• Resources are back! Use the menu in the main navbar. If you own a resource, please check it for formatting, icons, etc.

A pair of numbers-based issues: how do you all handle them?

Rantrite

Villager
Hi everyone! New here; literally just created this account to ask this question, since this was the first active community I could find who might have answers to my questions.

I used to really enjoy the Immortals Handbook - especially since it gave me the tools vanilla D&D lacked for handling campaigns across universes, with truly enormous creatures, armies of billions, duels between gods, and all that fantastic stuff. Recently, though, I've become somewhat disillusioned by how it grinds up against significant faults in the d20 system it's built on, in particular the fact that the d20 is only so big of a die and that exponential scaling from size doesn't play well with deity progression.

I've been playing with making a system (or merely a very large D&D patch) of my own to allow for proper scaling, but it's obviously slow going and something of a mathematical nightmare to sort out. I figure people who've run mortals-to-deities campaigns in IH and the like might have something to help me out.

To elaborate:

1. The d20 is kind of small compared to the numerical disparities present in high-level conflicts. Two characters building themselves in only slightly different ways, thanks to the way feats can stack, can end up with armor classes far, far more than 20 points apart, meaning that the same enemy with an attack bonus between them could hit one character 95% of the time and hit the other only 5% of the time. The stylistic differences between characters only get smaller as levels increase, too; at standard levels, you might need them to be a fighter and a wizard to have such a disparity, but at epic levels, two slightly different fighters will be different enough. Obviously, this note applies to much more than AC, like ability scores and spell resistance, so merely having alternate methods of attack doesn't always seem to do it.

(In the system/patch I'm sketching out, I'm considering giving characters fixed attack numbers that are multiplied or divided by a result generated from their roll. So you could maybe hit someone with an AC twice your attack, and always hit someone with an AC half your attack, irrespective of the absolute numerical difference.)

My question is: how do you all handle this in your games - how do you threaten different players with attacks at different times? Surely having only the weakest character or two threatened by enemies while the others are nigh-invulnerable isn't very fun or balanced.

2. On the one hand, it makes total sense that hit dice (and thus HP, etc) would scale exponentially with size due to the square-cube law and such. It never seemed right to me, though, that a time lord - literally the embodiment of a universe and dozens of infinitely large planes - would have about the same number of hit dice as, say, an average human scaled up to Macro-Medium, "merely" mountain sized and surely incapable of threatening much more than a planet on its own. Against anything significantly larger, new problems arise; the amount of natural armor, DR, spell resistance, etc. that monsters gain via feats as their HD rise get too large for time lords to handle, and you're left with problem #1.

(I've toyed with just massively multiplying the hit dice and stats for deities, to properly scale with the domains they command and the power they wield, but the numbers get redundant fast when you try to factor in planes which are literally infinite or the like - and that's only sidereal level!)

Similarly - when designing monsters and the like to challenge divine characters, do you just accept that roughly Macro-Medium is about what you need to challenge universe-tier characters, or do you work something else out?

I'll be incredibly grateful if people here shared adventure/monster/character design tips to ensure balance while still allowing fun with the absurd scales that IH so helpfully allows. Looking forward to hearing from you!
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
I’d like to help. I’ve never attempted anything like you’re talking about with the numbers.

But I did once upon a time have a party of characters fight and defeat a deity.

At the time, I basically added a tag to the deity and all its minions: “Legendary.” And the rule for the Legendary tag was that creatures that were Legendary could only be affected by other creatures who were also Legendary OR by spells and attacks from Legendary weapons or implements.

So even the mundane party COULD fight the deity, but only after they acquired some Legendary weapons and stuff. In the final fight they had 1 Legendary melee weapon, 1 Legendary arrow, and 1 Legendary wand (or staff? I forget). There was a LOT of juggling between the party members but they did it.

And I guess I’d do the same here. I wouldn’t want to huge patch of math or to mess with the HP when I could just have a simple universal rule that covered the concept well enough. And it has a kind of precedent, right? Like in clash of the titans. It takes a Legendary shield to defend against Medusa’s Legendary stone-gaze. And it takes her Legendary stone-gaze to defeat the legendary Kraken. So in a way, it’s already kind of familiar.

I know this isn’t quite what you were looking for, but I hope it’s helpful to any degree at all.
 

