Air Conditioners of Golarion


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Thank you to Kaisoku for getting me thinking about this.

Given the (implied) common nature of spell casters, why haven't magic innovations come to life? I can think of some locations/reasons.

Andoran - capital flows, so their might be such doo-dads.

Hold of Belkzen - Hulk no need puny air conditioners!

Brevoy - Some of those castle/fortresses would likely have air conditioners, vending machines, etc.

Cheliax - I can see the laws/rewards system keeping this to the nobles.
"You pesants complain it's hot? Imagine how it will be after you die! Bwahahahaha!"

Druma - it's a mercintile empire. People with money likely have magical knick knacks.

Five Kings Mountains - I'd assume at least some magical air circulation, so why not instal a magic thermostat too?

Galt - You're lucky to have clean water, let alone magic doo-dads.

Geb - The dead might not need such things, but I'll bet there's a good bit of items that use figments and the like to generate remembered feelings. Maybe something that allows a 'riding' of a mortal thrall?

Irrisen - Come on, does anyone think that the Baba Yaga's granddaughters don't have magical space heaters?

etc. etc. So do people have magical 'daily appliances' in their Golarion?


Prestidigitation covers many of these needs.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:

Thank you to Kaisoku for getting me thinking about this.

Given the (implied) common nature of spell casters, why haven't magic innovations come to life? I can think of some locations/reasons.

PC's have a distorted vision of what's "common". Magic for the most part is battle magic, either for dealing damage, controlling the battlefield, shielding against damage or nasty effects, or spying on your enemy. For the most part the ambition of a wizard is to obtain power. Luxury is mainly ordering enough slaves to do your work for you.

Part of it its attiude. In the novel "Epicurus The Sage", Plato and Epicurus openly mock Hero's inventions seeing no practical need for them. (and in real life, Hero never made anything practical of his toys)

Other is that magic simply has not evolved to that level of diversity and sophistication, because it's not that open to assembly line production and most magic workers are solitary studiers, seldom passing anything to others.

Most people really don't understand that the level of progress we have today is amazingly fast compared to days gone by. 98 percent of technological progress has been obtained in OUR lifetime. The preceding centuries and millennia were not only that much slower but subject to frequent reverses by either natural disasters (the fall of Thera and Mayan civilisations) or acts of war (The Burning of the Library of Alexandria) and that innovations simply did not get spread around before or after the innovators themselves croaked.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

*nods* It can, but why don't we see more nobles with signet rings of prestidigitation then? I mean I can see some avoidance of big magi-tech (trains for example) but not little things like larders that stay cool, create water dixie cup dispensers, etc. I'm curious how people hand wave them. In some places, like Taldor, it's a cake walk.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Just because spellcasters are common among player characters, and not that hard to find for player characters, doesn't mean that they're common throughout the land. The window through which most of us see Golarion is through the eyes of player characters, and they're among the rarest things of all in the world.

Furthermore... my preference for magic is for it to feel "magic." Once it's used to create relatively mundane comforts like air conditioners and vending machines, it goes from being magic to commonplace. That's not the world we're trying to create with Golarion.

Does that mean that there are NO "air conditioners" in the Inner Sea region? Of course not... I'm sure there's one here and there in some rich noble's castle or some wizard's tower. In fact, we've put things like this into adventures beforee—the Pinnacle of Avarice in Xin-Shalast has what amounts to central heating and more, for example... but by keeping these things rare and unuqie, we maintain the magic of the world.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Thanks for popping in, James!

My Golarion

Spoiler:
OF course I'm not running a game right now, but for me it's going to be a mix of wealth and power keeping this stuff away from magi-tech. Andoran can't really afford it (plus it would really screw the 'equalality mem') Taldor such things exist and emphasize the bearded/unbearded divide. Ulstav there's superstition attached to such things, etc.

It makes for a potentially interesting RP element. A group of Taldor nobles fussing about being in the woods, a group of Galtan adventurers sitting in a Cheliaxian noble's heated brightly lit office with chilled drinks and fresh fruit (preserved in a box that casts gentle repose on anything in it etc.


I Imagine wealthy nobles probably have a house mage on payroll. First level spells are probably all reserved for Endure elements. Cast once a day on the family and they won't need a dozen "air conditioners."

Also the wealthy with just a little int (11 minimum) can get just a handful of magical traning and take a level of wizard. Then they can cast Endure elements themsselves and have prestidigitation along with all kinds of other fun tricks.

