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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Simple enough question which is applicable to all RPGs, not just D&D/Pathfinder.

    Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch? I also include in that advanced enough sci-fi where technology is effectively magic.

    There might be "magic" meaning trickery or misdirection, but no actual, verifiable, supported-by-real-mechanics magic. Ie a place as mundane as our real world in that respect.

    So no mages, no magic items, no magic item economy, no enchantments or spell-like effects, nothing.

    Would you play in such a setting? Or are you someone for whom magic is a part of your favourite schtick?
    Wushu Open Reloaded
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    If the rules work well with it, sure.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Probably not. Getting to play with fantastic concepts like magic and high technology is a big part of the reason I like RPGs.

    I've played a few modern-day settings with mundane resources only and they kind of worked, but I generally found them less interesting.
    I'm the author of the Alex Verus series of urban fantasy novels. Fated is the first, and Book #10 in the series, Fallen, is out as of September 2019. For updates, check my blog!

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    The world should captivate you. Some Victorian settings for instance don't really need magic to make it work. There was a Red Plague game like that where only psychics existed and they had very minor powers. That was fun


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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I don't consider magic a vital part of roleplaying, so I wouldn't mind at all. I could easily think of fun games in such a setting. A game based on skill rather than magic actually sounds like it could be a lot of fun, as a change. I think it would be important for it to be more than a hack and slash dungeon crawl, because that would quickly get boring without magic. In fact it easily does even with magic.
    Last edited by Deadly; 2011-03-08 at 06:52 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Sure. I've already played in various magic-free systems already. Harder SciFi (without psionics), medieval systems, Pulp... I've even run D&D-derrivates without magic. It can work rather well, even.
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Depends. I'd play a real-world setting without magic if I knew the DM could make a good game (that doesn't end two seconds later because you've been shot in the foot), but when it comes to settings that are not set in the real world, I'd prefer (high) magic over no magic.
    Si non confectus, non reficiat.

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Considering I have, in fact, played such games (though none of them for long), yes, I would. Most of those games had a few quirks, such as steampunk or clockpunk being able to emulate modern technology, but otherwise, they were no-magic.

    ...though most of them were in SotC or Unisystem, come to think of it. Even my most mundane game of M&M, for example, had at least supernatural monsters for the PCs to fight.
    I use black for sarcasm.


    Call me Rose, or The Rose Dragon. Rose Dragon is someone else entirely.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    It'd probably depend on the setting, but yeah, I probably would.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Yes.
    Magic while useful is by no means the reason to play things.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I love playing Mouse Guard. No magic in that. Its got a great setting too.
    Last edited by Totally Guy; 2011-03-08 at 07:25 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I do it all the time.

    It's called d20 Modern.

    But yes, as has been said, something about the setting needs to be special and captivating. If the setting lacks that special something, whether it be technology, magic, or whatever, it will seem flat and fake and the game will seem flat and fake by extension. Magic is a common way to give the setting some conflict and energy, but it's certainly not the only way.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    A guy in my group said "magic is a spice, not the main dish". I agree with him. It's not supposed to be about magic and it should survive without magic, and too much of it will just spoil the whole thing.
    But a little makes things better.

    So basically yes.
    In fact I find it that magic is usually the unbalancing factor. And it tends to steal attention from mundane options. Waving a magic wand to solve all your problems isn't interesting. This is precisely why non-magic sucks in D&D, because magic stole all the attention when it came to "lets make interesting and fun mechanics", the only way to save non-magic was to make it magic-like, and overwhelm the system with splat books (which didn't close the gap one bit but at least made non-magic a half assed option rather than a waste of time).

    I'd much rather play a no-magic game than a high magic game, or even mid high to be honest. Magic should be subtle and obscure and mysterious, grandiose gets boring fast.
    Last edited by Mastikator; 2011-03-08 at 07:44 AM.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I would, and have, though the game didn't last terribly long.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I would, and I run one. It's a blast!

    We're playing in a bronze-age setting - very savage and primal. The best of weapons is a bronze short sword, the best armor is bronze ring mail. The shortbow is looked upon as a terrifying weapon in the right hands.

    My players love it! The lorekeeper (storyteller / archer) is super powerful, as is the sword saint (former priest, insanely focused on the short sword), but the ranger/healer and sneaky merchant are absolutely able to keep up and have tons of fun.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
     
    The Rose Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glug View Post
    I love playing Mouse Guard. No magic in that. Its got a great setting too.
    Well, if you don't think talking mice is magic, I don't know what you think is.
    I use black for sarcasm.


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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Totally Guy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    The most interesting magic to me comes, not from what it does, but what it costs.

