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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Judecca

    Default Low-Magic Campaign?

    I'm trying to put together a campaign that puts more emphasis on the character build and racial and class abilities than on spells and magic items, so I'd like to build a campaign with a low-magic variant. The problem is I'm not sure -exactly- how to do this. My best idea right now is to restrict all primary spellcasting classes except for the Adept and Cloistered Cleric (the latter of which is still pretty darn powerful, but band-aid boxes are easily more important to party survival than wizards), and to increase the price of magic items, maybe by as much as 50%. I'm worried, though, that making magical items harder to come by just makes spellcasters that much better than physical classes again (not that I'm really trying to bridge the balance gap, but it is an issue).

    Is there a better way to do this, or am I doing alright as a quick and dirty bit of campaign flavor?
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    One idea that can help restict access to magic is by turning primary caster classes into prestige classes. Those players that want to pursue magic still can, but they have to work for it. Hard. The d20 modern wizard/cleric-esque PrCs can be pretty easily tweaked for reintegration with a classic fantasy setting. Keep magical items rare, or worse, usually cursed. Make nearly every magical object the player uses come with a high pricetag, and I'm not just talking about gold pieces here.

    You could always opt to eliminate magic as a factor by completely disallowing it, making wizards and god touched clerics into very powerful NPCs, unlikely or unable to pass their secrets along to another.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Dec 2006
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    You can find a more or less complete skill based magic system intended for low magic campaigns in my sig. It will be subject to some tweaking soon. Also, there's a thread devoted to it on this forum.
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    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
    Area: 20-ft.-radius spread
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Will negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    You CAN solve this problem by changing classes, prestige classes, requirements and any other mechanical detail, but you can also solve this from another direction, purely by changing how the magic works.

    For example, you can decide that the power of the magic is related the moon cycle (full power on full moon, not working at all when there is no moon), the sun or any other thing.
    This will solve the problem by itself. Not many will want to be wizards, and wizard PCs will depend on others even on high levels.

    You can also say that learning a new spell requires a permenent loss of 1 hp. I want to see how many mages carry a full spellbook after this rule...

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    If you don't mind spending the money, the Grim Tales book is a variant d20 system that dramatically alters the way magic works, and is built specifically to allow a high fantasy, low magic campaign in the vein of Tolkien and the like.

    You can check it out here.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Random, Wizards already have a low hit die representing both his little physical training, and how using magic weakens the body.
    As was said before, you can also make all magic and spell-like abilities be a full round-action. When a character casts a spell/uses a power, he needs to stand still and concentrate.

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    InaVegt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Use the D20 modern classes for your D&D campaign, D20 modern classes are build for low magic (magic is olny available as advanced classes, and only with GM permission) Just assign a purchase to the D&D equipment, as well as catagorize them into the D20 modern proficiencies (and modify the skill list a bit) and you're set for a low magic campaign (first level spells will be mastered at 4th level, as well as cantrips/orisons. 5th level spells are the highest in the game, and that only when you allow magic.)
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    purple gelatinous cube o' Doom's Avatar

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    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    I think the easiest way to accomplish what you want would be to cut spells of at a certain level. (Ex. only allow spells up through 4th or 5th level).
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gezina View Post
    Use the D20 modern classes for your D&D campaign, D20 modern classes are build for low magic (magic is olny available as advanced classes, and only with GM permission) Just assign a purchase to the D&D equipment, as well as catagorize them into the D20 modern proficiencies (and modify the skill list a bit) and you're set for a low magic campaign (first level spells will be mastered at 4th level, as well as cantrips/orisons. 5th level spells are the highest in the game, and that only when you allow magic.)
    This also requires you to use the defense bonus variant and action points. Otherwise, you'll have to do some fairly extensive overhauling of the classes. As luck would have it, I'm working on just that for a low-magic campaign of my own. I was planning to post it when I've got something that seems good. I'm probably keeping action points (which I like anyway), but I'm trying to balance them sans-defensive bonus.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Banned
     
    Piccamo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Remove all casting classes. Add in the Binder from Tome of Magic. Change the way potions are made so that they are based on Craft (Alchemy) and a higher skill allows the creation of more potent potions and change Heal to modify the amount healed by a potion. Voila, low magic (pact magic revolves mostly around buffs if you want any magic at all). Also, if you want to really change the feel remove potions and replace with something else that has the same effect.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Here is a place to start:
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32637

    Now, you want to do away with magic items?

