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 DM's Guild Products for Epic Levels in 5e?
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2021 :  21:20:20  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I've always had fun just playing with NPC design to test out rules. Sadly, there still are no official rules for levels beyond 20 in 5e, and we have NPC's in the realms that definitely fit those levels. I know the standard in 5e design is just "make something up", but I hate that concept. I like to follow something of some rules.

So, since you can reference and use other people's work in DM's Guild, I was thinking about building some classic NPC's (maybe even advancing their levels by a level or two to cover a 120 years passing since 1370) and finding some GOOD rulesets for epic levels in 5e.

I'm looking at this one, and I'm just wondering if its good or if anyone knows of something better? I see its 71 pages long according ot the product details, but the table of contents on the full size preview only details like 30 (wondering if more was added over time and that's why, the preview maybe needs updating).

https://www.dmsguild.com/product/173822/Epic-Characters

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36123 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2021 :  23:49:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You could try to find ArchCEV. I'm sure he'd love to help you with epic-level characters!

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Gelcur
Senior Scribe

480 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2021 :  03:09:07  Show Profile  Visit Gelcur's Homepage Send Gelcur a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My knowledge of 5e rules is scant, mostly down converting content to 3.5e. And I have no info on that DMsGuild product.

I have been personally working on a level by level progression up to L40 of a 3.5 PC and his 2 Cohorts as well as rough ideas on what his "army" of followers would be like. I'll be honest it is a labor of love that has spanned a few years, and wouldn't recommend it. Not sure if things got easier in 5e but 3.5e strength, so many options, is also its weakness starting at like L15 and beyond.

I have toyed with ideas for "fixing" magic so non-casters could also have fun and had settled on one house rule that I wanted to try out if I ever found a group of players who could actually pull off running something even level 15 and above. Does 5e still have a power ramp that gets out of control at higher levels for casters? What would you think of using 3.5e Epic rules as a base, seems 5e is fairly compatible with 3.5e.

The party come to a town befallen by hysteria

Rogue: So what's in the general store?
DM: What are you looking for?
Rogue: Whatevers in the store.
DM: Like what?
Rogue: Everything.
DM: There is a lot of stuff.
Rogue: Is there a cart outside?
DM: (rolls) Yes.
Rogue: We'll take it all, we may need it for the greater good.
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Diffan
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USA
4322 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2021 :  14:48:32  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

You could try to find ArchCEV. I'm sure he'd love to help you with epic-level characters!



At that point, there would be little reason for stats when they're all essentially Gods .

Still, 5E DOES do Epic levels, it's just that those NPCs break most normal 5E conventions for Player Characters. The designers, at least from what I've seen, took some of the design elements of 4th Edition in terms of not modeling NPCs to fit PC elements to a "T", unlike other editions. For example, I believe it's Laeral Silverhand who has 24 Hit Die - described in the Waterdeep adventure - where PCs can't achieve more than 20 HD.

To Design NPCs and Monsters in 5E, you have to take into account what their purpose is and to adjust that according to the rules in the DMG. THis means a certain amount of HP based on Damage output by X-amount of levels. Honestly, I felt they were very confusing overall and needlessly complex for no significant gain. But that was because of their departure of having monsters and NPCs fill "roles", something that I still feel is a great boon for DMs to utilize in making encounters (even non-combative ones). So we have this sort of pseudo-mix of 4E/3.5 concepts for NPCs.

When I made Warduke for 5E, I basically took an X-Level Fighter, gave him Extra/Max HP, and adjusted Damage/AC based on monsters of similar CR. It's not perfect but it hits the right numbers and even has design elements that make him exceptionally scary.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2021 :  15:19:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

You could try to find ArchCEV. I'm sure he'd love to help you with epic-level characters!



Lol, no, I'm looking for actual workable rules.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2021 :  15:37:54  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

You could try to find ArchCEV. I'm sure he'd love to help you with epic-level characters!



