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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2021 :  23:34:27  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, spitballing ideas. I got it.

Giant beasts, on the flip side of that coin, come with giant problems. The larger the animal, the greater the consumption of food required for it to be healthy and the roomier the space it needs to thrive. The potential for larger critters to do real harm when upset also factors into the "Expense" column when figuring reasonable compensation for goods harvested. In the RW domesticated creatures strong enough to knock down & trample or dangerous enough to attack people have been controlled by selective breeding for docility and fencing/caging/box-ing. The diminished capacity to wrangle larger beasties and the sturdier constructions necessary to contain them will also deter sophont beings from cultivating them versus other more commonly domesticated animals. Also, just because an animal is larger does not automatically mean that the goods that it brings are better.

Where are giant bees going to find enough nectar to feed themselves and have enough left over for honey production?

I thought I had more to say but too tired & distracted.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2021 :  00:43:44  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is kind of odd that we are hitting around a lot of the things that been discussing for Anchorome. For "giant bees" making honey, we had been discussing the idea that there should several areas of the continent that Faerunians have named as Anchorome that have giant flowers resembling honeysuckle and similar flowers. I wanted to include giant hummingbirds there (they would be size small) in some of these areas that would also include "wild" elements of nature (treants, dryads, shatjan, size medium tauric deers (not hybsil, but similar... more human torso and bigger).... and others would have Abeil with giant honey bees moving in to bring "order" to nature. Neither group is "bad" per se, but they are in conflict.

Oh, and Wooly.... do you harbor any hatred of gnomes for their treatment of you on their ship?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35689 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2021 :  03:23:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


Oh, and Wooly.... do you harbor any hatred of gnomes for their treatment of you on their ship?



I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen. No gnome would be brave enough to let me near their ship!

Giant flowers are kind of a workaround for giant bees, but it's not an elegant one -- giant flowers are going to need more space and resources, themselves. I'd tweak it up a bit -- make the giant flowers something like a cross between a tree and a bouquet of flowers. Tree-like stem, including bark, and instead of leaves at the top, a cluster of flowers. Or maybe it's like a tall tree, with the trunk lined with these big flowers.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2021 :  04:08:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


Oh, and Wooly.... do you harbor any hatred of gnomes for their treatment of you on their ship?



I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen. No gnome would be brave enough to let me near their ship!

Giant flowers are kind of a workaround for giant bees, but it's not an elegant one -- giant flowers are going to need more space and resources, themselves. I'd tweak it up a bit -- make the giant flowers something like a cross between a tree and a bouquet of flowers. Tree-like stem, including bark, and instead of leaves at the top, a cluster of flowers. Or maybe it's like a tall tree, with the trunk lined with these big flowers.



I should specify too, because I know my wording kind of evokes different imagery.... like when I say "giant hummingbird" and then I have to specify that they're still size small... I picture these giant honeysuckles to be about the size of say an ear of corn...roughly, maybe a little bigger for some being the size of four ears of corn... not like the "bigger than a house" flowers portrayed in some zones of Everquest 2. Also, the giant bees that I picture serving abeil would still be size small creatures (the size of say a somewhat big dog or maybe a bobcat). I would say "large" but that's an actual size, so....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2021 :  12:55:56  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I should specify too, because I know my wording kind of evokes different imagery....

Yeah, that kind of clarification is important when a possible encountered monster is literally named "Giant Bee" and they are an established part of the setting complete with where one is likely to find such and what useful things are harvested from their nests. This is exactly to where my mind jumped.

Are you sure you want these bees to be the size of a... "big dog," did you say? Big dogs are the size of medium sized creatures. Even shrinking the proposed bees down to a small-size creature (i.e., gnome sized) these suckers would still have individual combat stats and attacks that would go through armor so forget beekeeper suits being effective. The "tiny" to "diminutive" range would give you some alarming large bees (6 inches to 2 feet in size and 2 ounces to 8 pounds in weight). We saw something like this in the 2nd "The Hobbit" movie, Beorn's Bees, that fit the bill of extraordinarily large but not dangerously so. If something in this size range attacks a person it would be scary & hurt like hell until the person drives it off or kills it but it would in no way deliver life threatening injuries on its own. A swarm of them, on the other hand, would be just as serious as their smaller brethren doing the same. And these would be larger than the largest RW bees known to exist including murder hornets and tarantula hawks!

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2021 :  16:47:11  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SaMoCon

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I should specify too, because I know my wording kind of evokes different imagery....

Yeah, that kind of clarification is important when a possible encountered monster is literally named "Giant Bee" and they are an established part of the setting complete with where one is likely to find such and what useful things are harvested from their nests. This is exactly to where my mind jumped.

