D&D (2024) High Tiers = Superheroes

Yaarel

He Mage
Having actually played marvel superheroes before I can say it's so different from d&d that it makes any comparisons rather questionable at best.
The superhero characters are for inspiration, to build 5e versions of them. These would be high level D&D 5e characters with the 5e gaming engine and 5e mechanics.

A main difference between 5e and the superhero genre is, 5e magic tends toward neovancian spell slots whereas superhero powers tend to be always-on. But there are ways that 5e can accomplish always.

Cantrips are always-on, albeit they tend to be minimally powerful.

Allowing a Fighter to substitute the Weapon damage types (Pierce, Slash, Bludgeon) with other damage types like Fire and Psychic, is an effective and balanced way to establish always-on superhero flavor.

A spell itself can be always-on. Compare the Mage Armor spell whose duration is so many hours, on is moreorless swapping a spell slot for an always on power. More spells can be like this, and at higher levels. There can even be a new spell mechanic, where the spell "occupies" a spell slot. In other words, as long as the spell effect is on, the spell slot cannot be used for anything else.

In any case, I feel these always-on spells are vital to design for the sake of the 5e game. These kinds of spells would be in normal spell lists, and they would compete with more traditional one-off vancian spells. It becomes easier to assess how powerful the always-on spells are compared to the one-off spells. This link, makes it far more easier to balance spellcasters with Fighters whose powers tends to be always on.

It is too bad the short-rest Warlock is retiring. It would be so much better if every spellcaster switches to short-rest refreshes. Short-rest is so much easier to balance because there are smaller amounts of magical resources at any one time. To go nova is less of a balance issue. The short rest is truly ideal for satisfying amounts of magical flexibility and intuitive usage, while also maintaining gaming balance.
 

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le Redoutable

Ich bin El Glouglou :)
If one is fighting high tier Evil creatures who are harming many people, one tends to want the Evil creatures to stay dead or contained by other means, at least until behaving better.
no, you should say " a High level Priest won't spend his resurrect spells to resurrect peasants "
 

Yaarel

He Mage
no, you should say " a High level Priest won't spend his resurrect spells to resurrect peasants "
It depends on the setting. If high tier, even a peasant would likely no longer be a peasant, and might not be in the location of ones birth. A Good Cleric might refrain from resurrecting someone cruel, and an Evil Cleric might prefer having less competition thus refrain. The possibilities of groupies resurrecting an Evil character can be an adventure hook that the DM knows the players are already invested in.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Here is an other idea for a superhero power.

Crazy Trick Shot. You can knock, ricochet, and boomerang any object with impossible accuracy for an astonishing stunt. As part of any Action, you can add one effect from the Mage Hand cantrip. The range of the Mage Hand effect depends on the range of your Action, including a shot arrow, thrown object, or melee punch. The Mage Hand effect ends at the end of your Action, and the ballistic that you send can harmlessly end in your hand or in any specific location in range.



My current intention is to format these always-on powers as spells for spell slots. These spells will have a new spell school pertaining to Martial magic. Maybe call the spell school "Technique". For example, "Slot 4 Technique" rather than "Slot 4 Transmutation".

It will be easy to compare these Techniques to other spells of the same slot. Spellcasters like Rangers and Paladins can access the Technique school of magic. Fighters can get them as subclass features and feats. Assessing which slot level of power a Technique is, also makes it easy to which level it belongs to as a Fighter feature.
 
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That is a good point about "national funerals" becoming a recurring theme in a high-play world.

I havent had too much difficulty with that, because adventures tend to go into other planes of existence at these high levels.

Supposing the players get interested in founding governments in the Material Plane. If the party is Good and the opponents tyrannical, to defeat the tyrants can mean players help design governments, build a fairer legal system, and found a more free and more democratic society, who hopefully remains a member of a network of allies. Actually this is great way for reallife players to learn civics. Think of things that go wrong and contemplate how to restore and maintain.

Of course, game of Risk, of empire building and colonialism, where the player characters are the tyrants, is also possible in a fantasy setting. I am unsure I could get into that as a DM.
Indeed switching to another plan allow to change the scale and the power level of the world.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Indeed switching to another plan allow to change the scale and the power level of the world.
With regard to worldbuilding, dealing with world-altering high tier characters relates to dealing with immortal Elves.

