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Sergeantbrother
2009-01-07, 06:17 AM
I was thinking of creating a fantasy setting where (among other things) magic use is different based on the race (err, species, you know what I mean, elves humans, dwarves, etc.) practicing it.

The first idea that popped into my head was, stereotypically enough, that elves were the most magical. That "true" magic is practiced by the elves and that other forms are somehow a perversion or lesser in some way. I was thinking of tying this to the immortality of elves - making them truly immortal and undying and that the use of magic would then be died to their immortality. Humans on the other hand, being so short lived and mortal, practice magic that is tainted by death since they are always so close to death by elven standards. This would make elven magic a more general sort of magic and humans being something akin to necromancers - making human magic something that elves despise.

I wasn't sure how to extend this to other fantasy type races though or if perhaps I should make it so that they can't use magic at all - something pretty traditional for dwarves.

Roderick_BR
2009-01-07, 06:22 AM
I had ideas for something similar long ago. My first idea was a sorcerer-like kind of spontaneous casting for elves, that have it innate, and wizard-like memorizing/casting, that is a form of imitating others creature's magic (like elves).
Of course, one needs to make some adjusts, like either making the sorcerer spellcasting suck less, or the wizard spellcasting suck some.
Maybe exclusive spells by race too, like, some spells that, for example elves can do, and others can't replicate, and some spells that human wizards created, that no other race had and can't replicate as well, because of the nature of said spells.

Grail
2009-01-07, 06:33 AM
It's not a bad idea, and it doesn't neccesarily require that much work really. The easy way to do it would be to just assign caster classes to individual races, and that's the only way they can cast. You could even cut/add spells to the spell lists for certain races.

Sounds like a pretty good plan actually.

Sergeantbrother
2009-01-07, 06:37 AM
I had ideas for something similar long ago. My first idea was a sorcerer-like kind of spontaneous casting for elves, that have it innate, and wizard-like memorizing/casting, that is a form of imitating others creature's magic (like elves).
Of course, one needs to make some adjusts, like either making the sorcerer spellcasting suck less, or the wizard spellcasting suck some.
Maybe exclusive spells by race too, like, some spells that, for example elves can do, and others can't replicate, and some spells that human wizards created, that no other race had and can't replicate as well, because of the nature of said spells.

That is a cool idea. I few years ago, a friend of mine did something a little like that. It was a very low magic and human-centric campaign world but one player wanted to be an elven bard. So the DM made it so that all elven magic was bardic magic and that elves cast their spells through song. It was an interesting idea, not exactly what I am looking for here but it did inspire some ideas on the issue.

I think that making different spell lists for different kinds of casters could go a long way to adding distinct character to different races of magic user without making major changes to the classes themselves.

Maybe, based on your suggestion and what I had in mind, elves could be sorcerers and humans could be wizards but with a different (somewhat more limited) spell list. Since I was thinking of human magic being tainted by death, I wonder if magic non-necromancy spells count as one level higher would be thematic and close enough to being balanced?

bosssmiley
2009-01-07, 08:26 AM
Sounds kind of Warhammer-ish (not that that's a bad thing).

You might want to look up the WFRP "Realms of Sorcery" book, or just go with Roderick_BR's idea about inherent elven sorcery and suchlike.

Personally I'd either allow any Dwarf to take some of the Item Creation Feats (Arms & Armour, Wondrous Item, Craft Construct, etc.) with an effective CL = their character level, or typify them as Artificers coz, well, Dwarves make magical stuff, right?

adanedhel9
2009-01-07, 12:38 PM
I played around with a similar idea a while back. I had the idea that magic is physically draining; thus those that use it the most are physically the weakest. My elves were weak, fragile, and short-lived but had the strongest magic. Humans were much tougher, but weren't nearly as magically adept. Ogres were big and strong with long lifespans, but would struggle to cast the most basic spells.

In the end I thought this wouldn't really work in a D&D game, but I'm considering revisiting the idea for my next campaign. I still worry that it would pidgeonhole the characters too much. What if a character likes the fluff associated with the ogres, but wants to play a wizard?

Telonius
2009-01-07, 12:59 PM
Another option: each race is tied to an element. Dwarves - Earth; Orcs - Fire; Elves - Air; Halflings - Water; Gnomes - Heart Sonic; Humans and half-breeds - anything. Only those races can cast Arcane spells of the appropriate descriptors.

Mark Hall
2009-01-07, 02:54 PM
Actually, it calls to mind Birthright to me. Only those with Elven (or divine) blood could be Mages or Specialist wizards, except in the field of Illusion or Divination, leading to a human-only class of Magicians, who were Divination and Illusion specialists (they could only cast 1st and 2nd level spells of other schools). There was also the elven discipline of Bards, which used only Enchantment, Illusion, and Divination magic (nothing else). Elves, however, had no clerics (or druids), while humans, dwarves, halflings, and goblins did.

Siegel
2009-01-07, 04:10 PM
You could say all human spellcasters are Shadowcasters (ToM) or Dread Necromancers (LM) while Gnoms are Beguilers... yust an idea. Or make hums psionic