Are you sure you want these bees to be the size of a... "big dog," did you say? Big dogs are the size of medium sized creatures. Even shrinking the proposed bees down to a small-size creature (i.e., gnome sized) these suckers would still have individual combat stats and attacks that would go through armor so forget beekeeper suits being effective. The "tiny" to "diminutive" range would give you some alarming large bees (6 inches to 2 feet in size and 2 ounces to 8 pounds in weight). We saw something like this in the 2nd "The Hobbit" movie, Beorn's Bees, that fit the bill of extraordinarily large but not dangerously so. If something in this size range attacks a person it would be scary & hurt like hell until the person drives it off or kills it but it would in no way deliver life threatening injuries on its own. A swarm of them, on the other hand, would be just as serious as their smaller brethren doing the same. And these would be larger than the largest RW bees known to exist including murder hornets and tarantula hawks!



Somewhat big dog (still size small in game terms)... just trying to give a general idea in people's minds... not a chihuahua.. not a greyhound... more like a beagle. Bobcats was a more accurate sizing, since most people know bobcats are maybe twice the size of a housecat. Picturing something that abeil females might actually find an affinity towards as a pet and may allow to rest in their laps (as I picture most abeils viewing petting a furred mammal as a bit on the side of disgusting, especially with their atrocious "scents" that such furred beasts give off).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2021 :  10:33:11  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Abeil... *does a wordsearch* I had no idea these things existed.

Still, keeping a bee as a pet is kind of off script from the hive-like natures of bees and generally interferes with the functions of a healthy colony. And what function would these bees serve the Abeil? Humans domesticated pets not because they were "kyoot" but because they provided a valuable ability at which they excelled where humans were not so good (i.e., cats were a check on rodents stealing gathered food from forage/harvests).

The abeil already gather pollen so bees are actually natural rivals for the very thing which the abeil have a vital need. Bees DO have a smell to them that permeates their hives enough to be detectable by humans so abeil olfactory senses should also register something that may or may not be pleasant to them. If the industrious & expansionist abeil were to have pets I would think such would: be cooperatively/co-dependently territorial, be copious in useful byproducts, and/or subsist on a diet outside the range of the abeils' needs. Carnivorous spiders & centipedes are two things that spring to mind since they can hunt smaller vermin that would be lured to the scents of the abeils' food stores.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2021 :  13:08:49  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SaMoCon

Abeil... *does a wordsearch* I had no idea these things existed.

Still, keeping a bee as a pet is kind of off script from the hive-like natures of bees and generally interferes with the functions of a healthy colony. And what function would these bees serve the Abeil? Humans domesticated pets not because they were "kyoot" but because they provided a valuable ability at which they excelled where humans were not so good (i.e., cats were a check on rodents stealing gathered food from forage/harvests).

The abeil already gather pollen so bees are actually natural rivals for the very thing which the abeil have a vital need. Bees DO have a smell to them that permeates their hives enough to be detectable by humans so abeil olfactory senses should also register something that may or may not be pleasant to them. If the industrious & expansionist abeil were to have pets I would think such would: be cooperatively/co-dependently territorial, be copious in useful byproducts, and/or subsist on a diet outside the range of the abeils' needs. Carnivorous spiders & centipedes are two things that spring to mind since they can hunt smaller vermin that would be lured to the scents of the abeils' food stores.



The abeil society I would have would have lots more giant bees, with the abeil worker class having some mild natural ability to control them (something like they can talk to them and give them direction). Meanwhile the abeil workers have a more capable mind towards construction, and maybe they make better methods for storing honey, etc.... They may be able to care for bees as well, and thus the general quality of a giant bees life is better for living with Abeil. So, the idea of "who is roaming around to flowers and gathering pollen" would be the giant bees, and the worker class of Abeil is building things, maybe harvesting lumber, sewing, farming fields for other crops and to GROW flowers, brewing alchemical concoctions, etc... The abeil themselves may also eat more than just honey, and so I picture them growing a variety of plants that have various uses, as food, medicine, etc...

Oh, and one thing I hit on in putting the Abeil in Anchorome whenever me and Seethyr were initially talking about them. Since we never really saw them in use in any product, why not have the Abeil origins be in Abeir (i.e. Abeil from Abeir). There were some mentioned in one Netherese enclave in some novel, but it was a passing mention, and they easily could have "crossed over" at some earlier point in history. Thus, on Abeir, the abeil might have been something like their equivalent of elves.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 27 Sep 2021 13:11:40
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Gelcur
Senior Scribe

454 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2021 :  19:14:49  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A big thing is the fact that the overall history of the Realms is different.

Maybe X wasn't developed as quickly in the Realms as in the real world because this one particular ingredient wasn't as handy, or because events kept potential inventors from doing so. Hard to focus on certain things when you routinely have dragons trying to eat you, for example.

