Optional rules I'm playing with, none of which has been implemented so don't freak out!

So this area is my “drawing board”. Here you’ll find things that I’m kicking around but have not decided on implementing at this time. I’m open to feedback on any of these if you find you particularly like / dislike.

~ Lazlo ~


Dwarf = racial material mastery – bronze
wood Elf = racial material mastery – lamanar wood and amber
high elf = racial material mastery – mithril + magic (moves into place on its own fitting to the body) – only works with elven magic
Human – racial material mastery – none really, although copper, iron, bronze (common, not dwarven) and small amounts of steel would be common

Class Defense Bonus

Current status: Implemented.

The same dodge bonuses should be given to NPCs as well. Those with class levels figure their dodge bonus just like PCs. Characters with multiple HD gain a dodge bonus based on their type, as noted below. Creature types that frequently wear armor (humanoids, giants, monstrous humanoids, and outsiders) have the same restrictions as PCs — limiting their maximum dodge bonus by armor type. Other creature types (aberrations, animals, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, magical beasts, oozes, plants, undead, and vermin) are often balanced with natural armor. These types may not gain a dodge bonus greater than their Dexterity modifier before bonuses and/or penalties. Thus, a dire wolf, with a +2 Dexterity bonus, cannot gain more than a +2 dodge bonus from its Hit Dice, no matter how many Hit Dice it has.

Dodge Progressions By Creature Type

Dragons, magical beasts,outsiders

Aberrations, constructs,elementals, giants,monstrous humanoids

Animals, humanoids,oozes, plants, vermin

Fey, undead


Bushwhacking Rules / Coup de Grace

current status – Implemented

Combat / Magic

This is one area I’ve given a lot of thought.

AC / To hit / damage / DR:

1) take the average value of any weapon dice (IE: a D12 = 6, D4 = 2, etc)
2) add all your damage bonuses normally & divide by 1/2.

This becomes your “base damage value” or BDV.

3) Roll your D20 and see if you hit the AC value.
4) For every point over the AC (up to your max wpn dmg -MxWD + Full bonuses) you deal 1 additional point of damage. EX: AC 10, you roll a 15 with a BaB of 3 + 5 Str (16 Str w/ 2 handed grip) = you would deal BDV + 3 damage.

In the event of a missed AC.

5) For every point that you miss the AC, minus 1 pt of damage (to a Minimum WPN Damage based and assumed die roll of 1 + bonuses). EX AC 10 you roll a 7 = BDV -3.

For Spells:

At first glance this may work well for spells as well. BDV is of course based on the damage of the spell + your SpellCraft check (up to a max of your level) or a Caster Level Check (which ever mechanic works easier for you). This becomes the DC, which is resisted with a normal save in order to mitigate some of the damage. This actually allows for an easy address of one of the long standing problems with the D&D spell system: Low level spells do NOT scale well. A level 40 caster will still only hit just as hard with a Magic Missle as a level 9 mage. Of course with spells like Magic Missle, i’d simply rule that BDV is based off the total damage of the spell. While the top end tier will likely not be quite as high with spells like Fire ball and meteor swarm, the fact that your saving throws are not “all or nothing” in regards to save or fail (or even save = 1/2 value), this will likely still result in damage that is very comparible. (For spells that do not deal direct damage like Charm or Hold Person simply resolve them normally.)

Critical Hits:

So then what about crits? If you roll within your threat range, simply reroll the dice and ADD it to the original value. This should happen about as often as a regular crit now, and when you compare it to the odd 36 pts that a Great Axe can deliver currently (plus feats, magic and STR bonuses) the damage output should be comparible. Granted this will make crit more common however as confirmation is basically assumed. Large weapons which only crit on a Nat 20 but have a X3 “Crunch” Crit simply loose the x3 and the threat becomes a 19 – 20. The pay off for a large weapon is of course in that the base dice for such weapons tend to be larger.


