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Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 10:49 PM
O'er this Christmas break, I intend to be running a campaign with my cousins. This isn't terribly important since these things rarely come to more than botched one-shots, but since I intend to be using the same setting with my normal group as soon as I have a laptop that won't crash every ten minutes, I felt it worth considering.

The setting I'm building is extremely low magic. As in, the only magical class at all is the Warlock, alchemy is nonexistant, and magic items are so rare that simply finding one probably qualifies as a plot point.

Obviously this raises a few issues. The challenge ratings of higher level monsters assume you have the standard WBL spent on magic items. In an almost completely mundane world, how does one get by without a +2 Sword of Asskicking?

Basically my question to the Playground is, "How do I keep my players at their expected power level when there aren't any magic items to be had?"

One idea I have is pretty straightforward; put them in command of a small force of NPCs. After all, in my setting most battalion leaders are only 5th level.

Zaq
2010-12-22, 10:59 PM
There are three important things to consider.

1) What level are they? Going low magic and low wealth is uncomfortable but possible at low levels, but requires a hell of a lot of work (and houserules, really) at mid levels and higher.

2) How magical are the enemies? Do monsters still have SLAs? What about supernatural abilities?

3) Where is the HP coming from? People (rightly) scoff at playing The Healer, but that's because it's assumed that you can get healing from any number of sources, most notably magic items (a wand of CLW/Lesser Vigor and/or at least one Healing Belt per person should be on just about every party's wish list of items to get first). Without that, HP has to come from somewhere. Especially without magical sources of AC and miss chances, D&D 3.5 assumes that characters who engage in combat (i.e. 99% of all adventurers) will get hurt and lose HP, but it also assumes that those HP will be back before too terribly long. Natural healing, even with use of the Heal skill, honestly just isn't enough to actually be worth it. Sure, the players CAN sit around for a week after every couple of skirmishes, but that's just plain not fun, and it makes time-sensitive missions nearly impossible. The players can mitigate this a little bit by playing cautiously, but they can't avoid it, and it's going to be an issue at some point. Not a challenge; an issue. You'll need to find some way of handling this, because the players don't want to sit around and slowly heal for several days after each day of adventuring, and you probably don't want them to do that either. (Having a healing-focused crusader in the party will help a little bit, but that has its own problems.)

Zonugal
2010-12-22, 11:03 PM
Initially I have to ask what level is the party going to be at?

From my past experiences I'd say just using some less monstrous monsters and having challenges be more dependent on skill challenges may prove useful.

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 11:04 PM
You also have issues with things like Dr/magic and incorporealness. This makes things a bit sticky. If you plan on having most foes be humanoid with class levels and equally nonmagical gear, you shouldn't have any problems.

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:05 PM
1) What level are they? Going low magic and low wealth is uncomfortable but possible at low levels, but requires a hell of a lot of work (and houserules, really) at mid levels and higher.

They'll be starting at 3rd level. With my main DnD group, they'll continue to level up from this point indefinately until I or they get bored of the setting.


2) How magical are the enemies? Do monsters still have SLAs? What about supernatural abilities?

The vast majority of their enemies will be human. The occasional animal (largely from doing something stupid, like wandering into a bear cave), and when the plot calls for it, Lovecraftian horrors.

The last bit is where there's something to worry about, since I can throw pretty much whatever I want at them. But to answer the question of "how magical are the enemies," the answer is either "not at all" or "very."


3) Where is the HP coming from?

Natural healing only, pretty much like real life. Though I might want to homebrew some sort of modified version of the Heal skill that will allow faster healing.


You also have issues with things like Dr/magic and incorporealness. This makes things a bit sticky. If you plan on having most foes be humanoid with class levels and equally nonmagical gear, you shouldn't have any problems.

When things with DR/Magic or Incorporealness show up, that's probably the sign to either run like hell or hide behind the party Warlock.

Zonugal
2010-12-22, 11:13 PM
It sounds like an urban campaign may be most suited for what you are desiring.

Cityscape would be a good resource in this case.

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:15 PM
It sounds like an urban campaign may be most suited for what you are desiring.

Cityscape would be a good resource in this case.

I was thinking a military campaign, myself.

And an urban campaign is looking unlikely, as I've let my party vote on which of three nations they'd like to start in. Most of them so far have voted the "frozen ass-end of the world" nation. No real cities to speak of.

Zaq
2010-12-22, 11:21 PM
Natural healing only, pretty much like real life.

