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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
465 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  10:26:50  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As even modern technology hasn't solved ideal support for larger breasted women it is to be expected that without magic Realms should have the same problem. Historicaly most common solution until 20. century was a strip of cloth about foot wide that was strapped around chest in several layers. This flattened breasts and held them close to body to minimalize excesive movement that is the cause of most problems during excercises. As there were almost none female-formed metal armors this also helped accomodate this preferred form of protection. Most armors are tight fitted anyway so it work like a corset.

Fact is that large breasts will never be comfortable during intensive movement as they are not supposed to but it has never stopped those women from acting out if needed. If you think about rigorously training woman worriors than nature solved this one for you. It should be uncomfortable at the begining but if they endure those breasts are going to go away naturaly. There are medical studies confirming that excesive physical training (like army special forces) lead to loss of most womenly functions in body like menstruation and even fertility if stressed long enough transforming them almost to men in performance and function.

With magic in the picture I can imagine a form of Hold spell for Tiny object with a range of self or touch that could help immensely with those body parts. I would say it would be 1st level spell from shoool of Transformation similar to Magic armor in duration of both arcane and divine source. Widely popular in Rashemen but available everywhere thanks to understanding female godesses. You could also say that some abjurations can help with this also from their nature - to protect its user from harm. Permanent version of such spell could be available in Red Wizard's Enclaves in a form of tatoo magic.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  11:45:09  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

As even modern technology hasn't solved ideal support for larger breasted women it is to be expected that without magic Realms should have the same problem. Historicaly most common solution until 20. century was a strip of cloth about foot wide that was strapped around chest in several layers. This flattened breasts and held them close to body to minimalize excesive movement that is the cause of most problems during excercises. As there were almost none female-formed metal armors this also helped accomodate this preferred form of protection. Most armors are tight fitted anyway so it work like a corset.

Exactly. And that's what PCs and their NPCs allies have usually done until now in my campaigns.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

Fact is that large breasts will never be comfortable during intensive movement as they are not supposed to but it has never stopped those women from acting out if needed. If you think about rigorously training woman worriors than nature solved this one for you. It should be uncomfortable at the begining but if they endure those breasts are going to go away naturaly.

More or less, yes.

So far, female PC or significant allied NPC warriors, rogues or other active adventuring classes have tended to be exceptionally slender in build in my campaign. Even if they build up significant muscle mass during periods they are well fed and allowed rest as well as exercise, their body fat percentage is generally so low during active adventuring as to interfere with many bodily functions that are considered normal, but are usually very inconvenient for adventurers.

I can remember only a few female characters in my campaigns who spent any amount of time living on the road, performing intensive training in swordsmanship, martial arts, gymnastics or athletics, who might have been described as having a full figure.

One of these, a wood elven ranger, tied her breasts down under armour and/or had tightly laced supple leather training bras, both of which were uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure Kit (Kitiara/Kitiera/Kitieria/something like that) was flat-out buxom, she was tall (at least 5'10") and weighed something awe-inspiring for an elven female (i.e. something similar to a human athlete, like maybe 150+ lbs.).

It was some 15-20 years ago, but I recall that the first time she found magical armour, which in 2nd Edition fitted itself to the wearer, the player was ecstatic. I also recall that PCs would use magical spells to do laundry and eventually got a genie servant, so they could adventure without discomfort and being filthy all the time.

The other character was a tiny, dainty, moon elven sorceress in the same campaign. I don't think her breasts were exceptionally large, maybe C-cups (which is still huge for the average elf, I imagine), I just seem to recall them being very noticeable on such a slender frame. I seem to recall her being something like 5'6" and 115 lbs., so maybe not so much tiny as within fairly normal elven height and weight ranges, although, obviously, I'm guessing perfect hourglass figures, with tiny waists and noticeably feminine curves on a very slender frame, are still an exception rather than the rule even among elves.

Ethasha Moonsilver (or something close to it) would use magic from the start of her career to help with her hygiene, appearance and other such issues. Her cantrips were mostly meant for comfort on the road. Eventually, of course, she grew powerful enough to turn cartwheels naked without issues, if she wanted, just like the Seven Sisters, but at low levels, she preferred to avoid undue exertion or acrobatic exercise while she was on the road.

In that campaign, of course, the players were 11-17 years old, I think. Maybe we played it long enough for some people to reach within sighting distance of twenty, but I don't think so. I figure I was the oldest and I think that campaign came to an end about at the time when I turned twenty, which means no players were more than eighteen. So, yeah, less focus on realism or plausibility, more, evidently, on sexy elf-babes with improbable assets.

In later campaigns, attractive people in sexy clothing, who smell nice, are mostly found among the settled rich classes, who have servants and extensive wardrobes of clean clothing. This is because the standards of grooming and cleanliness that we are used to in modern society depend on an astonishing variety of technological comforts and labour-savers.

Without modern cosmetics, cleaning supplies, materials, devices, hygienic items and facilities (or magical equivalents), staying as clean and nice as a modern person is assumed to do at a bare minimum, even while training extensively in a physical sport, walking eight hours a day, foraging for food, patrolling, standing guard and wearing armour for long periods of time... well, it's work for a whole household of servants per character who wants to smell like a noble at all times.

Adventurers on the road are usually uncomfortable, struggle with getting enough healthy, good food not to lose any more of their body fat and never have enough time or spare luggage space to wear really clean... anything. Consequently, adventurers tend to be foul-smelling and unattractive during those periods they actively adventure, unless they are powerful and rich enough to have a variety of magical trinkets to replace the services of a staff of servants and/or they have enough spells to spare to use them for laundry and personal hygiene.

When a more or less 'random encounter' turned up several characters who seemed like they might wish to avoid the discomfort and filth assumed for most soldiers, mercenaries and adventurers, but who were not themselves necessarily versatile magic-users capable of replacing servants with magic (aside from two low level clerics who might have some useful spells) or rich enough to have magic items for the purpose, I started wondering what their exercise clothing was like and how they kept it clean and fresh.

I find it very interesting to consider what spells, herbal lifestyle aids or cheap alchemical concoctions for mundane uses 'should' exist in Realmslore (because the Realms would be very different if their use was not somewhat implicit in the background) and make them available to PCs.

Spells that make it easier and less time-consuming to wash smallclothes, bindings and other cloth would be high on the list of spells that all adventurers would welcome.

But who would have access to them?

Wizards, sure, because they can learn any spell that is useful to them, as this certainly would be. It explains why many wizards are able to live alone without a household full of servants, but still maintain a middle class or higher standard of living.

Clerics? Of some priests, sure, but I imagine that a wide range of faiths would not exactly encourage that magic granted by the gods was used to allow priests to avoid gainfully employing lay worshippers in their service. Besides, any god that claims to be benevolent would probably want their servants to use their god-granted powers to help those deserving of help, not to serve as their domestic servant.

That's not to say that some faiths may not make extensive use of various spells that make mundane things easier and more comfortable. It is very fitting for many of them, in fact. But it's an important characterisation detail whether a given priest makes use of magic that way or not.

The limited spell selection of many other magic-using characters, like sorcerers and many other classes, makes it much less plausible that they'd have the exact spell they require for their every need, comfort and hygienic requirement while on the road. And blade magicians, while powerful in combat, are probably not learning how to do laundry with their weapons.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

There are medical studies confirming that excesive physical training (like army special forces) lead to loss of most womenly functions in body like menstruation and even fertility if stressed long enough transforming them almost to men in performance and function.

That's a slight exaggeration, but the general thrust is true enough. About half of elite female athletes in physically demanding endurance sports experience irregular or no menses and their average breast size is generally far below the general population.

I haven't seen any studies for females in Army Special Forces, specifically, largely because the first female US Army Ranger finished training in 2017 and I'm not aware that any of the handful of women who were in the US Navy SEALs and US Army Special Forces training pipelines in 2017 have passed yet, but even if there are one or two who have made it through, no statistical analysis is possible with such a small sample size.

What I've seen from other countries where female soldiers have had the possibility of serving in special operations forces for longer than in the US, as well as women in the US Armed Forces who have physically demanding jobs, either supporting SOF or in a variety of combat units with duties that do not technically fall under SOF, but involve similar physical exertion at times, suggests that the physical demands of combat patrolling tend to have an even greater effect on the physique than even top athletes experience.

In addition to the physical exertion, it is simply extremely difficult to maintain ideal weight in the field due to the difficulty of consuming enough calories. So, yes, everything I can find suggests that the majority of women in professions as physically demanding as military SOF, which adventuring definitely is, will have extremely low body fat percentage and consequently, frequently experience secondary amenorrhoea (irregular or no menstruation) and not only have lean builds, but usually breasts that are small even for their weight, most of which will be muscle and not fat.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

With magic in the picture I can imagine a form of Hold spell for Tiny object with a range of self or touch that could help immensely with those body parts.

Yes, indeed.

I'm not at all averse to such a spell existing and in my Realms it certainly does, but I confess I haven't exactly worked out the power level of the spell and the duration. I've simply assumed that characters like the Seven Sisters could do it without a second thought, but so far, it hasn't mattered very much who else had access to such magic.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

I would say it would be 1st level spell from shoool of Transformation similar to Magic armor in duration of both arcane and divine source. Widely popular in Rashemen but available everywhere thanks to understanding female godesses. You could also say that some abjurations can help with this also from their nature - to protect its user from harm.

That's quite generous, but not illogical. Other approaches might be treating it as a variation or even an advanced command of the Magic Armour spell, incorporating advanced control of the magical force that envelopes the magic-user.

As such, I imagine that a Force spell which provides breast support might well exist. That would be an Evocation spell, I imagine, though depending on edition, the exact boundaries of the spell schools has shifted about somewhat. In any case, I use GURPS rules to play in the Realms, so the lore is the important thing for me, i.e. how such spells function, precisely, and who has access to them, what factors might influence their use, who cannot use them, etc.

