D&D 5E Epic Spells for 5e

Salmakia

Explorer
Do characters that are not full casters also get the ability to develop epic strikes / epic abilities? Or are nice epic things only for those with access to 9th level spells?
They do if someone writes them! I agree that it would be unreasonable to introduce this system into a game where not everyone has access to cool things, so there would have to be cool things for non full-casters to do too. That said, my hope is that between the time and gold it takes to research epic spells and all the mitigating factors needed for anything of truly massive scope, they wouldn't be all that much more powerful than 9th level spells which only full casters have access to anyways.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Do characters that are not full casters also get the ability to develop epic strikes / epic abilities? Or are nice epic things only for those with access to 9th level spells?
They created a subsystem for something they're interested in. No one is required to make sure every class is fairly represented in personal design work. That's not what this is about.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Up front, I'm not an Epic level person, so I'm not the target audience. Please take my advice with a heap of salt.

However, overall this process looks overly complex - lots of math and options that make it ripe for abuse. Personally, I would think it would be better to simplify it and treat it sort of like the Warlock's Mystic Incarnum - just covering a set of spells over 9th level. Rather than base the number of Epic spells that can be cast, limit it to 1 per long rest (or maybe, 1 per week), but have the # of seeds known either at a set rate or controlled by spellcasting modifier. Also, set the DC to 8 + PB (or x2 PB, as this would be "Expertise Casting"?) + spellcasting modifier, like other spells, rather than calculating the DC by how the spell is built. I'd strongly consider giving "Epic Spell Points" in a small number to allow for the spell seeds to be customized (maybe start at 1 and gaining 1 per level past 18th or 1/4 class level and work upwards or downwards from there?).

I'd keep the idea of seeds, but simplify them to a degree with a "at higher level"/per Epic Spell Point effective section for each. Personally, I'd have all the seeds have a base expensive material component (something like 2,000 gp x spell level or Epic Spell Point of a specific item). Move the "factors" directly to the seeds, set out under the "at higher level"/per Epic Spell Point section. Since it would be more fixed, I'd consider tweaking Casting Times, Range, Targets and Duration for each of the seeds.

It might be worth creating a master table for each of the above, with each seed having a default setting, and allow a sliding dial - tweak one component down to move another up (possibly with an additional material component cost?). Perhaps, something like this... (blue is the "default", no seed should start in the red)


Casting Time
Glacial7 days
Daily1 day
Long1 hour
Slow10 minutes
Moderate1 minute
Standard1 action
Quick1 bonus action

Range(reversed ranges so "Self" is a regression and "Extreme" is an improvement
SelfSelf
TouchTouch
Radius5 foot radius
Short30 feet
Medium120 feet
Long360 feet
Extreme1 mile

Target
AllAll targets in range
All, medium burstAll targets in a 15 foot radius of the target square
All, small burstAll targets in a 5 foot radius of the target square
ThreeThree targets, within 15 feet of each other
TwoTwo targets, within 15 feet of each other
OneOne

Duration(for epic spells, ALWAYS requires concentration except if Instantaneous)
Permanentpermanent/100 years
Year1 year
Extreme1 day
Long1 hour
Medium10 minutes
Short1 minute
InstantInstantaneous

Combining seeds should effectively raise the spell's level - I'd suggest +2 levels/Epic Spell Points per combined seed. When combining seeds, the most restrictive Casting Time, Range, Duration and Target should be used.

I'd conclude with a section that gives the DM control on allowing the PC to come up with ways to possibly mitigate or enhance the spells for more "epic" effects or to enable casting certain spells more reasonable. Things like questing for supernatural components or places of power to negate/reduce costs or shift Casting Time, Range and the like. Possibly allowing for special circumstances to modify seeds beyond the ranges listed in the tables. No formula, so that the DM can keep things from getting out of control and ruining the game, but still make using the ability something enjoyable for the player and the group.
 
Last edited:

Stormonu

Legend
Also, to clarify, rather than have a caster know set Epic spells, have them learn seeds and use Epic Spell Points or the like to customize/activate a spell seed to cast the actual Epic spell (and limit it to one Epic spell per day at best, like Warlock Incarnum).
 

Salmakia

Explorer
Up front, I'm not an Epic level person, so I'm not the target audience. Please take my advice with a heap of salt.

