30 levels, without the epic tier

M8

First Post
I'm a new D&D4 DM. I'm in the process of reading through everything I find, and I try to put my personal touch on things.

I really like the rules, and the mechanics of D&D4, but I simply can't do anything with the epic levels.

Never have I read any fictional materials that was even similar to the godly powers the PC's and monsters are carrying at high levels. And it simply doesn't make any sense (from my campaign world stand of view) to have such powerful beings in existence.

-

So levels 20 to 30 and the epic destinies are things I'll never use. Then again, I would like to tell stories of normal humans (not heroes or superhumans), it would be great if there would be a lvl range from lvl -10 to lvl 0. Something like the little village boy, the mages apprentice, and the Knights page.

Not because I would like my players to start at this level, but rather to have a comparison.

-

I realised, that to create a game system, that keeps the basic d&d4 rules in tact and achieve something like this would be a HUGE undertaking, so I thought to myself, I could upgrade all the NPC's and the Monsters by 10 levels, making the "Level 1" status of the players, the most basic one (what I'm looking for). but this still would mean, that I would have to sort through every power individually, and change/alter them as needed.

This would be something more manageable, but it would be still a huge task, so I'm asking you, is there something like this already on the interwebs?

Are there D&D4 rules, for beginning characters/adventurers below lvl1?
 
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fjw70

Adventurer
I understand where you are coming from. I am trying to start a 4e group that doesn't allow paragon paths and epic destinies. That should significantly reduce PC power-levels at higher levels. Here are a couple other ideas.

1) Make all normal humans level 1 minions with low stats.

2) Don't use minions for monsters.
 

Obryn

Hero
Never have I read any fictional materials that was even similar to the godly powers the PC's and monsters are carrying at high levels. And it simply doesn't make any sense (from my campaign world stand of view) to have such powerful beings in existence.
Well, there are the last two Gord the Rogue books by Mr. Gygax himself. There's also quite a few very powerful beings in the Malazan series by Erikson and Esselmont. You could also look at myths and legends - Hercules, Sigurd, etc., or fantasy myths like Tolkien's Silmarillion. By and large, though, most newer fantasy fiction sticks with less-powerful main characters; it's hard for a reader to connect with an ultra-powerful protagonist.

So levels 20 to 30 and the epic destinies are things I'll never use. Then again, I would like to tell stories of normal humans (not heroes or superhumans), it would be great if there would be a lvl range from lvl -10 to lvl 0. Something like the little village boy, the mages apprentice, and the Knights page.
Well, I don't know about 10 full levels of that... That's a heck of a lot, to even reach the bare-minimum heroic levels. I think you could fill in a 0-level slot pretty easily, though it would mostly influence HPs ...

I'd step carefully with powers - 4e characters' powers aren't extraneous; they're the essence of a class. (Remember that Barbarians and Wizards with identical stats have identical basic attacks, for example.) Also, cutting away combat options is more likely to lead to boring combats than deadly combats. Level 1 monsters are more than capable of putting the hurt on Level 1 PCs.

Not because I would like my players to start at this level, but rather to have a comparison.
A comparison for what, though? 4e doesn't really lend itself to a "stat out the world" philosophy. If you don't want to play through those levels, just leave the NPCs statless; you don't need numbers to know that your players could kill a dozen stablehands!

I realised, that to create a game system, that keeps the basic d&d4 rules in tact and achieve something like this would be a HUGE undertaking, so I thought to myself, I could upgrade all the NPC's and the Monsters by 10 levels, making the "Level 1" status of the players, the most basic one (what I'm looking for). but this still would mean, that I would have to sort through every power individually, and change/alter them as needed.
I think you have a basic decent idea, given that levels truly are relative in 4e moreso than other games. But again - 10 levels is a whole lot, and I have no idea what that'd look like...

Frankly, 4e lends itself best to heroic characters - that is characters who start out a cut above normal people. It's pretty much hardwired. I think there's maybe a bit of room below level 1, but certainly not 10 levels' worth. You're working a bit against the system, here. This isn't to say it couldn't work, but I'd get some good 4e gameplay experience under my belt first.

-O
 

phloog

First Post
As far as the 'start as a humble farmer, rise to greatness', I remember someone in the early days of 4E acting like I was insane for wanting this, and it's clear that other versions were a lot more friendly to this kind of game....4E starts you are seasoned to a degree. I'll bet it could be done, though.
 

Rather than redevelop the game, just stay in the heroic tier.

But re-evaluate the "10 encounters per level" guideline. Instead of having 30 levels with 10 encounters each (totaling 300 encounters) have 10 levels with 30 encounters each (totaling 300 encounters).

