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Epic Level rules?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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You can still keep playing after level 20. Just get more gold and more cool magic stuff.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

There's no question the existing rules can carry beyond level 20; in fact the Core Rulebook gives some very specific suggestions for how to do so. There's also a quantum evaluation of high level play (especially 21+ level play):

There's no question that high level play is broken.
There's no question that high level play is not broken.

(for various values of "no question," "high level," and "broken")

So I have a hunch that until that box is opened labeled "Pathfinder Above 20 Rules, do not open until 201#" (darn it, can't quite make out that last digit), we won't know whether the cat is alive or dead.

---

As an aside, it's my opinion that the existing suggestions are fine for what I view as "low values of high level," i.e. levels 21 to, say, 25 or so, but with no new abilities above level 20, a lot of sameness will start to enter the picture.

Heck, I've found the same to be true of the ELH rules. I don't think we started to really notice until after 50 or so (long enough for characters to go the full 20 in two base classes), and I'm still having a bit of trouble making The Primal Order mesh well with 3.5e. I'm not sure it gains me as much as I thought it was going to over the SRD deities rules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ZugZug wrote:
Hmmm, I think you've misunderstood. I said we COULD use Core and make up stuff based on it for the Epic Portions. Or are you under the belief there is/should be a hard cap at 20? Do we stop playing then, or stop gaining treasure since that would screw up the game balance as well? I like standardized rules, which help translate from group to group easily. Part of the problem of playing in multiple groups is dealing with the Houserules/Interpretations that each has.

I actually think we're talking around each other here instead of to one another. I've never been under the inclination that the game stops at 20. My campaigns never get that far, but if my players ever truly loved their characters so much that they wanted to keep going, I don't think I'd be adverse to that. We've got so much we want to do though, that making it to 20 just doesn't seem a feasibility to me.

However, the portion of the statement where you say, "I like standardized rules" pretty much settled it. I'm not necessarily like that. I played 2E for about 20 years (just missed 1E), and the rules are much more subjective than in 3.5, where you pretty much get beat over the head from every turn. "I'd like to do this!" "Um, sorry, you can't 'cuz there's a feat for that and you don't have it." "Really? Damnation . . . "

So, take into consideration that I played a game for decades that didn't require as much rules lawyering as this one with mine inclination that the rules for continuing beyond 20 are already mostly in place, and we have a difference in opinion on epic rules. You prefer your ducks in a row, I prefer a bit more wiggle room. Case closed, and everyone's happy!

ZugZug wrote:
Secondly, are you saying that because when I switched to Pathfinder, everything that is out is all I should expect to be out?

Not at all! I love that they keep coming out with stuff! What didn't make sense about your prior statement was that the logic seemed off a bit.

ZugZug wrote:
Sure, we can use the Core and just make up stuff on our own. But of course, we could have done that with 3.0 or 3.5 and not gotten into Pathfinder for the most part.

These statements proclaim that you could have used Core/made up stuff in 3.0/3.5, so why come to Pathfinder just to do that? However, when you decided to come to Pathfinder, using Core/making stuff up is exactly what you would have had to do for epic rules because they don't currently exist in Pathfinder, and thus didn't when you decided to make the jump. In addition, 3.5 had epic rules, did it not? So, if epic rules were indeed what you were wanting, why make the jump to a system that doesn't have them?

I realize Pathfinder is a better system, in general, but that doesn't seem to be the point you're making there. I don't know exactly what your point is there, to be honest. It's probably not important in the grand scheme, but that's why I argued that it wasn't an answer to my question above.

ZugZug wrote:
I guess I didn't realize it was in such poor shape and was already dead when I switched over /sarcasm

I see what you did there! ;)

ZugZug wrote:
My apologies

I think this should have had a /sarcasm tag too . . . just food for future thought. =)

ZugZug wrote:
I would like an Epic Book to be printed still :-)

I respect this, though I wouldn't necessarily agree based on that "ducks-in-a-row" and "wiggle room" differential mentioned earlier. However, I simply wouldn't pay for it, while you certainly would, so perhaps your opinion holds more water. Should I desire to ever go higher than 20 with my group, I'll probably just use the rules that are already in place, because I'll guarantee we wouldn't be advancing that high beyond 20 regardless.

