What does it take to run a low magic but not gritty pathfinder game?


Homebrew and House Rules

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I want to run a Pathfinder game that isn't so saturated in magic that there are magic shops in every city but I don't want it to be so grim that characters are stuck at low levels and can easily die.

I really like the a lot of the class abilities of Pathfinder's classes so I still want to let the characters to level, but i don't want to turn them into gods.

Here are some of my modifications:
* Magic Shops will be Rare and have limited selection of items - I want to make 'magic shops' more like antique shops. They may buy off your magical artifacts if they think its valuable and if they have the money, but it's no guarantee. Also you can't just order a +4 flaming sword whenever, that really breaks the setting. I want magical items to be rare and valuable.

* Crafting Magical Items requires special materials - Again with magical items being rare, it takes more than just gold to make them. The items used should be relevant to the item of course.

* Economy and Crafting are being reworked - The buying, selling, and creation of even mundane items is kinda ridiculous. An area where everyone is an archer and there is plenty of wood should have bows and arrows be much cheaper than if you try to buy them in the desert.

* Stamina System in Place - This is similar to the Vigor system in UC; basically it's to justify fighters being better fighters without making them gods. I also have a different critical system in place.

* Spell Revamping - Spells available have a huge effect on the setting, so even though this is work it needs to be done in a game of low magic. Modifications that I'm making are along the lines of making Summoning spells specific to a certain Entity and making the amount regained by healing spells depends on the recipient's level.

* Monsters will have to be reviewed when put into play - Since I'm dampening their magic and their health, the CR of monsters is definitely going to be higher than what their level would suggest.

However, I may be missing things. Are there any particular class abilities that I should be on the lookout for? Rules that I should be knowledgeable of that would instantly gib a PC such as common monster abilities?


You probably should consider dropping the saving throw bonuses of monsters. If magic is less common the save DC's of the PC's spells will be lower(lack of access to tomes and stat pumpers) and needs a commensurate adjustment on the other side of the screen. Personally, I would limit the attribute DC modifier to no more than +5 regardless of attribute score and max out the save modifier from attributes to no more than +7 for both PC's and NPC's/Monsters hig stats still provide extra skill points, HP, bonus spells, to hit and damage as normal just cap DC's and save mods.


You might want to limit teleport spells and many utilitarian spells to limit the common magic feel. Consider that a teleporting wizard could a very decent ammount of gold by trading composite bows in the desert for example. Limitations might be implemented by making the spells higher level, unavailable and/or dangerous/expensive to use or plainly ban wizards/sorcerers.

Eidolons/Animal companions and the like will tend to be relatively more powerful in lower magic campaigns. I don't play with Animal Companions, and while I got a summoner in the party I regret allowing it a little.

Summons in general will be a bit more powerful as well.

Temporary buffs will result in much the same effect as magical items, barksin GMW and Magic Vestment will result in casters having to spend spell slots for something that is usually a given if you take low magic too far and encourages more regular breaks to recover resources.

Saves might become hard to make by your pcs with low magic, especially low save values might suffer from lack of magic items, maybe change poor saves to 1/2 level instead of 1/3.

Allow favored class bonus to be 1/4 a feat will balance out fairly well and make NPCs/PCs a bit tougher/versatile without magic, you might just do away with favored classes if that suits your camapign better, just have to compensate half-elves a little, adding +1 to two ability scores instead and an extra trait maybe.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Running E6 helps with this.


Make full casters into half-casters, and half-casters into 1/4 casters. Replace 1/4 casting with a few spell-like abilities.
Increase martial ability of casters.


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A Man In Black wrote:
Running E6 helps with this.

I agree. Great E6 suggestions can be found on these boards just by doing a search for E6.

one such thread with links inside to others

Greg


Ion Raven wrote:

I want to run a Pathfinder game that isn't so saturated in magic that there are magic shops in every city but I don't want it to be so grim that characters are stuck at low levels and can easily die.

I really like the a lot of the class abilities of Pathfinder's classes so I still want to let the characters to level, but i don't want to turn them into gods.

To the E6 guys please note this is not what the OP is asking for E6 seems to be the complete opposite of what they are asking for.


I think one of the best things to do is to limit the level of the NPCs around the characters. When they hit 6th level, they're in an elite club. By 10th level they may be the most powerful mortals in their kingdom or even a small continent. There AREN'T any 20th level NPCs. That goes a long way towards limiting the high magic feel in the world, without gimping the PCs. Limits the magic shop effect, because honestly, much of the crafting will just be outside the range of what 99% of the world's wizards, clerics, etc. can accomplish. This also addresses the utilitarian spells problem above - if only 3 or 5 men in the world know Teleport, do you REALLY think any of them are going to use it to be a glorified caravan?

That doesn't mean the world has no threats for PCs of course, higher levels will just be skewed heavily towards monsters, or undead mortals (liches, vampires, etc.). And there's nothing wrong with a 12th level LE Human Cleric popping up once the PCs have gotten used to that, just to shake it up a little.


Tim4488 wrote:

I think one of the best things to do is to limit the level of the NPCs around the characters. When they hit 6th level, they're in an elite club. By 10th level they may be the most powerful mortals in their kingdom or even a small continent. There AREN'T any 20th level NPCs. That goes a long way towards limiting the high magic feel in the world, without gimping the PCs. Limits the magic shop effect, because honestly, much of the crafting will just be outside the range of what 99% of the world's wizards, clerics, etc. can accomplish. This also addresses the utilitarian spells problem above - if only 3 or 5 men in the world know Teleport, do you REALLY think any of them are going to use it to be a glorified caravan?

That doesn't mean the world has no threats for PCs of course, higher levels will just be skewed heavily towards monsters, or undead mortals (liches, vampires, etc.). And there's nothing wrong with a 12th level LE Human Cleric popping up once the PCs have gotten used to that, just to shake it up a little.

This only makes them more obviously God-like


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The reality is that with limited magic items, once you get past around level 6, the party starts to suffer, when you get past 10, they can no longer reasonably face on level challenges, and it takes a fair amount of work to balance encounters.

Primarily in terms of pure power on the part of the pc's what you have to worry about is the 'big six' items. Magic weapon, magic armor, stat boosting items, cloak of resistance, amulet of natural armor and rings of protection. In a normal game, they player would have these things. The game expects them to each have some of these things, and the numbers work very much not in the party's favor without them.

I too dont really like the commonality that magic items have in the game, and have decided to make some changes in my next game to make them rare. But I realized I have to give my players a boost in order to keep things reasonably close to what the game assumes. My idea that I am trying out is presented in this thread


I would take inspiration from Iron Heroes. Here are some other miscellaneous thoughts.

To bring the magic level down:
Reduce caster's by one "level". 9th level casters become 6th level. 6th level casters become 4th. 4th level casters gain 4 feats (1 each at the level they would have gained a new spell level). You can add feats back to the other 2 levels if you want. It will depend on whether or not you believe high level casters are over powered to begin with.

Limiting magical classes:
Personally, I would consider just plain removing many of the full casters. I would leave the druid, witch, sorcerer, and possible the oracle. The wizard's power is largely based on spell power (instead of abilities) so with a reduced casting the wizard may not survive well. The cleric would depend on whether or not you want the gods to directly intervene in the world. Many low magic settings have religions that are philosophies as opposed to directly empowered. The magus implies a certain triviality in magic as she can specialize in both magic and sword play. The alchemist is like the magus. It implies a certain amount of triviality to magic. Namely, easy access to alchemy. The paladin is a personal call. Without her spell casting abilities, it may be just as well to remove her and leave the cavalier. The bard should be fine with reduced casting. If you reduce her casting all the way and return feats, you can get a marshal/captain like character. The monk is a personal choice, but I would probably remove it.

To compensate for magic weapons:
Raise all BAB's by one level. Poor BAB becomes medium. Medium becomes full. And full BAB needs to go to 25. Effectively, this spreads out a +5 magic weapon to all classes over the course of their level career. No character should have less than medium BAB.

To compensate for saves:
blanket +1 to all saves at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20. Again this is just spreading "normal" bonus from magic items into the character advancement.

To compensate for armor:
blanket +1 to all AC at 2, 6, 10, 14, 18. Again this is just spreading "normal" bonus from magic items into the character advancement. You can consider the armor as damage reduction option. However, it works better at low level play than high. At low level, it can negate or almost negate damage. At high level, it has less of an effect. Basically, it makes all damage "trickle damage" you get hit more often for less instead of getting hit less often for potentially more.

To compensate for healing:
I would use reserve points

Monsters:
As you can see, the magic items/magic level are heavily ingrained in the system. They can be divorced if you take their associated bonuses and spread them out as class level bonuses. Instead of receiving a +1 sword by level 6, the character should gain a +1 BAB bonus. The other may thing will be to limit the magical classes to a level you feel is appropriate for a low magic campaign. But, you can use many of the same monsters as normal, so long as the "total bonuses" are still there.

Anyway,
Just some thoughts to mull over. Enjoy.


@Suggestion to E6 - While I appreciate the effort, this isn't really what I'm looking for.

@Dragonsong and Remco - thanks this is kind of info I was looking for. I'll play close attention to saves. Remco, that's why I'm making the summoning spells specific to which entity it calls, another entity would be another spell.

@Tim
Don't take this the wrong way, it's just that I really want to avoid tiers. I want the PCs to advance and get better, and while the story will be focused on them, I don't want to make them gods. It also breaks the verisimilitude if the NPCs have some weird unexplained limit to their abilities when the PCs don't especially when I'm trying to avoid making them gods.

@Kolokotroni
I'm willing to work through balancing the monsters to the party. Just between what I've done to magic. Your training thing is interesting, I might find a way to incorporate it into my game.

I was considering giving an ability point every level with an ability cap (18 +/- racial modifier) that raises every 4 levels. This is to make up for the lack of magic items.

Sovereign Court

I do think that the easiest way to dealing with the issue is just use E6, and perhaps use SKR's Step System to add a sense of granularity, as anything else requires massive invasive surgery.

Still, if you want levels 1-20, then some of the things that I might consider helping:

Magic crafting limited to consumables

A feat per level

+1 to all stats when the attribute bonus comes around.

Focus on humanoids for the most part in conflicts. Humanoids are vastly easier to tweak to balance out against the PCs. Try and limit only one real "monster" per session, kind of like a Call of Cthulhu game.

Serious editing of the spell lists.

I just read a great article that kind of touches on this whole issue over at the Alexandrian.


