NowhereMan
 member, 156 posts
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 02:57
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
In reply to GreyGriffin (msg # 44):

In the case of the Sunless Citadel, it was to reward bringing along a cleric or paladin who had the capability to Turn Undead, which was useful since the Big Bad of the module was a vampiric tree.

Modules overall have the issue of making assumptions about your group. It's the nature of the beast, since modules have no way of knowing what your particular group composition is like. You either have to go in knowing those assumptions have been made, or you have to tinker with the module from the get-go to make it work for your group. This is regardless of game system or setting.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1158 posts
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 06:00
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
A mistake being made with some of these exanpkes is confusing module design with system design. A module designer might have different expectations from the system designer which colors their designs. For example, their rogue player might be a big time munchkin/powergamer breaking the system without breaking the rules to get insane numbers (something the gm shoukd keep in check) like +50 open lock, for which the module designer might not appropriately adjust for in their module designs.

Furthermore, what does failure mean? It could be that the door doesn't open, but there is no reason to think that it can't be that door opens at a cost, but let us say the door remains shut, well in that case, the key must be obtained, either by having an encounter with those that keep the door locked, or solving a puzzle, or finding it hidden somewhere, etc. Basically, failing to open the door just adds an extra encounter to deal with (which is another reason I agree with gold/quest-completion=xp).

If a module doesn't provide multiple ways to get past every potential chokepoint, then it is a flaw in the module design and the gm needs to fill in as required.

It is my opinion that the gm is basically playing destiny for the players, and therefore, just like characters in a book, there will always be a way forward, but it won't always be the way that is expected.
GreyGriffin
 member, 116 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 08:08
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
There is a reason to think that the door doesn't open at cost - that's what failing a check means in d20.  Having a failed roll succeed at a task is a GM fiat, an audible call, not a function of the rules.

We've gotten pretty well off-topic here, digging into the guts of "What is a system?  What does it mean?"

Dragging it back on-point, systems with flattened math (like Epic 6) make designing adventured with lateral solutions much easier.

Obstacles faced by players have more predictable, and most of all, more readable difficulty.  An Epic 6 character with certain competencies falls within a pretty predictable range of numbers.  If your party has a rogue, you can count on a DC 35 lock being almost impossible, but a DC 20-25 lock being quite achievable.  You can continue to use those numerical benchmarks because the character's ranks don't continually crawl up.  That means that certain types of locks (adamantine dwarf vault locks?) continue to have a consistent, contextual, narrative meaning that reflects in the mechanics faced by the player.  He knows he has to roll high or spend some kind of resources to get through those locks.

In the face of a level 15 Rogue, those adamantine dwarf vault locks are still adamantine dwarf vault locks, but he can bypass them on a roll of about 5.  The DM is forced to recontextualize the lock in order to retain the challenge (or at least the chance of failure).  To mitigate the constantly growing power of the PCs, the DM must arbitrarily put the difficulty on an arbitrary sliding scale, which effectively removes advancement; diminish the evocative nature of the earlier challenge in order to retain the evocative nature of the later challenge (only rusty iron goblin vault locks until level 5), which diminishes the stakes of low- to mid-level adventures; or escalate the context, which can rapidly get ridiculous (masterwork godforged superadamantine double-walled vault locks with Symbol of Pain cast on each of the tumblers!)

In a system where you "peak out," like Epic 6 (or Mutants and Masterminds), the DM can clearly present challenges, and the players can read the context of those challenges in relation to other challenges they faced, and gauge the difficulty of the challenge against a character whose capabilities they are more familiar with, since the character's context doesn't rocket upwards in tier.  Advancement isn't stymied, though it is finite (A dedicated lock-picking rogue has plenty of gear to chase and at least a handful of feats to invest in), but since your context isn't constantly shifting that more incremental advancement can actually be more profoundly felt when he is not facing constantly escalating threats and difficulties.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1159 posts
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 08:41
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
Why does the level 15 rogue need challanging locks to pick? She's been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and the loot).

 At the point of being a demigod, there shouldn't be any locks that give her trouble, and the lack of them helps keep her skill in perspective. She is a demigod, not some level 5 but with higher numbers. How can you feel like a demigod if nothing ever becomes easy?

