E6 & Pathfinder, what level to stop at?


Homebrew and House Rules

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If you are not familiar with E6 please see here:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?206323-E6-The-Game-Inside-D-amp -D

I am creating this thread to focus on what level limit works best for the E6 idea and Pathfinder.

Specifically, I'd like it to be a guide people considering running an E* game can go to to help them figure out what level to limit advancement at.

Some initial areas of consideration:

What spell levels to allow.

What class abilities / capstones you want to see.

# of attacks.

Ease of play.

I will post my own views on these matters in subsequent posts.

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Spell Levels:

The first thing to consider is that full prepared casters get spells 1 level earlier than full spontaneous casters. As such if you choose an odd level limit then either you need to accept that prepared casters will have access to higher level spells or limit the higher level slots to meta-magiced spells only.

Spell Levels:
1-3: Nobody really seems to have issues with spells in this level range.

4: This is where the main debate is. At this level most spells aren't a problem but there are some that start to change the way the game is played. Reincarnate for Druids, Scrying for Wizards, and Lesser Planar Ally for Clerics come to mind. I'm sure there are others and would appreciate suggestions.

5-6: I lump these together because overall there don't seem to be many game changing spells at 5th that are much different than 6th. This is the range where Teleport and Raise Dead come into play which drastically change things. On the flip side there are a few spells in this range that need to be accounted for somehow if these levels are left out. Atonement, Break Enchantment, Consecrate, and Stone to Flesh come to mind. Some people use a ritual magic system of some form to account for this.

7-9: These are the spells that the E6 concept really tries to avoid. f you're allowing these then I don't really think the E6 concept is for you anyway, I'd recommend the full 20 levels.

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On Class Abilities & Capstones:

Classes get different abilities at different levels obviously.

When trying to select what E* you are going to play/run you should keep in mind what abilities will be included in their range.

As a general rule I would recommend looking over each class to determine the following:

What levels you definitely want to include (All character of this class will get these abilities)

What levels of abilities you want available via EPIC Feats (Some characters of this class will get these abilities)

What levels of abilities you definitely do NOT want to include.

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# of Attacks:

Consider how you want Full BaB classes to compare to 3/4 BaB and 1/2 BaB casting classes on # of attacks.

At E6 only Full BaB classes will have a 2nd attack.

At E8 All but 1/2 BaB classes will.

At E12 Full BaB classes will have 3 and everyone else will have 2.

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Ease of Play:

This one is pretty easy. As you go up in level the game gets more complex. Not everyone has the same preference on complexity.

The Exchange

If you're uncomfortable with a given spell tier, of course, you can still play to - oh, say 10th level - and announce that zero to 4th (for example)-level spells are available but 5th-level spell slots are strictly for metamagic (casters with no metamagic at all are still able to use those 5th-level slots for extra 4th-level spells.) Then your martials are getting full power and your spellcasters are at almost full power, but without spells of the level you deem problematic.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Lincoln Hills wrote:
If you're uncomfortable with a given spell tier, of course, you can still play to - oh, say 10th level - and announce that zero to 4th (for example)-level spells are available but 5th-level spell slots are strictly for metamagic (casters with no metamagic at all are still able to use those 5th-level slots for extra 4th-level spells.) Then your martials are getting full power and your spellcasters are at almost full power, but without spells of the level you deem problematic.

You can also bump up (or ban) individual spells.


I'm currently working on a E5 version of Pathfinder based on the Beginner Box. At this level, only Wizards and Clerics will get 3rd level spells. I'm still looking for some kind of "oumf" I can give sorcerer to paliate their lack of 3rd level spells. Also only Fighters will get a second attack as a capstone ability. For the rest I'm still working on it, rewriting spells, feats or class abilities if needed. This is much more work than usual E6-7-8 adaptation out their, but I want a full player package that I can give to new players and veterans alike.

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Mordo: That's a great idea!

The Beginner box is inherently E5 and I think it'd work brilliantly.

A suggestion on Sorcerers:
Since there's no official beginner box version why not simply adjust their table to they DO get 3rd level spells at 5th?


VanceMadrox wrote:

Mordo: That's a great idea!

The Beginner box is inherently E5 and I think it'd work brilliantly.

A suggestion on Sorcerers:
Since there's no official beginner box version why not simply adjust their table to they DO get 3rd level spells at 5th?

Actually I'm planning to use EdOWar classes conversions. But I'm still far from the sorcerer (I'm still writing down Bard spells :D )


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At this point, I basically run exclusively E7 games, with a few caveats.

Re: Spells: I don't allow 4th-level spells except as "ritual" spells, gained through an "epic" feat (I call them capstone feats in my system). 4th-level spell slots are still gained, and can be used to cast metamagic-modified spells (and every caster gains "heighten spell" for free).

Re: Class Features: I'm currently developing a full E7 document, which will include some re-balanced classes, but in general I choose 7 because there are several classes that gain something special at 7th level which feels like a capstone-light (DR for barbarians, woodland stride for rangers, access to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level spell slots for various casters, knowledge pool/medium armor for magi). Granted, there are others whose boons at that level are a bit underwhelming (additional d6 for bombs and sneak attack, additional challenge/judgment/smite per day, etc.), but that's why I'm rebalancing some of the classes.

Re: # of attacks: Generally, I use the Trailblazer style of iterative attacks (2 attacks at +x-2, rather than +x/+x-5), and E7 does effectively the same job as E6. Full-BAB attackers can make multiple attacks without two-weapon fighting. Others cannot. Plain and simple. I feel it is a strong representation of fighting skill amongst classes.

