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    Default Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    One of, arguably the worst aspects of 3.5 is how dependent characters are on magic items. A few rare builds aside, every character winds up walking around with one or more kingdoms' worth of glowing bling dangling from their bodies. From grizzled warriors to scented dandies, from greedy wizards to kindly monks. Everyone. We hate it. We especially hate how many of those items are just making your numbers bigger. But it's not just a matter of getting rid of that wealth-- the game is balanced around having those items. And the game's inbuilt solution, Vow of Poverty, is even worse. What's a man to do?

    This.

    Variant Rules: Low-Magic Item Campaigns

    Level-Up Bonuses
    Starred (*) columns only apply to class levels.

    Feats: At first level, third level, and every subsequent third level, characters gain one feat of their choice. They may also retrain one feat of their choice; however, they must have been able to qualify for the new feat at the time they gained the original. For example, a 6th level fighter could select Power Attack for his 3rd level feat in place of Combat Expertise; however, he could no select Weapon Specialization, as he would not have been able to meet the prerequisite of “4 fighter levels” at the time.

    Variant- Downtime Retraining
    At the DM's discretion, characters can retrain one feat during any period of extended downtime, when they are not otherwise occupied by traveling, adventuring, or other stressful pursuits. This should require at least a week of regular training to accomplish, and perhaps as much as a month.

    *Competence Bonus: Characters gain a competence bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, armor class, saving throws, and initiative checks equal to one-third their class level, rounded down. If using a shield, double this bonus to armor class.

    *Bonus Feats: At 4th level, and every subsequent 4th level, characters gain a bonus [Gift] or [Knack] feat of their choice.

    Variant- Item-Based Gifts
    You may choose to have a [Gift] feat tied to a specific item, such as a magic ring or amulet. You only gain the benefits of the feat when wearing the item, but when you are, you are considered to be one level higher. You're attuned to the item-- no-one else can benefit from it, and it has no particular worth to anyone else. "Un-attuning" is part of the normal process of retraining feats. For someone else to benefit from the item, they must gain the appropriate [Gift] feat. At any point, you may complete a 12-hour ritual to internalize the ability, removing the item dependency but losing the level bonus.

    Ability Boosts: At 2nd level, and every subsequent even-numbered level, characters may increase one of their ability scores by two. This bonus may not be applied to the same ability score twice in a row. At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels, they increase all ability scores by one.

    Advanced Techniques: All characters learn certain advanced fighting techniques as they increase in level:
    Beginning at 6th level, attacks have a 50% chance to strike incorporeal or ethereal targets.
    Beginning at 12th level, attacks have a 50% chance to bypass hardness and damage reduction.
    Beginning at 18th level, attacks have a 50% chance of dealing lethal damage to creatures with regeneration.

    Wealth By Level: Recommended WBL should be significantly reduced from what's listed in the DMG-- maybe 1/5 what the table says (at least for magic items).

    Other Rules
    • Magic items that give permanent enhancement or resistance bonuses don't exist. (Items that gave them in addition to other abilities, such as unique weapons and armor, instead grant only the special abilities, and have prices adjusted accordingly)
    • Magic weapons and armor do not (and cannot) start with a +1 enhancement before applying special enhancement properties.
    • Spells such as magic weapon and magic fang that grant enhancement bonuses have their duration reduced to 1 round/level.
    • Class abilities that grant enhancement bonuses to weapons (Such as the soulknife's) instead grant special enhancement properties.
    • Vow of Poverty only grants the Exalted bonus to AC, Endure Elements, and Sustenance. All other benefits are redundant.



    Table:
    Level Feats Competence Bonus* Bonus Feats* Advanced Techniques Ability Boosts
    1 1st
    2 1st
    3 2nd +1
    4 1st 2nd
    5 All +1
    6 3rd +2 Strike Insubstantial 3rd
    7
    8 2nd 4th
    9 4th +3
    10 5th, All +1
    11
    12 5th +4 3rd Ignore DR 6th
    13
    14 7th
    15 6th +5 All +1
    16 4th 8th
    17
    18 7th +6 Bypass Regeneration 9th
    19
    20 5th 10th, All +1

    New Feat Types: [Gift] and [Knack].
    [Gift] and [Knack] feats are particularly powerful feats. They often represent not just normal training, but extraordinary, even supernatural powers and mutations. [Gift] feats are all Supernatural abilities, while [Knack] feats are all Extraordinary, unless otherwise mentioned.