See, this sets off alarm bells in my head. While I have no problem with a grittier fantasy game, doing it in D&D 3.5 is going to cause a lot of headaches, because the system simply runs on a set of assumptions that go completely against this. Low wealth games and low magic games are, in my opinion, not great ideas in the first place (strictly speaking about 3.5), but they can be done with some effort. Low healing games, on the other hand, really stretch the system to its limits. Making combat lethal and going for the whole "one false step can spell disaster" thing works well enough for some games, but in 3.5, there are many times when the players just don't have enough control of the situation to choose a path that won't end in someone bleeding. The players will often end up wounded or dying just from sheer luck, and that really just causes headaches. A gritty and lethal game is, in my mind, very satisfying to play when you know that you've survived only through your wits and valor, but when it's just a matter of luck, well, I don't find that to be satisfying at all. Without magic to give you some control of the situation, and with the d20 being as huge a die as it is, there's really no way to avoid taking some hits, which means that you're very likely to die no matter how intelligently or cautiously you play. I'd go so far as to say that making character death this likely could cause people to treat it less seriously, just because there's not much that they can do about their situations anyway. (It's also worth noting that if you're going to play a game where characters can and will die frequently, you do NOT want to have a character creation system that's as long and drawn-out as 3.5's is. Sure, it's not the worst offender by a long shot, but it takes longer than most people would find pleasant if they're going to have to go through a character or two every week.)

I would strongly consider letting PCs heal significantly more with rest than is standard. Perhaps you roll your hit dice every night (so a level 4 fighter would roll 4d10 and recover that much), or you factor your CON into how fast you recuperate, or both. It's not super realistic, but if you have HP in the first place, you're going to have some pretty severe breaks with realism no matter what you do. It'll mean that the party gets broken up less frequently, it'll mean that people won't have to spend so long recuperating, and it'll mean that the game will just go more smoothly.

If there was more that players could do to avoid taking damage, then a grittier healing system might work . . . but you have to bend and twist 3.5 very far indeed to make that happen, and without magic, I don't see how you could do it and keep the system recognizable.

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 11:23 PM
There are enough things with mundane DR if you want to use it. Silver/cold iron/adamantine/burgeoning/slashing/piercing are all ex in nature.

Other than that, humanoids with class levels.

Weasel of Doom
2010-12-22, 11:26 PM
I'm not sure how you'd feel about this and it wouldn't solve much but allowing non-magical weapons and armour with magic-like bonuses could help.

The rules of a simple +1 or +2 sword or breastplate aren't inherently magic, it's just a minor bonus which makes the item better at what it does and could easily be represented as a sort of super-masterwork.


HP is a bigger problem simply because of how much the d&d system expects the party to take and heal hp damage.

If you want a gritty feel where hp damage cannot be easily removed then I suppose leave it how it is, rely more on role-play and investigation and explain to the players that they will have to plan combats to avoid long combats. The party would need to try and ensure that combats end quickly by using surprise, numbers and the enviroment to tip the odds. Combats might be more strategic and have a greater use of traps and ranged weapons. From the party's perspective they would basically want the outcome of the battle decided before it begun. I mostly play Dark Heresy and this is how combats tend to go in that system (until the cultist turns into a daemon and everyone dies).

If you don't want to change the style of the game so much maybe adapt some form of healing surge from 4th ed to represent the characters being badass and toughing it out, ignoring their pain and injuries for the sake of King and Country / the mission / gold.

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:28 PM
-walloftext-

There's these things called "paragraphs"...


I would strongly consider letting PCs heal significantly more with rest than is standard. Perhaps you roll your hit dice every night (so a level 4 fighter would roll 4d10 and recover that much), or you factor your CON into how fast you recuperate, or both. It's not super realistic, but if you have HP in the first place, you're going to have some pretty severe breaks with realism no matter what you do. It'll mean that the party gets broken up less frequently, it'll mean that people won't have to spend so long recuperating, and it'll mean that the game will just go more smoothly.

I like the idea of CON Modifer x HD/day. It's fairly close to how it already works anyway, and it makes sense that the big manly man would be back in fighting shape faster than the bookworm.


I'm not sure how you'd feel about this and it wouldn't solve much but allowing non-magical weapons and armour with magic-like bonuses could help.

The rules of a simple +1 or +2 sword or breastplate aren't inherently magic, it's just a minor bonus which makes the item better at what it does and could easily be represented as a sort of super-masterwork.

Well I do have my homebrew rules for mundane weapon modifers (in my sig), but they aren't much.

Zonugal
2010-12-22, 11:30 PM
I was thinking a military campaign, myself.

And an urban campaign is looking unlikely, as I've let my party vote on which of three nations they'd like to start in. Most of them so far have voted the "frozen ass-end of the world" nation. No real cities to speak of.

Oh man... I'm just remembering reading Frostburn and how the environment may literally be their deadliest opponent.

Zaq
2010-12-22, 11:30 PM
I suppose I should add that if you're playing a very socially-oriented game, one in which people don't just charge in with flashing steel at the slightest insult but instead actually treat drawing lethal weapons as a big freaking deal (the kind where the PCs will still be talking about your average fight an in-game week or more after the fact, because, like most people but unlike most standard adventurers, situations in which your life is threatened and you're threatening the life of someone else really don't come up that often), then a grittier healing system could work. If you're going to be fighting in a war, though, or exploring hostile territory, or otherwise expecting to roll initiative on a regular basis . . . then I stand by my statements.

