posted by Seatox Original SA post

Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook: NUMBER GO UP

Right. 3rd Edition D&D is (in)famous for a lot of things, some of them good, but so many of them terrible. The Epic Level Handbook is pretty damn stupid.

I will now quote the Introduction paragraph of this book, which will set the tone for the entire book.

we represent the lollpop guild posted:

"The rules in the Dungeons and Dragons(r) core rulebooks are not enough for you. Your game promises more than what the rules can contain. Your plots run deeper and your imagination burns stronger. Twenty levels of power are too few, character options are too limited, and the monsters are too weak. Until now. Welcome to the next level of power."

Chapter One: Charcacter, Skills & Feats

The chapter text starts off namedropping.

so epic posted:

"Baba Yaga. Conan the Babarian. Cu Chulainn. Elminster of Shadowdale. Elric of Melnibone. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Gandalf. Gilgamesh. Hiwatha. Odysseus. These are names of power. Names of glory. Epic names. These heroes are examples of epic characters."

Right. There is a no-prize for pointing out which of these characters are not like the others, which of these characters don't belong.

There is an additional no-prize for pointing out that Elminster is entierly a D&D construction.

It goes on about how about how awesome and mighty Epic Characters are blah blah blah for a paragraph, before getting down to the actually important bit, which is that, per standard 3rd-ed rules, once you hit level 20, the tables run out and normal character progression ends. It then posits either letting people just farm XP until they get enough for level 21 (referring to um table 1-2, it's 210,000 XP), or maybe kinda make them do a quest or something, referring us to Chapter 3 (The Running an Epic Game chapter) for more details.

Then the real Math begins.

Once a character is level 21, they are counted as an Epic Character.

You don't get your usual class based saves, but instead every 2 levels you get a +1 epic bonus to all your saves. Your Base Attack Bonus doesn't go up, but instead you get a special +1 every odd level (So you get +0 to saves and +1 to attacks at level 21, +1 and +1 at level 22, +1 and +2 at level 23, +2 and +2 at level 24, and so on ad-infinitum). So, you don't get more attacks per round or other fightery stuff - as the helpful sidebar points out, having a billion attacks per round would slow the game right down.

There is a monster that shows up in Chapter 5 that can make 10 attacks per round against a single target, and has 100 base attacks.

Numbers get bigger, hooray.

Epic Characters still get ability increases every 4 levels, Class Skills and Cross Class Skills still have the same old caps, and you get a non-class specific feat slot every 3 levels.

Same old, same old D20.

Then the tables hell begins, because each PHB class AND a bunch of formerly 10 level prestige classes from the DMG gets it's own Epic Progression blurb.

Essentially, it boils down to "and we extrapolated a bunch of things from the core tables in the PHB". Everyone gets their hit-dice and skillpoints per level, a bunch of DCs go up with level, stuff that a class usually got every X levels still happens, bonus feats show up every few levels with their usual list of trap options.
Fighters get the biggest number of Bonus Feats, the biggest table of [st]trap options[/st]Bonus Feats, and the words "bonus feat" start to become meaningless.

Monks get shafted because their unarmed Ki attack damage boost formula stopped at level 16 to make room for their shitty capstone powers in the base game, naturally. They have the option of spending a bonus feat to fix that! They get one bonus feat per 5 levels, the lowest rate of all the core Epic Classes. Their unarmored movement speed keeps going up (they will never be as fast as a teleporting wizard), and they get a very slowly increasing boost to their Wisdom Armor Class Bonus.

Naturally, Spellcasters get their caster level increase. They don't, however, get more spell slots without spending Feats on them. The way the Improved Spell Capacity feat that allows this to happen works permits gross metamagic abuse. All hail the Supreme Casters.

Partial casters (Paladins'n'rangers) are naturally pretty much out of the game when it comes to spell-slinging due to this (And their sane, limited spell lists).

Full casters who spend the right feat also get access to Horrible Bullshit DM-May-I Epic Spell Development. In theory, a partial caster could use it, but they can't swing the Numberwang of the appropriate Class Skill hard enough to make the stupid DC tests.

Assassins, Arcane Archers, Blackguards, Loremasters, Dwarven Defenders and Shadowdancers get progression extrapolations, the words 'Bonus Feat' start to become even more meaningless, then they drop the 3rd edition Psionic Handbook Psion and Psychic Warrior on us! They get the same sort of spellcater/partial caster treatment, and I can't remember enough of the 3rd Ed's Psionics Handbook to make judgement otherwise.

There's a nice table of Wealth Per Level for if you're completly fucking insane and want to make a character above 20th level to start with.

Then it's off to the EPIC PRESTIEGE CLASSES

Epic Pristiege Classes

Essentially, prestige classes where one of the qualifying thing is "be EPIC LEVEL".

