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Epic – Ep103

If you have a player who uses this picture as an inspiration for his epic level character, beware!
If you have a player who uses this picture as an inspiration for his epic level character, beware!

There is definitely an art to high level play. To some that art is masterful with a broad scope and memorable set-piece encounters. To others, it’s fecal fling art.


Whether you loathe it or love it, epic level play is something you should experience once in your gaming career.


If you have some input on this, leave a comment here, via email or on our Facebook page.


Cast – Eric, Mike, Shannon, Dan, Mark, Jayson and Shawn

Listen on Stitcher:

Intro: Mark

Outro: Shannon


Items Mentioned:

Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, Mutants & Masterminds, Shadowrun, DC Heroes, Irredeemable, Superman, Watchmen, XMen, Rising Stars, Highlander, Pathfinder, Psion, Aces & Eights, Star Wars

Cover Art by Jeff Easley


  1. Brian
    Brian April 3, 2013

    You know I really like these kinds of episodes because they highlight the journey you have all put yourselves thru as gamers. How many micro-lives have we all lived with all these characters? Anyway, my take on epic stuff:

    1.) I think it is only natural to want a progression into this tier for some characters because you personally invest so much into them over time. There is a sense of nostalgia that develops naturally for long term characters and a desire to be at the heart of a story of fantastic scope. The problem most people have is power level itself, but I feel the larger problem should be about consequences compounded.
    At this point the big picture should be too fluid to maintain emotionally and psychologically. You should face challenges you can’t overcome, conflicts with universal constants. The DM shouldn’t be trying to control the characters, he should be showing the destabilization of the part of reality the characters depend upon. Whatever the characters value most becomes cheapened or weakened by some unexpected consequence of their choices. King is a lonely title after all.

    2.) There is a sweet spot for all characters. Its like mage’s cosmology with stasis and dynamic reality. Some characters simply stop being fun to play outside of the sweet spot. The moment your fun level has started to cool, its best to put it on ice until you can enjoy the game again.

    3.) Legacy: I actually developed an Avatar system for my games because of this desire. See the problem is that when we switch characters, we go on gaining experience psychologically, but the previous character doesn’t. There is a legitimate sense of loss there that these games fail to address. I therefore developed a metagame system with minor perks and flaws that each player can attribute to their ‘avatar’ with each character they play. If you tend to play backstabbing arseholes, perhaps the DM will help you c-gen the next character someone with a slight bonus or flaw because of this. Usually I allow one ‘dm favor’ per dead character that can be called upon when needed. Kinda a fate point system but with a open ended mechanic. Entire bloodlines exist over these and it makes for great story stuff as it keeps my players invested.

  2. Robert Sullivan
    Robert Sullivan April 3, 2013

    The appeal of epic level play is a lot like the appeal of God Mode in a computer game – kill everything in sight w/out consequences. This is also why many MMORPGs have rules limiting their version of epic level characters from destroying newbs.
    But thematically and mechanically many games are not designed to handle high level characters.

  3. Argon
    Argon April 5, 2013

    I have never been a fan of Epic level play. It is essentially power gaming. I ran many of my earlier campaigns to epic level and found that I lost interest as a DM or player. Either there was no real threat, or you had to throw the entire lower planes at your party just so there could be a challenge.

    Mid-level campaigns were always much more fun. A place were anything could be a challenge without having to go overboard just to make the party feel relevant in their existence.

    I prefer starting games at first level as character development is a mainstay in all my games. To me the back story and player as well as non-player motivations mean more then the actual power they possess.



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