Any Idea on a New Epic Level Handbook?


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Hey Paizo - any idea on the likelihood of publishing a new epic level handbook next year?

Dark Archive

+1!!!!!!!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I think the likelihood in 2010 is 0%. They've said that epic and psionics are two of the most requested rulebooks from fans but that all the RPG hardcovers for 2010 have already been decided upon.


Even an online PDF that's like 30 pages or so would be awesome.


Saradoc wrote:
Even an online PDF that's like 30 pages or so would be awesome.

That could possibley be enough. The actual rules for leveling up were not all that expansive. A lot of the book's page count came from monsters, and other addition topics.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

-1 ... d20 goes bananas if you push it past lvl 20. How many lvl 20+ adventures did you people ever see in print ? I'd wager that most of folks who ask for epic rules never got to play an epic game, and just want it to drool over the cool stuff their PCs might achieve someday.


Saradoc wrote:
Even an online PDF that's like 30 pages or so would be awesome.

Not likely, they want to do it, and they want to do it right. That takes time.

Silver Crusade

Gorbacz wrote:

-1 ... d20 goes bananas if you push it past lvl 20. How many lvl 20+ adventures did you people ever see in print ? I'd wager that most of folks who ask for epic rules never got to play an epic game, and just want it to drool over the cool stuff their PCs might achieve someday.

I beg to differ here. I for one am currently running an epic level campaign and would love to see what Paizo can do with with those rules. I've gotten my players up to epic levels in every edition of the game that we've played and it has always been a fun ride. And these aren't just hack-and-slash, Monty Haul campaigns either. They all have a sense of depth that they (my players) find satisfactory (if they didn't, they wouldn't play). My players don't really care about the epic level magic items (the expense just doesn't sit well with them) or even the feats and spells (there are some exceptions....Superior Initiative is always a popular one as is Nailed To The Sky and Let Go Of Me). In fact they go out of their way to avoid combat if they can help it, preferring to role-play as opposed to roll-play. Epic level combat, as currently written, is a logistical nightmare and they know it. I would like to see Paizo simplify it enough to make it less of one (which I believe they can do).

+1 for the epic level rules set.


From what was said tonight it will not be just a rehash of the 3.0 rules but a whole new beast. But looks likely to happen at some point, and if they do so seems like it will be supported and not abandoned after 1 book

So have patience guys

Silver Crusade

seekerofshadowlight wrote:

From what was said tonight it will not be just a rehash of the 3.0 rules but a whole new beast. But looks likely to happen at some point, and if they do so seems like it will be supported and not abandoned after 1 book

So have patience guys

Patience...the DM's mantra.


Indeed, they are a small company less then 45 people or so. They put out monthly books now. The AP, along with the mods, chronicles and companions they are also designing doing in house play testing and already doing work on AP's we wont see for 12 or more months. So some stuff has to wait, as they plan to do about 3 books for the PRPG line a year, it'll take time to get what many think of as "the basics" covered


Yes, whoever complained above about epic games must never have really experienced incredible epic games. I have a paladin that is now 32nd level and whom I've played since first edition and who has survived all the editions of the game. My DM was incredible and created a vast world populated by in-depth plots and adventures that my whole group received hours upon hours of great fellowship from - despite the whole "game is broken after 20th level".

In addition I've been running an adventure with 23rd - 28th level characters (4 of us) and have used a fun combination of everything from Old Dungeon Magazine NPCs to the newer epic evil resources that were published by WOTC. In my opinion, next to the 9th - 12th level range (I think the best level range), Epic has incredible potential. It all depends on the DM and how he uses the rules and challenges the characters. Some DMs break down mentally and can't handle it. I've seen that first hand.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I am so not the guy for this question. I get to tell people about stuff we've announced. Not only have we not announced such a thing, but I doubt that anybody's even spent all that much time really thinking about it yet.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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 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.

Anyway... we've got a few years still before we turn our attention to the epic level stuff. Let's not rush things!


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 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.

