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5E Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?

Should D&D 5e have Epic Levels?


  • Total voters
    120

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
I’m also not sure how a 10-level campaign is short. Even at one session a week and leveling up every other session on average (both very generous assumptions in my opinion), that’s 5 months. Factor in any sessions that have to get cancelled and you’re looking at half a year, or a whole year if you play every other week.
We've been playing the current campaign for over 4 years, started at lvl 4 and reaching lvl 9 tomorrow (fingers crossed). Granted, we're busy adults that get to play too rarely, so a better gauge is the just short of 30 sessions we've had.

I look forward to continuing the campaign. My greatest worry is that 6e will hit before we get to lvl 15!
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
We've been playing the current campaign for over 4 years, started at lvl 4 and reaching lvl 9 tomorrow (fingers crossed). Granted, we're busy adults that get to play too rarely, so a better gauge is the just short of 30 sessions we've had.

I look forward to continuing the campaign. My greatest worry is that 6e will hit before we get to lvl 15!
Hey if that’s how you like to play, more power to you. I would never be able to stick to one campaign that long.
 



plisnithus8

Explorer
I'm DMing my son and his finds during quarantine on Roll20. They wanted to try 2CGaming's Epic Legacy. We started at level and were playing twice a week, leveling up after each session. Wec started in Wildemount and they eventually each received a vestige magic item that scaled as they progressed.

First of all, they are closer on the the scale to min/max than RP but have loved it. Before that got to level 20, I was throwing monsters with up CR 25 at them. Once they got to level 21, I started using the Epic Legacy monsters, and incorporating the Qill and Caildron Ulraunt's Shadowfell and Acheron stuff at them. Then I finally got the 2CGanming Campaign Codex and added the Epic city of Nexus. I will say that the 2CGaming Epic characters far outshine most of the monsters. Plus trying to keep a sandbox storyline with Roll20 maps has been quite a but of prep work.

They reached level 25 last night, and combat is almost meaningless. There are multiple counter spells and even Wishes, epic Reverse Magic, plane jumping, time travel, multiple immunities and legendary resistances, Righteous Damage that is practically unstoppable, etc. As a DM, I have a hard time remembering all of the abilities of a creature I don't use often, especially with Legendary and mythic actions. I created a council of baddies: Arkham, Xanathar, Strahd, Dyrrn, Lord of Blades, Halaster, Acererak, Smaug, Zariel, the Timeweaver, even a clone of one of the PCXs (from the hag in Tomb of Annhilation) as a way of antagonizing them, but most of those guys are too weak now so I started creating my own monsters such as a Unicornado and a thessalchimera (hydra/beholder/illithid). And to balance, I really need more than 1 enemy so that just makes things more complicated. I try to keep things fresh so have various locations and environments (the cubes of Acheron, the "Inside of a Tarrasque," Avernus, Tomb of Horrors, etc. They are settling into a life in Nexus and creating their own (Epic Legacies) pantheon, but I'm not sure we'll make it to level 30.

They are already planning for a Humblewood session zero as a change of pace.
 

The Big BZ

Explorer
So what exactly would you consider "proper support" for those levels? No criticizing what you're saying, but kind curious what direction classes ought to go to get better.
I'm actually totally fine with the classes and crunch available for 15 - 20! It's the complete lack of adventure content that's the problem. Basically DotMM, Tomb of Horrors for TftYP, a handful of AL adventures and after that you are on your own pal! Running anything beyond 15 is pretty ardous I find because of it.
 

dave2008

Legend
Yes. Up to 30 levels of gameplay, wherein the PCs are still mortal people who have to worry about eating and sleeping in a safe place and still age and (most of whom) can still get sick and die from tuberculosis.
That is clear enough - thanks. I certainly don't understand that desire (we are still only lvl 15 after playing for 6 years), but it is fine for those who do.
Options. I like them.
Me too.
As for what the last thing meant, you equated fantastical with epic. I clarified that I don't see them as equivalent or even strongly synonymous. Comprehend Language is fantastical, but it certainly isn't epic. Fantastical is great, i'm all for it. Epic should be optional.
I was equating what you called epic (something that could be had at level 1-20 and for mortals) with fantastic or mythic, versus what I was calling epic (past mortal levels of ability).

