Any Idea on a New Epic Level Handbook?


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Shinmizu wrote:

I've been fiddling with this a bit in what little spare time I have, but haven't gone much farther than tweaking a few of the base modifiers/mitigating factors, and working on the energy seed (and considering changing the name from "epic spellcasting" to something else... just silly to call everything "epic something").

** spoiler omitted **...

This looks like good stuff, especially if the intent is to just keep the old epic spell system.

I... will say that I'm not a fan of that idea however. It has too much wrong with it to keep just as is. I would like to see all the numbers reduced, basically making the system work as a spell creation system, but without all the dc and other modifiers.

IMO, epic spells should:
1)Be 10th level spells
2)Be modifiable by metamagic (and thus heightenable)
3)Utilize smaller numbers, and not scale infinitely as they do
4)Require a skill check to create, but afterwords count as a 10th level slot use
5)spells should mimic iconic spells of their type

Your setup does reduce numbers and better arrange the spell seeds to mimic their iconic counterparts. But I would personally like to see the epic spell seed system more integrated into base casting rules and the numbers and mitigating factors fade to much smaller sums.

more on this later thanksgiving dinner is up...

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
36 is such a totally random and arbitrary number. With James on this one 30 seems a good cut off point as most the near god-like critters are limited to 36, most 30-33 CR range anything past that really goes beyond epic. And fighting a demonlord or demi-god 6 levels higher then you is a way epic battle
It's actually not so random and arbitrary as you think. In the earlier D&D boxed-set rules (Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal, or BECMI), level 36 was the highest a mortal could achieve. After that, you became a deity or an immortal. So setting the level cap at 36 is kind of nostalgic.

Spending time online at home during a holiday huh? Happy Holidays.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
36 is such a totally random and arbitrary number. With James on this one 30 seems a good cut off point as most the near god-like critters are limited to 36, most 30-33 CR range anything past that really goes beyond epic. And fighting a demonlord or demi-god 6 levels higher then you is a way epic battle
It's actually not so random and arbitrary as you think. In the earlier D&D boxed-set rules (Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal, or BECMI), level 36 was the highest a mortal could achieve. After that, you became a deity or an immortal. So setting the level cap at 36 is kind of nostalgic.
Spending time online at home during a holiday huh? Happy Holidays.

I would love to see it cap at 36th and then an immortal path open up. I love nostalgia, and I actually think a lot of gamers would get it. Maybe Paizo could make it cap at 36 and then give it some logical reason for you youngins out there.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
rydi123 wrote:
2)Be modifiable by metamagic (and thus heightenable)

I don't quite understand this requirement, since it's already built into the construction system for the most part. (Not to mention being able to apply Maximize Spell on many of these can be worth a hell of a lot more than three spell levels unless your caps for damage are extremely restrictive. That and Empower Spell just don't seem to work with flat modifiers on constructive systems.

Quote:
3)Utilize smaller numbers, and not scale infinitely as they do

I'd rather not the numbers reach too much smaller sums, lest the power of craftable spells become too far out of balance with relation to other classes. However, given a much more reasonable difficulty vs. power scaling than what was in the epic level handbook (i.e. no real scaling, just a bunch of random leaps, bounds, and pratfalls), I don't see issues with the system scaling infinitely. (Always going to be that one person that hits the level cap and says, "Awww, can't we go just ONE more level?" Or someone like me that gets bored and wants to envision Raistlin vs. the Dragonlance pantheon.)

Quote:
4)Require a skill check to create, but afterwords count as a 10th level slot use

I think some are worth more than a 10th level slot (Vengeful Gaze of God for one, and a hypothetical Origin of Species: Tarrasque for another.) Even barring such ridiculous extremes, there are sure to be some that should be 13th level even without the application of any sort of metamagic.

Quote:
5)spells should mimic iconic spells of their type

Absolutely!

Quote:
Your setup does reduce numbers and better arrange the spell seeds to mimic their iconic counterparts. But I would personally like to see the epic spell seed system more integrated into base casting rules and the numbers and mitigating factors fade to much smaller sums.

I'll need more than an evening's worth of scribbling for something like that. :)

Just seeing what I can do with the old system's framework at the moment (I think it has its heart in the right place, but I'd be genuinely surprised if there was even a minute of proofreading and testing of the system).


Shinmizu wrote:
stuff

Sorry to be brief w/my explanations, turkey called.

Anyway, the idea for me is:
Eliminate "epic spells" entirely.

Provide a system for creating higher level customizable spells, but make them completely blend with the base system (and actually, upon reflection you are correct that some spells should be higher lvl than 10). This will reduce the complexity, as it eliminates the added subsystem (you get epic spells based upon ranks in a skill, track them separately, they function differently, you make checks to make them go off, etc.)

