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D&D 3E
Changing the System and all... 
28th-Sep-2005 04:06 pm
Im Getting to the point in my modification of the D20 system, where its starting to seem like a serious project, so much so that i've started a community to talk about the stuff. However, I'm starting to realize that the changes im making here are getting kinda ridiculously significant, so Here's my question:
When I remove Magic Items at large, what are the things you guys think I'll need to do to counteract the loss of balance?
28th-Sep-2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
Look at the Vow of Poverty feat.

The feat is supposedly designed to allow a character who eschews magical items to keep up with characters who do not. By and large, I think that the feat fails, but that's a slightly different discussion.

The point I'm trying to get out, in a very roundabout and convoluted fashoin, is that the bonuses granted by VoP are very significant (+8/+6/+4/+2 to stats, counting attacks as magical, etc), and in some ways not enough. The bonuses and abilities granted to players via magical items are huge and play a significant factor in the balance (which you already knew).

If you're going to remove them, you'll either have to rebalance spells, spell-likes, monsters, and (maybe) class abilities...or you'll have to provide character advancement abilities which mimic, in some way, the sorts of bonuses and abilities provided by the items.
28th-Sep-2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
You need to look at benchmark monsters out of the MM to see how characters would fare against them without magic.

Magic items (and the gold characters use to buy them) are like the point-buy system behind D&D. As you go up in levels you get stuff for your class like BAB and so on.. but the magic items are where players kit their characters out. If they need to make up a deficiency in a stat, or really bust a stat out? They get an item for it. If they realize theyre lacking in armor class or say.. the ability to fly or damage creatures like demons that they are going against, they'll make up for with kit.
28th-Sep-2005 08:44 pm (UTC)
As mentioned, you'll need to compare the PCs against opponents of a given CR, and downgrade the opponents or add something (like Vow of Poverty) to make up the difference.

You can look at d20 Modern, as there is no magic by default there, and the system is mostly balanced.

You'll need to add a money sink. Currently, PCs spend what they earn on magic items, and that gives them something to use their money on. Without that, PC wealth will increase without them doing anything with it, besides destabalizing local economies.

You could look at Iron heroes, which is a low-magic d20 setting, from Monte Cook. It looks good, and has much less in the way of magic all around.
28th-Sep-2005 08:47 pm (UTC)
Think of how ridiculously powerful spellcasters are to non-spellcasters without magic items. To counteract this, I'd suggest going the D20 Modern route. Use the six basic classes of D20 Modern (which work really well in a fantasy setting, when you want magic to actually MEAN something), and have spellcasting classes and even specialty classes (fighter, rogue, etc.) be advanced classes.
28th-Sep-2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Sorry--didn't log in, but this was my comment
28th-Sep-2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
I was about to post this myself. Supplements like d20 Past and Urban Arcana bring in plenty of Advanced classes which mimic many of the abilities of D&D classes. Across the board magic will be lower, hp will be lower, BAB will be lower, but AC will be higher. D20 Modern goes out of its way to be pretty compatible with D&D monsters and CRs, and d20 Past especailly has info for running lower tech levels.
28th-Sep-2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
What kind of balance do you want to preserve?

If you're worried about monster CR's or ECLs, then look at the Vow of Poverty or other really low magic systems (Iron Hero's for example).

If you're worried only about keeping the classes in balance with each other, thats a harder question to answer as I'm not sure the classes are already in balance. :)

So, more info on what you want to preserve?
28th-Sep-2005 10:08 pm (UTC) - Well, a little more detail on the route im taking would be helpful.
1. Ime rewriting the classes, almost every single one of them. actually they are somewhat done, take a look at my personal journal if you want to see them.
2. the magic system is different, using the WOT as a rough base, and expanding on it from there.
3. Class defense bonus to ac progressive with level.
4. changed the BASE PROGRESSION to include more feats and ability increases.
5. Training rules, including both XP penalty and sacrifice as alternate ways of gaining skill levels beyond the normal max, as well as simply additional, also class abilities normally inexcessible, and feats of course. Exspensive, but there.
5. as previously mentioned, the action point system, converted slightly to allow a little more broad a base, though a sparing one at that.
6. the armour as damage reduction, severly re-done, basically the same however.
7. As far as monsters go, they are mostly being re-written or given siomple templates though which to modify them to fit accordingly with the system.
I'm not slacking here, I have about 70 hand written pages of conversion information and charts already written up, and I'm not pretending in the slightest that this is anything other than a complete overhaul. It is not going to bequite the same game, but it will fit my needs and desires much more strongly as im creating a detailed sstem of interaction and non-combat scenario support toi allow adventure in either the high dramatic or the intense war settings.
What I want to preserve, is 'fun'. thats where the communities here come in. Thanks for everyones enthusiasm!
28th-Sep-2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
Iron Heroes does just this. If you can get a look at the relative power levels of the classes it would be a useful insight for you
28th-Sep-2005 10:09 pm (UTC) - Damn RIGHT.
Way ahead of you dude. Heh.
28th-Sep-2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
Give nonspellcasters a way to compete with spellcasters at high levels, possibly through special feats.
28th-Sep-2005 11:39 pm (UTC)
Stay away from Incarnum, they make their own magic items daily as class abilities
29th-Sep-2005 02:20 am (UTC)
You seem to be going from a 'high magic' world to low magic world. Make enemies that go along with that change. Take away DR, or make it very low. Much of the DR is material based, not magic based.... so that helps.

SR is irrelivant etc. It will make PCs think more, kind of like the heros of old who couldn't beat the troll without fire. why? because he was a troll and you CAN'T pummel him.... only if you know the weak spot etc.

29th-Sep-2005 05:12 am (UTC)
I realize that this is sort of off the subject you're looking for, but it occurs to me that assuming you made sure the classes were balanced in terms of each other it would be quite an interesting twist to leave all monsters and soforth exactly as they are. Ultimately it wouldn't be a suitable change for a standard hack-and-slash D&D campaign, but for a more story-driven roleplaying game it would be kind of neat in that it would create, basically, a much scarier world overall. I mean, if the world's epic-level characters can't take down a basic red dragon, for god's sake, what the hell are you supposed to do? Crap your pants, I suppose.

Obviously experience would need to be rebalanced as well. Oh teh nos.
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