How do you run level 11+ campaigns?

How do you run level 11+ campaigns?

How do you run level 11+ campaigns? I’m currently working on a compendium class with a friend that starts at level 5, but takes over as your base class. So level 5 wizard= level 1 lich. What kind of power does level 10+ heroes get? I mean, if you keep getting stat points as you level, you will RARELY fail,  which is why the system isn’t designed for super super long play, but what would you do if players still wanted to play their original character post level 10?

8 thoughts on “How do you run level 11+ campaigns?”

  1. Are moves still meaningful when powerful characters rarely fail? I think this is why the text recommends that 10+ level characters ‘retire’. Sure, the fiction can be dangerous, but a character with a +4 attribute is going to consistently come out unscathed. That sounds boring.

    If the player is really attached to this character, then how about it becomes an NPC that has an interesting effect on the story when the player’s new level 1 character comes into being? Or maybe the character will die before reaching level 10, taking care of that problem. :^)

  2. Tim B i haven’t run games at that high level before, so i’m shooting from the hip – but i think you could still make life interesting for a high level party.

    We don’t explore the scenes where a party of lower level characters use the restroom, grab a bite to eat, or run errands because those are boring encounters.  What we focus on in the fiction is when they delve a dungeon or cross swords with their enemies.

    You can assume that a level 11 The Lich doesn’t need to go dungeon delving, and is repeatedly attacked by run-of-the-mill adventurers on a weekly basis.  This is their “errand mode,”  so we can ignore those scenes.

    But what does The Lich do to challenge herself?  Is she amassing an army of undead?  Challenging a god?  Does she have a nation coming after her, or perhaps the Holy Order of Van Helsing has sent a cadre of elite lich killers?

    If you take a higher calibre of enemies after The Lich, they come prepared.  They know what a phylactery is.  They have wards against spells.  They have weapons that cut undead flesh to tattered ribbons.

     The Lich is too smart to beat at chess… but are they nimble enough to avoid a swarm of holy bees (DEX) when the inquisitor has dampened the Lich’s spell-slinging ability through holy intervention (WIS)?

    Extrapolate from that: challenge high-level characters with highly prepared, highly skilled enemies that have seen them rise above every other badass in the land.  These new enemies know the characters’ strengths, and are prepared to exploit their weaknesses. 

    Just keep in mind – the goal is to fill the characters’ lives with danger, NOT to “beat the players” – so if this slips into an arms race, you’re not playing according to your GM agenda any more.

  3. Andrew Fish, was that a reference? 😀

    Harrison s, the core rulebook offers other options, like taking on an apprentice, or changing classes. However, keep in mind ability scores can’t go higher than 18 (+3).

  4. Personally, if you want to up the challenge but make it still feel like a high level campaign, you could take things to 2 d10s for a standard roll instead of 2 d6s.

    When you roll 2 d10s…

    On a 9-, you fail.

    On a 10-15, you succeed at a cost.

    On a 16+, you do whatever you were trying to do, well.

    Stats are as normal, with 18 being a +3. Maybe consider allowing them to build up to a +4 at 20.

    But a +3 is going to make the average roll a 14. Still within the bounds of a partial success. Even if they still have a -1 on any of their rolls, they average a 10. The important thing is to have 2 d10s and not a d20, though, for the same reason Dungeon World is 2 d6s and not just a d12.

    I’d also make the fiction radically different. If the storyline they went through on the path to Level 10 was about destroying gods and saving the world, I’d bring it down and make it personal and gritty and dangerous. If it was a personal story, I’d bring Cthulhu in to break them down.

    Either way, I think it’d be a good way to scale up the difficulty for higher level progression.

    The one thing you’d have to focus on is what you’d want to do about spell level caps and Advanced Moves. Maybe have it that levelling only allows stat progression and compendium class selection when relevant?

  5. My impression is that DW hasn’t really got a standard way of handling high-level characters, but that one of it’s strongest suits as a game is that it’s really easy to customize and extend.  Compendium classes with difficult qualifications and powerful moves seem like the way I would go. 

    (Like, I’m not sure what your “Lich” compendium class says, but I wouldn’t have its trigger necessarily be based on level, but just “when you survive death by storing your own soul in a phylactery”, and make that really hard to do.  And then if you do it, you keep all the options and powers and moves of being a Wizard, but also gain the powers and moves of being a Lich.)

  6. colin roald I am actually just looking over it with one of my players. I think you’re right. And the prerequisites to being a lich is that you have to perform some unholy ritual that makes you undead. I do think that 10 levels on one character is definitely enough, but I was curious as to what people thought. And I do like the idea of just gaining more compendiums(or taking moves from compendiums) instead of continually leveling.

  7. David Foltz This is how I would handle it, too. Might let players move a point from one ability to another as they level, to model their shifting priorities? But I wouldn’t add any more points to the pool. Might let the xp requirement level out, lest it take forever to continue growing.

    That said, I’d also keep in mind that they’re “epic level” and let that inform how they activate the moves they have. Ability scores aren’t really about power or skill level, they’re about how good you are at making the approach represented by an ability work for you; a Fighter’s high Strength score can just as easily represent a diminutive Mr. Miagi type who is great at using leverage as it can a muscled-up Red Sonja style powerhouse. Likewise, you can be a genius in the fiction but still have a low Intelligence because you have trouble sorting through all the information in your head and are vulnerable to nerd-sniping.

    So, characters can still be treated as becoming more competent and powerful in the fiction as they level, even though their ability scores aren’t changing. Maybe the Fighter can rip a steel vault door off its hinges with Bend Bars, Lift Gates when at earlier levels that wouldn’t have flown. Or the Thief can Defy Danger (Dex) to dance through acid rain and avoid every drop now. You get the idea.

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