Psh. I read a post over at Asparagus Jumpsuit and would have totally commented but comments were disabled for some reason. So this will be a post instead.

Asparagus Jumpsuit
Link: Pondering E6

Since this is a post instead of a comment, I’m not really going to address or reply to the original post. It’s linked so you can read it if you want, but I’ll probably wander off in a different direction. I get lazy when I talk to myself.

I read an article some time back that referenced something Gary Gygax had written about the insanity of games going beyond 14th level. Or maybe it was someone else talking about something Gygax had said.

Whatever. I don’t care. Hearsay, hearsay, hearsay.

I think I kind of get it — whoever said it. From what I’ve gotten from skimming B/X, “heroic fantasy” seems to end around 14th level before switching genres. I could even see why Gygax might prefer D&D stick to dungeon-crawling — he already played war games, what need was there for another? (Chainmail?)

Interestingly, this genre-switching persists across editions.

In 1e, that switch seems to occur around 14th level when it moves into the “C” of the BECMI rules. I don’t have enough information about 2e but I don’t doubt it’s there as well. In 3e, the switch occurs around 6th/7th level.

My observation of 3e is based on the existence of the e6 Movement.

This same genre-switch occurs around 10th level in 4e, when the PCs advance from the Heroic tier to the Paragon tier. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so… Information about the game changing genres is present in the 4e DMG — er, however I think it’s covered in greater detail in the DMG2.

This is an idea I’ll be exploring in greater detail as I read through the material in BECMI — right now I’m hypothesizing that differences in level are probably just that — differences in the numbers. I think the scope is constant.

“Heroic tier” 1e / 3e / 4e
Levels 1-14 / 1-7 / 1-10

“Paragon tier” 1e / 3e / 4e
Levels 15-25 / 8-13 / 11-20

“Epic tier” 1e / 3e / 4e
Levels 26-36+ / 14-20+ / 21-30

The terms for the tiers above are based on the terminology used for 4e. As an aside, 3e gets pretty ludicrous beyond 20th level, so I’m tempted to call it an “even different-er tier” rather than labeling it “epic.”

What does this mean to you and your game?

Very little. Just something to ponder.