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:33 PM
Oh man... I'm just remembering reading Frostburn and how the environment may literally be their deadliest opponent.

I want Frostburn so bad. I wrote a Campaign Journal about a campaign I was in that was set at the northern edge of civilization (as in, there was a sign that deliniated "if you go any further north and lose sight of this sign, you WILL die"). One of the best campaigns I've ever been in, even if it only ran three sessions.

I'm also ecstatic that my players won't have access to endure elements. That spell takes all the fun out of it.

The Glyphstone
2010-12-22, 11:43 PM
In situations like this, the best way to preserve a non-magical feel without screwing up the math of 3.5 any worse than it already has been is basically 'grades of masterwork'.

Call them what you want, but +1/+2/+whatever weapons and armor are not longer magical enchantments, but the innate skill of increasingly talented blacksmiths working with increasingly rare and valuable raw materials. Any scrub can forge a sword, or even a masterwork sword with more effort. A trained military smith might be able to forge +1 or +2 gear, if he has pure iron. The +3 or +4 sword is an heirloom, the personal blade of an army commander handed down through generations and talked about in bardic epics for its ability to shatter the blades of lesser men. When you go questing for that +5 sword, you must first find the legendary meteor of starmetal that fell from the sky eons ago, and bring it to the Mystic Smith of Whosawhatsa who dwells on the Mountain of Wheresawhensa, given immortality by the God of Smiths to live in seclusion and perfect his craft beyond mortal ken.

Consider alchemical herbs and mixtures to aid in healing - not necessarily potions, but concotions that might raise a person's effective Con mod overnight for the purposes of regaining HP.

Zonugal
2010-12-22, 11:46 PM
I want Frostburn so bad. I wrote a Campaign Journal about a campaign I was in that was set at the northern edge of civilization (as in, there was a sign that deliniated "if you go any further north and lose sight of this sign, you WILL die"). One of the best campaigns I've ever been in, even if it only ran three sessions.

I'm also ecstatic that my players won't have access to endure elements. That spell takes all the fun out of it.

You wanna know how great Frostburn is? The environment in the book spits in Endure Elements face, it is that rough.

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:47 PM
In situations like this, the best way to preserve a non-magical feel without screwing up the math of 3.5 any worse than it already has been is basically 'grades of masterwork'.

Call them what you want, but +1/+2/+whatever weapons and armor are not longer magical enchantments, but the innate skill of increasingly talented blacksmiths working with increasingly rare and valuable raw materials. Any scrub can forge a sword, or even a masterwork sword with more effort. A trained military smith might be able to forge +1 or +2 gear, if he has pure iron. The +3 or +4 sword is an heirloom, the personal blade of an army commander handed down through generations and talked about in bardic epics for its ability to shatter the blades of lesser men. When you go questing for that +5 sword, you must first find the legendary meteor of starmetal that fell from the sky eons ago, and bring it to the Mystic Smith of Whosawhatsa who dwells on the Mountain of Wheresawhensa, given immortality by the God of Smiths to live in seclusion and perfect his craft beyond mortal ken.

Consider alchemical herbs and mixtures to aid in healing - not necessarily potions, but concotions that might raise a person's effective Con mod overnight for the purposes of regaining HP.

I was actually thinking of something similar to this, only using superior materials. Though, since one tends to go with the other, maybe both. Extremely good blacksmiths capable of making incredible weapons, but need a material that can stand up to their skill.

The Glyphstone
2010-12-22, 11:49 PM
I was actually thinking of something similar to this, only using superior materials. Though, since one tends to go with the other, maybe both. Extremely good blacksmiths capable of making incredible weapons, but need a material that can stand up to their skill.

And it comes with its own built-in adventure hooks, so win-win situation all around, right?

The 'special materials' clause also lets yo, if you feel like it, occasionally 'cheat' and slip in quasimagical properties. When the master smith asked you to find him the scales of a red dragon so he could forge you that +3 scale mail, he didn't expect that the resultant armor would retain some of the creature's innate resistance to fire. That lump of iron ore cut from the core of an Iron Golem forgotten inside a frozen polar temple still pulses with an unnatural cold, and deals a small amount of frost damage at a touch.

Zonugal
2010-12-22, 11:54 PM
Consider alchemical herbs and mixtures to aid in healing - not necessarily potions, but concotions that might raise a person's effective Con mod overnight for the purposes of regaining HP.

This reminds of rune-inscribed weapons (like the Scotsman's sword from Samurai Jack).

Drakevarg
2010-12-22, 11:57 PM
And it comes with its own built-in adventure hooks, so win-win situation all around, right?

Aye.


The 'special materials' clause also lets yo, if you feel like it, occasionally 'cheat' and slip in quasimagical properties. When the master smith asked you to find him the scales of a red dragon so he could forge you that +3 scale mail, he didn't expect that the resultant armor would retain some of the creature's innate resistance to fire. That lump of iron ore cut from the core of an Iron Golem forgotten inside a frozen polar temple still pulses with an unnatural cold, and deals a small amount of frost damage at a touch.

