Industrial Wrights and Magic V – Miscellany, Flying Ships, and the Price Chart

Today it’s a grab bag: a couple more city magic items and a convenient price chart.

Light of Revelation: This radiance of this mighty beacon exerts a powerful influence over the people of the city – revealing the presence of infiltrating monsters and many other menaces.

  • Know Bloodline (L3), Citywide (+7), 7+ Levels of Built In Metamagic (-3) = Level Seven. This effect reveals the basic ancestry of everyone in the city, including their type, race, subrace, and all subtypes they possess. Spell Resistance and a Will save at DC 20 both apply to his effect.
  • Arcane Mark (L0), Citywide (+7), Targeting (+3), 7+ Levels of Built In Metamagic (-3) = Level Seven. This effect “tags” each resident with trivial – but revealing to the knowledgeable – signs of their basic ancenstry, type, race, subrace, and all subtypes they possess. As a rule, the city guard and many random citizens will be able to read such indications with ease. Spell resistance and saves do not apply against this effect if the Know Bloodline effect succeeds. Such signs will persist for a month, regardless of most attempts to disguise them.
  • Both spells Spell Level Seven x Caster Level Thirteen x 1800 GP for Unlimited-Use Command Word Activation x .5 (Immobile) x .2 (one use per day) = 16,380 GP each, or a total of 32,760 GP.

Technically this should go off at a particular time each day, although it would have to be varied to avoid having infiltrators routinely stepping out to avoid it. I’d tend to just have everyone in the city save at dawn, and anyone who enters it later save then.

Healing Spring: A Healing Spring (or shrine, sepulcher, or any of several other immobile sacred items) can pretty much heal anything, without any reasonable limit. About the only thing that it can’t fix is Death.

For maximum efficiency, we’ll want to use Mass Heal, and pack as many people into the 15 foot radius as we possibly can. While I think I’ll refrain from racking them up to take advantage of the fact that the effect is spherical, we aren’t limited to one person per 5′ square. Per the SRD…

Moving Around In Squares: In general, when the characters aren’t engaged in round-by-round combat, they should be able to move anywhere and in any manner that you can imagine real people could. A 5-foot square, for instance, can hold several characters; they just can’t all fight effectively in that small space. The rules for movement are important for combat, but outside combat they can impose unnecessary hindrances on character activities.

So that gives us… 707 square feet, at four people per 5 x 5 square each takes up 6.25 square feet, so that gives us room for 112 people. Lets call it 100.

To make it a little more elegant… I’ll use the Sub-dividable Charge modifier, along with the Ambient Magic Limitation (it takes at least one minute of contact with the waters to receive healing), but toss in +1 level of the Amplify Metamagical Theorem to add a few more conditions to the (already long) list of what Heal will fix. In this case that will be Crippled (lost limbs, damaged organs, birth defects, and similar), Negative Levels, Attribute Drain and Damage, Petrification, Mind Control, Cursed, and similar problems (see: Break Enchantment).

  • (Spell Level 10 (Augmented Mass Heal) -1 level for Arcanum Minimus) x Caster Level 17 x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Immobile) x .4 (One daily subdividable charge) x .5 (benefeciaries must worship the patron deity, although as a member of a pantheon is acceptable) = 30,600 GP.

That will suffice to heal a total of 17,000 points of damage and one hundred cases of each condition that our augmented heal effect will work on each day – which should be far more than enough.

Thresholds: Palatial Extra-dimensional Mansions make wonderfully secure locations for guilds, city councils, merchant houses, and similar very important people – as well as saving space in a crowded city. This is still an expensive option, but you can purchase an immobile version of the Rod of Residence – a Threshold – for a mere 19,500 GP. Given that such a space is protected against all normal intrusions, disasters, and invasions, comes fully furnished, is automatically supplied with food and household items, has a huge built-in “staff”, prevents aging within it, and doubles all natural, magical, and psionic healing within itself, it’s hard to see why anyone who can afford it would want to live anywhere else. .

While these aren’t necessarily items that a city will want to purchase, the wealthy and powerful within a city are virtually certain to pool their funds and buy a few. Even if they only sleep and eat breakfast there they can potentially add many years to their lives for a few thousand gold pieces.

City Stores are the immobile version of a Supply Pouch – and are often a major source of city revenue. Only the Daily (750 GP worth of supplies per day, usually making a profit of about 150 GP, for 8225 GP) or Epic (2250 GP worth of supplies per day, usually making a profit of about 450 GP/Day, 16,500 GP) are worth considering. A City Store is the most generic possible source of materials and supplies for a city, and so a certain amount of it’s potential value is usually held in reserve through the day, before being disbursed to charity shortly before the “stocks” will be renewed.

