So, we have some general rules in place. I need to finalize armor and the death table, but the rest is ok.
That brings us to the classes. Remember that we're only going to 6th level, so anything beyond 6th is assumed deleted. The main thrust of these changes is to put magic in a less powerful place in terms of raw damage output and to limit the overly simple and boring problem-solving ability of certain spells or the overabundance of spells available to certain classes all the time.
That may sound overly harsh, or that I'm picking on magic users. Maybe I am, but I don't think so. Here's why. Almost every class has access to spells of some sort. Even fighters can gain spells if they like. If your game includes multiclassing, then any PC can have spells. That reminds me, no multiclassing in LowDnD (TM). Because of the ubiquity of magic across classes, every class is receiving some new limitations and it should balance out.
The second reason why limiting magic is ok is that the style of game I plan to run from the GM side when using LowDnD rules is an OSR style gold for xp, orthogonal problem solving based game. Magic becomes extremely useful in such a game and creative uses for niche spells become the main use for magic. When an entire encouter/room can be completed by pulling a lever on the far side of a spike pit, mage hand can't just be a cantrip, but it also feels really cool and empowering and useful when you have mage hand prepared. In base DnD, magic is only useful for shooting fireballs. One could convincingly make the case that having access to magic in an old-school style problem solving based game is a much greater benefit than having access to magic in base DnD where damage is the primary purpose. That's why I'm nerfing it into the abyss.
A final point while I'm thinking about it, magic in base DnD just comes out of nowhere. You survive long enough to level? Gain some spells. You swear an oath? Gain some spells. blah blah blah. Gain some spells. They are learned out of nowhere. This is a huge missed opportunity. I want spells to be tied into the world somehow. They come from a being which grants power, or are the result of some effort like appeasing a patron or taking a journey to a confluence of lay lines, etc. That said, there is utility in just getting a little magic on leveling up as you learn from your experiences, so I won't totally take it away.
Get on with it:
Barbarian: Fine as is. How interesting.
- Requires good standing with church to cast. This tangles them up with all worts of people which is great DM material. Likely this is a local representative of the deity which has their own aims and can bring them into conflict. Can be a faithful representative or corrupt. Both are interesting. I'd lean toward the opposite of the cleric. If they are murdohobos, then the representative if faithful, etc.
- Start with domain spells and 1 additional spell chosen from cleric spell list
- Only learn domain spells upon leveling
- Return relics to church to roll for more cleric spells
- Complete quest to be granted specific spell from church leaders/god
- Gain 1 spell per level for which you have slots
- Learn more spells by appeasing spirits in new lands. This similarly tangles the druid up with the spirits of the wilderness which may make demands and bring their troubles to the druid at any time. They might take magic back if provoked as well.
- Circle of Land doesn't exist
- Can attune to the landscape you are in to gain the circle spells for that location which you have the level to acquire. Retain these spells until you attune to a new land. This lets the druid fly off to the nearby mountains to commune with the wind to gain specific spells which they need to overcome specific challenges they are facing now in the desert, etc.
- Plate is crazy expensive. Probably shouldn't get till 5th or 6th level. This obviously affects other classes as well.
- At lvl2 gain one spell from paladin spell list, afterward gain oath spells only
- Can take aura of warding at 7th level instead of feat.
- Option 1 is no arcane trickster
- Option 2 is arcane trickster learns Mage Hand and 2 cantrips at level 3 and Mage Hand is a level 1 spell.
- Non-magic version from Unearthed Arcana is pretty ok
- No Devil's Sight, or maybe 1/rest for 10 minutes
- Learning a new spell requires fulfilling wish from patron or other otherworldly being. If you are a warlock, these entities will make themselves known to you similar to nature spirits for druids. Maybe an exorcism or... reverse exorcism(?) grants you a favor from the spirit which manifests in the form of a warlock ability or spell.
- Only learn spells from specialty school when leveling
- Any spell can be added to book if found in written form.