E6 – Because The First Six Levels Are The Best Anyway

This is old news, but I just came across a D&D 3e variant called E6 which is really clever, and is inspired by the classic Dragon Mag piece “Gandalf Was Only A Fifth Level Magic-User.”  Basically, it recognizes that a lot of the fun in D&D is at low levels and that the larger level spread causes a bunch of problems.  It works kinda like levels did back in 1e, where once you reach top level (6 in this case) you stop getting levels per se, but just more feats – so the power range always stays within a manageable band. The mightiest men are indeed total badasses compared to level one guys but can’t kill a whole country with impunity. I might have been tempted to do it up to level 9 or so instead, but it is a variant that I think would create a very interesting game that really executes on some modes of play much better.  Frankly I don’t like 3.5e/PF gameplay above level 10 myself. And come to think of it, the sixth level PCs in my Reavers campaign have ACs up to like 24 and can dole out 30+ points of damage a around – is there really a compelling reason to go up further from there?

He explains “why E6” better than I could in the post, you can also download the rules in PDF from the ENWorld thread or the E6 wiki.

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7 responses to “E6 – Because The First Six Levels Are The Best Anyway

  1. Great idea, I’d never heard of it. You make a pretty good point, once you pass a certain level, your characters are more equipped to rend reality asunder than to mow through a castle filled with orcs.

  2. I really would like to trie this in our 3.5 Forgotten Realms Campaign. I don’t see it happening, though.

  3. It’s funny you mention E6. I discovered it, much to my joy, at the end of October. I really like it.

    I am doing my current Pathfinder Freeport Pirate game using the E6 variant.
    http://wrathofzombie.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/gm-burnout-hits-everyone-how-im-dealing-with-it/

  4. It sounds like a really interesting concept. I am definitely one who most enjoys the low levels of play, so this really appeals to me.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. I remember reading that article on Gandalf back in 97 or so, when I bought a CD with all the old back issues of Dragon magazine.

    E6 is a cool idea and I’ve enjoyed the one E6 game that I played, but I don’t like how you’re not generally able to get much PrCs into that range, especially since many PrCs are quite bad at L1 to make up for their abilities later on.

  6. There is work being done on some of the different gaming forums that chenge prestige classes into prestige feat chains. You can still get the feel of, say, dwarven defender, by converting the class features into feats that have the prerequisites the class did. Then you chain the feats from there.

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