20 Levels

Wasn't sure where to put this, but it's really about the mechanics.

I think D&DNext should have 20 Levels.

Those extra 10 levels in 4e just watered down the powers and really exposed all the failings of the math.  Even Paragon had them replacing powers instead of gaining new ones.

I think there should be a good fluff and mechanic for what happens at 20th, not every king retires to the thrown room, but the leveling process should end.

A tighter 20 levels of gameplay and mechanics is better than 30 sloppy levels.
Wasn't sure where to put this, but it's really about the mechanics.

I think D&DNext should have 20 Levels.

Those extra 10 levels in 4e just watered down the powers and really exposed all the failings of the math.  Even Paragon had them replacing powers instead of gaining new ones.

I think there should be a good fluff and mechanic for what happens at 20th, not every king retires to the thrown room, but the leveling process should end.

A tighter 20 levels of gameplay and mechanics is better than 30 sloppy levels.



I kind of agree with this too. You can always slow down the pacing. I'd also love to see four tiers of five levels each: Heroic, Paragon, Legendary, Epic. That would be pretty focused and cool. I like rapid progression, but there could be a slower progression module that details how you can gain part of a level (for example, just skills, just feat, just features et cetera) that allows for a slower pacing...
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Why does the game need to have a limit?  Why not let the DM and Players set the limit on their own world?

Like back in AD&D.  You could stop the game when you wanted as there was a chart of "You get X per each level after level X."
Why does the game need to have a limit?  Why not let the DM and Players set the limit on their own world?

Like back in AD&D.  You could stop the game when you wanted as there was a chart of "You get X per each level after level X."



That sounds like a good module. Perhaps with a later Epic Levels Handbook that, if properly thought out, could lead to intresting long-lasting games...
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
I like both ideas.

Definately 20 levels max. More focus. Lets be realistic here: If you play 2/month at 1 level per month (pretty fast) thats 20 months to complete a campaign. Throw in holiday breaks and cancelled games 2 years is about right. Faster groups maybe a year. Now think of the product delivery cycle. I think 4Es "setting per year" approach was too fast. A setting every other year with crunchy bits between allows for the avg group to finish a campaign before a new setting arrives.

The 5 level tiers feels better IMO than 10 did. 1-5 in 4E plays differently than 6-10. Same for the 11-15 vs 16-20.

That sounds like a good module. Perhaps with a later Epic Levels Handbook that, if properly thought out, could lead to intresting long-lasting games...


Why does there have even have to be an "Epic" level.  You give the level progression and let the DM decide when he wants his PC's to do epic stuff. 

I play from 1988 until 3.X came out and I decided when my PC's went Epic I did not need the game to tell me.
Whatever number of levels produces a smooth, but continuous, curve of character progression.  Don't really care if it's 20, or 30, or 15, or 40.  Doesn't really matter.  The expected game-time per level can easily be adjusted to leave expected game-time per full campaign consistent for any number of levels.

I do like the three tiers of Heroic, Paragon, and Epic, though.  I think it makes it easy to understand what scale of adventure makes sense, and how much power the PCs should have over the world.
Why does there have even have to be an "Epic" level.  You give the level progression and let the DM decide when he wants his PC's to do epic stuff. 
I play from 1988 until 3.X came out and I decided when my PC's went Epic I did not need the game to tell me.



Because it is a clear marker of what to expect from a given level. Of course you don't need the game to tell you anything, but that's hardly the point of a gaming system is it? If you want to ignore how the system works, is supposed to work or plays out, you can. Just ignore it and play the way you always did. Let's try to be inclusive, rather than exclusive and allow people like me, who like to have a clear and transparent system, to have a few tags here and there demarking what the system is supposed to be doing.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Why does there have even have to be an "Epic" level.  You give the level progression and let the DM decide when he wants his PC's to do epic stuff. 
I play from 1988 until 3.X came out and I decided when my PC's went Epic I did not need the game to tell me.



Because it is a clear marker of what to expect from a given level. Of course you don't need the game to tell you anything, but that's hardly the point of a gaming system is it? If you want to ignore how the system works, is supposed to work or plays out, you can. Just ignore it and play the way you always did. Let's try to be inclusive, rather than exclusive and allow people like me, who like to have a clear and transparent system, to have a few tags here and there demarking what the system is supposed to be doing.




Oh you see when you go and make sense like that then you ruin my whole case.

I stand corrected.  If it helps folks visualize the game better then by all means keep it in.

Whatever number of levels produces a smooth, but continuous, curve of character progression.  Don't really care if it's 20, or 30, or 15, or 40.  Doesn't really matter.  The expected game-time per level can easily be adjusted to leave expected game-time per full campaign consistent for any number of levels.