Similar for level one clerics.

Liberty's Edge

Whose to say a person has to learn everything a Wizard does to learn prestidigitation? I bet, out of context, if a normal literate member of society put a lot of effort into it, he could pick up that spell - reflected as a trait or feat - they have things like that.

I like james' answer and kind of view that myself. The book Plague of Shadows demonstrates this pretty well. Being between Galt, Kyonin and Taldor, they are in a small barony and realize they cannot get a priest with enough power to fix their 'curse' problem without spending a massive amount of money and it would take weeks to do. They make spellcasters and magic pretty rare but known, and I think it should be that way. Eberron is a good example of the other route, and I think I prefer Golarion myself.


TwiceGreat wrote:

Whose to say a person has to learn everything a Wizard does to learn prestidigitation? I bet, out of context, if a normal literate member of society put a lot of effort into it, he could pick up that spell - reflected as a trait or feat - they have things like that.

I like james' answer and kind of view that myself. The book Plague of Shadows demonstrates this pretty well. Being between Galt, Kyonin and Taldor, they are in a small barony and realize they cannot get a priest with enough power to fix their 'curse' problem without spending a massive amount of money and it would take weeks to do. They make spellcasters and magic pretty rare but known, and I think it should be that way. Eberron is a good example of the other route, and I think I prefer Golarion myself.

There are traits that allow prest 2X/D or something like that.

ALso, most things can be accomplished much cheaper without magic. Castles, for example, were built to allow breezes and the stone usually stayed cool during the day. Keeping castles warm is more difficult, but that's why every important room has a firepalce.


Of course you could just be a gnome and have Prestidigitation a few tims a day with no effort or investment.

Dark Archive

Like much of Europe, who find the notion of spending money on air conditioning when one can just open a window to be a bit peculiar, I imagine that most of Golarion would find the idea of using magic to make themselves more comfortable a bit excessive.

That being said, for the even a tiny bit wealthy, magical convenience should be relatively easy to get one's hands upon. Ray of Frost is a cantrip, so an enchanted block of ice that never thaws out, parked in the basement next to the food that one wants to keep cool and the water cistern that one wants to stay frosty, would probably cost less than a hundred gold pieces.

If one of a noble or merchant family's brats can manage to beat an Int or Cha score of 10+ (or they can adopt someone with average or better Int or Cha), sending them off to learn some cantrips seems like a useful investment for pater familias of Smithers and Bently Fine Wines and Cheeses, so that he can have access to unlimited refrigeration at no cost.

And if the kid gets uppity and demands 25 gp per casting of ray of frost or something ludicrous, a magic item of ray of frost, to keep the water in the 'cool room' frozen, isn't exactly going to break the bank... And then junior can get the shiny boot to the backside, and come back when he's gotten a better understanding of the rules of supply and demand.

Magic items based off of cantrips could be very common. Cups or plates with mage hand that follow the user around, obediently, would probably be common at noble parties, and only cost 25 or 50 gp over the cost of the dish itself. But self-cleaning dishes? No. That's not magical, that's servant's work. Who is going to spend even 25 gp. on a self-cleaning plate, when the scullery-dude does that (and so much more, like cleaning the tables and the floors) for 5 cp a week?

Noble outfits that stay clean, on the other hand, might be quite popular. With the right accessories, those outfits can run up the tab pretty easily, and even the gentlest mundane cleaning options could dim their color or wear away their finery. If you're already paying 500 gp for an outfit, an extra 50 gp to have it clean and maintain itself via prestidigitation and mending might be seen as a bargain, compared to the expense of replacing it or having the creator mend it.

Given the kind of people who would most likely have the resources necessary to afford 'convenience' magic, temples, nobles, merchant houses, wizards academies, etc. I'd expect most such items would either be suited towards their own interests. A noble who throws a lot of masquerade balls might have a selection of baroque porcelain masks that hover (via mage hand) a quarter inch in front of your face (so as not to smudge your cosmetics by actually touching your face) after you speak a command word, and until it is deliberately removed from that position. A mages academy in a hot region (like Nex) might have a few pools that remain cool and refreshing, even on the hottest days, for swimming or lounging. One in a cooler region (say, Irrisen) might have perpetually warm pools in some inner chambers, scandalous by local standards, since the winter witches are all supposed to be inured to cold by their very nature, and likely only favored because they *are* seen as scandalous.

