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View Full Version : Antimagic world; how does the balance change?



IdleMuse
2010-08-02, 07:35 PM
My friend suggested to me that we try out a campaign setting in which the supernatural and magical just doesn't exist. We decided, that rather than doing any homebrew, we just use the basic D&D 3.5 rules with a permanent Antimagic Field covering everywhere. Modified by DM fiat to be inherent, and thus totally incapable of being bypassed in any way, since it's really just representing the lack of any magical power source.

With this set in place, we then decided that nothing(*) is actually banned. You could play a Wizard if you wanted to, but you'd be worse off than an Expert.

So my question is this; how would this affect class balance? Obviously vancian caster are out of the question, but then so are other frequent powerhouses like Binder. Factotum would lose some power, but then again it's action efficiency option is (Ex). What other classes have a lot of Extraordinary abilities, and how would the other base classes compare to them, especially the obvious ones like Rogue, Fighter and Barbarian?

Would this world be unfun, or does it merit discussion?

(*The only thing that is banned is Tome of Battle, since it would kind of dominate otherwise.)

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 07:38 PM
That puts ToB on the top of the heap by leaps and bounds. A few disciplines will lose out (Desert Wind, Shadow Hand both are partially Su). Creatures with damage reduction will be much nastier, jump checks gain a purpose(O.O)...


Oh, and don't bother saying "oh it's a permanent antimagic field". Just say "magic's gone. SLAs are gone. Su are also gone."

WarKitty
2010-08-02, 07:39 PM
What level are we talking? Low-levels could run ok, possibly even without huge effects. Higher-levels, half the monsters will be gone anyways.

Also, items like acid and alchemist's fire become much more valuable. A thrower build might even be viable.

ex cathedra
2010-08-02, 07:44 PM
Crusaders and Warblades would be sick. Since they're out, Barbarians would dominate.

Kroy
2010-08-02, 07:45 PM
That puts ToB on the top of the heap by leaps and bounds. A few disciplines will lose out (Desert Wind, Shadow Hand both are partially Su). Creatures with damage reduction will be much nastier, jump checks gain a purpose(O.O)...


Oh, and don't bother saying "oh it's a permanent antimagic field". Just say "magic's gone. SLAs are gone. Su are also gone."

Comprehension fail. He says
My friend suggested...merit discussion?

(*The only thing that is banned is Tome of Battle, since it would kind of dominate otherwise.)
in the OP.

tyckspoon
2010-08-02, 07:47 PM
Giants run everything. *Everything.* They're intelligent, they're social, they don't need magic to be powerful or just to exist, and without magic the humanoid races have no practical way of competing with them.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 07:47 PM
Yeah. I'll pretend to never have noticed that.


Also, uberchargers. Pain.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-08-02, 07:48 PM
What about magical beasts, or other things that function in dead magic zones but had to be created using magic?

FMArthur
2010-08-02, 07:48 PM
It will be more boring than it sounds, because you're losing tons and tons of melee options as well. Even mounts are kind of a pain to use without the supernatural abilities that summon and control them. Builds that rely on enhanced weapons are out, getting Sneak Attack is much harder, getting bonuses to anything (Attack, AC, Attributes, Initiative) is also going to be much, much harder without any sort of magic. So everything is going to be mostly stripped down, plain stuff. Melee charging builds still work. So does tripping to a certain degree. But mostly it's just Tome of Battle that can still do things.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-08-02, 07:52 PM
getting Sneak Attack is much harder.Denying sneak attack is going to be harder as well! Undead are right out, but if there really is no such thing as magic, so are constructs. And to be honest, in a nonmagical world, oozes and treants and the like are walking contradictions, so *poof* go almost all of your problems. Just find a flanking buddy, or a good hiding spot.

Kylarra
2010-08-02, 07:53 PM
Seems like a boring [D&D] world to me. If you want a nonmagical world, it's best modeled in a different system.

peterpaulrubens
2010-08-02, 08:01 PM
So.. you'd be playing an escapist magical fantasy game and.. there's no magic?

Fun. :smallwink:

Andion Isurand
2010-08-02, 08:03 PM
True breeding... Half Green Dragon War Trolls (who share color and alignment) would stand a good chance of domination in "Antimagic World".

EvilJoe15
2010-08-02, 08:04 PM
Since nothing but ToB is banned, Wizard and Cleric will still dominate.

Invoke Magic, Cheater Initiate of Mystara.

Mystic Muse
2010-08-02, 08:05 PM
Sounds like a boring game of D&D.

tyckspoon
2010-08-02, 08:09 PM
Since nothing but ToB is banned, Wizard and Cleric will still dominate.

Invoke Magic, Cheater Initiate of Mystara.

I would love to see the Wizard who makes it to level 9 spells in a world where he can't cast anything and nobody knows any spells to teach him.


And this is an excellent example of why precision in language is important. If you mean no magic, just say no magic. Referencing Anti Magic Field gets you people looking to exploit the rather huge holes in what AMF actually does and does not prevent.

Coidzor
2010-08-02, 08:11 PM
Invoke Magic, Cheater Initiate of Mystara.

Yeah, pretty much that one.

Sounds like you just want to play Iron Heroes.

IdleMuse
2010-08-02, 08:13 PM
So.. you'd be playing an escapist magical fantasy game and.. there's no magic?

Fun. :smallwink:

:smallbiggrin:

Part of the fun is going to be finding out how everything works, and how we can make it fun for people. Our local group is _heavily_ into 'serious' rp-focused games. The D&D subset a little less so, but we're hoping to get a more mixed group than normal. So, from a theoretical pov where we actually run this game, we'd likely get several people newish to the system, and several with a minor level of optimisation-fu. None to the top end of uber-charger quality (not that we'd allow that), though people are right that charging becomes an important strategy.

Given the lack of variety in monsters, it would probably end up being more urban in nature, probably with wilderness jaunts. Lots of class-levelled foes


Giants run everything. *Everything.* They're intelligent, they're social, they don't need magic to be powerful or just to exist, and without magic the humanoid races have no practical way of competing with them.

This is a really interesting note, and exactly the kind of insight I'm looking for on this thread. I'm going to ponder this one...

ToB is not just out for power reasons, but also flavour ones. It's probably fairer to say we'd ban just the ToB base classes, still allowing useful things like Superior Unarmed Strike, and if people really want to, the Martial Training feats.

Regards Dragons and similar races: While a lot of their abilities wouldn't function, they can still exist RAW, but would probably be replaced with other stuff. Like dinosaurs.

You're all probably right that I should've said flat out No Magic rather than using AMF a proxy, that was mostly just because that was the way we came to the idea. It's also pretty short compared to a full list of everything that doesn't work (Sp, Su, Items, Potions, etc etc etc). I hope it's needless to say that I'm looking at this from a PO rather than TO perspective, and thus trying shenanigans would be a waste of time.

Draz74
2010-08-02, 08:13 PM
Since nothing but ToB is banned, Wizard and Cleric will still dominate.

Invoke Magic, Cheater Initiate of Mystara.


Modified by DM fiat to be inherent, and thus totally incapable of being bypassed in any way, since it's really just representing the lack of any magical power source.

Reading Comprehension Fail #2.

Hmmm, there's a lot of tricks that could still be pulled off, but none of them sound very fun at all. The Hulking Hurler now rules the universe, the Ubercharger is his main competition. DMs find themselves confronted with Barbarians, Fighters, Swashbucklers (at least they get Acrobatic Charge!), Factotums, and Rogues, all using Ubercharging tactics.

Factotums, Rogues, and Swift Hunters (probably the Scout-heavy version) would be playable without using either of the above tricks, so they become the standard "alternative" options.

SparkMandriller
2010-08-02, 08:16 PM
I hope you don't mind spending like a million years resting to heal after every fight.

EvilJoe15
2010-08-02, 08:17 PM
I thought of something else. Three words: Magic Psionic Transparency.
This would be very important to consider, as unless stated, it's not in effect.

Draz74
2010-08-02, 08:18 PM
Regards Dragons and similar races: While a lot of their abilities wouldn't function, they can still exist RAW, but would probably be replaced with other stuff. Like dinosaurs.

I think Dragons would still be pretty much utterly dominant, even without their spellcasting and breath weapons. They've still got longevity, flight and other alternate movement speeds, lots of Hit Dice, d12 hit dice, a LOT more skill points than Giants, and a bunch of natural attacks on their side. And if they can take Martial Study feats, yikes. (Not to mention ... does the Xorvintaal template that replaces their spellcasting with other abilities, function in a no-magic world?)


I thought of something else. Three words: Magic Psionic Transparency.
This would be very important to consider, as unless stated, it's not in effect.

Um, no, unless stated otherwise, it is in effect.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 08:21 PM
:ToB is not just out for power reasons, but also flavour ones. It's probably fairer to say we'd ban just the ToB base classes, still allowing useful things like Superior Unarmed Strike, and if people really want to, the Martial Training feats.

Regards Dragons and similar races: While a lot of their abilities wouldn't function, they can still exist RAW, but would probably be replaced with other stuff. Like dinosaurs.

Not to derail this into a ToB discussion, but this is odd enough that I have to ask, why? Banning ToB for flavor reasons is one I've seen, and can accept, but banning the actual base classes (which are, for the most part, nothing but chassis for getting multiple maneuvers and being able to reuse them in a fight) but leaving the martial abilities that make up 80-90% of their 'class features' seems sort of counter-intuitive. The Swordsage/Crusader/Warblade by themselves don't really have any inherent flavor aside from being "martial adept monk/martial adept paladin/martial adept fighter".

(Assuming you meant Martial Study, the feat that grants a maneuver 1/encounter, when you said Martial Training).

EvilJoe15
2010-08-02, 08:22 PM
Um, no, unless stated otherwise, it is in effect.

You're right I'm wrong, again. But really I always thought it was optional.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 08:24 PM
You're right I'm wrong, again. But really I always thought it was optional.

It's a common mistake, probably the 2nd most common reason DMs think Psionis are unbalanced (after the little PP=ML bit). But that's digressing.

fryplink
2010-08-02, 08:26 PM
would the factotum's opportunistic piety ability work? or any lay on hands? healing might be tricky considering that resting doesn't heal much and most healing in DnD is magical, and poison and disease becomes a legitimate threat to the PCs.

So a lot goes into how potions work, seeing as they are tied to spell casting classes. If you have no potions, no healing spells, no-rest house rules adventures are only going to last as long as HP stays at a safe level.

That being said, it could be fun as long as you can mix things up some, being a little rp-centric can help, but you can only kill so many corrupt court noble bodyguards before people begin to look for something more interesting

IdleMuse
2010-08-02, 08:27 PM
Um, no, unless stated otherwise, it is in effect.

Yes, I was going to mention this in the OP, but didn't trying to avoid tl;dr. Unlike other campaigns I have run, Psionic-Magic transparency is in force here, as the default, hence no psionic anything.


(Assuming you meant Martial Study, the feat that grants a maneuver 1/encounter, when you said Martial Training).

Yes, I just didn't want to go look up the actual name. The decision is one I inherited from my old DM, who said he was fine with individuals having a couple of specifically trained complex maneuvers, but to have more than one (or at a push, two), would just add too much of the Wuxia flavour he didn't want. Banning the base (and prestige) classes is pretty much the same flavour decision, it's just letting people still have access to a specific mechanic if they really wanted it. Sort of like saying that sure, this stuff exists, but only on the other side of the world. You can have learnt a little bit second-hand from people who've been there, but it's not the kind of flavour we want running rampant.

EDIT: Regards Hulking Hurler in specific; I think my friend has a homebrew fix he likes: I haven't seen it, but I have seen the builds that abuse it, and to my mind it's in the same category as Pun-Pun; just a badly thought-out ability that leads to problems, and is thus banned. Same as Dark Chaos shuffle and other blatantly stupid stuff.

