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What Magic Would Be Most Realistically Most Impactful?

uzirath

Explorer
If magic were real, I've often thought that there would be a lot of spells covering areas that most RPGs don't touch on. One area that I haven't seen mentioned yet is sex, sexuality, and reproduction. Love potions, of course, are an area in the real world where "magic" has been prominent. In a fantasy world, I assume there would be strong demand for magical means of fertility control. (You could add in the ethical and political dimensions that go along with this... clerics picketing the Planned Parenthood Guildhall.)

Considering the rise of household appliances in the modern world, I also imagine there would be many more spells and magical devices that simplify time consuming domestic tasks. I imagine mass-produced Wands of Cleaning and Disinfecting and things like that. I think about the simple band-aid too. In our world, they are almost magical already in their psychological effect on young children. If they actually had some minor healing magic, that would be great too. Perhaps the wealthy can afford bandages for their children that involve both healing magic and fun animated scenes on them tied to popular entertainment.

Speaking of which, popular entertainment! Communication magic is useful, but I imagine that theatrical performances would be augmented with illusions, lights, and sounds. Maybe an enterprising wizard could figure out a way to "record" such performances to be played back later. Maybe you can buy crystals that display such performances. Maybe homeowners aspire to buying large crystal balls that can display carefully choreographed performances by artists far away...

It's easy to get bogged down in trying to make it all realistic. I tend to think it's more fun to just pick a few wild ideas and run with them.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
The question becomes, "Are casters capable of doing things like that around in sufficient numbers to dominate all military thinking?" Seriously, in the campaign world that I've been running there is only one 10th level wizard in the whole nation the players started in, and yes, he's notable and his name is known to the enemies of that nation, but one Earth elemental might not turn the war and all military strategy on its head all on its own and - as Rawlings noted - the enemy has wizards too.
I’m assuming the enemy has spellcasters.

The very first aircraft carrier changed warfare. Once one was fielded, everyone realized their potential and either started research (if they hadn’t already) or working out how to neutralize them.

So, after the first wizard (or sorcerer, cleric, etc.) went to war, others would be recruited. War colleges might quickly add a few new buildings. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, any aggressively expansionist power might even make certain spells part of the training for any soldier, sailor, marine or airman capable of learning them.

Going back to AD&D, that means any literate person with an Int of 9+. A few sailors casting Magic Missile, Sleep or Burning Hands could quickly turn the tide of a naval encounter that comes to boarding.

Consider how some of D&D’s attack spells would fare in a fantasy analog of the tunnel fighting in the Vietnam War. Especially the AoE & line effect ones.
 
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If magic were real, I've often thought that there would be a lot of spells covering areas that most RPGs don't touch on.
Agreed.

Considering the rise of household appliances in the modern world, I also imagine there would be many more spells and magical devices that simplify time consuming domestic tasks.
This is controlled by the cheapest transferable permanent magic item that can be created in the setting. Suppose your cheapest permanent transferable magic item costs 2000 days wages, or $100,000 then such items might be very rare toys or baubles but they won't in fact revolutionize house work. Most families can't afford them and those that can would often prefer to employ human domestic help. Your mass produced wand of cleaning and disinfecting if it costs 40 or 80 days wages probably won't ever get mass produced, as the amount of labor that it saves (a few score hours of light cleaning) doesn't pay for the amount of labor that it costs. A few might exist as a bauble for the wealthy bachelor who preferred to be left to their own devices or the like, but you wouldn't expect an industry to exist to create them. Domestic labor would replace them better, and you have to remember that in societies before our own it was excessively rude to the point of being a flaw worthy public condemnation and shunning for the wealthy to not employ significant domestic labor and spread the wealth around. One didn't just deserve the servants owed to ones station, one also had a corresponding responsibility to employ them. Thus, a wealthy person who employs 'Unseen Servants' to do the chores might not be well liked, while the poor person he employs to the chores likely can't afford the 'Unseen Servant' to help them at the job. And again, that's assuming you can make a practical Unseen Servant powered transferable and permanent device cheaply.

