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Homebrew: No magic, low-fantasy system

   
No magic, low-fantasy system

I have been creating a world for the past five years or so, and I really would like to make my own system. I'm afraid I don't have the time or the knowledge to really make a successful system (although, I am open to suggestions/help if someone is willing).

So, for the time being, I am making my world around D&D 3.5e (as a campaign setting, I suppose). The problem is, the world is very low-fantasy. Most of the base D&D classes use magic one way or another and it really just doesn't fit in the setting. If I got rid of all the magic classes, I would be left with Fighter, Barbarian (which also doesn't fit), Monk (which has no place in the world), and Rogue. I know that there are no-magic variants, but are these even worth playing to most people?

The second thing is: there is no real pantheon or deities, the magic (if there is going to be any) and religion would work much like Lord of the Rings (which is to say, it is not as important as the pantheon in D&D). Magic would not have domains or any such affiliations. It would just be magic. There is a god and (what you could call) deities, but everyone knows of them and respects them in their own way, but again, it's not part of day-to-day life. There is no church or organized religion.

Two questions: Should I just make my own system? If not, how would I go about adapting 3.5e to suit the setting?

EDIT: I am not using any of the standard races. I have created all original races (though, they are mostly just variants of Humans). There are no Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Half-Elves, Gnomes, Half-Orcs, etc... If you're curious, I have written SOME information down. You can find the races: here. Note: The information on these pages are definitely going to change.

One of the big problems you're going to run into is healing. After about third level -- well, let's be honest. From first level, parties rely on magical healing. After about third level, natural healing is next to useless; a fighter or barbarian has so many HP that they'd have to rest for days to regain their HP after a fight. Rogues and other classes with a strong alpha-strike ability, i.e. those that can end a battle before it begins, will be much more popular because they won't take damage. Expect to see down-times stretching into weeks between adventuring sessions, and dungeon crawls stretching into the months. Also expect to see everyone in the party tweaking their Heal score as high as possible, not just to get back more HP but to deal with poison and disease.

Also, a number of races would have to go or be radically redesigned. Almost everything with ECL is out, and even a number of base races like Dwarves and Elves are going to need a rewrite to fit them in. Expect loot to be worth less once the party gets all masterwork gear, since they don't have million-gold magic items to sink money into. On the converse of that, expect Leadership to become much more powerful because Followers can be used to fight battles for the party, allowing the PCs to clear out areas faster.

I'm interested in why you don't want to have Barbarians around. Conan, a quintessential low-fantasy hero, is the archetype for the Barbarian, so why wouldn't he work?

Sorry, I edited my above post. I forgot to mention the races.

It's funny that you should mention Conan. While I love the old fellow, he really has no place in this setting (as the Barbarians exist right now. ie. Rage, illiteracy, barbaric personalty/manners).

EDIT: The healing is where low-fantasy comes into play. I would use herbs, poultices, and some potions for healing. Herbs could be applied with a Heal check, poultices and potions could just be drunk for the effects to take. I wanted to use herbs/roots/alchemy as a focal point of healing. "Special" plants that have medicinal properties (that in game terms, would simply heal you x-amount of points).

EDIT2: You're right about the weapons, though. There will be some magical weapons, armor, and equipment, but they will be both rare and expensive. I may do different categories of mastercraft to give more bonuses. (Ex: Mastercraft +1, Superior Mastercraft +2, etc...).

Do not remove magic from 3.5. You will not end up with a good no-magic system; you'll end up with the tattered remains of a completely and utterly broken system. 3.5 is one of the most high-magic systems there are, up there with Exalted, to the point where trying to use it for low/no-magic is on the same order as trying to use Call of Cthulhu to run a dungeon crawl. You'd be better off taking virtually any other fantasy system in existence and adapting that.

Do some system shopping, man. There are a lot more systems floating around besides 3.X.

Good alternatives:

1) GURPS. It's designed to do anything.

2) Savage Worlds. It can also do anything, and is an extremely light-weight system.

3) True20. Another highly flexible system, and it's even a d20 system

4) Burning Wheel. Cheers for indie games. Magic isn't nearly so much of a central theme, and you can remove it without removing half the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viletta Vadim View Post
Do not remove magic from 3.5. You will not end up with a good no-magic system; you'll end up with the tattered remains of a completely and utterly broken system. 3.5 is one of the most high-magic systems there are, up there with Exalted, to the point where trying to use it for low/no-magic is on the same order as trying to use Call of Cthulhu to run a dungeon crawl. You'd be better off taking virtually any other fantasy system in existence and adapting that.
That was the idea I was leading you into. D&D without magic just doesn't work. My vote would be either for M&M at a low PL, or else something like Savage Worlds or Worlds of Darkness. M&M is more heroic fantasy where PCs make daring leaps and face grand odds. SW and WoD are a bit more gritty and realistic, especially since WoD ties the heroes to a morality scale.

Hmm... I was afraid of that.

I appreciate the responses. I will research other systems. I don't see how it would work otherwise. I guess I was leaning towards 3.5 since I am most comfortable with it.

Using True 20 or M&M would help with the familiarity a bit since they're both d20 games. My personal choice for this type of game would be either SW or GURPS though.

Using a system you're comfortable with is nice, but... 3.5 is just not geared for what you're doing. I've played in something similar, and it's just a mess.

Like Viletta said.. GURPS. GURPS is a great system, very flexible.

There are only two that matter in GURPS. Basic Set Characters, and Basic Set Campaigns. The rest is just more crap for your PC's to get.




 

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