    [Gift] and [Knack] feats
    Feat Prerequisites Type Benefit
    Aquatic Touch Level 3 Knack You gain a swim speed equal to your base land speed.
    Ascetic Gift Level 3 Gift You no longer need food, drink, or sleep.
    Fast as Thought Level 3 Knack Your base land speed increases.
    Ghost Warrior Level 3 Gift Your weapons and armor gain the ghost touch property.
    Hero's Courage Level 3 Knack You gain immunity to fear.
    Quick to Act Level 3 Knack Gain an insight bonus to initiative checks equal to half your BAB.
    Scale the Walls Level 3 Knack You gain a climb speed equal to your base land speed.
    See the Shadow Level 3 Gift You can see perfectly even in pitch blackness.
    Strong Back Level 3 Knack You may carry five times as much weight as normal without penalty.
    Touch of Mercy Level 3 Gift Heal wounds with a touch.
    Aquatic Embrace Level 6, Aquatic Touch Gift You gain the ability to breathe underwater, and ignore penalties as though under the effects of a freedom of movement spell.
    Cassandra's Heir Level 6 Gift You gain occasional glimpses of the future. (Omen of Peril, Divination, Foresight)
    Conservative Caster Level 6 Knack Occasionally cast spells without expending .
    Dwarven Delver Level 6 Knack You gain a burrow speed equal to your base land speed.
    Energy Attunement Level 6 Gift You gain resistance to one energy type, and your weapons deal +1d6 energy damage.
    Iron Gut Level 6 Knack You gain immunity to poisons, disease, and nausea
    Knowledge Reservoir Level 6 Gift Turn any item into a virtual book.
    Mystic Dabbler Level 6 Gift You may choose a single spell to cast as a spell-like ability several times per day.
    Powerful Stature Level 6 Knack You count as one size category when beneficial.
    Secret Reserve Level 6 Gift You're immune to detect thoughts, discern lies, zone of truth, and attempts to magically discern your alignment.
    Slight Stature Level 6 Knack You count as one size category smaller when beneficial.
    Unstoppable Mind Level 6 Knack You gain immunity to charm and compulsion effects.
    Improved Fortitude Level 6 Knack Take no effect on a successful Fortitude save.
    Improved Reflex Level 6 Knack You gain Evasion.
    Improved Will Level 6 Knack Take no effect on a successful Will save.
    Skill Mastery Level 6, Skill Focus Knack When making skill checks, roll twice and take the better result.
    Aerial Embrace Level 9 Gift You gain a fly speed equal to your base land speed.
    Feel the Air Level 9 Gift You gain blindsense.
    Feel the Earth Level 9 Gift You gain tremorsense.
    Following Dark Level 9 Gift You gain concealment.
    Giant Growth Level 9 Gift You may increase your size.
    Hero's Resilience Level 9 Knack You gain damage reduction.
    Hero's Vitality Level 9 Gift You gain fast healing.
    Impervious Body Level 9 Knack You gain a chance to negate critical hits and sneak attacks.
    Infinite Pocket Level 9 Gift You may access a small extradimensional space.
    Metamagic Specialist Level 9 Knack You may freely apply metamagic to low-level spells a few times per day.
    Perfect Step Level 9, Scale the Walls Gift You may walk on any surface as though it were solid ground.
    Prolific Caster Level 9 Knack You may cast twice as many low-level spells.
    See the Unseen Level 9 Gift You may see invisible creatures and magic auras.
    Speak to the World Level 9 Gift You may speak and understand all languages.
    Sprite Shrinking Level 9 Gift You may decrease your size.
    Temporary Genius Level 9 Gift Gain temporary access to another Gift or Knack
    Trollslayer Level 9 Knack Your attacks disrupt regeneration and healing
    Warp Step Level 9 Gift You can teleport short distances as a move action.
    Borrow Form Level 12 Gift You may assume a single alternate form.
    Energy Blessing Level 12, Energy Attunement Gift You gain immunity to one energy type, and are healed when exposed to it.
    Expanded Mind Level 12 Gift You gain telepathy.
    Ethereal Instability Level 12 Gift You may flicker between the Material and Ethereal Planes.
    Mystic Inspiration Level 12 Knack Cast different spells a few times per day.
    True Sight Level 12 Gift Gain temporary true seeing at the cost of taking Wisdom damage.
    Iron Defiance Level 12 Knack Take nonlethal damage instead of being dazed or stunned.
    Know the Air Level 12, Feel the Air Gift Your blindsense improves to blindsight.
    Master of Defense Level 12 Knack Opponents have a miss chance when attempting to strike you.
    Planar Step Level 12, Warp Step Gift You may travel from plane to plane.
    Will to Live Level 12 Knack Take nonlethal damage instead of death effects.
    Burrowing Mind Level 15, Expanded Mind Gift You may read thoughts and influence people using your telepathy.
    Earthglide Level 15, Dwarven Delver Gift You can swim through earth and stone like an earth elemental, and don't need to breathe while underground.
    Endless Step Level 15, Warp Step Gift You may teleport long distances a few times per day.
    Hero's Immortality Level 15, Hero's Vitality Gift You gain regeneration
    Hidden Fate Level 15 Gift You become undetectable to divination spells.
    Indomitable Will Level 15 Gift Take nonlethal damage instead of being affected by mind-affecting effects.

    Aquatic Touch [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit
    : You gain a swim speed equal to your base land speed. This grants you a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. You can always can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. You may use the run action while swimming, provided you swim in a straight line.

    Ascetic Gift [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You do not need to eat, drink, or sleep. You still must rest for eight hours to prepare or regain spells, if applicable, although you may perform light duties such as reading or standing guard.

    Fast as Thought [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You gain a five foot bonus to base land speed. At 6th level, and every subsequent third level, this bonus increases by five feet. (+10ft at 6th level, +15ft at 9th level, and so on).

    Ghost Warrior[Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: Any weapon you wield, including natural weapons and unarmed strikes, deals damage normally to incorporeal creatures. The bonuses from any armor or shield you wear, and any natural armor you possess, count against attacks by insubstantial creatures-- although attacks designated as touch attacks bypass these categories normally. You may also touch incorporeal creatures as though they were solid.

    Hero’s Courage [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You gain immunity to fear, magical or otherwise.

    Quick to Act [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You gain an insight bonus to initiative checks equal to one-half your base attack bonus.

    Scale the Walls [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You gain a climb speed equal to your base land speed. This grants you a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. You must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC of more than 0, but you can always choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. You retain your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus on their attacks against you while you climb.

    See the Shadow [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You can see without penalty in all types of darkness, including magical darkness.

    Strong Back [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: You can carry five times as much as a creature with your Strength could normally carry. Multiply the values for light, medium, and heavy loads by five.

    Touch of Mercy[Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 3
    Benefit: As a standard action, you may grant one touched ally fast healing equal to their Constitution modifier for one minute. You may use this Gift once per day per class level.

    Aquatic Embrace [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6, Aquatic Touch
    Benefit: You can breathe water freely, as though under the effects of a water breathing spell, and move and attack normally underwater, as though under the effects of a freedom of movement spell. You count as having the [Aquatic] subtype.

    Cassandra’s Heir [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You have a small gift for prophecy. You may use Omen of Peril (Spell Compendium) as a spell-like ability three times per day, with a caster level equal to your character level. Beginning at 10th level, you may instead use Divination, and beginning at 15th level, you may use Foresight. All these spell-like abilities share the same pool of three daily uses.

    Conservative Caster [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: Whenever you cast a spell or manifest a power, you may choose to do so conservatively. If you do, there is a 10% chance that you do not have to pay for it. Spontaneous casters do not expend a spell slot, prepared casters do not expend the prepared spell, and manifesters do not expend power points. This feat may only provide a number of free spell or power levels per day equal to half your caster or manifester level, rounded up.

    Dwarven Delver [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain a burrow speed equal to your base land speed. You can tunnel through dirt with your bare hands, or rock if using a tool whose hardness is greater than that of the stone you’re trying to dig through. You always leave a tunnel.