Don't think I'll do that, but I might include quasi-magical modfications. One idea I got from my cousin is a "Flare Blade" that has a mildly serrated edge that runs along a line of flint in the scabbard, and is coated in a flammable material. Any attacks made in the first round after drawing the blade deal +1d6 fire damage.

HunterOfJello
2010-12-22, 11:58 PM
Unearthed Arcana's Reserve Point (http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/UA:Reserve_Points) system works well for situations like this.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-12-23, 12:14 AM
Low healing/low magic.
I recomend you use the Vitality system from unearthed arcana.

May I sugest E6?

Its a setting/system that doesn't go higher then 6th level.

Eldariel
2010-12-23, 12:14 AM
You know, I'm journalling a very similar campaign right now. You might be interested in checking the signature out and seeing how we dealt with the various issues like lack of non-magical healing, AC becoming irrelevant due to BAB and lack of magical boosts (of which there are far more for AC than AB), and so on.

Short version:
- Level to AC bonus
- Vitality and Wound Point (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) system with heavy modifications; the crux here is that most damage comes to Vitality Points which doesn't represent actual damage. So real wounds happen less often which makes it plausible to make damage (the actual process of taking hits) realistic while still not having to spend few days recovering after each encounter lest you just plain die.
- Our modifications include damage system which results damage to specific limbs with appropriate disabling effects (when taking WP damage), and various states of static "penalty to everything" from losing VP (that is, combat fatigue).
- Characters get more feats: specifically two feats on level 1, and one feat on 2, and every 2 levels there-after. The basic idea is that as written, characters only have enough feats to be good at one thing, and no room for "utility" feats like Elusive Target, Endurance (it can be v. useful without magic), etc. As non-casters do most of their stuff with feats, extra feats enable more interesting, versatile characters who aren't necessarily one-hit wonders, and allows for feats that aren't a part of the feat path you're taking to be fit into the build. Oh, and we "fix" some trash like TWF, Dodge and so on by combining superfluous feats together, making some stupid ones automatically available, etc.
- Characters get 6 to 8 extra skill points per level (depending on class; with 4x on level 1 as per usual) and class skill lists are vastly expanded: Basically, we concluded that what isn't done with feats is done with skills and characters don't have nearly enough skills even at 20 Int on level 1 for basic competence at most things they care about. Just try building a Rogue with 20 Int and notice how you still miss out on about half the skills you'd be interested in. And that's a 20 Int ROGUE. If you want your people learning climbing, swimming, spotting, sense motive, diplomacy, bluff, use rope, forgery, escape artist, etc. you will need to give them much better skill access and lots more skill points. I can tell you we've used basically all skills in the game thus far (with the obvious exception of Use Magic Device) and it's been a blast to actually both, have points in obscure skills and to get to use them.
- Instead of magic weapons, we have more different materials and craftsmanship levels; basically anything that could somewhat plausibly be a non-magical ability is such, instead. This makes "legendary weapons" still existent if not magical in the least. +X, Keen, that sort of stuff is simple. Oh, and this gives PCs uses for the small fortunes they might acquire; well, beyond purchasing their own keeps, of course. Which they should definitely do too though.
- We revamped the whole poison system. And trap system. 'cause one of our PCs is a poisoner and the other is a trapmaker. This is just to make the whole process of doing stuff more interesting.
- We make heavy use of Tome of Battle and use rewrites of core classes alongside homebrew ranged disciplines to expand it to work for all types of combat. Basically, the idea is that without spells, there's a distinct lack of choice in combat; a depth of choice that would exist in a simple sword fight. The standard game cannot really represent the different moves and maneuvers you can do and try, so we use ToB instead to give us the tools to represent those.

Zonugal
2010-12-23, 12:27 AM
Have you thought about how Tome of Battle might play in a role in such a campaign?

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 12:44 AM
Have you thought about how Tome of Battle might play in a role in such a campaign?

No, and I don't intend to. I never use books I don't own in meatspace, and that includes ToB.

Fayd
2010-12-23, 12:46 AM
Heh. It's not 3.5, but that's basically the entire POINT of the campaign I'm in. It's interesting... really interesting.

I can't contribute on the power balance of things, but... It is a very fun concept to play with, if everyone is on board with it.... and is even interesting when one person is purposefully subverting it (our "No magic" was really just CL -5, and he's decided to play a mage... he is still a valuable contribution to the team too!)

