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"Epic" progression after 6th level

Ry

Explorer
Actually, I found the opposite in my games. Wizards really shine. The reason, I think, is the change in setting assumptions.

For example, if you want to have a village of 100 people, they're ALL 1st level commoners, maybe 2 first level warriors, maybe an expert.

The fact that if they all stood in a crowd, the wizard could kill them all with a few words (I'm talking fireball here) - that's scary. A fighter knows he could survive that, but who knows what else the wizard can do? Turn invisible? Protect himself from arrows?

Basically, if you cap at 6th, there's less of the arms race: "but my spell beats that" - "but my goggles counteract your invisibility" - "but I've got boots that do that anyway" - "WE'll just raise him from the dead"

Magic is powerful under these rules.
 

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Quartz

Adventurer
Here's a suggestion for you: any character capable of casting Divine spells (or perhaps an appropriate feat, like Devoted) can pray for a Miracle - assuming they've got 5000 XP to spare. The chance would be 1% per spellcaster level per full day of continuous prayer. So a Ftr 2 / Cl 4 would have a 4% chance the first day, 8% chance the next day, 12% the third etc. Get two 6th level clerics and it's 12%, 24%, 36%, etc. This would allow for removal of negative levels, raising of the dead, Commune, etc.

BTW even a 6th level commoner (17 HP) will fall to a 6th level fireball (21 HP) on a failed save.
 

Ry

Explorer
What I'd recommend instead for negative levels / raising the dead (if you really want it), would be incantations, from UA. Like a 3-day long ritual that can remove a negative level, that requires some big Knowledge:Religion checks, maybe some test that the aspirant has to complete. Miracle (and I'm guessing you mean the wishlike spell) and generalized requirements for it I think opens up more possibilities than I really want.
 

Dragonblade275

First Post
rycanada said:
If your guys would be amenable to something even more rules-light, drop me a line once you're done Shackled City. Around then I'll be looking for more external playtesters for Legends, which might have some appeal if you like to run things fast.
We'll keep that in mind, Ryan.
 

GrolloStoutfoam

First Post
I find your ideas fascinating and would like to subscribe to your newsletter :)

I've been inspired to run a campaign (my first in decades) and love this idea. I always see campaigns die when the characters are around 12th level because of PC power. Please count me in if you ever need any more playtesters and consider this yoinked! :D
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Not really my cup of tea, but seems good for a low-power feel, while still giving the PC's something to look forward to after a few successful adventures.

How do you do magic items? It would strike me that there would be a lot of quantity of low-quality under this rubrick.
 

Ry

Explorer
Grollo: I'm just doing a revision to Legends right now, playtesting on the weekend with the local D&D meetup. I'll let you know when I need playtesters next - you wouldn't by any chance be Toronto-local, would you?

Midget: To be honest, I never really had a strategy, per se, for magic items. Sometimes we'd roll, sometmies I'd just skip the roll and give something I thought was appropriate. I think I'm more likely to err on the low side. Still, whatever the PCs find tends to be disposable - but not easily tradeable, since the economy doesnt' assume there are wizards with $100,000 gp stashed around.
 

phindar

First Post
Would you expect to see more magic item crafting with a level cap? If you figure a caster takes the item crafting feats available to them under the level cap (Magic Arms and Armor, Scroll, Potion, Wand and Wonderous, give or take), they could pump out a whole party's worth of items and only be a feat or so behind the rest of the group. It might not be something a pc would do (if all your feats are crafter feats, its kind of like having no feats at all), but I could definitely see taking Leadership at 6th and taking a caster/crafter as a cohort.

Would you consider that a loophole to be closed? Even so, if I were playing a caster it'd make Craft Wand very attractive. (Especially if the GM allows the base material cost of items to be picked up in play, such as using the horn of a red dragon of the appropriate age to make a Wand of Fireballs.)
 

evilbob

First Post
The crafting rules would be extremely strange but probably not abusable in this system. For one, you can't craft an item with an enhancement bonus of greater than +2 in this world, since caster level = 3 x bonus is the formula. There are also very, very few special abilities that could be done (traits with a caster level of 6 or less), so you'd never see a +1 flaming longsword, either (caster level 8th). The vast majority of wonderous items are also out, due to the rule limits: you could never have a +2 ability item (no more Gloves of Dex +2) since they are caster level 8th, and you could never make any bracers of armor - even +1 requires caster level 7th. You could make an amulet of natural armor +1 (caster level 5th), but +2 and above is out. Potions would rule, though!

In any case, having a maximum 4th level crafting cohort would mean that your crafting options are severly restricted. The point about wands is a good one, but again you're limited to 3rd level spells even if you're doing it yourself, so I don't think it'd get out of hand. The relative value of such an item would be much higher, however.


That aside, this idea also intrigues me. I don't think raising the level cap would be a particularly good idea, because the "7-10" range is the one that is the most brutal for many classes (especially multiclass characters). I hate that range the most of all levels. And if you're going to go over 10, you might as well not limit folks.

However, I would think giving access to some higher level abilities might be nice, even if it was through the "feat" mechanic. Then again, it's probably not fair to let a ranger somehow gain the ability to hide in plain sight if the wizard can't throw 4th level spells and the rogue never does more than +3d6 sneak attack, either.