The Agent Retriever requires Alignment: Any lawful. It requires 24 ranks of Gather Information. Bards (the class most likely to have this) are supposed to be ANY NONLAWFUL. The class description says "rangers, bards and rogues most commonly take this epic prestige class", a famously Lawful Aligned bunch of people.

If a character can twist themselves around the stupid alignment requirement to satisfy this, it gives access to a supernatural ability to research a person or item and thus get a continual "discern location" spell against them, which is nice. They also get a huge +10 bonus to the track skill every 5 levels, and daily uses of Plane Shift/Ethereal Jaunt.

The Cosmic Descryer is not actually a scryer or diviner, but a summon spammer and plane traveler. Nice easy access requirements for a Cleric, not actually good for Wizards because it requires Gate and Planar Ally, not Planar Binding. It gives Hitdice bonuses on allowable summons, obtains "naturalization" for planes visited that protects from being Banished etc by the natives of that plane, can extend a Gate spell to last all day, and finally can turn on "Cosmic Connection" for a minute per class level, letting them Dimension Door at will and burn 5 hitpoints for any number of +1s on their caster level, or a bunch of different rolls.

The Divine Emissary is Paladin 2.0. The most notable bonuses are access to one of their god's domains ala cleric, a Greater Planar Ally ability, and a once a day +20 bonus to an attack using their god's favored weapon.

The Epic Infiltrator is another rogueish class, yet the alignment restriction is "any nonchaotic". They get cover identities that can fool divinations re: alignment, but still get hit by Protection from Evil, Holy Smite and their alignment opposites. They get more skills for the skill-monkey, a minor scrying power, and Read Thoughts and Mind Blank as n/per day.

The Guardian Paramount is a rogue/X multiclass jobbie for bodyguarding, and can share their Uncanny Dodge with someone, set up an effect to take damage in place of someone (and convert the damage to subdual damage), force dice rerolls with their Adjust Probability power, and finally True Resurrect anyone they've used their powers on once a day every 6 levels.

The High Proselytizer is a firebrand talky cleric, who gets a sanctuary effect while preaching along with mind controlling people who follow the same god/alignment (Well, it acts like Charm Person, which is pretty mind controlly). As they stack up more levels in the prestige class they add to it with laying on hands to heal diseases/poisons, ability to explode people not mind controlled in various ways.

The Legendary Dreadnaught is fighter 2.0. It is also The Juggernaut of X-men fame. It's two gimmick powers are Unstoppable and Unmovable. Unstoppable has the neat quality of letting the Dreadnaught break Walls of Force by punching them (when usually you need a disintigrate spell). Standard fighter dullness otherwise.

The Perfect Wight is the true Rogue 2.0, no alignment nonsense, can turn invisible, can use telekinesis to pick locks, can turn incorporeal or into a shadow.

The Union Sentinel is a fucking cop for extraplanar capitalists (the Arcanes) who show up in the "example epic level setting" later in the book. They get Imprisonment, Dimensional Anchor and Forcecage as class powers, as well as a thing that lets them seal off a Gate or portal by standing next to it.

And that's the Epic Class war. Next up, skills, feats and more tables of skills and feats and feats and skills...

Edit: and i notice i spelt prestige wrong twice. I will let this stand, because word has lost all meaning to me, much like bonus and feat.


posted by Seatox Original SA post

Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook: NUMBER GO UP

Here we go, the worst bit of any D20 product, the Skills and Nickle-and-dime-trap-optionsFeats. This is going to take a while.

First off, for no good reason I can determine, they decided to put the Epic Leadership Feat, and their fancy Epic Level Cohort and Follower table ahead of all the skills and other feats. It is largely a forgettable extrapolation of the core DMG leadership table, except that it's Leadership and therefore can break lots of stuff if your DM lets you get away with it (Such as, say, getting the Leadership value high enough via stacking Charisma on your Sorcerer to take a Cohort spellcaster one level below yours).

Then it's time for Epic Skills.

Epic Skills

Epic Skills just the regular old 3rd edition skills (Roll d20 + skill modifier vs Difficulty Class), except they came up with a bunch of high DC uses for skills. Since Epic Characters have the usual Level+3 cap on skills, some of these example DCs require insanely stupidly high character levels and feat trickery to be used, and their use is often meaningless outside of insane niche situations, or completly stupid broken if you can make the Big Number (See diplomacy/perform/animal handling).

For perspective on the BIG NUMBERS WOO, in the Dungeon Master's Guide the highest example DC given is 43 for tracking a week old goblin track covered in fresh snow, which a 20th level ranger with maximum Wilderness Lore, Track, and fully stacked Favored Enemy Goblin bonuses has a 50% chance of succeeding (So a total of +33 on their D20 roll).

useless crafting
To start with, Alchemy still niche or useless, because alchemy items themselves are crap compared to real magic items - you can increase the DC of an alchemy check by 10 to speed up manufacture. Quick identification means making a D50 alchemy check to instantly identify potions or other substances without needing a lab or money. And finally, adding increments of 20 to the base alchemy check for making an item can increase the damage/saving throw of alchemy items.

