The economics of Continual flame

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I've got to agree that CF would have major worldwide social impacts. Impacts that generally would cause a disconnect in how most fantasy worlds are portrayed. Doesn't mean we shouldn't consider such changes in our worlds, just that in general we don't. The other thing, we generally portray our fantasy worlds in a relatively stagnant social and technological aspect.

Look at canon for the various worlds, how much "technology" or social progression has actually happened? FR, GH, DL? Nope, Eberron is the only one that has any type of historical technological advancement. Why doesn't the Realms have magical plows equivalent to a real world John Deere? I mean if they farmers have been farming and their has been magic for 10k years, why not? Even if such a thing costs 100,000 GP, you can justify it the same way you can CF.

Sure, the first step might be a safe and reliable light source, but the next might be food preservation. Then sanitation. At that point life spans increase and birth rates go up followed by individual productivity doubles. Now you have 20% of the population involved in food production instead of the medieval 95+%.

All that extra time and resources... lots of that is going to go into law enforcement, so that the tax payers are safe. And then lots of that is going to go into a military, so that commerce is safe. And with all that excess population, you are going to have to settle all those wild lands. Which means the military is going to clear out all those "old dungeons" and adventuring sites. And since soldiers don't like to die, after a thousand years, soldiers are not going to be using longswords and wearing chainmail. And why would adventurers use such archaic and inferior devices?

Look, trying to guess the impacts of technology on a fantasy world means that you can suppose just about anything. Will every peasant house having a CF break your game? Nope. But it's just one more disconnect in our fantasy. There are plenty already. Use the ones you want, ignore the ones you don't.
To a certain degree I agree that you have a point. However, it's a huge leap to go from continual flame being somewhat common to magical John Deere tractors. There could be a significant level of magic but most of it would simply be conveniences and have only subtle impacts on society. You have priests and druids that get real results when they bless the fields, but it still takes manual labor to plant, tend and harvest. People can't suddenly get rid of the ox and plow.

You can have magic without having modern levels of techno-magic in an Ebberon-like world. Yes, people have light at night. It's nice. Magic would make life marginally easier and decrease child mortality, but it only changes the fabric of society as much or as little as makes sense for your world.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
To a certain degree I agree that you have a point. However, it's a huge leap to go from continual flame being somewhat common to magical John Deere tractors. There could be a significant level of magic but most of it would simply be conveniences and have only subtle impacts on society. You have priests and druids that get real results when they bless the fields, but it still takes manual labor to plant, tend and harvest. People can't suddenly get rid of the ox and plow.

You can have magic without having modern levels of techno-magic in an Ebberon-like world. Yes, people have light at night. It's nice. Magic would make life marginally easier and decrease child mortality, but it only changes the fabric of society as much or as little as makes sense for your world.
Also, a specific thing about CF vs other effects is that Cf is one of the few long lasting low level one shot and forever spells.

When you look at things like making food and that kind of stuff or other such effects you rapidly get into a populations vs spellcasters ratio thing which makes it likely some local village can benefit from having a pet spellcaster but not likely you get bigger than than or routine just due to the need for recasting spells over and over.

Sure a moderate level druid might in the middle of f blight or bad winter set himself to devoting many spell slots to goodberry a village but that wont be sustainable over long time and larger areas.

but with Cf its one of the few extremely long lasting effects that also comes at low levels and so the gradual expansion is huge.

i mean imagine if every month on their biggest holy day the local priest of light gifted one CF item to the village. Now imagine that has been going on for 100 years at every shrine, temple of cloister. if they made a point of gifting these to the less fortunate who could not afford but charge... accepted donations from more wealthy patrons for others... thats a growing crapload of these items into play.

Course, disciples of darkness might well be moving around dispelling them or maybe making a point on their high holy day of punishing someone for using them.

