Industrial Wrights and Magic Part IV – Infrastructure

Even sticking to the Hedge Wizard spell list there’s obviously room for hundreds of additional minor magical. items. Writeups for Shearing Combs (Sheer) that sheer sheep and other animals (or provide haircuts) in mere moments with never an injury, Rainfangs (Umbrella) that keep water away from a twenty-five foot radius to make it easier to harvests and dry food, Distilling Coils (Extract) that near-instantly harvest components (butter or cream from milk, essential oils from flowers, saffron from flowers, and honey from honeycombs, Phantom Plows (Turn Soil) that automatically prepare fields for sowing, and so on would be quite easy. They’d also be a bit pointless; now that the price ranges and range of effects have been established the game master can just note them as background details.

What’s actually important is what this says about the setting. As shown in the post on Commoner Wealth By Level, a pair of first level commoners will actually be quite prosperous by default. The boost from level two will be enough to expand their list of animals and farm buildings to any reasonable level. After that, higher level NPC-classed folk may well have as many magical items as any adventurer; they’re just going to be cheap practical magic rather than combat gear.

Cities, however, have big budgets. How big? The 3.5 Dungeon Masters Guide and Pathfinder both have some information about how much money you can find in a settlement, and how much magic.

Unfortunately, both systems give results that are quite insane. For example, a Pathfinder Hamlet averaging about forty people has a 75% chance of having any item worth 200 GP or less up for sale. How many first and second level spells are there? Scrolls of 75% of them are for sale! And Potions! And used zero and first level wands with only a few charges left! And all kinds of other stuff! And casters for pretty much any second level spell! How many kinds of spellcasters does that call for? Since they are ALL available, how expensive is the local wizard’s spellbook to contain every wizard spell? And what of the 1d6 more expensive minor items that are for sale? And if the inhabitants have all that up for SALE, what are they keeping for themselves?

That’s only to be expected of course. The d20 “economy” has never made a bit of sense anyway – but the “characters have to be able to buy what they need” notion completely destroys the thin gloss of rationality that’s usually applied if you think about it too hard.

Although, if using Eclipse and Relics, you can just note that someone in town possesses a Philosopher’s Stone – which covers the basic potions and scrolls anyway.

Ergo I’m going to use base the town budget on the Town Resources section in The Practical Enchanter. Since settlements have a lot of expenses anyway, and once you start investing in your infrastructure you need to maintain it (rather than leaving it to higher-level locals to set up magical businesses and services) – I’ll be using a a years worth of their town budget as a baseline budget for civic magic. Please note that the “inhabitants” figure includes kids, transients, and farmers outside “city limits”; halve it if you want established adult inhabitants.

  • Near-Ghost Town, 1-40 inhabitants: No town budget and no current improvements. Even if there’s something left over from when the place was thriving, there’s no one to maintain it.
  • Thorp, 40-160 inhabitants: 1d3 x 12 GP. A Thorp generally has no formal government outside of appealing to local lords and such – and so has no tax base of it’s own. Even mundane improvements such as walls are of no use without people to man them – and so any real magical improvements to a Thorp are up to wealthy (higher level) individuals. A lucky Thorp might have an Elfin Harvest Basket or something. There will likely be more magic than THAT about – but it will belong to individuals, not the Thorp.
  • Hamlet, 161-800 inhabitants: 2d4 x 120 GP. A Hamlet is large enough to start needing formal organization and to have some community property. Admittedly, not that MUCH community property – but some. Perhaps a Stores-Stone (50 GP, from the Hedge Wizardry articles) to keep vermin out of their stores, a type-zero Perpetual Fountain (250 GP) to ensure that there is never a water shortage and to irrigate some gardens, with the rest going to Elfin Harvest Baskets and similar magical tools (mostly 36 GP each). That’s not enough magic to turn a hamlet upside down, but it represents a substantial boost on their margins of survival over and above whatever the wealthier or better trained members of the community may deploy.
  • Village, 801-1800 inhabitants: 2d8 x 120 GP. With an average of 1080 GP worth of community magical improvements and tools, a Village can afford to get a few things. There may well be a Type 0 Perpetual Fountain (250 GP) set up on a local hill to provide clean drinking water and a bit of garden irrigation, a Stores-Stone (50 GP), a Brick Press (160 GP), three Elfin Harvest baskets and a set of the other major farming tools (Turn Soil, Sow, Weedkill, and Thresh altogether totaling 250 GP) to be used by local farmers who cannot afford their own will help ensure against crop failures and ease life, an immobile Cleansing Fountain (62.5 GP) will save endless time (and make the population much cleaner and more presentable as well), a Wand of Transfusions (another item from the Hedge Wizardry articles, 62.5 GP) may be available to provide lifesaving emergency care, and so on. The place might even have paid a larger town (perhaps 150 GP for one day per month) for access to an Eternal Flame every so often to provide free “continual flame” items for lighting.

