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Jaerom Darkwind
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cuautitlán Izcalli, Edo. de México, EUM

Okay, this is the first draft of an FAQ for the epic boards. It’s by no means complete, but I think it is useful even as is. I’ll add more answers as people bring up questions I may have missed.

The 3.0 Epic FAQ

When is my character considered epic?

Okay, this is a complicated question. Being epic comes in stages, like so:
When your ECL reaches 21, you begin using epic experience tables and epic wealth guidelines.
When you have 21 total HD, you may begin gaining epic feats.
When you have 21 character levels, you begin using the epic base attack bonus and save progressions. Note that racial HD are not included in this calculation--they do not use epic attack and save progressions.
When you have 21 levels in a particular class, you begin using the appropriate epic class progression.
When you have 20 total HD, including 10 levels in a prestige class, you may begin gaining epic levels in that prestige class.
When the Epic Level Handbook makes statements like "[class] does not [class ability] after 20th level," they are referring to your 20th class level, not your 20th character level. Specific examples of this are spells per day for spellcasters, and unarmed damage for monks.

When is my weapon considered epic?

A weapon is considered epic for the purpose of defeating damage reduction X/epic only if it has a +6 enhancement bonus or higher. A weapon with an effective enhancement bonus of +6 against certain monsters (such as a +4 aberration bane longsword against aberrations) also defeats this type of damage reduction. However, any weapon with more than a +10 total bonus, or an ability with an effective bonus of more than +5, uses epic pricing charts.

Where can I find the epic progression for the ____________?

Check the Compendium of Official Epic Material, in the Important Epic Threads Index at the top of the forum. If it’s not listed there, it hasn’t been published anywhere by WotC. In that case, you’ll have to make one yourself, though many members here would be more than happy to help you. Work that's already been done can be found in the Compendium of Unofficial Epic Material.

Since the most common question deals with classes that advance two spellcasting progressions at once, such as the mystic theurge, true necromancer, and so forth, I'll deal with them specifically here. There are two schools of thought on these classes.

The official progression from Wizards of the Coast for the mystic theurge grants increases to a single caster level per level, alternating back and forth, and one bonus feat every six levels. Most agree, however, that this is vastly underpowered. Were you to use this caster level progression, bonus feats should be granted every two or three levels.

The progression that is generally favored by the epic community grants caster level increases to both classes every level, and bonus feats every 6 levels.

Where can I find epic progressions for classes with less than 10 levels, like the Archmage?

Originally Posted by the Epic Level Handbook
These rules allow you to go beyond the normal level limit in a prestige class, but only if it is a ten-level class. Why can't you add levels to a prestige class with fewer than ten levels?

It's Too Easy: Maxing out a ten-level prestige class takes a lot of time and effort, detracting significantly from your pursuit of the Player's Handbook classes. When you max out a five level class, on the other hand, you haven't taken more than a short detour from your main class or classes.

It's Not Significant Enough: Characters with ten levels in the blackguard prestige class undoubtedly think of themselves as blackguards, regardless of the fact that they also have ten levels in one or more other classes. If you've taken fewer than ten levels in a prestige class, those levels represent a smaller fraction of your character's identity.

It's Hard to Build an Epic Progression: With only a few levels to guide you, it's hard to determine what an appropriate progression of class features would be for the class. The rate of improvement of a special ability might be too fast to extrapolate over an infinite number of levels, or there might simply be too few class features to build a unique epic progression.

That said, if your DM wants to allow a character to gain epic levels in a prestige class with fewer than ten levels in its progression, that's okay. Work together with your DM to create an epic progression for the class.

I’m sitting here looking at my books, and I can’t help noticing that the Epic Spellcasting system seems very flawed and abusable. How broken is it, really?

At first glance, pretty darn broken. The number of possible abuses are infinite, especially with the newest seeds (mythal and shadow). However, the system includes a failsafe that makes it perfectly balanced--requiring DM approval for every spell. As long as the DM is an intelligent, reasonable person, there shouldn’t be any problems with abusing the epic spellcasting system.

That said, many members have taken it upon themselves to make the system more idiot-proof. Their work is scattered around the boards, so you'll have to do some searching.

Is there a minimum DC for epic spells? Can I research a spell with a DC of 0? Or even a negative DC?

No, the rules list no minimum. DC 0 spells are certainly possible for those willing to pay the price in mitigating factors, and require 4,500 gp, 1 day, and 180 XP to research. Negative DCs, while theoretically possible, are definitely a bad idea. But due to the absence of an explicit rule, the DM is the final judge.

Why doesn’t Mystra’s Ban prevent me from casting epic spells?

Originally Posted by Eric Boyd, in Lost Empires of Faerûn
All those who live by magic know that in ages long past, mages had access to spells of great power. In the aftermath of Netheril’s fall, however, Mystra banned certain high-level spells that she deemed too powerful for mortals to wield responsibly. Thus, current-day spellcasters no longer have access to true spells of 10th-level and higher. Instead, access to epic magic comes via two feats—Improved Spell Capacity and Epic Spellcasting—that function in very different ways.

The Improved Spell Capacity feat grants spell slots above 9th, theoretically without limit. Before Mystra’s ban, powerful mages could fill these spell slots either with true spells of 10th level or higher, or with 9th-level or lower spells fortified by various metamagic feats. After Mystra’s ban, only the latter option remained available.

