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Speculating On Outcomes from How Magic Works

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, in my homebrew game, magic items become more powerfully magical the more the user interacts with them, and this can be jumpstarted by being the person who made the thing. Especially if you can harvest the materials, prepare them, and use them to make the thing.

Making things by hand or using things made by hand by someone you are close to is also powerful in terms of offerings to spirits. If you raised the cow and harvested it's milk, and your friend traded you honey from his apiery for some of your chickens or homemade goods or whatever, that offering will have more "juice" than if it's all store bought, and you might even be better off offering something else that you had more of a hand in making, like time+work intensive foodstuffs.

Lastly, gifts can transfer part of the bond with their past owner to a new owner, if treated with respect. Heirlooms can gather quite significant power, as can communal tools that are treated with respect by the group.

All of this also applies to ritual spaces where magic is done, and where items are made.

Now, what I'm curious about is, how would this impact the development of our world, assuming the following;

  • A basically optimistic setting, like fantasy Star Trek. Selfishness isn't more useful than cooperation and altruism, most people are good as long as their social order doesn't incentivize and train them not to be, history arcs toward positive progress, even if there are occasional hiccups that slow it down.
  • It's the real world, magic is found to be real, Hidden Folk who have been developing magic have always existed
  • Physical magic is scientific and measurable, there is a thaumatological field that permeates all worlds and can be interacted with by effort of conscious will.
  • Spiritual magic is harder to quantify, doesn't always follow physical laws, and it's own internal laws can change fundementally over time. Gods can create, exist in multiple places at once, occupy multiple mutually exclusive states at once, etc. Spirits are weird and mysterious even to experts.
  • Humanity finding out it has never been alone has some rough patches, but within a couple generations things are pretty smooth, overall.
  • Physical magic and tech can interact usefully and predictably, and thus start to develop together.

So, like, would we see a drop in automation in order to work physical magical properties into technology?

Would people tend to make their own stuff more, and push back against external pressures to avoid doing so and just buy mass produced stuff?

Would this strongly impact the trend toward urbanization?

What am I just not thinking of, in your opinion?

has anyone built a world like this before?
 

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ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
The first bit of this sounds like David Brin's "The Practice Effect" where the more a thing was used the better it became at being that thing. So poor people were always wearing new shoes and the rich hat the oldest shoes. An consequence of this effect is that manufacturing innovation never occurred since all things got more useful at their function the more they were used.

Now leaving this aside, in my opinion if magic existed and relatively common, it would stifle innovation. My reasoning is that humans, by default think in terms of agency. The rain falls because of action of water spirits and rivers flow for the same reason. Add in magic, where the will of the caster imposes effect on the real world and I think that would reinforce that thinking. Add in that people were in the past persuaded that kings and emperors were divine or at least divinely appointed and those beliefs would be reinforced.
State bureaucracies already acted to stifle innovation that threatened the political status quo (You should read the fun and games Ottoman Sultans had in trying to bring in printing presses in to the Ottoman Empire) . A lot of historical innovation took place in societies out side the great empires.

The machinations of gods are a wild card and can be used to justify pretty much any course of development you want.

In my opinion, tech and science did not have much to do with each other until the ninetieth century or so. Stuff gets invented in time but usually to solve a problem that is known. The better the tech base and specialists with free time to much about with stuff all contribute to invention.

My view of the development of science is as follows, Agriculture leads to a interest in calendars, tilling a field to make a seed bed is a lot of work and if you time it right, in some place you might get two crops in and in some other places timing it wrong could result in losing the crop to a late frost.
Now I suspect that our ancestors knew about the regularity of the heavens even before the invention of agriculture but calendars, astronomy, architecture and trade all lead to development in mathematics. A big innovation was the Greek notion that the world could be understood by reason. This notion (and it took a long while lead to the scientific method.

Magic complicated this and a lot depends on how magic is done. If magic is highly individualistic in practice then it would hinder the notion that the universe can be reasoned out.