S'mon

Legend
In my deity level 1e AD&D campaign which inspired the d20 Immortals Handbook it was pretty common to see 'hit only on a 20' and 'hit on a 2'. From what I recall I used the 2e AD&D rule that a 20 was a crit for double damage. Moderately powerful monsters like derghodaemons, or Arasaka security troopers in power armour, could still be some threat to 300+ hp deity PCs with -20 ACs. :)

As a general principle I think the best approach to issues of radically different scale is to have numbers like hit points & damage mean different things at different scales; maybe a Time Lord hit point = 1 billion regular hit points.

Re rolling the d20, I like the 5e D&D 'bounded accuracy' approach. In 5e play I cap bonuses (eg to-hit) at +20 and target numbers (eg AC) at 30, which I think fits with how both 5e and 1e-2e are supposed to work. I think this works better than ever-scaling bonuses making the d20 roll meaningless. Keep the ever-scaling for the non-d20 roll stuff, like damage.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi everyone! New here; literally just created this account to ask this question, since this was the first active community I could find who might have answers to my questions.
Howdy Rantrite! :)

S'mon was nice enough to email me about your post.

I used to really enjoy the Immortals Handbook - especially since it gave me the tools vanilla D&D lacked for handling campaigns across universes, with truly enormous creatures, armies of billions, duels between gods, and all that fantastic stuff. Recently, though, I've become somewhat disillusioned by how it grinds up against significant faults in the d20 system it's built on, in particular the fact that the d20 is only so big of a die and that exponential scaling from size doesn't play well with deity progression.
Yes I am not sure 3/3.5/Path is the best system for Epic/Immortal Gaming to be fair.

4th Edition might have worked but not with the way Player Character Classes were designed.

Ironically 1E/2E and dare I say it 5E are almost certainly the best.

I've been playing with making a system (or merely a very large D&D patch) of my own to allow for proper scaling, but it's obviously slow going and something of a mathematical nightmare to sort out. I figure people who've run mortals-to-deities campaigns in IH and the like might have something to help me out.
Okay fire away.

To elaborate:

1. The d20 is kind of small compared to the numerical disparities present in high-level conflicts. Two characters building themselves in only slightly different ways, thanks to the way feats can stack, can end up with armor classes far, far more than 20 points apart, meaning that the same enemy with an attack bonus between them could hit one character 95% of the time and hit the other only 5% of the time. The stylistic differences between characters only get smaller as levels increase, too; at standard levels, you might need them to be a fighter and a wizard to have such a disparity, but at epic levels, two slightly different fighters will be different enough. Obviously, this note applies to much more than AC, like ability scores and spell resistance, so merely having alternate methods of attack doesn't always seem to do it.
The best approach is some sort of AC cap. 1E/2E had a cap of AC -10 (AC 30 in 5E terms). But there were a few ways to bend the rules on that with artifacts and stuff like that.

Now that I have gotten to play a good bit of high level 5E I suspect that method may be the best for Epic Play.

Think of epic play to be like reaching the Level Cap in World of Warcraft*. You don't want numbers (specifically attack bonuses and AC) to keep going up, instead you want them to plateau with maybe tiny incremental bonuses. As S'mon notes you can still increase things like HP and Damage; you primarily don't want Attack/AC to become irrelevant because it becomes too difficult to balance the game.

*never played it myself but I am loosely familiar with it.

(In the system/patch I'm sketching out, I'm considering giving characters fixed attack numbers that are multiplied or divided by a result generated from their roll. So you could maybe hit someone with an AC twice your attack, and always hit someone with an AC half your attack, irrespective of the absolute numerical difference.)
Sounds a bit complicated.

What level of play are you wanting to play at?

My question is: how do you all handle this in your games - how do you threaten different players with attacks at different times? Surely having only the weakest character or two threatened by enemies while the others are nigh-invulnerable isn't very fun or balanced.
As S'mon noted Immortal Characters generally hit enemies on a '2', meaning the big question was whether you crit or whether you miss.

I sort of attempted this in 3E with the Immortals Handbook. But unlimited math gets out of hand and is unnecessary.

