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View Full Version : Would you play in a game with no magic?



Kiero
2011-03-08, 06:43 AM
Simple enough question which is applicable to all RPGs, not just D&D/Pathfinder.

Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch? I also include in that advanced enough sci-fi where technology is effectively magic.

There might be "magic" meaning trickery or misdirection, but no actual, verifiable, supported-by-real-mechanics magic. Ie a place as mundane as our real world in that respect.

So no mages, no magic items, no magic item economy, no enchantments or spell-like effects, nothing.

Would you play in such a setting? Or are you someone for whom magic is a part of your favourite schtick?

Yora
2011-03-08, 06:45 AM
If the rules work well with it, sure.

Saph
2011-03-08, 06:49 AM
Probably not. Getting to play with fantastic concepts like magic and high technology is a big part of the reason I like RPGs.

I've played a few modern-day settings with mundane resources only and they kind of worked, but I generally found them less interesting.

rakkoon
2011-03-08, 06:50 AM
The world should captivate you. Some Victorian settings for instance don't really need magic to make it work. There was a Red Plague game like that where only psychics existed and they had very minor powers. That was fun :smallsmile:

Deadly
2011-03-08, 06:51 AM
I don't consider magic a vital part of roleplaying, so I wouldn't mind at all. I could easily think of fun games in such a setting. A game based on skill rather than magic actually sounds like it could be a lot of fun, as a change. I think it would be important for it to be more than a hack and slash dungeon crawl, because that would quickly get boring without magic. In fact it easily does even with magic.

Eldan
2011-03-08, 06:54 AM
Sure. I've already played in various magic-free systems already. Harder SciFi (without psionics), medieval systems, Pulp... I've even run D&D-derrivates without magic. It can work rather well, even.

GolemsVoice
2011-03-08, 06:56 AM
Depends. I'd play a real-world setting without magic if I knew the DM could make a good game (that doesn't end two seconds later because you've been shot in the foot), but when it comes to settings that are not set in the real world, I'd prefer (high) magic over no magic.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 06:57 AM
Considering I have, in fact, played such games (though none of them for long), yes, I would. Most of those games had a few quirks, such as steampunk or clockpunk being able to emulate modern technology, but otherwise, they were no-magic.

...though most of them were in SotC or Unisystem, come to think of it. Even my most mundane game of M&M, for example, had at least supernatural monsters for the PCs to fight.

Amnestic
2011-03-08, 07:04 AM
It'd probably depend on the setting, but yeah, I probably would.

Leon
2011-03-08, 07:14 AM
Yes.
Magic while useful is by no means the reason to play things.

Totally Guy
2011-03-08, 07:24 AM
I love playing Mouse Guard. No magic in that. Its got a great setting too.

Kuma Kode
2011-03-08, 07:37 AM
I do it all the time.

It's called d20 Modern. :smalltongue:

But yes, as has been said, something about the setting needs to be special and captivating. If the setting lacks that special something, whether it be technology, magic, or whatever, it will seem flat and fake and the game will seem flat and fake by extension. Magic is a common way to give the setting some conflict and energy, but it's certainly not the only way.

Mastikator
2011-03-08, 07:40 AM
A guy in my group said "magic is a spice, not the main dish". I agree with him. It's not supposed to be about magic and it should survive without magic, and too much of it will just spoil the whole thing.
But a little makes things better.

So basically yes.
In fact I find it that magic is usually the unbalancing factor. And it tends to steal attention from mundane options. Waving a magic wand to solve all your problems isn't interesting. This is precisely why non-magic sucks in D&D, because magic stole all the attention when it came to "lets make interesting and fun mechanics", the only way to save non-magic was to make it magic-like, and overwhelm the system with splat books (which didn't close the gap one bit but at least made non-magic a half assed option rather than a waste of time).

I'd much rather play a no-magic game than a high magic game, or even mid high to be honest. Magic should be subtle and obscure and mysterious, grandiose gets boring fast.

Amphetryon
2011-03-08, 07:42 AM
I would, and have, though the game didn't last terribly long.

OverdrivePrime
2011-03-08, 07:42 AM
I would, and I run one. It's a blast!

We're playing in a bronze-age setting - very savage and primal. The best of weapons is a bronze short sword, the best armor is bronze ring mail. The shortbow is looked upon as a terrifying weapon in the right hands.

My players love it! The lorekeeper (storyteller / archer) is super powerful, as is the sword saint (former priest, insanely focused on the short sword), but the ranger/healer and sneaky merchant are absolutely able to keep up and have tons of fun.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 07:45 AM
I love playing Mouse Guard. No magic in that. Its got a great setting too.

Well, if you don't think talking mice is magic, I don't know what you think is.

Totally Guy
2011-03-08, 07:47 AM
The most interesting magic to me comes, not from what it does, but what it costs.

Think about it. If it costs next to nothing then it's it becomes an optimal option. If it costs something significant then a player can be conflicted by a weighty, important choice over whether to use it or not.

Dsurion
2011-03-08, 07:49 AM
That's actually the sort of game I aim for in the first place, so definitely yes. The setting and mechanics don't have to be gritty and "realistic", but games where there are no magic are definitely my favorite to play. As has been said before, someone waving a wand at all of their problems is really, really boring.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-08, 07:58 AM
Probably not in D&D, magic is such a large part of it, it would be pretty boring in my opinion, a litany of hits, that would quickly dull and lose its savour. And I don't just mean the magic, arcane and divine, I also mean the monsters and creatures that are impossible or at least hugely implausible without magic, like dragons and the smaller fey, as well as other systems of magic, like Incarnum and Psionics.
But other systems? Sure. In fact, I was thinking of using the basic World of Darkness system to do a Near Future Hard Science Fiction campaign.

Haron
2011-03-08, 07:59 AM
What it all boils down to for me is: Does it make a good story?
If the DM is good and can establish an interesting plot, there is no need for magic in the setting. And if he then is also able to let every player feel needed and evoke a sentiment of brilliance in them, there's a game that's fun for everyone, no matter if the characters are all janitors in a high school or the magic-wielding omnipotent saviors of the universe

Edit: A little addendum though:
There have to be rules in the system, and they have to make sense, otherwise they might kill the game after a very short time

GolemsVoice
2011-03-08, 07:59 AM
One must probably make a difference between no magic as in no flying cities, no spellcasting etc. and no magic as in no fantastical/no strange creatures.

A mortals WoD game where policemen stumble upon a supernatural crime might be the former, since the players themselves will never learn magic, and magic is more of a built-in thing, the supernatural. Regular policemen investigating regular crimes might be the latter.

While I'd play almost anything provided I know the DM could make it interesting, I lean more to the fantastical, or at least the supernatural element.

Tengu_temp
2011-03-08, 07:59 AM
I have no problem with no-magic settings. I haven't actually played any games that didn't have supernatural elements or very advanced technology at all (though ones where they're very rare and not too powerful are a different matter entirely), but I don't see those things as a prerequesite for a fun game with an awesome storyline. Do note that I'm not a DND 3.5 player, though - if I played this game, I'd have to either be a spellcaster or a ToB class, because everything else lacks combat options and is therefore too boring for me.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 08:09 AM
I would play a game like that. I was going to say I have, but when I think about it I don't think I have played a single magic free game.

Well Magic or supernatural.

Runequest, DnD, Shadowrun, Torg, Chill, Call of Cathulu all have magic in them or strong supernatural effects.

I now feel I am going to have to find some way to play a magic free game.

Kiero
2011-03-08, 08:14 AM
The shortbow is looked upon as a terrifying weapon in the right hands.

What about the sling with a bullet? It's an oft-overlooked weapon in RPGs, but with a cast lead bullet rather than a stone the sling was both long-ranged and deadly. Even moreso when a staff was used with it. Cetainly more powerful than a self bow.

panaikhan
2011-03-08, 08:25 AM
It would depend on the setting.

If there was meant to be no magic, or magic was effectively not available to PC's, then yes.
If I turned up to a Shadowrun / D&D etc game and the DM said "By the way, there's no magic in this campaign", then possibly not.
It is difficult to remove something so fundemental to a setting.

I have played 'homebrew' D&D settings where magic cost the caster a lot more (one campaign, a caster had to make a Fortitude save (DR 10+spell level) every time. Fail, take spell level in damage. Save, take 1 damage).
There was also a D&D setting where magic was very difficult (the Grey Mouser was in it? it's a little vague after all this time)

molten_dragon
2011-03-08, 08:29 AM
If the system was designed for no magic, then definitely. I'm playing in a Darwin's world (post-apocalyptic D20 modern) right now, and there's no magic there.

I wouldn't be willing to play a game like D&D with the magic stripped away though.

Lhurgyof
2011-03-08, 08:31 AM
Simple enough question which is applicable to all RPGs, not just D&D/Pathfinder.

Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch? I also include in that advanced enough sci-fi where technology is effectively magic.

There might be "magic" meaning trickery or misdirection, but no actual, verifiable, supported-by-real-mechanics magic. Ie a place as mundane as our real world in that respect.

So no mages, no magic items, no magic item economy, no enchantments or spell-like effects, nothing.

Would you play in such a setting? Or are you someone for whom magic is a part of your favourite schtick?

Yep, sure.

Altair_the_Vexed
2011-03-08, 08:34 AM
If the system was designed for no magic, then definitely. I'm playing in a Darwin's world (post-apocalyptic D20 modern) right now, and there's no magic there.

I wouldn't be willing to play a game like D&D with the magic stripped away though.
:smallconfused: ...but d20 Modern is D&D with the magic stripped away... :smallfrown:

Anyway, me, I've played lots of games without magic: Cyberpunk 2020, Traveller, d20 Modern, Alternity... There's plenty of magic-less sci-fi gaming out there, and a good few historical and contemporary games without magic.

Engine
2011-03-08, 08:36 AM
I've played a lot of games without magic. Sometimes I got a lot of fun, sometimes not. Without a good storyteller\DM and an interesting setting a magic-free game would be really boring.
My last magic-free game was a noir\hard boiled game in a modern setting. I played a covert operative part of an illegal intelligence operation in major city (the agency couldn't legally operate in the country), trying to establish contacts with the rising organized crime. For the most part the objectives of the agency were kept secret, and the characters were expendables (and they know it).
No magic is great, but the game must have something special. IMHO you couldn't play an interesting game if your players have to play normal, boring, everyday life-characters.

Eldan
2011-03-08, 08:38 AM
I think with a few variant rules, at least a short game of D&D could work reasonably well. I did something like it, actually:

I used the tons of homebrew martial disciplines available on this forum and the rules for E6, vitality/wound points, armour as damage reduction and a handful of others (don't remember them all, really) to run a mostly swashbucklerish game. Worked reasonably well.

Of course there would have been better systems for it, but it was what my players knew.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 08:41 AM
:smallconfused: ...but d20 Modern is D&D with the magic stripped away... :smallfrown:

No, d20 Modern still has magic - in the core rulebook, in fact. It is possible to play a d20 Modern game without magic, just as it is possible to play D&D without magic, but both games have magic. d20 Modern just has a bit less.

d20 Modern is almost the same game as D&D, in fact. The only difference is where D&D games take place in dungeons with a huge dragon at the end, d20 Modern games take place in huge, labyrinthine office builds with a peculiarly well-equipped and trained CEO at the end. Also, d20 Modern is slightly more lethal barring magic.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-08, 08:52 AM
It also has the greatest magic item ever devised, and no adventurer should venture into any Dungeon of Despair or Cavern of Calamity without it.
Duct Tape of Repair, best magic item ever! :smallbiggrin:

Lhurgyof
2011-03-08, 08:55 AM
No, d20 Modern still has magic - in the core rulebook, in fact. It is possible to play a d20 Modern game without magic, just as it is possible to play D&D without magic, but both games have magic. d20 Modern just has a bit less.

d20 Modern is almost the same game as D&D, in fact. The only difference is where D&D games take place in dungeons with a huge dragon at the end, d20 Modern games take place in huge, labyrinthine office builds with a peculiarly well-equipped and trained CEO at the end. Also, d20 Modern is slightly more lethal barring magic.

I thought it was more psionics.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 08:56 AM
I thought it was more psionics.

It has psionics, but not as much as magic. Like I said, it is almost the same game as D&D, including how it supports magic more than psionics.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 08:57 AM
The only difference is where D&D games take place in dungeons with a huge dragon at the end, d20 Modern games take place in huge, labyrinthine office builds with a peculiarly well-equipped and trained CEO at the end. Also, d20 Modern is slightly more lethal barring magic.

Please tell me this is a joke and not really how D20 modern plays.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 09:02 AM
Please tell me this is a joke and not really how D20 modern plays.