Coidzor
2010-08-02, 08:28 PM
So, from a theoretical pov where we actually run this game, we'd likely get several people newish to the system, and several with a minor level of optimisation-fu. None to the top end of uber-charger quality (not that we'd allow that), though people are right that charging becomes an important strategy.

Given the lack of variety in monsters, it would probably end up being more urban in nature, probably with wilderness jaunts. Lots of class-levelled foes

Tripping would be a very good option as opposed to one that's easily mitigated by DMs, and it'd be sort of a rock paper scizzors thing between trippers, uberchargers, and whatever can get a decent ranged build in this world.


This is a really interesting note, and exactly the kind of insight I'm looking for on this thread. I'm going to ponder this one...

Look at the thread "Why are Giants Interesting" from the past few days and you'll have some ideas related to them that might interest you for this line of thinking.


Regards Dragons and similar races: While a lot of their abilities wouldn't function, they can still exist RAW, but would probably be replaced with other stuff. Like dinosaurs.

Monsters with DR are going to be either non-existent, have it altered to be in line with materials (for example, eberron added in some more materials to bypass DR to add to the pot, IIRC) rather than magical ability or just be much more challenging than they would otherwise be, like, their CR would likely have to increase until they were within the threat range for a party that could be expected to do enough damage to have a shot at surviving 'em. The Planes wouldn't exist for the purposes of the players even more so than if they were on Athas and the cosmology is pretty much negligible.

All rangers will want something like distracting attack to trade out the Animal Companion for and either the CW or CC ACF instead of their non-existent spellcasting.

Many people who want to melee will dip into Barbarian for pounce.

Heal would have to be invested in so that the time it takes to heal up after a fight is cut down. I think there's maybe one or two non-magic feats that'd improve that, but you'd need at least two characters to switch off who's providing care so that you don't end up with someone at half hp while the rest of the party is at full.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 08:37 PM
Yes, I just didn't want to go look up the actual name. The decision is one I inherited from my old DM, who said he was fine with individuals having a couple of specifically trained complex maneuvers, but to have more than one (or at a push, two), would just add too much of the Wuxia flavour he didn't want. Banning the base (and prestige) classes is pretty much the same flavour decision, it's just letting people still have access to a specific mechanic if they really wanted it. Sort of like saying that sure, this stuff exists, but only on the other side of the world. You can have learnt a little bit second-hand from people who've been there, but it's not the kind of flavour we want running rampant.


Logical enough - it's not specifically the flavor you dislike, but having enough of it to overpower the flavor of the existing setting. Makes sense explained that way.

Jack_Simth
2010-08-02, 08:37 PM
Skill-monkeys become exceptionally useful. As most of the counters to stealth are magical in nature. Most things that have Spot and Listen as class skills are either skillmonkeys themselves, or are casters. Critters have them, yes... but for their CR? Not so much. An amount of distance, and a stealth-focused Ranger can slay basically anything (you need: 1: High Dex. 2: Skill Focus(Hide). 3: Skill Focus (Move Silently). 4: Stealthy. 5: Darkstalker. 6: Archery Focus. 7: A bit of distance to snipe with).

Now, if you really want to talk about critters that dominate? Take a look at the Unbodied (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/unbodied.htm). They're not undead, so they don't have the undead's pesky clause about vanishing in an AMF - they stick around. No magic means nothing can harm them. Sure, most of their abilities are gone... but they do keep that incorporeal touch attack. So if an Unbodied wants you dead, you have to run away and/or hide (unless you've got Regeneration or some such).

Oh yes, and that Crystal Troll is really, really hard to get rid of (but you can do it, as it still has to eat, drink, and breathe). Mr. T is a civilization-ending event.

IdleMuse
2010-08-02, 08:39 PM
Mr. T is a civilization-ending event.

Kind of how his fluff wants him to be... how curious. :smallamused:

Marnath
2010-08-02, 08:44 PM
Trolls become more fearsome, since the two most useful ways to deal with them, acid flasks and alchemists fire, both take a wizard to make so i would assume that means magic is used in their brewing even if the end result isn't magical. You are left with mundane fire, and depending on the terrain that might be very difficult, like say a swamp where all the wood is either soaking wet or moldy. The half-green dragon war troll mentioned earlier is even worse, you can pretty much only starve or suffocate it, and without magical weapons or spells it becomes a lot harder to subdue it long enough to do either of those things.

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-02, 08:51 PM
If giants are going to dominate, my first action as a PC will be to invest heavily in beanstalks and banana peels. :smallamused:

Needless to say, either wealth by level is going completely out the window, or you're going to see characters with ludicrous amounts of light items. That said, wagons and pack mules will probably be more frequently used without your bags of holdings or handies haversacks.

IdleMuse
2010-08-02, 08:56 PM
acid flasks and alchemists fire, both take a wizard to make so i would assume that means magic is used in their brewing even if the end result isn't magical.

I'm a massive fan of alchemy, so i'll likely waiver that rule, unless we decide to go for a decidedly low-tech setting.

Marnath
2010-08-02, 08:59 PM
I'm a massive fan of alchemy, so i'll likely waiver that rule, unless we decide to go for a decidedly low-tech setting.

Mmmkay, you da boss. :smallsmile:
Don't get me wrong, i can easily see the logic behind them being non-magical. I let non casters make them even. Just thought i'd make a point of mentioning that, as a thought exercise.

devinkowalczyk
2010-08-02, 08:59 PM
I know this might not help much, and will come off a lil sacriligious on this site, but why not play a World of Darkness game like Hunter? You could scale back the time and limit weapon availability.
Much easier to do then trying to rework dnd

Emmerask
2010-08-02, 09:02 PM
Giants run everything. *Everything.* They're intelligent, they're social, they don't need magic to be powerful or just to exist, and without magic the humanoid races have no practical way of competing with them.

Depends on birth rate of the giants, if you need 1000 humans to kill a giant but 10.000 are born for every one giant a year then the humans will win in the end :smallwink:

Snake-Aes
2010-08-02, 09:06 PM
I know this might not help much, and will come off a lil sacriligious on this site, but why not play a World of Darkness game like Hunter? You could scale back the time and limit weapon availability.
Much easier to do then trying to rework dnd

Nothing wrong with that, sir. Don't assume it's wrong just because it isn't the most popular.


<--- one of the 1d6 players of Ćon.

Coidzor
2010-08-02, 09:07 PM
Needless to say, either wealth by level is going completely out the window, or you're going to see characters with ludicrous amounts of light items. That said, wagons and pack mules will probably be more frequently used without your bags of holdings or handies haversacks.

Probably hireling packmules and generic hordes too.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 09:07 PM
Depends on birth rate of the giants, if you need 1000 humans to kill a giant but 10.000 are born for every one giant a year then the humans will win in the end :smallwink:

Depends on the lifespan of a giant, and how many humans it takes to kill 1 giant. If humans outbreed giants 10,000 to 1, but it takes 10,001 humans to kill one giant, the giants win in the end.:smallwink: Same thing if they live for 10,000 years - in year 1, there's 1 new giant and 10,000 humans, but in year 9,999, there's 9,999 giants, 2/3 of which are weakened but still decent fighters, and only 80,000 or so humans, 2/3 of which are decrepit and useless.:smallwink:

Emmerask
2010-08-02, 09:08 PM
ah you are quite right the lifespan is important too :smallsmile:

*.*.*.*
2010-08-02, 09:18 PM
Wow, elves in this setting would suck even more than they would already. Most abberations and fey would go bye bye. Undead become more fearsome....

This setting feels very LOTR minus the "wizards"

tyckspoon
2010-08-02, 09:19 PM
Depends on birth rate of the giants, if you need 1000 humans to kill a giant but 10.000 are born for every one giant a year then the humans will win in the end :smallwink:

Ah, but if giants are in charge.. how do the humans get to round up 1000 armed humans to go hunt down the giants? That's a situation you can only get to if the humans already have it pretty good, which means you need to figure out how humans managed to get themselves established like that in a world that has other social, intelligent, organized creatures with significantly greater natural prowess (nevermind giants, something like Lizardfolk would make a much more sensible majority race than any of the standard PC races. Magic or the favor of the gods is the usual way humans and other soft-and-squishy races get their chance to develop enough to fend for themselves.) I'm imagining more situations where you have a small family group of giants- say 4 or 5- that are running a protection job over 3-4 human villages. Maybe a few hundred humans total farm and work for the giants, and the giants use their status as the toughest things around to beat down or chase off any threats to their easy life.

So.. feudalism, more or less, but in a world where the Humans were never powerful enough to really organize the necessary tactics to reliably take down a group of giants.

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-02, 09:20 PM
I'm just doing some quick numbers in my head on this, and I really suck at math. Let's say we've got 10,000 archer types that can all somehow target a giant (I KNOW THIS IS A POWERSLIDE OF AN ASSUMPTION, but we already assumed we had 10,000 humans so I'm rolling with it). We'll say that a single arrow does 3 damage, so they're capable of doing 3 damage a round if they hit (naturally, they could still do higher, but I don't like numbers). We'll also say that 5% of those arrows hit, so in one round, they'll do, what, 1500 damage?

Don't get me wrong, any strategy that begins with, "Okay, you need a 10,000 person army..." is basically saying, "Yeah, this guy's tough enough to be one of the biggest problems in the world." But there's a point where they can't stop what I believe is colloquially referred to as a "Ke ke ke zerg rush."

Additionally, from this thought practice, we can conclude that Leadership is still broken.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-08-02, 09:20 PM
Wow, elves in this setting would suck even more than they would already. Most abberations and fey would go bye bye. Undead become more fearsome....

This setting feels very LOTR minus the "wizards"How, exactly, do undead come into being in this world? Even the previously-mentioned Unbodied is going to have a hard time justifying its existence. You basically have people and somewhat realistic animals.

*.*.*.*
2010-08-02, 09:26 PM
How, exactly, do undead come into being in this world? Even the previously-mentioned Unbodied is going to have a hard time justifying its existence. You basically have people and somewhat realistic animals.

If you look at many fluff descriptions of undead(ghouls, mohrgs, wights etc.) they are created when someone is feeling an extreme-insert something- or when extremely evil people die. Not all undead need Necromancers to come into being...

Gray Mage
2010-08-02, 09:26 PM
How, exactly, do undead come into being in this world? Even the previously-mentioned Unbodied is going to have a hard time justifying its existence. You basically have people and somewhat realistic animals.

I don't know about most undead, like skeletons and zombies, but I guess that ghosts could exist, they don't need anything magical t be created.

Eldariel
2010-08-02, 09:28 PM
Giants run everything. *Everything.* They're intelligent, they're social, they don't need magic to be powerful or just to exist, and without magic the humanoid races have no practical way of competing with them.

Bows? A single Giant can only take so many arrows, magic or no, and they make for very lucrative targets. Also, by D&D paradigm giants breed slower than the smaller races and as such, are far outnumbered. I don't really see a huge shift in any direction here. Though the Tarrasque is much harder to kill now (particularly the Wish/Miracle part).

EDIT: Seems that was already covered. Ah well.

I wouldn't ban ToB to be honest; we're running a game with no magic right now and ToB adds much variety to the whole deal. ToB classes don't reach higher numbers than the others; they only have more versatility. Which is good for a game like this. The book also makes more classic concepts work (Sword & Board, One-Hander Swashbuckler, etc.), which is worth it alone. Of course, you should expand it a bit with:
- Homebrew Archery Discipline
- Homebrew Rogue Discipline (non-magical Shadow Hand, pretty much)

and toss those into the fray for fun for everyone. Honestly, non-ToB types are competitive just fine (and they can dip ToB just fine too), while ToB grants some versatility for everyone. As martial classes and ToB are all so multiclass friendly, this actually comes quite close to how I'd imagine 3.5 being envisioned in the first place; low threshold for multiclassing with rewards for progressing a single class still.


