Discussion:
How does D&D magic, monsters and gods make the world different?
(too old to reply)
Bryan J. Maloney
2003-08-01 03:04:45 UTC
Permalink
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which
somehow became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from
any Earth historical analog?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human
races), and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that
Agreed. So much impact that it's far easier to pretend there is no
impact.
Marcq
2003-08-01 03:17:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bryan J. Maloney
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which
somehow became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from
any Earth historical analog?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human
races), and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that
Agreed. So much impact that it's far easier to pretend there is no
impact.
Hey! That's my point! ;-)

Mind you it's a game not a PhD thesis and I'm all for convenience. But
insisting that our conveniences are the only logical outcome surely can't
really be what folks are arguing. I want to see what differences people do
think occur. I'm getting tired of every difference I propose being refuted
(not that I conceded the argument but turn about is fair play).

So again 'conservatives' what differences do you concede?

Marc
Malachias Invictus
2003-08-03 21:18:41 UTC
Permalink
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
How can this be both "the easy way out" and yet require making up "a
frikkin' long list"?
Most people do not bother worrying about the list. It is still there,
though.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Matthew Miller
2003-08-03 21:22:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Malachias Invictus
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
How can this be both "the easy way out" and yet require making up "a
frikkin' long list"?
Most people do not bother worrying about the list. It is still there,
though.
Still there without having to bother worrying about doesn't sound like "have
to make up" -- if it's there automatically, you don't have to do anything.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Matthew Miller
2003-08-04 15:52:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Still there without having to bother worrying about doesn't sound like
"have to make up" -- if it's there automatically, you don't have to do
anything.
It is there automatically, as long as you squint really hard and do not
think about logical consequences much.
"Logical"? Which logical? Narrative or scientific?

(I'm being serious, here.)
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Malachias Invictus
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
How can this be both "the easy way out" and yet require making up "a
frikkin' long list"?
Most people do not bother worrying about the list. It is still there,
though.
Still there without having to bother worrying about doesn't sound like "have
to make up" -- if it's there automatically, you don't have to do anything.
Feh.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:01 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 3 Aug 2003 14:18:41 -0700, "Malachias Invictus"
Post by Malachias Invictus
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
How can this be both "the easy way out" and yet require making up "a
frikkin' long list"?
Most people do not bother worrying about the list. It is still there,
though.
Indeed. It's a list of easily done things, but there they are...
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:46:59 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Marcq
So again 'conservatives' what differences do you concede?
I've noticed that much of yopur opposition comes from people who twist
the argument around, so that it becomes which differences *must*
occur.
There are some who concede other differences which in the end is fair
enough. With something so different, it is hard to predict exactly what will
happen. But there also some who object to any difference. Still seems
unimaginiative to me ;-)
Agreed.
First, it seems to me that rpgs, in general, have the potential for
far more than a simple re-casting of our mundane world with a bit of
magic added.
Second, if one does want that, there are games which do it far better
than D&D.
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
I'd agree.
*High* magic D&D, OTOH, rather obviously blows that type of world
away.
You'd think so ;-)
Well, yes, I would would.
Hmm. You, me, A'koss....maybe it's that nice clean NW air we breathe.
:-)
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Bryan J. Maloney
2003-08-06 00:52:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
First, it seems to me that rpgs, in general, have the potential for
far more than a simple re-casting of our mundane world with a bit of
magic added.
Yup, but I'm not always into living up to my full potential every moment
of the day.
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-07 00:40:39 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 06 Aug 2003 00:52:53 GMT, "Bryan J. Maloney"
Post by Bryan J. Maloney
Post by Robert Baldwin
First, it seems to me that rpgs, in general, have the potential for
far more than a simple re-casting of our mundane world with a bit of
magic added.
Yup, but I'm not always into living up to my full potential every moment
of the day.
Wimp.

Leave the slacking off fow work, and put your efforts where hey
belong.
:-)
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-07 03:00:41 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 11:29:41 +1000, Talen
Post by Robert Baldwin
On Wed, 06 Aug 2003 00:52:53 GMT, "Bryan J. Maloney"
Post by Bryan J. Maloney
Post by Robert Baldwin
First, it seems to me that rpgs, in general, have the potential for
far more than a simple re-casting of our mundane world with a bit of
magic added.
Yup, but I'm not always into living up to my full potential every moment
of the day.
Wimp.
Leave the slacking off fow work, and put your efforts where hey
belong.
:-)
'Work'?
My understanding is that he's employed by an educational institution,
but not as tenured faculty. So there is at least an odds-on chance he
works.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Bryan J. Maloney
2003-08-07 04:50:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 11:29:41 +1000, Talen
Post by Robert Baldwin
On Wed, 06 Aug 2003 00:52:53 GMT, "Bryan J. Maloney"
Post by Bryan J. Maloney
Post by Robert Baldwin
First, it seems to me that rpgs, in general, have the potential
for far more than a simple re-casting of our mundane world with a
bit of magic added.
Yup, but I'm not always into living up to my full potential every
moment of the day.
Wimp.
Leave the slacking off fow work, and put your efforts where hey
belong.
:-)
'Work'?
My understanding is that he's employed by an educational institution,
but not as tenured faculty. So there is at least an odds-on chance he
works.
I can't really riff with that for fear of vengeance, can I?
Yes educational (school of medicine). Yes non-tenure (research
arglebargle-title-changes-all-the-time). Yes work--or else I'm out. The
prof publishes or I perish.

Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:00 UTC
Permalink
Sure, Dm's can retro-fit a pseudo-medieval world into D&D. But aside
from being the easy way out, they have to make a frikkin' long *list*
of assumptions to get to that point. They end up with "low magic D&D"
as a way of preserving the pseudo-historical Earth setting.
How can this be both "the easy way out" and yet require making up "a
frikkin' long list"?
<snip>

The individual items on that list are not difficult, certainly not so
when compared to creating a world significantly *not* similar to
anything in Earth's history.

Is this your first effort at thought?
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Lorenzo Gatti
2003-08-01 08:15:24 UTC
Permalink
"Marcq" <***@four-hands.com> wrote in message news:<IHkWa.2354$***@nwrddc03.gnilink.net>...
[snip]
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
The fantasy stuff of D&D is too much and too diverse to be completely
present in a campaign without significant alterations and
specializations. Every game world would be different; and attitude can
be different even with similar creatures, classes and house rules.

For example assume there are many intelligent creatures more powerful
than humans (more varied and common than standard dragons, faeries
etc.) and a limited number of superhuman wizards, clerics, psionicists
(less than seems implied in official sources but more powerful).

If the intelligent monsters consider humanity as prey and "special"
people tend to be evil and/or to extend and abuse their power the
average person, even if rich and resourceful, is going to feel both
near the bottom of the food chain and socially oppressed: they would
be extremely fatalist, fearful, ready to flee, wary of strangers, etc.

If monsters tend to be enemies, great menaces can be fought by great
heroes without involving the popular masses very often.

Or intelligent monsters could be socially integrated with humans, for
example with dragon squadrons in major armies or slave trading to feed
the illithid minority, and all kinds of spellcasters could be banned
and belong to secret terrorist organizations trying to conquer
nations.

There are endless combinations, even with my simple and underdetailed
example. Perhaps the discussion would be more focused if you indicated
some specific fantasy feature.

Lorenzo Gatti
Rupert Boleyn
2003-08-01 11:36:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lorenzo Gatti
For example assume there are many intelligent creatures more powerful
than humans (more varied and common than standard dragons, faeries
etc.) and a limited number of superhuman wizards, clerics, psionicists
(less than seems implied in official sources but more powerful).
However most of the powerful evil creautres seem to breed slowly.
Post by Lorenzo Gatti
If the intelligent monsters consider humanity as prey and "special"
people tend to be evil and/or to extend and abuse their power the
average person, even if rich and resourceful, is going to feel both
near the bottom of the food chain and socially oppressed: they would
be extremely fatalist, fearful, ready to flee, wary of strangers, etc.
And this is different from a dark age peasant's approach to strangers
in what way?
--
"Just because the the truth sets you free doesn't mean you should set the truth free."

Rupert Boleyn <***@paradise.net.nz>
Tim Martin
2003-08-01 19:59:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lorenzo Gatti
[snip]
Or intelligent monsters could be socially integrated with humans, for
example with dragon squadrons in major armies or slave trading to feed
the illithid minority, and all kinds of spellcasters could be banned
and belong to secret terrorist organizations trying to conquer
nations.
There are endless combinations, even with my simple and underdetailed
example. Perhaps the discussion would be more focused if you indicated
some specific fantasy feature.
Lorenzo Gatti
Agreed. Too broad a category to discuss really, but would be interesting and
I think more could be achieved it if were narrowed down to say what if the
Underdark were real, or what if elves or mind flayers or dragons existed.
Though I have some thoughts on and feel better about debating. But all of
it? The world would be unrecognizable.

Tim

Come Visit Mazaron's Castle!
New monsters, spells, campaign settings, and more.
http://personal.lig.bellsouth.net/t/f/tf_martn/index.html
Marcq
2003-08-02 02:53:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Martin
Post by Lorenzo Gatti
[snip]
Or intelligent monsters could be socially integrated with humans, for
example with dragon squadrons in major armies or slave trading to feed
the illithid minority, and all kinds of spellcasters could be banned
and belong to secret terrorist organizations trying to conquer
nations.
There are endless combinations, even with my simple and underdetailed
example. Perhaps the discussion would be more focused if you indicated
some specific fantasy feature.
Lorenzo Gatti
Agreed. Too broad a category to discuss really, but would be interesting and
I think more could be achieved it if were narrowed down to say what if the
Underdark were real, or what if elves or mind flayers or dragons existed.
Though I have some thoughts on and feel better about debating. But all of
it? The world would be unrecognizable.
I would agree with you: both that all D&D elements would make the world very
different and that it would be interesting to debate (or at least each of us
take are hand with a 'what-if'). But as you can see on this thread, not all
would agree to the first item.

Care to post a premise and have people right up there results? I'd suggest a
word limit. Might be interesting to post somewhere.

Marc
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-02 08:00:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
I would agree with you: both that all D&D elements would make the
world very different and that it would be interesting to debate (or at
least each of us take are hand with a 'what-if'). But as you can see
on this thread, not all would agree to the first item.
The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly small,
tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about whatever
premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much difference.
Post by Marcq
Care to post a premise and have people right up there results?
Please, not that game again.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Marcq
2003-08-02 15:02:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
I would agree with you: both that all D&D elements would make the
world very different and that it would be interesting to debate (or at
least each of us take are hand with a 'what-if'). But as you can see
on this thread, not all would agree to the first item.
The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly small,
tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about whatever
premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much difference.
Some people are having trouble believing your stance actually exists on the
NG, thanks for the concise statement of it.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
Care to post a premise and have people right up there results?
Please, not that game again.
I envision something different this time. Someone writes a premise, a
starting point. And folks can right short essays as to how things might
develop from there. It is more of an eassay contest that a debate. What's
the harm in that?

Marc
Marcq
2003-08-03 14:22:54 UTC
Permalink
"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+***@szonye.com> wrote in message news:slrnbio4pq.6da.bradd+***@szonye.com...
[....]
The harm is that it's likely to result in a flame-war or an off-topic
discussion better suited to a fiction newsgroup. The flame war comes
from the fact that some people believe that there's only *one* possible
outcome. The off-topicness comes from the fact that D&D stuff doesn't
actually affect the outcome much, so it's more of a generic
world-building what-if game.
There is sub-class of refs who build their own world. It seems valuable for
them and since the discussions are based on D&D rules, it is linked to D&D.

Moreover, there is a tendancy on this NG to consider the standard D&D
setting sacrosanct. I like to remain budding refs that there are other ways
to approach the problem.

Besides, given that the top thread last month was about gay paladins IIRC
this really doesn't seem much of a problem. As always, folks who don't like
the thread can keep off it. I didn't touch the gay paladin thread myself...

Marc
--
http://www.four-hands.com/marcs_stuff.htm
Marcq
2003-08-03 20:20:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Besides, given that the top thread last month was about gay paladins
IIRC this really doesn't seem much of a problem.
plausibility of medieval settings and the DM/player power balance.
I feel so bad.

Okay, it was the second thread. The point still remains. It doesn't seem
like a very useful thread to me but I'm not telling the posters not to
pursue. I just ignore it. It's easy with a threaded newsreader.

Marc

From : Poster stats for rec.games.frp.dnd, July, 2003
1348 7.53% One of the things that seriously pisses me off about
3rd edition....
804 4.49% Thoughts on Homosexual Paladins
558 3.12% Coolest Fantasy Villain
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
[....]
The harm is that it's likely to result in a flame-war or an off-topic
discussion better suited to a fiction newsgroup. The flame war comes
from the fact that some people believe that there's only *one* possible
outcome. The off-topicness comes from the fact that D&D stuff doesn't
actually affect the outcome much, so it's more of a generic
world-building what-if game.
There is sub-class of refs who build their own world. It seems valuable for
them and since the discussions are based on D&D rules, it is linked to D&D.
Sub*set*. It's the off-the-shelf types who have lower "class".
Post by Marcq
Moreover, there is a tendancy on this NG to consider the standard D&D
setting sacrosanct.
Silly newbies...

I like to remain budding refs that there are other ways
Post by Marcq
to approach the problem.
Indeed. *Thinking* is a start.
Post by Marcq
Besides, given that the top thread last month was about gay paladins IIRC
this really doesn't seem much of a problem. As always, folks who don't like
the thread can keep off it. I didn't touch the gay paladin thread myself...
Yes, well, you've *seen* the most poopular thread started by Bradd.
He's just jealous.
;-)
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Andy
2003-08-01 09:41:23 UTC
Permalink
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which somehow
became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a material impact
on
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from any
Earth historical analog?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human
races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and
I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
With regards the knowledge that humans are not the top of the food chain, I
think that humanoids would stick together (if it looks like you can breed
with it, you'll defend it) so in civilised lands the average person may get
the impression that he's top of the chain and not reflect too long on the
difference between elves and men. Only adventurers, frontiers people and
sailors would know otherwise. Knowledge would feed back, but everyone in
the middle ages believed in monsters anyway.

Magic is a big difference, but everyone believed in magic in the middle ages
too so that's nothing new. Maybe magic would be accepted more and maybe it
wouldn't. In any community the most verbal proponents would sway opinion,
but a powerful few magicians would have little real impact on the world as a
whole. The biggest difference would be transportation magic, with the elite
having greater mobility, so the world would be smaller and better known (the
maps would be more accurate and the monsters would be real!). I think the
current campaign settings reflect that already.

Gods can return you to life, cure any illness and any injury. For the
common people that's no different to the middle ages where religion was
dominant but the poor weren't worthy of curing and knew it. Back then they
knew resurrection had really happened in the past (it's in the bible) and
the fact it didn't happen to them didn't affect their beliefs. Their
expectations are no different in the campaign settings. I'd argue religion
would be more dominant than it is in the average campaign (more affirmation
of god's will), but it's not far off.

In all cases the very powerful and very rich would be the ones affected by
the magic and gods. They would keep this power to themselves and the
campaign setting would indeed be largely medieval. The only thing I've come
across that makes the campaign setting fail is Scry/Teleport/Kill generating
serious political instability. The stronghold builders guidebook extends
certain spells to make being at home safer, but the attack is still far
stronger than the defence. Then again, apart from war and strife which is
perfectly normal anyway, the average person would never really be affected.

This all assumes the vast majority of people are low level commoners,
experts and the like with a select few being powerful. Even in FRCS I see
the the majority of humanoids being weedy. If everyone has several levels
of PC class then the assumptions above are wrong.

Andy
Matthew Miller
2003-08-02 01:49:49 UTC
Permalink
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from
any Earth historical analog?
Um. It would have D&D magic, monsters and gods?
That isn't an answer to the question posed. If this were a college
exam, it would get a 0% ;-) The question was how would the presence of
these things make the world different. The presence of them (which is
your answer) is part of the question.
That's because it's a question that answers itself. Kind of a Zen koan.
Notice "injection". That's the wrong approach. Or, rather, it's a question
you can ask, but the answer isn't very interesting. (If you think it might
be, here it is: "If you change it a lot, it will change a lot. If you only
change it a little bit, it might only change a little bit.")
Okay... so what are you saying? That D&D changes a lot and therefore
the world would be very different than Earth historical settings? If
so, then you are free to describe how you think the world would be
different but the thread is addressed to those who think there is
little material difference despite the presence of magic, monsters,
and gods.
The world could be radically different, or it could be apparently exactly
the same until you look behind the curtain. All it takes is for those gods
(and the magic and monsters too, if you like) to want it to be a certain
way, and it *is*.

Arguing about the particulars of how it couldn't possibly be that way
because of how we believe our real world works entirely misses the point.
If are you attempting to describe my own position, which is at a macro
level, "D&D changes a lot of things so a world with the D&D fantasy
elements would not look much like any historical analog". If so, then
yes, you are correct. That is my thesis.
Well, I *am* correct, but I'm not attempting to describe your position. :)

The default assumptions in the rules seem to indicate a world which is much
like our romantic notions of the medieval era laced with high fantasy. And
if the gods of that world want it to be that way (or powers beyond those
gods, as the case may be), then that's exactly how it is. However, the rules
also implicitly (and probably explicitly too, but I don't feel like looking
for citations right now) support either worlds with crazily higher levels of
magic everywhere or ones with little apparent magic at all -- even if it's
available to a select few. And in any case, would look exactly however one
can imagine it would look.
If you object to the term "injection" it was meant to emphasize that
the D&D world has humans and all the animals, flora, etc. we are
familiar with, plus the fantasy stuff. Injection doesn't seem to be an
inappropriate way to put it to me but if you prefer some other phrase,
suggest one.
I don't like "injection" because it implies "one day we woke up, and the
world was all different because of this new stuff added". That's *not* the
situation.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Marcq
2003-08-02 03:00:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from
any Earth historical analog?
Um. It would have D&D magic, monsters and gods?
That isn't an answer to the question posed. If this were a college
exam, it would get a 0% ;-) The question was how would the presence of
these things make the world different. The presence of them (which is
your answer) is part of the question.
That's because it's a question that answers itself. Kind of a Zen koan.
ROTFLOL! I don't think so...

[...]
Post by Matthew Miller
The world could be radically different, or it could be apparently exactly
the same until you look behind the curtain. All it takes is for those gods
(and the magic and monsters too, if you like) to want it to be a certain
way, and it *is*.
Arguing about the particulars of how it couldn't possibly be that way
because of how we believe our real world works entirely misses the point.
Now you are getting zen on me. What are you getting at?
Post by Matthew Miller
If are you attempting to describe my own position, which is at a macro
level, "D&D changes a lot of things so a world with the D&D fantasy
elements would not look much like any historical analog". If so, then
yes, you are correct. That is my thesis.
Well, I *am* correct, but I'm not attempting to describe your position. :)
The default assumptions in the rules seem to indicate a world which is much
like our romantic notions of the medieval era laced with high fantasy. And
if the gods of that world want it to be that way (or powers beyond those
gods, as the case may be), then that's exactly how it is. However, the rules
also implicitly (and probably explicitly too, but I don't feel like looking
for citations right now) support either worlds with crazily higher levels of
magic everywhere or ones with little apparent magic at all -- even if it's
available to a select few. And in any case, would look exactly however one
can imagine it would look.
I think you are missing the point of the discussion. Given a premise, one
could make a rationale argument about a resulting world. Admittedly, the
"D&D setting" is an ill defined premis but the magic, monsters and gods are
described sufficiently that it seems some significant departure from Erath
analogs would result. The initial premise (in your case some desire of the
gods which implicitly in your case, must be some desire shared by all the
gods) shapes the result. Vague as the D&D setting is, though, I see nothing
in it that suggests a world like the standard setting is likely. To the
contrary, there seem to be plenty of standard gods who'd like something very
different, like the orcs in control.
Post by Matthew Miller
If you object to the term "injection" it was meant to emphasize that
the D&D world has humans and all the animals, flora, etc. we are
familiar with, plus the fantasy stuff. Injection doesn't seem to be an
inappropriate way to put it to me but if you prefer some other phrase,
suggest one.
I don't like "injection" because it implies "one day we woke up, and the
world was all different because of this new stuff added". That's *not* the
situation.
No, it is not what is intended either. I think of it as a problem statement.
Suppose an earth like world (geology, flora, fauna, etc.). No to that
baseline add, inject, insert, accrete the D&D fantasy elements. Now what
would it look like?

Marc
Matthew Miller
2003-08-02 03:37:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
Arguing about the particulars of how it couldn't possibly be that way
because of how we believe our real world works entirely misses the point.
Now you are getting zen on me. What are you getting at?
Simply that a fantasy world needn't follow the logic of the real world (by
definition), so arguments using non-magical thinking are irrelevant.
Post by Marcq
I think you are missing the point of the discussion. Given a premise, one
could make a rationale argument about a resulting world. Admittedly, the
Yes, I very precisely do not see the point of the discussion. In short, I
think the premise is flawed and therefore the discussion is moot.
Post by Marcq
"D&D setting" is an ill defined premis but the magic, monsters and gods
are described sufficiently that it seems some significant departure from
Erath analogs would result. The initial premise (in your case some desire
of the gods which implicitly in your case, must be some desire shared by
all the gods) shapes the result. Vague as the D&D setting is, though, I
It could be that all the gods like it this way. Alternately, the workings of
the world aren't always defined by the gods themselves; it could be divine
forces beyond or more primitive that even. Or perhaps the gods simply aren't
aware of any other way for things to be. The possiblities are literally
endless. And I mean literally in its old-fashioned non-figurative sense.
Post by Marcq
see nothing in it that suggests a world like the standard setting is
likely. To the contrary, there seem to be plenty of standard gods who'd
like something very different, like the orcs in control.
Sure. One perfectly valid situation is one in which those god get their way.
The standard setting implies that they haven't -- yet, at least. If you
wanted to run a D&D world where the orcs are in control, you certainly
could. Or, you could run one where they aren't. "Likely" doesn't even come
into it.
Post by Marcq
No, it is not what is intended either. I think of it as a problem
statement. Suppose an earth like world (geology, flora, fauna, etc.). No
to that baseline add, inject, insert, accrete the D&D fantasy elements.
Now what would it look like?
It depends *completely* on the way in which you inject them. And the answer
is the one I gave before: it looks _exactly_ like a world with those
elements "injected" in whatever way you want. It's a very flexible game.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Matthew Miller
2003-08-02 05:29:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Yes, I very precisely do not see the point of the discussion. In short, I
think the premise is flawed and therefore the discussion is moot.
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss how one
could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy worlds. I just
think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less "likely" unless
given some special premise which clearly doesn't exist in this case.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-02 07:58:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss how
one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy worlds. I
just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less
"likely" unless given some special premise which clearly doesn't exist
in this case.
Likewise.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Marcq
2003-08-02 15:22:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss how
one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy worlds. I
just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less
"likely" unless given some special premise which clearly doesn't exist
in this case.
Likewise.
Then why did you find my earlier suggestion to set a premise so
objectionable?

