The level of technology and civilization in Faerûn seems similar to early modern Europe just before the industrial revolution. However, there is strong magic in the setting. There are some powerful city-states who can certainly afford the services of powerful wizards, so why is the transportation system so undeveloped? It is basically limited to sailing ships on water, and long walks or slow, ox-driven carriages on muddy and unkept roads. Not that there would be no need for it, there is trade between the major cities, but it is still done the slow and tedious way (weeks spent traveling by cart).

If there is powerful enough magic to change the weather, teleport, summon matter from nothing, why is the transportation system so undeveloped? What stands in the way of making "magitech" trains, aircraft, or just hire a wizard to teleport a vehicle to the destination town?


Amongst other reasons, the culture of Faerûn has developed in and supports a more-or-less feudal system. It's basically never in the local lord's interest to increase the mobility of the populace.

Peasants that can easily (and safely - the wilderness is full of danger) travel from place to place might decide to migrate to somewhere with lower taxes, less political oppression, or even better weather.

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    It could have been limited to merchants and the military, and either not available or too expensive for peasants. However, it still sounds reasonable. And it points out a difference between the society of Faerûn and that of Europe from an equivalent time period: In Faerûn as far as I have seen, the towns are also led by barons. In the real world, the nobility owned villages and led the military, while the towns were led by elected leaders of the guilds. I'm pretty sure the Hanseatic League would have employed wizards to help in easy and fast travel for their merchants, were they available. – vsz Dec 20 '12 at 7:13

Part of this is because High level magic is something available to only a select few (one in a million people?) think about how rare a level 17 wizard would be. They could only mass teleport once a day without expending resources on scrolls? Their whole life would be dedicated to teleporting lesser creatures and things?

Ask yourself, a creature with a minimum of 17 intelligence, that has studied the most ancient teachings of the universe of faerun, is going to dedicate it's life to transporting what he/she could only consider to be lesser mortals around for mere currency?

Answer what motivation a high level wizard would have to perform something like that, and you will discover why transportation systems don't exist.

Plus the magical restrictions on what is able to be teleported makes a legitimate constraint on the amount of weight that can be moved. A level 12 wizard can only teleport 4 other medium sized creatures... a handful of times per day.

Another thing to consider is Wizards have to study a spell book and imprint the arcane writings in their mind, EVERY MORNING (if the spell was expended the previous day) would you WANT to remember 12 pages of the same spell every day of your life?

Variety is the spice of life and their just isn't much motivating wizards to participate in a mass transit system.

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