I suppose you decide where you want to end up and adjust your ideas to make that happen.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The first bit of this sounds like David Brin's "The Practice Effect" where the more a thing was used the better it became at being that thing. So poor people were always wearing new shoes and the rich hat the oldest shoes. An consequence of this effect is that manufacturing innovation never occurred since all things got more useful at their function the more they were used.

Now leaving this aside, in my opinion if magic existed and relatively common, it would stifle innovation. My reasoning is that humans, by default think in terms of agency. The rain falls because of action of water spirits and rivers flow for the same reason. Add in magic, where the will of the caster imposes effect on the real world and I think that would reinforce that thinking. Add in that people were in the past persuaded that kings and emperors were divine or at least divinely appointed and those beliefs would be reinforced.
State bureaucracies already acted to stifle innovation that threatened the political status quo (You should read the fun and games Ottoman Sultans had in trying to bring in printing presses in to the Ottoman Empire) . A lot of historical innovation took place in societies out side the great empires.
A lot of that would be counteracted by the fact that these are modern people encountering magic, wouldn’t it? Few people today believe in the Divine Right of Kings or the Mandate of Heaven, after all.

I think you may have a point in some cultures and places, though. It’s easy to imagine places that are already being held back by despots falling further behind, barring disruptive change due to people meeting their house spirits and those spirits telling them that the Leader is a donk that wouldn’t know a Divine Right if it guillotined him, or something like that.
The machinations of gods are a wild card and can be used to justify pretty much any course of development you want.

In my opinion, tech and science did not have much to do with each other until the ninetieth century or so.
I’m not sure that can be supported by history. Medieval Muslim “alchemists” invented optics, new distillation methods and tools still used by chemists today, and all sorts of other fun stuff, using the scientific method. In laboratories. With peer review. That cultural order largely got turned against science later by a moralist movement that insisted that math was the devil, but thier work was translated into European languages and taken up by European alchemists, scholars, and philosophers, and while the pop culture reputation of such individuals as secluded weirdo cranks searching for immortality and magical transmutation has a grain of truth, it is wildly exaggerated and the scientific process at work in their efforts is forgotten.

Paracelcus believed in gnomes, but he also invented toxicology.
Stuff gets invented in time but usually to solve a problem that is known. The better the tech base and specialists with free time to much about with stuff all contribute to invention.
Again I think this ignores rather a lot of history.
My view of the development of science is as follows, Agriculture leads to a interest in calendars, tilling a field to make a seed bed is a lot of work and if you time it right, in some place you might get two crops in and in some other places timing it wrong could result in losing the crop to a late frost.
Now I suspect that our ancestors knew about the regularity of the heavens even before the invention of agriculture but calendars, astronomy, architecture and trade all lead to development in mathematics. A big innovation was the Greek notion that the world could be understood by reason. This notion (and it took a long while lead to the scientific method.
I…fundamentally disagree with especially the last couple sentences, but I’ll hear ya out.
Magic complicated this and a lot depends on how magic is done. If magic is highly individualistic in practice then it would hinder the notion that the universe can be reasoned out.
If it is predictable and quantifiable, as described in the OP, then I can’t see it contributing to stagnation. Imagine if magic can be used to decrease the entropy in a complex system of power conversion. That would surely leapfrog related tech years into the developmental future, wouldn’t it?
I suppose you decide where you want to end up and adjust your ideas to make that happen.
Sure, but these discussions certainly challenge one’s assumptions and lead to a fuller setting. I really appreciate your input here.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
Ok, how was this magic discovered?
Does it require writing? or math?

A lot of those Arab alchemical inventions required, as a precursor, certain developments in glass and ceramics. What is the base tech level that is needed to discover magic?

Edit:
I guess I am confused by your response. I thought you were wondering how magic would affect the development of societies that discovered it. I was not expecting a line by line critique of my knowledge or otherwise of the developments in medieval Islamic alchemy.