So you want to do a low magic game. Here are my suggestions:
1) Significantly limit how many players can play casters. My suggestion is, for a party of 4, no more than one full caster and one semi-caster like a ranger or paladin. In addition, since magical/divine talent is rare, throttle the number of build points you give them or given them a considerably less generous generation method---e.g., full casters are built on 10 points, semi-casters on 15, and non-casters on 25.
2) Make magic item creation way way slower than RAW, making most magic items of ancient origin. Think of changing the crafting increment for them from days to years, maybe weeks for potions or scrolls.
3) Don't worry about CR, APL, etc. Make your world what it is, and let your players choose what foes they want to hazard. Basically, use the simulationist style of encounter design. Make sure that a fair amount of intelligence is available regarding what is reputed to be in an area for those that do their due dilligence.
4) Burn the leadership feat page from your manual, and allow PC's according to in-game rather than metagame logic to acquire henchmen, hirelings, and faithful minions or followers.
5) Consider making people die at negative their full total of hit points rather than negative their constitution score, particularly if you want to seriously limit the raising of the dead. You'll probably want to say that death spells and the like take the target to -20 or -30 if you do this and probably will also want to alter the CdG rules as well.
6) The various magic items of your world, being few in number, will tend to be more 'legendary', even if not terribly powerful. Make them somewhat researchable in terms of where they are reputed to be so that due dilligence can discover where to look for them. I'm allergic to putting treasure/magic items in hoards solely for metagame reasons (e.g., the archer needs a magical bow). But I'm not averse at all to allowing said archer to follow up on the legends of the Longbow of the Elvish Lords or the barbarian who seeks the Axe of the Apostles.


@Ion Raven

If you are interested I made a simple excel file to let you plug and chug the save/ dc adjustments. I could send it to you if you wish.


If you're not allowing Ability score boosters, consider one of those variants where players get more ability score points to spend as they level. That should allow you to leave monster saves as they are, and it will keep PC melee damage and AC competitive.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
If you're not allowing Ability score boosters, consider one of those variants where players get more ability score points to spend as they level. That should allow you to leave monster saves as they are, and it will keep PC melee damage and AC competitive.

That's a good point EL. An Alternative you may consider is something TOZ suggested a while back in another thread: weapons are "magic" but the +1 to +5 is based on character level so there is less incentive to swap out any magic weapon as the next one is just as "good" and of course allows to hit to scale with level to again stay competitive with monster's AC's.


Maybe I'm oversimplifying things, but if Ion Raven wants to lower the availability and overall commoditization of magic items (and thus change the dynamics of several portions of the assumed game economy), why not simply reduce the availability of Item Creation feats?

The spells themselves aren't the problem, it's the Feats that let you turn those spells into items that are the problem.

I've mentioned this in a couple of other threads from time to time, but for my own game world, where I want magic items to really have an impact, I simply removed Item Creation Feats from the game almost entirely. This includes the "simple" ones like Brew Potion - Finding a magical elixir should be a big thing in that "Hokey smokes! This simple, minty liquid will actually stop that bleeding wound" kind of way. Where the magic items were now deficient, it forced the players to think of alternate methods to solve their issues. It also made spellcasters more valuable within the party, and encouraged people to really look at the choices they made with their PC's (especially the priestly types).

Raising the minimum level on each Item feat by 3 or 4 suddenly makes most low-level NPC's unable to work them. It instantly changes the economic dynamics of the game world, since the number of available crafters drops significantly - you no longer have the "Apprentice Assembly Line" cranking out potions, scrolls, and wands. Swords and Armor are now really difficult to make, but not impossible. So on, so forth, yadda yadda.

Just a thought, mind you.


A few things immediately come to mind:

-Houserule the Heal skill to be able to do a lot more. Heal skill on steroids. Pulling something out of my wazu: maybe using basic medical supplies, as a standard action, dc 10 to heal 1d6 damage +1d6 for each 5 points you beat the dc by. Then a longer version of the check that requires an hour, but heals d10s, and can target up to 4 people. Then versions of the check to deal with special conditions, poison, etc more effectively. Basically look through the cleric's spell list for every healing capability they have, and make up some fairly easy way for a character to replicate it with the heal skill.

-Make all of the basic +1/2/3/4/5,keen, and fortification magic item abilities available, just say they aren't magic, but the result of expert craftmanship.

-Use lower CRs that give more xp, and use a lot of humanoid enemies that follow the same rules as your pcs. Save dragons and vampires and mummies and such for special occasions, the way they are often used in fantasy literature.

-Don't allow wizards and other real spellcasters, or gimp the living crap out of them(ie change spells per day to spells per week, and give them 0 opportunities to pick up new scrolls, etc). If you just make it harder for your fighters and rogues to get magic items, but then let your wizards and clerics cast as well as ever, you are really just making your magic users more superior, and giving your players even less incentive to play fighters and rogues than they have in the core rules (which aint much).


Hmm, from a players perspective, saying it will be a low magic campaign/world just tells me that equipment is going to suck, spells will be hard to get and the ones available at a reasonable cost will likely suck, and that I HAVE to play a spontaneous caster; i.e. Sorcerer, Inquisitor, Bard, etc.

Having played in this kind of world before, I have promised myself that I will not play rogues, barbarians or fighters in them again. It's painful as a magic-less melee guy.

However, if you can manage to make it not suck, I'd like to hear about it.

Shadow Lodge

Talk to your players. Find out what kind of magical items they want. Then throw bad guys at them who are wielding such items. PCs kill bad guy, PCs have the magical items.

Yeah, I know, shocking. Actually using something you find in an adventure, not just thinking about it as gold pieces in another form. But give it a try, you might like it.


I am currently running my players through a Low Magic Campaign...so I'll give you the modifications I have made (they are level 4, but I told them to plan to go up to around 12 at least).

- The following classes will be 1 level behind all other players: Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard, Oracle, Summoner, Witch, and Magus. To me, these classes use spell casting as their primary abilities, where other classes, such as Bard, Paladin, Ranger, Alchemist, and Inquisitor use their spells to augment other abilities.

- Potions will be available. Spells that can be in potions aren't generally game breaking, plus, I wanted my players to have some healing, restoration, fly, invis, things like that.

- Alchemy is fully available, and then some. In fact, I added some things from 3.5 books:
Weapon Capsules and the alchemy capsules associated with them (Complete Adventurer)
I also took some of the alchemy substances from Complete Adventurer and made sure the group knows those are available for purchase.
I went through multiple sources, and found different "materials" for armor and weapon construction. I also found armor/weapon add-ons (not magical). These include: Riverine, Chitin, Camouflage, Gold, Hizagkuur, and Living Metal.

- I gave a listing of new arrow heads that could be purchased. Most of these came from Ultimate Equipment, from Mongoose Publishing.

- Along with Masterwork Weapons, I gave the following for Superior Work Weapons:
A superiorwork weapon is one that is crafted specifically for an individual. For anyone else, it is simply considered masterwork. The other person may notice that it is extraordinary, but they will not be able to take advantage of the special balancing and grip designed specifically for that person. Superiorwork weapons cannot be “converted” to someone else either. A weapon that has this feature can choose from the following benefits:
+1 to initiative while wielding this weapon
+1 enhancement bonus to damage (this does not stack with enhancement bonuses granted by the weapon being magical)
+1 to sleight of hand attempts to conceal
+1 CMB on sunder or disarm attempts
Each option may only be selected once, and cost +500 gp each. This is in addition to the normal masterwork costs of the weapon. More than one may be selected, but all must be selected at the time of forging.

- After some time, I added Superior Work Armor:
A superiorwork suit of armor is one that is crafted specifically for an individual. For anyone else, it is simply considered masterwork. The other person may notice that it is extraordinary, but they will not be able to take advantage of the special buckler placement, corner shaving, and hole openings designed specifically for that person. Superiorwork armor cannot be “converted” to someone else either. A suit of armor that has this feature can choose from the following benefits:
-1 armor check penalty any one skill where the armor check penalty would apply (this will stack with reductions from other materials)
+1 enhancement resistance to the element of your choice (fire, cold, acid, electric) (this stacks with itself, but not other enhancement bonuses)
+1 damage reduction vs blunt, slashing, or piercing (this stacks only with itself) - This ability costs 200 gp each time it is selected, instead of the normal 100 gp.
-5 lbs weight (to a minimum of 5 lbs)
Each option may be selected more than once, and cost +100 gp each. This is in addition to the normal masterwork costs of the armor. More than one may be selected, but all must be selected at the time of forging.

- Finally, I changed Magic Item Crafting, specifically Craft Magic Arms and Armor. These aren't supposed to be exhaustive rules, I'm not a game developer. But my group has had no problem with them, and working with me when using them.

Craft Magic Arms and Armor
The art of making magical weapons and armor has been lost over the years, and there are very few in the world that still know how to perform this delicate magic. Fortunately though, the mages have learned a type of magical “transference”. With time and concentration (as well as this feat), the magical aura of a weapon or suit of armor may be removed and placed into a vial of specially prepared oils. Sadly, each vial contains only half the magic needed to create a +1 enhancement. Two vials will need to be combined to create enough oil to cover one weapon or suit of armor.
Extracting the magical essence from a suit of armor or weapon will remove all magical bonuses from it.
The enhancements from these vials stack, but each enhancement costs as many full vials as the enhancement itself. So a +1 costs 1 full vial, a +2 costs 2 more full vials, a +3 costs 3 more full vials. If someone wanted to go from a +1 enhancement to a +3 enhancement, 5 full vials would be needed (2 to get to +2, and 3 more to get to +3).
No matter what the enhancement of the original weapon, only one vial can be extracted from a suit of armor or weapon with this technique.
The cost of the oils and other items consumed in the removal of an enhancement from a weapon or suit of armor is 1,500 gp. This technique requires 8 hours of uninterrupted work. Applying the oil requires an additional 8 hours of uninterrupted work, but this may be done by someone else so long as the person has proficiency in the armor or weapon the oil is being applied to.
Note: There are no DC checks needed for this.
Note: This feat still works as normal with the Master Craftsman feat, but must be taken for Profession: Blacksmith.

Improved Craft Magical Arms and Armor
PreRequisite: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, spellcaster level 6
By studying how both how magical oils are taken into a weapon or suit of armor and how the magic itself alters the item, a more efficient technique has been discovered. Through the use of this feat, the spellcaster may remove enough of the magical essence to create a half vial of magical oil for each + of enhancement on the weapon or armor. In all other respects, this works just like Craft Magical Arms and Armor.
For example: Bob the wizard finds a +3 suit of full plate. He can use this technique to create 1 and a half vials of magical enhancement.

