What spellcaster demographics mean for the world.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Power Levels::
The vast majority of humanity are “standard,” ranging in level from 1st to 5th—most with NPC classes like commoner, expert, or warrior (it’s uncommon for a character with only NPC class levels to be above 5th level). A significant number of a nation’s movers and shakers, along with other leaders, heroes, and notables, are “exceptional,” ranging in level from 6th to 10th. “Powerful” characters, ranging in level from 11th to 15th, are quite rare—typically only a handful of such powerful characters should exist in most nations, and they should be leaders or specially trained troops most often designed to serve as allies or enemies for use in an adventure. Finally, “legendary” characters of 16th or higher level should be exceptionally rare, and when they appear should only do so as part of a specific campaign—all legendary characters should be supported with significant histories and flavor.

What does in mean to a kingdom to have even one caster who can use 6 to 8th level spells?

Movers and shakers are in the 6 to 10 range and the availability of spell casting services would mean that spellcaster in that range are available regionally at the very least. Based on settlements you would have casters capable of casting 4th level spells in every small town.

I think most world changing thing would be having a 1st level spells and cantrips available even in Thorps. That would mean that 1 in every 10 to 20 people is a capable of casting of some sort. About 1 in 50 or so can cast 2nd level spells based on hamlets.

Many high level spells only need a few casters willing to use them often to change the world. Teleport, lessor planar binding, wall of stone, permanency + blood money + (wall fire or gust of wind, shrink item), fabricate, scrying, are all available on regional level.

At a local level it is easy to find levitate, invisability, air bubble, create food and water, create water, purify food and water, fly, unseen servant. Levitate plus a high str and ant haul would be a crane. That alone would change the world and that combo should be available in every village. Masterwork transformation would allow bulk high quality tools.

On top of all of this are magic items. Even taking traps out of it then easily change the world.

Would switching to the demographics in the spellcasting instead of settlements section make magic rare enough that Galorian could exist?

If not how rare does a spellcaster need to be to have society that looks kinda like the one we think of in fantasy?


Well, keep in mind that the setting is relatively high magic. Also keep in mind that adepts are a thing. just because a settlement is a thorp, and therefore has level 1 spell casting available doesn't mean that there is a level 1 caster of every kind. Good chance they have a lvl1 1 adept, who while not overly skilled can cast cure light wounds twice per day, and who probably just acts as a priest of some kind to the villagers and surrounding populace.

As you go on up the ladder of settlement size you are going to see a lot more real casters, but adepts are always going to be a significant portion of the population. Remember as an npc class it is simply more common than pc classes, it is less common than say commoner, but remember that magic is a part of this world, and a great number of people will have a little talent, and become adepts. Remember that adepts can take item creation feats.

I've always taken the view that people don't really take npc class levels beyond say level 5, and a character with 10 levels of npc classes should be unheard of. In my opinion the npc class levels should have been capped at 10, but that's not really important.

Now you get into high level spellcasting settlements and you think to yourself "spellcasting 5 that means that I can find someone to cast teleport for me right?" Well, maybe, but not necessarily. If 5 is the maximum casting of the area then that means that there is probably just one or two people capable of the feat in the whole settlement. What if they are both clerics? Then you are sol.

Your point on ingenuity is fair, but not many wizards are willing to act as a crane for any reason. Also it has a short duration. In the end it does happen these things, but keep in mind that the higher you go in level the rarer those people become. The raw mechanics of settlements are meant to aid the gm and expidite relatively uninteresting aspects of the game, not accurately reprisent the state of affairs in golarion.


The part I have problem with is a wizard not being willing to be a crane. I realize that he can only do it a few min a day but if a wizard can make a full salary in with 4 spells and 10 min a day of work then why would he not do that.

A 3rd level wizard could choose to go on adventure and make 3000 GP in a few very scary days or you could stay in town work 20 min a day a crane and make 30 GP a day. That is casting spells at 1/10 value but still a huge amount of money. I realize that 30 GP is a lot in a day and that the downtime rules would require a +290 on your skill to get it but it could easily represent him working a small business and bringing 3 GP a day and only working 20 min every 2 weeks.

Spellcasters should never really need to work because their spells properly employed would do the work of hundreds of laborers.

The main issue I have is the setting does not really reflect common magic.

Even the adept list means no difficulty with language ever and hot an cold environments do not hinder folks nearly as much.

I would love see list of the 100 most useful things magic would do for a nation and then see most nations using 80 to 90 of them. Nations that don't need a good reason for not having been wiped out or relegated to backwater hicksville.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mathius wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

What does in mean to a kingdom to have even one caster who can use 6 to 8th level spells?