Maybe Y was developed more quickly because a deity nudged someone in the right direction or because another race did something to make it easier.

Maybe Z was developed differently because the relevant processes developed differently.

The Realms certainly resembles Western Europe from a few hundred years ago, tech-wise, but there's stuff going on in the Realms that was never a factor in Europe.

Overall, it's an apple and oranges thing. Even in the real world, some cultures developed certain things long before other cultures developed the exact same thing.


This sums up how I feel about tech in the Realms. I try to stay consistent with what we know exists but I try not to extrapolate. Baldur's Gate specifically calls out that it has cranes, Waterdeep does not, now maybe they have them, maybe they don't. I just sort of avoid featuring them, maybe the magic or tech that runs them is secret, maybe Waterdeep has a better way of doing things, maybe the Guilds have a ban on use to keep people employed. To me it helps to keep things unique and different.

I don't think a player has ever lectured me on the existence of spurs or some other minutia but if they did I would just tell them "reasons" or "magic" and carry on. If they would like to discover the reasoning I'd let them roll a knowledge check to see if they would reasonably know in character or they can go questing to figure out how it works. Reminds me about how Ed's players discovered various secrets of the Realms like how all the magic items end up in the dungeons or how the mass production of magical goods worked.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2021 :  20:46:29  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gelcur


This sums up how I feel about tech in the Realms. I try to stay consistent with what we know exists but I try not to extrapolate. Baldur's Gate specifically calls out that it has cranes, Waterdeep does not, now maybe they have them, maybe they don't. I just sort of avoid featuring them, maybe the magic or tech that runs them is secret, maybe Waterdeep has a better way of doing things, maybe the Guilds have a ban on use to keep people employed. To me it helps to keep things unique and different.


Waterdeep is a metropolis, a crossroads of cultures, and a center of learning. What is exactly so secret about the technology of cranes that they would not be employed in places of trade & industry? If the halfling of Moon Mountain Brewery are pictured using a crane then why wouldn't the usefulness of this simple machine be spread far and wide from dwarf delves to elf wharfs? Ship anchors and buoys aren't called out in the lore either but I would think that such useful things are commonplace items.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35689 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2021 :  21:10:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would assume that every major port has cranes, myself. It's just too difficult to quickly load/unload ships, otherwise.

Maybe the Baldur's Gate cranes are particularly efficient or more advanced, but the basic crane technology is pretty simple.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
936 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2021 :  21:53:38  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I could see every ship having a disassembled a-frame crane for use when needed. Treadmill cranes have been around since Roman times for heavier stuff (up to 3.2 tons). If it is in bags under 50 pounds or so, they could be just tossed from the ship to shore (or vice versa) if the gap is only a few feet (or even a human chain could be done to move it fairly quickly). They could even have movable chutes to bridge the gap to unload (if the ship is higher) or load (if the ship is lower).

I could see Baldur's Gate docks being specialized with some dealing with only barge traffic and others only dealing with ships. Barges will mostly be very flat and not sit high in the water like a ship would.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  02:55:31  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've looked up that reference for cranes - "Murder in Baldurs Gate," a 5th Edition Encounters adventure. The call out for what makes the topic of cranes remarkable is not that the port city has them but that they have 76 of them for their "over a dozen" piers. The fact that they were designed by clerics of Gond is of secondary importance for what is "astounding." I was going to say more but I just saw the name of the 4th Ed RSE and lost all will to bother.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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Gelcur
Senior Scribe

454 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  05:50:20  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Again I'm not saying places don't have them. I just avoid featuring them in docks other than Baldur's Gate for the most part. I could also imagine that high magic places would use something like Tenser's Floating Disks. I always imagine Waterdeep having various things flittering through the sky, flying carpets, missives and documents with wings, etc, when I run Waterdeep I make sure to make note of that to players. Now that's not to say that Baldur's Gate doesn't have aerial traffic but I just avoid mentioning. Sort of using absence in narration to make places more distinct. I guess to me it sort of boils down to prevelance of technology differs throughout the Realms. Similar to Wooly's statement how things evolve differently or not for countless reasons.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  12:32:18  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gelcur

Again I'm not saying places don't have them. I just avoid featuring them in docks other than Baldur's Gate for the most part. I could also imagine that high magic places would use something like Tenser's Floating Disks. I always imagine Waterdeep having various things flittering through the sky, flying carpets, missives and documents with wings, etc, when I run Waterdeep I make sure to make note of that to players. Now that's not to say that Baldur's Gate doesn't have aerial traffic but I just avoid mentioning. Sort of using absence in narration to make places more distinct. I guess to me it sort of boils down to prevelance of technology differs throughout the Realms. Similar to Wooly's statement how things evolve differently or not for countless reasons.



