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Old 01-03-2020, 10:04 PM
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What happens in the future on a Dungeons and Dragons world


I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, and although the rules had overarching plans -- basically the players become world controlling heroes of some sort, we never got that far. But that's short term history. I mean really long term.

Pretty much, I'm wondering what the future is like, in a world where Dungeons and Dragons rules for magic -- holy people pray and get results in real-time, magic users study, cast spells and craft magic items, mythical creatures have their own societies. How does the world's history, unfold, over hundreds or thousands of years?

Does the culture and technology stagnate? Seems unlikely, populations will increase and crowd each other. Does magic die, as technology advances? Or does magic become a technology of their own, with flying cars, teleporting moving vans and black pudding garbage disposals?

What do people think happens, and have there been through fictional treatments of these sorts of stories that I can find easily?
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:26 PM
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Does the culture and technology stagnate? Seems unlikely, populations will increase and crowd each other. Does magic die, as technology advances? Or does magic become a technology of their own, with flying cars, teleporting moving vans and black pudding garbage disposals?

What do people think happens, and have there been through fictional treatments of these sorts of stories that I can find easily?
Well the PC game Arcanum deals almost specifically with the former : it's about a steampunky world that also has magic (and had a lot more way back when) and the two "forces" directly oppose each other. As in if you're a magician or some sort of gifted supernatural type person your tech gizmos tend to conk out for no definable reason - or those of everyone around, too, if you're a really powerful magic dude. But conversely a tech guru kind of kills magic around him ; which can be a good thing ("I say, fornicate your fireball, my good chap !") or a bad thing ("I... really needed that heal spell..."). The main plot of the game has a lot to do with the hows and whys and wherefores of this general situation. Also it's pretty damn good.

Then there's the World of Darkness tabletop RPG games, (Mage especially, obviously) where a lot of technology essentially *is* magic. It's just magic that people have been taught and brainwashed to believe is perfectly normal and rational and explainable (as long as it is used in predictable ways) so much that it has become mundane - which helps the mages who do the teaching, because in that game the big danger of magic is Paradox ; i.e. the laws of physics suddenly realizing you've been telling them to fuck off and copping an attitude about it. Which for one reason or another happens more often and harder when mundanes witness things they can't explain - you're relatively safe casting a fireball at a fellow mage because both of you grok the nature of "reality" and its general bullshitness/malleability ; but if *I* see you do it you're probably going to pop a funny aneurysm because I simply can't believe you just did that and the consensus reality us normies construct with our minds is stronger than that of the handful of mages that are going around magicking for a living - there is, after all, a lot more of us. So things that obviously can't happen find a way not to happen. But technomagic happens all the time, that's fine !