Movers and shakers are in the 6 to 10 range and the availability of spell casting services would mean that spellcaster in that range are available regionally at the very least. Based on settlements you would have casters capable of casting 4th level spells in every small town.

I think most world changing thing would be having a 1st level spells and cantrips available even in Thorps. That would mean that 1 in every 10 to 20 people is a capable of casting of some sort. About 1 in 50 or so can cast 2nd level spells based on hamlets.

Many high level spells only need a few casters willing to use them often to change the world. Teleport, lessor planar binding, wall of stone, permanency + blood money + (wall fire or gust of wind, shrink item), fabricate, scrying, are all available on regional level.

At a local level it is easy to find levitate, invisability, air bubble, create food and water, create water, purify food and water, fly, unseen servant. Levitate plus a high str and ant haul...

The answer to your question is that since Golarion, at least, and certainly other worlds aren't that way is that you are obviously using a flawed set of pretenses for your question.

The challenge then is to come up with a set of plausible answers for why the world is the way it is.


Great way to think of this issue.

Lets work on that problem.

Lets start with the 5th level spells. Those are regionally and can have a huge impact.

Problem: Teleport
Answer: Superstition
Those without a rank in knowledge arcana often believe that goods that have been teleported will make them sick. This is similar to nuclear power and GMOs in today's world. This at least stops it from being used for bulk cargo.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mathius wrote:

Great way to think of this issue.

Lets work on that problem.

Lets start with the 5th level spells. Those are regionally and can have a huge impact.

Problem: Teleport
Answer: Superstition
Those without a rank in knowledge arcana often believe that goods that have been teleported will make them sick. This is similar to nuclear power and GMOs in today's world. This at least stops it from being used for bulk cargo.

Better Answers:

Teleporter Mages aren't that common, and most of them have better things to do, or reasons to stay out of public sight.

Your answer seems to assume that there is a consumer public that operates the same way as media drenched 21st century America.


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Mathius wrote:


Spellcasters should never really need to work because their spells properly employed would do the work of hundreds of laborers.

The Adept spell list seems overly focused on combat. The useful spells for general life if you're not a sociopath:

0 - Create water, light, mending, purify food and drink
1 - Comprehend languages, endure elements
2 - Nothing
3 - Tongues
4 - Minor creation
5 - Major creation, Wall of stone

Wizards, sorcerers, clerics, and druids get access to quite a few spells usable in everyday life but adepts - not so much.


You are right about the adepts and their spell list.

Based on demographics of spellcasting services and the blurb about levels I posted in the OP every country should have at least a double or triple handful of teleporters available. I find it hard believe that in 200 or so in the inner sea region that not one would be interested in trade.

If the economy can not handle teleport trade then how can we justify enough shipping to support the Shackles?

I am not trying say that they have the economy of today, if they did then 5th level experts would build boots of teleport to support trade.


I do not mean to challenge you or be argumentative. I really like you idea of picking a part exploits and coming up with reasons they are not in general use.


A couple of easy house rules to help with teleport if you need them and then on to the next issue.

Limit distance to 10 miles per level instead of 100
Limit weight to 3 times creature teleported.

Problem: Permanent gust of wind
This leads to windmills being far more useful then in real life.
Solution: Not sure this is a problem with how much it costs but blood money can make it free. Still not sure this would lead to an industrial revolution.

Problem: Permanent wall of fire
This can easily lead to steam plants being in use in large towns and above.
Solution: Physics works differently and mechanization simply fails for some reason. As a solution it can prevent and steam power applications. It could even extend to things like animate object combined with a gear.

Solution: The gods (good and evil) oppose an industrial revolution. They all fear it would give one side to much power so they stay away from it like nuclear weapons. Over time this has led many folks to distrust industry since it leads to a god smashing.

I do not really like either one but two allow some crazy man (or PC) to give it try while the world reacts in horror.

Solution: Overuse of magic depletes the world supply and casters as whole do not like that. When used on personal scale they have no real impact but if they start appearing in quantities that lead to industrialization they create a local loss of caster level that can spread. Eventually the magic supply runs out and the industrialization suddenly stops and the whole society goes down the tubes.

I like this one but I am not sure many steam plants would actually be needed to allow industrialization and how much more this would be then those used just for personal use.

Sovereign Court

My solution for the teleport problem:
Any caster high enough level to cast 5th lvl spells is an important person, and important people have enemies. If you are revolutionizing trade by running a regular route, you are inviting someone to show up where you teleport in fully buffed and than ganking you.