And keep in mind that a wand, by being spell completion, only passes the test of transferable if basically everyone in the society has magical training. And if that is the case, why buy the wand when they can cheaply do the spells themselves?

Speaking of which, popular entertainment! Communication magic is useful, but I imagine that theatrical performances would be augmented with illusions, lights, and sounds.
This I fully agree would be a thing by the D&D rules. Every large town is likely to have one or more theaters where illusionists tell stories augmented by their magic as a normal and respected artistic tradition. Smaller towns will likely look forward to the arrival of the travelling illusionist or troupe thereof. This is however I think more likely to be like Shakespearean theater or Homeric story telling where the players don't need to complain to the audience that they can't recreate the scope of the Battle of Agincourt on the stage than it is to be like modern TV or streaming services. And again, the reason for that is the base cost of permanent transferable magic devices. Crystal balls will cost more than TV's and economies of scale don't seem likely to bring that cost down. Your base line D&D crystal ball with no extra features costs the equivalent of $2,000,000 dollars. Only the very wealthy can afford such devices, and the are unlikely to consider them just toys for transmitting illusions to their friends. Indeed, the scholarly class of wizards that can afford such devices probably scorns the travelling illusionists and the hedge wizards making anti-fraud devices for merchants.

It's easy to get bogged down in trying to make it all realistic. I tend to think it's more fun to just pick a few wild ideas and run with them.
This comes down in large part to what you are trying to achieve. If you are going for the comedy of the Disc World or Harry Potter, then such magic as technology fare perhaps ought to be promoted by rules changes that make it reasonable. If you fear that a magitech world were magic items are just a sort of Clarketech will ruin your mythic setting then you'll probably want to tweak the rules so that their aren't Quartz Shacks selling clairvoyance to the masses if the rules would otherwise provide for it.
 
Going back to AD&D, that means any literate person with an Int of 9+.
Does it? I think you are making a huge assumption that any literate person with an Int of 9+ can become a wizard. The rules don't actually say that. They say that any Player Character with 9 Int and literacy can become a wizard, and any NPC which is a wizard must have 9 Int and literacy, but they don't actually say that any literate person with an Int of 9+ can become a wizard. That's goes back to how magic works and what are your demographics.

And it's even less clear that you could decide to turn every person with Wis of 9+ into a cleric, since who gets to be a cleric doesn't seem like something you can just decide and order done. And again, it is clear that not every person need have sorcerer blood in them unless you wanted things to work that way.

Honestly, I have my game tweaked such that low level wizards barely impact warfare and certainly aren't worth the cost to upkeep them. In some cases that comes from tweaking the rules, and in some cases tweaking the culture, but a few magic missiles or burning hands would scarcely impact a boarding action in my game - certainly no more so that a few sailors with bows and crossbows and other such weapons. Summon Swarm maybe or fireball maybe, but then what you'd typically find in a boarding action is both sides had low level caster parity and the expectation that they'd be facing them, and sailors trained and with a duty to counter the actions of opposing spellcasters. But even had I not tweaked the rules, magic missile and burning hands have a reasonable parity with longbows, two-handed swords and halberds. Sleep or True Strike might be more on point choices, but I've done boarding actions as a low level caster in D&D and sleep while it certainly helped did not win out on its own.

It's not at all clear one earth elemental will consistently change warfare as much as the aircraft carrier did, or that just because you wanted a bunch of tame wizards that could conjure earth elementals for you that you could order it done. It's hard enough for a nation to field aircraft carriers just because they want one, and that's technology - transferable, repeatable, portable, etc.

Could it work that way? Sure. If you rule that magical colleges can turn out 9th level wizards after 4-7 years of magical training, and that any reasonably intelligent young person can in fact complete such training, then you have some interesting questions to ask about how your world works and how culture and society developed. But that's a ruling, not something in any way forced on you by the rules.
 
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uzirath

Explorer
This is controlled by the cheapest transferable permanent magic item that can be created in the setting.
Definitely.

And keep in mind that a wand, by being spell completion, only passes the test of transferable if basically everyone in the society has magical training.
Is this a D&D thing? I'd forgotten that. I was being system agnostic in my answer, as I assumed the OP placed the post in this forum intentionally.

