D&D 5E "I am not magical, but I use magic." - The Mundane Mystics

ezo

Where is that Singe?
Just posting about a point I had discussing some game design I'm working on with some friends, very much (loosely) based on 5E (hence the 5E tag).

Part of 5E (and D&D in prior editions to some degree) that bothers me is the idea that PCs, their classes and races, are "magical". I prefer that they aren't. I prefer that they USE magic.

I also posted in another thread that I am perfecly happy with such "mundane" PCs doing things beyound what we currently can in real life, as long as it is close enough to be plausible in my "fantasy" world of D&D. Allowing for the plausible, means I can keep things from becoming magical.

Now, to be clear, I am completely for magic being used! For example, once in an AD&D game a player I knew had a thief-acrobat who could long jump over 20 feet IIRC. This is certainly possible in real life, of course! However, this PC also had two magical items: a ring of jumping, and boots of striding and sprining. The DM then allowed the effects of both items to stack with the PC's class ability, meaning if both were used in tandom with his jump, he could jump 80 feet! Of course, take away his items---and he can't do it.

My preference would be such for all classes. Take away the spellbook, and the Wizard cannot cast. Take away the holy symbol, and neither can the Cleric, and so forth. The biggest implication is that whatever magic a PC or NPC uses, can somehow be taken away.

Of course, as I mentioned, the limits don't have to be completely mundane without magic, but "plausible". The game we're developing is based on such principles.

In many ways, I suppose this is the antithesis to The Magical Martial thread, which I am dubbing The Mundane Mystics.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
My preference would be such for all classes.

Unfortunately, if you mean that in terms of the published game, you end up saying, "My preference would be such for all other players." And that's gonna go over like a lead balloon.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
TBH, this is one of those “D&D- in any iteration- is the wrong tool for the job” situations. Magic is simply hardwired into certain classes and races.

I don’t know if any other dedicated FRPG is designed to do this, but it’s certainly within the possibilities of “toolbox” RPG systems like HERO, GURPS, and so forth.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
So youre essentially looking at a magic system where instead of spell slots PCs use charged items as casting Tools? - Wands, Scrolls, Holy Symbols, Potions,,Amulets, Tattoos as patron marks? - I could dig that.

Classes could be defined by character ‘attunements’ with attendent attunement feats/metamagics. Of course Item Crafting would be a premier skill set, and you could get a litteral magical arms race as PC stock up on scrolls and wand charges.
 

My preference would be such for all classes. Take away the spellbook, and the Wizard cannot cast. Take away the holy symbol, and neither can the Cleric, and so forth. The biggest implication is that whatever magic a PC or NPC uses, can somehow be taken away.

In such a world, disarming would be the most powerful combat move. Being the victim of sundering or pickpocketing would be the equivalent of level loss. Taking a loan with magic items as collateral would be the magical equivalent of Repo, the Genetic Opera. And bathing would be considered the most dangerous activity an adventurer could partake in.
 



On such question like « who came first the magic or the magic user », I think that each DM can make his own mind on the subject. Magical or use magic, is pure fluff that won’t alter the game mechanics most of the time.
 

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