I don't know about most undead, like skeletons and zombies, but I guess that ghosts could exist, they don't need anything magical t be created.

Manifest is a Su-ability tho. They could exist, but never affect the material plane.

Emmerask
2010-08-02, 09:28 PM
Well yes, all of this are just possibilities and in the hand of the dm when he creates the world. Without enough space at the beginning fast reproducing squishy races have no chance, only if they can reach a certain population threshold they will become dominant just by numbers.

If such a race is under the control of a more powerful one from the beginning like giants who tightly controls their birthrates so that they won´t become a threat, they will not become dominate of course.

Both scenarios could happen but are not a this is how it will be scenario of course :smallsmile:

Marnath
2010-08-02, 09:29 PM
Zergling rush you say? (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19546962/Zerg_Recreated)

jiriku
2010-08-02, 09:49 PM
This world would fairly closely resemble an E6 heroic fantasy world. Basically the most powerful effects that anyone can produce without magic aren't any better than 3rd-level spells, and even a high-level barbarian can't do much more than swing a stick. That has implications.

Governments are more stable, because rogue adventurers can't suddenly teleport into a king's castle to kill him and all his guards and heirs.

Nations are smaller, because information, goods, and services can't be moved from place to place except through muscle, drums, and smoke signals.

Adventures have more of a classic fantasy feel, because characters can't do as much under their own power, forcing them to rely on DM-provided plot macguffins and quest items.

Politics is more complicated, because it's easier to conceal your alignment, motives, and plans when no-one can use a handful of low-level spells to uncover everything about you. Plotting is now a growth industry.

Expansion of civilization moves at a slower pace, because you don't have powerful casters building ships overnight and raising keeps within a week.

Raiding and banditry are more common and harder to deal with, because you can't easily locate bandit hideouts, nor can you pursue bandits with magically augmented speed.

Big problems (the sort that draw high-level adventurers coming to fix them and claim the rewards) don't get solved quickly, because word of the problem (and the reward for solving it) travels slowly, and the adventurers who come to fix those problems don't arrive any faster than their horses can carry them.

Draz74
2010-08-02, 09:50 PM
Mr. T is a civilization-ending event.

Nah, not if alchemy still works. A moderately competent ubercharger with a dose of Trollbane can finish off Mr. T with little difficulty.

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-02, 09:52 PM
Though the Tarrasque is much harder to kill now (particularly the Wish/Miracle part).
Which reminds me, we still have dudes that can fly without magic, and they can still drop heavy things on targets. Granted, that strategy isn't as powerful or as quick as it used to be, but you only need to fear mundane ranged attacks and other flying critters.

tyckspoon
2010-08-02, 09:59 PM
Nah, not if alchemy still works. A moderately competent ubercharger with a dose of Trollbane can finish off Mr. T with little difficulty.

Keeping in mind you have no magic, you still have to approach into a 20-foot threat radius successfully, hit AC 35, and score a one-hit kill against 858 HP..

And T's immune to poisons. So. Good luck.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 10:09 PM
Keeping in mind you have no magic, you still have to approach into a 20-foot threat radius successfully, hit AC 35, and score a one-hit kill against 858 HP..

And T's immune to poisons. So. Good luck.

Is Trollbane a poison, or just an alchemical substance?

tyckspoon
2010-08-02, 10:13 PM
Is Trollbane a poison, or just an alchemical substance?

It's created as an alchemical substance, but the book says it works as injury poison.

Jack_Simth
2010-08-02, 10:15 PM
Keeping in mind you have no magic, you still have to approach into a 20-foot threat radius successfully, hit AC 35, and score a one-hit kill against 858 HP..

And T's immune to poisons. So. Good luck.
Oh yes, and he's got Combat Reflexes, Improved Grab, and Swallow Whole, so he can take an AoO when he's flat-footed, and not let go. Next round, he eats you. Winning initiative, of itself, doesn't help.

Tengu_temp
2010-08-02, 10:21 PM
Combat turns into an auto attack-fest and becomes really boring, healing takes ages, most characters are mechanically the same due to lack of options. Why not play a game that's designed for no magic worlds instead?

Draz74
2010-08-02, 10:22 PM
Keeping in mind you have no magic, you still have to approach into a 20-foot threat radius successfully, hit AC 35, and score a one-hit kill against 858 HP..

And T's immune to poisons. So. Good luck.

You're right, I wasn't thinking of that.

Sadly, bypassing all of that still just requires a DC 15 Tumble check. So you need a way (Swashbuckler?) to tumble while charging.

Stompy
2010-08-02, 10:25 PM
How do you fight ghosts, wraiths, shadows, and other incorporeal undead? Truly they are they ones that win out in this case.

Jack_Simth
2010-08-02, 10:27 PM
How do you fight ghosts, wraiths, shadows, and other incorporeal undead? Truly they are they ones that win out in this case."incorporeal undead wink out if they enter an antimagic field"

Don't need to worry about it. It's the non-undead incorporeal critters with Ex attacks you need to worry about. They're really, really hard to do anything about.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 10:27 PM
How do you fight ghosts, wraiths, shadows, and other incorporeal undead? Truly they are they ones that win out in this case.

If we're using the 'worldwide AMF', you don't, because they cease to exist. The 'dead magic world' makes them a problem though.

Marnath
2010-08-02, 10:30 PM
If we're using the 'worldwide AMF', you don't, because they cease to exist. The 'dead magic world' makes them a problem though.
No it doesn't. It takes magic to animate undead at all. Turn off the magic and they become piles of stinky rotting stuff.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-02, 10:51 PM
No it doesn't. It takes magic to animate undead at all. Turn off the magic and they become piles of stinky rotting stuff.

We're discussing incorporeal undead, not skeletons and zombies. It takes magic to deliberately animate undead, but that doesn't rule out naturally occuring undead, or those that multiply via Spawning like Vampires and their (Ex) blood drain. "No unnatural" is different than "no magic", otherwise we also have to ban all abberations (too weird), all giants (Hello, Square Cube Law), dragons (see giants), vermin (again, see giants) magical beasts (guess why?:smallsmile:), plants (sentient plants are as magical as sentient undead), elementals (living incarnations of elemental forces?), fey (might as well, its magic that separate from just being small humanoids), outsiders (no planar travel, no way to get to the world) and maybe oozes, depending on how dominant you consider things like slime molds to extend to a fantasy universe with the fantasy part cut out.

Humanoids, Monstrous Humanoids, Animals, and maybe Oozes isn't much for varied opponents. Class levels spice it up a bit, but even they get boring fast.

cZak
2010-08-03, 01:00 AM
Heal would have to be invested in so that the time it takes to heal up after a fight is cut down. I think there's maybe one or two non-magic feats that'd improve that, but you'd need at least two characters to switch off who's providing care so that you don't end up with someone at half hp while the rest of the party is at full.

I always thought the heal skill was rather unimpressive as written, so kind of blended (house ruled) it with the magical healing system of Wheel of Time.

Heal skill check converts lethal to non-lethal damage = Skill check - 15.

I also limited its use on each person to 1/day.

2xMachina
2010-08-03, 01:07 AM
Monk? :P text

TurtleKing
2010-08-03, 02:54 AM
What about weapon/ armor as in enchantments? You could change them into being enhancements were some of them could be done by a master craftsman. Ones like keen could be the weaponsmith made the sword extra sharp, while others could be temporary by the use of alchemy. Some of the armor ones could be done like cold resistance by using furs. Some of the specific weapons or armor like the Dagger of Venom could be a well made serrated dagger that has a hollow hilt containing poison channeling it through shafts in the blade that end at the tips of the serrated part of the blade.

As for the undead you could still have zombies, but instead of necromancy it could be by a virus like in the Resident Evil movies. The PCs would have to find a rare plant for the vaccine made by an alchemist so all not infected don't become zombies as well, while still fighting off zombies.

A large portion of undead don't have necromancy origins, but were instead to willful to rest peacefully. For instance if Jack the Ripper died he would likely become a bodar or a wight. For incorporeal like ghosts the reason they exist could vary from ghost to ghost.

IdleMuse
2010-08-03, 03:26 AM
Combat turns into an auto attack-fest and becomes really boring, healing takes ages, most characters are mechanically the same due to lack of options. Why not play a game that's designed for no magic worlds instead?

Regards this, and many others with the same attitude: While I am far from being the kind of GM that only runs D&D (I in fact only recently got back into it), this is more of a practical thought exercise as to how this would be run within the D&D paradigm; it would be only too easy to use something else, and I believe with a group of inventive players, it'll be far from boring. Sure, there are less 'Tier 1' options in this setting, but let's assume a lack of general optimisation, hence why i'd like to know what will end up more powerful, so I can make suggestions.

Thanks for all of your input so far guys, it's been really interesting.

Undead is something I have discussed with my friend, and we think that it'd be worthwhile having, maybe as a late-game twist, but only one variety (probably Zombie, to give a variety of possibilities), and it would probably have some sort of chemical explanation.

Coidzor
2010-08-03, 03:51 AM
A large portion of undead don't have necromancy origins, but were instead to willful to rest peacefully. For instance if Jack the Ripper died he would likely become a bodar or a wight. For incorporeal like ghosts the reason they exist could vary from ghost to ghost.

Mohrg, actually, due to the mass murderer thing. Naturally occurring undead would be... very, very unpleasant to deal with. Granted, no one could purposefully start a wightocalypse in such a world, but... mohrgs seem to be able to arise naturally and spawn zombies under their control...

faceroll
2010-08-03, 03:58 AM
I think Dragons would still be pretty much utterly dominant, even without their spellcasting and breath weapons. They've still got longevity, flight and other alternate movement speeds, lots of Hit Dice, d12 hit dice, a LOT more skill points than Giants, and a bunch of natural attacks on their side. And if they can take Martial Study feats, yikes. (Not to mention ... does the Xorvintaal template that replaces their spellcasting with other abilities, function in a no-magic world?)



Um, no, unless stated otherwise, it is in effect.

One of the sovereign archytpes in Dragons of Eberron lets a dragon swap spells known for maneuvers known on a 1 for 1 basis.

Soranar
2010-08-03, 04:46 AM
1rst thing that comes to mind is the lack of magic items

Encounters (CR) are calculated with this in mind no? Although the more I think about it the more I wonder if you'd face anything else than creatures with class levels at some point.

Nevermind what happens to previously suggested encounters (kobolds can't really be lead by sorcerers anymore for example)

2nd, mentioned many times before, healing is a major issue and the healing skill becomes mandatory

3rd some classes could still be played with some shenanigans (non-spellcasting variants, variants that replace su abilities with ex) but in the end you're probably ending up with these classes

rogue
fighter
barbarian
knight
ninja
samurai
scout
monk (might want to give them carmendine monk for free but the first few levels work fine)
ranger (non-spellcasting gives you 4 feats with the complete champion ACF and you can switch the animal companion for distracting attack)

if ToB is allowed then expect it's classes to dominate everything

as for PrCs

Duelist becomes doable
Horizon walker loses a few powerful options but still has many perks
etc...

most templates are out
LA should be changed to reflect new reality (bonus to Wis, Int and Cha is significantly ineffective and physical stats are far more important)
some races should probably just not exist (planetouched, half dragons, etc)

favored classes should also be altered if you play with that rule

fighting strategies would be these (again, mentioned before)

ranged
close melee (two-handed something applied directly to the head)
smart melee (lockdown chain tripper)
dirty melee (backstabbing disorder)

variants on mounts

If I were you I'd allow healing spells (check the healer's spell list) so to allow faster paced games (healing spells mean healing potions could exist, religion can have more influence and paladin's can do something useful)

being able to fly is huge
reflex saves can save your life from traps/ grenade type ammo
fortitude saves help against poison
Will saves become mostly irrelevant (wisdom also becomes a dump stat)
defence against touch attacks becomes irrelevant so armor is definitely the way to go

I'd expect this type of group

1 rogue (traps, party face, locks)
1 barb (big ennemies)
1 lockdown fighter (swarms)
1 ranger (scout, tracker, other plot related uses not covered by the rogue)

or other variants that fill similar roles , rogue become mandatory in that setting (or at least someone to deal with locks and traps unless you just ignore them)

Tyndmyr
2010-08-03, 05:16 AM
It's an amusing thought exercise, but mostly impractical for an actual game. Magic is woven too tightly into the foundations of D&D to remove it all without gutting the game.

