Epic levels in Eberron

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I have been out of the loop for a while, so pardon the question please.

I'll preface the question by saying I'm aware that Dungeons and Dragons Online is based in Eberron and now has "epic" levels. While I'm sure that's partly due to wanting to raise revenue, last I knew Eberron did not have epic levels. Have I missed something in a year? I'm just curious since if I start my campaign back up, or a campaign I wanted to be sure. Thanks.
DDO is based off D&D 3.5, where about all the levels above 20 were considered "epic" levels. 4e Eberron is like all the other settings, and uses level 21-30 (again above 20) as the Epic tier
It isn't so much that Eberron "doesn't have epic levels."  More accurately, Eberron (when written) specifically aimed for a lower average power level than things like Forgotten Realms.  Here are a couple of major NPCs listed in the ECS:

Lord of Blades - ECL 12
High Cardinal Krozen of Thrane - ECL 12
Vol (one of the highest level NPCs in the book) - ECL 19 (half dragon wizard 16)
Typical Lord of Dust - CR 13
Kaius III - CR 13 (human aristocrat 2 / fighter 11 Vampire)

By the time you can cast 5th level spells, you are a serious mover and shaker in Eberron, as you should be anywhere.  Settings like FR never made sense to me, when you had epic level characters tripping over each other, they were so common.
They were too common in FR. But they seem to UNcommon in Eberron. Someone like Vol who is what, 3 thousand years old (which is more than Elminster or Telamont Tanthul btw :P ) should certainly be epic. Technically she kind of is with the half dragon and lich templates (I'm going on 3.5, idk anything about 4e) but I mean her wizard levels.

Se goes for some of these Lords of Dust and daelkyr but they do not really stat npc's. I understand the reasoning though you want your PC to be able to take on Vol for example but... Ah I guess it's just a preference.
They were too common in FR. But they seem to UNcommon in Eberron. Someone like Vol who is what, 3 thousand years old (which is more than Elminster or Telamont Tanthul btw :P ) should certainly be epic. Technically she kind of is with the half dragon and lich templates (I'm going on 3.5, idk anything about 4e) but I mean her wizard levels. Se goes for some of these Lords of Dust and daelkyr but they do not really stat npc's. I understand the reasoning though you want your PC to be able to take on Vol for example but... Ah I guess it's just a preference.


Vol is meant to level with the PCs, she should be Epic when they're epic. Same with most villains, really, they're antagonistic PCs, the lot of them.

Besides, she might be an ancient Wizard and heir to the secrets of the greatest necromancers Aerenal ever produced, but she's also constantly on the run from agents of the Undying Court, and who really knows what magics they might have used against her. Perhaps she was recently killed, and she's only beginning to recover her full powers again. Since she's constantly hunted by the Deathguard its a fair bet that she's lost many of her most powerful spells, and possibly fell out of practice with them.

And the Lords of Dust are by-and-large supposed to be lesser minions of the real Epic Demons of Eberron, to my understanding. Not epic threats individually, just paitient schemers trying to destabilize civilization (barring a few outliers who . The Daelkyr are just a base creature, the six (I think) Daelkyr currently trapped in Khyber are supposed to have more power in addition to that.

And Eberron has plenty of truly epic forces contending with each other, but unlike other settings they aren't behaving like the Greek Gods, toying with mortals and having pissing contests. They aren't individual forces that the PCs have to worry about because they're largely ignoring the world as the PCs know it. They see things on a different level (Damn Prophecy) and act on that 'stage'. There are epic dragons and quori and demons and what have you (that Undying Court seems stuffed with epic-level NPCs) but they're acting in concert with their overarching power groups.