    Think about it. If it costs next to nothing then it's it becomes an optimal option. If it costs something significant then a player can be conflicted by a weighty, important choice over whether to use it or not.
    Last edited by Totally Guy; 2011-03-08 at 07:48 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    That's actually the sort of game I aim for in the first place, so definitely yes. The setting and mechanics don't have to be gritty and "realistic", but games where there are no magic are definitely my favorite to play. As has been said before, someone waving a wand at all of their problems is really, really boring.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Probably not in D&D, magic is such a large part of it, it would be pretty boring in my opinion, a litany of hits, that would quickly dull and lose its savour. And I don't just mean the magic, arcane and divine, I also mean the monsters and creatures that are impossible or at least hugely implausible without magic, like dragons and the smaller fey, as well as other systems of magic, like Incarnum and Psionics.
    But other systems? Sure. In fact, I was thinking of using the basic World of Darkness system to do a Near Future Hard Science Fiction campaign.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    What it all boils down to for me is: Does it make a good story?
    If the DM is good and can establish an interesting plot, there is no need for magic in the setting. And if he then is also able to let every player feel needed and evoke a sentiment of brilliance in them, there's a game that's fun for everyone, no matter if the characters are all janitors in a high school or the magic-wielding omnipotent saviors of the universe

    Edit: A little addendum though:
    There have to be rules in the system, and they have to make sense, otherwise they might kill the game after a very short time
    Last edited by Haron; 2011-03-08 at 08:01 AM.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Troll in the Playground
     
    GolemsVoice's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    One must probably make a difference between no magic as in no flying cities, no spellcasting etc. and no magic as in no fantastical/no strange creatures.

    A mortals WoD game where policemen stumble upon a supernatural crime might be the former, since the players themselves will never learn magic, and magic is more of a built-in thing, the supernatural. Regular policemen investigating regular crimes might be the latter.

    While I'd play almost anything provided I know the DM could make it interesting, I lean more to the fantastical, or at least the supernatural element.
    Si non confectus, non reficiat.

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  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I have no problem with no-magic settings. I haven't actually played any games that didn't have supernatural elements or very advanced technology at all (though ones where they're very rare and not too powerful are a different matter entirely), but I don't see those things as a prerequesite for a fun game with an awesome storyline. Do note that I'm not a DND 3.5 player, though - if I played this game, I'd have to either be a spellcaster or a ToB class, because everything else lacks combat options and is therefore too boring for me.

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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I would play a game like that. I was going to say I have, but when I think about it I don't think I have played a single magic free game.

    Well Magic or supernatural.

    Runequest, DnD, Shadowrun, Torg, Chill, Call of Cathulu all have magic in them or strong supernatural effects.

    I now feel I am going to have to find some way to play a magic free game.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by OverdrivePrime View Post
    The shortbow is looked upon as a terrifying weapon in the right hands.
    What about the sling with a bullet? It's an oft-overlooked weapon in RPGs, but with a cast lead bullet rather than a stone the sling was both long-ranged and deadly. Even moreso when a staff was used with it. Cetainly more powerful than a self bow.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    It would depend on the setting.

    If there was meant to be no magic, or magic was effectively not available to PC's, then yes.
    If I turned up to a Shadowrun / D&D etc game and the DM said "By the way, there's no magic in this campaign", then possibly not.
    It is difficult to remove something so fundemental to a setting.

    I have played 'homebrew' D&D settings where magic cost the caster a lot more (one campaign, a caster had to make a Fortitude save (DR 10+spell level) every time. Fail, take spell level in damage. Save, take 1 damage).
    There was also a D&D setting where magic was very difficult (the Grey Mouser was in it? it's a little vague after all this time)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    If the system was designed for no magic, then definitely. I'm playing in a Darwin's world (post-apocalyptic D20 modern) right now, and there's no magic there.

    I wouldn't be willing to play a game like D&D with the magic stripped away though.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Simple enough question which is applicable to all RPGs, not just D&D/Pathfinder.

    Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch? I also include in that advanced enough sci-fi where technology is effectively magic.

    There might be "magic" meaning trickery or misdirection, but no actual, verifiable, supported-by-real-mechanics magic. Ie a place as mundane as our real world in that respect.

    So no mages, no magic items, no magic item economy, no enchantments or spell-like effects, nothing.

    Would you play in such a setting? Or are you someone for whom magic is a part of your favourite schtick?
    Yep, sure.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    If the system was designed for no magic, then definitely. I'm playing in a Darwin's world (post-apocalyptic D20 modern) right now, and there's no magic there.

    I wouldn't be willing to play a game like D&D with the magic stripped away though.
    ...but d20 Modern is D&D with the magic stripped away...

    Anyway, me, I've played lots of games without magic: Cyberpunk 2020, Traveller, d20 Modern, Alternity... There's plenty of magic-less sci-fi gaming out there, and a good few historical and contemporary games without magic.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Engine's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I've played a lot of games without magic. Sometimes I got a lot of fun, sometimes not. Without a good storyteller\DM and an interesting setting a magic-free game would be really boring.
    My last magic-free game was a noir\hard boiled game in a modern setting. I played a covert operative part of an illegal intelligence operation in major city (the agency couldn't legally operate in the country), trying to establish contacts with the rising organized crime. For the most part the objectives of the agency were kept secret, and the characters were expendables (and they know it).
    No magic is great, but the game must have something special. IMHO you couldn't play an interesting game if your players have to play normal, boring, everyday life-characters.

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    Default Re: Would you play in a game with no magic?

    I think with a few variant rules, at least a short game of D&D could work reasonably well. I did something like it, actually:

    I used the tons of homebrew martial disciplines available on this forum and the rules for E6, vitality/wound points, armour as damage reduction and a handful of others (don't remember them all, really) to run a mostly swashbucklerish game. Worked reasonably well.

    Of course there would have been better systems for it, but it was what my players knew.
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
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