Have a great day, sir. =)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Coriat wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Coriat wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
Well the more I look at this the more I realize where the math issue is. By 20th level you have already skewed the range to the point where either the +.5 classes can't hit, or the +1 classes can't miss. (the first one is really fine since what the hell is the wizard doing trying to stab someone at this point.) However as you go forward, between BAB, magic modifiers, and ability score increases, you start to have the same issue with the +.75 classes. Which says to me feats that give attack bonuses, weapons with more than a +5 bonus, and items that give you more then +6 to a stat probably need to go. Time to start looking at damage output.

Or you could just let the fighter use Power Attack and Stunning Assault, say, while the magus doesn't.

There are plenty of ways for characters to sink attack bonuses if they become "too high"

True, but it is hard to balance an encounter around the idea that someone, might use a feat to voluntarily reduce their attack bonus. I was looking at ways to keep the d20 relevant for all classes, without hoping the player's don't try to power game.
Maybe. I like to assume that the players generally take a fairly active role in it, it is not necessarily something the GM has to feed them. IE, if the barbarian can hit all the time normally, a smart player will use Power Attack frequently and perhaps pick up one of the other such feats. So it ends up a self-correcting problem, since the Power Attack penalty increases at exactly the same rate as the attack advantage between 3/4 and full BAB does.

I am just not a fan of balancing the game around one class having taken a specific feat. Besides even with Power Attack, a fighter still more than likely has a bigger Strength bonus, a +4 to hit from Weapon Training, higher bonus weapon, Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus. That could easily but the Fighter's attack bonus 10 a head of the Rogue. A difference of 10 with a d20 is huge. Say the fighter who is power attacking has a bonus of +30, and the Rogue has a bonuse of +20 to hit AC 40 the Rogue needs a 20, and the fighter needs a 10.

It is very important to remember that we are dealing with a variance of only 20 at any time.


The way the game is currently designed is not conducive to the infinite progression the ELH tried to shoehorn in. When some abilities use a fraction of character level and others are equal to character level, there will always be a point where the difference between automatic success and automatic failure is more than 20, meaning that the difference between classes becomes too great for a class that does not improve at character level to make any significant contribution in that area. Consider BAB: since the lowest multiple is 1/2, if you want to have monster armor classes scale appropriately to keep things challenging for a fighter, those AC's will become unhittable for any other class on anything other than a natural 20. (The same happens with the difference between good and poor saving throws, though not until later, but still meaning that most characters will eventually have a save that they will always fail.) The ELH tried to mitigate this problem by changing all progressions to 1/2 character level, but that was a patch that still shows its warts eventually, particularly with hit points. 4e tried to avoid the issue by stretching the range a bit granting extra bonuses when you reach a new "tier", and keeping a level limit of 30. Setting a level limit is the only way to keep the existing multiplers on progressions and not have the d20 become irrelevant in one situation or another. (The other ways are to either stop progressions altogether, including hit points, like BECMI and 2e did, or make all progressions tied directly to character level.)

As for whether or not Paizo will ever print a lvl 20+ book, I sincerely hope they will. I admit that the things a character is capable of by around level 30 or so are more akin to the Labors of Heracles than to standard fantasy tropes, but I personally enjoy that style of game as much as I enjoy a gritty over-realistic low-level game.

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Eric Jarman wrote:
The way the game is currently designed is not conducive to the infinite progression the ELH tried to shoehorn in.

I'm not sure what you mean here. What you're talking about is exactly why the ELH did away with any difference between classes after character level 20, a move that I agree with.

Once a character hits character level 21 using ELH rules, they alternately get a +1 to all saves or a +1 to their epic attack bonus. Iterative attacks stay as they were at level 20. Thus the disparity between classes is never greater than it was at level 20.


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber

As someone who has never played epic levels, I'd be curious to hear from those who have what the problem would be if one were to just insist on multiclassing?

I'm essentially thinking of capping 'spell power' at those of level 9 and caster level at 20. Once you're a 20th level wizard, there's no way to improve your spellcasting prowess - requiring breadth rather than depth.

