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E6: The Game Inside D&D

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Ry

Explorer
Too good. I'd rather give him a feat at EVERY level, at least that way you can keep the discussion of balance to feat-comparison. That would give the fighter 2 more feats, which I think brings them up to the Barbarian.
 

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Aage

First Post
Come to think of it, feats will be far more valueable in a low levelled campaign setting like this as well... a barbarian will pretty much need extra rage; the +2 from weapon spec. could actually do some significant difference when monsters don't have 500+ hp; bards gaining +4 musics per day is far more attractive when they only have 6/day, rather than 20/day...

So having 4 (or 6 if 1/level) extra feats could be pretty darned good actually...
 

Ry

Explorer
OK, look at this - this combines Extra Sorcery and Extra Wizardry into 1 feat, which benefits Sorcerers more than Wizards slightly (by design). This one you can gain some 3rd level slots but you can't advance radically quickly because of the a bottom-heavy requirement.

Extra Casting
Prerequisites: Character level 6, caster level 4+
Benefit: Choose a spell level that you have access to. You gain 1 spell slot and 1 new spell known. If you are a prepared caster treat this as an automatic spell learned. You must choose a slot such that you have more 0th level spell slots than 1st, more 1st than 2nd, and more 2nd than 3rd.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times.
 


iceifur

Explorer
Well, don't forget the "Dungeon Crasher" Fighter variant in Dungeonscape. For the cost of your 2nd- and 6th-lvl bonus Fighter feats, you too can bull rush someone into a wall or other object for 8d6 + (Str bonus x 3) damage, and you also get some pretty major bonuses on breaking things and avoiding traps. The damage is also nice, considering the Sorcerer's/Wizard's fireball tops out at 6d6 under this system (though the fiery ball does hit everyone in a certain radius).
 

PoeticJustice

First Post
I don't think we've anything to gain by analyzing the perceived weakness of the fighter in this context. I also find it a tough pill to swallow, considering last summer I had a Spiked-Chain fighter in my group that made the Cleric complain about power levels.
 

Cheiromancer

Explorer
I find it helpful to review the first post of this thread- the design goals of E6. I read it as preserving the heroic fantasy sweet spot for as long as possible, and with as simple a fix as possible. Not worrying about whether the fighter is too weak at 6th level. Not trying to make Wuxia or Superhero characters with the rules. Etc.

The questions I'd keep asking myself would be: "What would a party of 6th level characters do in this situation?" and "Is the genre still heroic fantasy?"

So if there is need of a stone to flesh, what would a 6th level party do? Find an NPC, most likely. So that's what you do: and figure out what an NPC would ask of a 6th level party. A quest for special ingredients? Gold? And then handwave the rest: maybe he has a special 3rd level spell with an enormous casting time and special material components that otherwise acts like stone to flesh. Maybe a feat chain. But there's no particular need to work out the details.

Personally, I'd go with the "scroll equivalence" route. The PCs have to go to as much effort as it would take in a standard campaign to get and use the appropriate scroll. Call it a ritual or whatever, but if a 6th level party can get a scroll of greater restoration then an E6 party should be able to get the same result, though flavor might differ.

I like Nifft's idea about allowing a saving throw every day until a negative level goes away. If that seems too generous, make it every week. But that is a way of reducing dependence on powerful NPCs and/or magic shops. It is not really necessary to describe it in E6, since a standard campaign could use it with a standard party of 6th level characters.

I'd be cautious about allowing feats, spells and magic items in an E6 campaign that raises the power level greatly. According to the first post, above level 10 or so the game genre is wuxia rather than heroic fantasy- you want to stay short of that. Efforts to make an E6 character equivalent in power to a 20th level character should also be avoided: that's outside the sweet spot. Using really powerful monsters with weak PCs makes the game more like Call of Cthulhu, and I'd avoid that too. That's what I mean by asking "Is the genre still heroic fantasy?"

