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Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



Gomi posted:

Well, it's people doing random disgusting things and pretending it's deep, which is pretty much in line with the last 3 decades of performance art, so 'dumb' maybe but I guess not grognardy.

Pretty much. I mean, it's artsy-dumb if anything.

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That Rough Beast
Apr 5, 2006
One day at a time...

It's only grognardy in the loosest sense (like tons of stuff in this thread), but my take on being groped in a strobing greenlit room by a bunch of flour-covered LARP dudes in their underwear while we all pretend to be dying is that it is nowhere near "pretty awesome."

That Rough Beast fucked around with this message at 02:29 on Jun 8, 2010

Sad Mammal
Feb 5, 2008

You see me laughin


This Troper has a rep as a Killer Game Master, and is trying to shed it- but it's not entirely undeserved, as I do enjoy adding a large hskew to my games. I have, however, put the fear of God (that is, me) into my players. If I gave them a perfectly normal, untrapped treasure chest- in a level 5 adventure- in the middle of an empty room at the end of a dungeon, they would not dive right in. Oh no. The minmaxer rogue will search it for traps, then search the pedestal for traps, then search the room for unexpected traps, and then and only then would they attempt to unlock and open it using ten-foot poles. I don't often throw them Monty Hauls, either- and when I do, they have to *earn* them. There was one campaign arc during which I sent them to a dead world (also a Death World), wherein the sun had died and the Plane of Shadow had merged with the Prime Material. Volcanism still super-heated the polluted water, however, and as a result there were *continent-sized boiling acid hurricanes* ravaging the landscape. Everything still surviving was incredibly hostile, the planet was knee-deep in undead, and to top it all off? At the end of the trail was a dungeon that is to this day referred to only as "The Temple of Burned Character Sheets." Think the Tomb Of Horrors, taken Beyond The Impossible. If you can imagine the boulder from Indiana Jones as a giant sphere of annihilation instead, you might begin to get the picture- and it only got worse from there.

shotgunbadger
Nov 18, 2008

WEEK 4 - RETIRED


Sad Mammal posted:

This Troper has a rep as a Killer Game Master, and is trying to shed it- but it's not entirely undeserved, as I do enjoy adding a large hskew to my games. I have, however, put the fear of God (that is, me) into my players. If I gave them a perfectly normal, untrapped treasure chest- in a level 5 adventure- in the middle of an empty room at the end of a dungeon, they would not dive right in. Oh no. The minmaxer rogue will search it for traps, then search the pedestal for traps, then search the room for unexpected traps, and then and only then would they attempt to unlock and open it using ten-foot poles. I don't often throw them Monty Hauls, either- and when I do, they have to *earn* them. There was one campaign arc during which I sent them to a dead world (also a Death World), wherein the sun had died and the Plane of Shadow had merged with the Prime Material. Volcanism still super-heated the polluted water, however, and as a result there were *continent-sized boiling acid hurricanes* ravaging the landscape. Everything still surviving was incredibly hostile, the planet was knee-deep in undead, and to top it all off? At the end of the trail was a dungeon that is to this day referred to only as "The Temple of Burned Character Sheets." Think the Tomb Of Horrors, taken Beyond The Impossible. If you can imagine the boulder from Indiana Jones as a giant sphere of annihilation instead, you might begin to get the picture- and it only got worse from there.

"N-no, dad, gently caress YOU...."

Angry Diplomat
Nov 6, 2009

Winner of the TSR Memorial Award for Excellence In Grogging

Sad Mammal posted:



I honestly cannot make myself understand dms like this. maybe I'm just a big bleeding heart or some poo poo but I can't imagine taking joy in rubbing my hands and saying, "hee hee hee, looks like your fourth character just bit the dust" without feeling a spark of self-awareness and suddenly realizing that I was a miserable imitation of a social being.

even in an adversarial game like paranoia I can't figure out the draw of just going for maximum pc deaths. how can you even be that poo poo. how is it possible

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Everything else aside, I'm intrigued by his hell-world setting. It's just so ridiculous, I need to know more.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Angry Diplomat posted:

even in an adversarial game like paranoia I can't figure out the draw of just going for maximum pc deaths. how can you even be that poo poo. how is it possible
Well, there are the games where the players are going for maximum character deaths. I remember reading an anecdote from a guy in a Paranoia LARP, who got himself killed by some kind of giant moving static charge thing that killed people while also sticking them to itself. Because he set it off, it literally snowballed through the playing area, becoming a gigantic Katamari of dead bodies. As long as everyone's in on it, that kind of thing is a blast.

Dungeons like the one mentioned above are fun if the players know that it's the ultimate ridiculous death challenge and they're not sending their precious played-for-two-years-of-real-time PCs there. The Tomb of Horrors is vicious because it was a tournament module, after all.

JoshTheStampede
Sep 8, 2004

come at me bro


Angry Diplomat posted:

I honestly cannot make myself understand dms like this. maybe I'm just a big bleeding heart or some poo poo but I can't imagine taking joy in rubbing my hands and saying, "hee hee hee, looks like your fourth character just bit the dust" without feeling a spark of self-awareness and suddenly realizing that I was a miserable imitation of a social being.

even in an adversarial game like paranoia I can't figure out the draw of just going for maximum pc deaths. how can you even be that poo poo. how is it possible

Especially since the GM can literally just declare characters dead, or arbitrarily raise damage until they die, etc. It's not even like it's a matter of gloating over skill, or about having won the game or beaten someone else.

shotgunbadger
Nov 18, 2008

WEEK 4 - RETIRED


Halloween Jack posted:

Well, there are the games where the players are going for maximum character deaths. I remember reading an anecdote from a guy in a Paranoia LARP, who got himself killed by some kind of giant moving static charge thing that killed people while also sticking them to itself. Because he set it off, it literally snowballed through the playing area, becoming a gigantic Katamari of dead bodies. As long as everyone's in on it, that kind of thing is a blast.