The world of Shadowrun (pnp RPG, also a few very good video games) is another "future magic" thing where both coexist in a cyberpunk setting. In that game the general twist is that way back when magic was a thing that existed, and existed a LOT ; and as more and more people were born and used it the more there was... which drew the attention of very nasty things living in the astral plane where magic comes from/seeps through (think Chtulhu who binged the SAW movies), which resulted in essentially a fantasy nuclear winter - horrors unleashed all across the world ripping people apart for the lulz and consuming everything, handfuls of people surviving in underground vaults and coming back out after most of the magic's been eaten up and trying to rebuild things without grabbing the attention of the few nasties that aren't dead or gone yet. That's the Earthdawn setting, which is sort of the prequel to Shadowrun, and also supposed to be our very very ancient history.
The Shadowrun setting takes it from there and posits that this is all a big cycle that's been churning on over millions of years : magic appears (along with elves and shit), it builds up, Horrors show up, everybody dies, magic disappears for a looong while. Then suddenly, and for no apparent reason, pop goes the rabbit back out of the hat. In the 2040s, magic reappeared for the 6th time (along with elves and dragons and shit). This led to a whooole lot of changes to the world, many of the bloody kind ; and when the dust settled magic just became pretty much a new fact of life people need to deal with, like the fact that a family of trolls moved in next door - you've got companies who advertize bad spirit removal like they would any other pest infestation, stuff like that. Feng Shui became *real* popular when it started working for real, too . Some people take to magic like a religion or spiritual journey ; some like a science with rules to explore, understand and master ; some even believe the old time religions and "miracles" were just people who managed to tap into what little magic was left over from the last Awakening. And many just don't really give a shit about it as long as they can get back to work and not have to think about it. Magic can materialize as indecently good luck, or having a real knack for something ; but it can also be fireballs and astral projections and summoning spirits and all that good juju depending on the individual. Not everyone can do it - you're born with it or you're not. It coexists with tech, but the interactions can be funky sometimes (for example, the more of your body gets cyber'd up, the harder and more physically painful magic will be for you to use. Something about a yin yang life force purity thing, either that or game balance ). Some other times the two can be paired up, e.g. to build honest to goodness magic missiles (as in a regular missile that goes boom in the astral instead of the real. Fucks up Awakened critters but good), or goggles that let non-Awakened people see into the astral like every mage naturally can. It always comes with a cost though - from physical exhaustion for simple spells, to deals with nasty entities or blood sacrifice for the heavy duty, industrial stuff. Oh and humm... the Horrors ? Yeah they're still out there. And they may or may not be scratching their claws against the fabric of reality looking for a weak point - not that many people know about them at all.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:38 PM
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Pathfinder was a direct descendent of D&D 3rd edition. A few years ago, they came out with Starfinder, which was set in the same solar system as Pathfinder, but several hundred years later, in the middle of an arcane-powered space age.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:41 PM
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What Kobal2 said. There are plenty of authors who have explored this (I'm reading a Joe Abercrombie book, A Little Hatred, that imagines an industrial revolution in a magical world), and plenty of game settings that have thought about inventions (the Eberron setting is a great example of this). But the answer is gonna depend on the details of the world just as much as on the intellect of the author. Is magic subject to rigorous study and engineering? Is magic contrary to technology? Does the concentration of power that magic enables allow for an ultra-topheavy society in which a merchant class cannot possibly arise?
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:15 PM
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Well, in the Zork universe, originally it ended with all magic vanishing, but then they came up with another game where somebody managed to bring the source of magic back.

My guess is, magic adapts along with technology; there will always be a place for it - for example, in medicine/healing. The biggest question might be, once spacecraft are invented, will magic work away from the world in question, and if so, how well?

Remember, any sufficiently arcane magic is indistinguishable from technology.

Last edited by That Don Guy; 01-04-2020 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 01-05-2020, 01:15 AM
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What Kobal2 said. There are plenty of authors who have explored this (I'm reading a Joe Abercrombie book, A Little Hatred, that imagines an industrial revolution in a magical world), and plenty of game settings that have thought about inventions (the Eberron setting is a great example of this). But the answer is gonna depend on the details of the world just as much as on the intellect of the author. Is magic subject to rigorous study and engineering? Is magic contrary to technology? Does the concentration of power that magic enables allow for an ultra-topheavy society in which a merchant class cannot possibly arise?
Yeah, I mean the only real moving part in the scenario is : what *is* magic, exactly ? And where does it come from ?

In D&D you have two kinds, the godly kind that comes from tapping into a giant personified concept that becomes magic because millions of people believe a) the concept exists and b) is magic ; and the arcane kind which is more nebulous although it has something to do with dragons and bloodlines (?) but functions more or less like a renewable resource - you can concentrate it in a staff or potion or scroll, you can create objects with a "reservoir" of spells in 'em, and you get a set amount of magic to use every day after which you're just a dolt with an 1d4 dagger.
But you can get up to funky shit with the "magic is fueled by religious belief itself" thing - for example in the Glorantha setting some of the magic has to do with journeying to the God Time which is a complicated thing to describe and it's never clear whether it's just people getting really high and LARPing their myths & legends, or actually being transported to the time those mythical events happened (and even being able to affect them), or both - but there's one civilization that basically tried to learn exactly how Heroquests work in order to industrialize the god LARPing. Like, they built machines that would run the "How Death appeared into the world" story over and over ; each time bringing back The Sword Called Death into the real world and equipping armies with what's essentially a physical manifestation of mortality itself. Or they would deliberately tell the stories all wrong just to see what happens. Long story short, the gods were *not* amused with those rules lawyers. Much cataclysm. Very retribution.

In Shadowrun magic is basically otherworldy Stuff that seeps into our dimension from a parallel one ; which again can be treated as a kind of fantasy uranium ; at which point there's not much of a boundary between "magic" and "technology", they're both just ways to do impossible things or make possible things easier.