Personally, I would allow a slower progression through the sweet spot. My rules would be something like the following:

1. Heroic Start: Player characters start at 3rd level.
2. Ever Slower Advancement: Level ups occur at 5K, 10K, 20K, 40K, 80K xp etc..
3. Regular Cookies: Every 5K the PC gets something: if they are not leveling up, they get a feat. This is to so players can enjoy their character's growth in power.

I think 3rd level is low enough to allow organic character development, but high enough for characters to be capable and reasonably robust. If the game is about heroic fantasy, the characters should be heroic from the get-go.

The rationale behind slowing down advancement more and more is to prolong the time in the sweet spot. A 5th level character spends 10,000 xp at level 5; twice as long as a standard campaign. A 6th level character spends 20K xp at level 6; over three times as long as normal. And so on. I prefer a slightly higher sweet spot than 6th level, and these rules ensure that 7th level is not too far away, and 8th is quite possible (see chart below).

To ensure that players don't get bored with their static characters, they get feats at regular intervals when not advancing.

Most other rules I'd consider under the categories of "How to make PCs less reliant on NPCs" (for restorations, stone to fleshes and raise deads, etc.) and "How to tweak class balance around level 6" (e.g. to ensure fighters are viable, sorcerers aren't underpowered, etc.) But I would think that these are separate discussions from E6.

p.s. The xp chart would look like the following. I think it starts out much like E6, but ends up like E8. I don't know what a good name for this rules variant would be.

Code:
xp total   level + extra feats
0            3
5 000        4
10 000       5
15 000       5 + 1
20 000       6 + 1
25 000       6 + 2
30 000       6 + 3
35 000       6 + 4
40 000       7 + 4
45 000       7 + 5
50 000       7 + 6
55 000       7 + 7
60 000       7 + 8
65 000       7 + 9
70 000       7 + 10
75 000       7 + 11
80 000       8 + 11
85 000       8 + 12
90 000       8 + 13
95 000       8 + 14
100 000      8 + 15
etc.

I'd give xp based on the actual character level, not counting bonus feats. That means that at, say, 8th level the PCs will be handling tougher challenges than the average 8th level characters, but given that they need 10 times the experience to get to 9th level, I think that will be OK. Maybe a LA will be necessary- +1 every 10 feats or something. Or after level 7 or so just give an average award of 5000 xp per play session. Dunno - playtesting would help. And xp awards might be a separate topic, too.
 
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Evilhalfling

Adventurer
I’m with Chieronomancer E6 is all about using D&D to simulate heroic fantasy, rather than the D&D genre. Slowing advancement, changing demographics, and revising treasure tables are all necessary for this type of game to work.

I do think people only need advancement every other session, if it is every session there is less sense of anticipation. Some of my players, esp. those who don’t plan their full advancement, would get frustrated with having to choose a new feat every game.

Although I like 7th-8th level, it does open a can of worms with regard to what items can be created like stat boosters, and +1 weapon enhancements.

Anyone interested in making a E6 wondrous item list? Using the assumption that caster level of the item is not a prerequisite for creation( Per FAQ, etc), but the spells used being 3rd level or lower is. +1 armor, +1 weapons, scroll, potions, wands are all easily determined, wondrous items vary widely.
 

Ry

Explorer
I definitely see the appeal of running levels 3 through 8: Instead of working up to and sitting in the sweet spot of a-bit-better-than-6th, it would play with the fun of advancing (slowly) through that range.

Cheiromancer makes some good points, and at the moment I must admit I'm torn. Is 3-8 (with feats leaning the power level towards 10) more fun than 1-6 (with feats leaning power more towards 8)? Or should my new game of E6 start at 3 and go to 6 plus feats?
 

joela

First Post
E6 versus E8

rycanada said:
Cheiromancer makes some good points, and at the moment I must admit I'm torn. Is 3-8 (with feats leaning the power level towards 10) more fun than 1-6 (with feats leaning power more towards 8)? Or should my new game of E6 start at 3 and go to 6 plus feats?