Contributor

Seriously, as much as a magic air conditioner might be pleasant, it's nowhere near as impressive and functional as just having a couple zombies or skeletons fan you with palm frond fans. I'm certain these are ubiquitous in Geb.

In other areas where undead aren't as socially acceptable? Unseen servants can wave fans and air elementals don't even need them.

Realistically, however, why use magic to duplicate modern technology when you can just use ancient technology. You're in a desert region where it's hot. Build a traditional Arabic house with two courtyards, one with a fountain, one without. The heat rises in the empty courtyard causing a suction drawing the cooler air from the fountain courtyard through the house. It's even solar powered.

You want chilled items in summer? Build a basement or an icehouse. Fill it with ice from the lake in midwinter. The icepack will remain all through summer and on into autumn, letting you have stuff chilled as much as you like so long as you laid in a large enough store of ice.

You want stuff warmed in winter? Yes, magic is spiffy, but nowhere near as atmospheric as bonfires and fireplaces. And if you use magic on your fireplace, it's far spiffier than just making a magical space heater.

Dark Archive

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
You want stuff warmed in winter? Yes, magic is spiffy, but nowhere near as atmospheric as bonfires and fireplaces. And if you use magic on your fireplace, it's far spiffier than just making a magical space heater.

A continual fire that's actually hot would seem like the first thing any enterprising wizard would research. The sheer volume of wood / peat / animal dung that got burned for warmth back in the day was incredible. An even more mercenary wizard might even initially design a version that only lasts for 30 days or 60 days, and require people to come back for refills, but that would only last until someone researched a more expensive permanant one and put his 'subscription service' firelighting enterprise out of business...

For divine casters, a permanant heat metal effect, cast upon a few dozen small decorative sheets of brass, bronze, copper, shaped to look like stylized leaping flames, could make a funky bit of functional artwork sitting in the fireplace, kinda/sorta looking like a fire, and giving off appropriate amounts of heat and a soft glow (of red hot metal) light. And you can still toss incriminating documents onto the hot metal 'fire' and destroy the evidence! :)


You might find one for sale in Katapesh. Also isn't there the breeze cantrip that got cut out of ultimate magic and posted on the blog.

I actually thought of a way to do this without magic items but it requires a 9th level arctic druid to prepare spark dealing cold damage and then make a cold fire.

And there is the campfire bead in the apg for keeping warm although you would need three of them per fireplace. Although if you had an arctic druid make a campfire bead prepearing it to do cold damage that could be handwaved to work as an air conditioner.

Silver Crusade

doctor_wu wrote:

You might find one for sale in Katapesh. Also isn't there the breeze cantrip that got cut out of ultimate magic and posted on the blog.

If you've got a breeze cantrip, you can make a good swamp-cooler.

Liberty's Edge

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In some areas, it's more practical and spiffy to warm your village by burning that heathen spellcaster at the stake.


Set wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
You want stuff warmed in winter? Yes, magic is spiffy, but nowhere near as atmospheric as bonfires and fireplaces. And if you use magic on your fireplace, it's far spiffier than just making a magical space heater.

A continual fire that's actually hot would seem like the first thing any enterprising wizard would research. The sheer volume of wood / peat / animal dung that got burned for warmth back in the day was incredible. An even more mercenary wizard might even initially design a version that only lasts for 30 days or 60 days, and require people to come back for refills, but that would only last until someone researched a more expensive permanant one and put his 'subscription service' firelighting enterprise out of business...

It's the first thing Dwarves would have had to invent, millenia ago. How else are they (or any underground race) smelting and forging?

in current era in an RPG, there should probably be coal-mining dwarves shipping it has quickly as possible back to the "home citadel" where they do all the metal mining. But that has to have had a beginning...how did the dwarves mine and forge before that?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TwiceGreat wrote:

Whose to say a person has to learn everything a Wizard does to learn prestidigitation? I bet, out of context, if a normal literate member of society put a lot of effort into it, he could pick up that spell - reflected as a trait or feat - they have things like that.

If magic was that easy to learn, than it's really rather mundane. It may not be a matter of effort alone. In Ars Magica for instance, the most studied mundane would never be able to cast the merest cantrip of a Magus.. (not the Paizo kind:) because he lacks the Gift.

How you answer TG's point determines much about the nature of magic for the world you're looking to create. A positive answer means that magic is rather common and wizards and sorcerers aren't really that special. The default answer means that the presence of a spellcaster is a truly special event.

Greyhawk, Golarion,and Eberron prove that you can make a good and interesting world on either answer.

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