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D&D 3E
17th-Jan-2009 10:14 pm
Has anyone found that you have a level that you prefer to run or play at (low, mid, high, epic)?  I'm finding I prefer the 6-10 range; the PCs are suitably mighty and heroic (or villainous, however you prefer), but neither does it get tied up with crazy modifiers.  I can see the appeal of a maximized meteor swarm, though (heh)...

What's your folk's opinion? 

P.S: On a tangent; those of you who prefer higher level games, how high have you gone?  I've dabbled at level 30, but no higher.
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19th-Jan-2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Arcane Archer FTW. I played an elven rogue 13/wizard 20/godawful multiclassed to hell and back fighter2/wu jen 1/I don't even remember what else...with two levels of Arcane Archer. Because Imbue Arrow is great, but the rest of the special abilities are just...meh.

That's the only campaign I've ever gone epic in, though. (Aside from one-shots which rapidly devolved into silliness, that is!) :-)
18th-Jan-2009 09:19 am (UTC)
It really depends what I'm in the mood for. As much as 4.0 doesn't appeal to me, they really hit the nail on the head with the "tier" thing - I like 5th for that "starting-out adventurer" feel, 10th for "we're on a mission and we know what we're doing", and 15th for "heroes creating a legend".

I've only had one campaign that really broached the epic barrier, and I don't think I liked it that much. The powers and numbers really overwhelmed the character/plot stuff.
18th-Jan-2009 10:01 am (UTC)

One of the campaigns my group runs (we generally rotate through DMs, sometimes we rotates toons in and out, and sometimes we do completely different stuff...) but the main group (which is affectionately called "The Innkeepers" due to my toon winning an Inn in a Dice Game, and the group decided to franchise it). We started that group at Level 2, and they are now at 21, which sadly is the part where it is either fighting Gods or creating Empires...

But generally, we start groups anywhere from levels 2-8, depending on if we have a newbs or not.
18th-Jan-2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
I actually really like the 1-6ish level range, which might be that I like starting out games at level 1 and watching the PCs progress. I just started a game to do the 6-12 range (at least that's my intention), which is fun because it gives the PCs a bit more options and things can get weirder.

I played in one game in the 9-13ish range, and most of the problems with higher level play started to come out: combat took 3 hours for 3 rounds of actions because everyone and their pets had multiple attacks and complex actions and random spells that had to be looked up and so on. But there were some other issues with that game, so it might not have just been the level range.

I once played a one-shot at level 18, that was absolutely horrible. I don't think I'd ever want to play at that level again (especially not starting there, it might be better if the PCs work up to it). And for what it's worth, I tend not to plan characters out beyond level 12 or so.
18th-Jan-2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
I've done the 1-6 range so many times in 3.5 that I never, ever want to do it again.

Then again, I'm not sure I ever want to play 3.5 again. 4E is too awesome.
19th-Jan-2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
I keep playing 3.5 to try out all the tome of Battle/PHB2 classes I never got to try. Probably those since they're closer conceptually to 4e rules than core.
18th-Jan-2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
The concept of "tiers" in D&D (4e, that is) was never anything new to me. The game has enough crunchy bits to it to actually give itself a tier system if you just look at certain benchmarks.

Levels 1-5: Novice. Basic combat ability, low hp/AC/saves, spells few and far between. Opening benchmarks: Magic Missile, Cure Light Wounds, Heavy armor as treasure, etc. Scope is limited to dungeon crawls, localized questing and so forth.

Levels 6-10: Journeyman. Now fighting classes get multiple attacks, area of effect spells such as Fireball become useful, and you start seeing things like Teleport and Raise Dead before the end. Scope has expanded now to include a greater part of the countryside.

Levels 11-15: Heroic. Benchmark spells include Blade Barrier, Delayed Blast Fireball, Limited Wish and various Symbol Spells. Travel is less of an issue because of magic items and that most common hazards on the road aren't even a threat to the fighters. Now the scope can involve the whole of nations.

Levels 16-20: Legendary. Fighting classes can take tremendous odds on head first and win. Wizards can stop time, Clerics can perform Miracles. If they haven't been to other Planes before, they will be at this stage.

Levels 21+: Epic. Goes without saying.

Now getting back on topic, my favorite range to play is the Journeyman/Heroic phase. DMing, it's Heroic. But for it's important to grow into that. That's why I always start a campaign at first level. It's enjoyable to watch a party figure out what they can and can't do in those first few "shakedown" levels...

19th-Jan-2009 03:05 am (UTC)
Well, I've grown so tired of low levels that both I and my regular GM have taken to starting characters in our games at 3rd level. For me, I'd have to say 5+ is when characters start to get interesting, as they actually begin to feel competent. Prestige classes start opening up, and the fights are more interesting and challenging than just mowing through kobolds and other half-HD things.
19th-Jan-2009 10:59 am (UTC)
Ugh, we've never started a game at flat-out level one. At some point, I saw a premade where some of the normal town NPCs had like, 2-3 levels in Merchant or some lame NPC class, and I realized - the only people who should ever have ONE class level are teenagers who sneak off on weekends to kill especially threatening-looking badgers. Anyone who owns/defends a farm/store/brothel shouldn't have a chance of being wiped out by sewer rats.
19th-Jan-2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
Or housecats!

I can understand the appeal of starting as novices and growing into heroes, in the right kind of campaign and with the right kind of storyteller running the game. I recall one game I played in back when we were playing 2nd ed where all the characters were townspeople with working professions who had to become adventurers when the town was destroyed, and that was actually a really interesting game. But after the 20-millionth time going through the first three levels, it definitely loses its appeal, and characters don't really hit their stride until around 6th or 7th level. :>
19th-Jan-2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
THAT is a really cool game idea. I might have to steal it.
22nd-Jan-2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
Just so long as you don't end playing the town or village's tanner, with the ability to cast "Stinking cloud" at will centered on yourself. ;)
28th-Jan-2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Part of the problem I've seen with starting a mid-level like that centers around party cohesion.

Even if I've played with a group for years, there's always that "shakedown" period as they familiarize themselves with their characters. They need the first few sessions to figure out their character's personality, what they can/can't do, how the two co-releate, how the work as part of the group, etc. That's part of the reason why first level works so well for me. Plus I liken it to a proving ground. First level, when played out properly, offers great tension for players when the fights break out because their character's inexperience is part of the risk factor. If you can establish that early in a campaign, then it tends to carry through to higher level play.
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