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The LCM Ruleset

A D20 Low Magic Campaign Setting
Based on: Pathfinder 1.0

Major Influences on the campaign setting:
D20 Pathfinder – Golarion
The Witcher books, video game and soon to be released Netflix TV series
Grim – n – Gritty by Ken Hood (for D20 Pathfinder)

The LCM Ruleset is based upon the D20 Pathfinder rules, however it has been overhauled to reflect an environment with significantly less magic, and much more gritty combat. The presence of items such as wands, staves and scrolls which hold spell ready to be cast has been virtually removed from the campaign setting and all spell casters are required to specialize in a field of magic.

The campaign level cap is set at E11, meaning that after 11th level the player would continue to gain experience, however instead of gaining a new level they would gain a new feat. For every three feats unlocked this way the PC may opt to sacrifice that 3rd Feat and instead access an additional use of a class ability (such as ones only usable x number of times per day) or unlock an class ability they already have access to.

For example, a Barbarian may unlock an additional Rage ability, a Rogue could unlock an additional rogue talent. NOTE: this does not allow the advancement of existing abilities such as a Rogue gaining additional dice of sneak attack damage or a wizard who advances his Fireball by additional 1d6, rather it’s intention is to allow the character to develop more diversity in their skill set as they continue to gain experience. Further this does NOT allow a spell caster to unlock additional spells per day, even spells which are of a level they may already be able to cast. A caster could however spend their feats on applications of Spell Master and thereby expand their spell casting flexibility per day.

NPC are handled differently in that their progression simply ends at level 10. NOTE: “Boss” NPC’s are not limited by this restriction and level under the same system as PC’s.

Alignment has been reclassified as a characters general outlook, personality type, etc and thus are no longer a tangible thing which can be targeted or detected by magic. Alignments remain a good standard for easily understanding a characters motivations and outlook, however that is where it’s utility ends.

0 level spells / cantrips / orisons have been removed. Spell completion and spell trigger items (aka “spell batteries”) such as scrolls and wands, have been removed from the campaign setting. Spells levels are hard capped at 6th level, with access to 7th – 9th level magic simply not being accessible within the scope of the campaign setting.

The line between magic items and simply high quality mundane items become more blurred in LCM Campaigns vs. more traditional D20 games . The magic aura of items have been reclassified as a general sense, tingling, etc that such items give off to those who are arcane casters, or those with an appropriate background feat for sensitivity to arcane magic. The enchantments of such items are significantly less flashy than in other campaigns.

Examples of LCM magic items might include a high elven + 2 mithril katana (keen), or a Dwarven + 2 Breast Plate of Fortitude are items that might be seen in the campaign, however a + 5 Holy Avenger which starts singing Ride of the Valkyrie while generating Holy Sun Burst effects would definitely NOT be found…. Ever.

The creation of magical items in LCM Campaigns is no small feat and requires specialized labs, forges, etc which are expensive to set up and stationary once created, as such Magic Item Creation feats are not allowed by PC’s. Rather mundane, alchemical, masterwork and exotic items are far more common than magical ones in the campaign world and make up over 85% of all “magical” treasures found.

Languages in the campaign are restricted to common, elven, dwarven, and orc. Racial languages are never taught to non-members of the race. PC Half-Elves & Half-Orcs are assumed to have been raised in human communities and thus do not speak Elven or Orcish.

Bonuses languages from high intelligence scores have been replaced with bonus background traits.

LCM campaigns penalizes the concept of “dump stats” much more heavily than most campaign settings due to the lack of magic items in the campaign to offset the weaknesses such builds tend to create. To re-balance this stat gains come at every even level for a total of 5 bonus points at 10th level and feats are gained every odd level for a total of 6 at 11th level. NOTE: feat progression may continue beyond 11th level as noted above under the E11 description.

Class Name Here
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired
2nd +0 +0 +0 +0 Stat Gain
3rd +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired
4th +0 +0 +0 +0 Stat Gain
5th +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired
6th +0 +0 +0 +0 Stat Gain
7th +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired
8th +0 +0 +0 +0 Stat Gain
9th +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired
10th +0 +0 +0 +0 Stat Gain
11th +0 +0 +0 +0 New Feat Acquired

Multi-classing is restricted to 2 classes, with a 2:1 ratio maximum (Rogue 8 / Magus 4) and restricted to only one spell caster class. This is specifically to prevent “splashing” or “dipping” across multiple classes for min / max meta-gaming purposes. Core casting classes (Mage, Priest, Druid, & Witch) may never multi-class. These classes are rare in the campaign and multi-classing will only diminish that fact.

Prestige Classes are not allowed. Please use archetypes, feats, traits, etc for customization.

  • Injuries, poison, disease & combat in general are all much more DANGEROUS under the LCM Ruleset. Critical hits can quickly end a fight, and surprise attacks (such as Bushwhacking, or a rogues sneak attack) can be deadly. High perception skills and paranoia are your friends!
  • Any special ability which are usable “once per day” is considered to automatically reset at the beginning of each gaming session regardless of how much time has passed in game.
  • Variant rules are in place for both magic and combat. Please be sure to review both of these sections carefully.

The following websites contain all of the OGL material used in the campaign:

The campaign setting – A little about the area of Lastwall, it’s history, who are the neighbors, etc

What are the implications of a low magic setting compared to a normal d20 campaign?

Races of Lastwall – a few suggestions on racial optimizations which stood out when I was building some of the NPC’s.

Custom Races of the LCM – Work in Progress

Character Generation – critical – Read this stuff!

Skills and Feats

Spells and Magic – critical – Read this stuff!

Magic Items

Combat – critical – Read this stuff!

Death, Damage and Healing – critical – Read this stuff!

Freebie – Hero Points

For higher level characters (usually above 6th level within the campaign) the option to develop a personal stronghold and attract Followers and Hirelings become one to consider as an option for additional character development. This might be something as simple as attracting a couple of apprentices or might be the beginnings of a new mages guild, or thieves guild.

Golarion – Factions and Groups

The Campaign History and Adventures so far

Creatures Unique to the Campaign

Life of the Common Man within an LCM campaign

Main Page

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