Simple enough to find out.

I've learned that theory doesn't always concur with game play. :eek: rycanada, run your new game as per originally planned while cheiromancer runs his (her?) players throught the variant. Both of you document, then post, your experiences and thoughts here on enworld. We can all then see how the systems are affected by the different epic levels and experience progression.
 

Ry

Explorer
Well, I was thinking of starting at 2nd or 3rd anyway (I've run origin stories to death). So I think the most likely is E6 but starting with 3001 XP. E6 qua E6 (a hard cap followed by feats) was the pitch that earned me 2 extra interested players for this upcoming game.
 

knight_isa

First Post
rycanada said:
Cheiromancer makes some good points, and at the moment I must admit I'm torn. Is 3-8 (with feats leaning the power level towards 10) more fun than 1-6 (with feats leaning power more towards 8)? Or should my new game of E6 start at 3 and go to 6 plus feats?

I think that it really depends on what levels you and your players enjoy the most.

For me, as a DM, I think the sweet spot starts around 5th level and goes through 8th (although I have to admit to enjoying building up to 5th as well).

I was planning on using the concept of E6, stretching it to be E8. I was was even pondering placing feats in between (in sort of a L6 -> 5 feats -> L7 -> 5 feats -> L8 -> more feats progression). I think Cheiromancer's suggestion will work out really well for me, and from what input I've had from my group I think it will work better for us than E6.

That said, I still think E6 has merit. It really all depends on where your "sweet spot" is, and what sort of story you want to play out.
 

Ry

Explorer
I do think E6 has merit, because I've played it. But even if all this discussion caused was people using the rules their way, instead of being pushed from the game they like (say, levels 5-10) to the game they don't (11-20) then it was a good exercise.
 

Ry

Explorer
(I was only torn for a minute there, until I realized that I could get Malazan Book of the Fallen style goodness out of levels 3 to 6 and keep doing E6.)
 

Dragonblade275

First Post
Cheiromancer,

I like your suggestion about changing the way XP works. Though, I'd leave the XP table the same as in the Player's Handbook and just adjust the amount of XP awarded.

Though, slowing level advancement might be irritating for some players. And, I've read that that was one of the reasons for making it so quick in 3.0 & 3.5 as compared with previous editions. Perhaps, breaking down each level into four parts (as Ryan has suggested somewhere) would help?

Either way, E6 is a great idea. I can see simulating most of my favorite swords & sorcery stories with just E6. The Death Dealer, Conan, Dragonlance... Just about all of them could work in E6.

But, our group is going to play 3.5 with some house-rules through level 20 at least once before committing to an E6 campaign.
 

joela

First Post
Malazan

rycanada said:
(I was only torn for a minute there, until I realized that I could get Malazan Book of the Fallen style goodness out of levels 3 to 6 and keep doing E6.)

While I've heard of the series, I've never read it. Is it extreme high-fantasy or something?
 

Ry

Explorer
It's funny. I see it kind of like Eberron but instead of translating 1st to 6th level characters into a big fat modern economy it's more like taking those characters (lots of wizards and other magic users, btw) and putting them on different sides of a clash of civilizations. There's some high fantasy elements there, but most of the really high powered stuff is in the hands of gods, demons, or elder races from another age (all of whom are quite impressive). While there's a few humans that have become demigods and can transform into dragons the characters I think of as "the humans" - or the protagonists - are quite mortal, and I think they could be done in E6.

cient past, etc.) For example, if there was a demiplane nearby, is a 3rd level spell OK to dimension door over to it? I'd say that's a fine spell.
 

Ry

Explorer
Here's another point about starting level: If you start at level 1 you should want to do an origin story, whether it's E6 or not. If you don't want to do an origin story, you should start at level 2 or higher.
 

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