Pathfinder Low Magic Style

I haven’t posted on here in ages. I hit a slump with my DMing about a year ago and as a player about six months ago. I found myself being less and less interested in role playing and started to feel that the time I spent with my favorite hobby was being wasted. Now a lot of that comes from my increasingly dysfunctional gaming group. We’re all edging towards our mid-twenties and are more or less done with college and now trying to make it in the “real” world. We don’t have nearly as much social time so a lot of what would be game time is spent catching up on the week or two since we last saw each other which leads to a lot of out of character distractions and the game gets derailed or stalls out.

I also recently got into Warhammer 40K which takes up some evenings that would be game night with Grimdark battles. I play Orks and run a very fast attack army with lots of bikers, trukks, and deffkoptas led by Warboss ‘Ardgob NOSguzzla and a Big Mek that I haven’t been able to come up with a cool automotive themed name for yet.

It looks like I still get a bit of traffic through this way; hopefully you are all finding what you are looking for here.

Anyways now onto the point of this post: Low Magic Pathfinder.

I have been talking with a couple of the people in my gaming group, the more functional ones, about what we really want from our limited RPG time. We have determined that we really want a more story focused game where the characters are an integral part of the world and actually work to improve the world in ways other than putting ogres and trolls on the endangered species list. I find that difficult to mesh with the quirks that come with high level play where death is just a minor financial set-back and your sword costs more than the GDP of every village, town, and small city within nine hundred miles combined…oh and your friends all have equally valuable stuff too. To this end we have been making some rules tweaks that I think might bring the system down to a low magic, low power level where you would spend 1000gp on 40 acres and a mule rather than a cape that gives +1 to all saves because the benefit of the former exceeds the benefit of the latter since we are working on story and character/world development rather than trying to level up so we can fight bigger things in order to level up again.

At this stage the rules are very much just thoughts and have yet to be play-tested by us although many are borrowed from SRD variant rules and stuff I have seen while browsing forums where low magic was discussed.

Rules Changes:
* E6
* Spell Points – recover at a rate of caster level per day, double for full rest.
* Wounds and Vitality
* Magic Items are not available for sale, any that are are prohibitively expensive.
* Sliver Standard – When treasure/loot is found you get 10% the treasure as normal because silver is handed out like gold, copper like silver, and gold like platinum. The wages earned from craft and profession checks are unchanged. Prices for non-magical items stay the same.
* Paladins, Rangers, and any other secondary caster class must take a non-casting variant option.
* Allowed Caster Classes: Witch, Oracle
* Start at 2nd level (0 xp) with MAX VP for first level and MAX-1 VP for second rolling thereafter.
* 10,000 sp starting wealth, represents total holdings in the world (land, livestock, shop, etc) not just adventuring gear.
* Armor as Damage Reduction – AC bonus applies to AC as normal, but DR applies to wound points/critical hits only (DR = half armor bonus rounded down, AC bonus = armor bonus – DR)
* Base Defense Bonus – competence bonus to AC equal to a character’s Base Attack Bonus.
* Initiative = Reflex Save – Improved initiative adds +4 as normal to initiative checks, but not to Reflex Saves made for other reasons
* No attacks of opportunity – there are some cases where they may apply, but the general rule is that there will be no attacks of opportunity.
* Weapon Sizes – For each size category larger your opponent’s weapon is you take a -1 penalty to attack rolls made against them as you have to dodge their longer weapon to get in range to strike. Weapon Sizes are Light, One Handed, Two Handed. This does not apply if the defender is flat-footed
* Sunder Strike – whenever your attack roll exactly meets the defender’s AC treat the result as if you had made a successful sunder attempt against the defender’s weapon, shield (defender’s choice)
* Casting Spells Above Your Level – you may cast a spell that exceeds your level as a full round action as long as you have the spell points required to cast it and make a concentration check DC 15+Double Spell level. This is always obvious to observers that you are casting a powerful spell. Whether or not the spell is successful the caster is exhausted and takes 1d4 constitution damage.

This is all very rough ideas, but the goal is to make the game pretty brutal, to “correct” perceived problems with the combat system in standard D20, while enabling characters to be more story oriented and not worry so much about if they can overcome the fast healing of a troll or the DR of an ice devil. Any feedback positive or negative is more than welcome, but please refrain from the argument that magic is inherently a part of the system and taking it out cannot be done.

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~ by katallos on June 26, 2011.

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