At that point, there would be little reason for stats when they're all essentially Gods .

Still, 5E DOES do Epic levels, it's just that those NPCs break most normal 5E conventions for Player Characters. The designers, at least from what I've seen, took some of the design elements of 4th Edition in terms of not modeling NPCs to fit PC elements to a "T", unlike other editions. For example, I believe it's Laeral Silverhand who has 24 Hit Die - described in the Waterdeep adventure - where PCs can't achieve more than 20 HD.

To Design NPCs and Monsters in 5E, you have to take into account what their purpose is and to adjust that according to the rules in the DMG. THis means a certain amount of HP based on Damage output by X-amount of levels. Honestly, I felt they were very confusing overall and needlessly complex for no significant gain. But that was because of their departure of having monsters and NPCs fill "roles", something that I still feel is a great boon for DMs to utilize in making encounters (even non-combative ones). So we have this sort of pseudo-mix of 4E/3.5 concepts for NPCs.

When I made Warduke for 5E, I basically took an X-Level Fighter, gave him Extra/Max HP, and adjusted Damage/AC based on monsters of similar CR. It's not perfect but it hits the right numbers and even has design elements that make him exceptionally scary.



Yeah, what I see is that you can start giving character "boons" as they earn experience beyond 20, but that's very subjective. I guess I'll buy this one then and see what its like. I had bought a version that was written maybe a year after 5e for 2 bucks, and it wasn't horrible..... but this guy seems to have at least tried to update as new books came out, playtest, etc...

Admittedly, the main reason I want to do this is to see how a system might be generated for such, and I'm going to play with building out actual NPC's ... primarily spellcasters... and primarily leaders in my United Tharchs, so giving a couple extra levels on a lot of existing realms NPC's to represent a hundred years passing (i.e. Mythrella'a had been level 20 in 3e, so making her 23 in 5e makes sense, Lallara Mediocros was 21 in 3e, so 24 in 5e makes sense). I figure all the Zulkirs probably gained at least a level in the 10 year long civil war, and having the ones I make survive adding 1 or 2 more levels over 100 years isn't going overboard.

Who knows, maybe this 5.5e/6e edition they'll be coming out with in 2024 will actually finally include rulesets for levels beyond 20. Maybe it will include better rules for magic item creation as well. Maybe realistic rules in which artificers can crank out minor magic items for other people (since they can only bond to so many themselves).

EDIT: So far, I'm liking this guy's design philosophy. The first thing he's doing is explaining his general layout to balance all the classes. So, following something of a pattern, varying based on "type" of class (because martial classes progress a lot more differently than spellcaster classes that are all about spell slots and not necessarily special abilities given). I feel like his progression on spell slot is still a bit limited though. Will also have to see what he's doing with 10th/11th/12th level slots, but I actually don't think I'll have anyone up to that level (highest so far looks like 28 for a NPC Talaskos Murthrond that Ed put in a dragon article about world magic where the guy was a red wizard in hiding who was learning to pull on the magic of both Abeir and Toril... next a 26... most of the rest either 20 and under or 21-24).

Here's his progression for wizard.
Epic Spell Capacity
22nd-, 26th-, and 29th-Level Wizard Feature
At 22nd level, you gain an additional 6th and 7th level spell
slot, at 26th level you gain another 8th and 9th level spell
slot, and at 29th level you gain a 10th, 11th and 12th level
spell slot.

