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The Common Commoner

MoogleEmpMog

First Post
Kamikaze Midget said:
Right, but this means that "every peasant has a +5 sword for sale at the closest shop in normal D&D", as hyperbolically suggested, really is out of the water.

People in D&D have seen magic. But people in the real world have seen UFO's. Magic is no less mysterious than that. ;)

Part one, definitely. I've rarely seen a campaign where +3 or better weapons were available outside of maybe the capital city of each country, if that.

Part two... ehh, not quite. While the number of people who've seen/claimed to have seen UFOs may be equivalent to the number of practitioners of magic, the number of people in a standard D&D world who've seen magic used is much, much greater. And while enough doubt exists about UFOs that well-informed people can make logical arguments against their existence, anyone with any kind of knowledge of the world can't logically deny the existence of magic in a D&D world.
 

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Remathilis

Legend
One last thing to consider: Caster Alignment. Not all clerics or wizards are going to be the kind willing to cast thier spells for altrustic purposes. Only LG, NG, and maybe CG/LN will be willing to perform civic duty. So even if the town has 15 wizards in it, you can sure bet a fair number won't be offering their services, except to the highest bidder.
 

nopantsyet

First Post
Remathilis said:
One last thing to consider: Caster Alignment. Not all clerics or wizards are going to be the kind willing to cast thier spells for altrustic purposes. Only LG, NG, and maybe CG/LN will be willing to perform civic duty. So even if the town has 15 wizards in it, you can sure bet a fair number won't be offering their services, except to the highest bidder.

And people of that power are likely to derive their sustanence from more sophisticated means than subsistance. The high-level wizard may run a school. The high-level bard commands large commissions for performances. Let's face it, nobody wants to spend their days churning out wish after wish. There naturally could be professional wizards, but you can be sure they'd rather be spending their days on the golf course. As for clerics, would the flock accept the monetization of spiritual acts?

Also, power has a way of removing itself from the mainstream. Even celebrities and politicians, though visible, live in a basically untouchable world. There may be 15 wizards in a given city, but they don't all involve themselves in local affairs. At any given time, half of them are probably traveling, with an equal number of non-local wizards taking their place in the city. Still lvl15 wizards, but unlikely to be making their abilities widely available.

And those that do, probably are not at the grass-roots level; they're organizing or funding, not walking around offering resurrections to the murdered.

Just because it's there, doesn't mean everybody gets access to it. Not everything is bought or sold. Not everything is available for the asking. There are a lot of resources out there, but most of them are controlled by a very few people.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Part two... ehh, not quite. While the number of people who've seen/claimed to have seen UFOs may be equivalent to the number of practitioners of magic, the number of people in a standard D&D world who've seen magic used is much, much greater. And while enough doubt exists about UFOs that well-informed people can make logical arguments against their existence, anyone with any kind of knowledge of the world can't logically deny the existence of magic in a D&D world.
True, it was hyperbolic...perhaps a better equivalent might be "People in the real world have seen heart surgery." or "People in the real world have seen complex physics equasions." :)

Sure, they exist, and people believe in them (or those that don't are considered wierd). But that doesn't make them well-understood or even accepted by individuals at all...average cleric explaining casting a cure light wounds may be like a doctor explaining how, exactly, antibiotics works on a chemcial level. Just take the pill, give me the gold, and make way for the next laughing boy. ;)

In fact, the clerics = doctors and wizards = scientists comparison can be perhaps quite useful...high-level magic has impacted the world like quantum physics and open-heart surgery. That is to say, it definately has, and it has reprocussions for everyday folk, but there are still many parts of the world that would simply ascribe it to being a miracle, and even in the "enlightened world," it's not well understood or even bothered about on an everyday basis. But you know a doctor can help make you feel better. And you know that your scientists have made inventions that make life easier. In fact, something like a Hippocratic Oath may be very similar accross faiths for those gods of healing that exist...and yet doctors, even with that oath, which they are to cling to as doctrine, don't work for free. Neither do scientists. ;)

Hmm....health insurance and 'quality of living' in D&D....? Naaah, pretty sure those concepts haven't entered their minds yet...;)
 

D+1

First Post
kigmatzomat said:
One other assumption I made is that while magic increased production per acre, it did not increase production per person. I.E. plant growth causes crops *AND* weeds to grow so it requires more manpower to control the weeds, keeping the manpower-bushel production the same.
You might want to read that again because you're thinking of the older versions. Plant Growth has two seperate effects. First is Overgrowth which would do what you say in a smaller area. Second is enrichment which only increases the plants productivity over time but over a much wider area and longer period of time. That is, a plant is producing its nuts, fruit, grains, etc 1/3 over normal for the next year. Weeds won't be affected.
 

