4e... The Epic Tier (E1, E2, E3)

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All right gang, so tomorrow evening at 7:00pm (6 Central ;) ) my party will either perish, or reach 21st level.

Woah.

It's been a long time coming (the game has been ongoing since game day fall 2007) and my players have all expressed an interest in keeping things going to the epic tier, they want to see how the story continues to play out. 

I'm wondering if anyone here has gone through the epic tier adventures released by WotC and if they know of anything to look out for as far as plot holes, or over exploitables that might be things to avoid.

I haven't heard about everyone's chosen epic destinies but so far the party is comprised of

Drow (Bow) Ranger (Godslayer?)
Human (Polearm) Warlord (Legendary General)
Human Paladin (something w/ Raven Queen)
Dwarf "weaponmaster" Fighter
Dragonborn Orb-izard
Gnome Artificer

The warlord has had a flirtatious relationship with Vecna that has developed over the course of the campaign so I'm looking for the vecna refrences and how to possibly play those out.  And the paladin's relationship with the Raven Queen adds for some great storytelling. 

None of the players are "optimizers" so i'm not looking to outright squash them, but I'm trying to find a decent balance between the newly powered players and the start of a tier that doesn't have too much support. 

Thoughts and ideas from those that have been there?
I haven't been there, but I've heard that even unoptimized characters generally laugh at Epic level threats as written. So, either revel in that, or be prepared to modify your challenges. Speaking as one who hasn't played in that tier, I'd want to go all out, just do horrible things to the PCs and watch them figure out what to do. Because I bet they could do it.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

My only experience with published Epic adventures is through LFR, and those mods are pretty decent, and probably an appropriate challenge for your players.

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

In a few weeks once i get everyone's new characters story set, we'll start epic...


We ended the paragon tier in style. 

One  of my players likes making food. 


IMO, the only hurdle for a DM in Epic is making sure the big fights challenge players, which with the afformentioned power ramp that all players go up, can be hard. Especially if you're using a prefab adventure made prior to the MM3 updates. If you're updating your math and tweaking the important enemies/NPCs here and there, things shouldn't be too bad.

Hope it goes well for you all. Epic was my favorite tier to play in, just because it was the proverbial signal for both players and DMs to take off the kid gloves and go all in with the story.

Happy Gaming
In a few weeks once i get everyone's new characters story set, we'll start epic...


We ended the paragon tier in style. 

One  of my players likes making food. 



THAT IS THE MOST AWESOME CAKE EVER.  I love it.

That being said, there are two big problems with E1-3.

First:  None of the monsters do NEARLY enough damage, because they're all MM1 monsters.  You should double or triple all the damage they do, and whenever possible replace the monster with one from Monster Vault.

Second:  Necrotic Resistance is king.  Be ready for your entire party to resist at least 10 Necrotic, all the time, because EVERYTHING does necro damage.  You want this to work sometimes, but other times the fact that some entire encounters are basically Weakened the whole time will be annoying.  Don't feel bad about adding extra monsters to make up for the shortfall.
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Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
Second:  Necrotic Resistance is king.  Be ready for your entire party to resist at least 10 Necrotic, all the time, because EVERYTHING does necro damage.  You want this to work sometimes, but other times the fact that some entire encounters are basically Weakened the whole time will be annoying.  Don't feel bad about adding extra monsters to make up for the shortfall.

Or tossing in a skill challenge/trap that negates or dampens necrotic resistance.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I suppose i should give credit to where credit is due.  The cake was made by someone on the forums that goes by the username Talthi
I played an epic game over the summer a few years back, and I can say that as written, the modules are very very easy.  My melee ranger at one point, had no healing surges left, and was bloodied and still made it out alive through like 6 encounters without hiding in the background.

One thing to look at doing, is dmg42.blogspot.com/2012/02/boot-on-face-... check out the damage tables these guys have made up.  The biggest problem we found was that monsters couldn't keep up with all the reaction abilities the players had, and the hp the players had.  One good thing that worked, was making minions deal 2x their level in damage with an attack.
I'm wondering if anyone here has gone through the epic tier adventures released by WotC and if they know of anything to look out for

The adventures tend to be underpowered (especially for PC's using the newer character options).

None of the players are "optimizers" so i'm not looking to outright squash them

That'll help, but if it starts becoming too easy, you might want to skip ahead in order to give them higher level encounters.

you might want to skip ahead in order to give them higher level encounters.



Agreed. Make the PCs feel epic by not doing all the unfun business of killing enemies that are no threat to them. (Unless they just like mopping the floor with things. I can understand that urge.)

Either come up with a fast way to adjudicate a victory with or without cost or just narrate it. Roll the dice only when there's a chance of failure...

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you might want to skip ahead in order to give them higher level encounters.

Agreed. Make the PCs feel epic by not doing all the unfun business of killing enemies that are no threat to them. (Unless they just like mopping the floor with things. I can understand that urge.)

Either come up with a fast way to adjudicate a victory with or without cost or just narrate it. Roll the dice only when there's a chance of failure...

To clarify: I meant skip ahead to the later (higher level) adventures, completely bypassing an adventure (or two) if needed... completing the series long before the PC's reach 30th level. But abbreviating encounters could work too, provided you don't give out XP or treasure.

Congratulations Lineov. Great to see that you guys now have reached E1.
Would be great to hear your experiences so far.


Best regards,
Myrhdraak     
Nice cake. 

Visit the LFR forums for some player and DM views on the EPIC adventures. I've DMed the first one, and I have to say, it was pretty good. My party was pretty optimized, and some encounters were blowovers, but there's enough challenge there that you don't explicitly need to change the monsters' stats. 

That said, make sure that
1 - you diversify the puzzle encounters.
2- the players know that they'll be playing a LOT of combat encounters for an entire day (so you don't create the wrong expectations). 

If you want to throw your players' backstories in the mix, maybe read up on the story in the first 3 adventures. If they have ties to Vecna and the Raven Queen, perhaps you can switch another god in the story for one of them. The first adventure doesn't make a mention of either.