This is very guarded to me. I'd actually recommend some additional low level spells whenever he gets his 6th and up slots. I also would rather the progression happen at each level (so maybe
21st a 6th lvl slot
22nd a 7th lvl,
23rd a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lvl slot
24th an 8th lvl slot
25th a 4th and 5th lvl slot
26th a 9th lvl slot
27th a 6th lvl slot and 7th lvl slot
28th a 1st-5th and 8th lvl lvl slot
29th a 6th, 7th and 9th lvl slot
30th an 8th and 9th lvl slot

that's without looking at what the 10th - 12th slots mean in his system, and instead replacing it with lower level magics. In the end though, I don't think that's a huge amount of power creep. Just an extra spell of each level gained by level 26. 27 and up gearing up high level spell slots... but then we're talking the most powerful spellcasters in the realms having like 3 9th level spells.... comparatively in prior editions that would been a LOT more if not double or more by that level... especially red wizard zulkirs using getting three bonus spells for their school specialization, plus like 6 base spells. In 3.5e they'd have 4 9th level spells by 20th level alone plus bonus for specialization. So 3 9th lvl spells by lvl 29 as a progression for 5e doesn't seem overboard.

Hmmm, I also don't think it would be extremely overpowering to give them additional cantrips at epic levels (a regular wizard has 5 at 20, so a 6th at 21, and a new one every say 3 levels doesn't seem horrible in my book... you might even specify them as certain utility ones that if they already have them they can choose another... so they're not stockpiling only good combat cantrips... things like light, mending, message, mage hand, prestidigitation, control flames, mold earth, shape water, etc... ). Hmm, maybe a pool of the utility ones that they have to learn from first, and if they do know them all they can choose a different one freely. That way its about building up things to solve minor issues and make them seem very magical instead of just having a lot of attack cantrips.

That same progression would work for sorcerers, clerics, druids, bards, and wizards.

So far though, I think I like this supplement. He's even got a racial adjustment that you get at 25th level and he lists I think every race I've seen them release for 5e... so he's a completist. If you like to compare rules, you really might looking this over. It's intriguing. For spellcasters it doesn't seem to dominate such that they'd still have to fear a pre-epic character of 16th level, etc..... I guess the proof will come with playing with it. I'll see what I can come up with over the next month.


EDIT 2: Hmmm, so for the "full casters" the adjustment I threw up would effectively given them 2 extra spells of every level 1st through 9th by level 30, whereas the rules written in this would give them a single spell of levels 6th through 12th. It doesn't detail anything that I see for 10th through 12th spells, so they must advance lower level spells as "cast at a higher level". So, in effect, they would give 1 of each spell 6-9th and then an "additional 3 spells of 9th and under boosted". So, almost the same build except I have the extra spells 1st -5th.

So, if I'm boosting spellcasters with some lower level abilities... should do similar for the other types. Maybe a free feat choice a couple times? That should allow people to make their character "different", and since feats in 5e are so much less powerful, it shouldn't break the bank. Other options?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 03 Oct 2021 19:34:01
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2021 :  23:28:20  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll look up a couple of books I have from DMsguild for you but here's something I did for wizards. I took the spell table from the DnD Rules Cyclopedia (or you can reference the old Companion & Master boxed sets for the non-AD&D game back in the 80s) to expand their spell table. It only requires minimal tweaking to make it work and gets all mages 9 spells of every level by level 36 and, actually, that table works for all full casters in 5e since they use the same tables now.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2021 :  23:36:30  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have two files for 'Epic Legacy' campaigns (a players guide and a core rulebook) that were okay. They weren't that great in my opinion. Even though we're talking about epic characters above 20th-level, the abilities accessible through those books were a bit too powerful for me (and I tend to run high-fantasy campaigns). As an example, I really have a problem with PCs being able to blow world record jumps out of the water without the use of magic or some divine boon or what have you. These tomes had certain classes being able to it with ease. YMMV

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2021 :  23:56:57  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I will say this though, the other two books by the author you're looking at are pretty good (I have them both). So I'd assume his take on epic play is pretty solid. I may have to snag it myself.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2021 :  00:05:10  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

I'll look up a couple of books I have from DMsguild for you but here's something I did for wizards. I took the spell table from the DnD Rules Cyclopedia (or you can reference the old Companion & Master boxed sets for the non-AD&D game back in the 80s) to expand their spell table. It only requires minimal tweaking to make it work and gets all mages 9 spells of every level by level 36 and, actually, that table works for all full casters in 5e since they use the same tables now.



