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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rasman's Avatar

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    Default Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    I'm looking at taking that BIG step and becoming a DM for the first time. I've decided though, that I don't want to run your standard campaign where Mr. Crazy Evil Wizard is the BBEG and you have to stop him from doing his typical evil things.

    I wanted to see if I could run an almost entirely Martial campaign with MAYBE a little divine magic, since natural healing sucks to have to do. I also want the campaign setting to be Unapproachable East or something similar since I have a certain fondness for Japanese Culture and the 3 Kingdoms Era of China.

    I was wondering if I could get some advice considering things I should...well...consider. I know...VERY broad request. But any kind of resources you could turn me to to give me ideas as to how to start the campaign or run it at a fair level would be appreciated.
    The Super Special Awesome Yiuel made my very manly Avatar
    The Great Steam Golem, Blitzcrank!

    He really has a heart of gold...encased in a framework of iron...in a carapace of steel.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    First step is prolly to alter rules so that magic item dependency and spell dependency are diminished. Second is to assess enemies' capabilities based on the lack of efficient save-targeting attacks, flight and control spells, among other things.

    Third is to pick a level and pick classes you want the players to have access to. Obviously no full casters, but Paladins or Rangers could be reworked to have less magic, or simply use Tome of Battle-variants instead.


    I'm personally writing a journal on a campaign with very similar magic restrictions here. I do, among others, go through the houserules we use.

    It's pretty much:
    - Level to AC bonus as Dodge.
    - Vitality and Wound Point system with heavy modifications; the crux here is that most damage comes to Vitality Points which doesn't represent actual damage. So real wounds happen less often which makes it plausible to make damage (the actual process of taking hits) realistic while still not having to spend few days recovering after each encounter lest you just plain die.
    - Our modifications include damage system which results damage to specific limbs with appropriate disabling effects (when taking WP damage), and various states of static "penalty to everything" from losing VP (that is, combat fatigue).
    - Characters get more feats: specifically two feats on level 1, and one feat on 2, and every 2 levels there-after. The basic idea is that as written, characters only have enough feats to be good at one thing, and no room for "utility" feats like Elusive Target, Endurance (it can be v. useful without magic), etc. As non-casters do most of their stuff with feats, extra feats enable more interesting, versatile characters who aren't necessarily one-hit wonders, and allows for feats that aren't a part of the feat path you're taking to be fit into the build. Oh, and we "fix" some trash like TWF, Dodge and so on by combining superfluous feats together, making some stupid ones automatically available, etc.
    - Characters get 6 to 8 extra skill points per level (depending on class; with 4x on level 1 as per usual) and class skill lists are vastly expanded: Basically, we concluded that what isn't done with feats is done with skills and characters don't have nearly enough skills even at 20 Int on level 1 for basic competence at most things they care about. Just try building a Rogue with 20 Int and notice how you still miss out on about half the skills you'd be interested in. And that's a 20 Int ROGUE. If you want your people learning climbing, swimming, spotting, sense motive, diplomacy, bluff, use rope, forgery, escape artist, etc. you will need to give them much better skill access and lots more skill points. I can tell you we've used basically all skills in the game thus far (with the obvious exception of Use Magic Device) and it's been a blast to actually both, have points in obscure skills and to get to use them.
    - Instead of magic weapons, we have more different materials and craftsmanship levels; basically anything that could somewhat plausibly be a non-magical ability is such, instead. This makes "legendary weapons" still existent if not magical in the least. +X, Keen, that sort of stuff is simple. Oh, and this gives PCs uses for the small fortunes they might acquire; well, beyond purchasing their own keeps, of course. Which they should definitely do too though.
    - We revamped the whole poison system. And trap system. 'cause one of our PCs is a poisoner and the other is a trapmaker. This is just to make the whole process of doing stuff more interesting.
    - We make heavy use of Tome of Battle and use rewrites of core classes alongside homebrew ranged disciplines to expand it to work for all types of combat. Basically, the idea is that without spells, there's a distinct lack of choice in combat; a depth of choice that would exist in a simple sword fight. The standard game cannot really represent the different moves and maneuvers you can do and try, so we use ToB instead to give us the tools to represent those.
    Campaign Journal: Uncovering the Lost World - A Player's Diary in Low-Magic D&D (Latest Update: 8.3.2014)
    Being Bane: A Guide to Barbarians Cracking Small Men - Ever Been Angry?! Then this is for you!
    SRD Averages - An aggregation of all the key stats of all the monster entries on SRD arranged by CR.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    Be prepared for everyone either being Crusader (since thats not magic... right?) or CoDzilla's.

    I find low magic campaigns are generally difficult to do unless the players WANT to do them. If the PC's aren't 100% behind it they probably won't have as good of a time as they could be. No magic is extremely limiting when over half the classes in Core alone use magic.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    Healing. If you nix magical healing and don't provide an avenue for getting it otherwise, things get awkward.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Healing. If you nix magical healing and don't provide an avenue for getting it otherwise, things get awkward.
    It works out alright under VP/WP. Sure, someone might get knocked outta action and of course, someone might die (you don't say!) but most of the fights don't end up with actual wounds on the PCs' part meaning you'll manage. And those that do...well, they'll stick around for a while. Which is kinda cool; you'll sometimes be wounded and thus not at 100% but still moving on. Something D&D otherwise lacks.
    Campaign Journal: Uncovering the Lost World - A Player's Diary in Low-Magic D&D (Latest Update: 8.3.2014)
    Being Bane: A Guide to Barbarians Cracking Small Men - Ever Been Angry?! Then this is for you!
    SRD Averages - An aggregation of all the key stats of all the monster entries on SRD arranged by CR.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    It works out alright under VP/WP.
    Indeed, but that's still taking the situation into account and altering the game to compensate, which is what I was really getting at.