Im assuming no-magic whatsoever world, since a large AMF simply leads to interesting excercises in determining how rapidly a build can cast in an AMF(straight cleric can do it at level 3 with no shenanigans, so this should be relatively easy).

Let's see what the results are...monks still are poor choices, since other melee still outclasses them. Standstill becomes godly, especially in conjunction with combat reflexes/thicket of blades and a reach weapon. Barbarians rule the world.

Ranged still sucks, as they're extremely poor at dealing big hits without recourse to magic of some sort. Hulking Hurler/those who drop heavy items from flight are the exception.

Skillmonkeys are awesome. Keep in mind that in a world without magical traps, the variety of traps decreases wildly, and become far less dangerous.

Wealth storage will take the form of gems, being the lightest non magical items for their price.

DR is godly. Uberchargers are the only form of damage worth bothering with. Variety in mobs drops dramatically. Small amounts of energy resist are awesome. Fire Resist 10, for instance, guarantees safety from non magical fire.

Oddly enough, I suspect it'd be far, far easier to break this system wide open than even basic D&D, since it so drastically reduces the amount of possible dangers.

Tengu_temp
2010-08-03, 05:22 AM
Im assuming no-magic whatsoever world, since a large AMF simply leads to interesting excercises in determining how rapidly a build can cast in an AMF(straight cleric can do it at level 3 with no shenanigans, so this should be relatively easy).


How is this possible? I'm curious.

Coidzor
2010-08-03, 05:24 AM
How is this possible? I'm curious.

Cleric 3 is a requirement for Initiate of Mystra, which adds spells to the class spell list and allows casting in anti magic fields and dead magic fields/zones. Is from page 81 of the Players Guide to Faerun, or so the internet claims.

Gotta make caster level checks, DC 20+ for dead and DC 11+ for antimagic. Meaning a Cleric 3 has... uh... *maths* 15% success rate for his 1st level(18 or better) spells in a dead magic zone and a 10% success rate for his 2nd level spells in that same zone. And either 15% or 20% for his orisons. In an Antimagic field it'd be simpler as it'd be 60% success for his 1st level spells(needs only a 9 rolled) and 55% for 2nd levels...
In a dead magic zone, you must make a succesful caster level check against a DC equal to 20 + the level of the spell you are trying to cast. In an antimagic field, you must make a succesful caster level check against a DC of 11 + the caster level of the antimagic field. If this check is successful, the spell funcionts normally.
In addition, you may add the following spells to your cleric spell list:

kestrel404
2010-08-03, 05:26 AM
Feral becomes the template of choice. It gives you darkvision, several special attacks, and most importantly fast healing. Fast healing becomes one of the most potent healing techniques in the game when you lose SU powers.

Isn't there a feat that allows you to make specific SU powers into EX powers? I thought it was in Savage Species but now I cannot find it.

Also, Monk becomes viable. Since they don't have to compete with magical effects like buff spells and +5 swords and stacking damage bonus sources, they get one of the fastest growing damage abilities (flurry of blows w/ unarmed attack). With a Half-minotaur Feral Monk with Improved Natural Attack, you can be dealing as much damage as the superchargers, since a lot of their static damage bonuses (that get multiplied by their supercharging) came from magical buffs.

Psyx
2010-08-03, 05:27 AM
Aren't reserve feats Supernatural rather than Spell-like? Would they still work?
If so, then spell-casters are certainly viable.

Coidzor
2010-08-03, 05:30 AM
Aren't reserve feats Supernatural rather than Spell-like? Would they still work?
If so, then spell-casters are certainly viable.

No Supernatural or Spell-like or Psi-like abilities.

No Incarnum either, or Pact Magic, or Truenaming (:smallbiggrin:), or Shadowcasting. No undead that require magic in their creature, no outsiders that would require magic in order to get onto the plane.


Also, Monk becomes viable. Since they don't have to compete with magical effects like buff spells and +5 swords and stacking damage bonus sources, they get one of the fastest growing damage abilities (flurry of blows w/ unarmed attack). With a Half-minotaur Feral Monk with Improved Natural Attack, you can be dealing as much damage as the superchargers, since a lot of their static damage bonuses (that get multiplied by their supercharging) came from magical buffs.

You'd still probably leave at some point for Whirling Frenzy Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian. With or without TWFing a two-hander and unarmed strike.

Of course, the chaos monk variant'd be even better since it'd require less alignment kerfluffle.

Eldan
2010-08-03, 07:39 AM
Let's see. There are now three or maybe four combat options: Ubercharge, Stand and full attack, Skirmish, ranged. Can't think of any others.

Since attack bonus scales, but defenses don't, and magical items aren't available, you soon come to the point where armour is entirely pointless.

Let's see: Fighter 4, 18 strength, 4 base attack, weapon focus, masterwork weapon, has a +10 attack bonus. His opponent has 13 dex, full plate and dodge, which gives him an AC of 20. Already a 50/50 chance, and that's not optimized. A raging barbarian or half-orc (or both) has higher attack bonus. Combat Expertise delays this a little.

Therefore, after about level five, your defenses of choice are: hit points, damage reduction (unlikely to ever get high enough), mobility or killing the enemy in one hit. The last one is most likely, I'd think.


So I think combat would become really, really boring. I usually don't care about combat much since it tends to bore me anyway, but the rules don't allow you to do much out of combat either, so that balances out.

Theodoriph
2010-08-03, 08:08 AM
You could still have undead. Just reflavour zombies so that they're a result of a disease instead of magic. So no one would control the zombies, but you'd still have a horde of zombies that could infect you with one bite.


Edit: Arggh. Upon further reading, I've been ninja'd.



BTW - Why is everyone focused on combat? Combat isn't the only type of encounter in D&D. And without magic, sneaking into the jail to rescue a prisoner without the guards noticing just became a lot more exciting. A lack of magic opens up a number of possibilities for encounters. Possibilities that require teamwork and participation of all party members.

Draz74
2010-08-03, 10:45 AM
Ranged still sucks, as they're extremely poor at dealing big hits without recourse to magic of some sort. Hulking Hurler/those who drop heavy items from flight are the exception.

Besides the Swift Hunter idea that several people have mentioned, I think a Knowledge Devotion Factotum-archer could also be viable.

*.*.*.*
2010-08-03, 12:50 PM
My DM actually proposed a game like this recently, I'm definitely going to have to show him this thread

Emmerask
2010-08-03, 01:17 PM
Let's see. There are now three or maybe four combat options: Ubercharge, Stand and full attack, Skirmish, ranged. Can't think of any others.

Trip, grapple etc are still there so single target control can still be managed.
Then you have all the alchemical stuff smokesticks etc.
Incorperal beings can be killed with quicksilver (I think it was) alchemical weapon capsules.

I could also see the dm creating some other battlefield control alchemical potions like a sleeping gas potion, a web potion (okay would require some suspension of disbelief) and some buff-potions which gives the +4 to one stat for a time and when it expires you are exhausted or somesuch.

Those potions of course would be expensive so that you can´t throw them around like candy :smallwink:

Yes you would lose some options that magic grants, fast travel summons etc
but all in all I think it would still be a very nice campaign :smallsmile:

nefele
2010-08-03, 03:51 PM
Not boring at all. :)

Arms & Equipment Guide (3.0) has several mundane trinkets to use as is - or as a guide to build your own. Marbles can replace Grease. Very soft boots provide a +2 circumstance bonus to Move Silently. (You could rule that an improvised trick like wrapping rags around your shoes gives a +1.) Cloaks can give a bonus to Hide depending on their color and the color of the environment. Glasses can work for Spot, there's a listening horn of some sort etc.

Alchemical substances might as well be completely mundane. I also agree that some weapon/armor properties can be used, provided the smith is skilled enough. Enhancement bonuses, Keen, perhaps Distance.

Dungeonscape has some... contraptions you can use, mechanical ones, not magic or anything, to apply oils to weapons quickly. And some other low-tech kits for adventurers. Similar gadgets can be found in Complete Scoundrel & Adventurer, though it'll take some judgment to choose which are available in a no-magic world.

In short, not all crunch options have to be shut down when there's no magic around.

Also, healing. This might need a houserule, unless you intend to play with intrigue and social encounters more than anything. You can rule that the Heal skill allows for much better, well, healing than it does in RAW. You can rule that mundane ointments of CLW or even Cure <specific> Disease are available. I don't think it will break suspension of disbelief. (I've had the joy of knowing an old lady who made an ointment from herbs, which could treat severe burns just as well as any drug money can buy - provided you apply it immediately.)

AC is another thing that could use some tinkering. Maybe add half your BAB as a dodge bonus to AC? (If you can fight well, you can dodge well.)

Now, I'd like to note that when you ban Supernatural abilities too, you don't only steer away from Heroic Fantasy, you also steer away from fantasy in general, including mythology and folklore. (Nothing wrong with that, I'm just saying.) Perhaps you'd like to rule that some abilities are no longer Su, but Ex. If you keep dragons in your setting, they might as well breathe fire as an Extraordinary ability (they have this weird gland in their throat...), otherwise why bother? If you want an Assassin PrC, you could replace their spells with something else. Bonuses to skills would be nice, like Skill Mastery to Tumble, Climb, Stealth etc, unnamed bonuses to the above, the ability to Hide without penalty even when moving more than half their speed...

Of course, in a campaign like this, it's the fluff that will make things interesting, not the crunch. Think what the world is like. What's the tech level, how readily available are high tech gadgets, alchemical substances and masterwork items? How's transportation? Are there well-made and safe roads? Where does the economy rely on? Wheat, spice, minerals? What's the society like? Feudal system, castes, kings, nobility, a parliament of some sort? Who holds the power and how? What's the time-frame? All these questions become very important in any non-generic setting, and no magic is decidedly non-generic.

You know what would fit perfectly? Pirates. Well, nautical adventures in general. Exactly because magic makes travel by sea obsolete, and because most of the images we have about adventures on the high seas don't really include magic, it would work great here. Cannons and ballistas are actually important, skills are crucial, you can have great action without spells.

I guess it's obvious that I don't have a complete plan for you, I'm just dropping ideas as they come, hence the Wall Of Text. I've played in several low-magic settings, but never in a completely mundane one. It's not a bad idea. :)

Best of luck. :smallsmile:

Nero24200
2010-08-03, 03:56 PM
I'll be honest, I don't see the point of using D'n'D for a non-magical game. Just going by the core classes - only 4 out of 11 do not have spells, and only 3 of those don't have any supernatural abilities at all.

Classes like wizard become pointless...the whole idea of the class is that you are someone who can cast spells. It just seems...pointless, especially considering that there are other game systems which are built under the assumption that little or no magic will be used (Iron Heroes for instance, which still uses D20 rules).

Coidzor
2010-08-03, 04:14 PM
BTW - Why is everyone focused on combat? Combat isn't the only type of encounter in D&D. And without magic, sneaking into the jail to rescue a prisoner without the guards noticing just became a lot more exciting. A lack of magic opens up a number of possibilities for encounters. Possibilities that require teamwork and participation of all party members.