Transmutation magic would change the user's body to provide the needed support. Evocation (Force) would call into being a shaped field of magical force that provides this support. Abjuration could, as you say, perhaps do a similar thing. Enchantment, at least in the earlier editions (lore from which I still use), might enchant a simple cloth to provide exceptional support for a while (or permanently).

Transmutation spells make cleaning various cloths easier and can remove unwanted soiling or odours, both of which are a godsend to adventurers of any gender. Any PC spellcaster who can cast the requisite cantrips and low-level spells, like Clean, is likely to be pressed into service to do laundry for the whole party, because doing it manually is extremely time-consuming and difficult.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

Permanent version of such spell could be available in Red Wizard's Enclaves in a form of tatoo magic.


Brilliant! Consider this adopted.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 10 Apr 2018 13:43:35
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8207 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  12:09:07  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If we're going to use magic to solve it, then make it a form of small localized levitation, and older women of most breast sizes will be wanting it as well even if they don't wear armor.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8207 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  12:12:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik


As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.



There's some poor wizard out there just making a killing because he chose to learn the "remove sweat smell" cantrip

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  13:09:08  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

If we're going to use magic to solve it, then make it a form of small localized levitation, and older women of most breast sizes will be wanting it as well even if they don't wear armor.


Huh. Levitation is Transmutation too, which, uh, I guess. If explained as changing the mass, it works, I suppose, but that is probably the least efficient and most problematic way to levitate something.

Seems like moving things with magic should use spells that 'manipulated energy or tapped an unseen source of power in order to produce a desired end', i.e. should be Evocation spells. I mean, you're literally manipulating energy, specifically, a force that acts upon the levitated object to move it.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  13:23:34  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik


As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.



There's some poor wizard out there just making a killing because he chose to learn the "remove sweat smell" cantrip


You really feel sorry for the wizard who is making money hand over fist and who never has to sleep in close proximity with a group of filthy people who smell like they've sweated into the same old and dirty gym clothes constantly for weeks, not even taking them off to sleep?

In my opinion, any adventurers who have the option will strongly desire to learn cantrips and spells that make daily life more comfortable and less disgusting. A lot of people, fantasy writers included, severely underestimate how even minimum wage earners in modern societies have a lifestyle that could only be matched by high nobles in societies without our vast array of modern conveniences and riches.

Until the 20th century, you couldn't really live a tolerable middle class existence without servants. Social stratification wasn't caused by ignorance or evil, it was that there genuinely weren't enough resources, time and wealth to allow anyone but a tiny elite to live in any degree of comfort.

And I'm not talking about what we'd consider luxuries. I'm talking about ever feeling really clean, wearing clean clothes on a regular basis and not smelling like sweat and other bodily fluids all the time. Nobles, and anyone rich enough to have a household of servants, really were taller, with better muscle tone, better skin and smelled better, on average. It's really difficult to avoid a degree of unconscious prejudice toward the 'lower classes' when they can be identified because they are uglier, dirtier and smell bad.

The Realms aren't our world and do not have our history, but unless there are affordable replacements for all the modern conveniences that have enabled people to reduce the labour involved in providing basic comforts, the life style made necessary by travelling in a small group without servants would still be exquisitely uncomfortable and incredibly disgusting to our modern sensibilities.

From Realms fiction, people seem to be a lot cleaner, happier and healthier than at any time in Earth history before the 20th century. And adventurers in novels, sourcebooks and Ed's replies seem to live in comfort that isn't possible on the road, without servants, without magic, 20th century technology or some alternate technological path that is unknown to us.

I'd like to understand a bit better how Realmsian adventurers deal with their daily routine of exercise, hygiene and health.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 10 Apr 2018 13:24:08
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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
465 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  14:32:35  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

If we're going to use magic to solve it, then make it a form of small localized levitation, and older women of most breast sizes will be wanting it as well even if they don't wear armor.


Do I hear "tentacle attack"??? :-D

Actualy levitation would not solve the problem as it only mitigates gravity which is the only force keeping breasts in place. So they would bounce even more...


I am amazed how a group of teenage players have such a focus on hygiene and grooming of their manga characters.

For general view of difference between FR and medieval society there is mainly Religion. People are commonly cured from diseases, crops are blessed, troubles are divined. There are also supernatural threats but compared to plagues, starvation, diseases and wars of middle ages those are breezes.
Just to clarify my view - cost for spells is listed for traveling adventurers as a service from a local priest. Local lay worshipers are healed for free or some service provided for the church otherwise they would never be able to afford it and being a local priest would lose meaning.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  15:08:13  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

If we're going to use magic to solve it, then make it a form of small localized levitation, and older women of most breast sizes will be wanting it as well even if they don't wear armor.




quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

Do I hear "tentacle attack"??? :-D

Actualy levitation would not solve the problem as it only mitigates gravity which is the only force keeping breasts in place. So they would bounce even more...

Clearly, the invisible magical force would have to be able to respond to motion and prevent excessive movement. It's less powerful, but subtler and more complex than levitation, but clearly less difficult overall than spells that allow rapid and responsive magical flight for a creature the size of a human.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

I am amazed how a group of teenage players have such a focus on hygiene and grooming of their manga characters.

Well, that game was started more than 20 years ago and ended about 15 years ago. So my current posts are not reflective of that game, we are in our thirties, everyone has careers and the majority have families.

On the other hand, we did roleplay a lot of day-to-day, slice of life stuff back in the day, as we still do, so even if our research and general level of knowledge about how things work might have been infantile back then, we did at least think about how the characters went about their daily routine and tried to live in comfort and dignity.

I've always hated fiction and worldbuilding where the author or designers clearly did not care about the logical ramifications of any elements he put in his work and/or did not have the slightest idea how anything in his world actually worked. So as a GM, I can't possibly present a world where I have no idea how people in the professions PCs usually adopt go about their daily lives.

It's actually a lot more readily visible in roleplaying than in traditional fiction when aspects of a world are not thought out at all, because the author can't just arbitrarily decide never to have his characters do anything which shatters the fragile illusion of there being any kind of world around the story. Because players have the freedom to do whatever they can think of and also the responsibility to present their characters as fully-realised people integrated in a fictional world, you can't just gloss over stuff.

Hence, there is no detail small enough not to be valid fodder for Game Mastering.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

For general view of difference between FR and medieval society there is mainly Religion. People are commonly cured from diseases, crops are blessed, troubles are divined. There are also supernatural threats but compared to plagues, starvation, diseases and wars of middle ages those are breezes.

International trade also appears to have reached levels paralleling the 19th century on Earth, which means that there is a lot more wealth in circulation than in medieval societies.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

Just to clarify my view - cost for spells is listed for traveling adventurers as a service from a local priest. Local lay worshipers are healed for free or some service provided for the church otherwise they would never be able to afford it and being a local priest would lose meaning.


Agreed. Any price listed in a D&D price can only make some limited amount of sense if you assume that it is a predatory price assessed in a gold rush environment on distrusted wandering mercenaries without local contacts.

Back when I still played using D&D rules, it used to bother me a whole lot when prices for things that people who were not rich adventurers were obviously meant to be using were given in disbelief-suspender shattering amounts. Like the 'drugs' introduced in some 3e source that would not be affordable to anyone but nobles and adventurers.

You can't have drug-addicted, drunkards or unfortunate day labourers making 1 cp per hour, which is from a canonical Realms source for irregular labour, and then expect anyone to pay 15 gp or even 100 gp for a 'hit' of a drug that keeps them from a steadier job. Nor can you expect mugs of ale to sell for several cp or even a 1 sp, as some game designers do, even for what are supposed to be dive taverns.

If there are penniless drug addicts and drunkards, there have to be sources of intoxication cheap enough for them to scrounge together for a fix. Any herbal intoxicant which grows locally is going to cost something around what typical users are able to pay for it (even if it means they have to go without food), which is going to be coppers or silvers, not several ounces or even pounds of gold.

Any time official D&D rules give nonsensical pricing, that would make some aspect of lore from the setting invalid, I simply adjust the pricing to something more sensible. There clearly are drug addicts and drunkards in the Realms, who obviously do not have any wealth at all, but are nevertheless able to get intoxicated frequently.

Ergo, either the prices for the drugs in official sources are massively wrong and/or those are quasi-magical elite drugs for spoilt nobles and there exist a lot of cheaper herbal recreational drugs.

By the same token, Faerunian peasants are clearly richer and better fed than people were on Earth at any time. So it makes perfect sense that every village has a minor druid, priest or hedge wizard/witch/wise person who helps with the crops, health and various slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

On the other hand, I doubt that this help extends to doing laundry and performing all the work that is needed to ensure personal comfort without our modern conveniences. So the labour involved in keeping clean and having clean clothes, not to mention keeping the surroundings clean and preparing food, is still exponentially greater than we are used to in our modern lives.

How do adventurers deal with that?

Especially when they are also trying to maintain an exercise schedule like modern professional athletes?

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 10 Apr 2018 16:31:45
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8207 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  17:06:04  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just as an aside, this is one topic that I honestly don't agree with with most scribes. Which topic? The one in which the average NPC is making like a copper a day or a copper a week or somesuch. While I think adventurers are making decent money, I wouldn't place it at the thousands times more than the common peasants. Now, will I say that "I've done a stringent comparison of canon sources" or some other thing like that... no. I do believe that people join the adventuring life because of the romance of it, the adrenaline rush, etc.... but there are also people that join for the mere fact that they live in a world that SOMEONE has to keep the nasty things away that simply want to eat everyone in civilized society. Adventurers are a forced necessity, much as a modern military is, but even moreso in that there are depraved monsters out there who see humans as food, slaves/cheap labor, sacrifices for their gods, a source of income, etc.... It would only be the elite of the elite (i.e. in my book the 12th level and up) that start getting so much money that they live like rich people. Prior to at least 12th level, pretty much any money they get is going straight back into food, rent, new armor, new weapons, one-shot magic items, etc.... This might make you think that the magic shop owners are the ones making all the money. To that I'd say that most magic shops are probably using half their income just paying for mercenaries or magic items/constructs to guard their places (and mercenaries to watch the original mercenaries). So, if you can make a magic item for half the cost of buying a magic item.... and you can sell magic items to a magic shop for half the cost of buying a magic item (which personally, I cut this price to 1/4 instead of half)... even the magic shop owners aren't making a ton of cash. Granted, the magic shop owners are probably upcharging on the reagents to "make" a magic item... say tripling said cost, such that they can make magic items on the very cheap as a result.... and THIS is how the Thayan Enclaves are making their money, in the collection of reagents from all over and getting them where they need to be in order to be used.

