Discussion:Very Low Magic Setting
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Very Low Magic Setting
Lord Dhazriel 21:38, 24 April 2008 (MDT)
Im currently working on a very low magic setting (with very few magic), Legacy of Darkness (3.5e Campaign Setting). Many things were changed, now the wizard is a prestige class and spellcaster are uncommon to almost non-existent in all land except Fallen Elven and High Elven lands. The cleric was so much changed that they have almost no more spellcasting (level 5 max), he gain others ability that compensate however. Druid also became a prestige class. Do someone have any advice or idea to share.
I'm a big fan of low-magic settings - I think they capture the feel of classic fantasy, mythology, and epics far more than standard D&D rules and settings. When magic becomes just another consumer item to keep trading up and it's taken for granted you can be raised from the dead, there's something very very wrong in my opinion - although the Eberonn setting is pretty cool in that it really imagines what it would be like in a world where magic becomes industrial.
However, my take on it is different than Dhazriel's. I don't limit the players options but instead emphasize that the characters really are outstanding individuals with abilities that far outstrip those around them. You can play a cleric, but the character is truly touched by their god and is performing miracles, like a Medieval saint - other clergy of the same religion might be knowledgeable and maybe even know how to perform some rituals of spiritual nature (something that would mimic the spell Hallow, for instance), but not cast spells the way a PC cleric can.
The trickiest thing for DM running a low-magic campaign is adjusting the challenges and the rewards. Combat is much deadlier without magic armor and protective devices to lower the player's AC, and they can't rely on being able to stack up on healing potions and the like either. Long dungeon crawls would be especially problematic, unless you create obstacles that are more about problem-sloving than combat. Monsters that require magic to hit should be rare and will be particularly challenging, as magic weapons should be very hard to come by (although spellcasters should realize that spells such as Magic Weapon and Shilleleigh will be much more valuable than in a standard campaign). Likewise, since you're not handing out ever-more powerful magic items as treasure, and players can't spend their gold at the towne magic shoppe, you have to come up with rewards that the players care about. A lot of this involves roleplaying - it could be honors and fame for doing great deeds, it may mean creating goals to reach that playwers care more about than just the accumulation of gold pieces, or it could be encouraging players to imagine the great times their characters are having as they blow their cash on some serious debauchery.
One other note about magic items: when they show up, they should be impressive. Instead of having everyone ooh and aah because you finally found a +1 sword, you should wait until the time is right in the campaign to introduce things that are really impressive. That could be early or it could be late. Bilbo Baggins found the magic dagger Sting fairly early in "The Hobbit", and that weapon stayed with him throughout the book and then into 'Lord of the Rings'. Drawing Excalibur from the stone transormed the life of Arthur, while Elric's life was twisted in a wholly different way when he found Stormbringer. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser got on just fine throughout their careers with no magic weapons at all, but occasionally found weird bits of maigc that they employed just at the right moment.
Lord Dhazriel 20:22, 2 May 2008 (MDT)
In fact, my Theurgist (which is in definition someone who do magic with the helps of gods) take the mantle of the cleric. He is a PrC, okay it annoying to have a base class (not exactly however) a PrC. But if something is powerful enough to bring a dead man back to life (only with 9th level spell) then it deserve to be a PrC. I created some powerful twisted (sacred) magic items in the campaign. There is still some place were magic is "common" like elven town. Humans tends think magic is witchcraft (mistaking Adepts (the base divine class, not the Adept NPC) and Arcanists (base arcane class) for Warlocks. I don't limit player choice, i simply slower thing down with obstacle after all magic is't supposed to be easy.
Well, 4E is a month and a bit away, and can play low-magic/no-magic out of the box, so I would just convert. And if you want 3.5, there's always Iron Heroes. Get a copy and see what Monte did.
Lord Dhazriel 06:09, 7 May 2008 (MDT)
Convert to 4e, no, it take a while for me to convert from 2e to 3.5e. And im not inclined toward already done adventure, mine are better and cheaper. Still thank you for the information.