Less Magic (not "magic-less") Adventure


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So, I am helping a friend get ready to GM an adventure, and it is going to be toned back in its amount of magic in the world.
For backstory reasons, the gods have stopped answering prayers because of decades of abandonment by their flocks, so, no divine casters.
Then arcane casters became really, REALLY big, like, almost worshiped, because they were the only ones capable of magic. So, an empire that was curiously stunted in producing magic users started an intercontinental "witch" (not just the class) hunt, in order to secure their power and domination.
Now, lack of casting is the norm, with virtually all magical artifacts (any magic item) collected and cataloged, and sold and regulated by governments (magic items are okay because they can't overthrow an empire by themselves; sentient beings aren't so... inactive). Magical creatures still exist, but they've been hunted too, so there are fewer of them. And, there are alchemical casters, but they're rare and need licenses and are watched carefully.
SO, none of the PC's will be casters, even alchemical. The following classes are those which are permitted:

Brawler (Any Archetype)
Slayer (Any Archetype)
Swashbuckler (Any Archetype)
Sword Saint (Samurai)
Trapper (Ranger)
Skirmisher (Ranger)
Warrior of the Holy Light (Paladin)
Temple Champion (Paladin)
Sleuth (Investigator)
Spiritualist (Investigator)
Bolt Ace (Gunslinger)
And Oddly, perhaps... Eldritch Guardian (Fighter)

So, we (the players) are trying to put together a 4-person party that is balanced and can handle what's thrown at us. We figure UMD is key, because there will be wands that'll be able to be bought (and sold) at government run stores, and black market locations. But, what else will help compensate, even just a bit? So, ideas, especially as to which 4 classes will help (example, gunslingers are pretty good DPS, but if they don't have something to contribute on the magic front, maybe we shouldn't bother with it?) will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the help!!

Investigator = best with UMD. You'll want one. They can also cover the stealth and/or social end of things. A spiritualist can identify items which is valuable here, the sleuth might be more fun to play.

If you're cooperating in the character builds you might get a few teamwork feats. An eldritch guardian fighter is particularly good with these as their familiar gets any they get.

Having someone who can turn invisible in a low-magic world is valuable. The ninja just earned a place. With a decent cha and UMD they too can play with wands.

Last, a brawler who specialises in combat maneuvers which offer some control - trip perhaps - seems like it'd be useful.

Important: Most healing and recovery magic is divine - this includes cures for otherwise-permanent problems your characters may acquire over the course of the game. If your table is okay with that kind of risk - knowing some damage is permanent - then that's fine. Otherwise, your GM should either not throw such challenges at you or find some way of providing recovery abilities.

A lot of good suggestions, but why is investigator best for UMD? Ninja has it as a class skill too, and will probably have better Charisma too. Am I missing something?

@GM Rednal
She is aware, but there are less creatures and characters in the setting who can do that kind of thing, and there will be wands for most kind of curing spells, available in at least a couple different ways.

Yes, you're missing the inspiration class feature of the investigator. +1d6 to a skill for a point of inspiration. There's a trait to switch the UMD skill stat to Int if desired.

Ah... right. That's cool, then.
Now, the only person who's interested in the Brawler is solely interested in the Shield Champion... would that still work?
And, I guess a good question to ask is which classes are LEAST helpful - considering the scenario- overall?

Shield champions are weird. They start out as melee DPR, develop a ranged attack option, then develop a ranged combat maneuver option around the time when CMD makes combat maneuvers 'be a specialist or GTFO'. I guess it could add value in any of these roles? The ranged combat maneuvers would be very nice to have if it wasn't for the fact that the previous 6 levels had little support for combat maneuvers of any kind, assuming they need to live thru those levels. But yes, they're an option.

I wouldn't say that any of these classes is unplayably bad relative to the others, with the possible exception of the sword saint. I personally wouldn't want to play the sword saint or these archetypes of paladin but opinions do vary.

Sounds like Paladins will be key for their lay on hands ability. Otherwise, yes, UMD will be needed for wands.

Slayers are pretty awesome at killin' and winning DPS races will also be important.

Alright. Thanks for the input!
Now, which of these classes would be best suited for a Nagaji, and which for a Grippli? Because two of the players are pretty set on those races.

Nagaji; +str & cha, -int. Bonus to mind-affecting and poison saves, +1 natural armor. Sounds like the race's trying to cover the weak points of a ninja. Get a good str, decent dex, con & cha, dump int and start swinging that katana.

Grippli: small, +dex & wis, -str. Gets proficiency with nets & a climb speed. This could be a decent spiritualist investigator; throwing nets let it contribute in a fight before it gets studied combat, the climb speed is good for getting out of trouble and sneaking, the stats are perfect for the scout.

