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

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
That's the point that I'm making though. Why would intelligent creatures who have grown up next to other intelligent creatures not pretty naturally start to cooperate? Even if it's not all of a given race, sure, that's fine. But, the benefits of doing so would be so obvious that it would almost have to happen.

Can we judge how certain and obvious that is based on interactions between countries/tribes/nationalities/religions/ethnic groups in the real world? :.-(
 

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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So...

Based on the quality of the soil, availability of water, crop lost to pest or pestilence, and diet of the people in question...

A family of 4 can grow everything they need to survive on about an acre of land.

This is particularly true in River Culture regions, where plentiful fishing and hunting were also easily accessible since humans controlled the water source other animals needed to survive. If you live at a River Delta (Particularly a -large- river delta, like the Mississippi or Nile) you'll wind up with incredibly fertile soil in abundance, lots of non-agrarian food options, and minimal need for Livestocking to maintain a comparatively easy life to, say, a farmer in Iowa.

Add in a long growing season based on relation to the equator and you get massive and plentiful yields from a fairly small square footage.

This is why Mesopotamia existed. It's why the Mississippi River Valley Cultures and Egypt as we know it existed. Indus River Valley Culture? Same deal.

Because when you scale production -beyond- what you need to survive in those places, you get massive quantities of excess that you can then use for trade.

And throughout history: Farmlands -were- protected. Not just by fences, though fences were freaking MANDATORY to minimize pest-loss, but also by things like 3-5 foot high stone walls and low stockades meant to make it harder for larger herbivores or attackers to get in. Not impossible, mind you, many a viking likely vaulted over a low stone wall and passed through fields toward churches or farmhouses... but harder.

And in places where these farmlands were communally held, they often were protected by more drastic measures, not just earthworks, but full sized stockades. And that's in -our- world.

In a world with Dragons and Ankhegs and Orcs it's perfectly reasonable to redesign society to protect their fields with high stone curtain walls, or to place the fields in the center of town with a "Donut" of city around it to form a protective barrier.

You're not limited to a medieval Europe stand-in with D&D. If something agrarian doesn't make sense to you, change how it works.

Though I would also like to note that most European kingdoms in history kept reserves of long-lasting foodstuffs like grain within the city walls so that even during years-long sieges they could maintain their populace. And let's not forget Heraklion which endured 21 years of siege. 16 of which had fairly continual shelling of the city in the 1640s and 50s.

Ever see the Baron Munchausen movie. It's the inspiration for the opening scene.

Between France and Smugglers enough goods were snuck into the city and enough was grown -within- the city to keep it going during a 21 year long siege. ON AN ISLAND. No escape but the sea.
 

Al2O3

Explorer
That gets too close to the old trope of sacrificing a virgin to the evil dragon to keep it from destroying the town.
There is no such thing as getting "too close" to that ;-)

My real reason for posting: isn't the "we must sacrifice someone from the city" what happens after you run out of sheep? The dragon prefers eating animals, but has a too large appetite.
 

Oofta

Legend
Can we judge how certain and obvious that is based on interactions between countries/tribes/nationalities/religions/ethnic groups in the real world? :.-(

Not to mention those Neanderthal, Australopithecus, Homo erectus, Homo floresiensis relatives that used to be wandering around. Apparently there were at least 21 human species that have been recognized.

One of the issues I have with this topic though is that it always comes back to someone throwing down the "racism" card as if that ends all discussion in a "I'm right you're wrong" sort of way.

So I'm just going to reiterate: the mods don't allow this topic. Can we go back to discussing whether or not anyone other than a first level apprentice can use magic to alter reality for the benefit of the society at large?
 


nevin

Hero
So, you are talking about wheat, but really, what you are concerned about is agriculture. It doesn't matter if you are growing wheat, rice, barley, turnips, or you have sheep grazing, agriculture need lots of land.

Agriculture cannot co-exists with large quantities of rampaging monsters. You are completely right about this. This means that there has to be "civilized" areas where agriculture is possible. Areas with lots of monsters simply don't have a lot of humans living there. It's "the wilderness".