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 01:03 AM
Short version:
- Level to AC bonus
- Vitality and Wound Point (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) system with heavy modifications; the crux here is that most damage comes to Vitality Points which doesn't represent actual damage. So real wounds happen less often which makes it plausible to make damage (the actual process of taking hits) realistic while still not having to spend few days recovering after each encounter lest you just plain die.
- Our modifications include damage system which results damage to specific limbs with appropriate disabling effects (when taking WP damage), and various states of static "penalty to everything" from losing VP (that is, combat fatigue).
- Characters get more feats: specifically two feats on level 1, and one feat on 2, and every 2 levels there-after. The basic idea is that as written, characters only have enough feats to be good at one thing, and no room for "utility" feats like Elusive Target, Endurance (it can be v. useful without magic), etc. As non-casters do most of their stuff with feats, extra feats enable more interesting, versatile characters who aren't necessarily one-hit wonders, and allows for feats that aren't a part of the feat path you're taking to be fit into the build. Oh, and we "fix" some trash like TWF, Dodge and so on by combining superfluous feats together, making some stupid ones automatically available, etc.
- Characters get 6 to 8 extra skill points per level (depending on class; with 4x on level 1 as per usual) and class skill lists are vastly expanded: Basically, we concluded that what isn't done with feats is done with skills and characters don't have nearly enough skills even at 20 Int on level 1 for basic competence at most things they care about. Just try building a Rogue with 20 Int and notice how you still miss out on about half the skills you'd be interested in. And that's a 20 Int ROGUE. If you want your people learning climbing, swimming, spotting, sense motive, diplomacy, bluff, use rope, forgery, escape artist, etc. you will need to give them much better skill access and lots more skill points. I can tell you we've used basically all skills in the game thus far (with the obvious exception of Use Magic Device) and it's been a blast to actually both, have points in obscure skills and to get to use them.
- Instead of magic weapons, we have more different materials and craftsmanship levels; basically anything that could somewhat plausibly be a non-magical ability is such, instead. This makes "legendary weapons" still existent if not magical in the least. +X, Keen, that sort of stuff is simple. Oh, and this gives PCs uses for the small fortunes they might acquire; well, beyond purchasing their own keeps, of course. Which they should definitely do too though.
- We revamped the whole poison system. And trap system. 'cause one of our PCs is a poisoner and the other is a trapmaker. This is just to make the whole process of doing stuff more interesting.
- We make heavy use of Tome of Battle and use rewrites of core classes alongside homebrew ranged disciplines to expand it to work for all types of combat. Basically, the idea is that without spells, there's a distinct lack of choice in combat; a depth of choice that would exist in a simple sword fight. The standard game cannot really represent the different moves and maneuvers you can do and try, so we use ToB instead to give us the tools to represent those.

...that's the short version?

Some of that looks pretty interesting, but I don't want to use anything I don't own in meatspace, and that includes the SRD.

Lans
2010-12-23, 01:05 AM
Have you considered allowing the Ceremony feats? There magical, but not much, and there not used at all normally

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 01:12 AM
Have you considered allowing the Ceremony feats? There magical, but not much, and there not used at all normally

I have no idea what those are or where they're from, but I'm almost certain they're not in any of my books. So no, I haven't.

Thiyr
2010-12-23, 01:35 AM
I have questions on two related things: a) are you going to be changing the warlock's 12th level ability at all? (that whole crafting just about any magic item thing seems kinda...out of place, otherwise. Presuming, of course, the PCs survive till then, but still something to consider). b) are you planning to give the warlock something other than its "take 10 on UMD" ability, or will that just become a dead level?

Other than that, I think the healing points are good ones, using weapon materials as a means to add differentiation between weapons is a good point to make, and if standard alchemy isn't around, will the PCs be able to, given time, resources, and suitable effort, create various other mundane combat tricks? I know that a game like this is where I'd love to use alchemical items, as I enjoy playing those characters that sometimes pull something weird and unexpected out. Ditching some of the more outlandish or flashy stuff (liquid ice, alchemist's fire), and keeping some of the slightly more feasible stuff (smokesticks, acid, antitoxin) could be something to consider. Not knowing what other books you've got in your meaty possessions, I can't suggest other ones I'd consider, but I get the feeling you've got the gist of this.

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 01:52 AM
I have questions on two related things: a) are you going to be changing the warlock's 12th level ability at all? (that whole crafting just about any magic item thing seems kinda...out of place, otherwise. Presuming, of course, the PCs survive till then, but still something to consider). b) are you planning to give the warlock something other than its "take 10 on UMD" ability, or will that just become a dead level?

Ditching the Take 10 on UMD (so, dead level), and yes, they get to keep Imbue Item. Thing is, 12 level characters are practically unheard of in this setting, so even with that magic items are EXTREMELY rare. (Indeed, any magic items either come from said Level 12+ Warlocks or spat out by Lovecraftian forces you probably don't want to toy with.)


Other than that, I think the healing points are good ones, using weapon materials as a means to add differentiation between weapons is a good point to make, and if standard alchemy isn't around, will the PCs be able to, given time, resources, and suitable effort, create various other mundane combat tricks? I know that a game like this is where I'd love to use alchemical items, as I enjoy playing those characters that sometimes pull something weird and unexpected out. Ditching some of the more outlandish or flashy stuff (liquid ice, alchemist's fire), and keeping some of the slightly more feasible stuff (smokesticks, acid, antitoxin) could be something to consider. Not knowing what other books you've got in your meaty possessions, I can't suggest other ones I'd consider, but I get the feeling you've got the gist of this.