But in, say, The Belgariad (or in a similar way, the Mage setting) there's no real limit to magic because it's just realizing that if you just *want* things hard enough, they'll happen. I mean depending on the exact thing it might cost you along the way of happening, but the only limit is just how much you (or your coven) are prepared to Really Want Something.
That sets a different body of rules and applications, and thus would pilot the evolution of those specific world differently.
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:16 AM
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Does the culture and technology stagnate? Seems unlikely, populations will increase and crowd each other. Does magic die, as technology advances? Or does magic become a technology of their own, with flying cars, teleporting moving vans and black pudding garbage disposals?
Human history basically boils down to three periods.

1. Hunter-gathering (from two million years ago to maybe 9,000 BCE)

2. Agriculture resulting in "civilization" (9,000 BCE to approximately 400-500 years ago)

3. The scientific revolution

The change from period 1 to period 2 completely changed us. Prior to agriculture and animal husbandry, humans were not very numerous, lived a relatively long time, and were exceptionally healthy and fit. They worked pretty sweet hours, but possessed almost nothing beyond what they wore. They lived in small groups and heirarchy and class structure was very, very limited. There wasn't much in the way of an "economy" because you can't have much specialization if your tribe only has 50 people in it.

Period 2 is civilization; with it, humans started to grow in number exponentially, but mot of them were much sicker and weaker than before. Class structure and heirarchy began, but so did specialization, economy, and the ability to construct things and eventually start writing stuff down.

Period 3 is when tech REALLY started to advance.

Okay, so Dungeops and Dragons. What I honestly think is that Period 3 might never happen. A civilization with magic has to some extent already had its scientific revolution. The scientific revolution did not necessarily have to happen when and where it did; after all, the Romans didn't really advance at all scientifically, nor did the Chinese in the medieval period, despite both being great and rich civilizations.

The existence of magic might mean the social and economic conditions for a scientific revolution just don't come up.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:03 AM
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I came in here to also mention Arcanum and Shadowrun. There is also TSR's own Spelljammer which was sort of D&D in space if the the Space between worlds was sort of like an ocean that could catch fire. There is also the Incarnations of Immortality series and the book the Case of the Toxic Spell Dump which are basically Fantasy worlds that achieved 20th Century Magic tech and culture.

However, if you wanted to think a Fantasy world through, I would guess they would be stagnant. Magic would probably help entrench a status quo and discourage research in areas that aren't magic.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:08 AM
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I ran a campaign once where one of the players was in real life a university chemistry professor. I said he could have any technology that existed in the real world up to 1300 AD. His character had a pet bear who carried firefighting equipment.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:53 AM
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Does the culture and technology stagnate? Seems unlikely, populations will increase and crowd each other.
People get increasingly more powerful magic until some catastrophic God War or Cataclysm or Inter-Planar Invasion begins and 2/3s of the population gets wiped out, society is reduced to hunter-gatherers, the elves retreat to their primeval forests and all the +2 Longswords wind up buried in ancient ruins from the Third Era for Fourth Era adventurers to locate in another 700 years when they get their pseudo-medieval empire up and running again.
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Old 01-05-2020, 07:11 PM
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And what Jophiel: said is exactly how the history of Dungeons and Dragons worlds seems to have run: there were great and powerful magical empires, with tons of minted gold, magic swords up the wazoo, then cataclysm, and the cool stuff just ends up in a dragon horde or troll cave, for hobo adventurers (I just heard that term recently) to find and start using. But does it have to be cyclical.

Shadowrun was a fun read, I didn't play it much, although I did plan a few games. But the vibe I got was that magic existed in our world, was important, got lost due to science, then was re-discovered as a result of one air-burst nuke later. And now every native American shaman has re-found what was lost, apparently due to Columbus, somehow. Alongside hackers and gene splicers.

I remember the an early copy of the rules for Principalities of Glantri, where the wizards would in fact have teleporting moving services, and people lit cigars with the magical word, and went over the accounts with a magical cube that flashed red for a cheated account. That was really re-making the world as a post-medieval magical consumer culture, that I kinda wonder how it would arrive from "middle ages magic" to that point and what the very next step would be. Although, I have to guess, as soon as the Victorian or Edwardian period arrives, its just magical steampunk.