Dungeons like the one mentioned above are fun if the players know that it's the ultimate ridiculous death challenge and they're not sending their precious played-for-two-years-of-real-time PCs there. The Tomb of Horrors is vicious because it was a tournament module, after all.

See, though, that has a basis in fun though, like, he died to do something funny as hell. I just can't grasp that there are people who honestly enjoy killing fake people for no good reason. Christ at least with GTA and all you get a neat fake blood spurt and ragdoll physics, with D&D it's just 'welp, sure am dead'.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




shotgunbadger posted:

See, though, that has a basis in fun though, like, he died to do something funny as hell. I just can't grasp that there are people who honestly enjoy killing fake people for no good reason. Christ at least with GTA and all you get a neat fake blood spurt and ragdoll physics, with D&D it's just 'welp, sure am dead'.

Is this why you can't see the joy in killing a fake dragon with your fake elf using your fake sword enchanted with fake magic (god isn't real)?

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




double postin' like a champ

Y'know how Grognards are proud that the DM can spend 20 hours a week on making your Gygaxian Naturalist game work entirely within the rules? Well, some one just proved it to win a flame war. Its a wall of text, so I've got some notes interspersed.

quote:

Spells and spellcasters in a campaign world
Posted 28th August 2008 at 02:06 AM by Alzrius
Updated 28th August 2008 at 02:14 AM by Alzrius
Recently, I was looking over some old threads, and came across a brief debate I participated in. (Allow me win this flame war! Check. Mate.)I'd postulated that there'd be a number of "off-color" and even largely useless (from a combat perspective) spells in a campaign world, simply due to human nature, and how ubiquitous magic is. Another person disagreed, saying that just because something could exist doesn't mean it must. (I, Gygaxian Natural Philosopher, disagree) While I agree with that principle, it seems silly to suggest that certain spells won't exist in a campaign world when magic itself operates like a science (God drat you, Arthur C. Clarke), and spells are a commodity. To that end, I'm going to crunch some numbers here to try and estimate the number of different spells that exist in a campaign world that holds to the standard 3.5 d20 rules. In several places some things are assumed, but I think the conclusions that can be drawn here are fairly logical, and offer a good guideline for such a campaign.

(The Huge Gap In Which I Fail To Explain The Ends To My Means)

Before I begin, I want to mention that this is largely my own take on a similar essay found in Distant Horizon Games's superb book, The Practical Enchanter. I got some different numbers than they did (largely because it doesn't seem as though they took the community modifiers into account), and wanted to show my results. I HIGHLY encourage people to go download the book via the link above, as it's not only one of (in my opinion) the best d20 books out there, it's also free to download!

So how does one determine the number of unique spells in a campaign world? Well, the most obvious place to start is with the people casting them. The section on NPCs in communities in the DMG (pg. 138-139), lets us determine the highest levels of NPCs, and in turn calculate their numbers. To establish a baseline, let’s say that the majority of the world's population lives in hamlets (population ranging from 81-400). Just so there’s a fixed number to work from, let's say that the average hamlet has a base population of 200 people.

Now, the next step is to determine the classes and number of people living in the hamlet. Though the DMG already has a sample breakdown of NPC in a hamlet of two hundred people, let’s run the numbers anyway to see what our results are. Using the demographics rules and tables in the DMG (pg. 138-139), lets us start determining everyone who has PC class levels. For the sake of expediency, assume that every die roll on the Highest Level Local Table is average (what happens with the .5 aspect to the average numbers is discussed below), and take the community modifier (-2 in this case) to generate the results. For the PC classes, these are the results:

Barbarian: None.
Bard: One 1st-level bard.
Cleric: One 2nd-level cleric, and two 1st-level clerics.
Druid: One 1st-level druid.
Fighter: One 3rd-level, and two 1st-level fighters.
Monk: One 1st-level monk.
Paladin: None.
Ranger: None.
Rogue: One 2nd-level rogue, and two 1st-level rogues.
Sorcerer: None. (gently caress Sorcerers)
Wizard: One 1st-level wizard.

While the method of determining these levels is explained in the DMG, the results generated here require some explanation. All of the average dice results result in a number that ends with a .5 aspect to it. This slightly skews the data, because it means half the time the number will be 1 greater than it will be the other half of the time, and this does affect the numbers generated for this community. As such, what I’ve done here is take two classes that roll similar dice, and assign the higher part of the average to one class, while the other gets the lower average. For example, to find the highest levels of both barbarians and monks, roll 1d4 (average 2.5) and subtract 2 (the community modifier). The result is 0.5 for each. Hence, I assign one class (monks in this case) to have a result of 1 (thus resulting in the hamlet having a single level 1 monk), and the other class (barbarians) to have a result of 0, meaning that there are no barbarians in this community. The classes that I “paired off” this way to equalize the average dice rolls were: barbarians and monks, clerics and druids, fighters and rogues, paladins and rangers, and sorcerers and wizards. In the case of the bard, the remaining .5 for its average was ported over to the adept.

NPCs with NPC class levels in a community are generated the same way that NPCs with PC class levels are, save for determining 1st-level characters. Thus, determine the higher-level characters first:

Adepts: One 2nd-level adept.
Aristocrat: N/A (generated using rules for level 1 NPCs with NPC class levels).
Commoner: One 8th-level commoner, two 4th-level commoners, and four 2nd-level commoners.
Expert: One 6th-level expert, two 3rd-level experts.
Warrior: One 3rd-level warrior.

Again, in several places the averages were moved between different classes. The adept, as mentioned previously, received the remaining .5 average from the bard, raising its 1.5 result to a 2. The aristocrat, which had a result of 0.5, gave its average to the expert, lowering its result for this stage of NPC generation to 0. Finally, the commoner and warrior had no 0.5 averages to move, since both had average results that resulted in whole numbers.