2. On the one hand, it makes total sense that hit dice (and thus HP, etc) would scale exponentially with size due to the square-cube law and such. It never seemed right to me, though, that a time lord - literally the embodiment of a universe and dozens of infinitely large planes - would have about the same number of hit dice as, say, an average human scaled up to Macro-Medium, "merely" mountain sized and surely incapable of threatening much more than a planet on its own. Against anything significantly larger, new problems arise; the amount of natural armor, DR, spell resistance, etc. that monsters gain via feats as their HD rise get too large for time lords to handle, and you're left with problem #1.
I have some ideas of how to do Planet (and bigger) sized monsters in 5E without breaking the rules in the PHB/DMG/MM.

If you tie HD to attack bonus (as 3E does) then your system scaling may as well be thrown out the window.

(I've toyed with just massively multiplying the hit dice and stats for deities, to properly scale with the domains they command and the power they wield, but the numbers get redundant fast when you try to factor in planes which are literally infinite or the like - and that's only sidereal level!)
The best approach is the opposite. You need to use a system like 1E/2E or 5E which massively caps/reduces the math to something more practical.

Similarly - when designing monsters and the like to challenge divine characters, do you just accept that roughly Macro-Medium is about what you need to challenge universe-tier characters, or do you work something else out?
If you need to stick to 3E then I suggest keep throwing ever more powerful monsters from the Immortals handbook at the PCs until something challenges them. However, looking back I believe that the 3E approach (even with my best efforts) is not great for epic/immortal play.

I'll be incredibly grateful if people here shared adventure/monster/character design tips to ensure balance while still allowing fun with the absurd scales that IH so helpfully allows. Looking forward to hearing from you!
I'm planning on doing a new D&D book for 5E that will be for Epic Level play and higher games (17-20+). Got an artist ready to go but a few things still in the design phase.
 

Rantrite

Villager
Nice, thanks for the responses, everyone! Super cool to see UK himself hop onto this.

At the time, I basically added a tag to the deity and all its minions: “Legendary.” And the rule for the Legendary tag was that creatures that were Legendary could only be affected by other creatures who were also Legendary OR by spells and attacks from Legendary weapons or implements.
I get this approach for campaigns where it only shows up sometimes, but if the characters are expected to become Legendary eventually you have nothing more than the same issue one step higher if you want them to continue. Thank you for your comment, though; it's certainly something I've added to my list of things to think about. Maybe having a small set of "power tiers" and rules for handling how they interact might be a more straightforward way to think about it than to keep adding larger numbers.

As a general principle I think the best approach to issues of radically different scale is to have numbers like hit points & damage mean different things at different scales; maybe a Time Lord hit point = 1 billion regular hit points.

Re rolling the d20, I like the 5e D&D 'bounded accuracy' approach. In 5e play I cap bonuses (eg to-hit) at +20 and target numbers (eg AC) at 30, which I think fits with how both 5e and 1e-2e are supposed to work. I think this works better than ever-scaling bonuses making the d20 roll meaningless. Keep the ever-scaling for the non-d20 roll stuff, like damage.
Yeah, manual number compression is an easy approach. It does make the sense of progression less obvious (less fun? Not super sure, though Big Numbers is part of the original IH's appeal, I think).

And sure, bounded accuracy makes some sense. It makes things weird when everyone hits both caps and thus everyone is equally effective in terms of hit rate, but introducing some sort of massive slowdown, at least, has a chance of having interesting results.

Yes I am not sure 3/3.5/Path is the best system for Epic/Immortal Gaming to be fair.

4th Edition might have worked but not with the way Player Character Classes were designed.

Ironically 1E/2E and dare I say it 5E are almost certainly the best.
Fair. I need to get exposed to a lot more roleplaying systems in general, that's for sure; 3.5 just sort of happened to be my first, so stuff connected to it made more sense.


The best approach is some sort of AC cap. 1E/2E had a cap of AC -10 (AC 30 in 5E terms). But there were a few ways to bend the rules on that with artifacts and stuff like that.

Now that I have gotten to play a good bit of high level 5E I suspect that method may be the best for Epic Play.

Think of epic play to be like reaching the Level Cap in World of Warcraft*. You don't want numbers (specifically attack bonuses and AC) to keep going up, instead you want them to plateau with maybe tiny incremental bonuses. As S'mon notes you can still increase things like HP and Damage; you primarily don't want Attack/AC to become irrelevant because it becomes too difficult to balance the game.

