Any DMs here prefer to run a low magic campaign? Why?

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It's interesting to me that 1e directly suggested magic items in the game be placed at least initially by hand, with no "Magic Stores"

2e did the same.

3e threw all that out the window, and in settings like FR, magic seems very common, in my mind, cheapening it's value as rare, wondrous, and "Magical"

I run a low magic game, because I don't want to have all the sorts of problems seen weekly in other "What's a DM to do?" threads when the game gets out of control.

Anyone here of like mind? Or run a low magic campaign?

Thanks for your input.
Wow, people who play Magical Teaparty Make-Believe Time bashing people who play Magical Live-Action Make-Believe Time? It's like I'm really on the Internet! - Rustmonster, commenting on RPGers vs. LARPers
I run a very low magic D&D game and generally would much rather play in low magic games. Why? Because low magic games are the only games with, well, magic. When there is a mighty wizard around every corner and a magic shop on every street then you don't have a world with magic in it - you have a weird sort of science fiction setting where magic is as common and accepted as modern people view a TV set.

I prefer a world where most people have never seen a magic user or a magical creature, where some people might not even believe in such things. I want a world where each magical item is legendary and has a name and a history. I want a world where when something supernatural happens its viewed with awe and possibly terror. I want a world where a medieval lifestyle and warfare is still a plausible way for things to be done.

I want a game where magic is magical, and a high magic game isn't like that at all. It cheapens magic in my opinion.
There were Magic stores in 2nd ED.
http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Encyclopedia-Advanced-Dungeons-Dragons/dp/1560765631/ref=wl_it_dp?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1X5X52FDZNKC1&colid=3RHE4WIT5VV04
Magic Encyclopedia, Vol. 1 (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition) (Paperback)
This wonderful book has an ambitious scope - not only does it have a well-detailed description of the first magic item-selling shop ever published by TSR, it also includes the gold piece and experience point values of thousands of magic items - with hundreds of illustrations to enhance play!


But then the DM could have them if he liked. Even in Greyhawk there were places where some magic could be bought. Nearly every 2nd ED game I was in you could buy potions and scrolls.

And of course, in 3.0/3.5 the DM does not have to have any Magic Shoppes if he so chooses.


However, no doubt, Magik Shoppes (where you could buy nearly anything) were not very common in pre-D20, and seem to be a part of the normal game in 3.5. Thus "Magik Shoppes" are certainly WAY more common in the later eds.

BUT- that does not equate to more magic, in fact the opposite. You may not have been able to BUY a +3 sword in 2nd ED, but you could certainly find them.

Just about ALL my 2nd Ed PC's have more magic items than my 3.5 PC's do. Sure, the items are more a mixed bag, as you might really want a Flaming Sword but instead find a +2 mace and just have to be happy with it. Folks who like LM often complain about the "golf bag full of magic swords"- but I have never seen this in 3.5 and actually had a PC with such a bag in 1st ED!

In fact I have several (below-20th level, but still quite high) PC's in 2nd ED who have a Ring of Elemental Command, something that no even my Epic level PC's have got their hands on in 3.5.

Just becuase there were few "Magik Shoppes" in 2nd ED does not mean that magic was rare, in fact the opposite.

Next- there's the weird idea that either you have Low Magic or you have Monty Haul High Magic. No, most campaigns are run with the wealth AROUND the DMG guidelines, which is "normal" or "middle of the road" magic.

Some DM's like Low Magic as they need to control the PC's. Few Players like Low Magic- of course that does not mean they might not like a particularly well run LM campaign.

If you really need LM, then run Iron Heroes. It is DESIGNED for super-low magic and is well balanced for it.
I also play almost exclusive low magic, low power games. Even in 3rd Ed D&D I avoid handing out magical items as if they were candy, as I find that doing so cheapens them. I don't like players calculating where they are in their "build" based on the magical items they have. I especially don't like players telling me that they are going to trade items in for items they "need."

Such a system really takes away from the enjoyability of the game. I find, in a way, it cheapens things. I hate to say this, as I fear this might come off as a flame, and I do not mean it as that, but I feel placing a money value on magic is the same as paying for romance, it turns those involved into cynical and jaded participants. Magic, like love, should be special, found in the heart, and not calculated on a spread sheet.

This is my opinion only, and is my view, on my feelings regarding the matter. This is not to imply anything, or to insult anyone. Nor should it be taken that way. If you find such a game enjoyable, then obviously you have not become cynical and jaded regarding the system, and thus, for you, it is from the heart. Not me though!

When I consider a character, a world, a campaign, or just design in general, I seek to do as much as possible without magic. The reason for this is that, I want to have explinations for why every field is not plowed with Unseen Servant. Magic, if over-represented, leads to more and more breakdowns in world continuity. Especially when you consider average human tendencies towards greed and consumption.

Example. A third level magic user gains the feat Craft Wonderous Item. With the backing of a local Lord, whose wealth comes from agriculture, he creates plows that basically push and direct themselves. Suddenly huge tracts of land can be plowed without the cost of human labor. He creates special door latches that ring silver bells in a guards barracks if they are tampered with. All of this can be done, by the rules as written, by a low level caster.

Given the prevalance of low level casters, again, by the rules as written, the question becomes, why has no Lord, or other reasonably smart person, attempted to do this? And if one were to do it, you can bet others would follow quickly. You can argue that magical items are expensive, but cost isn't something that stoped feudal lords, and the benefits would more then make up the costs.

This is what bugs me about modern D&D. Especially when you add in other features as well.

My first mage was a level 1 human wizard, no specialization. He had one spell per day, and a small spellbook. My DM and I choose spells out of the PHB and I had to roll a percentage chance to learn the spell. I failed on magic missile. I had shocking grasp, light, and a few others. How did I make up for it?

I carried oil and torches and would use them together to make burning missiles (not alchemist fire, just good ol oil). I carried a ball of twine and used it to set up alarms for us. Just attach a few pieces of metal and if you hear them clang together...