This comes down in large part to what you are trying to achieve.
Absolutely.

Note, also, that a world with rarer and more expensive magic than D&D standard raises some of its own questions about why a wizard might adventure. I would think that the demand for a naturally talented magical practitioner would be nearly boundless and there would be a real economic incentive to develop new magic along more industrial lines. The first nation that could figure out how to produce cheaper healing potions would have a real edge. A hedge wizard who manages to enchant charms (even if they aren't permanent) that prevent pregnancy will be set for life without ever needing to risk waltzing into a gelatinous cube in some urine-scented dungeon corridor. The rarer the magic, the more opportunity for even a mediocre magician to live comfortably without risking life and limb on dubious ventures to save the world.

This is not to say that we can't have standard fantasy worlds with adventuring wizards and magic items in every murky hole. I just don't worry as much about trying to have a logical answer to every question from my economist players. My answer these days is, "because it's fun that way."
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Does it? I think you are making a huge assumption that any literate person with an Int of 9+ can become a wizard. The rules don't actually say that. They say that any Player Character with 9 Int and literacy can become a wizard, and any NPC which is a wizard must have 9 Int and literacy, but they don't actually say that any literate person with an Int of 9+ can become a wizard. That's goes back to how magic works and what are your demographics.
The only other relevant RULES- which is all we have to work with- are:

1) whether the character in question has another class or not. IOW, a Demihuman who already has a class or is multiclassed and not aready a spellcaster cannot later become one, and a Human could only dual class into it if he or she had a 17 in the class’ primary stat.

2) whether the character is barred from being a MU (or other PC or NPC spellcasting class) by race.

Anything else is a houserule. Nothing wrong with that- everyone had them. But we can’t really consider a bar to class entry based on houserules and conjecture.

Now, could someone choose not to become a wizard, even if qualified? Of course! Just because you have the smarts and are literate, it doesn’t follow that you would wish to engage in that field of study. Besides the nature of the study itself- long hours poring over dusty books around funny smelling ingredients- some of the practices themselves might be a turnoff. You might have a religious reason or taboo against studying arcane magic. And reading the descriptions of how some spells are cast...some aren’t too savory. As I recall, casting Spider Climb involved eating a live spider as part of the process. There are people who have left culinary school for refusing to eat more mundane ingredients.

And it's even less clear that you could decide to turn every person with Wis of 9+ into a cleric, since who gets to be a cleric doesn't seem like something you can just decide and order done. And again, it is clear that not every person need have sorcerer blood in them unless you wanted things to work that way.
It's not at all clear one earth elemental will consistently change warfare as much as the aircraft carrier did,
...a sailing ship that never loses propulsion? That is consistently faster than any other ship around?

...or that just because you wanted a bunch of tame wizards that could conjure earth elementals for you that you could order it done. It's hard enough for a nation to field aircraft carriers just because they want one, and that's technology - transferable, repeatable, portable, etc.
The draft. It works. Carrots & sticks work, too.

We have evidence in the real world of countries that scour their territories to find anyone- child or adult- with a glimmer of talent to be agents of the state, and take them away to serve their countries. (A friend of mine married a Russian woman who was taken from her parents and raised by the state to be a ballerina...until puberty gifted her in a way that made pursing said profession virtually impossible.)

England’s law mandating learning the bow was similarly effective.

And also, nowhere did I say you needed “a bunch” of tamed wizards capable of bringing elementals to the field. You just need more than your enemy.

Likewise, not all the casters need be powerful. Like massed archers or crossbowmen don’t need to be marksmen, a bunch of low-level casters- even with only one attack spell in their arsenal- could be deadly effective if used properly. Even moreso if some non-trivial number of your “Caster Corps” are devoted to making things like wands of some of those spells. (Conscientious objectors- if they exist- might be trained with Mending or other utility spells.)

See also Harry Turtledove’s Darkness novel of a (non-D&D version) WW2 style conflict in a fantasy world.

