D&D General Is there a D&D setting that actually works how it would with access to D&D magic?


log in or register to remove this ad

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Just poking around a bit. Coal is a material component of the 1e darkness spell, as is pitch, which can be formed from petroleum. The Isle of Dread has tar pits, which means oil. So it would seem that these things do exist in at least the default assumptions of some of the editions. I didn't check more recent editions.
 


My preference is for settings at or approaching Victorian levels of technology, with a few outliers. I'm not interested in the narrative gymnastics required for medieval stasis.
 


Oofta

Legend
I agree, but I will point out that iron and gold are fundamentally different than coal. The amount of iron and gold on our planet was fixed from basically the beginning, but coal and oil need eons of plant & animal life to die off and then be burred and compressed for more eons (same with diamonds of course).

On fits the idea of divine intervention better than the other. Though we need not limit divine power really or assume the true histories of the settings a fully known.
The amount of gold and iron available is due to tectonic activity.

Any correlation between a fantasy world and the real world is completely arbitrary. Want gold so plentiful streets are paved with it? Make it so. Want there to be coal but no oil? No problem. I just don't see a reason for it any more than you would need to justify gold being as plentiful as limestone. After all, half of which is from long dead organisms.

I don't see anyone deciding marble shouldn't be a thing because there's no reason for it to exist. Not sure why anything else would be that much different.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Just poking around a bit. Coal is a material component of the 1e darkness spell, as is pitch, which can be formed from petroleum. The Isle of Dread has tar pits, which means oil. So it would seem that these things do exist in at least the default assumptions of some of the editions. I didn't check more recent editions.
One could declare that the oil, coal, or petroleum is too-low grade or exists in too-small of quantities to be of use for mass industrialization. But there's enough for magic, since you only need a tiny amount).

You could also assume that charcoal would work as well as regular coal. And you could also claim that pitch is actually made by black dragons or something similar (it's actually their blood, goop left over from their breath weapon, or their scat) and isn't from petroleum. Obviously neither of these are canon, but if you want an excuse to not have industrialization because of lack of raw materials, this is as good a reason as any.

Or possibly, that dwarfs are hoarding all the coal. I've often thought that dwarfs should have discovered how to make plastic. Same with elves, who could have developed bio-plastics. And possibly latex and rubber, depending on where they live. And at any rate, elves, druids, and fey creatures could prevent humans from cutting down all the forests to feed the stokers if there isn't coal to do it and you don't want to go Eberron and enslave fire elementals.
 

One could declare that the oil, coal, or petroleum is too-low grade or exists in too-small of quantities to be of use for mass industrialization. But there's enough for magic, since you only need a tiny amount).

You could also assume that charcoal would work as well as regular coal. And you could also claim that pitch is actually made by black dragons or something similar (it's actually their blood, goop left over from their breath weapon, or their scat) and isn't from petroleum. Obviously neither of these are canon, but if you want an excuse to not have industrialization because of lack of raw materials, this is as good a reason as any.

Or possibly, that dwarfs are hoarding all the coal. I've often thought that dwarfs should have discovered how to make plastic. Same with elves, who could have developed bio-plastics. And possibly latex and rubber, depending on where they live. And at any rate, elves, druids, and fey creatures could prevent humans from cutting down all the forests to feed the stokers if there isn't coal to do it and you don't want to go Eberron and enslave fire elementals.
what about those nearly perpetual motion undead could they be used for power?
 

One could declare that the oil, coal, or petroleum is too-low grade or exists in too-small of quantities to be of use for mass industrialization. But there's enough for magic, since you only need a tiny amount).

You could also assume that charcoal would work as well as regular coal. And you could also claim that pitch is actually made by black dragons or something similar (it's actually their blood, goop left over from their breath weapon, or their scat) and isn't from petroleum. Obviously neither of these are canon, but if you want an excuse to not have industrialization because of lack of raw materials, this is as good a reason as any.

Or possibly, that dwarfs are hoarding all the coal. I've often thought that dwarfs should have discovered how to make plastic. Same with elves, who could have developed bio-plastics. And possibly latex and rubber, depending on where they live. And at any rate, elves, druids, and fey creatures could prevent humans from cutting down all the forests to feed the stokers if there isn't coal to do it and you don't want to go Eberron and enslave fire elementals.
But again, in these cases you are making up a reason for something to be scarce to serve your own purposes (which are incidentally the opposite of what the thread is looking for).
 



