D&D 5E 5E Without Magic (PCs)

nevin

Hero
a no magic 5e game is basically use the combat rules and forget all races but human and all classes but fighter exist. Even rogues have magical abilities in Dnd. It's probably one of the worst game systems for that type of game. There are game systems that are designed specifically to do that, or like gurps to pick and choose what you want and don't want.
 

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Tony Vargas

Legend
Interesting. I often see it mentioned that 5E is the least magic dependent edition. There are lots of mundane ways to get health back, and no one needs magic items even at higher levels. It hardly seems a no PC magic campaign in 5E would be impossible.
Not at all, no.
5e on magic said:
For adventurers, though, magic is key to their survival. Without the healing magic of clerics and paladins, adventurers would quickly succumb to their wounds. Without the uplifting magical support of bards and clerics, warriors might be overwhelmed by powerful foes. Without the sheer magical power and versatility of wizards and druids, every threat would be magnified tenfold.
Healing, in general, is not so great in 5e, magic or otherwise. Non-magical healing is particularly limited, the in-combat bits, like the BM's Rally are temp hp, which won't get you back into the fight if you're dropped.
Magic items were not 'assumed' in 5e design the way they were in other editions (tho 3e & 4e had optional inherent bonuses to write out assumed magic items). That is, monsters are supposedly calibrated for a party without them, but magic from party casters certainly is assumed (and, ultimately, CR is pretty bad, anyway). Also, while the bonuses of magic items were not built into Da Math like in prior WotC editions, 5e did return to giving many monsters resistance to non-magical weapons, so doing without those can be a bit of an issue, too (if you use such monsters, which is one reason I suggested leaning into no-magic and going with animals & other people as adversaries, rather than supernatural monsters).

You can certainly do the sort of no/rare magic-item NPC-casters-are-rare traditional "low magic campaigns" I mentioned above, in 5e.
But without PC full casters, a party is going to be far less capable and durable. Resources like spell slots are just too impactful to do without.
 
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GuyBoy

Hero
I like your idea and wish you the best with it; a Conan-esque S&S campaign sounds great to me, with variants of fighters, rogues, barbarians and rangers to choose from.
I’d maybe allow some magic in the world, but only in the form of sinister mages in spider-haunted towers and priests of unspeakable gods, but they’d be almost entirely as foes ( I say almost, thinking of Pellias from REH)

I think the key thing is to talk to your players. If they’re mature, sensible and don’t get hung-up on magical power-gaming, 5e works just fine.
Good luck with it.

PS Level Up might allow a bit more variety in non-magical characters?
PPS someone mentioned no “ immune to non-magical weapons” monsters. Disagree; they should be very rare of course, but working out alternative ways to kill them should be a gaming opportunity in itself.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Only Fighters, Rogues and Barbarians would be left, as even Monk has spells in the base class (Empty Body). Would definitely need some homebrew classes to fill it back up.
 

Oofta

Legend
I've had campaigns with groups that had no casters, it's not that big of a deal. It certainly worked better than the all wizard party that ended in a TPK once I actually threw a combat that was potentially dangerous at them. Someone with the healer feat in 5E is helpful but other than that I didn't change anything. Another thing is do you consider monks magical? Because if you don't you could also allow a Way of Mercy monk which is useful for in-combat healing. My groups always have access to as many potions of healing as they want for between combat healing. While I didn't do it back then for my all fighter group, nowadays I allow people to drink potions as a bonus action.

There were a few times a caster would have been useful, but honestly it wasn't a big deal. They party just had to come up with alternative solutions now and then. For that matter my next campaign looks like it's going to have a single war cleric. Stay away from obvious casters, decide how supernatural your world is going to be and go for it. Worst case limit the number of fights people have between short rests so they can heal up and I don't think you really have to change much of anything.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Interesting. I often see it mentioned that 5E is the least magic dependent edition. There are lots of mundane ways to get health back, and no one needs magic items even at higher levels. It hardly seems a no PC magic campaign in 5E would be impossible.
4e is the least magic-dependent edition, because everything works the same mechanically whether you use magic or not.
 

Oofta

Legend
Only Fighters, Rogues and Barbarians would be left, as even Monk has spells in the base class (Empty Body). Would definitely need some homebrew classes to fill it back up.
Assuming you get to 18th level. Even then, you could just swap out empty body for something else. There's a couple of subclasses I wouldn't allow, but that's true for fighter, barbarian and rogue classes as well.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Not at all, no.

Healing, in general, is not so great in 5e, magic or otherwise. Non-magical healing is particularly limited, the in-combat bits, like the BM's Rally are temp hp, which won't get you back into the fight if you're dropped.
Magic items were not 'assumed' in 5e design the way they were in other editions (tho 3e & 4e had optional inherent bonuses to write out assumed magic items). That is, monsters are supposedly calibrated for a party without them, but magic from party casters certainly is assumed (and, ultimately, CR is pretty bad, anyway). Also, while the bonuses of magic items were not built into Da Math like in prior WotC editions, 5e did return to giving many monsters resistance to non-magical weapons, so doing without those can be a bit of an issue, too (if you use such monsters, which is one reason I suggested leaning into no-magic and going with animals & other people as adversaries, rather than supernatural monsters).

You can certainly do the sort of no/rare magic-item NPC-casters-are-rare traditional "low magic campaigns" I mentioned above, in 5e.
But without PC full casters, a party is going to be far less capable and durable. Resources like spell slots are just too impactful to do without.
If you have PC full casters, a "low magic" setting is meaningless, because in practice the actual game you're playing is full of magic.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Assuming you get to 18th level. Even then, you could just swap out empty body for something else. There's a couple of subclasses I wouldn't allow, but that's true for fighter, barbarian and rogue classes as well.
Changing features would be the homebrew classes part, and they do explicitly call Ki magic either way.

I've seen Pugilists in play, they seemed pretty good to replace the Monk. No idea what book they were from though.
 

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