Anyway... we've got a few years still before we turn our attention to the epic level stuff. Let's not rush things!

I agree pretty much entirely with this post, and the problems stated. I will also say that a little primer on basic rules for leveling, magic items, and raw functionality (maybe 30pgs of pdf for a few buck download) would make a great many people happy, and also provide a wonderful testing ground for the rules you might eventually employ... Would this be totally out of the question for 2010?

Also, a kind of long statement on problems my group has found with epic, as well as some potential solutions we have come up with (hope it helps):

Epic Problems:

As someone who has ran games from 1-40, and actually enjoyed epic play, Epic play failed in multiple areas:

1)Limited Character Roles:
In epic levels it becomes impossible to fill multiple rolls, and do "interesting" things. The numbers require that you min/max to be the best you can be in a single tiny sphere in order to even survive. This reduces roleplaying to spamming a single action repeatedly.
FIX:
The first major challenge of Epic design will be to correct the limited roles of characters. Simply freezing the progression at 21st level didn't help, and in some cases made this worse. Likely the best way to start on a fix would be to provide more teamwork abilities, and ways in which characters can use a standard action, so that clerics are not set to spam heals/defense, wizards set to spam damage, fighters spam attacks, and rogues spam... suck. Rogueish characters require more tactical options to make up for lower BAB's, fighters need variety in their attacks that will actually matter at higher levels (a few minor bonuses from weapon spec or combat expertise won't cut it here), and spellcasters need more intriguing options.

2)"Epic" Fails as a Concept:
The delineation between "epic" and "non-epic" is at once too sharp, and not meaningful enough. With the prior system presented, characters are supposed to magically change into something MORE at 21st level, gaining new types of abilities, access to qualitatively different feats/items/spells/etc., but instead they have weaker character progressions for the majority of their time in epic levels. Further, most of the Epic abilities that are worthwhile require 27th lvl, meaning that characters must spend 21-26 unable to take the truly "epic" feats.
FIX:
Don't make the distinction between epic/non-epic. Just put out a "High-Level Play Guide" or something that lists better stuff that can only be taken by characters meeting higher pre-reqs... Similar to PHBII, but with even higher pre-reqs, and more interesting options. Avoid the dichotomy of "Epic" play entirely.

3)The Rules are Confusing:
Rather than simply advancing on the same curve, suddenly everything changes. The "everyone advances at the same rate" rules is ridiculous and non-intuitive.
FIX:
Don't change the rules at epic. Simple enough. Epic feats are an unnecessary tag, especially if pre-reqs are set high (+18 BAB, 9th lvl caster, etc.). The only reason ever provided for changing the mechanics at 21st level was that "bonuses would quickly scale out of control," however in my experience this was NEVER the case. Levels are more slowly gained at this point in the game, the monsters more dangerous (and generally far out-matching their CR's when compared to a non-twinked character of equal level), and even if you go another 20 lvls, there is still not a game breaking difference in power levels.

4)21+ Levels = Spellcaster/Rogue levels
There are virtually no benefits for characters with +1 BAB classes in taking warrior classes past 21st level. Even monks lose incentive, as their saves do not increase as normal. It is far more profitable to pick up sneak attacks or spellcasting, or virtually anything OTHER than warrior levels, especially if there was even mild attention to gishing during non-epic (already has a few caster levels, or classes that provide neat tricks).
FIX:
The fix on this one is both simple, and very difficult. Pathfinder has already done a great deal to help, in the way the reward sticking to a single class (not only by making it scale better, but also by eliminating gishing and multi-classing at low levels, which in turn makes it less tempting to cross class at higher levels, since you would have to start over completely). Other fixes are to maintain pre-epic numeric progressions, and to give more feats/abilities. But this will probably be one of the greatest challenges of epic overall, on par with fixing epic spellcasting.