And that is on the average budget. A prosperous town (which rolled better) may well have an immobile Phantom Mill dedicated to a particular industry (500 GP) – turning the place into a “factory town” and allowing it to produce plentiful finished lumber and woodcrafts, or pottery, or glass, or whatever the Mill is dedicated to doing.

  • Small Town, 1801-4000 inhabitants; 3d20 x 120 GP, averaging 3780 GP. Collecting fees for the use of an Eternal Flame can reasonably reduce it’s 3000 GP cost to nothing much and provides safe, free, lighting. A pair of Type I Perpetual Fountains (1000 GP) will provide plenty of water. Local entrepreneurs using Forgestaffs and Ice Batons can provide heat, air conditioning, and refrigeration – but this doesn’t come out of the city budget. The same goes for Endless Skeins and Automagic Looms. Some local expert physician or minor spellcaster will take care of a Ring of Aesculapius for you. A couple of immobile, dedicated, Phantom Mills (1000 GP) cover local industry – and leaves room for a couple of Brick Presses (320 GP) to provide materials, a Millshaft (62.5 GP) to grind the towns grain, a Cleansing Fountain (62.5 GP) to clean and make minor repairs on things, a Carcass Chute with the leather-making and preservation attachments (875 GP) makes the place much more pleasant and efficiently produce and preserves meat, meat by-products, and leather. A Composting Chute (250 GP) turns much of the cities wastes into salable compost – and still leaves about 200 GP in the average budget for some farming magic to take care of common areas and such.
  • Large Town, 4001-10,000 inhabitants: 5d10 x 600 GP, averaging 31,500 GP.

Now we are talking. While the basics remain much the same as they are for a small town, albeit likely doubling up on the Perpetual Fountains and Phantom Mills (raising the base total to about 6500 GP) that still leaves 25,000 GP to spend.

  • Spending 1000 GP on an Owl Post will allow easy message-sending to the surrounding area – and full communications with a network of other large towns; there are likely to be a few within the sixty-mile range.
  • A City Gate (The Practical Enchanter, 14,000 GP for a 700 mile range, +100 miles per +2000 GP) teleports about 200 pounds per second to its destination. Round trip travel requires a matching gate on the far end coming back – (or a ring of gates) but that’s normally handled by the destination town(s). This provides an instant trade route, an evacuation route if something goes wrong, and makes a town near-impossible to besiege effectively – a bargain all the way around.On the average that leaves 10,000 GP – enough to add several more Phantom Mills and a Foundation Stone or two, or perhaps the 6400 GP basic Resource Harvesting package and a selection of convenience items, or pay a priest to run an immobile, sect-limited, version of the Eternal Sideboard with a Takeout Menu (8200 GP). Large towns deserve a little individualization if the campaign is going to spend enough time there for anyone to care in any case.

Before going on to actual cities (where the lists get even longer), it’s time to look at a few expensive items that settlements might want – including the next step up in magical defenses.

A Construction Wagon is basically an automated magical repair-and-construction package, self-propelled, almost entirely self-supplying, and capable of designing and building a wide variety of things on it’s own. It’s basically a city in a box – and is made up of the following components:

