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E6: The Game Inside D&D

VanceMadrox

First Post
I understand that abilities above level 8 can be given out using the leaning up approach.

My dilemma is that there are some 9th and 10th level abilities I'd like available. Rather than lean up that far I think E8 might be a better choice for me.

I also don't really see that it'd be much more work as a DM. 1st level Warrior Orcs might no threaten but statting up a 3rd level warrior orc once or twice barely takes any time.

The Gestalt vs Capstone idea is interesting. I think I've seen your list but it was for 3.5 so wouldn't be entirely accurate for Pathfinder. I also don't like the idea of every character of a class eventually getting the same 3 capstone abilities personally.



As for Magic Items I understand you can take the relics from a bygone era or forged by starnge and powerful entities approach. If I did go with E6 I would definitely use this approach. I like the idea of having mortals who can forge some of the items I mentioned. Granted there may only ever be one mortal who has the ability to do it but that's fine by me. With E8 leaning up to 10 I also don't have to worry about Incantations. Just about every spell I would in the game want is 5th or lower. I kind of like the idea of a world where high powered Magic simply isn't possible, even through ritual. I can see the appeal of using it for an E6 game though.
 

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Werebat

Explorer
IMO the capstone abilities need a little more variety to help them compete with gestalt appeal. So far I have been very open to players wishing to take some other ability not mentioned as a capstone ability, so effectively there ARE more than three choices IMC, those are just the standard ones.

I plan to switch over to PF myself, and will likely have to edit my system when I do.
 

NichG

First Post
Even in an E6 universe, it's possible for mortal mages to get fairly high caster levels if they use the right feats and things like magical locations. You can get +2 or +3 caster level via Elder Giant magic, +1 to spells of certain subtypes with domains or reserve feats, etc. At that point, you can start making Ioun stones... This makes things > caster level 6 logically exceedingly rare, but not impossible for specialized wizards or clerics to produce. When I ran an E6 game, one of the PCs went this route and was able to get his caster level for item creation obscenely high by the end of the campaign by bootstrapping his way up - it was somewhere around 18 when he was in the right circumstances: on a ship, with a full moon out, in his sanctum, etc, etc. That's as a wizard; it would've been much easier if he had been a cleric - there are feats that let you exchange turn attempts for up to +3 caster level, the bead of Karma is +4, the Ankh of Ascension is +4...

Another way you could do it that requires less character optimization would be to grant a bonus to caster level for using a magical location in order to require questing to make things > caster level 6. Go to the heart of a volcano to forge a flaming sword, go to the corpse of a god on the Astral to make a bag of holding...

Maybe certain materials are available that bridge the gap for specific items you want to be common but are otherwise too high caster level. Phase spider silk is, if not trivial to get, available in quantity in principle, and is listed as being a major component for portable holes.

So there are a couple ways around the item issue.
 



Oozemaster

First Post
I only recently discovered E6, and I am considering running a game with it in the near future. I have come up with my own variation on it, and I wanted to run it by you guys and see what you think. It's a kind of escalating gestalt system where characters continue to gain levels in addition to feats.

It would go like this:

Characters level up normally for the first 6 levels, following the rules of D&D 3.5 and regular E6. At level 6, they will have completed their first round of development. As a reward, they get to raise one ability score by one point, just as they did at level 4.

After characters earn 5000 more XP, they get a feat, as per the regular E6 rules.

After they earn another 5000 XP, things get more interesting. They choose another class level to take and become Gestalt characters, with their 6 previous levels on one side and their new level on the other. Characters can take levels in any classes they qualify for, even if they did not meet the qualifications when they were originally level 1, but they can never take more than 6 levels in a single class. Shared class features are the greater of that granted by the new level or the combined total of the first 6 levels.

For example, a Wizard 5/Divine Oracle 1 decided to begin his new gestalt with a level of Rogue. The character's hit points do not change, because 5d4 + 1d6 is greater than 1d6. However, the second hit point total should still be recorded and kept in case it eventually rises above the first.

Continuing with the example, a first level Rogue has a 0 for base attack bonus, so that doesn't change. The Rogue has 0/2/0 for Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves. The Wizard 5/Divine Oracle 1 has 1/1/6. 2 is more than 1, so the Rogue's reflex save is used.

The Wizard 5/Divine Oracle 1 has 18 skill points. The Rogue 1 has 24 skill points. So the character immediately gains 6 skill points to be spent using the Rogue's skill list.

None of the Rogue's class features overlap, so they are all added in and the character is ready to go.

5000 XP later, the character gains another feat. 5000 XP after that, the character gains another level. It is added following the same rules as above, except that now the combined totals of the first six levels are being balanced against the combined totals of the second two levels.