Re: Ease of Play: By disallowing 4th-level spells except as rituals, the game remains very easy to play. Monsters never get out of hand (even at max player CR--roughly 10 after 15 feats or so--the game is still pretty simple. Games never devolve into the "rocket-tag" of high-level play, and certain relatively-powerful options of high-level play (the ever-popular scry-and-fry) are not available. In addition, stopping around level 7 allows for the utility of spellcasters and other classes to be relatively balanced. A 7d6 fireball is still pretty effective around level 7, as opposed to high-level play, where blasting becomes effectively useless.

Overall, I feel like 7 is a good place to stop. Using the beginner box and stopping at 5, however, is also an interesting idea. It really makes the game much simpler, removing iterative attacks entirely. The only problem I have with it is that, personally, I feel that the extra 2 levels add a level of "heroic-ness" to the game that stopping at 5 wouldn't provide.

But to each his/her own.

...Catch Phrase,

-Chris

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Christopher:

I'm curious, what 4th level spells do you see as being problematic?

Also do you use rituals for the 5th & higher level spells that are necessary for the game world to run? (Atonement for example).

Have you had any complaints about Wizards/Clerics being too strong at Level 7 compared to Sorcerers/Oracles?


Remember, some domains and bloodlines have capstone abilities at 8th.I'd be inclined to allow the ability, even if the other benefits of leveling don't occur.

Sometimes the weaker spell lists pair with stronger abilities.


Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

Remember, some domains and bloodlines have capstone abilities at 8th.I'd be inclined to allow the ability, even if the other benefits of leveling don't occur.

Sometimes the weaker spell lists pair with stronger abilities.

As well as at least 1 arcane school.

Has anyone put together modifications to the core classes for use in E6?

Liberty's Edge

I'm personally a fan of E8. I'd rather trim back what I don't want than add stuff after the fact. And 4th level spells, despite their power, still pale in comparison to 5th level spells which are the real world shapers. (Teleport, Raise Dead, etc.) I do keep a tight lid on crafting though (regardless of what I'm running).

As to sorcerers and oracles, I'm a fan of just giving them +1 level for spells known and spells per day. This means they get more spells than a wizard every level of their career, which I'm happy about given that spells per day are suppose to be their schtick. (I always hated how a sin wizard would never be behind a sorcerer on spells per day and could be significantly ahead 40% of the time.)

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ShadowcatX brings up another good point to consider.
Item Crafting.

In an E6 style world many items will not be craftable normally.

Do people adjust requirements at all? (Craft Staff has a Caster level 11 Requirement)

Do people allow more powerful items to exist just not craftable by normal people?

The Exchange

VanceMadrox wrote:

ShadowcatX brings up another good point to consider.

Item Crafting.

In an E6 style world many items will not be craftable normally.

Do people adjust requirements at all? (Craft Staff has a Caster level 11 Requirement)

Do people allow more powerful items to exist just not craftable by normal people?

I have seen some workarounds for this especially in THIS THREAD which has a link in the first post by Jr.Annalist to his P6 Codex that he is working on currently. About 7 posts in Dude Meister posts about a "Legendary Craftsman" ability that I could see working or being modified to work when crafting certain items. It would mean that certain items would be very rare because getting up that high in level and experience wouldn't happen much in the world besides the PCs but at least it would allow for those items to exist in some form.

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Getting back on my original topic here's a brief breakdown of what characters get at various stopping points.

E5:

I only include this for use with the Beginner's Box. If you do E5 you get the full run of the Beginner's Box and nothing else.

E6:
The level that started it all. 6th level is a good stopping point for various reasons. Full BaB classes get their 2nd attack. All classes get +1 to all their saves and all Full casters get 3rd level spells. With E6 you'll probably need something to allow ways to get the effects of a few higher levels spells (Atonement, Break Enchantment, Stone to Flesh, etc). E6 also allows plenty of room for leaning up and allowing classes to gain a few higher level abilities.

E7:
Like any odd numbered level 7th level means full prepared spellcasters are a spell level ahead of full spontaneous classes. You will need to decide whether this means full prepared casters actually get 4th level spells or if their 4th level spell slots have to be used for metamagic-ed spells. In addition at 7th level secondary casters (Alchemist, Bard, Inquisitor, Magus, & Summoner) get 3rd level spells. This is nice for those classes but in conjunction with the above this might increase the relative power ratio of these classes compared to full classes since they all may top out at 3rd level spells. Watch out for a few early entry spells on some of the spell lists, especially Bard and Summoner.

Aside from spellcasting E7 works a lot like E6. The characters won't get any save bonuses at 7th level but their saves are the same as at E6. Just like in E7 only full BaB classes get their second attack.
In addition you'll still need some way to account for a few higher level spells. One advantage of E7 vs E6 is that a lot of classes have decent capstone abilities at 7th level. Characters also can now qualify for the Leadership feat though it's easy enough to just change the level requirement on Leadership for E6. There's still plenty of room for leaning up and allowing access to a few higher level abilities.

E8:
My personal favorite.
The biggest issue of 8th level is it brings along access to 4th level spells. Some people feel 4th level spells are getting too complicated and prefer to leave them out. Others don't seem to mind. Overall there are some problematic 4th level spells but it's not hard to just address those spells individually.

The 2nd main thing to consider about E8 is BaB. At 8th level the 3/4 BaB classes get their 2nd attack and have the same # of attacks as Full BaB classes. This may not matter as much for Rogues and Bards but it also means that the full divine casters get the same number of attacks as Fighters, Barbarians, etc. For some people this is an issue. Others are fine with it since 1/2 BaB classes do not have a 2nd attack yet.

Beyond that 8th level is a great place to stop. Characters get a final attribute point and their good saves get bumped by one. In addition even more classes get a good capstone ability at 8th level than at 7th.
There's still a little room for leaning up for a few higher level abilities though not as much as at E6/E7. At 8th level weaker humanoid enemies out of the Bestiary (ie Orcs) aren't really a threat so you may be throwing class levels on them more often. With the existence of the NPC codex though this si less of a burden than it used to bw.