Are there any feats you use that would allow a caster access to a single (or more) higher level spell (but without the caster level)?
 

Ry

Explorer
evilbob basically summed up why magic items don't get too powerful in the setting, especially the ones your cohort makes.

As for higher level abilities... there so far hasn't been a need. I think if you want more powerful spells there are lots of feats for enhancing existing spells and lots of sources for spells from different niches. For example, the Sudden Metamagic feats from Complete Arcane are very good.
 

phindar

First Post
Arcana Evolved has a catch-all metamagic feat called Modify Spell. All casters in that system are spotaneous casters, and Modify lets them increase either the range, the duration, the AoE, remove either the somatic or verbal components, or increase the damage by x1.5 at the cost of two slots instead of 1.

Now, with casters getting a lot more feats I could see removing Modify Spell, since it was designed to be the one metamagic feat that does pretty much everything. But at the same time, I could see making those feats it was designed to replace work the same way-- costing two slots of a spell of that level rather than a higher level slot. That way, having a Stilled Fireball wouldn't be impossible (4th level spell), just expensive (two 3rd level spell slots).

I wasn't suggesting magic items would be overpowering, just it seems like crafting would be a lot more common. (This might just be my group, but we haven't had a pc or cohort crafter in years.) That's not a bad thing, but it is one way it would most likely separate a 6th level group with a level cap from one without one. A 6th level wizard might have one or maybe two fireballs a day, but a Wand of Fireballs is just cash and 320xp. At that point, cash becomes the balancing factor, since a crafter could make 15 3rd level Wands before he was more than 1 feat behind the rest of the party.

Personally, I love disposable magical items, and this seems like another way to expand a group's bag of tricks without having to level. Potions, scrolls, wands are all good times. While the big ticket items like your Frostbrands and Flame Tongues and Holy Avengers are beyond the abilities of pcs of that level to create, I wouldn't have a problem including them as "artifacts of a forgotten age". (Borrowing an idea of Shadowrun where magic goes in cycles and in the past magic might have been so powerful that even commoners would have had abilities and archwizards could have made the stars dance to their will, and there might be items from that age that have survived.) Even though swords like that are really, really expensive, generally they're just another +1 or +2 and and extra d6 or some damage against specific creatures. Its a nice mechanical benefit, but mainly its a bit of flash that separates that character from his contemporaries. Having cool stuff is one of the fun parts of the game.

Characters might find "impossible" items in forgotten tombs or dragon hoards or places like that. And things like a Wand of Stoneskin with 3 charges left, or single use item of Heal become very valuable resources that the party will likely obsess over how to use properly, like when they finally go after that CR 10 black dragon.
 

Ry

Explorer
Impossible Items FTW: What's great is that it actually makes sense by the RAW. If you have a +4 sword... it could have been crafted by a Titan.

And that's a big deal. That's a sword that no mortal can make.
 

Machiavelli

First Post
Holy crap, I am loving the sound of this whole thing! I want you to meet me in the parking lot down the street from my house. I will bring my gaming group, and you and I will convince them that this system is amazing. Thanks, RyCanada!
 

Ry

Explorer
Machiavelli said:
Holy crap, I am loving the sound of this whole thing! I want you to meet me in the parking lot down the street from my house. I will bring my gaming group, and you and I will convince them that this system is amazing. Thanks, RyCanada!

Thanks, Machiavelli! This is why every 6 months or so I collect experiences I've had running it and post it again (lately I've been working on another system that's really turning into its own beast, but I always seem to be running a few sessions here and there in 6th-level capped D&D).
 



Ry

Explorer
Dragonlance is a particularly good setting for this. I've run Dragonlance many times in the past and if I were to go back to it yeah, this would do it nicely.
 

Ioreck

First Post
I'm actually doing a similar thing!

We're playing a low level, extremely low magic campaign (no casters, lots of homebrew, etc). You need more xp to level, and cap out "normal" levels at 5. Levels 6+ are considered epic, and the max level is 7, at which point you're the equivilent to archtypes like Kenshin - just can't be beat.

I find this to be alot more realistic for the game. No, you can't beat an army of orcs on your own, you need to use tactics and some ingenuity to defeat some mroe powerful monsters, such as a CR 10 dragon, and if you want to be really good at some skill, you do have to spend the feat.

What I did is crunched the classes. You gain a feat per level, since its so much harder to level, as well as class abilities scrunched up. For example, of the course of 5 levels, the warblade will get his Battle abilities, the barbarian will end get his Greater Rage at level 5, etc. We also use elite array stats, ie 25 point buy.

Here's the link that shows just how awesome systems like these are, and got me to design this one:

http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/d&d-calibrating.html

Took alot of work to make sense, but its great. Feat chains make more sense, and any bonus to skills are very useful. And without healing magic, the heal skill is huge. I find the game alot more enjoyable and there's so much more to do. Its far more challenging.
 

Ry

Explorer
Sounds awesome, Ioreck! Looks like you've tailored the rules to your campaign very tightly. While this doesn't have that... it keeps a hair's breadth from the rules as written, which is handy when you're, say, between gaming groups or attracting new members from the local gaming community.
 


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