It is half a joke. That is the only style of play it can be called above passable at, just like dungeon crawls are for D&D. You can play other kinds of games, pretending the system supports that, and even have fun despite the system (I do that with Exalted all the time!). But the modifications to the system are so minimal that it doesn't really support most kind of modern games that can't be reduced to dungeon crawls with modern trappings.

Eldan
2011-03-08, 09:07 AM
d20 modern is really just D&D with a lot of things filed off. It takes out most kinds of class powers (really, you get mostly feats and a few minor numerical things), modern weapons and vehicles, but it shares most of the feats of D&D core and a lot of missions seem to turn into what is basically dungeoncrawling.

Dr.Epic
2011-03-08, 09:08 AM
HAHAHAHAHA! Man that's a good one! No magic? No cure spells? Yeah, that ain't happening in any campaign I'm in.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 09:14 AM
It is half a joke. That is the only style of play it can be called above passable at, just like dungeon crawls are for D&D. You can play other kinds of games, pretending the system supports that, and even have fun despite the system (I do that with Exalted all the time!). But the modifications to the system are so minimal that it doesn't really support most kind of modern games that can't be reduced to dungeon crawls with modern trappings.

Just a follow up questions. Would you say the same about Shadowrun that you are basically just dungeon crawling but into research componds and office buildings ?

I am trying to gauge how much you think D20 Modern is dungeon crawling. Please note I have never played it but thought it would be well an open system to run modern day adventures, not just DnD with guns.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 09:19 AM
Just a follow up questions. Would you say the same about Shadowrun that you are basically just dungeon crawling but into research componds and office buildings ?

I am trying to gauge how much you think D20 Modern is dungeon crawling. Please note I have never played it but thought it would be well an open system to run modern day adventures, not just DnD with guns.

I never played or read Shadowrun, so I cannot answer that. However, d20 Modern is D&D with guns and slightly less magic. The only real difference is that what you start out with hero classes instead of actual base classes (called advanced classes), but even then advanced classes are usually better choices if you don't want to forever remain a jack-of-all-trades.

Otherworld Odd
2011-03-08, 09:23 AM
I had plans to play in a no or low-magic Greek setting. I didn't know the details but I was all gung-ho for it. It sounds like fun. And of course, more difficult. And I love difficult. =].

kaiguy
2011-03-08, 09:24 AM
I would have absolutely no problem playing an RPG without D&D magic. Then again, I don't really think of D&D magic as magic, i.e., it's not very magical. I'm a big fan of fantasy with folk magic - familiar spirits teaching charms and spells to make someone's horse die, etc. None of this 'sleep 8 hours to memorize a spell you knew earlier today, but is mysteriously removed from your mind by the act of casting it oh hey I can shoot fireballs from my fingertips' magic. (I think the best magic in a recent fantasy novel is in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, for what it's worth.)

Anyways.

Yeah, I'd probably give a magicless system a shot.

PairO'Dice Lost
2011-03-08, 09:26 AM
Just a follow up questions. Would you say the same about Shadowrun that you are basically just dungeon crawling but into research componds and office buildings ?

I am trying to gauge how much you think D20 Modern is dungeon crawling. Please note I have never played it but thought it would be well an open system to run modern day adventures, not just DnD with guns.

d20 Modern as a whole isn't the most solid system around, honestly; its base class features are underwhelming (it's possible for a 6th-level Strong Hero's singular class feature to be +3 damage with melee weapons or +6 to Strength checks. Yawn.) with the Fast Hero being objectively superior to every other class 90% of the time, the Wealth system is pretty borked, and many other aspects of the system are lackluster as well. With very few exceptions, you just can't really do anything with d20 Modern that you couldn't do better with another system, and unlike D&D it doesn't have either its own "feel" or a playstyle it does particularly well--it doesn't do "dungeon" crawls too well, it just sucks less at it. I'm playing in a campaign now with a good, experienced DM who's familiar with Modern, and even he's thinking of rebooting the campaign in Shadowrun or Spy Craft.


As for my own RPG preferences, well, all of the non-magic RPGs I've seen either fall into the super-realistic gritty category, which aren't to my taste, or into the "real"-RPG-with-stuff-taken-away category (see: every "low-magic" d20 variant ever), so I'm not really a fan. Magic, high technology, or whatever the stand-in for it is in a game adds another dimension of uniqueness and customizability to a game, and without that a system had better be damn good and well-recommended for me to consider using it.

Britter
2011-03-08, 09:30 AM
I've played a few games using Burning Wheel that were no-magic. I think the system handles it very well.

Tengu_temp
2011-03-08, 09:38 AM
HAHAHAHAHA! Man that's a good one! No magic? No cure spells? Yeah, that ain't happening in any campaign I'm in.

Why are you assuming this thread is solely about DND 3.5 when the OP specifically mentioned it's not specific to any system?

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 09:43 AM
Why are you assuming this thread is solely about DND 3.5 when the OP specifically mentioned it's not specific to any system?

Because GitP is like that. They assume that since the comic on the site is about D&D, and Burlew writes D&D products, people have to play and like D&D here. A lot of people frustrated by that suggested to the administrators opening a forum explicitly for non-D&D RPGs, but it got turned down (and yes, I asked the same question several times before, and this is more or less the summary of the answers I got).

Also, assumptions are lethal. I once played a game where one strangled a man to death in seconds. The game took place in a psychoplane, though, so it might have something to do with that.

Eldan
2011-03-08, 10:12 AM
HAHAHAHAHA! Man that's a good one! No magic? No cure spells? Yeah, that ain't happening in any campaign I'm in.

No one said it had to be D&D without magic. I can see plenty of ways a system could work without healing magic.

kamikasei
2011-03-08, 10:28 AM
Hmmm. Just about every game I've played in has had something magical, or supernatural, or not-very-hard-scifi-ish in its concept. An entirely mundane setting and game would be rather strange to me; doing stuff that not just I personally, but humans generally, can't really do is part of the appeal of gaming for me. That said, I wouldn't have any principled objection to it. I'd be game for it, with the right pitch. I just can't think of what that pitch might look like.

The big thing that jumps right out at me is injury, actually. If combat is part of the game, I'd like there to be a way to recover gracefully from failure in combat.

Lord Raziere
2011-03-08, 10:31 AM
non-magic places are just as not interesting to me. I like my magic high and everywhere.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 10:47 AM
Simple enough question which is applicable to all RPGs, not just D&D/Pathfinder.

Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch? I also include in that advanced enough sci-fi where technology is effectively magic.

Nah. I have played a D20 campaign in which there was no magic. Technology was also real life levels...at least for PCs.

Silly NPC psionics got introduced later on, but meh.

I enjoy magic in some systems immensely. I also enjoy settings without magic at all. Im less concerned about what is in a game/setting that I am with how well it's done.


I will agree that D20 has it's flaws. Specifically, that the number of character concepts that do not benefit from taking at least one level of fast are as follows:

However, it does integrate well with D&D, for those campaigns where you need to mingle modern and fantasy stuff. That's probably it's biggest virtue. I would not describe Shadowrun as the same type of game. Yes, it can also be implausible at times, but the default answer to obstacles is not combat. If it is, you will likely have a short and gruesome life.

comicshorse
2011-03-08, 10:53 AM
Been playing Cyberpunk since it first came out, so a big yes from me

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 10:57 AM
What systems are out there for non magical, none sci fi role playing ?

The more I think about this, the more I feel I need some "magical" hook for a game to pull me in.

potatocubed
2011-03-08, 11:21 AM
I think that the absence of magic (or sufficiently advanced technology) in a game setting is a strike against my opinion of it, but I could probably still be persuaded to give it a try.

Off the top of my head, I could easily be persuaded to play a magic-less 7th Sea or L5R game, for example, but I have turned down a Star Wars game in the past because of a 'no Jedi' restriction. (The Force is the only part of the setting that interests me.)

EDIT: Or a magic-less Burning Whatever. I'd hit that, too.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-08, 11:29 AM
What systems are out there for non magical, none sci fi role playing ?

GURPS, M&M, Unisystem, World of Darkness, FATE in its various forms, possibly Savage Worlds, and a lot of other systems I don't remember or know of.

Mark Hall
2011-03-08, 11:32 AM
Been there, done that. Like a Ninjas and Superspies game that included neither ninjas nor superspies, just brain-hurting government conspiracies. Or our current d6 Space game whose most magical aspect is wireless cybertechnology (where I am dreading going to Mars, because it's gravity is going to be horrific for my character, who grew up in a .05g space habitat).

The game has to have enough to keep me coming back. A lack of any kind of magic (Clarkian, Vancian or Faustian) is going to make it a slightly harder sell, but not an impossible one.

Morty
2011-03-08, 11:32 AM
Definetly. I prefer if there are supernatural or extraordinary elements in a settings, but I'm fine if there aren't.
That said, it's possible to run a fantasy game where "magic" in the D&D-esque sense doesn't exist - there are weird beasts, crazy people drawing pentagrams in basements and such, but no actual "wizards", "magic items" et cetera.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 11:35 AM
What systems are out there for non magical, none sci fi role playing ?

The more I think about this, the more I feel I need some "magical" hook for a game to pull me in.

You do need some interesting hook. Nobody wants to play Accountants and Auditors. That would be the most terrible game ever*.

However, say there's a system that simulates modern/recently historical combat. You then use it to portray these people (http://www.mademan.com/fighting-jack-churchill). Yes, you too can ride a motorcycle around in WW2 with a longbow, a longsword, and a giant belt of grenades. If this isn't adventurer behavior, I don't know what is. That I would play the hell out of.

*besides FATAL

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 11:36 AM
GURPS, M&M, Unisystem, World of Darkness, FATE in its various forms, possibly Savage Worlds, and a lot of other systems I don't remember or know of.

Doh yeah you are right.
I was taking out super powers and sci fi. Just a mundane setting, which you can make with Fate, Gurps.

Not sure about savage worlds, not played it and I don't know it.

Twilight 2300 (I think it was called) was all modern day combat RPG as I recall but the idea of it seemed very dull to me, I knew people that really liked it tho.

I think I do need some kind of hook to draw me in, that hook might not be magic but its certainly makes the world more then mundane if you know what I mean.

Totally Guy
2011-03-08, 11:37 AM
EDIT: Or a magic-less Burning Whatever. I'd hit that, too.

When the UK meetup is next organised I'll probably be there running a BW something. Probably with magic included though.

Ossian
2011-03-08, 11:41 AM
Lately most of the 3.5 I play is a low to zero magic adaptation of Middle Earth, late Third Age or early Fourth. What is "magic" and is not "spells" in Middle Earth is a rather complicated concept to translate. Ancestry of weapons and place of origins, or materials used, is the closest it gets to it.

Last time, for example, we had a Gondorian squire (level 2 Knight) go on a diplomatic mission to Erebor, where he met with a Berning spirit-totem-whisperer of sorts (ranger 2, no spells envisaged when he hits 4). The plot rotated around the crowning of the Dwarf King under the Mountain, so all NPCs were just plain Warriors/Fighters/Dwarven Defenders (with mastercraft stuff all over) and merchants from Dale (Experts/Commoners). Diplomats from king Thranduil were there just for show.

The only "magic" thing was a half-orc (which in Middle Earth IS FOUL STUFF) and his enchanted (and evil) Angamerean crossbow. (Rogue 8, basically the final boss, for 2 level 2 characters)

Worked damn fine too :smallbiggrin:

Mark Hall
2011-03-08, 12:30 PM
Please tell me this is a joke and not really how D20 modern plays.

Depends on the group... (http://nodwick.humor.gamespy.com/ffn/index.php?date=2001-11-29)

LikeAD6
2011-03-08, 12:50 PM
Probably, but the party would have to include a crusader in 3.5 or a warlord in 4.

Dr.Epic
2011-03-08, 01:05 PM
Why are you assuming this thread is solely about DND 3.5 when the OP specifically mentioned it's not specific to any system?

Why are you assuming I was solely talking about DND 3.5 in my post?

Tengu_temp
2011-03-08, 01:28 PM
Why are you assuming I was solely talking about DND 3.5 in my post?

Because there's a crapload of other RPGs out there that don't have healing magic and/or don't require it for the game to run smoothly.

randomhero00
2011-03-08, 01:31 PM
I really like magic but I would (and have briefly) played in a game with no magic.

Does vampire: tM count as magic (assuming you don't use thamauturgy)? Or werewolf? Or hunter? (all white wolf books)

What about innate abilities, more like the X-Men (but toned down). Does that count as magic?

Basically does being super human or monster = magic?

Fhaolan
2011-03-08, 01:34 PM
Most of the campaigns I run are low-to-no magic. Or at least low-to-no PC magic.