I think the thing is more that there aren't tons of Epic NPCs in the power groups the PCs are likely to be working with, because that's the role the PCs are meant to take. The PCs are the Balors and Great Wyrms of Khorvaire (or home reigon of choice). Everyone else is just a lower class of demon.
The Overlords are the only statted Epic NPCs in Eberron (3.5) that I've seen, but it's certainly not hard to add a few levels to other NPCs like Vol or The Lord of Blades if you want them to be Epic. Speaking of Vol, though, I recall reading a good explanation for why she's not a higher level Wizard. While she has been around for quite some time, her focus is on a specific task: finding a way to regain the powers of the Mark of Death. She controls a network of spies and undead. There is little reason for her to practice magic aside from necromancy unless it directly affects her dragonmark. It's quite obvious to her that once her dragonmark is accessible to her again, any other magic she could perform would pale in comparison. And since there has yet to be anyone who could best her (given so few even know of her existence), there is no impetus for her.

Another way to simulate Epic level NPCs without actually giving NPCs more levels is through the use of eldritch machines as plot devices. While in Castle Illmarrow, you could say that Vol is attuned to a number of powerful necromantic devices she has created. A normal necromancer of her level may be powerful, but she has abilities wizards have never seen. Perhaps she's devised a gateway to Dolurrh and can siphon off the energy of the dead, thus healing her lich body on command. Or with a snap of her fingers, the great villains the PCs have already faced rise again as undead to face off against their foes one more time. Or, maybe, every minute someone living stays in Castle Illmarrow, they grow closer and closer to death and when they finally succumb to the weight of the necromantic magic pressing against their spirits, they become undead under her control! You know, things like that.
Call me Ender.
Vol is meant to level with the PCs, she should be Epic when they're epic. Same with most villains, really, they're antagonistic PCs, the lot of them.


Quoted for truth. There's a number of other threads on this subject so I won't dwell on it at length, but this is the key to the relatively low level of Vol and the Lord of Blades. These NPCs are meant to serve as recurring villains who will continue to interact with the PCs over a long period of time. As a result, they are expected to level with the PCs - and generally, to stay a few levels above them. With the Lord of Blades at level ECL 12, you can potentially interact with him when you're level 8. By the time you're level 12, he should be around level 16... etc. It's the same way that Doctor Doom doesn't suddenly become irrelevant because the Fantastic Four went to the Negative Zone and gained a level. In fact, in addition to Demise and Halas Martain, the original ECS included stats for the Lord of Blades at 3 different power levels, but they ended up being pulled out.

The same goes for Vol. I know I've posted at length about why she's the level she is and why she might suddenly start to gain levels after holding steady after a while; Areleth touches on some of these. Her goal is to become the Queen of Death; if she attains this, she will definitely be an epic level threat.

Aside from this, you have a number of Inspired of ECL 20+ in Secrets of Sarlona. The listed Daelkyr stats are just a base to work with; Dyrrn the Corruptor could easily be an ECL 30-40, if you want him to be. Then there are Overlords (IIRC I statted one that was ECL 50 in Dragon), dragons, and of course new threats you choose to add yourself!
I just found a quote from the 4E ECG concerning Erandis that seems relevant:

The statistics below represent Lady Vol’s abilities in her current state. Should she succeed in her apotheosis, she will have powers rivaling a god’s. It is up to you to decide what steps are required for her to rise to this level, but it should be a serious challenge; she has been working toward it for thousands of years. She’ll need ancient artifacts, books of forgotten lore, or possibly to make deals with demonic overlords. She might create eldritch machines with the apparent goal of turning everyone in Sharn into a zombie—but the true goal of which is to weaken the borders between Eberron and Dolurrh (a goal she can achieve even in defeat). Her apotheosis should be the culmination of a long story arc. It’s also up to you to decide what happens if Erandis ascends. Will she terrorize the world until she is defeated? Or, with her destiny secured, will she retire to Dolurrh and become a worthy ruler of her new realm of the dead?

