Saturday, October 3, 2015

Epic Level for Pathfinder

I've always found the epic-level (over 20th level) rules for 3.5 to be a bit convoluted and excessively complicated.  With the higher power levels of Pathfinder characters, we can take a simpler approach.  By allowing levels beyond 20th, all characters can reach the capstone abilities of their [primary] base/core classes--so they are no longer penalized for multiclassing.  I realize that my Pathfinder campaign barely started, and I'm thinking a bit far ahead--but this has been something at the back of my ind for a while.


Character Level Cap:  Character levels cap out at 35th.  No level can be earned beyond 35th.  In general, this will allow most characters to follow 1 base/core class and 1 prestige class to completion, with a few extra levels for "dipping" (when necessary to meet feat and prestige class requirements).
If my Nefret Campaign ventures to these levels, then I will allow characters to progress through level 30 using the rules presented here.

Class Level Cap:  All classes cap at the highest level in their original source material.  Core and base classes cap at 20th level, while prestige classes cap at 5th or 10th level.  In order to progress to epic level, a character must multi-class (using the normal rules).

Bonus Feats:  At epic levels, characters continue to earn bonus feats every other level:  21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, 29th, 31st, 33rd, and 35th levels.

Ability Score Bonuses:  At epic levels, characters continue to gain ability score bonuses every fourth level:  24th, 28th, and 32nd levels.

Base Attack Bonus:  With epic levels, base attack bonus over +20 are possible.  Calculate base attack bonus as normal.

Additional Attacks:  As a character's base attack bonus increases, one will continue to gain additional attacks.  A 5th attack per round is gained at a +21 BAB, and a 6th attack per round is gained at a +26 BAB.
I realize that every other version of "epic" level for 3.x still caps attacks at 4 per round--but why?  If you want balance, just make sure monsters follow the same rule.  With secondary attacks, there are some monsters that already have more than 6 attacks per round.
Spellcaster Levels:  Several prestige classes increase pre-existing spell-caster levels. Under these rules, this means caster levels as high as 35.  At caster levels above 20th, a character gains higher spell slots as noted below.  These spell slots can be used to prepare or cast spells adjusted by metamagic feats or any known spell of lower levels.

  • Dedicated Casters (Cleric, Druid, Wizard, etc.)
    • Every odd-numbered level, a dedicated caster gains access to a new level of spell one above his previous maximum level, gaining one spell slot in that new level. 
    • Every even-numbered level, a dedicated caster gains additional spell slots equal to the highest level spell he can currently cast. He can split these new slots any way he wants among the slots he currently has access to.
  • Expert Casters (Alchemist, Bard, Inquisitor, etc.)
    • At caster levels 21, 24, 27, 30, and 33, an expert caster gains access to a new level of spell one above his previous maximum level, gaining one spell slot in that new level. 
    • At caster levels 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34, an expert caster gains additional spell slots equal to one half the highest level spell he can currently cast (rounded down). He can split these new slots any way he wants among the slots he currently has access to.
    • At caster levels 23, 26, 29, 32, and 35, an expert caster gains additional spell slots equal to one half the highest level spell he can currently cast (rounded up). He can split these new slots any way he wants among the slots he currently has access to.
  • Dabblers (Paladin, Ranger, etc.)
    • At caster levels 21, 25, 29, and 33, a dabbler gains access to a new level of spell one above his previous maximum level, gaining one spell slot in that new level. 
    • At caster levels 22, 23, 26, 27, 30, 31, 34 and 35, a dabbler gains additional spell slots equal to one third the highest level spell he can currently cast (rounded down). He can split these new slots any way he wants among the slots he currently has access to.
    • At caster levels 24, 28, and 32, a dabbler gains additional spell slots equal to one third the highest level spell he can currently cast (rounded up). He can split these new slots any way he wants among the slots he currently has access to.

Experience Points:  Are we still using these?  I suppose some of us are.  The simplest rule here is to require characters to earn twice as much as they needed to earn the previous level--which depends on the progresion chart your campaign is using (slow, medium, or fast).

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