Magic is too much power for too little cost in most RPG systems. I fully beleive in TANSTAAFL, and I dislike systems that violate it as it reduces the challenge and achievements of the players and characters.

Yukitsu
2011-03-08, 02:55 PM
Generally no. If you're trying to run something I could go out and theoretically do, I'd rather just go do it. It would take an awfully compelling something else to replace the ability to go about doing the impossible, and honestly most times I've played "no magic" campaigns, they were novel for a few sessions, then droned into boredom.

Jay R
2011-03-08, 03:22 PM
One of my favorite games is Flashing Blades -- role-playing in the France of Richelieu and the musketeers. It doesn't need magic to be cool.

I would have no interest in magic-free D&D, but a magic-free Chivalry & Sorcery could be fun. It is sufficiently authentic to medieval literature to be worth playing.

randomhero00
2011-03-08, 03:27 PM
Most of the campaigns I run are low-to-no magic. Or at least low-to-no PC magic.

Magic is too much power for too little cost in most RPG systems. I fully beleive in TANSTAAFL, and I dislike systems that violate it as it reduces the challenge and achievements of the players and characters.

Well in the case of DnD the cost is supposed to be the frailty (no armor low HD..) of casters. Of course they gave them too many defensive spells so they don't end up paying a cost.

Try taking out their defensive magic, like mage armor, rope trick, fly, mirror image, blur, and all the defensive spells. Then play against some intelligent enemies and tell me there's no cost ;)

Knaight
2011-03-08, 03:28 PM
I routinely play and GM stuff with no magic. This includes everything from bronze age Hittites to Arthurian Myth without the magic to hard science fiction.

NichG
2011-03-08, 04:12 PM
I don't care so much about the mechanical implications of no-supernatural/magic/super-tech/etc. But I do want the campaign to have mystery, the unknown, and the potential for transformative events or discovery. I also tend to like the surreal and the philosophically bizarre.

This can be done without magic (e.g., you could run a campaign around a secret society that plants or destroys technological ideas to control the course of human history, and I'd probably get into that). However, for a lot of DMs, once you remove the ability to have 'magical' plot devices that don't have to be physically reasonable, it either shows up in a movie-physics sort of way which might as well be magic, or the campaign is driven towards the mundane. I wouldn't want to play in a campaign thats just about some medieval or modern war, or a mercenary group, a local police force in a crime-filled city, a group of martial artists saving a Himalayan village from drug lords or other sorts of generic action movie plots.

I'm curious though, would people consider a game based around something like Inception or Snowcrash or any of these multi-level reality settings to be 'magical' in the sense of the original poster?

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 04:26 PM
I consider post-modern technology and magic to be interchangeable.

Neither are things that exist now, and they are often things that we don't even know how they'd work. I don't really care if you label it an implant or an amulet.

Weimann
2011-03-08, 04:28 PM
Answer to the question in the title: sure, why not.

Dr.Epic
2011-03-08, 04:29 PM
Because there's a crapload of other RPGs out there that don't have healing magic and/or don't require it for the game to run smoothly.

And I wouldn't play those either.

navar100
2011-03-08, 04:33 PM
If it's a 3E D&D game, then no. I have often found that when a DM wants to run a no-magic or "low-magic" game for D&D it's because he can't stand it when a player character is "powerful". Facetiously I say that's a DM who hates his players. I have no issue with a DM who finds particular spells to be a problem and deals with them. It's those who bring whoop-ass banning and otherwise bash "Tier 1" because players want to "rollplay" who "hate their players".

Certainly there can be specific campaign settings requiring "low magic". Honest True campaign atmospheric reasons for not having wizards, druids, or clerics is fine. An Oriental Adventures campaign with shugenjas and wu-jen tending not to have the really flashy potent spells can be fun, and it doesn't even have Raise Dead or Resurrection because they don't fit the theme! Hey, let's try Magic Incarnum but we can't have PHB magic because it's a lot more powerful than it, is fine. It's the rolling eyes against Scry & Teleport, Gate-bashing, Natural Spell apoplexy, assuming every cleric has Divine Metamagic Persistent Spell bull-headness, and spellcasters always have the best spell at the moment its needed and no one makes a saving throw to auto-win every conceivable encounter while warriors are the Suckage therefore I ban wizards nonsense, that I take issue with. I do not deny the power of spellcasters. I deny that's a problem.

Gnaeus
2011-03-08, 04:36 PM
Pretty unlikely. I play RPGs to escape from reality, not to emulate it. If I can't play a caster (or a caster like thing, like a psi), I want to play a shapeshifter, or a monster, or a mutant. Playing a muggle does not appeal to me in a campaign. (I will play muggles in tournaments, but that is more of an exercise in character building & tactics than an RPG).

That said, I could maybe be convinced by a DM that I knew was particularly good, whose games I had previously enjoyed.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 04:51 PM
And I wouldn't play those either.

You're missing out. 7th Sea has almost no healing magic(though it does have magic). There are extremely limited exceptions for glamor and sympathetic healers. Both of those require resource tradeoffs to heal. In practice, neither is at all common.

But the game works wonderfully. Of course, you don't *need* constant healing in the way that D&D requires. It's a different structure.

That said, I absolutely hate low/no magic games of 3.5. They don't work well. The system is designed with magic as a fairly important part of it, and there are a LOT of points at which PCs are assumed to have access to it.

Earthwalker
2011-03-08, 04:54 PM
One of my favorite games is Flashing Blades -- role-playing in the France of Richelieu and the musketeers. It doesn't need magic to be cool.

I would have no interest in magic-free D&D, but a magic-free Chivalry & Sorcery could be fun. It is sufficiently authentic to medieval literature to be worth playing.

OMG I played an adventure of Flashing Blades ages ago and had forgotten about it. It was indeed awesome and here I was on this thread asking if this type of game existed and I have played it and loved it.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-08, 04:56 PM
Technically, paranoia is a no-magic game.

Yes, Im aware that it may sometimes also have technology in it. The technology never helps.

Psyborg
2011-03-08, 05:39 PM
Yes. Mouse Guard and Eclipse Phase (minus the asyncs, who are a very minor part of the game and easily enough ignored) are the two games besides D&D that I would really love to play if I ever get the chance.

MeeposFire
2011-03-08, 06:42 PM
I do not think I have played too many games with no magic. I have never tried it in pre-4e D&D for sure and have only done it in a non-D&D game a few times.

Oddly it mostly happened in 4e D&D. DM said no classes using magic or blatant magic powers. So the martial power source was fine so was various other classes as long as you did not pick certain powers like paladins, barbarians, seekers, and wardens (if you change the forms to being stances if it makes sense). It was very enjoyable as the DM did a very good job with story telling and things were dynamic enough to keep interest.

Mark Hall
2011-03-09, 12:45 PM
I consider post-modern technology and magic to be interchangeable.

Neither are things that exist now, and they are often things that we don't even know how they'd work. I don't really care if you label it an implant or an amulet.

I disagree with that definition. In some cases, we understand how it works... we just haven't gotten to that point, yet.

For example, Shadowrun's wireless matrix. We have many of the technologies for it available today. We've got computers that can be controlled, in a broad sense, by thought. We have wireless computers and other devices. We even have pocket-sized computers with a huge degree of flexibility, and are starting to be able to directly stimulate the optic nerve to create images. One of the big challenges is integrating all of these into useful, commercial products.... but we know what we're doing, even if no one is doing it right now.

Compare this, for example, to hyperdrive or warp drive. We have no idea how these things might work; we've got a broad theoretical ideas on what they're supposed to be doing (i.e. transporting to an alternate dimension with different spatial properties or warping space to move faster than light normally could cover the same unwarped distance), but we don't really know how to accomplish what they accomplish.

I consider the second to be "magic" in the Clarkian sense. The first is no more magical than a smart phone would be in 1987... incredibly, almost unthinkably, advanced, but still working on established principles.

Sebastrd
2011-03-09, 03:26 PM
I wouldn't. I already get to play that game every single day from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.

The Rose Dragon
2011-03-09, 03:30 PM
I wouldn't. I already get to play that game every single day from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.

Might I ask, what do you do for a living that there are no other career options that are more interesting? Are you a super spy special forces astronaut billionaire computer scientist biophysicist that you can't imagine anything in real life being more exciting than your own daily routine? Because when we say "no magic", we are not talking about playing an accountant. We're talking about action movie protagonists.

DMGreg
2011-03-09, 03:41 PM
Does Paranoia count? I think that's the closest I've come to a magic-free game.

In general, I'm not opposed to trying magic-free settings, but I have a soft spot for high fantasy where there's at least some level of magic present and in use in the world. AAs with any RPG, a DM who knows the material and can spin a good yarn is a must.

Gorilla2038
2011-03-09, 04:05 PM
I've really enjoyed the mecha games ive played in the past. Crazy elements, sure, but no real magic and for the most part, no quick heal stuff.

@ The D20 modern stuff

Modern is great for a lower power fantasy game oddly enough. All the 'wizards are teh ultimatees' stuff is cut down(maybe to much, depending on your choices) with the reduction of higher level spells and the time it takes to get to them.

More to the title post, its capable of running action heroes, and doing cool things like gorillas flying jet planes or throwing cars into helicopters cause you run out of bullets. It is not very good at running a vanilla normal game, without tech, psi, magic, or some other form of fantasy.

Sebastrd
2011-03-14, 11:34 AM
Might I ask, what do you do for a living that there are no other career options that are more interesting? Are you a super spy special forces astronaut billionaire computer scientist biophysicist that you can't imagine anything in real life being more exciting than your own daily routine? Because when we say "no magic", we are not talking about playing an accountant. We're talking about action movie protagonists.

I'm in the military.

I wouldn't mind playing in a WoD game, but even that includes a bit of the supernatural. In fact, if I had to play a non-magic game, I'd vastly prefer a modern setting to a medieval one.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-14, 11:38 AM
In fact, if I had to play a non-magic game, I'd vastly prefer a modern setting to a medieval one.

I agree with this. Non-magical modern games let you do things like "what happens after the nukes hit". Awesome.

Non-magical fantasy is "well, I got a sword". Feh.

potatocubed
2011-03-14, 02:02 PM
Oh, and Spycraft! Man, I can't believe I forgot Spycraft. No magic here, just awesome spy action.

Darth Stabber
2011-03-14, 02:51 PM
D&D's magic system is thoroughly entwined in it's ability to operate (look how much of the PHB is just spells). When you play 3.5 you clearly notice it's magic system. If you play it without, you sorely notice it's absence. Either way the magic system is clearly on your mind while playing.

D20 modern is the same system with the midevallyness removed. It is a good system for absolutely no game type. That being said, if you can't agree on a system, it's insuitablity for everything is actually a backward draw. Almost all RPGers know D&D, so nearly everyone can sort of fit into it easily. It's the devil you know. Any play value is derived soley from GM talent.

I really don't like most d20 based games as they all feel like they just tried to jam their stuff into D&D. The best 3rd party d20 materials are the ones that don't fight it (Pathfinder), they just lay back and accept that this is a system for ancient dungeon crawls. Wow, now that I see that typed out, it sounds really dirty. Spycraft fights valiantly against this, and has some level of sucess. From what I've seen only Mutants & Masterminds has achieved notable victory over D20 systems expectation of dungeon crawl.

World of Darkness's supernatural assumtion is also very strong, and the fact that the average joe rules in NWoD are in their own book as opposed to in each seperate supernatural beasty's book, almost feels more like a ploy to sell 2 books instead of 1.

For actually playing non-weird dudes you might want to find a small publisher's system.

Hellcats and Hockeysticks is an awesome british game about a school for girls run like lord of the flies, and while it has magic and supertech systems, those are all optional stuff in the back of the book, and their absence isn't notable (except for goth girls{who are the girls that go to see the nerdcore rapper with the geeked out flow(bonus point to the first to get that reference)}).

Burning wheel suffers not from loss of magic.

L5R runs great without shugenja, just ignore the shadowlands and phoenix and focus on interclan politics and warfare. (scorpion, crane, lion and unicorn clans are the best when it comes to telling stories where magic doesn't come up). The system is deep enough and magic is no so entwinned.

TRoS is better without magic, while keeping the mideval setting. Would reccomend to any group with the time to sit down and learn the rules. The crunch is very dense, but it is so worth it when it comes together. The magic system actually makes the game worse as there is no attempt whatsoever to make it balanced (infact they say as much at the beginning of that section). Now healing after a fight takes along time, but the point of the combat system really is "don't get hurt". The healing magic doubles as knockout magic due to the pain it causes the target. Really everything in that system hurts.

