High magic campaigns

edited July 2010 in General Discussion
I've always run "magic-rare" campaigns. I guess it's because magic-rare is more intuitive to me since I happen to live in a magic-free world. I was wondering if anyone who enjoys running "magic-rich" campaigns would be willing to share thoughts on DM strategies. Thanks!


  • Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Competing schools, Consequences, and the Magic Immune. I run a very magic-rich campaign. All spellcasters in my campaign world have to focus on a particular approach to magic. This creates the opportunity for the formation of competing schools of magic. This can be a literal thing, in fact, like the Gardens in Final Fantasy 8, each one teaching an alternate take on the nature of magic, or on its ethical usage.

    Consequences refers to the effects of magic use on the caster, on their allies, and on the world around them. In Dark Sun, whenever a Defiler casts a magic spell, something, somewhere, gives up its life energy to provide the caster his or her spell-casting mana. There are also Preservers who give up a portion of their own life force in order to cast magic instead. In that world, there are no gods, and thus, no divine healing magic.

    In my world, there is a mathematical form of magic called Runometry. It is essentially like a character within a video game hacking the code of the game and changing the rules of his or her own reality. A person draws floating runes in a complex equation that represents something "real". This can be anything from a simple equation for how big apples can grow to a more complex one which represents, say, whether a particular race of creatures has eyes. Change one symbol, and you change the code. Suddenly, apples are the size of peas, or buildings, or they are square, or they are sentient, soul-bearing creatures with hopes and dreams. Suddenly, an entire race goes blind, or can see in all directions at once, or they all explode, or they disappear from the world from across all times, as if they never existed, and nobody but the Runometrist would remember them at all.

    Obviously, this is far too much power, and the consequences of such power can be disastrous (to say the very least). So, in my world, though the science of Runometry exists, its study is forbidden and anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of it is hunted down and killed by a clandestine group called the Luminati. Ironically, it was a Luminaire who discovered Runometry to begin with. The discovery drove him absolutely mad, as he created an equation that allowed him to see everything. I mean everything. He is looking at you, right now, and forever.

    Well, I'm not sure if any of this qualifies as "strategies" per se. But I hope it wasn't too big a waste of your time. If it was, you can just use Runometry to prevent me from ever being born, thus robbing the world of the concept of Runometry and making the very act you just committed impossible...

    My brain hurts. Magic is fun. Use it more!
  • kenurion
    Posts: 80
    This makes sense. The way I understand what your saying is that in a magic-rare world, raw numbers of non-magic-users provide an effective check against magic-users, thus enabling play-balance. In a magic-rich world, play-balance is still necessary, it just comes from other sources (other magic users in a schools context, some kind of finite bound on magic use dictated by the mechanical constraints of the world, and the presence of creatures immune to magic.
  • FemmeLegion
    Posts: 521
    There are levels and levels of "magic-rich". Piers Anthony's Xanth series is the best example I can think of where the world is most definitely "magic-rich" - everyone has SOME sort of magical talent - but it doesn't mean everyone is super-powered.
  • Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I heart Xanth. That is all I have to add.
  • bcforme001
    Posts: 3
    In my campaign, I use ideas from "A Magical Society" series. Including carnivores and herbivores, there are magivores. Since magic is so prevalent in the magic-rich world, some creatures consume nothing but magic, and can specialize in eating divine or arcane (or schools!). They can eat spells in spell slots, the magic in magic weapons, or spells already cast (like fireball). This is an even greater check than magic immune creatures because one magivore can render that +3 flaming burst longsword into a regular longsword.
  • Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I heart magivores. That is all I have to add.
  • JimTriche
    Posts: 483
    Haha, I had my players in a surreal shared dream sequence where they were in the Gourd. Xanth rocks mah sox.
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