At the point of being a demigod, she should be looking at becoming skilled in other things now that she has mastered locks.

To me this sounds like expectations are remaining static while the numbers grow. Sounds like you want the experience and difficulty to remain the same and to keep facing the same types of things despite refluffing them as different.

But really, trying to achieve that while leveling up to 20 is basically ignoring what those higher levels mean. Do you think Sauron faces challanging locks? Does he worry about the same things a bunch of level 1s worry about? Of course not!

Being high level doesn't mean facing more difficult versions of the same things, it means facing entirely new types of challanges. As such powerful beings everyone and their grandma looks to the PCs. Some with worship, some with fear, some see them as people to manipulate to achieve their own ends, others want to make them queens and kings, etc.

The challanges faced by high level characters should not be locks or tracking, it should be the need to be in many places at once, being targets of entire kingdoms, assasination attempts, etc. When you are a demigod, you are like Hercules, everyone recognizes your power and wants to either be touched by it or to influence how you use it.

You pass through town, people don't go "Hey look, adventurers!" rather they act much like Bilbo when Gandalf first came by offering adventure, people are amazed, honored, and/or terrified.

If you keep trying to make locks a challange to high level players, then the game has not advanced and thus has been eclipsed by the advancement of the characters.
GreyGriffin
 member, 117 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 16:30
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
Why does the level 15 fighter need monsters to hit with his sword?  Why does the level 15 cleric need undead to turn?  Opening a lock is just an illustrative example, but it does represent the character's core competencies.

To go back to the previous point - creating a world in which those transformative challenges exist that both feels consistent and rewards the players' actions in the ongoing narrative is a nightmare.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1160 posts
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 19:16
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
Combat may still be a regular challange at higher leveks, but even then, why must battles always be with creatures that can individually challange the pcs in direct head on challanges?

Sure having one or two such beasties is fine, but by the time one is level 15, they should be facing mostly large groups of lower level creatures using harrassment tactics and asymetrical warfare strategies.

A level 15 should rarely be facing other level 15s or the creations of such.

And delving dungeons for loot is pointless at that level.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15391 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Fri 21 Jul 2017
at 19:44
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
Okay, at this point some people need to back away from this discussion, because we're just seeing the same few names basically repeating the same arguments - "It sucks."  "No, it doesn't.", just phrased differently.

If you've given your opinion, you don't need to keep repeating it until the other guy agrees with you (because, you know, he is never going to).

Accept that some people like games that you think are dumb, and go play the ones that you like.

Thank you.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1161 posts
Sat 22 Jul 2017
at 04:45
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
Hmm, not quite my impression but I don't catch such things very well, so onwards to main topic,

If you are interested in e6, I recommend first playing normally but capping individual classes to 6 levels and make the numbers such as bab and base saves non-stacking. Simple, fast, and if you like it, then you can go through the trouble of sorting out the e6 rules for advancing past level 6.
Coridan
 member, 214 posts
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 04:26
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
I may run an E6 game, as a test, to see how it works.
orynnfireheart
 member, 95 posts
 Evil will always triumph
 Because good is dumb
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 12:03
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
I normally try to keep my thoughts to myself in discussions such as these, but feel compelled to offer my opinion. Notice I say opinion since all opinions are the sole purview of their bearer. Sometimes opinions align, though rarely perfectly and I would like to state that my opinion is no better than anyone else's since this is such an esoteric topic.

First, I will say that I think E6 games are for GM/DMs that either can't or won't adapt to increasing power levels. All games get more complex and some get more mathematically challenging as play progresses from the lower tiers to the upper ones. It takes real investment from both players and GM/DMs to make a higher level game interesting. While some people simply don't have the skill necessary to pull off higher level games, some simply do not have the time.

This is not a condemnation of either. It is simply a fact of life. This holds true for both E6 and regular games. I've played in both where once you reached the upper tiers of play, the game got extremely boring. I consider both a failure on the GM/DMs part to keep the game engaging. I've also played in both where the upper tiers of play where simply amazing. The GM/DMs were invested in making the game great and the actual level didn't matter.

