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In my story people can wield several magic types based on science. One of these abilities is Biomancy which is the ability to control, create, and transform into organisms like plants, funguses, animals, and diseases. This Biomancy is limited via line of sight for controlling animals and the user is only capable of controlling one animal at a time. Additionally the Biomancy takes about 1 day to create a new organism and around an hour to create an animal that already exists (assuming they know the anatomy of the animal).

The Biomancer in question exists in the current day after magic has mostly been forgotten by civilians, but the government knows a bit about magic. Also the Biomancer has a primary goal of making money without having the government noticing and performing experiments on them.

In my opinion I think the best way for the Biomancer to make money would be via making diseases and posing as the only doctor that can control them, but this seems a little bit evil? Another way I think the Biomancer can make money is by turning into a flies that can spy on people discussing things like stocks and other things to basically let her perform insider trading.

So how could a Biomancer make a lot of money in a relatively short time using their inherent ability to control, create, and transform into life?

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  • $\begingroup$ can you turn into a vaccine or ahem... guts bacteria? $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Mar 7 at 2:23
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    $\begingroup$ VTC:Too Story-Based, but I could have picked others. Per the help center, providing your answer and asking for more is prohibited, as are open-ended questions and questions where every answer has equal value. Per the help center we don't answer questions about stories, don't answer questions about character choices, and discourage brainstorming. So, needs details, opinion-based, not about worldbuilding per the Help Center, needs more focus... take your pick of close reasons. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Mar 7 at 3:25

5 Answers 5

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You've got a bunch of options:

Plastic Surgeon

With full-blown biomancy, doing tasks like increasing height, cup sizes, or adding length to other places on human patients would be effortless. Even cosmetic touch-ups like better noses, cheekbones, removing baldness etc would all be trivial, and with how easy it is for you and the patient (no surgery, recovery, drugs, infection risk, etc) you could make an absolute killing by covertly peddling your services among the ultra-wealthy.

Set yourself up as some sort of mystic healer to avoid suspicion and do marketing through rich-to-rich-person word-of-mouth. Provided you can gain access to the client pool, making several million dollars per day and essentially living on a private jet that shuttles you between patients would be easy.

Jesus Christ impersonator (but for the 0.01%)

Why stop at plastic surgery when you can cure any disease and make billionaires immortal? If you can use your biomancy to cure cancer, revert aging, get rid of autism, etc you can easily charge the right clients hundreds of millions of dollars, and with this level of money and connections, the government that's potentially hunting you stops being an issue (just treat a senator or two if you really need to).

You'll have basically infinite wealth, but this is probably more evil than your holding-the-world-hostage idea.

Big Damn Hero

Why use your powers for evil when you can change the world by biomancy-ing a superplant or other nutritional source? Make a plant that is immune to all pests, fungus, or other harmful things and grows fantastically in any environment. Also make it so that it has just the right balance of nutrients, proteins, and vitamins so that people can survive and be healthy just by eating this one food. Then, sell the seeds. Even if you sell it cheaply, the right superplant would be in such high demand that you'd still end up filthy rich.

As an option, you could even make a "meat plant" which grows A5 Wagyu and replace the meat industry with vegan meat that tastes better than "real" meat.

The farming and agra lobby would legitimately try to have you assassinated though.

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    $\begingroup$ Why would healing the rich be more evil than holding the world hostage with threat of pandemics? In the later case no one gets healed. And you are only a single person so you can't heal everyone anyway. You could even squeeze in some time to heal the best scientists so you can have an even better contribution to the world. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Mar 7 at 6:25
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    $\begingroup$ IMO option one is a good one, and the other two are a fast route to get noticed $\endgroup$
    – Martijn
    Mar 7 at 8:33
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    $\begingroup$ @vsz whatever bullshit ultra-rich people get up to today, at least they have the grace to die like everyone else. Ultra-powerful upper class with nothing in common with the rest of us, growing increasingly out of touch and never getting replaced... what could possibly go wrong? $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ The mystic healer is so good. Especially if you throw in some traditional/new-age medicine practices in there to confuse any would-be observers. You'd be surprised how much people are willing to pay just to get their hair back. $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 8:43
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The problem isn't making money. The problem is escaping government notice or scrutiny. If the government knows that magic exists, and is eager to get their hands on practitioners, then they're going to be really scrutinizing anything that gives off even a whiff of magic. You'll want to stay well away from being a miracle doctor etc.

The financial system is probably your best bet. It has a number of very compelling advantages:

  • It's easy to get leverage, meaning you can make enormous amounts of money quickly (also lose enormous amounts quickly, but we're going to stack the deck with your powers so that shouldn't matter.)
  • You have a degree of insulation from what's actually moving the market, so even if the government suspects magical shenanigans they won't necessarily know that you're the one behind it.
  • Because there are a large number of players making all sorts of bets, and statistically some of them will just get very lucky, you can appear to be just that - lucky - without raising much suspicion.