*never played it myself but I am loosely familiar with it.
Right, I think this has some advantages and some disadvantages; getting a good transition to said plateau might be tricky without having everyone suddenly slam into a wall of "being exactly as good as each other", so keeping some level of difference between players - and different low defenses on enemies for them to exploit - seems reasonable.

Sounds a bit complicated.

What level of play are you wanting to play at?
You're right, it is complicated, and that's because I've made a mistake in setting playability aside right now in favor of formulae that sound reasonable to me. Right now I don't even know whether this is going to be more like a 3.5 patch or a fresh new system entirely, but I want to have it rigorous up to the hundreds or low thousands, since that's the range that at least seemed to make vague sense for the IH rules as applied.

A game should definitely be playable without a calculator, though, so weighing non-linearly-scalable options is hard. d20 is likely a bad call in the first place.

If you tie HD to attack bonus (as 3E does) then your system scaling may as well be thrown out the window.
Yep, absolutely. I noticed this first when scaling up monsters with the dire-template-stacks, though it's just as unreasonable with anything that happens to have a lot of HD to start with.

The best approach is the opposite. You need to use a system like 1E/2E or 5E which massively caps/reduces the math to something more practical.
But aren't big numbers fun? :p

There's a balance to be hit somewhere, maybe, between exclusively piling on scaling via larger and larger numbers, and just giving up and doing everything narratively like, I don't know, Nobilis or whatever it was. Having a true chasm in between mortal-tier and universe-tier characters seems to be accomplished best by big numerical changes, but there have to be ways to do this without killing the players with math.

If you need to stick to 3E then I suggest keep throwing ever more powerful monsters from the Immortals handbook at the PCs until something challenges them. However, looking back I believe that the 3E approach (even with my best efforts) is not great for epic/immortal play.

I'm planning on doing a new D&D book for 5E that will be for Epic Level play and higher games (17-20+). Got an artist ready to go but a few things still in the design phase.
And I do need to learn 5e at some point. It lacks a bit of the anal-retentiveness of 3.5 that drew me in, but everything seems so much more streamlined and sensible. Fewer things to mess up means that high-level patches might be more reasonable, too.
 

S'mon

Legend
Yeah, manual number compression is an easy approach. It does make the sense of progression less obvious (less fun? Not super sure, though Big Numbers is part of the original IH's appeal, I think).

And sure, bounded accuracy makes some sense. It makes things weird when everyone hits both caps and thus everyone is equally effective in terms of hit rate, but introducing some sort of massive slowdown, at least, has a chance of having interesting results.
Big numbers - well the fun comes when you're hitting enemies on a lower tier for x10 or damage while taking 1/10 - or fighting enemies at the next tier up for 1/10 damage, & taking x10 damage. :)

Bounded accuracy - IME the trick here is to set the cap above what the system naturally generates as static bonus. In 5e D&D the most an Epic-20 PC (using the DMG rules for epic progression) can get naturally is a +16 for +6 Proficiency & +10 attribute; the most a monster can get is +19 for +9 Proficiency & +10 attribute. So setting cap at +20 leaves space for bonuses from magic weapons, bless spells, etc etc. And of course Advantage & Disadvantage still apply. Conversely it's pretty easy to get your AC to 30 in 5e so that is a cap that comes up more.

Re hit points, 5e replaces ever scaling AC with ever scaling hit points, and the DMG has the lovely but under emphasised concept of Damage Threshold - you must reach the DT on your damage roll or you do no damage; if you hit the DT then you do full damage. In play this is far better than 3e style 'hardness' that simply deducts from damage. And it can easily be applied to monsters too.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Nice, thanks for the responses, everyone! Super cool to see UK himself hop onto this.
I'm always around...eventually.

Yeah, manual number compression is an easy approach. It does make the sense of progression less obvious (less fun? Not super sure, though Big Numbers is part of the original IH's appeal, I think).

And sure, bounded accuracy makes some sense. It makes things weird when everyone hits both caps and thus everyone is equally effective in terms of hit rate, but introducing some sort of massive slowdown, at least, has a chance of having interesting results.
As S'mon mentioned, you can still have the BIG numbers in terms of Damage and Hit Points, rather than Attack Bonus and Armour Class.