Eliminate options that change dc's for spells, quicken spells, or all the other mods that can be replicated with metamagic. This puts a power cap on a great many spells, but at the same time retains the usefullness of all those nice metamagic feats people spent 20 levels accruing.

Along with all this, make spell progression past 20 auto (unlike the 3.0 stuff that requires a feat for each new level of spells), but perhaps reduce the rate (provide a couple of different tables, 1 for half-casters like paladin, one for innate spellcasters like sorcerer, 1 for memorization based casters; psi would need to be dealt with, but could probably cover epic levels for its classes in its own book).

I like your ideas for changes to the tables, but think that some of the assumptions of the system should change to better integrate into the core rules.


James Jacobs wrote:

Eventually, I'm pretty sure we WILL do an Epic Level type book. It won't happen in 2010; we've got next year's schedule pretty nailed down, and it's dedicated to supporting the game we only just released this year. It's not logical to turn our attention away from supporting the core game that quickly.

But eventually, yeah, there'll probably be an Epic Level book to carry on the rules beyond 20th level. This book isn't on any schedule yet, and we haven't even officially started talking about how we'd handle it, but I HAVE been mulling over some ideas for how we'll do this in my head.

The most important thing, though, is that whatever we do with epic level... there needs to be a level cap. Just as the core game has a level cap at 20th level, the Epic Level rules would have a cap... my preference is for a cap at 30th level or maybe 36th level. With a level cap, we can actually design FOR these rules and create products to support them, since without a level cap everything we'd design would end up being too powerful or not powerful enough. Everyone HAS to be on the same page as far as challenges and power, and that requires a level cap.

Another vote for a level cap here! Basically, I completely agree that a level cap is highly desirable and the lack of it has significantly contributed to problems of epic levels in the 3rd edition. I would vastly prefer 10 extra levels being done properly, complete with class-specific abilities received at given levels, than an infinite-extrapolation system (that is not really infinite anyway - only in terms of extrapolation it is - there are content limits after all). How many extra levels an epic-level system should provide is something I am not particularly concerned with - I am confident you guys will make the right decision depending on how the math works out and possibly based on nostalgic-reasons (if you chose 36th level as the cap) - it is not really important for me, so long as the levels covered are treated properly.

Quote:

Another thing I'd like to see done is some sort of reversion to simplicity at 21st level. When you can cast 3 or 4 wishes a day and can knock down buildings with your sword, tracking how many 1st level spells you can cast is needless clutter. One of epic level's greatest hurdles is its complexity, and simply stacking more powers on top of an already overflowing bucket of powers is not going to make the game better.

On this, I am much more ambiguous, primarily because I fear the method that will likely be chosen to cut the "clutter". If this it is done in a way that will either remove these abilities or to homogenize them among classes (e.g. all Epic/21st level casters can do the following:...) than it is a bad thing. If, on the other hand, it is done in a class specific way that minimizes the somewhat inevitable mechanical homogeneization than it is a good thing (e.g. At 21st level, Sorcerers can cast all their 1st level spells at will, whereas Wizards at 21st level still have a limited per-day casting, but no longer have to prepare 1st level spells, effectively casting them spontaneously.)

I guess I just can't stand mechanical homogeneization of classes and the removal of powers just to advance simplicity, so as long as these two are avoided, I am fine with it.

One thing that others have alluded to that they are not too keen on and I am not either is breaks in existing progressions and the use of whole new systems for spellcasting in the same classes... unless there is a good in-game justification for it. By a good justification I would mean designing something like an epic system that involves some sort of transcendence or apotheosis - then wholy new progression systems are justified.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

Eventually, I'm pretty sure we WILL do an Epic Level type book. (snip)

Another thing I'd like to see done is some sort of reversion to simplicity at 21st level. When you can cast 3 or 4 wishes a day and can knock down buildings with your sword, tracking how many 1st level spells you can cast is needless clutter. One of epic level's greatest hurdles is its complexity, and simply stacking more powers on top of an already overflowing bucket of powers is not going to make the game better.

I agree some sort of 'switch' needs to be thrown to move from Level20 to Epic1, and I suggest it may need to be similar to BEMCI's Immortal approach, though I am not suggesting god-level play. Yet.

What I am reminded of is the promise (Waaay back in the day) of what RuneQuest was intended to do, and the promises originally made:


  • RuneQuest -- role-playing and advancement at the human level
  • HeroQuest -- role-playing and advancement at the heroic/demigod level, as you re-enacted divine myths
  • GodQuest -- role-playing as a divine being, as you now create NEW myths that retroactively re-write the world

In this model, actions at "lower" levels have little impact on higher levels, and there are special things that have to happen to 'shift' levels beyond simple advancement. This plays into the "reversion to simplicity" if Epic1 is different in nature from Level21.

