• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

E6: The Game Inside D&D

fireinthedust

Explorer
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.

AND

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.


Oooh, that sounds rough. I have a player who's a bit of a downer, but he's happy to play any game (so long as he can cause trouble, like picking fights, refusing to help other PCs in danger, then getting in danger and needing help. He's the one you want to give wishes to, mostly because I know he'll need them to make up for horrific screw ups or self-inflicted catastrophes).

I've had some awful people play, who just happen to play D&D. They suck.

If this person isn't actually a jerk, though, maybe find out what they're looking for? Work on a game with them as the GM, maybe.

If the whole group isn't into it, you could try "cunning trickery #3": play a one-shot game they'd never expect, out of left field, so they're ready to go back to the standard game everyone's been enjoying for some time.

Examples:

1) Arkham Horror (or even a CoC rpg game)

2) Mutants & Masterminds with pre-generated characters (powerful but with balance in mind)

3) Gamma world is all the rage, and seems stupidly fun

4) A one-shot Epic-level (30+) arena where they fight each other, or else a gauntlet where you fight their PCs with published epics from your collection. If I did this, they'd fight Orcus, Demogorgon, Ashardalon, Cthulhu, Lloth, Asmodeus, and I'd see about statting up the Borg.

Heck, even create a five-room dungeon (or planar labyrinth they have to figure out to pass from layer to layer; they are epic, remember) with this party in mind. You could base it off Dante's Inferno. At the end, the prize for the PC who survives the final encounter (which should be horrific) is they're made a demi-god in your next standard game.


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.

No problem, the subject is near and dear.


QUESTION: what is the flavour of your E6 game? Is it heavily magical, or low magic? Do the players routinely fight monsters, or the loggers/thugs of the local lumber baron? How are they doing for magic? For other equipment?

Do they get to design their own fortresses or strongholds?

Do they have villains they hate (ie: rivals, not BBEG; think the Joker, not Sauron)?

Are the routine minions interesting in themselves? Like, do you say "you fight yet more goblins" or do you say "the hunchbacked, slobbering goblins are in the village, attempting to sneak infants from their cribs to deliver to their foul mistress, Malificent!" (and before you say anything, that villain/minion combo was fantastic. The protagonists were weak, and the heroes were really the three fairies; but conceptually that is the coolest dungeon they could have done for an E6 game).

What is the setting? Standard European? Do you avoid the planes/interesting scenery, because they're merely E6?

Numbers are numbers. If the PCs are interested in the setting, whatever it is, they'll be happy.

I like to find out what my group enjoys, individually, for when I'm brainstorming for adventures. Or find things that would totally expand their horizons (ie: give them a fort they can design, and see how they like being in charge; if not, they can leave).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Werebat

Explorer
Oooh, that sounds rough. I have a player who's a bit of a downer, but he's happy to play any game (so long as he can cause trouble, like picking fights, refusing to help other PCs in danger, then getting in danger and needing help. He's the one you want to give wishes to, mostly because I know he'll need them to make up for horrific screw ups or self-inflicted catastrophes).

I've had some awful people play, who just happen to play D&D. They suck.

If this person isn't actually a jerk, though, maybe find out what they're looking for? Work on a game with them as the GM, maybe.

If the whole group isn't into it, you could try "cunning trickery #3": play a one-shot game they'd never expect, out of left field, so they're ready to go back to the standard game everyone's been enjoying for some time.

Examples:

1) Arkham Horror (or even a CoC rpg game)

2) Mutants & Masterminds with pre-generated characters (powerful but with balance in mind)

3) Gamma world is all the rage, and seems stupidly fun

4) A one-shot Epic-level (30+) arena where they fight each other, or else a gauntlet where you fight their PCs with published epics from your collection. If I did this, they'd fight Orcus, Demogorgon, Ashardalon, Cthulhu, Lloth, Asmodeus, and I'd see about statting up the Borg.

Heck, even create a five-room dungeon (or planar labyrinth they have to figure out to pass from layer to layer; they are epic, remember) with this party in mind. You could base it off Dante's Inferno. At the end, the prize for the PC who survives the final encounter (which should be horrific) is they're made a demi-god in your next standard game.




No problem, the subject is near and dear.


QUESTION: what is the flavour of your E6 game? Is it heavily magical, or low magic? Do the players routinely fight monsters, or the loggers/thugs of the local lumber baron? How are they doing for magic? For other equipment?

