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

It really depend on how magic is available.
if magic is available, free, without control then a society can discard some of tech,
if magic is rare, dangerous, mysterious and controlled then people will seek other means like usual tech.
a mix of both is my best take.
 

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greg kaye

Explorer
It really depend on how magic is available.
if magic is available, free, without control then a society can discard some of tech,
if magic is rare, dangerous, mysterious and controlled then people will seek other means like usual tech.
a mix of both is my best take.
But it could be interpreted that some 5e tech may have limits. Crafting a single potion can take ~days.
 

Oofta

Legend
Agreed. And I know why they did what they did (5ft cube is standard size, yadda yadda) but they didn't have the dirt go back in the hole on its own after 1 minute or require concentration for a minute to make it permanent (imperfect but makes it 10x slower), they let the animated water get more than 30ft from the source, etc, etc.

People downplay mold earth in combat, except it's really good there too. It gives between half and full cover for 2+ characters with a single action and no concentration. It can tunnel under various Wall spells. You can bury items 5ft deep mid-combat. You can make a non-resisting creature (i.e. charmed/stunned) into a Restrained or maybe Incapacitated creature by burying them 5ft deep in dirt.

Either the soil is loose earth or it isn't. If it's loose dirt, it's just going to collapse in low mound, hardly anything to hide behind. It doesn't move fast enough to do damage, there's nothing in the text to indicate the dirt is raised far off the ground high enough to dump it on someone. So I wouldn't let it restrain anyone either.

Feel free to rule differently when you DM.
 

But it could be interpreted that some 5e tech may have limits. Crafting a single potion can take ~days.
Potion can be interpreted as tech! Or magic!
taking hour, days, week to craft.
crafting a Cannon, a wand of fireball, weeks, month, year, years.
DMs can create infinite variant of worlds.
 

greg kaye

Explorer
Either the soil is loose earth or it isn't. If it's loose dirt, it's just going to collapse in low mound, hardly anything to hide behind. It doesn't move fast enough to do damage, there's nothing in the text to indicate the dirt is raised far off the ground high enough to dump it on someone. So I wouldn't let it restrain anyone either.

Feel free to rule differently when you DM.
The spell says, "you can have (no more than) two of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time" and that " you can instantaneously excavate it, move it along the ground, and deposit it up to 5 feet away". One interpretation is that the collapse won't happen while the effect remains active, but this may depend on an interpretation of "deposit". It, again, isn't clearly written.
 

greg kaye

Explorer
Perhaps ironically, it's game mechanics that may place the limit on player application of technological mechanics and DMs can rule that technological hacks can't be exploited to make players more powerful It's similar to the way that DMs may discourage players from using animal handling to develop teams of fighting animals. It could be disproportionately powerful when mechanically enabled pets can be few and far between.
 

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
So far as I know, they used bronze in ancient Egypt. This sounds more Celtic to me. But there are plenty more knowledgeable historians than me on these forums.
 

Interesting, but with a big caveat. The arcane caster would have to demean themselves to doing field/other grunt work in place of magical research, other something "lesser" people should be doing.

But that's where variant human comes in. If the campaign has the default be variant human? Well then HUGE portion of the human population (through magic initiate) could take "useful" spells and cantrips. You now have farmhands that can shape water, mold earth, use floating disc or get an unseen servant.

Why are humans the "dominant" force they are - that's why. Other races get some of it (high elves and cantrips for ex.) but not quite as much. Huge impact on world building.
This is how things work in Eberron. Class levels are rare, but magewrights, who just know one or two cantrips, are common.
 

The Mold Earth cantrip could be used to plough a field minutes, that would take a day with a couple of oxen.

That's a MASSIVE economic effect if it where commonly available.

Of course, a few druids with Goodberry, and there is no need to grow food at all.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Politics and culture play a much bigger role than availability of tech or magic and therein lies your answers, afterall the Hero’s steam engine was first invented in 30 bc but not used practically for 1700 years

consider a society like Egypt or Medieval Europe where all divine power is concentrated in the Temples and Kings are divine. Equally look at how often Wizards in folklore and fiction are in the direct employ of Kings. in such societies power and technology is restricted.
The Shang dynasty in China is notable in that while its ruling class had bronze age tech, the peasant farmers were still stone age. Bronze was restricted and used for ceremonial (divine) objects only.

the ubiquity of magic amongst DnD peasants is an anomoly that requires notions of Liberté, égalité, fraternité, mercantilism and industrial scale production to be a thing
 
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