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

Faolyn

(she/her)
Respectfully, I genuinely don't think it is even remotely possible that a society would not develop those skills at all. Many modern Americans know how to manually start a fire and purify water, even though they've never had to use that knowledge in order to have warmth and clean water.
Yes, this is true. But many of the spells in question are divine. I can very easily see religions deciding that only things with truly divine origins can be used because anything else is impure.

But anyway. My original point wasn't that nobody would do these things for themselves, but that, if people relied on a few individuals to cast spells to purify food (not just water), cure strange diseases, create fire without fuel, and other things that can't be done easily or at all with the technology at hand, then civilizations would end up centered on those people; they would likely have a high-ranking position.

And the spell would tell you that. The person identifying disease knows what the disease is. Knowing the name of it isn't at all useful, nor does it make sense when you consider the origin of the spell. It has to have had a starting point, and that starting point really can't be names of illnesses. Nor does the spell say anything about language, or common nomenclature.

Also note that you learn what poisonous creature the poison is from, if any.

I just don't really see any way for the spell to function without giving the caster useful information about the type of disease.

Also, just being able to detect disease in a radius around you would reduce the spread of disease, as you could much more accurately quarantine the sick than we can today. And since it says you learn the kind of disease, you'd know if it's contagious or not, at the very least.
The spell says "For the duration, you can sense the presence and location of poisons, poisonous creatures, and diseases within 30 feet of you. You also identify the kind of poison, poisonous creature, or disease in each case."

It does not say that you learn the exact cause of the disease, meaning things like bacterial infection or mutated cell. You can decide it means that, sure, but I'm pretty sure it just means that you learn the people have koboldpox or were poisoned using giant spider venom or something similar; it might even detect lycanthropy, depending on if the DM decides that it's more like a disease than a curse. But I don't think it's going to go much deeper than that. Compare to detect magic, which says that you can spend an action to look more deeply at the magic to determine the school; or detect thoughts, which requires you to use an action to probe into the mind of the person whose thoughts you're detecting. Detect poison and disease merely says you detect the presence of such things and can identify what kind it is. But that's all it says. Anything else should require a Medicine roll, at least.

But yes, it will very much help to constrain diseases by making it easy to quarantine the infected.
 

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Voadam

Legend
According to the Forgotten realms campaign setting, around 1 person in every hundred has Sorcerer/ Wizard abilities (i.e. levels). In places like Thay, and Halruaa and Cormanthor that number is 10 times higher.

Do you have a citation for that?

I don't remember any reference to such numbers and 10% of the population seems very high for Thay and Halruaa.

You're imagining some kind of 'Spellcasters are rare/ burn the witch' setting, but none of the conventional DnD settings are presented like this. Even a village of 100 or so has a wizard or sorcerer or two, a druid and a few clerics. Every town of 1000 or so has an archmage, and several lower level spellcasters, and cities of 10,000 or more have literally several archmages, dozens of powerful clerics to several Gods (and their clerical followers), druids, bards and you name it.

Same here, those numbers seem off, particularly the archmage in every village of 1000.

For instance here is some information on default numbers from the 3.0 DMG pages 137 to 140.
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Which would place the small town of 1,000 with expected highest level wizards and sorcerers of 1d4 levels.

Other books will of course have different specific numbers.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Do you have a citation for that?

I don't remember any reference to such numbers and 10% of the population seems very high for Thay and Halruaa.
From The Shining South page 129.

"Most folk who have never been to Halruaa hold a couple of mistaken assumptions. The first is that all Halruaan's are wizards. Though far from true, this assumption has doubtless been fostered in the minds of foreigners by the few Halruaans with whom they have had contact. In fact, only about one-third of all Halruaan's have the gift of wizardry; the other two thirds just act as though they do."

I don't know what they Thay numbers are, but they would be lower than Halruaa for sure.
 

Voadam

Legend
Seriously, find me a published village or town in any official setting, and there will be several spellcasters in it.
OK, challenge accepted. :)

Village of Winterhaven in the free H1 Keep on the Shadowfell for 4e detailed starting on page 9.

Population 977.

Ruled by a level 3 warlord.

Valthrun the Prescient, a sage and scholar who can sell a few select 1st and 2nd level rituals to the party, not stated whether he is a spellcaster himself.

