Friday, 19 October 2012

Epic level play and Diet update.

This week I weigh 13 Stone and 8lbs. I am down 5 lbs since Monday.

Inspired by some of the games we played in Scotland I want to put down some of my thoughts on epic level play.

The most interesting thing for me about Epic Level Play is it’s scope and the things that characters are capable of. High and Epic level Characters (at least in D&D) can Teleport, Raise the Dead, Travel to other Planes, Heal and Deal vast amounts of Damage along with a host of other capabilities.

One of the downsides to High level play is that the variety of options available to Players and Monsters can bog down combat. For my Pathfinder Game I added some additional House rules to make it go faster. I had extra attacks all have the same (the highest Attack modifier) to speed things up and make them more relevant. I also re wrote a lot of the monsters and opponents to only include relevant information, (making them look a lot like 4th edition Monsters)

I think the most telling part about running Epic Level Games is the mental gear change it requires. As was reflected in early editions of D&D as you began to reach High and epic levels the rules granted players the opportunity to create Fortresses, gain followers and start organisations, changing the game from the immediate environs of the players to one where they work towards a civilising goal.

Recently I played a spin off game where a character from our main campaign run by Gavin Smith wanted to undertake a crazy Viking plan invovling gloriously dying, planes travel, death, undeath, the collection of an equally crazy crew to help him out and in the end a suitably epic ending. I am being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers for those who are still in the long running campaign.

I also find it interesting the different ways games handle it. In Exalted you essentially start in an Epic Levels environment, even if your freshly awakened Exalted isn't ready for the things he has to deal with. In the first session of The Exalted game that Rob ran for us we were given a City, but told that in getting it we had annoyed a bunch of people who were coming with an army to take it back, so we should get to work finding allies and Magics to help us protect our city.

Whereas in Savage Worlds, Characters become more capable but just as fragile as they advance.

What counts as Epic is another interesting Question E6 suggests a fantasy world where the level cap is 6. Making 6th level effectively Epic limits the resources of the Characters but does make for a much more gritty game. Inspired by a suggestion that as you go up in levels the tone of the game changes, often Epic level play feels like playing fantasy Superheroes, and a just as interesting but very different game could be had by expecting your players to deal with the same type of things with the limited resources of a lower level cap or lower magic game.

A lot of my inspiration for High level play comes from these two Story Hours on EN World:

Sagiro’s Story Hour has been going for years and has some spectacular examples of High level play:
While Sepulcherave’s campaign is very different in tone. (EN world is down as I write this so I will link to this blog post is from another fan of The story hour and has loads of links as well as PDF’s he made of them.)

What is your favorite Game for Epic Level play?