The Epic Legacy Player’s Guide, by 2CGaming, is a digital supplement devoted to providing Epic-level content for PC’s in a Fifth Edition campaign. Alongside other content produced and in development, 2CGaming is currently running a Kickstarter Campaign for the Epic Legacy Core Rulebook(As of the day before I began writing this article, the project has reached its funding goal!), whose contents will contain the Epic Legacy Player’s Guide as well as a compilation of the material for storytellers available on the 2CGaming website, plus new content which will be exclusive to the upcoming Core Rulebook.
The Epic Legacy Player’s Guide is gorgeous as a PDF and undoubtedly would look even better as a print book. The layout is elegant, clean, and consistent, and clearly arranged with the intent of seeing a print release someday.
Each class receives a full-page spread before mechanical details, and most of the PDF’s text is readable at a glance. Occasionally, it can be hard to discern class features from individual entries in lists such as the totems for the Path of the Totem Warrior, in which case larger headings for subclass or class feature names would be extremely helpful. While reading this supplement, a reader will find it beneficial to rely on the search functions of their PDF reader.
One of the downsides of the intent to provide a full spread for each class entry, however, is that a tiny number of pages needed to remain blank to keep the these spreads’ page numbers from becoming misaligned. This extra space might be occupied by making larger headings for class features, or, budget permitting, perhaps by some additional art of a member of an Epic Prestige Class.
Beyond Level Twenty
Before going too far in the review, it’s important to note the unique niche in which the Epic Legacy Player’s Guide rests – Epic Legacy focuses exclusively on providing a new play space for Fifth Edition. Instead of expanding 5E content within the traditional character levels 1-20, 2CGaming aims to extend games into levels 21-30, much like Fourth Edition’s Epic Tier of play or 3.5’s Epic Level rules.
How your game enters this space is entirely up to you, but there are some caveats which a storyteller should consider. If you begin your campaign early, within regular levels, it’ll be much easier for players to get started, but will take a considerable amount of time to reach the purview of this supplement’s content. If you begin your campaign at Level 21, to immediately take on the contents of this supplement, you will undoubtedly have to go through a lengthy process to prepare character sheets for a game and have to ensure that all of the players are decently familiar with all of their classes’ features.
As a compromise, to smoothly transition from vanilla Fifth Edition to a campaign featuring Epic Legacy content to a group of players, I would recommend the following to a Storyteller: Run an inaugural adventure at level 5 or 10 to ensure that each player becomes familiar with the core gameplay of their intended class, followed by a quick adventure at level 20 to illustrate to the players the gameplay of their base class at its pinnacle. After completing a level 20 adventure, you can narrate some brief vignettes following the prerequisites to enter each player’s Epic Prestige Class.
Additionally, a player should know going into Epic Legacy gameplay that the supplement is designed without multiclassing in mind as the myriad possibilities if one were to enter into a second or even third class are beyond the scope of the system’s design. The supplement offers suggestions for a Storyteller to houserule a solution and trade low-level class features in for higher-level ones, but this process feels like slow bartering for class features which a character likely shouldn’t have.
Epic Prestige Classes
The 12 base classes are each expanded by ten levels in a Prestige Class, formatted much like Wizards of the Coast’s single “published” Prestige Class, the Rune Caster. Each class has not only a prerequisite of 20 levels in a given class but also requires a character to undergo a particular quest or ritual to ascend to Epic gameplay. For instance, the Ravager must spend an entire year and a day in a blind rage, living in the wilderness as a savage beast, and culminate this rage in a feat of unfathomable strength, or the Ascendant must collect a holy relic, a memento of their god’s time as a mortal. Some of these prerequisites could be handled in regular gameplay, such as the Ascendant’s quest, but others, such as the Ravager or Primordial, are not well-suited to “on-screen” activity. Each story prerequisite is a flavorful addition to a campaign, though, whether they happen at the game table or are narrated between sessions. Below are brief high-level summaries of the mechanical features of each of the classes.
- The Ravager, the Epic Barbarian, gains points from taking damage while Raging, which can be used to execute potent maneuvers in combat.
- The Truespeaker, the Epic Bard, uses Truespeech skill checks to produce magical effects without a hard limit, but as they do so, it becomes gradually more difficult to manifest these effects.
- The Ascendant, the Epic Cleric, wields a Divine Spark to restore spell slots and as a limited resource to invoke Epic Magic.