    Energy Attunement [Type]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain resistance to one type of energy (acid, cold, electricity, fire, force, or sonic) equal to twice your character level. In addition, any weapon you wield, including natural weapons and unarmed strikes, deals an additional 1d6 damage of the same energy type you have resistance to.

    Iron Gut [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain immunity to poison, disease, and nausea.

    Mystic Dabbler [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: Pick a single cleric, druid, or sorcerer/wizard spell of a level equal to or less than one-third your character level (rounded down). You may use that spell as a spell-like ability three times per day, with a caster level equal to your character level, and a save DC of 10+1/2 your character level + your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier (your choice when you select the feat).
    Special: Whenever you gain a new feat, you may select a different spell to use as a spell-like ability.

    Knowledge Reservoir [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You may designate any item you possess as a Knowledge Reservoir. A Knowledge Reservoir is a sort of virtual book, containing 50 pages worth of knowledge per character level. Normally, only you can use your Knowledge Reservoir, although you can allow other characters to do so for a set amount of time. A Knowledge Reservoir has two functions:[/B]
    • You may fill pages with academic knowledge. For every 10 pages filled in this manner, you gain a +1 competence bonus to a single category of Knowledge checks, with a maximum bonus equal to your character level. You may make checks untrained if you have appropriate information in your Knowledge Reservoir. You must draw on an outside source, such as a library or another character, to do so. However, to gain access to the bonus, you must take a full-round access to search through the information contained therein.
    • You may fill pages with spells. When used this way, a Knowledge Reservoir works exactly like a spellbook, except that it only costs one-tenth the normal amount to scribe spells in a Knowledge Reservoir.

    Special: You may take this feat multiple times, creating a new Knowledge Reservoir each time.

    Powerful Statue [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain the Powerful Build special quality.
    Whenever you’re subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), you’re treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to you. You’re also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect you. You can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, your space and reach remain those of a creature of your actual size. The benefits of this feat stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change your category. You also count as one size category larger when qualifying for feats, prestige classes, and so on.

    Secret Reserve [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: Your alignment cannot be detected by any form of divination, and you cannot be affected by Detect Thoughts, Discern Lies, Zone of Truth, or any effects based on those spells.

    Skill Mastery [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6, Skill Focus
    Benefit: When making checks with the skill you have Skill Focus in, you may roll twice and take the better result.
    Special: You may choose this feat multiple times, once for every skill you take Skill Focus in.
    G&G Variant: If using Giants and Graveyards houserules, this feat instead grants an Insight bonus equal to one-half your character level, rounded down.

    Slight Stature [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain the Slight Build special quality. Whenever you’re subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as Hide), you’re treated as one size smaller if doing so is advantageous to the character. You’re also considered to be one size smaller when "squeezing" through a restrictive space. You can use weapons designed for a creature one size smaller without penalty. However, your space and reach remain those of a creature of their actual size. The benefits of this feat stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject's size category. You also count as one size category smaller when qualifying for feats, prestige classes, and so on.

    Unstoppable Mind [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain immunity to Charm and Compulsion effects.

    Improved Fortitude [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: When you make a successful Fortitude saving throw against an effect that normally has a partial effect on a successful save, you instead take no effect.

    Improved Reflex [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: You gain the Evasion special ability. When you make a successful Reflex saving throw against an effect that normally has a partial effect on a successful save, you instead take no effect.

    Improved Will [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 6
    Benefit: When you make a successful Will saving throw against an effect that normally has a partial effect on a successful save, you instead take no effect.

    Perfect Step [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9, Scale the Walls
    Benefit: You can walk on any tangible surface as though it were flat, solid ground— water, walls, ceilings, and so on, as though making a DC 100 Balance check. You also gain immunity to grease and similar effects.

    Aerial Embrace [Varies]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You gain a Fly speed equal to your base land speed. This ability manifests in one of two ways:
    • You grow wings, granting you Extraordinary flight with Average maneuverability.
    • You gain powers of levitation, granting you Supernatural flight with Perfect maneuverability.

    Special: This feat may be either a [Gift] or [Knack] feat. If you choose wings, it’s a [Knack] feat. If you choose levitation, it’s a [Gift] feat.

    Feel the Air [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You gain blindsense out to a distance of 5 feet per character level.

    Feel the Earth [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You gain tremorsense out to a distance of 10 feet per character level. At 15th level, you may target creatures you sense with perfect accuracy, as though you could see them with your eyes.

    Following Dark [Gift][/U]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: Shadows follow and cling to you, granting you concealment. At 18th level, this improves to total concealment. Character capable of seeing in magical darkness ignore this concealment, and a light spell with a caster level equal to or greater than your character level deactivates and suppresses this ability for 1d4 rounds. You may activate or deactivate this ability as a swift action.

    Giant Growth [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: As a swift action, you may increase your size by one size category, gaining the benefits and penalties described in the Monster Manual’s “Improving Monsters” chapter. You may return to your original size as a swift action, or when knocked out. This growth does not stack with Powerful Build, enlarge person, or similar such effects. Beginning at 15th level, you may increase your size by one or two size categories.

    Hero’s Resilience [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You gain Damage Resistance/— equal to one-half your character level, rounded down.

    Hero’s Vitality [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You gain Fast Healing equal to one-third your character level, rounded down.

    Impervious Body [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on you, there is a 5% chance per character level that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is rolled normally.

    Infinite Pocket [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You can activate a small extradimensional holding space, with a volume of 5 cubic feet per character level. Accessing this space is a swift action that provokes attacks of opportunity, or a move action that does not. Objects stored inside have no weight. Living creatures inside the space have ten minutes worth of air, refreshed whenever you open the space.

    Metamagic Specialist [Knack][/U]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: Select one metamagic feat you possess, with a spell level modification of three or less. Three times per day, you may apply it to a spell you know without increasing the casting time. You may only use this feat to benefit spells whose level is at least half that of the highest level spell you could cast, rounded down. Thus, a 10th level Wizard could apply his metamagic feat to a 1st or 2nd level spell, but not a 3rd.
    Special: You may take this feat multiple times, selecting a new metamagic feat you possess each time.