And so we see another job where young wizards in training in Halruaa aren't sweeping their master's floor as is pictured in so many stories. They're going down to the docks to cast the ritual of tenser's floating disk once an hour and earning coppers to walk ship's manifests off of ships in areas where they don't have a crane readily available... at least now that the concept of ritual magic and 5e changes the way things work.

Yeah, I can definitely see that in some areas of the realms.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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SaMoCon
Senior Scribe

USA
403 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  13:38:41  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hiring wizards in lieu of physical labor falls in a category I call "helicopter pilots delivering pizzas." Even in 5e, the 10-50 gp per spell expenditure for spellcasting services would let one hire an army of manual laborers (at 2 silver coins per laborer per day) which are necessary anyways to properly load, sort, and move cargo. Yeah, you can make the expenditure for a "wowie!" visual spectacle but people who want their pizza are not likely to shell out the extra cash for a Bell Executive Helo to deliver it to their home. Magic in lieu of labor can only be economically viable in places where labor is absent to such a degree that the costs of labor are greater than the costs of magic. Getting lost in the "rule of kewl" is how we wind up with so much nonsense in our fantasy media (just ask CinemaSins).

By the by, if you want a better reason for mages to have apprentices then PM me for an article I wrote that explains apprentices, helpers, janitors, and other staff for a variety of structure-based occupations.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35689 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  13:58:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Gelcur

Again I'm not saying places don't have them. I just avoid featuring them in docks other than Baldur's Gate for the most part. I could also imagine that high magic places would use something like Tenser's Floating Disks. I always imagine Waterdeep having various things flittering through the sky, flying carpets, missives and documents with wings, etc, when I run Waterdeep I make sure to make note of that to players. Now that's not to say that Baldur's Gate doesn't have aerial traffic but I just avoid mentioning. Sort of using absence in narration to make places more distinct. I guess to me it sort of boils down to prevelance of technology differs throughout the Realms. Similar to Wooly's statement how things evolve differently or not for countless reasons.



And so we see another job where young wizards in training in Halruaa aren't sweeping their master's floor as is pictured in so many stories. They're going down to the docks to cast the ritual of tenser's floating disk once an hour and earning coppers to walk ship's manifests off of ships in areas where they don't have a crane readily available... at least now that the concept of ritual magic and 5e changes the way things work.

Yeah, I can definitely see that in some areas of the realms.



While I can see magic being used more in Halruaa, I think the regular volume of trade (pre-Spellplague, obviously) would preclude an exclusive reliance on magic. Cranes would likely be faster and move more, too.

It wouldn't necessarily require apprentices, though -- the 2E write-up for Halruaa had a split-class thing, where people were essentially 1st level wizards and whatever other class they had, without mucking about with the dual-class/multiclass issues.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 30 Sep 2021 13:58:59
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
936 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  18:03:11  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Having worked loading and unloading commercial aircraft as well as working in an air freight warehouse, I can say from experience that no matter how much you reasonably mechanize things, there will always be a need for manual labor. If you say that forklifts and belt loaders were replaced by Tenser's Floating Discs, you still need someone to load and unload those as well as the vehicle that is being used to transport those over more than a short distance. Also, if the item in question was 50 lbs or less, it was more hassle getting the forklift than it was to just move it myself if it wasn't more than 50 or 60 feet (it could be up to 100 lbs if I had to move it only 10 to 15 feet).

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Gelcur
Senior Scribe

454 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  19:12:00  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think there is plenty of room for all of the above. I was just trying to illustrate the point that arguments for or against technology in different parts of the Realms can be made in different ways. A guild with enough power can decide technology X is not to their best interest they refuse to use it in their labor and as such it is uncommon to see such tech in the city. In the case of cranes I imagine the Guild of Watermen would have purview. Then there is rates and what the cargo is, loading and unloading at the docks by guild labor is 1 sp an hour per laborer and double that if the cargo is dangerous. The ships entering the docks aren't all loaded with pizzas or salt, flour, and potatoes; pizza boys are great for delivering pizzas.

Sort of a tangential, elsewhere in the city loading and unloading goods is 4 cp a day, likely handled by Fellowship of Carters and Coachmen, so likely different rates by different guilds, economies have a lot similarities to technologies in that their evolution is complex and many faceted. Same books list services of a "Spell Guard" from the The Watchful Order of Magists & Protectors costing 10 gp a day and they are expected to use spells like Detect Magic and Dispel Magic. Assuming these other guilds would allow them to load cargo maybe its the same rate? A single Fire Guard for a building goes for 5 gp a night maybe that is a closer rate?