Efficient Craft Magical Arms and Armor
PreRequisite: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Improved Craft Magical Arms and Armor, spellcaster level 12
Through continued use and study, the spellcaster has learned how to better distil the magical aura from a suit of armor or weapon. For every 3 +’s removed, 2 full vials of magical enhancement are created. As an additional benefit, multiple suits of armor or weapons may be combined to perform this distillation. In all other respects, this works just like Craft Magical Arms and Armor.
For example: If there is a +2 rapier weapon and 4 +1 suits of leather armor, 4 full vials of magical enhancement will be created from this.

Special Distill and Crafting
PreRequisite: Craft Magical Arms and Armor, spellcaster level 6
Sometimes, a weapon or armor may have a special ability such as flaming or fortification. This technique will allow the spellcaster to remove that magical ability and distil it into a vial of magical enhancement. To do this, the spellcaster must make a Spellcraft check with a DC = 10 + (4 x the cost of the enhancement to remove). If successful, he creates a vial of magical enhancement as normal. The amount may be modified by the Improved Craft Magical Arms and Armor as well as the Efficient Craft Magical Arms and Armor. Failure means this magical ability is automatically dispelled from the original weapon or suit of armor (although other special abilities are still there).
In addition, when applying a vial of magical enhancement, the spellcaster may choose to channel some magic into the process. By doing so, he alters the oil to create a special ability. If the spellcaster has the prerequisite spell needed, then this technique automatically works. If he does not, then he must make a Spellcraft check with a DC = 14 + (4 x the cost of the enhancement of the special ability). Failure means the oil is wasted and lost.
In all other respects, this ability works just like Craft Magical Arms and Armor.
Note: If removing a special ability using the Improved Craft Magical Arms and Armor or Efficient Craft Magical Arms and Armor techniques, and a failure occurs, then the entire suit of armor or weapon is dispelled.


I approve Ion Raven, I too am tired of magic item shops, the games being fixated on magic item collect-them-all/fill-all-slots syndrome or crafting. "When I get a few more gold, then I can craft an even better headband of intellect! yaaaaay".

Let's take this particular trend back to 2nd ed, no magic item shops.

How to run it? Well you might want to make the game more about survival, less wealth, less magic items, lower CR encounters--but don't forget to make them interesting.

Focus on story, npcs, and no, they cannot just go and buy magic items, but any they do find they can sell on to the wealthy.

And Ion, rather than the ability score boosting tied to level or tiers, one thing found that seems to work is that player stats rise or fall based on roleplaying and what happens or doesn't in game.

E.g. the strength 8 bard gets into a lot of melee and hardens up. +1 to str and con, more if he keeps at it. If someone really thinks and this comes across in gmae, +1 to int or wis. If they slack off, pull back certain stats, but generally they steadily rise based on player participation and what they push their characters into.

The higher the score the more they have to do to push it higher.

:) It has worked so far in a campaign I am running.

What I personally dislike about high magic settings, is that even pure melees, say a fighter, who spend their entire life training in a melee academy, know the specific name and effects of magic items, despite not having a rank in arcana. They want to stay competitive, so the players assume their character knows all they know, from reading the DMG and other sources.


Ion Raven wrote:
I want to run a Pathfinder game that isn't so saturated in magic that there are magic shops in every city but I don't want it to be so grim that characters are stuck at low levels and can easily die.

In my experience, there are a few ways of doing this.

1) Reverse-engineer the system and make the appropriate changes. This can go pretty far pretty quick, with ramifications affecting a wide array of sections of the rules. Your OP points towards this but believe me, it is far from simple or quick to do.

2) Have a good talk with the group and instigate on some gentleman's rule of non-abuse. Much can be achieve with critical analysis and usage of monsters, challenges and re-interpretation of the setting. With the right people, that can work wonders.

3) Addition of overlaying rules of magic that superimpose the existent magic system. For example, substance cannot be created (its a cosmic law or something) and can only be duplicated. Magic cannot change the nature of things: it can only temporarily (or even permanently) affect it but its effects are always dismissible or dispellable. etc

I have a lot to say about each options for having experimented with this myself for quite a few years...

'findel


A Man In Black wrote:
Running E6 helps with this.

Agreed, also take a look at the Iron Heros setting by Monte Cook. Another idea touched upon was to limit the max level of spell casting, or to require casters to specialize and perhaps requiring a +1 restricted school. Allowing no casting from said restricted schools.

I'd suggest within such an environment your casters would actually be more powerful / valued as their buff spells might be the only way to get such effects if the appearance of magic items is more limited. Thus the only way to actually get the 10 minutes of Bull Strength is if you have a very rare caster with you.

Here is another fun one, any core caster can make scrolls, and thus they scrolls are more common but may only be used by actual spell casters.

KILL THE SKILL: USE MAGIC DEVICE!!

Be extremely cautious with the various styles of teleportation spells, and with any type of Divination spell. Both of which quickly and easily wreck campaign balance within low magic settings.

Consider your magic items. Perhaps items that masterwork are more common. What about items that are made of superior quality materials, such as Mithril thieves tools for example giving a +4, or Adamantite ones giving a +6. Same with armor, or magic weapons, etc.

With no way to easily cure them effects like Poison and Disease can become dangerous, use them with caution. Perhaps allowing the spells, but ruling they only effectively mean the player has made their save and must still recover normally via rest.

Here is another good one for you: Allow magic healing, but it simply converts damage into non-lethal damage which will heal naturally over the next few minutes / hours /etc.

Ban the large healing spells like Raise Dead and Regeneration, Resurrection, Reincarnate, etc. People die, crap happens. In such a campaign however make sure that PC death isnt the only answer to running out of hit points. In my campaign you are "mortally wounded" at such moments and we have a "comming to Jesus meeting" about if you are having fun with that character and want to keep it. If so then we work out a campaign appropriate answer to your recovery. If not, then it is a good time to re-roll. A good example of this was the party barbarian that got "killed", and was reworked as a monk. Why a monk? All that physical rehab to get him back on his feet meant his mind & body had to be reconditioned which also accounted for the necessary alignment shift.

Allow the spell casting classes in your campaign, but really play up on the fact that they are rare. Perhaps when they go into town crowds of adoring fans gather, or angry mobs form as the locals fear such people will draw unwanted attention from their enemies who have thus far ignored them. Perhaps the locals are terrified of them, this would be especially true of large flashy spells like FireBall. Low level spells up to 2nd or 3rd level might be ok but beyond that and the locals will actively start to shun you unless you are showing them that it is not something to be afraid of. Remember the first reaction of people with things they dont understand: Fear it, destroy it, THEN wonder if it could have benefit them. Perhaps in very military circles this would not be the case as they would see the obvious tactical value in such things, but there is a reason soldiers dont come home fully armed to the teeth even to their own homes in todays world. Just like the guy who works on Nukes does park the thing in their front yard.

There are a few of the ideas i put into place with my own campaign to tone down the magic levels.


Tim4488 wrote:

I think one of the best things to do is to limit the level of the NPCs around the characters. When they hit 6th level, they're in an elite club. By 10th level they may be the most powerful mortals in their kingdom or even a small continent. There AREN'T any 20th level NPCs. That goes a long way towards limiting the high magic feel in the world, without gimping the PCs. Limits the magic shop effect, because honestly, much of the crafting will just be outside the range of what 99% of the world's wizards, clerics, etc. can accomplish. This also addresses the utilitarian spells problem above - if only 3 or 5 men in the world know Teleport, do you REALLY think any of them are going to use it to be a glorified caravan?

That doesn't mean the world has no threats for PCs of course, higher levels will just be skewed heavily towards monsters, or undead mortals (liches, vampires, etc.). And there's nothing wrong with a 12th level LE Human Cleric popping up once the PCs have gotten used to that, just to shake it up a little.

Absolutely agree. In my campaign level 10 - 12 is "master", the "Arch-Mage" of the campaign is a 15th LvL Evoker who is the baddest mage in the known world and basically seen as a walking weapon of mass destruction.


Ion Raven wrote:

@OP

I want the PCs to advance and get better, and while the story will be focused on them, I don't want to make them gods. It also breaks the verisimilitude if the NPCs have some weird unexplained limit to their abilities when the PCs don't especially when I'm trying to avoid making them gods.

The NPCs don't have "some weird unexplained limit to their abilities when the PCs don't", rather what you are dealing with are campaign wide level caps. Simply put there are more untrained people in the world than there are Ninja Masters and Delta Force operatives. Make sure you play up on the scale of the conflict vs just throwing a level 10 monster at the party, what if there were 4 level 6 (or whatever) BlackGuards. Or 3 Adult dragons instead of 1 ancient one, etc.


Dragonsong wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
If you're not allowing Ability score boosters, consider one of those variants where players get more ability score points to spend as they level. That should allow you to leave monster saves as they are, and it will keep PC melee damage and AC competitive.
That's a good point EL. An Alternative you may consider is something TOZ suggested a while back in another thread: weapons are "magic" but the +1 to +5 is based on character level so there is less incentive to swap out any magic weapon as the next one is just as "good" and of course allows to hit to scale with level to again stay competitive with monster's AC's.

Absolutely agree with this one. You figure about +1 per 3 - 4 levels, simply calculate this into the encounters you are trying to build, and don't put in monsters / ghosts / demons / etc that cant be hit with the equipment the party has. If it requires a +3 weapon to hit the Demon, fine but either give the party and alternative option for this, ignore the requirement, or remove the requirement. DR makes a nice replacement for bonus weapon requirements; ie simply say that any weapon can hit but the monster has a DR effect in place.


There's a lot of awesome ideas in here so far.

One of the biggest things I'm going to do is modify the spells. I'm removing spells that create material (such as create food) or reflavoring them ('Create Water' is 'Draw Water' and can only draw water from within 30 ft through material that is porous such as dirt). I especially like the idea about the teleport. Summons are specific to entities which means the spell the wizard learned to summon an angel will not also grant him access to a demon. The idea of a fireball filling volume, I want to incorporate, however I also want to encourage characters with large shields to take cover against an explosion.


Any chance you have access to a 1e DMG? In the back of the book there are tables for things like reputed properties of gems, herbs, etc.

This gives you an opportunity to do things like expand on the real-world healing powers of herbs, roots, teas, etc. The natural world (plants, animals, insects, salt water, etc., etc.) is filled with ways of obtaining minor curatives, poison-resistance, etc.