Fact is that might be one of the better "within the world" reasons for these to be limited to major cities or other well defended places - cults, creatures and other threats which are drawn to them with ill intent. farmer john's log cabin being lit up by a Cf he won in a raffle is fine, until certain shadowy figures show up at night to express their displeasure.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Also, a specific thing about CF vs other effects is that Cf is one of the few long lasting low level one shot and forever spells.

When you look at things like making food and that kind of stuff or other such effects you rapidly get into a populations vs spellcasters ratio thing which makes it likely some local village can benefit from having a pet spellcaster but not likely you get bigger than than or routine just due to the need for recasting spells over and over.

Sure a moderate level druid might in the middle of f blight or bad winter set himself to devoting many spell slots to goodberry a village but that wont be sustainable over long time and larger areas.

but with Cf its one of the few extremely long lasting effects that also comes at low levels and so the gradual expansion is huge.

i mean imagine if every month on their biggest holy day the local priest of light gifted one CF item to the village. Now imagine that has been going on for 100 years at every shrine, temple of cloister. if they made a point of gifting these to the less fortunate who could not afford but charge... accepted donations from more wealthy patrons for others... thats a growing crapload of these items into play.

Course, disciples of darkness might well be moving around dispelling them or maybe making a point on their high holy day of punishing someone for using them.

Fact is that might be one of the better "within the world" reasons for these to be limited to major cities or other well defended places - cults, creatures and other threats which are drawn to them with ill intent. farmer john's log cabin being lit up by a Cf he won in a raffle is fine, until certain shadowy figures show up at night to express their displeasure.
Yep. Animated Object for example is a fifth level spell that lasts for a whopping minute. So animating that plow isn't going to be very efficient.

I've actually had some games surrounding this question in the past. The gnomish inventor tries to make a more efficient threshing machine and it actually works for a while. But then there's an accident and a young woman gets injured by it when the moon is waning and the next thing you know they've accidentally done a ritual of dark magic requiring the blood of a virgin. The threshing machine goes berserk and starts harvesting people. Maybe I've just read too many Stephen King short stories.

I just don't see a reason to go from magic has no impact on society at all to a steam-punk type world powered by magic. Given that the majority of PC classes and archetypes are magic users or supernaturally powerful, it seems like the default assumption that magic permeates the world.

If practically every night-time light source in a campaign world was continual-flame based, how much difference would it really make? People wouldn't need as many candles. Whales would not be hunted to near extinction for their blubber. What else would change?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Just to follow up my previous post, let's say your standard pseudo-medievel world has and pretty much has always had freely available magical light. Practically all light sources are continual flame. Assume it's always been this way and there never was a candle-makers union.

What would the impact be? No extrapolation of more advanced magic, no other magical machinery. Just light. What changes?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
If practically every night-time light source in a campaign world was continual-flame based, how much difference would it really make? People wouldn't need as many candles. Whales would not be hunted to near extinction for their blubber. What else would change?
.....


Well, assuming for a second that you don't have common public lighting (think streetlamps), then the revolution you would have simply by having available indoor lighting is immense.

Transformative, even.

This has been pretty well-detailed in our own history, and is why so much effort was put into it over time, and also why-

1. You associate Edison with the electric light; and

2. The "generic" image for invention is a light bulb.

It's kind of hard to overstate. There are books and stuff.

(Sure, antibiotics and modern sewage system are also cool)
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
I just don't see a reason to go from magic has no impact on society at all to a steam-punk type world powered by magic. Given that the majority of PC classes and archetypes are magic users or supernaturally powerful, it seems like the default assumption that magic permeates the world.
How many PCs are there in the world?

For most worlds it would be 4-5. In more of an old-school campaign it would be 15-20.

That isn't a lot for an entire world. PCs also have better things to do.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
.....


Well, assuming for a second that you don't have common public lighting (think streetlamps), then the revolution you would have simply by having available indoor lighting is immense.

Transformative, even.

This has been pretty well-detailed in our own history, and is why so much effort was put into it over time, and also why-

1. You associate Edison with the electric light; and

2. The "generic" image for invention is a light bulb.

It's kind of hard to overstate. There are books and stuff.