Finally, take the remaining number of individuals in the community, and populate them with the percentages given in the DMG. Since our results have generated a grand total of twenty-five individuals thus far, that leaves one hundred seventy-five left to generate. Based on the percentage figures given in the DMG (91% commoners, 5% warriors, 3% experts, 0.5% aristocrats, and 0.5% adepts, all 1st-level), we get (with some rounding) the following figures:

Adept: One 1st-level adept.
Aristocrat: One 1st-level aristocrat.
Commoner: One hundred fifty-nine 1st-level commoners.
Expert: Five 1st-level experts.
Warrior: Nine 1st-level warriors.

Thus, we now have the entire population of an average-size hamlet. This is significant because, as mentioned above, we’re assuming that – since the average campaign world is roughly similar to medieval Europe (because moving of the Tolkien-ian pasture is confusing and upsets me) – this represents the population breakdown of the majority of the world. More specifically, (again using medieval Europe as a rough guideline) we’ll assume a world population of about 70,000,000 people, of which 80 to 90% (we’ll use a baseline of 85%) live in hamlets, and thus are defined by the numbers we generated above. This makes it significant that only 4% of the hamlet can cast spells – eight people out of two hundred – and 75% of those are divine spellcasters. (To be clear, the “world population” is, in this context, limited to creatures of the Humanoid type. If you want, however, you can limit it to the races, including their sub-races, from the PHB. E.g. dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and humans of all types.)

(Just for fun (Oh Lord), let’s see what other assumptions we can make about this hamlet based on the data we’ve generated. For example, the 2nd-level cleric is probably the local spiritual counselor, who together with the two 1st-level clerics who most likely serve as his aides, maintains a small church. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that this religion has a monastic order as well, which would make the 1st-level monk part of the church order as well. (As well, lets assume that all Nuns carry guns) This forms the pillar of the religious part of the community. The 2nd-level adept might be an old wise woman, perhaps thought of as a witch, at the edge of town, together with her 1st-level apprentice. Even further afield, the 1st-level druid might keep watch over the surrounding wilderness, while the 1st-level wizard is conducting his self-taught magical research in relative isolation. The ten warriors in town would probably be the local militia, keeping bandits and goblins away from the community, while the contingent of fighters – having a different fighting style from their fighter bonus feats – would probably be a small group of archers, or perhaps cavalry. And administrating over the town is the mayor, the 1st-level aristocrat.)

What about the other 15% of the world population, then? Well, we can chart their statistics also. However, even using an abbreviated listing for the remaining types of communities is very long and very dry. As such, we’ll just use the results gathered from generating averages for those community levels.

Refining the world population numbers even further than the above becomes very pedantic, but does help us generate a more accurate look at the population breakdown of the average fantasy world. I said before that 85% of the world’s population lives in hamlets, and ran my figures based on the demographic breakdown of the population of the average hamlet. In order to get more accurate totals regarding the remaining 15%, just repeat the initial community demographic figures with each of the other types of communities available. Since it’s best to be conservative, let’s stagger the population towards smaller communities, and assume that the remaining global percentages breakdown like so: 3% live in thorps (population 20-80, average 50 people), 3% live in villages (pop. 401-900, avg. 600 people), 3% live in small towns (pop. 901-2,000, avg. 1,500 people), 2% live in large towns (pop. 2,001-5,000, avg. 3,000 people), 2% live in small cities (pop. 5,001-12,000, avg. 8,000 people), 1% live in large cities (pop. 12,001-25,000, avg. 18,000 people), and 1% live in metropolises (pop. 25,001 or more, avg. 40,000 people).

Since it’d be a bit too tedious to list all the numbers and processes here (Almost achieving self awareness here), I’ll just post the results, using the same calculations that were done to find the demographic breakdown of the population of an average hamlet:

Part 2 (Notice how in the next two parts typing out the stats for magic users takes twice as much word-count as typing out the stats for the entire world)

A thorp of fifty people has just one 1st-level cleric and one 1st-level adept for their spellcasting population. This keeps with what I got for hamlets in that 4% of the community population are spellcasters, save that here this is entirely divine spellcasters (perhaps further reinforcing a bias against arcane spellcasters). The remaining population is one 2nd-level and two 1st-level fighters; one 1st-level rogue; one 7th-level, two 3rd-level, and thirty-four 1st-level commoners; one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and one 1st-level experts (the last one being perhaps an apprentice); and one 2nd-level and two 1st-level warriors.

A village of six hundred people has a spellcasting populace of one 3rd-level and two 1st-level clerics; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level druids; one 1st-level sorcerer; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level wizards; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level bards; and one 3rd-level and two 1st-level adepts. This gives us a total of sixteen people out of six hundred who can cast spells, or 2.67%. Interestingly, this is a one-third drop in percentage from thorps and hamlets. However, the strength of the magic available is actually stronger than before; this is the first time that 2nd-level spells are available, albeit divine ones only (from the 3rd-level cleric). The remaining population is one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level fighters; one 3rd-level and two 1st-level rogues; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level monks; one 1st-level barbarian; one 1st-level ranger; three 1st-level aristocrats; one 7th-level, two 3rd-level, and seventeen 1st-level experts; one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and twenty-eight 1st-level warriors; and one 9th-level, two 4th-level, four 2nd-level, and five hundred-eight 1st-level commoners.

