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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Archmage of Nowhere Posted - 30 Oct 2018 : 15:39:49
So for a while I have been trying to find why it is that there seems to be a distrust for or mild neglect of magic within the realms by commoners. Seeing how it is a high magic setting and there is no prerequisite by birth for being a Wizard why is that not more common amongst the people? Only Magocracies break this trend but it seems that all nations would benefit from this not just Magocracies.

Even amongst naturally magically attuned creatures such as elves where general education is guaranteed it is not the norm amongst their populace to be able to cast. Even characters who have trained at being a wizard such as Drizzt didn't retain the ability to cast minor cantrips which are all generally useful to know.

It just seems as if it should be more ubiquitous amongst the populace in general. Items are sought after treasures but why aren't scrolls of prestidigitation a common sight in commoner's home?
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 18 Nov 2018 : 06:03:21
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I honestly can't think of more than once or twice that magical communication has been used in novels -- and I've read most of them. The majority of the novels keep the focus on one group of characters that stays together, so there's no need for them to employ long-range communication methods.



Really? You'd be hard pressed to find a novel about the Chosen of Mystra or their friends and allies where they don't use magical communication. The same is true for The Harpers, the Cult of the Dragon, the Zhentarim, Red Wizards and their associates, A lot of people in Cormyr(goverment, nobles, War Wizards) and elves (in general).

In a general sense, the ''average author'' finds it impossible to set a story with ''no quick ranged communication''. Not even like sat in the 1980's before cell phones. So you see heroes and villains sending a lot of magical messages.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 17 Nov 2018 : 17:03:04
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Sadly, that leaves out one of the more fun modern movie genres: the heist movie. You could have a wizard scrying on the group that he hired or is a member of that needs to get something out of some location. He would be the equivalent of the computer guy that has hacked the security system. He could let them know what is ahead and even cast some spells that are usable through the scrying spell/item. With communication established with the group members, they could be doing their own little specialty. That way, you wouldn't have a single group going from one encounter to the next, slaughtering everyone they find. That could even lead to some very nice character driven dramatic tension: "Oh, crap, they have a hill giant here. Where is the ranger??? He can't kill it. It will bring the whole place down on us!"



Or embed a psionicist with the group.
TheIriaeban Posted - 17 Nov 2018 : 16:28:57
Sadly, that leaves out one of the more fun modern movie genres: the heist movie. You could have a wizard scrying on the group that he hired or is a member of that needs to get something out of some location. He would be the equivalent of the computer guy that has hacked the security system. He could let them know what is ahead and even cast some spells that are usable through the scrying spell/item. With communication established with the group members, they could be doing their own little specialty. That way, you wouldn't have a single group going from one encounter to the next, slaughtering everyone they find. That could even lead to some very nice character driven dramatic tension: "Oh, crap, they have a hill giant here. Where is the ranger??? He can't kill it. It will bring the whole place down on us!"
Wooly Rupert Posted - 17 Nov 2018 : 15:29:08
I honestly can't think of more than once or twice that magical communication has been used in novels -- and I've read most of them. The majority of the novels keep the focus on one group of characters that stays together, so there's no need for them to employ long-range communication methods.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 17 Nov 2018 : 02:40:31
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Even in the fiction, most people do not use magical communication. It is not common.



Ok? How about used frequently by anyone who is not a common folk?

Most Realms novels have characters in the novel using magical communication, so it is there on the page to read. Though your correct in saying just as some importing powerful people use magical communication, there are like a million farmers that don't....but then they are not in the novels much anyway.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 16 Nov 2018 : 00:19:26
Even in the fiction, most people do not use magical communication. It is not common.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 16 Nov 2018 : 00:12:49
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I've been focused on how common long-range magical communications are because of your words, emphasis mine: "It's very common in the setting fiction for most to communicate long distances, for example."

And I maintain that something that's an option for only a fraction of a percent of the population is not very common, and it's certainly not an option for most in the setting.



Well, what I said is accurate: It is common, in that most stories have it present. And most people, in the fiction, do use magical communication.

Though "the fiction" is about the uncommon people: the powerful people. Nobles, Governments, Merchants, Religions, Secret Societies, and Spellcasters. They are the ones with the very common access.

So, yes, it's not common for most of the common folk, but it is common to everyone else except them.

Again, like most magic, communication is a luxury. Powerful or rich people can afford it and use it, common people can't.

Like Drift Globes are common magic items, again you will find them in a lot of taverns, inns, government buildings, temples, shops and spellcaster homes. But again, Farmer Bob does not have one.
Ayrik Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 22:30:03
quote:
There are other ways to integrate magic into everyday life. Nchaser's glowing globes for lighting is one. In that vein, there were similar spells researched to heat/cool homes and to preserve food. As a joke, someone even came up with one to deal with excrement. There can also be some other infrastructure type things like how one of the high level mages in our group worked with the Temple of Eldath in Iriaebor to purify the Iriaeban sewage before it was discharged into the Chionthar River. Now you can't tell how close you are to the city by how smelly the river is.
Low-level magic can easily do many things like provide light, levitate and carry objects, dig holes, fix or maintain things, influence winds and waters and weather, attract lovers, repel vermin, etc. Not to mention "joke" spells which cure hangovers, cook delicious feasts, throw magic snowballs, leave long trails of glowing footprints - all kind of silly and all actually surprisingly useful.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 22:09:54
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
You yourself said that the fiction focuses on the extraordinary people of the setting. You can't keep pointing to that as proof of what the common folk experience. I'm sticking with the words of the guy who created the setting, who said that most news comes from bards and merchants.