E9 & E10:
I've honestly never heard anyone advocate for 9th or 10th level. At this level the game changing 5th level spells come into play and this is one of the things the E6 concept tries to avoid. If anyone has any good reasons for this level range please say so!

E11:
I only put E11 in it's own section for one note. For more thoughts on E11 just read E12.

That said, E11 is the 1st level where the different BaB progressions all have the same # of attacks. Full BaB classes have 3, 3/4 BaB classes have 2, and 1/2 BaB classes still have 1.

E12:
E12 is the highest level that I can really see using the E* concept for. At 12th level the numbers and bonuses are already starting to be crazy. In addition 5th and 6th level spells are in play which changes the way game worlds work. In addition at 12th level you lose the ability to run a lot of basic monsters out of the books without customization so you lose a lot of the simplicity inherent to E6.

If you can accept all of this though 12th level is still a good place to stop. At 12th level all characters get a boost to all their saves and get an attribute point. In addition the full BaB classes do get an extra attack over everyone else and have one level to spare so some multi-class builds (like Fighter 8/Rogue 4) can still get a 3rd attack. At this level 3/4 BaB classes and 1/2 BaB classes have the same number of attacks but this usually wouldn't bother anyone. After all, what 1/2 BaB class is really going to be making weapon attacks at this level?

Magic wise E12 allows 5th and 6th level spells which include almost all of the D&D standard spells without getting into the true crazyness of 7th+ level spells. You also don't need to make any changes in Item creation feats, the items available for crafting at 12th level should cover almost all your needs.

In addition 12th level allows players to actually get more than a couple levels in Prestige Classes. Most prestige classes can be taken by level 6 or 7 so E12 allows players to have the majority of their levels ina prestige class.

While E12 does lose some simplicity you can help retain some of the charm of E6 by limiting high level stuff. While the PCs may be able to reach 12th level maybe this is not true of everyone.

This is my quick overview, please share your comments!

The Exchange

I love that overview. It really breaks down the important differences between the levels....
That said I am thinking that an E7 game is probably more to my liking than E6 due to the difference it makes between wizard and sorcerer. It really makes them have a different feel to them. I may add a spell slot per spell level to the sorcerer to further differentiate them and give them a bit of a prize for not having access to 4th level spells, but I will have to look into that.

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Fake Healer:

Let's assume we have a 7th level specialist wizard with an Int of 20.
For spells this wizard has: 4/7/5/4/3.

Now let's assume we have a 7th level Sorcerer with a 20 Charisma.
This Sorcerer has: 7/8/7/5.

So to compare:

Ignoring the 0th level spells The Sorcerer has 37 total levels of spells while the Wizard has 41.

As it stands for E7 I agree Sorcerers could use a bonus.

Let's compare to E6 and E8 though.

In E6 the Wizard has 4/6/5/4.
Ignoring 0th level that's 28 Total spell levels.

In E6 the Sorcerer has 7/8/6/4.
Ignoring 0th levels again that's 32 Total spell levels.

In E8 the Wizard has 4/7/5/5/4 for a total of 48.

In E8 the Sorcerer has 8/8/7/6/4 for a total of 56.

As you can see at even levels the Sorcerer definitely wins out.

Under E7 the Wizard definitely wins out since one of the main advantage of the Sorcerer is supposed to be more spells but that just doesn't hold true at odd levels.

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On leaning up:

One concept of E6 is leaning up. Leaning up is the idea that while level progression stops at 6th level it is possible for characters to acquire some abilities normally gotten at higher levels.

In general how much leaning up do you allow?

The general consensus seems to be a lean up of around 2 levels.

This feels right over all.

I might suggest that if you find yourself leaning up more you should instead consider increasing maximum character level.

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This is the first post of several that will look at all of the classes and go over what level works best as a stopping point with suggestions for leaning up approaches as well. This will assume a lean up approach of 2 levels maximum and will not include E5 as E5 is just the full Beginner's Box.

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part I: Fighter

E6:
6th level is a good stopping point for the Fighter due to gaining a 2nd attack.

For leaning up I recommend Epic Feats that allow Fighters to get Armor Training 2 as well as feats to increase their BaB all the way up to +8. This will allow access to Improved Critical which will be welcome. In addition consider a feat that allows a Fighter to take one or more feats that require Fighter level 8 such as Greater Weapon Focus or Greater Shield Focus. It's even possible to get Weapon Training 2 this way using the Weapon Master Archetype since for Weapon Masters Weapon Training 2 replaces Armor Training 2.

E7:
For Fighters E7 is pretty much the same as E6. It's still a good stopping point because of Armor Training 2. An extra point of BaB is always welcome.

For leaning up E7 allows leaning up to Weapon Training 2 for all Fighters regardless of Archetype.

E8:
E8 is an ok stopping point for Fighters. The only class feature they get is a Bonus Combat feat but there enough combat feats that require 8th level that players are unlikely to complain.

For leaning up: Leaning up to Weapon Training 2 is obvious. Increasing Bravery by 1 won't hurt anything but by itself seems unworthy of an EPIC Feat. I recommend allowing Fighters to use an EPIC feat to get a combat feat that would normally require Fighter level 10.

E9:
I doubt anyone will use an E9 system but E9 is a good stopping point for Fighters. Weapon Training 2 becomes available and leaning up into Armor Training 3 and the many feats that have a Bab +11 requirement is possible. Weapon Master Fighters can potentially get Weapon Training 3 as well.

E10:
Once again I doubt anyone will use E10. E10 is an ok stopping point for Fighters. They have access to feats that require Fighter level 10 but that's about it really. Leaning up makes it a little better with access to BaB 11, another armor training, and even Greater Weapon Specialization. Weapon Master Fighters can potentially get Weapon Training 3 as well.

