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    "Epic" progression after 6th level

    This is the original thread. Please see the newest thread.

    Here's my house rule for advancement, which makes a game of D&D run in a rules-light, low-magic, and quick-prep kind of way, without actually making major changes to the individual rules. The classes cap out at 6th level, after which characters use experience to purchase feats, and that's all. I have playtested the system extensively with my guys, and I can say that it works as intended.

    The Rule:

    Character progression from level 1 to level 6 is as per D&D. Upon attaining 6th level, characters stop normal advancement and enter "epic" advancement, which is an experience buy system. Under the "epic" advancement, for each 5000 experience a character gains, they gain a new feat.

    The Consequences:

    1. Classic monsters (such as Chimeras and manticores) don't need to be constantly upgraded (HD advancement, monster of legend) to remain a significant threat to accomplished heroes.

    2. Forget meaningless encounters. The players can be involved in a dozen or so major combat scenarios (perhaps more than one encounter each) and have accomplished something legend-worthy. See Lord of the Rings movies, or most fantasy novels.

    3. Even legendary heroes remain mortal; while a 6th level fighter who has taken toughness several times can take on a good mob, he isn't invulnerable. The sorcerer's 6d6 fireballs are phenomenal, but not so powerful that he can destroy a village and not fear retaliation.

    4. Making large swaths of your NPC cast is easy. Make a 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th version of a sorcerer, and now you have a whole sorcerous school. Make a version at 6th level and tack on 5 extra feats, and you have its grandmaster. Also, the relative simplicity of low-level NPCs is preserved even as the players become epic.

    5. Reduces the cognitive workload on the DM. It's hard to know every 4th through 9th level spell out there; they're the ones we see the least. But we've all seen the 0th through 3rd level spells many, many times, and mastery over them is relatively simple. Adding to this selection, and balancing a spell to a particular level, is not difficult either.

    6. Player characters never leapfrog over your encounters (by this I mean that they don't go from pushed around by a villain to pushing him around because they detoured through a lucrative side quest).

    7. Major battles require planning, not levelling. To defeat the black dragon Zolanderos, the CR 10 terror of Staunwark Island, the heroes will need help, special resources, and information. I want to further encourage party-directed adventuring, and if the heroes want to take on something 4 to 6 CR above them, then that's what they will require.

    8. Right away, you have a low magic ruleset that everyone knows how to play.

    9. There is a need for a diverse selection of spells and feats to provide for the epic level advancement.
    Last edited by Ry; Wednesday, 27th June, 2007 at 10:25 PM. Reason: Revised version after discussions below

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