So, in the end, I guess this strongly shows how I picture a Thayan Enclave working. Many people see them as small "couple tent" affairs. I on the other hand picture them as having multiple buildings, over several blocks, where people come in and sell their locally acquired things that "no one else would seem to want to buy". For instance, maybe a town is plagued by some minor monster like displacer beasts, and they can bring in a dead displacer beast to an enclave and make a couple gold for something that would have simply rotted out in the wilderness. Meanwhile, the Thayans maybe turn around and take the displacer beasts coat, blood, and organs for alchemical purposes, take the meat and turn it into gnoll food, and then animate the bones to guard the enclave OR to be hired out with a local Thayan necromancer to go out and hunt down say some goblin bandits. Meanwhile, some lumberjack comes in with some wood that he would have to pay handsomely to move across the countryside, and the Thayans pay him half the money he would have gotten, but they arrange to ship it to some other enclave where lumber is needed or where it can be prepared. In the end, I'm picturing red wizard enclaves filled with a LOT of things that don't directly deal with magic, and a LOT of Mulans whose jobs involve accounting, shipping, tracking things, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1589 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  17:29:07  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just as an aside, this is one topic that I honestly don't agree with with most scribes. Which topic? The one in which the average NPC is making like a copper a day or a copper a week or somesuch.

Agreed, with qualifications. The actual minimum rate, which is for an utterly unskilled person without any local contacts, is 1 cp per hour. I've always included basic meals during work hours in this rate, as otherwise this rate would lead to actual death by starvation when compared to the cheapest sources of nutrition.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

While I think adventurers are making decent money, I wouldn't place it at the thousands times more than the common peasants. Now, will I say that "I've done a stringent comparison of canon sources" or some other thing like that... no.

Why not? Fairly low level spell-casters can do things that thousands of unskilled labourers cannot. And at any time in human history, extreme wealth disparity has been common.

More prosaically, just owning a sword, armour and a war horse in any realistic pre-modern world means owning the equivalent in portable goods to the entire possessions of several hundred people. Granted, most of this is due to the warhorses, which historically cost about as much to own and operate as a private jet.

Just having the free time to train extensively with weapons and the wealth to keep yourself and the servants you need fed, not to mention feeding the horses, means that you are part of the 1% even if you are just a beginning adventurer.

A lot of people do not seem to fully understand how different the mechanised modern world is to any world where all labour (or all labour not done by magic, which is probably only for elites) needs to be done by muscle power and mind-numbering repetition. The lifetyles of typical 'cash-poor' adventurers in novels are still the lifetyles of rich nobility compared to historical people.

Gotta run, get to the rest of the post later.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8207 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2018 :  18:22:34  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just as an aside, this is one topic that I honestly don't agree with with most scribes. Which topic? The one in which the average NPC is making like a copper a day or a copper a week or somesuch.

Agreed, with qualifications. The actual minimum rate, which is for an utterly unskilled person without any local contacts, is 1 cp per hour. I've always included basic meals during work hours in this rate, as otherwise this rate would lead to actual death by starvation when compared to the cheapest sources of nutrition.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

While I think adventurers are making decent money, I wouldn't place it at the thousands times more than the common peasants. Now, will I say that "I've done a stringent comparison of canon sources" or some other thing like that... no.

Why not? Fairly low level spell-casters can do things that thousands of unskilled labourers cannot. And at any time in human history, extreme wealth disparity has been common.

More prosaically, just owning a sword, armour and a war horse in any realistic pre-modern world means owning the equivalent in portable goods to the entire possessions of several hundred people. Granted, most of this is due to the warhorses, which historically cost about as much to own and operate as a private jet.

Just having the free time to train extensively with weapons and the wealth to keep yourself and the servants you need fed, not to mention feeding the horses, means that you are part of the 1% even if you are just a beginning adventurer.

A lot of people do not seem to fully understand how different the mechanised modern world is to any world where all labour (or all labour not done by magic, which is probably only for elites) needs to be done by muscle power and mind-numbering repetition. The lifetyles of typical 'cash-poor' adventurers in novels are still the lifetyles of rich nobility compared to historical people.

Gotta run, get to the rest of the post later.



That's based upon our world though. D&D is not our world. For every single human, there's probably some dangerous humanoid (if not 3). Granted a lot of these dangerous humanoids are fighting one another instead of exclusively all against the humans. However, all of these humanoids HAVE weapons, and most even have armor. Most of these humanoids would EAT humans (unlike the roadside bandits of say old England) with no guilt. Then after the humanoids are the simple monstrous beasts (who definitely would eat a human).

Now, granted, maybe these humanoid's weapons are shoddy, but most of them are metal and not stone age weapons. Many of these weapons may have come from the humans that they killed. Still, owning a sword in the Forgotten Realms is NOT something that only the elite do. I'd pretty much go with almost every house has SOME KIND of weapons, either sword, axe, or more simple weapons such as a spiked club. I also wouldn't be surprised if the average person in the realms DOES spend some time each day performing some kind of basic weapons training (in the dales for instance, archery practice).... and I wouldn't limit that to just the males. This world is a lot more dangerous than our own, and most of our parents recognize that we need to know how to say change a tire. Some basic "how to swing a weapon against a goblin" is probably something every dad figures he HAS to show his son.... and its probably a skill that he's probably had to use once himself during his lifetime.


Look at this about Lundeth from Serpent Kingdoms

Lundeth (Large City, 23,791): The City of Whirring Waters
lies at the foot of the Cascades, where the River Lundeth has
been harnessed to operate a series of small watermills. These
devices power all manner of technological cqntraptions, including
a set of presses that can each create up to one hundred
swords per day. Despite the involvement of gold dwarf overseers,
weapons produced in this fashion are still quite shoddy.
Such a
weapon commands less than 10% of its normal price, and its
break DC is one-half that for a normal specimen. Nevertheless,
efforts to refine the process continue. A small number of Lantanna
expatriates have recently settled in this city, bringing with
them missionary priests of Gond.


So, the idea of making mass produced weaponry using water driven mills isn't out the window. This place is producing up to 100 swords per day. Even if we have some place doing the same thing but with simpler weapons (hammers, axe heads, etc...), the cost isn't outrageous. If they produce swords at half the speed 5 days a week, that's 13 thousand a year. This is just one place down in Thindol, and they can arm 1% of their population every year from just this one set of presses. Granted, they are shoddy, but let's face it most folk will only use the weapons in combat a few times in their life. If they set their presses to something simpler like axe, hammer, or mace heads, they could probably do ten times that output.

Now, this is something special, so I wouldn't expect the average smithy to crank out 100 swords a day... but I wouldn't be surprised at say 4 to 9 "shoddy" simple weapons and 1 "good enough to sell to adventurers" one per day. Maybe smiths in our world couldn't do that, but it seems like they can in the realms. Maybe most smiths have some kind of stone of heating or somesuch that keeps metal hot. Maybe they use magical molds that make creating things easier by getting things to a proper heat for removing carbon from a blade and turning it into steel and then slowly reheating and quickly cooling the blade in the mold. Maybe once per year they do things "the old fashioned/long way" and make a masterwork weapon for enchanting.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 10 Apr 2018 21:19:17
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  08:51:13  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is all a bit off-topic, but I suppose the tangent is distantly related, i.e. it concerns my preference for fantasy as 'imaginary gardens with real toads', as Marianne Moore said.

sleyvas, while I agree that metal costs in the Realms are dramatically lower than in Earth pre-Modern societies, your point doesn't support the position you are arguing. The presence of capital-intensive super-projects that increase manufacturing efficiency will only increase the wealth disparity between the very low income poor without the resources to invest in them and the rich, including adventurers, who have still more ways to use their wealth to beget more wealth.

No Realmslore has ever suggested that warhorses eat any less than on Earth or that less specialised knowledge and extensive lavour is required to care for them. Indeed, I should not be interested in a campaign setting so unrelatable as to ignore biological processes or economic reality.

The presence of magic, which is a skill so rare (and unobtainable without an inborn talent, Realmslore has always suggested, albeit that D&D rules now assume that all PCs have such gifts by default), doesn't help people without valuable skills or capital to invest in order to increase their earning power. It's just another tool that helps the elite grow richer still, because you need enough wealth to invest in magic before you can take advantage of it.

Training in any skill, magic, fighting or anything else, requires free time and access to decent nutrition, shelter and hygiene while you learn. For people in a world where the Industrial Revolution hasn't driven up the demand for more-or-less 'unskilled' (i.e. no more specialised knowledge than it is practical to learn on the job) labour, just earning enough to provide adequate nutrition, shelter and hygiene is a full-time job that leaves no free time for learning extraneous skills.

From all Realmslore sources I've seen, i.e. description of life in the Realms, rather than price lists in D&D products (which are often poorly thought out and should not be considered reflective of economic trends for the majority, but rather reflect external, metagamey, balancing factors, and apply, at most, only to adventurers), Toril has a much stronger, richer and healthier middle class than any Medieval or even Renaissance society on Earth. On the other hand, those without any capital or valuable skills are not substantially better off than medieval peasants, labourers or beggars.