Could it work that way? Sure. If you rule that magical colleges can turn out 9th level wizards after 4-7 years of magical training, and that any reasonably intelligent young person can in fact complete such training, then you have some interesting questions to ask about how your world works and how culture and society developed. But that's a ruling, not something in any way forced on you by the rules.
Like I said, I’m not assuming large cadres of high level casters in the service of king and country. A few, used the right way, plus a bunch with some rudimentary training (as little as 1st only) could be brutally effective.
 
The only other relevant RULES- which is all we have to work with- are:

1) whether the character in question has another class or not. IOW, a Demihuman who already has a class or is multiclassed and not aready a spellcaster cannot later become one, and a Human could only dual class into it if he or she had a 17 in the class’ primary stat.

2) whether the character is barred from being a MU (or other PC or NPC spellcasting class) by race.
Oh really? I assume you are going to stick with AD&D, so let's examine that.

Page 30 of the DMG: "A captain is nothing more than a capable leader, a fighter of 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th level... but NOT capable of working upwards."

Page 31 of the DMG: "All serjeants are 1st level fighters but incapable of progressing further."

What rules from the Player's Handbook - a book explicitly about PC's - suggest a reason why a character could be fighter classed but can't advance past 1st level as a fighter?

You act like I'm making up the concept of being barred to class entry or progression for NPCs. Doesn't the DMG suggest repeatedly that most NPCs use different rules than PCs? In particular, most NPC humans appear to be incapable of being more than 0th level fighters. There is no reason to suppose that this is because they all have 5 INT, but rather that there is something particular to PC's and other extraordinary persons that allows them to gain levels in player classes. As page 80 of the DMG says, "The bulk of the people met on an adventure in an inhabited area...will be average folk, with no profession as the adventurers know it..." You can round up all the zero level men-at-arms you want in AD&D, but by the rules you can't turn them into 3rd level fighters. They do not have a class and are incapable of advancing to one. The majority of ordinary humans in the world do not have a class at all. It's not that they are 1st level commoners or whatever. They just don't have a class. And there is no reason to think that things are different with respect to M-U's and that just anyone can take the class, because the majority of ordinary folk don't have special abilities in the way PC's do. Heck, based on the discussion of rebellions by peasantry on page 94, it's not even clear most peasants can ever obtain the status of 0th level "men-at-arms".

No where I'm aware of in the DMG does it explicitly state what percentage of persons are extraordinary enough to become M-Us (it does imply that of those extraordinary enough to advance as a class, 20% of those will be M-Us). Any statement regarding that percentage that can become M-Us is therefore a house rule. There is plenty of reason to suspect though that if the majority of people can't even be trained to become 1st level fighters after months of warfare, that training up something as esoteric as M-U's in AD&D is no easier.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
1) I don’t have my DMG handy, but I’ll note none of the rules you just cited bar class entry, just advancement beyond a certain point. It would be interesting to see if a reason or broader context is offered for why their progression is capped. I doubt one is, but if one exists, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it based in mechanics or just by proclamation...probably for game balance reasons. I would also note that a good bit of the material published in campaign settings and modules didn’t follow demographics & limitations put forth in the DMG. Even the line about the majority of people being zero level types is subverted by products like T1 Hommlet.

(FWIW, I seem to remember a bit of demographic breakdown in the DMG that covered mundane professions and classed individuals, but I could be wrong.)

Why does this matter? Well, as I pointed out several times, I am not suggesting huge numbers of high level wizards. A few here and there in service of king & country are sufficient. A decent number of 1st level magical sergeants and captains- perhaps organized into special forces teams*- would do just fine.

2) AD&D also has NPC classes, including casters like the Witch, Shaman, Incantrix and probably others, detailed in TSR’s official periodical, Dragon. IOW, there’s probably more casters out there than are usually accounted for.




* The Octarine Berets? Divinatuon Evocations Abjurations Transmutation Hoodoo Squads?
 

