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erewhon
2006-12-08, 02:43 PM
I have a long-running homebrew that is well up into the Epic levels, and still going strong.

So, here's my question: There's tons of low level content out there, is there any more Epic level stuff? I'd like some Epic scenarios, new Epic monsters, pre-made Epic items, etc. (Monty Haul need not apply, I'm trying to stay on sort of an even keel here. :smallsmile: )

Sometimes it seems like I'm the only guy left whose running Epic level these days. Surely there is SOME stuff out there. If folks have homebrew epic content that is fairly generic, I'd be more than happy to share some of my stuff that is more generally applicable.

Please lend a hand, folks! :smallbiggrin:

Thomar_of_Uointer
2006-12-09, 02:53 AM
Rather than work out epic encounters for the players, work out epic situations. Liberate a country from an oppressive, decentralized oligarchy. Reverse a natural climate change to keep a mountain village from becoming the world's next glacier. A continent full of orc tribes has been rallied under a leader with a major artifact, and it's threatening to wipe the world clean of human (and elf and dwarf) life. Find a long-lost treasure (that has been epically blocked from scrying). Goes a long way towards maintaining credibility, rather than, "oh, look, a random mithral golem!"

When it comes to epic abilities for the PCs, I would highly recommend you let the players write their own feats (and use your own judgement on power level, it's not too hard to get more broken than things already are at epic). Take a look at some different anime and manga, many cover epic-level storylines and characters. (I would highly recommend the Japanese version of One Piece.) You know, things like making a tornado 1/day with Whirlwind Attack as a prerequisite.

erewhon
2006-12-09, 03:48 AM
Rather than work out epic encounters for the players, work out epic situations.

Excellent advice! :) Indeed, I just finished a story arc involving nine deific avatars being used to decide the degree of evil in the main pantheon for the next several thousand years, all wrapped up in a subplot involving the salvation/ascension of an advanced race of evolved fire giants. Not to mention the liberation of several slave races, advice to a truly scary-powerful Emperor, and the rumblings of some horrific plot involving Void-minded minions, just for starters.

:smallbiggrin:

For now, the PC's need to unravel a demi-planar puzzle lock to obtain a triad of artifacts used to control the Great Veil, and it's a nice, simple dungeon crawl for once. But I don't wanna throw waves of hunefers and infernals at them. I'm just checking to see if there's any more Epic level "stuff" out there so I can vary up the monsteriffic batting order a bit.

I've already designed seven generic templates I can use to "power-up" existing stuff, and yes, I have quite a few custom critters built as well, I was just hoping somebody in this excellent web-community had some generic Epic stuff, CR21-26-ish, they'd be willing to share.



Liberate a country from an oppressive, decentralized oligarchy. Reverse a natural climate change to keep a mountain village from becoming the world's next glacier. A continent full of orc tribes has been rallied under a leader with a major artifact, and it's threatening to wipe the world clean of human (and elf and dwarf) life. Find a long-lost treasure (that has been epically blocked from scrying). Goes a long way towards maintaining credibility, rather than, "oh, look, a random mithral golem!"

Again, excellent advice! :) But, I've been DM-ing for a while now, I have a pretty good handle on what I'm doing, I was just hoping for some grist for the mill, as it were.


When it comes to epic abilities for the PCs, I would highly recommend you let the players write their own feats (and use your own judgement on power level, it's not too hard to get more broken than things already are at epic).

Good grief! My group of players are far, far too good at this to let them play with those toys just yet. The things they come up with on magic items are enough to keep me plenty busy, without letting them at the guts of the system like that. :smallsmile: You're a braver man than I!


Take a look at some different anime and manga, many cover epic-level storylines and characters. (I would highly recommend the Japanese version of One Piece.) You know, things like making a tornado 1/day with Whirlwind Attack as a prerequisite.