Further, though we only get so much bang out of minerals, remember, iron is magnetic, salt tastes yummy (and can be used to kill plants), copper is a conductor, etc. You could always rule that pearls have some mystical power (associated with the sea? the underworld? what does the mythology of your campaign suggest?), that quartz holds some power, that rubies heal the diseased, that onyx harbor negative energy, etc.

Just a few random thoughts for the day.


Ion Raven wrote:

@Suggestion to E6 - While I appreciate the effort, this isn't really what I'm looking for.

@Dragonsong and Remco - thanks this is kind of info I was looking for. I'll play close attention to saves. Remco, that's why I'm making the summoning spells specific to which entity it calls, another entity would be another spell.

@Tim
Don't take this the wrong way, it's just that I really want to avoid tiers. I want the PCs to advance and get better, and while the story will be focused on them, I don't want to make them gods. It also breaks the verisimilitude if the NPCs have some weird unexplained limit to their abilities when the PCs don't especially when I'm trying to avoid making them gods.

This is the problem. E6 IS what you're looking for. You just don't want to accept it. Regular D&D and Pathfinder go from "not godlike" to "godlike" over 20 levels. Unless you rebuild the system you are going to end up with godlikes by virtue of their levels alone. A 10th level Fighter can tear his way through a stone wall with his bare hands in a minute or less, by virtue of his raw natural power.

You need to decide what it is that you're exactly looking for. Are you looking for high fantasy or low fantasy? Low magic and low-fantasy are typically synonymous. There's a difference between "gritty" low-fantasy. A big difference. Gritty implies that you have ease of death/injury/harm beyond what is expected. Low-magic/fantasy means that the world is more like the real world.

E6 or E8 would be a good option for this. However, removing magic items will merely favor anyone who has access to magic via their class. The only martial classes I'd even consider playing under such a limitation would be rangers, paladins, bards, druids, inquisitors, alchemists, or summoners; because waving a masterwork stick around for 20 levels would suck beyond reason. What would suck more would be the lack of common staples such as potions and wondrous items. Suddenly the Paladin and Ranger's spells are looking waaaaay better. The ranger at least gets Longstrider and Freedom of Movement at higher levels, which as a Fighter in a "no buying magic and no crafting magic" is a hopeless endeavor.

But the real question is what are you gaining? You're already talking about creating a lot of house rules to try and beef up their stats across the board so they are simultaneously overly inflated and underpowered. So the cap for the Fighter's strength is 25? If you're using 15 point buy, you might hit 24, 20, 20, 10, 18, 10, but your AC, saves, and options are going to be horrible.

So then you begin adjusting the monsters so you can have your low magic high fantasy, so you need to make adjustments to lower all the saving throw DCs, saving throws, attack bonuses, and basically end up rebuilding all the monsters...and for what?

If you really don't want people to be able to purchase magic items regularly, I'd recommend making it more like Baldur's Gate I & II. Magic items generally capped out at basics, with a few nice ones in the Adventurer's Market (owned by a retired adventurer who collects and trades such things).

Magic items in that game tended to be few, and yet they were very powerful. You had stuff like +2 greatswords that granted continuous freedom of movement, items that prevent you from being charmed, and magic items that allow the characters to cast spells, and a character armed with several of these magic items can have a varied arsenal.

If you at least go this route, it means you can just drop a magic item now and then that might be considered overpowered in a normal game, but you'll just be keeping them on par because they are so horribly lacking in everything. A +3 sword that grants freedom of movement, a cloak that provides energy resistance 10 to acid, cold, fire, and electricity in addition to a +3 resistance bonus to all saves.

But honestly, please, "What is it you hope to accomplish" is the question I pose. What is it that you want that you need to have high level play minus magical items? Exactly what do you mean by making them godlike? 'Cause frankly characters will be godlike in reality terms merely by being 10th level or so (at this point you can fall off a 200 ft. cliff onto a spiked pit and walk away, or tear through a stone wall with your fists, etc).


Ashiel wrote:
Ion Raven wrote:
@Suggestion to E6 - While I appreciate the effort, this isn't really what I'm looking for.
This is the problem. E6 IS what you're looking for.

I can agree with the sentiment that E6 isn't necessarily the solution, unless you're talking E6 for casters only...

'findel


Ashiel, your case in favor of E6 makes sense.

I have to disagree with you solely this premise: you are claiming there can only be one solution to the problem.


Ashiel wrote:


This is the problem. E6 IS what you're looking for. You just don't want to accept it. Regular D&D and Pathfinder go from "not godlike" to "godlike" over 20 levels. Unless you rebuild the system you are going to end up with godlikes by virtue of their levels alone. A 10th level Fighter can tear his way through a stone wall with his bare hands in a minute or less, by virtue of his raw natural power.

A 10th level fighter would have at most 22 in Str in my game without strength enhancing items... Even if the PC was strong enough to bust through a wall, they'd hurt themselves unless they sought to protect their precious hands ahead of time.

Like I said before the reason I want to allow them to go beyond 6-8 is so that they can have access to the class abilities granted at higher levels, which if you look at, aren't that overpowering.

Ashiel wrote:


You need to decide what it is that you're exactly looking for. Are you looking for high fantasy or low fantasy? Low magic and low-fantasy are typically synonymous. There's a difference between "gritty" low-fantasy. A big difference. Gritty implies that you have ease of death/injury/harm beyond what is expected. Low-magic/fantasy means that the world is more like the real world.

I guess the best way to describe it is 'medium-ish' magic, as in there is a stable but weak amount of magic in the common areas, but a few rare areas have stronger magic. I want high-fantasy, as it's a completely different world with mystical creatures. Definitely not gritty though, I'm not looking to track details of each particular wound and roll to see if it gets an infection. I want the story and their characters more affected by their decisions than their rolls.

Ashiel wrote:


E6 or E8 would be a good option for this. However, removing magic items will merely favor anyone who has access to magic via their class. The only martial classes I'd even consider playing under such a limitation would be rangers, paladins, bards, druids, inquisitors, alchemists, or summoners; because waving a masterwork stick around for 20 levels would suck beyond reason. What would suck more would be the lack of common staples such as potions and wondrous items. Suddenly the Paladin and Ranger's spells are looking waaaaay better. The ranger at least gets Longstrider and Freedom of Movement at higher levels, which as a Fighter in a "no buying magic and no crafting magic" is a hopeless endeavor.

I never said that I was going to remove all magic items, I said I was going to remove the ever prevalent magic-mart. Magic items can still be created, but not with gold, but through materials; some which may require epic quests, some which may require quick hunting / harvesting in the nearby forest. Potions and salves can be made with herbs without any real magic, weapons and rings with special effects are different. How awesome is a flaming sword if everyone with enough gold can just buy one or have one made quickly at the nearby magic shop? Compare that to a destructive flaming sword that you forged from the dragon you slew.

I don't plan on gimping the wizards by just making it harder to find spells, I plan on removing some spells, making some higher level, and rewriting others to make them more risky / more interesting. This affects all spell casters.

Ashiel wrote:


But the real question is what are you gaining? You're already talking about creating a lot of house rules to try and beef up their stats across the board so they are simultaneously overly inflated and underpowered. So the cap for the Fighter's strength is 25? If you're using 15 point buy, you might hit 24, 20, 20, 10, 18, 10, but your AC, saves, and options are going to be horrible.

So then you begin adjusting the monsters so you can have your low magic high fantasy, so you need to make adjustments to lower all the saving throw DCs, saving throws, attack bonuses, and basically end up rebuilding all the monsters...and for what?

A sense of epicness when you do get the magic.

A sense of accomplishment when you do defeat the enemies.
Even if you don't think it's worth it, I do.

Ashiel wrote:


If you really don't want people to be able to purchase magic items regularly, I'd recommend making it more like Baldur's Gate I & II. Magic items generally capped out at basics, with a few nice ones in the Adventurer's Market (owned by a retired adventurer who collects and trades such things).

Magic items in that game tended to be few, and yet they were very powerful. You had stuff like +2 greatswords that granted continuous freedom of movement, items that prevent you from being charmed, and magic items that allow the characters to cast spells, and a character armed with several of these magic items can have a varied arsenal.

If you at least go this route, it means you can just drop a magic item now and then that might be considered overpowered in a normal game, but you'll just be keeping them on par because they are so horribly lacking in everything. A +3 sword that grants freedom of movement, a cloak that provides energy resistance 10 to acid, cold, fire, and electricity in addition to a +3 resistance bonus to all saves.

And I already planned to something akin to that. Special effects are way more fun than just having bigger numbers.

Ashiel wrote:


But honestly, please, "What is it you hope to accomplish" is the question I pose. What is it that you want that you need to have high level play minus magical items? Exactly what do you mean by making them godlike? 'Cause frankly characters will be godlike in reality terms merely by being 10th level or so (at this point you can fall off a 200 ft. cliff onto a spiked pit and walk away, or tear through a stone wall with your fists, etc).

It's about the tone of the game. I want the players to feel like they've truly have gotten a hold of something very powerful when they gain magic or level up, not to feel like they're just leveling with the rest of the enemies.

In case you missed it, I've already decided to separate hp into stamina and wounds. Falling off a 200 ft cliff into a spiked pit would kill them, and they would do well to not place themselves in that kind of danger. Punching stone walls would sunder their hands. I'm not making them Superman clones.

I think the problem is you're overestimating levels and class abilities. Spells and Items are generally what make characters so god-like especially the spells.

Dark Archive

Ashiel wrote:

This is the problem. E6 IS what you're looking for.

No, as EL said there is more than one solution to the problem - E6 or E8 is not the way to get there - at least it isn't for me.

The power level, level of item dependence and reliance/impact of magic items can be mitigated if some thought is put to it.

Dark Archive

Here is what I am looking at - my focus is more on the math and making things work on a mechanical level. I have already started revising some spells to make most boon/utility spells have a risk-reward paradigm built into them :
EX - Teleport will always have a chance even if minor - of major damage and no save disorientation upon arrival (players can due their best to still try and minimize this), ALL Stat boosters will exhaust the target once the spell effect passes (Bull Strength will cause the recipient to be tired/exhausted/mental fatigue after spell passes), Summon creatures are fixed and are not replaced till you level (So if they die they are gone for sometime), etc. To all those who said the big focus is the spells - you are 100% right.