There is a loose parallel with the Heroic / Epic / Paragon model in 4e as well, though that is a linear continuum.

Regarding level cap: under this model, if you consider PFRPG the "heroic" tier, then Epic can be Epic-1 through Epic-20, and then there enters the option for Paragon/Divine book for P-1 through P-20. Think of the sales!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
rydi123 wrote:
Eliminate options that change dc's for spells, quicken spells, or all the other mods that can be replicated with metamagic. This puts a power cap on a great many spells, but at the same time retains the usefullness of all those nice metamagic feats people spent 20 levels accruing.

Or make the metamagic feats a prerequisite for the equivalent spell modifications. Hmm, I think I might try that.

Quote:
Along with all this, make spell progression past 20 auto (unlike the 3.0 stuff that requires a feat for each new level of spells)

Paizo beat you to it! In the "Gamemastering" chapter of the core rulebook, if you choose to use their rough draft rules for post-20 play. (Spellcasters automatically get a free spell slot of the a level one more than their current highest level at 21, 23, etc.)

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I like your ideas for changes to the tables, but think that some of the assumptions of the system should change to better integrate into the core rules.

I'd like to be able to figure out a level-equivalency for epic spells (i.e. DC 33-35 is level 10, and level 10+ spells have the antimagic/disjunction resistance of "epic" spells), but the proliferation of skill bonuses from feats, magical items, etc. make that a fairly tough equivalency to figure out, if it's even possible (such an absurd amount of flexibility gets lost).

There would be the drawback of starting with only a single "epic" slot at 21, as opposed to the expected two. It would benefit, however, from being able to forgo a +6 penalty for +100% area right now so that you could simply apply Widen Spell later and just bump it up three levels. (The major drawback being that the system would be excruciatingly limited in what you'd be able to develop and cast due to being limited by spell-level equivalency, whereas a 21st level wizard under the old system with Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus: Spellcraft, a base Intellect of 24 with +5 from wishes and +6 from a Headband of Vast Intellect would have at least a shot at pulling off a DC 63 spell (probably a level 30-40 equivalent). Moreso if we include items with Spellcraft competency bonuses.

And so on, and so on. :(


Spellcasting seems to be the big buzz here, so I had another thought. Along with making your lower level spells automatic or whatever, what if you could automatically apply metamagic feats to them at no cost? For instance, you could take a feat at 21st+ that automatically silenced all 1-3 spells, or empowered all 1-2 spells, or automatically quickened or maximized all 1st level spells. This would make them much more useful at epic levels, while still adhering to the power balance.

Just a thought.


Shinmizu wrote:


There would be the drawback of starting with only a single "epic" slot at 21, as opposed to the expected two. It would benefit, however, from being able to forgo a +6 penalty for +100% area right now so that you could simply apply Widen Spell later and just bump it up three levels. (The major drawback being that the system would be excruciatingly limited in what you'd be able to develop and cast due to being limited by spell-level equivalency, whereas a 21st level wizard under the old system with Magical Aptitude, Skill Focus: Spellcraft, a base Intellect of 24 with +5 from wishes and +6 from a Headband of Vast Intellect would have at least a shot at...

Yeah, this is sort of where I'm going with my ideas. And yeah, the loss of versatility is kind of harsh when you had the wide open system of 3.0 Epic, but D&D thrives off of limitations. The broken tricks and permanent spells you could do with the Epic system was the real problem with it (well, that and the way it was all worded). A more contained system with fewer, but more manageable options would benefit GM's (and thus epic games) greatly.

sean fitzsimon wrote:
Spellcasting seems to be the big buzz here, so I had another thought. Along with making your lower level spells automatic or whatever, what if you could automatically apply metamagic feats to them at no cost? For instance, you could take a feat at 21st+ that automatically silenced all 1-3 spells, or empowered all 1-2 spells, or automatically quickened or maximized all 1st level spells. This would make them much more useful at epic levels, while still adhering to the power balance.

This isn't a bad idea, and the base epic rules have something like this in effect already don't they? Don't have books on me right now, but I seem to remember that Automatic Metamagic being an epic feat.


I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.


Razz wrote:

I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.

Highst I know of in 2e was like 46 or so and that was, well different

Dark Archive

hate to repost but...i said this in another thread and felt it worth repeating here.

DragonBringerX wrote:

I use to run epic games as high as 60th level, years ago. As i grew older i began to tone everything down...a lot. As much as I hate to admit it, 4th Ed did give use a really good standard of where to throw things in epic.

1-20 (mortals)
21-30 (immortals/epic) where epic characters should end
21-40 (gods)

So, yes, the most powerful thing in the entire universe should be a CR 40...and this is like an all-powerful-all-knowing being that can destroy cities with a spell. This way, even a group of 5 or 6 level 30's would still have a hell of a challenge with a CR 40 as their plot end.