What I've said before is that these are the sorts of plots that should result in Erandis gaining power. Even if her scheme is undone by the player characters, the work done advancing the scheme is enough to increase her power. A story may involve her stealing the only copy of the Qabalrin Codex from the Library of Korranberg and using it to raise the an army of warped corpses in the Mournland. While the heroes may destroy her army, she retains the knowledge gained from that one-of-a-kind Codex... and that's what results in her rise in level.

Essentially, most NPCs don't advance either by killing a few monsters or by repeating the same things they've been doing for the last few years or decades; they reach a plateau based on their innate potential. It's when they do something that is exceptional that a level-change is appropriate. When Vol is in hiding for centuries, reading the same twenty books over and over, nothing drives her to improve. 16th level is her "resting state." When she faces worthy challengers and is force to push her skills to their limits; when she acquires new tomes or treasures she's long searched for; when she changes the balance between Eberron and Dolurrh; these are the things that will cause her to increase in power.

I'll also throw out a truly scandalous thought: I have no problem with the idea of ancient entities LOSING power over time. The fact of the matter is that I'm not as good a fencer today as I was in college, because I don't fence all the time any more. If you translate that into, say, fighter levels, I am a lower level fighter today than I used to be. I haven't lost ALL my skill - but I'm not at my peak. The same follows for Erandis. She has vast knowledge and experience... but when is the last time she has personally exercised her full power? There may have been a point in history when she WAS a 20th level Wizard. But she lost her library in a Deathguard raid 300 years ago, and she's been lying low and avoiding casting her most powerful magicks to stay off Aerenal's radar; now she's become active again, she needs to shake off the cobwebs.
I have been out of the loop for a while, so pardon the question please. I'll preface the question by saying I'm aware that Dungeons and Dragons Online is based in Eberron and now has "epic" levels. While I'm sure that's partly due to wanting to raise revenue, last I knew Eberron did not have epic levels. Have I missed something in a year? I'm just curious since if I start my campaign back up, or a campaign I wanted to be sure. Thanks.


It should also be noted here that the epic content in DDO actually takes place in the Forgotten Realms. Or it did on expansion launch. I don't know what they're up to now, I quit when the expansion was announced and haven't kept up with it.

It isn't so much that Eberron "doesn't have epic levels."  More accurately, Eberron (when written) specifically aimed for a lower average power level than things like Forgotten Realms.  Here are a couple of major NPCs listed in the ECS:

Lord of Blades - ECL 12
High Cardinal Krozen of Thrane - ECL 12
Vol (one of the highest level NPCs in the book) - ECL 19 (half dragon wizard 16)
Typical Lord of Dust - CR 13
Kaius III - CR 13 (human aristocrat 2 / fighter 11 Vampire)

By the time you can cast 5th level spells, you are a serious mover and shaker in Eberron, as you should be anywhere.  Settings like FR never made sense to me, when you had epic level characters tripping over each other, they were so common.

Remember that levels between editions don't translate one to one. A ECL 12 NPC in 3e is NOT a 12th level PC in 4e, but more likely a level 20.

Having said that, I feel that there are ample of epic level forces at work in Eberron. There major agents might not be described as epic level monsters, but that is not a big issue. It is easy to come with explenations on why this is the case and add the epic level threats, which more often than not require a large amount of adaptation anyway. Vol and Lord of Blades has been discussed, but the other three epic level threats (Lords of Dust, Delkyr and the Quori) are all bound to their own domains. They are weakened on this level of existence under current conditions, but if you run a campaign around one of these three groups, it is easy to see how their plots strengthen them or forces the PCs to confront them on their own plane of existence.

Personally, it is one of the best selling points of the campaign for me. There are several different threats that have the potential to take the PCs into epic levels and which are fully ingrained in the setting, but don't require immediate attention persee. For example, it is not as limited as Dark Sun (only one main plot line that makes sense) nor as adhoc and chaotic as the Forgotten Realms (which in all honesty actually lacks any obvious epic level threats). (Mind you, both Dark Sun and the FR have their own selling points and I actually have enjoyed those settings a lot.)
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