Legacy and high level play

It has been stated that at higher levels, PCs will stop getting feats and will get powerful benefits out of the "Legacy" system, such as followers and organizations, infamy, strongholds and castles, epic quests, magic item creation, inventing or researching for new spells, etc. 
I'm really excited about it, and hope they will provide balanced yet powerful story tools for the players to play with and thus will make high-level play a different experience from low-level play. 
 
What would you guys like to see for the legacy system, or for high-level play in general? 
Do you even want your epic campaigns to play mechanically or thematically different? Do you think the Legacy system should be presented as a module? Maybe you want the players to have even more impact on the plot? Maybe you think that if it'll come out nicely, it could be imported to lower levels, as a substitute to feats or just added on? 
 
Please share your thoughts, 
-Ashtoret
I find it interesting that they're uncoupling all that stuff that used to be part of feats from feats. I'm watching the space 'cause it might be awesome... or it might just be feats that aren't called feats.
What would you guys like to see for the legacy system, or for high-level play in general?

A good range of interesting options, both for those that want to build castles and recruit followers and those that don't. Getting both balanced against each other will be a big challenge and I would be fine with a system that gave every character a mix of out-combat stuff and in-combat stuff.
 
Do you even want your epic campaigns to play mechanically or thematically different? Do you think the Legacy system should be presented as a module? Maybe you want the players to have even more impact on the plot? Maybe you think that if it'll come out nicely, it could be imported to lower levels, as a substitute to feats or just added on?

Mechanically, I would like a little difference, with combat having a bit more swings of fortune but characters tough and resourceful enough to adapt to more swings. Thematically it depends on the campaign. Any campaign can really change theme at any point and the move to epic is a good one for that, but it shouldn't be required.

Importing legacy stuff into lower levels would be nice but probably has to be a campaign specific violation of normal game balance. I've run some interesting campaigns with noble characters running estates and waging wars at fairly low levels but the whole way such games play is very different then normal campaigns. It plays more like a role playing strategic resource management game then a role playing adventure game.

Honestly, eventually becoming some kind of... administrator is not really why I play D&D and isn't really a direction I'm partiuclarly interested in taking campaigns that I'm DMing. I really hope that having followers/organizations/strongholds/etc. is just one example from a dramatically broader set of things that the legacy system encompasses. (It feels like that's the example they keep using.)

I was more excited about that sort of thing until I thought about actually applying it to real character and not just sort of the abstract Graybland the Generic, Brand X Fighter. Even with a very broad definition, the notion of a fate of "followers/organizations/strongholds" is a huge stretch for many  characters, and an awkward fit for many others. Additionally, based on how I've used those things in the past, any system that awards those things at certain levels rather than based on story concerns feels like a big step towards artificiality. I'm not saying that you can't or shouldn't produce rules for that kind of thing, but the idea that that's a major vector for character advancement after a certain level doesn't appeal to me at all.

If "legacy system" is just a clumsy 4e-averse way of referring to something more like 4e's EDs, where they really represent a wider variety of high-level fates for characters (which could certainly include "guy with a stronghold and an organization", or even a family of such options), then I'm more on board, although even then I'd hope that they'd launch with more than four such options. Even 4e's ED system (especially before the space was better-populated) forced some awkward fits at times; characters just evolve a lot over the course of that much play, and get very well-defined, but there's usually something semi-natural for an ED for a character.

I guess that in a word, I'd be looking for versatility in the system, to represent coherant fates for a wide variety of character types, but I'd also look for coherance in what the system is doing; "epic quests, magic item creation, inventing or researching for new spells, etc." doesn't sound as much like a system as it does like "some stuff that happens in D&D".
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I like the idea of the Legacy options, but I want my character to learn more than 4 feats in his lifetime...
To me it all depends on the Power Creep... if high level PCs feel like demi-gods then I'm not interested...

And frankly its the only reason I never played high levels in previous editions. Otherwise Legacy sounds like it can do things Birthright did, which has me excited.

As I've been running a Next game and my players have voiced concerns over there only being 4 feats available to them, and also after considering some of the ideas about gaining more maneuvers or spells (or other class-specific features), I think it might be nice if more of these things were opened up in the upper tiers. That is to say, they are feats or features that can be learned by virtue of adventuring, and may not fall at specific levels.