What are you trying to achieve in this discussion?
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ok, how was this magic discovered?
A bit like Shadowrun, but less apocalyptic and dystopian. Also all the folk have always existed, there are 8 other Realms beyond our universe, with some overlap, and there are mortals of some kind living in most of those realms.

So, only like Shadowrun in the basic "suddenly magic is known to exist and also there are trolls and some of them work for CalTrans." setup.

But how that all came to light was basically due to it becoming harder and harder to hide stuff, and some of the Wise (term for people who know about the Hidden Folk and magic) came together and decided to be proactive and start sort of shepharding folks toward acceptance of magic and other races, rather than fighting a losing battle to keep it all a secret in an age of ubiquitous, decentralized, largely unregulated, surveillance.

And then some Rangers got filmed fighting a feral werewolf and doing magic to bind the poor dumb jerk before he could kill half the small fishing town on the East Coast where he'd grown up, and things come to a head rather quickly from there, and within ten years the UN oversees an international set of treaties with several factions of Hidden Folk to gain their help with certain thorny problems being faced by humanity in exchange for our help with a war in another world, and a recognized place in our world. When this takes place, exactly, is up to the people playing the game, but the era of play is 1990's to 2030's, roughly. You can also play during the era from the 1890's to 2030's, which has a different dynamic, and the 2190's to 2230's, which is the era that this discussion benefits most.
Does it require writing? or math?
The more complex and useful stuff, yeah. Workaday magics don't, but even they are more reliable with formula and or a circle or other focusing tools. But what those tools do is offload some of the cognitive work involved in doing magic, so with practice and a strong will, you can learn to do a lot of simple stuff without any aides, but almost no mortal creatures have the capacity to do the really big stuff without a lot of help.

So, if you want magic to help photovoltaic cells translate more photons into electrons and dramatically reduce loss in that system, you're going to want an engineering degree, and some really good computer software.

But! Magic does also allow a lot more "garage maker" types to do stuff like taking their house off the power grid, or filtering their water without expensive filters, or like...make a magic sword that uses ritual magic do things to the alloy that would normally require very advanced tools and a lot of power.
A lot of those Arab alchemical inventions required, as a precursor, certain developments in glass and ceramics. What is the base tech level that is needed to discover magic?
Certainly hard to invent the alembic without decent materials science, sure. My point was mostly that they were absolutely people using the scientific method before the early modern era, and using it to advance technology.

But as for magic, basic personal scale magic doesn't technically require any tools, just knowledge and practice. Advancing the science of physical magic (elemental magics, and stuff like them), as well as the more advanced and complex stuff like creating "shortcuts" in chemistry, achieving transmutation of matter or energy (energy being easier, and matter being historically slow to advance due to the difficulty of it), etc requires various things like advanced metallurgy, and an at least modern understanding of physics and chemistry.

One idea I have to the future era is that pilots and systems engineers "mesh" with computer systems using a mix of advanced tech and magics relating to the spirit and mind, so that the system's sensors and such become your senses, allowing a human pilot to operate a fighting rig in a space battle, for instance.

So, the need for advanced tech depends on how complex the working and how far outside the immediate influence of a person it is.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Edit:
I guess I am confused by your response. I thought you were wondering how magic would affect the development of societies that discovered it. I was not expecting a line by line critique of my knowledge or otherwise of the developments in medieval Islamic alchemy.

What are you trying to achieve in this discussion?
I hardly went line by line, but I get what you’re saying. I tend to get distracted and “in the weeds”, is all, especially when a topic I’m very interested in comes up, like Medieval (especially Islamic) Alchemy.

Anyway, I want to hear hopeful at least a few people’s take on a magical future that doesn’t lead to dystopia or apocalypse or both.