To me it comes down to capturing the feel of the location, just like any part of the Realms. Waterdeep comes off everything thrown together, you have day laborers next to high magic. It sort of touches on other discussions going in current scrolls about what draws everyone to Waterdeep and the underlying magic. I also imagine Waterdeep very much about its social structure and that means the Guild of Watermen "control" the docks. This lets me run lots of quests out of this, new deals are brokered with other guilds, agreements are made, others broken, all of a sudden a rivalry escalates and no one is repairing the cranes or magical help is disallowed for loading and unloading (this could be something like Belts of Giant Strength that are rented from one guild to another), etc, etc, etc. Metro intrigues abound that my adventures might stumble into.

I hope my posts are coming across as Devil's Advocate to promote discussion rather than argumentative.


PS: There are documented hoists under Waterdeep that lead to Skullport but I don't quit remember how that process works off top of my head I do remember there were locks and hoists and a miniaturization bubble, maybe portals too. Interestingly I just learned hoists and cranes are technically different.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10995 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2021 :  21:26:25  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SaMoCon

Hiring wizards in lieu of physical labor falls in a category I call "helicopter pilots delivering pizzas." Even in 5e, the 10-50 gp per spell expenditure for spellcasting services would let one hire an army of manual laborers (at 2 silver coins per laborer per day) which are necessary anyways to properly load, sort, and move cargo. Yeah, you can make the expenditure for a "wowie!" visual spectacle but people who want their pizza are not likely to shell out the extra cash for a Bell Executive Helo to deliver it to their home. Magic in lieu of labor can only be economically viable in places where labor is absent to such a degree that the costs of labor are greater than the costs of magic. Getting lost in the "rule of kewl" is how we wind up with so much nonsense in our fantasy media (just ask CinemaSins).

By the by, if you want a better reason for mages to have apprentices then PM me for an article I wrote that explains apprentices, helpers, janitors, and other staff for a variety of structure-based occupations.



This is why I specifically note it as in Halruaa, and apprentice wizards. You don't just hatch from an egg with your abilities full grown, and wizards are one of the classes that gets ritual casting for free. So, they're going to have to spend time doing this kind of thing. Which is better? Them casting rituals and just letting them fade, or sending them out to do some minor public service by using the ir magic repeatedly with some first level spell that they cast as a ritual. This is a ritual that's castable for an hour at a time and takes no spell slot. Seems like a great thing to send them out in the world to do.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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SaMoCon
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Posted - 01 Oct 2021 :  06:12:21  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Whether Halruaa is specifically noted or not is immaterial to what is being suggested - that spellcasters have nothing better to do with their spells, and their services should be redirected to mundane tasks for which manual labor is normally applied. Aside from being a gross misuse of power, I would think the authorities would have head-of-the-line privilege for such favors instead of for-profit entities in "volunteer-spellcasting." Would for-profit groups even accept volunteers for whom they have no control on their comings & goings especially if the magelings are still trying to master their craft? Think of the workplace accidents caused by the error of a single person wielding a lot of power (single set of eyes & one perspective) versus a team of people wielding that same lot of power (many sets of eyes & multiple perspectives).

Professional pitchers don't hatch fully formed from eggs either but they do not develop their skills throwing cement at construction sites, tossing & catching bologna, or hurling hooks to haul in crab traps. Training and simulation to develop skills has always been a base, but application of those basics in a real situation is where it always counts. Volunteering their services would be done in a way that enhances their resume or correctly applies their skills like physicians volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and not surgeons volunteering their cutting & sewing skills with the Tailors Guild. So what do NPC spellcasters view as their "major league?" More to the point, why do they become spellcasters?

All spellcasters are essentially mad scientists seeking to twist and pervert the physical natural world to how they believe it should be (let's face it, that is exactly what magic does). The first time a spellcaster taps into the most fleeting of these powers opens a whole new reality to that spellcaster that makes anything possible. What variances of incantation, offerings of material substances, scribblings of significant symbols, and choreography of gestures alter, amplify, diminish, or negate the power flows of their spells and where can information be found or researched that can enhance these understandings? This is exactly where the NPC spellcasters and their efforts should be in supporting the advancement of their powers, not frittering away those powers for the advancement of someone else's bottom line. Doing the same things over and over again with these powers does nothing to further the pursuit of greater power.