Play without magic? Sure, but I need a good GM or System. Preferably both. GM a magicless game? sure.

Sebastrd
2011-03-14, 10:40 PM
Non-magical fantasy is "well, I got a sword". Feh.

I couldn't possibly have put it more succinctly.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-14, 10:45 PM
Thank you, Sebastrd.


D20 modern is the same system with the midevallyness removed. It is a good system for absolutely no game type.

There is one exception to this. Crime. If you like games heavily involving organized crime and/or massive conspiracies, then D20M works solidly.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are the campaigns most similar to D&D in the modern world.

Darth Stabber
2011-03-14, 11:46 PM
The best use I ever got out of d20 modern was when my friends and I stated ourselves out and got dropped into ravenloft. I will say that an m-16 is an effective weapon, but when you only have 3 mags (of 30 rounds each) it gets a bit tight. Those were justified because the whole group was military and the mists grabbed us on the way to guard duty. That is a less nasty place to find yourself when you have that, a pocket knife, a collapsable batton, chemsuit, kevlar vest, and helmet. One of my friends cheesed in the MM1 because it was actually in his bag when we started playing. Genre awareness is only so helpful when you are in a crapsack world like that.

Aside from that I have never played a game with it that would not have been better served in a different system. Even foiling massive conspiracies is better in WoD, spycraft, or CoC.

lightningcat
2011-03-15, 04:39 AM
Would I play a game with absolutely no fantastical elements?
Yes, but it would require an interesting hook. The fantasical elements often work as a secondary hook for the game, be it starships, magic, cyberware, or whatever else.

Mark Hall
2011-03-15, 10:42 AM
Non-magical fantasy is "well, I got a sword". Feh.

Not necessarily... it depends on the fantasy. A good example, IMO, is actually Conan. There is very little explicit magic in the Conan stories, and Conan certainly doesn't have any of it. Sure, he's got a sword, but he's not running around in D&D land where everyone and his uncle is a spellcaster, and spellcasters hardly have unbeatable power ('cause Conan beats them all the time).

Another example: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. There's no magic in it, but it's fantasy... his magic is entirely contained within "future" science. You might also consider Bruce Sterling's "Island in the Sea of Time" and the "Emberverse" (especially the second series). The first could arguably be modern non-magical fantasy, as the island of Nantucket constitutes the modern setting in 3000BCE, but the second, with its lack of electricity or high-pressure chemistry works as a grittier medieval fantasy, without explicit magic, and in the ruins of a technological world (where none of the technology works).

Tyndmyr
2011-03-15, 01:21 PM
Not necessarily... it depends on the fantasy. A good example, IMO, is actually Conan. There is very little explicit magic in the Conan stories, and Conan certainly doesn't have any of it. Sure, he's got a sword, but he's not running around in D&D land where everyone and his uncle is a spellcaster, and spellcasters hardly have unbeatable power ('cause Conan beats them all the time).

I classify that as low-magic. Magic is still definitely in the setting. Sure, the PC doesn't have any, but that's entirely different. I'm fine with that.


Another example: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. There's no magic in it, but it's fantasy... his magic is entirely contained within "future" science.

This sounds terribly boring. Basically, the only interesting element is "how can I solve this old problem with modern tech". That's not going to interest me for long. I could play the same basic idea in D&D, and it would be much more fun. D&D with guns is great.

Modern or post modern non-magical is fine. A modern game with zombies and shotguns? Awesome. I'll play that. A WW2 commando game? Yeah, that sounds fun. It's recent enough that it offers me full use of modern player knowledge, and it lets me enjoy situations with access to wild things. But riding a horse and fighting with a sword or a bow? These are not exotic or interesting to me. I've done all that a lot. It's no more fun than roleplaying a kmart worker.

The Big Dice
2011-03-15, 02:05 PM
I don't see why you need magic in an RPG. Sure, some games are written with the assumption that magic is as common as shoes. But then not all games are D&D.

I played Cyberpunk from the late 80s to the mid 90s, we used to scorn games that had magic in them. They were for the weak, the effete and the flower children. But then, we used to wear mirrorshades and leather jackets to the game session. And nerf guns or water pistols were cool props to us back then. Shadowrun was considered the biggest criminal of all, for daring to mix cyberpunk with orcs 'n elves.

Ahhh, the life of a gaming snob in his early 20s.

And pretty much, that's the only reason I see for 'needing' magic in an RPG. Snobbery and possibly the fear that people won't play your game without it.

I've played GURPS games set during the birth of the Roman empire that had no magic in them at all. I've played L5R without anyone playing a shugenja, and with no mention of supernatural elements at all. You really don't need magic at all.

pendell
2011-03-15, 02:38 PM
How about a post-holocaust game setting? Or a zombie invasion? No magic, just lots of food and guns and ammo.


I used to read Steve Jackson's Fighting Fantasy series a lot when I was younger , but my favorite book of all time in that series was Freeway Fighter (http://www.fightingfantasy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&Itemid=9). Pretty much every other fighting fantasy was stuffed to the gills with magic of one kind or another. This one was far simpler. You drove a car and fought with a revolver, or your fists. The most advanced powerup you could get for melee combat was a set of brass knuckles, which you could use to punch out the Big Boss.

Yes, I would play a nonmagical game. The important thing about a game is that it be cool and fun. Supernatural powers or fantastic abilities can help with that, but they are by no means mandatory.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

druid91
2011-03-15, 02:44 PM
I don't see why you need magic in an RPG. Sure, some games are written with the assumption that magic is as common as shoes. But then not all games are D&D.

I played Cyberpunk from the late 80s to the mid 90s, we used to scorn games that had magic in them. They were for the weak, the effete and the flower children. But then, we used to wear mirrorshades and leather jackets to the game session. And nerf guns or water pistols were cool props to us back then. Shadowrun was considered the biggest criminal of all, for daring to mix cyberpunk with orcs 'n elves.

Ahhh, the life of a gaming snob in his early 20s.

And pretty much, that's the only reason I see for 'needing' magic in an RPG. Snobbery and possibly the fear that people won't play your game without it.

I've played GURPS games set during the birth of the Roman empire that had no magic in them at all. I've played L5R without anyone playing a shugenja, and with no mention of supernatural elements at all. You really don't need magic at all.

Of course you don't need fantastic elements. But then it becomes less interesting. I want to punch someone in the face with a mech in my sci fi game. And by thesame tokn I want to fireball somone in a fantasy setting.

Amphetryon
2011-03-15, 04:39 PM
Future-tech fills, largely, the same niche as magic, simply with a different fluff explanation, IMO. I'm not sure that a heavy future-tech game is really fulfilling the OP's "no magic" criteria on that basis.

Psyren
2011-03-15, 05:06 PM
Non-magical fantasy is "well, I got a sword". Feh.

This. Even LotR doesn't have enough magic for me.

Mark Hall
2011-03-15, 05:07 PM
This sounds terribly boring. Basically, the only interesting element is "how can I solve this old problem with modern tech". That's not going to interest me for long. I could play the same basic idea in D&D, and it would be much more fun. D&D with guns is great.

I think D&D (or d20) wouldn't be the ideal setting for this, but I think you could make it a lot of fun. Instead of setting your Yankees down in King Arthur's court, set them down someplace where they can learn what they need to survive (much easier in a skills-based system). Set them down in European about the time of the influx of modern humans. Or maybe Gaul during the Gallic Wars. Or England in the 9th century, during the Viking invasions.

Or, use one of those settings, but eschew the Connecticut Yankee aspect. Read some of Colleen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" series (starts with "First Man in Rome"), or Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales (starts with "The Last Kingdom").

If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. But you can get a LOT of mileage out of historical settings with no magic... though I wouldn't do it with D&D.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-15, 05:21 PM
Not saying it's true for everyone, but for me, I see relatively little point in simulating with pen and paper what I can actually walk out and do. Survive in the wilderness? I'll grant you it's a lot of work, but it's not terribly challenging intellectually. Survive in a more primitive society? Sort of like reading a history book. I can go visit the amish and see what it's like. I do foam fighting. I know what making armor and all that is like. It's aright...but to me, it's no different from writing a game to abstract out other things I do every day, and Laundry, The RPG lacks a certain appeal.

I would agree that D&D is a poor system for non-magical worlds...but I feel as though even the systems I feel are more fitted for it wouldn't interest me.

For me, the biggest appeal in roleplaying(and gaming in general) is getting to do things I could never do in real life, and ponder challenges that are different from those I face in the real world. The real world definitely lacks magic.

Dienekes
2011-03-15, 05:26 PM
Yes, and have GMed it before:
Riddle of Steel campaign it was awesome. Possibly my favorite campaign I've GMed, filled with intrigue, mysteries, and war.
Spy campaign, never really got off the ground unfortunately.
Post-Apocalyptic campaign, it was great ended up with the players ruling all of Kentucky.

Comet
2011-03-15, 05:30 PM
Thing is, that you can do things in fiction that are not magical or supernatural but still feel exciting and fantastic when compared to our regular lives. Those things come in the form emotions and relationships and risky situations, not immediately obvious big explosions and fancy glowing swords.

Sure, some people might have burning hatred, passionate love and unyielding courage staring them right in the face every time they wake up, but I'd reckon those people are in the minority.

Magic is the easier way, I admit that much. Supernatural events can give any plot that 'whoah' edge and shine. It's not the only way, though.

NichG
2011-03-15, 05:31 PM
I think D&D (or d20) wouldn't be the ideal setting for this, but I think you could make it a lot of fun. Instead of setting your Yankees down in King Arthur's court, set them down someplace where they can learn what they need to survive (much easier in a skills-based system). Set them down in European about the time of the influx of modern humans. Or maybe Gaul during the Gallic Wars. Or England in the 9th century, during the Viking invasions.

Or, use one of those settings, but eschew the Connecticut Yankee aspect. Read some of Colleen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" series (starts with "First Man in Rome"), or Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales (starts with "The Last Kingdom").

If it's not your thing, it's not your thing. But you can get a LOT of mileage out of historical settings with no magic... though I wouldn't do it with D&D.

It may be because 'its not my thing', I think that in a setting like that I'd be more interested in exploring how the characters were transported to the 9th century, and how time travel in general worked with regards to paradox/etc, than simply in using modern knowledge to make a kingdom or whatever. My tendency would be to latch onto that one fantastical element and pick at it until I revealed some deeper thing going on, or until the DM said 'look, there's nothing there to discover, go back to inventing steel and binary logic'.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-15, 05:37 PM
Sure, some people might have burning hatred, passionate love and unyielding courage staring them right in the face every time they wake up, but I'd reckon those people are in the minority.


Not every time I wake up, no...but those emotions are all around us. They're things that people experience in the real world.

And a world with supernatural or other unealistic elements can have strong emotion too. The two are fairly orthagonal.

I agree with Nich in that the time travel bit itself contains interest, and I could certainly get interested in a game involving time travel, and the ramifications thereof, provided that time travel exists as something more than a plot device to get things started.

So...it need not be magic, per se...but it must be something absolutely larger than life.

Comet
2011-03-15, 05:42 PM
Yeah, I agree that the real world is plenty interesting. What I'm trying to get across is that you can take those emotions and all and take them over the top in the same way that you can take your technology or folklore or religion and make it into a full-blown system of magic or crazy sci-fi.

I usually like my games with an immediate sense of fantasy and the supernatural, too, but that's not the only way to feel larger than life.

Kallisti
2011-03-15, 05:47 PM
Sure. I'd probably turn down no-magic D&D, since without magic the vast majority of D&D character options are highly improbable at best, but nWoD mortals? Mouseguard? D20 Modern? GURPS? Sure.

Sine
2011-03-15, 05:51 PM
I do play an rpg without magic, called Blue Planet, when that GM's rotation comes up. But I like D&D a lot more, for one simple reason.

Magic.

Aricandor
2011-03-15, 06:04 PM
Probably not. I've gotten very accustomed to getting this basic kick of telling reality I'm the one in charge and I have a hard time playing characters without any such ability. Call me narrow for that if you wish. :smalltongue:

Similarly I would probably struggle to DM under a completely magic-less system. I haven't actually tried that though, so maybe that would work better than I think.

Ravens_Wing
2011-03-15, 06:40 PM
For me its all about the story, so long as there is a compelling story magic isnt needed.


*Although it is a lot of fun to muck about with :P

Kallisti
2011-03-15, 08:40 PM
Sure. I'd probably turn down no-magic D&D, since without magic the vast majority of D&D character options are highly improbable at best, but nWoD mortals? Mouseguard? D20 Modern? GURPS? Sure.

randomhero00
2011-03-15, 08:59 PM
Thank you, Sebastrd.



