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D&D 5E 5e EPIC MONSTER UPDATES

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
I still don't like her being an actual god. I get that dragons worship her in some way (and that metallics worship Bahamut), but that imo should be from a "she' the baddest mo-fo around these parts" perspective, not because "oh, she's our holiest". So, more like the BBD at the end of How to Train Your Dragon, and less because of divinity.
Now, her actual power level might be equal to a lesser deity, but that's another story....
This is basically what I think of when referencing Tiamat (fully aware that standard D&D doesnt take her that far).
 

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S'mon

Legend
For stats, I much prefer stats that high level PCs can interact with. OTOH these days I'm against perma-death for deity level punching bags like Orcus & Tiamat, rather I see their defeat more as a discorporation where it will take them a century or so to reform, but they're not gone forever as long as people (or dragons) still believe in them. So Challenge 30 for Tiamat and other highest-end threats looks about right to me. If a powerful deity needs to be above 30, then better to do a multi-stage boss fight as was done for Shar in one of the 4e organised play adventures - I think my friend @Upper_Krust did similar. Challenge 48 stats seems a bit, er, theory-w*nk, unless you have a whole level 21-40+ PC system to support it.
 

dave2008

Legend
For stats, I much prefer stats that high level PCs can interact with. OTOH these days I'm against perma-death for deity level punching bags like Orcus & Tiamat, rather I see their defeat more as a discorporation where it will take them a century or so to reform, but they're not gone forever as long as people (or dragons) still believe in them. So Challenge 30 for Tiamat and other highest-end threats looks about right to me. If a powerful deity needs to be above 30, then better to do a multi-stage boss fight as was done for Shar in one of the 4e organised play adventures - I think my friend @Upper_Krust did similar. Challenge 48 stats seems a bit, er, theory-w*nk, unless you have a whole level 21-40+ PC system to support it.
Well that is the intent of my ASCENSION series. To allow PCS to become gods, it is the "I" to 5e's BECM if you will. Therefore, I've also increased the strength of Archfiends, deities, and similar to give these divine characters some Friend and Foes to work with. Also, I just think things like Deities and Demon Lords should be beyond the capabilities of mortals, therefore CR 30 doesn't cut it IMO.
 

S'mon

Legend
Demon Lords should be beyond the capabilities of mortals

Whereas I definitely prefer the 1e AD&D style "go to the Abyss & kill Lolth" approach to demon lords. Not that she'll stay dead forever, but you can certainly put a crimp in her plans.

Deities, I've moved away from treating them as NPCs at all. They're more like semi-abstract forces. But their manifestations can certainly be discorporated.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hey Dave and S'mon,

the new Epic Bestiary I am currently working on (hopefully finished sometime around the end of March) floats a happy medium between the two viewpoints you each share. Current 5E is not set up for CR 48 monsters...in the traditional sense. But I think I have found a way to cover both approaches - but I want to keep a lid on the details for another week or two (still tweaking, writing and fixing things). ;-)
 

dave2008

Legend
Hey Dave and S'mon,

the new Epic Bestiary I am currently working on (hopefully finished sometime around the end of March) floats a happy medium between the two viewpoints you each share. Current 5E is not set up for CR 48 monsters...in the traditional sense. But I think I have found a way to cover both approaches - but I want to keep a lid on the details for another week or two (still tweaking, writing and fixing things). ;-)
Can't wait to see what you came up with. I had something I thought bridged the two, but I am struggling to get it finished at the moment.

My original plan was to have two stat blocks. One "exalted" and then an avatar stat block that was like a typical 5e monster. With the mythic updates in Theros I thought I had a simple way to merge the two (hey just add more mythic "stages"). That does work, but my "Immortal Rules" started to diverge more and more from base 5e and made this idea more difficult. I am trying to find a way, but I may go back to having 2 separate stat blocks.
 