Craft has the same "increase DC for faster construction" as alchemy. It's Craft, this is silly munchkin land, and making actual Magic Items is Spellcaster only, all legendary craftsmen are actually multiclass wizards or something. All an Epic Crafting skill will really give you is lots of Masterwork stuff for magic item creation (or breaking what passes for an economy in D&D land if you're playing stupid number games).

30 rogue levels and you can replicate a first level wizard

Appraise lets the appraiser effectivly Detect Magic (as the spell) on an item they're appraising, DC50.

Balance allows increasingly ludicrous places you can walk across, up to DC120 for walking on a cloud without casting a single spell.

Decipher Script replicates Read Magic. All those skill ranks, and a 1st level wizard has you beat with a cantrip.

Bluff lets you replicate the Suggestion spell for a mere +50 DC, which seems to pop up in every stupid Character Optimisation discussion ever. It also lets you fake your alignment and surface thoughts vs magical spying at DC70 and 100.

Read lips has "pronounce unfamiliar language" at +20 DC. It claims this is useful for parroting it back to someone who actually understands the language, but Comprehend Languages is a spell.

Search gives Detect Magic at DC60.

Spellcraft acts like Identify the spell at DC50, then total identification at DC70.

Sense Motive gives mind-reading at various DCs.

Use Rope replicates Animate Rope, at DC80.

Heal has two useless abilities (to give a Full Rest's worth of HP back in on hour, and then a full week's rest in on hour), because Clerics and the Heal spell exist.

Disguise just ups the amount of height/weight variation you can fake with your disguise to 50% at a higher penalty than the one in the PHB. Alter Self is a 2nd level spell that does this already, and the damn skill description notes this.

Cool tricks that are probably normal prestige class powers somewhere

Epic Climb gives you Spiderman wall, then ceiling crawling powers at DC70 and 100.

Disable Device lets you rush disarming a trap. At +100 DC, it's a free action.

Escape Artist allows a rogue who can beat DC80 to turn into an octopus and fit through a 2-square-inch gap. At DC120, they can squeeze through a Wall of Force. A theme you will note is apparantly someone really loved the idea of Walls of Force as Epic Level architecture, because it pops up everywhere in this book.

Forgery at +50DC allows the forger to just... know what a document is supposed to be, without needint to have ever seen it.

Intuit Direction gives you super-navigation powers at various DCs.

Listen and Spot give various illusion and invisibility piercing DCs. Easiest one is DC20 for noticing an invisible creature bumbling around, which is not exactly epic difficulty.

Pickpocket has entries for being the best sleight-of-hand-conjurer, at the usual inflated difficulties.

Gather Information lets the inquirer avoid suspicion at a hefty penalty.

Ride gives DC40 for standing on the saddle and fighting at no penalty, DC50 for directing the mount as a free action, and DC60 for hanging off side of the horse and casting spells like some kind of Mongolian Horse Wizard.

Swim for swimming up a waterfall at DC80.

Tumble decreases fall damage, up until perfect no-fall-damage at DC100.

Wilderness Lore is all about negating environmental damage and perfect tracking at DC60.

Making mindslavesfriends and influencing people.
Animal Empathy, Diplomacy, and Perform extend their influencing tables to include the "Fanatic" step, allowing a stupidly skilled (Beat a DC80 check at friendly, DC170 if they're hostile) animal handler, diplomat or performer to brainwash subjects (such that they gain +2 str and con, +1 will save, but lose -1 AC when fighting for you because they love you so much). The fanatic definition is listed under Perform as "Will give life to serve you" "Fight to the death against overwhelming odds, throw self in front of onrushing dragon".

Handle Animal adds magical beasts, vermin and then Other to the table, though at DC30+critter's hitdice, you're not going to be training anything personally combat useful. There's also the faster-training-for-higher-DC tradeoffs similar to craft/alchemy.

wizard supreme
Epic Concentration allows you to cast somatic spells (the ones with waving around) while grappled. This is pointless because any epic spellcaster worth their staff is going to have certain feats, magic items and/or spells that take care of that problem anyway.

Scry gives a bunch of high DCs for scry vs scry actions - learning who's scrying, scrying them back... and if you do either of those things an opposed Scry check to break the scrying. Why that requires ludicrious DCs instead of being baseline wizbiz is just one of those D20 things.

The great crime of split stealth skills

Hide just lets you extend the hiding to another creature at a penalty.

Intimidate, Move Silently, Jump, Use Magic Device and the Knowledges don't get any special tricks, apart from having bignum (which matters for certain knowledges when we get to EPIC SPELLS).

Weird psion stuff

And the two skills from the psionics handbook are ... Autohypnosis and Stabilize Self which are a grab-bag of things about resisting poison and mind control.

