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- Ulysses 31
If long features are allowed:
- The Flight of Dragons
Sometimes less is more
A simple game engine allows you to be complex on other levels. it becomes much easier to house rule, or to give it a thematic rule that fits the game.
Mechanics don't impact your role play... except when it does. Simplicity in the system just leave more room for the rest. When I was younger and my mind was vast enough, I had room for both, but I know that with the years, I only have energy and readiness for only so much.
Symmetrical is easier to balance for sure, and easily allows translation between PCs and NPCs (including monsters), but options and complexity for players usually means complexity for monsters (i.e. the DM's job).
As long as there are hps, it remains an attrition game. You can change the scope of it by going micro (erosion of hps during one single combat) to macro (erosion of hps over a whole adventure) and everything in between, but it doesn't make it a non-attrition game.
Newer editions play different from the original; I don't think it should surprise anyone. In fact, D&D has updated its hp/healing model in 4th and 5th edition, and in 3rd edition there was plenty of ways to "cheat" away from going into combat with low hps (wands of CLW was one).
Not only that, but the way encounters are designed by the industry nowadays assumes that adventurers come into combat with decent resource. So the old school paradigm has been broken for a while now.
At first glance, it looks like 5th edition is a bit more malleable than 3e or even 4e (and in this regards comes closer to 1e or 2e AD&D). This means you may houserule hit points as a resource pool that rejuvenates at a pace that you like, without skewing the game much.
The DMG has variant healing and resting rules, so you may even find a satisfying balance within the core rule.
Also, I tend to be very enthusiastic about a specific game, then get bored of it after four or five games and wished I had gone for another style.
My only hope is for the players to remain enthusiastic (see post above). If they do, I'll regain interest and things will go just fine. If they feed off my disinterest, the game crashes (as many did).
I'm too much of a reactive and improv DM.
When players "give" me a lot to work with, I give them back tenfold and the game is awesome. If players are more the introvert type, of if they are tired that night, or if I start a new game where there is not a lot of character development yet, of if I play with a group that doesn't know my style; the "energy" of the game plummets and the pace grinds almost to halt.
It's a balancing act between a rule we can relate to as human beings and ease of play at the table.
All three versions assume that hps are abstract representation of your your ability to withstand both tangible injuries and the exhaustion that one undergoes in combat. In other words, lost hps are not all cuts and broken bones, but nor are they all just huff and puff.
Having two distinct pools of points have the advantage of being clear, and its easy to give them two different healing rates. However, it skews balance at low levels either because PCs are extremely fragile (if you just divided their hp in two pools) or relatively resilient (if you basically duplicate their hps in two pools). Monsters have the same "problem". From experience, the problem balances itself around 5th-6th level and amplifies again around level 10th-12th where powerful PCs and/or monsters can be one-shotted with a good critical. That made for a very narrow sweet spot.
Evil Lincoln's Strain/Injury is much better and immediately solved that issue since all damage ultimately goes to the same pool, but with different qualitative. The concept is a bit more abstract and hard to "grasp" than having two separate pools but it worked much better in the D&D/Pathfinder frame, especially for monsters for whom you can just ignore that rule without unbalancing the PCs.
E-L underlying concept was great but it could be simplified with a simple "wounded? yes/no" condition. You miss on the "how badly are you injured" but you gain in eliminating bookkeeping.
I'm also considering a very simple encumbrance system along the line of your strength score (not bonus) = the number of encumbrance points you can carry before being encumbered. That's a houserule I used in 3.5 that can be ported easily.
Armour encumbers most, followed by heavy weapons and kits. Most weapons and items (or packaged of the same sort such as arrows, torches and rations) would be a single point. Characters quickly become encumbered, especially those in heavy armour. Pack mules and horses get useful again, rather than just a liability and/or owlbear fodder.
Don't master the system enough to houserule it yet, but there are two things I'm considering.
1) creating a "wounded" condition which would allow players to gain only a portion of their hp after a long rest until their are healed.
2) looking into making grapple (and some other attacks) a check vs save instead of contest. I wonder why it wasn't made that way, giving saves more use other than vs spells (and incidentally give some use to Strength and Intelligence saves)
There has to be reason why 2) was not implemented, but I'd be curious to know why.
Played with something similar for a few years, although it went through several transformations.
At first there were two pools of hit points, like a simplified vitality/wounds system, whereas non-wound damage would heal quickly over a short rest and completely overnight.
Then there was Evil Lincoln's Strain houserule, bringing everything under a single pool of point.