Farmers who are capital-rich, in that they own their land, the animals and tools to work it and have some method of securing it from common threats (such as paying the equivalent of tax to someone powerful to defend it), actually seem to earn a much better living on Toril than Earth. All the same, their income is mostly 'in kind', i.e. their harvests and the yield of their animals, and even if they sold it all at profit, would not be sufficient to keep a warhorse.

It took hundreds of people to grow a surplus enough for a knight to own and keep a true destrier and everything that went with it in medieval Europe and it might only take a third that many on Toril, with magic used to boost crop yields, but that still makes the beginning adventurer someone like a beginning NFL player, who was a college star, or a hedge fund manager from an elite business school, compared to the average person.

And magic-using characters of ca 5th-7th level and more are effectively superheroes and like most superheroes, their abilities are so valuable for many 'mundane' projects that the only way they can avoid being super-rich is either a setting handwave about secrecy (not applicable to PCs in a Realms campaign), a personal code of honour requiring them to stay poor or just the writers managing to write the characters as functionally retarded, which seems surprisingly common in superhero fiction, but a GM can hardly rely on all his players being metaphorically unable to chew bubblegum and walk at the same time.

Actually, adventurers are a lot like venture capitalists, in that they procide an essential and beneficial effect to society, which emerges naturally from their freebooting, quick-wealth motivated ways, and they tend to be distrusted and condemned by society at large.

Average incomes on Toril are much higher than in medieval Eruoe, for example, but that is because the wealth disparity is much higher than in relatively uncomplicated, cash poor economies like medieval ones and more in line with the modern USA. A noble might easily own assets which would take a labourer at minimum wage a million years to earn, working twelve hours a day, never taking time off (assuming he eats a starvation diet and sleeps in a ditch). And that's actually canon, based on the City of Ravens Bluff by Ed Greenwood, where a noblewoman (not the richest in the city nor, it seems, that remarkable for nobility in the Realms) owns six million gold pieces (in liquid capital, excluding all land assets and investments) and day labourers earn 1 cp per hour.

Adventurers are a lot closer to the lifestyles of the noble in this example than the day labourer. Well, actually, they should be, but, as I've noted many times, without a lot of servants (who are much cheaper to keep and feed than warhorses, so nearly all adventurers ought to afford them), it's more or less impossible to maintain any comfort without all the modern conveniences we take for granted. So, as we know most adventures do not have several servants per party member with them on the road, I'm trying to figure out what fantastic elements like spells, alchemy or herbs that don't exist on Earth they are using to manage to keep as cosy, relatively clean, fairly healthy and happy as they appear in the sources.

In this thread, specifically, what do adventurers do about certain items of sportswear? How do they keep exercise gear clean and fresh-smelling?

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 11 Apr 2018 09:25:35
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Wrigley
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Czech Republic
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  09:28:23  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I see adventurers more like hireswords or mercenaries if you will. They own weapons and armor, travel light and earn big money on contract and live from those money until next job. They tend to overspend enjoying their life as it could end any time they delve into some dungeon, forest, ... So they excercise mainly in real combat and only a few are wise enough to buy a trainer or practice themselves. Those are usualy the long living ones. For their hygiene I suppose they are not into it that much. They own a spare set of clothes and once they arrive into civilisation they go to local baths or order such in a tavern, pay some servant to clean their armor, boots and travel clothes. After they are clean they put on those clean clothes and go enjoy their money in town. On the road they may make a brake near some lake or river to wash themselves and their clothes - usualy person jumps in wearing those clothes and washing them on themselves.

You are actualy right that somebody owning a warhorse and plate armor should have a "sqire" who will clean, cook, help them don an armor and to get into the saddle. Usualy war horses were not used outside combat as they were too agressive and such noble man had a riding horse for traveling and pleasure rides. Also horse armor was transported separately on a cart with tent, poles, food, water, ... If he got more then one servant he needed a wagon for supplies.

We can all agree that economics of D&D is flawed and oversimplified. I have gone from bottom saying a commoner earn about 3gp per month, merchant about 30gp per month and calculated estimated prices of common goods from that. Beggining adventurers earn about 50gp per job. Easy help for me is to say that commoners pay mostly with copper and merchants with silver. Nobles and such have no upper limit on cost, usualy pay with gold and magic items (along with gems) are a form of currency for high volumes - paying 100.000gp is more convinient by sending a magic sword that wagon of gold.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  12:45:05  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

I see adventurers more like hireswords or mercenaries if you will.

Sure. Just keep in mind that real history provides analogies for a lot of different jobs which could all be described as 'hireswords' or 'mercenaries'.

There is a fundamental difference between societies where mercenaries have the same or even inferior skills to the backbone of your own forces and are hired mainly to provide a short-term increase in numbers, to hold territory and free up more useful soldiers for more active employment, and societies where mercenaries possess skills that you lack among your forces and without which you may be at a significant disadvantage. 'Mercenary' can be a lower class job in some societies, a skilled middle-class one in others and a pathway to quick riches in yet others.

For example, where mercenary companies were the primary source of professional soldiers with skill at combined arms, like Renaissance Italy in the 15th to 16th century, and you were essentially at the mercy of any neighbours if you didn't manage to hire a powerful private army, being a condottieri was the highest paid profession around and such men married into the nobility and, in many cases, founded noble houses. Similar circumstances have held true in many societies, with foreign warrior chiefs with their retinues being the most important military resource and consequently, been able to command astronomical salaries and quickly become part of the power elite.

Given that even with just a few levels in character classes, PCs and their ilk gain capabilities that are completely outside the reach of 'normal' people in any world, and are so important militarily that anyone without such capabilities as part of their armed forces is fatally handicapped, adventurers should be more like condottieri, Geat/Saxon/Viking warlords or the foreign military adventurers in 16th-19th century India than they would be like the broken men of former peasant levies who sometimes hired on with Medieval, Renaissance or Early Modern military expeditions to avoid death from starvation.

This is especially important because a party of adventurers with access to 3rd level spells and upward will be the equivalent to a very large band of realistic, normal mercenaries from our world. There may only be five or six of them, but as they can accomplish things that would take hundreds or thousands of men in the real world to do, economic reality indicates that unless there is a glut of such talent, they would be paid sums that would buy hundreds or thousands of soldiers in our world. And while there are a lot of adventurers in the Realms, as per the sources, there obviously are not more of them than the tasks that they could be doing that would make someone very rich and powerful, and so they are logically able to command very high salaries.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

They own weapons and armor, travel light and earn big money on contract and live from those money until next job. They tend to overspend enjoying their life as it could end any time they delve into some dungeon, forest, ...

Certainly describes a lot of adventurers from Realmslore sources.

I'll admit that my own games rarely feature PCs who live such lives. Rather than freebooting adventurers who live on the road, PCs in my games tend to have more significant ties to the world. They may be members of knightly or arcane organisations, officers and specialists in a military or at least formally chartered and recognised freebooters, such as Cormyrean Freesails, privateers with letters of marque and reprisal from some other polity or a licensed mercenary band.

They own property, have friends and family, borrow and lend money, invest in business ventures, employ servants, specialists and subordinates of varying natures, socialise with the rich and powerful, and are generally regarded as part of proper society, not dangerous foreign wanderers with lots of weapons and poor hygiene.

For example, in my longest running Realms game, the PCs run a merchant house in Ravens Bluff and a mercenary company, privateer and shipping fleet primarily based on Messemprar (for now), with outposts ranging from Westgate to Murghom, the Moonsea to the Vilhon Reach and southern Unther. One PC is a knight about to marry into nobility (Lady Raeravel Cathone in Ravens Bluff), another is a merchant lord with connections among the very highest authorities and the very lowest of criminals, the third is a son of the Emir of Zindalankh* who acts as Viceroy over so many PC-owned ships and soldiers in the mercenary service of Unther that he can be functionally said to be among the most powerful nobles in 'Free' Unther (even though he's certainly not an Untheri noble, most people figure it's close enough considering that he controls a lot more wealth and power than most of the old-blood Untheri nobles) and two others have recently become the effective commanders of the Legion of Nanna-Sin and, through it, more or less control Shussel.

Granted, this game has been ongoing since 2004 or so in our world and at the beginning ('Ill-Met in Saerloon'), there were only two PCs, cousins, a very tall warrior from a wild mountain clan in the Thunder Peaks and a small, lithe fencer, thief and conman from Saerloon. The first years of their careers were significantly more carefree and involved considerable wandering, but not often on foot, more often on swift ships ranging to capture pirates laden with valuable loot (and sailing on ships of a design useful for warfare, with fairly heavy armaments, that could be sold for as much or more as their cargoes).

What I think is common to nearly any game I've been involved in is that players want their PCs to be taken seriously, accepted as important and even respected. You can't do that in most Realmsian societies, as described, while living like a filthy hobo laden with grave goods. It doesn't matter how much your magical sword would cost on the open market, smell and look like a poor person and you'll be treated like one (or worse, if it's clear that you have the means to live better, but choose not to).

*Nowhere near being an heir, the Emir has a lot of sons.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

So they excercise mainly in real combat and only a few are wise enough to buy a trainer or practice themselves. Those are usualy the long living ones.

This, however, I am unable to accept. For those classes which develop extraordinary abilities that are either the equivalent to the theoretical best that any mortal in reality could accomplish or simply are actually impossible, without being described in the lore as using magical spells or gifts from gods or other higher powers, I simply can't imagine them as unmotivated, badly conditioned failures.

Take any sport in the world. No matter what degree of natural talent someone possesses, if they do not train, exercise and condition, they'll lose to a more motivated competitors who might only have mediocre natural gifts. Yeah, sure lethal combat is actually over a lot quicker than sport matches and endurance during real hand-to-hand combat is less important than in combat sports, but conditioning actually affects speed and strength, which are extremely important when fighting for real.

Not to mention that marching with full kit, patrolling in hostile territory and negotiating various environmental obstacles, are physically demanding tasks which would leave adventurers that neglect conditioning unable to even mount a token resistance to any rested, reasonably fit foe.