Faolyn

(she/her)
So, here’s some of why premodern farming and advancement assumptions don’t work in this discussion, if we go by the core books assumption that every other thorp and hamlet has someone who can cast 1st level spells or cantrips or something, and even up to 3rd level spells aren’t that uncommon.

Food and drink are easy to store, and keep fresh, and recover when it does go bad.
Irrigation is easier.
Creating fire is easy and requires less fuel.
People are cleaner and clerics and Druids and such have a better understanding of disease.
Druids have an easy and obvious incentive to help farmers grow more efficiently and sustainably.
Common magic items.
Fast communication is easier.
Some of this suggests a more communal style of living. Villages and towns would have a few longhouses or apartments that hold most of the people, and individual houses would be rare. Why? Because if you have one or two people who can cast a few spells, then they aren't going to run from house to house to start fires or freshen pantries. Instead, there would be a more centralized source of fire and fresh food and water, and people living around that. In larger towns where there are more spellcasters, then there would be multiple such centralized areas, but they'd still be communal. It'd end up being a type of clan, with the casters being as important, or even more important, than the non-casting clan head--assuming that they aren't the head of the clan, and this isn't a magiocracy.

If lots of people can cast a few spells (even if they're only cantrips and not even 1st-level spells), then you can decentralize and have more individual households. But even these may have multiple related families living together than what we consider a typical D&D household to be like (which, lets face it, is very modern in style).

I will argue that healers may not have a better understanding of what disease is. I don't think that the spells are designed to tell the caster both what the disease is and what caused it (i.e., "your stomach ailment was actually the result of [food poisoning from bacteria-laden undercooked chicken/a parasite from contaminated water/stomach cancer], but don't worry; it's cured now") and I think it's entirely likely that casters would just assume that the illness was caused by whatever the popular theory is--which could be "bad air" or "a fairy cursed you." This could actually be a reason why people don't get cured willy-nilly; if some illnesses are believed to have been caused by "sinful" actions, then clerics and druids may choose to withhold healing from them, because the Gods Have Spoken.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
But again, in these cases you are making up a reason for something to be scarce to serve your own purposes (which are incidentally the opposite of what the thread is looking for).
Sure. I have another post that fits the thread's purposes as well (or, well, right above this reply).
 

dave2008

Legend
The amount of gold and iron available is due to tectonic activity.
Not really IRL, depending on what you mean by "available."
Any correlation between a fantasy world and the real world is completely arbitrary. Want gold so plentiful streets are paved with it? Make it so. Want there to be coal but no oil? No problem. I just don't see a reason for it any more than you would need to justify gold being as plentiful as limestone. After all, half of which is from long dead organisms.

I don't see anyone deciding marble shouldn't be a thing because there's no reason for it to exist. Not sure why anything else would be that much different.
All good points. It is really just a thought exercise for me.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
what about those nearly perpetual motion undead could they be used for power?
It either ends up like how @Oofta wrote, or the undead gain necrotic energies as they age, become more powerful, and end up breaking free of their orders and attacking their former masters. Unless they are kept under very strict supervision and regularly replaced.

Plus, well, zombies are just unhygenic. Skeletons may be weaker but at least they aren't dropping rotting meat all over the place.
 

Some of this suggests a more communal style of living. Villages and towns would have a few longhouses or apartments that hold most of the people, and individual houses would be rare. Why? Because if you have one or two people who can cast a few spells, then they aren't going to run from house to house to start fires or freshen pantries. Instead, there would be a more centralized source of fire and fresh food and water, and people living around that. In larger towns where there are more spellcasters, then there would be multiple such centralized areas, but they'd still be communal. It'd end up being a type of clan, with the casters being as important, or even more important, than the non-casting clan head--assuming that they aren't the head of the clan, and this isn't a magiocracy.

If lots of people can cast a few spells (even if they're only cantrips and not even 1st-level spells), then you can decentralize and have more individual households. But even these may have multiple related families living together than what we consider a typical D&D household to be like (which, lets face it, is very modern in style).

