The Cold War was actually the biggest LARP in history as Russia, the US, etc., engaged in a massive homebrew campaign that inspired Paizo's "Kingmaker." Computers were made to handle dice rolling.I read that as "We owe so much to military D&D"...
We certainly do, we certainly do.
The current Iron Kingdoms RPG scaled magic back from the d20 days. When asked why there's not much mundane but useful items in the setting currently, Doug Seacat noted:In D&D's defence, it might be because they expect 99% of games to involve magic killing / blowing up / summoning / healing, not say making it rain during a drought for a farmer, producing everlasting fire for a blacksmith's forge, creating a magical quill which never needed ink or a nifty spell which instantly cleans & irons your clothes. It could be argued that such 'mundane, but useful' uses of magic do exist, but are simply not listed.
There are definitely purely magical items still being produced, there are just incentives not to do so in any bulk or regularity. The Fraternal Order of Wizardry in particular is a group that still has expertise in magical item creation (and certain feats geared toward reducing the penalties with such, with more likely if we ever get the chance to delve into them in greater detail). Similarly, religious organizations like the very large, pervasive and powerful Church of Morrow and the various Temples of Menoth would be creating regular magic items for notable members of their faithful.
The main thing is every such magic item was probably created for a specific reason, individual, and purpose. For example, say the military commissions the Fraternal Order to enchant a firearm as a special gift of recognition to an honored officer for particularly commendable and lengthy service. The cost to produce them is usually much higher than their actual value in terms of practical use (something which unfortunately is difficult to represent given the way item creation and market cost are so tightly related in the rules; this is one reason we added the risk of HP loss when making these items). In the case of a commission like I mentioned, the wizard enchanting such a firearm would probably demand a much higher price from the military for this commission than the item's materials and production cost would ordinarily warrant. So the production of such firearms would be considered extravagant and limited to special cases, rather than being widely distributed.
The nice thing is that most items will outlast their original purpose and owner and therefore can sometimes fall into other hands, which can serve as a special sort of treasure for adventurers to encounter. So long as any given item has an applicable background and these items remain relatively rare, there is really no contradiction in having the occasional true magic item. True enchantment still has certain benefits over mechanika to the user, just carrying an associated (and sometimes unacceptable) risk to the person (or persons) fabricating them.
And this gets back to the origin/nature of magic mattering in the fiction. IKRPG's non-divine human magic isn't believed to be from an amoral source, which is different than D&D.Menoth had nothing to do with the Gift, and the emergence of arcane magic among humanity is considered one of the signs of the so-called "Betrayal of the Twins." The first slight leniency shown by Menites regarding arcane magic was the incorporation of steamjacks into the Protectorate military structure after the Civil War and later the establishment of the Vassals of Menoth, considered a pragmatic necessity to allow the Menites to fight on even footing with their enemies.
That Infernals were likely involved in "The Gift" has been a known supposition for some time, although the specifics have not been well known outside of the original Circle of the Oath and certain tight-lipped Thamarite organizations. But this is one reason for the attempt by certain later wizard orders to "redeem" their power through good works and dedication. This is one of the fundamental precepts of the Order of Illumination.
Consider the quote on p. 300 of the IKCG, by Severin Copernicum, Founder of the Order of Illumination: "Our powers were granted in the bleakest hour, by the darkest of powers. It falls to us to bring light from that darkness, and promote the spark of knowledge rather than the fires of damnation."
A little token that could cast prestidigitation at will would do amazing things for people's quality of life. In a game that wasn't mechanically centered around violence it would probably be considered overpowered. Continual flame is also really neat from a infrastructural position as all of a sudden you don't need dozens of flames everywhere for people to do things at night.In D&D's defence, it might be because they expect 99% of games to involve magic killing / blowing up / summoning / healing, not say making it rain during a drought for a farmer, producing everlasting fire for a blacksmith's forge, creating a magical quill which never needed ink or a nifty spell which instantly cleans & irons your clothes. It could be argued that such 'mundane, but useful' uses of magic do exist, but are simply not listed.
Social technology is also technology.- I am differentiating between between 'looking different' and 'being fundamentally different'; generally, many innovations were in training, not kit - the Roman Legions were so successful not because they were better-kitted [though it was pretty good], but they had scale, uniformity in kit and discipline.
Gunpowder troops were a secondary element in the Spanish Tercios (or even tertiary in early days), which were very much formed a powerful national army. And of course the Roman Legions obviously weren't built on gunpowder.- I would argue that gunpowder made national armies possible. They are easier to train than archers or mounted knights [years to train a longbowman, for example], and cheaper than the latter [all that plate armour]. Yet, the manufacture of muskets and powder was sufficiently complex it could only be done by larger powers - normally only the King.