A former soldier or someone who has the right mind-set for violence can survive a single violent confrontation even when out of condition, assuming that it is quick and offers the possibility to fight dirty. That would be if they got lucky. But no one can possibly enter situation after situation where only their reaction speed, skill, strength, agility and physical conditioning stand between them and death, but still consistently neglect these things. The odds would be against them every single time and probability is a harsh mistress.

And as for characters who develop abilities that are out of reach for ordinary people and appear to result from mystical understanding of their bodies, swordsmanship or some other trained factor, well, it entirely ruins any illusion of plausibility if they do not dedicate a significant part of their lives mastering these things. A character who is supposed to be a devotee of the Sublime Way and dedicate his life to rediscovering secret martial art techniques as practiced by their namesake adventuring band centuries ago*, well, they are going to exercise and practice at least as much as any other group of professional martial artists, in any world.

*The Nine Swords Company, a more-or-less random encounter with whom was the catalyst for my scroll.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

For their hygiene I suppose they are not into it that much. They own a spare set of clothes and once they arrive into civilisation they go to local baths or order such in a tavern, pay some servant to clean their armor, boots and travel clothes. After they are clean they put on those clean clothes and go enjoy their money in town. On the road they may make a brake near some lake or river to wash themselves and their clothes - usualy person jumps in wearing those clothes and washing them on themselves.

Well, consider that adventurers are people, presumably ones with motivations close enough to actual people to be recognisable and relatable. If something is important enough to you, you might accept living like this. Real world soldiers certainly do, at least while on certain deployments. But who would choose to do so month after month if they had the option of greater comfort, better health and better hygiene?

Personally, I'd think that there was something seriously wrong with a person who went around smelling of rancid sweat, old blood, pus and other bodily fluids and rotting cloth all the time, even when it was clear from the extremely expensive jewelry, weapons and other accoutrements of the ultra-rich that they carried that they were fully capable of employing people to take care of their basic hygiene, the way every normal person who has the option does.

If you don't clean your armour padding, it will soon smell and feel so disgusting that no one not accustomed to your stench can stand to be in your presence. It will also chafe, aggravate sores with the salty grime that collects on it from the old sweat and generally make your life a living hell. And getting it wet without properly cleaning it will not help much, if it all, not to mention that wearing it wet, under armour, will accelerate the process of rotting for the cloth, which just adds to the absolute filth that the character is living in.

That is entirely aside from the infected, cancerous sores that the character will develop and which will never heal properly while he's still encased in a disease-causing filth cocoon. I imagine that magical healing will provide relief, but the sores will quickly build up again, because, damn, what you are wearing next to your body while marching all day is tightly-bound cloth that has become hard and abrasive through the cumulative build-up of filth!

I cannot stress enough how much the services of body servants, pages and squires are an absolute necessity to any professional fighting man wearing armour, unless he has just the worst standards for hygiene and comfort, is totally cool with unnecessary pain, disease and infection, and doesn't mind that any civilised person will find him about as comfortable to be around as a rotting zombie or a ghoul. And I must emphasise how cheap such services were before the Industrial Revolution, compared to what modern people are used to assuming about labour costs.

As it is canonical that Faerunian adventurers often travel without servants, but still wear armour and appear to be considerably more comfortable than a real person trying to do so without having a supply of extra padding and someone to do laundry along, we may assume that they have have one or more of the following: a) access to better padding materials, smallclothes and sports clothing than historical Earth ones, easier to clean, more comfortable and more durable, b) better soap and other hygiene supplies, through alchemy or herbs that do not exist on Earth, making washing their smallclothes and inner layer of armour padding quicker, easier and more effective, or c) magical spells that perform many or most of the functions of body servants, pages and squires.

I'd really like to find out more on how that works. Granted, I asked in the context of athletic clothing which provides support for breasts for female adventurers, but the question of how adventurers keep their exercise clothing clean, dry and fresh is interesting to me independently of that.

Exercising naked and using magic to provide any needed support for free-hanging body parts is one method. I wonder if it is more or less practical than exercising in purpose-made clothing and using magic (or alchemy or herbal solutions) to keep these clean and fresh.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

You are actualy right that somebody owning a warhorse and plate armor should have a "sqire" who will clean, cook, help them don an armor and to get into the saddle. Usualy war horses were not used outside combat as they were too agressive and such noble man had a riding horse for traveling and pleasure rides. Also horse armor was transported separately on a cart with tent, poles, food, water, ... If he got more then one servant he needed a wagon for supplies.

Yep. Fantasy writers often lack a basic understanding of the logistics involved in taking care of what they regard as the basic professional gear of their heroes.

A fully equipped knight has a lot more in common with a modern fighter pilot than a modern infantryman. He simply can't function without a lot of people supporting him. For that matter, even modern infantrymen require several soldiers in roles other than frontline combat to provide his logistical tail and this has been true throughout history.

Unless the Realms has some magical solutions that are available to even beginning adventurers, it's going to be true in the Realms as well.

quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

We can all agree that economics of D&D is flawed and oversimplified. I have gone from bottom saying a commoner earn about 3gp per month, merchant about 30gp per month and calculated estimated prices of common goods from that. Beggining adventurers earn about 50gp per job. Easy help for me is to say that commoners pay mostly with copper and merchants with silver. Nobles and such have no upper limit on cost, usualy pay with gold and magic items (along with gems) are a form of currency for high volumes - paying 100.000gp is more convinient by sending a magic sword that wagon of gold.


I think that you are seriously underestimating the wealth difference between the absolute lowest income possible for someone who still manages to eke out a miserable survival-based existence and the income for a typical 'merchant'. Merchants, the way the word is generally applied and which describes typical characters described as such in Realmslore, own enough capital to buy stock on their own account. As such, they generally have much higher incomes than someone with more or less the same skills, who lacks capital and is forced to work as an assistant for someone else.

Any sources on economics in the Realms are bound to contradict one another, due to different assumptions in different editions. Going by lore rather than mechanics, I decided to try to retain as much of Ed Greenwood's prices as I could and aim to preserve economics as they appear to PCs and so I decided to make certain assumptions that mainly affect people below the PCs' income levels.

I had to choose whether 1 cp represented a day's worth of bread for an active human or whether 1 sp did. Another way to put it, I had to decide whether swords were worth 150 days of food or 1,500 days of food. If I went with the lower, which might make some sense in a medieval society, it would mean that the Realms as written would be pretty hard to justify.

Given that even the absolute lowest income possible for even a totally unskilled person without qualifications or anyone to recommend them is canonically given as 1 cp per hour by Ed Greenwood and that even very cheap establishments generally charge between 1-3 cp for a single meal, I decided that the absolute minimum that you could survive on for a day was 1 sp. This matches your 3 gp/month.

Mind you, most people at that scale of income did not see copper or silver, just that if they managed to obtain food, drink and shelter to enable them to work that day and look for work the next, they received the equivalent of 1 sp 'in kind'.

Now, this is not the norm. This is more like wiping car windows under an overpass in our world than it is actual work that any kind of functioning adult does for long. For one thing, if you spend all your income on food, one person can eat enough not to be hungry every day on that income, but if you have to pay anything at all for shelter, occasional items of clothing to avoid being naked, or any unforeseen expense, you start starving to death. And even while spending all your income on food, you'll lack many essential nutrients and long-term living at this standard will mean health damage and dangerous diseases.

Most people, while perhaps not possessing a rare and valuable skill, at least have something they can do professionally. Generally farming, of course. They'll also have families, connections and possibilities for slightly better work than starvation levels, even if they do not really have a lot of valuable skills.

Average income for a not totally unskilled farmhand, i.e. someone skilled enough to be at least a willing pair of hands who'll be of some use on a farm, one who makes enough to support children and/or save up for eventual marriage and family, albeit at the lowest possible standard of living, would be around 10 gp/month. Most of this is housing and food, not anything which can be saved, but such a person, if a hard worker and in fairly good favour, might well manage to save up to 1-2 gp/month.

And if such a character is responsible for himself alone, they'll be able to eat (mostly) adequately and shelter from the elements well enough, avoiding most health issues. A family at this income level will be a pitiful spectacle, though, and most people try to avoid being responsible for children before they have amassed enough capital or valuable skills to make more than this.

An average professional, either a young journeyman at a trade or an established farm worker with some actual skill at farming, animal husbandry or another valuable agricultural specialisation, or maybe a yeoman farmer on a small plot, might make around 30-50 gp/month, mostly in kind, but with the possibility of selling goods or crops for actual coin and the more successful might manage to save up to 10-20 gp per month (for example, to get married later or to eventually invest capital in more land).

These people can live fairly decent lives, without being constantly on the edge of nutrition-deficiency diseases, and even feed several children well, easily enough to be able to allow them to enjoy some years of childhood, not press them into hard and degrading labour as soon as they can stand and hold something.

Established tradesmen and even young journeymen with especially valuable specialist trades, will probably be making from 60-100 gp a month. These people see actual coin every day and the thrifty ones find it possible to save quite a lot. Master craftsmen and established armourers, swordsmiths and suchlike will make 120+ gp per month and might well have capital assets in their workshop, employ a lot of apprentices and journeymen and suchlike and have incomes many times that.

The same goes for farmers who own significant land, really. They can have any wealth and income level, because nobles are really just extremely large scale farmers who own enough land not to have to work any of it themselves. Respected yeoman farmers generally have incomes over a 100 gp/month, of which about half is mostly amortized housing and a lot of good food and other agricultural products, and of which about 60 gp in coin and kind is necessary to provide a respectable standard of living for their families, including, at the very least, someone to clean the house and several employees around the farm.

Those actually important in their communities tend to spend at least twice that on their living expenses, as their households includes live-in personal servants, to relieve the drudgery for the family itself. This goes for successful yeoman farmers, the upper strata of whom are approaching the status of actual gentry, i.e. the local 'Squire' of ye olde England, as much as it goes for successful master craftsmen, merchants or anyone else.

