Would you play in a ZERO magic homebrew?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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The Exchange

My gaming group is entering the second phase of our homebrew campaign, a setting in which after a cataclysmic battle brought on by an attempted freeing of Rovagug, magic has been lost in the world.

Essentially, there are no spells, older wizards are only just now figuring out how to cast Cantrips, there are no magical items, item creation, or creatures, and even (Su) and (Sp) abilities do not currently work until they are somehow mysteriously unlocked.

I am not trying to bash the concept, I am just wondering what the consensus would be among other PF players as far as interest in this type of game.

(NOTE: I am not the GM for this...)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nope.


No. That just takes too much out of the game.

Liberty's Edge

Keldan Marr wrote:

My gaming group is entering the second phase of our homebrew campaign, a setting in which after a cataclysmic battle brought on by an attempted freeing of Rovagug, magic has been lost in the world.

Essentially, there are no spells, older wizards are only just now figuring out how to cast Cantrips, there are no magical items, item creation, or creatures, and even (Su) and (Sp) abilities do not currently work until they are somehow mysteriously unlocked.

I am not trying to bash the concept, I am just wondering what the consensus would be among other PF players as far as interest in this type of game.

(NOTE: I am not the GM for this...)

The problem here is that this game is very much reliant on healing spells and items being available. Otherwise the party ends up having one encounter every few days in order to not risk being worn down and caught offguard. I would introduce a few mystical items early in the adventure which bring some controlled healing back to the players (such as the staff in the Dragon Lance Trilogy) or create some sort of bandaging system where players can non-magically heal themselves enough to last at least 2-3 appropriate level encounters. Also, a number of classes are destroyed by having no magic. So either you play a class which is worthless until some unknown time later in the campaign or play only fighter/rogue/ranger/barbarian types.

Honestly, I just don't feel that Pathfinder is the right system for this type of campaign without some pretty heavy modifications to some classes and healing at least.

However, I would love to play that campaign concept.


No.

The non-magical classes are, for the most part, exceedingly dull. That's a weakness of Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In a 3.5 or Pathfinder-based rule set? Absolutely not. D&D is not a system which accommodates anywhere near that level of 'used fantasy'. Even if the DM has actually carefully rebalanced everything--a pitfall which catches all too many 'low magic' homebrews, let alone something as ambitious as this--that monumental undertaking begs the question of why he's not using a different system which doesn't use magic in the first place.


I think it'd be a great one-shot or mini-campaign; if it goes on for more than 2-3 sessions I'm going to get bored.


Keldan Marr wrote:

My gaming group is entering the second phase of our homebrew campaign, a setting in which after a cataclysmic battle brought on by an attempted freeing of Rovagug, magic has been lost in the world.

Essentially, there are no spells, older wizards are only just now figuring out how to cast Cantrips, there are no magical items, item creation, or creatures, and even (Su) and (Sp) abilities do not currently work until they are somehow mysteriously unlocked.

I am not trying to bash the concept, I am just wondering what the consensus would be among other PF players as far as interest in this type of game.

(NOTE: I am not the GM for this...)

I did a simular type of game in 1st ED. The players were all barbarian(in 1st ed barbarians were very anti-magic). It was difficult in first ed, in PF it might work better.

Shadow Lodge

I would. I think it'd be interesting.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just use d20 Modern (Past/Future/Apocalypse/etc.) rules. ESPECIALLY the rules for Treat Injury/Heal. It would make for a gritty, perilous campaign.

There are a lot of fun classes that don't use magic: Barbarian, Cavalier, Fighter, Rogue, and many that use a minimum of magic or magic that could be re-skinned as something else: Alchemist, Bard, Monk, Ranger, maybe Paladin.

Allow access to the d20 Modern classes, and you can have some great combos of PCs for the party, particularly the Mental Stat classes (Smart Hero, Dedicated Hero, Charismatic Hero).

I think it would be neat to begin the PCs as d20 Modern classes (Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, and Charismatic Heroes), and have the regular Pathfinder classes be 20 level advanced classes.

EDIT:

Fun non-magic roles include archer, tank, combat maneuver specialists (Combat Expertise AND Power Attack based ones), damage dealer, skill monkey, knowledge monkey, scout, reach-weapon-battle-field-controller,
party face, splash weapon grenadier, etc. etc.--with lots of fun overlap!!!!


If the Healing Skill rules were modified so that it was actually viable as a method of healing damage in the game, or if there were some other method of damage mitigation/health recovery implemented (say, a "Hit Point Reserve" that characters could use to "catch their breath" or otherwise recover with), then sure.