So teleporters will occasionally bring in a small, valuable good or group of people if the money is good, but don't replace merchant caravans.


MeanMutton wrote:
Mathius wrote:


Spellcasters should never really need to work because their spells properly employed would do the work of hundreds of laborers.

The Adept spell list seems overly focused on combat. The useful spells for general life if you're not a sociopath:

0 - Create water, light, mending, purify food and drink
1 - Comprehend languages, endure elements
2 - Nothing
3 - Tongues
4 - Minor creation
5 - Major creation, Wall of stone

Wizards, sorcerers, clerics, and druids get access to quite a few spells usable in everyday life but adepts - not so much.

0 - stabilize

1 - cure light wounds, detects
2 - animal trance, stat boosts, cure moderate wounds, delay poison
3 - continual flame, cure serious wounds, daylight, neutralize poison, remove curse, remove disease
4 - cure critical wounds, restoration,
5 - break enchantment, commune, heal, raise dead, true seeing

Not all healing is combat or requires you to be a sociopath. A lot of those are going to mostly come up if adventuring, but it's not like people don't get hurt or poisoned or even killed in accidents or other non-adventuring ways.
In most cases, adepts will be doing most of the casting support work for a community.


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A couple of things that can limit spell casters are the fact they are rare. Just because players choose caster more often than not does not mean the distribution of casters in the general population will have the same ratio. While characters over 5th level will probably have PC classes not all of them will be casters, especially full casters. Barbarians, brawlers, cavaliers, fighters, rogues, slayers and swashbucklers will probably be the most common classes. Next will comes the martial casters like bloodragers, paladins and rangers. So figure you have 12 characters in a kingdom in the 11th to 15 level range. Probably at least 8 of them will not be full casters, that leaves 4 casters. Assuming an equal split of divine and arcane casters that means you have 2 arcane casters of 11th level to 15th level in the kingdom. Chances are that at least one of them, if not both of them will be working directly for the government. Their job is going to be protecting the kingdom from the other kingdoms casters. They don’t need to worry about making a living because almost anything they want they can have already. The divine casters will probably be running the religion so will also have their hands full.

Also consider what it takes to get that high level. The wizard who stays safe in town and uses his magic for profit will probably not gain a lot of levels. This is one of the reasons that characters over 5th level are so rare. The only casters that are going to be powerful enough to really matter are the battle hardened veterans, not the greedy merchants.

The last thing keeping things in checks are guilds. Even historically guilds have placed limitations on who can engage in trade, and how trade is conducted. Wizard’s guilds will probably control how magic can be used. They will not want large scale operations that are not under their control. They may have laws prohibiting a variety of uses of magic.


Missed continual flame on the adept list. That one will change the face of a city. They also are quite good at health care.

I can see that both caster with 6th+ level spells work for or run the government. If they do why would they not want to improve the country as well as defend it. Maybe to world is such a dangerous place that government spending on wizards has to be military only. Could be a world wide ban on industrial magic to avoid an arms race.

Also a good point about TPers with regular route just waiting for an ambush but since the destination is likely to be a city it will be hard to take the landing sight. It is much easier to build more ships then to replace 9th level wizard.


With only two casters over 11th level they don’t have the resources to waste on commercial projects. They would probably stick to military uses instead of commercial. The kingdom itself may also want to prevent this because otherwise they would probably lose a lot of tax revenue. If they can bypass the boarders they will also bypass the tax collectors. Also who is to say that those casters are wizards they may be a bard, or a magus, both of which have a more limited spell list, and slower progression.


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If I were capable of ripping reality a new one with powerful magic gained through decades/centuries of study, I'm probably not going to feel inclined to use that power to make life easier for some merchants. I have unraveled the mysteries of the cosmos, why should I listen to some petty king and his self-serving commands?

On top of this, remember that a lot of the really powerful spellcasters are going to be former adventurers. Former adventurers who might be sorcerers, and thus not have a vast array of civilian utility spells at their disposals.


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I'm sorry I was too busy throttling the laws of physics to hear your pitiful marketing plan.

Dark Archive

The easiest way to prevent permanent spells becoming an issue is to ban blood money, then they still have to pay for the spells, and most wizards wont as they are generally secretive and want to protect their secrets.

For the rest of it in general its because wizards dont care enough to bother, while it might sound easy to spend 10 minutes each day preparing spells to be what is effectively a airplane, it probably is much more difficult in practice, plus you would have to travel to all of these places, be sure that no one has remodeled the teleport chambers recently (or you can seriously get lost). It is just too much risk for the wizard for no gain for him. Which means it would never work in a capitalist society, it might work in other societies in which the wizard is expected to give his expertise to the collective, however in that case why would you be a wizard? you are taking on all this extra risk for no reward.