That's how I feel. In my experience, and from what I've heard from other people, most players simply don't play D&D in big enough chunks at a time to justify dead levels. I want every level to feel like you've accomplished something, regardless of how many levels there are.
Yeah.  I think 20 was the standard.  There was optional epic, and it would lend itself to the module system.  But 4e's core 30 didn't work for me.  +6 just made the high static game even higher.  On a +1 to +4 magic item scale, having a +2 or +3 is pretty close unlike a +2 to a +5 magic item.

I felt the three tiers didn't play as such.  There is the dirt first couple levels.  Then the we got stuff, hey check us out levels.   And it repeated until you got to the end of Epic when your campaign was coming to a volcanic head.  It still felt more like four spans, but that could be my holdover from past editions.

If you took the cooler classes of 3rd, the ones that got something new every level and put them into a 30 level game you would have the dead levels descrbe above.  That, or forced weaker elements.  Like when a band puts out a double album and you wonder how great the single albume would have been.  B sides should go in Dragon and Dungeon magazines.
There should be no wasted levels, ever.  Getting a handful of HP and another tick in some-odd defense isn't good enough.
I think it isn't so much the number of levels, but the rate of change between them, and whether that affects divergence between characters and monsters, or between different characters. I'd rather have 30 levels where a 2 pt difference in a defense or attack ends up being a 4 pt difference, or a 6 pt difference in a skill ends up being an 8 pt difference, than a 10 level system where the differences are 6 and 12.

There are five areas which affect how good a character is at something (attacking, defense, saves, skills): Abilities, class, level, equipment, development choices (feats, skill points etc.) The more that these affect different characters differently, the more the system can break down at high level.

In 1st and 2nd edition, abilities really didn't change, but the classes leveled at different rates, and improved attacks and saves at different rates. Plus equipment was sort of haphazard.
In 3rd edition, abilities changed both with leveling and tomes, plus there were ability increasing items and spells. It was possible to, by 20th level, have increased an ability by effectively 16 (+5 due to leveling, +5 due to books, +6 due to item.) Different classes improved at different rates. Equipment was fairly leveling, but skill points could vary dramatically, and the difference between 1 rank and maximum in a skill accelerated as you increased levels. Checks to notice things were a particular problem.
In 4th edition, classes (and races) gave initial bonuses, but everyone received the same due to levels. Items were standardized, but there were enough oddball ones that you could end up with item bonuses to skills. Ability increases caused divergence, since you could increase two stats by six each (in addition to the 2 to all stats you got.) There were limited feats that added. IIRC, you could end up with +3 to hit, +4 to non-armor, and +2? to armor, as well as +2 to a skill, but there were feats which allowed more for a few specific builds. Being trained in a skill was a flat bonus.  

I think what I would like to see is a system where there are no ability increases for any reason, or at least where it is minimized, and the same sort of binary "trained/untrained" approach to skills. I'd like to minimize divergence between capabilities, so the relative difference between two characters remains fairly constant.

I also could see where there might be no level limits, but above a certain level the only improvements are more items and more feats. 
The problem I have with 30 levels is that there are less monsters I can use against the PCs at any given level.     I really didn't like how some monsters became epic, which ment that I would have to wait a very long time before I could use them or I would have to scale them all down.  

There are also less official modules you can use at any given level range.     



Decreasing the number of levels suits me just fine. I'd actually like a game that capped at level 10. Right now leveling feels too slow too me. Not in the number of encounters required to level, but rather in how much power you gain in leveling up. I don't want a system that just lowers the amount of XP required to level. I want a system that increases the number of benefits at each level. Even if this is just an official module, I would be very happy.
I LOVE the idea of 30 levels.  The level progression such that characters have a reasonable expectation to be able to get a character to high level in a good solid year of campaigning is important. Nothing is more exciting to players than leveling up a character.

The caveat however, is that level ups need to increase power more incrementally. I agree that SOMETHING should change at every level for the character, the pace at which 4e stacked on powers,hit points, defenses, etc, was too great IMO for the speed at which one leveled.


I don't have an issue with quick leveling, and I like 3 tiers of levels, but I would like to see the levels become somewhat less impactful as a result.    
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Taken from anecdotes only, most people campaigns tend to end between level 10 and 15. I was part of a campaign that ended recently that ended just after we hit level 8.

While it is nice to look forward to the epic levels, I think they are mostly a waste of resources in the core game. Keep a tight focus on levels 1 to 20 and then create an epic levels handbook. 
I also think the 30 levels is pushing it. A tight 20 levels for the core rulebooks, and an epic level handbook as a separate supplement for those who want really high level play.