5)Magic Items are Ridiculous:
The cost on them is insane, as is the gold/level curve. It also obsoletes most of the pre-epic pricing standards ("of course everyone has +5 Inherent bonuses to everything and rings of +6 enhancement... its still cheaper than a +12 ring of Con). Finally, many of the abilities are JUST NOT WORTH THE COST.
FIX:
Reduce gold/level. Do not charge as much for epic items. Make epic items better and more interesting, though not necessarily radically more powerful. Reduce the bonus costs for magic items (no, super-holy is NOT a +6 bonus). Do not allow game shattering effects (Rings of Universal Elemental Immunity, Rings of Wizardry VIIII, etc.)

6)Spellcasting is... Wrong:
Epic Spellcasting is in fact not bad, at least conceptually. Using higher level spell slots to metamagic lower level spells all to hell, while a separate system exists to "create your own" wacky stuff is not a bad approach... However, in practice the spell seed system resulted in never being able to create offensive spells (300 DC's on stuff? Really?? And of course the SL is locked at 10th, and the damage spell seeds are worse than standard 7th-9th lvl spells), while being able to make extremely low DC buffs that break the numbers curve (Super mage armor with all kinds of weird bonuses tacked on, with mitigating factors to lower diffs into the castable range).
FIX:
This is not so terribly difficult to fix. Publish a limited number of spells within the 10th+ spell levels so that there is something more to do with them than cast Maxed Quickend Meteor Swarms. Then give guidelines for making more of those spells, but don't make it a separate system from the standard spellcasting/power/etc. system (and include Psi in your write up, for ease of play and integration purposes), but don't include weird DC checks to create them (tons of work, rewards min/maxers while punishing "normal" players). Rules will by necessity require some sort of point buy system for creation of spells, but numbers should be kept small and simple, and should not allow for huge deviations from the standard curves presented by the base system.

7)Epic Prestiges/Classes are Weak/Boring:
In an effort to create modularity and sync with the lower power level of 3.0 Core, the epic levels were created quite weak, and filled with empty spaces, especially when compared to Pathfinder. Yes, you get occassional epic feats, an occassional scaling numeric bonus to an arbitrary and mostly irrelevant value on your character sheet, and you get a few nice 1/day abilities that scale slowly in use/day but never actually improve. And this is epic... How?
FIX:
Modularity is good, but uniqueness and usability are necessary as well. Add scaling bonuses on the per day abilities (Epic Thwack Attack causes level in bonus damage, lasts for level round) and/or convert them to last an encounter or over separate rounds per day equal to level (the Pathfinder Paladin's Smite is a good template for the proposed adjustment).
Also, KEEP STANDARD LEVEL INCREASES! Saves, BAB, etc. go up on the same formula as pre-epic.

8)Monsters are Broken:
Monsters are not balanced in the slightest, and present far too many save/die powers... Even their basic attacks are functionally Initiative/Die powers, as whoever goes first wins. And the Epic monsters are limited in number... Theoretically many monsters can be advanced to provide a challenge, but that is generally a time consuming and painful process.
FIX:
Providing more balanced monsters would certainly be nice, but the real fix is in empowering GM's to quickly create/advance their own monsters. Tables that show monster hit dice and level increases for all the other types, perhaps going in 5's or 10's of hit dice. Advancement Templates (simply mathematically sound chunks of level/hit dice advancement) that you can slap on to provide your monsters with more power in the form of fighter levels or more hit dice, would provide another fix. Doing the math is the worst part of monsters, but once that barrier is removed, it gets far easier for the GM... So just remove that barrier. Yet another needed fix is to provide methods of survivability for monsters, other than AC/BAB; higher hitpoints, special damage regen/negation/resistance, etc.
Finally, monsters need special combat abilities that put them back in the realm of interesting combatants instead of hack-machines... Example:
By 20+ level everyone has a ring of freedom of movement. This negates all grappling monsters most powerful abilities. Other similar immunities are available that likewise negate other monster abilities. These monsters need a method for bypassing such protection other than Disjuncting all magic (waaaay too much of a pain to be worthwhile for the GM or the players).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

rydi123 wrote:
I agree pretty much entirely with this post, and the problems stated. I will also say that a little primer on basic rules for leveling, magic items, and raw functionality (maybe 30pgs of pdf for a few buck download) would make a great many people happy, and also provide a wonderful testing ground for the rules you might eventually employ... Would this be totally out of the question for 2010?