  • Phantom Mill (dedicated to construction work, such as building streets and houses, 1000 GP),
  • Imbued Intelligence (The Practical Enchanter): Rank 2 (2400 GP), Int 3d6+5 (16), Wis 3d6 (10), and Chr 3d6 (10). 10 Skill Points (Civic Engineering and Construction +5), Feat: Material Link (allows the spirit to bond with an item), communicates via Empathy. Three Primary Powers:
    • Unseen Servant: Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (only for civic construction and maintenance) x.5 (Utilitarian Village Magic) = 500 GP.
    • Make Whole: Spell Level Two (Reduced to Level One via the Ambient Magic Limitation) x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (only for civic construction and maintenance) x.5 (Utilitarian Village Magic) = 500 GP.
    • Joinery: L1. A restricted variant on “Make Whole”, which joins fitted wooden parts, dry stone and brickwork, and similar fitted parts into solid masses, with results similar to using excellent glue or mortar. Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (only for civic construction and maintenance) x.5 (Utilitarian Village Magic) = 500 GP.
  • 100 sets of Artisan’s Tools (Construction) = 500 GP.
  • Brick Presses x 10 (1600 GP). These produce one cubic foot of brick per turn, which the Unseen Servants can easily hold in place to be hit with Joinery.
  • Glass Box (160 GP). This minor variant on the Brick Press produces square panes of glass, albeit only of basic quality.
  • Pipe Molds x2 (320 GP). These minor variants on the Brick Press produce clay pipe.
  • Mortar Box (160 GP). This minor variant on the Brick Press produces mortar, for those times when you want to fill gaps or make odd shapes.
  • Whitewash Bucket (160 GP). This minor variant on the Brick Press produces “whitewash”, with a wide variety of mild tints.
  • Gravel Box (160 GP). Yet another minor variant on the Brick Press that produces gravel and / or sand of various levels of fineness for times when you need a little fill material, or want to let water pass.
  • Assorted paintbrushes and tool maintenance gear (40 GP).

Total Cost: 10,000 GP.

While a Construction Wagon lacks the speed and defensive functions of a Lyre of Building, it also needs no operator: Given a few basic directions, it will quietly move itself through the city streets twenty-four hours a day – paving and repairing streets, fixing up or constructing city buildings and walls, building aqueducts and drains, installing piping, painting, cleaning up, and performing general city maintenance. It won’t be creating any fabulous works or art, or building magical towers or anything – but one cubic foot of brick construction per turn really adds up when it’s going on for twenty-four hours a day, especially since only the actual volume of the walls – not what they inclose – counts.

OK, it will still take a little over seventeen years to build the Great Pyramid (without the hill it was built around anyway), which is about how long it actually took, but it is also without the estimated average workforce of 14,567 people (although that is a ten-year estimate and it is unclear as to whether or not it includes quarrying and shipping the stone). In d20 settings… the total cost of a Construction Wagon is roughly equivalent to the cost of one day of pyramid construction. That’s a savings of about 99.97% – or at least 95% after you send some guards along to look after the thing.

And a kingdom that purchases a few construction wagons will get similar savings on roads and all kinds of other public works. Of course, given the rate at which a d20 environment destroys stuff… they probably will need it just to keep up.

Dark Rampart: This grim obsidian structure stands as a barrier between the material planes and the realms of negative energy. Within a radius of some miles about it, no corpse can rise as an undead, whether due to being slain by a creature with the spawn power or by a spell.

  • Spawn Screen (L2, +7 levels of Area (Citywide), +1 level of Persistent (Lasts 2 Hours/Level) -1 Level (Ambient Magic limitation) -3 Levels (7+ levels of built-in Metamagic) = L6. Spell Level Six x Caster Level Twelve x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command-Word Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .5 (Utilitarian Village Magic) x.2 (One Charge per Day)) = 6480 GP.

A lot of game masters who aren’t ignoring the problem have already inserted reasons why self-spawning undead haven’t pretty much wiped out the world already. Some simply ban such mass spawning, some have well worked out reasons, and others have explanations that are either quite contrived or come down to the dreaded game master fiat. A Dark Rampart is, at least, a reasonably elegant barrier to this sort of thing; undead may still spawn like bacteria out in the wilderness when some unlucky adventurers provide them with bodies to use – but that sort of thing will not work in any civilized area.

If the Shadow/Wight/Whatever Apocalypse IS a serious threat I’d expect the local lord to have installed one of these to cover his major territories and higher-level characters in town to have gotten together and installed one of these to protect their homes and families if the town can’t afford one on it’s own. If not, then unless the reason why it’s not a threat is that there are a bunch of these laying around already, these are a luxury rather than a necessity.