Its worth noting that in 1E AD&D Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore that only one of the god's surpasses -10 AC (AC 30 by today's rules) and that is Indra with AC -12, and only 3 deities have AC -10. So ridiculous attack and armour class bonuses were not in 1E.

Fair. I need to get exposed to a lot more roleplaying systems in general, that's for sure; 3.5 just sort of happened to be my first, so stuff connected to it made more sense.
Its a nightmare for epic play.

Right, I think this has some advantages and some disadvantages; getting a good transition to said plateau might be tricky without having everyone suddenly slam into a wall of "being exactly as good as each other", so keeping some level of difference between players - and different low defenses on enemies for them to exploit - seems reasonable.
You can always move laterally even if flat Attack Bonus and AC get capped.

You're right, it is complicated, and that's because I've made a mistake in setting playability aside right now in favor of formulae that sound reasonable to me. Right now I don't even know whether this is going to be more like a 3.5 patch or a fresh new system entirely, but I want to have it rigorous up to the hundreds or low thousands, since that's the range that at least seemed to make vague sense for the IH rules as applied.
I believe it will be possible to have even Time Lords (certainly as enemies) in 5th Edition WITHOUT going beyond the caps already mentioned in the PHB/DMG.

A game should definitely be playable without a calculator, though, so weighing non-linearly-scalable options is hard. d20 is likely a bad call in the first place.
I think it can be made to work with 5E.

Yep, absolutely. I noticed this first when scaling up monsters with the dire-template-stacks, though it's just as unreasonable with anything that happens to have a lot of HD to start with.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. :)

But aren't big numbers fun? :p
Not when you spend more time calculating numbers than having fun.

There's a balance to be hit somewhere, maybe, between exclusively piling on scaling via larger and larger numbers, and just giving up and doing everything narratively like, I don't know, Nobilis or whatever it was. Having a true chasm in between mortal-tier and universe-tier characters seems to be accomplished best by big numerical changes, but there have to be ways to do this without killing the players with math.
Just because AC and Attack Bonus get capped* doesn't nerf the possibility for improving your attacks (damage, effects etc.) and armour (damage reduction, damage threshold, regeneration, resistances etc.). Also factor in the boons where you can get a +20 to hit for 1 attack, or ignore the damage of one attack and so forth.

...and I'd maybe consider artifact items with a +4 to break that (not sure what S'mon thinks on that). So hypothetically you could have an attack of +31 (+4 Weapon) or AC of +32 (+4 Armour and Shield )

*Just like Indra. ;-)

And I do need to learn 5e at some point. It lacks a bit of the anal-retentiveness of 3.5 that drew me in, but everything seems so much more streamlined and sensible. Fewer things to mess up means that high-level patches might be more reasonable, too.
On a surface level it seems overly simplistic, but once you get into it the bounded accuracy really works and any simplicity really helps potential epic play - which otherwise suffers from too much complexity.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Big numbers - well the fun comes when you're hitting enemies on a lower tier for x10 or damage while taking 1/10 - or fighting enemies at the next tier up for 1/10 damage, & taking x10 damage. :)
Just like 1st Ed Legends & Lore.

Bounded accuracy - IME the trick here is to set the cap above what the system naturally generates as static bonus. In 5e D&D the most an Epic-20 PC (using the DMG rules for epic progression) can get naturally is a +16 for +6 Proficiency & +10 attribute; the most a monster can get is +19 for +9 Proficiency & +10 attribute. So setting cap at +20 leaves space for bonuses from magic weapons, bless spells, etc etc. And of course Advantage & Disadvantage still apply. Conversely it's pretty easy to get your AC to 30 in 5e so that is a cap that comes up more.
So would you allow AC above 30 with magic items then?

Re hit points, 5e replaces ever scaling AC with ever scaling hit points, and the DMG has the lovely but under emphasised concept of Damage Threshold - you must reach the DT on your damage roll or you do no damage; if you hit the DT then you do full damage. In play this is far better than 3e style 'hardness' that simply deducts from damage. And it can easily be applied to monsters too.
Which monsters or items have this or is the concept only mentioned?
 