The best solution is to have "wild" areas and "agricultural" areas. I will note that there is a LOT of bad world design out there.
Depends on the monsters. If they dont care ]about the fields then its no different than farmers in africa or india growing crops while avoiding dangerous wildlife. Most grains require a lot of work to start an a lot if work at Harvest and some in the middle. Ther is some evidence that some hunter gathers planted thing they wanted to harvest then moved on fr hunting season and came back.
Unless the city is besieged by constant attack farming should be possible.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Can we judge how certain and obvious that is based on interactions between countries/tribes/nationalities/religions/ethnic groups in the real world? :.-(
Sure! Let's do that!

It happened ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Like -so- often that it's not even worth questioning.

Cultures that lived near each other were actually far more likely to just mesh together and become a single entity than they were to battle over resources. We just don't -hear- about it so much because wars are more interesting. But yeah, most of the Semitic Tribes of Mesopotamia were fairly interwoven. Same thing with the Mississippi Valley and Indus River Valley. Yes. There were wars. The Midians were wiped off the map by violence, for example, their mark on history largely reserved to religious texts.

You don't build the City of Ur with 65,000 people in it by having all of them be related by Blood or Marriage (I.E. a Tribe).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Sure! Let's do that!

It happened ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Like -so- often that it's not even worth questioning.

Cultures that lived near each other were actually far more likely to just mesh together and become a single entity than they were to battle over resources. We just don't -hear- about it so much because wars are more interesting. But yeah, most of the Semitic Tribes of Mesopotamia were fairly interwoven. Same thing with the Mississippi Valley and Indus River Valley. Yes. There were wars. The Midians were wiped off the map by violence, for example, their mark on history largely reserved to religious texts.

You don't build the City of Ur with 65,000 people in it by having all of them be related by Blood or Marriage (I.E. a Tribe).

I would have guessed that a lot of that "meshing together" involved one side surrendering sovereignty or identity to the other (whether by force or pragmatism). But, as you say, the wars get more coverage. Do they also happen all the freaking time too? At least enough to not make it certain and obvious that they'd work together?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
4e fan then?
Yes, but you don't have to be to prefer flavor beyond 'reason you murder them' and rich, flavorful abilities baked into state blocks.

In fact, one of the things I'm looking forward to see departing from 4e's flavor text (and other adjacent editions) is the sheer number of slavers and ex-slaves jam-packed into every monster manual.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Depends on the monsters. If they dont care ]about the fields then its no different than farmers in africa or india growing crops while avoiding dangerous wildlife. Most grains require a lot of work to start an a lot if work at Harvest and some in the middle. Ther is some evidence that some hunter gathers planted thing they wanted to harvest then moved on fr hunting season and came back.
Unless the city is besieged by constant attack farming should be possible.
I was not implying that goblins are eating wheat. I was implying that goblins are eating farmers.
 

I'm going to agree with Oofta, can we please not rush headlong straight towards a threadlock?

Anyways,--
Another thing to consider is that standard D&D is not the cartoon Death World people seem to portray where monsters are constantly running roughshod o'er the land.

In most official adventures and novels, the heroes have to travel for days in order to find something to home invade to death, so the reverse is also true: the monsters are actually far out from settlements unless those settlements are over-extended colonies that basically exist for adventurers to defend against overrun.
That certain is how it initially seemed to be envisioned -- the PCs at level 1-3 travelled to the scary dungeon from civilized lands because they heard rumors of monsters and treasure; then spent levels 4-name level or so hexcrawling by going out into the unconquered wilderness to eventually carve out a new place to pacify and to which attract followers. Occasionally, the scary monsters would encroach upon the civilian world, and those would be adventure hooks. Somewhere along the line, I think that got a bit muddle in the official gameworld building... or maybe just a collective social lore around the game (It's been a while since I cracked an official game setting book).
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I would have guessed that a lot of that "meshing together" involved one side surrendering sovereignty or identity to the other (whether by force or pragmatism). But, as you say, the wars get more coverage. Do they also happen all the freaking time too? At least enough to not make it certain and obvious that they'd work together?
Take a look across allllll of history. And count the years and months where there were wars across the world. And count the years and months where there was no war, or at least none written about. None remembered.