Spell Point System

current status – rejected due to unnecessary additional complexity

Exotic Weapons
I’ve based my concept on Exotic & Master Work weapons by comparing the Dwarven War Axe to the Battle Axe & the Bastard Sword to the Long Sword, and came up with the following:

  • Exotic Weapons increase the base dice by one step, this should result in a 2 damage range (1 damage on average). In some cases such as 2h wpns like the GreatSword and GreatAxe this will mean using two types of dice (1d6 + 1d8). The Exotic Weapon advances one size category unless used with the Exotic Weapon Feat (light becomes 1h, 1h becomes 2h), and if not used with the Feat incurs a -4 attack penalty.
  • +150gp Base Cost

Master Work

  • Crit or Threat Range may be advanced by +1 (to a max of 18-20 threat or x3 crit)
  • Must be constructed of at least Steel
  • +300gp Base Cost

Examples of Exotic / Masterwork Weapons

  • Bastard Sword
    Type: Exotic
    Base Weapon: Long Sword
    Cost: 165gp
    Stats: 1d10 – 19-20/x2
  • Dwarven War Axe
    Type: Exotic
    Base Weapon: Battle Axe
    Cost: 160gp
    Stats: 1d10 – 20/x3
  • Exotic Rapier
    Type: Exotic
    Base Weapon: Rapier
    Exotic Advancement: treated as a light weapon if used in the off hand.
    Cost: 160gp
    Stats: 1d6 18-20/x2
    NOTE: The Rapier is a Finesse weapon, unlike most Finesse weapons it may be used with Power Attack per core rules.
  • Elven War Blade (Katana)
    Type: Exotic, Masterwork
    Base Weapon: Long Sword (Bastard Sword)
    Exotic Damage Advancement: 1d10
    MasterWork Advancement: Threat Range to 18-20
    Cost: 350gp
    Stats: 1d10 – 18-20/x2
  • Elven Thin Blade
    Type: Exotic, Masterwork
    Base Weapon: Rapier
    Exotic Damage Advancement: 1d8
    MasterWork Advancement: Crit Advancement x3
    Cost: 465gp
    Stats: 1d8 – 18-20/x3
    NOTE: See exotic Rapier above, may not be used in a 2h grip.
  • Dwarven Broad Sword
    Type: Exotic, Masterwork
    Base Weapon: Long Sword
    Exotic Damage Advancement: 1d10
    MasterWork Advancement: Crit Advancement x3
    Cost: 465gp
    Stats: 1d10 19-20/x3
  • Kukri of the Red Mantis
    Type: Exotic, Masterwork
    Base Weapon: Kukri
    Exotic Damage Advancement: 1d6
    MasterWork Advancement: Crit Advancement x3
    Cost: 468gp
    Stats: 1d6 18-20/x3
    NOTE: This is a favored weapon of assassins. It is a finesse weapon, treated as light if used in the off hand, and is usable with power attack.
    (A must cheaper way to build a very similar weapon how ever is to simply use the Falcata. 18 gold gets you a medium weapon with 1d8 base damage, 19-20 threat, & x3 crit as medium sized exotic weapon which can be masterworked and enchanted as normal.)


Damage Reduction from Armor
DR is based on the weight class of the armor. Light is DR1, Medium DR2, Heavy DR3, Full Plate DR4 NOTE: Some effects completely bypass the DR values of armor. Critical Hits, Magic, elemental attacks like fire, or smoke. Drowning, poison, disease, any attack which scores a Natural 20 and a spear which has been set vs charge. Like wise a Prone or Helpless Defender does not benefit from Armor DR.


  • Base Cost: +30%
  • Improves value by 1 to each of the following: AC, Max Dex, reduces Armor check penalty.


  • Base Cost: +100%
  • Arcane Failure: Light -5%, Medium -10%, Heavy -15%
  • +5 Movement for Medium & Heavy Armor (Full Plate does NOT get this effect)



  • Base Cost: + 200%
  • +1 AC per Weight Catagory


  • Base Cost: +500%
  • +1DR Light, +2DR Heavy, +3 DR Tower

Exotic Weapons
I’ve based my concept on Exotic & Master Work weapons by comparing the Dwarven War Axe to the Battle Axe & the Bastard Sword to the Long Sword, and came up with the following:

  • Exotic Weapons increase the base dice by one step, this should result in a 2 damage range (1 damage on average). In some cases such as 2h wpns like the GreatSword and GreatAxe this will mean using two types of dice (1d6 + 1d8). The Exotic Weapon advances one size category unless used with the Exotic Weapon Feat (light becomes 1h, 1h becomes 2h), and if not used with the Feat incurs a -4 attack penalty.
  • +150gp Base Cost