Plus, this makes it "really" easy to balance feats, spells, and skills because we do have and "end". In older books, Asmodious was placed as a CR 32...he's not the most powerful being ever, but even a CR 30 would have a difficult time defeating that.


I think the level cap should be dependent on how the math works out. It would be nice to have an uncapped system but at some point CR's and levels become meaningless because even two monsters or PC's that should be equal are nowhere near the same power level.

The issue is also the accumulation of new powers. Hopefully the Epic levels dont have a lot of new powers, but strengthen older ones.

My 2 cents.


Flavor-speaking, I already mentioned months ago that the most important things we need for an Epic Level Handbook (IMHO) are guidelines for handling epic adventures different from the classic 'oh, great, just ANOTHER epic dungeon that nobody knew before' and (connected to this) a reasonable way to meld the Epic rules/creatures/worlds with the 'mundane' ones - to avoid silly situations which I simply call 'the Doomsday effect' (remember the 'Death of Superman', where a completely unknown creature freed himself from an intergalactic prison and ended on Earth where he battled to death with Superman, resulting in the death of both of them?).
The 'epics' should be already known (or at least their existance should be hinted) in the lower levels, or else they simply make no sense. What, the mighty Tarrasque is simply a puppy compared to an Hecatoncheires, but everybody fear the legend of the Tarrasque while nobody mentions the Hecatons, or the Atropals, or the Colossi - and suddenly they appear and wreck havoc, in EVERY epic adventure? What were they doing before, taking a vacation ? They smelled the approach of the Epic characters and decided to come back in town ?

Rule-speaking, we should give the non-caster classes some interesting ability (without giving them out-of-character powers), or the spellcasting ones would dominate more than ever the game. Maybe some defensive ability to ignore lesser spells for classes like Barbarians or Fighters, some abilities to bypass the defenses of casters (again, scaling them - maybe a 21th level fighter can ignore the armor bonus given by a Mage Armor spell, but not the displacement effect of a Blur spell), and so on.
Hmm, the more I speak of it, the more it makes some kind of sense - maybe a Fighter can 'shrug off' the effects of a spell of the same level -20 (so, a 21st level Fighter can ignore 1st level spells, a 23rd level Fighter can ignore 3rd level spells, and so on) - effectively, giving them something akin to the Golem's Spell Immunity, but lowerable as a standard action (call it 'Magic Adaptation' - after a life of being subjected to Charm spells, maybe a Fighter has developed a 'callous formation' into his brain...)

Just my 2c.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd like the level 36 cap. Would be a nice nod to the old times. :)


Past 30 seems a bit much to me as Demon lords and demi gods ( who grant spells) are 30 and up. Past that stage it seems you have left the mortal rules behind and really need to work under a different system as your past epic, past mythic figures and are into the realms of demi-gods, demon lords and things beyond the keen of mortality at that point YMMV


Since a few people have brought it up, not only do I not really want to see an "automatic demi-god" mechanic, I really don't want to see another set of rules for "Immortals" or anything like it. While I know where people are coming from, and referencing BECMI D&D, right now, in this day and age, it just feels too much like the latest expansion to an MMO (and now with this set, we're upping the level cap . . . )

Personally, I think you can still tell the "upper end" of classic FRPG stories with Epic rules (fighting demon lords, great wyrm dragons, insane titans, demigods, etc), but I think when you start getting into a bracket of the game based on godhood and immortality, its pretty much a new, and separate game.

Also, just because there is a level cap to an epic system, I don't think there should be an automatic "retirement" feature either. Just because someone its, say 35th level, or whatever the upper limits might be, its just means that, as a mortal, they can't really become any better at anything. It doesn't mean there has to be a game mechanic that tells you that the character can't be played any longer.


KnightErrantJR wrote:


Also, just because there is a level cap to an epic system, I don't think there should be an automatic "retirement" feature either. Just because someone its, say 35th level, or whatever the upper limits might be, its just means that, as a mortal, they can't really become any better at anything. It doesn't mean there has to be a game mechanic that tells you that the character can't be played any longer.

Just want to say damned right. You've reached the mortal limit. Does not mean ya can't do anything else, nor does it mean your done(if the GM wants to keep going) you just can not gain any more power[Levels]. Time to go found a kingdom, knock out some kids and every once in a great while battle the epic evil or search for that fountain of godhood or what ever else you GM wants to do

Becoming immortal, or demi-gods or the great the great gazoo, should not be built into the rules. Thats the realm of pure story craft and the domain of the GM, not something to be handed out like the toy in a happymeal

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Razz wrote:

I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.