Basically I used my wits. I didn't use my stats, in fact, I often had to come up with ways of working around my stats. Was it sad not being able to blow everything out of the water? No.

Was it enjoyable? God yes. Best wizard I ever played, and that includes 3.x wizards. Sure some of the options are fun, but I find the game becomes all about your stats, and not about your character. And that is a shame, because when I design a character I'm done at first level. I expect the character to evolve. I'm not along for the "build," I'm there to see how this individual grows and develops in the world around them.

Sorry for the long rant, but it is all tied up together!

Rosisha
i like low magic, my current campaign uses it. it makes magic less of a cure-all. and does away with "bore through the walls" sort of shenanigans.
A good way of making a game low magic is to figure out who all of the mage's are and what they are doing. Don't let there be more than one or two in a city and those two should probably have a lot on their plate.

The mage's aren't sitting around being bored, they are working, and knowing what the wizards are doing will have a big impact on what the WORLD is doing.

If the mage's have stories, and the magic items have stories... that is a LOT OF WRITING... and you will find you can do with a lot less of them.

That is how I do it, for the most part. I love low magic because, like it was said, if it is everywhere, the game becomes some sort of bizarre science fiction.
or you can also leave them broke. the only thing non magical a player would want worth more than 1000 is full-plate
Some DM's like Low Magic as they need to control the PC's. Few Players like Low Magic- of course that does not mean they might not like a particularly well run LM campaign.

If you really need LM, then run Iron Heroes. It is DESIGNED for super-low magic and is well balanced for it.

I wanted to reply to this, as there are two misconceptions here. I've seen plenty of DM's run high magic campaigns and do worse then control their PC's. They side line them to tell a story about their ammazing X who can do no wrong, and is awesome in all ways with every conceivable magic item including the Kitchen Sink +5 vs Grease.

As to few players liking low magic, again, I think this is wrong. I think the true way to look at this is: "Many posters on the WotC boards do not care for those systems which are built with established background and development, thus limiting options from the multitude of splat books, but instead care for those games which are "generic" or "RAW" and allow for their preferred build." The setting itself doesn't matter. I've seen plenty of high magic settings shot down as to restrictive. The problem isn't the setting, the problem is the DM. Give a bad DM the best designed setting in the world and the campaign will still crash. I don't care how well designed/balanced/thought out the setting is. To quote: "Build it idiot proof, and they'll build a better idiot."

I do find, however, that a lot of D&D players these days are not interested in setting. They want their build. If the setting can't accomodate it, they don't see why that has to be. This is a shame, because it turns everything into generic D&D product, and destroys the role of imagination, of growth, of exploration and discovery. What is the purpose of having a 20 level build? Fine, great, you have a powerful character... but you're done. It is over. The character is finished, and has no reason to play other then to say "Hey look at what I can do with these numbers." This is great for a video game.

I, on the otherhand, prefer to get my character concept down in level 1, and see where I go from there. As I adventure my character is exposed to new things, new concepts, new ideas, and I can choose to adopt them or not. Where will my character be in 5 levels? No clue. But I am going to look forward to finding out!

Finally, one last point, if you want LM you can run D&D. The original creators had this in mind, and it will stay that way. Sure, Iron Heros is out there too, but it isn't needed. Go find a copy of the 2nd Ed AD&D player's handbook. Not only is LM considered okay and "standard" per the "RAW," but also low power.

I quote the following in reference to a character, Rath, who has scores Str 8, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 7, Chr 6. Essentially this is a -3 character. So what does this version of D&D say about our friend Rath?

"Too often players immediately give up on a character if he doesn't have a majority of above-average scores. There are even those who feel a character is hopeless if he does not have at least one ability of 17 or higher! Needless to say, these players would never consider playing a character with an ability score of 6 or 7.

... But if you take an interest in the character and role-play him well, then even a character with the lowest possible scores can present a fun, challenging, and all-around exciting time.

Don't give up on a character just because he has a low score. Instead, view it as an opportunity to role-play, to create a unique and entertaining personality in the game. Not only will you have fun creating that personality, but other players and the DM will have fun reacting to him. (Cook, Player's Handbook, pg 25, 1989)."

Emphasis mine.

In my opinion this one statement shows that Low Power, Low Magic is perfectly acceptable within the D&D world. It presents an opportunity to role-play, to create a unique and entertaining game world. Not only will you have fun creating that campaign world, but other players and DMs will have fun reacting to the world.

Please forgive the slight paraphrase!

Now, Iron Kingdoms is an interesting game, but there is no rule regarding what is acceptable and what is TRUE D&D. If you like Low Magic, Low Power D&D, it is available. If High Power, High Magic is your cup of tea, it is also available. If you prefer Above Average Power and Magic (the "standard"), then shoot, go for it.

However, don't dismiss another's play style and ask for "pure" D&D. Balance and design are all well within the capablities of any reasonably competent DM. See my point above about bad DMs. And don't tell me most bad DMs prefer low magic, I think that most of them prefer the D&D generic, because they don't have the imagination to think up anything else... because they are bad DMs. Circular reasoning, I know, but in this case, sadly valid.

Also keep in mind that this is all just opinion: yours and mine. I'm offering a perspective, but there are no facts. Only speculation. I respond to your post because I think that you are crossing the line from speculation to "statement of facts not in evidence." Nor can they be, this is the web.

Interesting perspective none the less, and please feel free to reply to my reply!

~ Rosisha
I am fine with using the guidelines as presented in the DMG, and allowing fairly ready access to magic gear. Though to be honest, it does seem that I am amongst a rarity of players who do not feel that magic needs to be all that rare, wondrous or magical. I guess it did make a difference that I was introduced to 2e via the baldur's gate PC game, and am quite a fan of the FR setting, so perhaps that has quite influenced my perceptions somewhat. :P

But yeah, to each his/her own.
Some of the best posts I've seen this month, right here.