(Sure, antibiotics and modern sewage system are also cool)
Why? I mean this seriously. Light is nice, but how transformative is it? Electricity brought with it a whole host of changes made possible by electric motors, and certainly it was better than the gas lights they had. But did it really make that much difference?

Harnessing steam and later petroleum based fuels in engines is what transformed society from agrarian to industrial, not light.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Why? I mean this seriously. Light is nice, but how transformative is it? Electricity brought with it a whole host of changes made possible by electric motors, and certainly it was better than the gas lights they had. But did it really make that much difference?

Harnessing steam and later petroleum based fuels in engines is what transformed society from agrarian to industrial, not light.
Seriously? When was the last time you were indoors and had to rely on a torch for illumination?

Off the top of my head-

Productivity- expands the useful hours of work. Greatly.

Building design- the nature and shape of buildings tended to be limited due to the need for (natural) light during the day; no longer the case.

Productivity in multiple fields- mining, for example, became much safer and more productive with electric light.

Leisure- Night time leisure activities were made possible largely through electric light and, more importantly, more affordable.


This is before getting into the idea that "ever lasting free light" (or, in this case, EVER LASTING FREE ENERGY/FLAME) might change things up.


It is easy to ignore how much something has changed when you are habituated to it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
How many PCs are there in the world?

For most worlds it would be 4-5. In more of an old-school campaign it would be 15-20.

That isn't a lot for an entire world. PCs also have better things to do.
My point is that when PCs do become adventurers they usually follow a path of magic. Besides, how many adventures revolve around cults enacting some ritual or other. Magic is extremely common in most published adventures. Normally it's just as a counter to PC magic, but to me it doesn't make much sense that all these people spring out of nowhere.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Seriously? When was the last time you were indoors and had to rely on a torch for illumination?

Off the top of my head-

Productivity- expands the useful hours of work. Greatly.

Building design- the nature and shape of buildings tended to be limited due to the need for (natural) light during the day; no longer the case.

Productivity in multiple fields- mining, for example, became much safer and more productive with electric light.

Leisure- Night time leisure activities were made possible largely through electric light and, more importantly, more affordable.


This is before getting into the idea that "ever lasting free light" (or, in this case, EVER LASTING FREE ENERGY/FLAME) might change things up.


It is easy to ignore how much something has changed when you are habituated to it.
Does it expand productivity all that much? Without engines, you're still an agrarian society. Roughly 75% of the people are growing food for a living. So light only makes a big difference for about 25% of the people. Even then, how much does productivity increase? It's not like people were wandering around blind before Edison.

I agree there would be changes and improvements. But I think it's more on the lines of a 10-20% percent increase in productivity. A noticeable increase but not a monumental one and not one that would change the fabric of society.

I think you're conflating light with the industrial revolution. The latter preceded the former by a century or so.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Does it expand productivity all that much? Without engines, you're still an agrarian society. Roughly 75% of the people are growing food for a living. So light only makes a big difference for about 25% of the people. Even then, how much does productivity increase? It's not like people were wandering around blind before Edison.

I agree there would be changes and improvements. But I think it's more on the lines of a 10-20% percent increase in productivity. A noticeable increase but not a monumental one and not one that would change the fabric of society.

I think you're conflating light with the industrial revolution. The latter preceded the former by a century or so.
No, I'm not. This is what I was discussing before- it is really, really hard for someone, today, to try and understand all the changes that would occur. In fact, it would be impossible.

Heck, just look at the cantrip- mending. Always able to be case (so no real cost). Think about how the (assumedly) widespread use of this cantrip would affect the second-hand market. Go on.

Then what about continual flame? What would the effect of a wide-spread market for that be on the price and availability of rubies? Because, dang, who wouldn't want continual flames everywhere? It has no "cost" other than the material component, so any caster who can cast it likely would equal to their spell slots on every day off, and then profit (50gp cost, .... well, supply and demand would raise that but whatever, and then sell for 70gp).