One thing I think I'd want them to do is to send a lot of what was effectively 9th level spells, at least the more potentially game-breaking ones, like Wish and Gate, into epic levels.

The first 20 levels I think should have 4 tiers, not sure what they should be called, but here are some example names:

1-5 Starter
6-10 Competent
11-15 Heroic
16-20 Legendary
21+ Epic (optional ruleset supplement)

No levels should be wasted, each level should offer some significant new ability or power or something, not just a small bonus to something and a new level's worth of HP. It should really feel like your character is progressing and learning new tricks and techniques every time they gain a level. Even if this new ability isn't more powerful than prior abilities, it should at least be able to allow them to diversify or something.

From my perspective, 30 levels are a bit easier to build adventures around and design monsters to; with less levels some odd monsters may be crammed into the same slot, which may result in funny things like in MtG, where a Sanctuary Cat is able to kill an Eager Cadet and walk away from it ;)


I've heard that Heroic tier was kinda boring tough, I wonder what could be made to make it better; simple "faster progression" may not work as intended.

The problem I have with 30 levels is that there are less monsters I can use against the PCs at any given level.     I really didn't like how some monsters became epic, which ment that I would have to wait a very long time before I could use them or I would have to scale them all down.  

There are also less official modules you can use at any given level range.    


Personally I don't mind this. One, I never use anywhere close to the total number of monsters for a given level in any edition. Two, in 4e it was so easy to adjust levels or create new monsters from scratch that I didn't really notice a problem. Three, many monsters had multiple versions so you could use them over a range of levels. Finally, I tend to prefer my own monsters and adventures over published ones anyway.
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The reason most campigns I played died around level 15 was because the 1-3 Ed rules fell apart around level 12 and started being much too complicated and so imbalanced there were players who got sick of being sidekicks to the others. 4th Ed fixed it by their standard progression and action balance.

Dont care about max level. 20-30 is good. Just don't have the sweet spot beyond which the game falls apart like previous editions, 
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The reason most campigns I played died around level 15 was because the 1-3 Ed rules fell apart around level 12 and started being much too complicated and so imbalanced there were players who got sick of being sidekicks to the others. 4th Ed fixed it by their standard progression and action balance.

Dont care about max level. 20-30 is good. Just don't have the sweet spot beyond which the game falls apart like previous editions, 

I don't think it was rules per se.  I think at least in my case that campaigns just run a certain amount of real world time.  I've seen plenty of high level campaigns that run just fine in 3e.  They typically start later (like 10th or even higher).  I agree that some classes at higher levels are less fun for a given person.  Some people though really do want a simpler class to play and 4e left those people out in the cold.  If they wanted to play a wizard they'd have played one in 3e.  Instead they get something different out of the game.  They are fine with clerics and wizards coming into their own at high levels.  

Now given all that, I do think a few classes like Rogues could be boosted.  I would have made the Rogue just another specialized fighter class like Paladin or Ranger in 3e.  I think the 3e fighter though was fine and I didn't hear them complaining about the overpowered wizards and clerics.




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That sounds like a good module. Perhaps with a later Epic Levels Handbook that, if properly thought out, could lead to intresting long-lasting games...


Why does there have even have to be an "Epic" level.  You give the level progression and let the DM decide when he wants his PC's to do epic stuff. 

I play from 1988 until 3.X came out and I decided when my PC's went Epic I did not need the game to tell me.



i agree, i'd even get rid of that word association with the game...."epic" sound like reference to wow. We just call it "high level gaming" which leaves it exactly open when the DM and players feel they want to tackle the larger things in the game, as "high level" is just vague enough to be an uncertain exact number except by subjective feel of the game.. 
For D&D Next, I'd like a 1-20 Level band with an Optional Module for Epic Level 21-30.

Like this, everybody wins ! 
For D&D Next, I'd like a 1-20 Level band with an Optional Module for Epic Level 21-30.

Like this, everybody wins ! 



+1
I was about to post exactly that. Not particualrly original I guess, but sensible. 
For D&D Next, I'd like a 1-20 Level band with an Optional Module for Epic Level 21-30.

Like this, everybody wins ! 


I agree. I would even go so far as to say epic levels should be in a separate book. Otherwise you just have an absolutely gianormous amount of material to playtest and chances are that things are going to slip through the cracks. Do levels 1-20 first. Once you have that figured out, then do epic level, and you can focus on just that to make sure abilities are cool and powerful without being gamebreaking.