But that 100th level adventure was pretty goofy. And disappointing, considering that the first three adventures in that story more or less played it straight.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
The Wraith wrote:
The 'epics' should be already known (or at least their existance should be hinted) in the lower levels, or else they simply make no sense.

Who knows what's in Leng or beyond the dark reaches of space (where they merely hint at the existance of things like the Old Gods). Also a bunch of nasty stuff in Orv, for certain.

I also imagine the Oliphaunt of Jalmeray (or whatever it was called) most certainly does treat the Tarrasque like a puppy.

The Exchange

Razz wrote:

I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.

Play Rolemaster

EDIT: I played that 100th level adventure, Its was....strange.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
It would be nice to have an uncapped system but at some point CR's and levels become meaningless because even two monsters or PC's that should be equal are nowhere near the same power level.

A cheesy hack would be forcing all saves to go up at the same rate regardless of class beyond level 20, but it doesn't sit well with me due to being such a drastic change (yeah, yeah, I know I'm the guy that thinks the epic spell system would be awesome if it was actually self-consistent and fixed), which would help with the save disparity. A nicer alternative would be compensational feats or class features.

Epic martial maneuvers vs. epic spellcasting. Hmm... "Super Happy Fun Ball Whirling Bolos of Inescapable Doom!" Then Merisiel one-shots the ancient red dragon. :)

Though... I think Happy Fun Ball counts as an artifact (nuclear-level destruction and all that), so we should have rules for crafting artifacts.


rydi123 wrote:


I agree pretty much entirely with this post, and the problems stated...

Great post rydi. I've run a game up to lvl 30 (so far), and you have nailed it. This is essentially the "to-do" list for an "epic" PF rule set.

Also, the OD&D nod with the 36 level is a good idea. It certainly put a grin on my face.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Razz wrote:

I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.

But that 100th level adventure was pretty goofy. And disappointing, considering that the first three adventures in that story more or less played it straight.

Where did that come from? 100th level? The mind boggles.


Zaister wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Razz wrote:

I don't like a "level cap". I mean, even 1E (or was it 2E?) had a 100th-level adventure. 36 is too low and...a rather odd number to cap at anyway.

More like 50 is just right. And then some guidelines on taking it past 50, but nothing too extensive. If my player wants a Fighter 20/Sorcerer 20/Binder 20, I don't want to be the one to say you're out of luck.

But that 100th level adventure was pretty goofy. And disappointing, considering that the first three adventures in that story more or less played it straight.
Where did that come from? 100th level? The mind boggles.

Module H4: The Throne of Bloodstone. Set as the last of 4 modules in the Bloodstone series. Decent, from what I remember. But yeah, whole cities full of liches and undead are a bit insane.

Dark Archive

I am not a target for epic level rules. But when they are done i do kinda like the level 36 limit. Just cause of the nod to classic DnD.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Personally I like the idea of saying "epic stops here" and "godhood starts here" design philosophy. I mean look at the mistakes WOTC made in 3E.

There are 2 separate sets of epic rules.

1) The forgotten realms rules because epic rules weren't done yet.
2) The epic level handbook rules because they took longer to do.

Now sure the epic level handbook overwrites the realms rules and updated the NPCs, but it's still damn annoying.

Look at the god rules.

Does the construction of the gods in Faiths & Pantheons (Realms again) really match up to what was done in Deities & Demigods. Not really.

To make matters worse, BOTH book ignore epic rules when all the gods have epic levels. It's just sloppy. I like the idea of stopping at 36 and saying from there on you're no longer a mortal.


I would personally love an epic level rules set and from what i've read in this thread it seems as though Paizo will probably do it, it's just a matter of when.

i really like "epic" play, though i don't really look at it from a power point of view. i like a 40 level build because it gives me more time to refine my character concept. don't get me wrong if the build involves a dual caster build, which is one of my favorite characters, i love getting 9th lvl spells for both classes, but it's not my ultimate goal.

i run games at a pretty fast leveling pace, i know as a player i love when i gain a new level, so i like to allow my players the same joy, and with epic rules my games last that much longer.

like i said i don't look at "epic" level rules as a way to gain a more powerful pc, but just a way to get more enjoyment out of a build and get as much out of a build as i can.

just my two cents.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:
To make matters worse, BOTH book ignore epic rules when all the gods have epic levels. It's just sloppy. I like the idea of stopping at 36 and saying from there on you're no longer a mortal.

I don't really think the value or existence of a level cap in a future Paizo product should be determined by the mistakes made by some other company that's well known for mistakes and shoddy editing/proofreading, when Paizo is generally known for excellent quality.