E11:
E11 is even more unlikely than E9-10 but it's still a great stopping point for a Fighter. They get their 3rd attack, another armor training, and can lean up into Greater Weapon Specialization and Bab +13 combat feats. Weapon Master Fighters can Weapon Training 3 as well.

E12:
E12 is a good stopping point for Fighters due to being able to get Greater Weapon Specialization. In addition they can lean up into the Bab +13 combat feats, Weapon Training 3, and Crticial Mastery.

So over all for the Fighter we have:

Good stopping points:
Level 6 (2nd attack)
Level 7 (Armor Training 2)
Level 9 (Weapon Training 2)
Level 11 (3rd Attack)
Level 12 (Greater Weapon Specialization)

Ok Stopping points:
Level 8 (8th level fighter combat feats)
Level 10 (10th level fighter combat feats)

Bad stopping points:
None really.

Next up will be the Rogue.

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On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part II: Rogue

E6:
6th level is actually a bad stopping point for the Rogue class. All they get is an extra Rogue talent and an increase to their Trap Sense. The Trap Sense bonus isn't very much and extra rogue talents don't mean much in system where you get extra feats and can just take extra rogue talent as a feat.

E6 gets a little better with leaning up to potentially get another die of Sneak Attack and Improved uncanny Dodge but overall E6 doesn't workt hat well for Rogues.

E7:
7th level is an ok stopping point for Rogues simply because they get an Extra Sneak Attack die which is always fun.

Leaning up for E7 is basically the same as E6. It allows you to get an extra sneak attack die and improved uncanny dodge. It might also let you increase Trap Sense by 1, but once again this is a miniscule bonus.

E8:
E8 is a good stopping point for Rogues. They get Improved Uncanny Dodge which is nice but more importantly they get a 2nd attack.

E8 is even better when you consider leaning up. Being able to lean up to 10th level abilities means a Rogue can get one or more Advanced Rogue Talents. In addition for E8 I recommend Rogues be allowed to get up to 10 ranks in one or more skills. This will trigger the extra bonus from feats like Alertness and skill focus. As always they can lean up into another die of Sneak Attack as well.

E9:
E9 is an ok stopping point for Rogues. Once again they end on an extra die of Sneak attack.

Leaning up is the same as E8, Rogues can lean up into Advanced Talents and an extra die of Sneak attack.

E10:
10th level is a great stopping point for Rogues because they get Advanced Talents. From her eon in Leaning up doesn't really matter as it just gets more sneak attack, more rogue talents, and a potential increase to Trap Sense.

E11:
E11 is an ok stopping point for Rogues because you end on yet another die of Sneak Attack. Leaning up is no different than E10.

E12:
E12 is a bad stopping point for Rogues because all they get is another rogue talent and an increase to trap sense. Leaning up isn't very interesting either. Still it's not all bad because at E12 a Rogue will have multiple Advanced talents so that counts for something.

So overall for the Rogue we have:

Good Stopping points:
Level 8
Level 10

Ok Stopping Points:
Level 7
Level 9
Level 11

Bad stopping points:
Level 6
Level 12

Wizards will be up next.

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On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part III: Wizard

E6:
6th level is a bad stopping point for Wizards. Other than a few more spells per day they really don't get anything. A few Arcane Schools get their final power but most don't kick in until 8th level.

Leaning up is a little better as it allows the potential for 4th level spells and the final arcane school ability for most arcane schools.

E7:
Any odd level is a good stopping point for Wizards simply because they gain access to a new spell level. 7th level is no exception.

Leaning up allows access to final arcane school abilities and possibly 5th level spells. If you have Ultimate Magic it allows access to a few more arcane discoveries but nothing very important.

E8:
8th level is a good stopping point for Wizards because most arcane schools gain their final ability at 8th level.

Leaning up here is the same as leaning up for E7.

E9:
Once again odd levels are good for Wizards. Access to 5th level spells is great.

Leaning up here brings the potential for 6th level spells and once again if you have Ultimate Magic it allows access to a few more arcane discoveries. The arcane discoveries that require Wizard level 11 are significantly better than the ones that require Wizard level 9.

E10:
10th level is a bad stopping point for Wizards. All they get is a few more spells per day and a bonus feat. In this system bonus feats don't mean very much.

Leaning up for E10 is no different than for E9.

E11:
Access to 6th level spells makes this a good stopping point. Nothing more to say on that.

Leaning up may get you access to 7th level spells but GM should think long and hard before allowing unrestricted 7th levels spells in any E* game.

E12:
Despite getting a 2nd attack this level rates as bad for Wizards since the majority of Wizards don't care about an iterative attack. I'm sure there are builds that do and for those builds 12 is an ok stopping point.

Leaning up here is the same as 11.

So overall for the Wizard we have:

Good stopping Points:
7th level
8th level
9th level
11th level

Ok stopping points:
None really

Bad stopping points:
6th level
10th level
12th level

Next up will be the Cleric.

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On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part IV: Cleric

E6:
6th level is a bad stopping point for Clerics. Other than a few more spells per day they really don't get anything. A few domains get their final power but most don't kick in until 8th level.

Leaning up is a little better as it allows the potential for 4th level spells and the final domain power for most arcane domains. In addition it allows a potential increase to Channel Energy but this si true of every level so I won't mention it again.

E7:
Any odd level is a good stopping point for Clerics simply because they gain access to a new spell level and their channel Energy increases. 7th level is no exception.

Leaning up allows access to final domain powers and possibly 5th level spells.

E8:
8th level is a good stopping point for Clerics because most domains gain their final ability at 8th level. In addition at 8th level Clercis gain their 2nd attack.

Leaning up here is the same as leaning up for E7.

E9:
Once again odd levels are good for Clerics. Access to 5th level spells is great. Increasing Channel Energy is good.