Oh and one additional caveat. The epic level book needs to be integrated with the 1-20 progression like 4e and 2e did it, not some completely separate tacked on method of progression like 3e handled it.
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...which may result in funny things like in MtG, where a Sanctuary Cat is able to kill an Eager Cadet and walk away from it ;)


You mean housecats don't regularly murder untrained militia?

In all seriousness, I'd say like many others have that 20 levels of core plus 10+ levels of optional "epic" sounds right

For me, Level 20 represents the proper "end" of (at least, normal) progression because 20 is significant for D&D.  After all, a d20 is our primary die of conflict resolution, so the number is rather significant.  When you hit 20, thanks to the 20-ish nature of D&D mechanics, it feels like you've finished something.

But, I sort of like the option to keep going.  I would say "All the way" (Level uncapped) by module, except that worked out so well in 3rd edition (Epic Spellcasting is borked from L21 if you care to abuse it, though they at least knew the open system was open for abuse, and so instructed DMs to double check created spells; Damage has scaled so much that you are in full rocket tag mode if you weren't already; and I freeking dare you to play past 40.), so maybe it's best to have ten levels of "epic" and call it caps before the underlying game math disintegrates in a puff of logic.

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For D&D Next, I'd like a 1-20 Level band with an Optional Module for Epic Level 21-30.

I agree. I would even go so far as to say epic levels should be in a separate book.

A seperate book on epic levels would probably be more content than 4E provided for the tier. 

Core should be iconic, and options or modules is what they are selling us 5th on. 

i agree, i'd even get rid of that word association with the game...."epic" sound like reference to wow.  



Epic level DnD was always called Epic; at least since 2nd ed.

I like the idea of the supplement option.

I would take that a step further and consider at that point designing a new system.  If you look at 4e, you are supposed to be a demigod/archmage/horizon walker/ nonsense by the Epic levels.  Why have them even tie in directly to the level 1-20 game?  I wouldn't even have pre-reqs based on prior characters.

My level 20 fighter might find an amulet or such that grants him the power of an archmage.  My cleric might be transformed by his god into a Legendary warrior.  My Wizard might be cursed by elder Primal powers and become a great Primal spirit of Vengence.

Or I might not rock the boat and choose the most logical path.

I don't dig the idea of branding level ranges, period: "Okay, guys, we're now epic now!"  "...I thought we already were...what with all the crap we've been through...."

And taking out the cancerous 1/2 level bonus to Attacks, Defences and Skills has done wonders for my 4th Ed campaign. 
Double-posting madness, sorry.

I don't dig the idea of branding level ranges, period: "Okay, guys, we're now epic now!"  "...I thought we already were...what with all the crap we've been through...."

And taking out the cancerous 1/2 level bonus to Attacks, Defences and Skills has done wonders for my 4th Ed campaign. 



I have thought about that myself.  What changes do you make to monsters to adjust for that loss?  Just -1/2 per level to monster defenses?

I thinks everyone is in agreement on the “NO Dead Levels” thing. I am with that as well. As far as the modular approach to the level progression, if they take something similar, is a lot like how the boxed sets were originally released. Each set covered what the expectation of play was for the levels included in that advancement group. So you could if you wanted to have each realeas of material starting wth the core cover the “Tier”. What ever division of levels they give 10, 20, 30, 40 or none builds on the core system as the game advances.


I like the tire system of 4E for the reasons mentioned. It is a key word that can help describe the encounters to come. As far as what people want from the speed of advancement this could be solved by providing an advancement chart for faster leveling. Maybe divided into three speeds.


At any rate if they do get a good core system established the modular release of material for higher levels can do a few things:




  1. Ensure that higher level play remains within parameters set by the core.




  2. Allows the dev. team to focus on each “tier” as the advancement modules are published.




  3. Allows the some of the dev. team to focus on content (supplements, add-ons, settings and adventure modules) while working on the next advancement release.




I never really had a lot of the problems that many members have brought up in other posts. If something did we as the group solved it together. The only issue I did have with 4E was the lack of peripheral material for the levels of play. Sure, another PHB came out (2 and 3). The powers books were kinda nice. All-in-all the settings material and adventure modules never really surfaced. If they lower the number of levels, do away with dead levels and still support a tier system we need content for those levels.


Not every new DM will have the ability to make a good adventure. Having a wide variety of adventure modules covering a group of levels would be a big assist for those new gamers. Eventually after see a well designed adventure, not just an encounter, they can develop their own.

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I like the ideas put forth by others on this thread to include levels 1-20 in core and supplement the additional epic tier with another product.

This is a win-win for WOTC/players if the company decides to take this approach. The benefit to players is that space in the PHB can be filled with other information that would have been taken up by epic tier material, and the company makes out by being able to sell another accessory to the players that want the option of going higher.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
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