Bob Something
▶ Godbound
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

What are the main design guidelines when it come to creating Low Magic? The more I work on fleshing out my game's Realm the more it seems there is a need to showcase and explain Low Magic due to it emulating (very loosely, once you get in depth) a slightly more 'typical' D&D-esque world. I've already shown that something similar to Clerics exist, for example, as well as D&D-style Magic Users. Aside from what is listed in the book, how does one crunch a Low Magic tradition and how could this be incorporated with Vancian Casting...which I admit normally I wouldn't use in Godbound but that specific realm/setting seems like the kind of place I'd need to showcase it's existence.

I admit being still a bit new (by comparison) to many of the OSR-related design philosophies when it come to homebrewing

Carl Pellegrini
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Can I say I second this question and that I would very much like yo hear an answer, or at least thoughts.

I must say I really like the Godbound low magic system but yeah trying to figure out how it would relate to the normal magic in a typical D&D location somewhat confused me.

Bob Something
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

The paid version of the core book does include an optional mortal hero talent, but all it says is 'cast spells from the spell list of a class', essentially. This is a good start but does leave much to be desired on how to handle this beyond that, especially given how Godbound Low Magic and Gifts work and how they would interact with more typical OSR/D&D spells and mechanics.

Kevin Crawford
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Low Magic and Vancian Casting aren't meant to mix. If you use Vancian Casting, just use the classes from the OSR game of your choice and halve the damage/healing dice any given spell inflicts.

Low Magic isn't meant to be hammered out into specific spell lists or exact effect parameters, because the scale of low magic is too trivial to the average Godbound game to make that kind of effort worth it. If you want to use Low Magic to emulate a traditional D&D Magic-User or Cleric, then just decide "Apprentices can do anything a 1st level M-U spell could do, Adepts a 1st-3rd level spell, Masters a 1st-5th level spell, and Archmages a 1st-7th level spell. As per page 56, they cast fast but only 1 spell/HD, and they take a whole night's rest to recharge. Damage and healing dice are halved, rounded down, with a 5 die cap. Nothing they conjure is permanent without additional ritual expenditures."

Carl Pellegrini
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

But would I be right in that thematically the Low Magic arts have spell lists? The Godbound (and thus the players) don't need them that way but they technically exist.

But to me the issue thematically is how to fit in the elements of a standard D&D setting using Godbound. Which means figuring out where Vancian Magic fits within the world.

Kevin Crawford
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Some Low Magic disciplines thematically have spell lists, but others are just a matter of knowing arcane techniques, like Empty Hand, or having an awareness of how to manipulate a particular source of power. It's just a generic catch-all heading for "Magic powers that are important enough to mention, but not powerful enough to challenge divinities."

Fitting a standard D&D setting into Godbound is just a matter of using standard D&D rules for people, Vancian casting included. You can take a 10th level B/X Magic-User and insert him directly into Godbound with the same stats as ever. He's got 10 HD, casts as usual, and the only thing you do is halve the damage dice his spells inflict and keep him from creating permanent effects with simple spells. There's no conversion necessary.

Carl Pellegrini
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Thanks for the info. :)

So where would you place Vancian Magic in such a setting. Is it near Low Magic, in its own sort of middle tier of magic, or near or equal to Theurgy?

Kevin Crawford
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Vancian level 1-5 magic is usually where Low Magic's power level lives. Level 6+ is usually Theurgy-level hoodoo, though potentially weaker in some ways or stronger (Wish) in others.

Carl Pellegrini
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

Oh, okay, cool. So like a wizard starts off using low magic but by the time he reaches spell levels 6+ he has basically become an Eldritch. Hmm. I like that.

Thank You!

I like setting development and creation and so figuring out how the magic and such works is very fun for me. Especially in how it relates to the mighty abilities of a Godbound.

Bob Something
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

+Kevin Crawford Well I suppose when you put it like this, I can understand my mistake. But then again, part of my problem was that when I first threw in my Godbound pitch to the players they hadn't really experienced fantasy RPG that weren't D&D. Well, except Exalted, but that game wasn't ultimately very Exalted-esque.

Anyway, anything else I should know when it come to fleshing out and crunching Low Magic? Because I find that Low Magic is, upon re-reading the parts of the Godbound book which are setting-pertinent (as in, tied more specifically to Arcem rather than the overall Godbound universe) that Low Magic may very well be one of the more underrated or easily skipped aspect. Oh sure, in a default Godbound game its pretty much nothing and or even barely useful but from a setting design perspective its functionally the type of magic most people will see and so will shape the level of magic of a Realm quite a bit and is what delineate from a high fantasy setting to a low-magic gritty sword & sorcery world.

Is there anything else to know about Low Magic limitations or can I just 'eyeball' some rough effects using the other traditions as reference? Granted, this is probably the side-effects of being someone from the D&D 3e-era that I worry too much about how functional a homebrew is.

Kevin Crawford
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

As a general rubric, whenever you stop to consider the mechanical aspects of some part of your world, you only need to give it the degree of attention that the interest of your players requires. If there is an occult order of spacklers in your campaign, the only time you need to worry about what exactly Spackle Magic can do is when it becomes important to your players. By extension, the only time you need to worry about the exact details of a Low Magic tradition is when one of your players wants to use it or manipulate it.

Some world-builders balk at this principle. They insist with some justification that knowing the details of how a magic works can be very important for coherent world-building and the construction of situations. It's easy to think of circumstances where it would be crucial to know whether a given magic can do X or not.

The problem is that every GM has a very limited amount of focus and energy, and any of it spent on "maybe useful" things comes at the cost of "probably useful" things. It's necessary to pick and choose what a GM focuses on, because there's just only so much they can do.

Thus, for Low Magic limits in your campaign, it's easiest to work backwards. Decide what kind of campaign setting you want, and then apply whatever limits or traits to Low Magic that get you to that point. Do you want copious magical items and permanent enchantments? Allow Low Magic to do it. Do you want permanent effects very rare? Don't let Low Magic make them easily. Do you want one kind of magic to be very common? Make it an easy tradition to pick up. Et cetera.

As for mechanical balancing, don't worry about it. You only need to care when a player decides they want to learn a particular Low Magic, and then you can just eyeball something that looks reasonable and tweak it in play as needed. Figure out what the player wants out of their Low Magic, decide if that want is something that you're willing to allow, and then make that clear up front to the player.

Bob Something
2018-01-17T22:50:37.755Z

+Kevin Crawford Well, I suppose you are right, especially due to how weak Low Magic is in Godbound. There is less of a need for me to flesh out entire traditions and statting NPC down to what spells they can and can't do.

I'll just go ahead and blame not being completely out of those bad design paradigm and terrible GM advice my generation had their heads crammed with. Not to sound like some 'Born again OSR-er' but it speak volumes that OSR blogs and the likes of your Red Tide GM toolbox have been more useful to me as a game master than any crummy advice found in modern Dungeon Master Guides. There is so much that is 'backward' with modern game design that it make me wonder how we ever ended up with these kind of ideas as the norm. But enough of my proselytizing.