D&D General Need wheat. Too dangerous. (worldbuilding)

Oofta

Legend
Both the statements "Town means walled villiage" and "Town means a settlement of a certain size, depending on juristiction" are true, and rely on different modern English meanings of "mean". But disagreeing with one and saying "actually" the other is simply wrong; the use you disagreed with is perfectly colloquial English.

Your error was not understanding modern English. Words, including "mean", mean more than one thing.

---

Anyhow, using Town vs Villiage for walled and unwalled in D&D would make a lot of sense.

In my headcannon, "suoerstitious" rites are performed - hedge magic - to secure dwellings and settlements and roads against monsters. Individual homes would be warded thus way.

Villiages would be clumps of such individual homes. Then a low grade stone wall with rudimentary warding would be added; as it progresses, the villiage would be upgraded to town.

Using catheral city for the definition of City also works along these lines; a cathedral would be a ritual anchor for the wards of a settlement. Its spire a magical antenna for ley lines, the services prayer wheels fueling the wards.
I agree, but cathedrals seem to be more specific to some cultures and not others. Maybe. Not really an expert on the relation of temples and religion. I tend to think of temples and cathedrals being associated to cities because the only time we hear about religious structures and their function in society is when they are grand and enduring structures.

How true has that held for polytheistic cultures that tends to dominate D&D's worlds is a different question, one I am by no means an expert on. When I've tried to find out more, it's always back to a handful of religions like ancient Greek because for the most part they built temples to specific gods and the gods lived there. That, and the temples are cool looking. Other than that, I plead ignorance, but it's also a topic for another thread.

The real question is, what is a hamlet? A group of buildings where they let ham ... umm ... pigs roam free? Inquiring minds want to know!
 

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I've been having a suspension of belief recently over a commodity that is buyable just about anywhere - bread.

Here's what got me stuck:

1. Bread is a cheap, freely available staple food.
2. You need huge fields outside the walls to make lots of bread.
3. Huge fields outside the walls will inevitably be attacked and overrun.
4. No more bread.

Assuming 1-3 to be true, how do you fix this problem while keeping bread generally cheap and plentiful?

Long distance trade from a fabled land of wheat where there are no monsters? Dwarven underdark wheat, grown in deep basements, if there is such a thing?
I'm just drawing a blank, since every town should be surrounded by acres and acres of wheat fields, and so many places in many different settings, that just isn't possible. 1 cup of flour would need maybe three square feet of wheat plants. That's an awful lot of land to protect.

ideas pls?
Your assumption 1-3 are pretty contradictory, and obviously are a DM decision.
If fields are overrun with regularity, then a community will shift to a hunter-gatherer-raider life style. That´s the real world solution.
DnD can provide magical solution. Spells like create food and water, or other magical mean or ritual can provide a large scale source of food even in the post apocalyptic world you describe. If food cannot be produce easily community will collapse.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I just re-read the title of this thread, and back when I used to play a lot more Settlers of Catan v D&D, my first reaction to hearing the phrase "Need Wheat" would have been "I've got some sheep..."
I'm quite disappointed no one made the joke to be frank. I thought about it but I couldn't find a suitably amusing construct
 

rmcoen

Explorer
In my last campaign, I leaned hard into the "last bastions of civilization" concept. The world was overrun by monsters, excepting 10 powerful city-states. Each city-state had a magical shield that protected the city AND ALL ENVIRONS WITHIN TWO DAYS' WALK. (Each city's shield was powered by something different; Godshome was powered by faith, Magisteria was powered by a siphon from the students and faculty at The Academy, Forgekeep tapped the local volcano, etc.) That provided each city with plenty of safe arable land for food. (The shields were "weakness-permeable", meaning the stronger the attacker, the stronger the shield; kobolds and goblins could get in, but giants and demons could not. Perfect fodder for militia or trainee adventurers.)

Out in the "wilderness", hidden villages still existed, but they were dependent on camouflage - or ongoing bribery - to survive. Some had a ranger or druid supporting them, providing spike growth or martial deterrents to the occasional foe; some of those villages had ties to The Verdant Order, a benevolent (?) druidic organization that felt civilization and nature had finally found an achievable balance, and thus supported both the cities and the hidden villages. (But opposed the creation of new cities, vehemently!)
 