A small town of fifteen hundred people has a spellcasting populace of one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level clerics; one 3rd-level and two 1st-level druids; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level sorcerers; one 3rd-level and two 1st-level wizards; one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level bards; and one 3rd-level and seven 1st-level adepts. This total of thirty-one spellcasters is almost double what could be found in a village, but again the overall percentage is less, this time being only about 2.07%. However, the other trend continues as well, in that for the first time, 2nd-level arcane spells are available (via the 3rd-level wizard and 4th-level bard). The remaining population is as follows: one 5th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level fighters; one 4th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level rogues; one 3rd-level and two 1st-level monks; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level barbarians; one 2nd-level and two 1st-level rangers; one 1st-level paladin; one 2nd-level and seven 1st-level aristocrats; one 8th-level, two 4th-level, four 2nd-level, and forty-three 1st-level experts; one 5th-level, two 2nd-level, and seventy-two 1st-level warriors; and one 10th-level, two 5th-level, four 2nd-level, and one thousand three hundred-five 1st-level commoners.

In a large town of three thousand people, the spellcasting population again shrinks somewhat in terms of overall percentage, despite the fact that some paladins and rangers are now strong enough to be counted among them. The spellcasting populace is as follows: one 7th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level clerics; one 6th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level druids; one 6th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level wizards; one 5th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level sorcerers; one 4th-level paladin; one 5th-level ranger; One 7th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level bards; and one 6th-level, two 3rd-level, and fourteen 1st-level adepts. At only fifty-four people, this brings the spellcasting percentage of the populace to a mere 1.80%. The remaining population is one 8th-level, two 4th-level, four 2nd-level, and eight 1st-level fighters; one 7th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level rogues; two 2nd-level and four 1st-level paladins; two 2nd-level and four 1st-level rangers; one 5th-level, two 2nd-level, and four 1st-level barbarians; one 6th-level, two 3rd-level, and four 1st-level monks; one 5th-level, two 2nd-level, and fourteen 1st-level aristocrats; one 11th-level, two 5th-level, four 2nd-level, and eighty-seven 1st-level experts; one 8th-level, two 4th-level, four 2nd-level, and one hundred forty-five 1st-level warriors; and one 13th-level, two 6th-level, four 3rd-level, and two thousand six hundred twenty-eight 1st-level commoners.

In a small city of eight thousand people, we start to have a difference that skews the data slightly. Here, we roll twice to determine the highest level of NPCs, with each such roll generating more lower-level NPCs. Hence, the spellcasting population increases slightly than it would otherwise, but still falls as a percentage of the total population. A small city gives us one two 10th-level, four 5th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level clerics; two 9th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level druids; two 9th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level wizards; two 8th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level sorcerers; two 8th-level and four 4th-level paladins; One 7th-level ranger; Two 10th-level, four 5th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level bards; and two 9th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and thirty-eight 1st-level adepts. This spellcasting population of two hundred-nine people is 2.60%, almost equal to the results for the village. The rest of the population breakdown is as follows: Two 11th-level, four 5th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level fighters; Two 10th-level, four 5th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level rogues; Eight 2nd-level and sixteen 1st-level paladins; Four 3rd-level and eight 1st-level rangers; Two 8th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level barbarians; Two 9th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and sixteen 1st-level monks; Two 8th-level, four 4th-level, eight 2nd-level, and thirty-eight 1st-level aristocrats; Two 14th-level, four 7th-level, eight 3rd-level, and two hundred twenty-eight 1st-level experts; Two 11th-level, four 5th-level, eight 2nd-level, and three hundred eighty 1st-level warriors; and two 16th-level, four 8th-level, eight 4th-level, sixteen 2nd-level, and six thousand nine hundred sixteen 1st-level commoners.

A large city has an average population of eighteen thousand. Here, you roll three times, tripling the usual number of high-level NPCs, which continues to increase the spellcasting population. With three 13th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level clerics; Three 12th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level druids; Three 12th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level wizards; Three 11th-level, six 5th-level, twelve 2nd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level sorcerers; Three 11th-level and six 5th-level paladins; Three 10th-level and six 5th-level rangers; Three 13th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level bards; and three 12th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and eighty-seven 1st-level adepts, there is a total of three hundred fifty-one spellcasters in the large city, for 1.95% of the local population. The remainder of the population breaks down as follows: Three 14th-level, six 7th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level fighters; Three 13th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level rogues; Twelve 2nd-level and twenty-four 1st-level paladins; Twelve 2nd-level and twenty-four 1st-level rangers; Three 11th-level, six 5th-level, twelve 2nd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level barbarians; Three 12th-level, six 6th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and twenty-four 1st-level monks; Three 11th-level, six 5th-level, twelve 2nd-level, and eighty-seven 1st-level aristocrats; Three 17th-level, six 8th-level, twelve 4th-level, twenty-four 2nd-level, and five hundred twenty 1st-level experts; Three 14th-level, six 7th-level, twelve 3rd-level, and eight hundred sixty-eight 1st-level warriors; and three 19th-level, six 9th-level, twelve 4th-level, twenty-four 2nd-level, and fifteen thousand seven hundred ninety 1st-level commoners.

Part 3 (yyyyyyuuuuuuuppp)

Last is the largest type of community, a metropolis, with an average of forty thousand people living in it. The spellcasters living in an average metropolis is as follows: four 16th-level, eight 8th-level, sixteen 4th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and sixty-four 1st-level clerics; Four 15th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and thirty-two 1st-level druids; Four 15th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and thirty-two 1st-level wizards; Four 14th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and thirty-two 1st-level sorcerers; Four 14th-level and eight 7th-level paladins; Four 13th-level and eight 6th-level rangers; Four 16th-level, eight 8th-level, sixteen 4th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and sixty-four 1st-level bards; and four 15th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and one hundred ninety-five 1st-level adepts. Out of the total population, six hundred seventy-five can cast spells, or 1.69%. The remaining population is as follows: Four 17th-level, eight 8th-level, sixteen 4th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and sixty-four 1st-level fighters; Four 16th-level, eight 8th-level, sixteen 4th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and sixty-four 1st-level rogues; Sixteen 3rd-level and thirty-two 1st-level paladins; Sixteen 3rd-level and thirty-two 1st-level rangers; Four 14th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and thirty-two 1st-level barbarians; Four 15th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and thirty-two 1st-level monks; Four 14th-level, eight 7th-level, sixteen 3rd-level, and one hundred ninety-five 1st-level aristocrats; Four 20th-level, eight 10th-level, sixteen 5th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and one thousand one hundred sixty-seven 1st-level experts; Four 17th-level, eight 8th-level, sixteen 4th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and one thousand nine hundred forty-four 1st-level warriors; and four 20th-level, eight 10th-level, sixteen 5th-level, thirty-two 2nd-level, and thirty-five thousand three hundred ninety-three 1st-level commoners.

