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Re: (TFT) Hedge Wizardy and industrial magic

At 09:28 AM 9/19/03 -0400, ErolB1@aol.com wrote:
In a message dated 9/18/2003 10:48:47 PM Central Daylight Time, pvk@oz.net

> Similarly, farmers who can scrape up or eventually pay $500 will probably
> tend to invest in more natural and profitable investments such as more
> land, equipment, livestock, seed, tools, etc.

Sure. A Light item only makes sense if you spend more than $1 per week on
lamp oil and candles. Joe Peasant may well not qualify. But a student, clerk,
scholar, or shopkeeper likely *would* qualify. Even a farmer of above-average
prosperity might qualify, especially if he has Literacy.

Maybe. I guess it depends on several details of the local culture and market. Up to the GM. $500 still seems like a lot for a flashlight, even with infinite batteries. And it still seems like wizards powerful and smart enough to make them, will do so because they have better uses for them than to save someone mundane some lamp oil expenses.

> How many farmers know about
> Light items?

All of them. Even if magic is rare, it's not secret, and the farmers would
not be inclined to be skeptical about it. They'd be more likely to 'know' about items that *don't* exist rather than ignorant of ones that do.

I guess again it depends on the culture the GM has in mind. Most medieval European peasants knew tales about magic needles that sewed fine garments during the night, and golden-egg-laying geese, but almost all of them also stayed home and never travelled farther than the closest market town.

> How many farmers know enough economics and math to think of
> saving expenses on lamp oil?

They don't have to all figure it out independently. Nor do they have to
figure it out right away. Once one of them figures it out, he can share the answer with his neighbors. And after a few centuries, or even a few decades, it becomes conventional wisdom.

Well, only if there exist wizards who manufacture light items to save farmers money, and only if small concealable conspicuous light items don't attract thieves at a higher rate than they generate lamp oil savings, and only if there's really no better farming investment for the price. None of which seem likely to be true in many game worlds, and almost certainly not so true that it becomes a part of conventional agronomy. Not unless such items are fairly easy and common to make - which they are in some game worlds (e.g. GURPS Magic, where permanent light items can be made relatively easily and without special talents).

At 09:32 AM 9/19/03 -0400, ErolB1@aol.com wrote:
If a farmer saves up $500 and buys a horse with the silver, instead of a
Light item, how long before someone steals it?

Likely longer than a Light item, assuming the light item is something small, concealable, and rare compared to horses. And, horse theft was an important crime back in the day. Try telling a party of PC's who lack Light items that a plain farmer has a light item - at least with players I know, the temptation would be pretty strong. Not to mention professional thieves.

If theft seems like a problem, though, GM's not particularly worried about AW canon can make a very cheap (even free) version of the Limiting Spell which provides some security for owners - maybe it doesn't take any extra effort to have an item require an activation word, for instance.

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