As for mortals vs. deities, we already have a precedent in Golarion with Tar-Baphon vs. Arazni, necessitating the creation of the Mantis God. I tend to completely ignore the old Deities and Demigods book (it was an astoundingly bad idea to develop that before epic rules), but statting up of at least demigods (or whatever Arazni and Achaekek are) seems necessary, along with some sort of definitions to explain the differences between extremely powerful mortals and true dieties. Treating a god of magic as just a special-cased level 20 wizard plus 20 more ranks in something else is just absurd, in my opinion.

That said, I don't really see epic levels as being a fit for many (if any) existing campaign settings, especially not Golarion, which appears to have a relatively low cap on power. (Demon Lords and Archdevils are only in the 30's? What wimpy fiends you have! Macros the Black could eat them for breakfast!) Caps on epic levels shouldn't be dictated by relatively low-power campaign settings.

Sovereign Court

I'm excited to see how much XP is required to reach 36th level.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for big XP totals. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Nameless wrote:
I'm excited to see how much XP is required to reach 36th level.

Exactly six wazillion.

Shadow Lodge

I kind of like how Basic Dungeons and Dragons handled higher levels in some ways. Past "name level" the benefits gained from gaining a level were much less than for those gained prior to that level. I'm maybe thinking that epic Pathfinder levels could work something like that, especially since Pathfinder is higher on the power scale than 3.5 was anyway. If I were designing it, I would have level gains beyond 20th grant you the following:

+ CON modifier in hit points (no hit dice past 20th)
+ INT modifier in skill points (no class skill points past 20th)
BAB, saving throw, and ability score increases stop at 20th
Beyond 20th, feats are replaced with Epic Feats
Spell progression (spells knows for spontaneous casters, spells per day for all spellcasters) ceases at 20th
The vast majority of abilities that improve with level cease at 20th

As you can see, most power acquired would be through gaining epic feats (or regular feats, which could be substituted). If you want to run a more high powered campaign, epic feats could come every level instead of every odd-numbered level.

I think this solves one of my major complaints about very high level characters. It's my opinion that no matter what a characters level, there should be some things that simply outclass them.


SirUrza wrote:

Personally I like the idea of saying "epic stops here" and "godhood starts here" design philosophy. I mean look at the mistakes WOTC made in 3E.

There are 2 separate sets of epic rules.

1) The forgotten realms rules because epic rules weren't done yet.
2) The epic level handbook rules because they took longer to do.

Now sure the epic level handbook overwrites the realms rules and updated the NPCs, but it's still damn annoying.

Look at the god rules.

Does the construction of the gods in Faiths & Pantheons (Realms again) really match up to what was done in Deities & Demigods. Not really.

To make matters worse, BOTH book ignore epic rules when all the gods have epic levels. It's just sloppy. I like the idea of stopping at 36 and saying from there on you're no longer a mortal.

And let's not discuss how questionable the idea of giving deities stat blocks was anyways.

I'd also like to see epic magic being more contained. I still like the basic idea behind what they tried to create, but the execution was poor.

One thing I think they did right was to contain the number of attacks per round past level 20. But since they didn't add anything to make attacks better, it hurt epic level fighters, barbarians, ect. Perhaps a set damage bonus every five levels or so would help compensate.

Dark Archive

KnightErrantJR wrote:

I totally like having an Epic cap, as I think one of the problems the Epic Level Handbook had was trying to facilitate 25th level play as well as 100th level play, which made any kind of perspective kind of impossible.

Personally, I like 30th for the cap, but I can see avoiding the similar cap that exists in other games. I'd rather keep things balanced, though, so I'd vote for 40th level as your "ultimate" cap.

I also agree that there shouldn't be an automatic ascension at the cap. It would imply that that's how you "win" epic level, and I'd rather just assume that hitting the cap means that, as a mortal, you just can't comprehend how to become more powerful, and thus level advancement becomes a moot point at the cap.

Whole-heartedly agree; there needs to be a cap, and I, too, would prefer lvl 30. I'm VERY intrigued by what James said about revising mechanics and removing needless complexity (such as tracking low-level slots) for epic level play. In theory it sounds great, and by far the better solution than what we had in 3E. :)

Maybe XP shouldn't be tracked, either, but rather the PCs would gain levels by fulfilling quests, or at certain points when it suits the story? I liked Sean's alternative method, so perhaps it could be "tweaked" for PF RPG epic levels?


KnightErrantJR wrote:

Since a few people have brought it up, not only do I not really want to see an "automatic demi-god" mechanic, I really don't want to see another set of rules for "Immortals" or anything like it. While I know where people are coming from, and referencing BECMI D&D, right now, in this day and age, it just feels too much like the latest expansion to an MMO (and now with this set, we're upping the level cap . . . )

Personally, I think you can still tell the "upper end" of classic FRPG stories with Epic rules (fighting demon lords, great wyrm dragons, insane titans, demigods, etc), but I think when you start getting into a bracket of the game based on godhood and immortality, its pretty much a new, and separate game.

