm? That’s how you get werewolves!” “You couldn’t give away a magic-made weapon in this town. Folks say the blade will turn in your hand and kill you if it sees moonlight.” A lot of those crazed high level caster villains started out as aspiring merchants who just had too many bad retail customers...
Retail...yup, that will do it...
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
1) Plant Growth: If one 5th druid decided to "help the farmers", and enrichs a different area everyday, they could effectively add over 150,000 acres of farmland to a kingdom (the true answer is 183, 468...but inevitably travel time, vacations, etc play in).
Bards get this as well. So, make it the norm. But don't forget what the druids get out of this - perhaps they require no expansion of civilization into natural areas, so they can't build more farms -and now with population increasing they require the druids just to avoid starvation.

Further, its a reasonable thing for several druids to consider, enriching the land is a very drudic thing to do.
Sure, so some. Others would likely rather do it in unspoiled areas rather than crops meant to be harvested and ultimately increase civilized population and their encroachment on the natural world.

2) Fabricate: No craftsman in the world can compete with a 7th level wizard....in fact, its easy to ask "why would there even be regular craftsman in such a world?". In 1 day, a 7th level wizard with proficiency can craft two full items in an hour and 20 minutes (needs a short rest for arcane recovery for that second spell). Or if hes feeling lazy, 1 item a day for 10 minutes.
Well, after they fulfill all ten orders for plate mail from thsoe who want it and are able to afford it in the land, making a modest profit for an adventurer after purchasing materials, they then would be going onto items that have less and less value.

There's a limited market for high priced items, and a 13th level caster is a rather rarefied resource who has plenty of other money making opportunities that this is a self-correcting problem.

Now, where that gets fun is when they start to bring in money that wouldn't be in circulation. Your average craftsman wouldn't have a chance to, say, sell things to a metallic dragon or tribe of Stone Giants. But a 13th level adventurer could. Bringing into circulation gold that would otherwise no be.
 

the Jester

Legend
1) "There are just not that many high level casters". Is that the case in most of your campaigns...so would a 7th level PC really be the most powerful person on the planet in all of your worlds?
No, not at all- but he might well be the most powerful member of his class that is in the sole surviving city in my setting. In fact, there is a 20th level pc cleric who is the self-declared "High Priest of Fandelose" (the city), who is absolutely the most powerful and high level person in the city.

That's okay. That's just fine. He earned those twenty levels.


I agree that high level characters are "rare", but the truth is it only takes a small handful of such characters to do the economic changes that I am describing. And if high level characters are "non-existent", than you have other problems when a player gets to not even mid levels and now is more powerful than everyone else on the planet" There is nothing wrong with that campaign, but I doubt its the norm.
Again, that high level pc might not be the most powerful person in the world*, but might well be the most powerful individual they know of. Or in the city. Or in the area.


2) "High level wizards have more important things to be doing".

Now sure, sometimes the high level wizard (and again we are talking 7th here, not like 15th) has to save the kingdom, beat back a monster, slap down a wizard duel against his nemesis, research the next great spell, etc. And during those times it makes sense that he wouldn't be crafting.

But Wizards like gold too, and plenty of it. In fact, they are the only class whose power is directly tied to gold (as acquiring spells by default in your spellbook costs gold).

For just 1 spell and 10 minutes a day, in a few years a 7th level wizard could become rich beyond imagining.
As opposed to following the pursuits that actually interest them, like spell research?

Most wizards probably aren't proficient in smith's tools regardless of the setting. I'll grant that there are exceptions, but it doesn't seem like a natural fit for the class except in unusual situations (e.g. dwarf smith-mages).

But there are probably better ways to make money as a wizard anyhow- if someone can afford to pay you to cast high level divinations, if someone is willing to pay you for a magical flight, if someone needs a continual flame, if....

At least in my game, spell research takes a long time and a huge investment of effort; money, less so. In fact, most of the stereotypical wizardly things take long spans and a high degree of attention. So every day that you're fabricating is actually probably slowing down the advancement of whatever wizardly goals you have.

Heck they could just pay non-wizard adventurers to go kill all of the important monsters they need for components.
This is literally how many adventures have started. "Wizard needs gizzard from giant lizard."

3) "NPCs wouldn't do it, but if PCs would more power to them"

This is a similar notion to my thoughts on Item 2, but now its the PC that gets all of the crazy benefits. If we assume a world where gold is useful (can buy you favors, spells, maybe have some adventurers bring you some magical components), and that PCs have at least some downtime here and there....than for a 7th level wizard this seems so powerful you would have to be an idiot not to do it.
Emphasis mine.

No, you wouldn't. In fact, for a 7th level wizard to bother with such a mundane approach to making money, you would have to be willing to set aside most of your actual wizarding. Think about it- say you use fabricate to make armor. That armor doesn't just magically turn into thousands of gold pieces. You have to find a buyer. Which, you know, if you're talking plate armor and you want to make that money... you need to find a buyer with the money who doesn't already have plate armor. What are you doing, wandering the streets and carrying it around? Trying to sell it to the armorsmith who doesn't want your competition, especially since you're cheating the system? Open a store of your own? (Then who staffs it day in and day out? And as I pointed out above, what does the smith's guild say? How many fines, fees, taxes, and licenses do you have to pay? How many days do you sacrifice to all the legalistic entanglements they throw at you?)

This is not as simple as you seem to think.

For one little old proficiency the wizard during his downtime generates more gold than entire adventures. He has more money than the rest of the party combined.

And not just money....fame. Take that armor example I mentioned before, imagine the prestige that wizard would have. The king himself would invite him to his castle to stay, and would ensure every need of his was provided for. He would become one of the most important people in the kingdom...maybe the world. The other party members....nay, not so much.
King: "Come stay at my castle and I'll provide your every need!"

One month later: "Dude, you are goddamn expensive!" (Components and reagents, a new lab built to withstand explosions- that needs to be rebuilt every few months- a summoning circle, from which periodic fiends and elementals escape, etc, etc.) "Also, I thought you were working for me?" ("Well, I just need another 160 days to finish researching this new spell...") "Also, please stop doing things that kill or injure my servants, damage my fortifications, and undermine my authority. And my spymaster thinks you're mind controlling the duchess, please don't. And..."

Having a wizard in your castle is not necessarily the greatest. Especially if you can't ensure their loyalty.


*Not a planet, in my setting.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Homelessness, maybe.

Poverty? No chance.
So your belief is that it would be impossible for our world to provide sufficient resoures that everyone could have all the basics - food, shelter, water, healthcare ... the truh is that if we had an efficient allocation of resources and smoothly functioning economies with an educated and willing workforce expectation from every person, there is no reason why - globally - we could not (within a few years) provide the basics for everyone, rising everyone above what is currently considered the US poverty line.

Regardless - my point is that in most games you do not see people with this type of power spening it in this way because they have other goals. I have a portion of my campaign world where this is not the case - all children are required to go to magical school and learn to be first level wizards, bards or clerics. They then use their abilities to help their community for 3 years before being freed to live their lives. They heal, they farm (move earth, unseen servant, etc....), they craft - they make their world a better place. It is the most advanced area of my world, but it is also the most corrupt.
 

Advertisement

Top