D&D (2024) Epic Boon Balance


Because there is a lot of problems in high levels and maybe this is the reason why many players keep their campaigns in low level tier.
There are effectively 3 primary reasons people don't play higher levels:

  • Natural attrition: aka campaigns finish their course before getting to the highest levels, and a new one begins. So by default these levels are played less. This can also be attributed to module design, which tends to be more for low and mid level play.
  • Mechanical complexity/issues: These are due to balance issues arising at high levels, or the simple factor that playing at high levels is more complicated, and therefore more cumbersome for people.
  • Tonal changes: High level power necessitates a certain scale of power. More superheroic saving the world or even the multiverse rather than the local town. People either don't like those types of games, or don't really want to change the tone of their original campaign, which feeds into point 1. Conversely certain Dms don't like the amount of planning and effort that often goes into these levels to compensate for the new tier of PC ability, and so again try to finish the campaign before this point.

Now the question of course is, how much does each one contribute? I don't know if WOTC has done any real depth of surveys on that, all they have done is polling on how much high level play actually occurs.

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What got me was the misty step once a rest. Like.... That's worse than the Eladrin racial ability at level 0.

Like, free Misty Step every turn? Epic. Once a rest? Literally a level 1 power.


Let's talk about epic boons. As the capstone feature they should be pretty amazing, right? And some of them are. But a lot of them are definitely not. In fact. I would argue that a lot of them sound worse than a regular feat, or even a level 1 feat.

Example A:
EPIC BOON OF THE UNFETTERED 20th-Level Feat Prerequisite: Expert or Warrior Group Repeatable: No
As a Bonus Action, you can take the Disengage Action, which also ends the Grappled and the Restrained Conditions on you.

So, this gives you something you can do as an action and makes it a bonus action, okay, occasionally handy, AND lets you end the grappled or restrained conditions which...yeah. Very situational.

Example B:
EPIC BOON OF LUCK 20th-Level Feat Prerequisite: Expert Group Repeatable: No
Immediately after you roll a d20 for a d20 Test, you can roll a d10 and add the number rolled to the test. Once you use this benefit, you can’t use it again until you roll Initiative or finish a Short Rest or a Long Rest.

So, you get to add 5.5 to a D20 roll (on average), once every rest. Again, nice but...you're getting an extra bardic inspiration. Not exactly mind-blowing.

But then there's stuff like:
Example C:
EPIC BOON OF RECOVERY 20th-Level Feat Prerequisite: None Repeatable: No
You can use a Bonus Action to regain a number of Hit Points equal to half your Hit Point Maximum. Once you use this benefit, you can’t use it again until you finish a Long Rest. In addition, you succeed on every Death Saving Throw that isn’t a roll of 1.

So, this is amazing. a bonus action to give yourself a MASSIVE heal, and as if that isn't enough they throw in the sweetener that you basically cannot die due to failed death saves.

I know it's early days in the test cycle, but I'm a little shocked that the Epic Boons came out with such wide power disparities. Examples A+B (and, frankly, most of the current epic boons in the document) are definitely not very epic, so right now there are a few very clear winners and a bunch that are basically a waste of time.

Thoughts? And suggestions for more epic boons that are actually EPIC?
I think they want to see which extreme people prefer. So make sure you say so in the survey!

I'm never going to play level 20 (certainly not single-classed), and there's no balance left to break at level 20, so I think the only epic boon should be "DM and player come up with an amazing special ability that suits the character".

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