However, overall this process looks overly complex - lots of math and options that make it ripe for abuse. Personally, I would think it would be better to simplify it and treat it sort of like the Warlock's Mystic Incarnum - just covering a set of spells over 9th level. Rather than base the number of Epic spells that can be cast, limit it to 1 per long rest (or maybe, 1 per week), but have the # of seeds known either at a set rate or controlled by spellcasting modifier. Also, set the DC to 8 + PB (or x2 PB, as this would be "Expertise Casting"?) + spellcasting modifier, like other spells, rather than calculating the DC by how the spell is built. I'd strongly consider giving "Epic Spell Points" in a small number to allow for the spell seeds to be customized (maybe start at 1 and gaining 1 per level past 18th or 1/4 class level and work upwards or downwards from there?).

I'd keep the idea of seeds, but simplify them to a degree with a "at higher level"/per Epic Spell Point effective section for each. Personally, I'd have all the seeds have a base expensive material component (something like 2,000 gp x spell level or Epic Spell Point of a specific item). Move the "factors" directly to the seeds, set out under the "at higher level"/per Epic Spell Point section. Since it would be more fixed, I'd consider tweaking Casting Times, Range, Targets and Duration for each of the seeds.

It might be worth creating a master table for each of the above, with each seed having a default setting, and allow a sliding dial - tweak one component down to move another up (possibly with an additional material component cost?). Perhaps, something like this... (blue is the "default", no seed should start in the red)


Casting Time
Glacial7 days
Daily1 day
Long1 hour
Slow10 minutes
Moderate1 minute
Standard1 action
Quick1 bonus action

Range(reversed ranges so "Self" is a regression and "Extreme" is an improvement
SelfSelf
TouchTouch
Radius15 foot radius
Short30 feet
Medium120 feet
Long360 feet
Extreme1 mile

Target
AllAll targets in range
All, medium burstAll targets in a 15 foot radius of the target square
All, small burstAll targets in a 5 foot radius of the target square
ThreeThree targets, within 15 feet of each other
TwoTwo targets, within 15 feet of each other
OneOne

Duration(for epic spells, ALWAYS requires concentration except if Instantaneous)
Permanentpermanent/100 years
Year1 year
Extreme1 day
Long1 hour
Medium10 minutes
Short1 minute
InstantInstantaneous

Combining seeds should effectively raise the spell's level - I'd suggest +2 levels/Epic Spell Points per combined seed. When combining seeds, the most restrictive Casting Time, Range, Duration and Target should be used.

I'd conclude with a section that gives the DM control on allowing the PC to come up with ways to possibly mitigate or enhance the spells for more "epic" effects or to enable casting certain spells more reasonable. Things like questing for supernatural components or places of power to negate/reduce costs or shift Casting Time, Range and the like. Possibly allowing for special circumstances to modify seeds beyond the ranges listed in the tables. No formula, so that the DM can keep things from getting out of control and ruining the game, but still make using the ability something enjoyable for the player and the group.
Thanks! These are some great ideas to think on. I definitely enjoy the math/stat manipulation side of the spell creation, so trying to build a system that rewards people for optimizing & thinking creatively while still building in safeguards to prevent players from breaking the game. Obviously as the DM I retain veto power, but I try and close as many loopholes as possible before implementing a new rules system.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
You've already done all the work, but I wonder if the true dweomers from 2e might have been better to get the DCs. It works with percentiles which may have been easier to convert than the 3e DCs.

I've always liked the idea of epic spells or (even non-epic) rituals that can be used alongside the standard spell slot system as another source of magical power but, other than a few rituals in one of my campaigns I've never used them much and never sat down to really sort out a system.

As a simple creation, I put together the hellball, an epic spell that deals 24d8 cold, fire, and acid damage, hopefully this will deal enough damage to wipe out the wizard's enemies as it not only hurts him, but he also suffers from exhaustion after casting it.

Hellball.
A 40 ft radius sphere that deals cold, fire, and acid damage.

4d6 damage base.
Increase damage to 24d6 (+20)
Increase dice to d8 (+3)

Backlash 6d6 (-6)
Exhaustion 1 (-5)

Energy
Base DC 9
Increased damage 29
Increased die size 32
Backlash 26
Exhaustion 21

Final DC 21 so an archmage should be able to create the spell with just a bit of time and resources spent.
 

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