Why this is all pointless because wizards and clerics exist

So, with all these additions your Epic Level 40 Super-rogue can replicate a first level wizard, of which your friend the Epic Leadership Sorcerer has like, 40 on the payroll. If you're a really really good Monk you can eventually play Sun Wukong by hopping around on clouds with your class Balance skill, something that a spellcaster or a silver dragon, or a niche prestige class from a splatbook, could do about 50 levels before you.

They do emphasize that all these skill tricks are non-magical. But the discussion of Antimagic fields and dumb game design and advice is for Chapter 3 of this steaming heap of bullshit.

Next up, I go over the 19 pages of 152 feats while my eyes glaze over.


posted by Seatox Original SA post

Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook: NUMBER GO UP


Feats, little slots that you fill in as your character levels up. Options! So many options. As the book says "The epic character is largely defined by his selection of epic feats". This is actually true, because Epic Class progression is mostly an endless string of bonus feats taken from your class's bonus feat list every X levels.

This explains why there are 152 feats, 4 pages of "Table 1-36 Epic Feats" and 21 pages of actual rules, versus 37 Feats, 1 page of Feat table and 7 pages of rules in the Player's Handbook. You have options. As befitting 3rd edition D&D Feat Options, there is an enormous number of "+X bonus to a thing" entries. There's also some lovely trap options.

And there's also metamagic bullshit.

The feat list is alphabetized in the book, I've tried to sort them into vague class categories because otherwise it's just a big long list of dull text. And it's rules heavy D20 jargon, full of Special Meaning Words and assumptions that you know what a Blessed Holy Weapon is.

Epic Leadership - unlocks the epic leadership table as per the last post.
Legendary Commander - 10x multiplier to your number of followers. One prerequisite is that you have to own a kingdom.


Great Charisma, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Strength, Wisdom - spend a feat, get a +1 to a stat
Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Will. +4 to fort/ref/wil save.
Epic Reptution, +4 to bluff, diplomacy, gather information, intimiate, perform - IT'S A TRAP
Epic Prowess - spend a feat, get a +1 to all attack rolls, wizard gets a nickle, fighter gets a dime. At least the fighter has lots of Bonus Feat slots to spend on this nonsense?
Epic Skill Focus - have 20 ranks in a skill, spend a feat, get +10 on skill checks with said skill. Who needs Reputation to make diplomatic mindslaves?
Epic Endurance - +10 bonus to extended running, swimming, etc checks.
Epic Speed - +30ft movement speed, doesn't stack with anything and you have to be in medium or lighter armor.


This stuff reeks of Trap Option.

Epic Toughness - +20 hitpoints, you can take it multiple times!
Armor Skin - YOu get +2 natural armor, but naturally it doesn't stack with magic-granted natural armor.
Damage Reduction - requires 21 con, gives you 3 points of DR every time you buy it, but doesn't stack with magic items (it does stack with class features though).
Energy Resistance - 10 resistance to an energy damage type, but it doesn't stack with anything.
Extended Life Span - you don't die of old age as quickly. Because people would track that sort of thing.
Fast Healing - gives you fast healing 3 (so you heal 3 hp/round), doesn't stack with magic fast healig, you can take the feat multiple times for more fast healing.
Perfect Health - immunity to nonmagic diseases and DC25 poisons.

Improved Darkvision, Low-light vision - double range on innate vision abilities.
Improved Spell Resistance - +2 spell resistance if you have innate spell resistance.

Dexterous Will, Fortitude - Substitude a reflex save for a will or fort save once a round. Probably decent.
Epic Dodge - if you're activly dodging a target you automatically take no damage from an attack that hits you from said target once a round.
Improved Sneak Attack - another +1d6 on your backstabs, feat can be stacked multiple times.
Improved Death Attack - +2 to save vs Assassin murder.
Lingering Damage - your sneak attack damage repeats on it's victim in the next round as well. That's pretty damn nasty.
Self-concealment - you get a 10% miss chance for attacks against you, and you can stack the feat 5 times (to 50%)
Sneak Attakck of Opportunity - Attacks of Opportunity are also Sneak Attacks.
Trap Sense - you don't need to search for traps, you just autosearch for them if you get within 5ft of one.

Deafening Song - You can inflict Deafness by doing your bard song/poem/freestyle rap thing.
Group Inspiration - increases the target cap for bard songs.
Hindering Song - you can force spellcasters to make concentration checks to cast while you do your bard thing.
Inspire Excellence - Bardsong at your friends for a +4 competence bonus to an ability score. Probably stacks with most other ability score bonuses.
Lasting Inspiration - 10x duration to your bardsong's effects after you stop barding.
Music of the Gods - you can bard at things normally immune to mind effects.
Ranged Inspiration - double ranged bardsongs.
Rapid Inspiration - bardsongs only take a standard action (instead of the normal full round)
Reactive Countersong - you can ready the bard countersong (like a readied counterspell)


Poor bastards that they are, Paladin, Fighters, Barbarians and Rangers (And their usual prestige classes) get a long list of nickle-and-dime powers. They'd be EPIC if it was just them. Monks could probably use some of this stuff, if they had the feat room for them.

