I'm recalling a Conan module for AD&D that was low-magic. Wizards were NPC enemies, never players. No clerics either. They added faster healing I think too, to help with that last part. I remember, one encounter was your party versus 100 2nd level fighter horsemen. Good times.
Originally Posted by Arentak
1) Comparing AD&D to Pathfinder is about as apt as comparing AD&D to Shadowrun. They are extraordinarily different systems.
2) AD&D was not a good system. It was an incoherent and incomplete mess. Yes, you can have a blast with an incoherent mess of a game; it's still an incoherent mess. Most who enjoy it have a combination of nostalgia from their youths when game design really wasn't any good and there wasn't much to compare to, plus a slim selection of games to begin with so that if you wanted to do anything odd, you had to kludge something, and familiarity hard-built over a great deal of time from decades spent learning how to iron out the wrinkles from this specific game.
3) All games have their strengths and weaknesses. Pathfinder is, on its most basic level, a high-magic game of killing things and taking their stuff. You can add more on top of that framework, yes, but in the end, if that's not what you want, you should play a different game because Pathfinder is not very flexible outside of its niche. Problems are meant to be solved by magic, to the detriment of nonmagic; there just aren't rules for getting lots of things done by mundane means, and those that are there tend to be glossed over and not much of a game. For example, if you have a +10 Heal skill, you're pretty much as good as a doctor can be, succeeding on absolutely everything by taking ten save a scant few diseases and poisons so long as you have a medical kit.
Point being, if you want a low-magic game, you're pretty much excising or downplaying so much of the game that you've stopped playing to its strengths. Why not run Savage Worlds, for something simpler that's just as robust for what you want emphasized, or Burning Wheel, or Pendragon, or L5R, or GURPS, or 7th Sea, or Dungeon World, or Dragon Age, or FATE, or Primetime Adventures, which would all be playing to their strengths here?
4) Give the players the toys. If the game's biggest, most involved subsystem for doing Cool Things (tm) is pretty much exclusive to the NPCs, that's a recipe for disaster. If you don't want the PCs to be super super magic heavy or solving their problems with spells, don't pick a game that devotes over a quarter of the core book to wall-to-wall magic; find a game that actually focuses on not-magic.