And why did you pen the following on another branch of this thread?

"The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly small,
tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about whatever
premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much difference."

My read of this is that you feel substantial change is unlikley. That's how
I read the phrase "the D&D elements won't make much of a difference."

For the record, as I've stated on the thread to which you alluded some
months ago as well as many times in the last few days, I'm all for someone
crafting a premise and having at it. It would be an interesting discussion.
That would be another thread.

This thread, however, exists to address the notion of whether there would or
would not be material changes given the D&D fantasy elements between earth
and a fantasy world. Just what those changes are is very premise-specific as
Matthew notes but that they exist and are substantial is not. You seem to be
saying above that the changes are not substantial. That's what I'd like to
discuss.

Marc
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-02 19:45:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss
how one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy
worlds. I just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more
or less "likely" unless given some special premise which clearly
doesn't exist in this case.
Likewise.
Then why did you find my earlier suggestion to set a premise so
objectionable?
Because you're stuck on the idea that the D&D elements have a major
affect on the conclusion, and I don't believe that's true.
Post by Marcq
And why did you pen the following on another branch of this thread?
"The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly
small, tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about
whatever premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much
difference."
Because it's consistent with the rest of my position? Because it's
consistent with what Matthew wrote above?
Post by Marcq
My read of this is that you feel substantial change is unlikley.
That's how I read the phrase "the D&D elements won't make much of a
difference."
Right. Given a setting premise, it doesn't matter much whether you
include D&D elements or not. The D&D elements are mostly small,
personal, tactical stuff, so they won't have much impact on the world
level. Therefore, there isn't much point to your speculation about how
they'd change the world. The answer is trivial: "It'd be different at
the personal level, but not much different at the world level."
Post by Marcq
For the record, as I've stated on the thread to which you alluded some
months ago as well as many times in the last few days, I'm all for
someone crafting a premise and having at it. It would be an
interesting discussion. That would be another thread.
The problem is that the premise is irrelevant; you won't find many
world-changing consequences, regardless of the starting point. D&D magic
coexists nicely with medieval premises. It coexists nicely with modern
premises. It coexists nicely with just about any premise.

The other problem is that you like to pick apart other people's
premises, complaining that they're "not interesting." As you can see, I
feel that it's your argument that's uninteresting, because it turns out
to be trivial: Yes, there are differences, but they don't matter much.
Post by Marcq
This thread, however, exists to address the notion of whether there
would or would not be material changes given the D&D fantasy elements
between earth and a fantasy world.
No, there wouldn't be, unless you create an inconsistent premise (like
trying to shoehorn both evolution and creationism into the same
argument, like many people seem wont to do.)
Post by Marcq
Just what those changes are is very premise-specific as Matthew notes
but that they exist and are substantial is not. You seem to be saying
above that the changes are not substantial. That's what I'd like to
discuss.
You're up to your old tricks again. We *have* been discussing it. Either
join in, or go away. Go back and read the thread if necessary, but quit
trying to reset the argument whenever it goes in a direction you don't
like.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Marcq
2003-08-03 15:54:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss
how one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy
worlds. I just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more
or less "likely" unless given some special premise which clearly
doesn't exist in this case.
Likewise.
Then why did you find my earlier suggestion to set a premise so
objectionable?
Because you're stuck on the idea that the D&D elements have a major
affect on the conclusion, and I don't believe that's true.
It could be said you are stuck on the idea that they would not have a major
difference. Without setting a premise, it is hard to the discussin to the
next step.

But, you could ask, why do I care to pursue this since neither of us is
likely to change his mind? Because a casual read of this NG by a new comer
would suggest that it might not be appropriate to suggest non-standard
settings. I think the contrary position needs voicing and I'm happy to add
mine to it.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
And why did you pen the following on another branch of this thread?
"The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly
small, tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about
whatever premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much
difference."
Because it's consistent with the rest of my position? Because it's
consistent with what Matthew wrote above?
It doesn't seem consistent with Matthew's postion here or elsewhere to me.
He says above that no one setting is more or less likely and that to really
resolve it would take a discussion of premise. You say above that any
premise will result in the about the same effect (I assume y ou mean
approximately a standard setting). And elsewhere you object to the need to
set a premise.

This seems the height of contradiction to me.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My read of this is that you feel substantial change is unlikley.
That's how I read the phrase "the D&D elements won't make much of a
difference."
Right. Given a setting premise, it doesn't matter much whether you
include D&D elements or not. The D&D elements are mostly small,
personal, tactical stuff, so they won't have much impact on the world
level. Therefore, there isn't much point to your speculation about how
they'd change the world. The answer is trivial: "It'd be different at
the personal level, but not much different at the world level."
Post by Marcq
For the record, as I've stated on the thread to which you alluded some
months ago as well as many times in the last few days, I'm all for
someone crafting a premise and having at it. It would be an
interesting discussion. That would be another thread.
The problem is that the premise is irrelevant; you won't find many
world-changing consequences, regardless of the starting point. D&D magic
coexists nicely with medieval premises. It coexists nicely with modern
premises. It coexists nicely with just about any premise.
You and I are diammetrically opposed on this and that is the root of what my
argument is about. I think the actually impact depends a lot on the premise
but that the fantasy elements would make dramatic impact. Your words above
mean to me that within reason, regardless of the premise, there is little
impact from the fantasy elements.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
The other problem is that you like to pick apart other people's
premises, complaining that they're "not interesting." As you can see, I
feel that it's your argument that's uninteresting, because it turns out
to be trivial: Yes, there are differences, but they don't matter much.
We are all entitled to our opinion. If you go back to the earlier thread I
know you are refering to, you will find that the vast bulk of the premises I
objected to are the ones where people cited the DMG demographics. I felt
then and feel now that demographics among other things are what we are
discussing and the book demo are not appropriate as a premise. The only
other case I recall is someone noting "the book says this is how you get XP
and if you stick to that, that would limit higher classes." Fair enough; I
was curious about a fantasy world were people learned as they do on earth.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
Just what those changes are is very premise-specific as Matthew notes
but that they exist and are substantial is not. You seem to be saying
above that the changes are not substantial. That's what I'd like to
discuss.
You're up to your old tricks again. We *have* been discussing it. Either
join in, or go away. Go back and read the thread if necessary, but quit
trying to reset the argument whenever it goes in a direction you don't
like.
I could say the same for you. From where I sit, with considerably more
accuracy then as your statement applies to me.

Marc
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-03 19:18:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Because you're stuck on the idea that the D&D elements have a major
affect on the conclusion, and I don't believe that's true.
It could be said you are stuck on the idea that they would not have a
major difference. Without setting a premise, it is hard to the
discussin to the next step.
There *is* a set premise in the discussion: Use the D&D rules as
written. Given that premise, what effect do those rules have on a
setting? Do they necessarily preclude certain worlds? Specifically, do
they make a semi-medieval world impossible?

Given that there's a perfectly good premise, why do you keep asking for
a premise? As usual, you're playing a shell game, trying to reset the
discussion whenever it goes in a direction you don't like. You're
playing exactly the same game you did last time around.

Your problem is that you're unwilling to accept any premise that doesn't
lead to a conclusion you're uncomfortable with. You dismiss all such
premises as being "uninteresting" to you.
Post by Marcq
But, you could ask, why do I care to pursue this since neither of us
is likely to change his mind? Because a casual read of this NG by a
new comer would suggest that it might not be appropriate to suggest
non-standard settings. I think the contrary position needs voicing and
I'm happy to add mine to it.
Non-standard settings are fine. That's the consequence of the basic
premise above: The D&D-specific elements are tactical in nature, so you
can do just about whatever you want with your setting, without fear of
the D&D elements screwing up your world at large scales. What's your
problem with that conclusion? Why do you feel a need to discuss it to
death, moving the goalposts all the time?
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
And why did you pen the following ....?
Because it's consistent with the rest of my position? Because it's
consistent with what Matthew wrote above?
It doesn't seem consistent with Matthew's postion here or elsewhere to
me. He says above that no one setting is more or less likely and that
to really resolve it would take a discussion of premise.
No, that's not what he wrote. He actually wrote, "I just think it's
silly to argue that any of them are more or less 'likely' unless given
some special premise which clearly doesn't exist in this case." That's
not a call for premises! Instead, it's a statement, like mine, that you
can reasonably make just about any setting you want, unless your world
has special requirements beyond the scope of this discussion.
Post by Marcq
You say above that any premise will result in the about the same
effect (I assume y ou mean approximately a standard setting).
No, I don't say that. In fact, it's almost the exact opposite of what I
wrote! I said that the rules don't have much impact on your premises, so
you can generally get what you want without worrying about rules
conflicts. In other words, each premise gets you roughly the effect you
want -- they don't all lead to the same effect.
Post by Marcq
And elsewhere you object to the need to set a premise.
Because we already have a perfectly good premise, and the result of that
premise is that you can do just about anything in your setting without
worrying about the consequences of the D&D rules, at least at the
world-overview level. What's wrong with that?
Post by Marcq
This seems the height of contradiction to me.
That's because you've misstated Matthew's position and you've turned
mine on its ear. You tend to do this whenever you hear something you
don't want to hear.
Post by Marcq
You and I are diammetrically opposed on this ....
How can you say that, when you misstate my position as being the exact
opposite of what it really is?
Post by Marcq
We are all entitled to our opinion. If you go back to the earlier
thread I know you are refering to, you will find that the vast bulk of
the premises I objected to are the ones where people cited the DMG
demographics.
Bullshit. You objected to *all* premises that didn't lead to a
conclusion that you disagreed with, with a curt dismissal that the
premise wasn't "interesting" to you.
Post by Marcq
I felt then and feel now that demographics among other things are what
we are discussing and the book demo are not appropriate as a premise.
Why not? They're similar to real-world medieval demographics, so they
would seem to be a *highly* appropriate premise for a world that wants
to be like medieval Europe.
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
You're up to your old tricks again. We *have* been discussing it.
Either join in, or go away. Go back and read the thread if necessary,
but quit trying to reset the argument whenever it goes in a direction
you don't like.
I could say the same for you. From where I sit, with considerably more
accuracy then as your statement applies to me.
Marc, it's easy to see the whole world agreeing you when you ignore
everyone who disagrees, as you do.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Chris Rehm
2003-08-04 04:29:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
There *is* a set premise in the discussion: Use the D&D rules as
written. Given that premise, what effect do those rules have on a
setting? Do they necessarily preclude certain worlds? Specifically, do
they make a semi-medieval world impossible?
Actually, you have a great premise for discussion there, and one that
would be a lot more valuable to DMs than just "what is likely?"

After all, your premise allows examination of the rules to determine
consistency. Better we find problems here than during play. Also,
examination of the given rules to determine how well they work, or what
would need be changed, in different situations would be valuable for DMs
who have the time to build world variants (or who are just bored with
the "given" world).
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Non-standard settings are fine. That's the consequence of the basic
premise above: The D&D-specific elements are tactical in nature, so you
can do just about whatever you want with your setting, without fear of
the D&D elements screwing up your world at large scales. What's your
problem with that conclusion? Why do you feel a need to discuss it to
death, moving the goalposts all the time?
I do think that if you change settings, things like spell pricing may
need to be examined. If there's only one cleric in the world, a
resurrection is pretty valuable. If there's two on every street corner,
cure serious might be pocket change.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-05 06:33:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Non-standard settings are fine. That's the consequence of the basic
premise above: The D&D-specific elements are tactical in nature, so
you can do just about whatever you want with your setting, without
fear of the D&D elements screwing up your world at large scales.
What's your problem with that conclusion? Why do you feel a need to
discuss it to death, moving the goalposts all the time?
I do think that if you change settings, things like spell pricing may
need to be examined.
Sure, no problem there. They'll need to change along with the prices for
everything else, especially if you're switching to a completely
different kind of social organization (like moving from D&D medieval
fantasy to D20 Modern fantasy).
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:23 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 19:45:16 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss
how one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy
worlds. I just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more
or less "likely" unless given some special premise which clearly
doesn't exist in this case.
Likewise.
Then why did you find my earlier suggestion to set a premise so
objectionable?
Because you're stuck on the idea that the D&D elements have a major
affect on the conclusion, and I don't believe that's true.
And yet you get ever so unhappy when anyone challenges that assertion.

Why, Bradd, based on the rules, is it Clearly True that all the magic
and monsters we see in the books would *not* have a major impact on
the world?
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
And why did you pen the following on another branch of this thread?
"The D&D elements won't necessarily change the world on macro scales
(like societal organization), because the D&D elements are mostly
small, tactical changes. Therefore, you can start with just about
whatever premise you like, and the D&D elements won't make much
difference."
Because it's consistent with the rest of my position? Because it's
consistent with what Matthew wrote above?
It's your position because it's consistent with your position?

C'mon Bradd, work harder.
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My read of this is that you feel substantial change is unlikley.
That's how I read the phrase "the D&D elements won't make much of a
difference."
Right. Given a setting premise, it doesn't matter much whether you
include D&D elements or not. The D&D elements are mostly small,
personal, tactical stuff, so they won't have much impact on the world
level. Therefore, there isn't much point to your speculation about how
they'd change the world. The answer is trivial: "It'd be different at
the personal level, but not much different at the world level."
<snip>

IOW: Given the setting premise (which is that all these things do not
affect the world very myuch) the answer is taht these things do not
affect the world very much.

Cute.

Free Clue: Your conclusion is also your premise.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:22 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 07:58:33 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss how
one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy worlds. I
just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less
"likely" unless given some special premise which clearly doesn't exist
in this case.
Likewise.
Feh.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-05 04:49:46 UTC
Permalink
Feh.
Thank you for providing further proof that YOU ARE A DUMBASS incapable
of uttering an argument more articulate than a primitive monosyllable.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:42 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 05 Aug 2003 04:49:46 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Feh.
Thank you for providing further proof that YOU ARE A DUMBASS incapable
of uttering an argument more articulate than a primitive monosyllable.
No, Bradd, you simply have not *earned* an argument from me. A
dclarative dismissal serves your posts just fine.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
JB
2003-08-05 10:18:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 07:58:33 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss how
one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy worlds. I
just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less
"likely" unless given some special premise which clearly doesn't exist
in this case.
Likewise.
Feh.
Baldy you're bearing your arse for the world to see.
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
On Sat, 02 Aug 2003 07:58:33 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
I should add, though: I don't think it's uninteresting to discuss
how
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
one could build various more or less self-consistent fantasy
worlds. I
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
just think it's silly to argue that any of them are more or less
"likely" unless given some special premise which clearly doesn't
exist
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Matthew Miller
in this case.
Likewise.
Feh.
Baldy you're bearing your arse for the world to see.
I'm curious: are you siding with Bradd out of sympathy, or is it a
clever bit of trolling?
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Marcq
2003-08-02 15:16:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
Arguing about the particulars of how it couldn't possibly be that way
because of how we believe our real world works entirely misses the point.
Now you are getting zen on me. What are you getting at?
Simply that a fantasy world needn't follow the logic of the real world (by
definition), so arguments using non-magical thinking are irrelevant.
I don't think you and I are using 'logic' int he same sense but your
statement makes no sense to me.

The D&D world supposes new creatures with their own powers, biases and what
not. It supposed spells with their own effects. These things surely change
how the world evolvs 9that is the point of the discussion) but to say
"because it is so different we can't even discuss it" seems a cop out.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
I think you are missing the point of the discussion. Given a premise, one
could make a rationale argument about a resulting world. Admittedly, the
Yes, I very precisely do not see the point of the discussion. In short, I
think the premise is flawed and therefore the discussion is moot.
It is a what-if exercise. Given X, what would happen? Military planners like
to do it. Authors do it. Heck, project planners do it. It's a fairly
commonly needed skill.

In the case of this NG, seems kind of fun to discuss what would happen in
the presence of fantasy elements. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm
assuming most D&D games like the fantasy stuff and have thought more than
once about actually living in a world with real magic. I don't think it is a
very long limb.

Another reason to discuss it is to understand the limitations of our
modeling. D&D is for all practical purposes a model of a fantasy world. It
is designed more for gaming than for realism but it is still a model. It has
been my experience in my career as an engineer that users of models use them
better when they understand the nature of their model, where it is accurate,
where it is not. Without that understanding, you tend to get into trouble at
the 'edge' cases. No different in the gaming world.

[...]
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
see nothing in it that suggests a world like the standard setting is
likely. To the contrary, there seem to be plenty of standard gods who'd
like something very different, like the orcs in control.
Sure. One perfectly valid situation is one in which those god get their way.
The standard setting implies that they haven't -- yet, at least. If you
wanted to run a D&D world where the orcs are in control, you certainly
could. Or, you could run one where they aren't. "Likely" doesn't even come
into it.
Likely comes into it because there are some who insist the addition of the
D&D fantasy elements does not have a material impact on how the world would
develop. It is very much part of the discussion. It may not be what you like
to discuss (doesn't seem to) but this thread exists for that purpose.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
No, it is not what is intended either. I think of it as a problem
statement. Suppose an earth like world (geology, flora, fauna, etc.). No
to that baseline add, inject, insert, accrete the D&D fantasy elements.
Now what would it look like?
It depends *completely* on the way in which you inject them. And the answer
is the one I gave before: it looks _exactly_ like a world with those
elements "injected" in whatever way you want. It's a very flexible game.
So is the D&D setting the only reasonable arrangement? You seem to be saying
not in which case, we don't really have anything to disagree about.

If it depends *completely* on how you inject the fantasy elements, then it
would follow that you think the settings can be highly variable and it would
further follow that the resulting fantasy worlds would be very different
from earth analogues (since essentially you are describing a very chaotic
system) and therefore those who insist that the D&D fantasy elements would
have a low impact on the macro aspects of the world are not correct. It is
not impossible to have something earth like with the right premise but by
yuor argument, it does not seem very likely.

Perhaps you find this whole thing moot because you can't begin to fathom
that some folks think that the standard D&D setting is the only likely
setting?

Marc
Matthew Miller
2003-08-02 17:12:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
Simply that a fantasy world needn't follow the logic of the real world (by
definition), so arguments using non-magical thinking are irrelevant.
I don't think you and I are using 'logic' int he same sense but your
statement makes no sense to me.
I'm using it in what looks to be M-W's sense 1c: "interrelation or sequence
of facts or events when seen as inevitable or predictable".
Post by Marcq
The D&D world supposes new creatures with their own powers, biases and what
not. It supposed spells with their own effects. These things surely change
how the world evolvs 9that is the point of the discussion) but to say
"because it is so different we can't even discuss it" seems a cop out.
Subtle but important correction: I'm not saying "it is so different". I'm
saying the various ways in which it can be are arbitrarily different.
Post by Marcq
It is a what-if exercise. Given X, what would happen? Military planners like
to do it. Authors do it. Heck, project planners do it. It's a fairly
commonly needed skill.
In this case, X explicitly includes infinity. As the computer science
expression goes, garbage in, garbage out. An infinite number of valid
inferences and conclusions follow from this particular X.
Post by Marcq
In the case of this NG, seems kind of fun to discuss what would happen in
the presence of fantasy elements. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm
assuming most D&D games like the fantasy stuff and have thought more than
once about actually living in a world with real magic. I don't think it is
a very long limb.
"What would happen to the world as it is/was if we suddenly dropped x, y,
and z, very specific D&D elements into the middle of some specific
historical time period?" is a discussable question -- but x, y, and z need
to be more specific than "D&D magic, monsters and gods" and the origin point
needs to be more specific than "the world".
Post by Marcq
Another reason to discuss it is to understand the limitations of our
modeling. D&D is for all practical purposes a model of a fantasy world. It
is designed more for gaming than for realism but it is still a model. It
has been my experience in my career as an engineer that users of models
use them better when they understand the nature of their model, where it
is accurate, where it is not. Without that understanding, you tend to get
into trouble at the 'edge' cases. No different in the gaming world.
This particular model has a very good handler for edge cases -- rule 0.
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
could. Or, you could run one where they aren't. "Likely" doesn't even come
into it.
Likely comes into it because there are some who insist the addition of the
D&D fantasy elements does not have a material impact on how the world would
develop. It is very much part of the discussion. It may not be what you like
to discuss (doesn't seem to) but this thread exists for that purpose.
"Develop"? Why do you make the assuption that all worlds develop? Perhaps
the notion of progress doesn't exist.
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
It depends *completely* on the way in which you inject them. And the
answer is the one I gave before: it looks _exactly_ like a world with
those elements "injected" in whatever way you want. It's a very flexible
game.
So is the D&D setting the only reasonable arrangement? You seem to be saying
not in which case, we don't really have anything to disagree about.
Not only is it not the only reasonable arrangement, it is _by the rules_ not
the only one. In fact, the default setting is noted to be only an example. I
don't have my 3.5 DMG with me, but 3.0 says: "The D&D game draws examples
and source material from the Greyhawk setting, a fictional world available
for your use as a basis for your campaign. However, you may wish to build
your own world." And then it goes on to say "Do you make it like the real
world, drawing from history and real-world knowledge, or do you create
something completely different? ... Do the laws of physics work as we know
them[?]"