Interesting! But I was more hoping for some nice, simple Epic-level content I didn't have to make on my own. I'll say please! :smallbiggrin:

I find it odd so few quality groups seem to do much Epic stuff, the system extends to those power levels very gracefully these days, and when you've been tossing dice a few years, fighting orcs gets a little repetitive. Come on, all you talented folks! I know you've all got a few well-thought-out Epic thingies tucked away, here and there. Let's see 'em! :smallsmile:

MandibleBones
2006-12-09, 09:26 AM
Since dragons are the quintessential epic creatures, perhaps a plot that sends the dragons of the world on some sort of epic rampage / war which threatens to wipe out all humanoidity? There'd still have to be some way for them to stop it without fighting every dragon on the planet - making for some interesting plot if played right - but also leaves the possibity for epic level conflict.

...

Either that or just make them all drop INT scores to 2, a la Reign of Fire.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2006-12-09, 01:03 PM
Well, I'm sorry, I don't have any epic stuff on hand. I have a lot of level 1-5 stuff, but that's just the result of my gaming groups tending to stay there.

http://www.kobolds-keep.net/Progressions.pdf
I'm pretty sure you could work out some epic classes for these, but that's about it.

erewhon
2006-12-09, 02:04 PM
Since dragons are the quintessential epic creatures, perhaps a plot that sends the dragons of the world on some sort of epic rampage / war which threatens to wipe out all humanoidity? There'd still have to be some way for them to stop it without fighting every dragon on the planet - making for some interesting plot if played right - but also leaves the possibity for epic level conflict.

Very good advice, as well, and I have actually got a Draconic Kingdom lurking in the wings (the fire giants have been warring against them for eons, and with all the changes coming to the fire giants, the dragons are going to get involved sooner or later) but I was hoping to save that for a bit later.

I'm hoping for some good, solid, yet basic, Epic-class situations and critters that I could "chop and channel" and pop into the current story arc, which is me working on an Epic "dungeon crawl." Sounds lame, I suppose, but after a while the heavy plots and massive political intrigue gets a bit old, and it's nice to just bust some heads. Sadly, there's a bit of a lack of variety in bustable heads. :)

Stacking up hit dice gets lame fast (how many size Large rats can there BE in the world, anyhow?) and character levels gets you very intricate creatures that are difficult to run en masse. (I mean, sure, a beholder with max hit dice and eight levels of sorceror looks nasty, but it takes ten minutes to resolve what it does every round when I have to figure out which feats and spells its gonna use to counter the PC's, and I'd need like twelve of them to make the party stop yawning.)

Ehn. I'll post up some stuff like I've been working on in a bit, see if anyone has anything similar they might like to add.




...

Either that or just make them all drop INT scores to 2, a la Reign of Fire.


Heh. :smallbiggrin:

No, I am specifically working to avoid such tricks. :) Back ages ago, TSR came out with boxes of rules for 20+ and 40+ which incorporated deity rules. (I suppose this was in the early 90's? Late 80's? A while ago, now.) I read that stuff and was appalled at how bad it was, and vowed I'd not do anything so craptastic. For example, the very first adventure for characters of such levels involved stripping the toons of all their powers. <sigh>

Nope, I'm trying to entertain in the spirit of the rules. Embrace the powah!

So far, it's been going well, I'm just hoping somebody has some homebrew stuff I can fold into the mix to keep things "fresh" as it were.

I'll post up an example of what I am doing in a bit, see if I can't "prime the pump" as it were. I'm sure SOMEBODY has some good stuff. :smallbiggrin:

erewhon
2006-12-09, 02:17 PM
Well, I'm sorry, I don't have any epic stuff on hand. I have a lot of level 1-5 stuff, but that's just the result of my gaming groups tending to stay there.

I know the feeling! :) I've been tossing dice with the same crowd for about ten years now, and we were pretty much the same. I asked if anybody was interested in a higher level game and got swarmed! :)

Now, these are all what I'd call SENIOR gamers. We've got well over a century of gaming experience, added up across the room. In the first scenario, I faced them off with half a dozen Voidmind minions, used the mucus sprays to crush their Will saves, and then jumped them with three illithids backed up by a lich.

They were so angry at the psionic blasts! I was laughing, until they accused me of making a customized party killer. It was only after I stopped laughing at them that I realized, NONE of them had ever fought a mind flayer before.

Did I mention these were very experienced gamers?

Not one of them had ever played a game high enough to see mind flayers. No wonder they were peeved, mind flayers are NASTY! :)

I have to wonder how many other folks are like that, who never see the fun, cool, creepy content at the higher end.




http://www.kobolds-keep.net/Progressions.pdf
I'm pretty sure you could work out some epic classes for these, but that's about it.