MGibster

Explorer
A spell like 'Charm Person' as some have pointed out would have a huge impact on a setting. But the impact is so large and so wholly negative that it's likely to just result in everyone known to be or believed to be capable of casting 'Charm Person' murdered in their sleep, and society feeling that it had not done ill by ridding the world of such a monstrous power.
I can't count the number of player characters I've seen use Charm Person flippantly over the years. In one game I had a villager raise a hue and cry when a PC tried and failed to charm him. The villager didn't know the PC was cast Charm Person but he knew some spell was attempted against him. The PC was surprised the guy made a stink about it saying, "It's not like I cast a violent spell."

If we had people who could use spells like Charm Person there would be some very strong institutions created to control their behavior. Or, as you say, we'd be murdering them in their sleep.
 
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1) I don’t have my DMG handy, but I’ll note none of the rules you just cited bar class entry, just advancement beyond a certain point. It would be interesting to see if a reason or broader context is offered for why their progression is capped. I doubt one is, but if one exists, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it based in mechanics or just by proclamation...probably for game balance reasons. I would also note that a good bit of the material published in campaign settings and modules didn’t follow demographics & limitations put forth in the DMG. Even the line about the majority of people being zero level types is subverted by products like T1 Hommlet.
I suspect hardly anyone actually followed the DMG demographics, including Gygax, which seem to imply things like only 2% of humans are 0 level man-at-arms - much less classed. The hard line regarding demographics taken by the DMG was I suspect entirely done to give DMs teeth with respect to resisting plans by PC's to do the sort of things you are suggesting or otherwise raising armies that took the focus off the heroics of the PCs. As with most of the seemingly adversarial advice in the DMG, I don't think Gygax means the DM to follow it strictly, but simply means to set a standard so harsh that any rules lawyerish PC familiar with the rules will have no grounds to complain that their DM is being overly strict. The real underlying meaning of it all is "Don't be a pushover."

(FWIW, I seem to remember a bit of demographic breakdown in the DMG that covered mundane professions and classed individuals, but I could be wrong.)
There is to my knowledge no direct guidelines for figuring out how many classed individuals there are in a setting. The write up of henchmen certainly implies that NPCs capable of advancing in a class are rare, and it gives a rough percentage of the population that are potential henchmen and you might could perhaps infer something about the total percentage of classed NPCs from that but it would be all guesswork. There is a table of attributes for normal humans that suggests that a fairly high percentage of the population is less than 0th level, but it gives no percentages that fall into the various classes. The rules on rebellions imply about 1/5th of a population at most is capable of taking up arms, and that of that if trained about 10% (2% of the total) will become full 0th level men-at-arms (4-7 h.p., 0th level fighter THAC0).

But all of that is just guesswork and will involve various assumptions. Again, I think that's probably deliberate if the real purpose of all this is to prevent players of PC lords from dictating to the DM what sort of characters exist in their dominions, or from being able to pursue a program where they tell the DM that they set up classes to teach spellcraft to the population and turn every NPC with 9+ INT into a M-U. If you look at demographics as they actually existed, as you point out, now town, village, or hamlet is so restrictive.

Some idea of what the normal percentage of wizard combatants was expected to be can be inferred by the description of armies of 'Men' - whether bandits, pilgrims, pirates, or what not - in the Monster Manual. I don't think you can find support for the concept of armies of low level M-U's in AD&D. But you are free to develop whatever demographics and evolve the nature of warfare however you like.

2) AD&D also has NPC classes, including casters like the Witch, Shaman, Incantrix and probably others, detailed in TSR’s official periodical, Dragon. IOW, there’s probably more casters out there than are usually accounted for.
Perhaps. The Sage in the DMG although not explicitly a class nonetheless has pretty decent hit points and some ability as a caster (up to 6th level spells if I remember correctly). But Sages break the PC rules for spell progression and caster level and all the rest really are probably so rare as to hardly be worth mentioning, and in any event given the prima donna nature of the Sage as described in the entry they certainly aren't going to be roped into joining the army.

I have very extensive experience with mass combat in 1e AD&D. Any high level character is capable of matching up with veritable armies in AD&D. A 16HD elemental on the battlefield is something that I've definitely seen in a non-theoretical manner. What tends to happen is that essentially the high level characters are busy countering each others moves. If you have some M-U sitting back behind the battlefield and their main move is going to be conjuring an elemental, then either you have M-U's on the other side that focus on that elemental in some fashion, or the high level fighters focus on the elemental. That leaves the rest of the army maneuvering against their army in some fashion. The question of what warfare evolves to in a world where high level characters are worth scores or hundreds of low level characters is not an easy one to answer, and mostly comes down to, "What do you want this to look like?"
 