I guess one could argue that any non-Greyhawk setting is "house rules", but
I don't think you could really argue that _successfully_.
Post by Marcq
If it depends *completely* on how you inject the fantasy elements, then it
would follow that you think the settings can be highly variable and it would
further follow that the resulting fantasy worlds would be very different
from earth analogues (since essentially you are describing a very chaotic
I think that many of them could be very different. Many of them *are*.
Post by Marcq
system) and therefore those who insist that the D&D fantasy elements would
have a low impact on the macro aspects of the world are not correct. It is
not impossible to have something earth like with the right premise but by
yuor argument, it does not seem very likely.
Like I said, "likely" doesn't come into it. The real-world universe we live
in isn't very likely, yet here we are. And the characters in the "low-impact
world" find themselves with a probability of existence of 1.0, no matter
what some outside-of-the-universe observer thinks of their "likeliness".
Post by Marcq
Perhaps you find this whole thing moot because you can't begin to fathom
that some folks think that the standard D&D setting is the only likely
setting?
I do find that hard to fathom. Especially if you replace "likely" with
"possible".
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Marcq
2003-08-03 14:28:29 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Matthew Miller
"What would happen to the world as it is/was if we suddenly dropped x, y,
and z, very specific D&D elements into the middle of some specific
historical time period?" is a discussable question -- but x, y, and z need
to be more specific than "D&D magic, monsters and gods" and the origin point
needs to be more specific than "the world".
Agreed. I've recognized the need for a common premise for a long time. Last
go-around about a year ago we had a discussion on this but amazingly many
seemed to think I was being silly to insist on a common starting point.

[...]
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
could. Or, you could run one where they aren't. "Likely" doesn't even come
into it.
Likely comes into it because there are some who insist the addition of the
D&D fantasy elements does not have a material impact on how the world would
develop. It is very much part of the discussion. It may not be what you like
to discuss (doesn't seem to) but this thread exists for that purpose.
"Develop"? Why do you make the assuption that all worlds develop? Perhaps
the notion of progress doesn't exist.
You got me there. That is one of my assumption. I probably should have put
that in my premise thread as part of the premise. Guess I have a hard time
imagining a world with no development. I accept they exist but I'm n ot sure
what mechanisms prevent change. By develop, I mean the weak sense of
following events are shaped by previous events. for instance, a god is
betrayed by another god so the gods no longer cooperate. I don't mean
develop inthe 19th century US sense of things always getting better.

[...]
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
Perhaps you find this whole thing moot because you can't begin to fathom
that some folks think that the standard D&D setting is the only likely
setting?
I do find that hard to fathom. Especially if you replace "likely" with
"possible".
There is a statement to that effect on a subbranch of this thread.

Marc
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-03 19:18:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
"Develop"? Why do you make the assuption that all worlds develop?
Perhaps the notion of progress doesn't exist.
You got me there. That is one of my assumption. I probably should have
put that in my premise thread as part of the premise.
Hey, asshole, why is it OK for him to say this, but when I say it, you
call it "unfair"?
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Chris Rehm
2003-08-04 02:40:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
You got me there. That is one of my assumption. I probably should have put
that in my premise thread as part of the premise. Guess I have a hard time
imagining a world with no development.
If the world is creationist, why would it develop? If the gods created
it and/or define it, then won't it be the world they want?
Post by Marcq
I accept they exist but I'm n ot sure
what mechanisms prevent change. By develop, I mean the weak sense of
following events are shaped by previous events. for instance, a god is
betrayed by another god so the gods no longer cooperate. I don't mean
develop inthe 19th century US sense of things always getting better.
Oh, so you mean "develop" just means things happen? I mean, a god gets
betrayed, and then they don't get along isn't permanent, right? It
doesn't change once and become static, right? So after a generation or
two, they might be working together again, couldn't they?
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-04 05:12:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
You got me there. That is one of my assumption. I probably should have put
that in my premise thread as part of the premise. Guess I have a hard time
imagining a world with no development.
If the world is creationist, why would it develop? If the gods created
it and/or define it, then won't it be the world they want?
What do you mean by develop? I mean it in a weak sense. For instance, in the
creationist model, the gods create the earth. They create the initial races
and monsters. Then what? Do they they guide every action? Or do the things
they create then go on about their lives?

If these initially created humans gathered first into tribes and then into
kingdoms, I would say that kingdoms "developed". What do you mean by develop
and what do you think I mean?
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
I accept they exist but I'm n ot sure
what mechanisms prevent change. By develop, I mean the weak sense of
following events are shaped by previous events. for instance, a god is
betrayed by another god so the gods no longer cooperate. I don't mean
develop inthe 19th century US sense of things always getting better.
Oh, so you mean "develop" just means things happen? I mean, a god gets
betrayed, and then they don't get along isn't permanent, right? It
doesn't change once and become static, right? So after a generation or
two, they might be working together again, couldn't they?
Chris, are you really trying to understand what I'm saying? I made no such
implication about permancy. I don't mean develop with a capital D. I'm not
talking about Progress like 19th century America thought of progress where
what came next was always some how better. Or even the misunderstanding of
evolution where some believe it implies that evolution is always striving
for something better or that it worked to create humans.

I am talking about people learning from the past, reacting to events and
basing their future actions on what they learned from the past. If one god
betrayed another, perhaps that might put an end to some golden age of
cooperative gods. It was just an example something that might "develop"
based on something that occured in the past.

When you suggest there may not be development (of the type I speak of), do
you mean that the gods create such a balanced creation that there is no
material change int he overall balance of population, races, etc, even
though I assume you'd allow that individual entities, like kingdoms, might
come and go?

Marc
Marcq
2003-08-05 04:47:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Chris Rehm
If the world is creationist, why would it develop? If the gods created
it and/or define it, then won't it be the world they want?
What do you mean by develop? I mean it in a weak sense. For instance, in the
creationist model, the gods create the earth. They create the initial races
and monsters. Then what? Do they they guide every action? Or do the things
they create then go on about their lives?
Both. They've pretty much (in their creation) defined the limits to
which the world can develop. If something is "getting out of hand" with
regard to what they wanted to happen, I would imagine they'd correct that.
So, the world might grow for a significant time in population, etc. But
it is the gods' game, it isn't likely they want it to get beyond them.
Intelligent races could fight over who runs this land or that, but I
don't think the deities would want to let them get out of hand.
That could be the case for the gods. Or they could be like nearly all the
gods of human history pantheons where they did not shape any larger purpose
or plan in the manner you describe. I take the latter read on the gods given
that there are so many of them that don't like each other. Your read is also
possible. I don't see how you can insist that your read is the only way,
though.
Post by Marcq
If these initially created humans gathered first into tribes and then into
kingdoms, I would say that kingdoms "developed". What do you mean by develop
and what do you think I mean?
Right, that's what I'm asking. That is developed. But it presupposes
that the gods created only a few people. Rather than creating kingdoms.
So, of course if you feel that the deities created only a few people and
that those people developed their social structure over time, then you'd
be looking at it that this would continue.
So, what you are saying (I think) is that if the gods created (say) two
of each race, you don't think that a medieval world would evolve. Right?
Two might die out, but yes. The more the starting condition differs from the
medieval world, the less likely it is (I would think).
Post by Marcq
Post by Chris Rehm
Oh, so you mean "develop" just means things happen? I mean, a god gets
betrayed, and then they don't get along isn't permanent, right? It
doesn't change once and become static, right? So after a generation or
two, they might be working together again, couldn't they?
Chris, are you really trying to understand what I'm saying? I made no such
implication about permancy. I don't mean develop with a capital D. I'm not
Well, I am trying. When I wrote the above, I was a little frustrated
trying to figure out where you were at on the issue. See, develop can be
"evolve" or just "get bigger and have things happen." A society that
evolves might change social structure, have empires vanish into
democracies, stuff like that. One that just develops, might just have
the same ol' social structure with different faces. The guys who come
along and have great ideas for big change might be the ones who get the
"opportunity" to meet a deity. ;-)
To be honest, when I use evolve I mean what you describe for develop. I
don't use evolve with a sense of purpose. It can be used that way, I'll
admit so this is one point of confusion clarified, hopefully.
Post by Marcq
I am talking about people learning from the past, reacting to events and
basing their future actions on what they learned from the past. If one god
betrayed another, perhaps that might put an end to some golden age of
cooperative gods. It was just an example something that might "develop"
based on something that occured in the past.
See, I'm not crazy about that. I would prefer to keep the deity
relationships relatively static. Changes happen, attitudes shift, but
their peer group doesn't change in size. Things shift back.
But the deity relationships in most human pagan myths were not static.
Therefore, while I accept your right to a static pantheon, I don't see what
it is a given. Regardless, we see different pantheons here and let me
venture this:

Some of the reason I see more clerics in the world, is that I see gods
having good reason to have more followers in the world. My reason for this
is that I read much of the historical pantheons to be in conflict. They
nearly always had at least good and evil and sometimes entire opposed races
(Norse). In a pantehon where there is no common purpose and even conflict,
the gods would have incentive to strength their chosen ones with divine
power aka clerics.

In a more static pantheon, the gods wuold have much less or no incentive for
this.

I can see better where you are coming from. This is one of the reasons I
harp on premise. I honestly can't see how you can read in the standard gods
that they *must* be static, if you allow me my conflicted gods, perhaps my
increasing cleric population doesn't seem so odd?
Post by Marcq
When you suggest there may not be development (of the type I speak of), do
you mean that the gods create such a balanced creation that there is no
material change int he overall balance of population, races, etc, even
though I assume you'd allow that individual entities, like kingdoms, might
come and go?
Yes. That is my preference. Now, I am not really rigid about that, but I
do prefer it so that I can just turn my attention to making adventures
up within the known world. I'm surely not saying that this is "the way"!
Heck, I know that some guys want to build all kinds of crazy worlds. But
I just don't have that kind of time. I like to be able to rely on WotC
or whoever to produce a rule system and I just build an adventure within
it.
Is that more clear. Have I been particularly dense in portraying it? I
apologize. I was going short on sleep and blood sugar. I'll try to
behave better in the future.
I have a much better idea where you are coming from. Now for my standard
disclaimer: I don't usually have the gods too involved in the campaign or
duking it out so I don't usually worry about this in a game (although I have
run settings like that; makes for a very different campaign.)

This is more my analysis of a possible fantasy world. I ask myself, how
might a D&D world really be?

As a note, though, none of my settings have ever had an entire pantheon of
cooperative gods. However, I do recognize that warring gods causes problems
if they intervene on earth too much so I also usually propose other
mechanisms to deal with that.

Anyway, I've enjoyed the discussion. Helped clarify some of my own thoughts
on this topic as well as look at it from another angle that I don't normally
look at. In particular, I hadn't previously thought much about the effect of
a more static or stable pantheon.

Marc
Chris Rehm
2003-08-05 19:12:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
So, the world might grow for a significant time in population, etc. But
it is the gods' game, it isn't likely they want it to get beyond them.
Intelligent races could fight over who runs this land or that, but I
don't think the deities would want to let them get out of hand.
That could be the case for the gods. Or they could be like nearly all the
gods of human history pantheons where they did not shape any larger purpose
or plan in the manner you describe. I take the latter read on the gods given
that there are so many of them that don't like each other. Your read is also
possible. I don't see how you can insist that your read is the only way,
though.
Well, I didn't mean to insist that mine was the only way. But I pretty
much thought that all the gods of all the pantheons did in fact
manipulate. Maybe not to create a specific ending point, but to keep the
mortals from challenging the gods at least.
Post by Marcq
So, what you are saying (I think) is that if the gods created (say) two
of each race, you don't think that a medieval world would evolve. Right?
Two might die out, but yes. The more the starting condition differs from the
medieval world, the less likely it is (I would think).
Well, okay, but do you think it is "less likely" than our own medieval
world was? I've been watching a lot of the discussion about that, and I
think I've come to the opinion that the technology of magic doesn't head
off a medieval society any more than physics did.

We can look around the world and see that there were many different
societies growing in different environments. Not all had a feudal era
filled with stone castles and iron swords.

But the feudal era was a result of a social climate, upper classes held
the power and lower classes were the chattel, a resource for the
powerful. The fact that it included the physical components it did was
just a matter of timing in the spread of technology.

Well, given the same set of social circumstances and making magic the
technology of the day, why would the rich suddenly fall out of power?
Does the existence of magic make them more likely to share their power
with the lower classes?
Post by Marcq
But the deity relationships in most human pagan myths were not static.
Well, they are static. Not for the envisioned life of the deities, but
static through the application of the pantheon. In other words, while
the myth may say, "Loki stole a purse so the other gods hate him..."
that wouldn't have been an occurrence that happened yesterday. It was
"from before" and the relationship between Loki and the other gods was
static for the lifetimes of the believers.

The difficulty with this, I can see, is that the DM needs to have
background flavor for deities, but that doesn't match the real life example.
Post by Marcq
Some of the reason I see more clerics in the world, is that I see gods
having good reason to have more followers in the world. My reason for this
is that I read much of the historical pantheons to be in conflict. They
nearly always had at least good and evil and sometimes entire opposed races
(Norse). In a pantehon where there is no common purpose and even conflict,
the gods would have incentive to strength their chosen ones with divine
power aka clerics.
Well, there's a lot open for debate here.

First, if we follow your reasoning along, if the gods granting spells is
the only requirement for clerical casting, then shouldn't those gods
just grant them 9th level spells on day 1? Get them started big! ;-)

Second, the gods have plenty of reasons to want to build their
followers, but let's try to look at it from their side. :-)

How many gods are there? Let's say we have a big, rich pantheon of
thirty gods. Now, to them, that's the only real people they have to deal
with. Forever. Everything else is just temporary, transitional. Every
thing they do with manipulating people or whatever, is just
entertainment. A part of their social interaction with the other
deities. Some deities never get along, some always do. Their community
is very small.

So their transgressions against whatever codes of conduct they have
agreed to are passing. Just emotional zeal in pursuit of a victory in
the game of humanity.

So when you focus in on a snapshot in time, the point where the game is
occurring, and you are saying, "Why wouldn't the gods do this or that?"
you should keep in mind that this game has been going on for thousands
of years for them. Some of them are bored, some more interested.
Whatever parts of it they are paying attention to are for their own
amusement.

Sure, they might want to "win", but they know if they make a big overt
rush for the goal, five or ten of their peers wills say, "Hey, Bob's
doing to much! If we don't band together and stop him, we all lose." and
they'll knock him back. So instead they seek to set things in motion
that are subtle and strong.
Post by Marcq
In a more static pantheon, the gods wuold have much less or no incentive for
this.
I can see better where you are coming from. This is one of the reasons I
harp on premise. I honestly can't see how you can read in the standard gods
that they *must* be static, if you allow me my conflicted gods, perhaps my
increasing cleric population doesn't seem so odd?
Okay, I surely allow for non-static gods, and for conflict, and lots of
clerics if you want. But I don't think it is a premise that is called
for by the circumstances.

I'm pretty sure I am getting a good idea of your vision. Deities want
all the clerics they can get. The number of people becoming clerics is
driven by "market pressure" (my term). So, you are looking for a
limiting factor to keep the numbers in line, rather than go with what
you see as an arbitrary limit in the D&D rules. Is that right?

So then I'm saying, "Hey man, change the way you look at what a cleric
is and what clerical spell casting is and that will give you a
solution." and you are saying, "Well, I want a solution that goes along
with my own view of how the game world works."

So I guess I'm less than helpful with my, "Don't make it work that way."
response, eh? ;-)

Well, if you really want to make it interesting, and you really want
deity involvement to make a difference in your world, try this:

There is a limit to how much access each deity has to the pool of divine
magic. They can either use the magic themselves, or allocate it out to
their followers. So, while a deity wants as many clerics as they can
get, every time they enable a cleric to cast spells, they do so by
turning over a share of their own magic and weakening themselves.

So a deity with a billion clerics would not be able to have any of them
channel spells, since the amount of magic that each of them would have
allocated would be very weak. But a deity with no followers would be
very powerful, albeit as an individual.

So deities want only the most loyal of clerics. Those that will use the
magic in the way the deity would.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-06 02:21:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
So, the world might grow for a significant time in population, etc. But
it is the gods' game, it isn't likely they want it to get beyond them.
Intelligent races could fight over who runs this land or that, but I
don't think the deities would want to let them get out of hand.
That could be the case for the gods. Or they could be like nearly all the
gods of human history pantheons where they did not shape any larger purpose
or plan in the manner you describe. I take the latter read on the gods given
that there are so many of them that don't like each other. Your read is also
possible. I don't see how you can insist that your read is the only way,
though.
Well, I didn't mean to insist that mine was the only way. But I pretty
much thought that all the gods of all the pantheons did in fact
manipulate. Maybe not to create a specific ending point, but to keep the
mortals from challenging the gods at least.
I don't recall much of that in the Norse myths but it certainly was present
in the Greek. It isn't really addressed in the default setting to my
recollection.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
So, what you are saying (I think) is that if the gods created (say) two
of each race, you don't think that a medieval world would evolve. Right?
Two might die out, but yes. The more the starting condition differs from the
medieval world, the less likely it is (I would think).
Well, okay, but do you think it is "less likely" than our own medieval
world was? I've been watching a lot of the discussion about that, and I
think I've come to the opinion that the technology of magic doesn't head
off a medieval society any more than physics did.
We can look around the world and see that there were many different
societies growing in different environments. Not all had a feudal era
filled with stone castles and iron swords.
But the feudal era was a result of a social climate, upper classes held
the power and lower classes were the chattel, a resource for the
powerful. The fact that it included the physical components it did was
just a matter of timing in the spread of technology.
Well, given the same set of social circumstances and making magic the
technology of the day, why would the rich suddenly fall out of power?
Does the existence of magic make them more likely to share their power
with the lower classes?
Because there are other arrangements of power, for one. Maybe more the Roman
or Byzantine models. These arrangement preserved more central power: that is
the haves were even better at holding on to power. As I've said elsewhere, I
think that the D&D fantasy elements would tend to centralize power more, not
less.

Part of this depends on exactly what you mean by medieval. The middle ages
were more than a feudal setting. japan was feudal and it had a very
different look to it. I don't imagine feudal relationships as improbable,
they existed to varying degree in many places but the variances are
significant. Also when you say medieval to me, I think of Europe 800 to 1400
and it includes a central dominant church, the feudal relationships, the
medieval city development (which changed a good deal in the period), the
guilds, the approximate pop and demographics.

I do think the Church had a profound influence on the middle ages and I
don't see such an institution in the standard setting. I think alot of the
medieval trappings (the fortresses and demographics) are products of
specific circumstances that aren't any more likely than a lot of other
possibilities as demonstrated on earth.

Oh, to toss one more brand on the fire, geography had something to do with
how Europe came to be as it was so a setting with different geography could
easily lead to other arrangements as well.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
But the deity relationships in most human pagan myths were not static.
Well, they are static. Not for the envisioned life of the deities, but
static through the application of the pantheon. In other words, while
the myth may say, "Loki stole a purse so the other gods hate him..."
that wouldn't have been an occurrence that happened yesterday. It was
"from before" and the relationship between Loki and the other gods was
static for the lifetimes of the believers.
That's because you are describing myths. If the gods actually were real
beings, why can't Loki stieal the purse tomorrow? BTW the standard deities
and demigod book for 3.0 specifically suggests settings for the norse mythos
that occur before death of Baldur, after death of Baldur and at Ragnorrok.
Clearly, the game designers envisioned more active gods. You could argue
that the first two settings could be interpreted as static but the last one
isn't static in anyway.
Post by Chris Rehm
The difficulty with this, I can see, is that the DM needs to have
background flavor for deities, but that doesn't match the real life example.
Yes, but I don't think the real world examples offered D&D divine spells
either. It is simplest to use the static model (and tend to myself) but when
I say "assume the D&D gods" I'm thinking the D&D gods as the books describe
them: gods at odds with each, supporting different races and agendas. Either
is a valid premise. It is one of those niggly premise things that would need
to be agreed on.

Actually this thread is a real good example of the premise details. I should
try to capture this ;-)
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
Some of the reason I see more clerics in the world, is that I see gods
having good reason to have more followers in the world. My reason for this
is that I read much of the historical pantheons to be in conflict. They
nearly always had at least good and evil and sometimes entire opposed races
(Norse). In a pantehon where there is no common purpose and even conflict,
the gods would have incentive to strength their chosen ones with divine
power aka clerics.
Well, there's a lot open for debate here.
First, if we follow your reasoning along, if the gods granting spells is
the only requirement for clerical casting, then shouldn't those gods
just grant them 9th level spells on day 1? Get them started big! ;-)
Wait! You aren't representing my argument correctly. I say you need the
wisdmo ability and I haven't said you don't need study or "level
progression" (although I could argue that level progression need not come
from killing things.)
Post by Chris Rehm
Second, the gods have plenty of reasons to want to build their
followers, but let's try to look at it from their side. :-)
How many gods are there? Let's say we have a big, rich pantheon of
thirty gods. Now, to them, that's the only real people they have to deal
with. Forever. Everything else is just temporary, transitional. Every
thing they do with manipulating people or whatever, is just
entertainment. A part of their social interaction with the other
deities. Some deities never get along, some always do. Their community
is very small.
So their transgressions against whatever codes of conduct they have
agreed to are passing. Just emotional zeal in pursuit of a victory in
the game of humanity.
So when you focus in on a snapshot in time, the point where the game is
occurring, and you are saying, "Why wouldn't the gods do this or that?"
you should keep in mind that this game has been going on for thousands
of years for them. Some of them are bored, some more interested.
Whatever parts of it they are paying attention to are for their own
amusement.
Sure, they might want to "win", but they know if they make a big overt
rush for the goal, five or ten of their peers wills say, "Hey, Bob's
doing to much! If we don't band together and stop him, we all lose." and
they'll knock him back. So instead they seek to set things in motion
that are subtle and strong.
You could take this reasoning and question whether the gods would even grant
spells. That they do suggestions some interest in mortal affairs. beyond
that, it depends on the setting.

In the norse setting, the gods seek allies for Ragnorrok (dead, worthy
humans who go to the various halls of fallen warriors). Other settings may
have other reasons for deific interest.