You might be a bit to focused on the News and the Common Folk. The Realms does not have 'news networks' and the common people are just common: both are true.



I've been focused on how common long-range magical communications are because of your words, emphasis mine: "It's very common in the setting fiction for most to communicate long distances, for example."

And I maintain that something that's an option for only a fraction of a percent of the population is not very common, and it's certainly not an option for most in the setting.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 20:47:24
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
You yourself said that the fiction focuses on the extraordinary people of the setting. You can't keep pointing to that as proof of what the common folk experience. I'm sticking with the words of the guy who created the setting, who said that most news comes from bards and merchants.



You might be a bit to focused on the News and the Common Folk. The Realms does not have 'news networks' and the common people are just common: both are true.

Still, for anyone that is not a commoner they have access to magic communication (but, again, not "news").

And, again, I'd point you to The Creator that does have such non-commoners use magical communication in most of his fiction stories and does fill the world with 16th wizard tavern owners.

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Nchaser's glowing globes for lighting is one.



Again, magical lighting is in use...for anyone who is not a commoner. Fiction is again, full of them. Drift globes are quite common in fiction and books.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
A lot of that stuff has been left out of published lore, though, because it's just not flashy enough or of use to the PCs.



Ed Greenwood, and a couple others, do make a point to include such things in the Lore and Fiction. They don't make it much into the "All Combat" typical Realms book. Even more so from 3E on.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 19:41:51
The 2E Shining South includes a spell for keeping the home cool.

A lot of that stuff has been left out of published lore, though, because it's just not flashy enough or of use to the PCs.
TheIriaeban Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 17:23:32
I think it is funny how everyone has latched onto communication. There are other ways to integrate magic into everyday life. Nchaser's glowing globes for lighting is one. In that vein, there were similar spells researched to heat/cool homes and to preserve food. As a joke, someone even came up with one to deal with excrement. There can also be some other infrastructure type things like how one of the high level mages in our group worked with the Temple of Eldath in Iriaebor to purify the Iriaeban sewage before it was discharged into the Chionthar River. Now you can't tell how close you are to the city by how smelly the river is.
TheIriaeban Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 17:12:56
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Wooly..... you keep forgetting the turkey overland messaging system (TOMS)... I think the emerald enclave faction created it. Granted it did have some "issues" delivering to Veldorn, Thar, Vaasa, and a few other countries... but I think they just started charging extra for those regions to cover the training of a new turkey.



That was only for long range communication. For short range stuff, they would just fox 'em. I believe I first heard about it in reference to some guy named Rabin Heed or something like that.
sleyvas Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 14:40:53
Wooly..... you keep forgetting the turkey overland messaging system (TOMS)... I think the emerald enclave faction created it. Granted it did have some "issues" delivering to Veldorn, Thar, Vaasa, and a few other countries... but I think they just started charging extra for those regions to cover the training of a new turkey.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 03:13:38
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'd not even call it common amongst the 1% -- I think that's still too large a figure.


Again, I'd point to Realms fiction where anyone who is not a poor commoner has access to magical communication.

And the setting details that have at least ten mid level spellcasters in even small towns and maybe like a hundred or more in large cities.

The Realms is a setting where the "sage in the tower" or "tavern keeper" and "shop keeper" is a 16th level arch wizard, not a zero level commoner.

I guess you could say these hundreds of people never cast a communication spell and just sit around and hope a bard wanders by...but it does not really seem to fit.



And I would point to the fact that more than 99.9% of the people in the Realms are the commoners who don't have access to magical communication spells. You speak of "hundreds of people" of people in a setting with millions, if not tens of millions, of people. Do the math.

And of that less than .1% who do have access, the majority of them are going to have better things to do with their time than try to stay on top of news and events in distant places, that they will never be affected by. And/or they're going to have better things to do than sit around and pretend to be a telephone for any passing commoner.

Just because someone can do something, it doesn't mean they have any reason or inclination to do it. The mere possibility of something is not proof of its existence.

Oh, and those 16th level tavern keepers you speak of? Those might be found in the larger communities -- but those same communities will have a lot more tavern keepers that are just regular joes, maybe as high as 5th level in a non-spellcasting class. And then there are all the communities that are simply too small to appear on any map -- most of those places would be lucky to have a 5th level wizard there.

