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Numos Profile
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Registered: 12-2006
Posts: 968
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Epic Levels: Do we need them?


I want to start by saying its fairly well documented that you should expect your PC to spend a huge chunk of his life at 10-15; With 16-20 becoming hard to push through. If people did not know this I can certainly say it louder: plan your PCs around that range, don't bother with weird monk/shifter builds based around snagging dragonshape at 30.

That being said we do have a handful of epics in the low 20s. Very old PCs that for the most part, baring some exceptions. Are well role-played and interesting - they've earned the status.

But I'm left wondering how this improves the experience of the server. Ideally, if all epic PCs were very active and used their power to really drive events, shape the world, and rally people to their side it would be great. Unfortunately its been my experience that old, powerful PCs who won't go away and can't be toppled end up as more of a force of stagnation than dynamism. Its very hard to cook up a flash-in-the-pan villain and be a rising star when some 25th level fighter can one-shot you. ("Subtle" villains are boring - I prefer an orc warlord who gets people SCARED over go-nowhere plotting any day; but that's another discussion.) My point being that by the time your concept accumulates enough power to menace the plans of other PCs you'll probably get bored.

So how do people feel about dropping the cap to 20? Is the prospect of someday being 25 what keeps you going? Or do you prefer the assurance that fresh PCs can change and topple existing power structures?



Last edited by Numos, 3/29/2013, 1:56 pm


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Characters:
Numos: Shapeshifting wizard
Taevis Bentham: Woodsman
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Totems Profile
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Registered: 07-2010
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


I am a huge advocate of the 21 cap (20 is my preferred upper level range for PCs) because 21 still gives people a chance to pick their one, important epic feat. It lets people choose something that fits what their character really is.

I still think an epic rewards system would be neat, something that lets DMs reward the long, well played characters.

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Characters:
Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
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Numos Profile
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Registered: 12-2006
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


I love the idea of well-played PCs getting loot tailored to them. Though I don't know if I'd want go tie it in directly to being epic or create the expectation that you'll get unique treasure purely as a function of time spent existing.

It takes time to give items cool descriptions!

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Characters:
Numos: Shapeshifting wizard
Taevis Bentham: Woodsman
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Tuckerr99 Profile
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Registered: 04-2012
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


As a ranger player, I vote yes.

And by yes I mean implement a level 21 cap.

Last edited by Tuckerr99, 3/29/2013, 2:04 pm


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Daedamai-- Blue-winged sarcastic bird
Wilgold-- The magnificent Red Bard
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rakkarakka Profile
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Registered: 09-2012
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


With epic levels, I find a 21 cap is something that has been most rewarding. You still get that accomplished feel of hitting the epics, and that last decision that can set your character apart mechanically. Do you boost combat skills, or become the stealthiest/anti-stealthiest? Do you take that epic skill focus and blow everyone's checks out of the water?
DO YOU SUMMON A DRAGON AND BE THE MOST BALLER SUMMONER ON THE ISLAND!?!?!?!

You know. That kind of stuff.

I also share the sentiment that high level epics do really sort of distort the game experience for the rest of the playerbase. After all, Fraydoc, Numos, Haze are basically untouchable, and while it's awesome to have someone who can tank the mobs at Castle Ashland, or that freaking T-Rex emoticon their otherwise invincibility can make it too easy, certainly, and it makes it difficult to roleplay or plot around them.

Which is not to say that roleplay of the past does not deserve reward! But perhaps epic levels are not always the best thing to reflect the great deeds of legend.

Also, Totems, stop posting the same thing I articulated to you from your phone while I'm typing it up! Jerkface.
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Totems Profile
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


At a 21 cap, could soft cap everyone at 20 and then have people apply for that last level- then have that last level come with a truly epic reward. I loved the old system of epic where people posted character bios and we all got to see what they did.

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Characters:
Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
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ExplodingRunes Profile
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Registered: 12-2005
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


The only possible disconnect I feel between the implementation of a cap at 21st level and the setting we're playing in, is that idea of a place unbound from the limitations of the gods. If one can never reach the power beyond mortal limits, then one could never personally challenge the gods, a theme I keep hearing bouncing about. On the other hand, who is to say that the gods' limitations are at that level of 20? It could very well be that for our purposes, someone around 16th level has reached the upper limits of what the gods expect mortals to be able to accomplish, and the bar for when someone is truly considered "epic" in the eyes of the islanders is around level 18+.