I've been defending Low Magic games since the first day I ran 3.5.

Nice to see I am not alone. Much thanks.
Wow, people who play Magical Teaparty Make-Believe Time bashing people who play Magical Live-Action Make-Believe Time? It's like I'm really on the Internet! - Rustmonster, commenting on RPGers vs. LARPers
Well, I probably play low-magic game. I never really used wealth per level guidelines - I mostly go according to what I feel party needs improving and how powerful I think the magic item is. +6 ability score item would be gained somewhere on levels 18-20.

Probably, in the end, the amount of magic items the party has ends up below the suggestions in DMG, but then again, we never encountered any problems with that.
Yes...low magic all the way.

I do it for a number of reasons.

#1 - To annoy my players.

#2 - I used to do Monty Haul's and it got ridiculous..I found the player attitudes were along the lines of "Oh Crap, not another 10 Sword +1s...someone got another Bag of Holding to stuff them into cause I ain't carrying them." This way, they appreciate magic items far more.

#3 - It puts the onus on them to create the magic items themselves. Oh sure, they might come across a magic item or get one as reward, but MageMart simply doesn't exist nor will it ever. Magic items are carrots on my proverbial DM stick (that sounds bad, I know) used to get PCs interested in doing stuff that they might otherwise not want to do.

#4 - Magic items crafted in my world can have backstory or history (ie. Tolkien), something I find doesn't usually exist in large magic worlds (ie. FR).

#5 - Magic items can identify people as well (unless the magic item is strictly not identifying them) - for example a Bandit wielding a giant flaming axe isn't as common as a bandit wielding a long sword or pair of daggers so Bardic Lore, Knowledge: Local History, or even Gather Information checks can be useful.

#6 - I'm cheap. No, I don't make or pay for the items myself, but I'm still cheap.

#7 - I find that it makes DR monsters more thrilling in combat. For me anyway. :P

#8 - I simply cannot rationalize a bunch of people mass-producing magic items at high personal cost. I know few Players who make characters that do that sort of thing - why should I mass produce NPCs to fill in their shortcomings?

I'm sure I have more reasons than these, but these are the ones that stand out above and beyond for me.
I run a low-magic campaign.

Mind you, I replaced it with psionics :D

But in all seriousness, I don't see how magic store = high magic. You could have hundreds of wizards and clerics in the world, but as someone logically pointed out, the PCs don't enjoy spending all their XP; why should NPCs?
I do find, however, that a lot of D&D players these days are not interested in setting. They want their build. If the setting can't accomodate it, they don't see why that has to be. This is a shame, because it turns everything into generic D&D product, and destroys the role of imagination, of growth, of exploration and discovery. What is the purpose of having a 20 level build? Fine, great, you have a powerful character... but you're done. It is over. The character is finished, and has no reason to play other then to say "Hey look at what I can do with these numbers." This is great for a video game.

This is a big problem (to me anyway) that I do kind of associate with 3rd edition - the obsession over build. I've been playing D&D since 1989 and changed over to 3rd edition not long after it hit the scene. It did seem to me that in 2nd edition, even though it had its fair share of power gamers, there wasn't this huge obsession with character build like there is now. For one thing, it wasn't as possible then - now you have all of these feats and prestige classes and more easily available magic items. Its been a big trend I've seen for quite a while now and its something that doesn't interest me at all.

I do, though, love world development and personalization. I must have over 100 pages of background information on various settings I have designed including nations, cultures, religions, etc. Almost all of which is for very low magic settings and makes a lot of the prestige classes and magic items inappropriate.

And my love for low magic certainly doesn't come from any desire to suppress players. In fact, in my settings the players are even more special because not every town is filled with high level characters and magic items. When an adventuring party comes along they are really special people - people the likes of which most people have never seen before. If there is a magic user in the party, then that person will truly be feared and respected - if not despised and hated.
I run a very low-magic campaign, although I achieve it by making magic taboo in the cultures of my gaming world. It's like the British Iles around 400-500 AD. Some cultures value divine magic over others, other cultures value only expressly druidic, and frequently they don't know enough to tell the difference and thus burn suspected magicsters at the stake.

The reason magic is low in my campaign is because it's supposed to be set in the legendary age. After all, if the Gods have an invisibility helmet (Huliðshjálmr) and it's supposed to be a big deal, that sort of thing can't be very common.

My PCs actually appreciate this approach, because even though they're only mid-level, they're sort of a big deal in their world. I don't see the point of adventuring in worlds like FR, because any noteworthy adventure you can do can easily be done by the legions of other heavy-hitters in that world.
... But if you take an interest in the character and role-play him well, then even a character with the lowest possible scores can present a fun, challenging, and all-around exciting time.

Don't give up on a character just because he has a low score. Instead, view it as an opportunity to role-play, to create a unique and entertaining personality in the game. Not only will you have fun creating that personality, but other players and the DM will have fun reacting to him. (Cook, Player's Handbook, pg 25, 1989)."

Emphasis mine.

Yes, that was writen in the players handbook, but take a look at the stats given to the important NPCs in official published material, there was definitly an unwriten assumption that important characters have high stats. Take that together with the stat requirements for entry to particular classes, and the bonus XP for high stats, and it is usprising that someone felt the need to write a section telling players not just to give up on low stat characters.
For one thing, it wasn't as possible then - now you have all of these feats and prestige classes and more easily available magic items. Its been a big trend I've seen for quite a while now and its something that doesn't interest me at all.

I beg to differ on this point (and this one only). In 1ed it wasn't really possible beyond the Bard (a cookie to whoever can tell me, without looking in their books, what it took to become a bard in 1ed), but in 2ed with Lizards taking over, we had an influx of splat books - Complete Humanoids/Dwarves/Elves/Halflings/Gnomes and Complete Fighters/Thieves/Clerics/Mages/Rangers/Paladins/Vikings/Knights of Charlemagne/ et al. This is really where I found that build became a part of it.