I see nothing in the standard setting that requires your disinterest. I do
see conflict all the historical pantheons I can recall and in some premises,
followers (like in the Norse) could be useful. Moreover, there is one
premise that I find reasonable (I realize other don't) that says the gods
gain power from their worshippers. This is not required for divine interest
in human affairs but it obviously encourage it as well.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
In a more static pantheon, the gods wuold have much less or no incentive for
this.
I can see better where you are coming from. This is one of the reasons I
harp on premise. I honestly can't see how you can read in the standard gods
that they *must* be static, if you allow me my conflicted gods, perhaps my
increasing cleric population doesn't seem so odd?
Okay, I surely allow for non-static gods, and for conflict, and lots of
clerics if you want. But I don't think it is a premise that is called
for by the circumstances.
I'm pretty sure I am getting a good idea of your vision. Deities want
all the clerics they can get. The number of people becoming clerics is
driven by "market pressure" (my term). So, you are looking for a
limiting factor to keep the numbers in line, rather than go with what
you see as an arbitrary limit in the D&D rules. Is that right?
So then I'm saying, "Hey man, change the way you look at what a cleric
is and what clerical spell casting is and that will give you a
solution." and you are saying, "Well, I want a solution that goes along
with my own view of how the game world works."
So I guess I'm less than helpful with my, "Don't make it work that way."
response, eh? ;-)
Well... not quite an accurate characterization. The one thing I ask you to
remember is that I don't find your read on the situation any more correct,
based on the rules, than mine. As you seem to favor your interpretation, I
find mine more reasonable given what I see in the analogs. But I do agree
with you that there are ways of dealing with the issue. I would just observe
that you could do so without static gods. As you might guess, I like that
aspect of the setting. it is very colorful ;-)

However, I will also observe that I think you need both static gods and a
fixed number of people capable of being clerics who also are always clerics
for the numbers not to be subject to "market" effects. The deific conflict
can cause more clerics, people valuing the priesthood over time can effect
the numbers of priests.

Let me ask you this- there are fewer people entering the Catholic priesthood
in the US than in the past but the number of Catholics has not fallen as
much. I can think of only three cases: the devout people must be turning to
other faiths and becoming ministers there or the number of priests is
influenced by more than just devotion or there are fewer devout people being
born to catholics these days. I think the middle case is more likely.
Post by Chris Rehm
Well, if you really want to make it interesting, and you really want
There is a limit to how much access each deity has to the pool of divine
magic. They can either use the magic themselves, or allocate it out to
their followers. So, while a deity wants as many clerics as they can
get, every time they enable a cleric to cast spells, they do so by
turning over a share of their own magic and weakening themselves.
So a deity with a billion clerics would not be able to have any of them
channel spells, since the amount of magic that each of them would have
allocated would be very weak. But a deity with no followers would be
very powerful, albeit as an individual.
So deities want only the most loyal of clerics. Those that will use the
magic in the way the deity would.
That's kind of what I proposed in my essay on the essay thread. But there
are some who find such a premise entirely unreasonable, believe it or not. I
think you are on that thread- might conscious attempt was to have conflict
among the gods but fixed clerics and I thought it would be interesting to
consider the case where the increase of ones followers actually meant the
god could help them less, per person. (I didn't develop that theme much in
the essay; 1000 words is pretty constraining.) But some felt this was an
evil plot of mine, I think.

Marc
Marcq
2003-08-06 14:47:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
I don't recall much of that in the Norse myths but it certainly was present
in the Greek. It isn't really addressed in the default setting to my
recollection.
Oh, man, you're not back to that "the book way is the only way" are you?
;-)

Just an observation ;-)
Post by Marcq
Post by Chris Rehm
Well, given the same set of social circumstances and making magic the
technology of the day, why would the rich suddenly fall out of power?
Does the existence of magic make them more likely to share their power
with the lower classes?
Because there are other arrangements of power, for one. Maybe more the Roman
or Byzantine models. These arrangement preserved more central power: that is
the haves were even better at holding on to power. As I've said elsewhere, I
think that the D&D fantasy elements would tend to centralize power more, not
less.
Part of this depends on exactly what you mean by medieval. The middle ages
were more than a feudal setting. japan was feudal and it had a very
different look to it. I don't imagine feudal relationships as improbable,
they existed to varying degree in many places but the variances are
significant. Also when you say medieval to me, I think of Europe 800 to 1400
and it includes a central dominant church, the feudal relationships, the
medieval city development (which changed a good deal in the period), the
guilds, the approximate pop and demographics.
Exactly. We know that a medieval Europe was only one possible
transition. I've no idea how likely or unlikely it was compared to other
possible social evolutions. But the thing is, I don't see any difference
if magic is the technology base than when physics was. Okay, there are
differences, but I don't see magic as having some component that would
avert a medieval era.
Post by Marcq
I see nothing in the standard setting that requires your disinterest. I do
Okay, I'm not presenting "disinterest." I am simply framing the level of
interest. I think it is a mistake to treat deities like they are simply
powerful mortals. But I think it is a common mistake. It is very
difficult for some people to imagine a different frame of reference than
their own.
Why is it a mistake? Christianity was more readily accepted in the ancient
world because GReco-Roman paganism partly because their gods had too many
human failings. The D&D rules also suggest PCs can become immortal (in the
deities and demigods supplement). It may not be a setting you like but why
is it a mistake?
Post by Marcq
Let me ask you this- there are fewer people entering the Catholic priesthood
in the US than in the past but the number of Catholics has not fallen as
much. I can think of only three cases: the devout people must be turning to
other faiths and becoming ministers there or the number of priests is
influenced by more than just devotion or there are fewer devout people being
born to catholics these days. I think the middle case is more likely.
You are making an assumption that those entering the Catholic priesthood
are all truly devout. I would contend this is not true, nor has it ever
been true in the history of any faith.
Your "market pressure" evaluation is quite accurate when based on real
world examples of religions. However, real world religions do not grant
the power to channel divine magic (or at least we don't find this
quantifiable from an objective point of view).
So, to me, it doesn't make sense that the creation of the cleric class
would allow for the "I'm just here to make money" priest. To me, it just
seems obvious that the cleric is a faithful follower, and his devotion
is the principle of his class.
You have been more than kind enough to make your ideas clear to me and I
accept that a good world can be built upon them. But I think we are
retreading old ground and that the market view has validity to.
Post by Marcq
That's kind of what I proposed in my essay on the essay thread. But there
are some who find such a premise entirely unreasonable, believe it or not. I
think you are on that thread- might conscious attempt was to have conflict
among the gods but fixed clerics and I thought it would be interesting to
consider the case where the increase of ones followers actually meant the
god could help them less, per person. (I didn't develop that theme much in
the essay; 1000 words is pretty constraining.) But some felt this was an
evil plot of mine, I think.
Well, I have to confess I don't read all the threads all the time. I try
to keep up with what I can, but I end up skipping a lot. I just wish I
could set a filter for a "minimum quality" level. ;-)
I just cherry pick myself. Current thead activity is way above normal for me
and is sucking up too much of my free time ;-)
But although I think such things are fun ideas to play around with, I
don't know how much value they have in a game sense. I don't know why
anyone would object to you experimenting with such an idea, such
conflicts can be fun to explore.
But if you were to try to implement something like that in a game, I
think it would require too much attention that would be better spent on
creating adventures.
One of my more successful D&D campaigns ended last year with the PCs
attaining divinity (for the first time in a campaign). Players really
enjoyed it.

As to this being a distraction in general, I don't find that the case. Like
you, I have a model in mind of how the divine stuff works and I draw on it
when I need to work some setting element that requires it. That's the value
of discussing this and having something in mind. Not that it is worth
writing a treatise on it (which we may have if you collect all our posts
;-) but because it helps you make game decisions, create scenario ideas or
new campaign settings.

Again, really enjoying the chat. The threads have grown too large for my
attention span so if there was another post of yours you really wanted a
reply to, please shoot me a reminder.

Marc
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:24 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 03 Aug 2003 19:40:13 -0700, Chris Rehm
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
You got me there. That is one of my assumption. I probably should have put
that in my premise thread as part of the premise. Guess I have a hard time
imagining a world with no development.
If the world is creationist, why would it develop? If the gods created
it and/or define it, then won't it be the world they want?
<snip>

Not necessarily.

They could have put all the pieces in place, and let results develop
in their own course.

Or maybe the gods who created it all were killed and replaced by *new*
gods.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
Post by Matthew Miller
Arguing about the particulars of how it couldn't possibly be that way
because of how we believe our real world works entirely misses the point.
Now you are getting zen on me. What are you getting at?
Simply that a fantasy world needn't follow the logic of the real world (by
definition), so arguments using non-magical thinking are irrelevant.
A *D&D* world, however, does follow certain rules. Generally
speaking, it follows the rules of Our World, except as changed by the
Core Rules.

So: do you assume that species must have a genetically viable
population in order to survive? Or is there some magic at work?

IMC, Dragons are in that latter group. I made that decision because
if I had to have enough of what *I* call dragons IMW to maintain a
stable population (even just a few hundred), they'd turn the rest of
the world into a buffet.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
I think you are missing the point of the discussion. Given a premise, one
could make a rationale argument about a resulting world. Admittedly, the
Yes, I very precisely do not see the point of the discussion. In short, I
think the premise is flawed and therefore the discussion is moot.
You seem to be asserting that DM's do not need to know how their world
works. I suggest that you re-think your position.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Marcq
"D&D setting" is an ill defined premis but the magic, monsters and gods
are described sufficiently that it seems some significant departure from
Erath analogs would result. The initial premise (in your case some desire
of the gods which implicitly in your case, must be some desire shared by
all the gods) shapes the result. Vague as the D&D setting is, though, I
It could be that all the gods like it this way.
So, is that the case? That's rather the *point* here. Have you
mapped out your gods and decided how they run their multiverse?


Alternately, the workings of
Post by Matthew Miller
the world aren't always defined by the gods themselves; it could be divine
forces beyond or more primitive that even.
The obvious question applies: what is "behind" the gods? How does
*that* affect the world? What if your characters *become* gods?

Or perhaps the gods simply aren't
Post by Matthew Miller
aware of any other way for things to be. The possiblities are literally
endless. And I mean literally in its old-fashioned non-figurative sense.
<snip>

The DM's job is making the decision as to which of those infinite
possibilities is actually in effect.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Matthew Miller
2003-08-05 13:02:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
A *D&D* world, however, does follow certain rules. Generally
speaking, it follows the rules of Our World, except as changed by the
Core Rules.
I think that more typically, people's game worlds follow the rules of
narrative structure in fantasy, as aided by the core rules.
Post by Robert Baldwin
So: do you assume that species must have a genetically viable
population in order to survive? Or is there some magic at work?
"Geneti-what?" No, and not necessarily.
Post by Robert Baldwin
You seem to be asserting that DM's do not need to know how their world
works. I suggest that you re-think your position.
DMs need to know how their world works in a functional way. If the world is
"just like the real world", I do not require them to have a complete
understanding of unified field physics. Some DMs like to think up
complicated systems and explanations and structures to underpin their world,
and that's nice if done well, but it's certainly not necessary for a great
game.
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
It could be that all the gods like it this way.
So, is that the case? That's rather the *point* here. Have you
mapped out your gods and decided how they run their multiverse?
In my case, yeah. But the question is general rather than specific.
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
Alternately, the workings of the world aren't always defined by the gods
themselves; it could be divine forces beyond or more primitive that even.
The obvious question applies: what is "behind" the gods? How does
*that* affect the world? What if your characters *become* gods?
The mythos and rules of narrative, for example. If the characters become
gods, they're probably limited by those as well.
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
Or perhaps the gods simply aren't aware of any other way for things to
be. The possiblities are literally endless. And I mean literally in its
old-fashioned non-figurative sense.
<snip>
The DM's job is making the decision as to which of those infinite
possibilities is actually in effect.
Certainly. Up until now, you seemed to be claiming that the DM wasn't
allowed to choose certain of them.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Marcq
2003-08-05 14:51:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
A *D&D* world, however, does follow certain rules. Generally
speaking, it follows the rules of Our World, except as changed by the
Core Rules.
I think that more typically, people's game worlds follow the rules of
narrative structure in fantasy, as aided by the core rules.
I would agree.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
So: do you assume that species must have a genetically viable
population in order to survive? Or is there some magic at work?
"Geneti-what?" No, and not necessarily.
Not necessarily but you could do so. If the problem is posed (as I have),
assume earth, add in the magic, monsters and gods, you could then discuss
things as science now understands it. There is a missing element to this
premise I'll admit, how do you account for the things that clearly are not
possible in known earth physics. For the sake of the discussion one could
propose an advanced technology that empowers the gods, magic and allows
dragons to fly. All else would follow Earth physics.

Any just another way to frame the problem where you could use genetics.

Marc
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-07 03:00:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
A *D&D* world, however, does follow certain rules. Generally
speaking, it follows the rules of Our World, except as changed by the
Core Rules.
I think that more typically, people's game worlds follow the rules of
narrative structure in fantasy, as aided by the core rules.
Which is exactly the problem we are discussing. They end up with
Bloody Big Design Flaws in their world. Or, if not "flaws" then at
least a need for SOD in tanker-sized loads.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
So: do you assume that species must have a genetically viable
population in order to survive? Or is there some magic at work?
"Geneti-what?" No, and not necessarily.
Then how *do* species develop, or are you assuming Stagnation World?
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
You seem to be asserting that DM's do not need to know how their world
works. I suggest that you re-think your position.
DMs need to know how their world works in a functional way.
Indeed.

And the questions I am posing are the bare start of that
understanding.


If all you really have is "goddidit" because the DM is too damn lazy
to do any more, it will show.

If the world is
Post by Matthew Miller
"just like the real world", I do not require them to have a complete
understanding of unified field physics. Some DMs like to think up
complicated systems and explanations and structures to underpin their world,
and that's nice if done well, but it's certainly not necessary for a great
game.
I am discussing campaigns, not mere games.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
It could be that all the gods like it this way.
So, is that the case? That's rather the *point* here. Have you
mapped out your gods and decided how they run their multiverse?
In my case, yeah. But the question is general rather than specific.
Feh.

If you can't demonstrate your argument in the specific you don't have
much of a point.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
Alternately, the workings of the world aren't always defined by the gods
themselves; it could be divine forces beyond or more primitive that even.
The obvious question applies: what is "behind" the gods? How does
*that* affect the world? What if your characters *become* gods?
The mythos and rules of narrative, for example. If the characters become
gods, they're probably limited by those as well.
How...sad. My players have rather more freedom than that.
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by Matthew Miller
Or perhaps the gods simply aren't aware of any other way for things to
be. The possiblities are literally endless. And I mean literally in its
old-fashioned non-figurative sense.
<snip>
The DM's job is making the decision as to which of those infinite
possibilities is actually in effect.
Certainly. Up until now, you seemed to be claiming that the DM wasn't
allowed to choose certain of them.
Then you misunderstood, and have not followed this debate for very
long.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:44 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 05 Aug 2003 04:51:25 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Robert Baldwin
A *D&D* world, however, does follow certain rules. Generally
speaking, it follows the rules of Our World, except as changed by the
Core Rules.
Incorrect. I follows a mixture of the rules of our world as we now
perceive it and our world as described in myth and legend.
*Some* myths, *some* legends* as decided upon by the DM.

The general premise in The Rules, however, is that Game World
functions as does Real World.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Matthew Miller
2003-08-06 04:15:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
*Some* myths, *some* legends* as decided upon by the DM.
The general premise in The Rules, however, is that Game World
functions as does Real World.
On some levels.
--
Matthew Miller ***@mattdm.org <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux ------> <http://linux.bu.edu/>
JB
2003-08-06 09:44:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew Miller
Post by Robert Baldwin
*Some* myths, *some* legends* as decided upon by the DM.
The general premise in The Rules, however, is that Game World
functions as does Real World.
On some levels.
Exactly and a premise that requires evolution is not one of those
levels. There is at least one sub type of creature in the MM that is
specifically "non historical". Also, if the Gods created man then they
didn't evolve from monkeys into tool using cave dwellers and their
starting state is completely left to the DM. Many creation myths include
the gods living on Earth with men for at least a while, patrician Romans
believed they were the decedents of Jupiter.
Jovu
2003-08-02 09:05:43 UTC
Permalink
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which somehow
became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a material impact
on
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from any
Earth historical analog?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human
races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and
I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
Didn't Gary Gygax show us the classic change from Earth to D&D; Oerth or was
that Aerth or .... :)
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-02 14:19:43 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 01 Aug 2003 03:04:45 GMT, "Bryan J. Maloney"
Post by Bryan J. Maloney
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which
somehow became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from
any Earth historical analog?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human
races), and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that
Agreed. So much impact that it's far easier to pretend there is no
impact.
And there are far too many lazy DMs around.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Chris Rehm
2003-08-02 16:51:16 UTC
Permalink
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
I'm not sure you've got a valid foundation for premise, Marc.

It is a little funny to see some of the responses. Sure, we all have
opinions about how this could work or that could work, but it is just
silly to say, "It would be like this..." We can't really say how likely
our own western medieval era was. Was it an absolute that European,
North American, African, Asian, Australian, etc. societies would each
develop as they did? I find that unlikely.

So is your question supposed to be,

"If everything had evolved just like it did right up to the middle ages,
and suddenly 'poof', there are 2 million year old non-human races and
dragons and magic works, how would things have been different from then
on?"

or is it,

"If magic worked at the creation of the universe and the 'Big Bang' had
made lots of other planes of existence that match the ones in our D&D
books, and 15 billion years of galactic evolution had created our planet
and life had formed on it but it was magic life and from that elves and
dragons and humans had all evolved, would there have been a medieval
time like ours?"

Or what?

I don't think the first question allows for any real answer, because it
assumes an invalid circumstance, while the second allows for infinite
answers, all just as likely as the other.

D&D worlds are creationist. They really have to be. So "probability of
occurrence" is just mental masturbation. If a DM thinks his world is
"more likely" than others, he's just stroking his own ego.

My opinion is this: It is obviously a complete waste of time for a DM to
try to design a world "the way it would really be" because examining
that premise (above) shows it to be a farce. Instead, a DM is supposed
to be trying to create a game where players can have fun. So, picking
out the medieval civilization as a starting point, adding magic elements
based on mythology, and applying rules to _make_ that world consistent
with itself, is a heck of a lot smarter solution.

I would be willing to bet that there is not one campaign world without
an exploitable "loophole" of logic that a player could manipulate to
alter game balance.

You know, I've played on boards where the DM has spent endless hours
designing kingdoms, maps, societies, magic infrastructures to cities,
even magic based vehicles and military weapons similar to some of the
technology based stuff we see today. But mostly the DM was entertaining
himself. You know, you say, "I want to play a cleric, what are the
deities for a chaotic neutral type?" and then you have to listen to an
hour of the upside and downside to choosing this or that deity before
you can decide. Dozing off in the middle means you miss part of it, so
you have to switch, "Oh, maybe I'll play a magic user. What are my
choices so that I'll have some bonus spells?" and then you are hip deep
in everything from which countries have the best magic universities to
how a half-elf/half-dragon can really learn some spells, but they tend
to get poor reactions in bars.

Six hours later you're done jotting down your plain human fighter
because it turns out that is the only character concept left that you
can understand in just one day. At this point, your character takes his
few remaining gold and hangs out in a tavern, listening to the DM
describe all the other tavern patrons. On and on.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-03 14:32:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
I'm not sure you've got a valid foundation for premise, Marc.
It is a little funny to see some of the responses. Sure, we all have
opinions about how this could work or that could work, but it is just
silly to say, "It would be like this..." We can't really say how likely
our own western medieval era was. Was it an absolute that European,
North American, African, Asian, Australian, etc. societies would each
develop as they did? I find that unlikely.
So is your question supposed to be,
"If everything had evolved just like it did right up to the middle ages,
and suddenly 'poof', there are 2 million year old non-human races and
dragons and magic works, how would things have been different from then
on?"
or is it,
"If magic worked at the creation of the universe and the 'Big Bang' had
made lots of other planes of existence that match the ones in our D&D
books, and 15 billion years of galactic evolution had created our planet
and life had formed on it but it was magic life and from that elves and
dragons and humans had all evolved, would there have been a medieval
time like ours?"
Or what?
It could be either.
Post by Chris Rehm
I don't think the first question allows for any real answer, because it
assumes an invalid circumstance, while the second allows for infinite
answers, all just as likely as the other.
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to determine
what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the standard setting is
unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming, it has no special relevance
for determining what is or is not likely as some people give it.

I object to people speaking of the setting as if some silly chart in the DMG
abuot the level of clerics in a village really matters to how a fantasy
world could develop. That is it. I speak out, lone and abused, for the
freedom of refs to use their own judgement. I find the attitude on this NG
frequently stifling.

Big ;-) on the above paragraph.

Marc
Post by Chris Rehm
D&D worlds are creationist. They really have to be. So "probability of
occurrence" is just mental masturbation. If a DM thinks his world is
"more likely" than others, he's just stroking his own ego.
My opinion is this: It is obviously a complete waste of time for a DM to
try to design a world "the way it would really be" because examining
that premise (above) shows it to be a farce. Instead, a DM is supposed
to be trying to create a game where players can have fun. So, picking
out the medieval civilization as a starting point, adding magic elements
based on mythology, and applying rules to _make_ that world consistent
with itself, is a heck of a lot smarter solution.
I would be willing to bet that there is not one campaign world without
an exploitable "loophole" of logic that a player could manipulate to
alter game balance.
You know, I've played on boards where the DM has spent endless hours
designing kingdoms, maps, societies, magic infrastructures to cities,
even magic based vehicles and military weapons similar to some of the
technology based stuff we see today. But mostly the DM was entertaining
himself. You know, you say, "I want to play a cleric, what are the
deities for a chaotic neutral type?" and then you have to listen to an
hour of the upside and downside to choosing this or that deity before
you can decide. Dozing off in the middle means you miss part of it, so
you have to switch, "Oh, maybe I'll play a magic user. What are my
choices so that I'll have some bonus spells?" and then you are hip deep
in everything from which countries have the best magic universities to
how a half-elf/half-dragon can really learn some spells, but they tend
to get poor reactions in bars.
Six hours later you're done jotting down your plain human fighter
because it turns out that is the only character concept left that you
can understand in just one day. At this point, your character takes his
few remaining gold and hangs out in a tavern, listening to the DM
describe all the other tavern patrons. On and on.
--
Chris Rehm
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-03 19:20:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to
determine what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the
standard setting is unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming,
it has no special relevance for determining what is or is not likely
as some people give it.
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval setting
is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world, because the D&D
rules don't screw up any of the key elements of "medievalness." If you
think medieval settings are boring, then just say so, but quit trying to
sugarcoat it with an aura of elitist pseudo-intellectualism.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Neelakantan Krishnaswami
2003-08-04 14:44:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to
determine what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the
standard setting is unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming,
it has no special relevance for determining what is or is not likely
as some people give it.
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval
setting is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world,
because the D&D rules don't screw up any of the key elements of
"medievalness."
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct. Assuming that
the hurdle rate for capital investments is 10%, then you need to take
in 4700 gp/year for this to be a profitable investment. Supposing that
one hundred people travel between the two cities each day (a wildly
conservative underestimate for major cities), then there are 36,500
trips/year, which means that the teleportation circle operators need
to charge a fee of slightly above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be
profitable.

