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Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

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  • Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

    Hi all
    As the topic name hints i'm developing a low fantasy setting (having late ancient/dark ages as a base) and have some questions:

    1) What do you think about warriors having less weapons to choose (mainly spears, axes, bows and one handed swords)?
    2) Mages will be nerfed to a) a specialization that gives a few powerful spells or b) they will have the same amount of spells but they will be less awesome and powerful. Do you think that it takes away the fun of being a mage?
    3) I dont know what to do about rogues. Any advice or sugestion will be welcome.

    PS: If my text is confuse, tell me and i will try to improve it.
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

    To enforce the low magic feel, limit the mages (PCs and NPCs) to have one arcana or restrict the choice like only having the four elements (fire, air etc.).

    Also another option- healing magic can be disallowed.
    Last edited by Shadow Mask; 4th December 2015, 06:22 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

      1) What do you think about warriors having less weapons to choose (mainly spears, axes, bows and one handed swords)?

      If it fits your setting this seems fine. I take it one handed swords will then mainly be used with a shield?


      2) Mages will be nerfed to a) a specialization that gives a few powerful spells or b) they will have the same amount of spells but they will be less awesome and powerful. Do you think that it takes away the fun of being a mage?

      With this you should be a bit careful - the people at RoninArmy have thought about a certain class-balance - if you take away power from mages, but leave the other classes more or less the same, ofcourse mages become less powerful. Is it fun, well if you can compensate it in another way, Perhaps give them a bonus at level one to abilities that are not magic-focussed, to make up for it - like communication.
      This depends a bit on the setting aswel, maybe you don't have to touch the class itself. As said you can do a lot with just not allowing a lot of PCs and NPCs to be a mage.
      Another thing you can do is to pass a 'law' in your setting where the use of magic is forbidden in specific areas. This way you can prevent the mage from just flinging his spells without consequence, maybe they would first have to do a check to see if guards are nearby to spot it, or have them (or a party member) create a distraction first. So they sort of have to deal with it in a roleplaying-way.

      Most important thing is that you allow mages to shine as much as the other classes in your campaign. Playing someone who is almost always useless in/out of combat is no fun.


      3) I dont know what to do about rogues. Any advice or sugestion will be welcome.

      Not sure if this requires changing, they would probably fit just fine in such a setting

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      • #4
        Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

        You may want to check this setting called Eternal Shadow, made for low-fanatasy game. You have three balanced classes: Warrior (modified to be able to survive the harsh reality of a non-fantasy battle: wounds, fear, disease etc), Scoundrel to replace the rogue (specialist of Social interaction or infiltration) and the Expert (the brain, the loremaster, the occult fanatic etc). This setting is way more hardcore than a regular fantasy setting: you cant stand in the middle of a fight for 20 rounds 'cause you have a big a** armor: you have less hit point and so battle are more realist IMO. Every body can use magic, but only trough magical artifacts or ancient texts, and Experts are better at it. Casting demands you spend health points to simulate exhaustion for using power normarly out of human reach. You also have Fear checks, your character can be Shocked (lose 1d3 turn when you take more than 1/3 healt in one hit) etc

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...adows-Core.pdf

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        • #5
          Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

          "If it fits your setting this seems fine. I take it one handed swords will then mainly be used with a shield?"

          You're right. There will be 2h styles (mainly for heavier axes and maybe one or two swords), the pole weapon talent will move to spears and swords will be focused on weapon and shield.

          About the mages... I'm thinking to follow your advice and keep them as they are now, but the rarity feel will come from roleplaying.

          Thanks everybody.
          If you have more ideias, let me know

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          • #6
            Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

            I tend to like settings that are lighter on the magic, and where magic is more mysterious and frightening to the average person. One subtle way of keeping balance with lessened mage abilities is to emphasize the rarity and mystery of it (like you mentioned earlier, with the role-playing aspect). Even with "low power" spells, magic can be powerful if very few people can use it, and nobody (outside of the mages and a few scholars) understands how it works, or how to defend against it. With the right roleplaying, mages can be balanced because of the awe and /or dread they inspire, and the rare esoteric knowledge that they have, not necessarily through the raw firepower. As well, maybe there are a few rare monsters (spirits or demons or something) that can only be affected (or maybe even perceived) through magic, giving the mage a crucial edge and importance to his mundane friends.