For instance, a fighter who wants to learn more maneuvers may seek to open a training grounds for the kings men. Eventually developing his own maneuvers or mastering even more, he wishes to fortify his grounds into a compound and defend the lands for the king (potentially being promoted as a lord). Here maybe he gains Skill Focus and Supremacy for Knowledge (Warfare and/or Heraldry). Maybe if there are Legacy-specific features, these are available too, like the epic destiny features.

You wouldn't need to be a full time administrator to your training grounds/compound/castle or your library/tower/academy or your gang/guild/syndicate in order to gain personal benefits through it. It can however act as a great holding ground for adventures if the players wish it to be. There are plenty of leader/heroes in fiction and non-fiction who had armies, countries, empires and could have cared less about them so long as they had new knowledge, access to the best weapons, or could gain an audience with the gods, etc.

I think there is room here to really crank D&D up a notch, but still allow those "legacy features" to simply be replaced by, say, 4 more feats, and allow players to just keep doing what they're doing but against stronger foes.
I'm rather torn on high-level play.
Part of me wants it to be a smooth-flowing transition from lower levels, just with increased goodness.
Another part of me fondly remembers the Immortals set from BECMI and misses it badly. A rather drastic change from lower-level play, to be sure.

I was not a fan of 4E's Epic Destinies...they all felt a bit too contrived / cliched / predictable to me. That, and they were never really clear on how they should be pursued by the individuals of the party. If each PC had a drastically different Epic Destiny (I refuse to call it E.D., as that calls to mind a medical condition no one wants to experience), did they simply split the party to pursue them? Did they stay together while one PC achieved his Destiny (forcing the others to put theirs aside for a time)? Did you just ignore the fluff behind Destinies completely, keep the party together, and just tack on the extra goodies you got for reaching that level? Paragon paths were fine...they felt more like natural extensions of low-level play. Epic Destinies, though, shot off in a totally different direction for me.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
I'm rather torn on high-level play.
Part of me wants it to be a smooth-flowing transition from lower levels, just with increased goodness.
Another part of me fondly remembers the Immortals set from BECMI and misses it badly. A rather drastic change from lower-level play, to be sure.



I still have it!  I think I am with you Father-Dagon.  I would like to have lvl 1-20 to flow smoothly, but epic play, beyond 20, to at least play with modified rules if not the whole new set of rules of the Immortal Rules in BECMI.
Although I personally love the idea behind the Legacy system, and our group will likely use it, I don't think it should replace feats. Some groups may not want to use this option, and it shouldn't be forced on them. There should be a different way to keep high-level play from filling up with dead levels.

As a matter of fact, our group currently uses a system not unlike the Legacy system, where each campaign finished contributes a small addition to the next campaign. A magic item from a previous adventure, an NPC the players know from a past campaign, or a villain that got away and now is back are some examples of how we use our "Legacy" system.
It has been stated that at higher levels, PCs will stop getting feats and will get powerful benefits out of the "Legacy" system, such as followers and organizations, infamy, strongholds and castles, epic quests, magic item creation, inventing or researching for new spells, etc. 
I'm really excited about it, and hope they will provide balanced yet powerful story tools for the players to play with and thus will make high-level play a different experience from low-level play. 
 
What would you guys like to see for the legacy system, or for high-level play in general? 
Do you even want your epic campaigns to play mechanically or thematically different? Do you think the Legacy system should be presented as a module? Maybe you want the players to have even more impact on the plot? Maybe you think that if it'll come out nicely, it could be imported to lower levels, as a substitute to feats or just added on? 
 
Please share your thoughts, 
-Ashtoret



Well.... I gotta say, none of that sounds new in the slightest.  Sounds like a bunch of feats that got stripped out being put back in. 
I would like to see better rules for spell research....but spells are so varied that they end up being impossible to write rules for.  All you ever get are guidelines.  Soooo.... yeah.  

