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Thread: Epic! Yes. Fail? Maybe.
Tuesday, 5th April, 2011, 11:02 PM #21
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
It seems to me that the very simple reason there's less demand for Epic tier content is simply that the average game falls apart before it gets that far, because it takes a long time for a game to get that far, and people get busy/lose interest/move away/have kids/get distracted by another game/etc. People aren't getting to Epic parts of their game and abandoning en masse because it turns out to suck, it is almost certainly just a natural attrition. We've all played in those stillborn games that only make it a few sessions or a few months before something derails them.
Now that doesn't help us solve what the epic content they put out should actually be, but games that make it 1 to 30 and actually 'finish' are a rarity. I don't think making better Epic content will increase the demand for Epic content by much, it will just make the people who already need it happier - and that's a fine goal, and the conversation of "what should that content be" is well worth having, but I don't think it is ever going to result in a huge swell in demand for more Epic content no matter how good it gets.
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Wednesday, 6th April, 2011, 03:02 AM #22
You don't have to start your game at level 1 and play all the way through.
The fact that many gamers are enamoured with this style of play doesn't mean every does it, nor does it mean that you have to. If Epic play were _actually_ compelling, people would skip straight to it: "Ok dudes, everybody make your character at Epic level, 'cause we're doing an Epic game!"
Instead, Epic is a boring slugfest and there's no reason not to start and work through the levels until you reach "Epic" and then quit and start over.
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Wednesday, 6th April, 2011, 06:12 AM #23
Defender (Lvl 8)
Certainly, if epic and also paragon had mroe to differentiate them, DMs would be more likely to consider starting at that level, if that was what they were after. Having three broad subsets of premise built into a system like this is an excellent way to make the game more versatile and keep people interested- and they even offer a good spread of familiar and more exotic components.
Paragon being castles, lordships, land, mass battles, and such- these are all familiar terms. At epic you have more mythic and esoteric concepts coming in. In a way the three tiers mirror the proportion of variation we see in various campaign settings- some are more generic and familiar, others are wierder, but together, they offer a broad slice of options. Doing the same tier by tier would make D&D a more broadly appealing game, by adding genuine substance to it's breadth.
Wednesday, 6th April, 2011, 07:50 PM #24
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I'm in agreement with most here. While Dungeon Crawling can be fun at any level (and who doesn't want to use those kewl uber-powers) the later tiers have to stand out from the others.
Paragon Tier: The PCs are nobles with their own holdings; their actions decide the fate of a nation. Instead of gaining Levels via XP they grow in power via the acquisition of wealth (and thus influence). The battles at this tier could be civil wars involving thousands.
Epic Tier: The PCs are monarchs and rulers with their own countries; their actions decide the fate of the world. Instead of gaining Levels via XP they grow in power via the advancement of political weight. The battles at this tier could be world wars embroiling millions.
*Immortal Tier: The PCs are deities with their own immortal realms and mortal worshippers; their actions decide the fate of the universe. Instead of gaining levels via XP they grow in power via the accruement of mortal worshippers. The battles at this tier could be planar wars engaging billions.
Wednesday, 6th April, 2011, 11:05 PM #25
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
The thing is WoTC used to get it. Anyone remember Primal Power? You know, the very first book WoTC ever published? Chock full of ideas on how to create and play at the divine level. They just need to reach back into the mists of time and recover what they lost.
Thursday, 7th April, 2011, 05:58 PM #26
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I keep thinking that epic really needs to be simplified,
Powers should be streamlined and magnified, with each one useable several times. 4 dailies, 4 encounters and 6+ utilities, & 1-2 racial or feat powers is just a lot to monkey around, especially if each character has several interrupts and reactions.
I made an L20 party with 8 powers each for a guild-wars inspired 1 shot game. They were made as full characters, but only 8 powers were printed on the character sheets.
They mostly had 1 at-will, 3 encounters, 1-2 dailies, and 1-2 utility powers and a power granted by a magic item. By allowing the characters to take a power second time using a higher level power slot, favored powers could be reused.
The variety of options worked well for the characters, but the format made some class functions impossible (ie the warden could not defend effectively)
The repetition of a few key abilities made each character distinctive and allowed them to stick to a single theme, I may work out a similar limitation when/if my group reaches epic.
a "Do something cool, within your theme" would make a great addition to the characters. I envision it as an encounter power, which can be reused (for a different effect) if it misses. Damage could be based on a formula : averaging (8+level) +/- 25%
The combat also got a little grindy by the end, but the adventure was using MM1 monsters, so they may have been the problem.
Last edited by Evilhalfling; Thursday, 7th April, 2011 at 06:12 PM. Reason: do something cool revision
Thursday, 7th April, 2011, 06:27 PM #27
Novice (Lvl 1)
Consequently, I am in the process of reading Legends of Anglerre, which seems to do this stuff right. It has rules to stat out constructs, military units, and organizations (from a guild to an empire) and its support for Epic and Legendary play scales up by taking advantage of these. Their "Epic Occupations" are stuff like Divine Champion and War Lord. You can jump back and forth from playing individual characters to playing nations at war.
Friday, 8th April, 2011, 08:37 PM #28
Novice (Lvl 1)
I doubt it. I cannot remember any group, not even those supernerds back in the days, which played the "I" or "M" box. But nobody cared. I think most players and GMs thought that the boxes are not necessary for their game and they simply ignored them.
And this was ok. Because ignoring those superduper level boxes didnt destroy or even change the game experience of anyone. It was much easier to ignore rules or whole boxes you dont like than it is today.
Most campaigns where from level 1-13 or so, then we began a new one. Game and world has been more grounded to normal levels and not so absurdely over-the-top like today.
Saturday, 9th April, 2011, 08:41 PM #29
A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)
I purchased Sly Flourish's "Running Epic Tier D&D Games" recently and it answers some of the questions Ari raises. It should be required reading for WotC Designers...
... and those of you who are running Epic Level games. I highly recommend it.
Sly Flourish Link.
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Tuesday, 12th April, 2011, 02:52 PM #30
Novice (Lvl 1)
One of the problems I think is the assumption fostered that there will always be NPCs more powerful than the PCs no matter how powerful they become. Why shouldn't the PCs be the most powerful? If they become the biggest and the baddest in the world then let them be the most powerful in the world. No single entity in the world should be a match for them. Any such would have to come from outside, another world or dimension. This would be a sign of the expanding scope of the campaign to other worlds or dimensions.
To challenge them otherwise simply send evil adventuring parties after them. They get to see things from the other side where a group of less powerful individuals attacks a single powerful being. Of course the PCs of this level would probably have their own kingdoms which gives new and different challenges. Campaigns beyond a single world could have them ruling multidimensional empires.
As happened in a 3E campaign gods can come to them begging for help.
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