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    Default Magitech D&D

    I've been thinking on and off for a while about a D&D game where the full implication of D&D-style magic in a medievalesque setting was realized. I'm not talking about Eberron's fantasypunk - though it's a bit of that. I'm talking about something closer to the Tippyverse.

    Now, the setting I'm imaging isn't constrained solely by RAW, like the Tippyverse would be. It's also a setting where most of the standard Fantasy tropes don't exist. It probably more closely appears to be Science Fiction.

    I'm going to list just some thoughts I've had, in no particular order. I invite suggestions and comments.

    Craft Rune Circle
    In the Tippyverse, all the "repeatedly-create-things-by-magic" was done through the trap creation rules. However, Craft Rune Circle, a creation feat from Races of Stone, is superior in most ways and doesn't have the same feel of rule abuse. Using a Rune Circle, you can do the normal Tippyverse Create Food and Water and Fabrication stuff, along with Teleportation. However, that's not all. First, you can have Rune Circles that increase Caster Level for the purposes of creating magic items:
    Quote Originally Posted by RoS, pg.170
    Rune Circles and Crafting Items: Making other magic items inside rune circles is interesting from a flavor standpoint, but DMs should be careful of allowing players to manufacture items for less than the normal cost for game balance reasons. For example, a character creating a wand of fireballs inside a rune circle that increases his caster level would get the increased level. This use of the circle is fine, as long as the wand's price is calculated using the adjusted caster level. If the wizard in the above example is 5th level and creates the wand in a rune circle that adds three to his caster level, he must pay the XP and raw materials cost for making an 8th-level wand.
    This can be combined with a modified, non-racial Forge of Thautum (RoS, pg. 167) to allow any peasant to craft a low-level magic item. Second, Rune Circles can enhance spells cast inside them (Examples: Dwarfheim Circle - free Quicken, Healing Circle - free Maximize on Healing, Deep Hollow Circle - free Augment Summon and additional Earth-subtype creature). Finally, Rune Circles allow people inside them to cast spells (Example: Gnome Charming Circle and Goliath Speaking Circle, though both of them have limitations).

    Rune Circles are also relatively cheap for the effect they grant. At base, the price is divided by 4. Decreasing the size from a 10ft-radius to a 5ft-radius reduces the price even further by 25% or by 50% if reduced to a 5ft-square. A Rune Circle that allowed an unlimited, command-word 10 CL Lightning to anyone standing in a 5ft-square costs a rather low 6,750gp. If you were a king, which would you rather have: four (and a half) suits of full plate armor or the ability to fire 120ft lines of 10d6 electrical death?

    Potions
    Think of what something like the discovery of penicillin has done for the world. Okay, now imagine that you could take medicine that not only cure any known disease but could also heal all injuries almost instantly. Remove Disease is a 750gp potion while healing potions range from 50gp (Cure Light) to 750gp (Cure Serious). The only way important people in a society with access to such power would die is if they were killed in a single fatal blows or by old age. The dirt-farming peasants probably aren't all that much better off, but when are they ever? (Of course, given that almost all farming has been replaced by Create Food and Water Rune Circles, who knows)

    D&D doesn't allow anybody to "sip" a potion - you have to drink it all to get any effect - but it's obvious that this is a game balance/minutiae issue. Imagine fighting somebody who's hooked up to an IV drip of healing potion (with the IV probably protected, of course). That would be a real pain, and the scariest part is that anybody with enough money could do it.

    Resurrection and Reincarnation
    Hey, remember when I said that important people only die by a single fatal blow or by old age? I lied; they don't stay dead at all. An unlimited, use-activated, 5ft-square Raise Dead Rune Circle costs 73,750gp. Expensive, but not outside the realm of possibility. If you're willing to have a once-a-day one, the price drops considerably - down to a mere 8,500gp. Given that Raise Dead drops you a level, a once-a-day version should be fine unless your army gets killed. True Resurrection Rune Circles get around the level drop problem, as well as obviating the need for a body.

    Old age is still a problem, except that Reincarnation creates an entirely new, young body. It drops you a level, but that's not a problem since you now have at least 40 years to get that level back.

    A nation with enough money can start doing absolute wicked things with a True Resurrection Rune Circle when combined with various teleportation magic. It's easy to imagine an amulet with a use-activated teleport that teleports the user back to the True Resurrection Rune Circle when they die. Now imagine facing an army equipped with such magic.

    Crafting XP
    Where's all the XP required for crafting coming from? Sure, an evil ruler might just use liquid pain (BoVD), but any nation founded on torturing probably won't last long (popular revolts, other nations attacking them, adventurer intervention, etc). The more discerning ruler could use one of the various methods XP transference. All those unemployed peasants now have a job - powering the economy. It's a lot more painless, at least. Even if you're only siphoning the equivalent of a few XP per day from each peasant, there are still a lot of peasants out there. Talisman of Transference is probably the safest bet, as it can link any number of people and the peasants can stay at home doing ... peasanty things or whatever.