Mostly because that's what the focus of D&D is. :smallwink:


Trip, grapple etc are still there so single target control can still be managed.
Then you have all the alchemical stuff smokesticks etc.
Incorperal beings can be killed with quicksilver (I think it was) alchemical weapon capsules.

I could also see the dm creating some other battlefield control alchemical potions like a sleeping gas potion, a web potion (okay would require some suspension of disbelief) and some buff-potions which gives the +4 to one stat for a time and when it expires you are exhausted or somesuch.

Already have tanglefoot bags. Would make more sense as an expansion upon that alchemical item idea. What things cost could probably actually just be scaled down for the most part, due to not having to be competitive with magic items prices (say, buildings and the like, for instance)


AC is another thing that could use some tinkering. Maybe add half your BAB as a dodge bonus to AC? (If you can fight well, you can dodge well.)

You know what would fit perfectly? Pirates. Well, nautical adventures in general. Exactly because magic makes travel by sea obsolete, and because most of the images we have about adventures on the high seas don't really include magic, it would work great here. Cannons and ballistas are actually important, skills are crucial, you can have great action without spells.

I recall a defense bonus variant from Unearthed Arcana on the SRD that was brought up in regards to the idea of a campaign where armor would be inappropriate or armor was being used as DR. It was also pitched as good for a nautical sort of game...

Ravens_cry
2010-08-03, 04:52 PM
A gnome artificer would be an intriguing addition to such a world. After all ,they are explicitly meant to make things that emulate the effects of certain magic, without being magical themselves.

The Glyphstone
2010-08-03, 09:57 PM
I'm pretty sure Artificer creations are still magical. They just don't have to know the spells required to craft said magic items...and even Infusions/Schema are still magical objects, I believe. Could be wrong though.

Eldariel
2010-08-03, 10:02 PM
You're right, I wasn't thinking of that.

Sadly, bypassing all of that still just requires a DC 15 Tumble check. So you need a way (Swashbuckler?) to tumble while charging.

Or Close-Quarter Fighting, eat up the hit, smack Big T around a bit and not get Grappled. Or just use Battle Jump and bypass the whole need for Charge in the first place. Tho you might want to buy a flying mount to get high enough to Battle Jump Big T. Or pimp out your speed something severe (mind you, it can be done even non-magic).

Tyndmyr
2010-08-03, 11:21 PM
BTW - Why is everyone focused on combat? Combat isn't the only type of encounter in D&D. And without magic, sneaking into the jail to rescue a prisoner without the guards noticing just became a lot more exciting. A lack of magic opens up a number of possibilities for encounters. Possibilities that require teamwork and participation of all party members.

Adamantium weapons would like to say hi, along with the hide skill. Barbarians just go through everything in their path, rogues are effectively invisible without any possible counter.

Without the guards noticing? Hah. This isn't any more of an interesting challenge than it is in a world with magic. In both cases, it's a good option at low/med levels, and trivial at high levels.

Ravens_cry
2010-08-03, 11:29 PM
Or Close-Quarter Fighting, eat up the hit, smack Big T around a bit and not get Grappled. Or just use Battle Jump and bypass the whole need for Charge in the first place. Tho you might want to buy a flying mount to get high enough to Battle Jump Big T. Or pimp out your speed something severe (mind you, it can be done even non-magic).
Trouble is, there is no way of keeping Mr. T down without a wish spell, except by using him as an infinite source of food and other material while doing enough damage to keep him in the negatives.

Marnath
2010-08-03, 11:52 PM
Adamantium weapons would like to say hi, along with the hide skill. Barbarians just go through everything in their path, rogues are effectively invisible without any possible counter.

Without the guards noticing? Hah. This isn't any more of an interesting challenge than it is in a world with magic. In both cases, it's a good option at low/med levels, and trivial at high levels.

Hi. i'm marnath and i'd like to introduce a concept called direct sunlight, and also open ground without cover. :smalltongue:
Sarcasm aside, there are lots of scenario's where hiding isn't at all feasible, and when it is, there are at least going to be some people with ranks in listen, or people who own torches.

Ravens_cry
2010-08-04, 12:01 AM
Yes, but most people, guards, commoners, even most nobles and priests, are going to be far lower level then the players. A single rank with a +1 or 2 from a high wisdom isn't going to do much.

Stompy
2010-08-04, 12:07 AM
Hi. i'm marnath and i'd like to introduce a concept called direct sunlight, and also open ground without cover. :smalltongue:
Sarcasm aside, there are lots of scenario's where hiding isn't at all feasible, and when it is, there are at least going to be some people with ranks in listen, or people who own torches.

Aren't there templates that give +rediculous to hide (and HiPS) as a non-magical ability?

Also, if you do it in the right circumstances, green slime can be very deadly :smalleek:. (EDIT: taking down big T still sucks, I still recommend wild empathy from a totemist)

Lastly, I think I would have to go with a raptoran swift hunter as my favorite build in this world.

Xefas
2010-08-04, 12:07 AM
I don't care much about the mechanical implications regarding player character diversity, but have you considered the consequences this might have for the Outer Planes? It could be wonderful.

I mean, for one, Devils have been tempting mortals to Evil since time damn near began. With them unable to Plane Shift or be Called to the Prime, you might see less and less important Evil people. But, more than that, without the power of more mortal souls being drawn into the Nine Hells, they might start to wane in the Blood War. At that point, it becomes *everyone's* problem. No one wants the Demons to win except, well...most of the demons.

You might see a massive cosmological shift because of this. Or, at least, you would, if the Outer Planes could still effect the Prime anymore, which it couldn't.

Though, that begs another interesting question. The Outer Planes have a function of some kind that draws the souls of the dead from the Prime to their rightful alignment-based destination. Is that magic? I would assume so.

If the souls can't go anywhere, what happens? Everyone turns into a Ghost but without the Supernatural ability to manifest? There's just an entire society of intangible beings watching everything you do? If there's a Grim Reaper type figure, can he even function? Would the soul even leave the body because of it?

I may have to snatch this premise...

Coidzor
2010-08-04, 01:07 AM
Trouble is, there is no way of keeping Mr. T down without a wish spell, except by using him as an infinite source of food and other material while doing enough damage to keep him in the negatives.

Well, where do you think all of this really trendy leather fashion we're seeing is coming from? :smallamused:

Marnath
2010-08-04, 01:11 AM
Yes, but most people, guards, commoners, even most nobles and priests, are going to be far lower level then the players. A single rank with a +1 or 2 from a high wisdom isn't going to do much.

Most of the sneaky people in the world will be low level too... really high stealth skills are going to be as rare as anything else adventurers are going to do. Anyone who is good enough to thwart the common man with ease has bigger fish to fry, sure you can rob beggars, but why would you when you're good enough to rob the wealthy?

Coidzor
2010-08-04, 01:13 AM
^: Exactly, because the wealthy just can't afford someone on their payroll who can match your skill checks unless they're so wealthy you can't even physically make off with a portion of their wealth enough for it to matter to them.
Though, that begs another interesting question. The Outer Planes have a function of some kind that draws the souls of the dead from the Prime to their rightful alignment-based destination. Is that magic? I would assume so.

If the souls can't go anywhere, what happens? Everyone turns into a Ghost but without the Supernatural ability to manifest? There's just an entire society of intangible beings watching everything you do? If there's a Grim Reaper type figure, can he even function? Would the soul even leave the body because of it?

Either A, the whole process of the soul going through the astral sea while the personality degrades and the... other part that gets eaten by predators is a natural result of dying or B. it's powered by magic.

Which leads to the question of, ok, well, is becoming a ghost a part of the natural world or is it the result of a magical linkage to the negative energy plane getting created by the intensity of one's emotions as one dies?


I mean, for one, Devils have been tempting mortals to Evil since time damn near began. With them unable to Plane Shift or be Called to the Prime, you might see less and less important Evil people. But, more than that, without the power of more mortal souls being drawn into the Nine Hells, they might start to wane in the Blood War. At that point, it becomes *everyone's* problem. No one wants the Demons to win except, well...most of the demons.
Are the demons able to LEAVE the abyss without the aid of magic? I don't recall anything having EX planeshifting abilities.

So unless the Abyss itself can swallow things up, everyone's just hunky-dory, and, in fact, the baatezu don't exist since the blood war couldn't start between what's her face and the Vaati(who also couldn't get started on their planar empire, and depending upon things, the tana'ri don't either.

And, well, if the Abyss can swallow things up, I'm sure Mechanus-Bot will be there to save the day (and causality, and the multiverse)!

Marnath
2010-08-04, 01:30 AM
^: Exactly, because the wealthy just can't afford someone on their payroll who can match your skill checks unless they're so wealthy you can't even physically make off with a portion of their wealth enough for it to matter to them.

That ties in with my other comment. The guard may have a lowish spot check, but you don't get to hide if, say, all the halls are brightly lit with torches.

SurlySeraph
2010-08-04, 01:48 AM
Are the demons able to LEAVE the abyss without the aid of magic? I don't recall anything having EX planeshifting abilities.

So unless the Abyss itself can swallow things up, everyone's just hunky-dory, and, in fact, the baatezu don't exist since the blood war couldn't start between what's her face and the Vaati(who also couldn't get started on their planar empire, and depending upon things, the tana'ri don't either.

And, well, if the Abyss can swallow things up, I'm sure Mechanus-Bot will be there to save the day (and causality, and the multiverse)!

The Manual of the Planes discusses naturally forming planar rifts, though those probably count as magic.

Xefas
2010-08-04, 02:01 AM
snip

I thought the scenario was that magic suddenly didn't work in the Prime, but the Anti-Magic Zone only extends to that, so it still works in the Inner and Outer Planes (plus the transitory ones and the Far Realm, etc). In that case, Outsiders can still move around outside the Prime.

Though I suppose the Ghost idea can't work because no Negative Energy...

OH SHI-

What about positive energy? What if no new life can be created? Maybe we'd get a naturally occurring reincarnation cycle as the souls that can't leave are recycled into the new things created that can't get positive energy from the inner planes.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 02:14 AM
I thought the scenario was that magic suddenly didn't work in the Prime, but the Anti-Magic Zone only extends to that, so it still works in the Inner and Outer Planes (plus the transitory ones and the Far Realm, etc). In that case, Outsiders can still move around outside the Prime.

Though I suppose the Ghost idea can't work because no Negative Energy...

OH SHI-

What about positive energy? What if no new life can be created? Maybe we'd get a naturally occurring reincarnation cycle as the souls that can't leave are recycled into the new things created that can't get positive energy from the inner planes.

Since when do you need to channel positive energy to make a baby? I thought things like reproduction were natural, and positive energy is strictly the realm of spells.

Xefas
2010-08-04, 02:17 AM
Since when do you need to channel positive energy to make a baby? I thought things like reproduction were natural, and positive energy is strictly the realm of spells.

Well, the positive energy needs to get into the baby somehow, right? All living things are beings of positive energy, that's why positive energy heals them and negative energy hurts them. Positive energy is pure animating force.

Origomar
2010-08-04, 02:19 AM
Giants run everything. *Everything.* They're intelligent, they're social, they don't need magic to be powerful or just to exist, and without magic the humanoid races have no practical way of competing with them.

just outnumber them 400 to 1 and walla

Marnath
2010-08-04, 02:34 AM
Well, the positive energy needs to get into the baby somehow, right? All living things are beings of positive energy, that's why positive energy heals them and negative energy hurts them. Positive energy is pure animating force.


Citation needed.

Coidzor
2010-08-04, 02:35 AM
Well, the positive energy needs to get into the baby somehow, right? All living things are beings of positive energy, that's why positive energy heals them and negative energy hurts them. Positive energy is pure animating force.