D+1

First Post
FreeTheSlaves said:
If our modern real world has huge issues providing for our populations, how bad is the D&D default worlds situation.
Well, we don't have a huge problem providing for our populations as a rule. Look at what living at "poverty level" generally really means in a country like the US. You have housing, food, TV, telephone, etc. and a spectacular ability to improve your lot in life. It's quite easy to show that government assistance is often counter-productive in trying to eliminate the remaining stigma and tribulations of poverty by encouraging dependancy - but that's another thread.

The D&D world is arguably little different. Where you have an active, beneficial but nonetheless even minimal caste of clergy you easily combat injury, disease, and so forth just as modern medicine, modern farming practices, etc. do IRL. That's actually part of the problem. We generally WANT to see our D&D worlds as pseudo-medieval or at least pre-renaissance, but examining the "logical" consequences of D&D rules tends to suggest that these real-world stages of development have been easily surpassed.

Personally, my approach is largely handwaving it. Although my D&D worlds could and even SHOULD be more advanced the various factors that would contribute to major advances in areas such as political theory, agriculture, economics, higher education, etc. simply have not yet done so - but they very well COULD and even MIGHT as the campaign unfolds. I think it makes for a more exciting, dynamic campaign world when it is perpetually on the cusp of great leaps forward even as it teeters on the brink of collapse.
 

D+1

First Post
Kamikaze Midget said:
I use this rule too, and I'd encourage those who use disease instead of monsters as the mitigating factor to do so, lest cure disease makes the first cleric with it into a saint. ;)
But... The first cleric with Cure Disease SHOULD be a saint. That's the whole point, IMO.

Just because the D&D rules CAN extend up into epic levels doesn't mean that every campaign can and MUST do so. While you can fill your world with megalopolis fantasy cities you can also fill it only with thorps and small towns, thereby forcing the "world leaders" to be very low level. When the PC's and their nemeses come along they at least CAN be breaking new ground that the world has never before seen or possibly even imagined.
 

silentspace

First Post
D+1 said:
Well, we don't have a huge problem providing for our populations as a rule. Look at what living at "poverty level" generally really means in a country like the US. You have housing, food, TV, telephone, etc. and a spectacular ability to improve your lot in life. It's quite easy to show that government assistance is often counter-productive in trying to eliminate the remaining stigma and tribulations of poverty by encouraging dependancy - but that's another thread.

The D&D world is arguably little different. Where you have an active, beneficial but nonetheless even minimal caste of clergy you easily combat injury, disease, and so forth just as modern medicine, modern farming practices, etc. do IRL. That's actually part of the problem. We generally WANT to see our D&D worlds as pseudo-medieval or at least pre-renaissance, but examining the "logical" consequences of D&D rules tends to suggest that these real-world stages of development have been easily surpassed.

Personally, my approach is largely handwaving it. Although my D&D worlds could and even SHOULD be more advanced the various factors that would contribute to major advances in areas such as political theory, agriculture, economics, higher education, etc. simply have not yet done so - but they very well COULD and even MIGHT as the campaign unfolds. I think it makes for a more exciting, dynamic campaign world when it is perpetually on the cusp of great leaps forward even as it teeters on the brink of collapse.

Poverty exists in the real world, despite our technological and economic ability to house, feed, clothe, and educate the world.

Poverty exists in the D&D world, despite magic's ability to house, feed, clothe, and educate the world.
 

LostSoul

First Post
Remathilis said:
So even if the town has 15 wizards in it, you can sure bet a fair number won't be offering their services, except to the highest bidder.

While this may be true for Wizards, it doesn't need to hold true for Clerics. Clerics have different motivations, and that may mean that Chaotic Evil Clerics will be willing to cast Cure Disease and even Raise Dead for free.
 
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D+1

First Post
silentspace said:
Poverty exists in the real world, despite our technological and economic ability to house, feed, clothe, and educate the world.
And always will. The point is that while poverty is no fun, it is largely not as debilitating or long-lasting a social condition as it was even only a matter of decades ago and that needs to be understood. One of our greatest governmental initiatives to eliminate poverty actually ended up making aspects of it worse.
Poverty exists in the D&D world, despite magic's ability to house, feed, clothe, and educate the world.
Well, I'll buy the feed part, but there isn't much (any?) practical D&D magic devoted to housing, clothing, or education of the masses. Feed only gets credit because of Create Food & Water and Plant Growth. When was the last D&D campaign where the clerics went about casting yearly Hand-me-down-clothing spells for a village? Or a Bard Builders Brigade that travels the countryside with an orchestra of lyres of building to turn mud farm huts into wood and stone mansions? Or a Mass Instruction spell?
 