Finally there was only hp and a "wounded" condition blocking rejuvenation of HPs to half.
Overall, it eliminated the need for wands, although cure spells were still necessary to cure wounds damage/condition; so not quite like 5e.
Regardless of what I think of the lightsaber (or light-longsword), I've got to admire the fact that they got everyone talking about it. Same with that bowling droid; whoever made this teaser gave us enough material to talk in every forum of discussion that exist on the internetz.
So despite the histrionics, this teaser (and the lightsaber) is a true masterpiece!
I for one enjoy the strip-down-ness of 5e. 3ed/Pathfinder was/is getting so darn heavy that it ceased to become stronger system and started to collapse under it's own weight.
Mind you, 5e is bound to suffer from the same fate; after years of new feats, new backgrounds and new path/subclasses, character creation and class optimisation will get heavier. But the fact that you get one choice of background, one choice of subclasses and four feats (five if human) over your 20 levels (assuming the feat optional rule is used), paired with the bound accuracy concept ensuring that you don't need to hoard +1s to get to your DC40 checks, should keep things under some degrees of control a bit longer.
very JJ Abrams-ish.
As dumb as the "bowling droid" looks, I find it fits well in the SW universe. I have more issues with the light-longsword...
That pod jet-bike thingy, the atmospheric combat and the ship scrapyard in the background are inspiring!
 oooh, Hans replaced that round antenna (or had Lando replace it, more likely).
IMO, it should impact chances of encounters.
Failed camp check and/or too big group should increase % of random encounter or something going bad. The way I see it, water shortage, food spoiling, pest infestation, snaps of cold/hot weather etc should be considered encounter episodes alongside monster attacks.
In my old rules, a bright fire increased % of encounters but negated results of animal encounters (or monsters with animal intelligence) and against cold weather, on premises that animals would be daunted by fire and that the fire would keep the adventurer warm and merry.
Statistically, it reduced the chances of encounter slightly, but increased the chances of powerful baddies if an encounter was confirmed.
Awesome concept Draco
I like Rainzax more straightforward rules (yours are not bad, but they introduce yet another sub-system of rules).
I'm in the process of polishing-up my Overland Round houserule and with your permission, I would incorporate some of the concepts you've introduced in your OP.
The caster can move away from melee and cast. Only, he'll have to accept the opportunity attack (or whatever it is called).
The fact that casters can't go in and out of combat with impunity is not a bad thing IMO even if it changes the paradigm a bit.
I don't know all the spells yet, but I'm sure there are spells that boost movement and/or allow you to levitate/fly/teleport out of range and/or slow your opponent and/or protects you enough for you to last in melee and/or spells that are cast as a bonus action after you disengage.
These are not available at low level, but even casters are able to fend off enemies in melee at low levels.
As for the rest, I'm sure a 5ed group without a martial character is still less screwed than a 3ed/Pathfinder group without a caster.
Haven't seen the movie yet (and thus am avoiding the spoilers), just heard my friends rambling about it.
Unlike the comments above, they said the science was pretty cutting edge, based on theories and theorems from authors they themselves use in their physics and astronomy research, and that for once they had a decent physicist adviser on the board.
Now I'm curious...
There's a lot of spell flinging, lightning calling and laser-shooting wand action in several movies, but the Razel vs Bavmorda at the end of Willow has a real sense of duel and of specific spells.
The best for me remains Voldermort vs Dumbledore at the end of Order of the Phoenix. More than simple clashing coloured ray of lights, this duel clearly has magical attacks, parries, counterspells, counter attacks etc. I can't remember the one in Little China enough, but the duel in the Ministry of Magic is one of the best depiction of a wizard's duel to date IMO.
I can't remember any specific episodes, but there were some nice magic-fueled kung-fu/jiujitsu duels in Naruto and Avatar(the last airbender)
Low magic =/= low level, or helpless commoners.
It can be, but it is a wrong assumption to say that it has to be.
Even in a E6 game, you could conceive a world were town militia average at level 2-3 with veterans and captains level 4-5. Only the truly Epic characters get to level 6 and beyond (by which I mean get extra goodies past level 6)
IMO, the less system-intrusive way to allow gearless characters is to disconnect the abilities of items from their price. Cubicle 7's The One Ring does that, and Kirtfinder does that as well with its mojo system.
In Kirtfinder, WBL is simply translated into a Mojo by Level. so instead of having 10 000gp, you have 10 000 mojo points for you to purchase magical items with. Go nuts.