Might allow things like antitoxin and smokesticks, but mostly what I'll encourage my players to do is to simply creatively use what's at hand as opposed to alchemical foofahrah.

NichG
2010-12-23, 01:55 AM
I'd like to play devil's advocate on the healing. If you plan for what slow healing will do, it can make for natural tension in certain situations that would feel forced otherwise. The main thing is, if you only have natural healing you as DM can't plan for them to have X encounters on Y day. The party has to be able to say 'we're too injured to finish the goblin lair, we're going to retreat for the day'.

My main experiences with this were in a 1ed D&D sandbox campaign. There was a lot of retreating from dungeons to try again after healing, hoping we could actually make it back to town without a random encounter so we could save our wounded, holing up in dungeons, etc. It's a sort of game many players don't like though, so be careful. I also wouldn't recommend it for a structured campaign.

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 02:00 AM
I'd like to play devil's advocate on the healing. If you plan for what slow healing will do, it can make for natural tension in certain situations that would feel forced otherwise. The main thing is, if you only have natural healing you as DM can't plan for them to have X encounters on Y day. The party has to be able to say 'we're too injured to finish the goblin lair, we're going to retreat for the day'.

My main experiences with this were in a 1ed D&D sandbox campaign. There was a lot of retreating from dungeons to try again after healing, hoping we could actually make it back to town without a random encounter so we could save our wounded, holing up in dungeons, etc. It's a sort of game many players don't like though, so be careful. I also wouldn't recommend it for a structured campaign.

Won't be too much of a problem. I never plan things so concretely anyway. Players, I have learned, are savants when it comes to derailing plotlines. So I make the rails as wide as possible, so they can throw their weight around while I keep them going in the general direction I want them to.

In straight-talk, that means not planning "X fights on Y day" so much as "X location with Y monsters that may or may not be fought... with locations A B and C surrounding location X so that if they change directions I can at least keep them occupied until the session ends."

Coidzor
2010-12-23, 02:13 AM
Obviously this raises a few issues. The challenge ratings of higher level monsters assume you have the standard WBL spent on magic items. In an almost completely mundane world, how does one get by without a +2 Sword of Asskicking?

Wrong question to have started out with. In a completely mundane world in regards to healing, how does one play the game without taking weeks to heal from even a minor fight?


Basically my question to the Playground is, "How do I keep my players at their expected power level when there aren't any magic items to be had?"

Simple answer, you can't. Without healing in any form, they're not going to be able to reach expected power levels. Because you're playing a different game.


I was thinking a military campaign, myself.

A military campaign. Where they can't take extended bed rest to heal except during the horribly disease-filled lulls that are sieges.

Uh huh.

Occasional Sage
2010-12-23, 02:15 AM
Back In the Day, Gygax introduced command-word weapons (and armor?): in 3.5 terms, master-work equipment that, a VERY LIMITED number of times, became +1 for a handful of rounds (I remember this appearing in one of the Gord the Rogue novels, and the owner if the axe described it as "waking the axe up" or something like that).

Anyway, it's a halfway point between magic gear and NO MAGIC EVER that might get the party over some hurdles.

*shrug*

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 02:19 AM
Wrong question to have started out with. In a completely mundane world in regards to healing, how does one play the game without taking weeks to heal from even a minor fight?

Make every fight matter?


Simple answer, you can't. Without healing in any form, they're not going to be able to reach expected power levels. Because you're playing a different game.

Fair enough.


A military campaign. Where they can't take extended bed rest to heal except during the horribly disease-filled lulls that are sieges.

Uh huh.

Should be fun. :smallamused:

Coidzor
2010-12-23, 02:28 AM
Should be fun. :smallamused:

sounds like you want to be playing Iron Heroes instead, then, Mr. :smallwink:

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 02:29 AM
sounds like you want to be playing Iron Heroes instead, then, Mr. :smallwink:

Never heard of it.

Besides, much like my reasons for not playing CoC, I don't feel like learning new rules.

Lans
2010-12-23, 02:36 AM
I have no idea what those are or where they're from, but I'm almost certain they're not in any of my books. So no, I haven't.

I think theres a couple in the PHB2

Coidzor
2010-12-23, 02:38 AM
Make every fight matter?

More add minutes per fight of the healer rolling heal checks in order to double the HP gained per rest was what I was getting at.

As was mentioned earlier, a wound/vitality point system is probably better for making every fight matter.

Or Warhammer's way of having your melee characters becoming progressively less there as they lose bits and limbs every other fight.


Never heard of it. Weird. Gets brought up often enough around here as pretty much exactly what you seem to want out of a d20 system. Gritty fighting without namby-pamby healing magic or really much/any magic to speak of.


