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Toofey
2011-03-19, 10:47 AM
How does everyone feel about it, I've heard it's less broken than in previous systems but there still seem to be some people who think it's not D&D once the monsters get stronger than ogres.

I personally love high level play, it is hard to make sure the encounters are challenging but it's very rewarding once you get a feel for that. Also I love the Monty Haul but I also have my party get robbed and disjunctioned every so often to keep their overall level of items in check.

any thoughts on high level play, love it, hate it? How do you keep it fresh?

The Dark Fiddler
2011-03-19, 10:53 AM
There's just something rewarding about rolling a whole handful of dice, which is much easier to do at higher levels.

Personally, I prefer DMing for lower power games because it's easier to challenge the players. Playing, though, I enjoy nearly everywhere from "just barely above average" to "gods incarnate".

TheCountAlucard
2011-03-19, 11:00 AM
How does everyone feel about it...Depends on the system...

I've heard it's less broken than in previous systems...Which ones?

...but there still seem to be some people who think it's not D&D once the monsters get stronger than ogres.It might not be. You could be playing Exalted, for instance. :smalltongue:

I personally love high level play, it is hard to make sure the encounters are challenging but it's very rewarding once you get a feel for that.Again, I find that it depends on the system. Some do a fantastic job of holding together despite the fantastic power of the PCs, and others... :smalleek:

Toofey
2011-03-19, 11:04 AM
I still play 2nd ed.

I think the important part is no matter what the level: stay focused on the story you are trying to tell.

and if you don't have a story you are trying to tell, at least have lots and lots of random encounters ready to go.

Firechanter
2011-03-19, 11:21 AM
High level play in D&D 3.X has several implications and, well, problems. In no particular order:

- the world-shaking effects of high level magic. These boards are full of discussions how this or that spell can break the game.
- magic aside, there are a lot of insane combos, some of them created by combining material from different splatbooks. Well, there are literally thousands of PrCs, spells and feats so it's impossible to keep all the implications in mind.

- on a more general level, also without much optimization, combat rounds can take pretty long: you have to figure in ever-changing situational modifiers (such as short-term buffs etc.), and when it comes to Full Attacks it can get _very_ tedious. Some builds get on the order of 11 attacks per round, not counting AoOs - go figure how long it's going to take to roll all these. It's kinda funny how high-level combat tends to take fewer _rounds_ but more time at the gaming table.
(Personally, I try to make characters that concentrate their power in as few attacks as possible to speed up gameplay)

- glory and failure hinge extremely on preparation, sometimes on a single spell. I find it very difficult, as a DM, to strike the right threat level. Very often the party just rolls over encounters without breaking a sweat, but every once in a while the "save or suck" rears its ugly head. This all-or-nothing effect is one of my major gripes with 3.X.
For example, imagine a pair of Bodaks where you didn't expect any (so you don't have your Death Ward prepped) - gaze gaze gaze and eventually someone rolls a 1. And Bodaks aren't even high-level encounters.

NichG
2011-03-19, 12:09 PM
I've had high level play experiences that were enjoyable. I think the keys are (from the DM perspective):

- Throw out the monster rules and use something more geared to the power level of the game. Give solitary monsters 12000hp so that fights last more than 2 rounds. Don't let save or dies kill off major solo fights, and don't use them against the PCs. Basically, adjust things to keep the game from being rocket tag.

- Make sure the scope of the game is commensurate with the power level. Don't send level 24 adventurers into a monster lair to clear it out - they have the power to nuke it from orbit or fill it with cement. Send level 24 adventurers to discover why space itself is cracking, or why souls are failing to reincarnate properly, or why the sun has gone out.

- Play up the more abstract aspects of the game the higher the power level gets. Encourage characters to question what they want, why they're doing what they're doing, etc. As power goes up, the game should become less about pitting numbers against numbers and more about if, when, and how to use that power, and what it means for those who wield it. At these levels death no longer has meaning, so you have to find other things to fear and strive against and so on.

Sacrieur
2011-03-19, 02:48 PM
Be prepared for wizards and sorcerers to dominate and watch your fighter and physical companions be left in the dust.

Epic level is broken.

Tavar
2011-03-19, 02:50 PM
On the other hand, 4th Ed is supposed to handle epic level play pretty well, at least from what I've heard.

Mark Hall
2011-03-19, 02:59 PM
I'll be honest... I tend to find high-level play annoying. As a GM, there's too much to keep track of... both what the players can do and what the monsters can do. As a player, I run into the "I can either do nothing as a meat shield, or everything as a wizard" problem, which makes it really frustrating.

And the time consumed! I remember in a 2e game... three PCs against a Lich. It took us six hours to play out a single fight. Tactics. Counters. Counter-counters. And the fighter I was playing just got to sit there, doing nothing, because I couldn't even make my way across the battlefield.

Tavar
2011-03-19, 03:03 PM
Plus, many interesting tactics of lower/mid level play finally become workable for PC's, but at the same time are rendered worthless because everyone's rocking, say, Freedom of Movement or the like.

Dralnu
2011-03-19, 03:05 PM
As a DM for 3.5, I dislike high level play.

First off, my players can't handle it. More levels just means more errors on their character sheets and misreading certain spells or abilities. Combat is tediously long as it takes forever for anyone to do anything, which gets even worse due to how often they have to stop during their turn and look things up.