On the mechanical side I am looking at a total game rewrite:

Warning may cause RAW adherents to stab eyes!:

Max stats (PC & NPCs/Monsters). This will affect all DCs for spells and spell like effects.

Capped DCs (even if bypassed by feats or stats) tied to effect spell level.

Spells are full round actions unless the spell speed requires it to operate faster (feather fall, etc).

Attacks being more tied to BAB vs. STR (plus other) or bonuses. So you want to have a better to hit then get to a higher level

Hit points being more closely tied to HD vs. the CON bonus (this will deflate both PC and NPC/Monster hp - unless the monsters have higher HD)

Minimal stat boosters

Crafting redone - no more crafting item boosters to fold over power, costs will make sense (relation to charges, ease of use and in-combat utility). Ultimately item creation will be riskier and require a greater investment - diminishing returns in most cases - so it will not be a wealth creating feature but a tool creating feature. Creating items will weaken casters and may temporarily tie up some spells. Still need to look at level of power investment.

Damage maximizers or multipliers will be reevaluated or dropped altogether (Sword with flaming ability may just do fire damage in addition to slashing, not +1d6). Pow attack, critical feats, et al - re-examined and modified or dropped.

Change the way iterative attacks work. This also means looking at creature damage output/frequency of attacks.

Probably drop Stat increases associated with level and HD altogether

Most martials will get get a second good save (Fighters, Rogues, Cavaliers and Barbarians).

All utility spells will have a chance of failure (Ex -Detect Secret Doors), also if cast on ideal targets their use will be boosted - EX - Wizard casts Detect Secret Doors on himself gets X bonus to detect secret doors, if he casts it on a target with trapfinding it becomes X+10 (something along those lines).

So the game will still scale, I just need to see how well it will scale against ability - going to need to look at CRs, damage output, DR, etc.

Lots of work for sure but I think the main focus is the stat caps and resulting changes (reduced to hits, AC, and hps, changes to damage). Once I get that resolved the other stuff is minor.

Sovereign Court

Legends and Labyrinths might also be helpful in toning things down for Pathfinder. The system basically strips away everything extraneous to the 3.5 engine, which presumably would allow the math to be more evident and make it easier to shape the system to work as you want it to.


In my campaign, I did three things to help with the magic bloat.

1. All craft magic item feats require +5 levels. So scribe scroll, which Wizards get for free at level 1, now they get for free at level 6.

2. All magic items except for one use items like potions require the casting of permanancy.

3. Items may be crafted, but not upgraded.

This means that magic items are rare. That PCs can make their own, but not until they are mid level already, and because of the cost of permanancy, it is more economical to make one item that does several things. They tend to be much more interesting items. No more +1 swords, but +2 swords which cast web and allow the bearer to spider climb at will.


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Ion Raven wrote:
A 10th level fighter would have at most 22 in Str in my game without strength enhancing items... Even if the PC was strong enough to bust through a wall, they'd hurt themselves unless they sought to protect their precious hands ahead of time.

A 10th level Fighter with a 22 strength and power attack can pummel a stone wall to pieces. They would have 3 attacks per round (counting off-hand since hitting the wall is trivial) at 1d3+9 damage, which means that they will deal an average of 75 damage to a stone wall every minute just hitting it with their fists. If they bothered to pick up a club (a stick on the ground) they hit for 1d6+9+9 or an average of 230 damage per minute against a stone wall.

Quote:
Like I said before the reason I want to allow them to go beyond 6-8 is so that they can have access to the class abilities granted at higher levels, which if you look at, aren't that overpowering.

That's debatable, but if you don't want players to be powerful, then why continue giving them powers? What sorts of class features do you want them to have? Fighters get bigger and bigger numbers, rangers get more and more powerful spells and abilities (freedom of movement for the win), paladins deal hundreds of points of extra damage every round with smite, and their spells get pretty darn awesome in a low-magic game (where they can turn a turd into a +5 holy turd if they want to).

Quote:
I guess the best way to describe it is 'medium-ish' magic, as in there is a stable but weak amount of magic in the common areas, but a few rare areas have stronger magic. I want high-fantasy, as it's a completely different world with mystical creatures. Definitely not gritty though, I'm not looking to track details of each particular wound and roll to see if it gets an infection. I want the story and their characters more affected by their decisions than their rolls.

1st - The game is already like that. Seriously, check out the magic item limits in the magic item section. A metropolis has a cap of 16,000 gp, which is at best at +4 ability score magic item, or a +4 cloak of resistance. Medium magic items are on average about 10,000 gp according to the core rules, with major being around 40,000+ gp. This means that even in the grandest of places major magic items are not something that you can purchase. At best you could go to a specialized dealer and see if any of the 3d4 random major magic items happens to be something that is worth bothering with ("A +2 flaming gnome-bane sword? Hmmmm...").

The only items that are easily available in the default game is in fact stuff like potions, minor wondrous items, and common scrolls. Thorps? 1st level potions and scrolls. Hamlet? 200 gp cap, so you can't even buy most heavy armors here or a masterwork weapon, and you can find a 2nd level scroll but no hope of finding a 2nd level potion. Village? 500 gp cap. Congratulations, you can buy a masterwork chainmail here, a 3rd level scroll, or a 2nd level potion. Still not even mundane plate mail, and most minor magic items can't even be bought. Small town? 1,000 gp. You just can find a +1 ability score magic item or a +1 resistance item. You could find a potion of haste, or a 4th level scroll if you have need of it. Large town? 2,000 gp. You finally can find a smith willing to sell full plate, and you might be able to find a handy haversack or efficient quiver, but not even a +1 sword. Small city? 4,000 gp. This place is so grand you could find a +2 ability score magic item, or a +2 resistance item. You can finally purchase a +1 sword or a +1 armor (but not full plate unless you can find someone to enchant your own equipment you bought). Large city? 8,000 gp. You can't even purchase a +2 weapon or a +3 resistance cloak, but you could get your +1 full plate, an amulet of mighty fists +1, or an amulet of natural armor +2.

You're hardly stumbling over artifacts here. Most are only a 5-10% difference to characters. The only way you can reliably get magic items is either to quest for the treasure to enchant them yourself (did you think all that adventuring gold was just for brothel girls? So you spend 3,000 gp for the shavings of a unicorn's horn and the blessed waters bathed in by a nymph, or found 3,000 gp worth of those things, doesn't matter), or find them on epic adventuring quests.

2nd - Seriously, the problem is not the game, it's how you're spinning the game. Ok, so let's pretend we're following the rules and guidelines for the game, and say you can't simply purchase a +3 flaming sword at Ye Olde Bigass Metropolis ('cause you can't), but you catch word that there is a sword of "legendary power" that was sealed away at X place during Y year, and it still waits for a champion to reclaim it. The sword's name is "Flare-Render the Ashbringer" and is buried in a long forgotten tomb of its former champion, waiting for a new owner who is worthy to come forth and claim it. So far, no one has made it. Dare you try? Sure, the sword is actually just a +3 flaming longsword that has 3 charges per day (1 charge for scorching ray, 3 charges for fireball). But that's not a +3 flaming sword with fireball 1/day, that's the #@%@&E-#&U@ing Flare-Render, forged by the Archmage Tildanus the Wise for Glorin the Magefriend and coated in the ever-staining blood of the ice devils he used it to destroy a century past - and now it's part of YOUR legacy.

You can't even buy a +2 sword that was enchanted by some 6th level adept with Craft Arms & Armor in anything smaller than a metropolis. Good luck walking into a shop and being like "Hey dude, I need a weapon of legendary proportions, preferably a +3 flaming longsword that shoots fireballs? Can I expect it by tuesday?").

So by default the game actually gives you exactly what you are describing. Extremely minor magic is available easily, with even moderate magical equipment being extremely rare (seriously, +2 is the highest magical weapon you can get in the largest cities in the entire world). What is missing?

Quote:

I never said that I was going to remove all magic items, I said I was going to remove the ever prevalent magic-mart. Magic items can still be created, but not with gold, but through materials; some which may require epic quests, some which may require quick hunting / harvesting in the nearby forest. Potions and salves can be made with herbs without any real magic, weapons and rings with special effects are different. How awesome is a flaming sword if everyone with enough gold can just buy one or have one made quickly at the nearby magic shop? Compare that to a destructive flaming sword that you forged from the dragon you slew.

I don't plan on gimping the wizards by just making it harder to find spells, I plan on removing some spells, making some higher level, and rewriting others to make them more risky / more interesting. This affects all spell casters.

Ok, so you're attacking wizards? I mean, of course you realize that you cannot even purchase a scroll of say, wish because of its excessive price tag (28,885 gp > 16,000 gp by a long shot). Ok, so we're going to re-write wizard spells and start changing their levels and apparently making it difficult to purchase scrolls, despite their being pretty minor magic items (for the record you can't purchase pearls of power V even in a metropolis). So I guess we're going to go through and change clerics, druids, sorcerers, oracles, witches, and such as well? Ok, so we've got yet more work and house-ruling for a questionable benefit. Since I don't know exactly what you're talking about changing, beyond "making some higher levels, restricting scroll access", I can't comment on it further.

However, I will say it doesn't seem like you're suggesting a lot of stuff to fix what isn't broken. Also "risky" and "interesting" are often innuendo for "I plan to make it suck to be this guy" when used in the way you're using it. Perhaps I misunderstand, but it gives me chills.

Quote:

A sense of epicness when you do get the magic.

A sense of accomplishment when you do defeat the enemies.
Even if you don't think it's worth it, I do.

I do think it's worth it. I think you're just missing the forest for the trees here. As I noted before, strong magic is something that is factually rare. It's not available at a magic market. I've got a group of players in a tabletop game who're level 6 and are praising the gods that they made it through a kobold den after multiple tries, failures, tactical retreats, and an excessive expenditure of cure light wounds potions/wands. Man did they totally dig the items like the dragon-emblazed +1 steel shield (the picture comes to life and sprays fire as burning hands for up to 5d4 fire damage per day split as desired), the cursed bracers of disguising (a magic item that provides a +5 competence bonus on disguise checks but has a drawback of changing the character's gender when worn), and of course the treasure of a dwarf prince who made his last stand in the dungeon fifty years. Recovering his legendary armor of the winter walker was a particularly wonderful thing for them (the armor itself was a +1 full plate that had a continual endure elements and could allow the wearer to use "grasp of the frostlord" - which was just a cold-version of shocking grasp - for up to 5d6 cold damage per day, split as desired).