It really doesn't make sense to have merchants in business for themselves, with significant capital investments in stock and significant risks, make less than about 100 gp/month as a minimum. Stockboys, packers, drovers, guards, clerks and assistants who work for merchants might have much lower incomes, but the merchant himself is best described as a struggling or even failing merchant if he is not making enough money to maintain at least a minimally respectable middle class existence, which is about 65-150 gp per month, with 100 gp being a decent average.

Mind you, no self-respecting merchant is going to truly accept anything less than the kind of household which effectively represents around 120 gp per month, i.e. with actual skilled live-in servants for the family, but I expect that a lot of merchants are less successful than this at the beginning of their careers or during lean times.

Basically, it's actually realistic and in line with how the Realms are presented in the sources to assume that the standard wealth disparity there matches the absolute extremes of what is found in the modern USA. The difference between people making minimum wage and the ten richest nobles in just that city (not even the country or world) is about the difference between people working at McDonald's in our world and the ten richest people in the modern world, people like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, etc.

This is because technology makes everyone, on average, richer. Magic which can somewhat replicate what technology can do, but which is inherently limited to only a tiny portion of the population, will instead exaggerate socioeconomic differences. And the people with access to magic will be the people in the best positions to become ultra-rich.

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moonbeast
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Maybe the simplest solution to problematic breasts in a fantasy setting would be…. to use a magic spell called "Reduce Breasts".

It should be at least a 7th-level wizard spell, no less.
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Icelander
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  20:26:23  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

Maybe the simplest solution to problematic breasts in a fantasy setting would be…. to use a magic spell called "Reduce Breasts".

It should be at least a 7th-level wizard spell, no less.


The higher the level, the less plausible you make it that the solution would have significent sociological effects through widespread adoption, as most people have no opportunity to obtain facours or services from 13th level or higher magic-users. Besides, long before a wizard gains access to 7th level spells, there are alternative magical solutions that do not require permanent body-modification.

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Mirtek
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  20:27:21  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik


As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.



There's some poor wizard out there just making a killing because he chose to learn the "remove sweat smell" cantrip

Actually that's why prestidigitation is considered such a basic spell to know. It does exactly that (and not merely removing the smell, but actually cleans you and your stuff too!)
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sleyvas
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  21:52:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Going to read through the wall of text above, but just wanted to note this.

On this topic, one of the things I see that would make our world different from the realms is that there ARE a lot of spellcasters there. I know, everyone just went DUH SLEYVAS. However, its in a particular way that I mean that. By that I mean there's a lot of things in our world that when they break, they'd be thrown away, to become part of a landfill. However, with 5e rules in play, the mending cantrip can be cast by an apprentice wizard OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. Going back to my idea of red wizard enclaves being used for things unlike what we've pictures, there may be simple things, such as rusted out pipes, etc... which would have to be remelted down and recast in our world that can simply be mended in the realms. That could setup whole industries where some people have a job simply collecting/purchasing broken things and then bringing them to a young wizard who spends 2 to 3 hours a day just mending about 150 to 200 things and then having another person who then turns around and hawks those goods for sale. This type of thing may be how young wizards end up paying for their tutelage at an academy, as the school may endeavor to manage this flow of simple broken items from and to merchants. There's other cantrips of similar value in other sources than the PH (there were several in the elemental evil companion), such as ones that could be used to provide brief bursts of fire for tempering steel, etc....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  22:19:44  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik


As far as cleaning and hygiene ... I'm thinking such details have been left deliberately vague in D&D and Realmslore. A sweaty brassiere can't be less offensive than a full suit of armor worn day after day while marching through the muck of adventure (as often as not by a PC who insists on also sleeping in his armor). The game and lore are written to tell stories about characters and adventures, the epic stuff of heroes and villains and monsters and swords and magic - it's not about explicitly detailing how often a character scrubs his loincloth, brushes his teeth, picks his nose, or wipes his butt.



There's some poor wizard out there just making a killing because he chose to learn the "remove sweat smell" cantrip

Actually that's why prestidigitation is considered such a basic spell to know. It does exactly that (and not merely removing the smell, but actually cleans you and your stuff too!)



Good point, that's another thing that would probably done by apprentices in return for training.

I guess opposed to what I see you other guys picturing, I see another factor. Basically, low level magic users are so prevalent in the realms that people with business sense are monetizing them. The lowly spellcaster is relegated to some room wherein he sits for hours on end just repairing, mending, cleaning things via magic. Some may go out to work sites and help with construction or crafting things. Its probably so prevalent that no one spellcaster can truly stand out amongst the crowd until they reach much higher levels. Now in large areas, they established guilds to prevent abuse, to a degree. However, i see these guilds as basically being led by high level spellcasters and they'll require a large amount of cash for access.

Of course, in this scenario, I'd place maybe 1% (maybe 0.5%) of the populace as spellcasters. This may not fit other worlds or even other parts of Toril, but in my view, it would seem to fit Faerun.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
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Posted - 11 Apr 2018 :  22:35:38  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Going to read through the wall of text above, but just wanted to note this.

On this topic, one of the things I see that would make our world different from the realms is that there ARE a lot of spellcasters there. I know, everyone just went DUH SLEYVAS. However, its in a particular way that I mean that. By that I mean there's a lot of things in our world that when they break, they'd be thrown away, to become part of a landfill. However, with 5e rules in play, the mending cantrip can be cast by an apprentice wizard OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. Going back to my idea of red wizard enclaves being used for things unlike what we've pictures, there may be simple things, such as rusted out pipes, etc... which would have to be remelted down and recast in our world that can simply be mended in the realms. That could setup whole industries where some people have a job simply collecting/purchasing broken things and then bringing them to a young wizard who spends 2 to 3 hours a day just mending about 150 to 200 things and then having another person who then turns around and hawks those goods for sale. This type of thing may be how young wizards end up paying for their tutelage at an academy, as the school may endeavor to manage this flow of simple broken items from and to merchants. There's other cantrips of similar value in other sources than the PH (there were several in the elemental evil companion), such as ones that could be used to provide brief bursts of fire for tempering steel, etc....


Note that throwing things away when they break is an exceedingly modern concept. In a realistic pre-industrial society, labour is dirt cheap, but materials are usually much more expensive than modern people realise. Re-using any scrap of valuable materials was simply a fact of life. Very few things were just disposed of in a landfill, as someone would have a use for it.

I'm not averse to having the use of economically useful minor magic by numerous hedge practisioners be a background detail that explains why the Realms are so much richer than historical societies before the Industrial Revolution. Just keep in mind that this wealth will be exceptionally unevenly distributed, because to take advantage of magic requires already having wealth.

Sure, it means some social mobility for those born with magical gifts, as they are effectively a natural aristocracy, with inborn capital of enormous value, but anyone born without magical gifts and without the wealth to hire mages is effectively trying to compete on an extremely tilted economic playing field. Being able to hire magic-users for a variety of money-making schemes with much higher returns on investment than non-magical businesses means that great wealth will tend to breed absolutely astronomical wealth.

We see this in many Realmslore sources, where the rich merchants and nobles are so stupendously rich as to make most historical nobility look provincial and in need of a handout. Any noble of note will also tend to have mages in his service and, as you noted, Thay is becoming an economic superpower through the organised application of magic to international commerce.

So, to bring things back to the central lore question of this scroll, full circle back to topic without ever having entirely left it, how cheap and easily available are magical solutions for laundry, sports wear and breast support?

Would it make sense for a modestly powerful priestess of Selune (ca 5th level in D&D) to be granted spells that perform laundry, enchant clothing to repel sweat and dirt, provide breast support or helps in other ways with daily comfort as an adventurer and martial artist?

I mean, I know that the priestess is powerful enough so that she could cast such spells and Selune could easily grant them if she pleased, but does it feel like an appropriate use for divine power?

Or should the implicit message the priestess receives to her prayers be more in the line of 'either hire some damn body servants and maids like everyone else or just accept that you'll smell awful and experience a lot of discomfort while on the road'?

I'm currently leaning toward 'no' on priestly laundry service from Selune, but 'yes' on a spell for magical breast support, often used for naked dancing in the moonlight, because Selune recognises that some people would really welcome some proper support during such rituals, thank you very much.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 12 Apr 2018 :  00:47:59  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Going to read through the wall of text above, but just wanted to note this.

On this topic, one of the things I see that would make our world different from the realms is that there ARE a lot of spellcasters there. I know, everyone just went DUH SLEYVAS. However, its in a particular way that I mean that. By that I mean there's a lot of things in our world that when they break, they'd be thrown away, to become part of a landfill. However, with 5e rules in play, the mending cantrip can be cast by an apprentice wizard OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. Going back to my idea of red wizard enclaves being used for things unlike what we've pictures, there may be simple things, such as rusted out pipes, etc... which would have to be remelted down and recast in our world that can simply be mended in the realms. That could setup whole industries where some people have a job simply collecting/purchasing broken things and then bringing them to a young wizard who spends 2 to 3 hours a day just mending about 150 to 200 things and then having another person who then turns around and hawks those goods for sale. This type of thing may be how young wizards end up paying for their tutelage at an academy, as the school may endeavor to manage this flow of simple broken items from and to merchants. There's other cantrips of similar value in other sources than the PH (there were several in the elemental evil companion), such as ones that could be used to provide brief bursts of fire for tempering steel, etc....


Note that throwing things away when they break is an exceedingly modern concept. In a realistic pre-industrial society, labour is dirt cheap, but materials are usually much more expensive than modern people realise. Re-using any scrap of valuable materials was simply a fact of life. Very few things were just disposed of in a landfill, as someone would have a use for it.

I'm not averse to having the use of economically useful minor magic by numerous hedge practisioners be a background detail that explains why the Realms are so much richer than historical societies before the Industrial Revolution. Just keep in mind that this wealth will be exceptionally unevenly distributed, because to take advantage of magic requires already having wealth.