And I realize, there have been many such treatments. Essentially just past this, is the technology level of the world of Harry Potter, the kids seem to wear clothing that's machine woven, but they've just magicked it out of nothing. Hrm ... what happens in the far future, I guess they just magic together the unisex silver jumpsuit.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:29 PM
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Eberron is a D&D campaign world where magic pervades everything, to the extent that they have magical lanterns providing light everywhere, and magical rail systems, and sentient suits of armor (basically magical robots) called “Warforged”. I always figured that was what a futuristic D&D world would be like.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:45 AM
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for hobo adventurers (I just heard that term recently) to find and start using. But does it have to be cyclical.
Actually we prefer to be called Murderhobo-Americans. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:37 AM
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There's also Larry Niven's "The Magic Goes Away" which posits magic as a non-renewable local resource. Once all the magic in an area is used, it's gone forever. Which explains why there were lots of actually magic shamans and what-not in pre-history, a moderate amount of sorcerers and magic in ancient times, an occasional wizard even up to the early middle ages, and none at all now.
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:36 AM
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With Pathfinder, you can customize "the future" as if it were a plane using Essence Traits. You can give the future a permanent antimagic field, or make magic Impeded, which requires casters make a Concentration check. Pathfinder's SRD has rules for Robots and futuristic weapons, which are essentially intelligent Golems and ranged weapons with different effects.

Mayfair Games had a module based on The Keep. It took place in three different time periods, including WWII. They made things D&D enough, with German soldiers as fighter classes using firearms and Zyklon gas attacks. I think they restricted spellcasters to where they couldn't use greater than 2nd level spells, and magic weapons lost a couple of pluses, to reflect the absence of gods.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:09 PM
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A couple of posters have mentioned Shadowrun. Coincidentally, in their latest episode, the hosts of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast discussed its prequel RPG, Earthdawn. Earthdawn was a deliberate attempt to create a sort of rationalized D&D world, with strong in-game rationals for having dungeons everywhere and semi-professional dungeon delvers, and even characters in-game knowing their own class levels. It was also set in a lost age of our Earth's pre-history. So, what does the future of a D&D world look like? Apparently us.

At least until the magic returns, and we get cyborg orc mercenaries and elf computer hackers and street mages.

Also, Conan's Hyborean Age (a major influence on early D&D) was supposed to be a lost era of our world's pre-history. So, again, the future of a D&D world is apparently us.
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:31 PM
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Whether or not technology would develop in a society with access to D&D-style magic is a complex question, but I think an economic case can be made for tech. Here's a possible way that plays out (one of many, obviously):

From a typical player's perspective, magic is very common, because they're playing adventurers, and magic is concentrated among the adventuring population. Even there, direct access to magic is not universal; generally speaking, less than half of the adventuring population are casters. Among the general populace, magic is spread more thinly: small communities may have only one or two priests, and may or may not have a minor arcane caster as well.

Given a medievalesque setting, most of the population is presumably rural, so they are subject to the above magic-per-capita limitations. For them, magic is scarce, and therefore, it will generally be expensive in one way or another: tithes or donations in return for the priest blessing their fields, bartered goods or services in exchange for a hedge wizard's potions, and so forth--and if you're not on good terms with your local priest or witch, magical services get even more expensive, if they'll provide them at all. If something is expensive, you can bet that someone is going to try to find a cheaper way to do it.

"Pay the priest for a blessing? Hell, no! See how green yon pasture be? My cows can 'bless' my field just as well as the priest!"

And thus, fertilizer is discovered. Technology advances. It would likely advance more slowly, and in fits and starts, in a magical world, but the price and accessibility of magic would still drive it forward. Social structures might stagnate, with the concentration of magical power in the hands of the upper echelons, but wizards and priests like cheap stuff, too--eventually, an industrial revolution would come.

At that point, the question becomes social and political, and hinges heavily on how benevolent the magic-wielding ruling class has been. As long as the general populace is basically satisfied, things chug along with a magical upper class and an emergent manufacturing class. Things shake out into technology providing better access to more basic goods, while magic-wielders continue to be high-power, highly paid specialists, the rock stars and neurosurgeons of the world. Once the dust settles, tech returns to its pattern of intermittent advance, while society remains a mix of pseudo-feudal and city-state politics.

