Sunday, November 8, 2015

High Fantasy - Enchanters

OK - So first off, let me say what I think the difference between high fantasy and low fantasy is. I think the main thing that separates the two is who can learn magic. If any person can learn to perform magic - specifically enchantment - then you have a high fantasy game. If only a small percentage of people can do magic, then you can have a low fantasy game.

So why? Small divergence - Most of you are familiar with the stuff I write. Grain Into Gold is my best selling book (having surpassed even Legend Quest) and sets out to show anyone how to build an economy for their fantasy world. Pockets was intended to be a random treasure supplement for pick pockets, but more of the readers seem to see it as a guide to what over a thousand common items cost. Even 100 Professions is an economy supplement. So you’ll probably forgive me when I lay it out this way, but ...

Modern example - It costs a $#!+load of money to go to law school. It’s also a lot of work and probably only the top third of folks could do it. (That might not be true because I’ve met some stupid lawyers!) So why spend the money? Because you make a $#!+load of money, far more than the school cost you. It’s the same with enchanters. Even if it costs huge to learn to be an enchanter, you’re going to make it all back once you start working. Now we’re focused on enchanters, because it is easiest to sell their magic. Finding a way to monetize sorcery can be more difficult, but anyone can sell magic items.

But does it make sense? I like to lay it out like this, and yeah - I do focus on money: An illumination enchantment costs 300sc - why? because an enchanter typically makes about 300sc per day and it takes about a day for them to make an illumination enchantment. Actually, it also costs 50sc for the materials, but it is such a common enchantment that the supply has lowered the price. Is that worth it? It would take three candles to equal the illumination enchantment, which means you would burn about a pound of wax a day in order to match the enchantment (actually three candles - you would get 16 hours out of a pound of beeswax). So assuming a pound of wax a day, it would take about three years to save enough on wax to pay for the enchantment. But if the enchantment works “forever” then from your fourth year on - you’re saving money.

Did you get that? Spending 300sc for a lamp eventually saves you money, but it also makes the enchanter incredibly rich - at least 25 times richer than a mundane craftsman. That’s why you would spend the time and money to learn to be an enchanter - to get rich. And if anyone can learn magic, then there will always be those folks willing to beg, borrow or steal the money needed to learn the skills in order to become enormously rich later on. That’s why I said earlier that if anyone can learn magic, then you have a high fantasy game. Anyone who does not see this is really ignoring one of the main motivations in life.

More on high fantasy stuff coming very soon!

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