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Old 04-12-2021, 01:32 PM   #11
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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My question would be whether "civilization" develops at all without the cultural changes brought on by the need to organize agriculture. I'm picturing hunter-gatherer style societies, only the time that was spent hunting and gathering is now devoted to art or music or whatever.
If you're wanting a Fantasy-Medieval setting, it may be less immersion-breaking if humans aren't natives of Crapsack World (or they are natives but it used to be more like Earth prior to the Crapsackening, making this something of a post-apocalyptic setting). They've brought their ideas of how society should be with them, and the end result is an adaptation rather than some highly-unlikely parallel evolution. This also more readily allows for domesticated animals - either the humans brought said stock with them or, already familiar with the concept and usefulness of domesticated animals, they tamed native lifeforms (or a combination of the two). There will probably still be attempts to farm, in addition to hunting and gathering, unless the sort of food that can be conjured is highly satisfying with a lot of options (and even then you may still have people willing to pay handsomely for "real" food, even if only for the purpose of conspicuous consumption).
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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There will probably still be attempts to farm, in addition to hunting and gathering, unless the sort of food that can be conjured is highly satisfying with a lot of options (and even then you may still have people willing to pay handsomely for "real" food, even if only for the purpose of conspicuous consumption).
That also happens in the post-scarcity utopia of the core worlds of the Federation in Star Trek - Sisko's Restaurant, for instance, where people are willing to travel (and, presumably, do whatever the equivalent of payment is in that world) to eat "real" food prepared by a living chef. (Someone's headcanon, can't recall whose, explained that as all replicated food tasting exactly the same every time, with no variance whatsoever, while a real chef's food is a different experience with each meal.)
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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My question would be whether "civilization" develops at all without the cultural changes brought on by the need to organize agriculture. I'm picturing hunter-gatherer style societies, only the time that was spent hunting and gathering is now devoted to art or music or whatever.
That might fit well with how dangerous things can be.

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Yes, I'd vote for that too. Naturally, it might also become a dystopia instead of a utopia. In our history, the 10% not dedicated to food production included kings bent on conquest, priests bent on proselytism, and soldiers seeking glory - and the same might happen here, only, based on magic aplenty (because, if magic is shown to work great for producing food out of mana, then in all likelihood magic will be the thing to be researched to achieve anything else, and it will be used to deliver conquest, converts and glory).
I do wonder how well research can work. People aren't the top of the food chain and it's explicitly true that they can't completely protect themselves from nature.

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Of course, with magic might also come effective contraception, which changes the situation.]
Due to the metaphysics of the setting, yes contraception is very easy.
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Old 04-12-2021, 03:57 PM   #14
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Magic also carries it's own complications.

Despite being miraculous, Magic can only be performed by some people and there are limits to magic just like arable land has limits. Magic may shortcut a year-long-journey from farm-to-table but there are limits in any magical system to how much magic can be used in a cycle and magic used for food is sacrificed in other fundamentals. If every mage that can make food does there is still an upward limit of how many people can be fed and chances are that limit is much higher than every available person working fields and tending flocks, even in a high magic setting. There are also shortages that could affect magic, spell components or ambient energy could become scarce leading to starvation. There will still be scarcity on some level.

There is also a factor of quality. Magical food is unlikely to be the equal of quality grown food. Even if magical food is not illusory in nutritional value it may not have much flavor. Most magically created items can only be constructed as well as the know-how of the spell caster and most magic users aren't bohemians or artists. The things that make them magically apt aren't the things that make one a good cook, if only for lacking the time needed to dedicate yourself to the discipline of cooking. Most magical food would likely be edible enough but not that great. There would likely be a contingent of snobby foodies who feel that food the old fashion way tastes better and there would be a few elite food magicians who are also skilled cooks with discerning palettes that wizbang amazing dishes.
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Old 04-12-2021, 08:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

A few ideas that seem obvious to me:

Even if parts of it are silly, the idea is still cool. And cool things don't have to be flawless.

The food might be really weird. If nobody's actually made bread by hand for 7 generations, then... what does modern bread taste like? Are there trends in fake-food? or does it all taste the same? or... what?

Health is probably better because most "create food" spells are nutritionally complete.

Cities might be located in different places because proximity to food sources is less important. Important factors will be defense, other raw materials, and transportation.

I would think the divide between "city" and "wilderness" would be sharp. there isn't farm country. There are no ranches. There's just wild. If there are sufficient threats, then it could be quite wild indeed.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:20 AM   #16
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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But what priests and what kings, in the absence of the changes brought on by the development of agriculture?
The main change brought by agriculture was exactly that not every last person in the tribe had to spend a lot of time producing food. So, if this same change is brought about by magic instead, then the result will be similar: a class of people not working all the time. The clever and ambitious will be part of that class, and being clever and ambitious will become leaders. I.e., priests and kings.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:26 AM   #17
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I do wonder how well research can work. People aren't the top of the food chain and it's explicitly true that they can't completely protect themselves from nature.
People can't protect themselves completely from predators, yet we know of hunter-gatherer tribes who don't cultivate lands and survived in company of large predators.

The much worse killers of people are diseases, the worst of which are passed on to us by farm animals (not a problem with magical food), famines (not a problem with magical food) and metabolic hazards (not a problem with magical food).

The people in this world will be exceptionally healthier than humans throughout most of our history. Yes, there will be an overpopulation problem - which again leads us to think about those soldiers. But there will not be a problem with performing magical research. I guess (it's all purest speculation, evidently).
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:32 AM   #18
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Magic also carries it's own complications.

Despite being miraculous, Magic can only be performed by some people and there are limits to magic just like arable land has limits.
Well, sure, if we go by the standard "Average Mana" assumptions, then there aren't enough persons endowed with Magery. You'll have a civilization closer to those we know; probably food mages work all the time only to produce "emergency rations" (I suppose that Preserve Food would be used) for when a famine strikes.

But the OP stated that "people" began using magic to create food. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that that meant all or most "people" being able to create food, i.e. High to Very High Mana and common to very common Magery (or the possibility for non-mages to cast spells).
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Old 04-13-2021, 02:33 AM   #19
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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I would think the divide between "city" and "wilderness" would be sharp. there isn't farm country. There are no ranches. There's just wild. If there are sufficient threats, then it could be quite wild indeed.
I definitely like that feel. It's explicitly true in some places, but making it a general assumption feels right.

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But the OP stated that "people" began using magic to create food. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that that meant all or most "people" being able to create food, i.e. High to Very High Mana and common to very common Magery (or the possibility for non-mages to cast spells).
You were right, creating food would be one of the most basic and commonly learned spells and would be near required to learn if you ever plan on travelling.
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:53 PM   #20
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

This is why elves can live in these weird, unsupported cities in the forest - and probably why cities in fantasy movies are rarely, if ever, surrounded by farmland.

Sarcasm aside, limited use of this can be great for world building - as, for example, in all seriousness, the bit above about justifying elven society being completely different from that of humans, if they feed themselves by magic rather than farming and have a similar approach to most other industries.
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