There is one exception to this. Crime. If you like games heavily involving organized crime and/or massive conspiracies, then D20M works solidly.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these are the campaigns most similar to D&D in the modern world.

Even better, organized crime vs magical creatures. They want power, and power to control em, creatures just want to survive or have their own schemes. Turf battles ensue.

Malevolence
2011-03-21, 10:14 AM
Would the absence of magic be an instant turn-off in a pitch?

Yes. Doubly so if the game is one that normally assumes magic. Almost all do.


Would you play in such a setting? Or are you someone for whom magic is a part of your favourite schtick?

I would not play in such a setting. Though having options (read: magic) is appealing, the fact of the matter is...


There might be "magic" meaning trickery or misdirection, but no actual, verifiable, supported-by-real-mechanics magic. Ie a place as mundane as our real world in that respect.

I already have a character rolled in the real world. I play fantasy games for something different.

Britter
2011-03-21, 10:47 AM
I already have a character rolled in the real world. I play fantasy games for something different.

Gotta say guys, that this sentiment baffles me.

I have a game running that is definitely no magic. It is set in a fictional merchant city that is sort of a cross between Renissance Venice and a popular-media-version of Viking/Icelandic culture. The player is a guard captain trying to find a few good men to defend the innocent and uphold the law in a town beset by corruption, crime, and graft. He has to pit his wits, his knife, and his guts against the agents of a powerful mob boss, who also happens to be the guard captain's father. The nobility wants to see him fail, the merchants want to see him fail, and the criminals want him dead. He has one ally, the last scion of a long disgraced noble house. Every thing he tries to do is a struggle against the city, against his father, and against the will of the esthablishment.

It has been an incredibly compelling game so far. It is nothing like either my life or the players. I sell insurance, he works for a state government.

In my opinion, what makes a game interesting is not magic or the fantastic. It is, instead, the nature of the situation and how much is at stake for the character. You don't need magic for that at all.

So, those of you who say you won't play in a no-magic game because "you already play in the real world", can you maybe elaborate a bit on that?

Roderack
2011-03-21, 11:26 AM
Nope.

These days I have limited time for gaming. I prefer campaign play and I singularly play magic wielders. Even in a skill/talent based system that lends itself to what would be considered multi or dual classed characters, I end up optimizing my character to wield some form of magic.

If I can't play a magic user or some operationally equivalent class, I am not interested in playing.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-21, 11:36 AM
So, those of you who say you won't play in a no-magic game because "you already play in the real world", can you maybe elaborate a bit on that?

Look, if I want an emotional moment or whatever, I'll go get a date or volunteer with a local function. Depends what I'm looking for. I don't *need* to roleplay to simulate things in an ordinary, non-magical world. If I want an adrenaline thrill, I'll go snowboarding or street racing. Whatever. I suppose if I wanted gritty and realistic combat, I'd volunteer for the next deployment to come up. But yknow, I don't think I really want gritty and realistic combat. Real stakes with real people are a lot more interesting than hypothetical stakes for characters.

If I'm gonna play a game, it'll be something I inherently cannot really do in real life.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-21, 11:57 AM
An role playing game where you are playing Arnold Schwarzenegger action hero types or a science fiction game of exploration and discovery, can be just as unlike reality as we know it as any game of Magic and Mages. Personally, I would highly enjoy either such game.

Britter
2011-03-21, 12:01 PM
Look, if I want an emotional moment or whatever, I'll go get a date or volunteer with a local function. Depends what I'm looking for. I don't *need* to roleplay to simulate things in an ordinary, non-magical world. If I want an adrenaline thrill, I'll go snowboarding or street racing. Whatever. I suppose if I wanted gritty and realistic combat, I'd volunteer for the next deployment to come up. But yknow, I don't think I really want gritty and realistic combat. Real stakes with real people are a lot more interesting than hypothetical stakes for characters.

If I'm gonna play a game, it'll be something I inherently cannot really do in real life.

Yeah, I have heard it. I just don't get it. I don't see how the addition of magic to a setting would make the roleplaying experience somehow more or less fantastic. There are any impossibly large number of possible occurances that can happen in the real world that no amount of volunteering, dating, vacationing, or extreme sporting can cover.

Please note, I am not trying to argue or say that anyone is wrong here. I like high, low, and no magic gaming just fine. I just don't see how "no-magic" automatically equates to "something I can do in real life". Every game I have ever played, regardless of setting, has let me do things I can't or don't do in real life. And every game I have ever played, regardless of setting has had me doing things I do do in real life.

I'm not talking about playing Accountants and Office Buildings...that would be some boring crap. I guess I am trying to figure out what the cut-off is for "fantasy" versus "reality" in this discussion. And I do realize it is a pretty much impossible cut-off to determine, as there are too many variables and it all boils down to opinion in the end anyway. Still, I find it to be an interesting line of inquiry.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-21, 12:02 PM
An role playing game where you are playing Arnold Schwarzenegger action hero types or a science fiction game of exploration and discovery, can be just as unlike reality as we know it as any game of magic and mages.

Feh. I'm former military(still reserves), and work in R&D. Things like lasers, railguns or autocannon turrents are more likely to make me annoyed at bad representations of them than anything else. Sometimes this ends in demonstrations. Limitations of what is exotic for different people may vary.

As mentioned before, though...exotic does not necessarily mean magic. Ridiculously advanced future-tech is more or less equivalent. It's just a different label for stuff wildly outside our experience.

Malevolence
2011-03-21, 01:35 PM
Gotta say guys, that this sentiment baffles me.

I have a game running that is definitely no magic. It is set in a fictional merchant city that is sort of a cross between Renissance Venice and a popular-media-version of Viking/Icelandic culture. The player is a guard captain trying to find a few good men to defend the innocent and uphold the law in a town beset by corruption, crime, and graft. He has to pit his wits, his knife, and his guts against the agents of a powerful mob boss, who also happens to be the guard captain's father. The nobility wants to see him fail, the merchants want to see him fail, and the criminals want him dead. He has one ally, the last scion of a long disgraced noble house. Every thing he tries to do is a struggle against the city, against his father, and against the will of the esthablishment.

It has been an incredibly compelling game so far. It is nothing like either my life or the players. I sell insurance, he works for a state government.

In my opinion, what makes a game interesting is not magic or the fantastic. It is, instead, the nature of the situation and how much is at stake for the character. You don't need magic for that at all.

So, those of you who say you won't play in a no-magic game because "you already play in the real world", can you maybe elaborate a bit on that?

What is there to elaborate on? I already am a normal person, I don't need to pretend to be one. Doing a different set of normal things is still doing normal things. Doing normal things is, for the most part boring even when I'm actually doing those things. It's worse when merely pretending to, as I am not actually there.


Look, if I want an emotional moment or whatever, I'll go get a date or volunteer with a local function. Depends what I'm looking for. I don't *need* to roleplay to simulate things in an ordinary, non-magical world. If I want an adrenaline thrill, I'll go snowboarding or street racing. Whatever. I suppose if I wanted gritty and realistic combat, I'd volunteer for the next deployment to come up. But yknow, I don't think I really want gritty and realistic combat. Real stakes with real people are a lot more interesting than hypothetical stakes for characters.

If I'm gonna play a game, it'll be something I inherently cannot really do in real life.

Also this.

The absolute best normal people can do is a Vanilla Action Hero. The guy with no plot advancing ability, and few abilities of other kinds who is functionally equivalent to a very low level D&D Fighter, regardless of actual rule system used. In short, the level of depth possible in both characters and adventures is very low. And if there is one thing D&D taught us, it is that the archetype of Vanilla Action Hero holds everyone back and needs to be abolished for this reason. Meanwhile, the VAH themselves cannot accomplish anything on their own. They need author fiat start to finish in order to get anywhere, as all they are really doing is killing things after being pointed at those things, because they could not find them on their own. The average video game protagonist is more proactive than this, and video games are not exactly bastions of freedom of choice.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-21, 03:14 PM
Feh. I'm former military(still reserves), and work in R&D. Things like lasers, railguns or autocannon turrents are more likely to make me annoyed at bad representations of them than anything else. Sometimes this ends in demonstrations. Limitations of what is exotic for different people may
vary.

I can see how when your an expert on something, bad representations of things can annoy. Its like when people tell me Firefly is "realistic" because it is one of the few shows ever to not have sound in space.


As mentioned before, though...exotic does not necessarily mean magic. Ridiculously advanced future-tech is more or less equivalent. It's just a different label for stuff wildly outside our experience.
Science fiction isn't all ray guns=magic wands prop work. I recently read a science fiction novella where the only real science fiction conceits were the idea that microscopic intelligent life, and I don't mean a swarm I mean one paramoecium sized life form, which for all we know might actually be possible, some racial memory stuff, and how one of the species came to be. Sorry to drag this off topic, but it bugs me a little when people bring out the whole "Oh Science Fiction is Fantasy with the names changed" story. It can be, but it can also quite a bit different from that and, dare I say it, much more.
Carry on.:smallsmile:

Britter
2011-03-21, 03:18 PM
Thanks for your input guys.





The absolute best normal people can do is a Vanilla Action Hero. The guy with no plot advancing ability, and few abilities of other kinds who is functionally equivalent to a very low level D&D Fighter, regardless of actual rule system used. In short, the level of depth possible in both characters and adventures is very low. And if there is one thing D&D taught us, it is that the archetype of Vanilla Action Hero holds everyone back and needs to be abolished for this reason. Meanwhile, the VAH themselves cannot accomplish anything on their own. They need author fiat start to finish in order to get anywhere, as all they are really doing is killing things after being pointed at those things, because they could not find them on their own. The average video game protagonist is more proactive than this, and video games are not exactly bastions of freedom of choice.

I disagree with this. The system I play in, the non-magical guy has all sorts of ways to advance and resolve plot elements. They are not fantastic ways, in that yes you can converse, plot, and stab people in the real world, but they do definitely drive plot.

This Vanilla Action Hero you describe doesn't exist in all non-magical games or game systems.

Thanks again for giving me your input though. It has helped me understand where you are coming from.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-21, 03:19 PM
I can see how when your an expert on something, bad representations of things can annoy. Its like when people tell me Firefly is "realistic" because it is one of the few shows ever to not have sound in space.

Right. That was a relief. I don't demand absolute realism, but there's a certain level where it becomes jarring, and takes you out of the movie/game.


Science fiction isn't all ray guns=magic wands prop work. I recently read a science fiction novella where the only real science fiction conceits were the idea that microscopic intelligent life, and I don't mean a swarm I mean one paramoecium sized life form, which for all we know might actually be possible, some racial memory stuff, and how one of the species came to be. Sorry to drag this off topic, but it bugs me a little when people bring out the whole "Oh Science Fiction is Fantasy with the names changed" story. It can be, but it can also quite a bit different from that and, dare I say it, much more.
Carry on.:smallsmile:

Oh, literature, certainly not. But to make a compelling roleplaying game, they almost have to include magitech level stuff. The only way I can imagine the above translating to a good roleplaying game is if you played AS intelligent bacterium or what have you. And even that would probably be a challenge to make work.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-21, 03:42 PM
Oh, literature, certainly not. But to make a compelling roleplaying game, they almost have to include magitech level stuff. The only way I can imagine the above translating to a good roleplaying game is if you played AS intelligent bacterium or what have you. And even that would probably be a challenge to make work.
Well, there was Bunnies And Burrows, basically Watership Down: The Role Playing game, and I personally would consider that novel to be science fiction. But in general yes, when people play role playing games they want to play the iconic stuff, and that can almost be cliché sometimes and for science fiction that means Magitech level stuff. I mean, a generation ship might be more plausible science wise, but most people want to explore strange new worlds in their own life span. Still, I bet a good DM could make that work. Imagine, you don't just play the orignal character, you also play their descendants, in a multi-generational political, and sometimes physical, battle for control of the vessel.
Do you stop at the destination or do you go on, and if you do stop, do you go elsewhere, or do you have worse ideas in mind? A generation ship moving at a velocity sufficient to take you to one of the nearer stars in a thousand years is moving terrible quickly and has a terribly large amount of mass, do the math about what that could do to a planet.
What if, when you get to your destination, other people have gotten their first?
What if there was supposed to be a crew defrosted when you entered the system but something happened to them en-route that made that an impossibility?
What if something didn't?
With the right DM and players, this could actually work. :smallamused:

Fhaolan
2011-03-21, 03:46 PM
What is there to elaborate on? I already am a normal person, I don't need to pretend to be one.

<snip>

The absolute best normal people can do is a Vanilla Action Hero.

I am also a normal person. I am also nearing fifty quite rapidly, and I am also effectively a cripple who requires a walking stick to move any distance due to knee injuries from running through a field that had rabbit holes in it.