Also, just because there is a level cap to an epic system, I don't think there should be an automatic "retirement" feature either. Just because someone its, say 35th level, or whatever the upper limits might be, its just means that, as a mortal, they can't really become any better at anything. It doesn't mean there has to be a game mechanic that tells you that the character can't be played any longer.

I agree completely (with the one exception of I generally ignore level caps)


I don't think there should be a level cap - but then I'm not against dialing down the power increase (ala 1E) after a certain level.

So, for example, if level 36 is the last "full" level, nothing wrong with 37 (and beyond) being as simple as +3 hit points and perhaps 1 feat.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

DaveMage wrote:

I don't think there should be a level cap - but then I'm not against dialing down the power increase (ala 1E) after a certain level.

So, for example, if level 36 is the last "full" level, nothing wrong with 37 (and beyond) being as simple as +3 hit points and perhaps 1 feat.

Which is pretty much about what we have right now on pages 406–407 of the Core Rulebook, of course.


(edited)

James Jacobs wrote:
DaveMage wrote:

I don't think there should be a level cap - but then I'm not against dialing down the power increase (ala 1E) after a certain level.

So, for example, if level 36 is the last "full" level, nothing wrong with 37 (and beyond) being as simple as +3 hit points and perhaps 1 feat.

Which is pretty much about what we have right now on pages 406–407 of the Core Rulebook, of course.
Is this official errata? In my dead tree copy, on page 407:
Beyond 20th level wrote:
...Scaling Powers: Hit dice, base attack bonuses, and saving throws continue to increase at the same rate beyond 20th level, as appropriate for the class in question. Note that no character can have more than 4 attacks based on its base attack bonus...

Continuing rises in HD, BAB, and saves don't seem to me to be much of a dialing back of power increases, or certainly not as compared to DaveMage's proposed older edition style caps and hp-instead-of-hit dice.

Further Edit:
Hmm. It does acknowledge earlier, on page 406, that the proposed rules are very much stopgap measures suited to wrapping up campaigns, and not robust enough to carry on a game with on their own.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

It's not official errata at all. I'm just saying that the core rules already cover the type of "beyond the cap" level advancement DaveMage was suggesting.

And it doesn't change the fact that I think there needs to be a legitimate Epic Level book that has a hard level cap BEFORE Paizo does anything with epic level content. But that if folks want to run epic level games for their home games, they're absolutely free to do so. The guidelines on pages 406–407 should give them a good place to start if, for whatever reason, they don't want to use the SRD's epic level rules.


Thanks for keeping the dream alive James. Even though the original ELH was considered broken by so many, I loved the thickness and effort that was put into it. It amazes me sometimes the incredible effort that was put into books like that one and the XPH. Great, great stuff by the authors over the years.


James Jacobs wrote:

It's not official errata at all. I'm just saying that the core rules already cover the type of "beyond the cap" level advancement DaveMage was suggesting.

And it doesn't change the fact that I think there needs to be a legitimate Epic Level book that has a hard level cap BEFORE Paizo does anything with epic level content. But that if folks want to run epic level games for their home games, they're absolutely free to do so. The guidelines on pages 406–407 should give them a good place to start if, for whatever reason, they don't want to use the SRD's epic level rules.

Okay. Thanks for doing your best to clarify the situation. :)


I think a hard cap is counter to the history of the game as well as one of the basic premises of the game: gaining xp and progressing.

Having it simply end seems kinda lame to me.

So, even though there might not be "official" support beyond a certain level (which is perfectly fine), I don't think it should end as a rule, but I'm open to a simple progression beyond the supported levels. (With a notice to GMs that they are on their own if they are playing beyond the supported levels - as well as any potential pitfalls the designers may forsee.)

For me with 1E, once the simple progressions kicked in (especially for fighter types), the classes stopped being as appealing, but it was nice to know that the only limits to the game were my imagination....

However, with all of this said, I look forward to whatever Paizo comes up with regarding epic play as I'm sure it will be good stuff....

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Argh.

Just when I was all excited because there's serious discussion about a real epic book, everyone and their brother is in love with level caps.

Why?

I can totally get behind the idea of an epic book that covers, say, levels 21-36 for historical reasons and to ensure continuity and so that Paizo can make sure they have all their ducks in a row, and to have it say "beyond that, you're on your own."

But a 4E-style level cap? Yuck! How many of you folks out there clamoring for a level cap have actually *played* at the levels we're talking about here?

Super-high-level epic does *not* have to be silly. It's not Paizo's fault that people have made it so, but there's nothing inherently silly about high level play.