This is cheap of course; the price break for building metamagic into a spell formula wasn’t really meant to mitigate the cost of adding massive amounts of a particular metamagic – but given that we’re basically building an excuse for ignoring a poorly thought out rule, we can afford to be rather lenient about it.

The Skeptical Thinker. This contemplative statue wards the entire city against intrusions on their will – and provides some degree of protection against infernal and undead attacks at the same time. It grants the city, and everyone within it, Protection from Evil, renewed once per minute.

  • Protection From Evil (L1, +7 levels of Area (Citywide), -3 Levels (7+ levels of built-in Metamagic) -1 Level (Ambient Magic Limitation) = L4. Spell Level Four x Caster Level Seven x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) = 28,000 GP.

This is another cheap gadget that – once again – exists to patch a rules problem. Any clown with Charm Person, much less more powerful mind-manipulation abilities, can make outrageous amounts of trouble if he or she uses them in town as opposed to in a dungeon or on a wilderness adventure. Ergo the Skeptical Thinker.

A Lesser Planar Spire creates a link to one of the outer planes – calling a group of CR 4 creatures of that plane to live in, act on behalf of, and defend, the host city and its people. Such creatures will take on various tasks within the city and fulfill them with substantial skill (gaining a +10 competence bonus on any skill or attribute checks relevant to the task)- but will also seek to spread the influence of their native planes. They will set examples, teach children about gods and philosophies, and otherwise promote their alignments at all times. The Spire can maintain the presence of twenty-four such outsiders on the material plane at any one time.

  • Lesser Planar Spire: Monster Summoning IV, Specific Creature Variant (-1 Spell Level), Amplified (adds relevant skills, +1 Spell Level) or Secondary Spell (Skill Mastery, L4, +10 Competence Bonus to a group of skills (whatever rolls are relevant to the creatures job in the city, +1 Spell Level), Persistent +1 (Lasts two rounds per caster level), Renewable (when the spell is recast an existing summons may be extended (eliminating any one status condition or purging one negative level and regaining 3d6 hit points, one lost attribute point, and one use of a limited-use ability each time the spell is recast) rather than a new one arriving, +1 Spell Level). Net Spell Level = 6. Spell Level 6 x Caster Level 12 x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .6 (has a list of 72 specific creatures it can call upon; if they are “slain” they will not be available again for twenty-four hours, as usual for a summoned creature) x .8 (the outsiders are subject to general orders only, using their own judgement for most tasks) = 34,560 GP. I’m calling it 35,000 GP. If they must be build in complimentary pairs (x.8) they are a mere 28,000.

For some examples…

  • A Lesser Spire of Celestial Law brings in LG Hound Archons. They tend to take up law enforcement roles, act as sentinels, train the militias, and otherwise defend the people of the city, (Militant cities may prefer Arcadian Avengers). The realms of law and good are generally glad to help support and guide a city, showing the many advantages of their philosophy. Even CE cities need someone to run the place.
  • A lesser Radiant Hospice Spire brings in NG Cervidal Guardinals. They tend to act as healers and guides, using their abilities to negate poison and disease to assist the populace and dismissing planar entities who are acting inappropriately. The realms of pure good are happy to demonstrate the joys and virtues of kindness and mercy.
  • A Lesser Soul Prison Spire brings in various styles of LE Imps – although normally twice as many of them as usual for a Spire. Imps commonly serve as secret police and promote an acceptable level of crime while removing truly dark criminals – thus gaining personnel for hell, gaining access to other potential recruits, and promoting the safety of the city at the same time. In more evil cities they also often serve as torturers and such.
  • Planar Spires (CL 13, 44,000 GP, Competence Bonus +12) call forth up to 26 CR 5 creatures at a time, and have a “list” of 78 specific creatures to call upon.
  • Greater Planar Spires (CL 15, 58,000 GP, Competence Bonus +15) call forth up to 30 CR 6 creatures at a time, and have a “list” of 90 such specific creatures to call upon.
  • Finally, Grand Planar Spires (Cl 20, 86,500 GP, Competence Bonus +20) call forth up to 40 CR 7 creatures at a time and have a list of 120 such specific creatures to call upon.

Remember Vault of the Drow? And how the city had all kinds of random Outsiders wandering about the place, and no one taking responsibility for actually running the place, and yet somehow it all worked out? Well, now you know why.

