Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Less Magic

One of the cool things about the AD&D2 splatbook The Complete Fighter's Handbook (the only one of these splatbooks I own a physical copy of, although that may change if I ever find a good copy of the Historical Reference series) is that it gives guidelines for running alternative campaigns. It has suggestions for low-magic and no-magic games. The former still allows certain classes to have their special abilities - paladins can still lay on hands and turn undead - but prevents any player character from learning and casting spells. Although it doesn't say this explicitly, since this section is about running a warriors-only game, this could still be easily extended to other classes, such as clerics (who could still turn undead) and druids (who could still do all the stuff they do).

This gives me an idea. I've long been considering converting my current B/X game to AD&D2, if the players would be up for it. Here's the current group of players, all 1st level:
  • Adira, a fighter
  • Elia, a thief
  • Steven, a cleric
  • Thebabicus, a cleric
  • Ulreth, a fighter
Of the other characters I've had with this campaign, Rhiannon's (an elf) player lives too far away to play regularly; the guy playing another elf has dropped out of the campaign; the owner of Kotet Suki (a thief) frequently works on the days when we get together; and one player who hasn't even gotten a chance to play his cleric yet has apparently dropped off the face of the earth.

This provides me with an interesting situation should I convert the characters to AD&D2: I can do a low-magic game with no problem. First-level clerics in pre-Wizards D&D can't cast spells anyway, so if I removed that ability it wouldn't be sorely missed. And as for wizards (including the ubiquitous elven fighter/wizard), I'm thinking of allowing them... but only as specialists. They would specialize in a school and be unable to learn or cast spells from any other school, except from magic items like wands, staves, and rods - and even then, they would still be limited by the opposition school.

Having no mages nicely limits the number of potential spellcasters (though not excessively, since I'll be using Method V - 4d6, drop lowest, arrange to taste - for any new characters). And having no priest spells is an interesting idea, although I'm not sure if I would make use of it. Yet another advantage for AD&D2 is that monster XP values are doubled, which will lead to the characters getting to that elusive 2nd level in a slightly shorter amount of time... especially if I quit being so stingy with the gold pieces.

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