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Epic 5E

The rules on this page are the basics for running TRULY EPIC 5e. Subpages of this page include rules for EPIC PC classes, EPIC Feats, and a Legendary Bestiary, which presents a TON of EPIC monsters and foes for EPIC PCs to face!

Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the other sections!

Congratulations—whether you’re at the end of a long campaign with aspirations to make it never end, bringing old heroes out of a fruitful retirement for one last big foray, or you and your players are simply ready to take it all to the next level, you’ve graduated from the core rules. What now? Where can the game go with mages casting wish every day, priests returning the dead to life with ease, and warriors able to thrash a monster in seconds or dance across the breadth of a whole battlefield? Epic. The answer is epic.

What follows are rules for world-shaking campaigns and encounters as well as monsters and gods that utilize or even represent the fundamental forces of reality. Adventurers that oppose them are just as sublime or terrifying, each representing the very apex of what dedicated training and talent can achieve. The stories you will tell are the stuff of myths and destined to be enshrined as legends themselves.

Prepare yourself for a game like no other.

Epic Gamemastery

Already by the upper tiers of gameplay any savvy group of adventurers is wielding incredible power.

Any GM that’s worked up to this from roundabouts 13th level is well aware of the challenges that lay ahead—that experience will certainly be helpful, but the scope of the game increasing means the difficulties of running it do as well. Here are a few tips worth knowing to keep sessions flowing and the story going.

Big Stories

Speaking of the story, think big and then think bigger. By this point in the game adventurers should be potent figures on the world stage, whether they rule over kingdoms or not. Campaigns are best when focused on ancient ruins and places filled with powerful reality-defying magics, across the multitude of planar dimensions, and against foes capable of the impossible. Major plot points in epic campaigns should involve the fate of the entire world if not all of existence, and GMs are best served by keeping that at the top of mind at the beginning of every session.

Plot Hooks for Miles

Having adventurers that are also heads of state or among the rulers of a kingdom can be a great idea because it provides the one tool gamemastering for epic play needs more than any other: character investment. By this level of play the resources at the adventurers’ disposal are vast and they won’t easily be baited by the promise of a powerful artifact or the danger posed by a legendary sea monster wreaking havoc upon distant isles. If the people they’re meant to protect or the resources they’ve come to treasure are at threat however, that’s a different matter altogether.

Without solid and meaningful rationale for the PCs to take part in the plot rather than pursue their wildest impulse, game sessions are going to feel hollow. During character creation (or when leveling past 20th level if continuing a campaign) the GM should work closely with the players to identify NPCs that are crucial to them. Who acts as their regent or majordomo? Are there any memorable creatures that an adventurer took a liking to? Places of significance?

Family members? The goal here is to fill the GM’s toolbox with everything that can be used to hook the party. After all, why care about reality if you can survive its destruction with nothing lost?

With that toolbox full let the character investment grow to take hold, using the opportunity to figure out where the PCs have the most influence and control. Have them manage the professors of their academy, hear the needs of their subjects in the royal court, and otherwise act on the responsibilities tied into the prestige of their new station. Whichever NPCs play the largest roles are the GM’s go to resource—the party’s enemies target these weaker individuals, or they run afoul of ancient curses, or become the prey of cosmic predators, or whatever other terrible fate will draw the adventurers toward the next part of the story. While it’s not necessary to use a homebrewed setting, epic play is an ideal situation for it. The less established cannon there is the easier it becomes to accommodate all-knowing wizards, boulder-shattering berserkers, and deific clerics—the more details kept behind screen the, the more pivoting and narrative room the GM has to meld the motivations of the party with the campaign.

Where’d Those Classes Go?

All of the core classes for Fifth Edition are here—there are just a few that are named differently:

Barbarian = Berserker, Monk = Adept, Paladin = Herald.

As this is an evolution of the ruleset, it would be absurd to not address other inherent problems with the game at the same time and changing these names is part of that process. Not everything can be fixed or is addressed in Legendary Adventures (looking at you, cleric and druid) but making an honest effort is the first step.

Stay Fluid

Every party should have goals the GM wants them to accomplish and though having a plan is good, in epic play the adventurers mobility in terms of game design is vastly increased and the only truly useful preparation is going to be preparing for things to go in unexpected directions. Keep alternate or different descriptions and details in mind for creatures they might encounter, introduce hazards or barriers that utilize powerful effects, and when the PCs get a surprise round and immediately execute a few monsters in an encounter don’t hesitate to quickly replace those NPCs! The further up the path of epic play the group travels, the more heavily the scales tip into their favor for durability and resources—giving the GM an easier time pulling out tools as they are needed without as great a risk of unbalancing the experience.

Have Fun!

In epic play the regulator cap has been torn off so GMs should embrace the speed. The adventurers will routinely pull out surprising tactics and try more innovative solutions to their problems, and both should be fully embraced. As long as the game is punctuated by moments of peril the drama of the campaign continues, and with the heightened stakes reaches peaks that the entire table will never forget.

Epic Cantrips

As spellcasters become even more potent the fundamentals of magic that they rely upon also increase in power. When you reach 23rd level and again at 29th level, you deal an additional die of damage when casting a cantrip that deals damage.

Epic Leveling

With epic play it’s strongly recommended to just use milestones—the adventurers can defeat practically everything else on the Material Plane and probably beyond, and this removes the temptation to slay 65,340,285 boars to get their next level. Focus on the story and legendary adventures instead!

Table: Epic Character Advancement
Experience Level Proficiency Bonus
405,000 21st +7
455,000 22nd +7
505,000 23rd +7
565,000 24th +7
625,000 25th +8
685,000 26th +8
760,000 27th +8
835,000 28th +8
910,000 29th +9
1,000,000 30th +9

Epic PC Classes

Epic Feats

There’s extraordinary and there’s you—an adventurer at their apex, learning to do the impossible as easily as novices mastering a new blade. All feats from Legendary Adventures…

Epic Bestiary

Epic Hazards

In addition to those listed here, GMs shouldn’t hesitate to increase the DCs and damaging effects of existing hazards to include in epic play. As a general rule, unless an improvised epic hazard is being used as an obstacle, the maximum DC to avoid or overcome it should be no higher than 25.

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Legendary Adventures © 2020 Mike Myler, published under license by Legendary Games.