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Old 06-06-2009, 05:53 PM   #31
Crakkerjakk
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Default Re: Economy wrecking spells?

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Originally Posted by pawsplay View Post
If by "you" you mean, "A powerful and skilled mage specialized in this particualr feat." I've been thinking about this, and I keep coming back to the idea of mages being fairly rare. Think about this: what does a lawyer do besides read books and articles, carry around a briefcase, and go to courtrooms? Surely something anyone can do. Yet lawyers are expensive. It would be difficult to grab a lawyer each and every time you needed some advice. Few people have the aptitude and training of a lawyer. Further, you could imagine that lawyers might revolutionize many aspects of society, but what will draw a lawyer toward one field over another?

In my view, a mage who spends his time creating metal is probably no more a source of great economic change than any other large source of metal, such as a new mine. Such mages are rare enough to be considered rich veins in their own right. Now, if a given spell creates such a large amount of metal that it seems simply ridiculous, that is a problem with the spell design, not a problem with world design. Economically, I could see one or two such mages affecting the price of metal, but not affecting the society's use of metallurgy in general. Also, if you were a king, would you want your society's supply of metal being dependent on one or two mages?
The problem with the lawyer analogy is that it isn't the correct scale. It is effectively saying, "one or two people go to law school and upon gaining the required education wrap up all legal cases currently in the system over the course of the next year."

Steel is a popular metal today (and historically) because so much can be done with it with relatively minute alterations of it's composition and manufacturing process, in addition to it's relative low cost. If those conditions arise in a medieval economy via Earth to Stone, the ripple effects will probably look a lot like the early effects of the industrial revolution, especially if magic can also provide a power source to replace horses (like the steam engine did).

And if I were a king, I would take a large supply of metal whose source may be compromised by force over a small supply of metal whose source may also be compromised by a larger amount of military force.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:11 PM   #32
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Default Re: Economy wrecking spells?

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The problem with the lawyer analogy is that it isn't the correct scale. It is effectively saying, "one or two people go to law school and upon gaining the required education wrap up all legal cases currently in the system over the course of the next year."

Steel is a popular metal today (and historically) because so much can be done with it with relatively minute alterations of it's composition and manufacturing process, in addition to it's relative low cost. If those conditions arise in a medieval economy via Earth to Stone, the ripple effects will probably look a lot like the early effects of the industrial revolution, especially if magic can also provide a power source to replace horses (like the steam engine did).
If.

Why would they? They presuppose more than one or two individuals with a rare advantage deciding to spend years mastering a particular spell. And unlike technology, once the metal is created, to continually get more metal requires other mages to follow in their footsteps. Convince me that's likely.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:22 PM   #33
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Default Re: Economy wrecking spells?

Some of the comments about mages, rarity, etc - keep ignoring the unintended consequences of the assumptions being put forth. In campaigns where the presumption is that mages are rare, and effectively walking gold mines in their own right, the issue becomes one of whether or not all mages, by virtue of what can be accomplished with certain spells, should be required to take Filthy rich as an advantage to compensate for those things that are possible with GURPS MAGIC as currently written.

If you're doing a "Doom shoot'm up" type campaign, and you don't really care about world building, this is all fine and good. But if you run serious gritty type campaigns where world building emphasis is a wee bit stronger - then the issues come to the fore. Tossing in another "economy breaking effect" are those magic items, that never break, yet provide for a really interesting effect.

One of the leading causes for deforestation in any civilization, is the need for energy. Light for example, is a byproduct of energy consumption (aka fire). Imagine too, the simple reality of using the HEAT spell on a piece of metal to near melting temperaters, and then letting the heated item cool down naturally. Now, a mage with this spell at skill 15, can heat up individual fist sized objects to up to 2880 degrees FREE of charge as far as enegy goes. A room temperature piece of cast iron (say, 80 degrees) would require at a rate of 20 degree increase per minute, nearly 2 hours of concentration to bring to near melting temperatures. Now, let go the concentration, and the glowing hot piece of metal, which was already radiating heat away in the first place, will now finally begin to radiate heat away and begin to cool down. One has to wonder how long such heat radiated away might keep an area relatively warm? How might the first "stone heater" come to be invented by the mage who concentrates on the fist sized piece of cast iron, and heating it at a given rate of 20 degrees per minute, and the stones surrounding the iron accept the radiated heat away themselves?

The thing to do when considering spells in their applications, is what uses can the be put to other than the immediate obvious one intended by the person who wrote up the spell description. A piece of overheated Cast iron, sitting inside a pot of liquid, will very handily act as a heat source for cooking - all without the need to have a fire handy.

Now, if this is what a mage can do with the spell, imagine what the magic item usable by anyone can accomplish?
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #34
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Default Re: Economy wrecking spells?

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If.

Why would they? They presuppose more than one or two individuals with a rare advantage deciding to spend years mastering a particular spell. And unlike technology, once the metal is created, to continually get more metal requires other mages to follow in their footsteps. Convince me that's likely.
I am a week from graduating with a mechanical engineering degree. It required years of training. I chose a mechanical engineering degree because it is (generally) a guaranteed respectably sized paycheck, although it is possible I might have been able to make more if I started up my own company or managed to become a sports super-star or something. I believe myself to be reasonably intelligent, and can perform math that 90% of the US population regards as magic. People of my level of intelligence and prediliction towards math and science are a rarity in the general population, yet more than 40 people will graduate with me this year.