I’m interested in your perspective, especially because I see magic as more likely to accelerate advancement than to slow it down.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
So this is like, the magic was always there, not like Shadowrun where there was no magic and then it apocalyptically returns or the novel Warspell: The Merge where magic appears in the modern world but no apocalypse.
So my question here is: back in the days when the Roman emperors were claiming personal divinity and persecuting Christians why did they not establish a monopoly or near monopoly on magic. Use that resource to bolster their claim to divinity and prevent the rise of Christendom or failing that why not between say 1240 and 1500 AD when the Church pretty much had an iron grip on the faith and intellect of Europe did not the Papacy do the same?

My point is that any thing known to threaten those in power will result in those in power trying to control and co-opt that thing. That is why one gets inquisitions and secret police.
A strong case could be made that the Inquisition was antithetical to the Gospels and the message of Christ but we had one anyway because it was necessary to enforce the doctrines needed to underpin Papal political leverage. People do this sort of thing and why did it not happen in your world or more pertinently why did not magic reinforce these tendencies? Given that magic would overawe the superstitious and reinforce the notion that the status quo was back by divine will.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
A couple of relevant questions occur to me.
Can anyone do magic (I suspect so but want to be clear)?
Are there people that are naturally magical (aka sorcerers)? And how numerous are they?
What happens if one get a spell or piece of magical research wrong? on the scale of: nothing, your brains dribble out your ears, the resulting explosion kills everything for a 1000 meters.
All of this will have a profound impact on how magic is viewed in a society.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Now leaving this aside, in my opinion if magic existed and relatively common, it would stifle innovation. My reasoning is that humans, by default think in terms of agency. The rain falls because of action of water spirits and rivers flow for the same reason. Add in magic, where the will of the caster imposes effect on the real world and I think that would reinforce that thinking. Add in that people were in the past persuaded that kings and emperors were divine or at least divinely appointed and those beliefs would be reinforced.
State bureaucracies already acted to stifle innovation that threatened the political status quo (You should read the fun and games Ottoman Sultans had in trying to bring in printing presses in to the Ottoman Empire) . A lot of historical innovation took place in societies out side the great empires.

The machinations of gods are a wild card and can be used to justify pretty much any course of development you want.

In my opinion, tech and science did not have much to do with each other until the ninetieth century or so. Stuff gets invented in time but usually to solve a problem that is known. The better the tech base and specialists with free time to much about with stuff all contribute to invention.

My view of the development of science is as follows, Agriculture leads to a interest in calendars, tilling a field to make a seed bed is a lot of work and if you time it right, in some place you might get two crops in and in some other places timing it wrong could result in losing the crop to a late frost.
Now I suspect that our ancestors knew about the regularity of the heavens even before the invention of agriculture but calendars, astronomy, architecture and trade all lead to development in mathematics. A big innovation was the Greek notion that the world could be understood by reason. This notion (and it took a long while lead to the scientific method.

Magic complicated this and a lot depends on how magic is done. If magic is highly individualistic in practice then it would hinder the notion that the universe can be reasoned out.

I suppose you decide where you want to end up and adjust your ideas to make that happen.
This is imo a rather flawed way of thinking brought on by our real world experience that magic is not science.
But in most RPG worlds magic and divine intervention is real and thus part of "science". Sure it would not automatically mean that people would apply scientific principles to it, but there would still be innovation, just that some of that innovation would be in magic and rituals. The same way that some people pushed science in the real world some people would push the field of magic and innovate. Same for divine intervention. Just read through how refined ritual offerings were in the Roman Empire where they tried the best to get the gods to accept their offerings to the best of their knowledge.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
This is imo a rather flawed way of thinking brought on by our real world experience that magic is not science.
But in most RPG worlds magic and divine intervention is real and thus part of "science". Sure it would not automatically mean that people would apply scientific principles to it, but there would still be innovation, just that some of that innovation would be in magic and rituals. The same way that some people pushed science in the real world some people would push the field of magic and innovate. Same for divine intervention. Just read through how refined ritual offerings were in the Roman Empire where they tried the best to get the gods to accept their offerings to the best of their knowledge.
It is not about real world science so much as an assumption that magic is rare and dangerous. Which is my default. If the practice of magic requires and complex and esoteric education then magic will be mostly confined to those classes that have the time to learn such things. In my opinion such institutions are conservative in nature and more so if magical mistakes result in environmental catastrophes.
If on the other hand, every blacksmith and carpenter needs a basic magical training then magic is more widespread and harder to police.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So this is like, the magic was always there, not like Shadowrun where there was no magic and then it apocalyptically returns or the novel Warspell: The Merge where magic appears in the modern world but no apocalypse.
So my question here is: back in the days when the Roman emperors were claiming personal divinity and persecuting Christians why did they not establish a monopoly or near monopoly on magic. Use that resource to bolster their claim to divinity and prevent the rise of Christendom or failing that why not between say 1240 and 1500 AD when the Church pretty much had an iron grip on the faith and intellect of Europe did not the Papacy do the same?
Mostly because 90% of humans didn’t know magic was real. Or rather, didn’t know how magic worked or what it could do. There are some setting things involved there, but basically the setting assumes that magic was very rarely known between about 15,000 years ago and sometime in the 90’s-2030’s era.

