D&D General What if High Level Was Only in a Supplement


On the one hand, I personally wouldn't miss high-level info in core, because I don't usually play at those levels.
On the other hand, it's nice to have that info there when you need it, without getting another book. Plus, high-level has always been core; that sort of gonzo D&D is part of - possibly even the heart of - D&D as a genre.

I get the not wanting to go to another book... but it feels like we do anyway with lots of spells/subclasses/etc...anyway with Xanathar, Tasha, Mord Multi, and who knows what coming down the road.

Say everything got shoved in the DMG that would go there, what are the feelings of:

PHB + MM + Xanathar + Tasha + MordMulti


PHB* Low + MM* Low + PHB* High + MM* High

where the * indicates it has the relevant stuff from Xanathar + Tasha + MordMulti too? At least we'd know which book to look the spells up in by level. And for monsters, I'd be happy with one super fat book instead of two thin ones).

(As @R_J_K75 note above, it's not like I imagine they'll deviate from the way they've been doing it in any case).

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Registered Ninja
I quite enjoy high level play, and I would be sad to see it go.

Putting it in a separate book would be super awkward. What do you do whenever there's a new sublcass? Do you include the higher level abilities in a new book even though it's not part of "core?" do you release another high level book with those new subclasses?

Also what do you do about monsters? Many iconic monsters are high CR. Does the core monster book only wyrmling and young dragons an save the adult and ancient for the epic book, or do they reduce the difficulty of Ancient dragons, and let high level PCs fight "super ancient dragons."

Tony Vargas

It seems like high level play has been in a different product at least twice.

BECMI had sets each of which covered a higher level range.

3e had the Epic Level Handbook.

I was barely aware that BECMI was a separate thing at the time, the boxed sets just seemed like a less serious approach to the same game than the "Advanced" books. Marketing with words like "Advanced" will spawn impressions like that in a middleschool boy. ;) But, upshot is I never checked it out, except for accidentally picking up the odd product that was actually for D&D rather than AD&D - which, was, again, barely noticeable.

The 3e campaigns I was in lasted the entire run of 3.0 & 3.5, and never came close to 20th level, so I never checked it out, either.

But, based on what I've heard, the Epic Level Handbook was not well-received, while BECMI is a beloved cult classic.

So, surely, it is a workable idea, but would have to be done well. Given the success of 5e's backwards-looking design, harkening back to BECMI would probably be the way to go. Divide the game up into the Tiers, boxed set for each Tier.


Mod Squad
Staff member
If that upper level play is going to be fundamentally different (like, say, gaining Divine Ranks, or something) then it would merit a separate book. If it is more of the same, but more powerful, I have no need for it to be broken out.

If they wanted to give a ton of more advice about high level play, such that page count for the core becomes burdensome, then I'd be okay for breaking it out into its own product.

Would it bother you if the D&D core books did not include high level information. By "high" here I mean 11+ or 13+. So your PHB, MM and DMG would not concern themselves with play at those higher levels, and you would have to buy a single volume of high level character options, rules, items and monsters. Would that work for you? Would it be desirable? Would you like to see high level stuff removed from the "core" game since "no one plays high level"? Or do you think adventures and supplementary material should emphasize high level play more? Or is it pretty much good where it is at?
I can see one potential benefit -- there could be multiple versions of the high-level book. One could be were martials never have to be magical to keep up with the casters, because the high-level casters have more limitations, etc. The other is with all-safeties-off spellcasting, but the martials could cleave mountains or wrestle death into submission or whatever it is people say martials need to compete.

The thing is I don't think it would work (as in, in the marketplace). It would just end with high-level play being even more niche.


A suffusion of yellow
could do the BECMI thing of splitting Tiers into different books

irc it was the Companion Book that let Fighters get maneuvers and specialise as Knights or Paladins, Demihumans get Clans and the Stronghold/Dominion rules present ways for players to really influence the world.

then at Master level that they introduced Weapon Mastery for high level Fighters and there was advice on handling high level Spellcasters who now get things like Wish and Meteor Storm to wipe out entire cities. More Planar adventuring happens too

Immortals Book of course turns the players into Immortals, get powerpoints and are playing a different game
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