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Old 04-13-2021, 08:22 PM   #21
kirbwarrior
 
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
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
I actually didn't realize you were being sarcastic until you said that, I just assumed that was true, that certain places just had vastly easier access to food and other necessities.
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:58 AM   #22
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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certain places just had vastly easier access to food and other necessities.
Exactly so. While they were certainly more the exception than the rule, in our world's real history some so-called complex hunter/gatherer societies existed, for instance along the North-Western coast of North America. And exactly for the reason you mention: abundant food available without agricultural cultivation. They developed societal stratification (GURPS: Status), which is often considered typical of agricultural civilizations, and had villages of up to 2,000 inhabitants - which is probably what an "Elven city" in a forest might have.

Now, naturally these indigenous peoples had no qualms about hunting and fishing, and that was a sizable part of their non-agricultural-based diet. I don't know about Elves, maybe some of them are vegans; but if they have bows, then I think they do hunt.
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:40 AM   #23
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
I actually didn't realize you were being sarcastic until you said that, I just assumed that was true, that certain places just had vastly easier access to food and other necessities.
Heh. I've been caught out by tone on this thing before ... initially I was thinking of the bad worldbuilding trope where creators place cities with no supporting infrastructure, but then decided that sometimes "a wizard did it" doesn't have to be an excuse.

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Exactly so. While they were certainly more the exception than the rule, in our world's real history some so-called complex hunter/gatherer societies existed, for instance along the North-Western coast of North America. And exactly for the reason you mention: abundant food available without agricultural cultivation. They developed societal stratification (GURPS: Status), which is often considered typical of agricultural civilizations, and had villages of up to 2,000 inhabitants - which is probably what an "Elven city" in a forest might have.

Now, naturally these indigenous peoples had no qualms about hunting and fishing, and that was a sizable part of their non-agricultural-based diet. I don't know about Elves, maybe some of them are vegans; but if they have bows, then I think they do hunt.
Yeah - always struck me as weird that the elves, often theoretically at least depicted as hunter-gatherers are also depicted as vegans (or at least vegetarians) whilst the Dwarves are seen eating legs of mutton and swilling beer ... despite an underground environment seeming to be a really bad place to grow animals.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:14 AM   #24
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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Yeah - always struck me as weird that the elves, often theoretically at least depicted as hunter-gatherers are also depicted as vegans (or at least vegetarians) whilst the Dwarves are seen eating legs of mutton and swilling beer ... despite an underground environment seeming to be a really bad place to grow animals.
I have the same problem with the elves, but not with the dwarves.
Yes, the cool place to be, for them, is underneath the mountains, extracting ores and working metals. But there will always be an open-air over-the-mountains place above their mines. And among the species that suffer less from altitude and cold you have mountain goats and barley.
Yes, the movies don't feature scenes of dwarves tending the goats and harvesting barley. But after all, dwarven VIPs don't go there, they are the kings, renowned swordsmiths, famous dragon-slayers who all stay in the well-known underground halls.
Maybe the goat herders are human slaves or the none-too-bright dwarves. We never see them. But then again, did the first series of Downton Abbey feature a lot of scenes in Yorkshire mines?
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:42 AM   #25
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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I have the same problem with the elves, but not with the dwarves.
Yes, the cool place to be, for them, is underneath the mountains, extracting ores and working metals. But there will always be an open-air over-the-mountains place above their mines. And among the species that suffer less from altitude and cold you have mountain goats and barley.
Yes, the movies don't feature scenes of dwarves tending the goats and harvesting barley. But after all, dwarven VIPs don't go there, they are the kings, renowned swordsmiths, famous dragon-slayers who all stay in the well-known underground halls.
Maybe the goat herders are human slaves or the none-too-bright dwarves. We never see them. But then again, did the first series of Downton Abbey feature a lot of scenes in Yorkshire mines?
...that's fair. Possibly the dwarves could even drill out onto the face of the mountain and cut terraces in places otherwise inaccessible. Actually, if you've solved the dwarf lighting problem, underground agriculture may not be so big a problem. I have to say that in my games of Dwarf Fortress, cats always played an important role in the food chain...

Mind you, I've long had a desire to run dwarves as a combination of Elder Scrolls and RuneQuest - the biological ones are long gone, with the remainder uploaded into "those scary automata that you always find in dwarvern ruins". Bonus points when the PCs find out what the highly sought after "dwarvern powerstones" actually are...
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:32 PM   #26
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

There are several other spells with much bigger impacts (but not so disruptive).

The edition I'm referencing is D&D Rules Cyclopedia (the final official evolution of the BX/BECMI game).

It's got Create Food (Level 5) and Create Water (level 4) separately. Both provide enough for Cleric/druid's (level-7)*12 people per casting.
Must be 8th level to cast 1 4th per day, 9th for 2 4ths per day, 11th for 3 4ths per day
Must be 10th for 1 5th per day, 11th for 2 5fths per day, 14 for 3 5ths per day.
At 16th, 4 4ths and 4 5ths, 21st for 5 each.

