I'm looking to create a new culture in my current campaign that lives in what I'll call a common-magic area (for whatever reason, in my case a McGuffin, there's heaps of magic), and I want to reflect this by letting all NPCs have a small amount of spellcasting, since they've been exposed since birth to the magic around this place. I'm not sure yet how this will influence the culture, although it should still be medieval in tone (so there will still be farmers and herders as well as knights, nobles and kings but no magic trains).

I'm going to use a different magic system (something nice and simple, but homebrewed) to drive home to the players how different the area is, and to have a different flavour. So, what are some good sources for settings, not systems that are adaptable to a (fairly simple, if possible) homebrew system, so I can see some potential impacts on the area. RPG systems or supplements are good as long as they include a setting, with examples on how life is different there. Any pointers to fantasy books/series would also be welcome.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In America there is football EVERYWHERE, but most people don't play it. \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Feb 25, 2014 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


Tamriel, The Elder Scrolls

The continent of Tamriel in which The Elder Scrolls games take place is a focal point of magic, and it pervades the landscape. Basic magic (creating a small light, a spark of fire sufficient to light a candle, etc.) are fairly common even among the uneducated.

However, these facets of Tamriel are not always well-depicted in the games. It’s fairly rare to see peasant farmers actually use the magic they supposedly have. The Elder Scrolls games all simulate the continent of Tamriel to greater or lesser extent, and in a lot of cases, what is seen in game does not really match what the games’ lore says. Sometimes this is because the lore is described through imperfect narrators who can certainly be wrong, and other times it’s because of the limitations of the technology, budget, or even what the developers consider fun.

But if you read the lore itself, and assume the greater amount of it is accurate even if it’s not backed up by the games per se, you can see a rather common-magic setting, and it’s pretty cool. The best resource for Elder Scrolls lore is The Imperial Library. Unfortunately, I do not have a list handy of references to how life works with respect to its common magic.

Eberron, Dungeons & Dragons

Eberron is suffused with magic, and as a Dungeons & Dragons setting, there’s a ton of detail out there specifically designed to be used with a tabletop RPG. In Eberron’s case, the common-ness of magic means it has been studied and applied much as scientific principles have been studied in the real world. Thus you get things like the lightning rail (maglev trains based on electricity magic), airships (bound air and fire elementals provide buoyancy and thrust), identification papers (marked with arcane seal to prevent forgery), and so on.

Eberron is a very much “magitech” world, with more than a little inspiration from steampunk and the like. In my mind, it represents a fairly logically-consistent way to handle common magic, because if these spells are available, they should be put to more uses than just clearing out dungeons. Eberron actually does that, unlike a lot of settings (for example, no one in Tamriel has thought to enchant a sealed box with frost magic to make a freezer, and the games do describe problems with food spoilage and the like).

Tippyverse, Dungeons & Dragons homebrew

Emperor Tippy is a poster at a few D&D forums, and he has created the notorious Tippyverse campaign setting, based primarily on the idea that if the Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 game rules, as written, exist as the fundamental physical laws of reality, and there exists enough time, people, and magic in the setting to actually study and use all of them, the Tippyverse is what you get (this argument is extremely controversial, of course). Regardless of whether or not you buy the Tippyverse as the strict logical consequence of 3.5’s rules, the setting is fairly well described and certainly counts as having both extremely common and extremely powerful magic.

The Tippyverse is a largely post-scarcity economy fueled by self-resetting magical traps of things like create food & water and remove disease, plus infinite wish loops to power everything. It’s certainly a unique environment, but ultimately the magic is so powerful that it becomes difficult to justify actual problems – almost everything can be solved quickly and easily by simply casting the appropriate spells, which are almost certainly available in abundance.

But it can still give you some pretty cool ideas. Eberron, in a lot of ways, can be thought of as a setting similar to the Tippyverse, except without the most abusive rule loopholes (e.g. self-resetting beneficial magic traps) and without the high-level spells (humans in Khorvaire, Eberron’s primary continent, mostly max out around level 10 of the potential 20+, and anything about 5 or so is pretty rare).

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for Eberron, 'advanced' MagiTech can just be downgraded or trimmed out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Squish
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:04

Glorantha is a magic-rich world in which normal folks such as herders and farmers have day-to-day magic, and there are multiple magical disciplines upon which to draw. The world is most closely associated with RuneQuest and HeroQuest, but the most recent game world materials are essentially system agnostic.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Spirit Magic / Battle Magic rules that appeared in RuneQuest are a good example of "everyone has magic" implemented in the rules and character generation. Pretty much all adventurers would have a couple of spells memorized, even PCs with very low POW could benefit. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20, 2014 at 13:06

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