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5E Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?

Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?


  • Total voters
    120
Okay, so this thread is based around one question: Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?

So, have at it. Answer the poll, and please comment down below with your thoughts on this topic.

If you believe so, should they just be normal class progression, but at higher levels? If yes, too what level? 30? 40? If not, should it be like Prestige Classes, or just multiclassing?

If you answered no, please say why. Is it because of epic spellcasting? Is it because most campaigns don't reach high levels? Or, do you just not care about this enough to want it?

If you're undecided, please say why.

I have been homebrewing a class system up to level 30, and would like to get some information from the community of how you feel on this topic.
 

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5E should have been built from the ground up with the 1-20 progression it has (or something like it), and another 10 levels of Epic progression - possibly in a 4E-ish Epic Destiny or Paragon Path-type fashion. However, it wasn't, and fitting this in mechanically now, without making the game pretty messy, and making 20+ play rather dull or silly, would be rather tricky. Not impossible. Tricky.

Hence I voted undecided. I don't think it would be at all an easy thing to bolt on to 5E. I've seen a couple of attempts and I didn't love them. Doesn't mean it couldn't be done but I'd want Jeremy Crawford as one of the major designers on it to ensure it was mechanically sound. That to me would be absolutely key.

Re: homebrew that's cool but the main problem I have with homebrew attempts is that instead of taking every class as it is presented in the PHB, and trying to make it epic, homebrew attempts tend to use this as an opportunity "edit" classes they don't like (often Bards, Warlocks, Sorcerers, or the like), or take a very specific perspective on what a class is that doesn't match well with the class/subclasses below epic levels.
 

Re: homebrew that's cool but the main problem I have with homebrew attempts is that instead of taking every class as it is presented in the PHB, and trying to make it epic, homebrew attempts tend to use this as an opportunity "edit" classes they don't like (often Bards, Warlocks, Sorcerers, or the like), or take a very specific perspective on what a class is that doesn't match well with the class/subclasses below epic levels.
I get that. That's kind of why I'm making my own system. I've seen several attempts to do so, and was never satisfied by them. I'm trying to keep my class versions of them as on par with the original themes of the base classes as possible, and haven't been using this system to "fix" the problems with the base classes, either.
 

I get that. That's kind of why I'm making my own system. I've seen several attempts to do so, and was never satisfied by them. I'm trying to keep my class versions of them as on par with the original themes of the base classes as possible, and haven't been using this system to "fix" the problems with the base classes, either.
Excellent, very interested to see what you come up with then!
 

Excellent, very interested to see what you come up with then!
I currently have nearly finished both Warlocks and Paladins up to level 30. The capstone abilities for the Warlock class and subclasses make them no longer age, become another creature type based on subclass (fiend for Archfiend patron, Celestial for Celestial patron, Undead for Undying patron, so on), and they get the ability to make other creatures become warlocks. (Based on subclass, some of them gain damage resistance/immunity, like fire immunity for Archfiend warlocks, and Necrotic for Hexblades.)

The Paladin capstones essentially allow for their level 20 capstones to remain on them as long as they hold concentration.
 



Mercurius

Legend
On principle I dislike level limits. On the other hand, the nature of skill development is that the more advanced one becomes, the more advancement slows. There's also the limiting factor of time and aging. So a "realistic" D&D would actually involve less power increases the higher level one becomes - or at least far slower advancement to new advancements.

That said, D&D is a game and doesn't need to model itself after the real world (ahem). I personally see no reason why a new or alternate epic capstone system wouldn't be a good thing, and I would be very interested in seeing it developed. Furthermore, I think it should include something new, that isn't just "more of the same, but more" -- meaning, make it truly gonzo. Which brings me to the idea of immortal play.

If 17-20th level characters are "Masters of the World" with "superheroic capabilities," then (say) 21-25 would be something beyond that, and 26-30 another tier up. So here's a basic structure:

21-24: Epic hero. A natural extension to 17-20, but moreso - and with epic boons and such. This would fill out the extent of mortal power. It might be similar to the current system, but formed into levels and with increases to proficiency, more spells, etc.