If you are interested in how light affected us all, there are books and stuff, like I said. Feel free to incorporate those ideas into your campaign ...

Or, just ignore them. Which is what most people do.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
No, I'm not. This is what I was discussing before- it is really, really hard for someone, today, to try and understand all the changes that would occur. In fact, it would be impossible.

Heck, just look at the cantrip- mending. Always able to be case (so no real cost). Think about how the (assumedly) widespread use of this cantrip would affect the second-hand market. Go on.

Then what about continual flame? What would the effect of a wide-spread market for that be on the price and availability of rubies? Because, dang, who wouldn't want continual flames everywhere? It has no "cost" other than the material component, so any caster who can cast it likely would equal to their spell slots on every day off, and then profit (50gp cost, .... well, supply and demand would raise that but whatever, and then sell for 70gp).

If you are interested in how light affected us all, there are books and stuff, like I said. Feel free to incorporate those ideas into your campaign ...

Or, just ignore them. Which is what most people do.
My understanding of the objections can summed up roughly as "magical John Deere tractors" and "candle-makers unions". Which is a distraction. Nobody is talking about mecha-golems taking over farming. Continual flame would not be a disruptive new product.

I agree magic light would be awesome. Well worth the price for most people. I also think it would (almost literally) fade into the background. You enter a room. It's brightly lit. Do you care why?

As far as mending, it lets you repair rips and tears. It doesn't reweave cloth or renew worn material. Once again, a nice utility that would have very minor impact. But when was the last time you had to repair a torn shirt? Not one that had worn out to the point of being useless, but repaired a tear?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Yep. Animated Object for example is a fifth level spell that lasts for a whopping minute. So animating that plow isn't going to be very efficient.

I've actually had some games surrounding this question in the past. The gnomish inventor tries to make a more efficient threshing machine and it actually works for a while. But then there's an accident and a young woman gets injured by it when the moon is waning and the next thing you know they've accidentally done a ritual of dark magic requiring the blood of a virgin. The threshing machine goes berserk and starts harvesting people. Maybe I've just read too many Stephen King short stories.

I just don't see a reason to go from magic has no impact on society at all to a steam-punk type world powered by magic. Given that the majority of PC classes and archetypes are magic users or supernaturally powerful, it seems like the default assumption that magic permeates the world.

If practically every night-time light source in a campaign world was continual-flame based, how much difference would it really make? People wouldn't need as many candles. Whales would not be hunted to near extinction for their blubber. What else would change?
HAH... saw a scifi quick adventure plot built around a tech world where they used AI farming equipment esp at harvest but turned out a bunch of cheap ones had refurbished former military Ai modules as their core and (of course) after storms or sunspots or whatever they rebooted and went back to their core military Ai function and began "the farmer's campaign" etc etc etc.

Same thing... magic gone wrong.

In one mnM supers game where magic was a thing - they were quite liberal with how flaws like "device" got used even in the core rules - so after a particular nasty chaos magic effect slammed the city, i had not only the typical unleashed minions of darkness for the heroes to fight but... a sort of chaos hex put onto all "magic items" that rendered them chaotic and unstable and tainted.

So the party wizard while out fighting bad guys (while figuring out his talisam was unreliable but his own spells were fine) kept getting calls from his butler in his sanctum sanctorum magical house about how all the little day-to-day quality of life magics were going wild... defenses targetting servant and anything, "unseen servants" running amok, etc etc etc and so while all the party was fighting off bad guys, the magi kept getting calls from his faithful manservant giving him updates on what amounted to a sort of "die hard" meets "the other guys" ongoing fight for survival at the magi's stately magicians manor.) he loved it.

i would have little problem in a setting *if it suited the tone* having various events happen where the "risk of commonplace magic going awry or drawing attention served to curtail some of the "normalizing" of magic... basically trying to setup more of an occult "its not technology" and "always a price" type of flavor.

