So, on a large (20-25 000 km^2) island, there is a lake, and in middle of that lake is a small lake-island, where there is a city of 9 thousand Skrits. These poor folks built their city on top of a magical "dungeon", a self-contained large magical space, filled, and more importantly, magically refilled with berries and prey animals every single day. Skrit are a fallen magical civilization, who due to divine curse not only lost their magic, but also had almost 90% of adult population die off in a matter of a single year around seven centuries ago...

Long story short, their society collapsed, most of their herritage was burried deeper in the dungeon where their original city was located, and magicless Skrit can't really access those ruins. They lost most of their former knowledge and became equivalent of mere early civilizations(5000-3000 BCE). Their clothes - intricate, but made of animal skins, with wooden and copper ornaments. Their tools and weapons - mostly stone, wood, and copper. Their houses - built of mudbricks and wood.

But compared to those civilizations of Earth, they still had a massive advantage - a dungeon - magical source of food that allowed them to only need 40-60% of dedicated adult population to feed the entire city. In the end, around 85-95% actually participates in hunting at least occasionally, but only 40% of people are full-time hunters. It is obvious that there will be some manufacturing jobs, but if I remember, most preindustrial civilizations needed 80-90% of people to be food makers, and had to do with only 10-20% of manufacturers, government officials, artists, teachers etc.

So, my question is, with so many free hands, how would leaders of my city put those unused hands to use?

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    $\begingroup$ What does BCA mean? (And there has never ever existed a city of which the principal food source was hunting, or a city where a whopping 40% of the adults were full time hunters. You may want to think about what is the purpose of a city; people don't just live in cramped quarters for the fun of it.) (And there has never ever existed a city where 80% of the inhabitants were food producers. Again, think about why the city exists, as opposed to the good life in the countryside.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 30, 2019 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP 1. It's a mistake, it was supposed to be BCE. 2. It's settlement around the entrance into that magic self-contained hunting space. They don't have farming (originally back when they were still magic civilization, farming fast-growing plants in the dungeon was a thing, but that requires some magic to prevent dungeon trying to "reset" itself). On the entire island, there are two dungeon-centric cities, but dozens of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs herding tribes. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2019 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ Cities in our world were specialized to be craft centres, but here, the only one who can buy their products from crafters apart from citizens are herding tribes, and those have only limited amount of things of value to offer, and city itself is quite self-sufficient foodwise because of the existence of the dungeon. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2019 at 22:36
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    $\begingroup$ :-) BCA is a magic term: Before Current Aura. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Dec 30, 2019 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ Do people know the source of the magic? Do they know that the dungeon is exceptional? Do they fear that the magic may fade? If so, I would assume they would spend a considerable amount of time devoted to rituals and practices to maintain the magical status and favor of the dungeon. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2019 at 23:23

3 Answers 3


Your incorrect assumption is that the leaders of the city make use of the population. They don't, the idea of building an economy and everyone being productive all the time comes out of the industrial revolution. All the leaders of the city care about is that the people pay their tax when it's due. Prior to industrialisation the average peasant had a lot more free time out of season.

Art and culture, entertainment and religion.

When people are well fed and don't have survival based work to do, these are the things they turn to. These are the things we think of when we look back at the great civilisations of old. Vast temples, great art, theatre and poetry.

And more Skrits. With a culture of having lost a large percentage of their population, there will be an underlying drive to replace them.


They tell stories. People are very good at that, and very prone to that when the time allows. Many stories will be focused on the specific aspects of their world, but they will also make stories that highlight moral teachings and those that highlight the cohesion of the group.

And when I say "stories", I mean very, very long ones. They have time. They can gather and listen for hours. This happened regularly, even when people had to worry about getting food (see the great epic poems of the antiquity, for example).

Other than that, what the other poster said. Entertainment, art. Religion. Philosophy. Sports, too. Anything that either stimulates the mind or the body. They have plenty of time for that.


With too much time at your hands, politics start. As much as everyone would love to see art and music, I guess what you would see is unrest and jealousy and angryness, intrigues and backstabbing.

Not because there really is a reason, but just because humans are like that. They'll search for a status symbol, they'll make up concurrence about that status symbol, then the concurrence will be positive and negative, both.

In the middle age, merchants would duel over false claims just to get rid of the concurrence.

That is, if your Skrit are anything like humans.


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