It became all about optimizing the character race with an elite class - can you say Elven Bladesinger? Half Ogre Barbarian? Drow Cleric of Lloth (Llolth) or Assassin?

It seems the advent of the splat book in 2ed saw the focus on build, and shortly after these hammered the market to a bloody pulp, 3.0 came out and hammered the market again with news ways to customize characters beyond simply race and class. And once again, after 3.0 came out, we got hammered with more splat books loaded with PrCs (cause you know, playing a BladeSinger out of the box just doesn't work anymore...you gotta earn it) and new feats to increase optimization and the snowball keeps rolling...

Who here remembers basic? *chuckle* Like playing Gauntlet in the arcade only using dice instead.

Warrior needs food...BAD!
To this day, I still fail to understand how being willing to take the time and effort to carefully craft out the build of my PC necessarily means that I am powergaming, or that I am somehow placing less emphasis on roleplaying.

Classes, prcs, feats, every aspect are simply building blocks we put together to represent an idea. Good for you if your character concept is straightforward enough to be fleshed out with a single class and existing PHB feats. But if my concept is complicated or intricate enough that I need to use at least 3-4 classes, or heck up to 7-8 classes and prcs to properly represent, why shouldn't I be allowed to do so? Isn't this better roleplaying, because then, not only does my PC have a compelling backstory, but he will also possess the mechanical stats which allow him to back up these very areas which his backstory claims that he is capable of.

Conversely, it seems contradictory to force me to limit my choices to say, 1 class and 1 prc max in the name of "roleplaying", when doing so would actually serve the opposite effect, by requiring me to warp and squeeze my role just so I can cater to the limitations of the system and the DM's rulings, which would in turn, just leave my unable to effectively roleplay my PC the way I want him to, because his stats just cannot support what I want him to be capable of.

Can someone enlighten me on this?
Conversely, it seems contradictory to force me to limit my choices to say, 1 class and 1 prc max in the name of "roleplaying", when doing so would actually serve the opposite effect, by requiring me to warp and squeeze my role just so I can cater to the limitations of the system and the DM's rulings, which would in turn, just leave my unable to effectively roleplay my PC the way I want him to, because his stats just cannot support what I want him to be capable of.

Can someone enlighten me on this?

It may be good rp for you, but bad for the group. Maybe the gm wants to run a low magic world or a historical fantasy world, and a strange character with many classes would be an aberancy, a spooky one shot that stands out from everything else... in a bad way.
It may be good rp for you, but bad for the group. Maybe the gm wants to run a low magic world or a historical fantasy world, and a strange character with many classes would be an aberancy, a spooky one shot that stands out from everything else... in a bad way.

I hear this quite a lot, to be honest.

But how justified is this claim? Is it not possible to play a compelling, realistic or complete character who happens to be multiclassed? I don't get what it is about single classed PCs which somehow lets you be a better roleplayer than a multiclassed PC.

After all, when you are interacting with someone, you don't get to see what class combination he is. That fighter standing right in front of you could very well just be a fighter20, or he could just as readily be a monk/swashbuckler/warblade/eternal blade. Does it truly matter, if the backstory is the same, but the latter is actually able to fill it out better?

Say I want to play a swashbuckling type character and the theme meshes perfectly in some sort of medieval france setting. Now then comes the problem of how to go about constructing him.

Fighter is obviously fail from the start. I can only go so far in combat with weapon finesse, spring attack, minor damage boosts from the weapon spec feat tree and a sub-optimal power attack:damage ratio. Not to mention that TWFing is inherently a rather weak career path for a pure fighter.

The swashbuckler class is another problem, since it really only works up to 3rd lv, and pretty much stinks after that.

I may end up setting for a rogue4/swashbuckler16 build with the daring outlaw feat, or who knows, some "monstrosity" consisting of 4-5 classes.

At this point, I am sure you are all pretty much condemning me as just another powergamer. But I see nothing wrong with optimizing my build so that I will not suck at what I do. If anything, this is aiding me in roleplaying. To quote Tempest Stormwind, I can't roleplay if I am dead. And how do I stay alive? By being good at what I do? And how do I achieve this? You got it - optimization.

Though on a side note, I think I am inadvertently derailing this thread somewhat, since my point seems to have little to do with magic settings.
Sure. I'll take a shot at answering the above question. Keep in mind that the concept that you are trying to understand is, for all intents and purposes, a system that depends on personal belief and approach to gaming.

So instead of explaining why you are an evil powergamer, which is not necessarily true in the sense of fact, I will instead, attempt to explain why it is that I, as a fellow gamer, would view your style of play, as essentially power gaming! It is up to you to decide if you are in fact a powergamer by your own definition.

What is Powergaming to Rosisha?
I believe that powergaming occurs when a player attempts to minimize chance, and maximize options that grant victory. This happens all the time no matter what (do I take the longsword or the shortsword... better take the longsword as I can do more damage), but when taken to an extreme, constitutes powergaming.

Okay... What is the extreme?
The extreme is when every single aspect of the game must be controled, thus removing dice from the basic structure of your character. 25 point buy, for instance, is powergaming. It minimizes chance and maximizes your control over the character.

Now combine this with, say, a 10 level build. For the next ten levels of gaming, you have everything planned out. You have chosen your hit points (max at first level by the way, thus minimizing chance again), feats, and prestiege classes, all to minimize chance (the natural evolution of the character) and maximize your control (what you want for the character). Further, this attempt at control over character development can also lead to choices being made that ignore the reality of the world in favor of personal build choice (i.e. in my world Sorcerers do not have a draconic heritage, but a player who was power gaming would tell me that they still want the Dragon Disciple PRC and tough luck to my world, me, and the hours of work I have done to present a fun game for the players).

