A staple of many games is the existence of random encounters - while traveling from point A to point B, the heroes are attack by bandits/wild animals/monsters/whatever. When defeated, the enemies will often have some kind of loot that the heroes can take with them. How would random encounters affect the socioeconomic development of society?
For the purposes of this question, assume the following:
- Fantasy world with monsters and magic
- Creatures pop into existence due to some sort of background magical field
- Once they've popped into existence, they stay until they die
- People can't pop into existence in this way
- At death, the magic that created the creature will sometimes coalesce into a different persistent physical form (loot!)
- Loot may or may not make sense but is consistent. For example, a wolf corpse might rarely become a pair of bronze gauntlets, but most of the time you'd just be able to get a pelt and meat from it.
- The strength of the background magical field varies from place to place and is fairly stable. Changes can happen, but only gradually - it takes centuries for a significant change to happen.
- Where the field is stronger, encounters will be more common and the creatures will be more magical
- More magical often means stronger and more dangerous, but also better loot
- Creatures are subject to normal things like hunger, aging and disease
- Normal animals that pop into existence like this would behave normally, i.e a magically spawned wolf might find a pack of natural wolves and live a normal wolf life.
- If they interbreed, the offspring would be slightly magical normal animals.
- The magical field somehow resonates with sentience, so random encounters are very unlikely except for humans
- Rabbits aren't going to go extinct because of wolves popping into existence around them
- Traveling as a group doesn't make encounters more common, and the rate is pretty much the same for each individual.
- Encounters are fairly uncommon - a couple times a day is typical in areas where the field is weak, with 4-5 times that being typical in areas where it is very strong
- Villages and cities aren't plagued by random encounters - whether it is due to the nature of the magical field or some handwavium monolith in the town square, encounters don't happen inside them
- People present when a magical creature is killed will absorb some of the magic, allowing them to grow stronger over time
- We'll rule out getting ridiculously strong, such as wizards who casually throw around nuke-strength fireballs.
- Dungeons, with more creatures and more loot, exist
- All of this has been the case for quite a while, so we're not talking about what would happen if this suddenly became the case today
As an example of how this could be interesting, consider the stereotypical bandit of games with random encounters - why would they exist at all, to say nothing of how ubiquitous tend to be? I imagine that few people get into banditry just for the fun of it, and being able to go out and kill some monsters for loot would mean people likely wouldn't have to resort to it. Additionally, the safety of a town would be a strong incentive to not do stuff that gets you kicked out of it.
To restate the question, How would society develop in this world? What would be the biggest ways in which it is different from how it has developed in our world?