So, 9 9th lvl spells, 9 8th lvl, 9 7th lvl, etc... ? I figured I'd be pushing it with 3 9th lvl, since at lvl 20 in 5e they only have 1. I want to stay somewhat close to the 5e "flow".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2021 :  00:09:24  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

I will say this though, the other two books by the author you're looking at are pretty good (I have them both). So I'd assume his take on epic play is pretty solid. I may have to snag it myself.



Oh really? I was looking at them. Which ones in particular? I'm thinking I'll reference his work but then make a few notes to the handful of changes I would add (so far just a slightly different model for additional spells on full casters and then MAYBE like 2 extra feats on the martial/half-casters)

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 06 Oct 2021 00:12:12
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2021 :  00:15:19  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the Rules Cyclopedia, you don't actually get your first 9th-level spell until 21st-level so the 'flow' works out...it's just a matter of what your prefer I think.

As for the books, I'm referring to the ones about Acheron and the Shadowfell.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2021 :  15:31:11  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
ok, I may pick those up.

I guess first thing I should do is write up something saying roughly "will use the rules in Epic Characters product with the following additions and/or changes, and then include whatever home rules I want to do... for instance my house rule for trading in hit dice every 5 levels for a feat, plus the rules above.... maybe work on some multiclassing rules more... and I may relook over some of the feats I wrote for multiclassing".

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2021 :  13:10:50  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I mentioned that I would recommend increasing the numbers of spell slots for "archetype-focused full casters" and "class-focused full casters" (i.e. bards, clerics, druids, sorcerers, wizards). I then said we should have to do something for the "martial classes" and "half-casters" (not in those words, but its what I meant), and I mentioned maybe some feats. I forgot that in this system the warlock is treated differently, so we'd have to look at them as well to give them some minor bonus.

So, that being said.... I know myself, and I know I have a tendency to favor casters.... so to try and break my own personal bias, I want to make sure to give the "martial classes" and "half-casters" a bonus at every level as well. So, what I'm thinking is this, and tell me if this is too powerful.... they don't get extra hit POINTS added to their maximum, but maybe they get extra hit DIE (i.e. the dice they can use between short rests to heal themselves, and some people have used homebrew rules to burn hit die to power abilities). So, at level 21, a fighter would 1d10 + Con extra hit POINTS added to their hit point maximum, and they would get 2d10 extra hit DICE. At level 22, both double, 23, it triples, etc... up to 30. This is to offset the full casters getting an extra 1st-5th lvl spell by level 26 and 2 extra utility cantrips. I'm also thinking that the "martial classes" and "half-casters" might enjoy an ability usable once per long rest, and this ability gives them advantage on hit die rolls after a short rest (so once a day, when rolling healing using their own hit die, they get advantage on the die rolls).

So, I ask, is this fair? Part of me thinks the add-on once a day advantage thing may be going too far, but I know I'm biased.

Another factor to take into account with this option FOR MY GAMES, but honestly I'd like to see this house rule instituted into the game, I allow people to give up their next 5 hit die in return for a feat. So, some of these warrior types might forego the extra hit die and get the regular amount in return for a feat.

I also want to relook at some of the feats I wrote up for multiclassing about 5 years back and reprint them, and maybe adjust them if I need to to fit into this structure (and rename them to fit what they are... as I used realmsian names previously like raumathari battlemage, but its essentially the eldritch knight who wants to be more like a wizard or the wizard who wants to be more like a fighter.... so battlemage works as a name.... similarly for warlock-arcanists I called it theurgist adepts, and I might just change it to Pactmage for clarity)

I haven't looked over the warlock at all yet

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2021 :  14:32:07  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Generally speaking, I try to build on what's already there for a class. For instance, fighters would get extra uses of Second Wind, Action Surge and Indombitable. And, possibly, all classes might be allowed to choose a second archetype at 21st level. So you could have an Eldritch Knight turned Battlemaster. Of course, if they elect to remain with their first archetype, then you have to figure out what they get from there. Spellcasting archetypes, such as the Eldritch Knight would get extra spells so I'd go easy on improving their special abilities. Others would see improvements to what they already get to compensate.

