Back around the year 2000, Wizards of the Coast released the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Here’s a passage from the Dungeon Master’s Guide discussing how common the game rules assume magic is in a campaign world: “Spellcasters may be fairly rare in the big picture, but they’re common enough that when Uncle Rufus falls off the back of the wagon, [common people] could take him to the temple to have the priests heal the wound (although the average peasant probably couldn’t afford the price.)” I remember reaching that sentence and stopping for a minute, puzzled why presumably–good-aligned clerics would be charging peasants for healing which, in the game, is effectively a renewable resource. And the only conclusion I could come to was that this was a function of the book being written by Americans, who were used to a for-profit medical system. As a Canadian, I’ve lived my whole life not having to pay for, basically, healing. So what I’d found was an artifact of a specific political sensibility; the authors weren’t aware of it, but it left me as a reader briefly confused.Of course, we could still claim the patients or their family do not have to "pay" the Clerics but that they are supposed to give freely a kind of tithe or ex voto offering to the Temple (it's the same with the Chalanna Arroy in Glorantha.
I’m not necessarily saying the authors would have been better to have a different example — though, if they were looking for sales outside of the US, maybe they would have, and then also maybe the logic of the game should have led them to wonder why priests charge money. My point is that I suspect this was something that was invisible to the writers. I think it was a blind spot that they didn’t know existed, and I think that sort of thing is always going to happen. There’s always going to be, let’s say, the ideology writers don’t see.
Spells Through The Ages – Magic Mouth - [image: Dwarves on hobbit on stairwell react to mouth on pillar] An entity which is nothing but a BIG MOUTH. Is it only hot air? Or can it still pose a dist...
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