The various planar powers are generally just fine with Planar Spires; they offer easy access to the Prime Material and it’s people – and in such a way that the presence of their agents is accepted, even among races that would normally be mortal foes – and all at the “price” of demonstrating just how useful they are to have around.

For cities… Planar Spires offer magical and social services and enough military power to make even mid-level adventurers and reasonably powerful monsters give their actions a little thought before they run amuck in town. A really high level party can still curb-stomp such minor foes, but at least they’ll know that they were there.

Bone Vault: This curious structure holds a swirling vortex of dark power, filled with a thousand maledictions to launch against the unwary – and when that power is released from the vault, it spreads out like a terrible storm, affecting an entire city. Saves are, of course, allowed – and are not all that impossible, being merely DC 19 – but eventually everyone who frequents the city will fail against each curse.

Of course, that power need not be used for unworthy reasons. Curses either bring misfortunes or restrict the victims actions or potentials in some fashion – and THAT is a very versatile effect. Many a kindly cleric has cursed a young pickpocket with shaky hands whenever he or she tries to steal, sparing them a trip to the gallows a few years later on.

  • “No matter how terrible the provocation, or dreadful your death, no matter what dark rituals and spells you attempt… you will never be able to rise as an undead! (Or at least not until you go and get a Remove Curse spell)”… is a curse.
  • Suffering penalties whenever you try to resist the city guard… is a curse.
  • Suffering penalties on your actions whenever you are trying to steal… is a curse.
  • Feeling terrible guilt when you do not pay your taxes on time and in good measure is a curse.
  • Not being able to become a lycanthrope, no matter how attractive the extra powers look, could be a curse, at least if the game master agrees..

A selection of well-chosen curses can make it much easier to rule a city – and may well be welcomed by the populace. After all, just how much of law enforcement is concerned with telling people what they mustn’t do?

  • Bestow Curse (L3, +7 levels of Area (Citywide), -3 Levels (7+ levels of built-in Metamagic) -1 Level (Ambient Magic limitation) = L6. Spell Level Six x Caster Level Eleven x 1800 GP Unlimited-Use Command-Word Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .2 (One Charge per Day)) x.6 (Curses are only effective in the city and its environs) x.9 (Each Bone Vault is limited to a list of a dozen pre-programmed curses – unless someone buys this off) = 6415 (6500) GP.

Obviously enough, the nature of the curses in a Bone Vault will say a lot about the nature of a city. If it curses people with a fear of confronting the authorities, a tendency to report on each other, penalties when opposing the local overlord, a longing to return to the city if they depart, and so on… it is an unmatched tool of tyranny. If it curses the citizenry with an inability to rise as undead, penalties on saves against feeling compassion for orphaned and abandoned children, a dislike for using lighting systems in the city other than nice, safe, Continual Flames, penalties when stealing or defrauding each other, an inability to successfully cast a dozen nasty spells, and so on… it can go a long ways towards making the city a wonderful (if still rather restrictive) place to live.

Reliquaries (The Practical Enchanter) bestow a wisdom bonus on their caretaker and a limited amount of clerical spellcasting on anyone of the appropriate faith who prays at the reliquary for an hour provided that their wisdom would be high enough to get a bonus spell of the appropriate level if they were divine spellcasters in the first place. Unfortunately, only one worshiper per hour can benefit in this fashion and any unused spells fade away again in twenty-four hours. Minor Reliquaries (11,400 GP) provide a +4 and one spell each of levels 0-4 at caster level nine. Major (17,000 GP) Reliquaries provide a +6 and one spell each of levels 0-6 at caster level thirteen. Great (31,000 GP) Reliquaries provide a +8 and one spell each of levels 0-8 at caster level seventeen. .No holy city should go without a Reliquary!

A City Father is a shrine dedicated to the founders of the city, usually containing a statue of a dignified, elderly, man, woman, or group, heroically digging foundations or signing a charter or some such thing. So long as the people of the city remember and respect their founders the shrine serves as a focus for their massed power – and is capable of manifesting a marvelous variety of effects to enhance and defend the city and to aid it’s inhabitants. A City Father can hold back floods, snuff out raging fires, destroy hordes of undead, and more. Sadly, City Fathers are relatively slow to act, requiring at least two (and sometimes up to four) minutes to respond to any emergency.