Oooooh, nice! That'll get some usage. :) Thanks for the info! I'll post up one of my custom templates, and a critter I advanced using it, so folks can see where I'm going. :)

belboz
2006-12-09, 04:25 PM
With your level of experience, I imagine you haven't, but I thought I'd make it explicit that you shouldn't forget the power of advancing lower-level monsters, or epic monsters listed outside of epic content, or groups of lower-level monsters. Pretty much all great wyrms are epic, and so are most wyrms and a few ancients, even of standard colors. I can easily imagine one of them acting as the nigh-immortal guard of some important component of the lock.

Sure, a balor's only CR 20. But 4 balors guarding the final core of the locking mechanism? All of a sudden you're at EL 24; not shabby for a lower-level epic party.

A nightwalker may only be CR 16; your party may have thought they saw the last of those long ago (or maybe you never got a chance to use them at all). But that's at 21 HD; they're advancable up to 42, for a CR of 21.

Oh, and templates are always fun for some extra CR, too. Yeah, according to the rules, lich is a template only for humanoids. But since you're the DM, a Frost Giant Jarl Sorcerer Lich (level 11 sorc, instead of the level 7 blackguard they present as the Jarl standard) is a fine epic monster.

Or give some monsters some nice associated class levels. A mummy lord L.10 Blackguard, perhaps with a few levels of fallen paladin thrown in? Not bad, not bad.

Collin152
2006-12-09, 11:27 PM
Epic is where rules are broken to your benefit, as DM. I can see you dont want to make things yourself, but the DM Genie will help you on this. Oh, how it will.

erewhon
2006-12-10, 02:35 AM
Hello, Belboz! :)

No, I certainly haven't missed that aspect, and indeed, have reluctantly decided I need to use this trick to get some variety in my encounters. For various reasons, I dislike stacking on hit dice all the time, and character levels are both complicated to do and break my willing suspension of disbelief. (Why is that tribe of orcs ALL high level adventurers?)

So, I've settled on templates as a decent way of doing this.

For example, based upon the Paragon template I have designed a whole series of less hefty templates. The one I've used the most so far is the potent template:

Name: Potent Template
HD: As standard, +10 Potent bonus per hit die
Speed: 2 times all movement modes
AC:+8 Insight bonus, +8 Luck bonus, +4 natural bonus. If the base creature already has any of these, this bonus stacks with the base creatures bonus.
Attacks: +12 Luck bonus to hit
Damage:+16 Luck bonus to damage
Special Attacks: +8 Insight bonus to one aspect of each attack, as applicable.
Psionics/Spellcasting: +8 Manifester/Caster level
Spell-like Abilities: +8 Caster Level
Special Qualities: Keeps all of the base creature, and gains ER8 vs all energy types, DR 16/+5 or epic(if final CR is below or above 20), SR = adjusted CR +10, Fast Healing 20.
Saves: +8 Insight bonus to all saves
Abilities: Add up to 55 ability points, no more than 18 to any one stat, recalculate to hit, damage, AC, etc.
Skills: +10 competence bonus an all skills
Feats: As base +2 bonus feats, If new CR is 20+, add one bonus Epic feat
Climate/terrain: Same as base.
Organization: Same as base.
CR: 1-6 HD, add +12. 7-15 HD, add +11. 16 or more HD, add +10. Adjust as needed.
Treasure: Standard for adjusted CR.
Alignment:Same as base.
Advancement:Same as base.

Once I figure out how to paste into this pesky board, I'll post up a sample critter. :)

Triaxx
2006-12-10, 08:22 PM
Two words: Linear Guild. My favorite tactic, is to create a group of powerful (opposite alignment) enemy adventurers, and have them keep coming after the group, doing different things each time. Dig into the backgrounds of the characters, or have them working for the enemy. Perhaps one of them following the group, and tripping traps they've wandered into.