When we DO eventually tackle the question of Epic Level stuff... we want to do it right and we want to do it all at once. There'd likely be an open playtest of some or all of the rules, even. A 30 page "Here's maybe what we'd do" book would only cause confusion and tease folks, I fear, and as such it's not something we'd be interested in doing.

The only real option for now, I'm afraid, is patience...


James Jacobs wrote:
rydi123 wrote:
I agree pretty much entirely with this post, and the problems stated. I will also say that a little primer on basic rules for leveling, magic items, and raw functionality (maybe 30pgs of pdf for a few buck download) would make a great many people happy, and also provide a wonderful testing ground for the rules you might eventually employ... Would this be totally out of the question for 2010?

When we DO eventually tackle the question of Epic Level stuff... we want to do it right and we want to do it all at once. There'd likely be an open playtest of some or all of the rules, even. A 30 page "Here's maybe what we'd do" book would only cause confusion and tease folks, I fear, and as such it's not something we'd be interested in doing.

The only real option for now, I'm afraid, is patience...

Sadness, but understandable. Good luck, the epic rules are going to be... problematic to work on I'm sure.

I suppose it will be a while before my current game hits 20 anyway (lvl 4), so I can wait another 1 1/2 years probably before it becomes extremely pressing. Probably most people can, as many campaigns will be starting at low levels and building up (and maybe if they pick the sloooooow progression, the timing will end up right).


Thank you James for your thoughtful response to this...one of the things I feel is missing now are those powerful, crafty NPC and monster builds that used to appear in the Dungeon adventures - I still use some of the more powerful ones in my current epic campaign. I agree on the cap - I would recommend 36th level since that resonates with 1st edition immortality rules (if I recall correctly) - back when the Gold box set was released it was pretty weird stuff but also so much fun to look back at.

Maybe a playtest or maybe a contest or something where members could submit high-level builds - sort of a creature collection that DM's could pull from? I loved the 1000 Villains compendium that was put out for 3rd edition years ago. It would be neat to have a compendium of creatures - I know SKR had one called Bonds of Magic awhile ago.


I am also al for not saying at level x your a demigod. God hood should be 100% the realm of the GM and not at a level. Gods are not meant to be fought, they are not there to be killed and should be outside the rules as such


Saradoc wrote:


Thank you James for your thoughtful response to this...one of the things I feel is missing now are those powerful, crafty NPC and monster builds that used to appear in the Dungeon adventures - I still use some of the more powerful ones in my current epic campaign. I agree on the cap - I would recommend 36th level since that resonates with 1st edition immortality rules (if I recall correctly) - back when the Gold box set was released it was pretty weird stuff but also so much fun to look back at.

Maybe a playtest or maybe a contest or something where members could submit high-level builds - sort of a creature collection that DM's could pull from? I loved the 1000 Villains compendium that was put out for 3rd edition years ago. It would be neat to have a compendium of creatures - I know SKR had one called Bonds of Magic awhile ago.

I would actually personally prefer a cap of 40. It is a nice capstone level, allows for two base classes to 20, and mirrors the first 20 levels of play. Also, it allows a nice connection to Deities and Demigods as well (everything was pretty much 2 classes at 20), and 40 has pretty much been the cap I've always seen people put on their campaigns.

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I am also al for not saying at level x your a demigod. God hood should be 100% the realm of the GM and not at a level. Gods are not meant to be fought, they are not there to be killed and should be outside the rules as such

I don't entirely agree, though I do see the point. I think that "Godhood" should be separate from the level system as such, but could have a prerequisite character level to achieve. And I do like to see some mechanics surrounding it, and even the gods themselves, but they should be purely optional.