The Plant Growth Spell lasts for an entire growing season. It covers a quarter of a square mile. You likely couldn't get the entire 4,000 sq miles, but give 100 days and a handful of people and you could cover a massive region, especially if the caster can cast it more than once per day.
magic combined with agriculture is an interesting idea. In the real medieval times, the vast majority of the people were involved in agriculture, something like 80% IIRC. A lot of it was just grunt work; pre-mechanization agriculture is really manpower intensive. Sowing, weeding, watering, harvesting, hauling it off to the mill, milling, hauling it off to the baker, baking, hauling it off to the markets, etc. You have to wonder just how much magic could speed up the process, and how common it would be...
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
magic combined with agriculture is an interesting idea. In the real medieval times, the vast majority of the people were involved in agriculture, something like 80% IIRC. A lot of it was just grunt work; pre-mechanization agriculture is really manpower intensive. Sowing, weeding, watering, harvesting, hauling it off to the mill, milling, hauling it off to the baker, baking, hauling it off to the markets, etc. You have to wonder just how much magic could speed up the process, and how common it would be...
If magic could supress weeds, even that would be a huge boost to agricultural yields and a significant reduction in labour. The other are would pest and disease control. Another thing would be divining negative environmental issue by Contact Other Plane or Divination. Imagine what the effect would be, if the people of Mesopotamia knew about the effects of deforestation and loss of soil fertility by salination due to irrigation, from direct communication by the gods of agriculture and/or fertility.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So you admit you have a problem. That's the first step.

Mod Note:
You are the third person today who has needed a reminder to not make things personal. Must be the new Moon in Scorpio, or something.

In any case - address the logic of the post, not the person of the poster, please. Do not attribute flaws in the logic to character flaws in the poster - that's called "being insulting" and isn't acceptable.
[/COLOR]
 

cbwjm

Legend
Had to reread the 1st post to make sure what this thread was actually about, primarily it's about monsters destroying the fields. I don't think it is mentioned in 5e, but reading the section on dominions in the BECMI rules cyclopedia pretty much answers it by having three categories for lands, civilised, borderlands, and wilderness.

The central part of a well settled kingdom would be civilised, incidents of rampaging monsters are likely few and far between. Borderlands, those territories on the periphery of the kingdom might have a harder time of it, since they border the wilderness which is where the rampaging monsters all come in from. It would probably depend on what monsters are rampaging. A wyvern or manicure probably aren't going to do much damage to the fields, though livestock might be carried off. Orcs coming down to attack the town might burn the fields which would be a problem requiring the import of grain and the local baron or count might also have to send troops to stop the orc raiders. Meanwhile, the farmers in the central part of the kingdom might only have to deal with occasional bandits and pests but are otherwise largely left alone.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I agree, but cathedrals seem to be more specific to some cultures and not others. Maybe. Not really an expert on the relation of temples and religion. I tend to think of temples and cathedrals being associated to cities because the only time we hear about religious structures and their function in society is when they are grand and enduring structures.

How true has that held for polytheistic cultures that tends to dominate D&D's worlds is a different question, one I am by no means an expert on. When I've tried to find out more, it's always back to a handful of religions like ancient Greek because for the most part they built temples to specific gods and the gods lived there. That, and the temples are cool looking. Other than that, I plead ignorance, but it's also a topic for another thread.

The real question is, what is a hamlet? A group of buildings where they let ham ... umm ... pigs roam free? Inquiring minds want to know!

The fact that it is really hard sometimes to find works that use other terms for religious buildings has become a bit of a pet peeve of mine on occasion. I've tried to make a concerted effort to include different terms in my writing and it isn't easy. Especially with the added realization that any term I have to look up, I have to explain, and the moment I call something church, then that's all people are going to think about.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
magic combined with agriculture is an interesting idea. In the real medieval times, the vast majority of the people were involved in agriculture, something like 80% IIRC. A lot of it was just grunt work; pre-mechanization agriculture is really manpower intensive. Sowing, weeding, watering, harvesting, hauling it off to the mill, milling, hauling it off to the baker, baking, hauling it off to the markets, etc. You have to wonder just how much magic could speed up the process, and how common it would be...

I've always loved the idea of "small magics" that people have talked about. Like, let's say that there is a minor spell that is in song form, sing the song and you can lift 10 lbs more than usual, a very minor strength buff basically. This would be relatively worthless...