After all, maybe a magic hungry spirit is no problem for a 3rd or higher level caster... but for a farmhouse full of civilians? Raises questions of daily rites to help ward things off and other such concerns.

basically, it sort of raises the question of "ye olde hedge magic" which is where a lot of more mystical settings try to tie-in the impact of magic on common day-to-day.

A series like Liavek does/did a good job of showing you a culture where magic is integrated to a significant extent with its "everybody has a little luck" and the good and bad of it.

there are lots of possibilities beyond the "yes there is magic but the underlying world is like its not" we too often see.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
My understanding of the objections can summed up roughly as "magical John Deere tractors" and "candle-makers unions". Which is a distraction. Nobody is talking about mecha-golems taking over farming. Continual flame would not be a disruptive new product.

I agree magic light would be awesome. Well worth the price for most people. I also think it would (almost literally) fade into the background. You enter a room. It's brightly lit. Do you care why?

As far as mending, it lets you repair rips and tears. It doesn't reweave cloth or renew worn material. Once again, a nice utility that would have very minor impact. But when was the last time you had to repair a torn shirt? Not one that had worn out to the point of being useless, but repaired a tear?
O.
M.
G.

Do you not see that you're doing exactly what I said? ;)

I don't have to repair clothes because ... wait for it ... we live in a time with an overflow of abundance. Other than a very few examples, it is more cost-effective to buy a new t-shirt than to "repair" one.

THIS ISN'T HOW IT USED TO BE. I honestly don't know how else I can explain this to you?

The majority of people didn't used to have tons of clothes and shop at the Gap (or get it delivered from Amazon). You know that, right? You understand that "repairing" clothes used to be an incredibly important skill (usually for the woman in the poor household, or for domestics in a rich household).

You also remember that mending isn't just about clothes- it works on objects; it would replace the itinerant tinker; if your plow has damage or a break less than a foot, mending works on it.

These things do not just have a minor impact. Just like living in a society where people knew you could raise the dea would not just have a minor impact (every noble person, I would assume, would have a raise dead kitty, and most villages would try to raise the funds if they lost someone important).

IOW, it is incredibly difficult to extrapolate how things matter. Antibiotics (to use an example) don't just help against kids and strep throat- they make combat more likely to wound than to kill, they make agriculture more productive, and they make advanced medical techniques (via successful invasiv surgery) possible. I mean, heck, if "cure disease" works on bacteria, and you can put someone to "sleep," who is to say they don't have surgery ... except for the fact that it would be easier to correct with magic.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Large cities might have lamplighters who make sure that main thoroughfares are well lit, but smaller cities probably just have torchbearers for hire. Palaces may have empty hallways lit, but only the very rich would bother with such a thing, and so they may find continual flames to be a viable alternative.

Something else to consider is that people generally didn't stay awake long after dark. The use of candles and lamp would be fairly limited, not running all night. Additionally, fireplaces would provide light, and would be banked to provide warmth overnight, still providing dim light for the room. I would say that no more than an hours worth of light would be needed for most people each night. This greatly reduces the assumed cost, making continual light an unneeded luxury.
Yes and no.

It's true that in the real medieval world, people didn't rely heavily on artificial light. But that was because they couldn't! Artificial light required fuel, which was expensive, and fire, which was dangerous. So their societies evolved in ways that could function without it.

Fast-forward to the modern era, where we have had cheap, safe, widely available artificial light for a hundred years. What was a luxury has become a necessity; because it was common enough to rely upon, people started relying on it, and built all kinds of systems that depended on it. Now we live in a society that could hardly function if the lights went out.

So what would a world of continual flame be like? Somewhere in between. A continual flame torch is nowhere near as cheap as a light bulb; 50 gp represents 25 days' wages for a skilled worker, or 250 days for an unskilled laborer. If we take the latter as a baseline and assume the U.S. minimum wage, that's $14,500. Then add the wizard's markup to the cost of materials; surely at least 10%, maybe 100% or more. You're paying the price of a good used car to buy a flashlight.