Bane of Enemies - ranger racism makes any weapon they have a bane weapon against their favored enemy
Blinding Speed - 25 dex to qualify, but it gets you 5 rounds/day of Haste split up however you like.
Bulwark of Defense - Dwarven Defenders class power boost. +4s and +6s to stuff.
Chaotic Rage - barbarian ALIGN WEAPON WITH CHAOS TO SMASH ... for 2d6 extra damage against lawful critters as per a Chaos weapon, and it doesn't stack with a Chaos weapon. Garbage.
Combat Archery - you can shoot a bow without getting hit by attacks of opportunity.
Death of Enemies - ranger racism forces a save or die for any favored enemy they crit against.
Devastating Critical - as Death of Enemies, but for favored weapon against everyone.
Distant Shot - If you can see it, you can shoot it with no range modifiers.
Epic Weapon Focus - it's yet another +2 bonus to your favorite weapon type
Epic Weapon Specialization - +4 damage to your favorite weapon
Holy Strike - Chaos Weapon but for paladins, and doesn't stack with Holy weapons, like, say, the Holy Avenger. Double garbage.
Improved Aura of Courage/Despair - +8 on saves vs fear if paladin, -4 on victim saves if blackguard.
Improved Combat Reflexes - you get infinite Attacks of Opportunity in a round, but only once per target.
Improved Favored Enemy - +1 to the standard list of ranger racism rolls and damage.
Improved Manyshot - shoot as many arrows as you have Base Attacks
Incite Rage - when you rage, your allies can rage too (unless they don't want to).
Instant Reload - you fire a specific class of crossbow as fast as a bow.
Legendary Wrestler - +10 to using grapple.
Mobile Defense - Dwarven Defender can shuffle around 5ft at a time while doing their stance thing.
Mighty Rage - barbarian gets +8 str/con, +4 will saves while angry. That you cannot buy this feat multiple times makes you even more angry, but you don't get bonuses for that either.
Overwhelming Critical - more damage on critical hits with your favorite weapon type.
Penetrate Damage Reduction - all your attacks count as having +2 enhancement for overcoming damage reduction.
Ruinous Rage - raging barbarian ignores object hardness when hitting things, also doubles strength when doing the "break object" action. Pretty good if you need to smash out of an adamantine box or something.
Spellcasting Harrier - if you threaten a caster in melee, they take 1/2 your level on concentration checks to cast defensivly.
Storm of Throws - You can throw a light weapon at everyone within 30 feet.
Swarm of Arrows - Shoot everyone within 30ft in a single full-round action.
Terrifying rage - intimidate people who see you raging
Thundering Rage - your weapon is a Thundering weapon (does sonic damage and deafens) while you rage.
Two-weapon rend - damage bonus if you hit with two weapons
Uncanny Accuracy - you ignore cover when shooting
Unholy Strike - blackguard Holy Strike.
Widen Aura of Courage/Despair - bigger paladin/blackguard auras.

Multiweapon Rend - an epic feat for weird things with more than two arms (we will meet them later), for doing more damage when they hit with more than one weapon.
Perfect Multiweapon Fighting - drive everyone insane with dice rolls because you can make a full attack of full attacks with your multiple arms.


Monks get the least Bonus Feats at epic level. D&D hates monks.

Improved Ki Strike - +1 enhancement bonus to your unarmed fist attacks per feat slot.
Keen Strike - monk punches crit on 19-20 instead of 20.
Exceptional Deflection - You can deflect any ranged attack like the PHB Deflect Arrows power (including ranged touch attacks, like various wizard beams).
Reflect Arrow - deflected ranged attacks are reflected back at their sender.
Righteous Strike - Like Chaotic Rage and Holy Strike, your fists count as +2d6 lawful weapons vs chaotic creatures. Probably more useful for a monk than the other two.
Improved Stunning Fist - +2 to the DC of your monk stunning fist attack per feat slot.
Infinite Deflection - you can deflect an infinite number of ranged attacks, instead of just one per round.
Shattering Strike - use concentration skill instead of strength when doing the "break object" move.
Vorpal Strike - your unarmed attacks are vorpal (decapitates a target on a natural 20).

For when you're not under a continual flight effect.

Legendary Climber - you can climb at the same speed you move normally without penalty.
Legendary Leaper - your jumps are not restricted by height (just your Jump skill rank).
Legendary Tracker - you can track ANYTHING. Even if they're flying.
Legendary Rider - You can ride any kind of mount, bareback, with no penalty, and you never have to make Ride skill checks in battle to control your mount.


