D&D 5E World Building: Tech, Magic, and Society

Minor cantrips are.....disturbingly impactful. A 1st level arcane caster is effectively a modern 100hp tractor + combine. Mold earth, shape water plus ritual casting unseen servant & floating disk, a single caster can do the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of people plus numerous livestock.

Need to plow a field? The caster can outrun four sets of ox plows. Need an irrigation channel? Can do more digging than a thousand people in one day. Need to pump water in that channel? Shape water. Harvest crops? Unseen servant. Move a cart's worth of produce? Floating disk.


How about sewers? The caster can open and close 3 miles of trench per day. Unseen servants can make simple wooden pipes.

 

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Minor cantrips are.....disturbingly impactful. A 1st level arcane caster is effectively a modern 100hp tractor + combine. Mold earth, shape water plus ritual casting unseen servant & floating disk, a single caster can do the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of people plus numerous livestock.

Need to plow a field? The caster can outrun four sets of ox plows. Need an irrigation channel? Can do more digging than a thousand people in one day. Need to pump water in that channel? Shape water. Harvest crops? Unseen servant. Move a cart's worth of produce? Floating disk.


How about sewers? The caster can open and close 3 miles of trench per day. Unseen servants can make simple wooden pipes.

now that is world building:eek:
 

nevin

Hero
lol kind of like nails, or figuring out that if you pack normal iron implements in charcoal in a clay pot and heat them up enough to increase the carbon content you get a cheaper version of a carbon steel axe or knife etc. Not high quality but better than what you had and really cheap to make. Little things often make bigger changes than the big scary things. Just figuring out that Sulfur kills infection changed life expectancy a lot.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Minor cantrips are.....disturbingly impactful. A 1st level arcane caster is effectively a modern 100hp tractor + combine. Mold earth, shape water plus ritual casting unseen servant & floating disk, a single caster can do the work of hundreds, if not thousands, of people plus numerous livestock.

Need to plow a field? The caster can outrun four sets of ox plows. Need an irrigation channel? Can do more digging than a thousand people in one day. Need to pump water in that channel? Shape water. Harvest crops? Unseen servant. Move a cart's worth of produce? Floating disk.


How about sewers? The caster can open and close 3 miles of trench per day. Unseen servants can make simple wooden pipes.

That’s…not how those spells work. Unseen Servant has a strength of 2 and has to stay within 60ft of you. Floating Disc can hold 500lbs…and vanishes if there’s an ounce more, it also can’t handle uneven terrain very well. Mold Earth is not earthbending, it’s incredibly limited. Ditto for Shape Water and waterbending. To do some of that you’d need the higher level spells.
 

Note that roads, irrigation, dams, etc are multigenerational and require less maintenance than to build. This means a single caster can spend a week of finger-waiving and chanting and leave something that would have bankrupted a smallish polity to build but that they can readily maintain for decades or centuries (if they are smart enough to take care of it).

Some impacts are direct, some indirect. Good irrigation improves actual yields per acre. A good road means produce travels faster, letting drayers move more food in the same amount of time, leading to less spoilage and effectively higher production in the form of people fed/acre. It also lowers the cost of finished goods being shipped back, raising quality of life.

Roads are a military force multiplier as well, letting troops and supplies relocate quickly. They are also ingress points and need defending, but those defenses also acts as places to collect taxes, helping to offset costs.
 

lol kind of like nails, or figuring out that if you pack normal iron implements in charcoal in a clay pot and heat them up enough to increase the carbon content you get a cheaper version of a carbon steel axe or knife etc. Not high quality but better than what you had and really cheap to make. Little things often make bigger changes than the big scary things. Just figuring out that Sulfur kills infection changed life expectancy a lot.
I don't know if this is true but it's a story someone told me when I was first starting out and I love it,

In Egypt they would cut down a tree and cut it in half, then carve inside it until there was a mold for a sword or spear head or what ever. Then they would melt iron, pour it in and hold the wood mold together with leather. Now to them they were just casting the weapon, but the carbon from the wood was interacting with the molten metal and making low grade steel. If the story is true they thought they magicaly were stealing power from the tree to make this stronger weapon/shield/ armor
 

That’s…not how those spells work. Unseen Servant has a strength of 2 and has to stay within 60ft of you. Floating Disc can hold 500lbs…and vanishes if there’s an ounce more, it also can’t handle uneven terrain very well. Mold Earth is not earthbending, it’s incredibly limited. Ditto for Shape Water and waterbending. To do some of that you’d need the higher level spells.
Unsseen servant, strength 2 is an 85yro farmer who feels no pain or exhaustion. Summon one every 10min (so 5ish at all times), give each a scythe and have them go harvest wheat. (Go watch a scything video: its a slow, shuffling walk. Shuffle, swing, shuffle , swing.) In the time it takes them to move 120ft (60ft behind-60ft ahead) you can summon the next one and then you mosey to the next spot.

For them to make bricks it's putting scoops of mud and handful of straw in a wooden frame. They can collect rocks or harvest vegetables in a 60ft radius (spanning 1/4 acre) as long as none weigh more than 30lbs and bring them to a center area, maybe where you summon a floating disk

A horse can carry 480lbs, so floating disk is more than a horse-load. Or at 30lbs per unseen servant's sheaf of wheat, you can just count 16 of them and then head out.

Shape water can animate a 5ft cube of water and let it walk around. That is 125cf x 8gal = 1,000 gallons of water (8,000lbs of water). That's a pretty good pump. Not awesome but good. You can have 3 animated blobs at a time, but can only move 1 at a time.

Mold earth can shift 5ft cubes of dirt. It flows slowly, and in little granules that can't hurt or move creatures, but it creates a 125cf hole and a 125cf pile of dirt weighting 12,000lbs. Line those holes & piles up and you get a trench and berm. Put the dirt back and you have tilled the soil. Or have the pile of dirt ooze across a field at 5ft,every 6s to fill low spots. Hello bulldozer..
 
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Some impacts are direct, some indirect. Good irrigation improves actual yields per acre. A good road means produce travels faster, letting drayers move more food in the same amount of time, leading to less spoilage and effectively higher production in the form of people fed/acre. It also lowers the cost of finished goods being shipped back, raising quality of life.

Roads are a military force multiplier as well, letting troops and supplies relocate quickly. They are also ingress points and need defending, but those defenses also acts as places to collect taxes, helping to offset costs.
man druids are a force multiplier too in this regaurd, and something I am working on now
 

greg kaye

Explorer
...
How hard would it be to make a magic Iphone? I mean no we don't have one in D&D that I know of but a way to send messages pictures and short clips to each other changes the world, using illusions and divination along with sending and message those things can be made.
...
Sending stones become smart stones. (y)
 


Voidrunner's Codex

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