Monday, June 19, 2006

spoiled rotten brat

The title of today's entry was my wife's suggestion. This last weekend I scored a big pile of gaming books as a slightly early birthday present from my folks. Thanks, ma and pa! I won't bore you with listing all the shiny new stuff I got, but I'd like to note a couple of items. The big items are the Eberron Campaign Setting and Monte Cook's ( Mike Mearls's) Iron Heroes. I'm breezing through Iron Heroes and I am really liking what I'm seeing. I don't think I was ready for this game right when it came out, but I've gotten a bit more d20 experience since then. I haven't done much with the Eberron book other than reading the stats for the robot guys, but I plan on tackling it after I finish my first pass through Heroes.

Getting both Eberron and Iron Heroes right now sorta complicates the Next Campaign question. Until now I was pretty set on Arcana Unearthed. Now I don't know. There's still plenty of adventure to be had in my Wild Times campaign, but as we get closer and closer to level 20 the epic rules are looking lamer and lamer. It might be for the best to finish that campaign at 20th, unless in the meantime someone comes out with a set of epic rules that impress me. I'd still love to run that 30th level adventure from Dungeon and part of me says that my group's finely-tweaked Gestalt monstrosities might actually be able to handle it at level 20.

And I no longer have to mooch off of Pat's copy of Complete Arcane, so that's nice.


  1. A few things:

    Epic rules - Why do they even exist? Why not simply use standard rules past lvl 20? The only problems that I can see are with extending spellcasting progressions, but I think that those are far from insurmountable.

    Next Campaign - hmmm... how compatible is Iron Heroes with Arcana Evolved? Is it reasonable to do a mashup of the two? Could either or both of the rulesets be ported to Eberron? I know you aren't a huge fan of the AE setting...

  2. There's at least two people loose on the net who are running AE set in Eberron. I don't think Iron Heroes and AE will mix too well. Each has too distinctive a flavor in its classes and the mechanics are divergent enough that it would be borrowing trouble.

    But I do have a tentative solution, which will be the subject of my next blog post.

  3. The idea behind the epic rules is that BABs climbing at the 1-20 rate will eventually get so ridiculous that they break the game. Most of the epic rules are simply a bandage on this issue.

  4. The more I stare at the epic rules the less they fit the rest of the game. The whole design ethos of D&D 3.x is to reduce the number of non-compatible subsystems, yet here this thing sits in the DMG looking like a polished turd. At the moment I'm much happier with acknowledging that the new D&D bends time and space as one approaches the upper levels of play. What should one do when a campaign reaches 20th level? Start a new campaign.

  5. I think it would be entirely reasonable to start using a different level line on the CR table for our characters. We would get less XP and it probably would more accurately reflect how powerful our characters actually are.

    Monte took his AE classes up to 25, so I think the system will hold together until that point.

    We could go to 25, use level+x for the CR table and probably extend the campaign for a good bit. That's dependent on everyone wanting to roll that way, but I think it's a reasonble fix.

  6. Stretching to 25 seems plausible, and would be easy to implement if we only pushed a few classes past the 20th level point. Perhaps to simplify only corebook classes can go past 20th?

    Although I see your point on the Xp issue, changing the chart seems drastic. I'd hate to give the impression that I'm artificially holding the party back.

  7. Seriously - why not just extrapolate out from level 20? What is the point of the Epic Level Rules?

    My very simple suggestion: You can't take more than 20 levels in any base class. This doesn't mean that you ever use a Epic Level Progression.

    You're a Monk 20 and just gained a level? Congrats. Now you're a Monk 20/Fighter 1 or a Monk 20/Tattooed Monk 1 or a Monk 20/Ninja 1 or whatever. Simple.

    The big issue with this will be spells over level 9 - since you can still acheive a Caster Level of over 20 by taking prestige classes.
    Spell progressions can be extrapolated. That isn't the problem. The problem is spells over level 9. I think we want to avoid the ridiculous Epic Spell Seed rules.
    The spell issue could be solved in (at least) two ways. (1) just allow those spells per day to be split up into spell levels and applied to lower level spells. (I get a 10th level spell. I split that up into three spells: one 5th, one 2nd, and one 3rd. (2) allow spells to be learned with metamagic feats applied to them (The Wizard learns a 10th level spell: Quickened Disintegrate and scribes it into his spell book. He wouldn't necessarily need to have the Feat or know the base spell for this - it would, effectively, be treated as a distinct 10th level spell.)