Then again, maybe I'm a twenty-something woman straight out of university who has volunteered to go to a third-world nation to dig wells and build houses. There are maybe three people on this board who's met me in RL and know who I actually am.

So, personally, while I do game in order to things that I cannot possibly do in RL (which is secondary to hanging out with friends and kibitzing, which is more important to me), there are a lot of RL things that I can't do. There are many things I can do, but can't be bothered to learn how. Or I'm not allowed to do them legally.

In any case, there is *zero* chance that I'm actually a French billionaire playboy who is being thrown into a world of political intrigue and conspiracy, all aiming to bring down all the world's democratic governments and replace them with theocratic monarchies.

I don't need mystic magic or super-tech magic to play a character that is completely different from me, who would have a different take on life and is capable of doing things I cannot.

But then again, I'm from the generation of gamers that used to do Napoleonics and the like, re-fighting historical battles not because we couldn't go out and shoot each other in a field somewhere, but because we thought it was an interesting game.

Or maybe I'm not of that generation. Maybe I'm just pretending that, as part of playing this forum game. :smallbiggrin:

druid91
2011-03-21, 11:00 PM
You know I actually thought about this after my initial reaction and decided, I could play a no magic campaign, if it was meant to be something like the princess bride. I can deal with less fantastical elements but high adventure, or fantastic elements but being gritty and depressing, but never both lacking in fantastic elements and gritty and depressing.

So yes a no magic high adventure game I could play.

Malevolence
2011-03-22, 06:03 AM
I am also a normal person. I am also nearing fifty quite rapidly, and I am also effectively a cripple who requires a walking stick to move any distance due to knee injuries from running through a field that had rabbit holes in it.

Then again, maybe I'm a twenty-something woman straight out of university who has volunteered to go to a third-world nation to dig wells and build houses. There are maybe three people on this board who's met me in RL and know who I actually am.

So, personally, while I do game in order to things that I cannot possibly do in RL (which is secondary to hanging out with friends and kibitzing, which is more important to me), there are a lot of RL things that I can't do. There are many things I can do, but can't be bothered to learn how. Or I'm not allowed to do them legally.

In any case, there is *zero* chance that I'm actually a French billionaire playboy who is being thrown into a world of political intrigue and conspiracy, all aiming to bring down all the world's democratic governments and replace them with theocratic monarchies.

I don't need mystic magic or super-tech magic to play a character that is completely different from me, who would have a different take on life and is capable of doing things I cannot.

But then again, I'm from the generation of gamers that used to do Napoleonics and the like, re-fighting historical battles not because we couldn't go out and shoot each other in a field somewhere, but because we thought it was an interesting game.

Or maybe I'm not of that generation. Maybe I'm just pretending that, as part of playing this forum game. :smallbiggrin:

And the chances that such a character will ever succeed is... right around 0.00000%. Because being a guy without any magic, against a lot of guys without any magic means you lose automatically due to being outclassed. If I wanted to see some spectacular failure, there are many places I could go to do so, and all of them rank higher than playing a character doomed by their own environment. If I wanted emotional attachment in the real world, I would get a girlfriend. If I wanted to do things that helped others I would do things like help Japan with their earthquake and nuclear relief effort. I actually have done some of these things. But a fantasy world without the real fantasy cannot offer me anything I want, that I cannot get much better elsewhere.

Instead, I play fantasy games for the depth and options, among other things. I am an extremely cunning and creative person and get bored quickly if I cannot utilize that. However it is not enough to come up with plans, you must have the tools to follow through on those plans or you are completely wasting your time. Magic offers the tools to follow through on those plans. So does technology, but nothing else does. So instead of having to be railroaded along to get anywhere, and fights be both sides just auto attacking each other, there are choices and decisions to be made. There are options available. And you can get through the plot on your own power. Something that a Vanilla Action Hero cannot hope to do. Primarily because they are a bland and outdated archetype.

Kiero
2011-03-22, 07:15 AM
{{scrubbed}}

Firechanter
2011-03-22, 07:33 AM
Answer to topic question: Yes, but not D&D or similar, where magic is an integral part of the game and its absence causes the mechanics to collapse like a house of cards.

We've played a Conan game for over a year with very little magic. No magic on the player side and rather occult stuff on the opposition side.

I'm also rather fond of Middle Earth, where there are a lot of subtle magical elements, but very few (practically none) fireballs and lightning bolts.

One thing that's yet on our agenda is a Cyberpunk game without supernatural elements, i.e. "Not-Shadowrun".

Steampunk is another thing, we'd like to play that without magic as such, although of course you just have to accept that these contraptions work by technical means, no matter how much they violate real-world science.

As for purely (pseudo-)historical settings, that's actually not so tempting -- probably too gritty for long-term enjoyment.

The Big Dice
2011-03-22, 07:49 AM
Instead, I play fantasy games for the depth and options, among other things. I am an extremely cunning and creative person and get bored quickly if I cannot utilize that. However it is not enough to come up with plans, you must have the tools to follow through on those plans or you are completely wasting your time. Magic offers the tools to follow through on those plans. So does technology, but nothing else does. So instead of having to be railroaded along to get anywhere, and fights be both sides just auto attacking each other, there are choices and decisions to be made. There are options available. And you can get through the plot on your own power. Something that a Vanilla Action Hero cannot hope to do. Primarily because they are a bland and outdated archetype.
So magic and only magic is the only source of options?

I guess nobody told the Three Musketeers. Or Zorro. Or the Dread Pirate Roberts. Or John McClane. Or MacGyver. Or The A-Team. Or any of the other action archetypes there are out there.

Saying magic is your only choice is taking choice away. It's also reducing your ability to use cunning and wit, as instead you're relying on the special effects budget to fix things in post production. Magic is the easy way out, the choice of those who don't want to make a choice.

Or it can be that way. The real thing being, magic as a crutch is just as unempowering as anything else.

Malevolence
2011-03-22, 08:09 AM
{{scrubbed}}

...Who does not need a fantasy game to do things that he can do just fine in the real world. Who does need a fantasy game to provide him with substantially different than the real world offers, instead of just mere token differences.


So magic and only magic is the only source of options?

I guess nobody told the Three Musketeers. Or Zorro. Or the Dread Pirate Roberts. Or John McClane. Or MacGyver. Or The A-Team. Or any of the other action archetypes there are out there.

Every single one of which is a Vanilla Action Hero who is completely helpless without being pointed along every step of the way, and shielded by author fiat.


Saying magic is your only choice is taking choice away. It's also reducing your ability to use cunning and wit, as instead you're relying on the special effects budget to fix things in post production. Magic is the easy way out, the choice of those who don't want to make a choice.

Or it can be that way. The real thing being, magic as a crutch is just as unempowering as anything else.

No, it is called having actual abilities to solve problems. Same with technology. You can sit there and plan all day, but if you cannot execute that plan you're blowing hot air. To execute plans, you must have the tools to do so.

Know what fantasy games are without magic? Red Shirts (your characters) getting mowed down.

Know what modern warfare is without technology? A bunch of Red Shirts (unarmed soldiers) getting mowed down. Guns are technology, you see.

People getting mowed down is a tragedy in the real world, and it's still sad when it happens in a fantasy world. It's worst though when it's happening to you or rather, your character. And as a character without magic or technology, said character can only be a victim.

Britter
2011-03-22, 08:12 AM
Respectfully Malevolence, you are quite wrong.

I get that you don't like non-fantasy games, and I get that you equate magic with the ability to affect the game. Thats fine.

But I think you are being overly harsh on how non-magic games run. Your descriptions do not match any of my low/no magic gaming experiences, and that is not because I had hand-holding GMs.

The Big Dice
2011-03-22, 08:21 AM
Every single one of which is a Vanilla Action Hero who is completely helpless without being pointed along every step of the way, and shielded by author fiat.
On what basis do you make this assertation? Why is MacGyver, the very definition of not being helpless in a hopeless situation being shielded any more than Pug?

Magic is boring. If you have something that can solve all your problems, then it's not you solving your problems. It's you relying on a crutch to stop you from falling over.

No, it is called having actual abilities to solve problems. Same with technology. You can sit there and plan all day, but if you cannot execute that plan you're blowing hot air. To execute plans, you must have the tools to do so.
Now that's just silly. Why does magic make all things possible, while no magic makes you a cripple? Why is it impossible to execute a plan in a world without magic? D&D players often look at internet forums and assume that because Wizards have the potential to be the most powerful characters around, then they are by default the most powerful character around.

To which I say, power is as power does.

Know what fantasy games are without magic? Red Shirts (your characters) getting mowed down.
Of course they are. Just like D'Artagnan gets mowed down by Cardinal Richleau's men. Just like Rambo gets mowed down by communists and just like Erik Von Darkmoor gets mowed down by invaders from the other side of the world.

Know what modern warfare is without technology? A bunch of Red Shirts (unarmed soldiers) getting mowed down. Guns are technology, you see.
It's ancient warfare.

I think you're confusing technology, which works on real principles that are well understood and repeatable, with magic. Which is neither well understood nor repeatable in the real world.

People getting mowed down is a tragedy in the real world, and it's still sad when it happens in a fantasy world. It's worst though when it's happening to you or rather, your character. And as a character without magic or technology, said character can only be a victim.
Why can this character without magic only be a victim? You're making claims but not backing them up at all. I could equally say that a magic using character can only ever be a slave to forces of darkness and it's just as true as your statement.

Malevolence
2011-03-22, 09:03 AM
Respectfully Malevolence, you are quite wrong.

I get that you don't like non-fantasy games, and I get that you equate magic with the ability to affect the game. Thats fine.

But I think you are being overly harsh on how non-magic games run. Your descriptions do not match any of my low/no magic gaming experiences, and that is not because I had hand-holding GMs.

On the contrary. I am being very restrained in the manner in which I describe them. They are far worse than I am letting on, but I am trying to be polite in my descriptions of them.

As for magic and technology, they quickly become functionally the same thing. Both are observable and repeatable to their users. Both are countered well by themselves, but not by other things. Both can seem impossible to those that don't know how they work. As this is a system agnostic discussion I am using the terms interchangeably.

In response to all of the rest, I have but one simple question.

Explain how you, the actual person behind your monitor would accomplish these things. The answer of course is that you would not, and could not, because normal people just can't do that. The Vanilla Action Heroes only accomplish anything because they have their hands held every step of the way. You will not have this luxury. Your character might be different from you, but it's only in the way two Commoners are different from each other. In terms of actual capabilities to advance actual plots, you got nothing.

Even comparatively tame, low level plots like the Red Hand of Doom would shut down magic lacking characters before they even get started. Fight once, anyone that doesn't die has to rest a week to heal... and the time that was supposed to be spent on the first fight, figuring out what that was about, and then accomplishing multiple other objectives before getting back was all burned on the first, and maybe the second thing. Don't get me started on what happens when you put non magical characters against anything truly epic. Not level 21+ epic, but Epic.

Britter
2011-03-22, 09:14 AM
On the contrary. I am being very restrained in the manner in which I describe them. They are far worse than I am letting on, but I am trying to be polite in my descriptions of them.


In your opinion.



In response to all of the rest, I have but one simple question.

Explain how you, the actual person behind your monitor would accomplish these things. The answer of course is that you would not, and could not, because normal people just can't do that. The Vanilla Action Heroes only accomplish anything because they have their hands held every step of the way. You will not have this luxury. Your character might be different from you, but it's only in the way two Commoners are different from each other. In terms of actual capabilities to advance actual plots, you got nothing.


So, all the real world people who have done deep infiltrations as spies into enemy territory, or solved supposedly unsovleable crimes, or won dozens of armed and unarmed fights, or made fortunes, etc. (this list can go on forever) have no ability to advance plots?

You have a very unusual and, in my opinion, incorrect view of how plots actually advance.



Even comparatively tame, low level plots like the Red Hand of Doom would shut down magic lacking characters before they even get started. Fight once, anyone that doesn't die has to rest a week to heal... and the time that was supposed to be spent on the first fight, figuring out what that was about, and then accomplishing multiple other objectives before getting back was all burned on the first, and maybe the second thing. Don't get me started on what happens when you put non magical characters against anything truly epic. Not level 21+ epic, but Epic.

Sure, DnD and similar games do break down without magic. That is a generally acknowledged thing (though not universally. There are people who play low/no magic 3.5, with varying degrees of success)

Other games, on the other hand, do not.

I'm not trying to harp on this subject or sound like I am riding herd on you, but honestly, you are stating your very strong opinions as all-encompassing facts, and you are, in my opinion, pretty far off base with them.