So, maybe the Roman emperors contributed to that via monopoly and strictly policing magic to only very subtle use, or maybe not and history has been scrubbed repeatedly of direct and accurate reference to magic, leaving only misleading scraps.

Again the big assumption is that magic is real, there are other worlds, and the modern era is the first time in recorded history that it becomes common knowledge. We can posit that there were cultures where magic was less mysterious, like perhaps pre-Christian Ireland (maybe the loss of most of thier magical knowledge is why they went from “never conquered even by the romans” to “conquered by England”.

I would also say that most people need to basically be guided by a magic user through thier first use of magic, in order to start learning how to use it.
My point is that any thing known to threaten those in power will result in those in power trying to control and co-opt that thing. That is why one gets inquisitions and secret police.
A strong case could be made that the Inquisition was antithetical to the Gospels and the message of Christ but we had one anyway because it was necessary to enforce the doctrines needed to underpin Papal political leverage. People do this sort of thing and why did it not happen in your world or more pertinently why did not magic reinforce these tendencies? Given that magic would overawe the superstitious and reinforce the notion that the status quo was back by divine will.
See below
A couple of relevant questions occur to me.
Can anyone do magic (I suspect so but want to be clear)?
More or less. It’s a skill. It has to be…directly shown to you, though. If you live in a place where it’s ubiquitous, you’ll pass that initial hurdle without any effort on anyone’s part, but if not, you need help.
Are there people that are naturally magical (aka sorcerers)? And how numerous are they?
Not very, and not really in a D&D sense. Ie there aren’t really people who don’t have to practice and study to be powerful. There are dangerous shortcuts to power, though.
What happens if one get a spell or piece of magical research wrong? on the scale of: nothing, your brains dribble out your ears, the resulting explosion kills everything for a 1000 meters.
Mostly nothing, but sometimes there are consequences even if you succeed if the working is big enough. No one ever died from casting fireball wrong, though.
All of this will have a profound impact on how magic is viewed in a society.
Agreed.
This is imo a rather flawed way of thinking brought on by our real world experience that magic is not science.
But in most RPG worlds magic and divine intervention is real and thus part of "science". Sure it would not automatically mean that people would apply scientific principles to it, but there would still be innovation, just that some of that innovation would be in magic and rituals. The same way that some people pushed science in the real world some people would push the field of magic and innovate. Same for divine intervention. Just read through how refined ritual offerings were in the Roman Empire where they tried the best to get the gods to accept their offerings to the best of their knowledge.
I agree that innovation would just include magic.
It is not about real world science so much as an assumption that magic is rare and dangerous. Which is my default. If the practice of magic requires and complex and esoteric education then magic will be mostly confined to those classes that have the time to learn such things. In my opinion such institutions are conservative in nature and more so if magical mistakes result in environmental catastrophes.
If on the other hand, every blacksmith and carpenter needs a basic magical training then magic is more widespread and harder to police.
Exactly this, yeah. People in the future heat their bath water magically when the water heater fails. Not everyone, but it’s common. Trades eventually include magic principles and techniques.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So, like, would we see a drop in automation in order to work physical magical properties into technology?
I think people being creative would try and figure out a way in which that thaumaturgical field could be used to build magical devices to automate the creation of more magical devices. You'd see a merging, not a drop.
Would people tend to make their own stuff more, and push back against external pressures to avoid doing so and just buy mass produced stuff?
I think this would be based on social class. The poor wouldn't have the means to learn or acquire expensive things to make their own stuff. They would buy mass produced stuff and just use it longer since time and heirlooms gain power. The wealthier people would make their own to get the power sooner. Since there are generally many more poorer people, mass produced items will still do well.
Would this strongly impact the trend toward urbanization?
I think you'll end up a lot like our own world. A lot of urban areas, but that many people in urban areas will still need a lot of grain and meat raised in rural ones, so there will still be a large rural population.
What am I just not thinking of, in your opinion?
That many magic items will mean that armies and guards are equipped with them, making it harder to get away with being a bad guy. Individuals will have items to allow them to compete with bad guys on the magical front, and at HQ will divination items, truth items, etc. There will also be far fewer monster attacks on towns and cities. You'll need to keep that in mind when coming up with villains and quest ideas.
has anyone built a world like this before?
Not me. My personal preference is far fewer magic items, but have items of greater power.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I think a lot would depend on whether or not magical item creation is a function purely of dedicated labor and technique, or whether or not reagents and materials are still required and thus become a limiting factor on magic item adoption. If magic isn't limited by rare materials, then essentially Youtube crafting tutorials change the world.