Leaning up here brings the potential for 6th level spells which is good but not much beyond that.

E10:
10th level is a bad stopping point for Clerics. All they get is a few more spells per day. In this system bonus feats don't mean very much.

Leaning up for E10 is no different than for E9.

E11:
Access to 6th level spells makes this a good stopping point. Nothing more to say on that.

Leaning up may get you access to 7th level spells but GM should think long and hard before allowing unrestricted 7th levels spells in any E* game.

E12:
12th level is a bad stopping point for Clerics. All they get are a few more spells per day.

Leaning up here is the same as 11.

So overall for the Cleric we have:

Good stopping Points:
7th level
8th level
9th level
11th level.

Ok stopping points:
None really

Bad stopping points:
6th level
10th level
12th level

Next up will be Ranger.

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On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part V: Ranger

E6:
6th level is a great stopping point for Rangers. They get their 2nd attack and a 2nd combat style feat.

Leaning up gives them the potential to get Woodland Stride, Swift Tracker, 2nd level spells, and a 2nd favored terrain. Plenty of options!

E7:
7th level is an ok stopping point for Rangers. They gain Woodland stride and the potential for access to a new spell level if they have enough Wisdom. Normally I'd rate a new spell level as good but it's only 2nd level spells and not all builds will qualify. Woodland stride is a pretty weak ability too.

Leaning up adds the potential to get Evasion which any character would welcome.

E8:
8th level is also a good stopping points for Rangers. They get Swift Tracker, a 2nd favored terrain, and full access to 2nd level spells. No super ability but a nice collection of lesser abilities.

Leaning up brings the potential for a 3rd favored enemy, a 3rd combat style feat, and potentially 3rd level spells.

E9:
9th level too is a good stopping point for Rangers. They gain Evasion. Evasion is awesome.

Leaning up works the same way as in E8 but may allow them to gain the Quarry ability, which is nice.

E10:
10 continues the trend of good levels. 3rd favored enemy, 3rd combat style feat, and the potential for 3rd level spells.

Leaning up adds in the potential for Camouflage which is a neat ability.

E11:
11th level is good level for Rangers too. They get their 3rd attack, full access to 3rd level spells, and the quarry ability. What's not to like? In addition they can lean up into a 3rd favored terrain along with the possibility of 4th level spells..

E12:
12th level finishes out as good too. Camouflage is a nice capstone ability. Leaning up is pretty much the same as E11 though it may allow another combat style feat. 14th level combat style feats don't add any new choices to the list though so this is pretty much the same as just an extra feat. There may be some combat styles that have more than 1 feat that can't normally be gotten at 12th level.

So overall for the Ranger we have:

Good stopping points:
6th level
8th level
9th level
10th level
11th level
12th level

Ok stopping points:
7th level

Bad stopping points:
None really.

Next up will be Barbarian.

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On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part VI: Barbarian

E6:
Like all other Full BaB classes 6th level is a great stopping point for Barbarians because they get their 2nd attack. They also gain an extra Rage Power but Rage Powers can be gotten via the Extra Rage Power feat so overall this is less valuable due to the nature of E6.

Leaning up grants access to Damage Reduction which is great. For E6 I also recommend having an option for Barbarians to access at least 1 Rage Power that normally requires Barbarian level 8.

E7:
E7 is a great stopping point for Barbarians because they get Damage Reduction.

Leaning up is really no different than in E6. You might be able to increase Trap Sense but that bonus is so small it's not worth an Epic Feat by itself.

E8:
8th level is an ok stopping point for Barbarians. All they get is a Rage power but there are enough Rage Powers that require 8th level that nobody's likely to be upset with this as their final level.

Leaning up allows Increased Damage Reduction and the potential for Rage Powers that require Barbarian level 10.

E9:
9th level is a bad stopping point for Barbarians. ALl they get is an increase to Trap Sense which is negligible.

Leaning up may allow access to Greater Rage which is nice beyond that leaning up works the same as in E8.

E10:
10th level is a good stopping point for Barbarians. Their DR increase and they get access to Rage Powers that require Barbarian 10.

Leaning up may allow Greater Rage along with the potential for Rage Powers that require Barbarian 12.

E11:
Like all martial classes, 11th level is good for Barbarians because they get their 3rd attack. Greater Rage is a great ability too. All leaning up gives at this level is the possibility of increasing DR by 1 more.

E12:
12th level is an ok level for Barbarians. All they get is an increase to Trap sense and an extra rage power but they can now get Rage Powers that require Barbarian 12. This allows a Barbarian to finish any of the Rage Power chains. Trap Sense goes up as well but once again that doesn't matter much.

Leaning up gives increased DR and Indomitable will which are nice bonuses. Access to some Bab +13 required feats is a possibility too.

So overall for the Barbarian we have:

Good levels:
6th
7th
10th
11th

Ok levels:
8th
12th

Bad levels:
9th

Next up will be Sorcerer.

Sovereign Court

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part VII: Sorcerer

E6:
6th level is a good stopping point for Sorcerers. They get 3rd level spells and that's a fine ability to stop on.

Leaning up doesn't have much at this level. They can lean up and get their 3rd level bloodline spell and a bloodline feat but an extra 3rd level spell known and extra feat aren't too impressive. They may be able to lean up into 4th level spells too. This is one of the few cases where I advocate leaning up more than 2 levels. If you're going E6, consider allowing Sorcerers a way to get their 9th level Bloodline Power.

E7:
7th level is a bad level for Sorcerer to end on. They get a bloodline feat, their 3rd level bloodline spell and some more spells per day. Over all not very impressive.

Leaning up is the same as E6, with the caveat that leaning up to the 9th level Bloodline power is now within the normal 2 level lean up range.

E8:
Like all even levels 8th level is a good level for Sorcerers to end on. They get 4th level spells. That's really all you need to say.