This doesn't seem like it should be considered a "system" at all.  High level play is always a different experience, so that doesn't mean much to me.
The players' impact on the plot is.... I don't even understand the question frankly.  Their impact on the plot is entirely up to the DM.  Open ended, non-linear, linear, large scope small scope.... you run whatever campaign you want.  
i didnt like the 4th edition thing where everyone becomes immortal ect. i think that once a character reaches higher levels then the way a campaign is run needs to change ie. have more non-combat type adventures, more political intrigue. but i also like how they ran things in hackmaster where are you leveled you could spend some of your earned xp on a npc follower and level him, then if you died or retired from play you could activate the npc and play him as a new character. i think if they bring back followers and keeps it could be an option.
I find it interesting that they're uncoupling all that stuff that used to be part of feats from feats. I'm watching the space 'cause it might be awesome... or it might just be feats that aren't called feats.



Wel from what i can see they would not occupy the same levels as feats.
if you look at the classes at level 10+ you see that they have kept the levels 12,15,18 a bit barren when it comes to class abilities becouse you will continue gaining feats at these levels.

But the levels 13,16,19 also seem to be kept devoid of class abilities  so i think these might be the levels where the legacy abilities slot into.
i didnt like the 4th edition thing where everyone becomes immortal ect. i think that once a character reaches higher levels then the way a campaign is run needs to change ie. have more non-combat type adventures, more political intrigue. but i also like how they ran things in hackmaster where are you leveled you could spend some of your earned xp on a npc follower and level him, then if you died or retired from play you could activate the npc and play him as a new character. i think if they bring back followers and keeps it could be an option.



But you woulden't be against a suplement coming out later down the line for people who do like the kind of play where you become imotral etc.
Maybe a book called epic destinies that lets you replace legecies with more 4th edition style epic destinies if you prefer that kind of game.

i didnt like the 4th edition thing where everyone becomes immortal ect. i think that once a character reaches higher levels then the way a campaign is run needs to change ie. have more non-combat type adventures, more political intrigue. but i also like how they ran things in hackmaster where are you leveled you could spend some of your earned xp on a npc follower and level him, then if you died or retired from play you could activate the npc and play him as a new character. i think if they bring back followers and keeps it could be an option.



But you woulden't be against a suplement coming out later down the line for people who do like the kind of play where you become imotral etc.
Maybe a book called epic destinies that lets you replace legecies with more 4th edition style epic destinies if you prefer that kind of game.




they did an immortals basic suppliment and that i am fine with it had adventures and things that kept the players engaged which is ok.

Lord_Markelhay- What you say about your current group playing with this sort of player-induced plot system seems interesting. I'd like to hear more about it, as I like the idea of players having a certain degree of control over the world or the plot, at least when it comes to their PCs.
I know many of you guys might not agree, but I'd like higher level options, maybe the Legacy system, to give this sort of power to the players. It has many precedents in systems such as FATE, and our group loved the games it produced. It really made the players engaged in the plot (they could have a part in shaping it both in character and out of character) and it contributed to the feeling that the campaign was about the story and the group of PCs as a whole, and many players stopped thinking only about their PCs and started to care more about other characters too.
I was thinking it would be nice if high level PCs could have a system that let them shape the world and leave their mark on the campaign if they choose to, a system which gave it all a bit of mechanical balance, so groups that would choose to allow it- could. This system would balance the effects the PCs will have on the world, giving options to either craft a powerful magic item, open a guild or establish a stronghold, have their character's fame and reputation carry across the planes, or whatever suits their character's story. It can be hard to have these options not feel tacked on (like 4E's Epic Destinies) but rather combine fluently with any plot or campaign, so maybe have it conditioned upon a bigger quest the PC has to be a part of a few levels in advance, or something.
Some of of you said this is redundant, as in a good campaign most of these things will grow organically over the course of play, but there are advantages to having this all written down in the system- it changes how the game is played, and shapes the focus of D&D in a different direction. Using a system like this will change how people assume about epic campaigns, and it will encourage a different style of gameplay.
Of course, a lot of DMs won't like the idea of players having this sort of power over their campaign world written on the character sheets, and that's OK, so it should probably be a module of some sorts. Even within the same group, some players will just not be the types who can enjoy it, and would prefer to just have their PC be more amazing, by getting powerful feats or spells instead.


So, this is my dream Legacy system. Sorry for the grammar mistakes, English being a second language and all.


-Ashtoret



I'm fine with the idea of legacies.  Building a keep or a library, founding a guild or becoming a lord, recruiting followers, and generally having a bigger impact on shaping the geopolitical landscape than just slaying villains.  I can see that being fun, at least for some campaigns/players.  What I can't see is how that is in any way a substitute/replacement for character advancement.  

