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Old 04-18-2021, 02:52 PM   #51
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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This is part of why I suggested having the humans originally be from a more mundane world. The pressures of this one (and solution to those pressures) are markedly different from those of our own, so society evolving to look anything like the historical Medieval and Renaissance periods is incredibly unlikely.
More and more I'm okay with this happening. I've even been looking in Space's alien creation for ideas of subtle changes to how people think that might make things like this more possible.
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:06 PM   #52
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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The trip may have been, as you say, unusually hazardous, but I'm pretty sure everything between the Lonely Mountain and the Shire has come to understand that attacking an old man in a grey robe and pointy hat is also unusually hazardous. They may not know the name "Gandalf" (or "Mithrandir"), or for that matter even have a language, but everything knows that that shape is dangerous.
That brings up the delightful thought of the Mimic Wizard - a natural adaptation that imitates the form of the dangerous, yet rare, Wizard as a defensive measure, despite having all the magical potential of a peanut.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:45 AM   #53
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

There is always the option of having a traditional economy. Everyone might be able to make their own food, but can they make their own houses, clothing, and art? Even if its all done with magic, the folks in one corner can get good at one spell while the folks in the other corner get good at a different one.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:59 AM   #54
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

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More and more I'm okay with this happening. I've even been looking in Space's alien creation for ideas of subtle changes to how people think that might make things like this more possible.
That's fair. Honestly, the quasi-medieval, fortified castle-towns of that particular branch of Fantasy probably work quite well in a setting like this, where you don't have large swaths of supporting farmland and need to keep dangerous fauna (and possibly flora) out.
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Old 04-19-2021, 11:06 AM   #55
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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).
Every magic system I've seen applies a limiter to use, be it spell slots, Fatigue Points, Mana Points, Blood Pool, etc. Even if every person can create food magically it is still a finite resource. Creating food means sacrificing other things you'd be doing with magic like cleaning your house or silencing your spouse in an argument or casting the orgasm spell. Casting could also be time consuming or could consume resources that are useful, like rare spell components or your blood. It might be a useful spell for making a big family dinner, but too expensive or time consuming to cast for a quick snack.

Depending entirely on the overall cost of a Create Food Spell and who can cast it, the magic could either push a society into a post-scarcity existence or have zero impact on infrastructure and barely any fashion impact on society.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:31 PM   #56
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

This thread reminds me of a silly children's series called "Tales of the Dark Forest", in which the Forest had gradually taken over the world, so now it was just a walled city in the middle of an endless forest inhabited by fairy-tale monsters of all kinds, which nobody with any sense ventured into, and nobody knew what had happened to the other cities. It wasn't meant to be sensible, so they didn't bother to go into where Dun Indewood got its food from. But if you were going to make Create Food widespread, a town in the middle of a wood with no visible means of support would work perfectly well.

One possibility I'm picturing is that it requires some kind of ambient magic, possibly generated by living things such as the forest trees, which is used up by casting the spell but renews itself over the course of a day (or other length of time if that gives interesting results). That would put a limit on how much you could create at a time. Depending on the parameters, you might end up with a spell that would make food no problem to a traveller (who'd be moving to a fresh patch of forest every day), but make hardly any difference to a town.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:00 AM   #57
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Default Re: Create Food and it's effect on infrastructure

I'm definitely uncertain on what kind of limiter I'd want on it. Under normal circumstances I'm against the creation pool of Create, but something like it, where you are limited in how much you can have created at once but not how often you can do it, seems sound and would lean into it being an 'everyperson' skill.

In fact in GURPS this might lean better on being a modified Snatcher. Limited to a small amount (only enough for a family, or even only enough for one person) means that it would be awkward to feed a lot of people because you'd have to wait for them to finish the food. Combined with my idea that it might take upwards of half an hour to do this, it would mean that food is readily available but not easy to distribute.
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:00 AM   #58
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One possibility I'm picturing is that it requires some kind of ambient magic, possibly generated by living things such as the forest trees, which is used up by casting the spell but renews itself over the course of a day (or other length of time if that gives interesting results). That would put a limit on how much you could create at a time. Depending on the parameters, you might end up with a spell that would make food no problem to a traveller (who'd be moving to a fresh patch of forest every day), but make hardly any difference to a town.
The town could well have people roughly akin to farmers, who venture into the surrounding area to turn the ambient mana into food and then bring it back. You essentially replace cultivated fields with wild forest (or whatever is most conducive to generating the appropriate flavor of mana), but still require a certain amount of surrounding land to support the city. A traveler's first clue that he is getting near a city may be a sharp drop in the local mana level.

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In fact in GURPS this might lean better on being a modified Snatcher. Limited to a small amount (only enough for a family, or even only enough for one person) means that it would be awkward to feed a lot of people because you'd have to wait for them to finish the food. Combined with my idea that it might take upwards of half an hour to do this, it would mean that food is readily available but not easy to distribute.
The rule from Ritual Path Magic is that magically-conjured food needs to last at least 3 days to provide sustenance. That's looking at things a bit more scientifically, however (that's roughly how long something takes to go from snack to stool) - the metaphysics of your setting may well decide once something has been "consumed" (at whatever point of the eating+digestion process you set that - RPM appears to set it at "the waste has left your body") it's now a part of you, and thus no longer under the dominion of the person who conjured it up - which also means their limit is reset, so they can make more.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:25 AM   #59
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While heroic characters who own slaves - even largely-benevolent societies where slavery is a thing - are certainly possible to create, this is difficult to get right - and even more so if the slaves are acquired via bloody warfare, rather than being punishment for crimes, a method of paying off debt (or provide for one's family), etc.

...
Well, most of the historical settings over human history featured slavery, and it was a fact of life. Naturally, PCs could be not wealthy enough to own slaves, or non-conformists who don't want to own other humans, or even abolitionists. But to have an entirey society without slavery, at TL3, then probably only having Create Food relatively common isn't enough, for the reasons I mentioned.

You either have to go all-out post-scarcity, for everything and not just food (and even then that might not entirely rule out violence and servitude); or you have to make it so that the result of the resource situation is an essentially classless, not stratified society (think hunter-gatherer bands).
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:39 AM   #60
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Well, most of the historical settings over human history featured slavery, and it was a fact of life. Naturally, PCs could be not wealthy enough to own slaves, or non-conformists who don't want to own other humans, or even abolitionists. But to have an entirey society without slavery, at TL3, then probably only having Create Food relatively common isn't enough, for the reasons I mentioned.

You either have to go all-out post-scarcity, for everything and not just food (and even then that might not entirely rule out violence and servitude); or you have to make it so that the result of the resource situation is an essentially classless, not stratified society (think hunter-gatherer bands).
Historically, sure, but game settings tend to avoid this, largely taking the more modern approach of having poor laborers instead of slaves. That probably would have worked historically as well (and thus works fine for non-historical settings of comparable TL), although at least for a time I think slavery and serfdom may have been a bit more economically viable. Leaving it out has the advantage of avoiding distracting your players with emancipation plots and the like. Of course, that depends on the players - some may accept it as "just the way things are" or even make use of it to acquire new allies of sorts, but (unless playing an unsavory character) tend to treat their slaves more like employees.
(There are, naturally, also players who will gleefully have their characters abuse their slaves, which is another reason to avoid such settings)
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