I personally would not be bothered if the cap stays at level 25, or if it is moved down to level 21. Reven is the only character of mine for whom I have a build planned at this point, and I could relevel a bit to fit the new scheme if it is implemented.

On my old server, I had soft caps implemented at level 11 and level 21, corresponding to the character becoming legendary and epic, where the player would have to submit an application to proceed into the next tier. There was, predictably, complaining about having to apply for something that some people felt they had earned by the game's mechanics. It did however hold up a criteria: to be a legend, your deeds (not necessarily who did them, for the sneaky types) have to have impacted your fellow players in some recognizable way; to be a legend, you had to do have done something world-changing. The benefit was that it forced people to consider the impact of their characters upon the stories of others. The detriments included the squabbling invited by openly posted applications, and the accusations of bias that some players pointed at the dm team. This was worsened further by a similar application process for prestige classes.

Anyways, I think I am more concerned with recognition for the characters who have achieved something, than with where the hard limit is set. This is accomplished in some cases by gear named for the characters already. To expand the idea: ships can be named after foreign characters, or statuary and portraits can found of famous people around the areas they have the most fame in. Village children can be named after them. To use another example from my old server, all characters over a certain level eventually had an action figure in their likeness (brownie model) assaulting new characters in the mad dollmaker's toy factory, and a summonable support version was available through the merchant there.

I recognize that I have rambled a fair bit here, but I hope that my ideas give some food for thought.

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Ruby Pyralis Profile
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Registered: 03-2007
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


quote:

ExplodingRunes wrote:

To expand the idea: ships can be named after foreign characters, or statuary and portraits can found of famous people around the areas they have the most fame in. Village children can be named after them. To use another example from my old server, all characters over a certain level eventually had an action figure in their likeness (brownie model) assaulting new characters in the mad dollmaker's toy factory, and a summonable support version was available through the merchant there.



I like this!

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Player of:
Brìghde: The coolest druid you'll meet today.
Nomeli: Rainbow princess!
Evendlyn: I'll see you cut asunder!
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Sabella Profile
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Registered: 03-2013
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


If an epic character has become stagnant from not playing or boredom, they don't have much effect on the world anyway. Lowering the cap won't produce a major effect.

Though I can understand the concern that they come out of retirement to put up and comers down, this assumes there's a steady flow of up and coming villains. I don't know that there are, but it's a great goal to have.

But I don't think lowering the cap is going to make this happen.

A couple years ago after designing and scripting for Amia and WSI I thought about making my own server and the first thing I did was consider the endgame. The endgame is the hardest to design for by far.

I worked under the following assumptions:

* Most players have plowed through levels for so many characters during their NWN playtime that the process isn't very appealing to them anymore.

* Most characters will reach a cap or defacto cap relatively soon anyway so the "growth" experience won't be particularly long.

* Epic or pre epic doesn't matter. In the end, it's all numbers on a sheet and difficulty has to be balanced against those numbers whatever they are.

My solutions were to pick a power level, let people build to that level immediately, and balance around it. That way, all dungeons are always viable options to players.

You don't have to go to my extreme but what's important is what comes after.

Whether you eliminate epic levels or not, the effective endgame of character advancement will still come relatively swiftly.

So what I came with for an endgame was this:

Focus on roleplay aid tools (player created visuals and placeables, allow players to create and speak through NPCs relevant to the character like a sibling, minion, etc), random encounters both hostile and non hostile, treasure hunting, rare monster hunting, player housing, and rapid map editing to reflect roleplay decisions by players.

Things like this, I think, would have a much bigger impact than epic removal.

Last edited by Sabella, 3/29/2013, 5:27 pm
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rakkarakka Profile
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Registered: 09-2012
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Re: Epic Levels: Do we need them?


Also.

quote:

Numos wrote:

"Subtle" villains are boring - I prefer an orc warlord who gets people SCARED over go-nowhere plotting any day



CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
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