This article originally appeared in d20 Weekly
Epic Level Handbook
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Written by Andy Collins and Bruce Cordell
$39.95; 320 pages
The Epic Level Handbook is a thick hardbound with attractive interior illustrations. The layout is typical for Dungeons & Dragons hardbounds. The chapter headers have stylistic annotated backdrops illustrated by Arnie Skewel. The remaining art is full color. The book addresses how to keep the Dungeons & Dragons system functioning after 20th level. Due to the nature of the system, many conventions of the system such as save and attack bonus conventions do not work as well if extrapolated out past 20th level.
The Epic Level Handbook changes the approach of advancement past 20th level. Characters with more than 20 levels (which the book defines as "epic level characters") no longer progress in terms of base attack or saving throw bonuses according to their class. Instead, all epic level characters receive "epic" (not "base") saving throw and attack bonuses once every other level (attack bonuses at odd levels and save bonuses at even levels). This stops the diverging save bonuses that spring from different save progressions, which would become egregious at higher levels. Further, it stops the number of iterative attacks at 4, which would otherwise make initiative too important and possibly make game play very tedious.
There are some weaknesses in this approach. The saves and attack bonuses of multi-class characters depends strongly upon the order of class levels. For example, . . .
This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.
Article publication date: August 14, 2002
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