In a low tier Tolkienesque setting, the DM ignores the problematic.

But in a high tier adventure, it becomes less possible to ignore the consequences of character actions.

With regard to the Elves, I have them culturally relocate when they become "adults" at age 100. They spend the hundred years deciding who they are and what they want to do for eternity. They can change their mind later, but this is a big-deal decision. It feels a bit like choosing what to do in college, but perhaps many times more stressful. With Norseque flavor in mind, the adult Elves focus on shaping the fate of the multiverse. Typically, the feminines (females including some males and others) foresee and decide the good fates of individual creatures. A good fate means a successful and enduring legacy, and is often but not necessarily pleasing. Meanwhile the masculines (males including some females and others) go on missions to secure a fate. There are individual Elves who want nothing to do with this elven cultural expectation, but for the most part, it is a "safe" place where a DM can put immortal Elves. I put these Elves in the "Border Feywild", part of the Ethereal plane that overlaps both the Material and the Feywild, and up in the sky above the clouds.

There are superhero narratives where the power of superheroes does impact the entire world, including Superman going rogue in various scenarios. But generally, the Good superheroes value freedom and for this reason minimal-ize the way that they interfere with world.
 

With regard to worldbuilding, dealing with world-altering high tier characters relates to dealing with immortal Elves.

In a low tier Tolkienesque setting, the DM ignores the problematic.

But in a high tier adventure, it becomes less possible to ignore the consequences of character actions.

With regard to the Elves, I have them culturally relocate when they become "adults" at age 100. They spend the hundred years deciding who they are and what they want to do for eternity. They can change their mind later, but this is a big-deal decision. It feels a bit like choosing what to do in college, but perhaps many times more stressful. With Norseque flavor in mind, the adult Elves focus on shaping the fate of the multiverse. Typically, the feminines (females including some males and others) foresee and decide the good fates of individual creatures. A good fate means a successful and enduring legacy, and is often but not necessarily pleasing. Meanwhile the masculines (males including some females and others) go on missions to secure a fate. There are individual Elves who want nothing to do with this elven cultural expectation, but for the most part, it is a "safe" place where a DM can put immortal Elves. I put these Elves in the "Border Feywild", part of the Ethereal plane that overlaps both the Material and the Feywild, and up in the sky above the clouds.

There are superhero narratives where the power of superheroes does impact the entire world, including Superman going rogue in various scenarios. But generally, the Good superheroes value freedom and for this reason minimal-ize the way that they interfere with world.
That is DnD, writing those Lore and managing world with immortal or super heroic characters. Each DM will make his solution. If the game was managing and balancing everything it would be a lame.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The superhero characters are for inspiration, to build 5e versions of them. These would be high level D&D 5e characters with the 5e gaming engine and 5e mechanics.

A main difference between 5e and the superhero genre is, 5e magic tends toward neovancian spell slots whereas superhero powers tend to be always-on. But there are ways that 5e can accomplish always.

Cantrips are always-on, albeit they tend to be minimally powerful.

Allowing a Fighter to substitute the Weapon damage types (Pierce, Slash, Bludgeon) with other damage types like Fire and Psychic, is an effective and balanced way to establish always-on superhero flavor.

A spell itself can be always-on. Compare the Mage Armor spell whose duration is so many hours, on is moreorless swapping a spell slot for an always on power. More spells can be like this, and at higher levels. There can even be a new spell mechanic, where the spell "occupies" a spell slot. In other words, as long as the spell effect is on, the spell slot cannot be used for anything else.

In any case, I feel these always-on spells are vital to design for the sake of the 5e game. These kinds of spells would be in normal spell lists, and they would compete with more traditional one-off vancian spells. It becomes easier to assess how powerful the always-on spells are compared to the one-off spells. This link, makes it far more easier to balance spellcasters with Fighters whose powers tends to be always on.

It is too bad the short-rest Warlock is retiring. It would be so much better if every spellcaster switches to short-rest refreshes. Short-rest is so much easier to balance because there are smaller amounts of magical resources at any one time. To go nova is less of a balance issue. The short rest is truly ideal for satisfying amounts of magical flexibility and intuitive usage, while also maintaining gaming balance.
The 2014 warlock isn't retiring, according to WotC. Everything in the 2014 PH is perfectly viable per their statements.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Here is a sense of which Marvel superhero belongs to which D&D 5e level.