And then consider that even in the places where there -was- war, the rest of the world -wasn't- fighting.

War and Violence are punctuation at the end of countless long sentences that we ascribe great importance to. There's a reason the history books don't talk about "Peace breaking out".

In Ur, in Mesopotamia? People controlled a valuable resource and others sought to join them. No "Surrendering of Sovereignty" or identity through force or pragmatism. They just moved into Ur with their culture and their lives and... that's it. Over the course of generations their children's culture became a mesh of the two. And their children even further, and on and on until Ur's culture became a blending of the different "Tribes" who joined together within it.

Because immigration and emigration were things even before they were legal terms. An Akkadian could travel to another city, sell his wares, buy a place to stay, and become a part of the new city, and that was just... y'know... how it works. No loss of identity or sovereignty. He just moved. Same as today with endless people crossing borders so long as the people within the borders aren't massive jerks about it.

Most of our understanding of early history and prehistoric "Tribalism" is based on modern interpretation of violent events as the norm. They were never the norm. They were and have always been the exception. The special things we make note of when it happens and demarcate peace by bookending it with wars.

All you have to do is check the dates and locations in your history books. Most of history was, and will be, people living quiet, normal, peaceful lives. Stressing out about deadlines and relationships and politics and crops and newfangled technology... and their kids being "Uppity".

Mesanepada may have killed Lugal-kitan to make Unug/Uruk into Ur... but then he ruled for 80 years. And his son for 36. And his son for 40. And his son and his son and his son. And in each of those following monarchies there was a ton of peace, a little war, and a lot of people just being people.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
There is no such thing as getting "too close" to that ;-)

My real reason for posting: isn't the "we must sacrifice someone from the city" what happens after you run out of sheep? The dragon prefers eating animals, but has a too large appetite.
You breed more sheep.

Flippant answer aside, I think that we need to consider that the interaction between, say, a village and a dragon, can have many flavors. It really is up to the GM to decide!

In one case, the dragon is predatory - they are eating sheeps far faster than the villagers can provide. This is a problem and heroes may be required to solve the situation. Tada, you have an adventure!

But the situation doesn't have to be this dire. Perhaps the dragon is more reasonable and the villagers have increased their sheep production, and everyone is happy(ish). But not you don't have an adventure... and that's ok! This could just be background flavor.

OR

It could be the foundation of a different kind of adventure. Perhaps a neighboring baron covets the dragon's lands, and tells the heroes how terrible the dragon is and could they go kill her and "liberate" the "poor" villagers?

Perhaps the dragon hires the adventurers to do something. What? there are hundreds of possibilities here.

Perhaps the dragon is considered a "noble" too, and is one of the Elector Counts... but human politics is tedious to him. It asks the players to investigate the candidates for him and report.

Perhaps the dragon is worried about another dragon? Or wants to court that dragon? Bored of sheep and wants the PCs to acquire more exotic food?

All this to say, it's really up to the GM.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Yes, but you don't have to be to prefer flavor beyond 'reason you murder them' and rich, flavorful abilities baked into state blocks.

In fact, one of the things I'm looking forward to see departing from 4e's flavor text (and other adjacent editions) is the sheer number of slavers and ex-slaves jam-packed into every monster manual.
The kind of flavor you refer to is going to take more space (thus cutting out monsters), or be extremely sparse (and thus borderline useless). They either have to cover all the modern nuances people complain aren't there now, or they have to chop it down to practically nothing to avoid offense.
I agree that less of an emphasis on slavery would be preferable.
 

Stalker0

Legend
It's not really unreasonable that various communities, (remembering that human communities are only one of many) would begin working together for mutual benefit. It's pretty rare that neighbouring communities are constantly fighting (certainly not unheard of, but, generally the minority) for generations.
Most of human history is an exercise in constant warfare, tribe against tribe shifted into country against country (aka the tribes got bigger) but that has been a constant thing through much of our history.

And that's just dealing with our own people. Imagine how hard it would be to maintain relations with a truly "alien" species. Elves as an example, how do you work on deals measured in years against a race that normally thinks of things in terms of centuries?