Flying Ships aren’t strictly city magic items, but they are always popular – and do have a major advantage over City Gates in that they can go anywhere.

  • The quick way is simple; take a Cutter (1000 GP) or Keelboat (3000 GP), give it a +2 Bonus to Profession; Sailor (+400 GP), and make it Intelligent and give it the Flight item power (+10,500 GP). Of course, your movement rate is only 30′, but you have a flying ship for 12,000 to 14,000 GP. If you want to go faster… Give it unlimited Personal Haste (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (only for the use of the item, only for going faster) = +1000 GP) and now you’re going at 60′ (12 MPH). If you want to store the thing easily… use a Folding Boat as a base for it and skip the skill bonus since it’s already a permanent magic item – although this increases your base cost to 17,700 GP, If you really want convenience add the functions of a Portable Hole (+20,000 GP); that means that you won’t have to put away your magical lab, offload cargo or supplies, or much of anything else (except, perhaps, bulk cargo).
  • To go faster still… add a Wind Sheathe (Gust of Wind, +3 Levels of Area, -1 level for three or more levels of built-in Metamagic -1 level for Ambient Magic Limitation = L3) x CL 5 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (only provides a tailwind (which no one aboard will really feel) to effectively raise the speed of flying things, the wind takes one minute to achieve full speed) = 15,000 GP. A Wind Sheathe adds +50 MPH to the air speed of any flying vessel, or single flying Colossal or Gargantuan flying creature. Smaller creatures flying in groups can also be affected; a Wind Sheathe can assist two huge, four large, eight man-sized, sixteen small, and any reasonable number of smaller creatures at the same time. A Wind Sheathe will get your speed up to 62 MPH – although I wouldn’t try to make any sharp turns. It will, however, be comfortable: since the wind is traveling at almost the same speed that the ship is, you can move around on the deck without being blown off.

To build a flying ship more directly we want two basic effects; Lift and Propulsion. Fortunately, neither is all that complicated:

  • Extended Levitation (with +1 level of Improved Duration, 10 minutes/level): Spell Level Three x Caster Level Five x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Only works for the enchanted vessel itself) x.5 (Utilitarian) = 7500 GP for 12.5 tons. 15,000 GP for 50 tons, 22,500 for 112.5 Tons, and 30,000 for 200 Tons. This is only a good deal on the lower end.
  • Grand Levitation (+3 Levels of Improved Duration (one day), -1 level for three or more levels of built-in metamagic), Spell Level Four x Caster Level Seven x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .5 (Only works for the enchanted vessel itself) x,5 (Utilitarian) = 14,000 GP for up to 5000 Tons. Since the duration is fixed at one day, it’s not worth worrying about increasing the caster level. As a general rule… this is more than enough mass for any reasonable d20 ship.
  • Suspension (Shining South) lasts 1-4 days plus one day per level, lifts up to 1000 Lb/level, and is a touch effect. At caster level seven you get an average of 136,800 running at any one time. Even leaving a considerable safety margin that’s 450,000 Tons for 14,000 GP. At caster level twenty, that’s better than three million tons for 40,000 GP – or up to 160,000 GP if the GM disallows the “only for the vessel itself” or the “utilitarian” modifiers on this one. Personally, I’d disallow the “only on the vessel itself” one; once you are capable of lifting thirty fully loaded aircraft carriers for people to stand on, whether or not you can affect something directly is something of a moot point.

Propulsion is another matter. An Unseen Servant can hold 20 Lbs against gravity. While trying to mix physics and magic is always iffy, that’s pretty much the definition (“enough force to support 20 pounds against gravity”) of twenty pounds of thrust. Our reference frame is enclosed in the vehicle, so we don’t have to worry about “movement speed” any more than a wizard has to consider the (likely) rotation of the planet when throwing Unseen Servant in a town square. So that means that a dedicated Phantom Mill (1000 GP) inside a vessel can provide 12,000 pounds of thrust. Lets say that our floating ship – however weightless – masses 60 tons. That gives us 1/10’th of a gravity of acceleration (3.2 feet per second), The calculation is horribly vague, but for a rough approximation… if our ship has a terminal velocity of 200 MPH, .1 G can drive it at about 90 MPH in the atmosphere. It will take about ten turns to reach that speed – or to stop. It would be wise to go slowly if you want to maneuver much. Given that the drag is related to the cube of the speed, but reduced by falling pressure… “Cruising Speed” at high altitude might be 100 MPH. Adding more “engines” will not, however, multiply that speed; you’d need eight to double it.