If the characters were not facing foes that required magic to affect (weapons, spells, effects, etc), or had some way of affecting them without magic, then, again, sure.

The problem, as has been mentioned, is that the D20/OGL/PFRPG core ruleset is written with an assumed conceit that there is some manner of instantaneous, magical, effective healing. It also assumes that the players will have reasonable access to magical items, weapons, and abilities that enable them to counter the resistances, special abilities, and immunities of the various monsters and creatures. Without both of those things, the game is fundamentally different.

If the game were adapted to tackle these issues (and was done so in an internally consistent manner), then, like I said - sure.


Zero magic? I dunno about that, but my homebrew campaign setting is extremely low magic, with the exception of the sorcerer and cleric classes, though to be a sorcerer you pretty much have to be evil and make a deal with either an outsider or a very powerful dragon.


Might not work the best in Pathfinder, but I absolutely loved an Iron Heroes game a few years back, so I'd give it a shot.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I dont think so. I would rather play a game that accommodates that better. Magic is too deeply entwined in pathfinder to remove it completely without leaving the system gutted in my opinion. And since generally get bored with purely martial characters very quickly I doubt I would enjoy it.


If the game broke away from the standard D&D dungeon crawl, then I could see it working.
For example, the Kingmaker game I'm playing has spanned years. Coupling a group short a person (only 3 players), and lots of little encounters (random encounter chart!), and lots of potential downtime... this is how I can see a non-magic game work.

If you have some normal/low end CR encounters, with maybe one big encounter that you have the option to run away from, and recover after, then it won't be devastating to not have healing.

If you fast forward a few decades into this apocalypse, you could introduce non-magical replacements to key things. Applying more modern medicine practice. Engineering and chemistry (instead of alchemy) may kick in.
Gunslingers and Chemists become the new blasters and healers.

I had started writing down the skeleton of a campaign setting that takes this approach. Magic was removed in some way for generations, and people learned to cope and come up with alternative means.
However, my campaign would start with magic making it's return, so you'll have nearly full use of magic back, alongside engineering and technology. Steampunk + Magic.

It's all in how you present the campaign setting. It would definitely not be standard D&D, so I'd suggest picking a theme (survival horror, steampunk, etc) and go head first into it. I would absolutely avoid trying to shoehorn standard D&D gaming into this kind of setting.


Keldan Marr wrote:

My gaming group is entering the second phase of our homebrew campaign, a setting in which after a cataclysmic battle brought on by an attempted freeing of Rovagug, magic has been lost in the world.

Essentially, there are no spells, older wizards are only just now figuring out how to cast Cantrips, there are no magical items, item creation, or creatures, and even (Su) and (Sp) abilities do not currently work until they are somehow mysteriously unlocked.

I am not trying to bash the concept, I am just wondering what the consensus would be among other PF players as far as interest in this type of game.

(NOTE: I am not the GM for this...)

No way! Way to boring and I have tried this before. How do you heal yourself after a battle?


Since magic is one of my favorite things about this game, no. I wouldn't want to play in a no-magic game.

Dark Archive

possibly. I'd play a barbarian or cavalier.


It wouldn't be my first choice for a long campaign, but I think it could be really cool for a while.

Obviously, there would need to be some tweeking (non-magical healing potions for example) but I could have a lot of fun doing that kind of game.

And people really can't imagine playing without magic?
Like... wouldn't even give it a try?
Really?

Dark Archive

gunslinger sounds like it will be awesome n this campaign.


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LilithsThrall wrote:


The non-magical classes are, for the most part, exceedingly dull. That's a weakness of Pathfinder.

speak for yourself. I'm a huge fan of most all martial classes.

And I'm totally down for for a low/no-magic campaign. Darksun is one of my favorite settings ever, and very similar to what the OP described.


Fergie wrote:


And people really can't imagine playing without magic?
Like... wouldn't even give it a try?
Really?

Not using Pathfinder / D&D. There are other games that fit that better.


Yes, and I would like to connect with other people in the bay area who would like to play in a no/low magic world.

Liberty's Edge

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I would. Sometimes it seams that GMs rely too heavily on magic.

Liberty's Edge

Dire Mongoose wrote:
I think it'd be a great one-shot or mini-campaign; if it goes on for more than 2-3 sessions I'm going to get bored.

