The Epic Level Handbook

Pyramid Review

The Epic Level Handbook (for Dungeons & Dragons)

Published by Wizards of the Coast

Written by Bruce Cordell & Andy Collins

320 page full color HC; $39.99

In Dungeons and Dragons, you hardly ever get to play the kind of character that made you want to play the game in the first place. Think about it. How often have you played a character with the depth of Strider, or the surly invincibility of Conan, or the mythic world-shaping sorcery of Elric? The fact is, most Dungeons & Dragons games are built around second-stringers. You start off as a feeble apprentice ("Two hobgoblins!? Run for it!"), you play until he gets a decent pile of magic items and special abilities, and then, if you're like most groups, you get an itch to play some other game and you leave your wannabe world-shaker in the middle ranks. Sometimes you go all the way, sure. Sometimes you reach a point where you think, "Wait a minute. My guy is as tough as . . . as . . . as one of those interchangeable David Eddings heroes! Cool!" But it's rare. I've only done it once in my years as a gamer.

More often, you start at the top. Make him or her up from scratch, skip the years of hard labor, and just have fun walking in a real hero's boots for a while. Unfortunately, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition doesn't make that easy. In 2nd Edition and before, it was a snap: give your character stats, a level in one or maybe two classes, jot down a few appropriately powerful magic items, and you're good to go. You could . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: August 9, 2002

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