Leaning up works the same as E7 with the possibility of acquiring some 5th level spells.

E9:
9th level is a good stopping place for Sorcerers because they gain their 9th level Bloodline power. They get their 4th level bloodline spell as well but that's just icing on the cake.

Leaning up is the same as before and really pretty boring for a Sorcerer overall. It allows possible access to higher level spells and bloodline spells. I won't bother with a lean up section for the rest of this post.

E10:
10th Level is good for Sorcerers because they get 5th level spells. Nothing more to say.

E11:
11th level is a bad stopping point for Sorcerers, they don't get anything but a level of spellcasting and their 5th level bloodline spell.

E12:
12th level is like all even levels for a Sorcerer. It brings a new spell level and level 6 spells can be fun. It's a good stopping point.

So overall for the Sorcerer we have:

Good stopping points:
6th level
8th level
9th level
10th level
12th level

Ok stopping points:
None really.

Bad stopping points:
7th level
11th level

Next up will be Druid

Sovereign Court

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part VIII: Druid

E6:
6th level is an ok stopping point for Druids.
They get an extra wild shape /day and can now change into a Large or Tiny animal or a Small elemental

Leaning up allows access to 4th level spells and further improved Wild Shaping. An improved nature bond (either a higher leveled Animal Companion or an 8th level Domain power)is also a possibility.

E7:
Druids are full prepared caster so any odd level is a good stopping point because it comes with a new spell level. 4th level spells have a lot of fun tricks but that's really all that improves between 6th and 7th level.

Leaning up may now allow access to Venom Immunity and 5th level spells in addition to the possibilities mentioned in E6 above.

E8:
8th level is a good level for Druids. They get an extra wild shape per day and they can now change into a Huge or Diminutive animal, a Medium elemental, or a Small or Medium plant creature. In addition if they chose a domain for their Nature Bond 8th level is when they probably get their final Domain power. In addition Druids gain their 2nd attack at 8th level.

Leaning up is the same as at E7; venom immunity, 5th levels spells, and improved wild shaping are all possibilities.

E9:
9 is an odd number and thus it's a good stopping point for Druids. Venom Immunity and access to 5th level spells is plenty to ensure a good rating. It's also the level where Animal Companions get Multiattack.

Leaning up here is the same as in E8 with the exception that they would now be leaning up into 6th level spells.

E10:
10th level is an ok level for Druids to stop at. They get an extra wild shape per day and can now change into a Large elemental or a Large plant creature. Nothing really beyond that but Improved Wildshaping is always nice.

Leaning up once again works just like at the previous level.

E11:
Odd level means new spell level so 11th level is a good stopping point for Druids. They get 6th level spells which is always fun.

Leaning up now would include leaning up to 7th level spells but as always I urge caution to any GM allowing unrestricted access to 7th level spells. They can now also lean up to A Thousand Faces which is a fun ability albeit not too powerful.

E12:
See the entry for E10 above. Improved Wildshaping makes this ok but there's nothing beyond that. For leaning up there's no more improved wildshaping so it's really timeless body and 7th level spells that we're looking at

So overall for the Druid we have:

Good stopping points:
7th level
8th level
9th level
11th level

Ok stopping points:
6th level
10th level
12th level

Bad stopping points:
None really

Next up is Bard.

Grand Lodge

Just thought I'd jump in here - My preferred place is E7. BAB flows +3/+5/+7 (as opposed to +3/+4/+6) and many classes get their icing at level 7. Those that get their icing at level 8 can buy that class feature as a feat with only mild lean up. With level 4 spells (or 3 for 3/4 spell casters) I instead use the level 4 slot for meta-magic enhanced spells OR as a freebie spell slot for any known spell much like a Wizard would gain with Arcane focus.

6th level is still a cap of sorts. If you have access to level 3 spells OR additional attacks at level 6 then you are groovy, otherwise (through multi-classing) you don't get the access to these class features as you move into 7th level. I also use 7th level as a prestige level of sorts. You can take a level as a prestige class (which I open up then) or you can take your 7th level in your single class advancement, which qualifies you for 'lean up feat selections.


This is really interesting. I'm leaning towards using a high end E? system for my homebrew setting, and the breakdowns of the different classes are really helpful.

Personally, I am looking at running E12 - I have never really gone beyond that level in homebrew campaigns anyway, and this seems like a nice way of formalising it so players know what to expect.

As I see it, the big advantage of E12 is the way the non-class specific progressions all point to that level - Everyone's BAB goes up (including characters on half BAB progression who get their second attack - this may or may not be a good thing, depending on your viewpoint...), Good saves hit +8, poor saves hit +4, and you get your 3rd ability boost. Honestly, the way everything scales up in multiples of 2, 3, 4, or 6 you would think the system was designed to play out of 12 levels not 20 - this was even more true in 3.X where feats were every third level instead of every odd number.

Full casters (whether prepared or spontaneous) have access to 6th level spells, 2/3 casters still [u]don't[/u] have access to 5th level spells, and you can qualify for most feats.

Sovereign Court

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part IX: Bard

E6:
6th level is an ok stopping place for Bards. They get the suggestion bardic performance ability and a 2nd versatile performance. Neither of these is that great but combined they're ok.

Leaning up offers a good number of options. Dirge of Doom, 3rd levels spells, and the ability to start a performance as a move action are all possible. You can even lean up into a higher bonus to inspire competence but this doesn't seem work an EPIC feat on it's own.

E7:
7th level is a good stopping place for Bards. They get 3rd level spells and the ability to start a performance as a move action. A higher inspire competence is just icing on the cake.

Leaning up there's really only Dirge of Doom and Inspire Greatness but those are both serviceable.

E8:
8th level is a good stopping point for Bards. They get Dirge of Doom and their 2nd attack. Leaning up now also may allow Jack of all trades, another versatile performance and access to 4th level spells.