    Add in "secret masteries". These masteries require training from a grandmaster of that skill.

    Start each player with a guild or social support organization that provides the player with a social function in society and access (with enough convincing) to the secret masteries.

    Secret Mastery: Longsword
    10 levels.
    L1: Requires +2 BaB. Adds +1 to hit and damage with that weapon.
    L2: Requires +5 BaB. Adds +2 to hit and damage with that weapon.
    L3: Requries +8 BaB. Adds +2 to hit and damage and doubles the weapon's base damage dice.
    L4: Requires +11 BaB. Adds +3 to hit and damage and allows the user to sacrafice +to hit for +AC.
    L5: Requires +14 BaB. Adds +4 to hit and damage and adds 2d6 damage to every hit.
    L6: Requires +17 BaB. Adds +5 to hit and damage and grants you an additional full-BaB attack when wielding this weapon.
    L7: Requires +20 BaB. The weapon now grants it's full attack bonus to AC without sacraficing any to-hit bonus's, and can no longer sacrafice to-hit bonus.

    Secret Mastery: Stealth
    L1: Requeres 5 Sneak skill. Grants +5 circumstance bonus to hide when you are in a less well lit area than your searcher.
    L2: Requires 8 Hide skill. Grants +5 circumstance bonus to sneak to you and your companions when in light or no armor.
    L3: Requires 11 Sneak skill. Grants +10 circumstance bonus to you and +5 circumstance bonus to your companions hide.
    L4: Requires 14 Hide skill. Grants a +10 circumstance bonus to sneak to you and your companions in medium or less armor.
    L5: Requires 17 Sneak skill. Grants a +10 circumstance bonus to hide to you and your companions. Grants hide in plain sight if you are in a less well lit area than your watchers.
    L6: Requires 20 Hide skill. You are now aware if anyone detects you when you are hiding or sneaking.
    L7: Requires 23 Hide and 23 Sneak skill. When successfully hiding in a shadow, you may dimension door to another shadow that you have line of sight to. You cannot use this ability 10 minutes after you last used it.

    Etc. Fun to write up, and replaces magic items nicely. :)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    You may also want to check out Monte Cook's Iron Heroes. I've read through it, but I haven't played it. There's magic in the world but it's unpredictable and dangerous. Just one magic using class. All the rest are some kind of fighter/rogue, but with a lot of interesting variants.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Matthew's Avatar

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    Feb 2006
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    Kanagawa, Japan
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus_Samma View Post
    I'm trying to put together a campaign that puts more emphasis on the character build and racial and class abilities than on spells and magic items, so I'd like to build a campaign with a low-magic variant. The problem is I'm not sure -exactly- how to do this. My best idea right now is to restrict all primary spellcasting classes except for the Adept and Cloistered Cleric (the latter of which is still pretty darn powerful, but band-aid boxes are easily more important to party survival than wizards), and to increase the price of magic items, maybe by as much as 50%. I'm worried, though, that making magical items harder to come by just makes spellcasters that much better than physical classes again (not that I'm really trying to bridge the balance gap, but it is an issue).

    Is there a better way to do this, or am I doing alright as a quick and dirty bit of campaign flavor?
    Just reduce the number of Spell Slots and Spells avaiable to Spell Casters.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Middle of Somewhere
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    Default Re: Low-Magic Campaign?

    Or just to throw the idea out there, run something other then D20...

    The Riddle of Steel is a good low magic/high fantasy setting, though the rules can be quite daunting (I recommend having a printer for reference tables). Magic has very little use in melee combat simply because it takes time. Also in that system, magic has a chance of aging you, so casters have to watch how much they cast.
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