For full casters, you might consider making them choose at each level between getting more spell slots, taking a level in a new archetype, or some other improvement to keep them from becoming too over powered.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2021 :  15:47:57  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

Generally speaking, I try to build on what's already there for a class. For instance, fighters would get extra uses of Second Wind, Action Surge and Indombitable. And, possibly, all classes might be allowed to choose a second archetype at 21st level. So you could have an Eldritch Knight turned Battlemaster. Of course, if they elect to remain with their first archetype, then you have to figure out what they get from there. Spellcasting archetypes, such as the Eldritch Knight would get extra spells so I'd go easy on improving their special abilities. Others would see improvements to what they already get to compensate.

For full casters, you might consider making them choose at each level between getting more spell slots, taking a level in a new archetype, or some other improvement to keep them from becoming too over powered.



Good points to consider. On the idea of "gaining new archetypes".... for wizards I had written up a pair of feats that would allow them to gain a second arcane tradition (first feat get's the initial abilities, second feat gets the higher level ones), and I had a similar thing for clerics getting a second divine domain and another for warlocks taking multiple patrons. There may even be some feats in 5e for taking some of these features for warrior types... worth reviewing.

I may look closer at what he's already giving these various martial classes as they level up... I just know I'm taking away the epic spell casting from full casters and replacing it with something that gives a few more slots, so I need to be fair and do SOMETHING for others.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 09 Oct 2021 :  22:31:10  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, seeing a problem with the spell progression idea that I myself came up with already after starting a few builds... having fun though, and maybe I can come up with a solution

So, the "multiclass spellcaster spell slots per level" table is the exact same number of spell slots as it is for all "full caster" classes (bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, wizard). The rules for multiclassing are that you add all classes up that are full casters and then use the slots from the multiclass table, but you can only prepare or know spells up to the level that you can based on your class. As an example, if you have 6th wizard/4th bard... then you'd have spells slots of a 10th lvl character... so up to 5th lvl slots... but as a wizard couldn't prepare any spells above 3rd level and as a bard know spells above 2nd. So, you can use the 4th and 5th level slots, but just to "cast lower level spells with more power"... which generally sucks.

However, with the idea that you would just keep progressing after level 20, if you got say a wizard to level 20 and got the nice capstone abilities at level 19 and 20.... and then chose to switch to bard for the first 3 levels, you'd still have all your 9th level spells as a wizard, and you'd still be advancing to say 23rd level with all the slots, plus get all the nice bard abilities. Similar things with cleric, sorcerer etc... Sure, you'd miss out on the class abilities of the main class you have, but it might be nice to get some of the low level stuff from other classes (usually a skill or weapons profs, maybe some armor/shield, and something else)

So, perhaps a rule that says "when multiclassing after level 20, if your level on the multiclass spellcaster table is at or above 20 already, leveling in any full class that is not already level 20 or above results in 1/2 level gains instead of full level gains on the multiclass spellcaster table". For instance, if you are a 19th level wizard/1st cleric and level up you do not go to 21st lvl on this table if you level in cleric until you reach 4th level in cleric. You could however go 20th wizard/2nd cleric and be 21st on the multiclass spellcaster table.

Is that worded properly for what I'm describing? Any land mines I'm leaving in? I know this might suck for those who multiclassed BEFORE level 20 to a heavy degree if they are spellcasters for their first few epic levels.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 09 Oct 2021 22:51:49
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1834 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2021 :  03:52:28  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It sounds like a good plan to me and it works without being too overpowered. There may be a better way to word it but, if you're writing it up for publication, including an example or two will alleviate any confusion.

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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