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

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The real world never had to deal with powerful mages deciding that they wanted to destroy civilization every few hundred years and setting back progress. At best you have socio-economic collapses every once in a while that slow things down, but not to the level of your average fantasy world.
We just had disease, war and the inherent incompetence of empires doing that.

Remember: we don't have the tens of thousands of years of what we'd call 'civilization' fantasy worlds have due to spec-fic writers having no sense of scale. When 50,000 years you become, look as good you will not.
I mean, fantasy worlds have all that too. Plus the occasional civilization destroying apocalypse that does even more than those things to boot.
Look at the damage we have done with 1000 years of technology.
Imagine if we could break natural laws with magic.
 

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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
You are inventing capabilities for wizards that are neither stated nor implied in the D&D rules. Nothing says wizards can't do this... but nothing says they can, either.
How is it different from making a Flametongue or frostbrand sword. They are effectively hot and cold lumps of metal
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Look at the damage we have done with 1000 years of technology.
Imagine if we could break natural laws with magic.
Here's my thought though:

Magic in D&D is reliable and repeatable except for the funny meme magic you take to blow up party members with plausible deniability. It IS science in their world, not a separate thing. Basically, the same screw-ups we make with it are the same we make with mundane tech.

In a setting that takes magic into account, the same restrictions and hurdles that have hemmed technology in would hem magic in.

Certain spells would become state secrets. Others would get sanctioned after the first cataclysm that cause -- possibly faster because there's quick and easy and literal counters to most spells. Does contingency still exist? Because there's the end of every magic nuke in every major population area after the first test.
 

dave2008

Legend
You do not need fuel to fuel heavy industry when you have magic. You can smelt and forge metals with modifications of existing spells and I am pretty sure you could create magical effects to run a Stirling engine.
Of course you need the raw materials. Many of which may or may not be available. As noted, coal and oil (need for plastics and many, many other things) are not necessarily available. That could be expanded to any number of materials we currently rely on.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Of course you need the raw materials. Many of which may or may not be available. As noted, coal and oil (need for plastics and many, many other things) are not necessarily available. That could be expanded to any number of materials we currently rely on.
This brings up one of the kicker questions of a fantasy setting. Does atomic theory hold in a given D&D land or is it really Earth, Air, Fire and Water (may be Spirit also, or alternative primal elemental systems). If real world geophysics operates, or to put it another way magic is an additive layer to the way our world works then, coal, oil and chemistry as we are familiar with it works.
On the other hand, if everything is some admixture of primal elemental substances than all transformative processes, metallurgy, glassmaking, even down to spinning and weaving are all innately magical processes. Just like our ancestors often thought.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oof. You propose to fuel the heavy industries with plant-based fuels?
Who said anything about heavy industries? I said there are fuel sources that were used historically that are plant based. 🤷‍♂️
Maybe with a lot of druids that go around casting Plant Growth it might be possible to at least grow enough plants. In our real world, we don't even have nearly enough surface to grow all the plants on. We'd need another earth just to grow all the fuels we use. But Plant Growth doesn't solve the other challenges of biobased fuels, such as the huge need for fertilizers, and all the effort needed for harvesting and converting.
I won’t get into the weeds on how growing stuff can and does work, but if you dig into the subject you’ll find that fertilizers aren’t as strictly required as we generally think of them as, and the effort is comparable to mining and other industrial support processes.

And again, you don’t modern industry to advance the world past the Middle Ages.
It's probably just as realistic to use charcoal, in terms of yields per hectare, the effort needed to make it and the applicability for heavy industry. But I consider charcoal part of the medieval fantasy setting.
Not sure what a given fuel being “pet of the medieval fantasy setting” has to do with anything in a discussion about building a world based on the fantastical assumptions of the D&D core books.

But then, this is all a tangent based on trying to create the D&D worlds as they already are, which is almost the direct opposite of the what the OP asked.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Who said anything about heavy industries? I said there are fuel sources that were used historically that are plant based. 🤷‍♂️
That brings up another interesting point: deforestation.

Is it possible that all the monster attacks are due to habitat loss brought on by the author denying the inhabitants of the world fuels other than what they can get annihilating every forest that doesn't fight back in the name of medieval stasis?
 

Cordwainer Fish

Imp. Int. Scout Svc. (Dishon. Ret.)
It's probably just as realistic to use charcoal, in terms of yields per hectare, the effort needed to make it and the applicability for heavy industry. But I consider charcoal part of the medieval fantasy setting.
Once in an open source Sim City knockoff, I took a civilization all the way from stone knives and bearskins to space colonization without ever using any power source other than charcoal... which admittedly says a lot about the sim and not much about charcoal.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That brings up another interesting point: deforestation.

Is it possible that all the monster attacks are due to habitat loss brought on by the author denying the inhabitants of the world fuels other than what they can get annihilating every forest that doesn't fight back in the name of medieval stasis?
I think you’d have fruit and grain based fuel before that point. In a D&D world the trees can be alive, and when they’re not they’re some gnome’s house or part of a Dryad, etc.

So olive oil, alcohol, etc. rather than coal, and you’d just have some industry develop more slowly or along different channels.

It also assumes general efficiency boosts to farming, but that can be accomplished with cantrips and common magic items.
 

dave2008

Legend
This is false. The distribution of industrious people inventing new ways to do things in the last 2000 years is global. The highest levels of achievement move around quite a bit from region to region depending on the century, but very few cultures stayed technologically the same throughout that 2000 year period.
I think the point is that very few people, across the world, actually spurred on that innovation. And we still had large swaths of land/people where it didn't reach until very recently.
 

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