Game Mastery

Another option for restricting power in D&D

by on Dec.18, 2008, under dnd, homebrew

A couple months back I read about a new way to play D&D that was intriguing and simple.  It’s called 6e or level 6 epic.  The idea is that once you reach level 6 your character is considered epic level.  None of that level 7-20 business (obviously a game could be run with a different epic value, the idea remains the same).  Instead of leveling, characters gain feats.  They grow in power, but remain pretty much mortal.

But I get bored of feats.  You get too many of them this way.  Instead, what I suggest doing is repeating levels.

First off I should point out that the repeating levels  idea is centered around casters.  I haven’t properly considered it for other classes.  Why is that?  I mostly play casters.

Anyway, the idea is simple.  The game takes place over a range of levels.  Once you exceed that, you go back and gain the lowest level.  You don’t restart your character or anything, you just add an earlier level on top of what you’ve already got.  So in a level 4-8 game, a sorcerer advanding from 8 to 9 would add a level 2 spell to his list as a sorcerer advancing to level 4.  He’d still gain skills and HP.  BAB and saves are a maybe and I still haven’t decided about daily spell slots.

This system is interesting for casters, but I think it will degrade if the level range is too wide.  If you’re playing from level 1-15, a caster hitting 16 isn’t going to benefit from another 1st level spell known.  8-12 however gives a caster another 4th, which is reasonable.

Characters with incremental class abilities will do well.  Fighters and rogues, I’m looking at you.

Where this system sucks is for characters who rely on unique class abilities.  Namely monks.  There just wouldn’t be a point to playing a pure monk in a system like this.

However, if BAB and saves don’t increase (ie, level 6 of fighter sets your BAB to 6) multiclassing becomes interesting.  Maybe you’ve done levels 4-8 as a monk and you know you aren’t getting any new abilities so you multiclass into fighter.  That’ll fix the monk’s weak BAB.  I also think it’ll make fighter/mage combos interesting.  On the second interation through a level, maybe the mage doesn’t want to pick up more low level spells so he goes for a fighter level instead.  It’s almost like gestalt taken one side at a time.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever play a game this way (I’d consider a one shot, but this is the sort of thing that only works as a long term game) but it’s kinda fun to think about.

2 comments for this entry:
  1. Tyndmyr

    There was a similar system in a online RPG I used to mod, Tribes RPG. When you hit the level cap, you could opt to “remort”. This reset you at level 1, but the level cap was increased by 1 for that character.

    Unusual, yes, and involved a tradeoff of short term weakness, but I could see it being possibly integrated into E6.

  2. sagotsky

    Cool. I think DDO recently ripped that off. They added a feature where once you became level capped you could reroll from level 1, but with 2 more build points at character creation and 10% more height, up to 3 rerolls. Not sure if anyone’s hit a 38 point buy character yet.

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