Or perhaps scaling, depending on the type of campaign; powerful but fully statted gods for campaigns in which the gods are just another powerful creature, partially statted gods where comparisons need to be drawn but the actual mechanics should never come into play in actual combat, and non-statted gods for "the gods are awesome universe creating entities beyond anything below them forever and ever amen" style settings.


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.


Over 30 things tend to get...silly or over complex. 30 seems a nice cap where ya know what CR's you can use. 34-36 CR seems to be a nice rang for BMF's out there to have Demogorgon was CR 33 and pretty freaking epic Caping things at 30 allow you to make the killable BFM's of the universe CR 35 OR 36 and you can work with that

Anything above CR 38 or 40 is really past the realm of mortal's effecting it.


I think it would be great for an epic level cap of sorts for the sake of balance, but maybe after that there could be a book that takes it beyond epic, if not deity level something along the line of immortal level characters or some such. I really dont think gods are beyond reproach if one can become powerful enough, the deities are not all powerful, because if one was all powerful most likely it would be the only god of that world, or at least it would rule the others hands down.

I know that is not everyonce cup of tea, but it could be fun, maybe the limmits of an immortal would be no higher then demigod, after that you can no longer live among mortals without the other deities bringing a world of pain if not destruction down upon your head, think ending a character at the time he becomes a deity would be a great ending to a players character.


A level cap of 36 or 40 would sit well with me. 36 for historical reasons. 40 for just because.

Sill, how too keep the various class interesting, while maintain balance would be a good question.

Also Hit Points would be approaching ridiculous heights. Possibly a return to set Hp progression after 20th? It would certainly be one idea.


I'd love to see something like levels 21-30 be "epic", and levels 31-35 be "quasi-deity" and the entire 35th to level 36 experience point progression be one thematic quest that upon achieving level 36 results in demi-god status, and then "poof" your character is removed from game play.....

Sovereign Court

Hmm, I think 36th would seem like a weird number to a lot of people. My first impression was 'Why 36? Why not 35 or 40?' From what I'm gathering here, there's some sort of precedent for a 36th level cap, but for someone who's new to the game, they'd probably feel it's an arbitrary decision at first.

Anyway, I'd really like to see some epic rules in 2011. January preferably! ;)


Nameless wrote:

Hmm, I think 36th would seem like a weird number to a lot of people. My first impression was 'Why 36? Why not 35 or 40?' From what I'm gathering here, there's some sort of precedent for a 36th level cap, but for someone who's new to the game, they'd probably feel it's an arbitrary decision at first.

Anyway, I'd really like to see some epic rules in 2011. January preferably! ;)

The funny thing is, its actually a... 2nd ed? cap, from the Immortals set if I remember correctly. Before my involvement with D&D... it may even have been a 1st ed thing...

Wikipedia tells us this:

Wiki wrote:


Revised editions
In 1981, Basic Dungeons & Dragons was revised by Tom Moldvay. However, the rules for the Dungeons & Dragons game continued to diverge and it became a separate and distinct product from TSR’s flagship game, AD&D. This game was promoted as a continuation of the original D&D tone, whereas AD&D was an advancement of the mechanics.[5] Although simpler overall than the Advanced game, it included rules for some situations not covered in AD&D. There were five sets: Basic (1977, revised in 1981 and again in 1983), Expert (1981, revised in 1983), Companion (1983), Master (1985), and Immortals (1986, revised in 1991). Each set covered game play for more powerful characters than the previous.[73] The first four sets were later compiled as a single hardcover book, the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).

Anyway, that set had 36 set as the arbitrary cap. Mathematically, 40 seems more sound to me, but I'd take 36 if it would get me epic levels :)

I don't see the point in 30 as a cap though. At that point, why bother with epic rules? So few levels that it seems you could just make do with the base rules.


rydi123 wrote:


I don't see the point in 30 as a cap though. At that point, why bother with epic rules? So few levels that it seems you could just make do with the base rules.