            Anyway, just some thoughts. Your setting sounds interesting.

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            • #7
              Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

              Aden
              You're welcome to join me if you wish, it would be awesome to have a partner, specially a english speaker one (since i'm brazilian and my english is not that good, i wont be able to write in english and share with people on the forum, wich would be a shame).

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              • #8
                Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

                I think it could be interesting to modify just a bit the Mage to make magic something rare to be feared for the common man.

                1) Give more weapon group training for the Mages but remove arcane blast: there's no ''simple and subtle'' magic trick that cost nothing. Its either a mind-rending, fear-inducing power manifestation or nothing, much like Gandalf.

                2) Add a courage/morale check to every enemy who first witness a spell in combat with some penalties for 1 round, to simulate the fact that magic its something most people dont understand and are afraid of.

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                • #9
                  Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

                  Really awesome ideas, vince.
                  It makes me think that Decipher's Lord of the Ring RPG have a good fear system (from what i remember). Need to check my books.
                  Thanks

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                  • #10
                    Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

                    I'd go with something simple like this:

                    Shocking Magic: When casting a spell in combat, every person who sees the spell for the first time must make a test of Willpower(Courage/Moral/Faith) against the caster's Spellpower. A creature that misses the test is Shocked for 1d3 rounds. A Shocked creature can only take a minor action on his turn

                    Snap out of it! : A creature can spend a minor action to make a TN 11 Communication(Leadership) Test to reduce the duration of a Schocked condition to 1.

                    Dangerous Magic: Magic is a dangerous for those using it carelessly. If you fail at casting a spell and the Dragon Dice shows 1, you must make a Willpower(Self-Discipline) Test against your own Spellpower. If you miss the test, you must roll of the Magical Backlash chart:

                    1 You lose twice the amount of Mana you spent on the spell
                    2 You lose twice the cost of the spell in Health
                    3 The spell hits an allied target instead
                    4 You find yourself Shocked for 1d3 rounds
                    5 You character lose the ability to Shock the enemy with his magic
                    6 A chaotic replica of youself enters the fight against you.

                    Mage Modification:
                    Level 1 (replace arcane blast) Weapon group + 1
                    Level 6 (replace arcane lance): You strike fear in the heart of man. To you, Intimidation is a Intelligence focus instead of Strength.
                    Level 8 (replace big blast): You know how to make your spells more fearful. You can add your Focus: Communication(Performance) to the number an enemy must pass to avoid being scared of you powers.
                    Level 11 (replace power blast): People cant stand the vision of your powers. You can spend an extra 5 MP when casting a spell to roll 1d6 instead of 1d3 to scare your foes.
                    Last edited by vincegetorix; 5th December 2015, 08:45 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

                      I agree that the Mage doesn't have to be mechanically nerfed to fit into a low-magic campaign world. I don't think you even need additional mechanics (e.g. special rolls in response to seeing spells being cast); how the world reacts to the arcane is usually enough to give that low-magic vibe.

                      To enforce the feeling of rare magic, you can try to have the Mage acquire degrees in Magic Talents only through in-game trainers, manuals, or quests. That means to be a Novice in the Air Arcana, she'd have to spend time in finding and training with the reclusive and secretive Air Benders, or something. And to gain the Journeyman degree in Air Arcana, she'd still have to either find some old texts, train some more with the Air Benders, or spend even more time than normal in unlocking her own potential by persistent meditation and practice. In this way, she can level up, but still be stuck with her old spells because she still hasn't learned new ones. Just be sure to explain this to players during character creation, if you are going this route, so that they can be prepared to RP all that hardship. ^_^

                      Of course, there would be the order of mage hunters that should start hounding her once she has enough of a reputation (maybe 5th level or so). I find that having a mage PC in a low-magic campaign gives me, as the DM, an easy way of getting magic items into the PC party's hands without having them as item drops from killed bosses, in the sense that the mage-related quests are typically magic-themed and it doesn't feel out of place to get a magic item along the way.
                      Last edited by TheGreyWulf; 7th December 2015, 02:27 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Low Fantasy Setting [Need some opnions on balance and stuff]

                        What do you think of lost ancient temples where a specific "mana" influence is strong that must be found by the mage to increase an arcana (like dragonstones in skyrim)

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