The table uses the column (3) table from Post 16 and the official superhero stats from the Marvel Super Heroes cards in the Original Post.

The ellipses "..." means that some of the heroes from the preceding lower level probably belong here in this gap.

(Note, these official Marvel stats are from the 1980s. Some superheroes have leveled up since then, or variated. Some powers are more useful than others, so some rankings surprise. Nightcrawler has Shift X Teleport. Also I ignore material strengths and obscure powers like "invisibility to machines". In Super Heroes, powers that come from an item, such as the hammer of Thor and the armor of Iron Man, are part of the character build.)

The range of these superheroes across these D&D tiers, looks moreorless right to me.


D&D 5e TIERS (LEVELS)MARVEL SUPER HEROES
Zero (0)
Student (1−2)
Student (3−4)
Professional (5−6)
Professional (7−8)
Master (9−10)Iceman, Cyclops, Nick Fury, Archangel (Monstrous Paralytic), Moon Knight, Dagger
Master (11−12)Shadowcat, Gambit, Jubilee, Wasp, Beast (Amazing Leap), Black Widow
Grandmaster (13−14)Spiderman, Storm, Captain America, Punisher, Marvel Girl, Psylocke, Forge, Dr Pym
Grandmaster (15−16)...
Legend (17−18)Wolverine, Iron Man, Phoenix 2, She-Hulk (Shift Z Leap), Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Daredevil, Thing, Submariner, Quasar
Legend (19−20)Professor X, Dr Strange (Shift X Flight), Thor (Shift X Flight), Hulk (Class 5000 Leap), Human Torch 2 (Shift Z Nova), Cloak, Banshee, Captain Britain, Meggan
Epic (21−22)...
Epic (23−24)Nightcrawler
Epic (25−26)
Epic (27−28)
Epic (29−30)
Epic (31−32)
Epic (33−34)
Epic (35−36)
Epic (37−38)
Epic (39−40)
 
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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Here is a sense of which Marvel superhero belongs to which D&D 5e level.

The table uses the column (3) table from Post 16 and the official superhero stats from the Marvel Super Heroes cards in the Original Post.

The ellipses "..." means that some of the heroes from the preceding lower level probably belong here in this gap.

(Note, these official Marvel stats are from the 1980s. Some superheroes have leveled up since then, or variated. Some powers are more useful than others, so some rankings surprise. Nightcrawler has Shift X Teleport. Also I ignore material strengths and obscure powers like "invisibility to machines". In Super Heroes, powers that come from an item, such as the hammer of Thor and the armor of Iron Man, are part of the character build.)

The range of these superheroes across these D&D tiers, looks moreorless right to me.


D&D 5e TIERS (LEVELS)MARVEL SUPER HEROES
Zero (0)
Student (1−2)
Student (3−4)
Professional (5−6)
Professional (7−8)
Master (9−10)Iceman, Cyclops, Nick Fury, Archangel (Monstrous Paralytic), Moon Knight, Dagger
Master (11−12)Shadowcat, Gambit, Jubilee, Wasp, Beast (Amazing Leap), Black Widow
Grandmaster (13−14)Spiderman, Storm, Captain America, Punisher, Marvel Girl, Psylocke, Forge, Dr Pym
Grandmaster (15−16)...
Legend (17−18)Wolverine, Iron Man, Phoenix 2, She-Hulk (Shift Z Leap), Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Daredevil, Thing, Submariner, Quasar
Legend (19−20)Professor X, Dr Strange (Shift X Flight), Thor (Shift X Flight), Hulk (Class 5000 Leap), Human Torch 2 (Shift Z Nova), Cloak, Banshee, Captain Britain, Meggan
Epic (21−22)...
Epic (23−24)Nightcrawler
Epic (25−26)
Epic (27−28)
Epic (29−30)
Epic (31−32)
Epic (33−34)
Epic (35−36)
Epic (37−38)
Epic (39−40)
have you seen Mike Mylers blog site? He’s done some Marvel write ups using pathfinder that might be helpful.
Hulk is CR 23, and Thor iirc is CR 25. Nightcrawler I think is CR 15
 

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