Is that feasible, at least for a few levels?

(By feasible, I dont mean "Is that a solution you'd like?" I mean "Would it work?").

Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

So does everyone just start taking lots of levels in martial classes once their spellcasting is maxed out? And is that total caster level or could you be, say, a cleric 15/wizard 15?

I am sure you could get it to work with enough caveats, etc. ... I'm just not sure it's worth the effort.


Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber

I was thinking something like a cleric 15/wizard 15 (though I wasnt thinking of it as going quite as high as thirtieth level - I just meant for the low twenties).

In my head the capstone abilities represent the ultimate human achievement - once you get that good, there's nowhere further to improve (other than diversifying). But, as I said, I have no experience running campaigns at that high level, so maybe it all just falls apart or makes melee characters much better than casters or something.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

I find myself thinking of a few things when the discussion of Epic-Level play comes up, mostly Comic books. This should not be construed as a BAD thing. In (Marvel) Comics, you have some fairly well-defined tiers of power, ranging from the Punisher to Silver Surfer. At the upper power levels, players start to look more like Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch than they do the New Warriors. Again, this is not a BAD thing.

Mechanically, I agree with those of you who point out that the system becomes by its nature at least problematic to cope with scaling past L20. So what about this: a bin jump from 20 to 21. Make 21 the new first level. Amp up the unit of measure, and ignore all that lower-fidelity stuff that gets lost in the shuffle. Now, granted, "throwing away" all that stuff that you managed to accrue from levels 1-20 might be a bitter (blue) pill, but you're talking about a rebirth into a higher plane here, both thematically and in terms of the number-crunching.

You'd need to schematize some method of conversion from 20th level stats to E1 level stats, which might be a fairly tricky thing to do with consistency and stability, but really, once you are Epic, you don't really ever go back, in any meaningful sense. Dealing with Orc Hordes is like dealing with mosquitoes. Irritating, and in large ENOUGH numbers they can become significantly dangerous, but not really the stuff that you're likely to be concerned with telling a story about, in any genre past the parable.

My point is this - why does Epic Level have to be a continuation? People seem to say quite often (and IMHO correctly) that L1-10 plays in a completely different way than L11-20. If Epic level really is "a different game" in a metaphoric sense, why not make it a different game in a literal sense, but a different game that can accommodate "importing" from the non-epic instances, and is designed from the ground up to be concerned with EPIC stuff.

PC's once again become a small fish in a big ocean, just like when they took on those first bandit raiders so long ago, only now, the Bandit Raiders are Gith cosmo-pirates with their Astral brigantines and Red Wyrm mounts. the Players are throwing around power and skill that would be as bone-chilling awesome to the Bartender back at the Prancing Pony as the Power Cosmic is to Night Thrasher.

And that is not a BAD thing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Justin Franklin wrote:


I am just not a fan of balancing the game around one class having taken a specific feat. Besides even with Power Attack, a fighter still more than likely has a bigger Strength bonus, a +4 to hit from Weapon Training, higher bonus weapon, Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus. That could easily but the Fighter's attack bonus 10 a head of the Rogue. A difference of...

You slightly altered the argment here.

You compared a fighter to a rogue rather then a Generic Full bab class to a 3/4 bab class. The original peson argued that power attack was the differnce, but by throwing in fighter you do have to consider weapon training.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Ughbash wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:


I am just not a fan of balancing the game around one class having taken a specific feat. Besides even with Power Attack, a fighter still more than likely has a bigger Strength bonus, a +4 to hit from Weapon Training, higher bonus weapon, Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus. That could easily but the Fighter's attack bonus 10 a head of the Rogue. A difference of...

You slightly altered the argment here.

You compared a fighter to a rogue rather then a Generic Full bab class to a 3/4 bab class. The original peson argued that power attack was the differnce, but by throwing in fighter you do have to consider weapon training.

Well true, I was trying to give a good example (and I have been tending to default to fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard when looking at the rules). I still don't like the idea of saying all of the Full BAB classes have to take a feat to balance to everyone else.

