Setting up for a No or Low Magic campaign, tips needed


As always my students threw me for a loop and this year they aligned with the big bad in the last minute and magic was ripped from the world. So, starting next school year, the new bach of students will find themselves in a world where there has been no magic for the past 5 in game years. I am wondering what your suggestions would be for going forward like this. Do I:

A) Sword and board against monsters who Do have magical properties and abilities with the possibility of harvesting them for use ala Monster Hunter

B) No Magic at all and they are more of a Cryptid investigation team, leaning more into monsters of science and natural monstrosities (Possibly dipping into the Universal Monsters a bit for hints at magics return- a cult hellbent on raising dracula from the dead with or without magic, Frankensteins monster lends itself nicely to this and so on)

C) Sheer survival more in line with Blood and Snow living in a world where one of the major power sources and means for protection are gone out of the blue.

Other things I’m chewing on is if anyone even remembers magic existed in the first place. Option C could be added to A or B easily enough as there would be consequences of Magic suddenly not being able to be used in daily life.

What sounds like the most fun to you as a player? Has anyone ran a similar setting and how did it go? As always thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions.


I say go for C for now and then the year after maybe surnatural things can begin to happen again as magic creeps back into reality somehow?


I can dig a slow return to magic lots of fun to be had with the eventual arms race once ways to spark magic are discovered.


My main game is similar to your to Option C (B&S) but the most ancient magic is having a renaissance.


Awesome! what are some of the challenges or plots you’ve set the characters up against?


I don’t know if this is helpful, but I’ll share what I had success with and it can inspire you however you fancy.

The village depends on the migration of a herd of Mammoths who have not shown up on time.

A Dwarven mountain kingdom is mysteriously empty of any living thing other than the slime monsters within it. The slime can mimic appearance but not sound.

Sky shadows attack a village at night.

An old lady in the swamp promises healing herbs, reads palms, and gives advice, etc, but asks for strange things as a price—a secret you have never told anyone before. a pinky finger, or placing a dead crow under your pillow as you sleep.

All the dragons have petrified, but deep within the granite of each dragon’s chest is a “dragon stone” that is rumored to bestow upon the owner near immortality.

Rat monsters. etc.


I’d go with option C personally.

Is the world you play in otherwise ”standard” fantasy world with many different being inhabiting it? If so if there is a less magically dependant culture, or individual monsters etc., that has been kept in check by other cultures use of magic… well without magic to keep them safe/protected or without it’s offensive capabilities such cultures could be overrun by monsters or armies of those cultures who have not relied on magic.

5 years since magic was suddenly removed from the world could mean that people have finally started to cope with the change.

Whether magic is gone for good or not depends on the details of how it was removed in the first place. If it was sealed away finding and breaking the seal could be enough for magic to suddenly pour back in to the world, again causing a wave of chaotic change.


Thank you this was very helpful


Great points, thank you! Probably some more war focused groups will have taken advantage of the sudden drop in magical defenses.


Hey Looten!

I run a swords and sorcery campaign which is – for the players, at least – low magic. Most of the creatures they encounter are Blood-and-Snow-like “giant beasts” or treacherous humans of one sort or another.

Players can theoretically acquire “fetishes,” which are items that have acquired exceptional properties, sometimes spell-like, by prolonged exposure to intense human intent (usually brought on by suffering). For instance, a party might stumble onto a long-frozen corpse deep in the mountains, clutching a large gem. This gem, if properly “unlocked,” could provide resistance to cold to whomever unlocked it. So far, after 4-5 games, only 1 person has actually used a fetish, and no one seems to mind the lack of magical abilities.

One caveat: there is a non-playable extraterrestrial race that does have magic, but it is not usable by the planetary natives. This race had enslaved the planet, but most were recently killed off by a mystic event, leaving behind (usually dangerous) ruins and artifacts of great, but sealed, power. This race had created human/animal hybrids, which are playable, so there is a means for players to have characters with inhuman strengths (and weaknesses), which creates a lot of variety both tactically and for role-playing.

I don’t know the lore of your world, but I suspect one of the choices you originally listed is a “best fit” for the setting. No matter what level of magic you choose, you should be good to go as long as you can provide epic challenges and moments of awe for your players. Based on what you have written, it seems like you have that down pat. You’ve got some lucky students!


Karl Agius of the Karl Makes Stuff channel on YouTube has written a magicless EZD6 supplement based on Europe during the 30 Years War. It’s well reviewed, and surely has a number of resources which you would find useful in developing your project. Check it out: The Four Horsemen - Karl Agius | DriveThruRPG

For what it’s worth, I think it would be fun to have a world that was once filled with magic that people remember be without it, but also still filled with rumors of magic, charlatans, and whispers of the return of the divine and fantastical. You could leave the answer of whether or not magic persists or is coming back unanswered. I think not knowing could be part of the fun, and leaves open the option for a big reveal later.


I really like the concept of the fetishes and I think that is very natural way to slowly seed the world with magic again and even then, by your example, it’s not some hyper powerful object but more utilitarian.

As for lore it’s always building off of the students choices from their interactions the previous year so it slowly evolves in a really neat and unplanned way. Thanks for the tips and the compliment, I will be using them for sure!


I will check it out! That sounds like some really good groundwork to start off with. I like the ambiguity aspect you brought up, it leaves things more flexible to see where they want to take the story.