Sister Linora runs the village temple, explicitly not a cleric, a non-heroic priest.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Thanks.

I recently got FR16 The Shining South but it is a 96 page book so I am guessing that is the 3rd edition one.
Yeah. And I have no idea which supplement or edition I read it in, but the vast majority of Halruaan's with wizard abilities know cantrips or maybe 1st level spells. Basically a huge portion of the population has the gift, but relatively few(but still considerably more than other countries) go into magic seriously and advance to mid or high levels.
 

Voadam

Legend
Yeah. And I have no idea which supplement or edition I read it in, but the vast majority of Halruaan's with wizard abilities know cantrips or maybe 1st level spells. Basically a huge portion of the population has the gift, but relatively few(but still considerably more than other countries) go into magic seriously and advance to mid or high levels.

Further down on page 129 of the 3e Shining South:

"Of the third of the population with magical skill, approximately two-thirds have never been able to get beyond a simple trick or two (as noted in the description of the Magical Training feat; see page 36 of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting). The rest—a little more than 10 percent of the total population—actually understand the intricacies of casting spells."

The Magical Training feat is a regional feat for Halruaa with prerequisites of int 10+, it gives the ability to cast a few arcane cantrips.

Magical Training [General]
You come from Halruaa, a half-legendary land where basic magic is taught to all with the aptitude for it. Every crafter and laborer, it seems, knows a cantrip or two to ease her work.
Prerequisite: Intelligence 10+.
Region: Halruaa.
Benefit: You may cast the 0-level arcane spells dancing lights, daze, and mage hand once per day each. You have an arcane spell failure chance if you wear armor. You are treated as a wizard of your arcane spellcaster level (minimum 1st level) for determining the range at which these spells can be cast.
Special: You may only take this feat as a 1st-level character.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Item creation costs xp in 3.5 yes. It wasn't a lot of it, and the xp system was designed so that if you were lower level than the rest of your party, you earned more xp as a result. So you were never that far behind. As for how NPC's earn xp...this is a dirty secret the game has never, to my knowledge addressed. How did Farmer Bob become a 7th level Commoner? How did the master weaponsmith become a 11th level Expert? How did they progress so far without managing to upgrade to a "real" class? NPC's are whatever level the DM decides they have to be, and xp is never in the equation.

People moan about how Pathfinder got rid of the xp cost, but it really wasn't that big of a limiting factor. Unfortunately, neither is gold, since making an item costs you half it's price. Then you can sell it for double. So let's say you're a 9th level Wizard and you find a cheap, useful magic item- the Handy Haversack. The ability to carry more stuff without dealing with messy logistics and packing skills! This could revolutionize labor and trade! It costs me 1000 gp to make. Market price is 2000. But hey, I could actually lower the cost if I want to, as long as I'm making a profit.

But at full price, I make one, and sell it for enough to make 2. As long as I can find buyers, I can make these things forever (making sure to skim some money off the top for my own needs). If demand goes up, I can raise my prices to whatever the market will bear!

The only real cost for making magic items is the startup money, and TIME. Which NPC's have tons of, because they don't have to adventure- only player characters are forced to risk their lives to gain power.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
OK, challenge accepted. :)

Village of Winterhaven in the free H1 Keep on the Shadowfell for 4e detailed starting on page 9.

Population 977.

Ruled by a level 3 warlord.

Valthrun the Prescient, a sage and scholar who can sell a few select 1st and 2nd level rituals to the party, not stated whether he is a spellcaster himself.

Sister Linora runs the village temple, explicitly not a cleric, a non-heroic priest.
ah-h!

But according to one of the dumbest arguments ever, everyone in 4e is a caster because their powers share discrete structures.

Game. Set. Match.
 

Voadam

Legend
ah-h!

But according to one of the dumbest arguments ever, everyone in 4e is a caster because their powers share discrete structures.

Game. Set. Match.
Pedantic counterpoint.

Level 3 Warlord is still not the equivalent of an archmage, which in 4e is an arcane epic destiny for levels 21-30.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
To contrast, however,
The Village of Hommlet (from Temple of Elemental Evil) has the following:

Calmer, level 3 Cleric.
The Canon Terjon, level 6 Cleric.
Y'dey, level 6 Cleric.
Jaroo Ashstaff, 7th level Druid.
Burne "His Most Worshipful Mage of Hommlet", 8th level Magic User.
Spugnoir, 2nd level Magic User.
Lareth the Beautiful, 5th level Cleric.
Otis, 10th level Ranger.
"Brother Smyth", 3rd level Druid.
 

