D&D 4E 4E6: an E6 for fourth edition!


“E6” was a rules idea for D&D 3rd Edition that saw a lot of traction. The idea was simple: after sixth level, you simply did not advance in levels anymore. More XP did give you minor boons, such as more feats, but nothing major.

The advantage was that heroes never lost touch with the “ordinary” world. While a sixth level character is powerful enough to beat a bunch of peasants or cut-throats, they’re not immune to low-level attacks. Besides, it can be argued that most heroes of legend (including fictional legend) are about sixth level, compared to “ordinary mortals”.

Now, in Fourth Edition, you can do the same, but there is one snag: powers. By sixth level, while you’ve amassed respectable defenses (AC, hit points and such), you really still have only a very few powers at your disposal. Thus, just adopting the E6 idea wholesale can become kind of dull in 4E.

But what if you gain powers up until double the level limit? That is, up until twelfth level. Instead of being stuck with “merely” two powers of each kind, you’d have up to four.

Also, let’s remember that we’re primarily concerned with defenses here. It is when defenses become too high you really are elevated above your peers. Not offenses. Having a deadly offense is, after all, commonplace in today’s society (I’m thinking of automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades here). So allowing for more and higher-leveled powers is much less disruptive than you might think. Besides, you’ll be surprised how damage scales much less with level in 4E than before.

Rather than merely suggesting you advance in powers beyond sixth level, however, I am putting forth a complete proposal, where advancement in powers occurs at double speed, interspersed with regular level advancement.

For my proposed solution, check out the PDF... :)

Read the rest (including a fully formatted table) in the attached PDF...


  • 4E6.pdf
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I was thinking the same thing. 10th might be a more interesting level to do that at. PPs are also fairly interesting, so maybe allow progression to 11th level and picking a PP and then perhaps you could get the various other PP advantages as you progress past that level.

Overall though it seems like 4e has less of the sort of problems that plagued earlier editions in terms of characters just becoming so ridiculously powerful that it gets difficult to relate the characters to the game world anymore. At least in 1e/2e once you hit about 12th level characters capabilities really started ramping up into the stratosphere. But that was really mostly due to high level magic users simply being so flexible that it was hard to find some challenge they couldn't just find a creative application of magic to deal with.

As opposed to just halting level progression maybe the more interesting thing to do is just slow level advancement quite a bit and play out the campaign essentially in the heroic tier. Most of my group has always rather liked low level play anyhow, so they often end up retiring their characters some time soon after 10th level anyhow. There are always those times when people get a hankering to do some crazy stuff and we dust off the high level guys for a bit of going toe to toe with some major bad guys.

I could make an argument for E20 too, at least based on my experience with pretty much cutting off earlier editions at around 12th level. I'd consider 4e 20th to be pretty equivalent to 1e/2e 12th level, since those editions more or less capped out at 18th level.


First Post
Make it as E10 and after that with XP gained you can purchase different abilities like:
An ability score increase
An additional power (different cost per power, include at-wills)
An additional feat

The hard part being determining the XP cost. And maybe each time you buy the same choice you need to pay more, like if +1 encounter power costs x XP a second additional encounter power should cost 2x and the like for all effects.


First Post
I have to agree with the E10 crowd.

Here's my 1st draft: You advance normally until 10th level, and then, whenever you reach next level, you gain a new power, stat increase or feat (just like RAW), but you don't increase anything by 1/2 level and you don't get extra hp (or maybe go old school and increase 1 hp :p). Using Paragon Paths is entirely up to you (I'd say "no").

You could stop at 6th if you feel the +5 to every check/defense is too much. You could also rule 1/4 level, instead of 1/2...


David Jose
I'm pretty sure this is something we actually talked about in the E6 thread once word leaked about the 4th Edition tiers. How the heroic tier was basically what E6 was trying to emulate.


Well, I worked under the assumption the sweet-spot is less "one third to max level" and more "about six levels above first".

That is, do you guys really feel level 10 in 4E is comparable to level 6 in 3E? (When you contrast a character of that level with regular town NPCs, that is)

My point was mostly that while hp and defenses (the really crucial stuff) increase at a steady pace much like before, attacks don't.

Unlike in 3E, you can safely continue to add in more offensive without decisively wrecking something. But like in 3E, you can't add in too much defense or you'll get that disconnect E6 set out to avoid.


Well, I worked under the assumption the sweet-spot is less "one third to max level" and more "about six levels above first".
Actually, IIRC, neither of that was the idea behind E6, but rather that at level 6, PCs were close to describing fantasy books and so on. With 7th level, spellcasters got into the reach of spells like scrying and on 9th level, all hell broke loose with stuff like teleport, raise dead and their ilk.

Meaning that at 6th level, the PCs were powerful individuals, but not at a reality/setting-warping level.

As 4E delays such setting-influencing powers much longer (as Paragon Tier is defined as the tier where you start to affect more than the local area and start to be a player on a nation-wide stage or larger), hence the idea of allowing the entire heroic tier - as it's basically written to emulate heroes on such a level (i.e. personally powerful, but not world-affecting on a large scale).

Cheers, LT.


I agree with LT. The basic concept of 4e and the tier system renders the "E6" concept obsolete because the division is already in place.

Before 11th level, there are really no powers / rituals that remove the idea that travel is hard, mountains are hard to cross, oceans are a barrier, and dragons are hard to kill.

In past editions, there was no overarching attention to balance or progression. The math rapidly got out of hand. This is far less the case now.


Irda Ranger

First Post
My 4E solution to E6 is to freeze Attack and Defense scores at 1st level (don't worry, I balance the scales on the monster's side too) and allow HP and Power Acquisition to advance normally until a level limit imposed by the "fantasticness" of the campaign world. That way goblins and city guards can hit 9th level PCs (even if they don't do too much damage relative to the HP total) and the connection with "normal" world is maintained.

This also explains how an army of 1st level city guardsmen can actually hit a dragon when it attacks their city. They can kill it with en masse crossbow volleys.

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