View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next E8 for 5e - Brainstorming, Problems & Options

2019-09-26, 06:15 AM
I'm not a fan of 5e at level 10+. I've yet to fully understand where this comes from, but it is most likely the low-magic style of game that I run. I've recently started entertaining the idea of running my game with a soft level cap of 8th level.

I do however recognize the problems with this, and that a big chunk of the fun that comes from playing long campaigns is progressing your character.

In order to address this I want to create some alternate progressions for players if this idea becomes reality and we play long enough to reach the levels in question. I'm not familiar enough with E6 from other games, but I'm pretty sure that's the wheel I have just invented.

Design Goals
- Adjust the power ceiling in my game by stopping base class progression at 8th level.
- Provide an alternative method of progression focused on lateral improvements and thematic options.
- I don't want it to be a hard cap. The goal is to keep progressing, but adjusted for a low-magic campaign. The main culprit are high level spells.

Step 1: Multiclassing
My first idea for an alternate progression is to finally allow multiclassing in my game. I do not intend to allow traditional multiclassing, but instead provide a similar option focused on versatility and shoring up weaknesses. I quite like the Sidekick Classes for this purpose, I feel like they perfectly capture the essence what I'm going for. They are useful without overwriting any theme you might have already established for your character. This gives players ways to learn new abilities without going above the newly established soft power ceiling. Remember, this is about slowing down certain parts of the standard level progression, not all parts of it.

I want to base this in the narrative somehow; a player will have to spend his downtime studying under a master in order to be eligible to take a level in a 'multiclass', just to keep things grounded.

Step 2: Sublcasses
I really love how thematic and low powered the subclasses are for most classes. I fully intend to keep the subclass progression intact. This doesn't effect the power ceiling much, but does provide a good natural progression to a character's theme.

Step 3: Spells
Spells are fun and it's hard to deny a player the joy that comes from casting a high level spell. I don't mind 4th level spells at all, but 5+ is something that doesn't fit in my game at all. I'll definitely run a plane-hopping high level game at some point, but it's not my go-to. Maybe it would work if they could only be cast as rituals, but I'm not sure.

Step 4: Feats and Stats
In order to give a better sense of progression I could still allow my homebrewed feats and Ability Score Increases. This works out fine since my feats are designed to be low-powered and Ability Scores are capped at +5. Proficiency bonuses would still be hard-capped at +3. I think +3 is a good step between untrained and trained.

I do think it's fair that each class gains access to a couple of class-specific feats, or somehow keep a certain abilities inside the new progression. This would allow me to stop the progression at 8th level and still keep features like Indomitable, Unarmored Movement, Brutal Critical and Metamagic. This is a good option for fine-tuning the balance between martials and spellcasters, once this idea is a little bit more fleshed out.


I don't like levels 10+, so I'm attempting to make an alternative progression starting at 8th level that is slower without feeling completely halted. This would be ideal for low-magic or low-heroic adventures, similar to E6 from other games.

Is there anyone interested in a system like this?
How would you solve the Spell problem?
Is there anything I'm obviously overlooking?

2019-09-26, 07:19 AM
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2019-09-26, 08:08 AM
You might want to look at m E10 Variant linked in my Signature under my 5e stuff. It is E10 with additional Feats to make it to level 20, utilized feat based multicalssing, and removed 5th level spells, but not spell slots.

It got roughly a 6 month playtest and was a ton of fun. The characters were a bit strong and I would break some of hose into mandatory ASIs or more like half feats. Basically I needed to find the right balance point, but it definitely worked well. The feat based multiprocessing was superb.