Low Magic Setting, High Magic Characters
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  1. #1
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    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    Low Magic Setting, High Magic Characters

    In my experience, most DMs run relatively low magic settings, where spellcasters of any level are extremely rare. Im curious though, if thats the case, how you deal with brazen murder hobo PCs? If your players threaten a village with violence to get their way, do you have high level Fighters as a check back? Are enemy spellcasters just as rare as friendly ones? I understand that high magic settings can get a little wonky when you consider the implications of various higher level spells on the economy, but I worry about players running roughshod over local authorities when even a 5th level Wizard is an astronomical rarity.
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  2. #2
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



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    I'll adapt the world to low magic so the PCs might have to worry about high level assassin's killing them in their sleep. Or limit the PCs to low levels with milestone leveling and it's very difficult to reach those milestones.
    Last edited by Zardnaar; Thursday, 30th May, 2019 at 12:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    If your players threaten a village with violence to get their way, do you have high level Fighters as a check back?
    The village will let them get their way, and complain to their ruler who will send a group of specialists - perhaps another group of adventurers - to deal with the PCs. You can forestall this behaviour by your PCs by having them the ones who are hired to put down another unruly group before they themselves start to become unruly. They'll get the message.

    If you want the villagers themselves to take action, two-part poisons are your go-to thing. The food they eat in the tavern has one part of the poison, the candles in their rooms the other part. The PCs simply don't wake up.
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  4. #4
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    In my experience, most DMs run relatively low magic settings, where spellcasters of any level are extremely rare. Im curious though, if thats the case, how you deal with brazen murder hobo PCs? If your players threaten a village with violence to get their way, do you have high level Fighters as a check back? Are enemy spellcasters just as rare as friendly ones? I understand that high magic settings can get a little wonky when you consider the implications of various higher level spells on the economy, but I worry about players running roughshod over local authorities when even a 5th level Wizard is an astronomical rarity.
    Simple solution: set the expectation ahead of time that the PCs be heroes. Make it clear that evil characters are not appropriate PCs for you campaign, and if a PC starts to veer into evil behavior, they may become an NPC. Then follow through with that if your players start acting like conquerors who can do whatever they want without consequence just because theres no one around strong enough to stop them. Let them off with a warning the first time, something like, hey guys, this is starting to veer into evil territory. Of your characters continue down this path, they may become NPCs. Then if nothing changes, tell them their characters are no longer appropriate heroes for the campaign youre running and ask that they make new, less evil characters.
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  5. #5
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    Brazen murderhobo gameplay is something that should have been discussed and decided on prior to the campaign starting. Managing player expectations and setting limits at the start is a key component to keeping this sort of thing in line. Personally, I don't have a lot of motivation to run a game for players who want to act like sociopaths. The characters don't have a lot of mercy for the chaotic evil baddies? I can live with that. But threatening violence against innocent townsfolk is a huge step past that.
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  6. #6
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    Paladins. My go-to answer for most these type of questions is paladins.

    In my worlds, there is a non-written rule: pick on things your own size. This means that if you have a party of evil PCs (for example, murder hobos), they will generally be left alone if they attack/fight things of about their same power level. If a party of 6th or 7th level PCs (depending on the party's size) go into a wizard's tower and manage to kill the 9th level wizard who lives there, they won't face huge retaliation. But if a party of even 3rd or 4th level PCs starts indiscriminately killing innocents, they will soon find themselves the target of a group of powerful paladins looking to stop them. Since the party broke the rule of pick on things your own size, the paladins won't have to worry about some evil force tracking them down for killing some bad guy who was just minding his own business.

    The other answer is gold dragons. How do you think they amass their treasure hoards? Murder hobos usually have a fair amount of loot.
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  7. #7
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    In D&D 5e, thanks to bonded accuracy, it's very simple to send several a horde of low-CR monsters against the characters. A long line of archers protected by pikemen can be deadly for characters who are caught in the open.

    There are plenty of NPCs with no magic and high CR which can mess with the characters: a warlord (CR12), an assassin (CR8) and so on. Even a squad of veterans or archers (CR3) can seriously challenge a group of mid-level characters.
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  8. #8
    Usually, at low levels, I make a set piece to set the tone of the campaign:

    The village has captured a dangerous Magic User. (and maybe his accomplices) The magic user was using evocation and compulsions to kill, manipulate and cause havoc in the town. The villagers pooled their resources or hired outside help and hunted down the mage. Detail that the wizard was more powerful than the villagers individually but that the town worked together.

    Now describe how they are burning the wizard alive. Make it gruesome. Make this a staple of the setting. A wizard gets out of control? Burn him. Maybe repeat this scene or have rumours about it occasionally. This makes wizards be very careful in how they deal with the populace. Villagers have no problems with helpful magic users but an out-of-control wizard is much more dangerous than an out-of-control fighter. This is why wizards don't live to be very high level: they get culled early on unless they benefit the populace.
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  9. #9
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    Wizard's don't have to do anything of the sort. Benefit the populace? You make it sound like we should get out the torches if the Wizard lets his membership to Amnesty International lapse. Maybe they should just not actively hurt the populace, that sounds more reasonable. Mind you, that holds just as true for any class.

  10. #10
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    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)



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    The ruling party usually doesn't like their subordinates murdered indiscriminately. Sure, if they go full murderhobo on some poor sod in the middle of the woods, they will get away with that. Murder an entire village, find the next village has their gates closed for you. Force your way through? Find the standing army of the ruling party chasing you down like the bad dogs you turned out to be and roll new characters. It seems pretty simple to me.
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