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5E Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?

Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?


  • Total voters
    120

AmerginLiath

Explorer
I voted no. I thought that the math of epic levels in previous editions quickly got well beyond unwieldy and any sort of feasible within the game world. Particularly with 5e’s attempts to rein in the numbers on a curve, expanding out that high end would have the same issue. Rather, the Epic Boons system works more like the AD&D post-Name Level advancement in certain ways, curtailing growth of numbers in lieu of advancing unique capacities. Although I do agree that there should be some attention paid to how to better play that track (and perhaps more boons offered, including more on the lines of domain rulership and such) — I‘m honestly not interested in that level of play (world-shaking power to me is above tenth level, having grown up gaming in Dragonlance’s maxim of “the gods remove you from the world at 18th level to preserve the balance”), but it fits other styles. Perhaps whatever product finally contains mass combat and domain rules can include something on it (I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing a high-level mega-adventure book which transitions between micro- and macro-scale with these subsystems in play).
 

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dave2008

Legend
Waste of space. I am not going to play to those levels (I don't even play to the current level 20 cap) and I don't think most will.
Possibly, but if only 1% of players were interested that is approx. 500,000 players. Well over the 100,000 copy threshold for a WotC book. I don't think it is likely they will make an epic level handbook for 5e, but I don't think it is inherently a "waste of space" either.
 


dave2008

Legend
Playing only to level 10 isn't fun for me or my group. Full stop. We don't ever take that long to get to 10, unless we don't get to play a campaign often, because not leveling is far from fun to us that we would rather just not play that game, and we enjoy letting out characters "grow up" in the way that can only satisfyingly happen by gain new abilities and competences.
My PCs still gain new abilities/rewards outside of leveling, but it seems my group's playstyle is much different than yours, and that is OK. I honestly think we could play a D&D campaign for years and never get past level 5. Leveling just isn't a big deal to us.

On the other hand, letting "epic" gameplay live in a layer outside level allows both of us to have what we want, by allowing a less steep climb in power by default, with the ability to "go epic" at whatever level makes sense for your group, campaign, story, etc.
Sure, I don't have an issue with that - I just wouldn't call it epic in my eyes or how the OP described it. Also, as I mentioned, we already have a system like that available for 5e from WotC. It just takes the usual 5e approach to fringe 5e playstyles and gives us the bare bones for use to play with.

Also, I personally don't want that style of epic or what I call mythic (since PF started it) game play. That is decidedly not what I want. I think it is fine way to play, it is just not for me.

Also, you asked people to explain why they don't want epic levels in 5e if their answer is no. I did so.
Cool, but I didn't ask. This is not my thread. FYI, I voted no too!
 

dave2008

Legend
Playing only to level 10 isn't fun for me or my group. Full stop.
Have you tried 5e without ASIs, just feats? Not sure what you meant by: " I don't even want levels 15-20 to be as epic as they are. " But I find removing ability score increases makes the PCs feel more mundane, but they still get cool new toys (feats) to use. If you want more options you can use the UA skill and weapon feats too. We thought about using the variant features UA, but I am expecting that to make it into an official document soon, so we are holding off.

With no ASI, you get the thrill of level advancement without some of power bloat associate with ASIs.
 

S'mon

Legend
I would say no, the reason being that I've been running 5e with the DMG Epic Boon rules since 2018 and they work really really well! Far better than ever-escalating levels. PCs gain Boons every few sessions and have a sense of advancement, but never break or out-level the game.
 

FaerieGodfather

Aberrant Druid
Normally, I would say absolutely yes but I just don't think it makes sense in Fifth Edition. At the risk of sounding bitter, Fifth Edition is already an E6 game stretched across twenty levels. What difference is a +9 proficiency bonus or a 12th level spell slot going to make, when the fundamentals of the game are antithetical to high-level play?

Wizards of the Coast doesn't believe that anyone enjoys high-level play, so they don't support it. There's no support for high-level play, so fans of WotC D&D don't enjoy it. This convinces Wizards of the Coast that nobody enjoys high-level play.
 

shesheyan

Explorer
Normally, I would say absolutely yes but I just don't think it makes sense in Fifth Edition. At the risk of sounding bitter, Fifth Edition is already an E6 game stretched across twenty levels. What difference is a +9 proficiency bonus or a 12th level spell slot going to make, when the fundamentals of the game are antithetical to high-level play?

Wizards of the Coast doesn't believe that anyone enjoys high-level play, so they don't support it. There's no support for high-level play, so fans of WotC D&D don't enjoy it. This convinces Wizards of the Coast that nobody enjoys high-level play.
It comes from data not belief. From what I recall about the D&D Beyond graphic published a few months ago almost no one plays beyond level 10-12. I never GMed beyond level 12 since 1981. By the time we get to level 12 I'm usually tired of the campaign and want to DM something new. I voted no. As long as it is an optional book I don't mind.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I voted YES simply because it would be available for people who want it. I, personally, would probably try it once, but that would be it. But, I think the more options the better for the people who want them. I also agree that it should have been implemented from the beginning, doing it now without getting stupid ridiculous would be hard.
 
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TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
I'm happy to have a campaign where my character breaks the 10th level threshold, much less epic levels. :( Would there be a big demand for an epic level content? I didn't vote because I'm undecided. Edit: I voted
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
I voted no in that I'm not interested in it, and I don't think WOTC will ever make them (beyond boons).

For my style of play, I like the campaigns to have an end point. In the past the natural ending has been before 20th level. I think my current campaign will bring the PCs to 20th level, but then they'll defeat the BBEG and save the world, so we'll stop there.
 



Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I voted yes, but I think the real issue is not adding class levels. The real issue is having adventures that are epic in stakes and in scope, but which are not just another dungeon delve with bigger numbers. The PCs ought to be doing things like ruling nations (maybe even worlds), leading armies, controlling major organizations like factions and churches, but this is so different from the iconic D&D experience that we may need to introduce new rules, the DM may have difficulty adjudicating the outcome of the PCs' actions, and the players themselves may not be interested in taking the game into this new direction.
What you're describing is different from the iconic D&D experience, which is sad because it didn't use to be.
 

shesheyan

Explorer
What you're describing is different from the iconic D&D experience, which is sad because it didn't use to be.
At your table maybe, but there are thousands of fans of the Expert Set (and BECMI or RC or AD&D) who gladly incorporated these notions in their games since it came out. There is nothing sad about that. I certainly welcomed it with joy in 1981. I play Munchkin when all I want to do kick the door, kill the monster and steal the loot.
 

dave2008

Legend
At your table maybe, but there are thousands of fans of the Expert Set (and BECMI or RC or AD&D) who gladly incorporated these notions in their games since it came out. There is nothing sad about that. I certainly welcomed it with joy in 1981. I play Munchkin when all I want to do kick the door, kill the monster and steal the loot.
I believe @Alzrius is saying that it is sad that many people don't still play this way. It looks like you took the opposite meaning though.
 

I'm not a fan of "Epic Levels" as have been presented since 2E, probably because I started in 1E. In OD&D and 1E there was no maximum level, but you did get to the point of diminishing returns where gaining upper levels gave you much less than the lower levels (with more dead levels). Implementing this into 5E would be fairly easy by simply allowing multi-classing a level instead of gaining the normal epic boon. This also makes capstones still available for multi-class characters.
 

Zsig

Explorer
As long as it shows up on a book exclusive for that sort of content, I don't care.

If it shows up on books competing for precious space with other (in my opinion) more useful content, then no.
 

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