In TOR, character's are "owed" special things based on two "stats" that increase with experience (Wisdom gets you special abilities, Valour gets you special equipment). Whether they discover new inner potential, are trained do to special things, inherit special items, find stuff in a treasure along the way, steal it from the bad guys etc is up to the players and GM.
In both case money has less to do with the character's abilities and more to do with their standing, social class and way of living.
I could imagine a system going 50%/50%, with masterwork and magical equipment improving on what the character do, and really special abilities as part of the character's abilities (even if story-wise the ability is linked to an item). Consumables like alchemical compounds, magic potions and single-use magic items could add yet another set of abilities, ideally some that cannot easily be duplicated with spells.
I don't buy into druids = tree-hugger and protector of environment theme. It's ok if you want to make your druid like that, but it shouldn't be the definition of the druid.
And like Trigger said, druids can use metal weapons (indeed the sickle, one of the symbol of the druids, is made of metal). They have spells affecting metal objects as well and they have no qualm about their friends wearing/using metal.
Originally in D&D, druids were a caste, a (somewhat) secret society. The "no metal armour" thing was part of their vows as they were initiated in the druidic circle. Heck, perhaps even the druids don't remember the origin or the purpose of this vow, but they follow it and enforce it nonetheless.
I see it more as code of conduct like "if you must protect yourself, don the skin of an animal" rather that "thou shall not weareth armours of metal"
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
Low Magic just helps makes the game feel immersive, something a lot of GMs and players want to go for.
I'd say Low-magic allows for a certain type of immersion. DMs and players are able to feel immersed in their standard high magic fantasy Pathfinder games. Some themes are more difficult to convey in high-magic; therefore low-magic has its place.
"realism" is a tricky objective.
On one side, there's the "but dragons!" argument that says that the universe in which the characters evolve is fantastic and by definition not a realist one to start with. Accepting that this world isn't like our world is essential to fantasy storytelling.
On the other side we, as players, are humans and therefore imagine things as we experience them. In real life, fire burns thus fire deals damage even in this fantasy world. These references are just as essential to storytelling, even if we can conceive that some creatures don't feel pain or aren't damaged by flames.
So dragons can fly despite their size, but gravity still exists and it still pulls down (well, most of the times anyways).
As Gaber said above, suspension of disbelief goes only so far and some believability is required. Finding the perfect balance between fantasy and realism is kind a Holy Grail quest; you must accept that you will never find it, it will be different for every group, you may find that your ideals are different in two years from now. It doesn't make the quest less noble however.
Journey RPG excerpt #5: RACES & CULTURES - ELVES
Here’s one of the five playable character races available in Journey RPG, communally known as “the free people”. It also gives an example of the format used for races in Journey RPG. Each race offers two cultures to chose from.
Other races will be features in further posts.
Journey RPG wrote:
that's because Wizards and Magi are under the same syndicated union. Inquisitors blackmailed them so they had to let it go. Wizards had had an eye on the witches for a while, but they never saw the alchemist coming. Lack of clear vision really, they should have had.
Bloodragers, well, who's gonna tell them they can't have true strike? Clerics with Luck domain acquired it as a misplace item in a wizard's garage sale, a stroke of chance you might say.
That leaves Clerics with the Destruction domain. CLearly these guys are OP and should be removed from the book!
Gandalf casts a bunch of spells, including overtly offensive ones (especially in The Hobbit) and makes a powerful display of magic in LotR against the Wargs before attempting the pass of the Caradhras and entering Moria (and also on Weathertop, although it happens "offscreen"). It could be argued that Gandalf is capable of more "overt" magic but restrained himself not to write "Gandalf is here" in big letters in the sky for Sauron to see. Gandlaf is undeniably a power and one of the most "flashy" magic-user in Middle Earth.
But characters like Gandalf don't make or unmake a low-magic setting. He is part of the setting and representative of the fact that in this setting, there are many magical elements sprinkled here and there, some powerful, some less, some overt, some covert, but he is not representative of what the inhabitants of this setting are or can aspire to be. Even if we say that Gandalf is what a player character (as an extraordinary inhabitant of the setting) can aspire to be as the pinnacle of spellcasting, it remains relatively tame compared to a typical D&D/Pathfinder game. That's enough to say "low-magic" for me.
There's more to the LotR low-magic-ness than failing to teleport the ring to the Cracks of Doom.
There's the ringraiths taking months, if not years to find Baggin's home (or the Shire for that matter).
There's Gandalf failing to fly-out/jump-out/dim door out of Saruman's tower.