Kiero
2011-03-22, 09:28 AM
Dear gods, there are games beyond D&D. Seriously, it is neither the be all nor end all of roleplaying games.

Jayabalard
2011-03-22, 09:34 AM
No, it is called having actual abilities to solve problems. Same with technology. You can sit there and plan all day, but if you cannot execute that plan you're blowing hot air. To execute plans, you must have the tools to do so.Tools to do so doesn't require magic. They exist in the real world; they existed in the roman era; they existed in medieval Europe; they existed in Ancient China; they existed in the wild west. All of these work just fine as settings for games without magic; in all of these cases, the characters have abilities that they can use to accomplish their plans.


Know what fantasy games are without magic? Red Shirts (your characters) getting mowed down.Not at all; I've played plenty where this isn't the case.


Know what modern warfare is without technology? A bunch of Red Shirts (unarmed soldiers) getting mowed down. Guns are technology, you see.If you get down to it, swords are technology... so is a sling... and fire.

Don't be so caught up on the word "technology" ... it's only relevant to the discussion when you are talking about ultratech, meaning technology that is virtually indistinguishable from magic.


And as a character without magic or technology, said character can only be a victim.Not at all; even in just straight up GURPS fantasy with no magic, and no cinematic rules you have plenty of options to move the plot around.

Kiero
2011-03-22, 09:46 AM
As for magic and technology, they quickly become functionally the same thing. Both are observable and repeatable to their users. Both are countered well by themselves, but not by other things. Both can seem impossible to those that don't know how they work. As this is a system agnostic discussion I am using the terms interchangeably.

That's only true in D&D, there are many other systems in which magic is not observable and repeatable, and where it isn't functionally the same as technology. Here's just one example from (shock horror!) a non-D&D system. In WFRP2e you have to roll to see if a spell happens. Fail to meet the casting number and it fizzles. Roll multiples of the same number (whether successful or not) and Bad Things happen.

You don't actually seem to have a clue about anything beyond D&D, given the way all your terms of reference allude obliquely to the way 3.5 does things.

Serious question, have you actually played any other systems? By which I mean ones which are neither D&D nor D20 derivatives.


In response to all of the rest, I have but one simple question.

Explain how you, the actual person behind your monitor would accomplish these things. The answer of course is that you would not, and could not, because normal people just can't do that. The Vanilla Action Heroes only accomplish anything because they have their hands held every step of the way. You will not have this luxury. Your character might be different from you, but it's only in the way two Commoners are different from each other. In terms of actual capabilities to advance actual plots, you got nothing.

Total non-sequitur (one of your many logical fallacies). Non-magical games doesn't mean accountants and tech-support geeks, it means people appropriate to whatever the premise of that setting is. Nor does playing non-magical games (necessarily) have anything whatsoever to do with people playing themselves as their characters.

Nice straw man and begging (and answering) your own questions though. I guess these sorts of arguments work best when you have no one but yourself to debate with, though.

"Commoners" (which is a D&D term, mind when capitalised as you did there) have no place in most non-magical games. Its an option, certainly, but far from the default mode.

Furthermore, I don't play games in which the PCs are there to "advance plots" - which sounds much like the GM has presupposed what is going to happen, and is trying to channel the players to follow along with whatever he's planned.


Even comparatively tame, low level plots like the Red Hand of Doom would shut down magic lacking characters before they even get started. Fight once, anyone that doesn't die has to rest a week to heal... and the time that was supposed to be spent on the first fight, figuring out what that was about, and then accomplishing multiple other objectives before getting back was all burned on the first, and maybe the second thing. Don't get me started on what happens when you put non magical characters against anything truly epic. Not level 21+ epic, but Epic.

How a D&D adventure designed with magic in mind is played out is of total irrelevance to the question. More to the point for someone so averse to railroads, it's amazing that you talk about modules, which are intrinsically canned railroads designed by someone who isn't even present at the table. The hypocrisy of railing (no pun intended) against the railroad then presenting pre-written modules as talking points is rather astonishing.

What's more, magic doesn't remove the ability to railroad, it adds yet more tools to the GM's toolbox to accomplish this. Stumble upon the villain "too early" and poof! he teleports away. Try to go somewhere you're "not supposed to" and there's magical barriers preventing you doing so. Try to suss out the murder suspect with conversation and there's magical means hiding their natural responses. And so on and so forth.

Jayabalard
2011-03-22, 12:37 PM
As for magic and technology, they quickly become functionally the same thing. Both are observable and repeatable to their users. Both are countered well by themselves, but not by other things. Both can seem impossible to those that don't know how they work. As this is a system agnostic discussion I am using the terms interchangeably.No, this is generally not the case; many game systems have magic systems where the magic isn't really repeatable. 3e/4e D&D are the exception, not the rule. So it's not reasonable to use those terms interchangeably.


Explain how you, the actual person behind your monitor would accomplish these things. The answer of course is that you would not, and could not, because normal people just can't do that. Do what things? I really have no idea what you're talking about here.

Anyway... non-magical characters have a lot of options available to them that I don't have:
I'm never going to head west to make my fortune in the gold rush, run into a bank robber and a jewish rabbi on his way from poland to california and have a series of adventures based loosely on The Frisco Kid.
I'll never be a musician hired on as an entertainer in a caravan to Ein Arris; I won't pick up some rudimentary fighting skills along the way and I won't have to deal with the sandstorm, or the political intrigue between Halmaro and Katsaya.


and that's not even touching non-magical people in worlds where there's magic.


Your character might be different from you, but it's only in the way two Commoners are different from each other.Or the difference between a commoner and a fighter, rogue, expert or aristocrat... if you're really stuck in the D&D world.

Or my character could be as different from me as Inigo Montoya; he's pretty different.


Even comparatively tame, low level plots like the Red Hand of Doom would shut down magic lacking characters before they even get started. This is only low level and tame in the context of the D&D universe, ie: a world with magic.


Don't get me started on what happens when you put non magical characters against anything truly epic. Not level 21+ epic, but Epic.Example?

Knaight
2011-03-22, 02:20 PM
So, all the real world people who have done deep infiltrations as spies into enemy territory, or solved supposedly unsovleable crimes, or won dozens of armed and unarmed fights, or made fortunes, etc. (this list can go on forever) have no ability to advance plots?

You have a very unusual and, in my opinion, incorrect view of how plots actually advance.

Then there are statesmen on top of that. Napoleon, Otto Von Bismark, Cardinal Richelieu, all these people had a major influence on Europe. Look to the various leaders of coups and emergent dynasties along China's massive history for a bunch more. All these people had effects.

Moreover, a story can still be good without being epic. A few people managing a minor heist can be a story in itself, particularly if one looks at interpersonal relations between those people, their competing greediness and tendencies to oppose each other, etc.

Britter
2011-03-22, 02:30 PM
Then there are statesmen on top of that. Napoleon, Otto Von Bismark, Cardinal Richelieu, all these people had a major influence on Europe. Look to the various leaders of coups and emergent dynasties along China's massive history for a bunch more. All these people had effects.

Moreover, a story can still be good without being epic. A few people managing a minor heist can be a story in itself, particularly if one looks at interpersonal relations between those people, their competing greediness and tendencies to oppose each other, etc.

I am right there with you Knaight. There are a nearly unlimited number of very interesting games that could be played in a non-magical setting. I really like your examples, and I agree that a good game doesn't have to be epic. The game I am currently running is essentially medevial hard-boiled crime fiction. Very street level stuff, very good game with some really good players, neither of which seem to have any issues figuring out how to get things done.

Kiero
2011-03-22, 02:39 PM
Moreover, a story can still be good without being epic. A few people managing a minor heist can be a story in itself, particularly if one looks at interpersonal relations between those people, their competing greediness and tendencies to oppose each other, etc.

The recent film Takers is a good example of how a crew running heists in the modern day could be a great story without world-changing epic-ness.

Knaight
2011-03-22, 03:06 PM
I am right there with you Knaight. There are a nearly unlimited number of very interesting games that could be played in a non-magical setting. I really like your examples, and I agree that a good game doesn't have to be epic. The game I am currently running is essentially medevial hard-boiled crime fiction. Very street level stuff, very good game with some really good players, neither of which seem to have any issues figuring out how to get things done.

That sounds fun. The game that my homework load is bent on delaying indefinitely is somewhat similar. Right now I have a two page document that explains basic rules and structure, for everyone to read before playing (which is funny, as I am normally highly improvisational. It is in the spoiler below, and serves as an example of what can be done.
]A Last Beautiful Dawn
A Last Beautiful Dawn is a role playing game about a group of people who are to be executed. It is about who they were, and how it was they went from that to the people waiting for execution. Play progresses through an introduction, several acts, and multiple intermissions to other characters in a strict order, within a strict framework as set by the GM and players as they play the game.

Introduction
The Introduction is the set up for the game of A Last Beautiful Dawn. It is a simple phase, which consists of two parts. The first is allocation of a GM and general setting in which A Last Beautiful Dawn is played, as the stories that emerge from it can be ported to many systems. Following this, three points must be established concerning the characters.
The basics of who they are at the beginning of the story (and near end chronologically).
Where it is they are being held.
What entity is responsible for their detention.
All of this is decided as a group as a whole, in broad strokes. The GM then describes how the characters are being held, with the players describing how the characters are acting under these conditions. A single short scene is performed, at which point the game moves on to Act 1.

Act 1: Thwarted Ambition
Act 1 is about what was lost by the characters when they were driven towards the execution block. They must have a life they are attending to, with goals they wish to accomplish, and must be near accomplishing said goals. Each player can decide what the goal of their character is, and the group as a whole will evaluate these goals to make sure they stay within reason. Goals must be kept within the tone of the setting, sufficiently broad and unspecific to allow play, and interesting.

Play in Act 1 consists of the players driving their characters towards their goals, while also exploring the lives of these characters through role playing. The GM provides obstacles in the way of the goals, and a setting and characters as a framework to role play in. The end of Act 1 is reached when the characters have reached the point where the goals are essentially a foregone conclusion, provided that something big doesn't derail them.

Act 2: A Reason To Hate
Act 2 is where the characters are first driven towards the execution block. Something happens that makes them either become criminals, directly oppose the people executing them (usually a government), or appear to fit either of those two traits. Each player declares in broad terms how this happens, and the setting is made anew, often somewhere somewhat away from the events of Act 1, and usually somewhat later. This encourages a different tone.

Play in Act 2 consists of what can be described as an adventure for lack of a better term, in which the characters are heavily involved for personal reasons. The characters are driven towards temporary goals set by the players, and the responsibility lies primarily on the GM for directing the action as a whole towards the end described by the players through the mechanism of the setting. As always, role playing is encouraged throughout.

Act 3: A Reason To Fight
Act 3 is where the characters carry out their criminal or governmentally adversarial enterprises. The players should set a modest goal for the characters, and several enterprises will be performed during Act 3. This need not involve actual combat at any time, despite the title of the act, however conflict is a must.

Play in Act 2 consists of the characters becoming immersed in their new world through player actions that drive the characters towards the in character goals amidst a backdrop set by the GM. The GM is most passive during this stage, and it best resembles a typical sandbox game of any of the acts. It ends once two conditions are met, the goals are accomplished, and the characters have a place in the world, complete with allies.

Intermission 1: Lost and Found
New characters are created for Intermission 1, drawn from the allies of the characters in the acts. Intermission 1 tells the story of how these characters discover the capture and whereabouts of the characters in the acts, and ends as soon as they have adequate certainty. The setting takes into account the passing of significant time from the end of act 3, and may also The intermissions are very typical games with a specific goals, and as such are distinguished from the more structured acts, as such additional specific instruction as to GM and player responsibilities is unnecessary.

Act 4: End of the Line
Act 4 is when the characters are taken into custody. The players choose the circumstances of this to a general degree, with the group seeing that they fit the general style of the game. However, this can be considered the climax of the story from a narrative perspective, which should be taken into account when making these decisions. The characters also need a goal that they were attempting to accomplish, but ultimately failed to.

Once that is set, actual play begins. The players see that the characters attempt to achieve the goal set out, while the GM sets up the world. By now there should be some major antagonists, and there will be several attempts to eliminate the player characters in one way or another, game play continues until this is eventually done, in the way described by the players.

Intermission 2: Rescue Plans
Intermission 2 has two main options. Either the characters from Intermission 1 are played again, or a new set are created. Either way, this picks up some time after Intermission 1, with the set up of a rescue attempt. As with Intermission 1, it plays as a typical game with a goal, in this case to establish everything needed for a rescue right up until the final stroke. Once that happens, Act 5 begins.