    Prolific Caster [Knack][/U]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You may cast twice as many 1st-level spells as normal for a member of your class. Apply this benefit before calculating bonus spells from a high ability score. However, all spells of that level take a -1 penalty to spell save DC and caster level.
    Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time you do, it applies to the next highest level of spells— 2nd level spells the second time you take the feat, 3rd level spells the third time, and so on.
    Special 2: This feat functions slightly differently for manifesters. Instead of doubling their spells per day, when manifesting powers of an affected level, they only need to pay half as many pp as normal (rounded up).

    See the Unseen [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You can see invisible creatures and magic auras as though under the effects of see invisibility and arcane sight spells.

    Speak to the World [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You may speak and understand all languages, as though under the effects of a tongues spell.

    Spite Shrinking [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: As a swift action, you may decrease your size by one size category, gaining the benefits and penalties described in the Monster Manual’s “Improving Monsters” chapter. You may return to your original size as a swift action, or when knocked out. This reduction does not stack with Slight Build, reduce person, or similar such effects. Beginning at 15th level, you may decrease your size by one or two size categories.

    Temporary Genius[Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: As a standard action, you may trade this feat for another [Gift] or [Knack] feat for one hour. You must meet all qualifications for this temporary feat; however, when doing so, your character level is treated as though it was two-thirds normal (rounded down). Thus, a 9th level character could Unstoppable Mind (requiring a character level of 6), but not Infinite Pocket (requiring a character level of 9). You may use this ability once per day for every 5 character levels you possess.

    You may not select a feat which requires a choice upon acquiring, such as Mystic Dabbler or Mystic Inspiration.

    Trollslayer [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: You may deal lethal damage to creatures with regeneration. Any creature you strike must make a Fortitude save, with a DC equal to the damage, or by unable to heal by any means for one round. If the creature succeeds on its save, it cannot be affected by that aspect of this ability again for the remainder of the round, although your attacks still may bypass its regeneration.

    Warp Step [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 9
    Benefit: As a move action, you may teleport a distance equal to your base land speed. You always arrive at exactly the spot desired—whether by simply visualizing the area or by stating direction. You may bring objects along, as long as their weight doesn’t exceed your maximum load, but not creatures. If you arrive in a place that is already occupied by a solid body, you take 1d6 points of damage and are shunted to a random open space on a suitable surface within 100 feet of the intended location.

    Borrow Form [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: As a swift action, you may transform into a single alternate form, as though using the polymorph spell. This form must have a number of hit die and challenge rating equal to or less than your character level.
    Special: Whenever you gain a new feat, you may select a different form.

    Energy Blessing [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12, Energy Attunement
    Benefit: You gain immunity to the energy type you chose with your Energy Attunement spell. Whenever you would be damaged by that type of energy, you instead heal for half the amount of damage.

    Ethereal Instability [Gift][/U]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: You continually flicker between the Material and Ethereal Planes, as though under the effects of a blink spell. You may activate or deactivate this ability as a swift action.

    Expanded Mind [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: You gain telepathy with a range of 100 feet. In addition, you may detect and pinpoint non-mindless creatures within range of your telepathy, although creatures detected this way are still considered to have total concealment unless you can perceive them another way.

    Mystic Inspiration [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: Pick one spell per four character levels. These spells must be of a level you can cast, but can come from the spell list of any class with an equal or greater maximum spell level. (Thus, a Bard could select a Cleric spell, but not a Ranger spell). If a spell appears on multiple lists, use the highest level it is listed under. Three times per day, you may expend one of your spells to cast one of the selected spells of an equal or lesser level.
    Special: Each time you level up, you may select different spells. You may take this feat multiple times, gaining new spells each time.

    True Sight [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: As an immediate action, you may gain the benefits of true seeing and analyze dweomer,, as the spells, and an insight bonus to Spot and Search checks, for as long as you wish. At the end of each round that the effectis active, you must make a DC 20 Will save or take a point of Wisdom damage.

    Iron Defiance [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: When you would be dazed or stunned, you instead take 2d6 nonlethal damage for each round that you would have been dazed or stunned.

    Master of Defense [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: Opponents attacking you with ranged or melee weapons or weaponlike spells suffer a miss chance equal to your character level.
    G&G Variant: If using Giants and Graveyards houserules, the miss chance from this feat stacks with that granted by wielding a shield.

    Know the Air [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12, Feel the Air
    Benefit: Your blindsense improves to blindsight.

    Planar Step [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12, Warp Step
    Benefit: You may travel from plane to plane as though using a plane shift spell. However, when doing so, you spend 1d4 hours traversing the Astral Plane in order to reach your destination.

    Will to Live [Knack]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 12
    Benefit: When you would be affected by a death effect, you may instead take 5d6 nonlethal damage.

    Burrowing Mind [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 15, Expanded Mind
    Benefit: You may use Detect Thoughts, Charm Person, and Suggestion as spell-like abilities usable at will, targeting creatures you can perceive with your telepathy. These abilities have a caster level equal to your character level, and a save DC of 10+1/2 your character level + your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier (your choice when you select the feat).

    Earthglide [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 15, Dwarven Delver
    Benefit: You gain the Earthglide ability of an Earth Elemental. You may glide through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. Your burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing your burrowing self flings you back 30 feet, stunning you for 1 round unless it succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save. In addition, you do not need to breathe while underground.

    Endless Step [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 15, Warp Step
    Benefit: You may use teleport as a spell-like ability three times per day, with a caster level equal to your class level. Afterwards, you and any creatures who travelled with you are dazed for 1d4 rounds.

    Hero’s Immortality [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 15, Hero’s Vitality
    Benefit: Your fast healing improves to regeneration, bypassed by one special material of your choice.

    Hidden Fate [Gift]
    Prerequisite: Character Level 15
    Benefit: You cannot be detected by divination spells or effects.

    Indomitable Will [Knack]
    Prerequisite:
    Character Level 15
    Benefit: When you would be affected by a mind-affecting effect, you may instead take 5d6 nonlethal damage.