There's so much spellcaster bullshit, and remember, this is 3rd edition, where an unsaved disintegrate is an instant kill, Haste breaks the action economy and Harm drops a target to 1d4 hp on a failed save.

Improved Spell Capacity - each time you buy it, you get a spell slot one level higher than the highest level slot you already have. So, buy it twice and you unlock a 10th and 11th level spell slot. There are no 10th and 11th level spells, but you can use those slots to stack Metamagic Feats, so eventually you're slinging Maximized Heightened Empowered lightning bolts around (If you're a sucker). It also lets you use your high ability scores for even MORE bonus spell slots of that size.

Enhance Spell - In a surprising display of sanity, 3rd edition damage spells have a cap on the number of dice-per-level rolled for damage that increases by level of spell (So Fireball and Lightning Bolt cap out at 10d6, Cone of Cold does 15d6). This metamagic adds 10 to that cap by adding 4 to the level of the slot needed to hold that spell. Kind of a trap in 3rd edition, save or die is king.

Intensify Spell - Super maximize-empower metamagic, but instead of it being 1.5x more numbers on a spell per normal empower, it's 2x. And it specifically disallows combining it with other dice-trick metamagic, so no Enhancing. And it takes up a slot 7 levels higher. It's probably a trap option to use with attack spells, because Save or Die.

Improved Heighten Spell - Heighten Spell without that pesky 9th level limit. Take that 15th level spell slot, shove a disintegrate in and laugh as nobody can make the save against it.

Improved Metamagic - You know how Metamagic is limited by increasing the spell slot level? This lowers the amount that all your metamagics raise it by. By one level every time you take the feat. I'm not sure how this interacts with Heightening.

Epic Spell Focus - +6 to the save DC of whatever spell school you pick. Like Transmutation. Or Necromancy. Disintegrate and Finger of Death HARDER. Fortunate that you can't stack it, only pick a different school each time you pick it.

Epic Spell Penetration - +6 to the caster level check to overcome Spell Resistance. A must have.

Familiar Spell - Your familiar can use now use a single 8th level spell you know once a day. Why is your liabilityfamiliar not in a luxurious fortified extra-dimensional safe spot sipping mojitos at these levels? Why are you spending feats on this?

Automatic Silent, Still, QUICKEN Spell - for each time you pick one of these feats, your next 3 levels of spells automatically get that metamagic applied. You can buy this multiple times, so it stacks. Buying automatic quicken spell 3 times lets you cast any of your 9th level spells that qualify (that is, they take no more than a round to cast) as quickened spells. At least you only get one quickened spell a round and you can only quicken spells that take less than a round, but that's a pair of back-to-back Meteor Swarms, or two Wishes. Without needing Improved Spell Capacity to fit the metamagic on them. And automatic Silent and Still spells? Grapple rules can go in the trash where they belong, for the WIZARD WILL NOT BE BOUND! (what an asshole).

Multispell - Remember how I said "at least you only get one quickened spell a round?". Every time you take this Feat, you get ANOTHER QUICKENED SPELL A ROUND.

Improved Combat Casting - you don't get attacks of opportunity against you for casting in melee, making every Epic Rogue cry into their drink at all the free Sneak Attacks they will never get on you.

Ignore Material Components - Uh. Never need material components again. I think this also includes the expensive ones. That's the sound of the Cleric chain-casting True Resurrection.

Permanent Emanation - permanently have an emanation spell running. A quick flip through the PHB shows those are all divination stuff like Detect Magic/Detect Good, etc.

Spell Knowledge - mostly for Sorcerers and Bards, you get two more spells known.

Spell Opportunity - you can use touch spells as an attack of opportunity

Spell Stowaway - you pick a spell, and if someone else uses that spell, you get the spell applied to you.

Spontaneous Spell - you can convert prepared spells into one specific spell (like a cleric and cure spells, but for any caster).

Epic Spellcasting - Unlock access to EPIC SPELLS. Non-fullcasters need not apply. All of Chapter 2 is devoted to this subsystem, because of course it is.


Augmented Alchemy - Lets you make your alchemical item AoEs and DCs higher by making the alchemy check to make them harder. Wait, didn't we already have that in the skill? Who edited this crap? Well, at least this is obviously a Trap Option.

Additional Magic Item Space - Lets you wear more than the Regulation Amount Of Magic Items. One more of a specific class every time you take this feat, so 3 magic rings, or spend 4 feat slots to be able to wear 5 magic belts like some kind of Tetsuya Nomura character art.

Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Epic Rod, Epic Staff, Epic Wondrous Item, Epic Ring - Lets you craft +6 or higher items and all the shiny toys in Chapter 4, breaking the normal +5 limit.