You yourself said that the fiction focuses on the extraordinary people of the setting. You can't keep pointing to that as proof of what the common folk experience. I'm sticking with the words of the guy who created the setting, who said that most news comes from bards and merchants.
Ayrik Posted - 15 Nov 2018 : 01:14:15
The people of the Realms tend to live in a "small" world anyhow. The wonderful gossip and happenings in faraway Waterdeep or even just the Moonsea are always interesting fare, the sort of stuff which makes travelling bards and wandering nobility into celebrities, but it's just not very central and has little impact on the lives of the Dalesfolk when crops need planting and barns need building. Not so much need to always have instant communication with people you'll hardly ever meet anyhow because you're separated by ten days of hard riding, unless you need to know whether they're raising an army or something.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 14 Nov 2018 : 23:50:45
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I'd not even call it common amongst the 1% -- I think that's still too large a figure.


Again, I'd point to Realms fiction where anyone who is not a poor commoner has access to magical communication.

And the setting details that have at least ten mid level spellcasters in even small towns and maybe like a hundred or more in large cities.

The Realms is a setting where the "sage in the tower" or "tavern keeper" and "shop keeper" is a 16th level arch wizard, not a zero level commoner.

I guess you could say these hundreds of people never cast a communication spell and just sit around and hope a bard wanders by...but it does not really seem to fit.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 14 Nov 2018 : 02:44:11
I'd not even call it common amongst the 1% -- I think that's still too large a figure.

Either way, though, as I've been saying, it's not common for the setting as a whole. There's a hell of a difference between saying that magical communications are common amongst a fraction of 1%, as opposed to "It's very common in the setting fiction for most to communicate long distances, for example."
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 14 Nov 2018 : 02:04:35
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Something that is only available to a dozen people in a community of 10,000 or more is by no stretch of the imagination "common."



So it's only common for spellcasters, religions, secret societies, merchants, nobles, goverments and adventurers. The top 1%, the people that are the Action Adventure part of the Realms.
Ayrik Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 23:28:14
Fleas (or agents polymorphed into fleas). Able to get in and out of all sorts of places where birds would be noticed, perfect for eavesdropping or for carrying information. Well, at least until they bump into something bigger which eats fleas.

More seriously, there are methods like smoke signals and war drums and fire towers and beacons/lighthouses and heliotropes (along with all sorts of simple ciphers), seemingly primitive but surprisingly efficient (and secure) methods of faster-than-horse faster-than-flight long distance communication which don't involve a lot of investment and don't involve any magic to operate.
sleyvas Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 19:10:00
Nah, everyone has communications all over the place... everyone's using Ravens and getting... oh wait, wrong setting... no..no… that's right, its OWLS... everyone's getting their letters via these owls... some are even these little bitty owls..... oh wait, wrong setting... Swallows? I have heard that some varieties can carry a coconut by gripping its husk... no, that was somewhere else... maybe it would be pigeons? No, that would be just flat out absurd. Who the hell could depend on PIGEONS to deliver carrier messages?.... Oh, wait, now I remember, its turkeys. Yes, they use turkeys to communicate long distance.


Wooly Rupert Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 09:38:24
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I don't know that I'd say it's even all that common amongst the uppermost echelon... But even if it was, it's still not common for the setting as a whole.



Guess it depends on what you want 'common' to mean. The average folk, even more so the working class have no access to magical communication. However, everyone else does.



Per dictionary.com: "pertaining or belonging equally to an entire community, nation, or culture; public"

Something that is only available to a dozen people in a community of 10,000 or more is by no stretch of the imagination "common."
Ayrik Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 07:29:54
A problem with magical communications is that they rely on magic which in turn relies on mages. Who might edit or censor or simply apply their bias to any news they pass on. Or who might be compromised by the efforts of better mages. Or who might simply be limited by the ever-fickle, never-entirely-predictable whims of Mystra and the Weave itself. Elminster's magic can get frustrated by Mystra's moods, Telamont's magic can be spoofed by Elminster, Szassy's magic can be hacked by mere priests ... surely any competent mage realizes that there's always risk of somebody else coming along with better tricks, sure any competent non-mage realizes this truth even if mages themselves refuse to ever admit it.

Reliable enough for the most part ... but when secure, reliable, uncompromised communication is required (and armies or cities or castles or fortunes can be gained or lost) then trustworthy non-magical methods (or confirmations) are much preferred.
bloodtide_the_red Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 04:01:45
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I don't know that I'd say it's even all that common amongst the uppermost echelon... But even if it was, it's still not common for the setting as a whole.



Guess it depends on what you want 'common' to mean. The average folk, even more so the working class have no access to magical communication. However, everyone else does.

It only takes a spellcaster of around 7th-10th level(depending on edition and class). And even a quick look through most Realms game books will show you at least five spellcasters of that level in even just a town.

Though note the common spell, Sending is 5th level and can only send 25 words....so it's not too much. And Sending is listed as a Common spell in FR.

And, again, I would point out that in nearly all Realms fiction...even stuff written by Ed...most ''powerful'' character's have access to communications.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 13 Nov 2018 : 03:25:35
I don't know that I'd say it's even all that common amongst the uppermost echelon... But even if it was, it's still not common for the setting as a whole.

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