If they're not so benevolent...they discover that mass production includes the possibility of mass production of weapons, and you get a different kind of revolution. Magic gets suppressed, temples get closed down, scrolls get burned, and tech becomes the primary way forward. Magic use goes underground for a time, but eventually re-emerges as a useful tool in an uneasy balance with tech-based firepower.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:57 PM
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At least until the magic returns, and we get cyborg orc mercenaries and elf computer hackers and street mages.
Bro, I wish. Cuz right now we're getting all of the dystopia of cyberpunk yet none of the pink chrome'd mohawk, it's depressing.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:27 AM
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It was the conceit of the Numenera (Numina?) that it is "a billion years in the future", civilizations of all tech levels have risen and fallen (a lot), and from your character's point of view a Zippo, stone arrowhead, quantum teleporter, it all feels equally magical to you. Similarly there are plenty of gods around, as well as godlike AIs, aliens, nanobots from another dimension, many layers of ubiquious Internet/astral plane, whatever the DM wants. It's all "magical".

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Old 01-07-2020, 10:29 AM
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Bro, I wish. Cuz right now we're getting all of the dystopia of cyberpunk yet none of the pink chrome'd mohawk, it's depressing.
Nobody's keeping you from the hairstylist's and the vintage clothing store
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:38 PM
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Bro, I wish. Cuz right now we're getting all of the dystopia of cyberpunk yet none of the pink chrome'd mohawk, it's depressing.
Punks.

Cyborgs.

Future is now, man.
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:17 PM
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Warhammer.

Untold 10s of millennia ago, humans formed feudal states that allied with or fought against the states of other fantasy races. Magic was real and powerful, but technology was beginning to show. The generalized alignment of conflict was Order versus Chaos. Still, it's a crapsack world.

40,000+ years later, humans have formed a high-tech interstellar empire, but are allied with or fighting against the empires of other fantasy races (quite possibly the successors of the feudal-era ones). Technology is real and very powerful, but there is still a lot of magic. The general alignment of the conflict is still Order versus Chaos, but now it's a crapsack universe. But hey, now you can play using spaceship miniatures instead of infantry or fantastic armor unit miniatures.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:45 PM
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So are you counting Cleric magic in this? Because I think living in a universe where you actually know who the gods are, know how to gain their explicit and powerful favors, know what happens to you when you die, and allows for the (limited) ability to go back and forth to the afterlife, is far more life-changing and culture-changing than whatever the wizards might get up to.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:12 PM
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Also, Conan's Hyborean Age (a major influence on early D&D) was supposed to be a lost era of our world's pre-history. So, again, the future of a D&D world is apparently us.
Tolkien's universe is also intended to be our world's pre-history. It was a huge influence on D&D.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:22 AM
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Warhammer.
I don't think the universes of Warhammer Fantasy and 40k are connected.
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:01 AM
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I don't think the universes of Warhammer Fantasy and 40k are connected.
Correct, the game and setting of Warhammer 40K was created independent of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It was originally called Rogue Trader, but GW created a board game based off a comic book called Rogue Trooper, so at the last minute they changed the name to avoid confusing it with the board game. They also marketed it as a spin-off of the original miniature game, to build off of its success, but they still take place in unrelated settings.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:42 PM
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Maybe a related question is why most fantasy seems to take place in a more or less similar quasi-medieval time period? Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Witcher, etc always seem to have roughly the same level of technology with respect to arms, armor, castles and fortifications, etc. And they tend to seem like they have been that way for thousands of years.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:01 PM
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Correct, the game and setting of Warhammer 40K was created independent of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It was originally called Rogue Trader, but GW created a board game based off a comic book called Rogue Trooper, so at the last minute they changed the name to avoid confusing it with the board game. They also marketed it as a spin-off of the original miniature game, to build off of its success, but they still take place in unrelated settings.
There are *some* EU hints that the Warhammer world exists within the 40k continuity - the most salient thing is the existence of the same Chaos gods in both (there's also precious little difference between Orcs and Orks) ; but IIRC at one point the Skaven fucked with some magic doodad without any idea how or what it was supposed to do (because they're, y'know, Skaven) and they ended up contacting an Eldar craftworld.
Also Sigmar might could be one of the lost Primarchs.

That being said, I think the implication isn't that WH40K is the future of WHF ; rather that WHF is some backwards, completely ignorable and forgotten planet within contemporary 40k. It's not that out there - e.g. Fenris, the Space Wolves' recruitment world, is IIRC more or less stuck in early medieval times because they like it that way.

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Punks.

Cyborgs.

Future is now, man.
Is there a monofilament whip implanted inside one of my fingerbones ? No, no there isn't. There isn't even a taffy dispenser there. Sit down.