Not saying it is impossible, but I think conflict is more likely than long term cooperation in many examples. At least if nothing else, both ideas (cooperation or conflict) could easily be explained and justified.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I'm not saying violence is unheard of or doesn't happen, @Cadence. I'm saying that our societal focus on it has to do with it being a disruption of the normal way of things.

While war and depredation did happen throughout history, recorded and otherwise, there's a reason fields had 3-5 foot fences and walls rather than full sized and guarded stockade walls the entire way around: The violence was not consistent or constant enough to require that level of vigilance.

In a setting where that kind of constant violence -is- a problem, then society would need to structure itself (And it's fields) very differently. Hence the proposed "Donut City" example.
 

Ixal

Hero
So...

Based on the quality of the soil, availability of water, crop lost to pest or pestilence, and diet of the people in question...

A family of 4 can grow everything they need to survive on about an acre of land.

This is particularly true in River Culture regions, where plentiful fishing and hunting were also easily accessible since humans controlled the water source other animals needed to survive. If you live at a River Delta (Particularly a -large- river delta, like the Mississippi or Nile) you'll wind up with incredibly fertile soil in abundance, lots of non-agrarian food options, and minimal need for Livestocking to maintain a comparatively easy life to, say, a farmer in Iowa.

Add in a long growing season based on relation to the equator and you get massive and plentiful yields from a fairly small square footage.

This is why Mesopotamia existed. It's why the Mississippi River Valley Cultures and Egypt as we know it existed. Indus River Valley Culture? Same deal.

Because when you scale production -beyond- what you need to survive in those places, you get massive quantities of excess that you can then use for trade.

And throughout history: Farmlands -were- protected. Not just by fences, though fences were freaking MANDATORY to minimize pest-loss, but also by things like 3-5 foot high stone walls and low stockades meant to make it harder for larger herbivores or attackers to get in. Not impossible, mind you, many a viking likely vaulted over a low stone wall and passed through fields toward churches or farmhouses... but harder.

And in places where these farmlands were communally held, they often were protected by more drastic measures, not just earthworks, but full sized stockades. And that's in -our- world.

In a world with Dragons and Ankhegs and Orcs it's perfectly reasonable to redesign society to protect their fields with high stone curtain walls, or to place the fields in the center of town with a "Donut" of city around it to form a protective barrier.

You're not limited to a medieval Europe stand-in with D&D. If something agrarian doesn't make sense to you, change how it works.

Though I would also like to note that most European kingdoms in history kept reserves of long-lasting foodstuffs like grain within the city walls so that even during years-long sieges they could maintain their populace. And let's not forget Heraklion which endured 21 years of siege. 16 of which had fairly continual shelling of the city in the 1640s and 50s.

Ever see the Baron Munchausen movie. It's the inspiration for the opening scene.

Between France and Smugglers enough goods were snuck into the city and enough was grown -within- the city to keep it going during a 21 year long siege. ON AN ISLAND. No escape but the sea.
1 Acres for a family of 4 sounds rather on the low side assuming a European diet. If anything goes wrong they will instantly starve and even in the normal years won't have that much of a buffer.

One thing to remember though that long lasting sieges only worked because cities were supplied from the outside which also happened at Candia/Heraklion. They didn't have protected farms within the walls which could supply their population. No city has.
Also because without refrigeration you can't keep long lasting supply anyway.

Donut cities do not really work as the demand for fields vastly outstrips the ability of cities to encircle them. Protecting every field with walls is possible but very expensive. And without defenders a wall is useless.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
The kind of flavor you refer to is going to take more space (thus cutting out monsters)
Oh no! Fewer grell, Lovecraft ripoffs, try-hard attempts to recreate the githyanki, grey angry things that attack on sight and have the special power of 'HP', and walking blocks of listed spells!

And this is really weird in the context of making fun of the statblock that speciated monsters so they had multiple examples of their kind to represent their social structure instead of every goblin (a species previously too dumb to craft) havign scavenged a morning star and JUST a morningstar.
 

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