It’s worth pointing out that these numbers are, from a very strict standpoint, somewhat unreliable. Even overlooking the averaging that was done, there’s also some ambiguity over rounding up or down when generating NPC levels. For example, if the highest-level Fighter in a hamlet is 3rd-level, are there also two 2nd-level Fighters and four 1st-level Fighters (rounding up), or just the 3rd-level Fighter and two 1st-level Fighters (rounding down)? Unfortunately, the DMG gives examples that use both methods. To try and maintain uniformity with the d20 System, NPC levels were always rounded down, rather than up. It’s also worth noting that it was always assumed that all rangers and paladins of 4th or 5th level have high enough Wisdom scores to be able to cast spells. I’m also overlooking the 5% chance that a thorp or hamlet has to add +10 to the level of their highest-level druid or ranger.

Of course, all of these averages are just that: averages. There are a lot of NPCs who’ll have higher and lower levels than the ones generated here. For example, by these results, even a metropolis will never have an NPC of high-enough level to create 9th-level spells. Of course, this is true for arcane spellcasters anyway. The highest level NPC wizard or sorcerer that can be created on the Highest-Level Locals table in the DMG is level 16! Perhaps all 9th-level arcane spells in the campaign world are special, unique creations by specific NPCs.

So, what does this mean for spells in the game world? (Yes, the last two pages were entirely the worlds most round-about footnote) Well, by dividing the percentage of spellcasters in each type of community into the percentage of the world population that lives in each type of community, and then adding the results together and dividing them into the total global population, gives us a percentage of how many people in the campaign world are spellcasters. This figure comes out to 3.7866%, but let’s round it to 3.8% to account for the smattering of NPC spellcasters who aren’t merely products of the community generation tables. Thus, we know that 3.8%, or a little less than one in every twenty-five people in the world, has some ability to cast spells. Moreover, the arcane/divine breakdown from the hamlet holds true on the global scale as well – 75% of those who can cast spells are divine spellcasters, with the remaining 25% being arcane. Taking that into account, 96.20% of the game world can’t cast spells at all, 2.85% can cast divine spells, and only 0.95% of the populace can cast arcane spells! No wonder arcane spellcasters have a reputation for being persecuted and misunderstood by the populace!

So, when only 3.8% of the world’s 70,000,000 people is a spellcaster, that gives us a general spellcasting populace of 2,660,000. Now, in order to gauge the number of distinct spells in existence, and being created over time, let’s make some assumptions. (Assumption 0: we live in a world where my argument makes sense)First, let’s say that in the span of a given year, only a fairly small number, about one in every thousand spellcasters, invents a new spell. Hence, at any given time, only 2,660 spellcasters will engage in successful spell research in a year (and it’s assumed they only do so once in that year). Bear in mind that since the average human lifespan (according to the age tables in the PHB) is 91 years, that means that only 9% (rounding away the last 0.1%) of human spellcasters ever have even one idea that they’re able to successfully bring to fruition as a new spell over the course of their entire lives – the other 91% never engage in (successful) spell research; only one out of every eleven human spellcasters is innovative enough to create something new. Of course, this percentage goes up among longer-lived races (just over half of all elven spellcasters, for example, create a new spell over the course of their lives, which might explain why elves are typically thought of as the first race to master magic). (This explains why dwarves are thought of as... um.... well....

Having established that 2,660 new spells are invented each year, let’s keep things conservative by making another large assumption: fully 50% of all new spells that are invented are never passed into any sort of record, dying with their creator. Whether due to negligent records, something happening before they could distribute copies, or simply not having a means or desire of passing their knowledge on, half of all new spells created each year are lost to the world. Hence, only 1,330 new spells ever enter any form of circulation. If that doesn’t sound like too much, remember that this number is annual.

The next limiting provision is to say that this has only been going on for the last two thousand years. All magical research from before that period is completely lost, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable (most worlds seem to have some sort of magical cataclysm that makes this sort of thing entirely believable). Hence, there have been 1,330 new spells being created every year for the last two thousand years, for a grand total of 2,660,000 spells.

In order to cut down on this total, another large assumption is made - that while all of the spells created are distinct (in that they were independently thought of, researched, and created, with no form of collaboration), there is still a lot of overlap; say 99% (“overlap” here being understood to mean that the spells are functionally identical, save for very small differences between them, such as their name, their material components, etc). In other words, different spellcasters all independently had the same idea at various times, and created what is essentially the same spell (this is even more true when you remember that there’s a 50% rate of loss for spells made). Eliminating the overlap means that there are really only 26,600 spells that unique in the entire game world.

For our next assumed figure, let’s say that only one out of every five spells is one that could be of any conceivable use to adventurers. All the rest of these are spells that have no real practical use outside of mundane life. That may sound a bit implausible, considering how many sourcebooks detail spells that deal with attacking, defending, and combat utility, but that is because those are the spells that fall into that one-fifth category. When the majority of the world’s spellcasters live in hamlets, they’re going to invent spells that are practical in regards to themselves and their communities. Hence, the game world will only have 5,320 spells in it that will be of any interest to the PCs. In contrast, the PHB only has a little over six hundred spells in it, meaning that even a character who adventures from level 1 to 20 will probably never come close to seeing all the (adventurer-oriented) spells out there. (Don’t forget that that 75% of the spellcasting population is composed of divine spellcasters; hence, it’d make sense that 75% of the game world’s spells were divine spells, leaving only 1,330 arcane spells to be mastered.)

