Except adventurers, obviously … Karameikos is the first campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), and the setting in which my new skype campaign occurs. Karameikos is described in the TSR supplement The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, which gives information about the major towns of the region and the major personalities living in them.

This book makes clear that the major town in Karameikos is Specularum, a town of 50,000 people that may have grown significantly in recent times. It also identifies at least two major high level clerics in this town: Olliver Jowett, an 18th level Cleric, and Aleksyev Nikelnevich, an 11th level Cleric. There are other powerful clerics described in the book but their location is not specified. Olliver and Aleksyev’s stats are given in the book, and they both have Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Disease and Raise Dead memorized, though Olliver could memorize 4x Raise Dead if he really wanted.

I have previously posted here about post-scarcity fantasy, and how it would be extremely cost-effective for clerics in the middle ages to intervene in child birth to save lives. I previously used the AD&D rule book to establish populations of Clerics, but now I have access to the ultimate Canonical text, a definitive world description from the original rules. What are the implications of this world description for my theories about post-scarcity fantasy?

First of all, let us gather some statistics. It’s impossible to know the true birth and death rates in the middle ages, but there are estimates from 17th century Britain that give birth rates of about 30 per 1000 population, and death rates of about 25 per 1000 population. Based on these, we can expect about 3.5 deaths per day, and about 4 births per day, some of which will be of high risk to the mother.

Based on the presence of just Olliver and Aleksyev in Specularum, we can expect that 2 of these 3.5 deaths could be prevented every day by simply walking over to the place they occurred and casting Raise Dead. If we assume that at least 2 of these deaths are caused by disease – a not unreasonable assumption in the middle ages – then two more deaths could be prevented by application of the Cure Disease spell.

Just these two clerics could ensure that no one ever died in Specularum.

They could improve their job by using the Commune spell to learn some basic techniques to improve childbirth and medical procedures. “Why do women die in childbirth” would be a very useful commune question – Olliver can ask one question a day. Presumably once in a year he could get around to this question. Olliver has a 4th level assistant with Cure Light Wounds who could attend 2 births every day and cast this spell to prevent major injuries (ordinary commoners have 1d6 hit points so presumably this spell would completely reverse the damage done on them and/or their children). This would occasionally prevent the need for Raise Dead spells, though between them Olliver and Aleksyenev have enough Raise Dead spells to simply negate every death in the town.

It seems pretty clear to me that based on the canonical textbook, there is no death in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. The only people who die in Dungeons and Dragons are adventurers – we toil in the depths, risking our lives every moment, while overhead a utopian society pursues its life of perfect peace and eternal harmony.

Why are we doing this again?