    -------------

    This Fix and Tiers
    This method treats all classes the same, in accordance with my principle of "if you want to balance classes, use proper class rewrites." If you want, though, you can alter the progression of bonus feats to serve as a sort of balancing mechanism:

    Class Bonus Feat Progression
    Tier 1 One feat every tenth level
    Tier 2 One feat every fifth level
    Tier 3 One feat every fourth level
    Tier 4 One feat every third level
    Tier 5 One feat every odd-numbered level, starting at third
    Tier 6 One feat per level, starting at second level

    ------------------
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2014-07-19 at 10:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Why a competence not an enhancement bonus? Enhancement is what you're replacing from the stats that gain those bonuses, except initiative.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by ddude987 View Post
    Why a competence not an enhancement bonus? Enhancement is what you're replacing from the stats that gain those bonuses, except initiative.
    Competence bonuses are due to exceptional skills. Enhancement bonuses are due to magic. You're not enchanting anything as you level up, you're just that good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I was skeptical, but this might actually be sufficient. The base numbers are tuned really high but the bonus gifts/knacks are relatively few so even if some guy one-ups your whole build he shouldn't have as many other options. It still irks me with the lack of liquid ability, where if you need something to overcome a challenge you have to go fight crocs in the swamp until you level up or something, instead of trading some of your loot or even a major item to get someone to part with what you need. The latter assumes that such a merchant exists, but the former leaves you with just pure metagaming. Lacking the various rods and wondrous gadgets you'll have a lot of things you can't do unless you spam the spell duplication option, same with any effects shorter than "all the time."

    Biggest problem is that competence bonus type though, since it stacks with almost everything. Magic Weapon/Vestment and Resistance spells just shot ridiculously far up in power, normally being marginalized pretty quick by cheap items they now stack on top of an already cutting edge bonus (1/3 levels is faster than GMW and MV as I'm sure you're aware). A party with this variant, a bard or some Heroics/Good Hope, and the above spells will have numbers=yes along with the permanent abilities offered by most gifts/knacks.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Competence bonuses are due to exceptional skills. Enhancement bonuses are due to magic. You're not enchanting anything as you level up, you're just that good.
    Are you worried that these will stacking with spells like Cat's Grace and similar will bring players above the normal power level? I thought Christmas-tree-mitigation was only to make players buy more interesting gear than +X to Y.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Magic Weapon/Vestment and Resistance spells just shot ridiculously far up in power, normally being marginalized pretty quick by cheap items they now stack on top of an already cutting edge bonus (1/3 levels is faster than GMW and MV as I'm sure you're aware).
    I believe the point of "cutting down the christmas tree" is such +X to Y items do not exist and/or are very rare. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    I was skeptical, but this might actually be sufficient. The base numbers are tuned really high but the bonus gifts/knacks are relatively few so even if some guy one-ups your whole build he shouldn't have as many other options. It still irks me with the lack of liquid ability, where if you need something to overcome a challenge you have to go fight crocs in the swamp until you level up or something, instead of trading some of your loot or even a major item to get someone to part with what you need. The latter assumes that such a merchant exists, but the former leaves you with just pure metagaming. Lacking the various rods and wondrous gadgets you'll have a lot of things you can't do unless you spam the spell duplication option, same with any effects shorter than "all the time."
    Eh, that's always the trade-off with variant rules like this. Think about it this way: the adventure becomes "how do we use our abilities to address the challenge," rather than "what do we buy to address the challenge?"

    Quote Originally Posted by ddude987 View Post
    Are you worried that these will stacking with spells like Cat's Grace and similar will bring players above the normal power level? I thought Christmas-tree-mitigation was only to make players buy more interesting gear than +X to Y.


    I believe the point of "cutting down the christmas tree" is such +X to Y items do not exist and/or are very rare. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
    You're correct on the +X items-- I knew I was forgetting something in the OP.
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    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
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    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    You're correct on the +X items-- I knew I was forgetting something in the OP.
    I only assumed because the group I play with always uses these rules
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Eh, that's always the trade-off with variant rules like this. Think about it this way: the adventure becomes "how do we use our abilities to address the challenge," rather than "what do we buy to address the challenge?"
    Yeah, but if you have a party without a full wizard or cleric there are things that they cannot do without liquid magic items: they have no abilities that can address the challenge. But that's only a problem if the DM isn't paying attention to the party composition so it's a moot point for these purposes.

    The new edits should be sufficient, I had just assumed no magic items at all so I didn't think about removing those bonuses. Crafting feats held in check by the lack of money then?
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I think good way for Low-Magic-Item Rules goes something like this:
    1) Gestalt every character for free with a Magic of Incarnum class.
    2) Give them benefits of Vow of Poverty for free, with two changes: no drawbacks and Bonus feats can be of any type.

    Your solution only does the second one. This means that the options your characters have are going to be limited and a lot of enemies are going to be out of their reach.

    Try to add some way to switch your bonus feats around, the way Incarnum characters can reshape/rebind their Soulmelds or redistribute the Essentia invested.

    And if you have no magic items, Wealth By Level should be eliminated entirely.
    Last edited by SinsI; 2014-06-24 at 01:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I finally had the time to read all the gift and knack feats, and I like them. Are they designed to fully replace magic items in a campaign or go along with magic items?
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by ddude987 View Post
    I finally had the time to read all the gift and knack feats, and I like them. Are they designed to fully replace magic items in a campaign or go along with magic items?
    Mmm. The hope is that, when paired with a well-designed (tier ~3) class/build, you'd be item independent, and wouldn't need any magic items to deal with level-appropriate challenges. Magic items could be handed out, and would add new capabilities, but they wouldn't be necessary to function.

    So I guess the question, as SinsI raises it, is "are were there?" Assuming that we've got a party of, oh,
    • A Psychic Warrior
    • A Factotum
    • A Dread Necromancer
    • A Bard

    Would they be crippled without magic items? With 1/5 WBL on top of these bonuses?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
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    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
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    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    With Borrow Form, does the alternate form advance alongside my main form? Like if I choose a Babau as an alternate form at level 7, then advance to level 8, would my Babau form get to advance a hit die?

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Durazno View Post
    With Borrow Form, does the alternate form advance alongside my main form? Like if I choose a Babau as an alternate form at level 7, then advance to level 8, would my Babau form get to advance a hit die?
    No, although when in Babau form you'd benefit from your improved hit points, BAB, skill ranks and such.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I haven't read all the Gifts and Knacks yet, but I think the basic idea works. Well done.