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I can't count the number of player characters I've seen use Charm Person flippantly over the years.
It's a bad enough problem I have to explicitly warn any PC spell-caster before they start playing. I have no idea what it is about the spell that causes players to act in that manner, but the very fact that players do act in that manner strongly suggests how terrible the temptation of the power would be if it were real and conversely how profoundly hated the power would be to those that felt exposed to it. Players invariably seem to look at it as some sort of harmless prank.

Magic that controls the mind is considered one leg of the tripartite 'black magic' or 'witchcraft' in my game along with necromancy and "diablerie" (summoning or communing with evil spirits). The penalty for charming or dominating someone is the same as the penalty for rape, which is generally death by being drawn and quartered. "He tried to mind rape me." will definitely get attention from a community, and if the PC isn't held in some esteem may lead to a lynching.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
There is an element that we'd need to address in discussing this, that most RPGs do very poorly: demographics.

How many wizards/druids/clerics/users of any particular power are there in the world? That puts a bound on how impactful a power is on a broad scale of a society.
There are actually two questions there.

1) How rare does the setting "want" those things to be?

2) Can any of the types of magic be taught to anyone? Sorcery is inherent, but can wizardry simply be trained? What about pact magic? Could a warlock who gains political or mercantile power train others to make the same pact and create a nation with FeyLock knights patrolling the land to protect the populace? Could a wizard create a public school of wizardry? Can a Bard college teach you how to channel the power of language and song to create wonders even if you have no inherent knack for it?

Some DMs and writers will begin from question 1 and use it to answer question 2, while some will go the other way around.

I prefer to determine the magic of a setting by answering question 2, and then make a world that makes sense to me from that premise.

If wizardry, bardic magic, pact magic, and even divine/druidic magic can be taught to literally anyone with a will to learn it, then we can reasonably assume much greater proliferation of magic, magic items, enchanted infrastructure, etc.

But what that looks like changes dramatically if only wizardry can, or if pacts are easily made and there are entities that are friendly seelie fey or hexblades can be forged by mortals, or if druidry or divine magic can be learnt by anyone of faith with fellows to invest them, or if learning Bardic magic is as easy as learning to be a bard in real world history (so, years of study, but no magical spark required).

If wizardly ritual casting is something that simply takes a decade of learning, that's gonna be as common as blacksmiths. Just those level 1 rituals are very powerful.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
I'd go for something like Zone of Truth or other magics of that ilk. Again, with the acceptance and potentially commonality, I think it would revolutionize human's justice systems and politics.
Command is just as powerful, in the same way. "Confess."

Plant Growth. A single 8-hour casting enriches all plants in a 1 mile diameter for a year, yielding twice the food. Think about that in a lot of countries, especially ones where distribution is hard. But really, you mentioned healing - with all of the healing, cure disease, regeneration, and raise dead we might reduce early death that having more food in the same area is needed.
Mold Earth is an even bigger deal, since it's a cantrip, and can create irrigation with vastly less workforce than has been required IRL. Also, just Detect Poison and Disease would revolutionize medicine in ways that would reach far beyond those people who can use magic.


Plant Growth is the most impactful spell in 5e D&D.

EDIT: At least in the core rules. The cantrip Mold Earth from Xanathar's Guide to Everything beats it.
Creating water from nothing, in the hands of someone who is being paid to just do that as many times a day as they can, every day, for a year, is world changing. 1st level spell, 10 gallons of water per casting is thousands of gallons a year from one person. A druid who can cast Plant Growth can also use Create or Destroy Water and Mold Earth to impact the irrigation beyond that 1 year of doubled crop yield.

Remember that while a modern American can use dozens of gallons of water a day even while trying to conserve, a pre-modern family will probably use less than that 10 gallons per day. If you're looking at a dry year, rather than a nearly waterless place, creating better irrigation and water storage, and supplementing the water supply, can save a community just as much as increased crop yield.