VirgilCaine

First Post
kigmatzomat said:
I do have a region IMC where the populace is generally not allowed to be armed and priests can only be of the official religions. Ironically, there are *more* priests and wizards because they are agents of the state. The players are just arriving so we'll see how they deal.

Well, duh.

Second is enrichment which only increases the plants productivity over time but over a much wider area and longer period of time. That is, a plant is producing its nuts, fruit, grains, etc 1/3 over normal for the next year. Weeds won't be affected.

Why is it so hard for people to understand this?
Enrichment says "plants"--not "crops", "plants" production is enriched. AFAIK, weeds were plants.

While this may be true for Wizards, it doesn't need to hold true for Clerics. Clerics have different motivations, and that may mean that Chaotic Evil Clerics will be willing to cast Cure Disease and even Raise Dead for free.

Maybe not Raise Dead (Note: Material component is 5,000 gp of diamonds.), but it certainly is possible, maybe even probable. You just have to corkscrew your way into thinking of a plot that would spread massive pain and suffering and that requires evil clerics to heal and cure people.
Good idea for an adventure, that. Why are the Hextorites suddenly curing the lepers?
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Just because the D&D rules CAN extend up into epic levels doesn't mean that every campaign can and MUST do so. While you can fill your world with megalopolis fantasy cities you can also fill it only with thorps and small towns, thereby forcing the "world leaders" to be very low level. When the PC's and their nemeses come along they at least CAN be breaking new ground that the world has never before seen or possibly even imagined.
That's the kind of low-magic game I'm a fan of. :)
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
Wombat said:
Ever wonder what a Sunday-Go-To-Meetin' Evil person is like in these worlds?

"Oh, yeah, th' wife likes t'go t'temple nouw an' agin, but I'm no' tha' much in'trested in the sacreefisses an' all tha'" ;)

Not quite evil but I think this may be how a lot of people in fantasy worlds feel about evil gods:

Wulf Ratbane's Story Hour said:
Wulf stuck his head inside and was greeted by an oracle who tended the shrine. Wulf would have guessed her a druid, though her presence in such a shrine confused that assessment somewhat.

"Mornin, woman! May we enter?"

"Of course." She smiled sweetly. "All are welcome here." Wulf noticed for the first time the small monkey-like pet on her shoulder. It hopped off and ran circles around the room, stopping at various donation boxes.

The party moved inside, and while Keldas grilled the druid, Henwen, about the goings on of the area and the town, Wulf made the rounds of the donation boxes. He was thankful he'd kept some travelling money in his purse.

Pelor! Wulf made the fist. Like brothers still, right? Sun's up again today-- nice work. Wulf dropped a few gold coins into Pelor's donation box.

Heironeous! Ahh... Keep an eye on me today, got a feelin' I'm gonna be valorously whippin' evil arse. For justice! A few more gold coins tinkled into the collection box.

Kord! Oh mighty, mighty Kord! Right. Ach... ferkit... Here. Wulf made another contribution, equal to the others, and moved on to the next shrine.

It seemed that all philosophies were present, from law to chaos, good to evil. Wulf contributed to each in turn-- growing a bit nervous when he reached Nerull, but taking a guilty pleasure in his contribution to Hextor. Sorry about that business back in Brindinford. Pals? He made the fist, just in case.

Of course for a rather gruesome perspective on how it works in real life, see here:
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/story.jsp?story=553679
A few hundred pounds, get your luck, and try not to think too hard about where it came from. Sure, it was wicked but the kid was already dead right. I mean, even if you hadn't bought the stuff, he wasn't coming back so you might as well get some good fortune out of it. That's ordinary, run of the mill evil for you. (And it's not at all distant from us westerners either--we just substitute scientists in white coats for the witch doctors and pretend not to notice what goes on behind the laboratory doors.).
 

Umbra

First Post
D+1 said:
Well, I'll buy the feed part, but there isn't much (any?) practical D&D magic devoted to housing, clothing, or education of the masses. Feed only gets credit because of Create Food & Water and Plant Growth.

As soon as food is secure and in surplus, it allows people to focus on other things with their 'free' time. Historically, it was improvements in agriculture that freed people to become craftsmen, etc, thus leading to improvements in all areas of life.
 

Umbra

First Post
I think the early decades of telephones is a reasonable comparison with magic in this instance. At first, very few people had a phone and it was concentrated in a few locations. Over time, the phone network was extended with the wealthier members of society and large cities having access to it the most. The village only has access to a single public phone box (if they were lucky). Many people knew about telephones but few had access to them or used them only in emergencies.

Magic, of course, is not as easily replicated as technology is, so the spread is constrained by the number of practitioners which will never be as high as the number of devices (telephones) which can be continuously produced.