There's Radaghast having to search into the wild for Gandalf (and given that he eventually did implies that there is some magic involved, just no scry or message spell).
There's Gandalf relying on a busy innkeeper to relay a message of utmost importance.
There's Gandalf wishing for warmer socks, which any prestidigitation spell would fix.
And there are many more. But there's undeniably magic in LotR. Lots of it too, but it has a lower tone, more subtle uses and less far reaching scope. It's not used as much as a tool or yet-another-app on your i-phone. LotR is one example of low-magic, but not the only one.
Low magic is not about removing magic from the game, it's about reducing its scope.
Anyone have advice on Lore-Master aids for boning up or reminding one's self on core mechanics? I didn't order the Lake-Town and LM screen yet and am undecided on whether I'll do so. I hoped a similar free resource to duplicate the screen's reminders would be around.
Go to the Cubicle 7 forums for TOR. A few players put out good gaming aids such as cheat cheats, travel mats, battle mats etc. IIRC, most of these are in one of the moderators "sticky" tread at the top, something like TOR resources or something.
While I admit my experience is anecdotal at best, much of "calibrating" a low-magic game is done by choosing the player's opponents wisely.
The quickest element to "break" in a low-magic game is the CR of monsters, which does not always consider some of their abilities that would otherwise be easily circumvented with magic (like flying, high DR, etc). A certain balance can be kept by judiciously choosing adversaries.
In my case that was not a problem, because one of the reasons I went for Low-magic was to be able to use "basic monsters" longer. With AC remaining somewhat stable, your orcs are still going to be a threat even if the players are now much more efficient to kill them and withstand their attacks.
When a giant shows up, the players know better than to face it in melee without some kind of strategy. When the wivern attacks, they know they'll have to play it defensively and ready attacks until it comes within reach.
The magic that do exist is much more fearsome because saves are that much lower. In low magic, you need to assume that spells affect their target in general, but sometimes target make their save (rather than the other way around).
In most cases, the solution to the problems raised by low-magic exist within the system, except they are not often used because they are seen as sub-optimal. Only in a low-magic game will you see a ranger wear full plate for a battle because the boost to AC is worth the non-proficiency penalty and the loss of features...
Journey RPG excerpt #4 part 4: Magic Spells
Completely free-form magic does not exist in Journey RPG; spellcasters must work their magic in the shape of spells.
A spell is a magical recipe for a particular effect, using raw magical energies as ingredients and the spellcaster’s will as the cauldron in which they can be mixed. Opening your mind to all magical energies simultaneously would be disastrous for any mortal. Therefore, only the most powerful entities such as fey lords, archdevils and demon princes can improvise magic, shaping it into any effect they want. Even then, such powers can only safely use a portion of all available magical energies, ultimately limiting the magic they can do. For all mortals and lesser beings, magic must be judiciously measured, carefully manipulated and controlled within clearly defined boundaries.
Casting a spell is not a purely cerebral activity, requiring the spellcasters to manipulate magic with its hands and speak aloud words of power. The words that a spellcaster utter have a power of their own and greatly influence the outcome of a spell; pronunciation, rhythm, intonation, volume, even the emotion expressed in the casting of a spell must be controlled. For this reason, basic spells often take the form of a short rhyme, a metrical quatrain or an overly rehearsed chant often finding its way into local folklore. While rune-casters pronounce words to better focus on the meaning of the runes they attempt to invoke, priests of old faiths understood the powers of words and used them to create a language that only druids still use to this day. More recently, wizards went a step further and disconnected the magical sounds of words from their mundane meaning, thus creating the first true “vocal components” of spellcasting.
Spells in Journey RPG scale as the spellcaster gains in level, sometimes allowing new or extended effects to be created. The following spells shows how scaling spells are presented:
Level: Arcane 1, school of Transfiguration (Control)
Range: Close (5 yards +1 yard/level)
Area of Effect: One Medium-sized field of telekinetic energy
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
This spell allows you to create a field of telekinetic energy mimicking the movements of your right hand. As you gain in levels, you can have the hand perform different actions.
By raising your open hand, you can interpose the telekinetic field between you and your opponent. The field provides you with full-cover (+5 bonus to defense DC against ranged attacks and Reflex saves against burst, cone or line spells). Because of the constant pressure against your opponent, you gain cover bonus against melee attack as well. Tiny and Small-sized creature cannot push through the field, while Medium and Large-sized creatures may push the field back at a speed of 2 yards. Huge and Gargantuan creatures are not slowed by the field (but the field still grants full-cover from them).