Sure, it means some social mobility for those born with magical gifts, as they are effectively a natural aristocracy, with inborn capital of enormous value, but anyone born without magical gifts and without the wealth to hire mages is effectively trying to compete on an extremely tilted economic playing field. Being able to hire magic-users for a variety of money-making schemes with much higher returns on investment than non-magical businesses means that great wealth will tend to breed absolutely astronomical wealth.

We see this in many Realmslore sources, where the rich merchants and nobles are so stupendously rich as to make most historical nobility look provincial and in need of a handout. Any noble of note will also tend to have mages in his service and, as you noted, Thay is becoming an economic superpower through the organised application of magic to international commerce.

So, to bring things back to the central lore question of this scroll, full circle back to topic without ever having entirely left it, how cheap and easily available are magical solutions for laundry, sports wear and breast support?

Would it make sense for a modestly powerful priestess of Selune (ca 5th level in D&D) to be granted spells that perform laundry, enchant clothing to repel sweat and dirt, provide breast support or helps in other ways with daily comfort as an adventurer and martial artist?

I mean, I know that the priestess is powerful enough so that she could cast such spells and Selune could easily grant them if she pleased, but does it feel like an appropriate use for divine power?

Or should the implicit message the priestess receives to her prayers be more in the line of 'either hire some damn body servants and maids like everyone else or just accept that you'll smell awful and experience a lot of discomfort while on the road'?

I'm currently leaning toward 'no' on priestly laundry service from Selune, but 'yes' on a spell for magical breast support, often used for naked dancing in the moonlight, because Selune recognises that some people would really welcome some proper support during such rituals, thank you very much.



That's where we're differing. You're saying "to hire a wizard is expensive"... and I'm saying "to hire a wizard for a single minute of work is cheap because they're available". The people making the bucks are the ones managing the materials and/or business.

As to the question of using magic for a "laundry service".

Look at the following from "Unseen Servant"

The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending, folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command, the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command.

Furthermore, this spell is a ritual in 5e and it's 1st level. It also does not require concentration. So, in theory anyway, a wizard could have 5 unseen servants operating at once, plus cast another hundred single action cantrips in an hour (or 9 minute long casting cantrips like mending). If one of those cantrips each hour were a single casting of Prestidigitation they could keep a volume of water that's continually warm without having to burn anything. So, yes, I would expect that a magical laundry service for the common folk isn't outside the realm of possibility. If the wizard (or whoever is running the business and guiding the wizard) simply hired some people off the street to do the pieces that a wizard can't simply/easily script (taking the money, taking a basket of clothes from the customer and putting it in a designated spot, taking the now folded clothes back to the customer or into some "bin" marked for said customer's return, etc...) this could be quite productive. For some wizards, this might be seen as a way to punish those apprentices who get uppity as well. In fact, at the lower levels, trying to please ones master to avoid "crap details" like this might be a part of life. In the end, doing this is still a hell of a lot better than say... having to do heavy manual labor... so even if it doesn't pay well, it feeds them and puts a roof over their heads.

Other rituals such as illusory script and tenser's floating disk might also see common use for merchants and construction. For instance, Masons might hire a wizard just to walk from one point to another with piles of bricks that laborers load his floating disk up with. All the while, he could be also using mold earth cantrip to help level portions of the area or move sand/dirt where its needed. At the same time, if its cold he could maintain several bonfire cantrips in the area (or if there's a need for fire to work some metal, it could be used for that). Then while all that is going on he could also be directing several unseen servants to do "gopher" work such as taking bricks off the tenser's floating disk and handing them to say the 3 masons he's working with.

So, in the end, I see this as "this is all stuff that a scruff level wizard can do" and most employers will look at it as not all the impressive (now WE see it as impressive, but that's different). So, they can have wizard A doing it today, and if wizard A gives them lip... guess what, they have another wizard tomorrow.... why, because those low level wizards are trying to get out of the crap details and every other low level wizard is jockeying for position. Meanwhile, the skilled artisan who is carefully constructing a building, measuring, cutting... while heavier work... they probably also get paid better. Now, will there also be the severe peon who is apprenticing to those skilled workers? There sure will be, and they're probably getting paid half what those low level wizards get... but half still isn't bad.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Apr 2018 00:57:11
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Icelander
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Posted - 12 Apr 2018 :  10:52:09  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

That's where we're differing. You're saying "to hire a wizard is expensive"... and I'm saying "to hire a wizard for a single minute of work is cheap because they're available". The people making the bucks are the ones managing the materials and/or business.

Helicopters and private jets are available in the real world, that doesn't mean renting the use of them for a minute is cheap. Yet there is no meaningful constraint on how many helicopters and planes can be built and how many people can learn to fly them.

Assuming that we accept Realmslore to the effect that the ability to use arcane magic is inborn and no amount of education or training can instill it in someone, then this ability is a fantastically valuable resource that almost everyone wants, but which is inherently limited. That is a situation which tends to produce an ever increasing price for the capital asset in question.

It doesn't really matter whether you believe that magic-users are 0.5% of the population or 0.0005%, the supply is still a lot less than the demand. This is obvious from even a casual look at Realmslore sources.

Note also that the value of a magician's time has to be calculated in accordance with the highest possible yield his services could be returning to someone. That's the opportunity cost of his service. And for anyone who can cast spells of 2nd and 3rd level, for example, those will tend to be very high numbers.

And there is not reason to assume that the person who handles administrative work for a wizard will receive a larger portion of the proceeds than the wizard himself. While the original socioeconomic status of wizards may vary, the general tendency will be for any power imbalance to be in their favour. They are the ones who have an inborn capital asset that is in great demand.

Clerks and administrators can be educated and trained in numbers, assuming that you have the resources to do so, but if they are not born with the gift for magic, they can't learn it. Period. So any sensible patron will pay his wizards extremely well, because, well, he'll never have enough of them and others will be happy to overbid him and help the wizards escape him if he tries to retain them by force. Sure, there can be exceptional situations in certain areas, but in general, wizards will be (and are, in most Realmslore) functionally among the super-rich elite, never the common mass of people.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

As to the question of using magic for a "laundry service".

Look at the following from "Unseen Servant"

The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending, folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command, the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command.

Yes, indeed. Wizards absolutely have access to a variety of cantrips and other spells that make their lives and the lives of their adventuring companions easier. The use of such spells is how adventurers in my campaigns generally manage to avoid having a huge train of non-combatant servants on their adventures, but still live in reasonable comfort and dignity.

If you read the post you responded to, you'll note that I was not asking about the possibility of such magic existing or whether a character of about the power-level of a 5th level character in D&D (2nd-3.5e, doesn't matter) could theoretically cast such spells.

I was asking if it suited divine magic, miracles literally granted by gods in response to prayer, to perform mundane scut-work so that clergy did not have to hire as many servants. Specifically, whether Selune would grant an adventuring priestess of hers access to spells that did laundry, darned and repaired clothing and helped with breast support during exercise and martial arts training.

I felt that replacing mundane servants might not be appropriate, but am ready to listen to a counter-argument why it would fit the dogma and personality of Selune, not to mention serve the portfolios and divine purpose of Selune, to grant such spells. I think that magical means of breast support absolutely do fit what has been established about the church of Selune and that all that naked moonlight dancing might be uncomfortable for the more generously built priestesses without such magic.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Furthermore, this spell is a ritual in 5e and it's 1st level. It also does not require concentration. So, in theory anyway, a wizard could have 5 unseen servants operating at once, plus cast another hundred single action cantrips in an hour (or 9 minute long casting cantrips like mending). If one of those cantrips each hour were a single casting of Prestidigitation they could keep a volume of water that's continually warm without having to burn anything.

Well, I don't use 5e (or any edition of D&D), so I tend to try to emulate the way magic works in Realmslore rather than any single edition of D&D. And my games are all set 1373 DR and earlier.

That being said, magic-users being able to do a lot of minor magics all day long has been a feature of Ed's Realmslore from the start, no matter how the rules have been presented, so I'm happy to emulate that in my games. I'm absolutely not arguing that spellcasters don't have the power to do this. It's just that it may not be the most efficient use of their gifts, except maybe in situations where hiring non-magical servants is impractical.

At home, nobles and rich merchants have household staffs that take care of keeping everything clean. Only on the road might they consider using magic for such tasks, if, for example, they want to travel with a small entourage, but still look their best and live with the comfort they are used to.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

So, yes, I would expect that a magical laundry service for the common folk isn't outside the realm of possibility. If the wizard (or whoever is running the business and guiding the wizard) simply hired some people off the street to do the pieces that a wizard can't simply/easily script (taking the money, taking a basket of clothes from the customer and putting it in a designated spot, taking the now folded clothes back to the customer or into some "bin" marked for said customer's return, etc...) this could be quite productive.

It's not outside the ream of possibility, no. In fact, there is an amusing anecdote about the rivalry between a guild of launderers and a wizard who used magic to clean in The City of Ravens Bluff.

On the other hand, note that the end result was that the wizard became guildmaster of the Guild of Launderers and the prevailing method of cleaning remained non-magical, with magic only used when ultra-rich clients wanted to show off their wealth and/or needed faster, better or weirder service than could be provided non-magically. Because it doesn't matter if magic can do something better, if it's cheaper to do it non-magically by paying a person without wealth or magical gifts a few coins, that will be the preferred option.

You could use a helicopter for commuting in the modern world, but most people still rely on cars, public transport, walking, biking, etc. This is because being willing and able to pay huge premiums for haste or conspicuous consumption is the exception, not the rule. Even rich people prefer to avoid unnecessary expense, especially in situations when their peers might not notice how much they are spending and would be more likely to consider them ignorant than impressive if they did. Huge household staffs of servants are a status symbol in the Realms, contracting laundry out to wizards does not seem to be, at least not in most places.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

For some wizards, this might be seen as a way to punish those apprentices who get uppity as well. In fact, at the lower levels, trying to please ones master to avoid "crap details" like this might be a part of life. In the end, doing this is still a hell of a lot better than say... having to do heavy manual labor... so even if it doesn't pay well, it feeds them and puts a roof over their heads.