Act 5: Into The End
Act 5 is a very short act. The players role play their characters immediately prior to the execution, then transition to the rescue attempt. For whatever reason, it goes wrong, and the characters of the acts are all executed. For both of these parts, the GM plays the rest of the world.

Act 5 lasts until the characters of the acts are all dead, and the result of the rescue beyond its failure develops to a limited point. What happens to the rescuers in the long term, as well as what happens after the execution are to be left vague, however very broad implications are suggested.

Britter
2011-03-22, 03:09 PM
That sounds fun. The game that my homework load is bent on delaying indefinitely is somewhat similar. Right now I have a two page document that explains basic rules and structure, for everyone to read before playing (which is funny, as I am normally highly improvisational. It is in the spoiler below, and serves as an example of what can be done.
]A Last Beautiful Dawn
A Last Beautiful Dawn is a role playing game about a group of people who are to be executed. It is about who they were, and how it was they went from that to the people waiting for execution. Play progresses through an introduction, several acts, and multiple intermissions to other characters in a strict order, within a strict framework as set by the GM and players as they play the game.

Introduction
The Introduction is the set up for the game of A Last Beautiful Dawn. It is a simple phase, which consists of two parts. The first is allocation of a GM and general setting in which A Last Beautiful Dawn is played, as the stories that emerge from it can be ported to many systems. Following this, three points must be established concerning the characters.
The basics of who they are at the beginning of the story (and near end chronologically).
Where it is they are being held.
What entity is responsible for their detention.
All of this is decided as a group as a whole, in broad strokes. The GM then describes how the characters are being held, with the players describing how the characters are acting under these conditions. A single short scene is performed, at which point the game moves on to Act 1.

Act 1: Thwarted Ambition
Act 1 is about what was lost by the characters when they were driven towards the execution block. They must have a life they are attending to, with goals they wish to accomplish, and must be near accomplishing said goals. Each player can decide what the goal of their character is, and the group as a whole will evaluate these goals to make sure they stay within reason. Goals must be kept within the tone of the setting, sufficiently broad and unspecific to allow play, and interesting.

Play in Act 1 consists of the players driving their characters towards their goals, while also exploring the lives of these characters through role playing. The GM provides obstacles in the way of the goals, and a setting and characters as a framework to role play in. The end of Act 1 is reached when the characters have reached the point where the goals are essentially a foregone conclusion, provided that something big doesn't derail them.

Act 2: A Reason To Hate
Act 2 is where the characters are first driven towards the execution block. Something happens that makes them either become criminals, directly oppose the people executing them (usually a government), or appear to fit either of those two traits. Each player declares in broad terms how this happens, and the setting is made anew, often somewhere somewhat away from the events of Act 1, and usually somewhat later. This encourages a different tone.

Play in Act 2 consists of what can be described as an adventure for lack of a better term, in which the characters are heavily involved for personal reasons. The characters are driven towards temporary goals set by the players, and the responsibility lies primarily on the GM for directing the action as a whole towards the end described by the players through the mechanism of the setting. As always, role playing is encouraged throughout.

Act 3: A Reason To Fight
Act 3 is where the characters carry out their criminal or governmentally adversarial enterprises. The players should set a modest goal for the characters, and several enterprises will be performed during Act 3. This need not involve actual combat at any time, despite the title of the act, however conflict is a must.

Play in Act 2 consists of the characters becoming immersed in their new world through player actions that drive the characters towards the in character goals amidst a backdrop set by the GM. The GM is most passive during this stage, and it best resembles a typical sandbox game of any of the acts. It ends once two conditions are met, the goals are accomplished, and the characters have a place in the world, complete with allies.

Intermission 1: Lost and Found
New characters are created for Intermission 1, drawn from the allies of the characters in the acts. Intermission 1 tells the story of how these characters discover the capture and whereabouts of the characters in the acts, and ends as soon as they have adequate certainty. The setting takes into account the passing of significant time from the end of act 3, and may also The intermissions are very typical games with a specific goals, and as such are distinguished from the more structured acts, as such additional specific instruction as to GM and player responsibilities is unnecessary.

Act 4: End of the Line
Act 4 is when the characters are taken into custody. The players choose the circumstances of this to a general degree, with the group seeing that they fit the general style of the game. However, this can be considered the climax of the story from a narrative perspective, which should be taken into account when making these decisions. The characters also need a goal that they were attempting to accomplish, but ultimately failed to.

Once that is set, actual play begins. The players see that the characters attempt to achieve the goal set out, while the GM sets up the world. By now there should be some major antagonists, and there will be several attempts to eliminate the player characters in one way or another, game play continues until this is eventually done, in the way described by the players.

Intermission 2: Rescue Plans
Intermission 2 has two main options. Either the characters from Intermission 1 are played again, or a new set are created. Either way, this picks up some time after Intermission 1, with the set up of a rescue attempt. As with Intermission 1, it plays as a typical game with a goal, in this case to establish everything needed for a rescue right up until the final stroke. Once that happens, Act 5 begins.

Act 5: Into The End
Act 5 is a very short act. The players role play their characters immediately prior to the execution, then transition to the rescue attempt. For whatever reason, it goes wrong, and the characters of the acts are all executed. For both of these parts, the GM plays the rest of the world.

Act 5 lasts until the characters of the acts are all dead, and the result of the rescue beyond its failure develops to a limited point. What happens to the rescuers in the long term, as well as what happens after the execution are to be left vague, however very broad implications are suggested.

I am going to have to give your concept some more thought...very interesting stuff.

What, if any, ruleset are you using?

Knaight
2011-03-22, 03:12 PM
I am going to have to give your concept some more thought...very interesting stuff.

What, if any, ruleset are you using?

Fudge probably, though largely as a concession to my current set of players. I would rather use Titled, but that's another bunch of my own design which pretty much can't give mechanical emphasis where my players want it.

Kikaz
2011-03-22, 03:40 PM
Hm... I've always wanted to play a historically accurate iron-age RPG...

Fhaolan
2011-03-22, 04:34 PM
Hm... I've always wanted to play a historically accurate iron-age RPG...

Point of note, I believe you're better off with a historically 'reasonable' RPG than a truely accurate one. Accuracy is just too mind-boggling detailed for a game, in my opinion. I, personally, don't care about 1" of rain over 24 hours slowing overland travel on standard sod-type terrain by 10' per time segment, and 2" of rain slowing travel by 16' per time segment.

And yes, I've played games that go to that level of simulation. Put me to sleep waiting for my turn.

Kiero
2011-03-22, 05:16 PM
Hm... I've always wanted to play a historically accurate iron-age RPG...

Where and when in the world? Because it makes a big difference to what's going on and the timeframe you have to operate in. Also bear in mind surviving sources are rather thin for certain places and times, there's a lot of conjecture about what happened that far in the past. Especially outside of the literate part of the Mediterranean/Middle East.

The Big Dice
2011-03-22, 06:31 PM
Hm... I've always wanted to play a historically accurate iron-age RPG...

I've often though about playing a mythologically accurate bronze age campaign. But that's a very different beast from historical accuracy.

Frozen_Feet
2011-03-22, 06:59 PM
I own a game where the players are Finnish teenage pop-idols. I've played a young female aristocrat in a game set in historical France. So I think the answer is yes. For the record, I've been thinking of making a fantasy game with no magic at all, but that will happen when hell freezes over, so.

Magic, sci-fi technology, or any other supernatural or extraordinary elements are not requisite for a game, or even a good game. I like such elements very much, but they're not fundamental to roleplaying. There are other genres than sci-fi and fantasy.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-22, 11:18 PM
Even excellent science fiction doesn't have to be magical per say. The whole idea of the Hard Science Fiction sub-genre is to be as scientifically plausible as possible, inventing new technologies perhaps, but not knowingly breaking any laws of physics. You might have a fusion reactor, but you won't have FTL or lasers that are visible in space.

aldeayeah
2011-03-23, 01:49 AM
I only play no magic.

Ravens_cry
2011-03-23, 02:50 AM
I only play no magic.
OK, what RPG do you play? I am honestly curious.

SiuiS
2011-03-23, 02:54 AM
Interesting.

If I'm playing D&D, and the DM's pitch is "ok guys, in this campaign, magic doesn't exist; there is no magic. This includes anything sufficiently advanced enough to be magic-like" I'd play the heck out of it.

If the pitch were "I have this new game that is just like D&D But without anything like magic" then no. I would not play that.

That is so interesting...

Goonthegoof
2011-03-23, 06:12 AM
I'm currently playing in one and it's a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It's a points of light type setting on a big ocean dotted with islands, kind of a grimdark one piece sans (thus far) any non real life elements except for orcs, who are basically Reavers (Firefly).
We're doing our best to help reduce the quality of life in the setting by playing pirates and it's worked out a lot better than I thought it would.

Firechanter
2011-03-23, 06:43 AM
If I'm playing D&D, and the DM's pitch is "ok guys, in this campaign, magic doesn't exist; there is no magic. This includes anything sufficiently advanced enough to be magic-like" I'd play the heck out of it.

Unless the DM makes a lot of houserules, that game won't take very long. It's going to work fine at low levels and totally break down in the early mid levels, when every monster or NPC gets a higher attack bonus than your non-augmentable Armor Class that's stuck at 19-21.

Frozen_Feet
2011-03-23, 06:48 AM
If it's played as E6, I could see it going fine for ages. Besides, no matter how much vanilla D&D is about fine-tuning your character build, the game doesn't end when you run out of tools to optimize one invidual - that's when you make transition to troop tactics and start hiring butloads of expendable minions to hutn down that T-rex! :smallbiggrin:

Jayabalard
2011-03-23, 06:54 AM
Even excellent science fiction doesn't have to be magical per say. The whole idea of the Hard Science Fiction sub-genre is to be as scientifically plausible as possible, inventing new technologies perhaps, but not knowingly breaking any laws of physics. You might have a fusion reactor, but you won't have FTL or lasers that are visible in space.You know, some people would object to you saying "hard sci fi" rather than "Hard Science Fiction" :smallbiggrin:

You can (debatably) have FTL in hard sci fi, it's just not necessarily common; Heinlein and Niven both used it on occasion in books that would otherwise meet the criteria for hard sci fi.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-23, 09:07 AM
Interesting.

If I'm playing D&D, and the DM's pitch is "ok guys, in this campaign, magic doesn't exist; there is no magic. This includes anything sufficiently advanced enough to be magic-like" I'd play the heck out of it.

If the pitch were "I have this new game that is just like D&D But without anything like magic" then no. I would not play that.

That is so interesting...

Really? I wouldn't play either one, because both set off huge warning bells, but I'd probably run faster from the first one.

D&D and no-magic do not mesh well.

Britter
2011-03-23, 09:10 AM
D&D and no-magic do not mesh well.

Agreed. Plenty of great systems to play a no-magic game in that will work and won't give me a migraine. Even E6 would bog down without magic. It is tied to tightly to the assumptions that underly DnD play, imo.

And I do know that some people do it, make it work, and like it. Thats cool. I just would rather use a system better suited to the situation.

Tyndmyr
2011-03-23, 09:55 AM
D20M without magic works fairly well. 7th Sea could work without magic I suppose, though you'd have to abandon most of the setting metaplot. I feel like stripping it out would leave the setting much less interesting, though still mechanically sound.

Mark Hall
2011-03-23, 11:28 AM
Point of note, I believe you're better off with a historically 'reasonable' RPG than a truely accurate one. Accuracy is just too mind-boggling detailed for a game, in my opinion. I, personally, don't care about 1" of rain over 24 hours slowing overland travel on standard sod-type terrain by 10' per time segment, and 2" of rain slowing travel by 16' per time segment.

And yes, I've played games that go to that level of simulation. Put me to sleep waiting for my turn.

Main reason I will never run Ars Magica. While I love the world and the system, I'd wind up like David Chart... getting another degree just to play.

valadil
2011-03-23, 11:52 AM
Depends on the system and the setting. Whatever the players expect to do should provide mechanical variety from player to player.

I think a medieval fantasy world without magic is fine. Many of the systems I've played expect magic though and use magic to differentiate the characters. I wouldn't want to play a D&D game with a part of fighter, barbarian, rogue, and monk. There just isn't enough mechanical variety for the characters to feel distinct.

I would play GURPS without magic depending on the setting. Melee weapons in a fantasy setting are distinct enough to be interesting. A modern game with gun combat doesn't really work for me though because shots fired, clip size, and base damage just aren't enough differences to make the characters with different guns feel any different. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if there are more options for adding distinction that I'm just not aware of. I played a semi-modern GURPS game with lots of gun combat recently and that's what I'm basing my opinion on)

ericgrau
2011-03-23, 11:58 AM
Sure no problem as long as the system is made for it. D&D isn't.