Quote:

It's about the tone of the game. I want the players to feel like they've truly have gotten a hold of something very powerful when they gain magic or level up, not to feel like they're just leveling with the rest of the enemies.

In case you missed it, I've already decided to separate hp into stamina and wounds. Falling off a 200 ft cliff into a spiked pit would kill them, and they would do well to not place themselves in that kind of danger. Punching stone walls would sunder their hands. I'm not making them Superman clones.

I think the problem is you're overestimating levels and class abilities. Spells and Items are generally what make characters so god-like especially the spells.

First, you can't sunder hands. Doesn't work. Second, if you're going to do this, realize that you are going to make it gritty. Dragons - for example - can grab you in their mouths and unleash a burst of fire hotter than molten lava with no room for even a Reflex save. If you're going to push reality limits on fantastic beings of strength and skill, who can outpreform humanity by 5th level, then you'd better be ready for them to die. Because death is all that awaits anything that cannot attain the supernatural when it goes against the supernatural.

You have also made it trivially easy for certain creatures to kill players by merely dropping them. A dragon or wyvern can happily snatch an opponent and fly off into the air and just drop them, inflicting huge amounts of damage to their wound points (assuming you're dealing with Con = Wound Points), essentially ignoring their Hp entirely.

And no, spells and powers aren't what make characters godlike. Levels do. By 5th level an adventurer can break world record jumps by taking 10. By 8th level, they can tear through stone walls in a minute given a stick on the ground or a random warhammer (227 damage per minute, after hardness). Spells and magic items just compliment their already excessive power that is gained through levels. It helps them deal with stuff that is beyond mortal comprehension, like fiends, fifteen headed pyro-hydras with the snatch feat (you're going to thank your god that you have that resist energy (fire) active right now).

In Summary
You have what you want, but you don't know it, or refuse to see it. Or you don't want what you're describing you want. Or you are merely unaware of how the game actually works, and what it does and does not do, and likewise it seems you are not aware of the ripple effects in some of the rules that you are adding in willy-nilly.

My advice is pause to reflect on some of these things, and nail down exactly what you think is the problem. As it is, the core game does exactly what you have described wanting. You also seem to have an aversion to characters actually gaining any power beyond a certain point, which is why I recommended E6, E8, or some other variation of E*.


:< I don't see why you are so set to saddle me with E6-8 when all your arguments seem set on trying to convince me that even at level 5, I'll not get the setting that I'm aiming for. If there's one thing you've shown me, it's that things with hardness should probably do damage to the object hitting it... Even while 'sundering fists' is not in the rules per say, I find it hard to imagine a person beating at a stone wall for a couple of minutes without hurting/ breaking their hands (Or at the very least making fortitude saves). Falling hundreds of feet out of the sky onto spikes and surviving is just plain ridiculous, never being able to die from a 200 ft fall and landing on spikes because you have the hitpoints is even more ridiculous. I'm not going to set up the game where my players are falling 200ft onto spikes. No, no one is going to be purchasing scrolls of Wish anywhere nor will they be buying Wands of Vanish. No wands of Cure Light Wounds. That's what the stamina system is there for; They can regain stamina by eating, resting, or from the channeling of a friendly cleric.

Fortunately for you, you don't have to play in the game so I'd appreciate if you'd stop abating me for aiming what I'm aiming for. Insulting me and trying to force feed me doesn't work on me. If it bothers you that much, you know you could always just ignore this thread. ¬_¬

Dark Archive

Now that is some good advice!

Do what you need to do to fix your game Raven, don't be discouraged.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

I believe a simple way to play with minimal magic items is to adapt Mike Mearls' s idea from the 4th edition DMG2: Inherent Bonuses.

All characters get bonus to attack and damage of +1 at level 2, +2 at level 7, +3 at 12, +4 at 17 etc

bonus to defenses +1 at lvl4, +2 at 9, +3 at 14, +4 at 19, etc.

The interesting thing is, this doesn't stack with magic bonuses. That is, a lvl 7 fighter with a +1 sword still gets only +2 to hit and damage. The advantage of such a blade would be hardness, and other properties.

In PF, the 'defenses' bonus can be applied to AC and saves... and no-one needs one of their very few items to be a boring cloak of resistance!!

Another advantage: The hero is more important than the weapon. Even if at 15th level you find a +3 sword, you may prefer to wield your trusty old +1 frost sword :)


Ion Raven wrote:
:< I don't see why you are so set to saddle me with E6-8 when all your arguments seem set on trying to convince me that even at level 5, I'll not get the setting that I'm aiming for.

Saddling with E6-8 is not how I would put it. I was explaining WHY I suggested it, since it seemed you didn't understand the reasoning behind it. See "which is why I recommended E6, E8, or some other variation of E*" is an explanation.

Quote:
If there's one thing you've shown me, it's that things with hardness should probably do damage to the object hitting it... Even while 'sundering fists' is not in the rules per say, I find it hard to imagine a person beating at a stone wall for a couple of minutes without hurting/ breaking their hands (Or at the very least making fortitude saves).

Real people do this sort of thing and don't break their hands. I have witnessed a martial artist who strikes his hands on an anvil a certain number of times every day and has worn a dip in the surface of the anvil, and his hands have become exceptionally hard. That's a real person. Not a 10th level fantasy hero.

I likewise can strike a wooden wall (hardness 5) repeatedly with some force without it really bothering me because I've grown used to such things in a manner similar to (but not as impressive) the aforementioned martial artist. In D&D/PF terms I'd most likely be a 1st level commoner.

Quote:
Falling hundreds of feet out of the sky onto spikes and surviving is just plain ridiculous, never being able to die from a 200 ft fall and landing on spikes because you have the hitpoints is even more ridiculous. I'm not going to set up the game where my players are falling 200ft onto spikes.

Just as ridiculous as pretty much everything else in D&D. Also I didn't say that you were going to have them fall 200 ft onto spikes. I was noting what a 10th level character can endure and walk away from it in the standard game. There is a difference.

Quote:
Fortunately for you, you don't have to play in the game so I'd appreciate if you'd stop abating me for aiming what I'm aiming for. Insulting me and trying to force feed me doesn't work on me. If it bothers you that much, you know you could always just ignore this thread. ¬_¬

I'm trying to comprehend what you are aiming for. I'm sure it is a personal failing on my part, but you have yet to explain exactly what it is that is wrong. See, I addressed each of your concerns and showed that what you have been describing is actually the standard game, or have been pointing out issues. You seem to want high level play that isn't high level play, and you seem to want to shackle inhumanly powerful beings to humanly mortality.

I'm trying to understand what you're aiming for, because you have not clarified since I asked.

Also...

Quote:
Insulting me and trying to force feed me doesn't work on me.

Quotes or it didn't happen.

EDIT: But no, you wanna talk about insulted? Man, I just laid out a short essay to draw attention to things and addresses the very things you listed as being problematic, in an attempt to address your difficulty with the system before you go trying to tear it down and build it all back together like some sort of grotesque flesh-golem that's missing a femur or two; and then asked specifically for you to address what was missing from the formula. You then ignore all the information and subject points, and the best you respond with is whining about people hitting rocks?


One of the hard parts of a low magic game, is the game itself assumes a certain amount magic, and bases combat off that assumption. Also all of the campaign worlds I am familiar with tend to have a fair amount of magic in them. If there are enough potential spell casters out there to justify schools of magic and/or guilds of spell casters, than there will be a certain amount of magic in the economy as at least some of those magic types are not going to want to spend every day fighting for their lives as a mercenary/adventurer/evil overlord.

Even my beloved Birthright setting calls itself low magic, but when NPC's were stated out in it, they were handed magic items like there was a magic mart just around the corner.

Also it can be hard to envision a low magic world when multiple party members can use magic. My current game has a Summoner, Ranger (Spirit archtype), and Cavalier/Inquisitor. Even if none of them are full casters that is still a lot of magical skill in 1 little group of people.

One of the things I have been trying out in my current game is to use a kind of heroic/villianous advancment system to make up for removing a lot of the high end magic items.

Type....................Starting level..Bonus...Frequency
Luck Bonus to Saves.....3...............+1......every 4 levels
Luck Bonus to AC........2...............+1......every 2 levels
Attribute Bonus.........5...............+1......every 2 levels

Martial/Non-Magical Type BAB bonus (Fighters, Cavaliers, Ranger, Paladin, Barbarian, Monk, Rogue)
BAB Increase............4...............+1......every 4 levels

Sorta of Martial/Magic Types (Cleric, Druid, Inquisitor)
BAB Increase............5...............+1......every 5 levels

Feats and Traits can be granted in the place of magic items. If you are keeping track of WBL then maybe 5K for feats and 2.5k for traits However I did not want to table these out as they are at GM descretion. (Yes some feats are worth more than 5K and some are not worth 2 copper pieces.)

In general my players have ended up with about the same amount of gear as an NPC of the same level, but the above bonuses put them ahead of their not quite as heroic counterparts.

I also use a modified version of the item crafting rules, in the Sword and Sorcery system.
Brew Potion and Scribe scroll are pretty much unchanged.
Craft Charged item replaced craft wand. (Never made sense to me why charged items had to be wands.)
Enchant Item I to IV replace the other crafting feats (ring, staff, wonderous etc...) But they are level based.
Enchant Item I at LV 3 max value of 5K
Enchant Item II at LV 7 max value of 10K
Enchant Item III at LV 11 max value of 50K
Enchant Item IV at LV 15 max value of 100K

However, I only use the value of the item as a guide to how difficut it is to make the item. The more "valuable" it is, instead means the more rare and difficult/dangerous the ingredients are. YMMV
This works pretty well in my game world as most of the NPC caster types fall in the Adept, Magician, Priest classes. (Magician and Priest being NPC classes based of the Adept), and I usually limit NPC classes to LV 5.

The end result is lower end magic items and consumables are available, although more like the PCs would need to commission someone to make something, no magical walmarts.


@ Ashiel
The reason I don't want to go with E6 is because I want the fighters to master their armor, I want the sorcerers to get their wings, I want to the rangers to eventually be able to hide in their favored terrain, etc.

You brought up the awkwardness of the jump rule. Jumping in any D20 system will always be off because of the d20... An average level 1 commoner can jump 20 ft 1 of out of 20 tries with no training. That's at level 1.

You're arguing that a level 1 fighter can power attack a stone wall with a wall for 1d3+7 and knock it down by striking it all day.