A worldwide thaumatological field essentially acts as a new electricity grid that isn't dependent on connection with existing infrastructure. Depending on how much of water/food/electricity/sewer magic can replace, you'd probably see a general diffusion of population, although you'd still people congregating to benefit from the network effects of shared magic item usage. Plus, I doubt even magic can replace the desire to sample new foods, meet new people, and share in communal experiences, so the benefits of urban living aren't going to go away.

Realistically, the balance of communal living to individual living would depend on magic efficiency. If a magic item that benefits 1000 people is a lot cheaper/easier than 1000 magic items that benefit an individual, you'll see more push to urbanize/congregate. Whereas, say the thaumatological field gets drained via constant usage by large amount of magic; then you'd see a push for people to spread out more.

I'd also expect to see a large religious revival; physical and spiritual magic verify that the world isn't purely materialistic, that the universe fundamentally operates via intent. The existence of spirits and long hidden populations of magical folk prove that any religious mythology could easily have been real even to those who are non-believers.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think people being creative would try and figure out a way in which that thaumaturgical field could be used to build magical devices to automate the creation of more magical devices. You'd see a merging, not a drop.
Interesting. You don’t think that the benefits of making it yourself would factor in?
I think this would be based on social class. The poor wouldn't have the means to learn or acquire expensive things to make their own stuff. They would buy mass produced stuff and just use it longer since time and heirlooms gain power.
But that dynamic by itself would make it harder to maintain the current socio-economic power structure, right? Not to mention the fact that the already existing maker movement which seeks to democratize crafting of useful items and the tools needed to do so would surely accelerate given additional demand and incentive?
The wealthier people would make their own to get the power sooner. Since there are generally many more poorer people, mass produced items will still do well.