If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price. I'd expect world trade to
be rather more "globalized" in D&D-world than it is even in the modern
day. A world in which a casual laborer can live in Hangchou and
commute daily to Istanbul or London for his work is many things, but
the one thing it is not is medieval.
--
Neel Krishnaswami
***@alum.mit.edu
Chris Rehm
2003-08-04 15:24:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval
setting is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world,
because the D&D rules don't screw up any of the key elements of
"medievalness."
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct. Assuming that
the hurdle rate for capital investments is 10%, then you need to take
in 4700 gp/year for this to be a profitable investment. Supposing that
one hundred people travel between the two cities each day (a wildly
conservative underestimate for major cities), then there are 36,500
trips/year, which means that the teleportation circle operators need
to charge a fee of slightly above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be
profitable.
If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price. I'd expect world trade to
be rather more "globalized" in D&D-world than it is even in the modern
day. A world in which a casual laborer can live in Hangchou and
commute daily to Istanbul or London for his work is many things, but
the one thing it is not is medieval.
I created a similar construct IMC some years back because I'd been
running a lot of Palladium and liked the way circles worked. Anyway, I
thought, "This will give me a way for players to zip between these major
cities." I just made one set, I figured I'd grow them. I didn't really
have any rules for how they'd work, so I just decided they were newly
researched magical items and they required a permanency spell, making
them expensive. I didn't want to build in "charges."

Anyway, what became annoying to me was the "portal management overhead."
When I first decided I'd make it open to the public, I had thoughts of
merchants marching caravans through and all. I realized that would give
some merchants big advantages over others, so I (as in the game
government) had to figure out who would be allowed to, and when so they
wouldn't be running into guys coming through from the other side.

Well, I made up a lottery system. There are other possible systems, I
chose lottery because the kingdom involved was supposed to be very
goodly and they wanted everyone to have a fair shot at it.

Then, the first day I introduced this to my players, I realized that one
of the players had a good reason for wanting to wreck the portal. His
character was from a kingdom that competed a lot with the one that had
the portal. This economic boon could be a problem for them. Besides,
this meant that troops could be moved in a hurry from one end of the
kingdom to the other. So, "on the fly" I tossed in some extra defenders
and defensive structures.

Later, I had to evaluate how safety and security might affect the
possible traffic flow. I had some issues with the lottery again, because
I realized (when I was thinking about screening who got to go) that
lottery entrants (which I reserved for natives of the country) could
simply sell of their place in line to just anyone. There wasn't any sort
of national ID system to make sure that the guys going through were
really the ones I wanted to.

What I determined after a lot of effort was that the construct wasn't
very workable as I envisioned it. Such tools would be valuable, but they
would tend to be created by and defended by the elite. That really
doesn't change much in the medieval world. It is certainly a change for
the elite, it makes them even more powerful when compared to the masses.

I figure there is the possibility that over a long time such things
might grow into broader use.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
JB
2003-08-04 15:52:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to
determine what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the
standard setting is unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming,
it has no special relevance for determining what is or is not likely
as some people give it.
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval
setting is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world,
because the D&D rules don't screw up any of the key elements of
"medievalness."
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct. Assuming that
the hurdle rate for capital investments is 10%, then you need to take
in 4700 gp/year for this to be a profitable investment. Supposing that
one hundred people travel between the two cities each day (a wildly
conservative underestimate for major cities)
Teleportation circle is a 9th level spell. Thus your cost will be

10*9*18 = 1620gp plus the 1000gp material component = 2620 gp or 5,240gp
for the pair.

Permanency requires a 17th level caster minimum yielding a cost of

10*5*17 = 850gp plus (4500 * 5= 22,500gp cost for the XP) = 23,350gp or
46,700gp for the pair.

Total spell casting cost 51,940gp.

That's to simply locate it in the middle of the street. Security and
structure costs need to be added on. Your rival, after all, could simply
pay 10*6*20 = 1200gp and have a 65% chance per spend of dispelling it.
They could try that over 40 times before the costs match and given that
finances are secondary to finding 17+ level spell casters with 4,500 xp
to spare the ball is firmly in their court.

For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the two
cities? If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have 95%
of the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time. We have a society, nay a whole host of societies, that made
absolutely no investment in infrastructure which actually declined into
virtual nothingness throughout the period (before the fall of Rome until
the 18th Century in the more developed places). They didn't invest
because they didn't need to. Goods could be had locally because industry
was small numbers of skilled craftsman. The only large population
movements occured during times of war (and troop deployment or
mobilization is about the only useful large scale function that
teleportation circle provides between two nominally medieval cities).
That's going to make some difference unless you agree with the likes of
Akoss who doesn't see the benefit of a standing army of Low levellers.

Do you envisage that 100 people per day, everyday of the year would have
wished to travel between London and York?
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
, then there are 36,500
trips/year, which means that the teleportation circle operators need
to charge a fee of slightly above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be
profitable.
1sp is the daily wage of a labourer and they require virually all their
money to scratch but a basic existance.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price.
Medieval cities were surrounded by their own growing areas. There is no
need to transport grain from another city (besides which you already
have to import the grain into that city from it's local growing areas).
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
I'd expect world trade to
be rather more "globalized" in D&D-world than it is even in the modern
day. A world in which a casual laborer can live in Hangchou and
commute daily to Istanbul or London for his work is many things, but
the one thing it is not is medieval.
A casual labourer under your system would have to spend his wage in it's
entirety to make a one way trip. Besides which D&D cities have enough
casual labour locally to fulfill their needs. There is no mass industry
labour requirement in D&D because there is no industry. Labour is
agriculturally based and consequently spread out.

Besides which local leaders may be highly wary of letting in a mass of
strange foreigners. Unless Hangchou was part of the British or Turkish
Empires why would leaders allow Hangchou residents and potential enemies
teleport at will into their city.

Like many others you looking at it from a modern world perspective but
you haven't accounted for the differences which drove the modern world
developments.
Neelakantan Krishnaswami
2003-08-04 17:26:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by JB
For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the two
cities?
Pilgrimages, negotiating business deals, tourism, diplomatic missions,
visiting distant family, escaping bad love affairs, trying to find
good ones, sales trips, finding better jobs -- you know, the whole
host of reasons people have historically travelled.
Post by JB
If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have 95% of
the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time. We have a society, nay a whole host of societies, that made
absolutely no investment in infrastructure which actually declined
into virtual nothingness throughout the period (before the fall of
Rome until the 18th Century in the more developed places). They
didn't invest because they didn't need to. Goods could be had
locally because industry was small numbers of skilled craftsman. The
only large population movements occured during times of war (and
troop deployment or mobilization is about the only useful large
scale function that teleportation circle provides between two
nominally medieval cities). That's going to make some difference
unless you agree with the likes of Akoss who doesn't see the benefit
of a standing army of Low levellers.
Your understanding of the medieval period is, basically, wholly
wrong. There was a quite a bit of trade and travel going on in the
middle ages, because specialization and division of labor worked just
as well during the middle ages as before and after it. Lower transport
costs some more, and the amount of trade (already considerable), goes
up even more.

The population density of Europe exceeded Roman levels around by 1000
AD (due to the invention of deep plowing techniques), and travel was
both common, and unremarkable. Go read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the
characters' pilgrimage to Canterbury is not exactly an unheard-of
occurrence.
Post by JB
Do you envisage that 100 people per day, everyday of the year would
have wished to travel between London and York?
York probably wasn't big enough, but it would have been very
attractive to link London and, say, Constantinople. London was a major
artisanal center in Europe (the Industrial Revolution may well have
happened in England rather than anywhere else because London was the
only such center in the world that was also close to coal deposits),
and a big city is a major market.

It becomes a certainty once you start talking about linking the large
cities of the ancient world, like Constantinople and Hangchow. The
Silk Road took *years* to cross, and trade was still profitable enough
for people to travel it on a regular basis. If you can make it
instantaneous then it will happen with much greater frequency and
intensity.
Post by JB
then there are 36,500 trips/year, which means that the
teleportation circle operators need to charge a fee of slightly
above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be profitable.
1sp is the daily wage of a labourer and they require virually all
their money to scratch but a basic existance.
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer. Someone with even one
rank in a Profession or Craft skill is going to earn much closer to 1
gp/day. The marginal increase in income is so great that I'd expect
most D&D commoners to have some ranks in those skills.
Post by JB
If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price.
Medieval cities were surrounded by their own growing areas. There is
no need to transport grain from another city (besides which you
already have to import the grain into that city from it's local
growing areas).
Food supplies were typically the limiting factor on the size of
ancient cities. Most of the great cities of antiquity, lay at the
intersection of several rivers, which gave them huge alluvial plains
for agricultural production. (Rome was a major exception, but they
used sea transport on the Mediterranean to get grain.) Open up the
food supply and cities can grow larger.
Post by JB
A casual labourer under your system would have to spend his wage in
it's entirety to make a one way trip. Besides which D&D cities have
enough casual labour locally to fulfill their needs. There is no
mass industry labour requirement in D&D because there is no
industry. Labour is agriculturally based and consequently spread
out.
First, he'd need to spend .09 copper pieces, under 2% of his income
for a two-way trip. A casually skilled worker would need to spend .2%
of his or her income. (Note that I specified the medieval cities with
populations in the millions, to make the assumption of full
utilization plausible.)
Post by JB
Besides which local leaders may be highly wary of letting in a mass
of strange foreigners. Unless Hangchou was part of the British or
Turkish Empires why would leaders allow Hangchou residents and
potential enemies teleport at will into their city.
That's not what medieval cities actually did! They were generally
extremely welcoming to new immigrants, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway); and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Post by JB
Like many others you looking at it from a modern world perspective
but you haven't accounted for the differences which drove the modern
world developments.
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
--
Neel Krishnaswami
***@alum.mit.edu
Chris Rehm
2003-08-04 19:29:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer. Someone with even one
rank in a Profession or Craft skill is going to earn much closer to 1
gp/day. The marginal increase in income is so great that I'd expect
most D&D commoners to have some ranks in those skills.
Wouldn't they just skip that and go right to Cleric?
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Food supplies were typically the limiting factor on the size of
ancient cities. Most of the great cities of antiquity, lay at the
intersection of several rivers, which gave them huge alluvial plains
for agricultural production. (Rome was a major exception, but they
used sea transport on the Mediterranean to get grain.) Open up the
food supply and cities can grow larger.
Well, there's still the question of water supplies and working plumbing,
right? Pack in 10 times as many people all emptying their chamber pots
in the street, and the city isn't the attractive metropolis we all hoped.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
First, he'd need to spend .09 copper pieces, under 2% of his income
for a two-way trip. A casually skilled worker would need to spend .2%
of his or her income. (Note that I specified the medieval cities with
populations in the millions, to make the assumption of full
utilization plausible.)
But couldn't you take a second look at your hypothesis?

First, who made this circle and why? Is there some benevolent medieval
dictator you think was willing to invest the money in creating such a
device for the benefit of the masses? You seem to consider it as a
"profit" motive. What medieval lord do you feel ever had the inclination
to risk their own capital to market to the poor?

Your supposition of 14,400 travelers each way per day sort of assumes a
fairly well organized effort doesn't it? But your costs don't seem to
take into account any of the effort to organize. I also notice you
mention above ".09 copper pieces ... for a two-way trip." How does the
guy know he'll be able to get in line to return? If there is enough of a
demand to fill all your time slots, how does anyone have a shot at
getting into a time slot they want?

Aside from the fact that I can't see why anyone would build it (for
other than their own use or purposes) and I sure don't see how it would
get anywhere near the utilization you envision, I also cannot see how it
is world changing.

Yes, now people can buy goods from far away lands. But interest in those
goods, now common, would be less. In the end, all you've done is add
more streets to the city. The poor have no greater access to the lives
of the rich, nor any stronger claim to power.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That's not what medieval cities actually did! They were generally
extremely welcoming to new immigrants, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway); and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Well, isn't that another reason your public teleport wouldn't get built?
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
In the medieval times, the classes were more separate than today. You
are looking at them as if their middle class controlled a large portion
of the wealth. That was not so. The middle class was small and made
their money from the rich. Your economic model has the rich making a
large investment to sell cheaply to the poor.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Brad Murray
2003-08-04 20:47:36 UTC
Permalink
Chris Rehm <***@mammothdungeons.com> wrote:
CR> Wouldn't they just skip that and go right to Cleric?

Maybe they don't have the faith to be a Cleric. Maybe the constraints
of the religion are not worth the advantage to that person. There are
plenty of motivational forces outside of ones stat block.
--
Brad Murray * "It is possible to forget that the vital idea of democracy
VSCA Founder * -- government of the people, by the people, for the people
* -- does not constitute a form of escape from government."
* -- Joseph Tussman through John Dixon
Neelakantan Krishnaswami
2003-08-04 21:21:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer. Someone with even one
rank in a Profession or Craft skill is going to earn much closer to 1
gp/day. The marginal increase in income is so great that I'd expect
most D&D commoners to have some ranks in those skills.
Wouldn't they just skip that and go right to Cleric?
I think we may safely assume that except in unusual settings there are
greater divine limitations on learning to be a priest, than there are
to learning basketweaving. :)
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Food supplies were typically the limiting factor on the size of
ancient cities. Most of the great cities of antiquity, lay at the
intersection of several rivers, which gave them huge alluvial plains
for agricultural production. (Rome was a major exception, but they
used sea transport on the Mediterranean to get grain.) Open up the
food supply and cities can grow larger.
Well, there's still the question of water supplies and working
plumbing, right? Pack in 10 times as many people all emptying their
chamber pots in the street, and the city isn't the attractive
metropolis we all hoped.
Well-developed plumbing systems were known in 2500 BC to civilizations
like Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa, including things like underground
sewage drains and indoor running water. This technology was never
totally lost, so once the transportation costs drop sufficiently
plumbers from advanced cities would be able to sell their expertise to
the global market.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
First, he'd need to spend .09 copper pieces, under 2% of his income
for a two-way trip. A casually skilled worker would need to spend .2%
of his or her income. (Note that I specified the medieval cities with
populations in the millions, to make the assumption of full
utilization plausible.)
But couldn't you take a second look at your hypothesis?
First, who made this circle and why? Is there some benevolent
medieval dictator you think was willing to invest the money in
creating such a device for the benefit of the masses? You seem to
consider it as a "profit" motive. What medieval lord do you feel
ever had the inclination to risk their own capital to market to the
poor?
So, why do you think that many medieval lords went to the trouble of
building large, expensive, communal ovens, forbidding their serfs from
baking their bread in private ovens, and then charging them a fee for
access to the communal oven? I think that the only plausible
explanation for this behavior is that the lord spent a lot of his
capital in an attempt to extract money from the poor.
Post by Chris Rehm
Aside from the fact that I can't see why anyone would build it (for
other than their own use or purposes) and I sure don't see how it
would get anywhere near the utilization you envision, I also cannot
see how it is world changing.
You need that kind of utilization in order to move substantial
quantities of grain through a teleport gate, since only carried
objects come through. So you have a system of porters coming through,
picking up a sack of grain, teleporting across. and returning for the
next sack. Assuming that you move 50-pound sacks each time, then you
can bring in 720 tons of grain per day, or 7200 gp worth of wheat per
day.

Assuming that you use the gate a little more than three months out of
the year (100 days/year), then the gate will add a cost of ~5000 gp to
shipping 720,000 gp worth of grain, or about 0.7% in shipping costs.
Even if you multiply the costs by a factor of *five* for random other
costs, it's still a dirt cheap way of moving huge amounts of stuff.
Post by Chris Rehm
Yes, now people can buy goods from far away lands. But interest in
those goods, now common, would be less.
This is exactly backwards. The price would fall, of course, but lower
the price of a good and demand rises.
Post by Chris Rehm
In the end, all you've done is add more streets to the city. The
poor have no greater access to the lives of the rich, nor any
stronger claim to power.
Yes, "all" this does is add streets to each city. But: why do you
think people move from small towns to metropoli like New York or
Paris? Adding streets involves a rather striking qualitative change in
the nature of social life. Namely, the number of subcultures a city
can support is much greater than the same population divided among a
thousand towns, because you can get enough people together in one
place that they can form a self-sustaining community. That's why
science, art, philosophy, and most of the rest of high culture
developed in cities rather than in rural settings. So connect many of
the urbs in the world together, and progress would naturally get a
massive turbocharge, as best practices from the whole world are now
easily available, and because the world's scholars could far more
easily communicate with each other.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That's not what medieval cities actually did! They were generally
extremely welcoming to new immigrants, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway); and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Well, isn't that another reason your public teleport wouldn't get built?
Quite the opposite. It's evidence that medieval lords and towns were
fully cognizant of the profit motive, and acted upon it. They did not
hesitate to "poach" peasants from each other. The sheer number of laws
demonstrates that efforts to stop this did not work very well, just as
economics would predict.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
In the medieval times, the classes were more separate than
today. You are looking at them as if their middle class controlled a
large portion of the wealth. That was not so. The middle class was
small and made their money from the rich. Your economic model has
the rich making a large investment to sell cheaply to the poor.
Yes, like they actually did.

--
Neel Krishnaswami
***@alum.mit.edu
Chris Rehm
2003-08-04 22:10:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by Chris Rehm
Well, there's still the question of water supplies and working
plumbing, right? Pack in 10 times as many people all emptying their
chamber pots in the street, and the city isn't the attractive
metropolis we all hoped.
Well-developed plumbing systems were known in 2500 BC to civilizations
like Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa, including things like underground
sewage drains and indoor running water. This technology was never
totally lost, so once the transportation costs drop sufficiently
plumbers from advanced cities would be able to sell their expertise to
the global market.
This technology was available to many anyway. However, there was not the
incentive to pay for it. It is a fallacy to think that just because
there was a beneficial technology available, some noble was going to
spend his cash to make it available to the masses. Those with money did
not have to suffer the difficulties that those without money did.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
So, why do you think that many medieval lords went to the trouble of
building large, expensive, communal ovens, forbidding their serfs from
baking their bread in private ovens, and then charging them a fee for
access to the communal oven? I think that the only plausible
explanation for this behavior is that the lord spent a lot of his
capital in an attempt to extract money from the poor.
Your example is directly contrary to the premise of the teleport pad.
You show that the medieval lord (although I question your use of "many")
was willing to take steps to extract money from masses. However, your
teleport example is one where the lord makes a rather large investment
in a product which empowers the masses (making them less dependent on
him, since they can now move away if they want) in the hopes of
attracting the peasants as customers for him to serve.

You have shown there is no precedence for the case you are making.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
You need that kind of utilization in order to move substantial
quantities of grain through a teleport gate, since only carried
objects come through. So you have a system of porters coming through,
picking up a sack of grain, teleporting across. and returning for the
next sack. Assuming that you move 50-pound sacks each time, then you
can bring in 720 tons of grain per day, or 7200 gp worth of wheat per
day.
Sure, provided the other side of the portal is a place interested in
importing your grain.

Again, your own thesis contradicts you:

If you have (as you've postulated) two cities of a million or more
population, which you use in order to justify the traffic level you need
for your project, then both cities will already have a food supply
infrastructure of their own, right? It would be doubtful that either
would be accidentally bringing in double the amount of needed food. And
it would be quite coincidental to assume that every time one of their
markets dwindled the other had surplus.

Also, if you were the lord of either city, would you be willing to allow
your dependency on grain imported through the portal to grow to such a
level? A well timed dispel could push your city to starvation.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Assuming that you use the gate a little more than three months out of
the year (100 days/year), then the gate will add a cost of ~5000 gp to
shipping 720,000 gp worth of grain, or about 0.7% in shipping costs.
Even if you multiply the costs by a factor of *five* for random other
costs, it's still a dirt cheap way of moving huge amounts of stuff.
That's great, but to what avail? Usually you want to move from a
supplier to a consumer. The cities are both consumers. So you've already
spent money to move grain into city A before you add the expense of
moving it to city B. Then, you have postulated sales of 72,000 tons of
grain to justify this, but you don't have any reason to believe there is
a market for the grain.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
This is exactly backwards. The price would fall, of course, but lower
the price of a good and demand rises.
No, that isn't true. You have not demonstrated at all how prices would
fall. Price is only one factor and focusing on it will leave you with a
distorted view of economics. Intel 486 processors are available rather
cheap these days, but the demand doesn't seem to be shooting up. If AMD
wants to take more of Intel's market share, why don't they just sell
their processors for $5?

There are probably a limited number of people who need or want giant
purple hats with peacock feathers and their name hand embroidered along
the brim. Cutting the price of this good dramatically doesn't mean lots
more people will buy them.

It is a mistake to assume that dropping a price will sell more of a
product. It is also not always plausible. The farmer needs to make
enough to survive.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Yes, "all" this does is add streets to each city. But: why do you
think people move from small towns to metropoli like New York or
Paris? Adding streets involves a rather striking qualitative change in
the nature of social life. Namely, the number of subcultures a city
can support is much greater than the same population divided among a
thousand towns, because you can get enough people together in one
place that they can form a self-sustaining community. That's why
science, art, philosophy, and most of the rest of high culture
developed in cities rather than in rural settings. So connect many of
the urbs in the world together, and progress would naturally get a
massive turbocharge, as best practices from the whole world are now
easily available, and because the world's scholars could far more
easily communicate with each other.
No, you are attributing too much to urban socialization. The million
plus cities of the medieval world were not bastions of enlightenment.
The difference came in expanding the middle class. Science, art, and
philosophy are all great and wonderful things, but they make no
difference to those without access. Access was through money and social
class.