I am gonna guess that past 30 it gets wacky and the system really fails. From a design standpoint I can so see a need to limit it to 30 or so. 30 is a clean cut off, easy to support and write for. It gives ya a hard limit a wall you really need to balance a system.

10 extra levels could be alot really, all in how it's done I guess. However it's done be an interesting read


I'd also add that at this point all of the classes and so on are more complicated, and everything they can do is likewise. So making it only ten levels means those ten levels can be really awesome.

Also 40 just seems like whoa, wtf? And with demon lords just over 30, I'd say 21-30 is the best level range to do.


My biggest problem with epic levels in 3.0 was that saves got WACKY. At level 20 your high and low save were a difference of roughly 6, but at level 30 it was a difference of at least 10. This was even worse for characters who multiclassed or dipped into PrCs. If a save regularly ended up being one of the classes' low saves you could have it as low as base +4 or +5- which is a nightmare in epic levels.

The whole game ends up being a series of saves that you either can't fail or can't succeed. It's seriously rock, paper, scissors. No freakin' thank you.


Sean FitzSimon wrote:

My biggest problem with epic levels in 3.0 was that saves got WACKY. At level 20 your high and low save were a difference of roughly 6, but at level 30 it was a difference of at least 10. This was even worse for characters who multiclassed or dipped into PrCs. If a save regularly ended up being one of the classes' low saves you could have it as low as base +4 or +5- which is a nightmare in epic levels.

The whole game ends up being a series of saves that you either can't fail or can't succeed. It's seriously rock, paper, scissors. No freakin' thank you.

I never noticed a problem. You also have to take into account the nice gear, class abilities, buff spells, party members enhancing other characters, and so on. Those big gaps in saves are going to provide a weakness, sure, but nowhere near an insurmountable one.

As far as number of levels, I'm still in the 40 camp, but it really depends on what they do with the game past that point. Will there be epic versions of the classes, or will it just be scaling bonuses and regularly increasing class abilities that go up? Do classes get normal progressions or altered progressions? How would spells work? Etc.

If it was just normal characters going up in levels with a few minor changes to the rules for streamlining play (which I actually prefer), then I think 40 is best. If they go with 21 level turning into something with exponential growth, then 30 would probably be better. But I don't really like Epic turning into SuperLevels, it changes play too dramatically for my taste.

I'd rather just see some high level feats (not necessarily EPIC required, just high level), some rules for 10th level spells, and rules for normal progressions into the 21+ range.


If they are going to do Epic level adventures it would be cool, but with their stance on not going past level 16, and many of us not having the free time to do our own adventures I don't know how the sales would be unless the adventure started at level 21.

The Exchange

James Jacobs wrote:


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.

I am intrigued by your idea and wish to subscribe to your newsletter :)

Sounds promising. +1 for a 36 level cap for PCs and monsters to 40.


Now we've got the Epic discussion steaming...

Why don't we find the most industrious of us and create a Beta ourselves and all chip in and publish it in a co-imprint deal with Paizo? James?


Saradoc wrote:

Now we've got the Epic discussion steaming...

Why don't we find the most industrious of us and create a Beta ourselves and all chip in and publish it in a co-imprint deal with Paizo? James?

Meh, I'm up for it. Been doing a great many conversions and rules mods of late to fill the time between term papers and such.

Your suggestion above regarding player submissions is pretty good too, since it would free up dev time for other stuff.

Scarab Sages

Just in case anybody's interested, I've been working on a conversion of the SRD Epic rules, if just to see how it would work. If you'd like to see it, you can find the website here.

It's kind-of a community project, in that I'm letting people have accounts on the site, so you can comment on and discuss the rules, and I'm planning to mine such discussions for ideas.


What's the appeal of epic? I mean I find it hard to challenge players after 15th level. I can't imagine compelling stories at the epic level. what do you with 35th level Characters? I have group that played Character up past level 40. I'm not sure what they did though as that was different game.


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

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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.