Do you have a citation for that?

I don't remember any reference to such numbers and 10% of the population seems very high for Thay and Halruaa.



Same here, those numbers seem off, particularly the archmage in every village of 1000.

For instance here is some information on default numbers from the 3.0 DMG pages 137 to 140.
View attachment 152449

View attachment 152448
View attachment 152447

View attachment 152446

Which would place the small town of 1,000 with expected highest level wizards and sorcerers of 1d4 levels.

Other books will of course have different specific numbers.

Look at basically every town, city or hamlet in every published module to date.

The numbers of spellcasters is far higher that that chart suggests
 

OK, challenge accepted. :)

Village of Winterhaven in the free H1 Keep on the Shadowfell for 4e detailed starting on page 9.

Population 977.

Ruled by a level 3 warlord.

Valthrun the Prescient, a sage and scholar who can sell a few select 1st and 2nd level rituals to the party, not stated whether he is a spellcaster himself.

Sister Linora runs the village temple, explicitly not a cleric, a non-heroic priest.

I dont do 4e.

Give me 5 or 3e.

Heck even AD&D.
 

Voadam

Legend
Look at basically every town, city or hamlet in every published module to date.

The numbers of spellcasters is far higher that that chart suggests
Drellin's Ferry. 3.5 Red Hand of Doom page 16. First one I came across.

DRELLIN’S FERRY
At the spot where the Dawn Way crosses the River Elsir stands the small town of Drellin’s Ferry, once known as Dwarfbridge. As the old name implies, long ago the Elsir was spanned by a sturdy dwarf-made bridge at this spot, but a hundred years ago the bridge washed out in a great flood. An enterprising man named Drellin hammered together a small horse-drawn ferry to maintain a river crossing here, and a town eventually grew up around the enterprise.
Drellin’s Ferry (Small Town): Conventional; AL NG; 800 gp limit; Assets 46,000 gp; Population 1,150; Mixed (77% human, 12% halfling, 5% dwarf, 3% half-orc, 2% gnome, 1% elf).
Authority Figure: Town Speaker Norro Wiston (NG male human aristocrat 5), leader of the Town Council.
Important Characters: Captain Soranna Anitah (NG female human fighter 5), leader of the Town Guard; Brother Derny (NG male human cleric 5 of Pelor), highest-ranking local cleric; Sertieren the Wise (N male halfling abjurer 5), most powerful local arcane spellcaster; Delora Zann (CG female human rogue 2/fighter 5), retired adventurer and member of the Town Council; Kellin Shadowbanks (CG male halfling rogue 5), prominent innkeeper and member of the Town Council; Iormel (LE male human aristocrat 3), local miser and member of the Town Council.

They exceed those suggested defaults for a 3.0 small town guideline by a level for the spellcasters. I'd have to look up the 3.5 DMG to see if this exceeds the guidelines there.

But not an archmage in this published D&D place of over a 1,000 people.:)
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I only included the spellcasters of Hommlet, but if we're counting all NPC's with class levels...

Now the Forgotten Realms has examples of this, starting with the most infamous, Shadowdale, which has a Fighter 6, a Thief 6, a Wizard 26, a Cleric 7, a Cleric 9, a Cleric 1, a Fighter 4, Fighter 12, Bard 18, Fighter 5 (deceased), tower officers who are all Fighter 2, Bard 9, Ranger 12, Ranger 10, Cleric 7, Ranger 6, Thief 7. and a Fighter 2/Wizard 22 (deceased).

Then moving to Tilverton, we have a Fighter 9, a garrison of 450 knights (a typical patrol of which are 40 Fighter 3's and 4's, commanded by a Fighter 6 or 7, who ride with 1-3 Wizards of levels 2-5. Foot patrols on the streets consist of 10-20 Fighter 3's and 1-2 Wizards of levels 2-5. The town also has a Wizard 9, a Wizard 12, a Cleric 12, 70+ Thieves of levels 2-5, and 3-12 Fighters of levels 3-10. There's also a Wizard 3 and a Thief 7, we also have a Wizard 6, a Wizard 7, a Bard 8, and a Bard 9. a Ranger 9, two Fighter 6's, and a Thief 3.
 