    Unlike the last guy who proposed this sort of scenario to the board, wanting to nix magic and healing and have his players embroiled in a military campaign with multiple skirmishes and without the weeks-long rests to heal that are the only way to do so in such a scenario.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
    +3 Girlfriend is totally unoptimized. You are better off with a +1 Keen Witty girlfriend and then appling Greater Magic Make-up to increase her enhancement bonus.
    Homebrew
    To Do: Reboot and finish Riptide

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rasman's Avatar

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Minimal to No Magic Campaign

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    First step is prolly to alter rules so that magic item dependency and spell dependency are diminished. Second is to assess enemies' capabilities based on the lack of efficient save-targeting attacks, flight and control spells, among other things.

    Third is to pick a level and pick classes you want the players to have access to. Obviously no full casters, but Paladins or Rangers could be reworked to have less magic, or simply use Tome of Battle-variants instead.


    I'm personally writing a journal on a campaign with very similar magic restrictions here. I do, among others, go through the houserules we use.

    It's pretty much:
    - Level to AC bonus as Dodge.
    - Vitality and Wound Point system with heavy modifications; the crux here is that most damage comes to Vitality Points which doesn't represent actual damage. So real wounds happen less often which makes it plausible to make damage (the actual process of taking hits) realistic while still not having to spend few days recovering after each encounter lest you just plain die.
    - Our modifications include damage system which results damage to specific limbs with appropriate disabling effects (when taking WP damage), and various states of static "penalty to everything" from losing VP (that is, combat fatigue).
    - Characters get more feats: specifically two feats on level 1, and one feat on 2, and every 2 levels there-after. The basic idea is that as written, characters only have enough feats to be good at one thing, and no room for "utility" feats like Elusive Target, Endurance (it can be v. useful without magic), etc. As non-casters do most of their stuff with feats, extra feats enable more interesting, versatile characters who aren't necessarily one-hit wonders, and allows for feats that aren't a part of the feat path you're taking to be fit into the build. Oh, and we "fix" some trash like TWF, Dodge and so on by combining superfluous feats together, making some stupid ones automatically available, etc.
    - Characters get 6 to 8 extra skill points per level (depending on class; with 4x on level 1 as per usual) and class skill lists are vastly expanded: Basically, we concluded that what isn't done with feats is done with skills and characters don't have nearly enough skills even at 20 Int on level 1 for basic competence at most things they care about. Just try building a Rogue with 20 Int and notice how you still miss out on about half the skills you'd be interested in. And that's a 20 Int ROGUE. If you want your people learning climbing, swimming, spotting, sense motive, diplomacy, bluff, use rope, forgery, escape artist, etc. you will need to give them much better skill access and lots more skill points. I can tell you we've used basically all skills in the game thus far (with the obvious exception of Use Magic Device) and it's been a blast to actually both, have points in obscure skills and to get to use them.
    - Instead of magic weapons, we have more different materials and craftsmanship levels; basically anything that could somewhat plausibly be a non-magical ability is such, instead. This makes "legendary weapons" still existent if not magical in the least. +X, Keen, that sort of stuff is simple. Oh, and this gives PCs uses for the small fortunes they might acquire; well, beyond purchasing their own keeps, of course. Which they should definitely do too though.
    - We revamped the whole poison system. And trap system. 'cause one of our PCs is a poisoner and the other is a trapmaker. This is just to make the whole process of doing stuff more interesting.
    - We make heavy use of Tome of Battle and use rewrites of core classes alongside homebrew ranged disciplines to expand it to work for all types of combat. Basically, the idea is that without spells, there's a distinct lack of choice in combat; a depth of choice that would exist in a simple sword fight. The standard game cannot really represent the different moves and maneuvers you can do and try, so we use ToB instead to give us the tools to represent those.
    In regards to the way damage taken would work, I was considering either a system similar to Savage Worlds OR a System where you begin with Nonlethal Damage at twice your HP and you wouldn't begin taking Lethal Damage until that was exhausted.

    In terms of the way battle would occur, I'd probably allow ToB since I know how awesome it makes martial classes feel, but I'd probably encourage tactics over sheer strength since the PCs will most likely start at level one as either Soldiers or Conscripts in some military force. Cliche, but it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Healing. If you nix magical healing and don't provide an avenue for getting it otherwise, things get awkward.
    That's why I said minimal Divine magic. I'll probably provide it though other means that would grant something like Fast Healing that gives Dramatic Natural healing rather than "OMGIRHEELED"

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    It works out alright under VP/WP. Sure, someone might get knocked outta action and of course, someone might die (you don't say!) but most of the fights don't end up with actual wounds on the PCs' part meaning you'll manage. And those that do...well, they'll stick around for a while. Which is kinda cool; you'll sometimes be wounded and thus not at 100% but still moving on. Something D&D otherwise lacks.
    After skimming over it, this seems kind of interesting to me. I'll probably read it thoroughly before I make a decision about it, but it has peaked my interest.

    I'm also going to use Strategists & Tacticians from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming at the very least for the Tactical Maneuvers since they add a little more danger and make combat a LITTLE more interesting, to say the least.
    Last edited by Rasman; 2011-01-07 at 04:43 AM.
    The Super Special Awesome Yiuel made my very manly Avatar
    The Great Steam Golem, Blitzcrank!

    He really has a heart of gold...encased in a framework of iron...in a carapace of steel.

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