Power gaming is further defined as using the rules as written as a crutch, or a club, as the rules can be used as part of minimizing chance, and maximizing control. In this case, a power gamer is not just worried about their build, their character, but they are also worried about the game world itself and do not wish the DM to be the sole arbitrator of action and events. Using the RAW as crutch/club they are able to undermine the authority of the DM as interpreter of the world, thus minimizing chance happenings to their character, and maximizing their control.

This is the extreme. I still get nervous if someone exhibits any of these traits.

So, we now know what you think power gaming is... how do YOU build a character?
Fair question. Let me give you the most recent example. Last night I designed an NPC for my current campaign world. I rolled 3d6 in order, so my first roll was for STR, my next for DEX, etc etc. My final stats were 8, 11, 9, 10, 13, 5.

So should we throw this character away? No. I'm going to play him as a brutally honest cleric. He just doesn't know when to shut up! He'll tell the players that he thinks their clothing is just not right, and maybe the female warrior should get out of her chainmail and back into the kitchen! Hence the charisma of 5. Of course being a cleric, he spends a lot of time studying. That means that compared to his crusader friends, he has a low strength score. Where they went to the gym, he was found in the library. His idea of a workout is lugging five books at once. However, despite his faults, he is still very wise, and obviously mulls over the Big Questions. And you can always trust his work to be truthful, even if it is a truth you don't happen to like.

Did I know this before I rolled the character up? Nope.

In a sense, I didn't "make" or "build" a character. I was introduced to him. If this was a PC, I would take him to an adventure playing just as I described (he would seek alternatives to doing physical labor, and would spend time discussing the Big Questions, oh, and by the way, you need a bath!). Where would he go? How would he develop? No idea. I'll find that out when he gets there. What choices will he make? No idea. I'll find that out when he makes them.

The character, instead of being a series of numbers meant to maximize control over the world and my chances of victory, is instead a living breathing creature that I am interacting with. Yes I have control, but I do not build. I let the natural evolution of the character hold sway.

How does this relate to 2nd Ed AD&D + Low Magic?
In one way it doesn't. The playing philosophy I outlined above can be played in any game setting, in any set of rules. However, in another way, 3.x makes what I outlined above especially difficult.

The emphasis on rules as written discourage DMs from producing their own works and worlds via squandering imagination. The player is told that the rules as written are as close to balanced as you can get, WotC material should always be accepted, and that any DM who disagrees is a power hungry maniac seeking to control his players. This is, to say it bluntly (remember, right now I'm running with a 5 charisma!), so completely and totally untrue that it borders on really bad Soviet propaganda. And they had bad propaganda. Trust me. Their art work makes WotC art look good.

These are the key three points that undermine the DM in 3.x:
1) RAW = good
2) WotC material = good
3) Since RAW is good, and WOTC is good, any modifications, by default, are bad. Such as low magic.

What is ignored is that this isn't necessarily so. Yes, the RAW has good points, but that doesn't mean that it is, by default, good. No playing system this complicated is going to be made that is free of error. And further, just because a publishing company places something out, does not mean that it has to be used.

And finally, just because a DM wishes to offer an alternative to the standard D&D world, just because a DM wishes to utilize their imagination, does not necessarily mean that the setting is bad, or the DM is a power hungry maniac.

Which brings us back to the fundamental question of what is the powergamer: those that seek to minimize chance (i.e. a DM rolling the dice or creating a world without seeking their express permission) and maximize their control (by undermining the DM and his creation in preference to arbitrary rules which are not necessarily any better then what the DM has done). The success of powergamers on these boards is wittnessed with these common assumptions by posters:

1) low magic is inherently bad and is about DMs becoming power hungry maniacs.
2) Any build is fine, as long as it isn't Pun Pun or by one of the true experts on the CharOps boards. Those might be broke, but everything else is fine!
3) If a DM doesn't allow X... well he is back to number 1!
4) FR & Greyhawk are the only true worlds that should be played in, and should set the standard for what is acceptable.

There are more but I am cutting myself short on purpose. I have to go to work in fourty five minutes!

So hopefully I made my point clearly, and by no means did I wish to insult anyone, so hopefully people will accept that I have a point of view which is different and not get all testy!

If you have any questions on this I'll do my best to answer em.

Rosisha
Rune Star, your example is fine. I agree that you are right, and if YOU were in my game, I probably wouldn't care that you were multiclassing.

I have a rogue in my game that took a level of wizard so he can eventually become an Arcane Archer. We rped the part of finding him a magical teacher, so it worked out.

Those aren't the usual multiclass situations though. Normally people multiclass because they are trying to be crazy or take advantage of a rule. I know, I'm guilty of making a Ranger 1, Fighter 3, Holy Liberator or whatever, but I knew when I made it the character was stupid.

The fact of the matter is that in the course of the game, there is very little reason to multiclass. A ranger is going to stay a ranger, and a priest is going to stay a priest. They aren't going to take a level of fighter (as if the ranger started ignoring the animal world and quit camping so he could practice fighting more) or a level of wizard (as if arcane is somehow as important to a cleric as his god) and when people make those choices, it seems wrong.
Runestar,

I optimize. I know it, I admit it, and I do it because it makes the game more fun for me in this incarnation. And in 2ed I did it too (after all the splat books came out).

The reason I criticize it is because my focus is now finding the optimum way to represent my character through the perfect choice of class, PrC, feats, magic items, race, world, backstory, lunar alignment, and the occasional Wish/Miracle. And to me, if I make the wrong choice somewhere along the line, or if a splat book comes out that makes it better, or GOD help me they CHANGE the damn thing yet again...well...it takes some of the fun out of the game.

Whereas in previous incarnations, if I wanted to be a pirate, I said, "Hey guys, I'm a Fighter/Thief who lives on the sea, my Secondary Skill is Sailor (not that SS's ever made a difference in the game) and I'm going to select the following weapons to use."