Don't forget that the more powerful the party, the more dangerous the traps should be. You can easily ramp up the difficulty level without strengthening the monsters much. Perhaps an enviromental challenge. Draw out lava squares, or have acid dripping from the ceiling. Monsters aren't the only way to challenge the characters. Remember the less used skills. Swim, climb, rope work, Truth or Lies.

erewhon
2006-12-12, 08:05 PM
Aha! Wonderful pasty goodness. :)

Below find a critter I advanced using the Monster Manual rules for hit dice, and applying a pair of custom templates I have worked up for the purpose. I sure hope I did all the math right, I am far from expert at this process. :)

Enjoy, any who may have a use for the big, deadly, lugs! :)



Dread Apes (Advanced, Mighty, Deadly, Dire Ape)
Large Monstrous Beast

Hit Dice: 15d10+375 (465 hp)

Initiative: +11

Speed: 100 ft. (130 if hasted)

Armor Class: 42 (1 size, +12 Dex, +11 natural, +10 insight, +10 Luck), touch 31, flat-footed 30

Base Attack/Grapple: +33/+37

Attack: 2 claws +53 melee (15 base, +18Str, +20 Luck)

Full Attack: 3 claws +53 Melee (15 base, +18Str, +20 Luck) and bite +48 ( 10 base, +18 Str, +20 Luck)

Damage: Claws: 1d6+41 19-20 x2 (+18Str, +3 Deadly, +20 Luck), Bite x2 1d8 +41

Space/Reach: 10/5

Special Attacks: Rend, autohit, Damage 6d6 +59 (+18 Str, +10 Insight, +8 Deadly Insight, +3 Deadly, +20 Luck)

Special Qualities:Low Light Vision, Scent, ER10/-, DR20/Epic, SR 33, Fast Healing 20

Saves: Fort:+32 Ref:+31 Will:+22

Abilities: Str 47, Dex 35, Con 37, Int 2, Wis 22, Cha 10

Skills:Climb+24*, Listen+15, Move Silently+14, Spot+16, Jump+20*

Feats: Alertness, Toughness, Power Attack, Improved Natural Weapon (rend) x3, Improved Critical (claws), Blind Fighting, Improved Overrun, Blinding Speed (haste, 5 rounds/day)

Environment: Warm Forests

Organization: Solitary or Company (5-8)

Challenge Rating:23

Treasure:None

Alignment: Neutral

Advancement: -

Level Adjustment: -


Lurking in the deepest of jungles, infesting dire lost temples, feasting on rare herbs, or imbued with the deep, green magics of their abodes, dread apes are mighty cousins of the more common dire apes. They are about the same size and build as their far meeker cousins, but are distinct in their black and silver striped fur, which allows them to blend into the forest shadows.

Fearsome predators who are often content to subsist on berries, dread apes are aggressive in defending their territory, and woe to the creature which angers one of these beasts. A troupe of dread apes fears little in the natural forest, and prefer to pass their time in quiet bliss, but they can be very territorial, and woe betide the adventurer who finds herself facing a half dozen of these mighty powerhouses.

Tactics: If a dread ape chooses to attack, it will generally use its Blinding Speed first and dash into the fray, launching a wave of flickering-fast clawstrikes. They get a rend attack if any two claws hit in a round, and if they perform a hasted full attack and can hit all four times, they get two rends.

Given its speed and power, this flurry of attacks usually suffices, but if the ape is not hitting, it will attempt to use its size and huge Strength to initiate a Grapple, and once it pins the opponent, will land automatic Rends, tearing the foe to ribbons.

If it takes serious damage, it will attempt to flee, using its Jump, Climb, and incredible speed to make an escape. Dread Apes get +16 on Climb checks, and can take 10 on climb checks at all times. A dread ape can use its great speed and Jump skill to leap into the trees with great ease.

icke
2006-12-13, 09:57 AM
One thing that is usually underestimated: Many monsters are intelligent, and can therefore make plans against the adventurers, using the environment(it's their homegrounds, after all) and teamwork to be much more dangerous than their CR would imply. Let them set up ambushes in regions that are filled with traps, so the players might accidently activate them during the fight! Let them BUILD traps! Let them skirmish the players, finding their strengths(to avoid) and their weaknesses(to take advantage of)!

You can't imagine what a band of organized Vrocks and Succubi can do to level 24 characters...

The problem with that strategy: it almost eats as much time as stacking monsters up with classes...