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Well...I can think of a real world solution to some of these concerns. Scientists are really smart people, and most have skills or the smarts to make themselves a lot of money in industry. However many of them stay in academia, because they are more interested in research or teaching.

So Bob the 10th level wizard might be able to make a ton of cash by applying his magic to real world solutions. However, he would be HORRIBLY BORED, and would much rather spend his days researching the planar properties of the maelstrom.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

High level wizards, frankly have other concerns than making people life easier. I guess, it's like comparing human stepping on ants, most people don't care. That's not even without taking into accounts that many wizard build their tower and usually have many traps, so nobody comes to bother them or the other who builds their own demiplane and make sure to never give out the address to anybody.

Of course, like everything, there are exceptions, people who actually care or want to make a difference...but frankly it's quite rare. Even in Golarion most of the high level casters keep it to themselves, are ruling countries as divine figure (Baba Yaga, Ramzir etc...)...basically why bother to help people, when they can get everything that they want already?


Mathius wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

What does in mean to a kingdom to have even one caster who can use 6 to 8th level spells?

Movers and shakers are in the 6 to 10 range and the availability of spell casting services would mean that spellcaster in that range are available regionally at the very least. Based on settlements you would have casters capable of casting 4th level spells in every small town.

I think most world changing thing would be having a 1st level spells and cantrips available even in Thorps. That would mean that 1 in every 10 to 20 people is a capable of casting of some sort. About 1 in 50 or so can cast 2nd level spells based on hamlets.

Many high level spells only need a few casters willing to use them often to change the world. Teleport, lessor planar binding, wall of stone, permanency + blood money + (wall fire or gust of wind, shrink item), fabricate, scrying, are all available on regional level.

At a local level it is easy to find levitate, invisability, air bubble, create food and water, create water, purify food and water, fly, unseen servant. Levitate plus a high str and ant haul...

What it means, is that if the number of people who can use magic is that small... then there is no reason to use magic.

You just can not find people to do the magic. It is too rare to be used reliable. Those who can use it, are in too great of demand, which makes them a threat, which mean they are the first once to be targeted by assassination, if they take the job.

Which is why, when 5% or less of the world can use magic, that they hid in far off wizards tower, in the large churches, hiding in the crowd.

....................

The moment you set up that magic is rare, you end up creating this problem

If on the other hand, you figure that Melee class are rare or 50% of the population, and that Caster make up the other 50%... then you swing the gate the other way: Most people use magic, many caster higher themselves out for job like fixing roads, build stuff, and using magic.

You have Continual Flame street lamps, Roads being build with Wall of Stone, House being build out of wall of stone and stone shape. Indoor heating and cooling throw magic, personal force shield ( shield spell amulets), and etc.

So it just depends on what Demographics of population have access to magic.

Shadow Lodge

The main reason people don't use magic for such mundane uses is economy. It costs 60g to pay a wizard to levitate for 3 minutes. It costs one silver for a days work from an untrained hireling, so if you want to haul stuff to build a building, who are you going to hire? It costs 450g to teleport 4 people (including the wizard) and as much as they can carry... that's not a lot of cargo space for a lot of money. So basically only the very wealthy can afford such services.

Also you seem to be assuming that all these spellcasters want to help other people and be part of normal society. In most fantasy literature wizards and such choose to live apart/isolate themselves from normal society. Some are altruistic and use their powers for good, which means fighting evil powers, monsters etc, and have no time or interest in mundane tasks. Some are evil overlords using their powers to control and enslave. Some just think using their abilities for such mundane tasks is beneath them. Some might hide their abilities for fear of being burned at the stake by their neighbors. Just because there are spellcasters living in a settlement doesn't mean everyone in their community has access to their powers.

Scarab Sages

Another reason is control, if your criminals can slip a wizard 100gp to teleport past all security, checkpoints and barriers then they're going to do so. Which means Bob the smiling assassin who's in a competition with himself to generate the highest unnecessary bodycount will only be picked up at his target city. I can easily see kingdoms having harsh penalties for teleporting in the city limits sure you won't catch most of them but it would discourage merchant teleporting.

Liberty's Edge

You've done this thread before, Mathius. As was discussed then, there are...really a lot of reasons this doesn't work well or economically in many worlds.