Drellin's Ferry. 3.5 Red Hand of Doom page 16. First one I came across.

DRELLIN’S FERRY
At the spot where the Dawn Way crosses the River Elsir stands the small town of Drellin’s Ferry, once known as Dwarfbridge. As the old name implies, long ago the Elsir was spanned by a sturdy dwarf-made bridge at this spot, but a hundred years ago the bridge washed out in a great flood. An enterprising man named Drellin hammered together a small horse-drawn ferry to maintain a river crossing here, and a town eventually grew up around the enterprise.
Drellin’s Ferry (Small Town): Conventional; AL NG; 800 gp limit; Assets 46,000 gp; Population 1,150; Mixed (77% human, 12% halfling, 5% dwarf, 3% half-orc, 2% gnome, 1% elf).
Authority Figure: Town Speaker Norro Wiston (NG male human aristocrat 5), leader of the Town Council.
Important Characters: Captain Soranna Anitah (NG female human fighter 5), leader of the Town Guard; Brother Derny (NG male human cleric 5 of Pelor), highest-ranking local cleric; Sertieren the Wise (N male halfling abjurer 5), most powerful local arcane spellcaster; Delora Zann (CG female human rogue 2/fighter 5), retired adventurer and member of the Town Council; Kellin Shadowbanks (CG male halfling rogue 5), prominent innkeeper and member of the Town Council; Iormel (LE male human aristocrat 3), local miser and member of the Town Council.

They exceed those suggested defaults for a 3.0 small town guideline by a level for the spellcasters. I'd have to look up the 3.5 DMG to see if this exceeds the guidelines there.

But not an archmage in this published D&D place of over a 1,000 people.:)

So you're saying this one town of 1,000 people has at least two people capable of casting 3rd level spells?

You're also ignoring the Druid Avarthel, so its at least 3 x named PCs capable of casting 3rd level spells (plus of course anyone else in town, such as the PCs).

In a small town of 1000 people.

Meaning this small town has access to (just the NPCs) the curing of all diseases, the curing of any blindness or deafness, able to have any serious wounds healed instantly, the ability to speak with dead family members and compel criminals to tell the truth (murders beware!) and thus solve most crimes, have rain fall on their crops at will, the creation (and purification) of food and water, have objects instantly repaired, all languages translated, accurately predict the future, and have paralysis cured.

And that's just the Cleric!

Those are all things way beyond even our own technology, today.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That kind of makes things cool, because it's as if there's super high tech devices in the world but only a few people monopolize all the technology. I can easily picture lvl 2 and 3 spell casters being tyrants overseeing small communities.
I think 5e’s bounded accuracy models what makes sense quite well in this case. A low level caster (and even higher level casters to a lesser extent) can absolutely be killed by villagers.

Having a laser gun only increases the amount of crappy behavior you need to engage in to get murdered by the people you’re being crappy to. I think in a pessimistically designed world where this happens sometimes, where some people have laser guns built into their fingers, it’s just culturally acceptable to kill said people at the first sign of getting notions.
It's always been kind of odd to me that "magic is extremely rare and practically unheard of" when 3 out of 4 PCs can cast spells of one sort or other. I know there's the whole "called to service" bit, that only some clerics can explicitly cast spells. But in campaigns I've been involved with? If you have the gold and/or influence you can always find a cleric high enough level to cast the spell you want.

If wizards are only whispered of in dark corners, who taught the PC wizard how to cast spells? How does the arcane trickster or eldritch knight for that matter? Where do all the higher level NPCS in the MM come from?
This.
 

Voadam

Legend
So you're saying this one town of 1,000 people has at least two people capable of casting 3rd level spells?
Yes, one level higher than the random settlement generator chart.

So I would not say "The numbers of spellcasters is far higher that that chart suggests"
You're also ignoring the Druid Avarthel, so its at least 3 x named PCs capable of casting 3rd level spells (plus of course anyone else in town, such as the PCs).
Yes, I read and copied over the settlement statblock including the important NPCs which listed the highest level casters and did not search the entire description so I missed the 5th level druid not listed in the stat block.

So yes 3 stated NPC casters. And the random generators would indicate a couple lower level ones as well.
In a small town of 1000 people.