Not bad. I too thought the Nagaji would make a good ninja.
On another note, no one is really interested in playing an investigator (myself included).
For the Grippli, I was actually thinking gunslinger (Dex to damage, Wis for grit) or even better perhaps, a different martial type class with slashing grace. I was thinking a trapper ranger (+Dex and +Wis are good here), since the traps could provide interesting options what with spells not being around...

A bolt ace gets dex to damage at 5th. If you're starting at 4th+ that's OK; if you're starting at 1st your grippli would be ineffectual for IMO far too long. 1d6 or 1d8 damage per round is a joke.

I suspect you won't be allowed supernatural traps which isn't great for a trapper ranger, but it is still doable. It isn't likely to be useful often enough to be a party role either; still, an archer wouldn't be a terrible thing for the party and you can get effective rapid shot much earlier than a bolt ace, to say nothing of manyshot. Ninjas BTW don't get trapfinding,

A swashbuckler going for fencing or slashing grace is reasonably effective DPR, but a grippli doing so is going to be a bit MAD and isn't going to have a great deal else to contribute. Maybe they could just dip a level as inspired blade swash to get the fencing grace feat at level 1, dump cha, then go for one of the two options above? Grit and panache can be used interchangeably and it'd give the bolt ace something to do until they achieve competence.

I am wondering why Fighters, Monks, Barbarians, Rogues are not in the list of permitted classes?

^This. Given the many many other restrictions in this game an archer fighter or zen archer monk would see a good fit. As would a barbarian.

This is definitely not what I'd characterize as a less magic game, but an almost magic-less game. You better hope the GM is going to adjust WBL because you are going to spend a lot of time trading off between consumables and needed gear.

That's fair. For Rogue, Monk, and Barbarian, the GM is unsure whether to allow the standard or unchained versions, and wants to research it. We will likely start playing before she decides, which we are fine with. For Fighter, no one is really interested in playing one, but Eldritch Guardian archetype fit the game well so it got thrown in there.

Some other things that I should mention:
1. We will likely be starting on level 3-4, and running it to 8-10.
2. The GM is playing a character, because otherwise we only have three in the party. So the role with the least interfering with GMing (e.g. not a scout, not the one with all the spell wands) would probably be best for her. You know, maybe Buffer, Tank, Melee DPS, etc.
3. Everyone wants to play uncommon or featured races, and the GM kind of goes by RP for those, so Ifrit, Sylph, Undine, Oread, Ratfolk, Catfolk, Nagaji, and Grippli are what's allowed.
4. I'm the one who wants to play the Grippli, and I really, REALLY prefer ranged combat. Whether thrown weapons, bows, or crossbows, I prefer fighting at range.

What happened to Druids?

No casters.

Oh, and supernatural ranger traps are allowed, apparently.

Mbertorch wrote:

No casters.

Oh, and supernatural ranger traps are allowed, apparently.

Can you explain? I mean I understand a crisis of faith with no input from the gods...

But Druids represent the magic of nature. What happened to them?

Fair enough. Basically, in the setting, nature magic comes from lesser magic spirits, but these spirits are under the command of the greater divinities, so when these divines withdrew, the nature spirits followed.

Like our world, nature doesn't have any "magic" inherent to it.

you're aware that even non casty-casty can craft magic items with proper feats ?

Yes, and that's the kind of thing we're looking to do.

I should have stated this before, but this is what I was looking for. Advice on which classes would be good for crafters (maybe a class that gets bonus feats to use on combat, so it can use its regular ones for crafting?). Basically, how to fill the roles of a 4 person party, without casters...

There is a feat called Master Craftsman that qualifies the character for craft wondrous item and craft magic arms/armor feats. Master Craftsman lets you substitute your craft skill for caster level when making a magic item. The DC to make a magic item is 5 + the caster level of the item.

However, these crafters take a sizable increase to the difficulty of crafting magic items due to not have spells. Each prereq they do not have boosts DC by +5 to craft the item in question. Still, its better than nothing. Plus, Master Craftsman gives a +2 bonus to crafts and profession skill checks. Make sure your crafter takes spark of creation or a similar trait to boost their skill at crafting further.

Otherwise pray your GM is experienced enough to handle this kind of change. I remember doing this with a guy who didn't know how balance works in Pathfinder and it was... pretty trying lol

So how would an Eldtrich Guardian with a valet familiar who takes a bunch of crafting feats with his regular feats, and has a high intelligence, be a good magic item crafter? Or would one of the other classes (besides investigator, since no one really wants to play one), be better for that?

Would it change things at all if there was an NPC who is a middle aged Crypt Breaker (Alchemist) who will give us wands in turn for us tomb raiding for him/her? The GM has said this is likely to happen, and is definite if it will really help us out. He/she won't be in the party, but rather like an ally with the old "you scratch my back, I'll give ya magic stuff..." deal.

Are the players embracing this game?

Yes, we think it will be cool, and both more simple (less spells and magic monsters) and tougher (Reliance on feats for crafting and wands for spells).

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