Efficient Item Creation - Useful if you're holding strictly to craft time limits for magic items, because this is EPIC LEVEL where magic items can cost 1,000,000gp to make, and it normally takes a day per 1000 gold. This ups the rate to a day per 10000gp.

Master Wand/Staff - you can spend a spell slot to power a wand/staff without spending a charge from the item. This would be a useful trick... for a spellcaster 20 levels ago.


Beast, Dragon, Magical Beast, Plant, Vermin, Improved Elemental, Gargantuan, Colossal, Diminutive, Fine Wild Shape - Each of these feats adds a new option to Druid Wildshaping, which is a fuzzy mess at the best of times in 3rd edition (since it acts like Polymorph Self/Other, which is also a huge mess in 3rd edition). There's probably some really cheesy stuff you can get access to if you've memorized all the Monster Manuals and splatbooks.

Beast Companion hangs off Beast Wild shape (Beast being a slightly smarter animal by 3rd edition's typing system), letting you take a Beast instead of an Animal as a sidekick.


Improved Alignment-Based Casting - your good/bad/law/chaos (pick the one you have the domain for) spells are +3 caster level. Doesn't stack with the +1 from having the domain.
Negative Energy Burst - inflict negative levels on the living by doing the evil cleric rebuke undead.
Planar Turning - turn undead, but for Outsiders (angels, demons, etc).
Positive Energy Aura - makes weak automatic turn undead checks against everything without needing to spend a turn undead.
Spectral Strike - negate the automatic 50% miss chance that incorporeal creatures have. Requirements are low enough a Paladin could use this too.
Spontaneous Domain Access - you can convert prepared spells into domain spells, like the cleric cure conversion power.
Undead Mastery - command 10x your level hit-dice in undead.
Zone of Animation - use rebuke/command undead to make zombies or skeletons from corpses.

And that's all the Epic feats, but they helpfully reprinted a bunch of other non-epic Feats that are used as prerequisites from other sources - I think they're mostly from the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms sourcebook.

Next up: EPIC SPELLS oh boy

Epic Spells, Part 1

posted by Seatox Original SA post

Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook: NUMBER GO UP

Chapter 2: Epic Spells, Part 1

Epic Spells are what you get when you buy the Epic Spellcasting Feat.

They are part Ars Magica/Mage assemble-a-spell from concept and part Dungeons And Dragons Wizard Numberslam.

So, when you take the Epic Spell feat, the rules say you get One (1) Epic Spell Slot every 10 ranks your character has in either Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (divine) or Knowledge (nature), depending on your source of spells.

To even qualify for the Epic Spellcasting feat, you need to have 24 ranks in one of those skills and have the ability to cast 9th level spells. Any Wizard/Cleric/Druid worth their levels is probably going to have all that by level 20, no problem.

In theory, rules as written a Bard could stack the Improved Spell Capacity feat 3 times to get 9th level bard spells, or paladins and rangers could spend a huge pile of feats to eventually qualify, but this is unlikely because of the core flaws with 3rd edition's stats and skills system (Namely, nobody has the skillpoints or feat slots to do this and still be a viable character in their alloted niche).

If a character has multiple classes that satisfy the Epic Spellcasting requirements, they get a pool of Epic Spell Slots for each class (So, if a 22 Cleric/22 Wizard had the skillpoints to qualify both classes for Epic Sellcasting, they could have 2 Divine Epic Spell Slots and 2 Arcane Spell slots).

Epic Spell Slots are filled with spells (or per-day uses for sorcerers) the same way regular spells are, except for wizards they're not recorded in a spellbook, they're just part of the wizard.

Epic Spells are "developed", and like making magic items, they cost Gold, XP and Time. Given that, once developed, they're part of the spellcaster in a fundamental way and can't be stolen, locking up an Epic Wizard is no longer a matter of taking away their spellbook after you wear them out (And, as we'll soon see, chaining them up in an Antimagic field won't help either).

Casting an Epic Spell is actually a rare example of the Sorcerer actually having it flat out better than the Vancian Slot Casters, as there's no Metamagic Feats for Epic Spells (which cost the sorcerer extra time to apply to regular spells on the fly, while the Wizard/Cleric/Druid pre-bakes their metamagic when they memorize spells), so the Sorcerer can just pick from their Epic Spells on the fly and have no drawbacks.

One Step Fowards, One Step Back
In a rare moment of sanity, Epic Spells are not an automatic thing. Each Epic Spell has a Spellcraft DC, and to successfully cast that spell, the caster needs to make their skill roll - and if they fail, it fizzles. Casters can take-10 on the skill roll (But remember, you can't take-10 in any kind of stress situation), and you can't take-20.

There's a Varient Rule sidebar that points out that Wizards, being nerd INT casters, get a bonus on Epic Spellcasting because Spellcraft is an Int skill, and that you might want to let clerics, druids and sorcerers use their caster stats instead of Int on the Spellcraft roll for Epic Spellcasting. This doesn't exactly fix the other half-dozen problems with the D20 skill system, but it's nice they noticed.