25-29: Quasi-deity. On the path to immortality. Among the most powerful beings in the campaign world, able to go one-on-one vs. the most powerful monsters and fiendish lords. To get to the next tier, some kind of "immortal elixir" is required, and/or granted by the gods.

30-39: Demigod. At level 30, true "ascension" occurs and immortality is attained. The PC enters the pantheons of gods and becomes effectively immortal, although without the power to influence masses (yet).

40-49: Lesser god. Play becomes more meta -- conflicts between gods, cosmic venues, etc. Able to incarnate as an avatar, yet still with a true form beyond the Prime Material Plane.

50 (level-less): Greater god. World-makers. Play is almost akin to world-building, but with the capacity to incarnate in avataric form.

Or something like that. Obviously the higher the tier, the more different and only sketched out the rules would become. Most epic campaigns would like remain below 30th, but elements of higher tier could be employed.
 

dave2008

Legend
If you answered no, please say why. Is it because of epic spellcasting? Is it because most campaigns don't reach high levels? Or, do you just not care about this enough to want it?
I have been homebrewing a class system up to level 30, and would like to get some information from the community of how you feel on this topic.
First, I do not want WotC to make epic levels for 5e. It will douse a lot of my fun in making my own version. ;)

However, I have a couple of points:
  1. It already has epic levels: 17-20.
  2. The epic boon system is really good for creating a divergent game style that I personally think is essential to epic play. Just adding 10 more levels is not "epic" IMO
  3. I would prefer to see an expanded boon system and more CR 20+ threats
  4. I would prefer a simple epic level DMG that helps run high level games.
I have been homebrewing a class system up to level 30, and would like to get some information from the community of how you feel on this topic.
Have you checked out Epic Characters on DMsGuild. It takes every class to level 30 (I don't think they have down Artificer yet though) and sound like what you are looking for.
 
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dave2008

Legend
5E should have been built from the ground up with the 1-20 progression it has (or something like it), and another 10 levels of Epic progression - possibly in a 4E-ish Epic Destiny or Paragon Path-type fashion. However, it wasn't, and fitting this in mechanically now, without making the game pretty messy, and making 20+ play rather dull or silly, would be rather tricky. Not impossible. Tricky.

Hence I voted undecided. I don't think it would be at all an easy thing to bolt on to 5E. I've seen a couple of attempts and I didn't love them. Doesn't mean it couldn't be done but I'd want Jeremy Crawford as one of the major designers on it to ensure it was mechanically sound. That to me would be absolutely key.

Re: homebrew that's cool but the main problem I have with homebrew attempts is that instead of taking every class as it is presented in the PHB, and trying to make it epic, homebrew attempts tend to use this as an opportunity "edit" classes they don't like (often Bards, Warlocks, Sorcerers, or the like), or take a very specific perspective on what a class is that doesn't match well with the class/subclasses below epic levels.
Have you checked out Epic Characters on DMsGuild. It takes every class to level 30:

"This 66-page handbook contains progression from 20th to 30th level for all character options found in the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, and Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. It also includes epic racial bonuses for all races found in the aforementioned titles, in addition to those found in Elemental Evil Player's Companion, Volo's Guide to Monsters, the Tortle Package, Locathah Rising, and Acquisitions Incorporated."

I personally don't want more levels for my epic games, but since you mentioned that is how you would like to see it done, I would recommend that product. It is well done and available in print too.
 
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dave2008

Legend
On principle I dislike level limits. On the other hand, the nature of skill development is that the more advanced one becomes, the more advancement slows. There's also the limiting factor of time and aging. So a "realistic" D&D would actually involve less power increases the higher level one becomes - or at least far slower advancement to new advancements.