Advancement continues in that manner, alternating feats and levels every 5000 XP.

After the character has earned 80,000 XP, or shortly after level 13 following regular 3.5 rules, the character will have reached 6th level for the second time, and is now a 6//6 gestalt with 6 extra feats. Once again, as a reward, one ability score can be raised by one point.

Upon gaining 5000 more XP, the character gains a feat. 5000 XP after that, the character gains another level and begins a third side to the gestalt, following the same rules as above.

After earning a total of 145,000 XP, or about halfway between levels 17 and 18 under regular rules, the character will have reached level 6 for the third time and may once again raise an ability score by one point.

5000 XP later they get a feat. 5000 XP after that they can begin on the fourth side of their gestalt. Repeat ad infinitum.

And that's basically it. I like it. I think it will add more variety and a little more power while preserving the things that attracted me to E6 in the first place. I also like that it allows players to actually take levels of prestige classes rather than just mimicking them with feats. I think even allowing six levels of prestige classes should work, as most of the ones that would cause problems are still impossible to join in the first place.

So, what do you guys think? Do you see any glaring flaws?
 

slwoyach

First Post
I allow characters to choose between a gestalt level and a bonus feat, though no character may ever have more than one class above level 4. This includes prestige classes. If a character reaches 6th level and desides to prestige he can only attain 4th level in that prestige class. If he manages to qualify for a PrC at level 4 he can switch and advance to the 6th level of that class.

Characters may also prestige prior to reaching level 6 by spending feats, even as early as 1st level. The cost to gain access to a new class is one feat, after that each class level also costs one feat. So 2 feats grants the first class level, allowing a human to begin his career as a level 1/1 gestalt.

I know gestalting is more powerful than any single feat, but I'm ok with that. Oddly I've only had one player ever gestalt and he's not even currently in my game. For my next campaign I'm thinking of giving ever class prerequisites, making every single class after the first in effect a prestige class (and more difficult to gestalt into).
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
It seems to me that these optional gestalt rules do exactly what I am getting away from with regular 3.5.

1) they make running regular, common, easy to find lower level modules hard work again, because you've got to go in and tinker with every single npc or monster to match the PCs.

2) the characters might as well just keep going up levels if they keep getting more and more powerful with all these abilities. The "power curve" hasn't been interrupted.

I'll be starting an E6 campaign in the not-too-distant future (after I finish running what is scheduled to become a very wahoo campaign over the next six months). I'm looking forward to it being simple, sandboxy (because I'm placing many small modules into a region) and much less burden on me.
 

slwoyach

First Post
2) the characters might as well just keep going up levels if they keep getting more and more powerful with all these abilities. The "power curve" hasn't been interrupted.

It doesn't make them nearly as powerful as going up in levels would. There's no 4th level spells, there's no jumping like the Hulk, there's no +20 BAB, etc. A fighter 6/Rogue 4/Duelist 4 has a +6 BAB (same as f6), 6d10 hips (same as f6), a +5 Fort (same as a f6), a +4 reflex (same as a f6 with great fortitude), and 10 fewer feats in exchange for some bonus skill points and nifty class abilities (some of which require the some severe limitations).

Those 10 feats are the equivalent of 50,000 experience points, which would put a non-E6 fighter at only 1,000 short of level 12. A 12th level fighter would absolutely destroy the above fighter.
 
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locworks

First Post
I only recently discovered E6, and I am considering running a game with it in the near future. I have come up with my own variation on it, and I wanted to run it by you guys and see what you think. It's a kind of escalating gestalt system where characters continue to gain levels in addition to feats.<snip>

So, what do you guys think? Do you see any glaring flaws?

One minor flaw: Quadruple skill points are gained only at first character level.

I think I see what you are trying to achieve (more flavour). I'm wondering if it wouldn't be more straightforward to convert the desired class features to feats and/or to grant feats more frequently after the character reaches level 6? This would preserve the E6 power level and keep character advancement as is.
 

Werebat

Explorer
So, I'm nearing the end of my E6 campaign, and after trying for a few years, I'd have to say the experiment has been less than successful.

Three of my players flat out DON'T LIKE E6 -- in fact, one of them recently quit partly because of it. The other three don't seem to mind it but aren't all jazzed up by it either.

Personally, I love it. I'd love to play in an E6 game. But my players...

If asked, they dance around the issue of WHY they don't like it. Combat is always the same, we want more variety, etc. I still think the issue is really, "We want access to high level spells", but no one ever actually SAYS that.

So I'm wondering. Could this work, for a future campaign?

