This is just an exploration of ideas that are already out there, in an effort to create a game with familiar rules and a different feel. It borrows heavily from Ryan Stoughton’s E6: The Game Inside the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game, and numerous other sources.
- Character level is unlimited, but class levels are capped, based on what kind of character you are.
a. Mooks are limited to 3rd level. These may well be professionals, but they are no one of importance.
b. Veterans are capped at 4th level. Veterans are Mooks who have accomplished a lot, and are a step above. Veterans may be sergeants, old soldiers, experienced burglars, knights, students of great promise, or highly skilled craftsmen.
c. Notables are limited to 5th level. Notables are a cut above the rank-and-file of even experienced characters. These may be guild leaders, captains of the guard, city champions, lieutenants to major heroes or villains, and so on.
d. Heroes are limited to 6th level, and the people stories are told about and who get hired by cities to slay dragons and end curses.
e. Legends are limited to 7th level and are, well, the stuff of legends.
“Typical” campaigns will start characters at 3rd, allow them to advance to 6th normally, and then
- When a character’s level exceeds his class level, he gains +2 hp and +1 bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites, and if his levels are all in one class (such as fighter) he gets to treat his character level as his class level to meet these prerequisites.
- Bonuses by Level, from Pathfinder Unchained, are in use.
- There is no assumed wealth by level. Non-consumable magic items require rare and dangerous materials to craft, and are almost never for sale. If you get a magic item, you’ll actually be *better* at the area it boosts, rather than requiring it just to keep up. Magic treasure is rare, and many creatures won’t have much wealth… though gold may actually be more plentiful in big adventures, since it doesn’t equate to combat power.
- Because the range of attack numbers are much more tightly clumped (base attack bonuses only go from +1 to +6 in most games), instead of roll 1d20 for attacks, skills, saves, checks, and so on, 2d10 are rolled. This produces more average numbers more often. Critical threat ranges for all weapons are increased by 1 AFTER all other adjustments. (So a battleaxe is 19-20, x3, and a keen battleaxe is 81-20, x3).
- Monsters are also capped by effective CR, though in most cases this is a hard cap of CR 7 (though legendary monsters can go up to CR 11… an epic fight for a group of legendary heroes). When a monster exceeds this CR (such as ) it takes the Target Monster Statistics by CR (from the Bestiary) for its CR cap, and it brought down to those levels. For every +1 CR it normally exceeds its CR cap, it gains 1 bonus feat, +2.5 hp, +1 to primary attack and average damage, and +.5 to AC, all saves, secondary attacks, average secondary damage, save DCs. It’s CMB and CMD are reduced by an amount equal to what its primary attack is reduced.
For example a typical Dire Crocodile is not legendary, and thus has a CR cap of 7. Since it’s actually CR 9, its statistics are restricted to the target numbers for CR 7, plus adjustments for being CR 9. It’s hp go down to 90 (85 for target CR 7, +5 for 2 cr beyond that), it’s AC stays at 21 (20 for CR 7, +1 for 2 CR beyond), it’s bite goes down to +15 (+13 for CR 7 target, +2 for +2 CR beyond) and 3d6+14 (32 average, no improved crit), tail slap +11/ 4d8+5 (average 23), death roll and swallow whole also 4d8+5, CMB +23, CMD 33.
Of course this still means even a non-legendary adult red dragon (CR 14) is incredibly dangerous, with an AC of 23 and six attacks, even if the primary is restricted to +20 and low attacks to +13 (though in its case, damage doesn’t change), and a breath weapon that deals 5d10 (DC 20 for half).