I don't feel like learning new rules.

And yet you feel like designing a completely different feel to 3.5. :smalltongue:

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 02:42 AM
More add minutes per fight of the healer rolling heal checks in order to double the HP gained per rest was what I was getting at.

I kinda assumed that'd be done anyway.


And yet you feel like designing a completely different feel to 3.5. :smalltongue:

I'm weird like that. :smallcool:

JonestheSpy
2010-12-23, 03:43 AM
I have a houserule about the Heal skill you might like:

Heal can be used to transform real damage into temporary damage. Roll against a DC 15 - the amount over 15 transforms that much damage to temporary damage. This can only be attempted once per encounter.

It means that players don't need to wait weeks between battles, but the Heal skill doesn't simple become a substitute for Cure spell.

Souhiro
2010-12-23, 06:13 AM
You know. D&D is a game about slaying orcs in a dungeon. It has evolved with each version, AD&D, D&D2, D&D3, 3.5, 3P... (4th do not exist) but the core is the same: You will start with humble goblins, then orcs, then dragons.

But your game seems to be more like a Cthulhu campaing, or a low-wealth cyberpunk.Even fighting a few goblins is a risk to high level fighters, since they need a few days of rest to heal an scratch. You can spect your players to evolve to a "Tower shield and tons of crossbows" game.

Remember that CRs assumes that the party has some ballance: Someone tanks, someone nuke, someone buff and someone heals. If you have very few players, or the party is unballanced, the CR of an ogre will skyrocket.

A fight agains a troll will be a PAIN: Your fighters manages to reduce him to bits, but it starts to regenerate. So, the Rogue must start a fire as quick as he can while the fighters re-kills the troll! I see that more challenging that the fighter softening him a bit, and the wizard shooting fireballs to end the job.


If you want epic, choose Pathfinder. Your players will be more capable. If you want your players running from an goblin, choose 3.5.

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 10:20 AM
You know. D&D is a game about slaying orcs in a dungeon. It has evolved with each version, AD&D, D&D2, D&D3, 3.5, 3P... (4th do not exist) but the core is the same: You will start with humble goblins, then orcs, then dragons.

But your game seems to be more like a Cthulhu campaing, or a low-wealth cyberpunk.Even fighting a few goblins is a risk to high level fighters, since they need a few days of rest to heal an scratch. You can spect your players to evolve to a "Tower shield and tons of crossbows" game.

Remember that CRs assumes that the party has some ballance: Someone tanks, someone nuke, someone buff and someone heals. If you have very few players, or the party is unballanced, the CR of an ogre will skyrocket.

A fight agains a troll will be a PAIN: Your fighters manages to reduce him to bits, but it starts to regenerate. So, the Rogue must start a fire as quick as he can while the fighters re-kills the troll! I see that more challenging that the fighter softening him a bit, and the wizard shooting fireballs to end the job.


If you want epic, choose Pathfinder. Your players will be more capable. If you want your players running from an goblin, choose 3.5.

Fortunately those issues are totally irrelevent, since none of those monsters exist in this setting. You've got animals, humans, and eldritch horrors. Only in the latter category is this an issue, and you SHOULD be running when they turn up, anyway.

TheGeckoKing
2010-12-23, 10:31 AM
This seems like it could be something challenging, or a bloodbath, but possible depending on the players taste.

The main worry i'd have is "animals". How exotic are these animals? Wolves? Bears? Bulettes? Wyverns? Dragons?
My only advise - Try to make slightly under CR encounters to account for the lack of magic, unless it's the Eldrich Horrors, in which case keep it just as sanity shattering.

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 10:37 AM
This seems like it could be something challenging, or a bloodbath, but possible depending on the players taste.

The main worry i'd have is "animals". How exotic are these animals? Wolves? Bears? Bulettes? Wyverns? Dragons?
My only advise - Try to make slightly under CR encounters to account for the lack of magic, unless it's the Eldrich Horrors, in which case keep it just as sanity shattering.

Check the animal section of the MM. Is it in there? Then it's an animal. Is it anywhere else in the book? Then it isn't. (For the purposes of this statement, this includes Dire Animals in the "not animals" category.)

TheGeckoKing
2010-12-23, 10:46 AM
Okey Dokey. Just had to ask, because some people are a bit funny when they say animals and actually mean animals and X and Y and Z. Also, how hard will the encounters be? CR appropriate? Under CR'd? Over CR'd?

Drakevarg
2010-12-23, 06:52 PM
Okey Dokey. Just had to ask, because some people are a bit funny when they say animals and actually mean animals and X and Y and Z. Also, how hard will the encounters be? CR appropriate? Under CR'd? Over CR'd?

Over CR'd. Probably EL +2 or so.