Then there's my own problems as the DM. It becomes a lot harder to challenge the PCs. The group has a staggeringly larger pool of tricks at their disposal and I need to know them all or else a single spell will end my encounter. This means I have to prepare more, which means even more work for me.

As a player, I dislike high level play for the same reasons. Oh sure, it's fun building the character. That's the best part actually. But then I enter the actual campaign and the combat takes ages and each encounter is either a steamroll or TPK because it's much harder for the DM to come up with "balanced" challenges.

In short, 3.5 high level play sucks. I prefer E6.

TheCountAlucard
2011-03-19, 03:07 PM
I remember in a 2e game... three PCs against a Lich. It took us six hours to play out a single fight.Reminds me of an Exalted session we had, wherein our Solars took on a Slayer Caste Infernal. Likewise, dicing it all out took about four hours. :smallsigh: And that was before we got to the fifty XP point. :smalltongue:

Eldariel
2011-03-19, 03:14 PM
...disjunctioned every so often to keep their overall level of items in check.

This takes care of itself in a consistent world. Disjunction is the spell for high level combat simply because without it, it's very hard to affect the opponents, and the most important players are the high level casters and monsters with high level magic thus ensuring the availability of Disjunction. If not banned (I like the spell, but I also hate magic items outside from the fantasy essentials [especially the Christmas tree], so there you go), it'll limit the wealth greatly.

I like high level play except for the bookkeeping. Ironically, it lends itself to forum play better than to IRL gaming, though I've played my share of high level campaigns IRL too. As long as players understand the basics of the system, it can be very enjoyable. New players should not start there tho, especially with the assumption that warriors = casters.

SurlySeraph
2011-03-19, 03:57 PM
Reminds me of an Exalted session we had, wherein our Solars took on a Slayer Caste Infernal. Likewise, dicing it all out took about four hours. :smallsigh: And that was before we got to the fifty XP point. :smalltongue:

I'd say that stems from a slightly different reason, though. In high-level DnD, it's because you have to cross-reference the specific wording of lots of buff spells and feats and whatnot to figure out how things interact; the actual rolling and math doesn't take that much time. In Exalted, it's because each turn you roll 13 squintillion dice. Flurries are hell, and the Third Excellency is the devil.

ffone
2011-03-19, 04:24 PM
First off guys, it's refreshing to see tips for smoothing high level play rather than just gripes about it.

My thoughts as a DM:

- Over forum, there are some good e-dicerollers, with Invisible Castle a full attack can be done in almost one go. Also consider allowing average dmg for handfuls of d6s; it'll have little effect on gameplay. If players metagame to guess HP of enemies, roll NPC HP ahead of time.

- Forum is also good for enforcing that players who want to do elaborate buff dances must do the numbers on their own, possibly keeping a buffed stat block handy.

- Make more robust/defensive enemies who don't spam save or dies, but are robust vs them. Many high CR enemies have high saves due to piles of HD, and class leveled NPCs can invest their wealth in vests of resistance etc. So watch out for the no-save effects.

- Encourage / drop treasure for things like Luck Blades (possibly as a slotless wondrous item rather than weapon, like a luck stone + good fortune reroll power) and Rings of Nine Lives to give PCs Plot Armor vs devastating failed saves.

- Just ban a few things like wealth loops, wish loops, gate loops, XP/gp spell component bypass, no save ability damage (Shivering Touch) etc. Seriously, 90% of the complaints in this forum center around a handful of tricks using the worst 1% of the material; just axe that.

- Time sensitive quests so they don't Rope Trick / Mage's McMansion / Genesis-clubhouse-planeshift rest for 8-24 hours after every encounter. (No flowing time Genesis. I note that flowing time is not one of the 'example' trait types mentioned in it.)

- I never even realized Contact Other Plane and Divination type spells were so game breaking for some people, since I always got the impression, like Wish, they have built in (RAW) DM discretion on what the askees reveal. I like them as a DM, it's an in game way of giving hints if the PCs are otherwise stuck and the rest of my prepped plot is otherwise now unreachable.

- Use wards like Screen, Mage's Sanctum, Unhallow+DimAnchor for any MacGuffin Shrines / BBEG Cribs you don't want scry-and-died.

Eldariel
2011-03-19, 04:33 PM
- I never even realized Contact Other Plane and Divination type spells were so game breaking for some people, since I always got the impression, like Wish, they have built in (RAW) DM discretion on what the askees reveal. I like them as a DM, it's an in game way of giving hints if the PCs are otherwise stuck and the rest of my prepped plot is otherwise now unreachable.

Especially CAP has very precise restrictions on what kind of an answer it gives allowing for precise wording to likely get exactly what you want, unless DM rolls under 88% (which'll happen but will likely be revealed in future divinations).

profitofrage
2011-03-19, 08:51 PM
You said high level play but im fairly certain your refering mostly to DnD. But if it by chance is more asking thoughts on high level play itself rather then in what system then heres my two cents.
I play DH, rouge trader and Deathwatch..and all i can say about high level play is that its fine up to a point.

The point im talking about is level expansions...i.e when a new book comes out that lets you level up EVEN more then the original game was designed for. in DH its Ascension..and personally i hate it. I have yet to hear of any level expansion concept on any system that wasnt inherently broken in some way (on any system) course thats just my exprience on these boards.
It seems to take an exponential effort just to keep things fun..and frankly for all that effort i dont think its worth it.