Punching Walls:
Unless the character has been his / her hands to take the abuse that character's hands would take damage from repeatedly striking a stone wall for even a minute. If they were a monk or a brawler or otherwise had a reason to have stone hard fists, I'd let them get away with a good amount of strikes, but a minute of that abuse would surely ruin those precious fists. Anyway I digress.

I want to remove certain spells such as create water, utility spells to that aren't useful if the GM fast forwards through traveling but otherwise make it pointless if the GM does decide to give a certain region a survivalist feel (Even Lina Inverse who could summon the most Powerful Magic in the Universe struggled with hunger and thirst from time to time). Getting rid of a couple spells that trivialize skills such as knock and detect traps. Making teleport home in on certain locations/objects weakens it but still keeps it useful as viable spell. E6 doesn't address problems with the lower level spells that I want to address and it prevents the higher level spells that would be viable with just a little tweaking. I like the flavor of a lot of the higher level spells I just want to reduce the power of them. If you can't comprehend that, I don't know what more I could say.

I don't want wands of CLW or wands of Vanish anymore than I want scrolls of wish being bought from stores. I want a more realistic economy where the price of items is based on supply, demand, and haggling. I don't care about the Wealth by Level because at this point I'm going to have to eyeball all the challenges anyway.

As far as having Wyverns and Dragons snatching them, flying into the air, and dropping them hundreds of feet to their doom.

Fighting Giant Flying Enemies:
There's a lot to note about CR for one and what you allow the character to do through all of this. The Flying Beast has to first snatch the character up. I'd first allow the character to dodge the snatching, then if they did get snatched, I'd allow the character to attack and try to make the Wyvern or Dragon release them early. And if the beast gets far enough along, I'd let the character make a climb or ride check to crawl up and ride the beast. Or even allow them to stab it and ride along.

However if you're putting in giant flying beasts that autosnatch and drop PCs without being able to make the best of it, you're just a bad GM.

In any of these situations, I don't see how E6 helps with what I'm after. However because I don't agree with you, I'm whiny, ignorant, stubborn, and don't understand the rules of the game. <.< In which case, you should probably give up on me and this because I'm a lost cause.


Dear neonmagician,

I might steal your ideas... Particularly your crafting ideas


Ion Raven wrote:

I want to run a Pathfinder game that isn't so saturated in magic that there are magic shops in every city but I don't want it to be so grim that characters are stuck at low levels and can easily die.

I really like the a lot of the class abilities of Pathfinder's classes so I still want to let the characters to level, but i don't want to turn them into gods.

Here are some of my modifications:
1 Magic Shops will be Rare and have limited selection of items - I want to make 'magic shops' more like antique shops. They may buy off your magical artifacts if they think its valuable and if they have the money, but it's no guarantee. Also you can't just order a +4 flaming sword whenever, that really breaks the setting. I want magical items to be rare and valuable.

2 Crafting Magical Items requires special materials - Again with magical items being rare, it takes more than just gold to make them. The items used should be relevant to the item of course.

3 Economy and Crafting are being reworked - The buying, selling, and creation of even mundane items is kinda ridiculous. An area where everyone is an archer and there is plenty of wood should have bows and arrows be much cheaper than if you try to buy them in the desert.

4 Stamina System in Place - This is similar to the Vigor system in UC; basically it's to justify fighters being better fighters without making them gods. I also have a different critical system in place.

5 Spell Revamping - Spells available have a huge effect on the setting, so even though this is work it needs to be done in a game of low magic. Modifications that I'm making are along the lines of making Summoning spells specific to a certain Entity and making the amount regained by healing spells depends on the recipient's level.

6 Monsters will have to be reviewed when put into play - Since I'm dampening their magic and their health, the CR of monsters is definitely going to be higher than what their level would suggest.

7However, I may be missing things. Are there any particular...

1 If you have access to sample towns, take a look at them and get a feel. Decide if these place's magical item availability is actually on par with what you re looking for, and adjust each down accordingly. (Maybe each town has only 25% of what it says in the book available, for example.)

Or you can just ignore that rule entirely and just make an npc with a few specific items. Totally up to you. If magic items are going to be rare, I highly recommend reading this article.

2 Depending on how rare the magic items are, It might not be a bad idea to make magical crafting cost more, up to the full market value. If you do do this, I recommend consolidating the crafting feats, or giving some of them for free. If you do this, the items found in stores should cost more as well. I also recommend that you require the crafter detail and name the item as part of the crafting process. Rare ingredients can be fun, but if you make the players quest for every little thing it can get tedious.

3 I believe that this stuff is mostly streamlined for simplicity and balance. feel free to adjust this as you see fit but be careful. I don't have really any advice on the subject.

4Never used the vigor system. Don't have much advice here.

5Personally, I wouldn't recommend altering spells, It is a lot of work, for little pay off. It might be easier to take groups of similar spells you feel are "magically Obtrusive" and adjusting when they are available, such as pushing teleport spells all up to a higher level, for example. You could even cut such spells out of the game, however, be prepared that some spells and effects require certain spells to be bypassed, and if you take away or limit access, it will affect such things. For the most part, I recomend to do this a little as possible. Even if magic is rare, I recommend making the pc's rare, not their abilities.

6 This is also going to be alot of work. I recommend just keeping a good eye on special abilities, defense and what the pc's are capable of. Don't be afraid to alter or weaken a monster to make it fight able to the pcs. For example, DR #/good maybe make it silver or cold iron instead or something. Knowing the party's abilities is vital here.

7 Alot of classes start getting more magical-like powers after level six. So keep that in mind. You can look into archetypes if you don't like that the monk for example can dimension door or turn ethereal at higher levels and such. Be ware of Ability Drain and Level Drain, and Death effects, or any effect that requires high magic to deal with. It becomes much more common as you get higher in level.

Hopefully this helped a bit.


jlord wrote:

1 If you have access to sample towns, take a look at them and get a feel. Decide if these place's magical item availability is actually on par with what you re looking for, and adjust each down accordingly. (Maybe each town has only 25% of what it says in the book available, for example.)

Or you can just ignore that rule entirely and just make an npc with a few specific items. Totally up to you. If magic items are going to be rare, I highly recommend reading this article.

jlord is offering sound advice. The Alexandrian is a great resource, and the article he mentions is essentially the point I was trying to make about magic items in my previous post. Even in the Hobbit, where wizards aren't even mortals and there's only a handful of them in the whole world, and magic and fireworks are practically synonymous, Biblo picks up a nondescript +1 dagger/shortsword while the other guys grab the nice stuff like Glamdring the Foehammer. However, later when Bilbo - with the help of the ring of invisibility - slays the giant spiders in the woods to save his dwarven companions he gives it the name "Sting", forever marking this otherwise nondescript +1 dagger that radiates light (as 30% of all magic weapons in D&D do) forever in the annuls of fantasy legends.

Quote:
2 Depending on how rare the magic items are, It might not be a bad idea to make magical crafting cost more, up to the full market value. If you do do this, I recommend consolidating the crafting feats, or giving some of them for free. If you do this, the items found in stores should cost more as well. I also recommend that you require the crafter detail and name the item as part of the crafting process. Rare ingredients can be fun, but if you make the players quest for every little thing it can get tedious.

This would probably be very fair. Especially since without any reliable things to actually spend adventuring wealth on. If you can't even buy consumables like scrolls and wands, and the best equipment you can get in a core game is a +2 weapon or a +3 full plate in the largest city in the world, that's a lot of money with no where go to. Of course, perhaps adventuring in this world has no real lucrative benefits, and thus PCs just do it because they're crazy.

Quote:
3 I believe that this stuff is mostly streamlined for simplicity and balance. feel free to adjust this as you see fit but be careful. I don't have really any advice on the subject.

Quoted for truth. The game isn't as unbalanced as lots seem to think if you actually follow the written guidelines and aren't stupid with NPCs and such ("Ok so you're walking along and there's a red dragon!" - "Does it know we're here? We were just walking quietly." - "Err, roll a Stealth check. Err, you rolled a natural 20? Oh then no it didn't notice you. It's...err, sleeping." - "Cool, I walk up and coup de grace the dragon! *rolls 48 damage with his scythe* - "Oh...the dragon dies. Here is its horde!").

The game already forces characters to either purchase low powered equipment in the largest of markets, craft decent stuff themselves, or find it on their adventures. Thus Crafting is of course the most reliable way and most teamwork conductive.

Also, for the record, the core game assumes the following wand availability.

Thorpe: No wands.
Hamlet: No wands.
Village: Level 0 wands.
Small Town: Level 1 wands.
Large Town: Level 1 wands.
Small City: Level 1 wands.
Large City: Level 2 wands.
Metropolis: Level 3 wands.

Again, they're hardly growing on trees.

Quote:
5Personally, I wouldn't recommend altering spells, It is a lot of work, for little pay off. It might be easier to take groups of similar spells you feel are "magically Obtrusive" and adjusting when they are available, such as pushing teleport spells all up to a higher level, for example. You could even cut such spells out of the game, however, be prepared that some spells and effects require certain spells to be bypassed, and if you take away or limit access, it will affect such things. For the most part, I recomend to do this a little as possible. Even if magic is rare, I recommend making the pc's rare, not their abilities.

Quoted for truth, again.

Quote:
6 This is also going to be alot of work. I recommend just keeping a good eye on special abilities, defense and what the pc's are capable of. Don't be afraid to alter or weaken a monster to make it fight able to the pcs. For example, DR #/good maybe make it silver or cold iron instead or something. Knowing the party's abilities is vital here.

Again, true. By default, this will make countless enemies far nastier than they are expected to be. Especially if you don't rebuild those enemies without things like damage reduction, fast healing, spell-like abilities, spells, swallow whole, etc. Also the players will consistently have lower Combat Maneuver Bonuses and Combat Maneuver Defenses without ready access to things like +X weapons, rings of protection, gauntlets of strength, etc.

While making this flesh-golem of a D&D game, it would probably be wise to increase the duration of many of the buff spells considerably, since at least that would help to not need to re-write the rest of the game so much ('cause as-is, it looks like a re-write of the Monster Manual, trap rules, spell system, classes, combat, skills, healing, or pretty much the whole game); since making stuff like magic weapon, shield of faith, bull's strength (and the other stat-boosters), and magic vestment to 1 hour / level. That way they have the staple "static" modifiers no one cares about down, and you can focus more on interesting magic items that aren't caught up in flat modifiers.

Quote:
7 Alot of classes start getting more magical-like powers after level six. So keep that in mind. You can look into archetypes if you don't like that the monk for example can dimension door or turn ethereal at higher levels and such. Be ware of Ability Drain and Level Drain, and Death effects, or any effect that requires high magic to deal with. It becomes much more common as you get higher in level.

