View Full Version : Feedback Needed for Magic Changes

2012-09-11, 09:19 PM
First, I have a setting that I am working on where the god(s), if they exist, aren't making their presence obvious. So I want to eliminate Divine Magic from the rules. To do this I plan on removing at least the Druid, Cleric, and Paladin classes from core, and incorporating some of those classes' spells into a new school of magic for wizards and sorcerers.

Second, I wish to remove major, obvious game-breaking powers to magic. Such things include, but are not limited to: teleportation, matter creation (such as Create Food/Water and Wall of Stone, and things like Message (I don't need e-mail in medieval times!) and Speak with Dead (CSI episodes that last 30 seconds!) This is the one that I'm a little unsure on how to accomplish apart from digging through the rulebooks ripping out spells and writing out new spell lists, which would prove tiresome and tedious for both my players and I. The best way that I can think of is just pretending that these 'bad' spells don't exist in my campaign world, never mention them, and hope my players follow along (:smalleek:). I guess the problem to that plan is fairly obvious. :smallwink:

So that's my plan, but I'm eager to listen to any feedback/criticisms/concerns that you guys and gals can come up with. I'm sure my tiny lizard brain has missed some gaping, obvious flaw in my plan, so I hope if I have people point it out now, I will be able to fix it and have less problems when I take the campaign to the table. Thanks!

Kyuu Himura
2012-09-11, 10:16 PM
Tell them out right:
- No Conjuration [Creation] spells allowed
- No Sending
- No Speak with the Dead
- No [Teleport] spells allowed
- No [Polymorph] spells allowed (or use Pathfinder version, much less broken)

And that should turn off most "I Win" buttons, you still gotta deal with summons and control spells, but lists become a lot more manageable.

Hope it helps

2012-09-11, 11:43 PM
Thanks. I actually plan on using Pathfinder, as I'm finding it a lot easier (personally) to work with. I also don't really have a problem with spells like Command or Dominate, the goal is really more of an attempt to make magic magical, rather than a replacement or obvious improvement over technology. Teleport instead of cars, Message instead of e-mail, Talk with Dead instead of Horatio Caine, that sort of thing. If that makes any sense.

2012-09-12, 05:15 PM
To some extent it makes sense. However, the spells you seek to eliminate do one thing in game: save a LOT of time-- Because spending hours in a library doing research is not fun, because spending hours trying to get from one place to another is tedious, and because investing dead bodies for hours to find forensic evidence is not exactly how must players want to spend their time.

While I can appreciate role-playing in a low-level magic game, it isn't my first choice. Can your players get to the meat of your adventure without being bored to tears with the picayune details of role-playing and constant skill checks? Yes, it just takes a good DM to do that. Most importantly, listen to your players' complaints (after they've a least tried it your way for a couple of sessions). As long as the game is FUN, it doesn't really matter what changes you implement.

BTW, I'd love to hear how your game goes.


2012-09-12, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the interest, but the game likely won't be finished, much less played for some time now. I just needed some rules before I got too in depth into the world building, lest I find myself having to start over again once I find out I need a different rule system.

Another alternative that I could go with for low magic is to use the D20 Modern system and magic rules for that, as suggested by Rich Burlew in the gaming articles on this site. But the problems for that are twofold: one, my players and I are really fond of the Pathfinder rules system and will likely be reluctant to abandon it. Two, as Rich never finished his gaming articles and I have very little experience with D20 Modern, using the rules is equivalent to shooting in the dark. I would just be charging in blind.


2012-09-13, 01:24 PM
One low-magic option is E6. The basic idea is that the highest level mortals are 6th level. When PCs reach 6th level they get a new feat every 5000 xp. 4th-level spells are available, but only as rituals.


This works for both Pathfinder and 3e.

2012-09-13, 02:01 PM
Banning game-breaking spells is the simplest way to do things. Slightly more complicated is to reduce the range and duration of spells that are on the fence between game-breaking and useful. Essentially, do things like turning Message into a walky-talky instead of a cell phone.
Other stuff requires more roleplay; for example, one game I was in had the DM answer the Speak with Dead questions with increasingly confusing and unhelpful answers the longer the person had been deceased.
Q: "Who killed you?" A: "My friend."
Q: "How did they kill you And when?" A: "Quickly, at night."
Q: "How did they get into this locked and sealed chamber with guards posted outside?" A: "Though the door."

Also, being dead doesn't make you omniscent, it very plausible to have most spirits be just as confused as the PCs. In general, I prefer to fix rather than ban, but I realize that the latter is more complicated. Still, give at least a little thought to everything and see if it can be done quickly and easily. One more example: the Genesis spell (i.e. create infinite wealth). You can keep most of the interesting bits by adding a single line to the spells description: "Any material used to create the miniature demi-plane immediately dissolves back into etheral mist and fades away if it is transported to another plane."

One last thing: I would consider keep the druid in your game. They have a whole 'nother set of class features apart from spells to work with. Several poster have even commented that splitting the druid into a "spells version" and a "wildshape version" is a great way to get two very different classes with very little effort.

2012-09-15, 01:00 AM
One low-magic option is E6. The basic idea is that the highest level mortals are 6th level. When PCs reach 6th level they get a new feat every 5000 xp. 4th-level spells are available, but only as rituals.


This works for both Pathfinder and 3e.

Thanks, that looks really cool. :smallsmile: