Split the Players Handbook into two books: Lower Tiers and Upper Tiers

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Divide the 5e Players Handbook into two separate books:
• Lower-Tier (LT) Players Handbook
• Upper-Tier (UT) Players Handbook



I advocate four-level tiers.

Levels: The Lower Tiers
1-4: Student (apprentice, page) ≈ Basic
5-8: Professional (journeyer, squire; adventurer) ≈ Expert
9-12: Master (guildmaster, knight) ≈ 1e Name Level ≈ Champion

The LT Players Handbook includes a full Master tier. It represents the 1e name levels, when the character attracts followers and builds an institution, such as a fortress, wizard school, religious community, paladin order, thieves guild, and so on. The player should have freedom to design the legacy that the character builds. The legacy may or may not relate to the background at level 1, but it is nice when it does.

Likely, many campaigns end with the Professional tier at level 8.

But there are campaigns that press on for a bit longer before retiring their characters, and the Master tier is for them to leave their mark in the world. When the players create new characters, they can be family members of their previous characters, or pages in the fortress of the Knight, or apprentices in the school of the Wizard.

The Master tier enriches the D&D experience even for those whose campaigns only use the Lower-Tier Players Handbook.



The Upper-Tier Players Handbook is a separate book for a more superheroish D&D. The characters are a community of world-shakers, archwizards and other grandmasters. Epic is an option that the DMs Guide already touches on, and the upper-tiers can advance into it.

Levels: The Upper Tiers
13-16: Grandmaster (Archwizard, Noble/Lord/Lady) ≈ Master
17-20: Legend ≈ Immortal
21-24: Epic

The Grandmaster deals with other Grandmasters, whether as allies or rivals, striving to reshape the world. This is a superhero. Or a League of Superheroes battling against a League of Supervillains.

The characters step out of a medievalesque world into a realm of sorcery and magic, and power. The institution that the character built during the earlier 9-12 Master tier now influences the fate of the nation and world.

At level 13, Grandmaster Fighters choose a magic weapon, or armor, or other item, as part of their Fighter class feature, to use magical effects, within this new tier of magic.

Next, the Legend tier gains some form of immortality. Compare 4e. The character can become an archfey, a lich, a demigod, or whatever. Some means of living forever.

Next, the Epic tier acquires a "portfolio", a means to personally influence some aspect of the cosmos itself. "Boons" replace class features when leveling in the epic tier. A boon is a superpowerful feat. The boon may or may not relate to the class, depending on which boon the player chooses.



Where the Players Handbook divides to a LT book and an UT book, likewise, there is a LT Monster Manual and an UT Monster Manual.

The LT books focus on the D&D experience that most campaigns explore. The UT books explore the higher levels that impact the multiverse.

As separate books, the upper tiers are more than an afterthought. The designers think about how high level characters function at these higher tiers. Mechanically, the UT rules finetune balance and the health of the gaming engine with the new UT stresses. Narratively, the UT rules focus on how these powerful characters impact the world and reshape it. Now by means of their actions, players are becoming worldbuilders. The DM is no longer the creator alone. The players are in partnership to reshape and create the setting and its world.
 
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delericho

Legend
I can just about see them stripping out levels 16+ from the PHB (to free up space for other things). But if they do that, my fear is that those upper levels will be essentially gone, never to be seen again - they may well make noises about a high level support book, but given the numbers playing at those levels I suspect it would quickly fall by the wayside.
 

Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
While not a bad idea, the thought of them breaking up the books any more means people will have to buy more books if they want their characters to progress to high levels.

Besides, in 3e they printed the epic handbook and it wasn't good at all (numbers way out there). It saw no use at all at any tables I played.

Pathfinder 1e had the Mythic Adventures book, but that wasnt epic level, more like "elite" PC's that can start at 1st level with a few mythic powers, with options for mythic play at all levels.
 



DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I could see the 1-10/11-20 break-down, but something occurred to me and maybe I am just off:

People don't enjoy playing 11-20 not because there isn't support for it, but because getting to the higher levels is the fun part.

IME, I've never really enjoyed playing high-level PCs (other than a one-shot or short adventure).
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
I can just about see them stripping out levels 16+ from the PHB (to free up space for other things). But if they do that, my fear is that those upper levels will be essentially gone, never to be seen again - they may well make noises about a high level support book, but given the numbers playing at those levels I suspect it would quickly fall by the wayside.
Where you write "fear" I think "hope" 🤔
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
While not a bad idea, the thought of them breaking up the books any more means people will have to buy more books if they want their characters to progress to high levels.

Besides, in 3e they printed the epic handbook and it wasn't good at all (numbers way out there). It saw no use at all at any tables I played.

Pathfinder 1e had the Mythic Adventures book, but that wasnt epic level, more like "elite" PC's that can start at 1st level with a few mythic powers, with options for mythic play at all levels.
They could include in the high tier book rules for generating characters at high tier.
 


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