Until you realize that this could mean that every time you "haul" the resources to be processed, you are carrying more, speeding up the processes, it could make 7 round trips take only 6, which doesn't sound like much but will have a big impact when it applies to 6 processes, taking it from 42 trips to 36.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Had to reread the 1st post to make sure what this thread was actually about, primarily it's about monsters destroying the fields. I don't think it is mentioned in 5e, but reading the section on dominions in the BECMI rules cyclopedia pretty much answers it by having three categories for lands, civilised, borderlands, and wilderness.

The central part of a well settled kingdom would be civilised, incidents of rampaging monsters are likely few and far between. Borderlands, those territories on the periphery of the kingdom might have a harder time of it, since they border the wilderness which is where the rampaging monsters all come in from. It would probably depend on what monsters are rampaging. A wyvern or manicure probably aren't going to do much damage to the fields, though livestock might be carried off. Orcs coming down to attack the town might burn the fields which would be a problem requiring the import of grain and the local baron or count might also have to send troops to stop the orc raiders. Meanwhile, the farmers in the central part of the kingdom might only have to deal with occasional bandits and pests but are otherwise largely left alone.

You know, I keep seeing this statement that certain monsters wouldn't damage fields, and I want to put that at a "maybe?"

Because, sure a Wyvern might be more interested in a few sheep instead of field of wheat. But, the sheep might be in the barn, or since they are herd animals the Wyvern might be hesitant to take on a whole flock. Wild Rams aren't trifling things to mess with.

But... what about that single farmer weeding in the middle of a wheat field? That's a good target of opportunity, so the Wyvern flies down and smashes into the farmer... and also flattens and destroys a good portion of the field. I mean, depending on the fight and the time, this could just kill off a chunk of the produce before it is viable.

I'm not saying this is a major concern, but monsters don't have to be targeting the wheat for the wheat to be collateral damage of a monster attack.
 

cbwjm

Legend
You know, I keep seeing this statement that certain monsters wouldn't damage fields, and I want to put that at a "maybe?"

Because, sure a Wyvern might be more interested in a few sheep instead of field of wheat. But, the sheep might be in the barn, or since they are herd animals the Wyvern might be hesitant to take on a whole flock. Wild Rams aren't trifling things to mess with.

But... what about that single farmer weeding in the middle of a wheat field? That's a good target of opportunity, so the Wyvern flies down and smashes into the farmer... and also flattens and destroys a good portion of the field. I mean, depending on the fight and the time, this could just kill off a chunk of the produce before it is viable.

I'm not saying this is a major concern, but monsters don't have to be targeting the wheat for the wheat to be collateral damage of a monster attack.
Sure, there could be some impact, but I wouldn't see it as a huge impact (unless your the farmer killed by the wyvern). Sure you'll lose part of your crop but it shouldn't be devastating unless there are other factors in play causing a low yield of grain at harvest. Also, these monsters are likely to be hunted down, probably because a farmer has been killed and the people are demanding the local lord do something about it, which leads to adventurers being hired or knights being sent out after it.

The bigger loss in this scenario might not even be the damage to the fields but rather the loss of the farmer, and not just because he's now wyvern chow. Unless there are others that can do the work, something which I don't think you could guarantee, the entire season's worth of grain might be lost.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
Sure, there could be some impact, but I wouldn't see it as a huge impact (unless your the farmer killed by the wyvern). Sure you'll lose part of your crop but it shouldn't be devastating unless there are other factors in play causing a low yield of grain at harvest. Also, these monsters are likely to be hunted down, probably because a farmer has been killed and the people are demanding the local lord do something about it, which leads to adventurers being hired or knights being sent out after it.

The bigger loss in this scenario might not even be the damage to the fields but rather the loss of the farmer, and not just because he's now wyvern chow. Unless there are others that can do the work, something which I don't think you could guarantee, the entire season's worth of grain might be lost.
In the old days the loss of a single farmer never risked the whole crop. The whole process of farming was so labour intensive and the risks of accidental death (even with out D&D type exotica) were so high that there would be people around. Also the harvest was so important that in the event of a shortage of the regular farmers and labourers then whoever was available would be drafted in to help. It was pretty much bring the harvest in or everybody starves.
 

Hussar

Legend
Heh, maybe we could avoid this whole town/village thing if we just call them Oppidum :D

But, really, hillforts and oppidum were common all across Europe once upon a time and, IMO, probably represent the standard D&D settlement far more than what we generally see in the books:

18e613b37587aaa544a445abe1b790de.jpg


As far as wyverns go, maybe they are scared away by the giant bees. Cultivating giant insect nests might be a really good deterrent for keeping out a lot of the less persistent predators. Ankhegs are known for making soil grow better and could certainly be worked around. Sure, it might cost you some sheep or whatnot to keep them away from the settlement, but, again, it's potentially possible.