Trading the utility of these powers for coppers per gold coin is insulting to the "wielders of the Art" and dismissive of the reality bending nature of magic. What isn't insulting? How about every application of magic that cannot be duplicated by brute force and the technology of the world? Think of all the things that we are capable of doing in this modern world that cannot be duplicated by our ancestors prior to the Industrial Revolution regardless of the resources they could have on hand (do not say "Internet" because fast communication and fast research can be done with pre-industrial technology, just expensive in manpower to achieve): deep-ocean exploration, flight, material synthesis, material purification, intelligence verification, remote surveillance, smothering urban fires, mind reading, and other endeavors. And remember, the D&D spells in the game books are merely the ones of interest to the PCs in their endeavors of looting ruins and killing monsters, not the be all end all of what is actually used by NPC spellcasters trying to master the powers of the multiverse.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 01 Oct 2021 :  18:49:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SaMoCon

Whether Halruaa is specifically noted or not is immaterial to what is being suggested - that spellcasters have nothing better to do with their spells, and their services should be redirected to mundane tasks for which manual labor is normally applied. Aside from being a gross misuse of power, I would think the authorities would have head-of-the-line privilege for such favors instead of for-profit entities in "volunteer-spellcasting." Would for-profit groups even accept volunteers for whom they have no control on their comings & goings especially if the magelings are still trying to master their craft? Think of the workplace accidents caused by the error of a single person wielding a lot of power (single set of eyes & one perspective) versus a team of people wielding that same lot of power (many sets of eyes & multiple perspectives).

Professional pitchers don't hatch fully formed from eggs either but they do not develop their skills throwing cement at construction sites, tossing & catching bologna, or hurling hooks to haul in crab traps. Training and simulation to develop skills has always been a base, but application of those basics in a real situation is where it always counts. Volunteering their services would be done in a way that enhances their resume or correctly applies their skills like physicians volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and not surgeons volunteering their cutting & sewing skills with the Tailors Guild. So what do NPC spellcasters view as their "major league?" More to the point, why do they become spellcasters?

All spellcasters are essentially mad scientists seeking to twist and pervert the physical natural world to how they believe it should be (let's face it, that is exactly what magic does). The first time a spellcaster taps into the most fleeting of these powers opens a whole new reality to that spellcaster that makes anything possible. What variances of incantation, offerings of material substances, scribblings of significant symbols, and choreography of gestures alter, amplify, diminish, or negate the power flows of their spells and where can information be found or researched that can enhance these understandings? This is exactly where the NPC spellcasters and their efforts should be in supporting the advancement of their powers, not frittering away those powers for the advancement of someone else's bottom line. Doing the same things over and over again with these powers does nothing to further the pursuit of greater power.

Trading the utility of these powers for coppers per gold coin is insulting to the "wielders of the Art" and dismissive of the reality bending nature of magic. What isn't insulting? How about every application of magic that cannot be duplicated by brute force and the technology of the world? Think of all the things that we are capable of doing in this modern world that cannot be duplicated by our ancestors prior to the Industrial Revolution regardless of the resources they could have on hand (do not say "Internet" because fast communication and fast research can be done with pre-industrial technology, just expensive in manpower to achieve): deep-ocean exploration, flight, material synthesis, material purification, intelligence verification, remote surveillance, smothering urban fires, mind reading, and other endeavors. And remember, the D&D spells in the game books are merely the ones of interest to the PCs in their endeavors of looting ruins and killing monsters, not the be all end all of what is actually used by NPC spellcasters trying to master the powers of the multiverse.



We'll have to disagree on some of this, as I can definitely see magelings being paid to run up and down a dock for coppers (maybe silvers) in Halruaa... in Thay as well pre-civil war. It gives them the physical work out a kid needs without the actual loading of stuff onto the disk (though they may magehand small objects onto the disk to practice that skill as well). At the same time, I can also see them casting unseen servant as a ritual for this purpose as well. So, in an hour, 20 minutes spent casting rituals and then using a tenser's disk and unseen servant. Maybe spend 5 minutes to load the disk and earn those coppers or silvers (remember, it can carry a lot of weight, but it's not big), and maybe five minutes to get it to a wagon that's waiting and unloaded. Get maybe 4-6 jobs done per hour... 8 hours in a day... maybe 40 jobs per day. Say each job pays a silver and a half, but maybe 6 of those coppers goes to several people to negotiate the jobs and handle the money (there might be three other people just guiding the apprentice through what to pick up, where to bring it, helping quickly load the disk, tie things downetc... so they don't have to stop... and some of the money would probably go to the master). 40 jobs in a day at 9 copper each, would be 3 gold 6 silver for a thirteen year old kid. Doing this makes for a means to carry really heavy stuff with no real effort to a place where it can be loaded into a wagon without having to maneuver the wagon down the docks creating a "traffic jam" of sorts. They'd probably usually be lifting and carrying less fragile stuff. Maybe not everybody's ship is emptied this way mind you, but I can see some of this happening, in the background.

