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

clearstream

(He, Him)
They absolutely could. ;)

I was more referring to the fact that the math breaks down at higher levels, especially epic levels.
That's true.

Perhaps if they stop the PHB somewhere from 9-12, they could have the higher tier book use a different mathematical progression. Covering the disjunction with a boon that transitions characters to the upper tier.
 

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d24454_modern

Explorer
That's true.

Perhaps if they stop the PHB somewhere from 9-12, they could have the higher tier book use a different mathematical progression. Covering the disjunction with a boon that transitions characters to the upper tier.
Why not get rid of levels entirely by that point?

The point of levels is that it changes how you approach gameplay, all this homogenization makes me feel as though people don’t actually want things to change.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
This sounds like a great way to ensure the high levels get even less support.
It might have, if any edition had ever offered significant support for high level play- adventures, especially.
The proposal to divide the Players Handbook between Lower Tiers and Upper Tiers has several advantages.

Having a Players Handbook that only attends to levels 1 to 12 appeals to players who find the upper tiers less manageable or less grounded. This low-level appeal is legitimate as a gaming-style preference.

There are also practical considerations. Statistically, most 5e games end roughly around level 8. So a separate book that ensures that these levels are solid, thematically and mechanically, is financially sound. Removing the space for levels 13 up (and spell slots 7 and up) allows more room to focus on levels 1 to 12, and to get its flavors and mechanics diverse and robust.

The low tiers include levels 9 to 12, as a four-level Master tier. Even tho games now conclude by 8, the Master tier is an inviting, limited, manageable, temptation to press on a bit longer. This is when player characters leave their mark in the world, so future characters can benefit narratively (and perhaps mechanically) from the accomplishments of previous characters. The Master tier enriches the D&D experience and encourages immersion in the fictive world.

The levels of the Master tier correlate with the old school "name levels" of AD&D, including the building of institutions and the formation of communities. Where the old school gaming engine failed from levels 13 and up (and started going awry 9 to 12), the characters beyond 12 were relatively rare. Together, the Student, Professional, and Master tiers − levels 1 to 12 − also recall the nostalgia for most peoples experiences of old school D&D.

A Low Tier Players Handbook, for levels 1 to 12, will be a solid product and will sell well.



At the same time, I like high level characters. I want a dedicated Upper Tier Players Handbook that will make levels 13 into epic more enjoyable.

The situation right now is, the upper tier is an afterthought. Possibly it is fair to say there is zero support for upper tier characters. The high levels are little more than cut-and-paste from previous editions, while deleting features from them that were truly disruptive to gameplay. There seems little or no active support. For example, for spellcasters who specialize in Plant themes, there are no Plant spells at slots 7 and higher. Similarly for other spell themes. Many high level spells are terrible. A separate book forces designers to consider if a spell really is worthwhile alongside the other spells in the same slot. Relatedly, Fighter players feel their characters are inadequate at these levels. So, while 5e has some kind of echo from previous editions, there is little or no actual support.

Right now, if one simply transfers upper tier content from the current Players Handbook to a separate book, that separate book would be unpublishable. It is anemic at best with glaring omissions and doubtful game engine balance. Moreover, the "small town" flavor of the lower tiers makes less sense in the upper tiers. The upper tiers are about nations, populations, planets, and planes.

(Upper tier is cosmic. It is probably worthwhile to write "level 25" on ones character sheet, in the sense of having completed level 24. But what does level 25 mean? At this point, the powers of such a character are little different from being a DM.)

Nowhere does the current Players Handbook instruct the players and the DM how to navigate the adventures at this scale of magnitude.

If the Upper Tier Players Handbook exists at all, it forces the 5e designers to support these levels, both conceptually, mechanically, and with appropriate options at each level.

The UT Players Handbook will sell well enough. It will be core, and at the least the completionists will buy it. But if it turns out to be fun, others will buy it too.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Why not get rid of levels entirely by that point?
Mostly because of high level spells.

The spell system remains swingy in 5e, but can serve as a stable metric for the game engine at high levels. The trick is to get spell-less classes to keep up with the capabilities at these high levels.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
Mostly because of high level spells.

The spell system remains swingy in 5e, but can serve as a stable metric for the game engine at high levels. The trick is to get spell-less classes to keep up with the capabilities at these high levels.
Villains and monsters don’t even need to have levels to begin with. It’s purely for the sake of players.

If the only thing high level is used for is powerful spells, then it can just be an ability that’s added onto a specific creature.
 


the Jester

Legend
If the Upper Tier Players Handbook exists at all, it forces the 5e designers to support these levels, both conceptually, mechanically, and with appropriate options at each level.
It forces nothing of the kind. 3e had the Epic Level Handbook, and it was hardly ever referred to after it was published. I think there was one epic adventure published in the entire 3e era, and it was in Dungeon. There may be more I'm unaware of, but, well, if there are, there certainly aren't many.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
This is truth. And it takes time to get there. People don't play 11-20 because one of the core conceits of the game is zero to hero. 11-20 is a different game.
That is a great way of stating it as well!

When you are level 11, you ARE the hero, so IMO that part of your journey is over.

It is like when people ask about when your PC finally reaches "concept level". Many IME find that around tier 2, when your second subclass feature is gained typically.

That is why I like using tier 3 and 4 characters for short adventures and one-offs, not for campaigns.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
That is a great way of stating it as well!

When you are level 11, you ARE the hero, so IMO that part of your journey is over.

It is like when people ask about when your PC finally reaches "concept level". Many IME find that around tier 2, when your second subclass feature is gained typically.

That is why I like using tier 3 and 4 characters for short adventures and one-offs, not for campaigns.
That feels dumb to me since 11 is clearly presented as “mid level”. It’s like calling a middle schooler a genius.

THE hero should be max level. The only reason the party succeeded was because it was a party but that particular character was nothing to write home about.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
That feels dumb to me since 11 is clearly presented as “mid level”.
And yet most games don't even reach that level, let alone going past it? So, how is 11th level "mid level" and where is it presented that way?

Even WotC identifies tier 1 as Local "Heroes" and tier 2 as Regional "Heroes", while in tiers 3 and 4 PCs become "Masters of ...".

You are clearly beyond "hero" by tier 3 IMO. YMMV, it appears. 🤷‍♂️

The only reason the party succeeded was because it was a party but that particular character was nothing to write home about.
Yeah, ok, I think your views are seriously distorted, but hey--experiences differ so I suppose if that is your experience, so be it.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
And yet most games don't even reach that level, let alone going past it? So, how is 11th level "mid level" and where is it presented that way?

Even WotC identifies tier 1 as Local "Heroes" and tier 2 as Regional "Heroes", while in tiers 3 and 4 PCs become "Masters of ...".

You are clearly beyond "hero" by tier 3 IMO. YMMV, it appears. 🤷‍♂️


Yeah, ok, I think your views are seriously distorted, but hey--experiences differ so I suppose if that is your experience, so be it.
It reads like Alexander the Great’s accomplishments. It seems big because the scope is so limited.
 


d24454_modern

Explorer
Wait. Are you honestly saying that Alexander the Great's accomplishments weren't--well, great? :confused:
I can’t tell if this is a joke or not, so I’m gonna answer honestly and say “No”. Most people in the world at the time hadn’t even heard of him.

Of course we only care about Northern Eurasia. Nowhere else really matters./s
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
It forces nothing of the kind. 3e had the Epic Level Handbook, and it was hardly ever referred to after it was published. I think there was one epic adventure published in the entire 3e era, and it was in Dungeon. There may be more I'm unaware of, but, well, if there are, there certainly aren't many.
The 3e Epic Level Handbook for 3e levels 21 on up was doomed from the start because the 3e game engine collapsed long before these levels.

In 3e, the sweet spot, where the game engine mechanics worked well is roughly level 9: playable at tiers 5-8, and 9-12, but straining during 13-16, and less playable at 17-20. So by the time the Epic Level 21 becomes usable, few if any campaigns exist at those levels.

Similarly, 1e and 2e have the sweet spot roughly at level 7, and working well enough at 5-8, but straining at 9-12, and less playable from 13 and up.

4e intentionally prolongs the sweet spot across 5-8, 9-12, plus 13-16. Its epic levels at 21 on up are playable.

Note, the four-level "Master" tier at 9-12 are distinctive, have many popular adventures for these levels across editions, and feel different from the 5-8 tier before it and the 13-16 tier after it.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
The 3e Epic Level Handbook for levels 21 on up was doomed from the start because the 3e game engine collapsed long before these levels.

In 3e, the sweet spot, where the game engine mechanics worked well is roughly level 9: playable at tiers 5-8, and 9-12, but straining during 13-16, and less playable at 17-20. So by the time the Epic Level 21 becomes usable, few if any campaigns exist at those levels.

