Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns is being edited at the moment. For the curious, here’s a morsel to stave off the hunger.
Magic is the wild card in every fantasy setting. With it, civilizations can replicate the effects of advanced technology and, in many cases, far surpass what technology alone would be able to accomplish. And magic may even work in concert with technology, making something altogether new. Like technology, magic is developed for any number of reasons: convenience, efficiency, utility, war, worship—even aesthetics. Just like technology, it is created to fill a need, and those needs can be as diverse as all the world’s peoples.
When considering the level of magic in your city, think about the needs of the people and the ways magic can and would fill those needs. Even the smallest, most frivolous problem may have a solution in magic, so ask the important question, “Should magic be used here, and if so, how?” There are many obvious answers to this question, and this chapter tackles a few of them, but it also brings to light some not-so-obvious answers.
Prevalence: Magic is Everywhere
In a high-magic setting, we might consider that magic is accessible to anyone at any time or simply that a large portion of public services, like health care, sanitation, transportation, and utilities, are all powered by magic, along with the more minor elements of everyday life. Servants may have access to magic to help with their work. A noble may utilize magic to change their hair color. Laborers may benefit from the local druid’s use of goodberry and some empowered gear. When designing a city or town with a prevalence of magic, consider how the average citizen would use it and how that use would change the everyday functioning of the city. Some of the areas potentially impacted in a high-magic setting are listed below.
Construction. Constructing buildings and roads is a time-consuming process. But in a high-magic setting, one magic wielder can complete in hours what it might take dozens of workers a day or more. Whether the materials are lifted by golems or the stone and wood are sculpted by spells—or a building is simply summoned into being, fully fabricated—magical construction takes but a fraction of the time . . .
Oh, and so many more thoughts on magic in the city yet to come…!