Meaning this small town has access to (just the NPCs) the curing of all diseases, the curing of any blindness or deafness, able to have any serious wounds healed instantly, the ability to speak with dead family members and compel criminals to tell the truth (murders beware!) and thus solve most crimes, have rain fall on their crops at will, the creation (and purification) of food and water, have objects instantly repaired, all languages translated, accurately predict the future, and have paralysis cured.

And that's just the Cleric!

Those are all things way beyond even our own technology, today.
Sure. That is consistent with the high magic default of 3.5 and mostly within the default charts (randomly generated 1000 person adult population small towns get max caster level of 1-4 so no 3rd level spells and mostly no 2nd level ones).

A few quibbles exist as to whether augury can usefully predict the future given the failure chances and limited scope, create water's instantaneous "downpour" of gallons would be considered rain, and the efficacy of the save negate's zone of truth's ability to solve most crimes.

This is however far from:

"Even a village of 100 or so has a wizard or sorcerer or two, a druid and a few clerics. Every town of 1000 or so has an archmage, and several lower level spellcasters, and cities of 10,000 or more have literally several archmages, dozens of powerful clerics to several Gods (and their clerical followers), druids, bards and you name it."

According to the charts a randomly generated small town of 1,000 would have a max of 4th level casters not archmages, and a small city of 10,000 would have max 10th level casters, not literally several archmages.

Looking at the first 3.5 module I pulled out the intro small town exceeds those numbers by one level, so fairly consistent with the high level default of the 3.5 DMG, but a little higher level on the casters. But still way below an Elminster in every Dale.

Moving on to page 9 of Red Hand of Doom there is the small city of Brindol with a little less than 10,000 but in the same population category population range as a 10,000 adult population small city:

Brindol (Small City): Conventional, nonstandard; AL NG, LE; 15,000 gp limit; Assets 6,300,000 gp; Population 8,400; Mixed (81% human, 8% halfl ing, 5% dwarf, 3% half-orc, 2% gnome, 1% elf).
Authority Figures: Lord Kerden Jarmaath (NG male human fighter 8), Lord of Brindol; Lady Verrasa Kaal (LE female human rogue 9), leader of mercantile House Kaal, to whom everyone seems to owe money or favors.
Important Characters: Captain Lars Ulverth (LG male human fighter 7), leader of the Lion Guard; Immerstal the Red (CG male human wizard 9), foremost wizard of the town; Rillor Paln (NE male human rogue 11), master of the Black Knives, a gang of highwaymen and cutthroats based in Brindol and secretly allied with House Kaal; Eldremma Axenhaft (LN female dwarf fighter 4/rogue 3), a merchant and provisioner who hires mercenaries out as caravan guards; Shining Servant Tredora Goldenbrow (LG female aasimar cleric 8 of Pelor), most prominent cleric in town.

So consistent with the 3.0/3.5 DMG random population guidelines of max 10th level casters.

Individual level 8 and 9 casters are fairly amazing, but still not at the level of literally several archmages.
 

Voadam

Legend
I also have a 3.5 Forgotten Realms module with a settlement stat block: Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave.

Page 148:

The bustling city of Wheloon confidently straddles the two most important trade routes in eastern Cormyr. Merchant caravans traveling to Sembia pass through each day along the Way of the Manticore, and ships from ports all over the Sea of Fallen Stars sail up the Wyvernflow to unload their goods at Wheloon or pass on into the heart of Cormyr. The rumble of wagon wheels, grunting of laborers, and hollering of dock hands fills the air for much of the day and long into the night.

Wheloon
Wheloon (Small City): Conventional; Al NG; 15,000 gp limit; Assets 499,500 gp; Population 6,692; Mixed (human 82%, halfling 6%, dwarf 4%, gnome 4%, half-elf 2%, elf 1%, half-orc 1%).
Authority Figure: Lord Sarp Redbeard (NG male Chondathan human fighter 9), lord of the city.
Important Characters: Orlenstar Thirthorn (N male Chondathan human druid 4), caretaker of God’s Grove, a shrine to Silvanus; Katriana Donohar (NG female Tethyrian human cleric 5), leader of the Harvest Hall, a temple to Chauntea, since the death of her father Harrandave Donohar; Constal Maximanus Tholl (LG male Chondathan human fighter 5), leader of the local contingent of Purple Dragons.
 

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