Wizards who control, to a greater or lesser degree, the access to magical lore, do have control over their apprentices. Do not forget, however, that as soon as the apprentices have learnt a single spell that would be commercially useful, that control is not in any sense economic. Wizards who accept apprentices have no power to withhold riches from their apprentices who have already learnt magic that they can use to become rich, they can only prevent them from learning more from them.

Granted, knowledge of magic for its own sake presumably motivates many to pursue the study of magic, so this kind of control is still effective, but the apprentices would rarely be stuck without any options. If the apprentices, as some will inevitably do, only want to become rich enough to join the upper classes, they really only have to learn a few spells that are in constant demand and can then bite their thumbs at uppity old men who think they have authority over them.

Besides, if Old Idiotic the Enchanter forces his apprentices to do menial scut labour because he doesn't understand economics and Uhlon the Uncanny simply charges very high fees for his teaching and allows apprentices to hire out for any kind of work they want to afford these fees, Old Idiotic is going to discover that while Uhlon lives in the lap of luxury and grows richer and more powerful every day, all he's done is acquired some rather inferior servants, who cost more in required time investment than if he had simply hired ordinary servants.

Ignorance of the principles of supply and demand is usually self-correcting.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Other rituals such as illusory script and tenser's floating disk might also see common use for merchants and construction. For instance, Masons might hire a wizard just to walk from one point to another with piles of bricks that laborers load his floating disk up with. All the while, he could be also using mold earth cantrip to help level portions of the area or move sand/dirt where its needed. At the same time, if its cold he could maintain several bonfire cantrips in the area (or if there's a need for fire to work some metal, it could be used for that). Then while all that is going on he could also be directing several unseen servants to do "gopher" work such as taking bricks off the tenser's floating disk and handing them to say the 3 masons he's working with.

If the work site sharply limits how many people can access it, if you need the work done faster than any non-magical method can do it or if you want a structure that simply can't be built without magic, then it might make sense to hire wizards to build it. Otherwise, it's an extravagant way to show off your wealth, not an economic investment.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

So, in the end, I see this as "this is all stuff that a scruff level wizard can do" and most employers will look at it as not all the impressive (now WE see it as impressive, but that's different). So, they can have wizard A doing it today, and if wizard A gives them lip... guess what, they have another wizard tomorrow.... why, because those low level wizards are trying to get out of the crap details and every other low level wizard is jockeying for position. Meanwhile, the skilled artisan who is carefully constructing a building, measuring, cutting... while heavier work... they probably also get paid better. Now, will there also be the severe peon who is apprenticing to those skilled workers? There sure will be, and they're probably getting paid half what those low level wizards get... but half still isn't bad.


How can you possibly reach this conclusion from the available evidence?

Every single examination of the number and percentage of people in the Realms capable of using magic at all leads to the same conclusion, no matter how much the individual variation is depending on the method used and the underlying edition rules in place. There are a lot more tasks that could be done efficiently and spectacularly effectively with magic than there are magic-users to do them.

There is an awful lot of people born without magic gifts and without any inherited wealth. At least 95-99% of people in the Realms probably fit that description, more or less, depending on where we draw the line at inherited wealth. Those people would all die if they didn't have some way to obtain food, shelter and other necessities. As a result, they are available for nearly any job that doesn't require inborn magical talent. And they don't really have much of a negotiating position. So as long as they are paid enough to live, most of them are going to accept it.

As a result, it's generally going to be cheaper to hire ten or twenty people to do something that a wizard could do alone, as the wizard could instead be doing something that would require hundreds of people or can't be done at all by simply hiring more hands.

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Edited by - Icelander on 12 Apr 2018 10:55:55
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sleyvas
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Posted - 12 Apr 2018 :  12:46:14  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My main point is that wizards aren't all that rare in Faerun (specifically Faerun), and probably more common in say a metropolis. The vast majority of these wizards will be 1st - 3rd level. In a city of 100,000, there may be a thousand, of which maybe 800 are say 1st - 3rd level (note, there may also be other types of spellcasters vying as well). The spells of these low level wizards are NOT earth shattering. Most of them amount to menial labor reducers.... but they are useful when applied in simple ways, and even more importantly they can be useful in ways that reduce the literally back breaking drudge work for some (example, moving loads with tenser's disk.. slowly moving small amounts of earth around... creating temporary fires so that smiths don't have to constantly stoke a fire and lumberyards don't have to supply them constant firewood). Also, the propensity to do magic isn't necessarily awe inspiring either as it is in lower magic places.... I guess the best comparison I can picture is compare say how people would have viewed modern day graphics capabilities now in movies to what they had in the 1970's. At first they'd be amazed. They'd quickly get over it. Yet none of those people have to be computer graphics designers to no longer be impressed. They don't have to be "one of the few" who know how its done to realize "its cool, but can you make my life better?". In general most people in the realms barely bat an eye about spellcasters using magic for what most would consider menial tasks. So, since what these low level people can DO isn't all that amazing compared to say hiring double the workers in a small environment (a low level wizard can probably replace 4-6 workers), they likely won't get paid extremes of wealth. In fact, just to use the construction example, I see most construction companies as using normal labor. However, let's take an example of, as you said, of a nice new construction being built by aging masons of some skill. They realize they have skill, but their backs just can't handle the pain. While they could hire six times the number of gophers, managing them as a resource would be a pain. It would be much easier for them to pay say a low level wizard four to six times the wage (and about half that to whoever is helping the wizard find these short-term jobs) of those gophers to just use his basic skills to aid him. But meanwhile, its the artisan... the person designing, guiding, and managing the construction... who is making the realm money. Also, these lucrative type positions won't necessarily always be available, and other low level wizards will vie for them when they do become available, so in between jobs they study or spend a few hours a day doing some kind of lesser, repetitive simple things with magic (like running a laundry)

On the question of whether Selune would approve of a cleric cleaning themselves with magic... I don't see Selune having a problem with this at all. Making themselves presentable is a part of gathering members to their flock. Its easy to impress someone who smells with the lack of your own stench and your own cleanliness. If some OTHER cleric (say Mystrans) were always standing out as "prettier" than say Selunites, Eldathans, Leirans, Deneirans, Mililians etc... it might stand to cause their flock to lessen. Now, some other priesthood whose influence is more "earthly"... say Gond, Malar, Myrkul... in those cases, it MIGHT be questionable how much their god cares of how presentable they appear (i.e. Gondsmen for instance may want to LOOK and SMELL like workers).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
465 Posts

Posted - 12 Apr 2018 :  13:47:03  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I will be responding mainly to Islander but your posts are so long that I do not want to clogg this thread with repeating them completely.
-Excercise - I was talking about beggining adventurers mostly non-magical. Those I see on a border between mercenary, bandit and dirty traveler with some coin. Real adventurers are raised from this class as they are those who practice, study, invest and withdraw from lost causes.
Opposed to RW there are many who wander around looking for job as I do not see even kingdoms to bind their people to land by law. They are either paying the landlord or swore a fealthy to local lord and work on his fields. Those who own a field or house in city are rich and form a middle class even if they cannot afford much.
Those traveling are usualy armed in some fasion (pesant flail, staff, dagger, ...) and some of them can actualy use it for more than defense. Those are usualy hired as guards, henchmen, ... and sometimes sent to clear the nearby nest of goblins or rats in the sewers/cellars.
As for magicaly endowed I use simple statistics from the rules that haven't changed trough editions. Common human have inteligence (or wisdom or charisma) at 10 meaning he has no aptitude for magic, than I use bell curve to see how many in population should have higher atribute to allow for magic of higher order. So there should be similar number of humans with Int 15 as those with Int 5 (and this would allow only 5th level spells). Therefore there is a lot more spellcasters who can cast only minor magic (like 1st-3rd level spells) who can by commonly found and very few who aspire to true greatness. Some of them choose different path, some will die during their carier as adventurers.
Other races have similar statistics but moved by their bonus atributes so ie elves have natural aptitude for magic as they have bonus to Int and Cha - they spawn more wizards and bards (sorcerers).

-Income - I have no background in economics so those numbers are my estimate but I can see we go in similar path. I have obviously missused the word merchant as I meant person from the middle class. For higher class sky is the limit so I do not bother much with them. I have also tried to simplify this as we are delving a little off-topic.

-Entourage - I think we agree on this and only differ on interpretation of the word adventurer. For those common thugs including some half-orc sorcerer using his dark arts for their benefit I see things as I posted. For more noble and successful adventurers like company of knight or questing hero group I agree completely with the need for supporting group of servants, guards, maids, ... and also with need for some representation and therefore cleanlines, jewels, parfumes, ...

-Selune question - I suppose she would grant those spells if they are actualy needed or could be used to impress common folks. If she stays in the city than she should hire some servants idealy lay worshipers. There is a actual sub-question of how a diety decides about asked for spells. My view is that this is overseen be other planar entities in servis to said god and they look into suspicious choices. So if you are a priest of Selune and you ask for spells from her domains and generaly good spells than you should be OK. If you ask one day for a Animate dead then some planar entity will look at detail to why do you ask such spell and report if it is missused or even directly intervene. You can also explain such request to your diety in prayer to ease such suspition. So you should be able to ask for those spells and they will be granted but you should be worried if it shows your laziness or aloofnes as those are not traits Selune wants in her priests.
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

937 Posts

Posted - 13 Apr 2018 :  04:19:57  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unless those spells involve transgressing against the rules set by the faith, I don't see why Selune would care. She's got better things to do than police her worshippers' spell choices for the day unless they're praying for animate dead or ravage.
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