+1

As an adventure lasting a few sessions, it could be very interesting and different, but I would want to be able to fix the problem without too much side-tracking and would probably not enjoy it if the GM intended to make it the "new normal."

There are much better systems than D&D (in any edition) for doing gritty settings where magic is rare or nonexistent. I could see enjoying a campaign based on something like The 13th Warrior, but I'd want an entirely different system for it. Something like HERO System would work best, I think.


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Only if it was E6 or the like.

Hard and gritty, and if really interesting plot wise.

I can imagine some great low end harsh-fantasy gaming, but it would need to have that level of thought and detail considered...


RedDogMT wrote:


I would. Sometimes it seams that GMs rely too heavily on magic.

DMs can pretty much arrange things to suit themselves. If anybody is more reliant on magic I'd say it was players :)


While I'm not a fan, this setup seems ideal for D&D4E - you have access to all but controller classes that rely on martial ability.


Firstly:
Check out the Midnight campaign setting for 3.5.
It does alot of what you are asking about without completely getting rid of it. (extreme low magic due to godly interference and all that)

Secondly:
if there's totally no magic, I wouldn't play.
There's no "magic" in real life. Thats why I play D&D. I like dealing with magic- preferably casting it.
If there is no magic, basically the game is one long boring arse railroad fest. The PC's have to do everything the mundane way from level 1 to 82billion and the most they get as reward are more attack bonuses.
yawn. Fest.

I play to escape reality not to RP medival times. I like my magic.

-S


I played in a world like this from level 1-5. the DM made an exception for my paladin's class features. I traded my spells out with the warrior of holy light archetype. I managed to keep the party from falling apart when I was around. The monsters get harder and harder to kill though; combat grows more lethal for no reason.

Shadow Lodge

R_Chance wrote:
RedDogMT wrote:


I would. Sometimes it seams that GMs rely too heavily on magic.
DMs can pretty much arrange things to suit themselves. If anybody is more reliant on magic I'd say it was players :)

Which is illustrated rather handily in this very thread by players saying "no way in hell" (essentially).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Go Rogue and use bleed attacks (or monk with similar). Take Skill focus Heal. - you are going to need it.

Poison and Bleed will rule.. with no magic you will need to stop everything.

I'd play it for a bit to see how it went. It might be ok if everyone else is effected too; Lich with no magic? Maybe?


Oh heck yeah!

It would be a nice change from the usual!

I have a group that would love this concept, they are melee combat bunnies extraordinaire and love doing detailed fights. They hate it when the mage in the group blows up large groups!

I may have to toy with this concept for them.

I also think that there would need to be some adjustment to healing to keep it an exciting fast paced game. Maybe some herbs, ointments found in nature to help healing. Hmmm, a quandary.

Have Fun Out There!!

~ W ~

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:


Which is illustrated rather handily in this very thread by players saying "no way in hell" (essentially).

I wouldn't enjoy running it as a DM either.


I would have to see the entire list of houserules to make a decision. I enjoyed Iron Heroes, but felt some things were still missing. A medevial type game with no magic is fine with me, but I would have to trust the GM enough to know he can make the appropriate changes to CR and so on. If I was just told exact same game, except no magic then I would say no.

Liberty's Edge

Let me in let me in!


I would. I think it would be interesting.

The trouble being, it's not just as simple as removing all of the magic from the game. Monsters are magic, and that's really quite tricky to fix — and even if you do, you end up with brute-type monsters and little else.

Fighters, Rogues and Barbarians against brute-type monsters isn't quite enough to keep a campaign dynamic.

There is much to consider before removing magic from Pathfinder. It might be a great deal simpler to start with a grittier RPG system as a basis.


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I enjoy playing casters, so No, I wouldn't like this game. Particularly given that I probably would have been a caster in the first arc and now be (semi-permanently) powerless.

A colonoscopy without lubricant or anesthetic sounds more enjoyable.


I thought it sounded potentially interesting until I saw this part:

Keldan Marr wrote:
[..] older wizards are only just now figuring out how to cast Cantrips [..] (Su) and (Sp) abilities do not currently work until they are somehow mysteriously unlocked [..]

This implies that it's not a zero-magic game at all, more like a GM's-discretion-magic system (which I definitely would not be interested in).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've played in an extremely low magic campaign. It was back in the days of 3.0 or 3.25 (Mostly 3.0 rules, but I had a 3.5 ranger). It was also an extremely slow XP game....we only got to 3rd level after 9 months of bi-weekly games.