On the other hand, a used car will last maybe 10 years for most people. A continual flame will burn for generations. So what we end up with is a world in which continual flame items are relatively common, but most of them are very old, kept with care by families and passed down from parent to child. Being entrusted to carry the family torch is a great honor. A personal continual flame item, allowing one to work at night, is a mark of status as well as an important utility for merchants and artisans. Only the very rich will have enough to light whole houses.

As for street lights, that would be a true extravagance for the capital of an empire. The cost of buying them might not be prohibitive, but they would be prime targets for thieves. You would need a first-rate city watch to protect them, and even then the cost of replacing the ones that got stolen would be significant.
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So what would a world of continual flame be like? Somewhere in between. A continual flame torch is nowhere near as cheap as a light bulb; 50 gp represents 25 days' wages for a skilled worker, or 250 days for an unskilled laborer. If we take the latter as a baseline and assume the U.S. minimum wage, that's $14,500. Then add the wizard's markup to the cost of materials; surely at least 10%, maybe 100% or more. You're paying the price of a good used car to buy a flashlight.

Your post is very well-thought out, but I wanted to key in on this part.

The problem with this extrapolation is three-fold. First, the numbers are all made up for gamist reasons. How do we know that a skilled worked makes that much? Because the game says so. Because it is divorced from a real-world economy, we can't really say much about it,

Second, it's static. As I alluded to earlier, if there was a high demand for continual flame (which I would argue there would be), then this would have an effect on the price of rubies over time as opposed to purely "decorative" gemstones- first, driving the price up (demand) then the price would likely drop as increased resources went to uncovering rubies.

Third, it is likely that some place (maybe close to a mine that produces, inter alia, rubies) would be producing continual flames at a much lower cost than the cost of the spell component qua spell component.

Or, we can ignore all of this. Because modeling real economics is hard, and does not result in an appreciable gain for the game system compared to the effort that would have to be put into it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
O.
M.
G.

Do you not see that you're doing exactly what I said? ;)

I don't have to repair clothes because ... wait for it ... we live in a time with an overflow of abundance. Other than a very few examples, it is more cost-effective to buy a new t-shirt than to "repair" one.

THIS ISN'T HOW IT USED TO BE. I honestly don't know how else I can explain this to you?

The majority of people didn't used to have tons of clothes and shop at the Gap (or get it delivered from Amazon). You know that, right? You understand that "repairing" clothes used to be an incredibly important skill (usually for the woman in the poor household, or for domestics in a rich household).

You also remember that mending isn't just about clothes- it works on objects; it would replace the itinerant tinker; if your plow has damage or a break less than a foot, mending works on it.

These things do not just have a minor impact. Just like living in a society where people knew you could raise the dea would not just have a minor impact (every noble person, I would assume, would have a raise dead kitty, and most villages would try to raise the funds if they lost someone important).

IOW, it is incredibly difficult to extrapolate how things matter. Antibiotics (to use an example) don't just help against kids and strep throat- they make combat more likely to wound than to kill, they make agriculture more productive, and they make advanced medical techniques (via successful invasiv surgery) possible. I mean, heck, if "cure disease" works on bacteria, and you can put someone to "sleep," who is to say they don't have surgery ... except for the fact that it would be easier to correct with magic.
O.M.G. Not the question I asked.

What percentage of clothing have you replaced because it ripped? For me, it's probably around 1-2%, including when I grew up on a farm and spent as much time as possible outside and active. In a lot of cases it was some favorite piece of clothing that was worn and tattered from wear and tear. The rip was a result of material worn thin. Even then half the time I'd just sew it up and continue wearing it because they were work clothes.

Mending is magical super glue. It doesn't repair wear and tear. Much like continual flame, it's nice but hardly revolutionary. If mending can fix a shirt, it could have been sewn. If mending can fix a plow it probably could have been welded.

