View Full Version : Days of High Adventure

2009-08-03, 10:40 PM
I've been reading Robert E Howard and Michael Moorcock, and the older sword and scorcery, and I've been wondering if anyone has any good ideas for running a low magic game.
The Dm's guide is woefully unhelpful on the subject, and works under the assumption of very high magic indeed. Even using the classes as presented and keeping magic items low, magic based classes would be unbeatable. Without them, encounters would be too hard, and healing too dificult.
Any suggestions for trying to build this sort of world?

2009-08-03, 11:11 PM
In the current system, non-magic types just can't go from battle to battle all day long. They either need to camp very often, drink potions like they're addicted, or you could implement a faster and easier out of combat healing mechanism. This could be as simple as making camping till you're at full health only take an hour, or it could be an obligatory magic-heal item anyone can use outside of battle.

Personally, I prefer a method of spacing out encounters. A band of warriors could fight a few major battles, and then spend a week recovering while planning their next move. It is a low-combat high-roleplaying option, but without a healing dues-ex machina it might be a good choice.

Also, you could lower hitpoints and damage to 1/10. That way a fighter comes out of a battle with 7/9 hit points, instead of 74/96 hit points. This makes a quick rest-heal seem less bizarre to the players, while basically retaining all the normal game mechanics.

As far as encounter difficulties go, you just have to use lower CR monsters. Or you can reduce the stats of higher CR monsters. Either way, have the xp be the same as a regular monster would have been.

2009-08-03, 11:23 PM

Borrow the Second Wind mechanic from 4E as well to give them a method of in-combat healing a limited amount of times a day. This assumes that HP mostly represents stamina, not actual health.

I find the Condition Track mechanic from Star Wars Saga adds a lot to melee combat, increasing its immediate lethality over emphasizing a "I stand up straight and hit really hard, then I'm on the floor the next round" duality that's created by hit points alone. When using this variant, an actual 'hit' is one that overcomes your Damage Threshold, and you can only take about four of those before the battle is over.

I always recommend Tome of Battle for anything melee heavy to add variety, in this case sticking to Warblade and its three non-magical disciplines and Swordsage (barring any Supernatural maneuvers), but your mileage may vary.

Homebrew your monsters extensively by these rules, and be prepared to adjust.

2009-08-04, 03:14 AM
Very good suggestions.
Also, the dreaded problem of equipment. In a low magic world, no one would bother making a magic item below very high level, and such items would be far too valuable to even consider parting with.
So what do I do about equipment?
I figure at very high levels I can throw in a few artifacts, but what do I do until then?

2009-08-04, 03:21 AM
Delve into new rules about varying shades on non-magical gear. A master crafted blade, forged in the Primal Fires of Creation might not be magical, but it sure as hell beats the tar out of Bob the Weaponsmith's $10 for 12 blades.

2009-08-04, 03:34 AM
Sure, but it still involves magical means. Such a blade is probably lesser artifact level anyway.
See, low magic means the dark forest is just a forest, no druids, or magic tree's, or spirits. Bandits, dark alters of human sacrifice maybe, but no one talks back or gives you anything tangible no matter how much you sacrifice. Magicians are mostly charlatans, and the exceptions consider it more of a science, and don't teach their craft to anyone.
I don't want to make weapons with obscure properties replace magic weapons, I wan a plausible way to try to get by without them.
Is their a rule for, say, master masterwork or something?

2009-08-04, 05:50 AM
Well, there's the mastercrafting rules. I first came across them in d20 Star Wars, but I've ported them to DnD before and I think their may be a more robust porting job around some where (I'll do some looking).

Bascially, it's like masterwork, but can range from +1 to +3. In the default SW version, the bonus for weapons was to damage, and the bonus for armor was to damage reduction (SW uses armor as DR).

My version also allows the option of weapons with a bonus to attack rolls (like normal masterwork), or to improve criticals. Armor bonuses can go to AC or armor check penalty. Reducing speed penalties may be an option to look into as well.

Another good idea from SWs is the wounds and vitiality system. Basically, you have your CON score in actuall hit points, loosing any of these means you where actually injured. Normal hit points are replaced with vitality. As vitality isn't actual physical damage, you can basically set the healing rate for it to whatever you like and things don't seem unreasonable. Here's the system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) in the SRDs variant rules. It slighty different, but the same idea.

2009-08-04, 05:58 AM
I limit maximum character level to 10th and then have it be like an E10 game.
This has the effect that 5th level is the absolute maximum and even 4th level spells are pretty rare. Also, there are no magic items in existance that have a Caster Level of more than 10th. This limits most magical weapons and armor to +3 items. And those are the v ery best there are.

To make it really low magic, you'd probably have to do more, but I guess it's a start.
Or take a look at Iron Heroes, which is basically an almost non-magic sword and sorcery d20 game.