If your player's can get over not leveling up after each session, there are a lot of subtle rewards to this style of gameplay. There are some tradeoffs too, but it can and has been done. In OD&D "Fighting-Men" were capped at level 9, "Lord", with 240,000XP, for example.
 

Obryn

Hero
As far as the 'start as a humble farmer, rise to greatness', I remember someone in the early days of 4E acting like I was insane for wanting this, and it's clear that other versions were a lot more friendly to this kind of game....4E starts you are seasoned to a degree. I'll bet it could be done, though.
I think it could, too - but only for a level or two.

I think you could invent a Level 0, and it would be more or less as follows...

(1) Deduct, say, 5-10 HP. I'd just deduct a flat amount across the board so your Defenders are less affected than your Strikers and Controllers. You could cut 25% pretty easily.

(2) Don't do anything with bonuses; 0/2 is still +0, same as Level 1. Leave that as-is.

(3) Don't allow Daily powers yet. Leave those out, for starters. (For a class without Dailies ... uh ... I dunno.)

(4) Keep At-Wills, Encounters, and Feats as-is. Without some variety, 4e combats can get dull.

(5) Maybe give less money or something.

I personally don't think this style would appeal to me or my players, but it's a quick & dirty way to have slightly less-powerful characters.

-O
 

Dr_Ruminahui

First Post
My campaign involved something drastic happening to the world, and my character gradually regaining their powers. To indicate this, the first 2 encounters they only had at wills, the 3rd & 4th they had encounters as well, and by the 5th they had all their first level abilities.

Such might also work if you have your PCs be peasants who are either growing into their powers, or have suddenly been gifted with them.

Another way would to simply have the NPCs be powerful compaired to the heroes - so, at level 1, all the town guards are level 5 soldiers with the sargeant being an elite.

Either way, I would be reluctant to stretch out the heroic tier (its long enough already) or keep the players without options and/or feeling powerless for too long... its not too bad for a few sessions, but you need some really dedicated players to keep there interest for much longer.
 

M8

First Post
Thanks for the replies!
Especially Obryn, you gave me a lot to think about.

I tried imagine a way to actually "start" this process, and I realised the first step would be to create monsters that are a few levels lower than lvl1.
So I needed a dmg expression table, once I have that, I can adjust the hp and the dmg output of the players.

I've found a dmg table here on the forum (I'll need to update this post, with the link and the proper credit), which updated the damage table to the newest erratas. Here is my take on it, it probably has some "bugs" (miscalculations) and I am not sure what the proper minion dmg would be. But anyway here it is:

clipboard02eu.jpg


As you can see, I could add 5 more levels below lvl1, without having create a new mechanic for the monsters.

It's a start, and I'm very far from the finish line, but you gave me enough ideas, to be able to actually pull it off. :)
 
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Mad Hamish

First Post
I'm a new D&D4 DM. I'm in the process of reading through everything I find, and I try to put my personal touch on things.

I really like the rules, and the mechanics of D&D4, but I simply can't do anything with the epic levels.

Never have I read any fictional materials that was even similar to the godly powers the PC's and monsters are carrying at high levels. And it simply doesn't make any sense (from my campaign world stand of view) to have such powerful beings in existence.

Lots of mythology (Hercules, various Indian mythology, Cu Cuhlain.... spring to mind as examples)
in terms of modern fantasy books
The Eternal Champion books by moorcock, most of David Edding's works, Raymond E. Feist's Midkemia, The Mistborn Trilogy by Brian Sanderson, the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan just off the top of my head...

there's lots of it out there


So levels 20 to 30 and the epic destinies are things I'll never use. Then again, I would like to tell stories of normal humans (not heroes or superhumans), it would be great if there would be a lvl range from lvl -10 to lvl 0. Something like the little village boy, the mages apprentice, and the Knights page.

Not because I would like my players to start at this level, but rather to have a comparison.

If they aren't going to be PCs don't worry about statting them out, just give them the abilities they need to do their tasks.

I realised, that to create a game system, that keeps the basic d&d4 rules in tact and achieve something like this would be a HUGE undertaking, so I thought to myself, I could upgrade all the NPC's and the Monsters by 10 levels, making the "Level 1" status of the players, the most basic one (what I'm looking for). but this still would mean, that I would have to sort through every power individually, and change/alter them as needed.

This would be something more manageable, but it would be still a huge task, so I'm asking you, is there something like this already on the interwebs?

Are there D&D4 rules, for beginning characters/adventurers below lvl1?

I doubt it and I wouldn't recommend trying it.
If you want to run low fantasy campaigns you're probably better off with a different system (GURPS, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay spring to mind as options)
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
I don't think you'll find much material to help you because 4E *is* literally hardwired with the idea that PC's represent the exceptional, the chosen few, destiny's children, etc. Encounter and Daily powers are spectacular displays of prowess, even at 1st level.
 

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