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S'mon

Legend
I've been running a lot of level 20 + Epic Boon 5e. For that I definitely appreciate having a good monster palette of Challenge 25-30 foes. 30 makes a good cap, even if a single Challenge 30 foe may not be a big challenge to an optimised E20 party with prime stats at 30, artifact weapons and a ton of Boons. I'd generally prefer to deal with that through multiple opponents - even having stuff like a really powerful PC duelling Tiamat solo - rather than limitless progression.
 

dave2008

Legend
I've been running a lot of level 20 + Epic Boon 5e. For that I definitely appreciate having a good monster palette of Challenge 25-30 foes. 30 makes a good cap, even if a single Challenge 30 foe may not be a big challenge to an optimised E20 party with prime stats at 30, artifact weapons and a ton of Boons. I'd generally prefer to deal with that through multiple opponents - even having stuff like a really powerful PC duelling Tiamat solo - rather than limitless progression.
I want to clarify that I am a big fan of what you describe in general. I think the lvl 20 cap + epic boons and supernatural gifts is my favorite method of epic "mortal" PCs for D&D ever. However, I also wanted to create some rules & challenges for PCs who want to be actual deities. That is what ASCENSION is for.
 

S'mon

Legend
I want to clarify that I am a big fan of what you describe in general. I think the lvl 20 cap + epic boons and supernatural gifts is my favorite method of epic "mortal" PCs for D&D ever. However, I also wanted to create some rules & challenges for PCs who want to be actual deities. That is what ASCENSION is for.

I think that's a reasonable goal - I certainly enjoyed my old deity-PC AD&D game, here's Upper_Krust's PC Thrin Immortality :D

I think 5e D&D, unlike 3e, is a pretty good ruleset for that goal. The big trick is to not over-complexify high level PCs with excessive bells & whistles. The 5e approach to both Feats & Boons is excellent IMO. And mortal threats should not be trivialised. Generally, I think players want to be MCU Thor going toe-to-toe with Hel, while still interacting meaningfully with the mortal world. I don't think Mentzer's Immortals Set rules got that quite right, he made the Immortals a bit too powerful compared to even level 36 BECM PCs. 1e AD&D Deities & Demigods stats by contrast are very useable.
 

dave2008

Legend
I think that's a reasonable goal - I certainly enjoyed my old deity-PC AD&D game, here's Upper_Krust's PC Thrin Immortality :D
Yep, I've seen it before. I found UK when 4e came out and followed him through the end of that edition. I'm glad to see he is going to make some 5e content.
I think 5e D&D, unlike 3e, is a pretty good ruleset for that goal. The big trick is to not over-complexify high level PCs with excessive bells & whistles. The 5e approach to both Feats & Boons is excellent IMO. And mortal threats should not be trivialised. Generally, I think players want to be MCU Thor going toe-to-toe with Hel, while still interacting meaningfully with the mortal world.
I think that is true for most people. To really play gods, the game should be different IMO. That is why....
I don't think Mentzer's Immortals Set rules got that quite right, he made the Immortals a bit too powerful compared to even level 36 BECM PCs. 1e AD&D Deities & Demigods stats by contrast are very useable.
Since Mentzer's Immortals Set was the major inspiration for ASCENSION, it is in a bit of an odd space with regard to 5e. I am constantly wondering how different or more complex it should be compated to basic 5e. I keep moving back and forth on this scale. I actually think having this discussion has helped bring some clarity to my mind in that aspect - thanks!
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Can't wait to see what you came up with. I had something I thought bridged the two, but I am struggling to get it finished at the moment.

My original plan was to have two stat blocks. One "exalted" and then an avatar stat block that was like a typical 5e monster. With the mythic updates in Theros I thought I had a simple way to merge the two (hey just add more mythic "stages"). That does work, but my "Immortal Rules" started to diverge more and more from base 5e and made this idea more difficult. I am trying to find a way, but I may go back to having 2 separate stat blocks.