Standard 1-20 D&D, but cut out the high level magic. Only spells of level 3 and below can be cast. Higher level casters keep getting spell slots of higher level, but can only fill them with metamagic versions of lower level spells. For example, Empowered Fireball might fill a level 5 spell slot.

Ideally, it's the only change I'd need to make, other than possibly making metamagic feats more available (maybe giving some bonus metamagic-only feats to casters). By the book, the metamagic versions of lower levels spells are equal in power to the actual higher level spells, so no other changes would need to be made.

Personally I think I'd rather just play my version of E6, as it gives more options and variety to the PCs (IMO).

Any comments, opinions, potential pitfalls people can see?

Thanks,

- Ron ^*^
 

Stegyre

First Post
So, I'm nearing the end of my E6 campaign, and after trying for a few years, I'd have to say the experiment has been less than successful.

Three of my players flat out DON'T LIKE E6 -- in fact, one of them recently quit partly because of it. The other three don't seem to mind it but aren't all jazzed up by it either.

Personally, I love it. I'd love to play in an E6 game. But my players...
Bummer, that.

You could always try PbP. I never seem to see enough E6 campaigns posted (and never manage to get into one).
 


fireinthedust

Explorer
play by post. Granted, all games are effectively E6, as none last long enough to see higher levels :D

I think your idea isn't the best in this scenario.

firstly: Clearly you're not listening to your players, as they clearly want something other than what you are willing to supply them. If you want something more than you want them around, keep ignoring them.

This is just according to what you said: they don't like E6 because I think they want higher level spells. ...I want to do 1-20 PCs with the same low-level spells. You've stated what you think part of the problem is, and then that your solution is to ignore that problem.
I also wonder if there are other issues that you're aware of that you're not saying; you don't have to, not here, but make sure to address those as well. It is critical to your success as a DM. Face the issues, work with them, plan around them, compromise and be inventive.

I mean this with sincerity and I want all ENworlders to have great games. This is my advice in this scenario, something to think on:

You need players who want to play the same games as you. If you're going to host them, make them happy. Comes with the territory. If not, you've missed the point. There is a threshold of discomfort after which they will abandon the game.

Then again, don't forget that you should play with people who you can work with. If you've got a creative idea and no audience, either shelve the idea, or expand your audience. Found a different group for one game, and join the others for higher-level play. No one says you have to exclusively game only one way.

I like E6. I also think I'm enjoying making higher level monsters. My group doesn't want high level, they want E6. I'm stuck.

Also, that 1-20 idea is, I think, a bad idea (IMHO; sorry if it sounds harsh) because you're forgetting what all the monsters do. You'd end up using lower CR monsters that have been advanced, instead of higher CR monsters whose abilities are designed to challenge characters with access to higher level spells. Without those spells, do you really think a band of even level 20 PCs stands a chance against Beholders? Against a Pit Fiend? These are staples of high level play.

The reason E6 works is because of the level between monsters like that and what the PCs can do. *a* dragon is a big threat, as it should be. One doesn't expect to win, except with a legendary arrow and the location of the dragon's special weak spot.

Remember, the Spellcasters don't get all their interesting stuff, but Fighters will reign supreme. How is this fun? How is it fair?

I suggest Iron Heroes. Download it if you can't buy it. Mike Mearls made it, and it's through Malhavok Press, I believe. It's no-magic D&D with all the monsters you're used to. 1-20, I think.

Or the Conana RPG from Mongoose. I've heard great things about that. also 1-20.
 

Stegyre

First Post
PbP? I assume it's "Play by XXXX", but I can't figure the second "P".
Yeah, play by post, like fireinthedust said.

Here are at least a couple of places I know of two run such games and to recruit players:

Giantitp: Finding Players (Recruitment) - Giant in the Playground Forums
Mythweavers: Games & Ads - Myth-Weavers

Poke around on both sites and you can find threads on PbP games to get a sense of how it happens.

As for how to satisfy your own players, fireinthedust made some very good points. Basically, you need to ask them what they want, not us. The real advantage of the internet is not that it can tell you what the person next to you wants, but that you can almost certainly find others who want what you want. There's an important difference between those.

As for fireinthedust's comments about how your proposal impairs players' ability to fight high CR monsters, let me point you to a recent Giantitp thread, where the goal was making E6 parties to defeat a Balor: Optimize or Die, Playgrounders! [E6 Balor Challenge Thread] - Giant in the Playground Forums
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
E6 v. Balor: Okay, that's awesome. No time to finish the thread, but I must know if someone did it. you'd need to do a Pun-Pun, though, or something like it, right? True Strike for sure... Maybe a sword of True Strike?