Some other mage apprentices might just be doing unseen servants multiple times per hour instead of doing tenser's disks and they might be being assigned for repetitive tasks. For instance, firewood chopping. A servant might be assigned to just continually pick up a piece of wood from a pile and chop it. Another servant might be tasked with picking up the wood from several working unseen servants and putting it into bundles. It's a good simple task that won't require the apprentice to continually be directing the servants... they can just spend their time repeatedly casting unseen servant at ten minutes per casting.

Wasn't really where I was intending this thread to go, but its a good conversation, and it could be worth discussing with people what kinds of extremely repetitive, relatively lightweight tasks something like an unseen servant (or mutiple servants working in concert) could be set to. Something to do with running equipment for making cloth might be another use. I can even see schools for mages rotating apprentices through various repetitive tasks/jobs for no other purpose than to make them think about how their spells can be used. Sometimes its not necessarily about the money so much as the ideas, especially when working with the young.

In a city like Halarahh, which is only 8000 people, but 3000 of them are established wizards (per 3e FRCS), I would imagine another 500 to a thousand of them are apprentices-in-training (or of the 3000 probably 500 to 1000 are apprentices-in-training). I could definitely see them being used for purposes like this in those environments.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 01 Oct 2021 20:39:07
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Gelcur
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Posted - 01 Oct 2021 :  23:50:47  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SaMoCon

All spellcasters are essentially mad scientists seeking to twist and pervert the physical natural world to how they believe it should be (let's face it, that is exactly what magic does).

My take is in the history of Faerun more magic has been used for sweeping floors than for attempted world domination.

Comparing them to scientists, or even IT or programmers, is probably spot on. Most realize the fantastic power their fields can unlock and potentially control and then spend their lives pushing a few buttons over and over again to make a living.

There are far more mages that never rise above level 1 or 2 than archwizards, they all need to eat.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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SaMoCon
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Posted - 02 Oct 2021 :  03:15:05  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep in mind, I am having fun.

quote:
Originally posted by Gelcur
My take is in the history of Faerun more magic has been used for sweeping floors than for attempted world domination...

"World domination?" What? I'm talking about conjuring fire from nothing, giving life to the lifeless, and making things look completely unlike how they actually are. Those things are perversions of the natural world order, just like controlling the weather, eradicating disease, and spontaneously healing injuries. Cities don't float on clouds, holes don't open in the environment on command to allow things to take one step & traverse 12K+ miles, and people can't be turned into stone & back to their healthy selves according to natural laws. The traits of powerful mages seem to match those of stereo-typical mad scientists: condescending, narcissistic, unilateral, entitled, and possessed of a god-complex (at middling to higher levels). Owlbears, cats than can fly (much to the horror of birds), and worse have been unleashed in almost cartoony 1950s horror movie cliches but almost entirely without the overreach of world domination being the goal. Oh, bitter tangy irony that the most destructive & dangerous of these magics had the best intentions as their animus, which is why it is "mad scientist" instead of "evil scientist."

Sweeping floors is physical work and an Unseen Servant is a poor replacement for an actual custodian especially since it has a limited range, a feeble amount of force (maximum 20 lbs which doesn't cut wood), and a requirement for supervision if the task is more complicated than a rote action that might have consequences (like say an upkick of dust that settles on furniture or scooping up a debris pile to be deposited as refuse or including misplaced valuables in the swept debris). Shiny floors require sweeping, mopping, waxing (when needed), buffing, followed by more sweeping as daily maintenance - and that is just one aspect of domicile upkeep that cleaners perform. Low level apprentices and their spells are worse than actual physical laborers (Floating Disk at 100lbs, stays at 3ft height off the ground, and doesn't leave the caster's side nor does it move faster than the caster's normal speed is not impressive) and would actually have their physical labor valued more than the work provided by their spells. By the by, labor is paid by the day which means that your figure for physical work that a more aptly capable unskilled physical laborer can just as readily perform earning more per day than competent skilled workers (25 gold per week compared to a level 1 blacksmith rolling a 20 for the week only earning 24 gold by 3e rules) is wide of the mark. The D&D baseline for when an adventuring class human may begin training is 15 and takes 2-12 years for that human apprentice to become 1st level and, yes, Halruaans start cramming their kids with cantrips by the time they are 13 but those cantrips are practically worthless for value of work performed. Let's face it, Harry Potter had more going on than could those Halruaan tweens.

quote:
Magic in lieu of labor can only be economically viable in places where labor is absent to such a degree that the costs of labor are greater than the costs of magic.

Remember when I said this on 30 Sep 2021 : 13:38:41? This is the economics argument that reflects the correlation of supply and demand for finding appropriate pricing of a service or good. The labor performed is still only worth X in value regardless of its source. But what is actually worth more, providing a better service with a quality of work provided - the effects of magic cast by a level 0 apprentice to level 1 wizard or the same caster physically doing the chore? Odds are, they'll be working as a person and not a mage. I mean, look at the list of adventurer mage spells and compare the economically viable cantrips to 1st level spells (my picks are endure elements, comprehend languages, and alarm at higher caster levels) to what is reliably provided on the cheap from technology and labor.