But there was magic. We had a magician in the party. He used the "Elements of Magic" 3pp rules, so it was very mysterious. Both the characters AND the players didn't know what to expect! It was actually really cool. He could turn into a wolf, turn invisible, and heal the party and hurt undead. At 3rd level, he got a "mass positive energy" type spell and healed me while I battled some skeletons, harming the skeletons at the same time. It was really cool. Other methods of healing was "dire bear jerky," which was relatively rare, but accessable enough that we weren't afraid to use healing in non-dire emergencies.

But we had a wide variety of non-magic types, of course: a barbarian that excelled at climbing on trees and falling--er "jumping down"--on people, a power attacking blacksmith fighter, a defensive-based fighter (Dodge, Combat Expertise, Mobility, Shield), an archer rogue, and my ranger, that switched between archery and two-weapon fighting with throwing axes.

Liberty's Edge

LilithsThrall wrote:

No.

The non-magical classes are, for the most part, exceedingly dull. That's a weakness of Pathfinder.

I disagree quite a bit with this statement. The non-magical classes are not at all dull. They are fun and interesting in their own way - that's a strength of Pathfinder!

As to the original question ... sure, I'd be up for giving it a try. As others have pointed out, though, some amount of magic is kind of hard wired into many aspects of the game so a lot of work would need to be done to make a no-magic Pathfinder game work.

I'd certainly be interested in at least giving such a game a try though.


I would play in half an eyeblink.

Sure combat gets more deadly without magic healing, but hey it's COMBAT it is supposed to be deadly.

It would be odd to be primary caster class in that world. The Wizard player might feel a tad left out. You would need to work closely with the casters to keep them engaged and useful.

But I would play. Probably a caster too, just to see what happens

The Exchange

Wow, thanks for all of the responses. Bear in mind that magic IS returning to the world, albeit slowly. First level casters do not get any of their spells, but are more skill based, so encounters will be largely non-combat type encounters, while combat encounters will be thrown in to let martial classes shine. Healing will be a problem. I am still in the dark as to HOW or WHEN casting class abilities will "unlock" their features. I am kind of hesitant to play this, being that I played a Rogue in phase 1 and I am itching to play a caster class ( which, by the way over 70 % of PF classes rely on magic, SU or SP abilities )

Grand Lodge

I would give a campaign like this a chance once it was established how mid level ECL's etc balanced out as well as Healing was well defined.

Otherwise there are other game systems that would handle this type of game much better.

The Exchange

I have an idea: What if you took the witch class, gave it medium base attack bonus, more class skills, removed its spells and just allowed Hexes? It wouldn't exactly be no magic but it certainly would be very low magic.

EDIT:
This way if its only E6 then you don't get the ridiculously obviously magical hexes.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Use Action Points or Hero Points, and allow them to be spent to heal hit points equal to the total rolled or whatever. It gives the PCs some very limited self-healing, and they can also be used to give little boosts they would normally get through magic or magic items.


OP I would be down but hey just me, i love post apocalyptic stuff


It sounds like a fun change of pace type of campaign. I don't know that I'd want to run or play in one through an entire 1-20 level arc, but as an occasional break from the extremely high magic level default of Pathfinder, sure.

Of course, reading the OP's post carefully, I don't think this is destined to be a permanently magic-dead world. I'm guessing the magic will come back, either gradually or in unpredictable fits and spurts. Perhaps it will even be the PC's quest to return magic to the world. That sounds kind of epic and cool to me.

Sovereign Court

While it definitely has appeal, I'd likely just skip all the houseruling and just play Conan d20, or at least use its rules. It is low magic and you could snip it out of the system without messing things up much. Pathfinder would require a lot more work.


At the very least I would give a no-magic game a shot. I think there are better systems for a no-magic game however.

I think for pathfinder I would be more interested in playing a campaign that was more League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Brothers Grimm, or Pan's Labyrinth. A low magic world where Frankenstein and the Wolf Man are very near the upper limits of supernatural power. A world that, for the most part, doesn't know about supernatural and has no idea whats happening in the shadows.

Mok wrote:


...and just play Conan d20, or at least use its rules. It is low magic and...

Low magic indeed :P

Runaway Magic; Conan d20 game wrote:

Rock the Universe! The sorcerer is killed outright by the forces that he has released. An area around him, 1d6 miles in radius, is devastated by earthquakes, storms, floods, lightning and meteorites, dealing 20d6 damage to all within the area and reshaping the landscape as the very Earth itself is rent and pounded.

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