If they can do it, I take it back. Still, the point of E6 is that, for the most part, this should be stupidly impossible. And I don't know that a Balor, with SR, can really be taken on except with +35 feats and specially-created gear. I'm skeptical, but open to having my mind blown.


PBP: you forgot Right here on ENworld!!!

There, see? Already things are looking up.
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
and yes, if you run an E6 game, I will play.

Or Iron Heroes (I'm tempted to just make PCs for that).

I don't have the Conan rules, but I'd do that, also. I'm a massive Robert E. Howard fan (thought personally a trim, fit size), so I'd love to get my barbarian warrior on. Brule the Spear Slayer!
 

Stegyre

First Post
E6 v. Balor: Okay, that's awesome. No time to finish the thread, but I must know if someone did it. you'd need to do a Pun-Pun, though, or something like it, right? True Strike for sure... Maybe a sword of True Strike?

If they can do it, I take it back. Still, the point of E6 is that, for the most part, this should be stupidly impossible. And I don't know that a Balor, with SR, can really be taken on except with +35 feats and specially-created gear. I'm skeptical, but open to having my mind blown.
The results. I admit, there's at least some cheese going on, and if I were running an E6 game, I don't know how many of these I'd admit, but it is an interesting proof-of-concept, as it were.

I'm with you, in that I don't look for a Balor-whipping E6 game. :p

Okay, so far, we've got at least two who'd be happy to do an E6 campaign!
 

Werebat

Explorer
and yes, if you run an E6 game, I will play.

Or Iron Heroes (I'm tempted to just make PCs for that).

I don't have the Conan rules, but I'd do that, also. I'm a massive Robert E. Howard fan (thought personally a trim, fit size), so I'd love to get my barbarian warrior on. Brule the Spear Slayer!

Ha, I didn't expect to be steered towards PbP when I came here. Probably not my thing, as IME those games do, indeed, peter out quickly.

I understand fireinthedust's points, but with the caveat that it's only my hunch that what the players are missing is high level spells. They never actually say that, even when asked.

My own version of E6 (posted elsewhere in this thread) leans upward, so the players are already effectively casting "high level" spells if one counts metamagic (last session the mage lobbed an empowered, twin spelled magic missile at a ghost). Personally, I think the idea I posted here would result in LESS powerful characters overall, possibly weakening martial classes and boosting the casters somewhat. I think that's the mechanical reality, but I don't think it's actual power mechanics that the players are disliking so much as the way things "feel" to them.

I don't know if they'd be able to take on a balor, but at 6+10 they have taken on (and beaten) a pair of adult fang dragons without anyone dying (an NPC bard with them was one-shotted by a critical hit with a fly-by bite attack, but that was prevented by a player raising the stakes). At this point, EL 10 encounters are pretty routinely beatable for them.

One of the players who doesn't like E6 has, in all honesty, not seemed happy with ANY game ANYONE has run, ever. As much as I value his opinion, I have to bear that in mind.

Anyway, it's true, the internet can't help deal with individual situations so much. My game is down to 5 players now, two of whom don't like E6 but would rather play than not play and three of whom don't seem to mind it; the dynamics could change a lot with another player or two, which is probably my best bet. After this campaign ends in a few months, I'm going to pitch my next campaign idea, which will be E6 Pathfinder, and if anyone else wants to run a game the group may well vote to play in theirs instead. Which isn't such a terrible thing because it's not a bad time for me to take a break from DMing (trying for our fourth child here) and, frankly, I'm getting tired of the general heartache of running a game on Monday nights (as opposed to our Saturday night games, where more people can play and for more hours per session).

Thanks for the advice, all.
 

Antariuk

First Post
Just a quick share of recent toying with E6: I recently discovered this old article about dead class levels. Nothing to get really excited about (the provided features don't really correspond to the level they're given), but I thought that stuff makes up for new E6 feats.

Examples:

Rally Performance (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a bard hones his skill as a public musician and can reroll a Perform check once per day, but only when attempting to impress audiences for the purpose of earning money. A bard must take the result of the reroll, even if it's worse than the original roll. See Perform on page 79 of the Player's Handbook.
I would change that to let the bard use it for any Perform checks of course, but I don't know what to make out of this if you are already having/using luck feats/abiliy, action points, or the like.

Perceptive Tracker (Ex): At 14th level, a ranger never takes longer than a full-round action to find tracks with a Survival check. A second roll is still required to follow any discovered tracks.
Makes up for a new option to find invisible creatures in combat, no? :)

EDIT: Here is part 2, covering several non-core classes.
 

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