E9:
9th level is a bad stopping point for Bards. All they get is Inspire Greatness which by itself isn't enough since few Bards use this over Inspire Courage.

Leaning up makes it a little better as you can now lean up into better Inspire Courage in addition to 4th level spells. Increased Inspire Competence and an extra Lore keeper 1/day aren't worth a feat on their own but combined into one feat may be worth it.

E10:
10th level is a good stopping point for Bards because they get 4th level spells. The other abilities are just gravy. Leaning up adds Soothing performance as an option but the real focus again is on increased Inspire Courage.

E11:
11th level is a good stopping point for Bards because the bonus on Inspire Courage goes up to 3.Once again the other abilities are just a little extra, not the main course.

Leaning up brings the possibility of 5th levels spells but nothing else new.

E12:
12th level is actually a bad stopping point for Bards. All they get is soothing performance and a few more spells per day.

Leaning up at least has some good options with versatile performance, Frightening tune and 5th level spells.

So over all for the Bard we have:

Good stopping points:
7th level
8th level
10th level
11th level

Ok stopping points:
6th level

Bad stopping points:
9th level
12th level

Up next will be Paladin

Sovereign Court

Browser crashed and Paladin post (which was almost done) got eaten.

Won't have time to continue till Monday.

If anyone else wants to jump in and look at the remaining classes be my guest.

Grand Lodge

Enjoying this - nice stuff

The Exchange

VanceMadrox wrote:

Browser crashed and Paladin post (which was almost done) got eaten.

Won't have time to continue till Monday.

If anyone else wants to jump in and look at the remaining classes be my guest.

You are doing an amazing job of summing up the class and I am sorry your lost the post. I find great value in this breakdown and will be using it to craft a game I want. Thank you.

The Exchange

Are you planning on doing just all the core classes, Vance, or do you plan to expand into the APG and Ultimate guides? Most other classes can be gauged by the core I would suspect so there shouldn't really be a need to do any others, other than possible completionism.

Sovereign Court

Sorry for the delay, work;s been a killer this week.

I planned to finish the Core and give a general over view after that.

If there's enough interest I can look at the other classes.


Definitely recommending Lazarus plug-in for you Vance, it's saved my long posts countless times in similar unfortunate events. Hope it helps.

Lazarus for Firefox
Lazarus for Chrome

Sovereign Court

Time to get back to it:

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part X: Paladin

E6:
6th level is a good stopping point for Paladins because they get their extra attack.

Leaning up has some nice possibilities too with an extra smite, improved divine bond, 2nd level spells and aura of resolve.

E7:
7th level is a bad stopping point for Paladins. All they get is an extra smite and possibly 1 2nd level spell. Not too impressdive.

Leaning up adds in another level of Mercy but is about the same as E6.

E8:
8th level is an ok end point for Paladins. They have 2nd level spells now and gain Aura of Resolve. Leaning up is a matter of a new mercy, better divine bond, an extra smite, and possibly 3rd level spells.

E9:
9th level is a bad stopping point for Paladins. All they get is a new level of Mercy. Leaning up adds in the possibility of Aura of Justice which is nice.

E10:
10th level is split for Paladins. All Paladins gain an extra smite and the potential for 3rd level spells. By and of itself I'd rate this as bad. Divine Bond (Weapon) Paladins gain an extra use of Divine Bond however, which raises it to ok for them.

Leaning up is the same as before with another Mercy on the table again.

E11:
11th level is a good stopping point for Paladins. They get an extra attack, aura of justice and 3rd level spells.

Leaning up adds the possibility of an extra smite per day and potentially 4th level spells.

E12:
12th level is a bad stopping point for Paladins. All they get is a new level of Mercy. Leaning up adds int he possibility of aura of faith but that's about it.

So over all for the Paladin we have:

Good stopping points:
6th level
11th Level

Ok stopping points:
8th level
10th level (Divine Bond - Weapon)

Bad stopping points:
7th level
9th level
10th level (Divine Bond - Mount)
12th level

Last up for Core is Monk

Sovereign Court

On Class Abilities and Capstones:
Part XI: Monk

E6:
6th level is an ok stopping point for Monks. They get a bonus feat and an extra attack from Flurry. I normally rate an extra attack as an automatic good but flurry is limited enough that I on;y rate this as ok.

Leaning up for monks honestly always has lots of options and by now I think you understand how it works. I'm not going to bother with any leaning up sections for the Monk form here on in.

E7:
7th level is a bad stopping point for Monks. Having your unarmed strikes count as cold iron/silver is ok but wholeness of body really isn't that great.

E8:
8th level is a good stopping point for Monks. They get an extra attack when both flurrying and just using a full attack. In addition their slow fall, unarmed strike damage, and AC bonus go up.

E9:
9th level is a bad end point for Monks. They get a little bit of extra movement and Improved Evasion. While evasion is great improved evasion isn't nearly as good. After all, what Monk is going to fail a lot of reflex saves?

E10:
10th level is a bad end point for Monks. Their slow fall goes up again, they get a bonus feat and their unarmed strikes count as lawful. Not enough here to make a good stopping point.

E11:
11th level is an ok stopping point for Monks. They get an extra ttack while flurrying and diamond body. Diamond body isn't too useful but an extra attack while flurrying makes this level ok.

E12:
12th level is a good end point for Monks. Their slow fall, unarmed strike damage, AC bonus, and fast movement all increase. That would be enough to rate good by itself but they also get Abundant step.