You can keep the telekinetic field active for as long as you concentrate on it, up to 1 round per level. You cannot pursue your opponent with the field, but you may move it as will to prevent your opponent from moving around it (even when it isn’t your turn). The field is otherwise indestructible and impossible to attack, but it may be dispelled with dispel magic.
5th level: You can cast telekinetic field as a 2nd order spell to pursue and push your opponent away. Treat this attack as combat maneuver (push option) using your magic attack bonus. The field is considered as a Medium-size creature with a speed of 5 yards for the purpose of this attack. You cannot push an opponent beyond the spell’s range this way. The field still provides cover and slows movement on your opponent’s turn.
8th level: You can cast telekinetic field as a 3rd order spell to grab and immobilise your opponent. Treat this attack as combat maneuver (grapple option) using your magic attack bonus. The field is considered as a Medium-size creature for the purpose of this attack. Grappled opponents must first break free in order to act during their turn (see wrestling in the combat chapter). The field still provides cover and slows movement if your opponent breaks free.
11th level: You can cast telekinetic field as a 4th order spell to strike opponent. Treat this attack as slam attack using your magic attack bonus, dealing 1d6+11 points of damage on a successful hit. The attack does not cause wounds but knocks your opponent prone on a roll of 19-20. The field still provides cover and slows movement on your opponent’s turn.
14th level: You can cast telekinetic field as a 5th order spell to grab and crush your opponent. Treat this attack as combat maneuver (grapple option) using your magic attack bonus as explained above. The field constricts for 1d10+14 points of damage every round your opponent remains grappled by the beginning of your turn. If your opponent escapes, the field still provides cover and slows movement.
Level: Arcane 1, school of Enchantment (Illusion)
Range: Long (200 yards)
Area of Effect: Visual illusion within a 10 yard cube
Saving Throw: Insight disbelief (if interacted with)
This spell creates the visual illusion of an object, creature or phenomenon, as visualized by you.
A basic illusion does not create sound, smell, texture, or temperature.
You can move the image within the area of effect freely as long as it remains within range.
As you gain in levels, your illusion also increases in believability.
5th level: You can cast illusion as a 2nd order spell to create incorporate auditory, olfactory, tactile and thermal components. Illusions thus created cannot support weight or withstand pressure, but they may give the impression of doing so.
8th level: You can cast illusion as a 3rd order spell to create a sustained illusion lasting up to 1 minute without you concentrating on it. You can have the illusion follow a simple script if you desire so.
11th level: You can cast illusion as a 4th order spell to set the illusion to appear and follow a simple script based on a set of pre-defined conditions. The triggering conditions can be as general or specific as you desire. The illusion lasts a maximum of 1 minute and may lay dormant for a period up to 1 day. You can tie the illusion to a clear quartz (worth 25 gp) to make the illusion permanent until triggered.
14th level: You can cast illusion as a 5th order spell to create a lasting illusion with a duration of one year (dismissible). The illusion must be static, but you can move or modify it by concentrating on it within the range of the spell.
 Kinda looks like 5th ed D&D? Yeah, I know. I didn't really steal the idea, more like came to the same conclusion when both this game and D&D next were designed about three years ago. As a matter of fact, there's quite a few things I ended doing that are very similar to 5e D&D. It could be frustrating but I don't want to play "who did it first", I just want to do things right and I think that's the way to go for Journey RPG.
But since both PF and IH are D20, what do you need from PF to run a D20 low magic game?
That's a legitimate question. Iron Hero is a good product.
People like familiarity. Perhaps IH doesn't feel enough like Pathfinder; actually, IH has a very distinct vibe. Would Pathfinder still feel like Pathfinder once you remove X, modify Y and add Z is yet another legitimate question. Still people are attached to their favourite product and well, people are not always rational about that.
I like your posts and you bring some very valid point to the conversation DrDeth, but sometimes it sounds like "you'll fail, don't bother trying".
What 1st level spell creates food?
Goodberry doesn't create food, bu it turns negligible sustenance into "no need to care about food" sustenance.
If most people want to play Pathfinder High-Magic Fantasy RPG, then most people will play Pathfinder High-Magic Fantasy RPG. This thread was made to ask why some would like to play Pathfinder not-so-High-Magic Fantasy RPG (who's talking about Pathfinder Mundane RPG anyways).
Iron Hero is nothing but a house-ruled version of d20, but low-magic (and published). Why would creating a low-magic version of Pathfinder be less viable than Iron Hero.
"Why don't people play Iron Hero instead" is a valid question however.