Yep I know it's nostalgic, but that didn't make it anyless random or arbitrary back then either

The Exchange

seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Yep I know it's nostalgic, but that didn't make it anyless random or arbitrary back then either

No more so than 30 or 40 just because they are multiples of 10 :) I love the smell of nostalgia.


Not my call but yeah I find 36 to be damned random. And if they go with at level x your now a god thing, no thanks I'll pass

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From a purely mathematical standpoint, 36 is more elegant than 30 or 40. 36 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18. Abilities that improve every 2, 3, 4, 6, etc. levels would all have progressions that fit evenly into 36 levels, whereas 30 or 40 levels would leave remainders in most cases.

Also, 35th to 36th would level would be the point at which casters get their first 18th level spell slot. And, if epic casters are losing access to lower-level spells as they gain epic spells (as was alluded to in an earlier post by James), 35th to 36th level would be the point at which casters are finally casting only epic-level spells.


Having not done the math I just found the number random. Thanks for poi8nting that out.

Sovereign Court

Honestly, I don't think the actual level of the level cap is that big a deal as long as it's not 21st. :P

Epic Meepo has done a good job of convincing me about 36 as a possible cap, though...


Epic Meepo wrote:

From a purely mathematical standpoint, 36 is more elegant than 30 or 40. 36 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18. Abilities that improve every 2, 3, 4, 6, etc. levels would all have progressions that fit evenly into 36 levels, whereas 30 or 40 levels would leave remainders in most cases.

Also, 35th to 36th would level would be the point at which casters get their first 18th level spell slot. And, if epic casters are losing access to lower-level spells as they gain epic spells (as was alluded to in an earlier post by James), 35th to 36th level would be the point at which casters are finally casting only epic-level spells.

36 just seems too odd for my taste as well, and most people won't get the nostalgia. The math argument is true, though 40 hits most of the stuff as well.

Also, I think it is more likely that characters would get some sort of unlimited casting for low level spells, rather than losing access to them. Think about it this way:
"I'm super awesome, I can cast 12 meteor swarms and brand new 10th level spells, and as many magic missiles as I want--"
"Actually, sorry, you can't cast magic missile anymore."
"What? I don't get it..."
"...Uhm... You're so awesome you forget how to use magic missiles?"

Aside from thematics, if you stopped using low level spells you would lose access to useful things like feather fall and web, which seems to be a bad thing, at least to me.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
rydi123 wrote:

6)Spellcasting is... Wrong:

Epic Spellcasting is in fact not bad, at least conceptually. Using higher level spell slots to metamagic lower level spells all to hell, while a separate system exists to "create your own" wacky stuff is not a bad approach... However, in practice the spell seed system resulted in never being able to create offensive spells (300 DC's on stuff? Really?? And of course the SL is locked at 10th, and the damage spell seeds are worse than standard 7th-9th lvl spells), while being able to make extremely low DC buffs that break the numbers curve (Super mage armor with all kinds of weird bonuses tacked on, with mitigating factors to lower diffs into the castable range).

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").

I wrote a lot more than I realized...:
Looking at what's the apparently intended method for some of these (based on spellcraft ranks of sorcerer according to the "behind the curtain" [and they SO should have had a "behind the curtain" for some of the ad hoc DC choices]), I consider a decent amount of the modifiers to be spot on (for instance going from a standard action cast to a quickened action is another +8 since Quicken Spell is four spell levels (eight sorcerer levels needed to cast four levels higher), but I think going from a minute to a single action should only be +10 along the lines of "taking 10 on a Spellcraft check." (The only one I've actually bumped up so far was "Increase area by 100%" to +6 to fit Widen Spell's +3 spell level modification.)

I also moved around a few of the durations and ranges to line up more with the iconic spells (Fireball, Lightning Bolt, etc.). The base range for the energy seed will be 400 feet instead of 300 to go with the iconic Fireball (or a 120 foot line for Lightning Bolt (instead of the old "bolt" of 5 or 10 foot width). Control Weather had a 4d12 duration, whereas the alternate use of the energy seed had 20 hours... which struck me as an odd time span, so I bumped it to a full 24.