    I had a similar idea a while ago that I wanted to write down at some point, though I wanted to use a specific resource called "Mana" for it. As in, the mythological concept, not generic videogame magic points.

    Players, by levelling, gain mana points. Basically "importance or influence in the world" or "fate". Everyone can spend mana to increase their charisma, but by levelling (and potentially spending feats and some bloodlines), one can also learn how to spend mana to increase other numerical values, making bound items better, binding magic to objects permanently (ala magic items) or, perhaps, even improve places, creating magical landscapes.

    This seems like it is, interestingly, both simpler and more versatile, in addition to being finished, so good job.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2014-06-25 at 06:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    A small nitpick and more serious issues.


    Instead of +2 to an ability score every 2 levels, make it +1 to an ability score at each level.
    More streamlined and gives better maneuvering room.



    Why the competence bonus?
    You already get competence by leveling.
    Why would a mage gain competence bonuses to athleticism when it's as far from his focus as one could think of?
    In my view, competence shouldn't be class-disassociated.



    But my primary issue is with the Knacks / Gifts.
    It's not a balance issue, but some of them really break suspension of disbelief.
    Take Strong Back for instance. Putting magical powers aside for a moment, 3rd level is well within the realm of RL human capabilities, yet traveling normally with a small car on your back is nowhere near the vicinity of mortal human realm - not even for the holder of the weight lifting world record.
    Same goes form Aquatic Touch and Dwarven Delver, which totally shatters everything we know about humanoid bio-mechanics.
    As for Ascetic Gift - IRL, no living organism can do that indefinitely. I could see it as a reasonable High-level monk feature (or for highly magical beings, such as warlocks), but not for other characters.
    The rest are high-leveled enough to be less problematic, I guess.


    And speaking of Knacks / Gifts . . . when proposing a new appropriate feat, how would I know if I should categorize if as [Knack] or [Gift] ?

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Instead of +2 to an ability score every 2 levels, make it +1 to an ability score at each level.
    More streamlined and gives better maneuvering room.
    Hmm, maybe...

    Why the competence bonus?
    Because it's not magic, so an enhancement bonus made no sense.

    You already get competence by leveling.
    Why would a mage gain competence bonuses to athleticism when it's as far from his focus as one could think of?
    In my view, competence shouldn't be class-disassociated.
    The class-based bonuses, are already factored into the classes. These are bonuses to things that are important to all adventurers.

    And speaking of Knacks / Gifts . . . when proposing a new appropriate feat, how would I know if I should categorize if as [Knack] or [Gift] ?
    Knacks are (Ex), Gifts are (Su). That's it, really. They can both have supernatural origins, if you prefer-- the distinction is in how they manifest in-game, is all. You could be "just that strong," or maybe you've got a bit of giant's blood in you, or maybe you've been hit by one too many bull's strength spells.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    So I guess the question, as SinsI raises it, is "are were there?" Assuming that we've got a party of, oh,
    • A Psychic Warrior
    • A Factotum
    • A Dread Necromancer
    • A Bard

    Would they be crippled without magic items? With 1/5 WBL on top of these bonuses?
    That team? They should be fine as long as they work as a team rather than a group of independents when picking their spells and powers known (generally a good idea anyway), but that's mostly because each of their classes is pretty independent and generalist already. Dread Necro has minions or tomb-tainted, Psy War probably has Vigor, and Factotum's positive energy should be enough healing, but the important thing is that they're all "casters" of some sort and can lean on the Factotum's spell-fakery when they don't have the right spells known.

    I'm more worried about what happens if you replace two of those slots with a Rogue and a Fighter. I don't take much stock in tier ratings since in my experience they don't mean jack in-game, but Rogue is supposedly tier-3 while having gaping holes in it's combat ability against undead/plants/constructs/etc, and people play Fighters all the time (and even a Warblade can't do much but fight). If the entire party is semi-casters then even with limited spells known they're likely to have a good number of options, but if the party is two mundanes and two semi-casters they do not have enough to work with (In my current game the party has about 1/2 a bard and a duskblade or so). Without wands a Bard can't keep up with out of combat healing, without a scroll shop or a runestaff even a Sorcerer has set list of problems he can and cannot solve. In fact, I'm sure that a lot of the "solid tier-3" builds out there (for non-divine casters) are absolutely relying on having Healing Belts and other cheap items available to fill in their gaps.

    Hmm, guess I've gotta be greedy. What I seem to be moving towards is not enough Knack/Gift feats. You've got a good list already, but there are still tons of items that don't have replacements, and if you want the system to work with any possible party you need to have the "items" available for any possible build. Particularly the cheapos that people take for granted; looking at the bottom rank of the list I'd actually end up taking the initiative bonus simply because the only other choice at that tier I care about is seeing in the dark, and seeing in the dark is a chump choice when every other race and monster already has darkvision. Sorcerers can't shore up their spells known without something to replace runestaves, non-divine casters don't have any out of combat healing without healing belts, non-initators can't beat DR, people who want to summon mounts or whatever can't do that (no Bag of Tricks or Figurines of Wondrous Power), and so on. There is the Mystic Dabbler gift, true, but if you could do everything that easy there'd be no items but wands. Just keep brewin' till the people stop complainin'.

    *Again, I'm assuming a goal of being usable without any magic items. The current list does replace most of the big things so you'd only have to manage a small list of normally cheap items that now become a large fraction of wealth, but also vastly more important since many can't be duplicated with knacks or gifts even as most conventional builds rely on them. I'm pretty sure I've seen homebrew classes that neglected this or that because it was a cheap item, even when they were supposed to be ultimate everything classes.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2014-06-26 at 03:30 AM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    You could certainly feel justified in handing out more bonus feats to lower-tier classes-- I noted as much at the bottom of the page. You make a fair point about low-cost items. Hmm... well, I can write some more feats. Can you?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Major Works:
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    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I like the fix. Seems well thought out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    That team? They should be fine as long as they work as a team rather than a group of independents when picking their spells and powers known (generally a good idea anyway), but that's mostly because each of their classes is pretty independent and generalist already. Dread Necro has minions or tomb-tainted, Psy War probably has Vigor, and Factotum's positive energy should be enough healing, but the important thing is that they're all "casters" of some sort and can lean on the Factotum's spell-fakery when they don't have the right spells known.