Really, IMO, the bigger issue here is that D&D often wants to keep it's settlements as close to medieval Europe (by and large) as possible without looking too closely into the implications of the game world itself because, frankly, that's too much work for too little reward.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
In my last campaign, I leaned hard into the "last bastions of civilization" concept. The world was overrun by monsters, excepting 10 powerful city-states. Each city-state had a magical shield that protected the city AND ALL ENVIRONS WITHIN TWO DAYS' WALK. (Each city's shield was powered by something different; Godshome was powered by faith, Magisteria was powered by a siphon from the students and faculty at The Academy, Forgekeep tapped the local volcano, etc.) That provided each city with plenty of safe arable land for food. (The shields were "weakness-permeable", meaning the stronger the attacker, the stronger the shield; kobolds and goblins could get in, but giants and demons could not. Perfect fodder for militia or trainee adventurers.)

Out in the "wilderness", hidden villages still existed, but they were dependent on camouflage - or ongoing bribery - to survive. Some had a ranger or druid supporting them, providing spike growth or martial deterrents to the occasional foe; some of those villages had ties to The Verdant Order, a benevolent (?) druidic organization that felt civilization and nature had finally found an achievable balance, and thus supported both the cities and the hidden villages. (But opposed the creation of new cities, vehemently!)
this is preeeety nice. The shields working not so well against "near human" like goblins is quite plausible.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Had to reread the 1st post to make sure what this thread was actually about, primarily it's about monsters destroying the fields. I don't think it is mentioned in 5e, but reading the section on dominions in the BECMI rules cyclopedia pretty much answers it by having three categories for lands, civilised, borderlands, and wilderness.

The central part of a well settled kingdom would be civilised, incidents of rampaging monsters are likely few and far between. Borderlands, those territories on the periphery of the kingdom might have a harder time of it, since they border the wilderness which is where the rampaging monsters all come in from. It would probably depend on what monsters are rampaging. A wyvern or manicure probably aren't going to do much damage to the fields, though livestock might be carried off. Orcs coming down to attack the town might burn the fields which would be a problem requiring the import of grain and the local baron or count might also have to send troops to stop the orc raiders. Meanwhile, the farmers in the central part of the kingdom might only have to deal with occasional bandits and pests but are otherwise largely left alone.
BECMI is sometimes a bit cliche, and sometimes wrong, but it's still a very valuable resources - a useful baseline, if you will.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I've always loved the idea of "small magics" that people have talked about. Like, let's say that there is a minor spell that is in song form, sing the song and you can lift 10 lbs more than usual, a very minor strength buff basically. This would be relatively worthless...

Until you realize that this could mean that every time you "haul" the resources to be processed, you are carrying more, speeding up the processes, it could make 7 round trips take only 6, which doesn't sound like much but will have a big impact when it applies to 6 processes, taking it from 42 trips to 36.
I find it sometimes interesting to think about all the "pure utility" spells that are almost hidden amongst all the war magic in the PHB.

Imagine if you were a local hedge mage in a peasant village (you have the magic adept feat). You know unseen servant (or perhaps summon familiar?), mending and move earth. The locals would adore you.
 


Myth Master

Villager
While sometimes burning fields was a thing in times of war, monsters aren't likely to actually try to damage crops - the vulnerable bits are the people.

So, in terms of efficiency - a watch tower, standing militia, and regular patrols may be more expensive than a simple set of Sending Stones to alert the local Sheriff, or whatnot.
Unfortunately, the famers, their wives and family = MEAT, and the grain fields surrounding the village are where they spend most of their time in the warmer months, unless they are out foraging farther afield.
The fields of grain are completely irrelevant to the monsters who want to chow down on the villagers, except in so far as later in the summer, the crops are tall enough to provide some cover for them to bushwhack the villagers and have themselves a feast.
Unfortunately, the lords and knights and their troops don't give a crap about anything but getting at and killing their rivals when at war, also. It is the free peasantry and the landbound/serf classes who suffered most and worst. Check out what the English did on chevauchee during the 100 Years War. Destroying crops was part of the point of those tactics.
 

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