D&D (well, until 4E) has always been about providing rules that people use to play the game they want - not about someone deciding for you how you should play your game. Having someone (even someone I respect as much as the designers at Paizo) tell me "no, you can't play at levels higher than 30, that's just silly and you shouldn't do it" leaves me with an unhappy feeling.


Saradoc wrote:
Thanks for keeping the dream alive James. Even though the original ELH was considered broken by so many, I loved the thickness and effort that was put into it. It amazes me sometimes the incredible effort that was put into books like that one and the XPH. Great, great stuff by the authors over the years.

Here Here! I agree with this post.

The ELH was full of broken rules and terribly over/under powered monsters with super inflated ability scores (leshay have 47 Cha? Really?? Prismatic great wyrms really had upper 60's and 70's ability scores????) but alot of effort went into it. And despite the brokeness it stimulated my mind with thoughts of greatness.

I know that Paizo's will rock.


All measurements of abstract power must have a cap that is divisible by 10. To say otherwise is obviously silly.

</sarcasm>

Anyway, all I have to say on this is:

When it comes out, they better have playtested it. An open playtest would be grand.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Level caps have NOTHING to do with things being silly. They're arbitrary. We might as well have a level cap of 30, 36, 40, 50, 100, or 321. The point is that there NEEDS to be a level cap because that helps us design a balanced game.

In the core game, we can say "The tarrasque is one of the most ferocious and deadly creatures in the world" AND we can support that by building him as a CR 25 monster, because we know that the implied level cap of the core game is level 20. If the core game had no level cap, then CR 25 would work for some groups, but for others would be too low and others it'd be too high. There's no baseline and that's bad.

So moving on to epic. Say we want to stat up Cthulhu and set him as "the baddest of the bad threats that you can face as an epic level character." If we don't have a level cap... what CR should Cthulhu be? If there's no epic level cap, we can still say Cthulhu is a CR 52 monster, but without a level cap there's nothing preventing someone from saying Cthulhu's dad is CR 55. And then someone else can come along with Cthulhuzilla at CR 60. Basically, the lack of a level cap turns the game into an arms race.

WITH a level cap, though, we can keep everything under control.

And you'll note that, just as epic level would, say, provide rules for play of level 21 through level 36 (effectively "raising" the core game's level cap), there's NOTHING preventing anyone from creating yet another expansion to the game that details things for level 37 to level 50.

The trick is to balance the band of levels you want to focus on with the amount of pages in the book that will support that band.

It's not that playing at levels beyond 30 (or whatever) is "silly." I hope I've never said that. I don't THINK I've said that. It's just simple physics: we can't create a game that supports an infinite number of levels simply because that book would have to be an infinite number of pages long. Creating a game that "scales indefinitely" but that doesn't provide support beyond a certain power range is the worst of both worlds. That's the main area in which the 3.5 Epic rules fail, I think, and that's not an error I want to repeat.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

James Jacobs wrote:

Level caps have NOTHING to do with things being silly. They're arbitrary ... Say we want to stat up Cthulhu and set him as "the baddest of the bad threats that you can face as an epic level character." If we don't have a level cap... what CR should Cthulhu be? ...

WITH a level cap, though, we can keep everything under control.

... you'll note that, just as epic level would, say, provide rules for play of level 21 through level 36 (effectively "raising" the core game's level cap), there's NOTHING preventing anyone from creating yet another expansion to the game that details things for level 37 to level 50.

I think we're on the same page here ... I just interpret a cap differently, I guess - as a "it ends HERE" commandment, not a softer "we have designed the system for play up to level X and after that all bets are off" promise.

James Jacobs wrote:
It's not that playing at levels beyond 30 (or whatever) is "silly." I hope I've never said that. I don't THINK I've said that. It's just simple physics: we can't create a game that supports an infinite number of levels simply because that book would have to be an infinite number of pages long. Creating a game that "scales indefinitely" but that doesn't provide support beyond a certain power range is the worst of both worlds. That's the main area in which the 3.5 Epic rules fail, I think, and that's not an error I want to repeat.

Still with ya ... and that's why I use templates, class levels, and other monster advancement methods so heavily in my campaign. I don't need a book that has everything, and I don't *want* someone to do all my thinking for me - I have no end of fun putting all the bits and pieces together to provide my own epic challenges. I just want a framework to build my world and adventures in.

And the way I handle things such as the CR52 Cthulhu when the characters are level 55 is simple: I treat that as an avatar of the real thing. Same goes for the demon princes in FCI and all the lords statted out in FCII - they're aspects, not the real thing, because if characters are level 30, or 50, or even 100, clearly Asmodeus is somewhere above that. NO human will ever face Asmodeus, or Demogorgon, or Cthulhu or the Lady of Pain and do anything other than flee or cower :)

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
...my preference is for a cap at 30th level or maybe 36th level.

36 is old school. I like.

-Skeld

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