    I'm more worried about what happens if you replace two of those slots with a Rogue and a Fighter. I don't take much stock in tier ratings since in my experience they don't mean jack in-game, but Rogue is supposedly tier-3 while having gaping holes in it's combat ability against undead/plants/constructs/etc, and people play Fighters all the time (and even a Warblade can't do much but fight). If the entire party is semi-casters then even with limited spells known they're likely to have a good number of options, but if the party is two mundanes and two semi-casters they do not have enough to work with (In my current game the party has about 1/2 a bard and a duskblade or so). Without wands a Bard can't keep up with out of combat healing, without a scroll shop or a runestaff even a Sorcerer has set list of problems he can and cannot solve. In fact, I'm sure that a lot of the "solid tier-3" builds out there (for non-divine casters) are absolutely relying on having Healing Belts and other cheap items available to fill in their gaps.

    Hmm, guess I've gotta be greedy. What I seem to be moving towards is not enough Knack/Gift feats. You've got a good list already, but there are still tons of items that don't have replacements, and if you want the system to work with any possible party you need to have the "items" available for any possible build. Particularly the cheapos that people take for granted; looking at the bottom rank of the list I'd actually end up taking the initiative bonus simply because the only other choice at that tier I care about is seeing in the dark, and seeing in the dark is a chump choice when every other race and monster already has darkvision. Sorcerers can't shore up their spells known without something to replace runestaves, non-divine casters don't have any out of combat healing without healing belts, non-initators can't beat DR, people who want to summon mounts or whatever can't do that (no Bag of Tricks or Figurines of Wondrous Power), and so on. There is the Mystic Dabbler gift, true, but if you could do everything that easy there'd be no items but wands. Just keep brewin' till the people stop complainin'.

    *Again, I'm assuming a goal of being usable without any magic items. The current list does replace most of the big things so you'd only have to manage a small list of normally cheap items that now become a large fraction of wealth, but also vastly more important since many can't be duplicated with knacks or gifts even as most conventional builds rely on them. I'm pretty sure I've seen homebrew classes that neglected this or that because it was a cheap item, even when they were supposed to be ultimate everything classes.
    A note, the rogue is tier 4. Not tier 3.
    Last edited by Eldest; 2014-06-28 at 06:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I would make two additions to this fix.

    99% of the time, I am VERY skeptical about the various claims here that there will be creatures that players simply can't deal with at all. Given the lack of specific examples given here, I feel that I should qualify that statement with the following:

    Without any equipment, a team of four average CWar samurai, without magic items, can fight...
    • Underwater creatures. You may need Con checks and may have your damage reduced but being debuffed in a fight =/= being unable to fight.
    • Flying creatures. While they aren't the best option, you can used ranged weaponry. If they use flyby attack, you can ready an action to attack them when they try. If you can't use ranged weaponry and they aren't getting within range, players could seek cover to force the enemy closer in many environments.
    • Creatures with damage reduction. With Decent Str, the DR of most CR-appropriate creatures isn't too overwhelming. It may slow your damage a bit but most DR can be overcome even without preparations.
    • Fast creatures. Even if the creature has Earth glide, Spring Attack, and a tumble skill of +999, you can ready an action to attack the next thing that comes within range. If using ranged weaponry, the above applies as for flying.
    • Invisible creatures: while it is difficult, it is possible to pinpoint and fight invisible creatures without divinations.


    Nothing can fight a well-made caster, true, but saying that everyone needs the versatility of a caster to help make up for not everyone actually being a caster seems a bit nuts.


    There are only two things that really have to be instated if you're going without magic:
    1. At some point, weaponry needs to be counted as magical. With the rules as they are, any noncaster who doesn't choose ghost touch becomes worthless and helpless in a fight against incorporeal creatures. Even without that feat, noncasters deserve at least the basic 50% chance at some point.
    2. The rules for natural healing have to be revamped. If you didn't like healing surges making healers feel unnecessary in 4e, I can understand that.On the other hand, forcing a party with their WBL already reduced to 20% that they should use some of that on curative wands and potions is a bit crazy. In a game largely predicated on battle, something to soften the lethality may be a good boon.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2014-06-30 at 08:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Those are both excellent points. Thank you.

    I can make all weapons bypass DR/Magic at level... oh, call it level 5.

    As for vamping up natural healing... what do you suggest? Con Mod/hour? Level/hour? Con Mod*Level/Day? Grant some minor fast healing automatically? Link to some healing power-ups like this? (These are low-magic-item rules, but they aren't exactly for low magic settings-- Gifts and Knacks are pretty far from mundane)
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2014-06-30 at 09:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    As for bypassing incorporeality, your method is certainly functional, though I might suggest something like this for more regularity.

    Master Strike: Starting at 5th level, all physical attacks have a 50% chance of ignoring incorporeality (they must still hit their opponent).
    Starting at 10th level, all physical attacks have a 50% chance of ignoring damage reduction (other defenses like energy resistance are unaffected)
    Starting at 15th level, all physical attacks have a 50% chance of ignoring regeneration.
    If two or more of these abilities would apply to a single attack, roll once to determine if all of them or none of them apply.

    The above handles incorporeality, helps normal people handle DR without making it trivial, and makes it possible to fight creatures with regeneration (the only way I can think to do it that doesn't involve letting all players shoot energy blasts). Might be a bit too much, though.

    Healing is admittedly a giant can of worms due to hp healing vs. condition healing, though hp healing should be enough for most purposes. Maybe something like this?

    Enduring: You heal natural healing increases to 2 hp/character level each day, increasing to 5 hp/character level if wounded. While injured, you may press yourself harder to make it through a fight. Once per encounter, as a standard action, you may grant yourself temporary hit points equal to (half of your maximum hit points - your current hit points) (minimum 0). These temporary hit points last up to 5 rounds.