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Old 02-06-2020, 04:24 AM
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I agree that having real gods that are actually Controlling our destinies, with Moral choices having provable influence on where you end up after death would lead to a massive Change of culture.
But to be honest, even D&D rarely thinks this through with their usual pseudo-medieval Worlds. How many People would actually commit crimes if there was indeniable proof that it would make you go to hell?
What would Society look like if there was zero reason for scarcity, as every decent follower of any of the gods could create basically unlimited food and water?
In such a world, society would be extremely based on what these entities expect from their followers, as the gods actively shape the world by choosing who they are giving these resources to.
If Magic is just another power source, it would probably have influenced how technology evolves, but not stopped it.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:49 AM
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yeah but d&D gods seemed to be based on roman and greek gods ... they just come down to meddle and the like sometimes the races just being proxies .... I remember the conceit of Dragonlance was based on " what if instead of redeeming humanity god just took his ball and went home and you got the dark ages but without the religious aspect of it "

Shadowrun was just getting into the huge fight of the evil breaking through the plains when the fiction disappeared ..
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:43 AM
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How many People would actually commit crimes if there was indeniable proof that it would make you go to hell?
Lots. People commit crimes now with the undeniable proof that you can go to jail. People are terrible at long term planning and risk analysis and great at convincing themselves that they're smart enough to figure it out later and avoid consequences.

People would either just focus on the now, convince themselves that they can avoid the consequences later or convince themselves that they're powerful/smart enough to be something in the infernal afterlife better than a tormented soul or demon appetizers.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:36 AM
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In such a world, society would be extremely based on what these entities expect from their followers, as the gods actively shape the world by choosing who they are giving these resources to.
You mean a sort of priestly caste would evolve that would wield enormous, even dominating political; economic and social power & influence over the rest of the population ? Yes, yes I could see how that would be a radical difference with our own histories and societies

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Lots. People commit crimes now with the undeniable proof that you can go to jail.
But the operative word here is "can". Yes, IF you get caught, and if you can't BS your way out of it, and you can't run away, THEN you will go to jail. But the whole thing starts with that "if". With enough blind confidence in your own brilliance, you can drive semi-trucks through an if like that.
The risk assessment is very different when it's a "you will, period" instead of "you can". Like, you can't bullshit the fundational laws of the universe itself and you can't not get caught by the omniscient.

However...

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or convince themselves that they're powerful/smart enough to be something in the infernal afterlife better than a tormented soul or demon appetizers.
Or that they can get away with it in various ways. Obviously the first and foremost loophole to "when you die you'll go straight to hell" is "OK, so, plan A : not ever die". Which isn't all too far fetched in D&D world.
There's also the tried and true John Constantine method of selling your soul to multiple high ranking devils (unbeknownst to each of course), knowing that none will let go of their lawful claim and in the end they'll resurrect you rather than dealing with the fallout of your bullshit

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  #33  
Old 02-06-2020, 12:07 PM
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But the operative word here is "can". Yes, IF you get caught, and if you can't BS your way out of it, and you can't run away, THEN you will go to jail. But the whole thing starts with that "if". With enough blind confidence in your own brilliance, you can drive semi-trucks through an if like that.
The risk assessment is very different when it's a "you will, period" instead of "you can". Like, you can't bullshit the fundational laws of the universe itself and you can't not get caught by the omniscient.
I think you highly overestimate people's ability to assess future risk and highly underestimate their ability to rationalize something they want for immediate pleasure. Even for things that are certainties in this world, you see people dig themselves deeper into the hole all the time. "That's tomorrow's problem" is extremely seductive when you want something today.

There's also the regular game world conceit that, for however common magic is for characters and big shots, the average goat farmer will never know someone who was raised from the dead or even spoken to after death. There's sort of knowledge that this stuff goes on but usually not in a way that touches the common person's life. Plus, the evil deities will be extremely adept at marketing themselves: Get what you want today, punishments are for other saps not for smart guys like you, etc. This isn't a Christian ideal of one Big Guy sending the bad people to be punished; the Bad Guys have reason to make their own afterworlds attractive since their power probably comes from some level of worship.