TheGeckoKing
2010-12-23, 07:35 PM
.............What.
Nonononononono. The CR system takes access to magic in account. If even the non-Cthullu encounters are over CR'd in a world where they have to rest for ages after every fight and the only magic man is a Warlock that can't UMD properly because there's not enough magic items to use, then don't expect your players to last very long. Likewise, don't be shocked if they stop RP'ing because they might end up dead in 5 mins anyway.

The Glyphstone
2010-12-23, 08:38 PM
.............What.
Nonononononono. The CR system takes access to magic in account. If even the non-Cthullu encounters are over CR'd in a world where they have to rest for ages after every fight and the only magic man is a Warlock that can't UMD properly because there's not enough magic items to use, then don't expect your players to last very long. Likewise, don't be shocked if they stop RP'ing because they might end up dead in 5 mins anyway.

Sadly, listen to the man here, at least at first. Without magic gear and easy healing, the players are already at a disadvantage.

Start with under-CRed fights, one or two at EL-1, then one or two at EL, then one or two at EL+1. Compare the outcome/results of each fight in injuries and time spent (privately), slowly scaling it up until you find the right balance point for the level of 'ohcrap'ness you want. But don't start out at EL+2 fights, because you'll just end up TPKing incessantly, or else fiating their survival via whatever means - major changes to the default 3.5 engine should be made one at a time. Low-magic, low-healing, and above-expected CR are all major changes as far as the engine is concerned.

Sarakos
2010-12-24, 11:25 PM
I saw your homebrew rules for mundane weapons Psycho, I have to say i like them a lot. Do you mind if i steal them for use in my own low magic setting ive been trying to build?

Drakevarg
2010-12-24, 11:48 PM
I saw your homebrew rules for mundane weapons Psycho, I have to say i like them a lot. Do you mind if i steal them for use in my own low magic setting ive been trying to build?

Go right ahead. If I didn't want anyone using them, I'd have kept 'em to myself.

Sarakos
2010-12-24, 11:55 PM
Always polite to ask but thanks very much :)

Endarire
2010-12-25, 01:02 AM
I'm compiling a list of what mundanes can do.

What are the best tricks of a character who doesn't use magic? (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=10498.msg356159#msg356159)

2xMachina
2010-12-25, 06:12 AM
I think it's better to just throw out all the monsters, and use Class Lvl progressed humanoids.

It'll be pretty fair game all around, and there's not gonna be things like Dragons, or Undead coming into a low magic world.

Grim Reader
2010-12-25, 08:08 AM
Don't forget that hit points mostly do not represent bodily toughness. They represent things like luck, aquired ability to roll with blows, etc.

It would be reasonable to assume that the intangible hp recover much faster than the last few ones that actually represent bodily damage.

As a rough suggestion, you might only get into the physical damage from the point you start losing the last CON value hit points to -10.

2xMachina
2010-12-25, 08:43 AM
Don't forget that hit points mostly do not represent bodily toughness. They represent things like luck, aquired ability to roll with blows, etc.

It would be reasonable to assume that the intangible hp recover much faster than the last few ones that actually represent bodily damage.

As a rough suggestion, you might only get into the physical damage from the point you start losing the last CON value hit points to -10.

Huh, that one makes a lot of sense.

A Warblade and a Wizard both has 16 Con, and is lvl 10. Without class lvls, they both get 3*10=30 Hp. The other stuff are from class lvls. So it is probably the other things.

true_shinken
2010-12-25, 10:14 AM
One idea I got from my cousin is a "Flare Blade" that has a mildly serrated edge that runs along a line of flint in the scabbard, and is coated in a flammable material. Any attacks made in the first round after drawing the blade deal +1d6 fire damage.
That's exactly the idea behind Shishio Makoto's Mugenjin from Rurouni Kenshin. For added squick, the fuel for the fire was the fat of the man he killed; such fat was 'stored' in the serrated blade.

kme
2010-12-25, 12:38 PM
Not having magic items is not that big of a deal, especially at low levels where their effect is at most +1/2 to AC or to Hit. At higher levels, since PCs won't have magic items, lower level enemies will still be a threat so they can be used instead. It would even make more sense then always fighting monsters at the edge of your ability.

At level 3 they may get to fight 5 soldiers while at level 7 they may get to fight a whole unit of 25. You should put more emphasis on strategy, tactics and caution (maybe suggested and/or demonstrated by experienced NPCs) since brute strength approach will be risky and less "cost" effective.

For HP you may consider something like this. Everyone divides their HP in two halves. One is called stamina HP the other real HP. When you take damage stamina HP is always depleted before real HP (you may add exceptions like criticals). When you rest for 8 hours (or maybe even less), your whole stamina HP is restored while real HP follows the rules in PHB. Taking heavy hits may weaken them for a next couple of days but they will still have enough to avoid week long resting.

Concerning skills and a number of skill point. People usually don't consider this but it is not required to max all skills. Many skills will still retain their usefulness even if not maxed, especially if you have the proper tools to boost them. This is especially true in a low magic world where your enemies wont scale that much (for example, common soldiers will have the fixed amount of spot regardless of your level).