D&D General BECMI - okay how do you Immortal?

Been watching Mr. Welch so I want to ask this.

How do you immortal?

BEC seems solid as stone, but M seems to stumble and I feels unfocused as heck.

So you are given a party of immortals and how do you run a game.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
One can roughly correlate 5e.

Levels 1-4: Basic
Levels 5-8: Expert
Levels 9-12: Champion
Levels 13-16: Master
Levels 17-20: Immortal (Lower Rank)

Levels 21-24: Immortal (Upper Rank)
 
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cbwjm

Legend
I never reached M let alone I when I played BECMI, however, I'd suggest reading the various immortal level adventures to get some idea. A large part of it would probably be roleplay developing your following, then there is the countering of other immortals opposed to your goals or the goals of your immortal sponsor. I almost feel like an immortal level game should have at least two levels; the immortal level where all of the divine stuff plays out, and the mortal champions where all of the opposition on the prime plane plays out.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Wow, haven't thought about Immortals for over 30 years...

I only ran one game back when finishing high school. It basically resolved around contests for the PCs to increase their Power Points IIRC... Other immortals challenged them with tasks, riddles, etc., sort of like gambling and betting on the outcomes of their performance. They used their power to shape their realms and such. Finally, they had to earn their place in the pantheon of the world and establish their purpose (god of fate, war, etc.).
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Been watching Mr. Welch so I want to ask this.

How do you immortal?

BEC seems solid as stone, but M seems to stumble and it feels unfocused as heck.

So you are given a party of immortals and how do you run a game.

The thing is that, as pointed out by @Yaarel (and although I would not agree with his segmentation), there is a change in the type of game between B, E, C, M, and I. C is about dominions, but already M is about ascension. It's about having sponsors in the Immortals, maybe conflicting ones for different members of your party, that guide you, give you objectives, etc. If you look at the M Modules, you will see this clearly, there is a conflict between Immortals, and you move from being their pawn to being their agent in the mortal world, to being worthy of ascension. It's already a different type of game, one which will prepare you for the Immortal games where the principles are again different.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
One can roughly correlate 5e.

Levels 1-4: Basic
Levels 5-8: Expert
Levels 9-12: Champion
Levels 13-16: Master
Levels 17-20: Immortal

Levels 21-24: (Epic)
I don't really agree there, 5e has a more compact range than BECMI, and you really can't play Immortal with the 5e rules anyway.

For me it would rather be:
  • Basic: Levels 1-4: Local Heroes
  • Expert: Levels 5-10: Heroes of the Realm
  • Champion: Levels 11-16: Masters of the Realm
  • Master: Levels 17-20: Masters of the World + Epic, at least a few levels
  • Immortal: I have yet to found epic rules for 5e that give you something even approaching what an Immortal game feels like, actually.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I don't really agree there, 5e has a more compact range than BECMI, and you really can't play Immortal with the 5e rules anyway.

For me it would rather be:
  • Basic: Levels 1-4: Local Heroes
  • Expert: Levels 5-10: Heroes of the Realm
  • Champion: Levels 11-16: Masters of the Realm
  • Master: Levels 17-20: Masters of the World + Epic, at least a few levels
  • Immortal: I have yet to found epic rules for 5e that give you something even approaching what an Immortal game feels like, actually.
I'd probably tack on something like the rules for gods from 3e if I was wanting to play up an immortal/deity level game.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't really agree there, 5e has a more compact range than BECMI, and you really can't play Immortal with the 5e rules anyway.

For me it would rather be:
  • Basic: Levels 1-4: Local Heroes
  • Expert: Levels 5-10: Heroes of the Realm
  • Champion: Levels 11-16: Masters of the Realm
  • Master: Levels 17-20: Masters of the World + Epic, at least a few levels
  • Immortal: I have yet to found epic rules for 5e that give you something even approaching what an Immortal game feels like, actually.
Yeah, the four Tiers of 5E seem to track to BECM pretty well.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I'd probably tack on something like the rules for gods from 3e if I was wanting to play up an immortal/deity level game.

I actually had that problem with 3e when I ran my biggest campaign ever, which went into ascension. 3e was not well suited for high level play anyway, too annoying with too many modifiers, took way too long to run, so I created a much simpler system based on Heroquest, which scales extremely well (it was made for scaling Runequest up, since Runequest work sway better than D&D but does not scale well either when you go too much about 100% - although the recent editions do much better).

In any case, since you are playing more with basic principles, I think a more freeform system works way better than a prolongation of a technical system, the characters are beyond mortal/technical descriptions.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I don't really agree there, 5e has a more compact range than BECMI, and you really can't play Immortal with the 5e rules anyway.

For me it would rather be:
  • Basic: Levels 1-4: Local Heroes
  • Expert: Levels 5-10: Heroes of the Realm
  • Champion: Levels 11-16: Masters of the Realm
  • Master: Levels 17-20: Masters of the World + Epic, at least a few levels
  • Immortal: I have yet to found epic rules for 5e that give you something even approaching what an Immortal game feels like, actually.
In 5e, the "mid-levels", tier 9-12, play so differently from both 5-8 and 13-16. It feels like a separate tier in every sense, and correlates with the proficiency bonus improvement.

My impression of BECMI is, as @cbwjm notes, there are virtually two tiers of Immortal: the game of manipulating the world and the tier where they interact with each other.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
In 5e, the "mid-levels", tier 9-12, play so differently from both 5-8 and 13-16.

My impression of BECMI is, as @cbwjm notes, there are virtually two tiers of Immortal: the game of manipulating the world and the tier where they interact with each other.