  • City Father: Rank-9 Sapient Item, Chr 24, Int 18, Wis 10 (16,800 GP Base).
    • Base BAB and Base Saves both equal (Rank).
    • Speech and telepathy in Common and four bonus languages, reads all languages and magic.
    • Vision, darkvision, blindsense, and hearing out to 120′.
    • 54 Skill Points: Normally Diplomacy +17 (+23 with Glamour), Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering +16, Perception +12 (+18 if it has The Inner Eye), Sense Motive +12 (+18 if it has The Inner Eye), Specific Knowledges (1 SP Each): Patterns for Armor, Patterns for Weapons, the City Itself, Local Resources and Hazards, Local Religions, and the People of the City.
  • Feats
    • Material Link. This allows the City Father to remain linked with the Shrine which is, in effect, it’s body.
    • Hedge Wizardry (psychic version). In general, 1 Power for a L1 effect, 3 Power for a L2 effect. In conjunction with Battle Magic a City Father can use “Umbrella” to repel a massive flood, “Light” to illuminate the entire city, “Child Ward” to protect all the children in the city, “Hearthfire” to eliminate the need for fuel throughout the city, or “Spring Cleaning” to clean and straighten the place.
    • Witchcraft II (Save DC 20): A City Father may use Glamour (usually used to broadcast news to the inhabitants or to give directions in emergencies), Healing (used to eliminate parasites, diseases, slimes, and similar problems), Hyloka (often used to help the inhabitants resist heat or cold or to ease ailments such as arthritis) and Witchfire.(used to snuff out large fires, create energy barriers around the city in emergencies, and freshen things up).
  • Four Pacts: Guardianship (the city), Duties (assist and advise the local government), Exclusion (uses witchcraft only), and Taboos (a list of things that are bad for the host city). These pay for…
    • Battle “Magic”, Specialized for Increased Effect / does not require aides, but is only usable within the city it is placed in.
    • Hag-Riding, Specialized for Increased Effect / the user gains 2 power per point of attribute damage inflicted, and may thus gain 1 power from any willing individual without harm. Corrupted for increased effect (need not be actively applied within the city) / may only take one power per target. In combination with Battle “Magic” (psychic powers) this effectively gives the City Father a daily reserve of one point of Power per person in the city.
    • Light of Truth, Specialized for double effect / only works against Undead OR Evil Outsiders, not both at once, and cannot affect other characters at all. This allows the City Father to do 6d8 damage to every Undead OR Evil Outsider in the city (not both at once).
    • Nightforge: This is used to create adamantine barriers, divert avalanches, or to instantly equip the militia with adamantine arms and armor.
  • A City Father rarely has – or needs – all that many other powers. That doesn’t mean that it can’t have some. Any Primary Powers are invariably more Witchcraft Feats.
  • Primary Powers (Up to Five):
    • Feat (6000 GP): Witchcraft III, adding The Adamant Will, Shadowweave,and The Inner Eye to the City Father’s list of abilities.
    • Feat (6000 GP): Spirits of the Deep, Specialized/only to induce a particular lycanthropic template suited to the general alignment of the city population. A City Father with this power can, in an emergency, imbue its citizens with the strength and ferocity of wild beasts.
    • Feat (6000 GP): True Prosperity. A City Father can selectively induce fertility, growth, and health throughout it’s domain.
    • Feat (6000 GP): The Dark Flame. The City Fathers Charisma increases to 30, and the DC of saving against it’s powers increases to 23.
    • Feat (6000 GP): Warding: The City Father shares it’s defenses (primarily it’s +9 base on Saves) with the residents of it’s city. Any further defenses will also be shared (see below). Since this must be renewed every ten minutes, it will take up a fair chunk of the City Father’s time to maintain it.
  • Extraordinary Powers (Up to Three):
    • Advanced Intelligence (25,000 GP): Provides 18 CP, (Int Mod x 2) Skill Points, and an extra (1d6 + Cha Mod) Hit Points (not that this matters much to a structure). This can be taken twice, but no more. If a sapient item gains character levels (through leadership or by being given XP) the first instance of this power does not count, but a second counts as a +1 ECL modifier on the item. In either case, whatever was purchased is treated as a racial ability. In this case the points are going to a Supplemental Innate Enchantment package to go with Warding: Innate Enchantment: +4 Force Armor (2000 GP), +4 Force Shield (2000 GP), Protection from Evil (2000 GP), Fortune’s Favor (+1 Luck bonus to AC and Saves, 2000 GP), Sidestep I (+1 Competence Bonus on Saves, 2000 GP), Resistance (+1 Resistance Bonus on Saves, 1000 GP), Immortal Vigor (+12 + 2 x Con Mod) HP, 2000 GP), and Hide Like Ox (+1 Natural Armor, 2000 GP) (Net 16 CP), plus Immunity to the XP Cost (1 CP) and a Contact (whatever mortal runs the city, 1 CP). Spend the 8 skill points on anything you like – but this means that the cities inhabitants will save at +12, get a base effective AC of 20 plus any dex bonuses, get some extra hit points, and have Protection from Evil going all the time. This will make it a great deal harder to mess with them.