    Sieges
    Castles eventually went out of vogue with the development of cannons. The forts that replaced castles did not soar with huge, stone walls. Instead, they had squat stone walls banked with ground and dirt. The idea was to deflect the cannon shots and make it harder to be hit, rather than stopping the shot. Any society where a single man can throw around fireballs needs to make a similar change in defense.

    The fortresses of Magitech D&D are probably squat fortresses, but they're also protected by walls of force and similar protection. Don't forget magically treated which doubles hardness and HP. No fortress is fully protected without protection from teleportation as well. Maybe some sort of ward against teleportation, with the requirement of dimensional anchor or similar magic.

    Of course, it could go even further than that. While fortresses might still exist, the unprecedented level of mobility allowed by fly and teleport probably means that combat more closely resembles modern combat than pre-Napoleonic. It would be extremely hard holding territory and battle lines would be extremely fluid.

    Demiplane
    Of course, why try to hold land when you can just create it? This isn't as fleshed out, but a once-a-year Genesis item wouldn't be all that expensive at all. One could also figure out a way of blocking extraplanar travel in a way similar to blocking teleportation - perhaps it would only be opened to extraplanar travel at certain times (known only to people loyal to the ruler of the demiplane) or in certain places of the demiplane.

    Building a Better Warrior
    The bad part of having soldiers is that they take so long to train if you want them to be any good. Plus, the common man starts to get upset when his friends and brothers start dying in wars in far-off lands. So why bother with having a normal army at all? You could always use animated undead. However, while using the decaying corpses of your former subjects is rather metal, it does tend to raise certain hackles. You could entirely avoid ethical issues by using animate object and some sort of once-a-day permanency. You would still need commanders in the field, of course, unless you just tell the horde to "Kill everything in the 100 by 100 mile area over there".

    If you don't want to entirely replace your soldiers, you can supplement them with items that summon monsters. A squad of 10 soldiers isn't that intimidating. A squad of 10 soldiers supplemented by 20 to 50 dog-sized scorpions is, however, especially when they can immediately replace any scorpion that dies.

    Of course, that's not all. Judicious use of alter self, polymorph, the form of ... line and bite of ... line can turn even a peasant into a killing machine pretty quickly. Once again, the only limit is cost - which is definitely not an insurmountable one.

    Next, a ruler can use acquired templates like half-golem to enhance their warriors. Obviously, such things should be dealt with judiciously. Half-golem is going to turn a certain percentage of your soldiers into uncontrolled killers, but it's going to turn the rest of them into highly magic-resist, supernaturally strong killers so thems the breaks. Plus, there's no telling what sort of magical advances could be made if a nation starts doing research into improving half-golems.

    Speaking of improvement, the clockwork armor is an amazing item with flaws that are very much overcomeable. You definitely wouldn't outfit an armor with them, but they would work very well improving "commandos" or other special forces.

    Alchemy
    The knight did not last long after the invention of the gun. While most weapons couldn't penetrate full plate, any old peasant could pick up a gun and be reasonably deadly with it. And there were a lot of peasants. Now, replace the gun with a flamethrower. Alchemist fire is pretty inexpensive to make and it has the bonus of being non-magical, which means not crafting XP required. Hand-pump flamethrowers aren't all that hard to make, either. While such primitive flamethrowers wouldn't have the tremendous range of modern flamethrowers, they probably have comparable range with primitive firearms. Plus, it's harder to miss with a flamethrower.

    Cloudkill
    Of course, peasant armies auto-fail to cloudkill, so get ready to see something that approximates World War I gas warfare as well.

    Unlimited Power
    Waterwheel meet decanter of endless water. If you're worried about flooding, get a well of many worlds or just teleport it into the ocean or outer space or something.



    Well, I'm starting to run out of steam. One last thing to note is that I haven't set the tone of the game on the GRIMDARK scale. Such a campaign could run from Star Trek-level utopianism to Heavy Metal GRIMDARK.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    Default Re: Magitech D&D

    I am still working on all the game details, but I had an idea where alchemical runes slammed together with the right catalyst would do something special, depending on the catalyst and the size. The best catalyst is blood as it contains all the elements, the best blood is dragon blood.
    Air + Fire= Explosion
    Air + Water= Mist
    Air+ Earth = Distintigration
    Air+ Air =Wind
    Fire+ Water = Steam
    Fire + Air =Explosion
    Fire + Earth = Lava
    Fire + Fire =Heat
    Earth +Fire= Lava
    Earth +Water=Acid
    Earth + Air= Distintegration
    Earth + Earth = Rock
    Water +Fire =Steam
    Water+ Earth= Acid
    Water + Air= Mist
    Water+ Water= Flood

    Earth plus Air is popular in tunnelling and mining, painting one of the runes in blood on the exposed face. Fire+Water is popular for steam engines, giving an extra boost. You can make a time bomb with a clock, some spring powered hammers with runes of Air and Fire engraved on the faces, and a blood capsule between them.
    Last edited by Ravens_cry; 2011-04-03 at 03:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Magitech D&D

    Milling on this, the question become what do people do then?
    After acquiring the few items you need to cover the bases ( create food, clothing, maybe a rope trick ) what do you DO?