Also if you are going to do the balancing it is important to look at the extreme case. The fighter above is as maxed out as you can get (with out getting too far into feat chains), and so a good point to look at.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

I was thinking something like a cleric 15/wizard 15 (though I wasnt thinking of it as going quite as high as thirtieth level - I just meant for the low twenties).

In my head the capstone abilities represent the ultimate human achievement - once you get that good, there's nowhere further to improve (other than diversifying). But, as I said, I have no experience running campaigns at that high level, so maybe it all just falls apart or makes melee characters much better than casters or something.

In an epic game, diversifying as a caster hurts. Lets say you get to 20th level wizard. You really want to keep incerasing yoru spell caster level. Now you could "diversify" or branch out with 10 levels of Loremaster or some other prestige class that adds to casting.

The reason for this is Epic mobs generally have very high spell resistance. So a CR 30 Monster likley has a SR of about 40. Also some of the simple spells (Chain Lighting) caps at 25d6. So it is unadvisable usually to give up levels of spell casting (though if you had the trait adding +2 up to your level you coudl get away with a level of Fighter and then Eldritch Knight).

Also at least in D&D levels greater than 20 in a class did not increase your spells known (for spontaneous) or spells per day (for spontaneous or prepared) spellcasters. You COULD diversify to get more spells such as clerc 20/wizard 20 BUT you ran into issues with caster level checks since you would cast both at 20 rather than one at 40.


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LovesTha wrote:
DJEternalDarkness wrote:
Little Red Goblin Games has a really good Legendary Levels book that Paizo sells. I just wish that it covered all the new classes, but even without that, it's a solid product. Check it out.
All we'll ever need. Although they should think about a sequel with the newer classes.

Sorry for the thread necromancy but I just came across this page- we have new books that will cover ALL the classes coming out this summer.

In addition we have a book on epic level monsters and magic beyond 20th level due out around the same time. They are currently in the final stages of production. Please pardon the delay- we were not expecting the kind of awesome response we got from it! We quickly shifted out development schedule to produce more legendary levels material! Look for it!

-Little Red

PS: We will be collecting the 4 books into a bundle deal for everyone as well!


Kthulhu wrote:

I guess my point is, there's already a perfectly good endpoint in the existing game...level 20.

There are people who think you NEED to have level 21+.
There are people who think you NEED to have level 37+.
There are people who think you NEED to have level 100+.

Why is 36 any more valid of an level cap than 20, or 2000 ?

It's not. In fact, most adventures can be told at level 20 or below. Allowing access to 20+ levels does not necessarily open the gates to some magical world of new adventures.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

To ACTUALLY ANSWER THE OP'S QUESTION....

Companies don't release any time frames until they're actually about to launch a product.


I hated 3.5's epic rules. Aside from a few neat feats, it really had nothing going for it except broken spellcasting. You barely got anything that didn't upgrade currently existing features, and the class lists were barren. I don't know what's so "epic" about only having higher bonuses and damage.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nosreme wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

I guess my point is, there's already a perfectly good endpoint in the existing game...level 20.

There are people who think you NEED to have level 21+.
There are people who think you NEED to have level 37+.
There are people who think you NEED to have level 100+.

Why is 36 any more valid of an level cap than 20, or 2000 ?

It's not. In fact, most adventures can be told at level 20 or below. Allowing access to 20+ levels does not necessarily open the gates to some magical world of new adventures.

.

That is all really subjective. There are no ‘less’ adventures that can be told at 20+ than below 20. What it really depends on is the GM, as well as the content that is out there. One of the main reasons why you see most stories told 20 and below is because that is the majority of the content in 3.5 and ‘all’ of it in Pathfinder.

I am pretty certain if Paizo came out with a quality Epic (Mythic) book (i.e. not Epic Level Handbook), there would be numerous adventures being told (played) post 20th at gaming tables across the world.


I've said it many times, but what I would like to see most is a Guide to High-Level Play. The game from 13th+ needs help before they can even consider going beyond 20th. A sizable chapter on 21st+ could be very logically included in such a book.