Currently i am running a party of deities and they are at level 315, we started out at 200 and progressed from there. Currently what i have in play is a bunch of alterations that balance out combat to make certain things viable. Example: Since the d20 lacks in variability and dnd 3.5 is not designed to go with +30, +70, +1380 after a character makes it to lesser deity, elder one and demiurge stage 3 players will start rolling d100, 1000, and 10,000 respectively. To be adjusted as i see fit. Other things are obvious problems with size categories i generally dont make things too large due to ATK and AC become so negative it is hard to hit anything.
Other small changes are abilities that are obviously exploited IE anything that is related to virtual size categories gets out of hand very quickly with high strength scores.


While i have band-aid fixes to much of this i have a question: How is everyone handling extremely large sizes of creatures? as in once you get to Mega-Fine you have a -32,768 to AC and ATK you kind of miss everything.
 
Last edited:
To challenge my party i have looked out at references other rpgs have done. In world of warcraft bosses are killed by acting a certain way and doing small tasks to prevent the boss from instant killing the party. Some things i have done is to make it so certain monsters have incredibly high AC and have the ability Perfect Defense making them impossible to hit for my melee gods. While these monsters are running around the field i have others that are immune to magic and have high saves but reasonable AC. Other ideas i have thrown out there are summoned minions that after 3 rounds will heal a boss by 50% HP. I use various interactions between the enemies to challenge my party and keep it interesting. Or i just slap a bunch of fun abilities on a boss and give it lots of minions flying by the seat of my pants. We enjoy the number games, we are number lawyers and we enjoy playing characters that fit a strange niche that works with party combat.
 
Last edited:

Rhuarc

Explorer
I'm planning on doing a new D&D book for 5E that will be for Epic Level play and higher games (17-20+). Got an artist ready to go but a few things still in the design phase.
Hey UK,

don't you dare tease us like this and then don't follow up on your plans (yet again)! I had already given up hope to see anything new from you ever again...I can't take another heartbreaking disappointment :oops:

Also, Pathfinder 2nd looks like a great mix of D&D 4th (couple of designers worked on both) and D&D 3rd. Much more balanced and interesting than 1st edition in my opinion. But focus on 5th for now ^^
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hey Akira amigo! :)

Currently i am running a party of deities and they are at level 315, we started out at 200 and progressed from there. Currently what i have in play is a bunch of alterations that balance out combat to make certain things viable. Example: Since the d20 lacks in variability and dnd 3.5 is not designed to go with +30, +70, +1380 after a character makes it to lesser deity, elder one and demiurge stage 3 players will start rolling d100, 1000, and 10,000 respectively. To be adjusted as i see fit. Other things are obvious problems with size categories i generally dont make things too large due to ATK and AC become so negative it is hard to hit anything.
Other small changes are abilities that are obviously exploited IE anything that is related to virtual size categories gets out of hand very quickly with high strength scores.


While i have band-aid fixes to much of this i have a question: How is everyone handling extremely large sizes of creatures? as in once you get to Mega-Fine you have a -32,768 to AC and ATK you kind of miss everything.
I've got ideas how to handle these things in 5E. I think it will make things a lot simpler. One of those ideas is to have multiple stat-blocks for either really big or really powerful beings/monsters. This was an idea I always wanted to implement with 4th Ed. and was inspired by reading early Thor comics particularly where Thor battles Ego (the Living Planet) and (later) the Celestial Exitar.

Another way is to have 'Minions' (in 4E parlance) that have some unique attack/defense. For instance Perhaps one minion (lets call it a "Figment") automatically exists in the mind of everyone attacking the Boss. You can only attack 'your' own figment and killing can cause you Psychic damage - or something like that.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Howdy Rhuarc matey! :)

don't you dare tease us like this and then don't follow up on your plans (yet again)! I had already given up hope to see anything new from you ever again...I can't take another heartbreaking disappointment :oops:
I hate mentioning anything until its done...and you guys know how long I can take to get anything done.

I have a few* epic monster ideas, basically comprising all the monsters I've designed but not released (maybe with a few retreads thrown in where necessary). I've subdivided them into manageable chunks (groups of 35 or so) and I have a few ideas how to turn these into (hopefully) interesting (mini) epic-adventures.

*300-400 or so.

So as you know I always plan big and then deliver small (but hopefully interesting stuff) so I have outlined 4 adventure paths of 3 adventures each. In effect 12 books. Obviously this is currently pie in the sky at this juncture. However, a few things are working in my favour here:

1. 5E is vastly simpler than 3E or even 4E.
2. I have a great artist (who is working on my comic book) ready to do the art (which I think will take him 7-8 weeks...once we get started).
3. Initial 'adventures' will be for Levels 17-20+ (but its still gonna get bonkers don't worry).