    I think the world would end up polarizing over ideals. Would it end up being a MAD world where no one could actually genocide anyone though? Wouldn't just kicking it in your perfect demi-plane be 'enough'?

    My mind just kind of devolves into Hedonism as the only logical course if people didn't end up crusading and blowing each other up.

    Gladiatorial Arenas of stupid epic proportions...cause why the hell not right. you can just rez whatever dies and rebuild whatever gets broken. Nation states having their own athletic teams, basically like football rivalries. ( would also been a good source of XP draining if you play by RAW )

    I do see an epic story arc though, the PCs speak with some ascetic's that have spent who knows how long thinking and observing. They do some tests and get let it what needs to happen. the god of magic has to die. To help you, the weakened gods of Death (poor dude almost never has guests anymore or if they do they are only stopping by for afternoon tea), god of nature ( only 'fun' foods being grown. over population and thus destruction of wilderness. ) ect.

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    Default Re: Magitech D&D

    It depends on how GRIMDARK it is, testpatternmih. On one hand, the powerful could enact stricts controls on who gets access to what magic and you're left with a huge, bitter underclass ruled over by immortal, unkillable lords. If it was more Star Trek-like utopia, there would still be conflict of some sort. After all, Star Trek has instant teleportation, the ability to create anything via replicators, and the ability to create Turning Test-passing AI holograms and they're still able to have interesting stories. Heck, could even run it as a comedy ala Paranoia.

    I do like the God of Death be very displeased, though.

    Whatever ends up happening, there's always going to be conflict. A certain set of people are not content with merely being happy - they have to be happier than everyone else. Plus, there's certain races which are cultural incapable of such an existence. The Neogi, for instance, would still try their best to enslave worlds. They wouldn't be happy until everything is owned and everybody is enslaved. Demons, devils, and other evil outsiders aren't going to just sit back.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    I can think of a way to get unlimited power that doesn't involve water: ring gate+pole. Put the ring gates directly over each other, the 'entrance' side up. Spread sovereign glue on one end of a pole, about 11 inches or so in diameter. Drop the pole into the entrance side of the bottom ring, and then let go of the top ring, so that the the pole coming out of it hits the other end of the pole, which has sovereign glue all over it.

    The pole is straight, but the ends are sovereign glued to each other. So the ring gates can't technically ever touch each other. Meanwhile, the pole falls forever, eventually reaching maximum velocity. I'm sure you can think of something you can do with that perpetual motion set-up.
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    A friend made a Decanter of Endless Water. He used planar binding to bind a fire elemental near it. Steeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaam Poweeeerrrrrr!

    I've built a Magitech universe in D&D, altering rules as prudent to make things work. The biggest difference is no XP needed for crafting and no more "Commoner" peasants! Most people reside in cities and work in major trade houses. Others adventure.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2011-04-04 at 06:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    I've built a Magitech universe in D&D, altering rules as prudent to make things work. The biggest difference is no XP needed for crafting and no more "Commoner" peasants! Most people reside in cities and work in major trade houses. Others adventure.
    I think I'm going to keep XP being usable for crafting, but add in things which can take the place of it. Magic items need to get their power from somewhere, after all. I guess it depends on what you think XP represents in terms of crafting.

    Could you post your rules or PM them to me or something? I'd be interested in reading them.


    Now, what would a campaign be without opponents? I mentioned the Neogi before and I like using them as potential antagonists. They have an alien culture and they have a plane-spanning empire already. I'd also like to bring in aspects of the Blood War, not as a direct obstacle but like a storm on the horizon. I'd also like to bring in Ethergaunts (Fiend Folio). These guys are pretty awesome and underused. Ancient world-conquerors who retreated to the Ethereal plane where they live in huge pyramids. The most relevant part is that they've been able to create mundane force manipulation - their etherblade can fire beams of "force" and it's entirely non-magical. I think this sort of tech has a lot of applications that could be developed for a game. Finally, I'm thinking of bringing in something similar to Spelljammer's Unhuman War. In Spelljammer, the Unhuman War as a war fought by elven and orcish bioarcanists. They created aberrations unseen by the planes. The two main ones I want to bring in are Bionoids (probably with a better name), which are essentially suits of living armor that bond to a host, and Witchlight Marauders, which are huge planet-eating aberrations. (I was thinking of bringing in Clockwork Horrors as well, but I've already got enough world-eaters here - maybe they could suffice as just a general nuissance and weaker as usually portrayed)

    I would gladly take a look at any race, monster, or concept anybody could suggest, especially anything which is not often touched upon by "base" D&D.
    "It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow."

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    EDIT: Wrong post. Still working on transferring Magitech D&D stuff to my computer.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2011-04-11 at 11:49 PM.
    My Complete Tome of Battle Maneuver & Stance Overhaul. Includes Falling Star, 2 other disciplines, and all 5 initiator base classes!

    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TooManySecrets View Post
    The two main ones I want to bring in are Bionoids (probably with a better name), which are essentially suits of living armor that bond to a host,
    Warforged re-fluffed? Just my take on that.
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