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Epic Level Handbook Hardcover – Jul 1 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (July 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786926589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786926589
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 2.1 x 28.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

ANDY COLLINS writes and edits roleplaying games for the Wizards of the Coast R&D department. He lives in Washington state.

BRUCE R. CORDELL, an Origins award-winning author, has written over a dozen products, including Return to the Tomb of Horrors and The Sunless Citadel. He lives in Washington state.

THOMAS M. REID has written numerous articles for Dragon Magazine, edited numerous RPG products, and written the Greyhawk novel The Temple of Elemental Evil. He lives in Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fist off, let me say that the Epic Level Handbook is well written and thought out, and gives great amounts of information on how to play your Dungeons & Dragons game up long past 20th level characters. The rules are clear and easy to follow. Overall, I suppose it's a really good book.
Perhaps it is my personal bias, but I am of the thought that characters that adventure past 20th level have something wrong with the world they live in. How is it possible, for example, for someone so powerful so as to fight great dragons before afternoon tea, to live in the same world as those people who struggle to keep the wild dogs from stealing their chickens? How would a character in this world rise above his or her station in life and find a career in adventuring, when there are beasts and other oppositions out there that are able to challenge the likes of Hercules and other larger-than-life figures? It doesn't make much sense, and tears away from the entire effect role-playing has to me: a believable fantasy world.
I am the sort of guy who believes that, no matter what level of skill and power a person attains, he can still be killed by a speeding bus.
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Format: Hardcover
A genuine gripe of Third Edition D&D was its tendency to create seriously powerful player characters who were (to use the phrase) "All powered-up with nowhere to go." Having climbed sunshine mountain, high level PCs were given little to do but build a stronghold and start writing their memoirs.
Well, put down the inkwell, Hrothgar, a 200 foot tall spider just ate half the city.
The Epic Level Handbook opens up a universe of possibilities for established heroes, and gives Dungeon Masters rules they can run with. Six chapters of pure brain candy, plus three crunchy Appendices to wash them down. Oh, this is the book your high level characters have been waiting for...
The book starts off with the character progression rules and Epic Prestige classes. The rules are straightforward, clean, and thoroughly explained. Full marks to the "Behind the Curtain" segments in this chapter - explaining the whys behind the rules is very important when your telling a 21st level barbarian why his base attack bonus will never increase again. Epic versions of the standard classes are provided (ho-hum), but new prestige classes (like the Agent Retriever) are also provided. These new additions provide not only new paths, but (more importantly) examples on how to make your own prestige classes. Custom classes can define campaign worlds as well as campaigns - and the tools provided here are the building blocks of anything you could want. I'll just mention one of the many Epic Feats: Permanent Emanation (make an emanation spell of yours permanent...ah the possibilities...).
The chapter on epic spells provides the rules for creating magic that does things that Archmages would sell their quasit for.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to laugh at the people who become offended and upset at the way another group of people they don't even know play a fantasy game. People are always going to play games differently. Some people put invisible men on base in backyard baseball. Some people play Monopoly with two boards or with $1 bills as $1000 dollar bills. Some people play Truth or Dare and lie. So people play D&D differently. Some gamers like to worry about a group of orcs over the rise, how long their rations will last and if the thief can make that roll to sneak into the orc camp. That's great. Those are fun games. Some folks like to charge into the dragon's cave with a character that barely has a name, and fight him tooth & sword down to the last hit point and haul out treasure heavier than they can carry if they survive. Those are fun games. Some people want to plot an elaborate take-over of the Planes of Hell with subterfuge, political intrigue and lots of discussio between players and DM. Those are fun games. They are all fun.
Epic level games are fun. They are different from low level games, and similiar as well. The way this book is presented a 21st level character is very similiar to a 1st level character. many of your current abilities don't count for a lot and you see a whole horizon of challenges with abilities far superior (ones that do matter!) I think this is a great system for story book type adventures (or movie adventures if you will), where the characters are quite formidable, but always challenged. The advancement for characters is good (with characters chosen feats providing their primary power and differentation from each other). It's possible to have to 40th level fighters who differ from another as much as a fighter and a wizard did at 1st level.
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Format: Hardcover
Now we finally know what's on the other side of the 20th-level wall.
This sourcebook, a mammoth tome if there ever was one, is all about D&D characters after 20th level. It includes character information, new magic, new items, advice on running epic-level games, new monsters, and a new campaign setting designed for epic-level play.
The heart of the book is the character section, detailing all sorts of options for people to try after 20th level. They've looked at classes, core *and* prestige (from DMG), and tried to find patterns to extrapolate from. Those that don't have easily extrapolable abilities get more feats than those that do. It does seem that they try to ignore some things...rogues, for example, get no more special abilities, though that's clearly a pattern starting at 10th level. They also include suggestions on how to advance other prestige classes not in the DMG.
Next, we have epic skills and feats. Well, the epic skill section is a list of new possible checks to make, such as the Balance DC-120 check to walk on a cloud. The epic feats are a mixed bag; some are really cool, others aren't. They do tend to assume that people play in a certain pattern...for example, druids are assumed to focus on shapeshifting, and clerics to focus on positive/negative energy channeling. It's written conservatively, with suggestions that if you want to change something, do so.
Next, we have epic spells and magic items. Epic spells require research and experience to create, and a Spellcraft roll to cast, but are often worth Nailed to the Sky, which puts the target in orbit, or Contingent Resurrection, which resurrects the target if s/he dies. Epic magic items are also interesting; most of the wondrous items and weapons are extrapolations from previous items (i.e.
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