Do they get to design their own fortresses or strongholds?

Do they have villains they hate (ie: rivals, not BBEG; think the Joker, not Sauron)?

Are the routine minions interesting in themselves? Like, do you say "you fight yet more goblins" or do you say "the hunchbacked, slobbering goblins are in the village, attempting to sneak infants from their cribs to deliver to their foul mistress, Malificent!" (and before you say anything, that villain/minion combo was fantastic. The protagonists were weak, and the heroes were really the three fairies; but conceptually that is the coolest dungeon they could have done for an E6 game).

What is the setting? Standard European? Do you avoid the planes/interesting scenery, because they're merely E6?

Numbers are numbers. If the PCs are interested in the setting, whatever it is, they'll be happy.

I like to find out what my group enjoys, individually, for when I'm brainstorming for adventures. Or find things that would totally expand their horizons (ie: give them a fort they can design, and see how they like being in charge; if not, they can leave).

All good questions. First, I feel I should defend my players somewhat. The two remaining who aren't jazzed up about E6 are a flat-out powergamer who has always been pretty up-front about missing out on the higher levels (although he shows up every session, does what min/maxing he can in E6, and says he'd rather play E6 than not play at all) and the fellow who I haven't seen "jazzed up" about a game in years, if ever. That second guy drifted out of my last 1-20 campaign for a while and then drifted back in. He was so-so about joining this campaign back before we (very early on) decided to convert to E6. He claims he was opposed to E6 from the start but I remember his first reaction to it was positive and he was for the change initially (I remember because I was surprised).

The guy who left was initially very in favor of E6. I think he left for a variety of reasons. His attendance had been VERY spotty for over a year (we're talking 25% of the time or so) and, while I hate to see him go, I liken his quitting to cutting off a sick branch. There's more going on with him but I won't get into that here.

There was a point when the players mentioned above came to me and claimed that they weren't having fun because they felt the feats they were getting weren't enough like gaining levels for them and advancement seemed too slow. I changed things up a bit in response, allowing feat gain with every 2,500 xp instead of every 5K, and later adding a boost of 1 hp (2 hp for characters with +6 BAB) and 1 skill point per feat gained (max ranks 9).

The players are playing orcs and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears) in Eberron, and their main opponents are aberrations working in an effort to bring a return of their Daelkyr masters. I'd say they mostly fight monsters. I've heard complaints about equipment, but I always hear those and the numbers don't bear them out (they now have about twice the cash value in equipment that the books recommend for their power levels; furthermore, I encouraged "wish lists" of equipment not allowed in E6 that they could find as "artifacts" and only two players (both mentioned above) bothered making them; one got everything he asked for, and half the items on the other's list are actually purchasable in E6). I think what the players who care about it WANT is the standard 1-20 3.5 ability to go to ye old magick shoppe and instantly convert cash to any magic item they can pick from browsing the lists in the DMG and MIC (not that that's horrible, it just isn't quite possible in E6).

One of the things going on is that the guy who quit is running the Age of Worms campaign on Saturday nights. EVERY player who seems to have a problem with E6 is playing in this game (as am I). The Saturday game is sort of the "real campaign" while the Monday one is the "other game"; no one says that but it's the perception and has been for years. We play longer sessions on Saturday nights, so advancement is faster, there are more players (8, now), and people just seem more "invested". Is that because of the night, because of the fact that the DM is doing a better job, because the DM is using a premade adventure, or...? In any event, the two campaigns get compared. I figured out in my last campaign (1-20 3.5) that the Monday game was heartache, but I stuck with it when I had the chance to change because at the time I preferred DMing for the people who were playing Monday nights.

<Shrug>

Gotta take the kid to soccer practice...
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
The players are playing orcs and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears) in Eberron, and their main opponents are aberrations working in an effort to bring a return of their Daelkyr masters.

That's exactly the sort of thing I was going to suggest for a colorful E6 game. Eberron is supposedly a low-level setting (ie: E6) where PCs could go epic, in theory; although some threats are fairly huge.
Bending over backwards may not work for this group, then.

If it's any consolation, I've wanted to run an M&M game in my homebrew city for years. No takers. Lots of griping about how it just isn't as cool as my D&D game; which, admittedly, is pretty awesome.