As a GM for a high level (only 13th, you read that correctly) campaign, I think there is a lot to be done in terms of advice, resources, and optional rules to make the second half of the existing game more playable. I can never understand how so many people seem to love playing at this level, as it is just insanely unwieldy to me — it has proven enough to inspire a long hiatus from Pathfinder after my present campaign reaches its conclusion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:

To ACTUALLY ANSWER THE OP'S QUESTION....

Companies don't release any time frames until they're actually about to launch a product.

LOL, good one.

That said, I hope Paizo consider a long playtest period on this one. Release what you got, let us play around with it, and give it, say a year?

I think mythic rules makes more sense for paizo than ever, since D&DN seem to take the retroclone route. Paizo failed to make 3.5 easier to play (my opinion), they might as well finish the job.

...and just to be clear: I want this to happen! I still have level 36 npcs in my campaign, and eagerly await proper rules to use them.


I agree with both Evil Lincoln and Kthulhu on this concept of high-level/epic play and more importantly I believe the developers do also.

I wonder if D&D Next inclusion of the concept of bounded accuracy will help high-level play? If it does and DDN works hard at making it work, Paizo by doing nothing could find itself at a disadvantage. Of course, Wizards has to actually support it's ruleset beyond presenting it.


Zarathos wrote:
I wonder if D&D Next inclusion of the concept of bounded accuracy will help high-level play? If it does and DDN works hard at making it work, Paizo by doing nothing could find itself at a disadvantage. Of course, Wizards has to actually support it's ruleset beyond presenting it.

I think the games are different enough that Paizo doesn't gain much from copying, especially when we look at both firms' track records for innovation.

The games are different and will bear different solutions to similar problems I am certain.

I definitely want them to address the existing half of the game that needs help. It is often said that people play low levels more, and while that's partly organic, it also owes to the oppressive complexity of upper levels. Make the game easier to play (but not necessarily by dumbing it down) and you increase sales of later AP issues, higher-level modules, and open the door for a whole category of products. Right now, they sell poorly because the levels themselves have a lot of unfun built in.

rant rant rant.

Can you tell I'm in the thick of it with my runelords campaign?

Sovereign Court

I plan on having my own campaign go past 20th but I'm setting classes at a hard 20 level limit.

The players can take other classes, prestige classes or take levels in the Epic Scion prestige class.

I don't want it getting out of control but I do want them to have some opportunity to feel Epic.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

I've said it many times, but what I would like to see most is a Guide to High-Level Play. The game from 13th+ needs help before they can even consider going beyond 20th. A sizable chapter on 21st+ could be very logically included in such a book.

As a GM for a high level (only 13th, you read that correctly) campaign, I think there is a lot to be done in terms of advice, resources, and optional rules to make the second half of the existing game more playable. I can never understand how so many people seem to love playing at this level, as it is just insanely unwieldy to me — it has proven enough to inspire a long hiatus from Pathfinder after my present campaign reaches its conclusion.

While I think it's redundant, I think that if they made something like that they should speak of how powerful characters start to get. Most people think that having 20 levels is nothing special. I was watching one video and the guy mentioned how he thinks that Hulk Hogan would be an epic level character. Yeah.... A tyrannosaurus is CR9, but he's epic...yeah, uh huh. Lol.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pshaw, the Hulkster could beat a puny T-Rex.


I can imagine him giving it a figure four leglock while the T-rex is tapping out, LOL.

Shadow Lodge

Hulk Hogan - 20 levels in pretending to be a barbarian ?


with some work, the original 3.0 book can work, but it takes care. First off, none of the monsters work- they're crazy out of whack. Just use the CR 21-30 chart from Mythic Adventures as a guideline to revamp them, or use CR20+ creatures from the Bestiaries.
I keep the idea of having base attacks all drop to 50%, and all saves go to the Good column (just like the 3.0 epic book does), because otherwise the gap between good & poor saves is astronomical.
I'm pretty sure Jason Bulhman can come up with something; that guy is a genius (although I didn't like the new definition of "epic" weapon being simply any weapon with a total of +6 including enhancement and special abilities. Lame.)
Hopefully Paizo hooks us up. Otherwise, house rules'll have to do.


Gorbacz wrote:
No, please.

This is ridiculous. And completely against the spirit that has allowed pathfinder to be so successful.

With that said, PLEASE DO THIS.

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