Personally, I prefer non-E6 games. I'll admit I'm a bit of a "crunchy" player and see the mathematics behind all game systems as a challenge to be taken to their ultimate limit. Some would call me a power gamer, but I like to think of myself as a "character perfectionist"...:-D
GreyGriffin
 member, 120 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 19:10
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
I don't think it's necessarily the indication of insufficient time or expertise, but a reflection of narrative choice.  I'd be willing to wager that most D&D settings, both published and homebrew, aren't designed with the ascension from plucky farmboy to epic end-of-season-9 shonen anime hero.

Some settings are built for that.  Some narratives can handle it.  Some games thrive on the constant escalation.  But many aren't, and many can't, and systems like E6 allow those settings and narratives to exist without the "threat" of being derailed by the realities of existing alongside creatures that are living titans.
truemane
 member, 2080 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 19:15
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
orynnfireheart:
While some people simply don't have the skill necessary to pull off higher level games, some simply do not have the time.


Also, some don't have the interest. It's important to note that some people run E6 games because they like them, not because they're incapable of doing otherwise.

I consider E6 another asset in my DM toolbox. I've run all manner of games, in all manner of modes, moods, atmospheres, themes and styles. Sometimes I have an idea best served by high-level, high-point-buy Gestalt. And sometimes I have an idea for a story that is well-served by existing in an E6 world and played with E6 characters.

Your command of Gamecraft is like your wardrobe, yeah? The wider and more varied your options, the more different kinds of stories you're ready to tell.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1162 posts
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 19:44
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
There is the aspect of keeping a game in the gritty tier of play, but aside from my own suggestions, no one seems to be discussing how e6 compares to alternative ways of staying gritty, not even commenting on my suggestions of alternatives.
truemane
 member, 2083 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 19:53
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
In reply to DarkLightHitomi (msg # 57):

Possibly because that's not really on-topic. And also possibly because your suggestions have a lot of 'should this' and 'should never that.' And 'should' is not a very useful word when discussing something with as varied experiences as role-playing.

And your alternate E6 suggestion solves some problems, causes others, and overall just establishes another social contract with another set of assumptions and pitfalls.

In other words: https://xkcd.com/927/
orynnfireheart
 member, 96 posts
 Evil will always triumph
 Because good is dumb
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 20:06
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
In truth this is probably the wrong argument for me. I'm a bit too by the book. I'm of the opinion that if you can't use a system to do what you want, you either use another system that does or design one yourself. A bit harsh perhaps, but it is what it is. I will now bow out of this discussion.

*Pulls out the popcorn to watch the continued debate*
truemane
 member, 2085 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 20:12
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
In reply to orynnfireheart (msg # 59):

Which is funny you say that, because that's exactly what Ryan Stoughton did. He had a system (D&D 3.5) and it didn't do what he wanted it to do. So he designed a system himself. He used Open Source d20 as a starting point, and modified it.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1163 posts
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 20:31
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
How is compare and contrast to alternatives off topic? The main topic is what people think of e6, well in discussing e6 that would include the reasons behind looking at something like e6 and also why pick or not pick e6 in particular of all the options that address what e6 addresses.

quote:
And your alternate E6 suggestion solves some problems, causes others, and overall just establishes another social contract with another set of assumptions and pitfalls.

Sounds worthy of discussion, and sounds right on topic too.

###
Any of my "should" comments related to the tangent topic of which I believe most problems with full leveling effects on worldbuilding and other issues come from misconceptions where people are trying to take the entirety of the system and shoehorn it into a limited concept based on familiarity (with the concept) rather than taking the system and trying to understand the concepts that naturally derive from the system regardless of how unfamiliar, hence the "should"s. Metaphorically, people are trying to push a square peg into a circle hole because they already have a circle hole when they should notice that things will work out better if they cut out a square hole for the square peg.
V_V
 member, 597 posts
 You can call me V, just V
 Life; a journey made once
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 20:32
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
I disliked e6. It was like a rusty staple to the heart of an otherwise healthy game. It imposes static "feel" and does it dreadfully wrong. My group played three games in total. One started at 0 XP, the other at 15,000 XP. Both died around 25,000 XP from sheer repetitiveness. We switched to Exalted as heroic mortals and had much more fun in a world far richer to the experience.