Monday nights can be weird. Shorter sessions, comparisons with the bigger, famous Age of Worms game; they'll be getting up there in level, and they can have a story of how they got through that series. Maybe throw them at some famous modules that are comparable to Age of Worms? Hard to do at low levels, to find something that could work well... if they were higher level you could grab some Goodman Games modules used in their Gen Con tournaments, like that Devil Witch module for 15th level... Does Paizo have a famous grind like that?

a thought: what if they're getting too much for free? Are you confident about the awesomeness of your idea, or desperate for them to like it as much as you know it deserves?

I remember over-compensating with rewards, but I've learned that making players think they're going to go through a meat-grinder of no hope (or acting like I think that's what they think, even if they don't think so)... well, a meat-grinder with some hope, tends to get them happier than free stuff. I'm also trying to give them really weird items they'd never expect, that they can use in strange situations (example: they found a corpse in a cunningly hidden trap that had nothing to do with what they were looking to find; on it was a "ring of breathing" that stops suffocation of any sort (not poison); now I'll be dumping everyone in a filling-up-with-water-room, and see how they deal with that).

All I can offer, then, is that you... are playing yourself in an RPG called life. If you were you in your situation, how would you get yourself out of it? Assuming you were playing yourself, and using all the cheap tricks you'd use if you were a person playing a character who is yourself and has all your attributes? You have keen analytical skills, and a cunning and creative mind.
 

Werebat

Explorer
Maybe throw them at some famous modules that are comparable to Age of Worms? Hard to do at low levels, to find something that could work well... if they were higher level you could grab some Goodman Games modules used in their Gen Con tournaments, like that Devil Witch module for 15th level... Does Paizo have a famous grind like that?

Actually, I've already used a coupla Goodman Games modules (I got the special "going out of 3.X" deal a while back and ended up with 2 boxes of modules). I've been finding that people tend to feel the modules "drag" on Mondays, where we play maybe 5 hours every other week as opposed to 8 hours on Saturdays. In fairness, there was a time when I ran two of the GG modules back-to-back, which was in retrospect a mistake (although it did prompt the creation of a cool incantation I have since posted to this thread -- the one where you summon an efreet and trade with it).


a thought: what if they're getting too much for free? Are you confident about the awesomeness of your idea, or desperate for them to like it as much as you know it deserves?

I have been wondering this. They are WAY overgeared for their supposed power levels. I do think that ever since I took Mondays instead of Saturdays (I've been running games non-stop for over 20 years now, with most of these same guys) it's sort of felt like a couple of the players seem to feel that they're doing me a big favor by showing up. I don't know if it's the night, if I'm getting rusty, or what. This is one reason why in retrospect I feel that (while he's a good friend and I like him) having that one guy quit may have been a positive thing in the end. Having him not show over half of the time wasn't good for anyone's morale.


All I can offer, then, is that you... are playing yourself in an RPG called life. If you were you in your situation, how would you get yourself out of it? Assuming you were playing yourself, and using all the cheap tricks you'd use if you were a person playing a character who is yourself and has all your attributes? You have keen analytical skills, and a cunning and creative mind.

Yeah. What I've done at this point is to sign up for an event with the local RPG meetup group (I've been a member for years but never attended) next week. Hopefully I'll meet a potential new player or two.

Meanwhile, I should focus on making my game as interesting as possible until it ends in 8 months or so. Actually, they're just getting to some very interesting stuff... :heh:

- Ron ^*^
 

fireinthedust

Explorer
Mondays could be the culprit, then. Look also at the hours spent: 5 on Monday, after 8 on Saturday? 13 hours a week of sitting there is a lot, even divided between two groups, especially so close together (within three days). If it's every week like this, they may be on overdose. Saturday is getting all the regenerated love and anticipation, you're only getting a day's worth of recovery to build that back up.

Still, they're a dedicated group of RPers if they play both games all the time. 20 years should do it.

Maybe a different day, maybe swap groups and both use Saturday. That can suck, or may not even be possible (or desirable), just thinking out loud here (if this was a riddle and my Cimmerian got the Gemstone of Thulsa Doom for answering correctly, I'd be working through the problem just like this, fyi; thus the need to design and/or solve dungeons!).

Curiosity here: how do you find making a general game for E6 PCs over the long haul? I thought about creating the dungeons around the world, to use whenever they found them rather than aiming them at the group. Do you find that this works?
 