Your premise that this would have led to some "turbocharging" of social
change doesn't seem proved here. Sure, upper class individuals could
have communicated with each other better, but why would that speed them
granting access to the lower classes?
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That's not what medieval cities actually did! They were generally
extremely welcoming to new immigrants, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway); and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Well, isn't that another reason your public teleport wouldn't get built?
Quite the opposite. It's evidence that medieval lords and towns were
fully cognizant of the profit motive, and acted upon it. They did not
hesitate to "poach" peasants from each other. The sheer number of laws
demonstrates that efforts to stop this did not work very well, just as
economics would predict.
But your statement above is that medieval cities tried to stop guys from
moving away, right? And you are saying the same lord will spend a huge
stack of gold to build a teleport that goes away, right? Or are you
saying that lords would send their mages out to build inbound teleports
from other cities? Won't the lords there be inclined to shut them down?
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-04 23:36:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
So, why do you think that many medieval lords went to the trouble of
building large, expensive, communal ovens, forbidding their serfs
from baking their bread in private ovens, and then charging them a
fee for access to the communal oven? I think that the only plausible
explanation for this behavior is that the lord spent a lot of his
capital in an attempt to extract money from the poor.
Your example is directly contrary to the premise of the teleport pad.
You show that the medieval lord (although I question your use of
"many") was willing to take steps to extract money from masses.
However, your teleport example is one where the lord makes a rather
large investment in a product which empowers the masses (making them
less dependent on him, since they can now move away if they want) in
the hopes of attracting the peasants as customers for him to serve.
That's my major problem with the idea too. It requires a huge capital
investment and transfers power from the ruling class to the working
class. That's a highly anachronistic kind of technological advance.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
JB
2003-08-05 08:39:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the two
cities?
Pilgrimages, negotiating business deals, tourism, diplomatic missions,
visiting distant family, escaping bad love affairs, trying to find
good ones, sales trips, finding better jobs -- you know, the whole
host of reasons people have historically travelled.
You've named two medieval reasons for travel and neither were very
common.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have 95% of
the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time. We have a society, nay a whole host of societies, that made
absolutely no investment in infrastructure which actually declined
into virtual nothingness throughout the period (before the fall of
Rome until the 18th Century in the more developed places). They
didn't invest because they didn't need to. Goods could be had
locally because industry was small numbers of skilled craftsman. The
only large population movements occured during times of war (and
troop deployment or mobilization is about the only useful large
scale function that teleportation circle provides between two
nominally medieval cities). That's going to make some difference
unless you agree with the likes of Akoss who doesn't see the benefit
of a standing army of Low levellers.
Your understanding of the medieval period is, basically, wholly
wrong.
We'll see about that. I rather suspect you have absolutely no idea about
my understanding of the medieval era because your post is full of non
sequiturs
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
There was a quite a bit of trade and travel going on in the
middle ages, because specialization and division of labor worked just
as well during the middle ages as before and after it.
Where have I claimed that there is no trade? Hint: You can still have
long distance trade with 99% of your population never travelling further
than the nearest market. Staying at home will be made easier by having a
teleporter.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Lower transport
costs some more, and the amount of trade (already considerable), goes
up even more.
How is spending over 100,000gp lowering transport costs? Your repayment
model relies on a never ending cue of people just waiting to use the
transporter for no apparent reason. You don't get to snip out my D&D
objections and pretend they don't exist bub.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
The population density of Europe exceeded Roman levels around by 1000
AD (due to the invention of deep plowing techniques), and travel was
both common, and unremarkable.
Population density and prevelance of travel are distinct. This claim
makes no sense.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Go read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the
characters' pilgrimage to Canterbury is not exactly an unheard-of
occurrence.
You're citing Chaucer's works as evidence of mass medieval travel? Sorry
but low levels of population movement is a feature of medieval Europe
and it's such a basic principle that I probably can't even give you a
citation. Drive from the North of England to London and see how many
different dialects you encounter within 20 miles or so of each other
even now. That's because of medieval population habits.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Do you envisage that 100 people per day, everyday of the year would
have wished to travel between London and York?
York probably wasn't big enough, but it would have been very
attractive to link London and, say, Constantinople.
Yes look what happened when a bunch of Westerners did visit
Constantinople. I'm sure they *couldn't* wait to develop a permanent
teleportation gate to let more in!

This is another major flaw in your model. Trusting those of another
Nationality and distinct culture and religion.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
London was a major
artisanal center in Europe (the Industrial Revolution may well have
happened in England rather than anywhere else because London was the
only such center in the world that was also close to coal deposits),
and a big city is a major market.
Another non sequitur.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
It becomes a certainty once you start talking about linking the large
cities of the ancient world, like Constantinople and Hangchow. The
Silk Road took *years* to cross, and trade was still profitable enough
for people to travel it on a regular basis.
Actually trade from the East was intermittant. It ceased for generations
at a time and neither the economies of the West or East collapsed as the
trade was largely luxury goods. Importing significantly more, even if
the price is consequently slashed, isn't going to increase demand
because they aren't stable goods. So the rich have better access to
spices and silks. If you maintain pre gate prices your portal is going
to take generations to pay for itself assuming that the Eastern
Potentates who are now pretty pissed about losing their trade monopoly
pay a trivial sum to have your portal destroyed.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
If you can make it
instantaneous then it will happen with much greater frequency and
intensity.
No. You need a market for your goods and medieval people existed on a
subsistence level. Less than 1% will be able to afford luxury items and
staples are all available locally. That's a feature of medieval life
depsite your denial.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
then there are 36,500 trips/year, which means that the
teleportation circle operators need to charge a fee of slightly
above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be profitable.
1sp is the daily wage of a labourer and they require virually all
their money to scratch but a basic existance.
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer.
Which is most of your population. 9 out of 10 are farmers remember. In
cities you'll find your craftsmen but most people are still unskilled
labourers
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Someone with even one
rank in a Profession or Craft skill is going to earn much closer to 1
gp/day. The marginal increase in income is so great that I'd expect
most D&D commoners to have some ranks in those skills.
Expect what you like, it makes no difference because btb it doesn't
happen and in medieval society it doesn't happen. Those ranks in a craft
skill are the same as serving out an apprenticeship and they were
valuable positions.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price.
Medieval cities were surrounded by their own growing areas. There is
no need to transport grain from another city (besides which you
already have to import the grain into that city from it's local
growing areas).
Food supplies were typically the limiting factor on the size of
ancient cities. Most of the great cities of antiquity, lay at the
intersection of several rivers, which gave them huge alluvial plains
for agricultural production. (Rome was a major exception, but they
used sea transport on the Mediterranean to get grain.) Open up the
food supply and cities can grow larger.
Unfortunately by linking two large cities you've failed to do that
unless one is in a subserviant position to the other. Otherwise they're
going to want their *own* grain so they can grow. Rome didn't important
grain from other major cities.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
A casual labourer under your system would have to spend his wage in
it's entirety to make a one way trip. Besides which D&D cities have
enough casual labour locally to fulfill their needs. There is no
mass industry labour requirement in D&D because there is no
industry. Labour is agriculturally based and consequently spread
out.
First, he'd need to spend .09 copper pieces, under 2% of his income
for a two-way trip.
Sorry bub. You don't get to snip out my D&D objections and pretend they
don't exist. Your "line around the block" model is stupid and you've
failed to cost in security.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Besides which local leaders may be highly wary of letting in a mass
of strange foreigners. Unless Hangchou was part of the British or
Turkish Empires why would leaders allow Hangchou residents and
potential enemies teleport at will into their city.
That's not what medieval cities actually did! They were generally
extremely welcoming to new immigrants
Rubbish. Tolerant of those from the same religion maybe but immigration
was extremely rare and small scale. Jews moved around Europe, look how
they were met in the various Medieval cities.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway)
That's a spurious assumption. Feudal bonds like this were simply formal
statements of a serfs rights which were virtually zero.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
; and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Citation for mass serf migrations please.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Like many others you looking at it from a modern world perspective
but you haven't accounted for the differences which drove the modern
world developments.
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
Non sequitur. Commercial opportunity and mass peasant travel are two
separate issues.
Neelakantan Krishnaswami
2003-08-05 16:07:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by JB
Lower transport costs some more, and the amount of trade (already
considerable), goes up even more.
How is spending over 100,000gp lowering transport costs? Your
repayment model relies on a never ending cue of people just waiting
to use the transporter for no apparent reason. You don't get to snip
out my D&D objections and pretend they don't exist bub.
First, the total capital investment for a bidirectional link (a pair
of gates) is ~51500 gp, which implies finance costs of about 5150 per
year. But I'll take your figure, to account for your objections about
security, and then you'll have ongoing costs of 10000 gp/year. That
means you require an additional revenue of 27 gp/day to make it a
profitable investment.

Now, it's obvious that gaining immediate access to the markets of
Byzantium or Chang'an will offer gains from trade that are rather
larger than 27 gp/day. So I think that people would build these gates
because the profit opportunities they offer are too great to neglect,
and that in turn the existence of the gates would enable mass
mobility.

I neglected your objections about the ease of dispelling because they
are special pleading. Ordinary buildings also cost thousands of gold
pieces to construct, and can be destroyed with a 1 cp torch. This is a
far less encouraging exchange ratio than the dispel, and requires much
less specialized and expensive equipment. So if the society has enough
stability to make building a building a reasonably safe investment, it
must also be capable of adequately protecting a teleport gate.

-*-*-*- Random quibbles -*-*-*-
Post by JB
The population density of Europe exceeded Roman levels around by 1000
AD (due to the invention of deep plowing techniques), and travel was
both common, and unremarkable.
Population density and prevelance of travel are distinct. This claim
makes no sense.
Wrong. Higher density populations can support a greater degree of
labor specialization, which means that a greater variety of goods can
be produced and then there's more stuff to trade. That's why the
population collapse in the Western Roman Empire (due to soil
exhaustion) led to the Dark Ages in the first place -- the economy
could no longer generate enough specialists to support the old Roman
infrastructure. Once the population recovered, so did the technical
and economic base. And with the recovery of the economy, so too did
trade and travel recover.

These people didn't build cathedrals because no one would visit them!
Post by JB
Go read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the
characters' pilgrimage to Canterbury is not exactly an unheard-of
occurrence.
You're citing Chaucer's works as evidence of mass medieval travel?
Sorry but low levels of population movement is a feature of medieval
Europe and it's such a basic principle that I probably can't even
give you a citation. Drive from the North of England to London and
see how many different dialects you encounter within 20 miles or so
of each other even now. That's because of medieval population
habits.
However, I can give you a citation. Go read Jean Verdon's _Travel in
the Middle Ages_. Travel was dangerous, yes, but people did quite a
bit of it.

<http://www3.undpress.nd.edu/catalogs/Spring2003/0-268-04222-5.php>
Post by JB
London was a major
artisanal center in Europe (the Industrial Revolution may well have
happened in England rather than anywhere else because London was the
only such center in the world that was also close to coal deposits),
and a big city is a major market.
Another non sequitur.
Let me spell it out, then. An increase in the size of the market for
goods means that you can get higher prices and specialize to a greater
extent, which both raise your profits. London, as one of the artisanal
centers of preindustrial Europe, was in a very good position to reap
large rewards from this effect.
Post by JB
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer.
Which is most of your population. 9 out of 10 are farmers remember. In
cities you'll find your craftsmen but most people are still unskilled
labourers.
You're suggesting that someone who has worked the land for years
wouldn't have even one rank in Profession(Farmer), that all his
experience and practice count for exactly nothing, and that you could
get precisely the same output with any other warm body.

That's just stupid.
Post by JB
, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway)
That's a spurious assumption. Feudal bonds like this were simply
formal statements of a serfs rights which were virtually zero.
; and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Citation for mass serf migrations please.
There's a difference between formal and actual rights. Serfs had no
significant rights in theory, but in practice they were somewhat
greater due to labor shortages -- lords had to compete for workers,
which meant that their wages/rights got bid up.

For example, in 1351 Edward III of England passed the Statute of
Laborers, which forbade employers from paying more than the customary
wage to laborers. This was because many peasants were moving to the
cities, becoming craftsmen and using their greater earnings to commute
their feudal obligations with cash. So the nobility petitioned the
king to get him to force the serfs back into the fields.

They would have had no need to do this if labor mobility wasn't a
problem for them. And at any rate, it didn't work very well: the
Statute of Laborers led to the English Peasants' War, which come to
think of it, is an example of a mass peasant movement. In 1381 an army
of 60,000 peasants marched on London, which is about twice the
population of the whole city!
Post by JB
Post by JB
Like many others you looking at it from a modern world perspective
but you haven't accounted for the differences which drove the modern
world developments.
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
Non sequitur. Commercial opportunity and mass peasant travel are two
separate issues.
Again: commercial opportunity in a medieval world + D&D magic would
lead to the construction of teleport gates between urban centers and
between the urbs and their peripheries. This would then in turn enable
mass travel, because the capacity of the teleport gates is stonkingly
high, and there's no marginal cost involved in running the gates at
full capacity.
--
Neel Krishnaswami
***@alum.mit.edu
Chris Rehm
2003-08-05 20:46:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Now, it's obvious that gaining immediate access to the markets of
Byzantium or Chang'an will offer gains from trade that are rather
larger than 27 gp/day.
Why? Is that like how opening our borders to free trade from the north
and south will lead to flocks of buyers coming to the US to buy our goods?

Besides, your gate builder hasn't "gained" access to those markets, he's
"given" it. If it was a private venture that he was going to use to move
goods that he is selling himself, that might match your "gaining access"
theory, but that is contrary to your whole proposal.

How does it benefit our gate builder to collect your .09 of a copper
from the noble on their way to buy the silks direct from the supplier?
Isn't your gate builder cutting his own throat by charging a pittance so
that the rich can go spend gold in other people's cities?
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
So I think that people would build these gates
because the profit opportunities they offer are too great to neglect,
and that in turn the existence of the gates would enable mass
mobility.
Please try to provide some examples to support this theory. You say
"profit opportunities" but so far your only economic model is a "break
even" venture that requires 24 hour traffic lined up.

You haven't given any reason why a liege would want to provide mass
mobility. You've even pointed out that historically lieges tried to
prevent their serfs from moving away.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
I neglected your objections about the ease of dispelling because they
are special pleading. Ordinary buildings also cost thousands of gold
pieces to construct, and can be destroyed with a 1 cp torch. This is a
far less encouraging exchange ratio than the dispel, and requires much
less specialized and expensive equipment. So if the society has enough
stability to make building a building a reasonably safe investment, it
must also be capable of adequately protecting a teleport gate.
I disagree. The teleport portal happens to also be a powerful military
artifact. Imagine if Rome could have used them to move her legions
around the world. Now, imagine if Rome was relying on them and someone
dispelled some of them with the legions stuck in one spot.

So when you've built a powerful military artifact, you should consider
the need to defend it as such. Like we do with aircraft carriers.

Of course, if these were common and easily replaced, dispelling one
wouldn't be such a big deal and wouldn't be such a big risk.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Let me spell it out, then. An increase in the size of the market for
goods means that you can get higher prices and specialize to a greater
extent, which both raise your profits. London, as one of the artisanal
centers of preindustrial Europe, was in a very good position to reap
large rewards from this effect.
Sure, so the middle class would have an interest in selling to the new
market. But the middle class doesn't have the ability to pay for this gate.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
There's a difference between formal and actual rights. Serfs had no
significant rights in theory, but in practice they were somewhat
greater due to labor shortages -- lords had to compete for workers,
which meant that their wages/rights got bid up.
So this would prompt a lord to set up a gate for serfs to head out
through? You keep making this gate look like a bad idea. However, make
it a 10gp trip tax (each way) and maybe there's a plan. If the serf is
can come up with 10 gp, well, they were probably able to leave some
other way. Otherwise, only the upper classes are likely to make much use
of the gate. This gives lords a chance to pal around with other lords,
and maybe would act to strengthen the hold the upper class has on society.

It would seem to me that this portal might add a level of stability to
the medieval social order, dragging it out a bit longer.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
They would have had no need to do this if labor mobility wasn't a
problem for them. And at any rate, it didn't work very well: the
Statute of Laborers led to the English Peasants' War, which come to
think of it, is an example of a mass peasant movement. In 1381 an army
of 60,000 peasants marched on London, which is about twice the
population of the whole city!
See, that's when you need that portal to get your troops in quick, or
your nobility out quick. In the case of the latter, come back with your
troops and kick some peasant rear.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
JB
2003-08-06 11:54:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Lower transport costs some more, and the amount of trade (already
considerable), goes up even more.
How is spending over 100,000gp lowering transport costs? Your
repayment model relies on a never ending cue of people just waiting
to use the transporter for no apparent reason. You don't get to snip
out my D&D objections and pretend they don't exist bub.
First, the total capital investment for a bidirectional link (a pair
of gates) is ~51500 gp, which implies finance costs of about 5150 per
year. But I'll take your figure, to account for your objections about
security, and then you'll have ongoing costs of 10000 gp/year. That
means you require an additional revenue of 27 gp/day to make it a
profitable investment.
That *isn't* my figure. That was simply a number plucked out of the air
to allow you to include accomodation for your portal. Factor in the cost
of employees to take the money from travellers. Levelled guards to stop
your enemies from destroying it and defensive magics and you could be
looking at hundreds of Gp per day on top of the return needed on your
investment.

Your model currently doesn't even require someone to sell tickets and
your portals are cast in the middle of the street. Given the danger
posed by dispel, doesn't that strike you as *stupid*?

[snip]
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
I neglected your objections about the ease of dispelling because they
are special pleading. Ordinary buildings also cost thousands of gold
pieces to construct, and can be destroyed with a 1 cp torch.
Your failure to see the difference is a sad indictment of your
analytical skills.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
-*-*-*- Random quibbles -*-*-*-
Post by JB
The population density of Europe exceeded Roman levels around by 1000
AD (due to the invention of deep plowing techniques), and travel was
both common, and unremarkable.
Population density and prevelance of travel are distinct. This claim
makes no sense.
Wrong. Higher density populations can support a greater degree of
labor specialization, which means that a greater variety of goods can
be produced and then there's more stuff to trade.
You need a market for those goods and they didn't exist because only a
small fraction of people had any disposable income. This too is *basic*
stuff. Just because you can produce something doesn't mean you can sell
it.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That's why the
population collapse in the Western Roman Empire (due to soil
exhaustion) led to the Dark Ages in the first place -- the economy
could no longer generate enough specialists to support the old Roman
infrastructure. Once the population recovered, so did the technical
and economic base. And with the recovery of the economy, so too did
trade and travel recover.
There are many theories surrounding the collapse of the Roman Empire and
this is one of the worst, most shortsighted ones. There is no evidence
for a general decline in the population of Western Europe in general
(though there was an outbreak of the plague in the 6th century), that's
one of the myths surrounding the dark ages. The truth is that urban
populations shrank as the economy was regressing. Even gold and silver
values were massively unstable. Markets disappeared and a vicious circle
began as that resulted in less state revenue, no purchasing and further
market collapse. This all, of course impacts infrastructure and with a
dwindling army the Romans couldn't hold their grain producing areas in
North Africa. Add in Barbarian invasion and that explains your dark age
changes.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
These people didn't build cathedrals because no one would visit them!
They built cathedrals in cities. I've never denied such short distance
travel.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Go read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the
characters' pilgrimage to Canterbury is not exactly an unheard-of
occurrence.
You're citing Chaucer's works as evidence of mass medieval travel?
Sorry but low levels of population movement is a feature of medieval
Europe and it's such a basic principle that I probably can't even
give you a citation. Drive from the North of England to London and
see how many different dialects you encounter within 20 miles or so
of each other even now. That's because of medieval population
habits.
However, I can give you a citation. Go read Jean Verdon's _Travel in
the Middle Ages_. Travel was dangerous, yes, but people did quite a
bit of it.
<http://www3.undpress.nd.edu/catalogs/Spring2003/0-268-04222-5.php>
That's an advert for a book not a citation. Are you trying to tell me
that you've read this book? If that is the case then make a citation
from it.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
London was a major
artisanal center in Europe (the Industrial Revolution may well have
happened in England rather than anywhere else because London was the
only such center in the world that was also close to coal
deposits),
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
and a big city is a major market.
Another non sequitur.
Let me spell it out, then. An increase in the size of the market for
goods means that you can get higher prices and specialize to a greater
extent, which both raise your profits. London, as one of the artisanal
centers of preindustrial Europe, was in a very good position to reap
large rewards from this effect.
Why would Constantinople agree to have it's own artisans priced out of
the market. Why would it agree to those terms from one of the countries
whose soldiers had looted it during the crusades? If they could satisy
their own demand before the portal is built why are they going to agree
an arrangement detrimental to them. This kind of economic planning
follows the same principles of Empire building that did eventually
develop in England but such arrangements never actually benefitted both
parties. Like the Roman Empire it also relied on slavery in one form or
another (for labour intensive process). The purchase of Africans slaves,
repression and exploitation of Asians and the transportation or
indentureship of native citizens.