- The Primordial, the Epic Druid, permanently invests Evolution points to further refine its class features between Evolved Wild Shape, Evolved Spellcasting, or joining its very life force with an ally through Evolved Communion.
- The Dreadnought, the Epic Fighter, learns Combat Stances which produce passive bonuses as well as allow a Dreadnought to utilize Epic Attacks, such as a wrathful suplex dealing Force damage or a strike which siphons arcane energy from a target.
- The Ascetic, the Epic Monk, continues to develop the use of their Ki, gaining the ability to replenish it during a fight, shorten the usage time of Ki ability to a Bonus Action, expend Ki to produce additional Bonus Actions in a given turn, and master the Seven Sided Strike, a Ki ability which allows an Ascetic to deliver Melee attacks even at a range.
- The Crusader, the Epic Paladin, gains the usage of Sanctified Actions, limited Actions obtained at the start of each of its turns which can be expended for additional attacks and later for spells, as well as an expanded spell list which progresses to 9th level spells as the Crusader reaches 30th level.
- The Slayer, the Epic Ranger, gains Slayer Dice from damaging its Favored Enemies. These Slayer Dice can be spent to improve damage to a target, reduce damage dealt by a Favored Enemy, increase the save DC of a spell, or to avoid expending a spell slot.
- The Grifter, the Epic Rogue, uses its skill proficiencies to perform Grifts, special powers which “cheat” reality itself, producing effects such as reorienting one’s personal gravity or severing a target’s attunement to a magical item.
- The Archon, the Epic Sorceror, develops further into Metamagic, mastering all normal metamagic options and gaining Epic Metamagic such as Eternal Spell, which extends a spell’s duration indefinitely.
- The Overlord, the Epic Warlock, begins to conquer its patron entity, developing Epic Invocations, which usually come at a steep social Commission such as carving a permanent eye into your forehead or being perceived as a conniving murderer, or a mechanical price such as losing access to a Warlock spell slot.
- The Archmage, the Epic Wizard, delves into the fundamental nature of magic, learning to cast two non-epic spells at once and learning the deeper secrets of the schools of magic through Arcane Mysteries, which have capstone features which grant unique epic spells.
One of the more difficult considerations for magic at such a grand scale are ways to exceed the limits of standard magic without being “I throw [element]” and then dealing obscene amounts of damage or, “Think of anything you want – it happens.” Thankfully, there are a wide variety of spells available in three Epic Tiers for classes capable of executing Epic magic, ranging in simplicity from spells such as Magic Bullet(a simple missile spell which deals a large amount of inescapable Force damage) to Necrotic Cyst(a spell which inflicts a target with a cyst which can be transformed for a variety of effects).
The Epic Legacy Player’s Guide introduces a handful of new conditions meant to pose significant challenges to Epic characters. Unlike normal status conditions, these Epic Conditions usually have no means of being removed other than waiting them out, as they are designed to have a significant impact on a player’s tactical decisions in combat.
The Epic Legacy Player’s Guide stretches far beyond Fifth Edition’s usual purview and does so in a natural way without treading on the vanilla system’s toes, for the most part. My biggest lamentation when reading the book is that there are no “generic” options to allow a multiclass character to enter Epic gameplay, despite the final ten levels of each class being modeled as Prestige classes. Considering that multiclassing traditionally comes at the expense of late-game powers or features, though, I’m not sure how viable it would be for balance offhand, but I would enjoy seeing at least one martial and one caster option which multiclass characters at 20th level could enter.
Regarding overall recommendation, the Epic Legacy Player’s Guide is high on the list – for a reasonably low price, the supplement provides a lot of game options not currently offered by any other product(other than a small aside in the DMG), which are incredibly robust in their execution. However, the unique nature of 2CGaming’s epic gameplay will require both players and Storytellers to know their game will enter this high-level space in order to get any mileage from their contents.
As a final note, it is important to reiterate that the contents of the Epic Legacy Player’s Guide, along with their other Epic-level content, will also be contained within 2CGaming’s currently-ongoing Kickstarter for the Epic Legacy Core Rulebook. As with all Kickstarter campaigns, success is never 100% guaranteed, but 2CGaming’s track record is quite impressive, having already successfully delivered the products of three campaigns. At the $16 pledge level and up, backers can receive a digital copy of the completed Core Rulebook, which, at a lower price for even more content, is arguably the better buy.
Reviewer’s Note: Ryan Servis of 2CGaming was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of the Epic Legacy Player’s Guide.