The Epic Spellcasting feat allows the development and casting of epic spells (spells requiring the use of the epic spell system presented in the Epic Level Handbook, cast through superior mastery of the Spellcraft skill). Mystra’s ban has never applied to epic spells, even those that duplicate the effects of 10th-level and higher spells developed before the fall of Netheril.

Epic spells did exist during the days of Netheril, but the Netherese largely abandoned their development after the discovery of the nether scrolls. During the age of Netheril, epic spells were largely the province of the Fair Folk and were thus almost exclusively associated with high magic. The Netherese, for their part, preferred to develop and use 10th-level and higher spells.

The fact that spells such as Ioulaum’s longevity, Mythanthor’s create mythal, Proctiv’s move mountain, and Tolodine’s killing wind have existed as both high-level spells and epic spells invariably leads to some confusion among scholars of the Art. In the case of Ioulaum’s longevity, the famed archwizard Ioulaum created a 10th-level version before the fall of Netheril and an epic spell version after Karsus’ Folly. The latter was the version cast by his apprentice Tabra, who then destroyed all records she could find of it.

Can a character with the Improved Metamagic and the Heighten Spell (and/or Improved Heighten Spell) feats use them to gain free increases to the DCs of her spells?

No. Improved Metamagic specifically reduces the spell slot increase of metamagic feats. Heighten Spell and Improved Heighten Spell, however, do not possess spell slot modifiers. They are described as actually increasing a spell’s level, rather than the slot it occupies. As such, the two feats do not interact at all.

However, were a DM to decide that they do interact, it probably would not be overpowered.

What’s the Level Adjustment for the paragon template? How about the quasi-deity template (Divine Rank 0)?

These are pretty tough. For the paragon template, +16 and +18 are popular numbers. The problem is that the power of the template is much less significant at lower levels than at higher. You should think twice about giving it to characters with less than 15 or 20 Hit Dice.

DvR 0 is easier. The general consensus is +6, though adding extraneous elements like ability score bonuses can boost it significantly.

My character took a Vow of Poverty, but now she’s reached level 21 and there aren’t any new abilities listed for her. All of the other characters are buying epic gear and leaving her in the dust. Where can I find an epic progression for the Vow?

There is no official progression for the Vow of Poverty beyond level 20. Perhaps if the Epic Insights column had still existed when the Book of Exalted Deeds was printed one would have been released, but that’s not the case. There are very many unofficial progressions that have been devised on the boards here. The one that I believe to be the best was devised by WizO Negathael, and requires an Epic Vow of Poverty feat. It can be found here.

Why are my epic characters more powerful than the deities from Deities & Demigods?

Because WotC kind of dropped the ball on deity stats. Their policy at the time was to make each book they released a stand-alone work, and so they were bound by their own rules to build deities without using rules from the Epic Level Handbook. Obviously, in retrospect this was a very bad idea. Many people have tried their hands at rebuilding deities using epic rules. Most of this work happens at Dicefreaks.

Why are my epic characters more powerful than the archfiends from the Book of Vile Darkness, the archangels from the Book of Exalted Deeds, and the Elder Evils from Champions of Ruin?

If you’re playing epic, pause for a moment to laugh at WotC’s farcical cosmic entity stats and move on. They aren’t there to be taken seriously. Trust me. They aren’t even suitable for use as avatars.

For a slightly longer answer, the reason these entities are so weak is that they were designed to exist in a world in which no character can advance beyond 20th level (IE, the world of the core rulebooks). Thus, no mortal could challenge them, no magic weapon could damage them (except artifacts), etc. If any sort of epic rules are used, their stats become meaningless. The fact that you’re here suggests that epic rules are being used in your campaign--therefore, those stats shouldn’t be.

My party just killed a deity. Does this make us gods?!

No. Merely killing a deity does not allow one to ascend to godhood in any official campaign setting. The process is always more complex than that, and completely under the control of the DM. Talk to her for details.

I have Epic Leadership, and a ton of followers. If I make them worship me, do I become a god?

No. Merely possessing a number of worshippers does not allow one to ascend to godhood in any official campaign setting (though it may in your DM’s world--ask her).

No, not even the Forgotten Realms. According to the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, "by Ao’s decree, a deity’s power is in part derived from the number and fervor of his worshippers..." Note that it says "in part"--that means that deities do not die from losing worship, and they do not ascend by gaining it. There are other requisites for divine power, which your DM must determine (they probably include sponsorship by another deity).

When can we expect an Expanded Epic Level Handbook?

Not soon, I’m afraid. WotC has not announced any plans for such a work, so we won’t see one for several months (or years) at the least. We’re apparently a small and insignificant sector of WotC’s market, and they don’t feel that another volume would be profitable. However, a lot of board members and 3rd party publishers have taken up the challenge. See the Epic Compendium for more details.

To sign a petition asking WotC for a new epic manual, go here.

To vote for a revised ELH in a poll, go here.
Everything I need to know about the Planes I learned at Dicefreaks.

[After three years or more of stagnation, sig has been emptied pending review and revision. Thing was an eyesore anyway.]

Last edited by Jaerom Darkwind : 02-17-06 at 06:14 AM.