That said, D&D is a game and doesn't need to model itself after the real world (ahem). I personally see no reason why a new or alternate epic capstone system wouldn't be a good thing, and I would be very interested in seeing it developed. Furthermore, I think it should include something new, that isn't just "more of the same, but more" -- meaning, make it truly gonzo. Which brings me to the idea of immortal play.

If 17-20th level characters are "Masters of the World" with "superheroic capabilities," then (say) 21-25 would be something beyond that, and 26-30 another tier up. So here's a basic structure:

21-24: Epic hero. A natural extension to 17-20, but moreso - and with epic boons and such. This would fill out the extent of mortal power. It might be similar to the current system, but formed into levels and with increases to proficiency, more spells, etc.

25-29: Quasi-deity. On the path to immortality. Among the most powerful beings in the campaign world, able to go one-on-one vs. the most powerful monsters and fiendish lords. To get to the next tier, some kind of "immortal elixir" is required, and/or granted by the gods.

30-39: Demigod. At level 30, true "ascension" occurs and immortality is attained. The PC enters the pantheons of gods and becomes effectively immortal, although without the power to influence masses (yet).

40-49: Lesser god. Play becomes more meta -- conflicts between gods, cosmic venues, etc. Able to incarnate as an avatar, yet still with a true form beyond the Prime Material Plane.

50 (level-less): Greater god. World-makers. Play is almost akin to world-building, but with the capacity to incarnate in avataric form.

Or something like that. Obviously the higher the tier, the more different and only sketched out the rules would become. Most epic campaigns would like remain below 30th, but elements of higher tier could be employed.
I'm doing something similar, but a quicker break. Lvl 20 / CR 20 is "mortal" limit. After that I have exalted ranks:
  1. Rank 1 - Demigod (essentially mythic CR 21-25)
  2. Rank 2 - Lesser god (essentially mythic CR 26-35)
  3. Rank 3 - Intermediate god (essentially mythic CR 36-50)
  4. Rank 4 - Greater god (essentially mythic CR 51-70)
  5. Rank 5 - Elder god
  6. Rank 6 - Over god
Most games would max out a Tier 4 IMO.
 


dave2008

Legend
I have, thanks for the recommendation. This fell flat for me, and am making my own version.
I have you checked out the UA reddit? There are some interesting beyond lvl 20 ideas out there for free.

Also, I'm publishing my version next month, but without additional levels
 



Mercurius

Legend
I'm doing something similar, but a quicker break. Lvl 20 / CR 20 is "mortal" limit. After that I have exalted ranks:
  1. Rank 1 - Demigod (essentially mythic CR 21-25)
  2. Rank 2 - Lesser god (essentially mythic CR 26-35)
  3. Rank 3 - Intermediate god (essentially mythic CR 36-50)
  4. Rank 4 - Greater god (essentially mythic CR 51-70)
  5. Rank 5 - Elder god
  6. Rank 6 - Over god
Most games would max out a Tier 4 IMO.
I like that, and the wider level ranges are probably better for separating the greater gods from mortals.

I like "Elder Gods" in the hierarchy, btw. One way to envision this is via the scope of their power and influence:

Mortal - terrestrial, mortal
Demigod - local
Lesser God - regional/cultural
Intermediate God - national/continental
Greater God - planetary
Elder God - solar system
Overgod - galaxy
Allgod - universe
The One - multiverse

Or something like that. Doesn't quite work, but the basic idea is what I'm trying to get across.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay, so this thread is based around one question: Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?

So, have at it. Answer the poll, and please comment down below with your thoughts on this topic.

If you believe so, should they just be normal class progression, but at higher levels? If yes, too what level? 30? 40? If not, should it be like Prestige Classes, or just multiclassing?

If you answered no, please say why. Is it because of epic spellcasting? Is it because most campaigns don't reach high levels? Or, do you just not care about this enough to want it?

If you're undecided, please say why.

I have been homebrewing a class system up to level 30, and would like to get some information from the community of how you feel on this topic.
I think “Epic” gameplay can and should be an additional optional layer that can be added to the game at any level.
 

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