OK, so then how best to actually make money? Your spying flies idea is certainly one (though, can flies actually hear or see well enough to meaningfully spy on a board room? I guess you can always biomance up one that does!) If you know there's a big decision coming up - a Fed meeting would be a classic example - you could spy on it and make a big bet on the movement of interest rates (for example.) Since a lot of people would be making similar bets, and everyone thinks the Fed is quite secure, a big bet paying off wouldn't attract any attention whatsoever.

You could also be more evil and actively influence the markets directly. It'd probably be easy for you to infiltrate and contaminate food supplies - target a company after shorting their stocks. Or better yet, make it look like a pharmaceutical company that you bought stocks in has made a breakthrough discovery (because you engineered and planted a bug.) Or a fungus outbreak fouls the operations of a major multinational. Etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very lucky once is just luck, very lucky repeatedly is a statistical anomaly which warrants investigation. This means you should either get a windfall once, then just use diversified investments to earn average returns, or if you wish to win often, also make it so you lose often, so you're less of an anomaly. In either case, this'll cut into your profits. $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ Not necessarily; when you have a large enough sample, it's statistically expected that some people will be very lucky repeatedly. But you're right, you don't want to push it so much that you begin to stand out, and you'd do well to mix in (smaller) losses with your (bigger) wins. You don't want to make TOO much money in any case - being uber-wealthy is going to inherently draw attention. $\endgroup$
    – Gene
    Mar 7 at 19:13
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Agriculture

Look at where most designer organisms are today, specially bred crop organisms. You can make a fruit or grain better without all the pesky limitations of selective breeding or oversight of genetic engineering. Get a job as field worker looking for wild strains or a small scale breeder. There are tons of crops out there that are not suited to larger markets due to fatal flaws you could fix. Invent the next cosmic crisp apple or resurrect the Gros Machel banana, make mangosteens that last through shipping - each alone would make you a mint. Heck, get a job for Monsanto and you have one of the most powerful lobbies on the planet protecting you.

Disease is a bad choice: something like that will have massive oversight and will garner lots of investigation, but plant breeding? Not so much.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note: Monsanto does not exist anymore, as it has been acquired by Bayer. The lobbying power was also a lot smaller than many people think, as their revenue is (was) a third of organic sellers'. $\endgroup$
    – zovits
    Mar 7 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ @zovits fair with monsanto, but you can replace Monsanto with a different agro-company for similar results, Its not like organic foods are not also heavily modified. If Anything the use of sloppier genetic altering technology in organic foods will make this person even more valuable. And the BIO lobby monsanto was part of is larger than ever. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Mar 7 at 21:28
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Pets

In the western world, we spend a ridiculous amount of money on our Pets.To put it in perspective - using the US as a yardstick - the US spends about twice as much per year on pets as it does on firearms and ammunition (~140 billion vs ~$70 billion).

That's a lot of money.

Now - how could such a Biomancist help:

  • Behavioural issues - Jackson Galaxy for cats, Ceasar Milan for dogs off the top of my head - Control an animal for a bit, teach them better behaviors by control - job done.
  • Healing the animals - Vets are *%&Y@#ing expensive (source, am pet owner) - If my choice is between paying \$10K for a surgical operation vs \$5K for a non-invasive treatment - guess which I'm gonna try first?
  • Cloning beloved pets. How many parents would pay to remove the trauma of their kid finding out their first cat was run-over by a neighbour, by paying a Biomancist to clone it?
  • Selective Breeding help. So maybe not Pets per se, but horse breeders will pay ridiculous amounts of money ($650K for a successful impregnation) for a champion stud. Nature doesn't always take it's course - but if the Biomancist could help make sure that the stud is always shooting live rounds and the mares are getting the good stuff - then there's plenty of money to be made there. I believe there are current occupations of people who specialize in trying to get prize animals to breed.
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    $\begingroup$ Cloning dead animals will get you on the radar of the authorities but the rest can be done without much suspicion. $\endgroup$ Mar 7 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ @user3819867 Cloning dead animals is a thing we are already doing for a while now. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Mar 7 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Mermaker There is a handful of teams who can do it with the proper equipment. When they get wind of it that someone they don't know does it they will file for a patent infringement and that lands the authorities on the biomancer's doorstep. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ @user3819867 I can assure you the gov has no idea how any of those things works and will just assume the biomancer is just "one more" of those folks doing regular cloning. Also, you are only at hisk of patents if you live in a country that offers such protections. There are quite a few that do not. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Mar 12 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ @user3819867 Why would it? New pet cloning services pop up all the time and none of those make big news, nor patent battles or anything IRL. You're overestimating how hard pet clonning is to do, and how rare those services are. They are more common than one would guess. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Mar 12 at 15:43
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Weight Loss

In our world, people make millions of dollars by coming up with "one easy trick" diet systems that often fall apart if you look at them too closely, or only really work with a smaller subset of people (who are coincidentally the ones seen in the ads). Depending on your level of personal involvement, this could range from putting out a "simple supplement" that changes some minor aspect of biology, or of the food itself, to reduce the caloric impact, and market to the masses, or your advertise your services to an elite group of rich people as a "personal trainer". The government probably won't look twice at your results since they'd be lost among all of the other snake oil treatments, and people who simply using sound fundamentals of reduced caloric intake and increased exercise while masking it under some miracle technique.

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