Now, a lot of assumptions were made in generating these figures. Canny readers will have picked up on a common theme for all of these assumptions (in fact, it was even mentioned a few times): they’re all relatively conservative in the numbers they estimate. Every such guess, from the population (with a low global population; primarily in rural areas) to the spell creation process (only 0.1% invents a spell in a year; only half of them pass their work on; this has only been going on for the last two thousand years; the 99% overlap in spells created; and only one-fifth are worthwhile to adventurers – that is, the PCs) was meant to act as a barrier to spell creation. This was done so that this essay would act as a relatively realistic baseline for determining the number of spells in your campaign world; raise any of these figures, and the number of spells that exist will skyrocket dramatically.

Your d20 campaign world is a magical place; the data proves it. (The most magic worlds, of course, round to the 2nd decimal)

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Roleplaying is less fun because I have seen that.

CaptainJuan
Oct 15, 2008

Thick. Juicy. Tender.

Imagine cutting into a Barry White Song.

has anyone on EARTH read that entire post?

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man




CaptainJuan posted:

has anyone on EARTH read that entire post?

Having skimmed it for the clumps of best grog, the Executive Summary:

I really hate that people refuse to properly simulate the world in which dragons fly and magic works. So I'm going to use the tables in the DMG to figure out how many spell casters there are on the planet (assuming the entire planet = Tolkien Middle Earth) and then make a huge amount of Drake Equation level assumptions in order to show how many unique spells are being created per year. This is important because,

P.S. I already know that Elves rule, here is why:

NorgLyle
Sep 20, 2002

Do you think I posted to this forum because I value your companionship?



Gerund posted:

P.S. I already know that Elves rule, here is why:
At least he's right about one thing.

electrigger
Dec 18, 2005

so gay and you don't even like boys


Just want to put out Land of OG as one the good games for converting 'non-gamers' out there. The game is basically charades with a narrative and a thin speck of game mechanic. Oh, and possibly the most hilarious thing you can do with friends.

The General
Mar 4, 2007

So gentlemen, we meet again.




Dominion posted:

Especially since the GM can literally just declare characters dead, or arbitrarily raise damage until they die, etc. It's not even like it's a matter of gloating over skill, or about having won the game or beaten someone else.

It's not just randomly killing PCs though. It's killing dumb PCs It's a mindset of game. There are unspoken rules and general ideas of what is acceptable and what isn't. 'Rocks fall everybody dies' isn't fun for the DM, it's not fun for the PCs. But a cursed item, a properly trapped door (the only trapped door in the entire dungeon so nobody bothers to check) or a very difficult boss fight (though to be honest the only combat that should take place is boss fights) are all some sort of great fun. Doesn't matter if it's hilarious great fun or deep combat skill fun it's fun.

Hell, I personally love putting poo poo in that the PCs can't beat and are forced to retreat and rethink the situation. It's a trademark of mine, and something I warn at the start of every campaign I run. Fighting isn't the only answer and at times is a very good way of getting killed.

To me, RoleMaster is a fantastic game as it makes PCs second think running into a room with swords a swingin' because it's pretty likely they might lose a limb in the process. Slows them down, makes them reconsider and think in a more realistic approach to even the most tame of fights. One of my fondest memories of the system was a very minor bar brawl, where a halfling shattered my knee with a lucky punch.

Turing sex machine
Dec 14, 2008

I want to have
your robot-babies


quote:

While the method of determining these levels is explained in the DMG, the results generated here require some explanation. All of the average dice results result in a number that ends with a .5 aspect to it. This slightly skews the data, because it means half the time the number will be 1 greater than it will be the other half of the time, and this does affect the numbers generated for this community. As such, what I’ve done here is take two classes that roll similar dice, and assign the higher part of the average to one class, while the other gets the lower average. [...]

It’s worth pointing out that these numbers are, from a very strict standpoint, somewhat unreliable. Even overlooking the averaging that was done, there’s also some ambiguity over rounding up or down when generating NPC levels. For example, if the highest-level Fighter in a hamlet is 3rd-level, are there also two 2nd-level Fighters and four 1st-level Fighters (rounding up), or just the 3rd-level Fighter and two 1st-level Fighters (rounding down)? Unfortunately, the DMG gives examples that use both methods. To try and maintain uniformity with the d20 System, NPC levels were always rounded down, rather than up.
That's right, in order to calculate the average number of spellcasters in the world, he first rounded off the numbers of the average hamlet. (The rounding error is thus multiplied by the number of hamlets in the world.) That's how you get nice averages, chop off every pesky decimal that show up in the calculation.

quote:

(Just for fun (Oh Lord), let’s see what other assumptions we can make about this hamlet based on the data we’ve generated. For example, the 2nd-level cleric is probably the local spiritual counselor, who together with the two 1st-level clerics who most likely serve as his aides, maintains a small church. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that this religion has a monastic order as well, which would make the 1st-level monk part of the church order as well. This forms the pillar of the religious part of
This person does not understand the difference between average and norm. The "average hamlet" he calculated is about as likely to exist as hamlets with wildly different classed inhabitants. Less likely even, if one of the averages he used has a non-bell curve.

quote:

More specifically, (again using medieval Europe as a rough guideline) we’ll assume a world population of about 70,000,000 people
For added realism, let's assume that my population, who lives in a magical world full of monsters and Decanters of Endless Water, suffered an apocalypse-level disaster 2000 years ago, and is a good 4% spellcasters, is roughly the same size as the population of medieval Europe.

quote:

So, when only 3.8% of the world’s 70,000,000 people is a spellcaster, that gives us a general spellcasting populace of 2,660,000.
This is the number he figures out by assuming the DMG's numbers were correct to a very high level of precision (if you round down).

quote:

Now, in order to gauge the number of distinct spells in existence, and being created over time, let’s make some assumptions.