Master Work

  • Crit or Threat Range may be advanced by +1 (to a max of 18-20 threat or x3 crit)
  • Must be constructed of at least Steel
  • +300gp Base Cost


Optional System on Mass Combat

  • Ambidexterity – requires feat: Two Weapon Fighting. Allows a player to reduce the 2wpn fighting penalties by -2 on both hands
  • Weapon Finesse: The use of DEX to determine you To Hit roll is already included with this rule set, as such Weapon Finesse now allows the DEX modifier to be used as a Damage modifier and is treated as Precise Damage. Normal restrictions for this Feat apply, such as the requirement that the weapon is small or light. Prerequisite: Combat Reflexes.

Dexterity = to hit bonus, Weapon Finesse, Damage for Ranged Weapons, and Ranged Touch attacks.
Strength= melee dmg and thrown weapon damage

Current Status – implemented



  • Armor and Shields may be enchanted to increase DR. This requires a prereq of AC bonus equal to the DR value. Meaning if you want a + 3 DR added to your shield, it has to be a +3 shield to qualify first.
  • Max Dex from Armor also applies vs Ref Saves. It is simply harder to dodge out of the way in heavier armors.


Light +2 AC / DR1
Heavy +3 AC / DR2
Tower +4 AC / +2 Ref (full cover) / DR3


Other Thoughts on a Low Magic Campaign
Look here for the original article.

• Magic items are not available on any form of open market. One cannot exchange gold pieces for equipment at any point in time. Magic items are the rarest of the rare, and are given as gifts or stolen as booty. Not handled like a commodity.

• Treasure, in general, should be cut in half. Without high market value items to purchase, there is rarely a need for a PC to have more than a few hundred gp at hand. This means that all monsters that generate treasure generate treasure equal to a CR 1 – 5 encounter, except there is no chance for a minor magic item drop. (If this is rolled, simply double the number of “mundane” items available, or substitute it for a masterwork (1/2/+3) weapon or armor.)

• By the same token, spellcasters are not freely available to cast whatever spells an individual might wish. If there are spellcasters in a town, they are ½ the level that would be determined by “random population” generation for PC classes (Adepts are fine).

• Due to the lack of magic items, “masterwork” items can be purchased with varying levels of “master-tude”. These are generally divided into masterwork (1), masterwork (2), and masterwork (3). Weapons, like usual, add bonus as an enhancement to attacks (not damage). Armor, as usual, subtract it from their armor check penalties. (Making masterwork armor kind of useless, but then again they already were.) In order for a PC to craft a magic item, they require at least a masterwork (1) item. This cost should be 1,000 for weapons (2) and 4,000 for weapons (3), or 500/2,000 for armor.

• The crafting feats can continue to exist, however magic item crafting costs twice the amount of XP, and the same amount in materials. For a truly low-magic game, you can have them need to pay the full market value in materials for the item.

• Due to the rarity of spellcasters, should they actually require a spell to be cast on their benefit from a spellslinger-for-hire, the price of the spell will be 1000% normal. (That is, 100 x Spell Level x Caster level, half for a 0th level spell.) Remember that spellcasters will never be available to cast any spells higher than 5th.

• Raise dead and other resurrection magics are not available to anyone and everyone. Not only need the individual provide the cost of the spell (at the improved price, see above) and the cost of the material component (as normal), but a Church will require the raised member to prove their worth by sending them on a quest of some importance to the church or make some worthy donation (such as establishing a parish or shrine, or making a pilgrimage to defend a shrine from sacrilege.) Non-members of the church will require some diplomacy to raise, and will then be given a geas/quest. Remember that due to the limitations on spellcaster limits, only the largest cities or the holiest of temples is likely to have a priest of a high enough level to cast a raise dead. Resurrection and True Resurrection are nigh impossible to find.

• Spellcasters, in general, are mistrusted. Clerics might be less so (though anyone so holy as to call down the power of the gods should be terrifying indeed) but anyone who thinks about setting up shop offering healing for hire will find themselves swamped and overrun (leading to deep questioning from the members of his church.)