Hey Dave buddy,

Certainly multiple stat blocks is one possible way, that's not the route I am taking in this particular book but its something I might develop in a future book. Keeping the base 5E rules is a must for simplicity and utility.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
I think that's a reasonable goal - I certainly enjoyed my old deity-PC AD&D game, here's Upper_Krust's PC Thrin Immortality :D

I think 5e D&D, unlike 3e, is a pretty good ruleset for that goal. The big trick is to not over-complexify high level PCs with excessive bells & whistles. The 5e approach to both Feats & Boons is excellent IMO. And mortal threats should not be trivialised. Generally, I think players want to be MCU Thor going toe-to-toe with Hel, while still interacting meaningfully with the mortal world. I don't think Mentzer's Immortals Set rules got that quite right, he made the Immortals a bit too powerful compared to even level 36 BECM PCs. 1e AD&D Deities & Demigods stats by contrast are very useable.

Hey S'mon,

how are you able to handle Bill's character now that he has most of the listed epic boons?

I agree you need to keep the Gods within touching distance of Mortals (as in our game). The epic boons set up reminds me of how 1st Ed. AD&D characters would plateau in power after which levelling would only gain a few hit points, caster level and so forth.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Yep, I've seen it before. I found UK when 4e came out and followed him through the end of that edition. I'm glad to see he is going to make some 5e content.

4E would have worked okay for Immortals but ultimately I think it would have had the same problem as 3rd Edition in that infinite levelling doesn't really work.

I have a very basic idea for 5E Immortals (very basic) that I think will work perfectly and its not a level based system.

I think that is true for most people. To really play gods, the game should be different IMO. That is why....

Since Mentzer's Immortals Set was the major inspiration for ASCENSION, it is in a bit of an odd space with regard to 5e. I am constantly wondering how different or more complex it should be compated to basic 5e. I keep moving back and forth on this scale. I actually think having this discussion has helped bring some clarity to my mind in that aspect - thanks!

I'm convinced simplicity is the key for immortal play.
 

dave2008

Legend
Hey Dave buddy,

Certainly multiple stat blocks is one possible way, that's not the route I am taking in this particular book but its something I might develop in a future book. Keeping the base 5E rules is a must for simplicity and utility.
I think from these conversations with you and Simon, I've decided what I am going to do. I will at least give it a shot and see what people think. Basically one stat block that used for both, but that get's modified when used in Immortal games.
 



Upper_Krust

Adventurer
I think from these conversations with you and Simon, I've decided what I am going to do. I will at least give it a shot and see what people think. Basically one stat block that used for both, but that get's modified when used in Immortal games.

Will be interesting to see what you come up with Dave.
 

S'mon

Legend
Hey S'mon,

how are you able to handle Bill's character now that he has most of the listed epic boons?

I agree you need to keep the Gods within touching distance of Mortals (as in our game). The epic boons set up reminds me of how 1st Ed. AD&D characters would plateau in power after which levelling would only gain a few hit points, caster level and so forth.

I'd say Shieldbiter is pretty plateaued now, though he can still gain more hp I think via the +40hp Boon and Toughness Feat. His weapon is still +2, otherwise pretty maxxed on offence. He's hit my AC cap of 30.

I don't have any issues challenging him. He can beat a Great Wyrm Red dragon (from a DM's Guild dragon expansion) but he can't beat (his good friend) Runelord Karzoug's Rune Giant army. He couldn't beat the 6,000 hp, miles long Iso Monster in the Wilderlands either, but that's not really an NPC. Bill certainly still enjoys playing the character, mostly doing missions for Karzoug vs rival Runelords.
 

dave2008

Legend
I'd say Shieldbiter is pretty plateaued now, though he can still gain more hp I think via the +40hp Boon and Toughness Feat. His weapon is still +2, otherwise pretty maxxed on offence. He's hit my AC cap of 30.

I don't have any issues challenging him. He can beat a Great Wyrm Red dragon (from a DM's Guild dragon expansion) but he can't beat (his good friend) Runelord Karzoug's Rune Giant army. He couldn't beat the 6,000 hp, miles long Iso Monster in the Wilderlands either, but that's not really an NPC. Bill certainly still enjoys playing the character, mostly doing missions for Karzoug vs rival Runelords.
You might toss my Great Wyrm Red Dragon at him. It is a CR 30 mythic monster with a lot of traits to keep it in the fight. Not the Wyrm is CR 30, but if you use the Great Wyrm trait is a "Mythic Encounter" (from the Theros setting if your not familiar).
 


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