- in the span of a given year, only a fairly small number, about one in every thousand spellcasters, invents a new spell.
- fully 50% of all new spells that are invented are never passed into any sort of record, dying with their creator.
- this has only been going on for the last two thousand years. All magical research from before that period is completely lost, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable
In order to cut down on this total, another large assumption is made
- there is still a lot of overlap [between newly created spells]; say 99% (“overlap” here being understood to mean that the spells are functionally identical, save for very small differences between them, such as their name, their material components, etc).
- let’s say that only one out of every five spells is one that could be of any conceivable use to adventurers. All the rest of these are spells that have no real practical use outside of mundane life.
This is the part where he figured out the number he wanted to reach, then fiddled with the obligatory assumptions and added or removed extra assumptions until he got close enough to it. It's really quite obvious. It's also not very hard to do when the only numbers he didn't pull out of his rear end were the DMG's tables. And even then he explicitely ignored some of the DMG's rules, and I'm sure he could have gotten away with using his own tables.

quote:

Now, a lot of assumptions were made in generating these figures. Canny readers will have picked up on a common theme for all of these assumptions (in fact, it was even mentioned a few times): they’re all relatively conservative in the numbers they estimate.
I've made a shitton of assumptions about how common magic is in my imaginary magical world. I know these assumptions are conservative because the numbers look kind of small to me.



Everything he calculated is absolutely worthless. I hope it was pointed out to him and he killed himself out of shame and despair over the wasted effort.

Ashenai
Oct 5, 2005

You taught me language;
and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse.

fighting grognard with grognard I see

Turing sex machine
Dec 14, 2008

I want to have
your robot-babies


Ashenai posted:

fighting grognard with grognard I see
Yes but see I am the smart grognard .

Arrrthritis
May 31, 2007




Turing sex machine posted:

Yes but see I am the smart grognard .

The only good grognard is a dead grognard.

Epicurus
Jan 18, 2008
I hope I can change my title later on...

Turing Sex Machine is correct, but at what cost?

He is like a necromancer who uses his magic to fight other, more evil, necromancers.

Angry Diplomat
Nov 6, 2009

Winner of the TSR Memorial Award for Excellence In Grogging

joke's on you then because necromancers are awesome and if they weren't so evil all the time pretty much everybody would want to be friends with them. "hey can you bring my dead husband back as a ghost" "hey can you help me turn into a lich" "hey can I hire some zombies off you to mow my lawn"

Epicurus
Jan 18, 2008
I hope I can change my title later on...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Actually it's totally true. In a world where people were a little more lenient about the treatment of the dead, D&D-style Necromancers would have an INCREDIBLY useful skill. Zombie and skeleton labour would be extremely important, for a start.

EDIT: It's me, etc.

Drox
Aug 9, 2007

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Epicurus posted:

EDIT: It's me, etc.

Not really, it's been done before. See the dustmen in Planescape.

lighttigersoul
Mar 5, 2009

Sailor Scout Enoutner 5:
Moon Healing Escalation


More worst experience in the making than grognard:

I play D&D all the time.In D&D,I prefer to play as a Drow.Drows fit my personality more....i don't know why.




Sincerely,
Emily,
The D&D fanatic.

Angry Diplomat
Nov 6, 2009

Winner of the TSR Memorial Award for Excellence In Grogging

Epicurus posted:

Actually it's totally true. In a world where people were a little more lenient about the treatment of the dead, D&D-style Necromancers would have an INCREDIBLY useful skill. Zombie and skeleton labour would be extremely important, for a start.

that's just the beginning though. you'd get powerful or wealthy people being all "my body can't take anymore resurrections so please just bring me back as a sentient undead okay" which in turn would lead to necromancer retainers who can mend their undead forms and protect them from turning. you'd have like a whole guild of dudes who just talk to the dead, and it would be a totally normal event for a guy to wander down to the local guild hall to ask his dead mother for advice about his family business

necromancy would probably be seen as a slightly unpleasant but definitely very important job, like being a coroner, surgeon, and palliative care worker all rolled into one. if some religious zealot started a "kill all necromancers" movement the general reaction would be "are you loving insane"

hmm, I think I just inadvertently built part of a new setting for my next campaign

Android Blues
Nov 22, 2008



Angry Diplomat posted:

that's just the beginning though. you'd get powerful or wealthy people being all "my body can't take anymore resurrections so please just bring me back as a sentient undead okay" which in turn would lead to necromancer retainers who can mend their undead forms and protect them from turning. you'd have like a whole guild of dudes who just talk to the dead, and it would be a totally normal event for a guy to wander down to the local guild hall to ask his dead mother for advice about his family business

necromancy would probably be seen as a slightly unpleasant but definitely very important job, like being a coroner, surgeon, and palliative care worker all rolled into one. if some religious zealot started a "kill all necromancers" movement the general reaction would be "are you loving insane"

hmm, I think I just inadvertently built part of a new setting for my next campaign

I once played a cleric of Pelor who had just arrived Clueless in Sigil, and the party she was teaming up with was going to the Mortuary to retrieve a faction prisoner, and she was basically super into it because she was like "there is like an entire castle full of people abusing the dead right here inside city limits, there is no question but every single one of these people must repent or die"

It was interesting juxtaposing Planescape's belief morality with vanilla D&D's taken-for-granted extremism in pretty much exactly that sort of way

projecthalaxy
Dec 27, 2008

Yes hello it is I Kurt's Secret Son



That giant essay about casters owns. I don't care if it is wrong, somebody wrote all those words about elfgame, and that's hilarious.