Of course if you leave the atmosphere… presuming you accelerate halfway and then spend the rest of the trip slowing down a .1 G constant-thrust drive that pretty much ignores gravity along the way will get you from the Earth to the Moon in less than a day, to Mars in about twelve days, to Jupiter in a little over a month, and to Pluto in a little over three months.

  • Build in a life support effect (you need to be able to provide heat (Fireblock, 180 GP and cold (Iceblock 180 GP), produce water (Perpetual Fountain 0, 250 GP), produce food (Provisions Box, 2000 GP), and produce air (as per a Perpetual Fountain, but using Produce Element and as a Conjure, 125 GP) and the local solar system is open at a net cost of +2750 GP.

Still, Flying Ships are rarely something cities buy; they’re of much greater interest to adventurers.

It’s worth noting that this list doesn’t contain short-range dimension-door gates or anything similar. There are a couple of reasons for that. On the mechanical side… d20 transport magic is usually designed for either quick escape – and so is short range and duration – or is designed for long-range travel. Perhaps even more importantly… settlements tend to be fairly densely packed in reality, and there’s no reason for them being in a dangerous d20 environment to change that. The classical rule-of-thumb for towns and cities was (Population/50,000) square miles.

For a d20 “Small City”… that’s one-fifth to one-half square miles. If the city is square, that’s about 2400 to 3750 feet square. You are very unlikely to be more than a modest fraction of a mile away from anywhere you might want to go. Cities which are actually large enough to HAVE a public transportation problem are also large enough to afford a Ward Major with the Non-Euclidean option (allowing for easy shortcuts) or some similar function to handle the issue.

While there are obviously plenty of other possible items for cities, I think that this series has covered most of the basics – so it’s time to compile a price chart.

City Enchantment Price Chart:

Water:

  • Perpetual Fountain: Supplies water for large numbers of people. I (600 people, 250 GP), II (2400 people, 500 GP), III (22,500 people, 3000 GP), IV (150,000 people, 14,000 GP). Variants reduce the effective type, but can produce other fluids.

Food:

  • Endless Sidebard (Sect Operated Version) with a Takeout Menu (8200 GP). Feeds 2000 people per day.
  • Perpetual Soup Fountain (2 Gallons/Round, 7500 GP). These can provide minimal rations – about 1500 calories – for nearly 30,000 people per day.
    Stores-Stone: Keeps vermin out of the stored food (50 GP).

Minor Conveniences:

  • Carcass Chute with Leathermaking and Preservation Modules: Instant butchering, tanning, and meat processing (875 GP).
  • Cleansing Fountain: Cleans an does minor repairs on items (62.5 GP)
  • Composting Chute: Handles waste disposal (250 GP).
  • Millshaft: Grinds grain for 3000 people (62.5 GP).

Raw Materials/Construction:

  • Automated City Building Package (35,000 GP). Mines, quarries, smelts, lumbers, ships materials around, and builds a city. Reusable.
  • Construction Wagon: Builds and repairs roads, walls, drains, and basic structures at a great rate – and at no further expense (10,000 GP).
  • Endless Lumberyard: Produces a constant supply of good-quality lumber (5000 GP).
  • Endless Skein: Produces a constant supply of fiber (250 GP).
  • Mining/Quarrying/Lumbering Operation: goes out and ships resources back to you (6400 GP, Fully Automated 14,000 GP)

Communications:

  • Owl Post: Sends messages and parcels to anywhere within a 60-mile radius (1000 GP).

Light:

  • Eternal Flame Brazier: Causes any item dipped into it to “ignite” with Continual Flame (3000 GP).

Transport/Trade:

  • Cabalistic Engine: Basically a dedicated Phantom Mill inside of, and driving, a box on wheels. Basically a 50 horsepower engine. Sometimes used to pull strings of wagons, trolleys, or similar (1000 GP).
  • City Gate: One Way Fixed Destination (another gate is needed to return). Maximum range of 700 Miles. Similar Planar Portals can be constructed at the same cost (14,000 GP).
  • Foundation Stone: transports vast masses of material at 4.5 MPH, I (30 Tons, 2000 GP), II (120 Tons, 4000 GP), III (270 Tons, 6000 GP), and IV (480 Tons, 8000 GP).

Industry:

  • Phantom Mill (Immobile, Specialized, 500 GP, Immobile OR Specialized 1000 GP, General Use 2000 GP), A Phantom Mill deploys some 600 Unseen Servants.