1) They are not remotely equivalent.  It's time to slay the dragon, and I don't have extra combat abilities that help me do that, but that's OK because I've got a keep somewhere!  It's time to disarm that nasty trap, and I don't have extra skills/skill masteries for doing that, but it's ok because I've got a whole guild full of other thieves who can't help either!  Strongholds, followers, and political positions serve useful functions, but they aren't the same functions as personal character advancement.  When the party is off doing an adventure, IME they're typically cut off from those sources of power, at least for the immediate moments when that aid is most needed, so playing a 15th level character in that situation is just like playing an 11th level character but with more HP and damage.  Yay...  If you let people choose between legacy benefits and feat-type benefits, the legacy people are bored when they're off adventuring away from those benefits and the feat people are bored when they're back home managing someone else's fiefdom.  If you don't let them choose, then any character concept that has no business becoming a lord/academy master/guild master is forced into an arbitrary pigeon hole.  

2) Coming at set levels is just wrong.  At X level, all classes magically sprout a stronghold of some kind, whether it be a keep or a library or a guild hall?  What if, when you hit Xth level, you're adventuring deep in the nine hells?  What if you knock over a thieves guild at X-2 level, and it would make perfect sense to have your party rogue take over?  Tying this stuff to arbitrary levels makes it feel artificial, or at least makes it very difficult for the DM to let it happen organically.

So I'm all for a legacy module with rules/guidelines about building and managing a fiefdom of some kind.  It could have ideas for DMs about how to work those into the plot, it could have guidelines about how much money those things throw off, how many followers of what level you might get access to, etc.  It could even make some effort to balance the benefits of a lordship appropriate to a fighter with a academy appropriate to a wizard.  But it's not a replacement for continued character advancement, not even as an option.  It's a supplement, not a substitute.
I agree. I'm all in favor of interesting DMG guidelines for making the characters' influence less local as they enter the higher levels, and even interesting mechanics, but trying to make it a layer of character advancement feels like fitting a square peg into a round hole. There can and probably should be rules/guidelines/suggestions for that kind of thing because it's part of how the world operates, it can be interestingly gamified, and such rules assist with adjudication, but not everything about how the world works makes sense as a line on the advancement table. I mean, magic items are way more similar to traditional means of character advancement then "now you have a library", but you don't put magic items on the character advancement table. It's really about what best serves the legacy-system rules, and based on how they've described them, I don't think that tying them more than super loosely to character level advancement serves them particularly well at all.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I imagine Legacies being DM packages for taking campaigns in specific directions.

There may be an Immortals package (PCs achieve demigodhood), a Kingmakers package (PCs found guilds, groves, churches, and organizations), a Warmongers package (PCs field armies and strongholds), and other packages.  It gives modular rules for these things and ways for PCs to achieve new abilities related to them.

The DM (preferably with the players' foreknowledge and agreement) chooses where the campaign will go.  The Legacy may not even correspond to a specific level.  It may be something for the DM to introduce whenever he feels like he's ready to close out a campaign or shift the PCs into retirement or simply move them into a different minigame.  

And different campaign settings would have their own Legacies.  Planescape could have am Illiminatus Legacy where the players manipulate various factions in Sigil to affect the planar cosmology.  Birthright may have a Domain Legacy with access to War Magic.  Dark Sun could have a Dragon King Legacy.  Ravenloft could have a Darklord Legacy.  Basically it could represent a fundamental shift in playstyle away from adventuring and into a different minigame.
That could be a lot of fun, but I don't see why it should be tied to character progression.  If you're still going to be doing adventuring at level 15, you should still be getting feats and such (regardless of whether the legacy module has kicked in on the side).  If you're not, then why even have E6 style rules for character progression.  What happens if you want to shift the playstyle at level 15?  At level 8?  At level 12, but still occassionally take your 17th level adventureres out to the tomb of horrors without them feeling like level 11 adventurers with more HP?  What if your party wizard wants to start toying with Sigil factions while the rest of the party wants to keep exploring?  I'm all for a legacy module that lets you become a Dragon King or a Darklord, but I see a lot of harm and zero good from pretending that that has anything to do with character progression much less is a filler for otherwise dead levels.