SweeneyTodd
May 30, 2002

Forums Barber

Turing sex machine posted:


This is the part where he figured out the number he wanted to reach, then fiddled with the obligatory assumptions and added or removed extra assumptions until he got close enough to it. It's really quite obvious.

He did get a chuckle out of me when I saw him get to "Based on my assumptions, there would be 2500+ new spells invented every year", realized there was no way anyone wouldn't laugh at that, and started chopping away at it.

But my favorite is the unstated assumption that divine casters do exactly as much spell research as arcane casters.

"Hey Bob, I just made up a brand new prayer for -- "
*gets stoned to death"

happyelf
Nov 9, 2000

by mons al-madeen


projecthalaxy posted:

That giant essay about casters owns. I don't care if it is wrong, somebody wrote all those words about elfgame, and that's hilarious.
i've written way more words than that about elfgame

Gr3y
Jul 29, 2003


Did anyone get flashbacks to the FATAL guy with that huge rear end essay about casters?

Based on my bullshit presuppositions I can show how my point is completely correct!

Riidi WW
Sep 16, 2002

by angerbeet


SweeneyTodd posted:

He did get a chuckle out of me when I saw him get to "Based on my assumptions, there would be 2500+ new spells invented every year", realized there was no way anyone wouldn't laugh at that, and started chopping away at it.
he's been rounding his numbers down every single step of the way. using the tables (which is of course a terrible idea, but they ARE in the dmg) you have about 2% of the world being spellcasters. 1 in 1000 spellcasters inventing a new spell in the course of a year is reasonable, though conservative.

quote:

But my favorite is the unstated assumption that divine casters do exactly as much spell research as arcane casters.

"Hey Bob, I just made up a brand new prayer for -- "
*gets stoned to death"

well, druids do spell research. favored souls probably do too.

Mystic Mongol
Jan 5, 2007

Your life's been thrown in disarray already--I wouldn't want you to feel pressured.



College Slice

I would think in a primitive world with no rapid communication and no printing press, between members of a trade that are rare, known for preferring solitude, and prone to being eaten by summoned demons, the vast majority of these researched spells would be endless rewrites and slight variations on existing spells, rather than millions and millions of completely original, unique spells.

Plus, there's the incredible cost of spellbooks (If nothing else), so a publicly accessable library of, say, one thousand second level spells would be worth millions of gold. There's no way it wouldn't be rapidly destroyed by thieves, marauding armies, power-hungry necromancers, and rear end in a top hat adventurers.

And yet somehow there's supposed to be a huge accumulation of magical knowledge?

Stuntman Mike
Apr 14, 2007
The saucer people are coming!

Mystic Mongol posted:

I would think in a primitive world with no rapid communication and no printing press, between members of a trade that are rare, known for preferring solitude, and prone to being eaten by summoned demons, the vast majority of these researched spells would be endless rewrites and slight variations on existing spells, rather than millions and millions of completely original, unique spells.

Plus, there's the incredible cost of spellbooks (If nothing else), so a publicly accessable library of, say, one thousand second level spells would be worth millions of gold. There's no way it wouldn't be rapidly destroyed by thieves, marauding armies, power-hungry necromancers, and rear end in a top hat adventurers.

And yet somehow there's supposed to be a huge accumulation of magical knowledge?

A wizard did it.

projecthalaxy
Dec 27, 2008

Yes hello it is I Kurt's Secret Son



happyelf posted:

i've written way more words than that about elfgame

cool

Riidi WW
Sep 16, 2002

by angerbeet


Mystic Mongol posted:

I would think in a primitive world with no rapid communication and no printing press, between members of a trade that are rare, known for preferring solitude, and prone to being eaten by summoned demons, the vast majority of these researched spells would be endless rewrites and slight variations on existing spells, rather than millions and millions of completely original, unique spells.

Plus, there's the incredible cost of spellbooks (If nothing else), so a publicly accessable library of, say, one thousand second level spells would be worth millions of gold. There's no way it wouldn't be rapidly destroyed by thieves, marauding armies, power-hungry necromancers, and rear end in a top hat adventurers.

And yet somehow there's supposed to be a huge accumulation of magical knowledge?

he's not saying there's a huge centralized accumulation of magical knowledge. just that there are a bunch of different spells floating around "out there" - this wizard knows 5 or 6, this one knows 3 or 4 different ones, this one knows 8 but 7 are repeats, and so on. With half a million wizards in the world at the low end, that's a whole lot of spells!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Riidi WW posted:

well, druids do spell research. favored souls probably do too.

Real-world clerics do a lot of philosophical research, too. That and the habit gods have of moving in mysterious ways probably leads to some development of new, 'functional' prayers.

Lemon-Lime
Aug 6, 2009


Mystic Mongol posted:

I would think in a primitive world with no rapid communication and no printing press, between members of a trade that are rare, known for preferring solitude, and prone to being eaten by summoned demons, the vast majority of these researched spells would be endless rewrites and slight variations on existing spells, rather than millions and millions of completely original, unique spells.

I think that was one of his points. I'm sure I remember reading something like "only 1 in 20 wizards ever invent a new spell in the course of their entire life" or something like that but gently caress if I'm going to go back and parse that lump of textual vomit again.

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Turing sex machine
Dec 14, 2008

I want to have
your robot-babies


quote:

- fully 50% of all new spells that are invented are never passed into any sort of record, dying with their creator. Whether due to negligent records, something happening before they could distribute copies, or simply not having a means or desire of passing their knowledge on, half of all new spells created each year are lost to the world.
- there is still a lot of overlap [between newly created spells]; say 99% (“overlap” here being understood to mean that the spells are functionally identical, save for very small differences between them, such as their name, their material components, etc).
The problem isn't that he makes too much or not enough assumptions, but that he attributes specific numbers to them that he pulls out of his rear end in order to make the final result sound better.