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

Stormonu

Legend
It used to be that I clamored for the game to go as high level as it possibly could. 20th? Nah, we need 36th! Bloodstone has modules for 100th level characters, sounds good!

However, I've come to realize (since about mid 3E) that I simply do not like the higher levels of the game, and I think B/X got it right just covering 1st-15th. I'd be fine with a book set that just covers those 15 levels or so, either being smaller or filled in with additional options for that range.

I respect that others do want and use those higher levels, but I don't need them and wouldn't mind them being put off to another book. Especially if we could ever end up with a one-book D&D (PHB, MM, DMG) like most other sane RPGs.
 

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Oofta

Legend
It bothers me. 3E basically streamlined the rules/mechanics, 5E was a slight step forward, but except for 4E which made drastic changes to the game, D&D hasnt really evolved much IMO.

I agree. I don't like that WotC wont deviate from the 3 core book model, which I think they should and would make sense.

But evolution means gradual changes over time. Which is why many people had an issue with 4E. It just didn't feel like D&D, it felt like a different game. Maybe if they hadn't rushed the game out the door and sold it as a completely different game it would have had a continued success. Wouldn't have been for me because as much as I wanted to embrace it ... wait for it ... it just didn't feel like D&D to me in the long run.

If you want a game that's radically different from the style of D&D there's plenty of fish in the sea.
 

GuardianLurker

Adventurer
Eh. If you're going to do that, you might as well go the full BECMI route. I'm not opposed to that - but I will say that from a systems perspective, you'd at least want a skeletal framework in place for those higher levels from the beginning. Mainly because your character's opponents are generally more powerful (higher level) than them (ditto for many of the famous NPCs) and that's a little hard to accommodate if you don't have at least that.

So as a single supplement - like the aforementioned Epic Level Handbook, implying no continual support? No, I think that would be a poor idea.

As a Core product on a delayed release schedule, with additional products backing them up? That I could get behind. Something of a schedule like:
Year 0: Core Rules (Lvl 0 - 10), Starter Set (Lvl 1-3), normal launch products
Year 1: Guide to "Monstruous" Humanoids (aka how to play and use Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Ogres, etc with realistic societies behind them), more core supplements; Advanced Core (Lv 11 - 15)
Year 2: Advanced Core supplements (Domains? Army Battles? Organization?), Guide to Fiends (and similar mid- to high- level opponents), Guide to Dragons(?)
Year 3: more Advanced Core supplements (Planar?); Heroic Core (Lv 16-20)
Year 4: a few Heroic Core supplements; Epic Core (Level 20+)
Supplements for each level should include at least one (instructive/sample) adventure path, as well as "How To" guides for that tier's typcial opponents. Setting supplements as appropriate, again probably divided by tier, and expanding in scope as the tiers advance.

BTW, I speak as a "Forever GM" who ran 2 epic (Lvl 25+) 3.x games, played in another epic (20+) 3.x game, and ran an epic (20+) 5e game, all as long-term, multi-year campaigns. It'd be really nice to have some solid high-level/epic rules available.
 

R_J_K75

Legend
But evolution means gradual changes over time.
Taking out the 4-5 or 5 years 4E was on the market, IMO with D&D reaching its 50th anniversary next year, it seems the game should have evolved/progressed more than it has. I agree 4E didn't feel like D&D to me either. I think that WotC could make some substantial changes and still keep the feel of D&D. I used to work with a woman who used to say to me "that's the way we've always done it" whenever I suggested a change, and I sometimes feel that the designers of D&D have had that same mindset for most of its existence, so they're stuck in the same design philosophy for the most part.
If you want a game that's radically different from the style of D&D there's plenty of fish in the sea.
Thats why my group has quit playing D&D, and plan to switch to ShadowDark when we resume a fantasy RPG campaign again.
 

Oofta

Legend
Taking out the 4-5 or 5 years 4E was on the market, IMO with D&D reaching its 50th anniversary next year, it seems the game should have evolved/progressed more than it has. I agree 4E didn't feel like D&D to me either. I think that WotC could make some substantial changes and still keep the feel of D&D. I used to work with a woman who used to say to me "that's the way we've always done it" whenever I suggested a change, and I sometimes feel that the designers of D&D have had that same mindset for most of its existence, so they're stuck in the same design philosophy for the most part.

I guess we'll never know. After all 5E was a Hail Mary edition, a last ditch effort to keep the IP alive. In my ideal alternate reality 5E would have succeeded 3.x, not 4E. Heck, 2E would have had a lot of the advances of 3.x as well such as the more straightforward approach and ditching things like subtracting from your attack. But speculations of what could have been are pointless.

Thats why my group has quit playing D&D, and plan to switch to ShadowDark when we resume a fantasy RPG campaign again.

Then you have your solution, D&D just isn't for you. That's not a bad thing, a game simply can't be for everyone.

Personally I happen to like their mindset so I'm glad they're "stuck" even if there are things I would have done differently.
 

Stormonu

Legend
4E really stuck in my craw, and part of it was the PHB 1,2,3 way they divided things up - that just felt bad. So I can see others getting upset if the high levels that they feel are part of the game aren't in the base book.

Still, I would like to see an option for a trimmed down D&D - not to replace the 3 book model, but as an also-ran for the more casual of us who are willing to stop around 10th or so (with a few extra levels - to 15th - to cover the bigger bad guys). In this regard, OSE (The Advanced Version) did a pretty good show of it for the old editions. If we could get a product that does it for 5E (yes, that'd be similar to an extended starter set), that'd be lovely.
 