You mentioned levels 15-20 were already too epic for you. To me those are just fantastic or mythic (again with my definition of the term, not yours). Though I do agree that Wish is a bit to epic and would prefer that was not on the spell list.
 

The Big BZ

Explorer
We've been playing the current campaign for over 4 years, started at lvl 4 and reaching lvl 9 tomorrow (fingers crossed). Granted, we're busy adults that get to play too rarely, so a better gauge is the just short of 30 sessions we've had.

I look forward to continuing the campaign. My greatest worry is that 6e will hit before we get to lvl 15!
Do you mind me asking if you are milestone leveling or straight XP?
 


dave2008

Legend
.., but giving Epic boons and other stuff at regular XP intervals or milestones, or you can give epic boons as the story calls for them, starting at whatever level you want, and potentially have a team that can face Orcus before they are even at level 20.
technically that is what supernatural gifts (blessings and charms) are for. The are like per-lvl 20 mini-epic boons.
 



dave2008

Legend
Ninjaed. Interesting in how slow rate of play is achieved mechanically.
Easy, don't use XP. Were at level 15 after 5+ years of play (paused now because of covid-19). We also require downtime for true level up, so you can't level up completely mid dungeon.
 

dave2008

Legend
This is quite slow in comparison to my group, would you mind describing a typical session of yours? I'm intrigued by the difference in play style
Sure:
  • We play 4-6 hrs about 3 times every 2 months
  • We have 1-6/7 encounters pure session and average about 2.5. Combats last from 10-15 min for simple fights and 45 - 90 min for big / important battles. Rest of the time is exploration, investigation, and social interaction.
  • We don't use XP
  • We require downtime for full level up. You can't generally level up in the middle of a dungeon.
  • It is a low magic setting, so finding magic items is a big deal. I think that helps off set the fact we don't level up much.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I think there is some demand for epic levels. But I think it should be put out in combination with a deities, demigods and epic heroes book.
This is my thought as well, and think it could be one (big) book: the first half being epic/immortal play, the second half being deities and epic creatures.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I'm undecided. On one hand, I like the thought of reaching level 30 but I also think that the mechanics break down a little when levelling up to that point though this might not be an issue with the 5e system. I think what I might actually prefer though is what I call sideways advancement, the epic boons that the DMG suggests is a good example of this. Rather than more levels you gain various epic bonuses to add on to your PC.

I guess part of why I'd rather have sideways rather than upwards advancement is due to my time playing WoW, every new expansion had new levels to add which ended up killing a lot of the world as lower levels were cleared out as everyone was advancing higher level characters to even higher. Had they brought out an expansion that was still set for the same level as the current characters while providing a different avenue of advancement (as in new areas to explore for level 40 to 60) then I think I may have kept my interest in the game.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Do you mind me asking if you are milestone leveling or straight XP?
Straight xp

Takes about 15 combats per lvl from 4th to 9th so far, 2-3 combats per session, add in some quest xp here and there. Five PCs.

Edit: that's about 15 monsters of lvl equivalent CR, I mean.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Personally, I think it would have made the most sense to focus the design around the typical play experience, which would mean 10 levels. But, we got 20 levels because 5e was a hardcore appeal to traditionalism (which I agree with you in disliking, but it is what it is.)

I’m also not sure how a 10-level campaign is short. Even at one session a week and leveling up every other session on average (both very generous assumptions in my opinion), that’s 5 months. Factor in any sessions that have to get cancelled and you’re looking at half a year, or a whole year if you play every other week.
A single year campaign is short, for my group.
technically that is what supernatural gifts (blessings and charms) are for. The are like per-lvl 20 mini-epic boons.
Yep, and that’s what I’d model a more robust system after.
 


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.
Oh yes. I don't want Epic play but I'd love to get a new Immortals Set. This is called "D&D", after all, and should embrace its full BECMI silliness.
 

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