Low magic, high action


I plan to do a game for 1 or 2 players with these rules :

- gestalt characters for players and "very important NPCs"
- P8 game but BAB and saves stop at 6th level (so iterative attacks are a "special ability" of BAB=LEVEL martial characters like in P6, BUT capstones abilities at lvl8 are there without adding houseruled feats)
- Level 4 spell slots are used only for metamagic augmented spells, nobody gains 4th level spells.
- Path of war, Psionics, Spheres of power and Liber Influxus communis available.
- Higher level spells could be used as rituals, as a tool for the story.
- You cannot gestalt 2 classes from the same source, except paizo, so a Path of War class can be gestalted with a Spheres of power class, but not two Spheres of power can be gestalted together, for example, but you can go rogue+barbarian (2 paizo) or one spheres and one paizo.
- Wounds and Vigor with Wound Thresholds Optional Rule on wound points.
- Automatic bonus progression but at 6th level you choose if you want the +2 bonus physical or mental first.
- Mythic rank 1,2 and 3 for characters and BBEG and other bosses.
- Spells like "detect magic", "create water" don't exist, so people cannot take magical shortcuts to mundane tasks like looting corpses or surviving in a desert.

The goal is to make a game fun for a low number of pc, low magic, but with characters able to handle bigger challenges, but need to find tricks or have good knowledge or an out-of-combat solution to handle higher CR foes.
Destroying a medusa or a ghost should be an adventure, not running into the cave and going face to face and dealing more damage without even knowing beforehand who's in this cave.

What do you think about ?

Love the idea. I was going to try to talk you into doing E6 but I really like the idea of no 4th level spells and using the slots for metamagic. I also like your choice so 3rd party material. However, I'm not sure how well SOP will translate into P8 as I am not that familiar with the system. Also, mythic might unbalance the game but I've never tried it with E6/P8 so it is just a guess on my part.

I played in an E6 game once that used gestalt rules and it was fun, still low magic and gritty but allowed us to build a better character concept. I think your players will enjoy this

Instead of not allowing detect magic perhaps make it a 1st level spell? I had a DM who ran a lower magic setting a couple years back. I remember he said 0 level spells did not exist, but upgraded a few choice ones to 1st level with their same effect so they weren't really a shortcut since you had to give up spell slots if you wanted to use them (which early level can be a pain). The spells I remember he made 1st level were...

Detect Magic, Create Water, Detect Poison, Stabilize

Also any creature who needed it could cast read magic at will. That's about all I remember from that game though but perhaps it will give you some ideas. Detect Magic being banned is pretty rough because I don't think there is actually a way to know what items are magic without it, or to even identify them. Even if you have an NPC who offers the service that's still a GP cost (not a big one for a 0 level and 1st level spell since you probably want a low level caster using identify, or a higher level caster can even still get "bad rolls", but still adds up after a bit)

What about Detect Magic becoming a touch spell ?
So you can still identify if and how an object is magic but cannot use the spell to search a room and automatically find magic items.

Oh and mythic at 1st level gives you auto-stabilize (good if lone player/character), more hp (again, good at 1st level for outnumbered character in a low magic, gritty but heroic game).
Sure, gestalt + mythic + less than the "normal" minimum of PCs is not "balanced" against modules done for 4 normal PCs, but it's not a problem as this campaign is supposed to be an open world where characters should run away in front of a bigger threat, not telling to themselves that they can kill anything because the universe is supposed to present them fair challenges.
Moreover even if it's not balanced so the cr system is not reliable, it's also at the advantage of PCs that can handle bigger CRs. I already played a module with similar rules (level 1 gestalt + mythic rank 1) and none of the combats where lower than CR3 and it was not that hard.

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