The Antimagic, it does nothing!
There's also a sidebar that explicitly states that Epic Spells only partially affected by Antimagic Field, only supressing them if it succeeds on a dispelling check as a 20th level spellcaster - so a sufficiently Epic Spellcaster can just completly ignore Antimagic field by virtue of having 40 levels.

I could have sworn level 10 spells was a thing in one of the AD&D campaign option books
For situation where Spell Level matters, Epic Spells count as Level 10 spells - and their saving throw DC is 20+caster ability score modifier. You can't apply metamagic or other spell manipulation feats to Epic Spells, so the various +DC boosting tricks for normal spells don't work (No Spell Focus, or Spell Penetration, or other such shennanigans). To boost the +DC of an epic spell, you have to actually use the Epic Spell Development System (there's prices to be paid). This is shockingly reasonable given the bullshit spellcasters get away with under the regular system.

Finally, Epic Spells can't be shoved into regular magic items - and, despite everything in this book, there's no Major Artifact construction rules (just Epic Magic Item rules that render Artifacts pointless, because Epic Magic Items generally don't have "game balancing" curses attached to them).

Then we're onto the list of pre-baked Epic Spells, which are examples built from the rules that come after them.

And here's some we prepared earlier
The book has a table of example Epic Spells by DC, followed by their descriptions - if you've read a D20 spell ever, you've seen this sort of format before.

Here's the lowest DC example Epic Spell, Ruin


Spellcraft DC:27
Casting Time:1 full round
Target:One creature, or up to a 10-foot cube of nonliving matter
Saving Throw:Fortitude half
Spell Resistance:Yes
To Develop:243,000gp; 5 days; 9720 XP. Seed: destroy (DC 29). Factor: reduce casting time by 9 rounds (+18 DC). Mitigating factor: burn 2,000 XP (-20 DC)

You deal 20d6 points of damage to a single target within range and line of sight. If the target is reduced to -10 hit points or less (or a construct, object, or undead is reduced to 0 hit points), it is utterly destroyed as if disintigrated. Only a trace of fine dust remains.
XP Cost: 2000 XP.

I'd say it's "a slightly worse disintigrate", but this is 3rd edition, where Disintigrate is an instakill.

So, it's almost but not quite like 3.5ed disintigrate (3.5ed's does 40d6 at 20th level, but a save only does 5d6), but it costs you 2000 XP to cast, and you need 2.1 metric tonnes (2.4 imperial tons) of gold to actually develop it. Also, you can hit a target out to two miles away. It can be cast in an antimagic field into an antimagic field, and DC27 is really low for an Epic Spell (if you look at the To Develop line, you can see the outline of the development system).

Let's try something more brokenfun, Dragon Knight:


Dragon Knight
Conjuration (Summoning) [Fire]
Spellcraft DC:38
Casting Time:1 action
Effect:One summoned adult red dragon
Duration:20 rounds (D)
Saving Throw:None (see text)
Spell Resistance:No
To Develop:342,000gp; 7 days; 13680 XP. Seed: summon (DC 14). Factors: summon creature other than outsider (+10 DC), summon CR 14 creature (+24 DC), 1-action casting time (+20 DC). Mitigating factor: two additional casters contributing 8th-level spell slots (-30 DC).

This spell summons an adult red dragon. It appears where you designate and acts immediately. It attacks your opponents to the best of its abilities (on the first round it prefers to breathe fire on an enemy, if possible). You can direct the dragon not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or perform other actions. This is a ritual spell requiring two other spellcasters, each of which must contribute an unused 8th-level spell slot in the casting.

Wave hands, recieve a red dragon to crush your enemies (and remember, Dragons in 3rd edition break the Challenge Rating mould a bit). The "ritual spell" thing is class agnoistic - so clerics can contribute to wizard ritual Epic Spells. There's no XP cost to fire this thing off, just a couple of extra spell slots. DC38 is pretty easy to hit even at low Epic Levels, with a booster item and/or feat.

The rest of the sample spells go all the way up to the DC 419 Vengeful Gaze of God, which is like Ruin (and built from the same Seed), but deals 305d6 damage (Save for half!), and deals 200d6 points of damage to the caster as backlash. It also includes other examples such as "Origin of the Species: Archerai" (DC38, costs 3500XP a cast), for permanently creating a demon out of nothing, and "Rain of Fire" (DC50, no additional cost), which rains down 1 point of fire damage a round over a 2 mile radius for 20 hours.

Just from these few examples, you can get see how a clever player could exploit the hell out of the Epic Spell Development System. Rain of Fire will level a city if run strictly by rules, because elemental fire damage bypasses object hardness. Kiss your stone walls goodbye.

Next time: What the hell is a Spell Seed, and why do I need a moon made of gold?