I will argue that healers may not have a better understanding of what disease is. I don't think that the spells are designed to tell the caster both what the disease is and what caused it (i.e., "your stomach ailment was actually the result of [food poisoning from bacteria-laden undercooked chicken/a parasite from contaminated water/stomach cancer], but don't worry; it's cured now") and I think it's entirely likely that casters would just assume that the illness was caused by whatever the popular theory is--which could be "bad air" or "a fairy cursed you." This could actually be a reason why people don't get cured willy-nilly; if some illnesses are believed to have been caused by "sinful" actions, then clerics and druids may choose to withhold healing from them, because the Gods Have Spoken.
this is why we need a biomancer as a subclass of something.
so we are looking at a far more communal way of life any ideas what that would do to civilisation?
It either ends up like how @Oofta wrote, or the undead gain necrotic energies as they age, become more powerful, and end up breaking free of their orders and attacking their former masters. Unless they are kept under very strict supervision and regularly replaced.

Plus, well, zombies are just unhygenic. Skeletons may be weaker but at least they aren't dropping rotting meat all over the place.
or ever one goes undeathpunk and renders the revolution a pointless point as the undead become the adult for of say humanity like the Pak protectors
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
One could declare that the oil, coal, or petroleum is too-low grade or exists in too-small of quantities to be of use for mass industrialization. But there's enough for magic, since you only need a tiny amount).

You could also assume that charcoal would work as well as regular coal. And you could also claim that pitch is actually made by black dragons or something similar (it's actually their blood, goop left over from their breath weapon, or their scat) and isn't from petroleum. Obviously neither of these are canon, but if you want an excuse to not have industrialization because of lack of raw materials, this is as good a reason as any.

Or possibly, that dwarfs are hoarding all the coal. I've often thought that dwarfs should have discovered how to make plastic. Same with elves, who could have developed bio-plastics. And possibly latex and rubber, depending on where they live. And at any rate, elves, druids, and fey creatures could prevent humans from cutting down all the forests to feed the stokers if there isn't coal to do it and you don't want to go Eberron and enslave fire elementals.
Sure. I'm not saying how it is or isn't, should or shouldn't be. I was just pointing out that the default, at least in 1e, was that the fossil fuel components were there. :)
 
Last edited:

Faolyn

(she/her)
Sure. I'm not saying how it is or isn't, should or shouldn't be. I was just pointing out that the default, at least in 1e, was that the fossil fuel components were there. :)
Oh, sure. And it continues to be the default, since those spell components are the same in 5e. At least until someone comes up with an official answer otherwise. Or people stop using component pouches and everyone uses foci instead.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Some of this suggests a more communal style of living. Villages and towns would have a few longhouses or apartments that hold most of the people, and individual houses would be rare. Why? Because if you have one or two people who can cast a few spells, then they aren't going to run from house to house to start fires or freshen pantries. Instead, there would be a more centralized source of fire and fresh food and water, and people living around that. In larger towns where there are more spellcasters, then there would be multiple such centralized areas, but they'd still be communal. It'd end up being a type of clan, with the casters being as important, or even more important, than the non-casting clan head--assuming that they aren't the head of the clan, and this isn't a magiocracy.

If lots of people can cast a few spells (even if they're only cantrips and not even 1st-level spells), then you can decentralize and have more individual households. But even these may have multiple related families living together than what we consider a typical D&D household to be like (which, lets face it, is very modern in style).
Possible, though it’s also possible they’d have similar station to a blacksmith.

Also like, just because the magic guy can start fires, doesn’t mean people wouldn’t learn how to do it manually.
I will argue that healers may not have a better understanding of what disease is. I don't think that the spells are designed to tell the caster both what the disease is and what caused it (i.e., "your stomach ailment was actually the result of [food poisoning from bacteria-laden undercooked chicken/a parasite from contaminated water/stomach cancer], but don't worry; it's cured now") and I think it's entirely likely that casters would just assume that the illness was caused by whatever the popular theory is--which could be "bad air" or "a fairy cursed you." This could actually be a reason why people don't get cured willy-nilly; if some illnesses are believed to have been caused by "sinful" actions, then clerics and druids may choose to withhold healing from them, because the Gods Have Spoken.
To me, detect poison and disease is pretty clearly worded in a way that means a healer with it would know what they’re looking at.

It wouldn’t have to give them the details, any additional more accurate info would accelerate the advancement of medical science.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top