In other words it only works when one city is subservient to the other.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
1 sp is the wage of a wholly unskilled laborer.
Which is most of your population. 9 out of 10 are farmers remember. In
cities you'll find your craftsmen but most people are still
unskilled
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
labourers.
You're suggesting that someone who has worked the land for years
wouldn't have even one rank in Profession(Farmer), that all his
experience and practice count for exactly nothing, and that you could
get precisely the same output with any other warm body.
That's just stupid.
I'm suggesting to you that most medieval farmers lived on or very near a
subsistence level income and were little more than labourers and the
vast majority might be better treat as assistants rather than
independent professionals.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
, and if you look at period
documents from the high medieval period you'll find lots and lots of
proclomations prohibiting serfs from fleeing their land to go to town
or to another lord. That indicates that first, labor mobility was a
serious problem (for the feudal lords, anyway)
That's a spurious assumption. Feudal bonds like this were simply
formal statements of a serfs rights which were virtually zero.
; and that they weren't
able to bring it seriously under control, because they wouldn't have
needed a continuing stream of edicts if the first set of controls had
worked.
Citation for mass serf migrations please.
There's a difference between formal and actual rights. Serfs had no
significant rights in theory, but in practice they were somewhat
greater due to labor shortages -- lords had to compete for workers,
which meant that their wages/rights got bid up.
For example, in 1351 Edward III of England passed the Statute of
Laborers,
*Yawn* Please tell me what was going on between 1347 and 1350 that might
make this an exception rather than the rule. Hint: In these threads we
have already discussed the idea that this event signalled the beginning
of the end of the feudal system.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
which forbade employers from paying more than the customary
wage to laborers. This was because many peasants were moving to the
cities, becoming craftsmen and using their greater earnings to commute
their feudal obligations with cash.
Partly but your massively exaggerating the reasons or causes. Mostly
they were simply able to demand more for their labour but that was due
to the plague.

From "A History of Britain" - Simon Schama

"The manorial rolls vividly document precisely what happened in the
first year or two after the plague struck. On the Bishop of Winchester's
manor in Farnham, 52 household - a good third of his villagers - died in
the first year of the plague. At first, the bishop's reeve had no
difficulty finding takers to move into the empty lots and was please to
take their entry fee. But by 1350, when the plague struck again, the
situation became much more serious."

[About an orphan who inherited the strips of both his father and uncle]

"The consolodation of all those strips would have been the making of a
small but serious village fortune, and it pulled young Crudchate up from
the poorest to among the best endowed of the village. He could now
afford Geese."

"For some time it had been getting harder to force unfree peasants to do
unpaid work for their lord - to cart hay or plough fields, for example,
merely in recognition of a legal right to occupy their house and yard -
but now, when the laws of supply and demand so obviously favoured the
survivors, it was virtually impossible."
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
So the nobility petitioned the
king to get him to force the serfs back into the fields.
They would have had no need to do this if labor mobility wasn't a
problem for them. And at any rate, it didn't work very well: the
Statute of Laborers led to the English Peasants' War, which come to
think of it, is an example of a mass peasant movement. In 1381 an army
of 60,000 peasants marched on London, which is about twice the
population of the whole city!
You mean the Peasants' Revolt which seemed to be conspicuously absent of
peasants. They had marched from no further than Essex and Kent! Big
deal. The First Crusade is a much better example but is hardly typical
of the era.
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Post by JB
Like many others you looking at it from a modern world
perspective
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by JB
Post by JB
but you haven't accounted for the differences which drove the modern
world developments.
Actually, I think your understanding of the medieval period is
inaccurate. Medievals weren't any more blind to commercial
opportunities than moderns.
Non sequitur. Commercial opportunity and mass peasant travel are two
separate issues.
Again: commercial opportunity in a medieval world + D&D magic would
lead to the construction of teleport gates between urban centers and
between the urbs and their peripheries. This would then in turn enable
mass travel, because the capacity of the teleport gates is stonkingly
high, and there's no marginal cost involved in running the gates at
full capacity.
Again I accuse you of hand waving solutions and ignoring practicalities.
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:52 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 16:52:28 +0100, "JB" <***@talk21.com> wrote:

<snip>
Post by JB
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct.
<snip math>
Post by JB
Total spell casting cost 51,940gp.
OK, 4940 Gps off.


<snip>
Post by JB
For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the two
cities? If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have 95%
of the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time.
And here we are, *again*.

The world *is* medieval, and stays medieval, becasue we assume
everyone behaves in a way that gets us that result.

Really, JB, you ought to be able to do better than this.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
JB
2003-08-06 09:39:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
<snip>
Post by JB
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct.
<snip math>
Post by JB
Total spell casting cost 51,940gp.
OK, 4940 Gps off.
For total spell casting. Place such a portal in the middle of the street
without guards or even people to take the fee for travelling if you want
but it wouldn't last five minutes in my campaign.
Post by Robert Baldwin
<snip>
Post by JB
For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the two
cities? If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have 95%
of the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time.
And here we are, *again*.
The world *is* medieval, and stays medieval, becasue we assume
everyone behaves in a way that gets us that result.
Really, JB, you ought to be able to do better than this.
Read the thread. He argued that a medieval city would want to choose
this option. His specific choices for the example were London and
Constantinople.
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-07 00:40:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by JB
Post by Robert Baldwin
<snip>
Post by JB
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct.
<snip math>
Post by JB
Total spell casting cost 51,940gp.
OK, 4940 Gps off.
For total spell casting. Place such a portal in the middle of the street
without guards or even people to take the fee for travelling if you want
but it wouldn't last five minutes in my campaign.
Or in a fortified area where the guards, etc., already existed and
create no additional cost.
Post by JB
Post by Robert Baldwin
<snip>
Post by JB
For what purpose would 100 people a day want to travel between the
two
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by JB
cities? If we assume Medieval attitudes and social structure we have
95%
Post by Robert Baldwin
Post by JB
of the population with no or very little cash to spare and no leisure
time.
And here we are, *again*.
The world *is* medieval, and stays medieval, becasue we assume
everyone behaves in a way that gets us that result.
Really, JB, you ought to be able to do better than this.
Read the thread. He argued that a medieval city would want to choose
this option. His specific choices for the example were London and
Constantinople.
And when you have a public opinion poll from those people, at that
time, then you can tell us wheat they would have wanted. Until then,
you're hand-waving.
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Chris Rehm
2003-08-07 02:58:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Baldwin
Or in a fortified area where the guards, etc., already existed and
create no additional cost.
If they wanted the area to be available for public access (remember the
proposed portal is supposed to have people lined up to enter every six
seconds), how come they fortified it and added guards? Didn't you just
decide to allow the public to march through some previously secure area?
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-05 04:51:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neelakantan Krishnaswami
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to
determine what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the
standard setting is unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming,
it has no special relevance for determining what is or is not likely
as some people give it.
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval
setting is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world,
because the D&D rules don't screw up any of the key elements of
"medievalness."
That doesn't seem right. A pair of permanent teleportation circles
linking two cities costs about 47,000 gp to construct. Assuming that
the hurdle rate for capital investments is 10%, then you need to take
in 4700 gp/year for this to be a profitable investment. Supposing that
one hundred people travel between the two cities each day (a wildly
conservative underestimate for major cities), then there are 36,500
trips/year, which means that the teleportation circle operators need
to charge a fee of slightly above 1 sp/trip in order for it to be
profitable.
If the circle is used at maximum capacity, then it can handle 14,400
trips/day. This is .09 copper/trip, which means that you can use it to
transport even bulk goods like grain far from their production areas
without adding more than 1% to their price. I'd expect world trade to
be rather more "globalized" in D&D-world than it is even in the modern
day. A world in which a casual laborer can live in Hangchou and
commute daily to Istanbul or London for his work is many things, but
the one thing it is not is medieval.
--
Now you've done it. This thread will never die ;-)

I agree with the gist of your analysis but for all those who like casting
stones, I'm not getting involved with this one. Neel will have to carry the
torch. Go to it, Neel.

BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements, which one
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle costs
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in any
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And also, one
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of high level
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.

Marc
JB
2003-08-05 08:46:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements, which one
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle costs
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in any
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And also, one
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of high level
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.
You can't dispel a castle for a fraction of the cost and building
castles doesn't have such a huge XP cost. You're comparing apples and
oranges.
Marcq
2003-08-05 14:52:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Marcq
BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements, which
one
Post by Marcq
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle costs
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in any
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And
also, one
Post by Marcq
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of high
level
Post by Marcq
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.
You can't dispel a castle for a fraction of the cost and building
castles doesn't have such a huge XP cost. You're comparing apples and
oranges.
Earthquake is an effective dispel castle spell. It has a fraction of the
cost of castle. It has no XP cost.

Marc
JB
2003-08-05 15:25:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Marcq
Post by Marcq
BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements, which
one
Post by Marcq
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle costs
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in any
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And
also, one
Post by Marcq
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of high
level
Post by Marcq
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.
You can't dispel a castle for a fraction of the cost and building
castles doesn't have such a huge XP cost. You're comparing apples and
oranges.
Earthquake is an effective dispel castle spell.
Actually it's not. Not only has the ambigious wording disappeared in
3.5E but it has a specific mechanism now. From the SRDs

"Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage,
enough to collapse a typical wooden or masonry building, but not a
structure built of stone or reinforced masonry."

Normal stone has 15hp per inch or 180hp per foot. According to the DMG
(3.0) the thickness of a castle wall is 10ft. Thus it has 1800 hp and
you'll need 18 Earthquake spells to bring it down. I'm betting somebody
is going to take you down during that time if they haven't magically
augmented their walls (which they probably would).
Post by Marcq
It has a fraction of the
cost of castle. It has no XP cost.
Which leaves Permanent Teleportation Circles as the only article under
discussion which has an XP cost. This was a refutation of my position
how exactly?
Marcq
2003-08-05 22:56:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements,
which
one
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle
costs
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in
any
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And
also, one
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of
high
level
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.
You can't dispel a castle for a fraction of the cost and building
castles doesn't have such a huge XP cost. You're comparing apples
and
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
oranges.
Earthquake is an effective dispel castle spell.
Actually it's not. Not only has the ambigious wording disappeared in
3.5E but it has a specific mechanism now. From the SRDs
"Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage,
enough to collapse a typical wooden or masonry building, but not a
structure built of stone or reinforced masonry."
Normal stone has 15hp per inch or 180hp per foot. According to the DMG
(3.0) the thickness of a castle wall is 10ft. Thus it has 1800 hp and
you'll need 18 Earthquake spells to bring it down. I'm betting somebody
is going to take you down during that time if they haven't magically
augmented their walls (which they probably would).
Post by Marcq
It has a fraction of the
cost of castle. It has no XP cost.
Which leaves Permanent Teleportation Circles as the only article under
discussion which has an XP cost. This was a refutation of my position
how exactly?
Per 3.0 you remain refuted.

Marc
JB
2003-08-06 09:12:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
Post by Marcq
Earthquake is an effective dispel castle spell.
Actually it's not. Not only has the ambigious wording disappeared in
3.5E but it has a specific mechanism now. From the SRDs
"Any structure standing on open ground takes 100 points of damage,
enough to collapse a typical wooden or masonry building, but not a
structure built of stone or reinforced masonry."
Normal stone has 15hp per inch or 180hp per foot. According to the DMG
(3.0) the thickness of a castle wall is 10ft. Thus it has 1800 hp and
you'll need 18 Earthquake spells to bring it down. I'm betting somebody
is going to take you down during that time if they haven't magically
augmented their walls (which they probably would).
Post by Marcq
It has a fraction of the
cost of castle. It has no XP cost.
Which leaves Permanent Teleportation Circles as the only article under
discussion which has an XP cost. This was a refutation of my
position
Post by Marcq
Post by JB
how exactly?
Per 3.0 you remain refuted.
Really? Which part? Let's see.

3.0 Earthquake "Most structures standing on open ground collapse". Since
it doesn't say "all structures" and since Castles or other
fortifications represent the toughest structures so I think we can
safely conclude that they *weren't* supposed to collapse. That's the way
I've always interpreted the spell; 3.5E simply supports that and gives a
handy set of rules to resolve the issue.

Similarly in 3.0 Permanent Teleportation Circles were the only thing
that required XP investment, a huge XP investment at that.

Your refutation fails in both editions.
JB
2003-08-06 17:56:33 UTC
Permalink
Most to me means means all but a few.
Into which category the castle falls *perfectly* given that castles
represent a tiny fraction of the total number of buildings.
To
me and anyone else I've gamed with, that includes castles.
That's probably because you wanted it to work that way so you could bitch
about how medieval castles couldn't possibly exist.
Bradd W. Szonye
2003-08-06 17:48:27 UTC
Permalink
Ten feet? That sounds a bit high to me. More precisely, I would
expect the foundation to be that thick (or thicker), but the top of
the curtain wouldn't be 10 feet, IIRC. Thus, the battlements might
fall after just one or two earthquakes, but the castle would still
stand.
Generally speaking it's too high for real Castles built in the
Medieval period but there are exceptions from in and before the
period. Hadrian's wall is about 10ft thick which would give the
Northumbrian and Scottish Druids something to think about.
Many of the Castles built in England expected to see active use (many
were not) could have had walls this thick too. The curtain walls at
some of the bigger castle are over 20ft thick. Dover for example, and
I'd put money on one or two in Northumberland and Wales.
OK, thanks!
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Chris Rehm
2003-08-06 05:37:56 UTC
Permalink
I will confess I had not noticed the change in the 3.5e rules. Does this
mean the argument was valid until 2 months ago, though?
Well, I have never considered an earthquake spell to be "the ultimate"
and I've always considered that lords would act to defend against
powerful magic.
I see they fixed the transmute rock to mud spell as well (except that it
still would toast a fortification built on stone foundations).
Transmute rock to mud was the first spell I acted to counter with
natural construction.
I wonder why these fixes were necessary if not to make fortifications more
plausible?
So that WotC can sell more castles? Or maybe the spells seemed to be too
weighty.
What are the countermeasures you envision? Within the existing rules, I am
not aware of too much you can do here except hire counter mages which would
seem to create a market for mages and even rulers creating mage academies.
They encouraged other types of professionals, why not professionals that can
protect or enahnce military might?
I don't see any lord acting to promote an independent source for
producing potential deadly weapons. Rather, I'd guess that lords would
be more interested in "cornering the market" on mages, or at least
making sure they had sufficient power in their own corner.

Now, about what possible defenses their are, well that's almost
unlimited. First, there is the intelligence gathering. Lords would tend
to seek information from divination sources, clerical and arcane, to
determine if they are on the hit list of any other lord. There are a
limited number of people in the world capable of throwing a spell
powerful enough to severely damage a castle.

So what if an enemy is on his way and there is a powerful mage or cleric
in his army? Then the best defense is a good offense. Kill the mage. If
the army makes it to the castle without the mage, you should be able to
defend against them.

So what about if the mage and army reach the castle? Well, additional
curtain walls at extended distance from the castle itself would be
perhaps the first mundane defense. Greatly fortified outer structures.
Or, researched spells with the specific intent of countering the
particular threats. If a castle is worth 500,000 I'd think it would also
be worth significant investment in magical defenses.

Once I got really crazy with a castle and built up all kinds of
defenses. 30 feet thick outer walls with embedded pipes filled with
sleeping gas. Iron golems as statues outside the gate.

Based on the costs that I had available at the time, the castle came to
over 6 million gold (without the golems). ;-) Ah, well.

But anyway, I also had a mage research and develop spells to defend
different walls against magic. Nothing covered every possible attack,
but in the end the castle was substantially defended.

Look, you know very well that the spells in the book are not a static
definition of all that magic can do. If you feel there is an unanswered
threat against lords who have the money to do something about it, why
wouldn't you assume there would be research?

Wouldn't the research to counter an earthquake spell start the day a
castle got hit by one?
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-06 15:03:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
I will confess I had not noticed the change in the 3.5e rules. Does this
mean the argument was valid until 2 months ago, though?
Well, I have never considered an earthquake spell to be "the ultimate"
and I've always considered that lords would act to defend against
powerful magic.
But how? Within the rules, that is? Honestly, here I am with you. It is just
that to provide counter effects, I generally need to create things beyond
the rules (remove spells, add intepretations, allow for the existence of
unspecified counter magic.)
Post by Chris Rehm
I see they fixed the transmute rock to mud spell as well (except that it
still would toast a fortification built on stone foundations).
Transmute rock to mud was the first spell I acted to counter with
natural construction.
I had long had a house rule that spell only effected natural rock but that
still doesn't address castles on stone foundations. I'd prefer to eliminate
it entirely myself.
Post by Chris Rehm
I wonder why these fixes were necessary if not to make fortifications more
plausible?
So that WotC can sell more castles? Or maybe the spells seemed to be too
weighty.
Or because it was a valid argument that stone castles would be less
prevelant given D&D magic...
Post by Chris Rehm
What are the countermeasures you envision? Within the existing rules, I am
not aware of too much you can do here except hire counter mages which would
seem to create a market for mages and even rulers creating mage academies.
They encouraged other types of professionals, why not professionals that can
protect or enahnce military might?
I don't see any lord acting to promote an independent source for
producing potential deadly weapons. Rather, I'd guess that lords would
be more interested in "cornering the market" on mages, or at least
making sure they had sufficient power in their own corner.
There are a number of examples of lords doing this regarding early gunpowder
in the late medieval period or to varying degrees longbowmen (other lords
tried to develop their own). Even feudalism is, to some extent, an attempt
to encourage and foster organic (to ones domain) units of "deadly weapons"
Post by Chris Rehm
Now, about what possible defenses their are, well that's almost
unlimited. First, there is the intelligence gathering. Lords would tend
to seek information from divination sources, clerical and arcane, to
determine if they are on the hit list of any other lord. There are a
limited number of people in the world capable of throwing a spell
powerful enough to severely damage a castle.
So what if an enemy is on his way and there is a powerful mage or cleric
in his army? Then the best defense is a good offense. Kill the mage. If
the army makes it to the castle without the mage, you should be able to
defend against them.
So what about if the mage and army reach the castle? Well, additional
curtain walls at extended distance from the castle itself would be
perhaps the first mundane defense. Greatly fortified outer structures.
Or, researched spells with the specific intent of countering the
particular threats. If a castle is worth 500,000 I'd think it would also
be worth significant investment in magical defenses.
Once I got really crazy with a castle and built up all kinds of
defenses. 30 feet thick outer walls with embedded pipes filled with
sleeping gas. Iron golems as statues outside the gate.
Based on the costs that I had available at the time, the castle came to
over 6 million gold (without the golems). ;-) Ah, well.
But anyway, I also had a mage research and develop spells to defend
different walls against magic. Nothing covered every possible attack,
but in the end the castle was substantially defended.
Look, you know very well that the spells in the book are not a static
definition of all that magic can do. If you feel there is an unanswered
threat against lords who have the money to do something about it, why
wouldn't you assume there would be research?
Wouldn't the research to counter an earthquake spell start the day a
castle got hit by one?
All of this has an effect and is assumed to be in use by both sides. Kill
the mage (or cleric)? Defend the mage. Intelligence? Counter intelligence.
Etc.

The fact remains that at least in 3.0, earthquake could put a big whole in
your castle and trans rock to mud can still do that if you are foolish
enough to build your castle on solid rock. And if you build on dirt, there
are the digging lines of attack.

Counter spells are a line of defense but in a discussion of what the rules
allow, they are very problematic. Since they require so much judgement in
their creation.

Stepping back a bit, all I am arguing (and others I believe) is that the D&D
magic is powerful and would have an effect on setting aspects like castles.
Why shouldn't the increased destructiveness and mobility of the fantasy
world alter the balance of power in defensive and offensive structures?
Moblity and power changes through out history have effected the balance of
offense and defense. It is logical that they do so in a fantasy setting.
Whether one actually chooses to alter ones setting to either introduce
counter-weights or accept the different situation is entirely up to the ref.
Just ignoring it is fine for a game as well.

Marc
Rupert Boleyn
2003-08-06 22:37:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
The fact remains that at least in 3.0, earthquake could put a big whole in
your castle and trans rock to mud can still do that if you are foolish
enough to build your castle on solid rock. And if you build on dirt, there
are the digging lines of attack.
Actually in v3.0 Earthquake only affects a castle if the GM says it
does. If the GM rules the castle doesn't come under 'most structures'
then it doesn't seem to do anything at all to the castle.
--
"Just because the the truth sets you free doesn't mean you should set the truth free."

Rupert Boleyn <***@paradise.net.nz>
Marcq
2003-08-07 04:22:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rupert Boleyn
Post by Marcq
The fact remains that at least in 3.0, earthquake could put a big whole in
your castle and trans rock to mud can still do that if you are foolish
enough to build your castle on solid rock. And if you build on dirt, there
are the digging lines of attack.
Actually in v3.0 Earthquake only affects a castle if the GM says it
does. If the GM rules the castle doesn't come under 'most structures'
then it doesn't seem to do anything at all to the castle.
Yes, the rules were rather vague. I just found most players and refs to take
it as including castles but you can read it the other way. I was just giving
JB a hard time.

Marc
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Marcq
BTW when analyzing this, don't forget that the D&D supplements, which
one
Post by Marcq
assumes are part of the standard setting, assume a medium castle costs
500,000 to 750,000 GP so if any kingdom is constructing these in any
quantity, they have the resources for your teleportation gate. And
also, one
Post by Marcq
could argue that the book prices take into account availabilty of high
level
Post by Marcq
casters so if you got the dough, you got the teleport circle.
You can't dispel a castle for a fraction of the cost and building
castles doesn't have such a huge XP cost. You're comparing apples and
oranges.
No, but a few minutes effort by an Epic level character and that
castle is rubble, and the fruit is a tasty snack.

This "medieval world" non-sense *utterly* fails to take into account
the realities of D&D characters and monsters running around.

Bradd's blather about "medieval people believed..." fails to grasp a
basic point: the power scales are off by oreders of magnitude.

He just hand-waves away every obvious flaw in his plan with "medieval
people wouldn't do that", sounding a lot like EGG is his approach.
Surely you can do better than that, right?
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-06 03:04:51 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 03 Aug 2003 19:20:52 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
Post by Marcq
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to
determine what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the
standard setting is unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming,
it has no special relevance for determining what is or is not likely
as some people give it.
What you think is "likely" has no relevance at all. A medieval setting
is just as likely in D&D as it was in the real world, because the D&D
rules don't screw up any of the key elements of "medievalness."
Feh.

We've all seen your cirular reasoning, Bradd.