But let's get weird! Purify Food And Drink.

What is "drink"? Is a well full of soiled water "drink"? Can you filter out the physical matter from soiled water, and then Purify that water in 10 ft diameter spheres? Can you use Mold Earth to make an estuary river from the coastline to fill small pools that can then be purified into potable water?

Does the spell make food waste no longer a concern? Does such a world even still have the phrase "A few bad apples spoil the bunch"? Apples can be stored for over a year in the real world, using no modern technology. What if 1 spell casting per year makes them last forever? What about meat?

What impact does "Detect Poison and Disease" have on managing livestock? What sorts of injuries are simply cured by cure wounds? How many livestock animals have to be put down because of relatively simple injuries and diseases, not to mention mysteriously dying because they ate the wrong thing, which the spell would identify. Protection From Poison is 2nd level, but Bless gives a bonus on saving throws, which combined with an informed use of veterinarian medicine will dramatically increase the survival rate of humans and animals.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
That's the cost of a car. And then, it's not "never be made uncomfortable by the weather again", it's "one specific set of clothing you won't be uncomfortable". So it needs to be washed. Is it work clothes, party clothes, outdoor clothes - it's not all fashions (that's a different enchantment). Most people also won't wash and wear the same clothing every day to every event.
In 5e, the "temperate" enchantment is a minor effect that can be added to any magic item without impacting it's rarity, according to the DMG. XGTE, IIRC, states that these DMG minor effects make good common magic items.

So, one could simply have a ring that makes you comfortable in any weather but the absolute most extreme.

About Charm Person, since someone brought that up. Mind control magic would definately be a big deal, though I go by the 5e version which is absolutely not mind control. You can't make anyone do anything with Charm Person in 5e, you just make them treat you as a friendly acquaintance. Which would probably still be illegal, but hardly gonna get people murdered in their sleep for being capable of it.

Dominate Person would, in a just world, lead to the harshest punishment allowed by the laws of the land.

But still, most places wouldn't go around murdering people in their sleep because it's known that they can do a bit of enchantment.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Command is just as powerful, in the same way. "Confess."
Thankfully, that won't work in a meaningful way - it doesn't stipulate what they have to confess to. "I confess that I think puppies are adorable!" fulfills the Command.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
Command is just as powerful, in the same way. "Confess."
Legal
Prosecutor: Confess!
Innocent person: Confesses (as forced to do by the spell).

Political
There's no way this can let me hear debates, state of the union, and everything else and know where they are intentionally lying. Including the "do you have any reason to think people are feeding you false information so you think it's true". Discussion at federal and state levels in the US.

Nope, still up for Zone of Truth. Note that I didn't say telepathy for these as well, because you need to trust the telepath.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
The very first aircraft carrier changed warfare. Once one was fielded, everyone realized their potential and either started research (if they hadn’t already) or working out how to neutralize them.
Jein. Some people realized it way before others. Others still felt that the battleship was still the ship supreme for naval warfare. It took awhile, even in WW2, for the true impact of the carrier to be recognized by the various nations. I don't think that it was as obvious then as it is now in retrospect.

See also Harry Turtledove’s Darkness novel of a (non-D&D version) WW2 style conflict in a fantasy world.
That author has way too much idle time, both real and alternate, on their hands.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
The first carriers hit the waves in the 1920s- first the British, then the Japanese. By the mid-1930s, all of the major sea powers operated several, mostly with airplanes specifically designed to be flown from carrier decks. Usually with folding wings as well.

The powers that had them in numbers understood their power quite well. It’s not an accident the way the strike forces that the Japanese and American military deployed in the Pacific were so carrier-centric, or that the Germans tried to trump them with U-boats in the Atlantic.
 

MGibster

Explorer
Shadowrun does a decent job showing how magic affects the economy. The game is hyper focused on runners, so you typically see mages and shamans use their skills in the pursuit of skullduggery and violence. But in the wider world they're also involved in entertainment and major corporations operate magic shops like it's just another consumer product.
 

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