• Paladins, and Rangers need be reworked, with the suggestions in Complete Warrior. Other classes are fine. (It’s not a No-magic world, just a low-magic world.)

• A low magic D&D world is a D&D world with a small economy. This is reflected in the fact that monster treasure hordes do not often go beyond the CR 5 range; PCs simply do not need and will not have lots of money to buy things with. The DM should thus reflect this, by making gold pieces rare; hand out most treasure in silver and copper, and all prices are given in silver pieces. Drive the point home that gold pieces (at least, more than a handful of them) are something the average commoner doesn’t ever see in his life. (That doesn’t mean that there aren’t millions of gold pieces available in the world, it simply means that people don’t know about and will never find out about them.)

• Because saving throws, ACs, HP, attacks, and damage are generally lower, as well as equipment will probably be not as prodigious, creatures will need to have their CRs adjusted (slightly.) All spellcasters (including Adepts) have their CRs increased by +1 (this means NPC spellcasters have a CR equal to their class level; PC spellcasters have their CR equal to their levels +1).

• All True Dragons have their CR increased by +1.

• The following creatures go from CR 3 to CR 4:
o Allip
o Cockatrice
o Dryad
o Ethereal filcher
o Ethereal marauder
o Ghast
o Grick
o Hell Hound
o Magmin
o Mephit
o Phantom Fungus
o Shadow

• The following creatures go from CR 4 to CR 5:
o Archon, hound
o Barghest
o Displacer beast
o Hydra, five-headed
o Janni (genie)
o Sea hag
o Vampire spawn

• All CR 5 creatures of the following type have their CRs increased to 6: Aberration, Constructs, Fey, Monstrous Humanoid, Outsider, Undead. Creatures with the incorporeal subtype also have this increase (non-cumulative.)

• All CR 6 – CR 9 creatures (except those of the Animal type) have their CR increased by 1. These creatures at this point have magical abilities and defenses that make it difficult for the PCs to fight them, and those that don’t tend to have high hit points or natural armor.

• All CR 10+ creatures (except animals) have their CR increased by +2. Animals have their CR increased by +1. All creatures at this point have high defenses that require magic to get through, and PCs by then are presumed to have magic to defend themselves.

• All templates have their CR increased by +1. (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but mostly in non-core/non-SRD cases.)

Some Notes: The most important thing to note is that, short of the limitations on PC equipment choice, no other limitations are placed on the PCs. The PCs can still be spellcasters (see below). All of the limitations are on NPCs, and this is a huge part of making a low magic world run well – too many PCs have had bad experiences with DMs who play “low magic” campaigns where the PCs are stuck being 3rd level commoners facing legions and legions of sorcerers and wizards.

Spellcasters as PCs (Or, Won’t it Unbalance my Game if the PCs are spellcasters?): Spellcaster PCs in a low magic world do not unbalance the game in any way whatsoever. This is for various reasons:
1) Spellcasting PCs face the same limitations that non-spellcasting PCs face. Their equipment, hit points, saves, armor class, etc., will all be the same. Yes, they have spells that have DCs that are harder for NPCs to make, but the number of spells they can cast is limited (even more so, probably, than a standard game, see below) and most creatures they face have already been built to withstand the attacks normally. (Remember, also, that generally speaking NPCs face similar limitations as PCs do, and thus are both on par on a general “Challenge Rating” level, and therefore don’t need their CRs adjusted for the single NPC vs. spellcaster encounter.)
2) Spellcasting PCs will have to spend most of their spells in buffs and other defenses because they don’t have the resources normally available to them, thus granting them less offensive power.

Q: But won’t clerics/druids become even more powerful, since they don’t need equipment?
A: Generally, yes. However, most clerics/druids aren’t working in a vacuum – they have a party to support. And this party now has less by way of resources to survive, thus meaning the cleric will need to spend a lot more spell slots on healing. Alternatively, a cleric/druid who spends all his spells on buffing himself now has less healing to dole out, making it more challenging for the party in general. (In other words, a cleric who does this is putting the entire party in danger, and will probably be kicked out of the party for being selfish.)

Optional rules I'm playing with, none of which has been implemented so don't freak out!

Lazlo COS Pathfinder - Low Magic lazlo_campaign lazlo_campaign