Well, if that were the case, then the prime material plane couldn't exist as it's the combination of positive, negative, shadow(?) and the elemental planes coming together.

Or at least of the elemental planes all "mixing." I think...

Though, I mean, if magic works for everything but the material, ethereal, and shadow planes... Or even just the material planes, the blood war probably isn't much changed aside from the fact that there are no material plane-originating adventurers poking around.



No Gith in the astral or limbo though, and probably no mind-flayers...

Tyndmyr
2010-08-04, 05:39 AM
Hi. i'm marnath and i'd like to introduce a concept called direct sunlight, and also open ground without cover. :smalltongue:
Sarcasm aside, there are lots of scenario's where hiding isn't at all feasible, and when it is, there are at least going to be some people with ranks in listen, or people who own torches.

Direct sunlight? Open ground without cover? What sort of jail is this?

None of this changes the fact that sneaking into a normal, non magical jail is trivial for a high level rogue. I assume that he took move silently in addition to hide, of course. If he didn't, he's a complete failure as a rogue.

Ravens_cry
2010-08-04, 06:04 AM
Citation needed.

Basically, the theory of a vital force best fits the way D&D handles magical healing. Positive energy is the vital force of what we call living creatures in D&D and negative energy of what we call undead.

Aotrs Commander
2010-08-04, 06:28 AM
For starters, no supernatural cuts out most of the character classes.

All primary spellcasters and all psionic classes (and variant magic, e.g. invokers, binders, truenamers, shadowcasters andyone else I missed. etc etc)

Paladin lose all but two (passive) class features. Monks lose several. Bards and Ninjas lose all of their primary classes features, as do Divine Minds, Hex Blades and Dragon Shamans. Rangers lose their spells, but if the Complete Champion Champion of the Wild ACF feature (that lets them get four feats instead of their spells) they can at least function. Factotum lose their supernatural abilites (I'm not hugely familiar with them but a cursory glance suggests that their supernaturals are some of their best.) ToB looses access to Su manouvers, though as stated, they would dominate. Spellthieves are utterly useless.

So, what are we left with?

Barbarian
CM Samurai
Factotom (maybe)
Fighter
Knight
Marshal
Monk (with reduced class features)
Ranger (Champion of the Wild version)
Rogue
Scout
Swashbuckler

Crusader (banned)
Swordsage (banned)
Warblade (banned)

Ten (maybe eleven) classes, including some of the weakest of the bunch. Better than you might think...until you realise you've lost or banned 39 others (not including the three from Untapped Potential, which I consider to be basically a core splatbook for psionics).

Certainly a very low-power world, since a lot of the monsters would be weakened too. Gold become less important (as you can't get anything above masterwork, save mundane kit).

It could be done, certainly, but you'd actually have to put some work in to redress the balance. In trying to run it without making any homebrew adjustments, you would probably struggle (you might be okay using E6...maybe).

Jack_Simth
2010-08-04, 06:41 AM
Trouble is, there is no way of keeping Mr. T down without a wish spell, except by using him as an infinite source of food and other material while doing enough damage to keep him in the negatives.
Actually, he doesn't have an exception to the food/drink (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/environment.htm#starvationAndThirst)/air (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/environment.htm#suffocation) thing. Per the Regeneration entry (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#regeneration): "Regeneration does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. "

If you do enough damage to Mr. T for long enough that he can't succeed his scaling con checks for lack of water and food, then eventually he's got more nonlethal that doesn't get removed by his regeneration than he has actual hit points, and he's not ever getting up from his own devices, as he has too much nonlethal nonhealing damage. Which is close enough to "dead" for most people, I think.

faceroll
2010-08-04, 06:48 AM
None of this changes the fact that sneaking into a normal, non magical jail is trivial for a high level rogue. I assume that he took move silently in addition to hide, of course. If he didn't, he's a complete failure as a rogue.

Unless you put high level guards in the jail to guard whatever high level items interest high level rogues.


Yes, but most people, guards, commoners, even most nobles and priests, are going to be far lower level then the players. A single rank with a +1 or 2 from a high wisdom isn't going to do much.

But that's the case in any D&D game.

Without access to the +50 or so to hide you can weedle out of spells and magic items, the gap between spot & hide is greatly narrowed in a non-magical world.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-04, 06:53 AM
Unless you put high level guards in the jail to guard whatever high level items interest high level rogues.

Are you even reading the scenario? It's "bust buddy out of jail", not "steal stuff".

The idea that high level characters are significantly challenged by breaking someone out of an ordinary mundane jail is amusing. Magic or not, there are all sorts of ways to trivialize such an encounter...because it IS inherently trivial.


But that's the case in any D&D game.

Without access to the +50 or so to hide you can weedle out of spells and magic items, the gap between spot & hide is greatly narrowed in a non-magical world.

But yknow, you don't need an additional 50 points on the spread to matter. If you have a difference of 20, you'll be fine.

faceroll
2010-08-04, 07:13 AM
Are you even reading the scenario? It's "bust buddy out of jail", not "steal stuff".

The idea that high level characters are significantly challenged by breaking someone out of an ordinary mundane jail is amusing. Magic or not, there are all sorts of ways to trivialize such an encounter...because it IS inherently trivial.

You're right. A CR 3 encounter IS trivial for high level characters.


But yknow, you don't need an additional 50 points on the spread to matter. If you have a difference of 20, you'll be fine.

A ten point spread is risky, though, because you get one roll vs. a whole prison of guards.

Let's say you've got a small level 16 rogue with 24 dex, max ranks in hide, and a mw tool. That's +32 to hide. Now use low CR/high HD guards, like giants, dragons, undead that don't need to be magically created, etc. Take a CR 10 to 12 Giant. It's going to have around 15 HD and a wisdom of 14. Max ranks in spot and a mw tool give it +22. A ten point spread. 10 giant guards that each make 2 or 3 checks vs. the rogue (doing rounds, they move much faster than a small rogue, so will pass him multiple times). They will hear him (MS is only +28) or spot him.

Morph Bark
2010-08-04, 07:22 AM
Denying sneak attack is going to be harder as well! Undead are right out, but if there really is no such thing as magic, so are constructs. And to be honest, in a nonmagical world, oozes and treants and the like are walking contradictions, so *poof* go almost all of your problems. Just find a flanking buddy, or a good hiding spot.

Not necessarily. Undead likely would be gone yeah, but constructs can be created in other ways and the real world also has masses of amoeba sticking together to be something like oozes are.

Elementals and Outsiders though... well they'd need to get to the Material Plane via Stargates, obviously.

Aotrs Commander
2010-08-04, 08:01 AM
Let's say you've got a small level 16 rogue with 24 dex, max ranks in hide, and a mw tool. That's +32 to hide. Now use low CR/high HD guards, like giants, dragons, undead that don't need to be magically created, etc. Take a CR 10 to 12 Giant. It's going to have around 15 HD and a wisdom of 14. Max ranks in spot and a mw tool give it +22. A ten point spread. 10 giant guards that each make 2 or 3 checks vs. the rogue (doing rounds, they move much faster than a small rogue, so will pass him multiple times). They will hear him (MS is only +28) or spot him.

Most giants actually have about 12-14 in Spot, total.

You're also assuming that guards will have a high spot check. The job of guards should not, in fact, be to spot stealth specialists, it's to spot intruders and threats more generally. I.e. stop people simply waltzing in through the door. Provided there's no cover around, you also can't hide, so a properly positioned guard-post means sans invisibility (or HiPS, which is a high-level ability which ever power dynamic you want to look at) you can't sneak up on the guards.

A rogue should not always have only a 50% chance of succesfully hiding (i.e. Hide verses Spot is mostly even), it should be more like 75%-85%; and sneaking past lots of prison guards should really be either be more than one roll or taking ten (or twenty like in the movies!) If the DM considers it's only worth one roll, it's probably not important enough to worry about too much.

Your projected +32 to Hide is more than enough to sneak past your average giant guard at +12 or +14. Granted, getting past an Ettin might be more difficult, but them's the breaks...This is the reason I always have agreed with fighters (et al) not having Spot and Listen as class skills, because they really shouldn't be on even terms against a stealth character in spot-verses-hide(because the stealth character has more chances to fail and more to lose if they do otherwise). Plus, it kinda negates the stealth character's entire point, which is kinda of a jerkish thing to do to any character types.

(Granted, some areas or places should be protected by elite guards like rogues or something; but not every guard should.)

hamishspence
2010-08-04, 08:07 AM
Provided there's no cover around, you also can't hide, so a properly positioned guard-post means sans invisibility (or HiPS, which is a high-level ability which ever power dynamic you want to look at) you can't sneak up on the guards.

The Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave version of the Dark Creature template (LA+1) does allow HiPS without cover or concealment.

that said, I think it may be Supernatural rather than Extraordinary- which might prevent it working here.

Aotrs Commander
2010-08-04, 08:33 AM
The Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave version of the Dark Creature template (LA+1) does allow HiPS without cover or concealment.

that said, I think it may be Supernatural rather than Extraordinary- which might prevent it working here.

And also, being from a campaign-specific book, may be not be available for use anyway in this scenario.

But, assuming you do have that template, for the sake of arguement, you should especially not then be getting spotted by every guard around on a 50% Spot chance because everyone in the world has Spot maxed. (After all, in the books/movies the sneakers NEVER get spotted until they are actually inside or soemthing!)

If you've spent the effort into being steathy (feats, templates, class features), the DM should be allowing you to actually BE stealthy and use all that effort. In the same way that a guy specialising in feint should not have to deal with everyone in the universe having Sense Motive, or a rogue in an Undead-or-construct-enemies-only campaign, or a ninja in a mostly Kuo-Toa one etc etc. Otherwise, the DM is just not being fair.

(If he didn't want to deal with stealthy characters, he shouldn't have let you build one in the first place; in the same way I personally wouldn't allow diplomancer builds because Diplomacy Does Not Work That Way in my games.)

hamishspence
2010-08-04, 08:47 AM
And also, being from a campaign-specific book, may be not be available for use anyway in this scenario.

I wasn't sure if it counts as an update to the standard Dark Creature template in Tome of Magic, or not. The Tome of Magic version, since it still requires cover or concealment, is a bit weaker.

Kobold-Bard
2010-08-04, 09:18 AM
I hope you don't mind spending like a million years resting to heal after every fight.

This is why I disliked Pendragon. If you got injured you had to sit a session out to heal, which was boring as hell.

fryplink
2010-08-04, 11:23 AM
Actually, he doesn't have an exception to the food/drink (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/environment.htm#starvationAndThirst)/air (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/environment.htm#suffocation) thing. Per the Regeneration entry (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#regeneration): "Regeneration does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. "

If you do enough damage to Mr. T for long enough that he can't succeed his scaling con checks for lack of water and food, then eventually he's got more nonlethal that doesn't get removed by his regeneration than he has actual hit points, and he's not ever getting up from his own devices, as he has too much nonlethal nonhealing damage. Which is close enough to "dead" for most people, I think.


That would make a great "sealed evil in a can" where a series of cultists try to revive the starving Mr. T after a hundred years of it lying dormant. Human sacrifices would even make sense then. Then again tying Mr. T to a rock and dropping him in the ocean would essentially kill him too

Tyndmyr
2010-08-04, 01:18 PM
But, assuming you do have that template, for the sake of arguement, you should especially not then be getting spotted by every guard around on a 50% Spot chance because everyone in the world has Spot maxed. (After all, in the books/movies the sneakers NEVER get spotted until they are actually inside or soemthing!)

Not only maxed, but using masterwork tools. It's almost like all the NPCs have prepared in advance for exactly this situation.