So the books would be primarily a Bestiary of high-level monsters with enough of an adventure (using those new monsters) tacked on to make for a cool story and I would throw in a few new rules and ideas along the way. ;)

At this point I have detailed notes on the first 3 adventures and I am musing over which to start with.

Also, Pathfinder 2nd looks like a great mix of D&D 4th (couple of designers worked on both) and D&D 3rd. Much more balanced and interesting than 1st edition in my opinion. But focus on 5th for now ^^
I got to play a lot of 5th recently (thanks S'mon) and I am starting to see how it can work for Epic 17-20 Levels and above. The key is its simplicity and AC/Attack Bonus caps.
 

S'mon

Legend
I got to play a lot of 5th recently (thanks S'mon) and I am starting to see how it can work for Epic 17-20 Levels and above. The key is its simplicity and AC/Attack Bonus caps.
Yeah, you had, what, 8 games in 10 days including the London D&D Meetup? :D I think your level 20 games with the Scylla-Kraken and the Aboleths were pretty representative of how the combat goes, though the Sihedron gives that party a lot of advantages.
 

Rhuarc

Explorer
Hey UK,

everything you have mentioned above sounds great and I wholeheartedly support your attempt at starting smaller and see if you can manage to get things done in a somewhat timely fashion!

I'm still open to the idea of supporting your books with a Kickstarter or Patreon if that would help with enticing you to get your ideas onto 'paper' and pay for artists :)

Also, if you are interested you might want to look at the Epic Legacy Core Rulebook:


Definitely not the perfect epic level implementation, but the guys have some interesting ideas in there.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hey Rhuarc buddy!

everything you have mentioned above sounds great and I wholeheartedly support your attempt at starting smaller and see if you can manage to get things done in a somewhat timely fashion!
I need to keep things in bitesize chunks otherwise my imagination gets the better of me and I veer off into the unknown.

I'm still open to the idea of supporting your books with a Kickstarter or Patreon if that would help with enticing you to get your ideas onto 'paper' and pay for artists :)
Weirdly enough I'm actually okay financially at the moment (as opposed to 15 years ago when I did the Immortal's Handbook Epic Bestiary). I'm paying this artist to draw a 128 page graphic novel. So I have a bit of spare cash floating about to take on multiple projects.

I have considered the Kickstarter/Indiegogo/Crowdfund route (which I'll likely do for my graphic novel when its finished next year) but I don't know if its necessary for these Epic Adventure-Bestiary's. Realistically I could have the whole thing finished within 8 weeks (when started).

I DO want to allow a Print on Demand version (I always prefer a physical copy myself) as well as a pdf. I'd do a print run but I don't see initial numbers being more than a few hundred at best and if its less than 1000 its probably just better going with Print on demand.

If you want to support me I will be opening a t-shirt business in a few months time and I have a handful of cool (I hope), fun ideas for epic/immortal t-shirts in the works.

I may also look into an updated 3.5E Ascension for Print on Demand as well as the Vampire Bestiary trilogy updated for 5th Edition (also for Print on Demand). I looked at the 5E Vampire and its way overpowered and not great in my humble opinion.

Also, if you are interested you might want to look at the Epic Legacy Core Rulebook:


Definitely not the perfect epic level implementation, but the guys have some interesting ideas in there.
I have been meaning to buy this - I just wasn't sure if I wanted to get it before I published my first 5E epic material or after, so that it doesn't colour my own ideas...my thinking at this point is that I personally wouldn't have leveling beyond 20th, but I would have divinity.
 

Rhuarc

Explorer
Hey UK,

Weirdly enough I'm actually okay financially at the moment (as opposed to 15 years ago when I did the Immortal's Handbook Epic Bestiary). I'm paying this artist to draw a 128 page graphic novel. So I have a bit of spare cash floating about to take on multiple projects.
Glad to hear that you are in a better place financially than before and I will surely support you in different ways if you offer something interesting. Looking forward to it!

