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"Arcanization" as a measurement in the DGA setting

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 I just like the term arcanized being used in a similar way to how industrialized is used to describe and compare countries now.

It would be cool if each major country in the DGA was ranked in terms of how arcanized it is, as a guildeline for what one would find there.  For example:

Unarcanized: These cultures and nations are very much like medieval Earth.  Occasionally you find a conjuror or hear about a miracle-worker, and there are monsters here and there, but overall things are predictable and about at the technological level of the European Dark Ages.  Spellcasters are so rare that most people are not sure they've ever seen one, and it is more likely for someone to be accused of witchcraft than for one to find an actual practicing witch or warlock.  Maybe 1 person in 10,000 is a spellcaster of some kind, so large cities will have a few each, with a few more wandering around.

Arcanizing: (read: "developing") These cultures and nations were in the process of arcanizing when the fall of magic began, and they are still struggling onward.  There are pockets, probably in major cities, where schools have set up shop, and where there might be a new guild of crafters and possibly a communication outpost.  Monsters are out there, but relatively rare - the average person has never seen one, but hunters can find them.  Maybe 1 person in 2,000 is a spellcaster.  Big cities have representatives from a couple of the schools, and others will be scattered among the trade towns.

Partially Arcanized: These cultures and nations have integrated arcane magic into the upper parts of their society and it was beginning to "trickle down" to the masses.  People are familiar with a few kinds of monsters that are out there, though they don't necessarily know where they come from.  Wonder-workers travel from town to town as entertainment, and large cities might be connected by very expensive teleportation circles.  About 1 person in 500 is a spellcaster, meaning that any relatively large town would have one weather-worker, hedge mage or healer on hand.

Fully Arcanized: Arcane magic is integreated into every part of society.  Every village has a few minor magic items lying around that they make regular use of.  Monsters are a common occurrence, as are the magically-augmented heroes who hunt them and drive them off.  As many as 1 in 100 people are spellcasters of some kind - there is one in every little village, and in large cities they are almost as common as soldiers (and often probably are soldiers, or at least part of a levy).  Teleportation is (or at least was) a normal way for the wealthy to travel, and there are enough magic items to actually have shops specializing in their sale.  War, when it breaks out, can be catastrophic, with a few powerful arch-wizards leveling a city in a matter of days if it does not have sufficient magical defenses.

With arcanization came a lot of benefits as well as costs.  You had larger buildings, higher quality materials, faster manufacturing, magical medicine and so on.  You also get a lot more monsters and far more destructive warfare.

Comments

mikeb's picture

I like this idea. How does it

I like this idea. How does it fit into the timeline?

As I've planned a couple campaigns and two different one-shots, I've been thinking about the timeline like this.

Pre-Collapse
This is perfect for the arcanization concept as you will see the greatest diversity. In places like Sascria, I imagined cities built with magic and magical servants carrying out a lot of the tasks that people would normally do.

Collapse - Day 0 to Day 90
I've imagined the Collapse as happening very rapidly with the complete failure of magic in all forms - spellcasters lost their ability to cast spells, magic items stopped working, etc. Many spellcasters died in riots by humans, in reprisals from beastfolk, and from rampaging monsters.

Collapse - Day 90 to end of Year 1
Some casters seem to have regained their ability to cast spells, but it is uncertain as to why. Many of them that do prefer to hide out of fear. More spellcasters die, primarily in reprisals from beastfolk but still some from rampaging monsters.

Collapse - Year 2
It is figured out how some casters are still able to cast spells, and these methods are able to be utilized by more casters. For this, I'm thinking about there being both good and evil means to do it. Evil includes things like Sascria's witch hunters seeking out those with magical abilities to "harvest" their magical power. For those not inclined towards evil, they are able to make some sort of self-sacrifice to fuel their magical power. Spellcasters are pretty rare with a PC spellcaster representing perhaps the only spellcaster in a population of 5,000 people. The only magic items that work are those that were deep below ground in ruins, dungeons, and perhaps the occasional vault during the Collapse. Apart from magic items that are single-use or have charges, no one has figured out yet how to make a permanent magic item. Arcanization is still useful here because it can indicate the level of decay that may have happened to a place - a city that was completely dependent on magic before the Collapse will be in a very different state than one that had very little magic.

In terms of pre-collapse, it

In terms of pre-collapse, it works as written just as you said.

Post-collapse, things like monsters would still apply - more readily available arcane power means more experimentation, etc. It would also depend on how much the collapse hit a particular society. Unarcanized societies would not be impacted at all. In fact, I can see them beginning to see refugees who are fleeing social collapse in their own lands, which would lead to a lot of interesting possibilities.

I could see unarcanized societies become bread-baskets, since their agriculture would not be dependent on magical processes, and they could suddenly become both wealthy and the target of raiders or refugees looking for food.

In short, 'arcanization' could serve as a measure of the amount of power pre-collapse, the amount of suffering and chaos post-collapse, and the amount of opportunity moving into the months and years after the collapse.

Maybe it could be represented by way of one of three backgrounds or background Feats (off the top of my head):

Unarcanized or Arcanizing:
Each level, you receive a free rank in a Craft skill or Profession and you receive a +2 competence bonus to Knowledge: Nature

Partially or Fully Arcanized:
You automatically gain Draconic as a bonus language and receive a +2 competence bonus to your Appraise skill for your familiarity with manufactured items