I think you'll end up a lot like our own world. A lot of urban areas, but that many people in urban areas will still need a lot of grain and meat raised in rural ones, so there will still be a large rural population.
Perhaps. I think you’d get a lot more people wanting to grow their own food, which is certainly easier in the country. I think you’re underestimating how much would change as a result of a democratizing force like magic that anyone can learn if they study and practice, in a world with decentralized information, but I’m happy to hear why if you think I’m wrong.
That many magic items will mean that armies and guards are equipped with them, making it harder to get away with being a bad guy. Individuals will have items to allow them to compete with bad guys on the magical front, and at HQ will divination items, truth items, etc. There will also be far fewer monster attacks on towns and cities. You'll need to keep that in mind when coming up with villains and quest ideas.
Well, recall that this is a “irl with magic” world, where magic is discovered basically right now, so the changes are mostly to the future. So, will cops have magic weapons? 😬 Probably.
Luckily it’s a roughly optimistic setting, so maybe there are no cops or policing has been heavily reformed in the future.
Not me. My personal preference is far fewer magic items, but have items of greater power.
Fair.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think a lot would depend on whether or not magical item creation is a function purely of dedicated labor and technique, or whether or not reagents and materials are still required and thus become a limiting factor on magic item adoption. If magic isn't limited by rare materials, then essentially Youtube crafting tutorials change the world.
Definitely a mix. Rare materials are rarely required for magic, but they do have benefits, especially for big magic.
A worldwide thaumatological field essentially acts as a new electricity grid that isn't dependent on connection with existing infrastructure. Depending on how much of water/food/electricity/sewer magic can replace, you'd probably see a general diffusion of population, although you'd still people congregating to benefit from the network effects of shared magic item usage. Plus, I doubt even magic can replace the desire to sample new foods, meet new people, and share in communal experiences, so the benefits of urban living aren't going to go away.
Of course. I figure what is most likely is that folks who want to live in the country will have an easier time convincing themselves to just do it, and more folks who are on the fence will move out to the country, and fewer people will move from the country to the city, compared to now.
Realistically, the balance of communal living to individual living would depend on magic efficiency. If a magic item that benefits 1000 people is a lot cheaper/easier than 1000 magic items that benefit an individual, you'll see more push to urbanize/congregate. Whereas, say the thaumatological field gets drained via constant usage by large amount of magic; then you'd see a push for people to spread out more.
I think the T-field is pretty constant, with some ley lines and nodes and such. I definitely think that efficiency goes both ways depending on the magic being done. An item with a very individual and personal benefit doesn’t work well when widely shared, whereas stuff like street cleaning magic is stronger the more people interact with it.
I'd also expect to see a large religious revival; physical and spiritual magic verify that the world isn't purely materialistic, that the universe fundamentally operates via intent. The existence of spirits and long hidden populations of magical folk prove that any religious mythology could easily have been real even to those who are non-believers.
Absolutely! The revelation that gods are real is the most transformative aspect of this premise, by far.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
OK, I think I have enough of your magical background to make some useful speculation. One thing I do wonder is magic computable like in Charlie Stross's Laundry Universe. Where magic is essentially a mathematical transformation to Platonic entities that are tied to real world instances. It can be done in one's head but risks magical dementias. Another less, dystopian take on computable magic would be Rick Cook's Wiz Biz books. There the basic units of magic can be put together like Unix command and ultimately form a programmable language. These magic programs need a human to run the script.
So can the human be taken out of the loop, in other words can a magic ritual be run on a computer?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Interesting. You don’t think that the benefits of making it yourself would factor in?
If you can't afford it, it's better to get the cheaper and less powerful version than nothing at all. :)
But that dynamic by itself would make it harder to maintain the current socio-economic power structure, right? Not to mention the fact that the already existing maker movement which seeks to democratize crafting of useful items and the tools needed to do so would surely accelerate given additional demand and incentive?
That really depends on how much innovation there is and if magic items break down over time. If there's innovation and suddenly they're coming out with the new Nokia Magicphone XVII or someone came up with a new magical chip clip, then there will be demand from those of less means for those items. If there little innovation, then yes, over time people will simply stop needing to buy items and mass production would die off.