Werebat

Explorer
Well, we play every other Monday, and ever other (alternate) Saturday, for an average of one session per week counting both campaigns. The only time we'd have less than five days between game sessions is if we had to reschedule a night to an "off week".

I've had a great time running my E6 game! A lot of the headache of dealing with optimization-board-linked powergamers with access to high level spells goes poof in E6; besides that, E6 is aesthetically closer to what I envision the backdrop to D&D should be.

Over the long haul, the only real problem I have found mechanics-wise is that PCs tend to accumulate a lot more treasure than they should have for their power levels. At the same time, (some of) my players feel that they don't have enough magic, because most of what they find on enemies is a lot of small magic items (this is due to a combination of our using the Magic Item Compendium, my equipping NPCs with MIC items, and the fact that MIC makes it smarter to equip a ton of minor items than two or three major ones).

I think you're describing "sandbox" style campaigns, where the DM makes a bunch of dungeons and lets the players go where they will. That's a LOT of work in its pure form. I don't typically do it; my campaign is more plot driven at this time (although I'd love to run an E6 version of Kingmaker, for example).

- Ron ^*^
 

Siuis

Explorer
SRD-only PrCs that can be taken:
Assassin (flavor could be changed to allow for good assassins)
Horizon Walker
Elocater
Metamind
Psion Uncarnate
Pyrokineticist
Slayer
Thrallherd
Warmind


PrCs that can work with reduced requirements:

Arcane Archer (reduce BAB requirement to +3)
- Gets Enhance Arrows +1 and Imbue Arrows (with feats, Enhance Arrows +2 and maybe Seeker Arrows)
- Should get +1 level in arcane spellcasting class per level. Otherwise, reduce BAB requirement to +2, and increase spellcasting requirement to 2nd level spells.

Arcane Trickster (reduce arcane spells requirement to level 1 spells, reduce skill requirement to 6)
- Ranged Legerdemain, Sneak Attack +1d6 (possibly Impromptu Sneak Attack with feat)

Dragon Disciple (why bother?)

Duelist (reduce BAB requirement to +4)
- Canny Defense +2, Improved Reaction +2

Dwarven Defender (reduce BAB requirement to +5 or +4)
- Defensive Stance 1/day, maybe Uncanny Dodge (more Defensive Stance with feats)

Shadowdancer (reduce Hide requirements to 8, remove Combat Reflexes requirement)
- Hide in Plain Sight (in shadows)

There are several ways around these issues. Arcane archer itself won't work as printed (it's BaB requirement is one point too high) but other PrCs? It is possible to "dope" prerequisites. A quick survey of the SRD PrCs shows that it's nigh impossible to abuse though.
Say we have a rogue 5 assassin 1. All of the assassin requirements are also assassin class skills. Total rebuilding a la PHB2, he can go on a quest, survive by the skin of his teeth (single-handedly beat three CR 9 encounters- ouch) and emerge as an assassin 6. He has the hitdice and skill ranks to qualify for the class, from the class.
I was thinking of doing this with an ur-priest (and tricking the party into helping with the quest/ritual to accomplish it) and have a villain mad on power with crazy, super-potent 6th level spells.
You can also get a caster level of at least 15 and maybe 18, using the ironsoul forgemaster from magic of incarnum. They have a CL of class level*3 for arms and armor creation, but no spells. Between this and the huge amount of time a max-6th smith needs to make a truly masterwork item, dwarven- and elven-craftsmanship can be the best in the world without DM fiat, so I'd forgive it personally.

I am so glad I've stumbled upon this (via the GiTP forums; figure I owe them a shout-out for this awesome find). This is far and away better than what I was going to do. I'm planning on starting an E6 game in the next two weeks; I fully expect awesome of a caliber I've not seen since I played "whatever my DM said-point-oh" edition when I was ten. Thank you!
 

Ydars

Explorer
Hi all!

I have been DMing an E6 sandbox for about 20-25 sessions and we are having a good time. We are using 22 point buy, slow levelling; requiring 3 x normal experience to go up a level and the danger level is also very high (we have lost 8 PCs so far). We also have very low magic; instead of magic items, various normal weapons have acquired near magical properties as a result of the players' deeds and I am also allowing extra feats to increase AC or BAB or attributes, based on story and roleplaying.

We even have a PC who has turned from Elf to Ift (a plant humanoid race) as a result of drinking the sap of a sacred tree to cure a magical disease.