Dungeonscape has padded shoes for a small non-magical move silently bonus btw. It's also ridiculously cheap(10g or some such). I would assume a rogue would invest in such things. It's much more plausible than everyone in a prison constantly roving for rogues, having maxed ranks in spot/listen, and using mw tools ALL THE TIME.

JaronK
2010-08-04, 03:55 PM
I did a game somewhat like this a while back. I gave the party the benefits of Vow of Poverty, except the feats were any feats they wanted, but modified them slightly and gave them Fast Healing 1. Then I removed magic from PC access and heavily reduced wealth by level. It worked pretty well. They valued tools more with their gear.

I absolutely allowed ToB though. It's boring otherwise.

JaronK

Marnath
2010-08-04, 04:53 PM
I'm not seeing how you think it's at all unlikely that prison guards would be on the look out all the time for people sneaking in to break prisoners out. That's their whole job, dude. It's literally the only thing they are there to do. But i do have to question what kind of "tool" could possibly increase your spot check and still be any kind of cheap enough to give a guard.

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-04, 06:52 PM
I'm not seeing how you think it's at all unlikely that prison guards would be on the look out all the time for people sneaking in to break prisoners out. That's their whole job, dude. It's literally the only thing they are there to do.

Actually, a prison guard's job is to stand ineptly while the prisoner breaks himself out.:smallwink:

FMArthur
2010-08-04, 07:13 PM
Actually, a prison guard's job is to stand ineptly while the prisoner breaks himself out.:smallwink:

Or to be goaded by the prisoner into making mistakes. The best breakouts involve getting the dumb guard to free you accidentally.

ZeroGear
2010-08-04, 07:15 PM
If you really want to make a world ike that work, here are a few things to think about:
-Healing is going to be a lot slower, due to the lack of healing spells. As such, the heal skill becomes A LOT more important.

-Since magic is right out, consider creating some type of weapon that surpasses masterwork items due to the skill of the master instead of a wizards magic. Keep the pricing equivilants that magic items would cost; since I assume such mastercraft items would cost quite a bit to craft, and would be made out of special, and rare, alloys.

-On the topic of armor, consider a slight variation: Insead of grantin the usual armor bonus, armor grants half that bonus as damage reduction. If you combine this concept with the "Class AC" concept from UA, you get pretty much the same level of protection that the regular system would grant you. As with weapons, consider making mastercraft armor that grants higher DR.

-Remove many of the big nastites. Pretty much everything except a goon number of humanoids, giants, animals, fish, and vermin are right out of the question. Dire animals might work, if you are willing to come up with an evolutionary explanation for them.

-Classes should primarily focus on combat and stealth instead of magic. Barbarians, fighters, monks, rouges, scouts, ninjas (if you want to), samurai (again, of you want to), swashbucklers, knights, and the variants thereof are perfectly viable options. Since druids, sorcerors, wizards, bards, and clerics (among numerous others) are mainly built for spells, they are right out. Rangers and paladins can fit into this world, if you are willing to use the spelless versions presented in Complete Warrior.

-Special materials become highly sought after. Without magic, smiths and warriors will seek every advantage they can when it comes to weapons.

-Don't be shy about creating new "modifycations" that can be added to weapons. Creating a sword that has a groove for burning tar, a forked tip for tripping, or barbs that inflicting bleeding wounds can be as interresting as a flaming, swordcatching, or bleeding enchantment; and has about the same effect.

-Alchemical items will be in high demand. Thunderstones and alchemists fire bring advantages that a wizard normally does. Don't be shy about creating new ones. You can even use the Craft (Alchemy) skill (that should be available to everyone) to design and crate healing salves, ointments, and medicines. This could equilize the loss of healing classes (like the cleric).

-Consider making the gosd more abstract. After all, why have magical beings walk around on a non-magical world? Religion should be more like it is in this workd: more of an ideal instead of a source of power. Religious leaders would tend to be experts instead of actual clerics.

-If you want to keep a power source, consider soley using psionic classes (though I would not recomend it).

Hope these suggestions are close to what you were looking for. It's your world after all, not mine.

Urpriest
2010-08-04, 09:47 PM
People in this thread are occasionally ignoring one of the most interesting factors of this world: it's not a magicless world, just a world that grew up in an AMF. Granted, it's a cheating-proof AMF, but it should still obey the base AMF rules. That means, Deities and Artifacts still work. As such, Gods can wander in at any time and do things that anyone else would consider impossible, and leave things around with impossible powers. Furthermore, such Gods could well be the origin of otherwise impossible monsters. This lets us stop worrying about where certain things come from: if it can breed true/come into being in an antimagic field, then it should exist. Aberrations, Magical Beasts, and even Constructs may thus exist, at the very least as one-off deific creations.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 09:49 PM
@ Ur-priest: He already said early on that he only said AMF to get the idea communicated, what he's really thinking of is a dead magic world, not amf. Someone else was mentioning the amf cheating, but he said he wants it to be magic free.

faceroll
2010-08-04, 11:20 PM
Most giants actually have about 12-14 in Spot, total.

If the DM has to use things out of the MM as is, the players have to use pre-built characters.


You're also assuming that guards will have a high spot check. The job of guards should not, in fact, be to spot stealth specialists, it's to spot intruders and threats more generally. I.e. stop people simply waltzing in through the door. Provided there's no cover around, you also can't hide, so a properly positioned guard-post means sans invisibility (or HiPS, which is a high-level ability which ever power dynamic you want to look at) you can't sneak up on the guards.

I'm not assuming. I am the DM. I am telling you, the guards, who have been hired to guard this place against creatures that sneak past anything (that are what guards do; they guard), are good at spotting things. Just like in a magical D&D world where the walls will be specially built to prevent incorporeal or teleporting creatures from entering, and there are bound fiends on patrol with true seeing up, prisons will be constructed and employ creatures that abuse the rules as much as the PCs wish to. :smallsmile:


And also, being from a campaign-specific book, may be not be available for use anyway in this scenario.

But, assuming you do have that template, for the sake of arguement, you should especially not then be getting spotted by every guard around on a 50% Spot chance because everyone in the world has Spot maxed. (After all, in the books/movies the sneakers NEVER get spotted until they are actually inside or soemthing!)

If you've spent the effort into being steathy (feats, templates, class features), the DM should be allowing you to actually BE stealthy and use all that effort. In the same way that a guy specialising in feint should not have to deal with everyone in the universe having Sense Motive, or a rogue in an Undead-or-construct-enemies-only campaign, or a ninja in a mostly Kuo-Toa one etc etc. Otherwise, the DM is just not being fair.

(If he didn't want to deal with stealthy characters, he shouldn't have let you build one in the first place; in the same way I personally wouldn't allow diplomancer builds because Diplomacy Does Not Work That Way in my games.)

I was responding to Tyndmyr's assertion that hide/ms was an instant win button in no-magic D&D. I am attempting to demonstrate that it's not hard nor implausible to construct encounters where it's not an iwin combo.

You seem to be arguing that sneaking is a instant win because the DM should let it be instant win. That is something else entirely.


Not only maxed, but using masterwork tools. It's almost like all the NPCs have prepared in advance for exactly this situation.

It's a prison in a universe where the only way to detect a sneak-thief over level 6 is with a spot check. They can't be using dogs or bats or exotic pets.

It's almost like some of the NPCs have been hired to guard a prison against high level rogues....


Dungeonscape has padded shoes for a small non-magical move silently bonus btw. It's also ridiculously cheap(10g or some such). I would assume a rogue would invest in such things. It's much more plausible than everyone in a prison constantly roving for rogues, having maxed ranks in spot/listen, and using mw tools ALL THE TIME.

Not everyone, just the guards that were HIRED TO GUARD THE PLACE FROM HIGH LEVEL ROGUES. WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?


I'm not seeing how you think it's at all unlikely that prison guards would be on the look out all the time for people sneaking in to break prisoners out. That's their whole job, dude. It's literally the only thing they are there to do. But i do have to question what kind of "tool" could possibly increase your spot check and still be any kind of cheap enough to give a guard.

This isn't any prison- it's the dungeon below the fortress citadel of the meanest BBEG this LE empire has ever seen, patrolled by creatures stronger than ten men. 50 gp pieces are trivial when the average loot for a CR 10 creature is in the 1000s.

As for the tool, it could be specially built lanterns that use alchemical fuel to cast especially bright illumination, special goggles, or even alchemical drugs that raise perception and prevent weariness.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 11:46 PM
It's almost like some of the NPCs have been hired to guard a prison against high level rogues....

----------------------------------------------------------
Not everyone, just the guards that were HIRED TO GUARD THE PLACE FROM HIGH LEVEL ROGUES. WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?


This is what i was getting at. They are there specifically because of how good they are at spotting a sneak, and they're most certainly actively looking for one because it's what they get PAID for.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-05, 12:06 AM
If the DM has to use things out of the MM as is, the players have to use pre-built characters.

You have the most powerful creatures in this world as guards, who have leveled and trained to be optimal for this moment. Nobody is debating the legitimacy of say, a template, or a coupla class levels. It's just odd that they're so...one sidedly designed against the PCs.


I'm not assuming. I am the DM. I am telling you, the guards, who have been hired to guard this place against creatures that sneak past anything (that are what guards do; they guard), are good at spotting things. Just like in a magical D&D world where the walls will be specially built to prevent incorporeal or teleporting creatures from entering, and there are bound fiends on patrol with true seeing up, prisons will be constructed and employ creatures that abuse the rules as much as the PCs wish to. :smallsmile:

Magical dungeons in a magical world are expected. The point is, hide is quite competitive even in a magical world. In a non magical world, it's flat out superior to spot.

Yknow what core classes have spot as a class skill? Druid. Monk. Ranger. Rogue. Choices 1 through 3 are crippled to varying degrees by the anti-magic world. Rogue? No.

So, the only real threat to a hidden rogue is another rogue at high levels. One of comparable power.


I was responding to Tyndmyr's assertion that hide/ms was an instant win button in no-magic D&D. I am attempting to demonstrate that it's not hard nor implausible to construct encounters where it's not an iwin combo.

You seem to be arguing that sneaking is a instant win because the DM should let it be instant win. That is something else entirely.

It mostly is, at least, in any plausible world, driven by the actual rules. Magic contains a great number of ways to find things or people. True seeing trumps the invisibility line, for example. By removing magic, you alter the balance between finding and hiding.

Sure, the DM can arbitrarily construct a scenario with ridiculous obstacles to a tactic, but yeah...it's ridiculous.


It's a prison in a universe where the only way to detect a sneak-thief over level 6 is with a spot check. They can't be using dogs or bats or exotic pets.

It's almost like some of the NPCs have been hired to guard a prison against high level rogues....

Not everyone, just the guards that were HIRED TO GUARD THE PLACE FROM HIGH LEVEL ROGUES. WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?

This isn't any prison- it's the dungeon below the fortress citadel of the meanest BBEG this LE empire has ever seen, patrolled by creatures stronger than ten men. 50 gp pieces are trivial when the average loot for a CR 10 creature is in the 1000s.

As for the tool, it could be specially built lanterns that use alchemical fuel to cast especially bright illumination, special goggles, or even alchemical drugs that raise perception and prevent weariness.

Illumination is already covered in the hide rules. Goggles are out, as they occupy a slot, which MW skill items do not. Drugs don't fit the model of a tool, either. Look at existing tools, like a climbers kit for climbing. Pitons and such. Some sort of physical slotless item that helps with the task at hand.

Modified giants wearing goggles while hopped on drugs isn't really any more plausible than saying "a wizard did it".

Marnath
2010-08-05, 12:20 AM
From the SRD description of hide:


You need cover or concealment in order to attempt a Hide check. Total cover or total concealment usually (but not always; see Special, below) obviates the need for a Hide check, since nothing can see you anyway.