Making a pirate now...well...instead of just whipping that up and playing it, I have to plan things out.

I'm not saying that this is inherently bad Runestar...I am saying it is somewhat more complicated. Sure, it is more specialized, but there is a reason that ICE's Chartmaster...err...Rolemaster died out. Too many options and you're going to spend more time and focus on making the ultimate perfect character instead of simply playing the game and RPing. It turns D&D into an MMO or PC RPG where you ignore RP for the most part just to gather loot and XP enough to move into the next stage of your build.

For some people that works. For me...I like it simple. Maybe I'm a hypocrite here, but I have no problems with that.
Bard (a cookie to whoever can tell me, without looking in their books, what it took to become a bard in 1ed),

I'm probably missing something (Especially stats), but I'll give it a shot. Fighter to level 4-6, switch to Thief, levels 5-7, then you start training under the Druids, which multiclasses you into a Bard. I believe you had to be LN/CN/N, and, due to the requirements for multiclassing, you had to have STR 16+, DEX 16+, and, I believe WIS 16+. I hated that thing with a passion.
3. No one ever expects you to dodge towards them. Avoid: death by Christian pilebunker. Akiha > Akiha Vermillion > Ryougi Shiki > White Len > Len > Sion > Sion Tatari > Hisui > Kohaku > Satsuki > Arcueid > Aoko > Red Arcueid > Mech-Hisui > Ciel > Miyako. *Shamelessly stolen from Mrcelsius ... minus a couple* I want the mouseover thread previews back. I want the awesome, varied, non-generic smileys back. I want the 'most recent post' to be specific to forum, not category. I want to lose the burning pink eyesores on every thread I've ever glanced at. I want to be able to look back at previous posts in the thread while I'm writing my reply. I want edited posts to indicate that they were edited and when to prevent confusion and chicanery. I want to be able to set a background that doesn't just sit behind the blinding white I'm trying to get rid of. I want a thread subscription page that isn't hidden in preferences and tells me when subscribed threads have new content.
High magic is as close as I come to running Modern/Sci-fi games. This is how I view Eberron, which is easily my favorite setting next to Planescape. Eberron takes the existence of magic to its logical conclusion in the same way that technology evolved in the real world. In many ways, it combines the two. In every way, it attempts to account for the elements of D&D in a pretty believable way (as much as magic and dragons can be believable, anyway). I prefer to run games that are high-magic.

My favorite games to play, however, are low-magic. I find that it brings out the best in me as a roleplayer. I find simple challenges like crossing a river or killing a bear for food and skins to be very fun. I hate - and no amount of italics or bold will fully underscore this - having to worry about my character's inventory. I'd rather keep the broken obsidian dagger I used to kill that evil legate in my friend's Midnight campaign than the +2 flame resistant spiked full plate I handed out in my last Eberron game. But hey, that's just me.

That all said, people on both sides of this issue need to realize something basic:

1. D&D v3.5 is, in fact, based around the idea that characters have a certain amount of magic gear to balance them against monsters as well as each other; and,

2. The aforementioned truth can be completely negated by a clever DM in a way that enhances the game instead of detracting from it.

Your experiences with D&D might cause you to disbelieve either or both of these statements, but I can assure you they are patently true. D&D is ever what one makes of it, whether you prefer organic character development like me or strategized character builds like others. I have players that only take points in skills they actually used during the last adventure when they level (like me). On the other hand, I have players that planned what skill points they would take at 10th-level back when they were 1st. This is no way means that one group is better than the other at roleplaying and I as DM design encounters to challenge both types of player.

It's just that easy - all you need is a good DM and players with open minds - on both sides of the aisle.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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The fact of the matter is that in the course of the game, there is very little reason to multiclass. A ranger is going to stay a ranger, and a priest is going to stay a priest. They aren't going to take a level of fighter (as if the ranger started ignoring the animal world and quit camping so he could practice fighting more) or a level of wizard (as if arcane is somehow as important to a cleric as his god) and when people make those choices, it seems wrong.

I disagree with this. I feel that you are taking the discrete divisions between classes too seriously, or rather, you are confusing the practical, game-based reasons for separate classes with how characters would view themselves. IMO a ranger doesn't have a stack of business cards on hand identifying him as a small-business ranger who is only trained to track, shoot arrows, fight with two weapons, and get along with animals. The class 'ranger' represents an aggregate of different abilities and areas of expertise that, for one reason or another, correspond to the abilities and expertise of a certain character. But there is always going to be character bleed between classes. Many rangers might not even identify themselves as rangers! A ranger with one level in fighter might have gained that level coming off a grueling series of battles against his favored enemy, hobgoblins (for example), so it would make sense for his next level to address his martial improvements.
I disagree with this. I feel that you are taking the discrete divisions between classes too seriously, or rather, you are confusing the practical, game-based reasons for separate classes with how characters would view themselves. IMO a ranger doesn't have a stack of business cards on hand identifying him as a small-business ranger who is only trained to track, shoot arrows, fight with two weapons, and get along with animals. The class 'ranger' represents an aggregate of different abilities and areas of expertise that, for one reason or another, correspond to the abilities and expertise of a certain character. But there is always going to be character bleed between classes. Many rangers might not even identify themselves as rangers! A ranger with one level in fighter might have gained that level coming off a grueling series of battles against his favored enemy, hobgoblins (for example), so it would make sense for his next level to address his martial improvements.

Agreed.

This issue was one that I wrestled with for some time as the old gamer curmudgeon inside of me railed against "excessive" multiclassing. However, once you accept that classes are simply ways to represent various abilities, you will find that it sits better with you when people dip into a lot of classes. Classes are not necessarily "professions." Think about it in a more abstract way.

How a player uses or abuses said system is a different matter altogether.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I disagree. I think classes are archtypes. A person has a class due to training, natural aptitude, and personality. By the time a character is old enough to take a level of ranger - by the time a man becomes a level 1 character, he has endured all the trials and challenges of growing up, into his life and body.