Perpetual motion machines ala magical traps that Create Food and Water will absolutely screw up the game. That's also clearly not remotely how the rules are intended to work, and barring that or Blood Money (which is a lost secret of ancient Thassilon in Golarion), there's very little in the way of spells that makes widespread spellcasting like this in place of mundane options economically viable.


Eltacolibre wrote:
... Even in Golarion most of the high level casters keep it to themselves, are ruling countries as divine figure (Baba Yaga, Ramzir etc...)...basically why bother to help people, when they can get everything that they want already?

Pretty sure Grandmother would find the word divine, or being mentioned in the same breath as Razmir, as an insult. But you're probably okay. She's not around to listen to the babble of mortal pests very often. She has more important things she wants to do.


Guilds/unions/competition could be a big reason for casters not revolutionizing most situations.

Most cities would have the ability to create magical lighting, but the honorable guild of lamplighters are lobbying or sabotaging it, and there's political infighting between churches as to who gets the PR.

The archmage could set up teleport circles for trade, but in addition to the dangers of pissing off the teamsters, the government sees it as a huge security concern and takes it over to prevent enemy agents and armies from using it. Especially if they're still negotiating for city-wide Forbiddence spells in return for tax breaks and other considerations.

City populations are big. Creating food and water, or removing disease, can make a big difference for a few people, but still won't make much of a difference city-wide in case of famine or plague.

Also, a population dependent on create water to sustain them is in unacceptable danger if something happens to those casters or their gods, or if they start using their monopoly on the settlements life or death to theocratize the place..

Scarab Sages

Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
Eltacolibre wrote:
... Even in Golarion most of the high level casters keep it to themselves, are ruling countries as divine figure (Baba Yaga, Ramzir etc...)...basically why bother to help people, when they can get everything that they want already?
Pretty sure Grandmother would find the word divine, or being mentioned in the same breath as Razmir, as an insult. But you're probably okay. She's not around to listen to the babble of mortal pests very often. She has more important things she wants to do.

I'm not so sure she objects to being called divine so much as the constant pestering for spells and aid that tends to come with it. I'm fairly sure if you refered to her as a divine being of incredible power and wisdom she'd be okay with it as long as you were (a) sincere and (b) just being polite as opposed to trying to get something out of it.


I have done this before but it was about teleport not magic in general. It is still hard for me to stretch my brain to the point that where casters leave a world like Galorian. Looking at how others see helps me to enjoy the setting I run more. I do appreciate it.

As to why they would hire casters if they could. Though a caster costs more then 1000 laborers to hire he also gets more done. This may not be the case with a levitate crane but spells levels get higher it easy to surpass thousands of mad days with 1 spell.

Weather a wizard wants to or not is different.


I think of high magic worlds with high level casters like the DBZ world.

They help sometimes but conflict between them is literally world altering.


Oliver McShade wrote:
Mathius wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

What does in mean to a kingdom to have even one caster who can use 6 to 8th level spells?

Movers and shakers are in the 6 to 10 range and the availability of spell casting services would mean that spellcaster in that range are available regionally at the very least. Based on settlements you would have casters capable of casting 4th level spells in every small town.

I think most world changing thing would be having a 1st level spells and cantrips available even in Thorps. That would mean that 1 in every 10 to 20 people is a capable of casting of some sort. About 1 in 50 or so can cast 2nd level spells based on hamlets.

Many high level spells only need a few casters willing to use them often to change the world. Teleport, lessor planar binding, wall of stone, permanency + blood money + (wall fire or gust of wind, shrink item), fabricate, scrying, are all available on regional level.

At a local level it is easy to find levitate, invisability, air bubble, create food and water, create water, purify food and water, fly, unseen servant. Levitate plus a high str and ant haul...

What it means, is that if the number of people who can use magic is that small... then there is no reason to use magic.

You just can not find people to do the magic. It is too rare to be used reliable. Those who can use it, are in too great of demand, which makes them a threat, which mean they are the first once to be targeted by assassination, if they take the job.

Which is why, when 5% or less of the world can use magic, that they hid in far off wizards tower, in the large churches, hiding in the crowd.

....................

The moment you set up that magic is rare, you end up creating this problem

If on the other hand, you figure that Melee class are rare or 50% of the population, and that Caster make up the other 50%... then you swing the gate the other way: Most people use magic, many caster higher themselves out for job like fixing roads, build...

I think your reasoning is a little off. According to your theory we should be assassinating medical doctors in the real world. People able to use magic are probably about as common as doctors. The majority of those able to use magic will be low level, just like the general population. Powerful spell casters are probably about as common as brain surgeons, or nuclear physicists. Really high level casters are the Steven Hawkins, or Albert Einstein’s of the world.

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