But note that clerics of those levels are not common NPCs.

Much more disruptive is Continual Light, 3rd level spell, requires 6th level caster. There's no reason a dungeon should be dark in Cyclopedia rules (nor BX, nor BECMI). Most clerical strongholds can be literally bathed in light.
Need a garden? Continual light provides bright daylight for penalty purposes... and it's a 60' sphere (so 30' radius)... 20 castings per acre. divert part of a stream, and give 24 hour growlight...

Farming can be entirely underground.

Moreover, MU can also cast it, but one class level sooner.

And Locate Object...MU, level 2, minimum caster level 3rd, minimum range 80'... if the caster knows what iron ore looks like, he/she can teel if there's iron ore within 80 feet of a line 240 feet long once per day, twice at 4th, thrice a day at 8th... a cleric can live quite a good life by telling miners which way to dig. the 9th level caster from the big city? 150' from that line, multiple times per day (up to 9).

Polymorph other allows gender and species change. It's MU 4th level, so 9th level caster, but that means that, given the right money, most major cities will have one or two casters who can do the change for you. Just avoid anyone trying to cast dispel magic... and don't face beholders.


In D&D, the create food and water issue is limited by casting requirements.

In Tunnels and Trolls, the disruptive spell from hell is "Slush Yuck" (Transmute Rock to Mud), sicne the stone reverts to type at end, but in whatever place and shape it's in, and a caster of minimum level can tunnel a few thousand cubic feet per casting, 4-5 times per day. Brick? No. Stone blocks in whatever shape molds you can muck it into. And at assembly into a building? if the molds were the right shape, you mortar it with more of the same... tongue in groove... one wizard just eliminated the brickmaker's guild for the town. And all of its smoke. And need for wood.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:56 PM   #27
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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Heh. I've been caught out by tone on this thing before ... initially I was thinking of the bad worldbuilding trope where creators place cities with no supporting infrastructure, but then decided that sometimes "a wizard did it" doesn't have to be an excuse.
I think 'a wizard did it' would be a fine enough answer if it was explored. I mean, that's kind of what I'm doing :L

More seriously, a controlled artifact that creates (near) infinite food and water could be entirely how a city works. Or a wizard lineage. Or the walls of the city are edible and regrow instantly, which can also explain why monster attacks can be recovered from fairly quickly.

Back on topic, since this frees up time for everyone, how fast would technology improve? Are there factors I can take into account of to slow down or speed that up?
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:37 AM   #28
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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Back on topic, since this frees up time for everyone, how fast would technology improve? Are there factors I can take into account of to slow down or speed that up?
Competition.

If you're on a tropical island and you can make food out of nothing, and there are no other tribes bothering you, why should you try and work stones, in order to create weapons, since you don't need hunting weapons or agricultural implements to start with? Why should you make a canoe flotilla? That sloooows down progress. To the point of stopping it.

On the other hand, if there are three other tribes and you are more or less always at war, you'll soon find that a stone-tipped arrow works better than a hardened wood tip. And a mace incorporating an edged stone head works better than an all-wooden club. And you'll go ahead from there.

And it's not just a matter of technology, but also of societal evolution. The first tribal leader probably was good at hunting. With magic food, that's not necessary, and you're likely to remain with a classless society if you have no other worries. But on the contrary, if you are at war with another tribe, it's better to have a war leader. In a few generations, you'll have Status 1 for warriors and Status 2 for the leader. And you'll be able to afford a professional class of warriors because you won't need 95% of the population to toil in the fields or to hunt/gather all the time.

Why should you be at war with other tribes if magical food gives you a post-scarcity utopia? Well, hunter/gatherer bands who do not necessarily fight for resources still fight. The first reason that comes to mind is the semi-conscious awareness that endogamy is probably bad. In blunter words, even when you're not hungry the resource you want is your neighbors' women.
Those NW American coast populations who did not develop agriculture still had slaves. You gotta get them from somewhere. Sure, you don't need slaves for food production, but what about building a temple to your god? Wouldn't it be better to have slaves do that?
And once you have a social structure in place in which the leaders are at the top because they are good at war, they'll want war because that's what places them at the top.
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Last edited by Michele; 04-15-2021 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:52 AM   #29
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

The mention of wars and soldiers raises another question. Historically, wars were generally fought ultimately to gain resources. If resources are effectively unlimited, is there any impetus for the development of a warrior class? Of course, if, as mentioned, there are dangerous inhuman enemies, a warrior class might develop to fight them, and they might then fight their counterparts in other groups to avenge insults or just prove their strength. In such a case, I see warfare as being highly ritualized, with the goal being the demonstration of superiority rather than the inflicting of casualties.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:21 AM   #30
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

In this setup, humans are the desirable resource. If you can get a tribe the size of yours to conjure your food, build your houses, and make your stuff, you can live lives of luxury, or sit around and develop philosophy and art, or you can work on being better warriors so you can conquer more people to feed you grapes by hand and make statues of your face.

People have always wanted others to respect them and obey them.
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