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DnD3.5e: Hiding your magic in a magic hostile world

   
Hiding your magic in a magic hostile world

Trying out for a game here with this theme got me interested in the concept, but when I looked around at the available material I noticed there wasn't a lot of information on the subject. I guess it's understandable given the nature of Dungeons and Dragons but I'd like to explore the subject further.

It wouldn't be a problem in a barbaric society where'd noone knows anything about arcane magic, but what about the world that was very magic savvy? A world where professionals with divine magic and a lot of experience would be hunting you? How would you hide your magic items and powers?

Perhaps be very open about having a deity the character reveres and use buff and/or debuff spells that the character "prays" for. And be an archer type to explain the lack of armor.

Is it a world where already created magic items are ok? (Which may have been divinely magically created.) Perhaps the character has a crossbow and "fires" an Acid Arrow from it. Whether he loads it or not. It's the crossbow. Perhaps it's a "family heirloom magic weapon that only works for those from his family line." (Adding from later thought - the character may actually believe this.)

Is alchemy to some extent ok? He could credit the amazing "powder rocks" he has and throws that blossom into a fireball.

It would take a very savvy character who knows what is acceptable and disguises what he/she can do to fit what appears acceptable. And in fact, may be a truly reverent character - who may actually think what they are able to do (perhaps a Sorcerer) is a divine gift... hmm... that would be different. And could be applied to any of the above. And could be very compelling. Even for a wizard. Their study could be bathed in genuine prayer and seem and feel to come from divine inspriation and blessing. Even a divine "zone of no lying", very good Sense Motive, etc would be "fooled" because the character is. At some point there may be some subconscious denial in there. They are only doing good - truly. And perhaps in this world magic was / is only used for terrible ends. Or at least that's what they've heard. So there's no way they could be using arcane magic. Then even when they start to realize... they rationalize it. And at some point have to decide whether to keep up a charade they have unknowingly been peforming... Well. Perhaps a tanget twist added in. But possibilities. And an interesting sounding setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustusGloop View Post
Trying out for a game here with this theme got me interested in the concept, but when I looked around at the available material I noticed there wasn't a lot of information on the subject. I guess it's understandable given the nature of Dungeons and Dragons but I'd like to explore the subject further.

It wouldn't be a problem in a barbaric society where'd noone knows anything about arcane magic, but what about the world that was very magic savvy? A world where professionals with divine magic and a lot of experience would be hunting you? How would you hide your magic items and powers?
I would carry a lead sheet with me at all times.

The problem with hiding X in a world where there are lots of people who can easily identify X is that it's hard.

What you need to know before you can really get into such a character is how vigorously young people who manifest such powers are identified, and what gets done with them. If the society has a special day where all the kids are examined by one of these professionals, then the ones who come up positive are all tied together and burned at the stake, it's a lot harder to survive with magical ability than if it's about these professionals investigating incident reports and taking people away without harming them publicly.

Assuming the society isn't keen on publicly executing kids for witchcraft, what probably happens (unless it's been specified otherwise, of course), is that kids are tested for it - presumably, it's more systematic in urban locations and less so in rural - and the ones that come up positive are taken away and put to work for the authority. Really, these sorts of things are usually about the authority wanting to have a justification for killing/disappearing anyone they find irritating. It would be entirely unrealistic if that authority didn't, at some point, have the revelation that they can just brainwash these kids and give them a special badge and say they've been cleansed, or their power really is divine, or some other justification for employing them.

Play a duskblade, pretend you're a fighter and say that the magic you cast is actually the special properties of your weapon. It's risky because if some one gets ahold of it and can't cast burning hands through it.

Hiding magic items, on the otherhand is tricky.... nah! A nifty spell called Magic Aura. It's a 1st level spell that lasts 1 day per level and makes magic items register as a non-magical item when detect magic is cast and Identify requires a will save on the casters part for them to realize that the item is actually magical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustusGloop View Post
Trying out for a game here with this theme got me interested in the concept, but when I looked around at the available material I noticed there wasn't a lot of information on the subject. I guess it's understandable given the nature of Dungeons and Dragons but I'd like to explore the subject further.

It wouldn't be a problem in a barbaric society where'd noone knows anything about arcane magic, but what about the world that was very magic savvy? A world where professionals with divine magic and a lot of experience would be hunting you? How would you hide your magic items and powers?
Y'mean like Mage: The Ascension from White Wolf? Point being, from whom are you hiding your magic? Hiding magical effects from those who know it exists is hard. Really, really hard. A divine "witch hunter" will be more familiar with the workings of divine magic than any arcanist. You might fool the rubes with a few ad-libbed "dominus ominus" and sketching a cross at the end of your somatic gestures, but you won't fool a priest ... let alone someone trained to recognize the ways witches try to conceal their vile arts.

A lot of it boils down to system. In the afore-mentioned Mage, as long as a PC performed "sympathetic" effects, the mortals of the world were none the wiser. It was only when they use Vulgar effects that mortals start asking hard questions. Paradox didn't care either way: it knew that sudden failure of the power lines that electrocuted the assassin was, in fact, a lightning bolt.

Hiding magic in a game based on D&D's 3.5 rules gets harder ... but there are rules in later supplements that allow for it. Reference the Beguiler class and several skill tricks. In a pinch, you could even use Bluff vs Spot, Spellcraft, or even Knowledge (Religion) to try to pass your spell off as a prayer.





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