I have been meaning to buy this - I just wasn't sure if I wanted to get it before I published my first 5E epic material or after, so that it doesn't colour my own ideas...my thinking at this point is that I personally wouldn't have leveling beyond 20th, but I would have divinity.
Yeah, maybe waiting to not be influenced is the right call. All depending on how set your own ideas already are. If they are still in flux, better take a look once you got that sorted out.

And your idea is to go straight from level 20 to godhood (even if it's 'only' Quasi-Deity or Demi-Deity)? That's surprising honestly, but certainly one way of doing this. I'll stick to a higher ceiling for my personal game for now :)
 

Celebrim

Hero
Recently, though, I've become somewhat disillusioned by how it grinds up against significant faults in the d20 system it's built on, in particular the fact that the d20 is only so big of a die and that exponential scaling from size doesn't play well with deity progression.
What you are talking about is inherent to pretty much all game systems, and there isn't a good fix.

Specifically, the sweet spot in a game system tends to be roughly that area in which the PC's bonuses on a task are large enough to somewhat differentiate them from each other, but not so large that either the difference between two PC's bonuses or any one PC's bonus is large in comparison to the range of results permitted by the fortune.

So D20 for example starts to fall apart with the bonuses either get near 20 in size or else the difference between the bonuses of two characters gets close to 20 in size. If you have a +22 to something, then this gets to be a problem. And if you have a +18 in something, and the other person has a +0, then that's also a problem. All of that I gather you understand.

The bad news.... there is no good fix. A couple of false paths you might try:

a) As soon as you said 'division', you've lost your way as a designer. Any mechanic involving division is probably too complex for anything but a video game.

b) You could try using fixed math so that everyone's bonuses in everything continues to go up evenly with the progression in difficulty. But then you run into a problem where the numbers are getting bigger but the gameplay is staying the same so what is the point? See a typical 'Blizzard' Diablo based RPG, including 'World of Warcraft'.

c) You could try rebalancing everything so that now you are playing a new game with a new sweet spot, but you'll lose all granularity prior to this point. Things couldn't interact with each other across scales.

My question is: how do you all handle this in your games - how do you threaten different players with attacks at different times? Surely having only the weakest character or two threatened by enemies while the others are nigh-invulnerable isn't very fun or balanced.
I play for as long as possible in the systems sweet spot, and then when I hit the systems limits I start a new game. Not the answer you want to hear, but one of the more practical ones.

There are actually related unsolvable problems with scale in standard D&D, most easily seen at 1st level. At first level, you have one HD. But D&D has significant problems dealing with the scale of anything smaller than 1HD. Cats, rats, wasps, ants and so forth all have significant and even insurmountable simulation issues owing to the fact that 1 hit point, 1 damage, +1 bonus and so forth are all atomic and indivisible. The smaller the scale the more it becomes impossible to distinguish between things which are, themselves as radically different in scale as the 1st level PC and dragons and whales.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hello again amigo! :)

Glad to hear that you are in a better place financially than before
Yes I'm doing good now thanks. Was flat broke before and that's when I made the mistake of taking the pre-orders for Ascension and the project was just massive and that heaped extra pressure on me and the whole thing suffered.

and I will surely support you in different ways if you offer something interesting. Looking forward to it!
I'll always try to make the stuff interesting and fun. The t-shirt designs I have planned I'm convinced epic gamers will love them. ;-)

Yeah, maybe waiting to not be influenced is the right call. All depending on how set your own ideas already are. If they are still in flux, better take a look once you got that sorted out.
I already know what I want to do with 5E epic/immortals.

And your idea is to go straight from level 20 to godhood (even if it's 'only' Quasi-Deity or Demi-Deity)? That's surprising honestly, but certainly one way of doing this. I'll stick to a higher ceiling for my personal game for now :)
The point is the game needs a ceiling on levels (in my opinion*) so it may as well be Level 20.

*Otherwise you face the same problems that plagued 3E.

Continuing the Levels above 20 is self defeating in that the further from L20 you diverge the more of the existing monster pool you abandon. Additionally the top of your levels (whether you cap at 30, 40 or 50 or whatever) will be completely empty of content.

The current L20 characters need more monsters of CRs 17-40. If you raise the cap to Level 40 then you'll need monsters up to level 60.

How many monsters are in this Epic Legacy book? I couldn't find a detailed review online.
 

Advertisement

Top