If you go with the latter, you need to consider where in that process your game takes place. If near the beginning, mass production will still be thriving. If near the end, there may be no mass production left at all.
Perhaps. I think you’d get a lot more people wanting to grow their own food, which is certainly easier in the country. I think you’re underestimating how much would change as a result of a democratizing force like magic that anyone can learn if they study and practice, in a world with decentralized information, but I’m happy to hear why if you think I’m wrong.
Modern technology has brought many people into population centers and city sizes have skyrocketed. All those people still need food, though and it doesn't grow in tight city quarters. At least not in enough quantity to come close to feeding the city. Large agricultural areas will be needed to sustain the cities.

Another possibility is that food could be created or multiplied with magic. People will probably want to focus on other things than magical food, clothing, and other basic needs for the items they make, so mass production would still be in demand for basic needs. People are plenty capable of sewing, gardening, etc. here on Earth and would save a lot of money if we did, but we'd rather just buy it. It keeps many businesses in business. I don't see that aspect of humanity changing with the advent of magic.
Well, recall that this is a “irl with magic” world, where magic is discovered basically right now, so the changes are mostly to the future. So, will cops have magic weapons? 😬 Probably.
Luckily it’s a roughly optimistic setting, so maybe there are no cops or policing has been heavily reformed in the future.
Whoops! I didn't realize that it was completely modern. I thought you were just heading that direction with the idea. My bad. :p
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
The social and economic consequences of magic can be what ever you want. Just adjust the resource cost (in energy, time, material and personal effort) to make magic more or less viable way of doing things that the conventional way.

To use D&D examples, an Unseen Servant can do your household chores, while you argue on social media but where does the energy (in Joules) that are needed to do those jobs? What about a fireball. If the caster has to supply the energy then it might be easier to get a hand grenade than cast fireballs. It might be better to send a familiar to the super market to buy food and have a magic servant cook it than to conjure the food out of thin air and pay the cost to the universe of producing that extra mass.
Does find steed steal some ones horse?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If you can't afford it, it's better to get the cheaper and less powerful version than nothing at all. :)
Sure. But if magic can help shortcut some of the barriers to entry of making quality goods, and in the US I can tell you from direct experience being very poor, that knowledge and time are the greatest barriers there, not money, then that dynamic has to change somehow, surely.
That really depends on how much innovation there is and if magic items break down over time. If there's innovation and suddenly they're coming out with the new Nokia Magicphone XVII or someone came up with a new magical chip clip, then there will be demand from those of less means for those items. If there little innovation, then yes, over time people will simply stop needing to buy items and mass production would die off.

If you go with the latter, you need to consider where in that process your game takes place. If near the beginning, mass production will still be thriving. If near the end, there may be no mass production left at all.

Modern technology has brought many people into population centers and city sizes have skyrocketed. All those people still need food, though and it doesn't grow in tight city quarters. At least not in enough quantity to come close to feeding the city. Large agricultural areas will be needed to sustain the cities.
Oh absolutely. My wonder is; would more people want to live where they can grow their own food. Assume, for a moment, we are looking at countries with less wealth stratification than in the US. People aren’t essentially trapped where they live. Imagine other aspects of magical development and distribution make it harder to sustain the systems of power that keep wealth increasingly stratified.
Another possibility is that food could be created or multiplied with magic. People will probably want to focus on other things than magical food, clothing, and other basic needs for the items they make, so mass production would still be in demand for basic needs.
Absolutely.
People are plenty capable of sewing, gardening, etc. here on Earth and would save a lot of money if we did, but we'd rather just buy it. It keeps many businesses in business. I don't see that aspect of humanity changing with the advent of magic.
If making your clothes magically repair themselves is a skill you can learn, I think the various movements to make more of our own stuff would gain noticeably more steam, though.

Again, not talking an end to automation, I’m talking about the potential for it the trend toward replaceable cheap goods to reverse, and more stuff be homemade.

But the exact level of change also depends on how much society changes in terms of the work week, wealth distribution, etc.
Whoops! I didn't realize that it was completely modern. I thought you were just heading that direction with the idea. My bad. :p
Lol its all good. I did mention magic swords, after all.
 

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