When I graduate, I plan on trying to get a job in government because they have good benefits, it's a structured work environment, they offer some of the best starting pay in the industry, and because working for the benefit of my nation gives me a warm and fuzzy.

How am I any different than someone with Magery?
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by hal View Post
Some of the comments about mages, rarity, etc - keep ignoring the unintended consequences of the assumptions being put forth. In campaigns where the presumption is that mages are rare, and effectively walking gold mines in their own right, the issue becomes one of whether or not all mages, by virtue of what can be accomplished with certain spells, should be required to take Filthy rich as an advantage to compensate for those things that are possible with GURPS MAGIC as currently written.
I think in answer to that I would say that most mages could not be bothered to keep track of that many valuable possessions. Also, you would have to take magic item rarity into account, since in that scenario, you would not expect the average mage to be dripping in magical items.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:49 PM   #36
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I am a week from graduating with a mechanical engineering degree. It required years of training. I chose a mechanical engineering degree because it is (generally) a guaranteed respectably sized paycheck, although it is possible I might have been able to make more if I started up my own company or managed to become a sports super-star or something. I believe myself to be reasonably intelligent, and can perform math that 90% of the US population regards as magic. People of my level of intelligence and prediliction towards math and science are a rarity in the general population, yet more than 40 people will graduate with me this year.

When I graduate, I plan on trying to get a job in government because they have good benefits, it's a structured work environment, they offer some of the best starting pay in the industry, and because working for the benefit of my nation gives me a warm and fuzzy.

How am I any different than someone with Magery?
Think of all the things you could do with your abilities that you choose not to because it's tedious, strenuous, or beneath your ambitions. Think of someone with similar capabilities to you who is capable of engineering some of the most valuable technology available in the world today. Would they be working at your job?

Assuming you have five years of training in mechanical engineering, let's say you have 4 points in your primary skill and an IQ of 12. Two things I can immediately observe. First of all, the hypothetical mage we are talking about has spent as much on spell prerequisites as you have on your entire field of study. Second, you are smarter than 75% of people with Magery. Unless we assume Magery is linked to intelligence, more than half of all people with Magery will be unsuitable to become professional metal-conjurers by dint of their lack of intelligence.

Imagine a job that required someone of your intelligence, who required three times as much training, and who also had to have naturally perfect musical pitch. That's the kind of person we are talking about.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:57 PM   #37
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After all, what is a farmer but a food production specialist? Once you free up a population to have more specialists in areas outside of food production, you begin to climb the rungs of technological advancement.
There's an easier way.

Create Food can transform organic matter into tasty food. It costs 2 FP per casting. It is a Regular spell, which means it can transform a SM 0 item (say a 150-pound mass of weeds tied together) into food. If the average person eats 2 pounds of food a day, then one mage can easily feed himself and 74 other persons every day year round. If he casts it more than once a day, each extra casting feeds another 75 people. With Powerstones and Recover Energy, one mage can feed a truly amazing number of people.

And your typical medieval culture is built around food production. Farming, harvesting, and protection of same - it all revolves around food.

If Create Food doesn't warp the economy and culture, nothing will!
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:12 PM   #38
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Default Re: Economy wrecking spells?

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Think of all the things you could do with your abilities that you choose not to because it's tedious, strenuous, or beneath your ambitions. Think of someone with similar capabilities to you who is capable of engineering some of the most valuable technology available in the world today. Would they be working at your job?
There are plenty of my classmates who are going to work on HVAC, which is tedious and boring, and I wouldn't want to do, but because of those properties, it is very easy to find a job in the field.

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Assuming you have five years of training in mechanical engineering, let's say you have 4 points in your primary skill and an IQ of 12. Two things I can immediately observe. First of all, the hypothetical mage we are talking about has spent as much on spell prerequisites as you have on your entire field of study. Second, you are smarter than 75% of people with Magery. Unless we assume Magery is linked to intelligence, more than half of all people with Magery will be unsuitable to become professional metal-conjurers by dint of their lack of intelligence.
First, the 200 hours = 1 point is a crappy model. It's fine for a rough estimate for PCs, but I'm leery of trying to use it to base calculations off of. Second, IQ is something that can be improved, and can represent education. The very process of having a Magery advantage will tend to increase the IQ of it's practitioners, especially if there is any formal schooling system in place for mages.

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Imagine a job that required someone of your intelligence, who required three times as much training, and who also had to have naturally perfect musical pitch. That's the kind of person we are talking about.
I have natural intelligence and probably some level of "Math + Science" talent. How is that different than having natural intelligence and "magic" talent?
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:15 PM   #39
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I have natural intelligence and probably some level of "Math + Science" talent. How is that different than having natural intelligence and "magic" talent?
For one thing, intelligence and math/science talent are related.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:26 PM   #40
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When an ME botches a roll, bad things can happen. Cars explode when hit from the rear, airplanes fall from the sky, can openers break suddenly sending sharp bits through the kitchen. Other people can pay, sometimes dearly, for an ME's bad day. We have entire industries of quallity assurance people working to find the botches of ME's.
When an ME botches a roll, he can loose his job, and maybe his entire livelyhood. Usually, it results in a test going bad in an obvious or spectacular way, but it can be really bad.

When a Mage botches a roll, all of the above can happen. Additionally, the maiming usually begins with the Mage, and probably comes with a variety of suffering and debasement only concievable by the demonic forces inadvertently unleashed.
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