Idea Guild > Sagely Advice

A *high-magic* world

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Cheka Man:
Mages have a lot more magic then everyone else, but almost everybody has a few basic skills (causing balls of light, healing small wounds, fixing broken pots, herding goats, that sort of thing.) How would a world like that work?

I get the feeling you'd end up with something like the Codex Alera. Magical "strength" becomes socially paramount, and what we would consider "traditional" techniques for just about everything would be ignored and considered either foolishly outdated and useless, or even ridiculed as "impossible" ("There's no way someone without magic could cut and lift those massive stones into place. Therefore, these ruins HAVE to have been constructed with magic.")

On the other end of the spectrum, if the general populace has just recently come into their widespread magical inheritance, you're probably going to find them being expansionistic and wanting to take more for themselves with it. It's a sad fact that most people view new capabilities in light of how they can be used for warfare.

What you will need is a spell system full of practical magics rather than your normal spell lists.

In RQ's Glorantha, everyone has some basic magic. Everyone.  Now will it be non-adventerous usually, but they have some.  RQ does not have a "magic class".  Everyone is on an equal footing to learn magic, combat arts, or any skill. (Yes that does mean a mage can be a master swordsman if they put their mind to it... thus the spell Fireblade).   So everyone can learn lower level magic because it is easier, but can learn higher level magic if they really wanted to put the effort in.

In RuneQuest 1 and 2, included in the power spell lists is a lot of non-adventurerous spells. In game systems where armor and shields wear out, Mend is a hand spell.   In most printing of RQ2, there is a list of about 20 common spells that people normally use that are not in the spell list.  Sew, Stir, Sweep, Heat (at low levels keep it warm, higher levels cook), Cool (reverse), Shape (for things like Clay... higher levels for metal if glowing warm), etc.   These are the spells that normal people have, not adventerous ones.  (if you are going to play RQ, I recomend RQ III or Mongoose RQ, though I do love Basic Roleplaying Gold book... so you can play anything).   Really. We have a lot of things here that are POW 1 Spells.  for a list of Battle Magics/ Common Magics

Now to be honest, even in RQ which is the most magically forgiving system, allows everyone to cast 11 POW-1 spells until they can rest for 4 or so hour.  or 6 POW 2 spells (which is more than powerful enough for most uses).   So in many cases, you can't use enough magic to make everything magical...  unless you have a bunch of magic using servants (but then you have to feed them, and they need magic to do that).  While magic will do most of everything, those common tasks will still rquire manual skill.  Now stone working, they will save magic for the "big things" and probably use magic just to augment their existing skills. 

So, a magical world is just a cleaner, happier, bronze age.  :)

Iron only became prevolent in Europe because of a snafu in the Tin trade.  When Tin became scarce, they started using Iron.   It was only when Iron became Steel, that people stopped trying to get Tin and make Bronze weapons and items.

Now Enchantments take time and effort.  They will be made.  They take time and sacrifice in most cases.  They will be regularly available items... comissioned normally..   Most Enchanters will not be making items useful to adventurers, they will be making the cool boxes, hot boxes, fresh boxes, pillows of gentle sleep, cosmetics (magic bonuses to APPearance), and so on. That will keep their regular customers happy.

RQ items require Power to activate, so one of those "spells" you will spend each day will be to activate the lights in your home, keep the cool box cool, turn on the hot box, and so on. 

Adventuering items require higher levels of magic, lots of energy and sacrifice, and has a very, very small market.  They will need to be comissioned in most cases and paid for upfront.

It will be a happier, cleaner, bronze age society taht will have magical equivalents of many modern conveniences. 

apply this to monkeys,hippos,  cobras.........

I would recommend some of Piers Anthony's Xanthe novels for inspiration. The setting is pure high magic


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