If you
Post by Bradd W. Szonye
think medieval settings are boring, then just say so, but quit trying to
sugarcoat it with an aura of elitist pseudo-intellectualism.
Ah, so anything you don't get is "elitist"?
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Marcq
2003-08-04 05:22:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Post by Chris Rehm
I don't think the first question allows for any real answer, because it
assumes an invalid circumstance, while the second allows for infinite
answers, all just as likely as the other.
My stance isn't so strong. I agree it is not really possible to determine
what the outcome is. I think it is possible to say the standard setting is
unlikely, and therefore while useful for gaming, it has no special relevance
for determining what is or is not likely as some people give it.
I object to people speaking of the setting as if some silly chart in the DMG
abuot the level of clerics in a village really matters to how a fantasy
world could develop. That is it. I speak out, lone and abused, for the
freedom of refs to use their own judgement. I find the attitude on this NG
frequently stifling.
Well, I think you're "speaking out" in error. You have no "more likely"
scenario to replace the existing one with. The given rules are designed
not to pretend they are the likely way things would really work (because
anyone who pretends their way is "the way" is just nutty), but rather to
create a game system that is consistent with itself using a set of
parameters.
On the contrary, I am speaking out for those who want to use these other
possibilities. Are you actually saying that because the game designers chose
to put this particular setting in the game that it is the only setting? I
don't believe this is your point. If the default setting is not the only
setting than speaking out in support of other settings when they are being
attacked is not in error.
Look, if magic worked, nothing in this universe could have evolved in
the way it has. The Big Bang wouldn't have worked. Conservation of
energy would not exist. So there isn't a "likely" or "realistic"
scenario. On the other hand, if you go with creationism, then the world
will exist as its creators make it. Again, no one scenario is "likely"
or "realistic".
Agreed, no one setting is likely. Therefore, the standard setting should not
be treated as special. It is convenient. It is useful. But if someone states
that maybe given the D&D rules as a premise, you could make a case for more
clerics than in the standard setting, that is not wrong. It merely serves to
illustrate other possibilites that some like to imply are not present.
So when you decide that there should be more clerics or some chart is
wrong, that's just you saying you would like it to be different. Don't
confuse that with "it should be" or "my way is more realistic" because
it isn't. And when you suggest that others be creative and discard a
table, you should realize that you are altering the game balance for no
reason other than your preference. That's all well and good for people
on your board, but please don't try to create the illusion that your way
is the "right" way.
And please do not try to create the illusion that the standard setting is
the right way. That is what I object to. Not the use of the standard
setting, the implication that it is better. I am still puzzled that you
think I think the standard setting is wrong when I have told you many times
that I use it. Why would you think I would use a setting I think is wrong?
Personally, I like to play clerics. I don't think I'd be as interested
in playing them on a board where they are common as water so I could
play any character I wanted and have all the cleric spells handy for
pocket change. So keep that in mind when making plans for your campaign.
I ask you to consider whether you are the one who is confusing your personal
likes (a low number of clerics) with what is likely.

I have never run a high cleric world and have no plans to. I don't care for
it either. Too messy and I don't like the feel. But I still feel that with
all the power D&D clerics grant, if you really had that magic in a world,
there would be more clerics. I don't feel anyone must alter ones game to
suit my thoughts on this matter. I certainly don't and I don't advocate it.
If I have come across that way, than I will be much more careful about it in
the future.

BTW I never suggested that anyone discard the tables. I have not proposed
alternate tables, you'll note. I have said that given the D&D rules, there
are other possibly settings with purpose of countering those who insist the
tables must be used. They can be used. They need not be used. I have never
said otherwise.

Marc
Chris Rehm
2003-08-05 19:37:04 UTC
Permalink
But sure, the initial analog chosen for the setting will determine much
about it. Is that what you mean?
Yes. If they'd chosen an era and culture with a pantheon of deities and
then injected a social culture of feudal lords waving swords and knights
fighting dragons, we might still have the problem of, "This isn't very
probable."
3) The D&D setting is designed to be useful as a game and to pass a first
level sanity check. It was not intended as a treatise on fantasy world
creation and without launching into it again, I do think I can find
inconsistencies.
Absolutely. It is a game setting, and lots of what is in there is
constructed to facilitate a game rather than to simulate a plausible
setting.

But finding those inconsistencies has value. When you find one, and we
come up with a rule to cover it, then neither of us has to learn about
it right after a rules lawyer exploits it in our game, or it creates
some stupid paradox.
There isn't any "likely." There isn't any "probable level of clerics."
It cannot be. The number of clerics, on any board no matter what anyone
says, is solely a construct. You set the level. Lots, few, none, one, it
is up to the DM. For the game to be playable, that number should be
consistent with the rest of the rules. The level I like happens to be
pretty consistent.
I don't agree. If you postulate human nature and the requisites for
acquiring divine power, you can do some analysis of what the resulting
cleric population would be. Now, this is a difficult art, economists can't
agree but they try (say for proper doctor levels). As an interesting mental
exercise that might shed some light on our games, I think it worthwhile. I
don't think it is required to enjoy the game though nor needed for a
setting.
"Ain't no way." ;-)

Tell me, when a cleric casts a spell, channeling divine energy, is it
intoxicating? You know, that rush of divine energy, that moment of
godlike power? Or is it humbling? You know, that connection with true
power and the glimpse at how small the cleric is in the overall scheme
of the universes?

When the cleric prays and meditates for spells, is it a memorized prayer
and a standard mantra for all clerics, or is the clerics own prayer and
a customized mantra suited to the cleric's own deity, relationship,
situation, and requested prayer?

Whatever your answers to those questions, they are your constructs. They
are factors in the determination of who can be a cleric and how they
deal with it. Will the intoxicating power of spell casting tempt clerics
to violate their deity's will through their own arrogance? Will the
humbling effect of spell casting be too painful for some to bear?

How about whether peasants look up to clerics as healers and priests, or
down on them as whores to the rich, casting their magics for those with
the gold to pay for the expensive temples? Won't that affect whether
people aspire to, or sink to, the job of cleric?

It's all your construct, Marc. So the end result of "how many" is also
your construct. When you pick a place in history to model it after, you
are making the choice that this is the environment that your gods and
their servants most represent. That's not a passive decision.
When I care to address it, I do just that. Most of the times, since this is
just a game, I don't worry about it.
Fair enough.
For one thing, there are much more egregious 'unrealities'. I use encounter
rates that while fun for the game seem wildly unsustainable for me in the
real world. Having read many accounts of war both contemporary and earlier,
as well as adventurers like Sir RF Burton, I can't begin to find an analog
in all of history for any real world person who had as many fights (and
lived) as what my D&D PCs go through. So what, we have fun. But if I can
ignore that, I can ignore the clerical access issue ;-)
Good point. I am in strong agreement. I almost hate to bring it up, but
if the peasants had to endure the encounters the PCs do, it's a wonder
there are any peasants left.
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-06 02:37:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
But sure, the initial analog chosen for the setting will determine much
about it. Is that what you mean?
Yes. If they'd chosen an era and culture with a pantheon of deities and
then injected a social culture of feudal lords waving swords and knights
fighting dragons, we might still have the problem of, "This isn't very
probable."
3) The D&D setting is designed to be useful as a game and to pass a first
level sanity check. It was not intended as a treatise on fantasy world
creation and without launching into it again, I do think I can find
inconsistencies.
Absolutely. It is a game setting, and lots of what is in there is
constructed to facilitate a game rather than to simulate a plausible
setting.
But finding those inconsistencies has value. When you find one, and we
come up with a rule to cover it, then neither of us has to learn about
it right after a rules lawyer exploits it in our game, or it creates
some stupid paradox.
Yep, I find these discussions useful to my campaign beyond just as academic
exercises.
Post by Chris Rehm
There isn't any "likely." There isn't any "probable level of clerics."
It cannot be. The number of clerics, on any board no matter what anyone
says, is solely a construct. You set the level. Lots, few, none, one, it
is up to the DM. For the game to be playable, that number should be
consistent with the rest of the rules. The level I like happens to be
pretty consistent.
I don't agree. If you postulate human nature and the requisites for
acquiring divine power, you can do some analysis of what the resulting
cleric population would be. Now, this is a difficult art, economists can't
agree but they try (say for proper doctor levels). As an interesting mental
exercise that might shed some light on our games, I think it worthwhile. I
don't think it is required to enjoy the game though nor needed for a
setting.
"Ain't no way." ;-)
Tell me, when a cleric casts a spell, channeling divine energy, is it
intoxicating? You know, that rush of divine energy, that moment of
godlike power? Or is it humbling? You know, that connection with true
power and the glimpse at how small the cleric is in the overall scheme
of the universes?
When the cleric prays and meditates for spells, is it a memorized prayer
and a standard mantra for all clerics, or is the clerics own prayer and
a customized mantra suited to the cleric's own deity, relationship,
situation, and requested prayer?
Whatever your answers to those questions, they are your constructs. They
are factors in the determination of who can be a cleric and how they
deal with it. Will the intoxicating power of spell casting tempt clerics
to violate their deity's will through their own arrogance? Will the
humbling effect of spell casting be too painful for some to bear?
How about whether peasants look up to clerics as healers and priests, or
down on them as whores to the rich, casting their magics for those with
the gold to pay for the expensive temples? Won't that affect whether
people aspire to, or sink to, the job of cleric?
It's all your construct, Marc. So the end result of "how many" is also
your construct. When you pick a place in history to model it after, you
are making the choice that this is the environment that your gods and
their servants most represent. That's not a passive decision.
Yes, to really discuss this we need to agree to a common premise. But that
is my second hope: to get people to realize that even the standard setting
is vague on these aspects that read on cleric prevelance and therefore even
the standard setting has more give in it than many people on this NG allow.

My discussion to date, I hope, shows that given what is described in the
standard setting, there are other valid interpretations and there insisting
that clerics remain low in number is not correct. Neither is insisting that
they remain high number. I see that I have often sounded like I am trying
to impose this on others but when I say "I think there would be more
clerics" I am trying to widen the scope of possible worlds, not narrow it.

I've been tempted several times to post an "Emancipation Proclamation"
thread to this effect but I think that would be counter productive at this
point. Some folks are so inflamed they'd just poop all over it without
thinking much about it and ascribe all sorts of ill motives to me (which I
believe is what I've been accused of).
Post by Chris Rehm
When I care to address it, I do just that. Most of the times, since this is
just a game, I don't worry about it.
Fair enough.
For one thing, there are much more egregious 'unrealities'. I use encounter
rates that while fun for the game seem wildly unsustainable for me in the
real world. Having read many accounts of war both contemporary and earlier,
as well as adventurers like Sir RF Burton, I can't begin to find an analog
in all of history for any real world person who had as many fights (and
lived) as what my D&D PCs go through. So what, we have fun. But if I can
ignore that, I can ignore the clerical access issue ;-)
Good point. I am in strong agreement. I almost hate to bring it up, but
if the peasants had to endure the encounters the PCs do, it's a wonder
there are any peasants left.
And you'd be surprised at how many people would disagree with this little
statement ;-)

Anyway, we could agree on a setting premise and then hash it out but while
that would be an interesting exercise, and I am game if you are, but I think
the more interesting outcome of this thread has been defining what more
needs to be defined in a premise before one could have the discussion. I'm
sure it isn;t an exhaustive list but it is a start.

Marc
Chris Rehm
2003-08-06 16:31:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marcq
Yes, to really discuss this we need to agree to a common premise. But that
Well, you know what? I don't think that's the right way to go about it.
If you want people to "agree on a common premise" and that means to
settle on a specific world setting, I think you'll discover that there
are more world settings than there are DMs. I mean, I know I have used
several different settings myself. For lots of guys, discussing the
world you want to run might not be interesting, and it might be
insulting if you present it that your world is a "more likely" or "more
reasonable" outcome of the game rules as given in D&D.

On the other hand, if what you want is an end result, it is workable for
you to present, "IMC there is a great demand for clerics, but I don't
want them to proliferate and thus dilute their value as a PC. I don't
see any D&D rules that prevent this, what kind of governing factors
might be applied?"

It is a lot easier for people to discuss and contribute to a specific,
defined solution, than it is to get everyone to agree on the nearly
infinite factors required to define a game setting.
Post by Marcq
is my second hope: to get people to realize that even the standard setting
is vague on these aspects that read on cleric prevelance and therefore even
the standard setting has more give in it than many people on this NG allow.
;-) What you refer to as "vague", I refer to as "not overly confining."
The game system should not go too far in making rules about world factors.

Although you phrase it here as "has more give in it", it did seem that
you were presenting the case as though the existing game system
_required_ that there would be more clerics, based on your assumption
that this would be the logical outcome of market pressure. To me, and
maybe to others, it wasn't logical for you to assume that being a cleric
was just another job and that training for character classes was as
available to medieval peasants as trade schools are today.

If object to those assumptions, it is understandable that you'd say,
"Well, okay, let's agree on a common set of assumptions." But, I'm not
willing to accept your assumptions about those things, and you aren't
willing to accept mine. The same conflict might arise when discussing
this with others, unless you bump into the guy who has the same
assumptions about how being a cleric works and how much training is
available to medieval serfs.
Post by Marcq
My discussion to date, I hope, shows that given what is described in the
standard setting, there are other valid interpretations and there insisting
that clerics remain low in number is not correct. Neither is insisting that
they remain high number. I see that I have often sounded like I am trying
to impose this on others but when I say "I think there would be more
clerics" I am trying to widen the scope of possible worlds, not narrow it.
Well, their insistence (and yours) has a lot to do with a perception of
the medieval setting, right? You are absolutely right that the rules do
not define the world. But if someone you are discussing with is applying
the D&D world in a setting where the upper class has not yet been
through "The Revolution", then they are very accurate in their
perception. Obviously, there could easily be a game setting, using the
same D&D rules, where there were no restrictions on how many people
could get trained to be a cleric.
Post by Marcq
I've been tempted several times to post an "Emancipation Proclamation"
thread to this effect but I think that would be counter productive at this
point. Some folks are so inflamed they'd just poop all over it without
thinking much about it and ascribe all sorts of ill motives to me (which I
believe is what I've been accused of).
Well, some people aren't good at handling disagreement. From what I can
tell in this group, some people assume that any time they are disagreed
with, it is an attempt to shame, flame, and abuse them. Please continue
to recognize that just because the person you are debating with lacks
effective communication skills doesn't mean you need to sink to that
level. It is a lot easier to just ignore some of them. It turns out, the
group can be a lot more fun that way.
Post by Marcq
Anyway, we could agree on a setting premise and then hash it out but while
that would be an interesting exercise, and I am game if you are, but I think
the more interesting outcome of this thread has been defining what more
needs to be defined in a premise before one could have the discussion. I'm
sure it isn;t an exhaustive list but it is a start.
I think it might be more effective to say, "I want to have some
justification for the level of clerics in my campaign, but the factors
listed in the rules don't cover it. What other controlling factors could
I use?"
--
Chris Rehm
***@mammothdungeons.com

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself.
Gal. 5: 14
Marcq
2003-08-07 04:38:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
Yes, to really discuss this we need to agree to a common premise. But that
Well, you know what? I don't think that's the right way to go about it.
If you want people to "agree on a common premise" and that means to
settle on a specific world setting, I think you'll discover that there
are more world settings than there are DMs. I mean, I know I have used
several different settings myself. For lots of guys, discussing the
world you want to run might not be interesting, and it might be
insulting if you present it that your world is a "more likely" or "more
reasonable" outcome of the game rules as given in D&D.
On the other hand, if what you want is an end result, it is workable for
you to present, "IMC there is a great demand for clerics, but I don't
want them to proliferate and thus dilute their value as a PC. I don't
see any D&D rules that prevent this, what kind of governing factors
might be applied?"
It is a lot easier for people to discuss and contribute to a specific,
defined solution, than it is to get everyone to agree on the nearly
infinite factors required to define a game setting.
Your comments to do not actually materially differ from my thoughts on the
matter. My purpose of bringing up the need for a premise is to demonstrate
that without one, there are many valid interpretations. I know have have
come across as insisting that others must have more clerics and I will watch
that in the future. But that has never been my intent. On the contrary, my
intent as been to counter those who insist the book demographics are correct
beyond just how they effect the default setting. Those who do this like to
insist that they do no such thing but it is not too hard to find examples of
people knocking someone else's premise because the book says there are X
clerics.

I still think this approach has merit because it brought you and I to both a
realize of some of our own unconscious premise and to varying degrees
appreciation for the others ideas on these premise (I don't think you buy
alternate take on gods because you keep calling them a mistake ;-)

The premise thing is not entirely a red-herring, it would be interesting to
set a premise and debate the outcome but it would take a certai amount of
work to do this.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
is my second hope: to get people to realize that even the standard setting
is vague on these aspects that read on cleric prevelance and therefore even
the standard setting has more give in it than many people on this NG allow.
;-) What you refer to as "vague", I refer to as "not overly confining."
The game system should not go too far in making rules about world factors.
Although you phrase it here as "has more give in it", it did seem that
you were presenting the case as though the existing game system
_required_ that there would be more clerics, based on your assumption
that this would be the logical outcome of market pressure. To me, and
maybe to others, it wasn't logical for you to assume that being a cleric
was just another job and that training for character classes was as
available to medieval peasants as trade schools are today.
No, I do not think the game system requires it in the sense that settings
must have it. I do think the fantasy elements of D&D are strong enough that
if they were present in a real world, that world would be very unlikley to
look like the real world and, under some divinity-premise, would likely have
more clerics in it.

The first part of the paragraph above captures a 'core belief' of mine which
is that refs are free to set whatever setting they want. They may make one
their players don't like but better to learn by doing than to stay in some
narrow setting either for fear (I don't want to offend the folks who insist
on the book demographics) or because no one got them thinking about
alternatives.

The second part of the paragraph, I consider a 'weak' statement. It reflects
my analysis of the fantasy elements at this time base on current rules,
current knowledge and my current state of development. I reserve the right
to change it. It's value is only in that it expands the realm of possible
settings, not that it contracts or restricts it in some way.
Post by Chris Rehm
If object to those assumptions, it is understandable that you'd say,
"Well, okay, let's agree on a common set of assumptions." But, I'm not
willing to accept your assumptions about those things, and you aren't
willing to accept mine. The same conflict might arise when discussing
this with others, unless you bump into the guy who has the same
assumptions about how being a cleric works and how much training is
available to medieval serfs.
Yes, so we are left with an appreciation of the others position but little
point in arguing about the details. Moreover, we have a firm understanding
of what it is reasonable to discuss and what would be futile. Many of these
NG wars have to do with folks arguing from their own unstated premise and
not bothering to clarify their premise. In almost all cases, once a premise
is clarified, rather than the two debaters than unifying the premise and
continuing the argument, they more often say, "oh, you were arguing about
that? I was actually talking about a different problem" since premise is
part of the problem statement.
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
My discussion to date, I hope, shows that given what is described in the
standard setting, there are other valid interpretations and there insisting
that clerics remain low in number is not correct. Neither is insisting that
they remain high number. I see that I have often sounded like I am trying
to impose this on others but when I say "I think there would be more
clerics" I am trying to widen the scope of possible worlds, not narrow it.
Well, their insistence (and yours) has a lot to do with a perception of
the medieval setting, right? You are absolutely right that the rules do
not define the world. But if someone you are discussing with is applying
the D&D world in a setting where the upper class has not yet been
through "The Revolution", then they are very accurate in their
perception. Obviously, there could easily be a game setting, using the
same D&D rules, where there were no restrictions on how many people
could get trained to be a cleric.
Post by Marcq
I've been tempted several times to post an "Emancipation Proclamation"
thread to this effect but I think that would be counter productive at this
point. Some folks are so inflamed they'd just poop all over it without
thinking much about it and ascribe all sorts of ill motives to me (which I
believe is what I've been accused of).
Well, some people aren't good at handling disagreement. From what I can
tell in this group, some people assume that any time they are disagreed
with, it is an attempt to shame, flame, and abuse them. Please continue
to recognize that just because the person you are debating with lacks
effective communication skills doesn't mean you need to sink to that
level. It is a lot easier to just ignore some of them. It turns out, the
group can be a lot more fun that way.
Yeah, I realize what you are saying. But sometimes my patience runs thin.
I'm not a saint. That's another guy on the NG. No excuse but if you look for
my posts from the 80s you will observe a marked improvement in my ability to
hold my temper. It's a long term project ;-)
Post by Chris Rehm
Post by Marcq
Anyway, we could agree on a setting premise and then hash it out but while
that would be an interesting exercise, and I am game if you are, but I think
the more interesting outcome of this thread has been defining what more
needs to be defined in a premise before one could have the discussion. I'm
sure it isn;t an exhaustive list but it is a start.
I think it might be more effective to say, "I want to have some
justification for the level of clerics in my campaign, but the factors
listed in the rules don't cover it. What other controlling factors could
I use?"
Sure, but I see your own position as exactly the same ;-)

Marc
Robert Baldwin
2003-08-05 03:47:19 UTC
Permalink
For those hardy souls following "Mea Culpa and Lightning" which somehow
became a discussion on how healing magic would not have a material impact on
I think you've phrased the summary of the discussion in a loaded way.
Obviously, adding healing magic to the world *as it really is* would make a
huge impact. However, this doesn't mean that a world which superficially
resembles ours could not actually be powered by magic underneath. In fact,
it's possible _by definition_, because *magic*.
How would D&D magic, monsters and gods make a D&D world different from any
Earth historical analog?
Um. It would have D&D magic, monsters and gods?
Surely the injection of potent magic, monsters (including non-human races),
and gods would have *some* impact on the world. Arguing that all these
fundamental changes have little discernible impact seems unimaginative and I
know this is an imaginative group. So let's have it. How does the fantasy
'stuff' of D&D make the world differ in any terms you care to address?
Notice "injection". That's the wrong approach. Or, rather, it's a question
you can ask, but the answer isn't very interesting. (If you think it might
be, here it is: "If you change it a lot, it will change a lot. If you only
change it a little bit, it might only change a little bit.")
No, it's a key issue.

There are some here who are apparently doing that: take
Medieval-World, "inject" magic an Voila!, a D&D world.

Others, such as myslef, start with the magic, the gods, the monsters,
etc., and have a bloody tough time seeing MW as a result (unless
specifically managed by a god).
--
Saint Baldwin, Definer of the Unholy Darkspawn
-
"So here we are going into battle, butt freaking naked.
What's wrong with this picture?"
Nene Romanova
-
"Everyone dies someday; the trick is doing it well." [St. B]
-
Remove the spam-block to reply
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...