How many other people have had The Sorcerer's Apprentice from "Fantasia" pop into their head?

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 02 Oct 2021 :  19:16:01  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tenser's disk is not 100 pounds, its 500. Most people would have to use something equivalent to a pallet jack, wheel barrow, or wagon to move that kind of weight (I'm meaning like a kid's wagon with 4 wheels, but bigger, not a horse driven wagon). It would also be tiring to repeatedly push such a vehicle, and using such things also wouldn't be easy to go from ship to shore to wagon. That's the versatility of the tenser's disk... its not tiring someone else to drag it, and its very easily maneuverable in tight situations. The effort is in the loading and unloading. Its why when it was mentioned in the use at a dock, it struck me as a good use for a tight area, where people might just be sending people at the loading and unloading areas. It would allow the unloading area of a dock to be done quickly for relatively small loads in a method that can go from ship to dock to unloading area, negotiating uneven heights, etc... very easily.

On the part you bring up about pay, everything I'm discussing doing is via 5e rules (i.e. rituals are free, cantrips are free, etc...) and that is an important part to these types of financial discussions when it comes to magic. Its also why I specifically pointed out in the initial topic that under 5e rules, I can see this, but not other editions. In that edition, unskilled laborers can earn 2 sp per day. Skilled laborers can make 2 gold per day. In the example I give of young apprentices doing dock word and making 3 gold 6 silver per day, that means for a "skilled young apprentice" they're making twice what a trained blacksmith might make. The other 2 gold 4 silver that I discussed as going to people to handle the transactions and sit at each end to help do the loading and unloading could thus pay for say 8 unskilled laborers whose job is just to negotiate payment, and wait on each end to load and unload. Maybe one or two would work with each job to "lead" the apprentice to the end point where they need to unload (and keep an eye out for thieves, etc...). That would still leave 8 silver per day to go to the master of the apprentice for doing nothing more than saying "hey, go practice your spellcasting at the docks today".

The next obvious question becomes "well, why wouldn't someone just pay for 8 dock workers to unload their ship at 2 sp a day".... and the thing becomes TIME... if the mage can facilitate the unloading of an entire ship in five minutes time instead of the merchant having to wait for tired dock workers to unload to the dock, load a wheel barrow, haul the wheel barrow... watch the dock workers for thievery himself.... watch the wagon workers for thievery at the end, etc... it just might be worth spending a silver to get it all done and moving on into the city. The harbormaster may even give them a lesser docking fee since they can use the spot more quickly, so there might be a financial incentive in return, depending on how busy the dock is. In the end, I could see this in Halruaa.... I could see it in Bezantur... and to a lesser degree I could even see it in Waterdeep at the far edges of the docks where people could get their boats in really easy, but the distance to where the wagons are is relatively long (not anything like miles, but a couple hundred yards of narrow docks being quickly negotiated by a kid around stacked crates might be much faster than a person with a wheelbarrow who might have to wait for the crates to move instead of just scampering over them).

Similar types of work could be seen in like construction where tenser's disks would be a good way to get like boxes of roofing materials up scaffolding (say a 6 foot ladder, scaffold for 4 feet, 6 foot ladder, roof), or to haul bricks up onto some scaffolding so that masonry work can be done quicker and with less back breaking effort. The idea of rituals in 5e, especially with the first level ones like unseen servant, tenser's floating disk, illusory script, and alarm, would definitely change how some things are done on a daily basis in SOME areas of the realms. Hidden communications for instance would be much simples with illusory script, especially if the "cover" letter looks like something mundane enough to seem like the everyday message.

Find familiar might even be something that you might consider using somehow.... the idea of a size small flying monkey being put to some low grade work should have some use that I'm not seeing (for instance, maybe picking fruit out of the top of a tree instead of having to setup ladders, etc....?).

Of course, rituals aren't the only thing that spellcasting in 5e would seriously change. Mending cantrips would be something else that apprentices might be sent out to cast repeatedly, and people might line up and pay a silver to have say a dozen relatively minor things repaired that would otherwise end up as junk in our worlds or having to take a lot more effort to fix. That would be a silver for roughly a couple minutes work (say 10 minutes to allow some time for conversation, resting their voice, etc... even though it would likely be 2 minutes of actual casting). Thus, casting mending like this might net an apprentice 4 gold 8 silver per day to quickly repair over 500 things a day ( nice dresses ruined by tearing, mud, etc... weapons, armor, wagon wheels, busted tools, etc...)

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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