Which brings up the question of magic items. As a general rule their cost and the desire of the powerful to own them would mean they will not be concentrated with the commoner. But would this always be the case?

Personally ;) if I was a high level cleric of a healing god who is trying to extend the influence of civilisation and the faithful, and knowing that without the powerbase of the commoner that influence is at risk, I would want to help ensure the survival of the community. I would create non-portable (cannot be stolen) items to help those villages and thorpes further out from the power centres - a fountain, an altar, a stature, etc. Think of a Lourdes every 50 miles :p . Or I would provide those who perform pastoral care (the village cleric), the wand with cure disease, etc, for emergencies.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Or, to put a different spin on it...

Imagine, like the feudal lords of Japan, you have a stronghold of highly respected and revered people every 50-100 miles. We are speaking historically of the Shao Lin Monestaries, but in this here fantastic setting, the strongholds of powerful clerics and or mages who cast spells benevolently, if not without ulterior motives...

Just by existing, they threaten your power base, because they represent another powerful heirarchy outside of your own. They have armies at their disposal.

If, at any time, they deem you a threat to their religion, followers or power, not only will THEY be against you, but a good number of commoners will flock to their side to help remove you from power.

The answer (historically): destroy the monestaries.

If you don't subjugate the religions to secular power by restricting their military power, you might find yourself in a theocracy. Examine the Arabic world, where religion has so much say in the culture that EVERY aspect of life is touched by religious edicts- many of those countries were monarchies, democracies or dictatorships before they were virtual/actual theocracies.

Oops! Gotta go watch Godzilla vs Hedorah on Sci-Fi!
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
On Evil Gods

I'd imagine in most D&D worlds the evil gods aren't surpressed and alienated and driven away like they would be in a typical Judeo-Christian inspired setting. They are accepted authorities of everything they govern, and ignoring even a god you're not a fan of could result in very unpleasant consequences...

...think of the story of the ancient Greek prince, who dedicated himself so lovingly to the virgin goddess Artemis that Aphrodite felt jilted -- and he wound up cursed.....

Similarly, Hextor will have a personal vendetta if you jilt him. You may donate to his church just ensure that he *doesn't* bug you...after all, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, and if Hextor notices you being lax in your donations, you could find all the evil he represents beating down your doorstep. You don't have to *like* Hextor, or even *condone* him, but if you don't sacrifice to him, you, your family, your friends, and folks you don't even know might end up crushed beneath his fist. Of course, you might give plenty *more* to Heironeous, but you want good just as much as you don't want bad.
 

Remathilis

Legend
LostSoul said:
While this may be true for Wizards, it doesn't need to hold true for Clerics. Clerics have different motivations, and that may mean that Chaotic Evil Clerics will be willing to cast Cure Disease and even Raise Dead for free.
I'm going to disagree, but try to do so without getting into an alignment debate.

Using the Core D&D Deities and excluding racial deities, the evil gods are Nerull, Vecna, Hextor, and Erythinul. (One could reasonably clump Wee Jas in here as well.)

Three of those deities deal in aspects of death, so I really can't see their priests offering healing except to thier servants/lackeys. Almost all of them cannot organize in typical settings (cities, etc) unless the city is extremely tollerant (Sigil) or evil. That adds a risk of danger to these priests operating in view, and selling their services would make them targets.

Thus, evil priests cannot reliably depend on money from healings because its against thier ethos or dangerous to advertise. (Why do most evil priests sack helpless cities and rule over goblin tribes? make money.)

Except when its in the best interest of the deity, church or priest, I don't expect many will be willing to sell thier services. So, if you keep that in mind, you can safely subtract them from the "total spellcasters" number when firguring out who can help the PCs heal or make magical items.

Lastly: This IS assuming a typical mostly good adventuring party, of course.
 

Buttercup

Princess of Florin
Bumping this thread, because it's too good to die. I'll go back and read carefully, and if I have something worth adding, I'll just edit this post.
 

VirgilCaine

First Post
Kamikaze Midget said:
I'd imagine in most D&D worlds the evil gods aren't surpressed and alienated and driven away like they would be in a typical Judeo-Christian inspired setting. They are accepted authorities of everything they govern, and ignoring even a god you're not a fan of could result in very unpleasant consequences...

Riiight. Whatever happened to the idea that you don't sacrifice or even say the name of evil gods?

It's one thing when it's Wee Jas, deity of Death and Magic [thats funeral rites that is] or even when the kingdom is in the grip of a terrible plague, and you sacrifice to Incabulos, bringer of plagues, but all, say, Erythnul lives for is slaughter and such.
Thats public rampage killings, slow torture, killing parents in front of the kids, etc. etc.
Not someone you want to attract the attention of.
 

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