Honestly, a City Father doesn’t NEED any more powers. It should be able to handle major natural disasters, small invasions, plagues of minor undead, and horrendous plagues, all by itself. It can keep the citizenry informed, offer them massive defenses, and help keep them comfortable. What else could you ask for?

Base Cost: 71,800 GP. X.5 (Immobile) = 35,900 GP. I’ll call it 36,000. I also probably wouldn’t go for that Awesome Power – eliminating an absurd set of bonuses and reducing the cost to 23,400 GP (I’d call it 24,000 GP).

A City Father is basically a dedicated guiding consciousness with a wide variety of powers that – while not actually incredibly potent (outside, perhaps, of handing out temporary lycanthropy) – operate on a massive scale. That alone is enough to make a City Father an incredibly useful and important element of any city.

5 Responses

  1. It recently occurred to me to ask to what extent a local government might be inclined to subsidize magic items for characters that work for it?

    While most NPC government workers wouldn’t need that many magic items to begin with, those with combat-related professions likely would, such as city guards. While armies don’t make that much sense under the d20 System’s assumptions (as higher-level characters can effectively overpower large numbers of lower-level ones), a lot of places still seem to have them, particularly if there’s a concern about covering large amounts of territory and subjugating a large but geographically diverse number of low-level creatures. So the idea of outfitting a police/military/similar force doesn’t seem to be entirely meritless. From the Romans to today, most militaries don’t expect you to bring your own gear.

    The issue with this is that it seems to run up against the underlying presumptions of the d20 System, which is that wealth (at least insofar as the gear value of items is concerned) is a measurement of personal power, emphasis on “personal.” Having gear loaned out to you by the state throws that out of whack. If a rich government is invading a culture where most everyone knows some low-level spell effects, then it might make sense for them to equip all of their soldiers with a +1 breastplate of spell resistance (19), but each of those costs 36,750 gp, which is far and away more than an army of 3rd-level NPCs should be able to individually afford.

    The compromise would seem to be that your wealth-by-level value would presumably cover subsidized gear (e.g. that lower-level characters are given very much because they’re not very valuable individuals), and that the issue of that being “subsidized” rather than personal is little more than flavor text that never actually comes into play. The problem is that this still necessarily runs up into metagame limits on the equipment that a government-sponsored force (under this idea) would have, rather than taking into account a verisimilitude-based accounting of what would actually be most useful for them and what would be plausible for the government to be able/inclined to invest in their troops. (Having an Eclipse-based answer, such as taking Major Privilege/government-sponsored gear, helps to reduce this down to the cost of a feat or so, but simply moves the cost to CP rather than gp.)

    Overall, there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to this, besides saying that such funds would be better spent elsewhere.

    • I forgot to note this, but the two links down below should cover that – since, as so often happens, the response got far too long for a comment.

  2. […] about the cheap options using Magical Businesses? A Shrine of War can maintain 1200 +5 enchantments for a mere 36,000 GP – 30 GP per weapon. […]

  3. […] Businesses (from the Industrial Wrights and Magic series Part IV) fit this slot very nicely indeed. This does shift the balance of power a bit – but the […]

  4. […] Of Cthughu: Dark Rampart (5200 GP after the Abundant Magic modifier). Undead cannot be created within several miles of the […]

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