    In truth, though, anything from one of those boosts to a personal lay-on-hands to permanent fast healing to 4e-style healing surges would work. The above is just one possible mechanism.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2014-06-30 at 10:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I'm not being specific because I don't have anything specific, but I'm not just talking about fighting. The DMG makes a point of not expecting players to have things above their level, but the game still assume you have a wizard and cleric. Taking the Red Hand of Doom module for example, early on you're given a chance to destroy a bridge. The module hands you a scroll of Earthquake, and suggests you could use Stone Shape, but if you don't have a caster I guess it's time to break out the pickaxe and see how long it takes to chop down a bridge. Later you assault a fortress in the middle of a lake, but even if you approach under darkness the monsters all have darkvision, so you're gonna get hit with rocks before you land unless you build a submarine (or can magic your way around it). There are plenty of monsters with spell-like abilities you can't deal with: what about a Phase Spider or Mind Flayer that can plane shift away? (There's a plane shift ability on the list, but taking 1d4 hours means it's no good for a chase.) Even without spellcasting a Lich has permanent paralyisis. Mummy Rot can't be cured without specific magic. Curses can't be removed without specific magic. The DMG example is Wall of Force: cannot be bypassed without Disintegrate, and even if they party can't cast it the game assumes they can go buy a scroll or something at a high enough level.

    Eating the penalties for fighting underwater or flying enemies is fine and good, but there are plenty of non-monster problems that can only be solved with magic, and even if you can *fight* you can't necessarily *win* under those penalties.

    Am I being difficult? Yes. I'm a proponent of the incredibly unpopular idea that a spellcasters spell's aren't their own: because the game assumes you're casting Fly and Resist Energy on the Fighter so he can survive and Improved Invisility so the rogue can sneak attack. Since people don't like doing that magic item creep went to cover it, so if you want to replace all the magic items you gotta cover all the everything. And if the party has no casters they're even more screwed for fixing problems that require magic they don't have when they can't trade loot for it.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Fizban: I think that I can kind of see where you're coming from, though I admittedly don't agree with the core concept as a rule so I see it in a slightly dimmer light. Because casters have access to answers to every possible problem, people can use modules, monster manuals, and pre-made adventures of their own design without too much worry about things being "impossible". Magic items, meanwhile, 1) help casters (especially spontaneous casters) fill out any niggling holes in their arcane knowledge and 2) give the DM a tactically relevant form of fiat to give the players when a lack of some effect would stop the game (like the scroll of earthquake or the inevitable fire-resistant armor red dragons keep for some reason), with scrolls having the extra advantages of being one-shot items to get through one specific difficulty (not unbalancing the game as a whole) while giving an inventive player some agency.

    With this being the case, I have two further suggestions for the system:
    1. I suggest removing the magical dabbler and giving each player the ability to switch one knack or gift with another 1/day as a move action, giving advanced heroes some ability to react to the world around them without a DM needing to bring out fiat. Would also imitate the ability of players to sell items to get more as well, getting the full versatility of items. Alternately, maybe give everyone a single knack/gift slot that they can fill 1/day for 1 hour with any knack/feat they meet all prerequisites for.
    2. As doing a miniature spell effect may not address the same problems and situations as a particular spell, I might suggest (in the long-term) giving each knack and gift a "surge" ability usable 1/day, making it as effective as the spell it seeks to imitate (increased speed granting most/all benefits of haste for limited duration, planeshifting once as a standard action, etc), perhaps preventing you from trading out the knack for 24 hours.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2014-07-01 at 09:05 AM.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I acknowledge that no magic items would leave some holes, which is why I'm not advocating that. ~20% WBL should be more than enough to pick up your wands and scrolls and such. But I really don't think it's as big an issue as you're making it out to be. If you're worried about low-tier classes, grant them more bonus feats.

    Realms of Chaos, the temporary slot isn't a bad idea... maybe a Knack, "Temporary Genius." I'll also add in a Lay on Hands style Gift, to cover spamable healing. (Level times/day, grant touched target fast healing equal to their Con mod for 1 minute?)
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Thank you Realms, you made that into much more useful words than I've ever managed, and now I can quote that if it comes up again in the future

    Temporary Genius sounds like it should do the trick. For Lay on Hands, I've always preferred less calculation there: Guardinals just have Lay on Hands pool=my max hp, and while I've not seen it used in practice I figure that should be a good amount. Enough to top off if you fight conservatively and lose 25% per battle, or enough to emergency heal once and then get the heck out. Maybe let them pick weather to use con or cha or a flat number like the Healing Pool ACF clerics can get (I think it was a flat number?).

    I was meaning to actually step up and try writing some, but then I got bogged down in other threads and remembered why I don't usually forum: too much thread, not enough brew. I spend all my time arguing little points and burn out.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I acknowledge that no magic items would leave some holes, which is why I'm not advocating that. ~20% WBL should be more than enough to pick up your wands and scrolls and such. But I really don't think it's as big an issue as you're making it out to be. If you're worried about low-tier classes, grant them more bonus feats.

    Realms of Chaos, the temporary slot isn't a bad idea... maybe a Knack, "Temporary Genius." I'll also add in a Lay on Hands style Gift, to cover spamable healing. (Level times/day, grant touched target fast healing equal to their Con mod for 1 minute?)
    Well if you are going to give them WBL to buy wands and similar, they can buy wands of lesser vigor themselves, you don't have to make a feat for that. Then again... that is the point of the mitigation rules isn't it? I think there already is a feat for spammable healing, its a reserve feat that can put people up to half their max hp.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by ddude987 View Post
    Well if you are going to give them WBL to buy wands and similar, they can buy wands of lesser vigor themselves, you don't have to make a feat for that. Then again... that is the point of the mitigation rules isn't it? I think there already is a feat for spammable healing, its a reserve feat that can put people up to half their max hp.
    True, but I think that the problem here wasn't so much that "spammable healing should be a thing" so much as "noncaster parties should be able to access halfway decent noncombat healing in some way". As reserve feats are only accessible to spellcasters, it wouldn't really answer the central issue.
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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    True, but I think that the problem here wasn't so much that "spammable healing should be a thing" so much as "noncaster parties should be able to access halfway decent noncombat healing in some way". As reserve feats are only accessible to spellcasters, it wouldn't really answer the central issue.
    Pretty much this, yeah. (Though they do have the same name. Whoops)
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
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    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Low-Magic-Item Rules

    I just read post 1. I like the numerical boosts, and I think they look balanced (at a glance).

    Less cool with the gifts and knacks. Looks to me like noncasters would be constrained to grabbing all of the necessary item effects with their feats (3 levels for flight, 6 levels for mind blank, etc.) while casters just get a bunch of extra stuff for free.

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