There is a gradation of Immortals, but the game was mostly intended to play the lower ranks anyway (although the rules are for all ranks), and it's about interacting with other immortals, directly or through manipulating the world, which changes from Master, where you are being the influenced one.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
There is a gradation of Immortals, but the game was mostly intended to play the lower ranks anyway.
The more playable lower rank of Immortal makes tier 17-20 a good fit.

For the upper rank 5e epic boons are great, for nonclass tier 21-20.

The boons are all over the place balancewise, so the DM needs to doublecheck each one before granting it to a player character.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The more playable lower rank of Immortal makes tier 17-20 a good fit.

For the upper rank 5e epic boons are great, for nonclass tier 21-20.

The boons are all over the place balancewise, so the DM needs to doublecheck each one before granting it to a player character.
No, not really: the capabilities of Level 17-20 PCs in 5E more resemble Master characters: although the official "conversion from previous Editions" document for 5E would set any character over 20 in BECMI as a Level 20 5E PC, so that would mean the event horizon of power level is in Companion, not even Master.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The more playable lower rank of Immortal makes tier 17-20 a good fit.

The problem is that the powers that you get at these levels have nothing to do with the powers of an immortal or demi-god.

For the upper rank 5e epic boons are great, for nonclass tier 21-20.

Again, it's not a question of power, epic boons are fine but fairly mundane.

The boons are all over the place balancewise, so the DM needs to doublecheck each one before granting it to a player character.

Of course, but for me it's a really different topic. Playing an immortal is not about D&D combat power...
 



jgsugden

Legend
Basic rules really only covered a short span, levels 1 to 3, but actually more like levels 1 to 2 if 5E is used as a benchmark as 5E characters have a lot more abilities. The feel of a 3rd level basic PC ismore like the feel of a 2nd level 5E PC. They were very easy to kill with a couple 'good' DM rolls or one big mistake by the PCs. And given the lack of strategydiscussion in that era - PCs made a lot of things we'd call mistakes today.

Expert took spellcasters through 6th level wizard spells, which is more like level 12 in 5E. One could argue the lack of special abilities may equate to a lower level of PC, but wizards, specifically, had a lot more spell slots, longer durations and no concentration mechanic, so they were a lot more powerful. Most players with fond memories of these days are speaking primarily of their experience with expert rules.

Companion (not Champion) Rules took PCs up to the equivalent of 20th level PCs in 5E, but the magic users, specifically, peaked with a lot more power than a 5E wizard due to the amazing number of spell slots and ability to stack spells. My high level PCs from my Companion days used magic to scout before battle, walked in with a dozen spells up on the party, and were my first examples of effective and powerful PCs.

Master and Immortal do not equate to 5E, at all, as they took PCs to power levels that exceed what we see in 5E. 9 spells of each level between level 1 and 9 in Master? However, in practice, there were a lot of TPKs if a DM followed the rules. It was not a well balanced game, and there were too many opportunities for a single bad roll to end a PC. If you had two of those early in a combat, there was no way to recover.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Basic rules really only covered a short span, levels 1 to 3, but actually more like levels 1 to 2 if 5E is used as a benchmark as 5E characters have a lot more abilities. The feel of a 3rd level basic PC ismore like the feel of a 2nd level 5E PC. They were very easy to kill with a couple 'good' DM rolls or one big mistake by the PCs. And given the lack of strategydiscussion in that era - PCs made a lot of things we'd call mistakes today.

Expert took spellcasters through 6th level wizard spells, which is more like level 12 in 5E. One could argue the lack of special abilities may equate to a lower level of PC, but wizards, specifically, had a lot more spell slots, longer durations and no concentration mechanic, so they were a lot more powerful. Most players with fond memories of these days are speaking primarily of their experience with expert rules.

Companion (not Champion) Rules took PCs up to the equivalent of 20th level PCs in 5E, but the magic users, specifically, peaked with a lot more power than a 5E wizard due to the amazing number of spell slots and ability to stack spells. My high level PCs from my Companion days used magic to scout before battle, walked in with a dozen spells up on the party, and were my first examples of effective and powerful PCs.

Master and Immortal do not equate to 5E, at all, as they took PCs to power levels that exceed what we see in 5E. 9 spells of each level between level 1 and 9 in Master? However, in practice, there were a lot of TPKs if a DM followed the rules. It was not a well balanced game, and there were too many opportunities for a single bad roll to end a PC. If you had two of those early in a combat, there was no way to recover.
Good run down. Beyond the mechanical questions, it does seem to me that the narrative space represented by the BECM stages and the 5E Tiers do line up, though. The M adventures would fit with adjustment for Level 20 5E PCs, and the CM would be appropriate for 11-16, and X for 5-10, and B for 1-4.
 


Not much in the way of running an Immortals type game, but if I had to breakdown the BECMI into 5E, it's pretty simple to me:

  • Basic: Lv 1-2, which are the training wheel levels
    • you don't even necessarily have your archetype/subclass yet, and death is just a failed save away
  • Expert: Lv 3-10, where most of the game takes place
    • IME almost all games of BECMI ended somewhere in this tier, and even if not most of the campaign took place here
  • Champion: Lv 11-16, where you're a real power player
    • This isn't that big of a coincidence, since Champion pretty much matched "name level" of AD&D
  • Master: Lv 17-20, when you can really screw up the multi-verse
    • Most games never made it here, but power-wise it fits pretty well
  • Immortal: 20+ several boons at least
    • Doesn't translate real well

  • Immortal: I have yet to found epic rules for 5e that give you something even approaching what an Immortal game feels like, actually.
The closest is some of the description stuff in Theros, and that's not particularly helpful. Although to be honest, I don't know how much interest there really is in it. Epic tier is generally consider epic enough for most, and IMO D&D has never really done a great job with "Epic Levels" anyway. Probably best just to try and modify stuff from the Immortals set, since regular mechanics are kinda weird/pointless for it.
 

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