Last edited by Jophiel; 02-06-2020 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:37 PM
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How many People would actually commit crimes if there was indeniable proof that it would make you go to hell?
Donít forget the priests of evil gods telling you that hell isnít that bad, donít listen to those sanctimonious ďgoodĒ priests and their propaganda. Just enjoy yourself, pray to Baal or whatever, and look out for yourself, which is what the self-righteous people are doing anyway if they were being honest about it.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:10 PM
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Donít forget the priests of evil gods telling you that hell isnít that bad
"Hey, how many succubi does Celestia have?"
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:21 PM
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"Hey, how many succubi does Celestia have?"
Thatís worthy of a mace drop.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:45 PM
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I think you highly overestimate people's ability to assess future risk and highly underestimate their ability to rationalize something they want for immediate pleasure. Even for things that are certainties in this world, you see people dig themselves deeper into the hole all the time. "That's tomorrow's problem" is extremely seductive when you want something today.
Oh no doubt no doubt. INT is a dump stat anyway.
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:13 PM
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Is there a monofilament whip implanted inside one of my fingerbones ?
I have some monofilament fishing line. It's on a spool rather than surgically implanted, so I guess I'm just not punky enough. Multifilament is thinner and more expensive than monofilament, anyway.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:50 PM
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In my games, "hell" isn't a place where evil people get punished, it's just the place where evil people go after they die. It's still a really sucky place to be, because any place populated exclusively by evil people is going to suck, but the point isn't to "punish" people for their "sins." It's more like a reward for being bad - it's a place you can go where you're actively encouraged to torment people who are weaker than you, and you can almost always find at least one person weaker than you.

Also, the more strongly you embody your alignment in life, the more powerful you are in the afterlife, so there's a positive reinforcement for people who are evil to be really, really evil, as it means they'll wind up higher on the evil totem pole after they die. The vast majority of people in hell are there because they rationalized their shitty behavior as okay, and didn't consider themselves evil - crooked merchants, corrupt officials, cruel spouses, neglectful parents - and for them being in hell is pretty bad. But if you raised an army of undead and plunged a continent into a century of strife and blood, when you die, you're going to become a much more powerful form of demon, giving you more choice in what sort of other infernal denizens you can brutalize, and limiting the number of demons who are strong enough to brutalize you back. Which is why you get so many cackling, evil-for-the-sake-of-evil villains in D&D. If you're going to hell anyway, the best move is to burn down a bunch of orphanages along the way, so you get that demonic promotion when a paladin finally catches up to you and runs you through with his holy sword.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:39 PM
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Oh no doubt no doubt. INT is a dump stat anyway.
Maybe, but since this is D&D, that clearly applies more to a WIS check than INT.

Remember, INT tells you that the wet substance falling on you from the sky is rain.

WIS tells you to seek shelter from it if you don't want to get wet.
  #41  
Old 02-06-2020, 04:50 PM
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Maybe, but since this is D&D, that clearly applies more to a WIS check than INT.

Remember, INT tells you that the wet substance falling on you from the sky is rain.

WIS tells you to seek shelter from it if you don't want to get wet.
A brave man likes the feel of nature on his face. But a wise man has enough sense to get out of the rain.
  #42  
Old 02-06-2020, 05:07 PM
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In my games, "hell" isn't a place where evil people get punished, it's just the place where evil people go after they die. It's still a really sucky place to be, because any place populated exclusively by evil people is going to suck, but the point isn't to "punish" people for their "sins." It's more like a reward for being bad - it's a place you can go where you're actively encouraged to torment people who are weaker than you, and you can almost always find at least one person weaker than you.
Yeah, this thread eventually got me thinking along those lines as well - like, the various flavours of D&D "hell" are pretty much heaven *assuming you're an evil cunt to begin with*. If you're e.g. a scheming LE asshole who delights in fucking others over in a I'm-not-touching-youuu way and exploiting the small print of the rules to your advantage, then what better place to be in than the seat of our noble house a place where not only can you do it, it's absolutely expected and the best at it rise and post-live eternally with the towering fruits of their fuckery ? Or, if you're an CE omnicidal maniac who's just in it for the murder, wouldn't "eternal hellwar and no one judges you over a little bit of the ol' rape-to-death" be right up your alley ?
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:06 PM
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Yeah, this thread eventually got me thinking along those lines as well - like, the various flavours of D&D "hell" are pretty much heaven *assuming you're an evil cunt to begin with*
That's what the travel brochure says. Then you go and get melted into a lemure.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:33 AM
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That's what the travel brochure says. Then you go and get melted into a lemure.
Don't you besmirch the noble (well, ignoble I suppose) lemure, you speciest !
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