If people are observing you, even casually, you can’t hide. You can run around a corner or behind cover so that you’re out of sight and then hide, but the others then know at least where you went.

All it takes to prevent concealment is enough torches to brightly light the hallways in the prison.

Urpriest
2010-08-05, 12:28 AM
From the SRD description of hide:



All it takes to prevent concealment is enough torches to brightly light the hallways in the prison.

That and a lack of corners.

Acero
2010-08-05, 12:30 AM
From the SRD description of hide:



All it takes to prevent concealment is enough torches to brightly light the hallways in the prison.

That's why there is HIde in Plain Sight

Marnath
2010-08-05, 12:34 AM
That's why there is HIde in Plain Sight

Hide in plain sight is a supernatural ability, it wouldn't work in a dead magic zone.

faceroll
2010-08-05, 12:55 AM
You have the most powerful creatures in this world as guards, who have leveled and trained to be optimal for this moment. Nobody is debating the legitimacy of say, a template, or a coupla class levels. It's just odd that they're so...one sidedly designed against the PCs.

You're a level 16 character. What do you want to fight? House cats? Commoners? A prison full of level 3 guards? Hide is just as good in a magical world. Unless you've got something in there that specifically has mindsight, but then, that's pretty specific, isn't it?

A CR 10 giant is not "the most powerful creature in the world", as you are a level 16 character.

The scenario I outline has mundane giants with maxed ranks in spot and a halfway imaginative patrolling rotation. That's it. It's not particularly targeting the PCs, it's targeting a general tactic. And they're guards. They are guarding. Being good at guarding doesn't seem that outrageous given that they are guards in a maximum security prison. You could go after prisons without high security, but of course it's going to be easy- you're level 16.


Magical dungeons in a magical world are expected. The point is, hide is quite competitive even in a magical world. In a non magical world, it's flat out superior to spot.

Yep, that's why the world figures out ways to circumvent high level sneak-thieves. Spot is never competitive with hide given to builds of equal HD, and it is even less so in a magical world, as there are about a dozen ways to boost hide and three-ish to boost spot. The best way to reliably beat hide (given that smallness gives such amazing boosts) is to use monsters that have 1.5x to 2x the HD as the party. If you need hide to be beaten. And I imagine there are NPCs out there that would prefer not to have rogues skulkin' about.


Yknow what core classes have spot as a class skill? Druid. Monk. Ranger. Rogue. Choices 1 through 3 are crippled to varying degrees by the anti-magic world. Rogue? No.

So, the only real threat to a hidden rogue is another rogue at high levels. One of comparable power.

Or monsters.


It mostly is, at least, in any plausible world, driven by the actual rules. Magic contains a great number of ways to find things or people. True seeing trumps the invisibility line, for example. By removing magic, you alter the balance between finding and hiding.

Everyone running around with True Seeing seems more implausible than maintaining max ranks in spot, imo.


Sure, the DM can arbitrarily construct a scenario with ridiculous obstacles to a tactic, but yeah...it's ridiculous.

Giant guards in a giant empire in a giant fort with good spotting is ridiculous?


Illumination is already covered in the hide rules. Goggles are out, as they occupy a slot, which MW skill items do not. Drugs don't fit the model of a tool, either. Look at existing tools, like a climbers kit for climbing. Pitons and such. Some sort of physical slotless item that helps with the task at hand.

Tools don't occupy slots the way magic items do, because they aren't magical. A MW smithy tool is still in your weapon slot; a climbing kit still goes on your feet (at least, that's what the artist seems to have intended in the PHB).

But if you don't like it, then scrap it. It just means you add one more guard or force one more check.


Modified giants wearing goggles while hopped on drugs isn't really any more plausible than saying "a wizard did it".

What do you mean by plausible?

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-05, 01:01 AM
Hide in plain sight is a supernatural ability, it wouldn't work in a dead magic zone.
While I know it's at level 17 and therefore nothing to consider because that's a relatively high level for a class that may or may not be gimped by the setting... A Level 17 Ranger's Hide in Plain Sight is Extraordinary. Just dump some leaves or dirt on the jail floor.

There's also the Tower Shield total cover trick, if you're rules lawery enough to find a way to overcome the penalty to move silently.

Marnath
2010-08-05, 01:09 AM
While I know it's at level 17 and therefore nothing to consider because that's a relatively high level for a class that may or may not be gimped by the setting... A Level 17 Ranger's Hide in Plain Sight is Extraordinary. Just dump some leaves or dirt on the jail floor.

There's also the Tower Shield total cover trick, if you're rules lawery enough to find a way to overcome the penalty to move silently.

Ok, i was looking at the shadowdancer when i said that, i didn't look at the ranger. As to the tower shield thing.... they give cover, but do you really think the guards aren't going to wonder what a shield is doing in the hallway standing under its own power?

OracleofWuffing
2010-08-05, 01:18 AM
Well, at the very least, one could argue that it isn't their job to wonder about such things. :smallwink:

Zeful
2010-08-05, 01:18 AM
Ok, i was looking at the shadowdancer when i said that, i didn't look at the ranger. As to the tower shield thing.... they give cover, but do you really think the guards aren't going to wonder what a shield is doing in the hallway standing under its own power?

It's part of your equipment, if you make a successful hide check, it disappears with you.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-05, 01:48 AM
You're a level 16 character. What do you want to fight? House cats? Commoners? A prison full of level 3 guards? Hide is just as good in a magical world. Unless you've got something in there that specifically has mindsight, but then, that's pretty specific, isn't it?

That isn't the point. The original contention was that "And without magic, sneaking into the jail to rescue a prisoner without the guards noticing just became a lot more exciting."

There was no mentioned of begoggled supergiants on drugs.


A CR 10 giant is not "the most powerful creature in the world", as you are a level 16 character.

The scenario I outline has mundane giants with maxed ranks in spot and a halfway imaginative patrolling rotation. That's it. It's not particularly targeting the PCs, it's targeting a general tactic. And they're guards. They are guarding. Being good at guarding doesn't seem that outrageous given that they are guards in a maximum security prison. You could go after prisons without high security, but of course it's going to be easy- you're level 16.

Note that you already have gone from a generic "break guy out of prison" to customized guards in a maximum security prison. Whatever that means.

Yes, you're the DM. You can eventually customize and tweak ANY encounter into making it challenging. That's not the point. The point is that the original claimant believed that this ruleset would make an otherwise ordinary, simple situation challenging. If you need to do hefty evaluation and countering of PC tactics, this claim fails horribly.


Giant guards in a giant empire in a giant fort with good spotting is ridiculous?

If we're going to just wildly invent new parameters for the original situation, then yes, it's ridiculous, because the jail was built by gnomes, who clearly didn't make room for the giants. Also, the sky is made of pies, which give bonuses to hide.


Tools don't occupy slots the way magic items do, because they aren't magical. A MW smithy tool is still in your weapon slot; a climbing kit still goes on your feet (at least, that's what the artist seems to have intended in the PHB).

And given what the artist intended for the spiked chain, every user of it should be a casualty by now.

Thankfully, pictures aren't rules.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-05, 01:58 AM
You're right. A CR 3 encounter IS trivial for high level characters.

Let's say you've got a small level 16 rogue with 24 dex, max ranks in hide, and a mw tool. That's +32 to hide. Now use low CR/high HD guards, like giants, dragons, undead that don't need to be magically created, etc. Take a CR 10 to 12 Giant. It's going to have around 15 HD and a wisdom of 14. Max ranks in spot and a mw tool give it +22. A ten point spread. 10 giant guards that each make 2 or 3 checks vs. the rogue (doing rounds, they move much faster than a small rogue, so will pass him multiple times). They will hear him (MS is only +28) or spot him.

Incidentally, the above leaves me severely doubting your ability to calculate CR.

8 CR 10 guards would be an CR 16 encounter. IE, appropriate for an entire party at this level. Not only have you assumed more of them, of varied cr, tailored against the rogue, but you ignored the fact that it assumes four party members.

According to the encounter calculator linked off the SRD, this ranks as an "Unbeatable" encounter.


A ten point spread is risky, though, because you get one roll vs. a whole prison of guards.

Skill Mastery says otherwise. Take ten, life is great. Available to vanilla rogues.

You also ignore the mundane boosts to hide/ms such as padded shoes. They're small sure, but they're darned cheap, and there's no reason NOT to buy them in a mundane world. There's also the possibility of having picked up skill focus at some point. We can ignore tower shield shenanigans as being somewhat unrealistic in actual play, but it's already obvious that a straight rogue can waltz in past your giant guards.

By raw, he collects full xp for bypassing an encounter, and thus, soloed an unbeatable encounter with no particular preparation, tactics, or risk.

hamishspence
2010-08-05, 03:20 AM
And given what the artist intended for the spiked chain, every user of it should be a casualty by now.

Thankfully, pictures aren't rules.

Quite a few artists have drawn better looking spiked chains than the one in the PHB- no spikes on the bit that's actually being held.

Aotrs Commander
2010-08-05, 03:24 AM
Quite a few artists have drawn better looking spiked chains than the one in the PHB- no spikes on the bit that's actually being held.

To be fair, I have seen cat vomit that is superior to ALL the artwork in the PHB. Actually, it's a toss-up which is more hidious - the equipment illustrations (armour especially) or Mialee...Either one is bad enough to make Cthulu lose his sanity...

3.5 has many good points. Core book artwork? Not one of them.

faceroll
2010-08-05, 05:33 PM
Tyndmyr-
Why are you being so rude?

IdleMuse
2010-08-05, 05:52 PM
This thread has produced some interesting insights and some interesting quotes so far :D

As far as 'Artifacts & Deities' go, if they exist, they'll be plot-related and not 'mechanical' in their use. No artifact weapon, for instance.

As pointed out above, a lot of the CRs in the prewritten stats are bearing magic in mind, and so using them as an arguement is probably invalid in a setting with different parameters.

Mundane versions of magical items will probably exist, to a certain point; most obviously, +X weapons I think we've decided will exist at similar prices, as will Keen and some other select enhancements. We're also discussing the probability of various alchemical potions with mechanical effects similar to a 'Potion of Vigor' with various quantities of temp. hit points across levels. Basically, this is because, while we actually WANT the grittiness of a low-healing setting, something to instantly revive a buddy in the middle of a fight is going to be a necessity, hence Vigor rather than CLW.

Regards Mwk tools, is it too underpowered to suggest they 'take up a slot' as magic items would? So there's a finite limit to the number you can wear, bounded by your inventiveness. They would obviously be vetted, so no 'shirts of Use Rope'. The other option for players would be to have them as a held item, which obviously has it's own problems, but lets you have more.

Regards the Rogue vs. Guards thing, I think the fact that this discussion has arisen proves that thing can still be fun and interesting in this world; in RAW d&d, the magial options to teleport/stoneshape/illusion the prisoner out can easily make some of this style encounter irrelevant.

Marnath
2010-08-06, 02:17 AM
Actually idlemuse, i could see a shirt of use rope, assuming it has hooks and stuff to hook you to the rope via an ascender thingy. It would be more a harness though, rather than a shirt.

Tyndmyr
2010-08-06, 02:24 AM
In some cases, you could probably rule that a mw item takes up a slot. Depends on the item and what makes sense. spiffy shoes for jumping, I guess. Appraise though, probably not(current items include a scale and such).

tbh, without magical gear, most slots are not terribly useful. After all, the possible uses for a non-magical ring are probably fairly limited.

Some magical items could be made mundane, true. A better gradient of weapon quality than mw/not is a great start. Most materials would also still work normally. Of course, take this too far, and it's basically become an exercise in removing the word "magic" from everything, so you'd need to be cautious with it. Using a different, low or no magic system would probably be significantly easier.