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D&D General Why does D&D still have 16th to 20th level?

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
While most people focus on the first sentence (and overlook the "theoretically" part of it), the first part of the second sentence is what I find more germane. The DMG only takes characters up to 20th level, having no experience point listings for gaining any levels beyond that.
2e put out a module that was for levels 18-100. Nothing theoretical about it.
 

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Vaalingrade

Legend
Yeah, but some enterprising conjurer is going to realize that by collecting mugs from every Inn in the Realms is going to mean he can hire out to teleport groups anywhere they want to go. Tomas' Terrific Teleporting Service At Your Service!
You don't even need mugs, just pressed leaves in a book with the name of the place written on that page.

Then again, where is a wizard going to get a book?
 

Stormonu

Legend
As much content as there is available for D&D, I wouldn't mind a PHB that only covers player levels 1-12, and the higher level content replaced with more subclasses, spells and other tidbits usable in that range. Moving that other content off to the DMG or a separate book wouldn't be a bad option, but it'd still need to be available somewhere for those encounters or groups that want to extend into higher levels.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
As much content as there is available for D&D, I wouldn't mind a PHB that only covers player levels 1-12, and the higher level content replaced with more subclasses, spells and other tidbits usable in that range. Moving that other content off to the DMG or a separate book wouldn't be a bad option, but it'd still need to be available somewhere for those encounters or groups that want to extend into higher levels.
There's precedent for that approach in B/X and BECMI, but I don't know how well it would go over. If you put it in the DMG it feels like it isn't for PCs, and if you put it in a different book you have effectively locked off high level enemies (at least those with spells or class abilities).
 



Answer: Because playing the Avengers is fun.

Flying and teleporting around, travelling to other realities, and facing Gods and Demon Lords and similar, and defeating existential threats to reality are the stuff of legends.

We've all gone toe to toe with a goblin, or stopped the evil necromancer in his tracks, and then moved upwards to Giants and Drow etc.

But an Infinity stone type existential threat, involving direct confrontation with demi-gods and mad titans, planar hopping and time warping?

The only reason we don't get to do this more often is because so many DMs dont know how to run high level games (and to be fair to them, it is time consuming, and a labor of love that requires a lot of experience and skill).

If anyone is interested, I'm running a T4 PBP in the other thread at the moment. Feel free to poke your head in for a look (try not to post though to derail the experiment).
 

The biggest reason higher levels aren't used by many groups is because of the assumption that you should start at 1st level.

I played in a 3e game that went from 5th to 20th level over the course of a few years.

I've run a 3-session 5e one-off game at level 20.

Games (should) start at the level they make sense, not necessarily 1st level.

I also agree that WotC shares responsibility for this with their publishing model.

For one of their mega-adventures, why not start at 7th level and have it run to 20th?

While I don't know whether the plot of Descent into Avernus could handle it, the Lower Planes would be the perfect place for it. The Blood War, with armies of creatures of all levels presents the most plausible place in the D&D Multiverse for high level combat encounters designed more or less like lower-level ones.

While it rarely makes sense on the Material Plane to have battles against a CR 20 foe, with 5 lieutenants of CRs 15+, a squad of half a dozen CR 11s, a few hundred CR 3-7s with a CR 8-12 leader for every 50 or so, and an endless stream of CR 2-s as the high level equivalent of "difficult terrain", that sort of setup is downright canonical for the Blood War. And there isn't just one of those, there is an endless supply!

My 20th level one-off involved a kraken with aboleth servants. It's rather ridiculous to have very many threats like that on the same Material Plane, but the other planes are ideal for all the high-level combat encounters you want, perfectly plausibly.

The DMG really should have gone into this stuff.
 


My 20th level one-off involved a kraken with aboleth servants. It's rather ridiculous to have very many threats like that on the same Material Plane, but the other planes are ideal for all the high-level combat encounters you want, perfectly plausibly.

The DMG really should have gone into this stuff.

Then you run into the problem that many DMs lack the experience of high level play.

You've really got to run a few campaigns all the way to 20th and beyond (and not rage quit once a new ability comes online that you had not forseen), making mistakes along the way (as it's the only way you learn).

What so many DMs do, is they get to (7th-11th), encounter a new ability like Wall of Force, Teleport or Expertise or similar that totally derails the adventure, rage quit or end the campaign in frustration.

You've gotta run with it, and keep going. It's a learning experience.

I welcome experienced players in my games, because I can learn from them.

I've been doing this caper for long enough now, that I know most tricks and tactics employed by high level adventurers and can factor them into my planning for high level adventures.

Lets face it, when you're going toe to toe with Asmodeus for example, he knows those tricks as well.

Heck, he probably invented them.
 

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