When I GMed the third e6, it got to 45,000 XP, and I could tell the players wanted more options. The story and characters were interesting, but the character sheets were largely a hindrance, so I asked "Do you guys just want to level up? As in ACTUALLY level up?" and the response was overwhelmingly "YES! Gods, yes...".

In conclusion, if you like D&D 3.5 stick with it or some house rules. If you want a heroic mortal experience, skip e6. There are better ways to point buy than in d20, especially D&D. If it helps any, I despised M&M when I played it, and I felt e6 was a shadow in that system. I'd suggest systems, but I think that become less germane to e6.

V's e6 rating: 1 out of 5 stars
truemane
 member, 2089 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Mon 24 Jul 2017
at 23:28
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
In reply to V_V (msg # 62):

... would not become Epic at 6th level again.
Egleris
 member, 166 posts
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 11:05
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
V_V:
It imposes static "feel" and does it dreadfully wrong. My group played three games in total. One started at 0 XP, the other at 15,000 XP. Both died around 25,000 XP from sheer repetitiveness. We switched to Exalted as heroic mortals and had much more fun in a world far richer to the experience.

When I GMed the third e6, it got to 45,000 XP, and I could tell the players wanted more options. The story and characters were interesting, but the character sheets were largely a hindrance, so I asked "Do you guys just want to level up? As in ACTUALLY level up?" and the response was overwhelmingly "YES! Gods, yes..."

I'd be curious to hear more about this. How was the game repetitive, exactly? And what kind of extra options became open with normal leveling that the players didn't have access with E6?

I'm genuinely curious here - the only things that E6 completely removes from the game are higher numbers, certain spells, and full-attacks, so I'm confused as to how E6 could be repetitive in a way standard 3.P isn't - because it's not a point I'd ever heard made against the concept before.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1169 posts
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 20:07
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
For starters, any class ability above lvl 6, not all of which are merely higher powered versions of low lvl stuff, any prestige class, skills stop progressing, just name a few things.

Also, less mechanical but still important is the "feeling" of progressing. At lvl 6, you consider yourself a lvl 6 character of [class x], but with e6, you might get more feats, but you still look your sheet and lvl 6. It doesn't change and thus it feels less like progressing despite the increase in feats.
Egleris
 member, 167 posts
Sun 30 Jul 2017
at 00:19
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?

I think I already commented that one can easily make higher-level class (including prestige class) abilities that aren't overpowered or merely add numbers into extra feats, didn't I? So if that's the problem, then it's easily solved. Same for getting more skill points, even if they'd need to be assigned to skills which aren't already at 6. I can see how not doing these addition might make the game feel more static - that a great many feats in 3.P are worthless isn't news.

Not sure how the numbers staying the same on the sheet makes things repetitive though? The numbers are meant to indicate what your character can do and not do, and how well; if the challenges keep changing (and I can't see a reason why the game being E6 would prevent the challenges from changing, they just won't scale up), the fact that the numbers don't doesn't seem that big a problem to me.

So... am I missing something? If it's just a matter of taste, that's fine, but the idea that capping the levels would somehow make the game feel repetitive was new to me, so I'm trying to make sure I'm not missing something important on how things work in an E6 game.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1170 posts
Sun 30 Jul 2017
at 02:47
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?
It isn't about scaling up numbers. Think of it like this, if you play an mmo and you get new armor, you look different, and that difference marks that you have progressed even if the stats didn't improve.

Without visuals, like d20, other things serve the same purpose and level is one of those big things, as well as class or whatever other factors for a system that you use primarily identify what a character can do.

In e6, what do have at lvl 6 of magical study? A lvl 6 wizard. What do you call that character 30 thousand xp later? A lvl 6 wizard, plus stuff. Does that really sound like a 30,000 xp advance to you?
Egleris
 member, 168 posts
Sun 30 Jul 2017
at 11:05
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?

I don't really care much for XP (goal-based progress is more incentivizing for the players in my eyes), nor have I any understanding of MMO (never played one); still, from what I gather it's a matter of psychology. I suppose I can understand that, if nothing else. Thanks for the explanation, at any rate.
V_V
 member, 598 posts
Mon 31 Jul 2017
at 12:09
Re: what do people think of Epic-6?

This message was deleted by the user at 12:26, Mon 31 July.