A character goes up in level in part because he gets, "experianced" but also because he gets older and gains a better understanding. When a level 1 ranger is identified as a ranger, he is identified as such because of how he has lived his life for 15-20 years. When that level one ranger takes a level of wizard, he undercuts that idenity by tacking on something that has no buisness being there.

I could agree with you is dnd was a point buy system in a modern setting where you could spend a portion of your experiance aquiring a new ability, but that isn't the case.
I'm probably missing something (Especially stats), but I'll give it a shot. Fighter to level 4-6, switch to Thief, levels 5-7, then you start training under the Druids, which multiclasses you into a Bard. I believe you had to be LN/CN/N, and, due to the requirements for multiclassing, you had to have STR 16+, DEX 16+, and, I believe WIS 16+. I hated that thing with a passion.



Me, I loved the Bard...it was the original PrC. I don't think the stat requirements were that nuts though - you had to have minimum 9's in the requisite stats (fighter - strength, thief - dexterity) to get into those - 16+ gave you 10% XP bonus...don't remember the druid stats off hand but those were nuts.
I disagree. I think classes are archtypes. A person has a class due to training, natural aptitude, and personality. By the time a character is old enough to take a level of ranger - by the time a man becomes a level 1 character, he has endured all the trials and challenges of growing up, into his life and body.

A character goes up in level in part because he gets, "experianced" but also because he gets older and gains a better understanding. When a level 1 ranger is identified as a ranger, he is identified as such because of how he has lived his life for 15-20 years. When that level one ranger takes a level of wizard, he undercuts that idenity by tacking on something that has no buisness being there.

Not sure I agree with you here Cranewings. Consider the number of people who join up with the military IRL and then do something else - say, medicine, and when they get out they take on a different path. To put it in D&D terms, lets say I join the Canadian Infantry and serve for 5 years and then get out and become a priest or Imam. I've gone from fighter as my class to cleric as my class. What if war comes to Canada and I re-enlist or get conscripted? I am back to fighter again (multi-classed as a cleric - very handy in D&D terms, relatively useless in terms of military beyond lending spiritual aid to fellow worshippers).

It can happen and it can make sense in certain situations, but for the most part, the main reason people do it is build plain and simple. So I understand your concern that yes, this can be abused by optimizing powergamers, but you should not let that dissuade you from allowing it to happen for legitimite in-game reasons.
When you speak of Low Magic, does this include reducing Divine magic as well?

My group is beginning a low magic campaign that includes the removal of Craft magic item feats. One of my players made the point that this low magic campaign empowers Clerics and Druids even more. So how do other DMs with low magic campaigns balance the Cleric and Druid?
Dash, like I said in my previous posts, I do let it happen when it is legit. It almost never is.

99.9% of the time when a ranger, for example, takes a level of ranger, rogue, fighter, whatever, he is in the forest or dungeon on the same kind of task he is always on. That's what I have a problem with.
99.9% of the time when a ranger, for example, takes a level of ranger, rogue, fighter, whatever, he is in the forest or dungeon on the same kind of task he is always on. That's what I have a problem with.

You have a problem when the ranger takes a level of ranger? :D
I have run a low magic fantasy setting before and it can be very fun, but without serious work the dungeons and dragons system itself, I have found, does not work well with low magic. It usually takes me extensive ammounts of house ruling on classes, and reworking enemies.

If I do low magic now, I simply use iron heroes or conan d20. They do it good enough for me, and get the feel of low magic.

My current dnd game I am running is "low power" meaning there are a rare few NPCs who reach above level 5, and for the most part people do not adventure. Commoners, levels 0-2. Gaurds/military folk levels 3-5. important NPCs level 7-10. Above that is someone who is to be feared or respected. The PC's, who do adventure, are of a higher caliber [you could almost call them heros].
By its nature this setting has less magic items floating around, but that does not mean there are not shops capable of making them. Why would the local blacksmith make a +4 vorpal flaming greataxe, if there is no one to buy it? However, local blacksmiths love when adventurers come through as it gives them an opportunity to try their hand at a once in a lifetime sword. Even if it is only a +2 longsword. Plus they get more money than they generally make in two or three weeks. Of course this magic item requires an extensive ammount of time to be crafted, so it is not simply walk in and point. You have to explain exactly what you want, and you have to find someone who is usually the best smith around.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"



Me, I loved the Bard...it was the original PrC. I don't think the stat requirements were that nuts though - you had to have minimum 9's in the requisite stats (fighter - strength, thief - dexterity) to get into those - 16+ gave you 10% XP bonus...don't remember the druid stats off hand but those were nuts.

I thought you had to have at least a bonus in the primary stat to be able to multiclass (INT for MU, WIS for Cleric/Druid, STR for Fighters, etc). Oh, and I think I forgot something - IIRC, you had to be either a human or a half-elf. Unfortunately, I don't have my books with me, , so I can't actually check anything. But yes, original PrC, and pretty fairly broken, since I think it went 1-20, *after* you've got 9-13 levels already ... plus spell-casting.
3. No one ever expects you to dodge towards them. Avoid: death by Christian pilebunker. Akiha > Akiha Vermillion > Ryougi Shiki > White Len > Len > Sion > Sion Tatari > Hisui > Kohaku > Satsuki > Arcueid > Aoko > Red Arcueid > Mech-Hisui > Ciel > Miyako. *Shamelessly stolen from Mrcelsius ... minus a couple* I want the mouseover thread previews back. I want the awesome, varied, non-generic smileys back. I want the 'most recent post' to be specific to forum, not category. I want to lose the burning pink eyesores on every thread I've ever glanced at. I want to be able to look back at previous posts in the thread while I'm writing my reply. I want edited posts to indicate that they were edited and when to prevent confusion and chicanery. I want to be able to set a background that doesn't just sit behind the blinding white I'm trying to get rid of. I want a thread subscription page that isn't hidden in preferences and tells me when subscribed threads have new content.
A low-magic campaign, I high-magic campaign. All in all, a campaign's magic level should come in secondary to the story. I don't set off saying "I want to build a low magic campaign" but instead "I want to build campaign world X" and, if it would make sense for that campaign world to have little in the way of magic items, then it has little in the way of magic items.