The classes that could cause issue is everything except Fighter, Rogue, Warrior, Aristocrat, and Expert. Even Barbarians have some rage powers that are somewhat supernatural in nature. Meanwhile, Ranger, Paladin, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard, Sorcerer, Oracle, Inquisitor, Alchemist, Summoner, Magus, Antipaladin, Monk, and most of their archtypes come out far stronger in a situation like this.

Ranger > Fighter, for example, because ranger gets Longstrider, Resist Energy, Lead Blade, Gravity Bow, Feather Step, Delay Poison, and Pass Without Trace, and that's just their 1st level spells at 4th level. They also get Barkskin (making their AC match or beat the Fighter's in lighter armor), stat buffs like Bear's Endurance, Versatile Weapon, and Wind Wall. That's their 2nd level spells. Their high end stuff includes Aspect of the Wolf, Blessing of the Salamander, Freedom of Movement, Nondetection, and Shield of the Dawnflower.

Now in a normal game, the Fighter would be able to keep up because he could get his +3 full plate, +2 ring of protection, +2 amulet of natural armor, and have his wizard friend craft him a set of boots that gave him +10 ft speed and freedom of movement 1/day, and he could put a bit of his share forward to buy a wand of bull's strength for his wizard friend so his wizard buddy can prepare spells like haste and dispel magic.

At the moment we're looking at a near total re-write of the game that already seems to do exactly what you, Ion Raven, wants it to do.

Ion Raven wrote:
I want to remove certain spells such as create water, utility spells to that aren't useful if the GM fast forwards through traveling but otherwise make it pointless if the GM does decide to give a certain region a survivalist feel (Even Lina Inverse who could summon the most Powerful Magic in the Universe struggled with hunger and thirst from time to time).

Lina Inverse is in a cutesy parody of traditional fantasy tropes. For an anime with a far more D&D feel (and more serious as well), Record of Lodoss War is a good one. Likewise her magic was nothing like magic in D&D, so that's akin to saying "Cloud Strife can hit enemies for 100,000+ points of damage with his Omnislash, so my Fighter should be able to as well".

As for those utility spells, that's kind of what they're there for. As in, when the GM is traveling across an arid region, you're suddenly very happy that you have a cleric, druid, or 4th level ranger in the party who can create water to help during the survival. They far from trivialize the journey. Seriously, have you looked at the environmental stuff? Marching in the hot or cold can be devastating. Ever had an encounter in the middle of a snowstorm? It can take 10-20 feet worth of movement to move 5 ft, and visibility is terrible!

Dust storms, thunderstorms, fog, sandstorms, mountain travel slowing you down and fatiguing you (while the areas denizens are immune to the fatigue effects). Then we have avalanches, chasms, quicksand, bogs, forest fires, falling objects, heat dangers, cold dangers, etc.

PRD - Environment wrote:

A character in very hot conditions (above 90° F) must make a Fortitude saving throw each hour (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per hour).

In severe heat (above 110° F), a character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the Survival skill in Using Skills). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per each 10-minute period).

An unprotected character in cold weather (below 40° F)must make a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description).

In conditions of severe cold or exposure (below 0° F), an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check), taking 1d6 points of nonlethal damage on each failed save. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well. Characters wearing a cold weather outfit only need check once per hour for cold and exposure damage.

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite or hypothermia (treat her as fatigued). These penalties end when the character recovers the nonlethal damage she took from the cold and exposure.

Extreme cold (below –20° F) deals 1d6 points of lethal damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage.

Quote:
Getting rid of a couple spells that trivialize skills such as knock and detect traps. Making teleport home in on certain locations/objects weakens it but still keeps it useful as viable spell. E6 doesn't address problems with the lower level spells that I want to address and it prevents the higher level spells that would be viable with just a little tweaking. I like the flavor of a lot of the higher level spells I just want to reduce the power of them. If you can't comprehend that, I don't know what more I could say.

Knock and detect traps aren't exactly great unless the door cannot be opened otherwise (such as the lock is exotic, on the other side of the door, or it's somehow barred from the other side), and find traps is nice but also pretty circumstantial. It's got a 1 min/level duration, and only provides a +1/2 CL modifier to find the traps. Even if they find the traps they cannot disarm them without Disable Device, and the best part of find traps (being able to find magical traps as a rogue) is mostly useless since detect magic is a 0 level spell and will allow you to sense the magical aura and identify the trap within 60 ft of you.

If you wizard does more than carry a scroll or 1/day wand of knock (as in he actively prepares knock on a regular basis) he's probably a pretty big failure as a wizard, unless the party just has no one else who can open locks. Same with the cleric and find traps. Mountains and mole-hills from what I'm seeing.

As for teleport, go for it if that makes you happy.

Quote:
I don't want wands of CLW or wands of Vanish anymore than I want scrolls of wish being bought from stores. I want a more realistic economy where the price of items is based on supply, demand, and haggling. I don't care about the Wealth by Level because at this point I'm going to have to eyeball all the challenges anyway.

I don't know why the hatred of cure wands is. Healing is already horribly, horribly inefficient. Just look at damage versus healing. A 1st level CR 1/3 orc with an axe deals an average of 10.5 damage per hit, while cure light wounds heals an average of 5.5 damage per cast. That means if a group of three orcs was to strike 2 party members over the course of a fight, it would take on average 4 castings of cure light wounds just to recoup from that loss. That means that the wand would only last through about 12 fights like that.

Also, what's the problem with vanish? You go invisible for 1 round, and it takes a standard action to activate the wand. So...I'm not really seeing some sort of problem here. Exactly what is so bad about this? Does getting a single sneak attack every other round seem that great, or do you expect them to spam the spell to keep themselves in perpetual invisibility for up to 5 minutes before the wand is burnt out forever?

Or perhaps you're concerned about a CL 5th wand for 3,750 gp which lets you be invisible for up to 5 rounds or until you break invisibility?

Quote:

There's a lot to note about CR for one and what you allow the character to do through all of this. The Flying Beast has to first snatch the character up. I'd first allow the character to dodge the snatching, then if they did get snatched, I'd allow the character to attack and try to make the Wyvern or Dragon release them early. And if the beast gets far enough along, I'd let the character make a climb or ride check to crawl up and ride the beast. Or even allow them to stab it and ride along.

However if you're putting in giant flying beasts that autosnatch and drop PCs without being able to make the best of it, you're just a bad GM.

So you're re-writing the game again. You're basically breaking the rules somewhere else to try and fix the problems you introduce with your poorly thought out house rules. There might be a bad GM here, but I'm not sure who that title goes to just yet.

A monster can grapple an opponent. Wyverns and Dragons aren't stupid. A wyvern can dive bomb a target and initiate a grapple. They live in warm hills where they can - by the rules - ambush prey pretty easily with "death from above" tactics. They even have the Grab special quality, so they dive-bomb and then immediately attempt a grapple a +16 without provoking. At the beginning of their next turn, they can immediately grapple again (at a +21 because of subsequent grappling) to rip the prey off the ground with a grapple-move (see grapple). The wyvern now flies 30 ft into the air with the prey. Now the party has a problem because the wyvern is flying off with their companion at a speed of 30 ft per round. Now if the party cannot bring the wyvern down, the wyvern will probably get farther and higher. Now the kicker is that ranged attacks suffer a -4 for firing into melee while the wyvern has someone plucked, which means that even while grappling the wyvern's AC is about 22 versus ranged attacks and 12 vs ranged touch attacks like scorching ray.

Now, under most circumstances, this is where the party would hopefully have a potion of fly, or something similar to hopefully give chase with. The thing is, wyverns aren't stupid. If they dropping things on rocks works better than trying to kill them via biting, they'll do that. Even animals will do stuff like that.

So yeah, a fall from 30 ft. would deal between 3-18 damage, which if using the vitality/wound point system would be a lot of hurt since 20 is the most Con you can have nonmagically at 1st level as a dwarf, human, half-elf, half-orc, or gnome, but most will have less. Of course, if he flies to 60 ft, it's 6-36, and 90 feet is almost assured death at any level if you're applying it to their "wounds".

As for climbing up on the creature and riding it while it's flying, while dangling from its talons, that makes TONS of sense. /sarcasm.

==============

So let's get to the bottom of this. You wanted advice, I will try to give it, and I will give it truthfully. It might not be what you want to hear. That's life. If you accept that advice, that's up to you, but I will continue commenting on this discussion because other people might be reading this thread and be able to gleam information from it, rather than making up accusations and whining because super powered humans are super powerful.

So now, let's look at what we've seen and I want you to spell out the problems that you are having with the system. Humor me, and show me exactly what is the problem with the stuff you're talking about. So far, I can't but help to wonder why you're even playing this game, because you're not even talking about this game anymore, since I haven't seen a single instance where you seem to know or understand the rules at all (your explanation of the grappling wyvern was mind-boggling).

So lay it out for us. Explain exactly what is wrong, and why. I don't care for dismissive "if you can't see what's wrong then I can't help you", because that has about as much going for it as "if you can't see the leprechauns, then what am I supposed to do for you?".

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

I'm running a campaign at the moment which has relatively low levels of magic. I've had great results just using the slow advancement track in the Pathfinder Core book. Using the slow advancement track has a suprisingly number of knock-on effects when it comes to the availability of crafters and spellcasters for hire.

When I set up the campaign I thought long and hard about how slower rates of advancement would affect the game. One of the most striking effects I found to be in the demographics of the various towns, villages, cities and so on the PCs pass through. I blog about it extensively here and follow that up with an example large city, here. It's a suprisingly simple solution to the "problem" of a campaign awash with magic. Of course, the GM has to keep an eye on the PCs' opponents if he is going down this route.


Without sarcasm, I am curious on how to achieve less gritty and remove CLW's wands and increase damage from other sources.

I have been working on a strongly modified E8, but it is very gritty. When I compare critters and villains abilities to HP of heroes, death is still a lil' easier than I like. I am strongly considering modifying the HEAL skill and making it more like a ioun stone of regeneration. ( kind of a SLOW fastheal. :P ) Several checks during game day to add heal CON bonus of HP minimum one. or something like that. I don't mind the players entering combat with out max HP...but I do like them to at least get back up to 70% or so.

another issue not relavent to this thread :P:
( my other issue I am trying to work around is the power of low level rangers vs fighters in an E8 game)

Greg

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