As for damage dice, +2 per die is a bit too much, since most energy damage spells scale at 1 die per class level, not one per two class levels, so I set that to +1/die. (I am considering a "per die" or a "per X dice" cost on increasing the damage die rolled, and making it fractional, so you could have a 5d6 + 3d8 + 1d12 epic fireball spell. The jump from d12 to d20 should also be worth four times the jumps from d6 to d8 to d10 to d12 by averages (3.5 to 4.5 to 5.5 to 6.5 then a jump to 10.5, so the d12 -> d20 jump should be four times as costly.)

I also added a "Reduce spell's saving throw DC by 1 (limit -9 reduction)" mitigating factor with a -2 Spellcraft DC cost reduction (for symmetry). I'm currently steering clear of adding mitigating factors for reduction of spell resistance and dispel check bonuses, since they'd seem to give far more benefit than they should for

So, to emulate a Fireball with Heighten Spell: 10 (to match the reflex DC of the epic version) cast by a 21st level wizard (which will have a negligible failure chance in nearly all cases), you'd need a DC 45 epic spell (19 base +20 for 1-action casting +6 for applying +100% range three times [to get from 300' to 1200', which is still 40' shy of the non-epic range]), which gives a vanilla spellcaster all of a 0% chance of success (even rolling a 20 on a d20 then adding the 24 Spellcraft ranks leaves you one point short).

However, with my changes, it would be only a DC 33 (19 base +10 for 1-action cast, +4 for two applications of +100% range), still a 9 on a d20, but at least a 60% success chance. Still not "perfect," but much better (and you get the benefit of it being epic--like antimagic resistance and the like, not to mention many spellcasters will have gear or feat bonuses for Spellcraft). DC 19 if you tear down the Reflex save DC by -7 to match the base Fireball with its spell level of 3.

I'm still investigating an "increase effective spell level by 1" (which might replace the "increase spell saving DC by 1," since spell saving DCs are dependant on spell level) for use with handling effects that are based on spell level (like spells with the Light descriptor vs. darkness spells).

Finally, I'd force Mage's Disjunction to make a dispel check on epic spells. I find it absolutely absurd that a freshly minted level 17 wizard could walk up to someone like Nex or Nethys (just prior to ascension) and have no problem instantly removing every last bit of beneficial magic they had in place on themselves. A Silent Spell Mage's Disjunction would be a frightening weapon for level 21+ wizards/sorcerers (stealth nuke!). (Surely Nex and Nethys would have been practitioners of epic spellcasting!)


rydi123 wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:

From a purely mathematical standpoint, 36 is more elegant than 30 or 40. 36 is evenly divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18. Abilities that improve every 2, 3, 4, 6, etc. levels would all have progressions that fit evenly into 36 levels, whereas 30 or 40 levels would leave remainders in most cases.

Also, 35th to 36th would level would be the point at which casters get their first 18th level spell slot. And, if epic casters are losing access to lower-level spells as they gain epic spells (as was alluded to in an earlier post by James), 35th to 36th level would be the point at which casters are finally casting only epic-level spells.

36 just seems too odd for my taste as well, and most people won't get the nostalgia. The math argument is true, though 40 hits most of the stuff as well.

Also, I think it is more likely that characters would get some sort of unlimited casting for low level spells, rather than losing access to them. Think about it this way:
"I'm super awesome, I can cast 12 meteor swarms and brand new 10th level spells, and as many magic missiles as I want--"
"Actually, sorry, you can't cast magic missile anymore."
"What? I don't get it..."
"...Uhm... You're so awesome you forget how to use magic missiles?"

Aside from thematics, if you stopped using low level spells you would lose access to useful things like feather fall and web, which seems to be a bad thing, at least to me.

I agree with you. A simple way to do this would be to simply give them lower level spells at will rather than tracking use. I really doubt that at 26 anyone is going to be up in arms about clerics having unlimited cure light wounds- it's just so negligible at that point.

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