But inherently, Low magic campaigns are like any other campaigns . . . their value is determined by the DMs that run the story, not by the type of campaign they are.

I've played abysmal low-magic campaigns where the 5th level wizard was still casting first level spells because he hadn't gotten any 2nd or 3rd level spells yet (this was back in 2nd Ed.) Crippling a class was not fun for anyone.

I've also played in a great low-magic campaign that was pulled off masterfully with a great plot and great role-playing.

Bottom line, if you've got a good DM, then, chances are your game will be great. If not, then chances are low. The idea that you need 'magic item stores' or not won't be a deciding factor probably.
I thought you had to have at least a bonus in the primary stat to be able to multiclass (INT for MU, WIS for Cleric/Druid, STR for Fighters, etc). Oh, and I think I forgot something - IIRC, you had to be either a human or a half-elf. Unfortunately, I don't have my books with me, , so I can't actually check anything. But yes, original PrC, and pretty fairly broken, since I think it went 1-20, *after* you've got 9-13 levels already ... plus spell-casting.

You might be right about the high stats for multiclassing (my books are back in Canada so I can't look it up either), but in that case, it would only be the rogue and druid that you needed exceptional stats in.

Imagine a Bard with psionics...Mmmmm...1ed Quivering Palm.
You might be right about the high stats for multiclassing (my books are back in Canada so I can't look it up either), but in that case, it would only be the rogue and druid that you needed exceptional stats in.

Imagine a Bard with psionics...Mmmmm...1ed Quivering Palm.

Quivering Palm: Requirements: 15 STR, DEX, CON, WIS ... I forget the Min for INT - not sure if it was 10 or 15 ... but you didn't need CHA! Also: No armor, you have a decent chance of hitting but at low levels you need a weapon. Oh, max HP at level 1 is 10, and I'm pretty sure you don't get a DEX bonus to AC either .... Oh, and you have to survive to 14th level in a class with 17 levels, and each level above ... 9th? requires a fight with the monk of that level in order to advance. It sucked being an AD&D monk, even if you could meet the requirements.

Psionics were fun, though.
3. No one ever expects you to dodge towards them. Avoid: death by Christian pilebunker. Akiha > Akiha Vermillion > Ryougi Shiki > White Len > Len > Sion > Sion Tatari > Hisui > Kohaku > Satsuki > Arcueid > Aoko > Red Arcueid > Mech-Hisui > Ciel > Miyako. *Shamelessly stolen from Mrcelsius ... minus a couple* I want the mouseover thread previews back. I want the awesome, varied, non-generic smileys back. I want the 'most recent post' to be specific to forum, not category. I want to lose the burning pink eyesores on every thread I've ever glanced at. I want to be able to look back at previous posts in the thread while I'm writing my reply. I want edited posts to indicate that they were edited and when to prevent confusion and chicanery. I want to be able to set a background that doesn't just sit behind the blinding white I'm trying to get rid of. I want a thread subscription page that isn't hidden in preferences and tells me when subscribed threads have new content.
First all, I would like to thank everyone for responding to my point politely, respectfully and coherently. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.

Ah screw, the other thread turned out to have little to do with said discussion. Sorry, Etarnon...
When you speak of Low Magic, does this include reducing Divine magic as well?

My group is beginning a low magic campaign that includes the removal of Craft magic item feats. One of my players made the point that this low magic campaign empowers Clerics and Druids even more.

No, in fact it hog ties them into the much despised and dreaded "heal-bot" role as they do not have potions wands and the like to do a fair portion healing for them. A wand of lesser vigor is a really good way to heal the party after combat, for example. Not having the ability to toss off 4 charges of that want after combat means they must dedicate 4 1st lvl spells for that task.
Yes...low magic all the way.

I do it for a number of reasons.

#1 - To annoy my players.

#2 - I used to do Monty Haul's and it got ridiculous..I found the player attitudes were along the lines of "Oh Crap, not another 10 Sword +1s...someone got another Bag of Holding to stuff them into cause I ain't carrying them." This way, they appreciate magic items far more.

#3 - It puts the onus on them to create the magic items themselves. Oh sure, they might come across a magic item or get one as reward, but MageMart simply doesn't exist nor will it ever. Magic items are carrots on my proverbial DM stick (that sounds bad, I know) used to get PCs interested in doing stuff that they might otherwise not want to do.

#4 - Magic items crafted in my world can have backstory or history (ie. Tolkien), something I find doesn't usually exist in large magic worlds (ie. FR).

#5 - Magic items can identify people as well (unless the magic item is strictly not identifying them) - for example a Bandit wielding a giant flaming axe isn't as common as a bandit wielding a long sword or pair of daggers so Bardic Lore, Knowledge: Local History, or even Gather Information checks can be useful.

#6 - I'm cheap. No, I don't make or pay for the items myself, but I'm still cheap.

#7 - I find that it makes DR monsters more thrilling in combat. For me anyway. :P

#8 - I simply cannot rationalize a bunch of people mass-producing magic items at high personal cost. I know few Players who make characters that do that sort of thing - why should I mass produce NPCs to fill in their shortcomings?

I'm sure I have more reasons than these, but these are the ones that stand out above and beyond for me.

I highlighted the reasons I precisely do not like low magic games. I have often found that when a DM does run a low magic game, he hates his players. I don't mean literally "hates" his players, but rather is a control freak and doesn't want player characters to be able to do nifty things. He's adversarial, playing against the players instead of with them. Only he has "power".
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