E20 (3.5e Variant Rule)
Rate this article |
Discuss this article
It's clear that there are a number of problems with the epic rules as they are; using the epic rules, one doesn't really advance compared to other characters as far as the "skeleton" is concerned (BAB, saves, and so on), and for many characters the only way to actually increase in power is through feats. Furthermore, many of the epic prestige classes are disappointing, rarely having any truly epic abilities, especially when compared to what spellcasters can do at those levels. Epic spells on the other hand are notoriously breakable, and can tear a campaign in half without too much trouble--especially if you throw in the ability to spend years in a demiplane that has fast time, or the assistance of other characters when casting epic spells.
Instead, we have here a variant that fixes all these problems--by doing away with epic levels entirely.
How it Works
Characters stop leveling at level 20; instead, every 20,000 experience points they gain a bonus feat. These feats can be ones from the books, but DMs are encouraged to work with players who want to create special feats that give them access to things not normally available in the books, such as class abilities from other classes and the like, this being one example. Most abilities should be available in one form or another to players at this level--remember, they're level 20, and have reached the pinnacle of their abilities. If an ability is exceptionally powerful, simply add prerequisites that need to be taken first to limit how quickly the abilities can be taken.
But it doesn't stop there; once the DM feels that the end of the campaign is in sight (or immediately if they like), players begin gaining epic destinies as presented below. Epic destinies are truly incredible abilities, and are made of four parts; the first is a special ability, the second a feature that makes the character harder to kill, the third is another special power, followed by another ability. Once a player has gone through all four abilities, the DM may choose to end the campaign, or continue on with virtual demigods who continue to gain feats every 20,000 experience. Remember that the following are only samples, and DMs are strongly suggested to work with players to make up destinies that fit them.
Sample Epic Destinies
- Spark of the Divine: Gain a +2 bonus to two ability scores.
- Heal the Sick: You may cast regenerate or heal once per minute.
- Divine Body: Once per day you may take a swift action to immediately restore yourself to full health, removing any ability damage, ability drain, or negative levels inflicted upon you.
- Divine Miracle: You may create a miracle once per day as a spell-like ability, though you must still pay any experience cost associated with the spell.
Epic Destiny: You transcend your mortal existence and join the pantheon of the gods. You may create your own portfolio and join the other gods on one of the planes, or create your own demiplane filled with petitioners. Your name is sung in your churches, and sacrifices are made in your name as the whole world knows of your ascension to godhood serving as a symbol for all those who come to love and worship you.
- Abominable Blows: You ignore all forms of damage reduction or energy resistance.
- Adamantine Body: You gain DR 10/--. This stacks with any other type of damage reduction from any source.
- Unstoppable: You are immune to all mind-affecting effects, and once per encounter may take an immediate action to gain a +10 bonus to all saves and AC for one round.
- Strip Immunities: You strip the target of all beneficial effects currently affecting it, as well as damage reduction, fast healing, immunities, miss chance (including from incorporeality), regeneration, resistance to energy, spell resistance, and turn resistance for three rounds once per encounter as a swift action.
Epic Destiny: You have fought long and hard, and in the end have triumphed over all your foes. But there will come a time when the next threat must be put down; until then you will enter a deep sleep. Tales will be told about your sword, how you destroyed the great threat that was ready to consume the cosmos and all of creation, but time will pass and you may be forgotten. Still, you are ever ready, and when your time comes once more you will destroy what needs to be killed to once more save the universe and remind people of your presence.
- Inconceivable Activation: You may activate magic items that are on your person even if you would be otherwise restrained from activating them, such as if you were paralyzed or in an area of silence.
- Protect Items: If you are targeted by an effect that would render your items unusable or unmagical (such as Mage's Disjunction), you may have that effect instead reflect onto the target's origin leaving you and your items unharmed as an immediate action.
- Imbue Soul: When dropped to 0 HP or less, you may transfer your consciousness into an item, which gains a 30' fly speed. You may rebuild your body with 8 hours of rest, and may cast spells, activate, and attack with the item if you wish, and are considered a construct. If the item is destroyed while you are within it, you immediately die.
- Call Item: As an immediate action once per encounter you may immediately call one item to your side and activate it; this item can cost up to 200,000 gold, and immediately disappears after two rounds. The item called cannot be one that is expended and destroyed with a single use.
Epic Destiny: At the end of your journey, you imbue your soul into countless artifacts, able to stand the test of time for eons to come. Perhaps the next generation of heroes will pick them up and summon you when you are once more needed, or perhaps your essence will travel the planes in an undestroyable form. Whatever the case, your dominion over the many artifacts that litter the world will be sung in stories throughout the ages.
Void in the Darkness
- No Aura: You do not register to any spells that detect auras and the like, including detect magic, detect good, detect evil, or detect thoughts. Furthermore, you are constantly under a nondetection effect with an effective caster level equal of 30.
- Dodge Death: Once per encounter you may take an immediate action to automatically ignore any effect or attack that would bring you to 0 or less HP.
- Slipslide: You may move through solid objects while moving; doing so requires 10' of movement in a straight line, and movement inside objects counts as difficult terrain. You must end your movement outside a solid object.
- Void Being: All enemies are automatically considered flat-footed towards you at the beginning of your turn until you attack them (or otherwise taken an action against them that would break invisibility). This is a mind-affecting effect.
Epic Destiny: Becoming one with the shadows, you are ageless and unkillable. Stories are told of your exploits, robbing the deepest bankvaults and leaving them without a trace. You know things that can only be found in the darkest of places, and have explored the farthest frontiers. And yet there are so many other places to go, so many things to learn, so many things to experience. At times you might hear a tale about yourself or even spread a few rumors, and with time your tale continues to grow until people can no longer remember if you were a real person or just a legend.