Staffan

Legend
I could, in theory, see it if it was used to actually provide more depth to tiers of play. You could have a core game up to level 10 focusing on traditional adventuring, switching over to paragon play at level 11+ where you get more involved as a mover and shaker in the world, and then actual epic play at level 16+. The 5.0 rules pay some lip service to the concept but there's really no big difference between adventuring at level 9 and level 12. But the problems I see are threefold:
  1. You hide some of the potential progression at the start. Most people like knowing where a road is heading before setting foot on it.
  2. A lot of people like sticking with traditional adventuring and don't want to be Important People. They're perfectly fine being a 16th level murderhobo, only now they're mugging ancient dragons for their hoards rather than goblins for pocket cash.
  3. If you have committed to a vertical expansion strategy, it's hard to also expand the game horizontally. In other words, if the PHB + DMG covers level 1-10 for barbarians, fighters, wizards, etc., and then you add the Paragon's Guide for 11 to 15 and the Epic Campaign Guide for 16 to 20... what do you do with the Eberron book and its Artificer class, or the potential psion class if they ever get around to it, or some other class they want to add? Or heck, even subclasses for existing classes.
 

R_J_K75

Legend
I guess we'll never know. After all 5E was a Hail Mary edition, a last ditch effort to keep the IP alive. In my ideal alternate reality 5E would have succeeded 3.x, not 4E. Heck, 2E would have had a lot of the advances of 3.x as well such as the more straightforward approach and ditching things like subtracting from your attack. But speculations of what could have been are pointless.
I have some vague ideas gestating in my brain as to how I believe things could change or could have been different and still be D&D, but nothing thought out enough to articulate clearly for someone else to understand. I've never been one to hack and house rule D&D much so I'll never create the game I'd like myself.
Then you have your solution, D&D just isn't for you. That's not a bad thing, a game simply can't be for everyone.
Yeah I've outgrown it and after playing 5E until about a year, year and a half ago, (we even switched to 2E for a short spell) and we just decided D&D is not for us anymore.
Personally I happen to like their mindset so I'm glad they're "stuck" even if there are things I would have done differently.
I'm glad for you that you're happy and satisfied with 5E. I was just hoping for a new edition over a revision. Truth be told (and I've said this in other threads) that I am curious as to how the 5E revision will turn out, so I'll most likely buy it to see if its clarified and re-organized, etc. enough to win us back. Wouldn't be the first time I've frivolously spent money or bought a RPG I never played.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Eh. If you're going to do that, you might as well go the full BECMI route. I'm not opposed to that - but I will say that from a systems perspective, you'd at least want a skeletal framework in place for those higher levels from the beginning. Mainly because your character's opponents are generally more powerful (higher level) than them (ditto for many of the famous NPCs) and that's a little hard to accommodate if you don't have at least that.

So as a single supplement - like the aforementioned Epic Level Handbook, implying no continual support? No, I think that would be a poor idea.

As a Core product on a delayed release schedule, with additional products backing them up? That I could get behind. Something of a schedule like:
Year 0: Core Rules (Lvl 0 - 10), Starter Set (Lvl 1-3), normal launch products
Year 1: Guide to "Monstruous" Humanoids (aka how to play and use Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Ogres, etc with realistic societies behind them), more core supplements; Advanced Core (Lv 11 - 15)
Year 2: Advanced Core supplements (Domains? Army Battles? Organization?), Guide to Fiends (and similar mid- to high- level opponents), Guide to Dragons(?)
Year 3: more Advanced Core supplements (Planar?); Heroic Core (Lv 16-20)
Year 4: a few Heroic Core supplements; Epic Core (Level 20+)
Supplements for each level should include at least one (instructive/sample) adventure path, as well as "How To" guides for that tier's typcial opponents. Setting supplements as appropriate, again probably divided by tier, and expanding in scope as the tiers advance.
Your schedule isn't fast enough to keep up with the general (and expected) pace of play these days.

I'd think something like this would work better:
Year 0: Core Rules (Lvl 0 - 10), Starter Set (Lvl 1-3), normal launch products
Year 0.5: More core supplements; Advanced Core (Lv 11 - 15); Advanced Core supplements (Domains? Army Battles? Organization?), Guide to Fiends (and similar mid- to high- level opponents), Guide to Dragons(?)
Year 1: more Advanced Core supplements (Planar?); Heroic Core (Lv 16-20)
Year 1.5: a few Heroic Core supplements; Epic Core (Level 20+)

Ditch the Monstrous Humanoids piece (please!) and otherwise combine books 2 and 3; and release the set of four at a rate of one per six months. That way, the subsequent books after the first one will hit the market right about the time the first-adopter groups - and there'll be a lot of these - get to those stages, assuming a typical WotC-era pace of level advancement.

Some of the supplements might be able to be put off a bit, so as not to staurate the market with too much too soon.
 

Staffan

Legend
One thing that could work would be a "Paragon's Handbook" that would act as a layer on top of regular D&D-ing, adding additional abilities relevant to the paragon tier on top of your normal abilities, and increasing using some separate mechanic. Perhaps these could be separate from classes – for example, there could be a Commander path that lets you train and lead armies. It'd be a natural fit for characters like fighters, barbarians, and paladins, but you might get some mileage out of it as a cleric, monk, or even a wizard.

Ideally, there would be a minimum of "backflow" in terms of power increase from your paragon path to your regular adventuring. An army won't be much use in a dungeon, after all, though it might help you in negotiations and things like that. A "sage" path won't give you more spells per day, but it might help you research the right spell for a situation.
 

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