Similarly, 1e and 2e have the sweet spot roughly at level 7, and working well enough at 5-8, but straining at 9-12, and less playable from 13 and up.

4e intentionally prolongs the sweet spot across 5-8, 9-12, plus 13-16. Its epic levels at 21 on up are playable.

Note, the four-level "Master" tier at 9-12 are distinctive, have many popular adventures for these levels across editions, and feel different from the 5-8 tier before it and the 13-16 tier after it.
Define “collapse”. To me it reminds me of people’s complaints about Pokémon Legends: Arceus where a lot of players couldn’t adjust to the new battle system.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I can’t tell if this is a joke or not, so I’m gonna answer honestly and say “No”. Most people in the world at the time hadn’t even heard of him.

Of course we only care about Northern Eurasia. Nowhere else really matters./s
At this point, you really don't seem to have a clue what you are even talking about, so conversation over. Bye.
 

the Jester

Legend
The 3e Epic Level Handbook for 3e levels 21 on up was doomed from the start because the 3e game engine collapsed long before these levels.
That's rather beside the point, though.

My 3e epic group made it to the mid-30s. The game was still fun- in fact, it was awesome, and allowed insane crazy stuff to happen. It was a blast.

In 3e, the sweet spot, where the game engine mechanics worked well is roughly level 9: playable at tiers 5-8, and 9-12, but straining during 13-16, and less playable at 17-20. So by the time the Epic Level 21 becomes usable, few if any campaigns exist at those levels.
Less balanced, a lot more work, but still playable, I assure you, because we did it.

I totally agree that there were problems with 3e at high levels, but those were systemic issues that ran through the whole game. And I also agree that few campaigns exist at the highest levels. But imagine how many there might be if WotC released an actual GOOD adventure that ran from, say, levels 8 to epic. A good adventure inspires dms and can show them the range of possibilities in the high levels.
Similarly, 1e and 2e have the sweet spot roughly at level 7, and working well enough at 5-8, but straining at 9-12, and less playable from 13 and up.
Here, I have to strongly disagree. We had pcs in 1e up to about 37th level eventually, which were largely converted straight to 2e (absent players excepted) when it came out. I never found high level 1e or 2e to strain, like you describe.

Heck, you had to get to name level to even get your followers!

4e intentionally prolongs the sweet spot across 5-8, 9-12, plus 13-16. Its epic levels at 21 on up are playable.
Now here we agree. I'd love to see OneD&D take a lot from 4e epic stuff. Epic destinies were amazing.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Define “collapse”. To me it reminds me of people’s complaints about Pokémon Legends: Arceus where a lot of players couldn’t adjust to the new battle system.
4e was the first D&D edition to understand how the ecology of the game engine works.

Earlier editions, 1e-2e and 3e, would treat different kinds of mechanics as if different kinds of flavor. Thus the mechanics become imbalanced at different levels. The ad-hoc incompatible mechanics riddle the earlier editions, choking their game engines until they can no longer function as a gaming system.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Wait. Are you honestly saying that Alexander the Great's accomplishments weren't--well, great?
By the way, there is a difference between a historically accurate Alexander the Great who is a successful military tactician versus a mythologically accurate Alexander the Great who is a Greek demigod.

The mythological Alexander is an excellent example for the Upper Tier Players Handbook. Having become king by the end of the lower tiers, he now seeks to change the known world. Eventually gaining demigod status at 17-20 and epic status at 21-24.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
That's rather beside the point, though.

My 3e epic group made it to the mid-30s. The game was still fun- in fact, it was awesome, and allowed insane crazy stuff to happen. It was a blast.


Less balanced, a lot more work, but still playable, I assure you, because we did it.

I totally agree that there were problems with 3e at high levels, but those were systemic issues that ran through the whole game. And I also agree that few campaigns exist at the highest levels. But imagine how many there might be if WotC released an actual GOOD adventure that ran from, say, levels 8 to epic. A good adventure inspires dms and can show them the range of possibilities in the high levels.

Here, I have to strongly disagree. We had pcs in 1e up to about 37th level eventually, which were largely converted straight to 2e (absent players excepted) when it came out. I never found high level 1e or 2e to strain, like you describe.

Heck, you had to get to name level to even get your followers!


Now here we agree. I'd love to see OneD&D take a lot from 4e epic stuff. Epic destinies were amazing.
Indeed, the "crazy" high levels are awesome! That is why I like high level characters.

But the DM needs to do pretty much all of the work.

3e and earlier never supported the high levels well.
 

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