The players did whine at first, but I explained that sandbox play requires a different mindset and several of them have adapted well; some of the others have still not adapted but they are learning.

We are also using the war machine rules from basic D&D (companion) to run the players' small dominion of Leydondale.

I like E6 for one very important reason; somehow, it focuses me on creating personalities and encounters and not on the mechanical side of the game. I sometimes feel like I am writing the background to a fantasy novel; by which I mean that I am not creating stories, only backstories and histories and characters for the players to explore and interact with.

This is the one problem I always had with 3.5; that it focuses players on mechanics and not on roleplaying because they are always thinking 'which feat/prestige class/spells am I piciking next level?'. This way, they spend 5-7 sessions at the same level and so have to actually concentrate on playing their character as they are.
 

kevin_video

Explorer
I had a thought, and I'd like someone to back me up on this, or give their opinion on it. Since you're only able to go up 6, maybe 8 levels (if you go E8), it seems a little unfair that half templates like Celestial and Fiend keep their +4 LA. Since you only get 1/3 of the SLA, and you'll never get the DR 10/magic because you'll never reach the 12 HD you need to get that, I vouch that it be dropped down to LA +3 instead.

Anyone else consider this before?

BTW, for those that didn't know this, the Arcane Archer got remade into a base class by a third party group who had helped develop the PrC version. It's pretty good. It's built like a Ranger, but with arcane spells.
 

SephBaelzara

First Post
Thing about a lot of those higher LA races and templates aren't really meant for the typical PC. Sure, the abilities are nifty. Sure, they offer for some good fluff, but in the end? They're more trouble than they're worth.
Personally? In most of my games I allow any race/template combination up to a LA +2 with good reason only, or LA +1 with minor complaint, and LA +0 are, for the most part, let through. Some of them I may have to shoot down, but only because of the world.
The reason? LA Buy-off is always available in my campaigns.
 

kevin_video

Explorer
I have nothing against LA buy-off, and I'll be allowing it in my campaign, but only if they have something that's LA +5 (ie it'll be bought off at lvl 3). However, I don't mind anyone taking any kind of race in my campaign because it'll all fit. I don't like limiting my players. At the same time though, I don't like making them pay for something they're never going to use. I mean, yeah they'll get to use the DR 5/magic for a while, and even a couple of third level spells, but they'll never use SLA from levels 4-9. They just won't get that high a HD.
 

Aus_Snow

First Post
Well, the Book of... ahem, the
Book of Exalted Deeds
, um, suggested lowering the LA for Half-Celestial to +3, or even +2 if the DM agrees (blah, etc.), IIRC.


edit: Personally, I believe the LA/ECL/CR system to be totally b0rken, and therefore, I - with some help from various people and documents - came up with an alternative solution. Wouldn't suit everyone - in fact, I can hear the howls already - but yeah, IMO, it works *much* better. Understatement much.
 

kevin_video

Explorer
Uh-huh. And that would be ...?

BTW, that special book has it listed that for every 2 HD you take, you add +1 LA. So at 5 HD, you're +4 LA, then +5 and 7 HD, and so on.
 
Last edited:


kevin_video

Explorer
I agree that LA is B0rk3n - always was. My Point buy thing worked for my group.
Oh I'm not disagreeing with that. I just felt that the half-celestial and half-fiend should have 0 pts for stat buys if they can't get spells like Hallow and Unhallow, or Blasphemy or Holy Word, because they can't get the HD. That lowering it to LA +3 and giving them 10 points to buy stats with might give them more than a 12 in any one stat.
 



fireinthedust

Explorer
Okay, I've run my PFrpg E6 game. It's going well, but the issue is that my PCs are flying through bad guys *without* magic items or uber-weapons. I've decided that giving Monsters max hp is only necessary.

Guh, PCs are murderers.
 

Stegyre

First Post
Okay, I've run my PFrpg E6 game. It's going well, but the issue is that my PCs are flying through bad guys *without* magic items or uber-weapons. I've decided that giving Monsters max hp is only necessary.

Guh, PCs are murderers.
Are the players having fun? If they are, it ain't broke. ;)

Seriously, this just sounds like an issue of optimization. If your players are good optimizers (and like that sort of game) they will readily trash those theoretically CR-appropriate encounters. If their having a good time, you're actually doing your job well. If you sense they'd like a little more challenge, I'd suggest raising the bar gradually until you find the sweet spot.

. . . But you probably already knew all of that.
 


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top