Security and Defense:

  • Bone Vault: Can inflict up to a dozen different city-wide curses with a wide variety of defensive and law-enforcement applications (6500 GP).
  • City Father: Provides a wide variety of defenses and services. Reasonable (24,000 GP), or with absurd benefits package (36,000 GP, usually disallowed).
  • Dark Rampart: Prevents undead from spawning within the city (6500 GP).
  • Light of Revelation: Makes sure that everyone can recognize the creatures who have gotten into the city (32,760 GP).
  • Skeptical Thinker: Provides city dwellers with Protection From Evil (28,000 GP).
  • Threshold: Provides a secure spot for VIP’s to live and meet (19,500 GP).

Religious Centers:

  • Healing Spring: Provides cast amounts of healing – of almost any possible condition (30,600 GP).
  • Planar Spire: Brings in Outsiders who are bound to protect and aid the city and it’s people. Lesser (CR 4, 35,000 GP), Standard (CR 5, 44,000 GP), Greater (CR 6, 58,000 GP), and Grand (CR 7, 86,500 GP).
  • Reliquaries: Minor Reliquaries (11,400 GP) provide a +4 Wisdom for their Caretaker and one spell each of levels 0-4 at caster level nine to any worshiper with sufficient wisdom, although this requires one hour. 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.

Universal:

  • City Stores: These provide all kinds of general supplies. 750 GP/Day (8225 GP), 2250 GP/Day (16,450 GP).
  • Ward Major. Wards Major create enchanted cities. As a rule, a settlement will want to apply the modifiers for a radius of one mile per ward level, control of the resulting features, and near-indestructibility – resulting in the following costs:
    • Type I: 40,000 GP. 1 Minor Power.
    • Type II: 60,000 GP. 2 Minor Powers
    • Type III: 70,000 GP. 3 Minor Powers
    • Type IV: 100,000 GP. 4 Minor Powers
    • Type V: 128,000 GP. 4 Minor and 1 Major Powers
    • Type VI: 220,000 GP. 4 Minor and 2 Major Powers
    • Type VII: 312,000 GP. 4 Minor and 3 Major Powers
    • Type VIII: 360,000 GP. 5 Minor and 3 Major Powers
    • Type IX: 8,000,000 GP. 5 Minor, 4 Major, and 1 Awesome Powers.
    • Type X: 1,200,000 GP. 5 Minor, 4 Major, and 2 Awesome Powers.
    • Type XI: 1,800,000 GP. 5 Minor, 4 Major, and 3 Awesome Powers.
    • Type XII: 2,560,000 GP. 6 Minor, 5 Major, and 4 Awesome Powers.

Wards may provide an immense variety of functions – which is why they have their own section in The Practical Enchanter. It is worth noting that no normal town will be able to afford a Type XII Ward Major – not, at least, without a special quality.

  • Wind Tower: (The Practical Enchanter). These offer near-complete control of the weather within a radius of twenty-four miles. In reality this would be so vital that merely listing the things it would affect would take many paragraphs. In d20 it is less vital, but still very useful.

Items such as a Brick Press or its variants (160 GP), a Lumberjack’s Axe (1400 GP), Mason’s Trowel (590 GP, times 2/3/4/5 for more advanced versions), Ring of Aesculapius (180 GP), Forgestaves and Icewands (900 GP), and Millstones tend to belong to individuals, rather than cities – and so do not appear on this chart.

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3 Responses

  1. There’s an interesting implication in all of this, that cities are the largest regions that can be directly administrated, essentially becoming a collection of city-states that only look after themselves and maybe the nearby areas (since food production can be magically managed inside a city).

    Given that large-scale armies are impractical, any small-scale powerful invaders seem like they’d be more likely to set up themselves as the new rulers (since they are, if they win, now the most powerful force in the area), which would run contradictory to forming larger political unions. Indeed, it seems like groupings larger than city-states would largely be due to trading (very iffy), or simple ethnic/racial, religious, or nationalistic identity…and even then, good luck trying to collect tax revenue.

    Is there any reasonable basis, in other words, for seeing things continue to scale up to a government that beyond that of a single city, no matter how large?

    • Sorry about the long delay there, but family emergencies took priority over games…

      Cities do actually need the countryside and wilderness very much indeed; functioning cities are simply are not good places to get experience points – yet replacing all those high-level types in the city calls for quite a lot of experience points. I’ll go into more detail later, but the basic notion is that “Wilderness” oriented characters make most of their XP from random animal encounters and such – which are common, but generally will not get you to really high levels – while the Cities will be centers that send out adventurers who are actively seeking out higher-end challenges when the small settlements call for assistance. Since suitable challenges get harder and harder to find as characters go up in level, the higher level characters in larger cities must extend the radius of their experience-farming to cover ever-larger areas if they hope to go up in level, raise replacements for themselves, and pay for making more stuff.

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