Mending would certainly extend the lifetime of certain goods, it would not stop them from slowly falling apart anyway.

Either magic exists in your campaign world or it doesn't. If it exists, I see no reason for it to not have at least some impact on society unless it's so rare as to be virtually unheard of.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Your post is very well-thought out, but I wanted to key in on this part.

The problem with this extrapolation is three-fold. First, the numbers are all made up for gamist reasons. How do we know that a skilled worked makes that much? Because the game says so. Because it is divorced from a real-world economy, we can't really say much about it,

Second, it's static.
Why are you assuming it's static? It's far simpler to assume that the 50 gp value is what continual flame components cost today, factoring in supply and demand from all sources including the spell itself.

Maybe when continual flame was invented, the components only cost 10 gp, and the price of rubies has gone up fivefold since. That part doesn't really matter*. The spell has been around for a while, the market has settled on an equilibrium, and that equilibrium happens to be 50 gp. You don't need to worry about dynamic effects, unless the PCs come up with a scheme involving continual flame creation on an industrial scale.

[size=-2]*Unless you're especially interested in fleshing out the history of the game world. In that case, there was presumably a burst of continual flame production at some point in the past, when the spell was first discovered and everyone rushed to get their hands on cheap ruby dust to make light sources. That might be where a lot of peasant families got the continual flame items they've been passing down. DMs who enjoy adding such details might stock ancient treasure hoards with lots of rubies, reflecting the fact that rubies in the modern world are far more likely to be ground down for spell components.[/size]
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Your post is very well-thought out, but I wanted to key in on this part.

The problem with this extrapolation is three-fold. First, the numbers are all made up for gamist reasons. How do we know that a skilled worked makes that much? Because the game says so. Because it is divorced from a real-world economy, we can't really say much about it,
We know they make that much because the book tells us they do. Real world wages and value of gold are not relevant. You have to start from somewhere, you have to make some assumptions now and then.

Second, it's static. As I alluded to earlier, if there was a high demand for continual flame (which I would argue there would be), then this would have an effect on the price of rubies over time as opposed to purely "decorative" gemstones- first, driving the price up (demand) then the price would likely drop as increased resources went to uncovering rubies.

I don't see why continual flame would be a disruptive "discovered" application of magic. There's no reason to think continual flame items have not been around for centuries.

Third, it is likely that some place (maybe close to a mine that produces, inter alia, rubies) would be producing continual flames at a much lower cost than the cost of the spell component qua spell component.
So they could increase their profits by selling items with continual flame. It's called trade goods. I will agree that to a certain degree it is silly that they measure components by their GP cost, it is an oversimplification.

Or, we can ignore all of this. Because modeling real economics is hard, and does not result in an appreciable gain for the game system compared to the effort that would have to be put into it.
Or we could assume that magic should have at least some impact on the wider world.

That may not make sense for your campaign, but I like to take a more holistic approach. How does the world change because of magic? I don't think the fundamentals of society change all that much for the reasons I've given.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
What percentage of clothing have you replaced because it ripped? For me, it's probably around 1-2%, including when I grew up on a farm and spent as much time as possible outside and active. In a lot of cases it was some favorite piece of clothing that was worn and tattered from wear and tear. The rip was a result of material worn thin. Even then half the time I'd just sew it up and continue wearing it because they were work clothes.

Mending is magical super glue. It doesn't repair wear and tear. Much like continual flame, it's nice but hardly revolutionary. If mending can fix a shirt, it could have been sewn. If mending can fix a plow it probably could have been welded.

Mending would certainly extend the lifetime of certain goods, it would not stop them from slowly falling apart anyway.
In a pre-industrial society without mass production, how valuable would it be to extend the life of all goods at no cost?

I'm not trying to be mean, but it really doesn't seem like you've thought much about this. Especially when this is a cantrip. Please feel free to go back and look at the need for repair in the middle ages through the renaissance and get back to me- this isn't terribly advanced stuff.
 

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