So in conclusion for the Monk we have:

Good stopping points:
8th level
12th level

Ok stopping points:
6th level
11th level

Bad stopping points:
7th level
9th level
10th level

Next up, time to tally.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So in total we have:

E6:
Good: Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer
Ok: Bard, Druid
Bad: Cleric, Rogue, Wizard

E7:
Good: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Wizard
Ok: Ranger, Rogue
Bad: Monk, Paladin, Sorcerer

E8:
Good: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wizard
Ok: Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin
Bad:

E9:
Good: Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard
Ok: Rogue
Bad: Barbarian, Bard, Monk, Paladin

E10:
Good: Barbarian, Bard, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer
Ok: Druid, Fighter, Paladin (Divine Bond - Weapon)
Bad: Cleric, Monk, Paladin (Divine Bond - Mount), Wizard

E11:
Good: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Wizard
Ok: Monk, Rogue
Bad: Sorcerer

E12:
Good: Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Sorcerer
Ok: Barbarian, Druid
Bad: Bard, Cleric, Paladin, Rogue, Wizard

Sovereign Court

Some notes:

On Class abilities alone it looks like E8 is a clear winner. 8 out of 11 classes get good abilities to stop on at that level and the other 3 are still ok. Interestingly enough the 3 that are just ok are all martial classes. 8th level is the only level without any classes in the bad category.

I'm surprised E11 has as many in good as it does and that E12 has as many in bad as it does.

Any thoughts?


Our group is going to implement E12 soon (we're still low enough in level to make that a pretty smooth change), with 5th and 6th level spell slots only used for meta-magic.
Epic feats can be used to learn a single 5th level or 6th level spell, which will be "ritual" - takes a minimum of 10 times the normal casting time, to be discussed with the GM. Raise Dead and many other spells will not be allowed - much more interesting to keep that an NPC spell.
Dimensional travel magic only exists in the form of magic items, and magic item creation for PCs is strictly limited to potions and scrolls. We're rather looking forward to it.

One of the things we all agreed on, right from the start, is that the odd levels mean that sorcerers are wholly nonviable compared to wizards. The same probably goes for oracles versus clerics. Too low a cap has likewise the drawback that a lot of interesting feat chains will not be in play at all.

As an aside, have people noticed that at low cap values the BAB of the casters is almost identical to that of fighting types? E10 and up makes for a bit more distinct character types, we thought, whereas at E6 a wizard with good physical stats could pick power attack and do well. The same goes even more so for clerics and druids, of course.

The Exchange

So E8 seems best by the numbers, but I just don't like that 3/4 BAB guys have just as many attacks as full bab guys....maybe I could change that by either boosting fulls or nerfing 3/4s.....
Something to thiink about.


VanceMadrox wrote:

Some notes:

On Class abilities alone it looks like E8 is a clear winner. 8 out of 11 classes get good abilities to stop on at that level and the other 3 are still ok.

Just to clarify:

The idea of E6 is that you stop at level 6, but you still get to pick some level 8 abilities with your "epic feats". So when you're comparing it with E8, what level of abilities are you assuming that PCs will pick up with their "epic feats"?

I mean, the fact that every class has some kind of goody around level 8 is not an argument against E6, considering that E6 uses those level 8 abilities for something.

Sovereign Court

Earlier I explained I was using a lean up approach of two levels.

So yes some of the 8th level abilities would be available in E6.

That doesn't change the fact that 8th level has more cpastone like abilities.

Also keep in mind not everyone likes/uses the lean up approach.


What about using Words of Power magic system in a E* campaign?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mordo wrote:
I'm currently working on a E5 version of Pathfinder based on the Beginner Box. At this level, only Wizards and Clerics will get 3rd level spells. I'm still looking for some kind of "oumf" I can give sorcerer to paliate their lack of 3rd level spells. ties if needed. This is much more work than usual E6-7-8 adaptation out their,Also only Fighters will get a second attack as a capstone ability. For the rest I'm still working on it, rewriting spells, feats or class abili but I want a full player package that I can give to new players and veterans alike.

If E6 is too "high powered" for you, I'd strongly consider limiting classes as well. If you take out the Sorcerers and Oracles, then you don't have the problem you're seeing. It also means that the only form of wildshaping Shamanic Druids see is Totem Transformation, but I'm not convinced that that's a bad thing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Makarion wrote:


One of the things we all agreed on, right from the start, is that the odd levels mean that sorcerers are wholly nonviable compared to wizards. The same probably goes for oracles versus clerics.

They aren't "non-viable", they simply require different expectations and styles of play. And in a world where magic item creation isn't the easy peasy answer that it is in standard Pathfinder, those odd-level spontaneous casters mean a new utility if you use them right.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I'd go E10 and just make sure you control the 'problem spells'. Remember, Raise Dead requires an intact body. The Vlad Taltos books notes how access to Raise Dead for powerful beings is assumed, and you kill people as warnings. Making them unrevivable is when you get serious.

For Teleportation, simply limit the range, and don't let anyone teleport they haven't gone to personally overland. This means that a wizard teleported to someplace can't teleport home...he has to 'walk' home before he can do the teleport himself.
Limiting the range to 10 miles/level will also take a lot of the 'I can be anywhere' out of it.
For the Planar Ally and summoning stuff, simply remove them. Restrict summoning spells to, you know, summonings. Restrict Planar Ally to things you can summon into a circle, but that otherwise can't leave the area. So you could Call up something that could cast some spells on you or give you some advice, but not that can fight for you. That is what the Summoning spells are actually for.

For Plane Shift, limit it just like teleportation. Only to Border planes (ethereal and astral), and you have to traverse those to get to where you want. You always return where you left, unless you find a portal otherwise, and you can only use it with some laborious preparations, not as an offensive spell or a quick escape.

If a spell breaks the story, then simply adjust the spell. E10 can work just fine...you get some amazing abilities, but they don't break the world, they just become part of it.

Note that d20 Modern stopped at level 5 spells, effectively E10, but they included the Archmage class so you could increase your spells/day and caster level, which is really all you want to do.

==Aelryinth

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