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E6 (3.5e Sourcebook)/Rules

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Character progression from level 1 to level 6 is as per d20. Upon attaining 6th level, for each 5000 experience a character gains, they earn a new feat. A diverse selection of feats should be made available in any E6 campaign, however, feats with unattainable prerequisites under this system remain unattainable.

For the purpose of experience awards, treat each 5 feats as +1 CR (or level), to an upper limit of 20 feats. After this, it becomes more and more difficult to bring all a character’s feats to bear in a given situation; although they continue to gain feats, 6th level characters with more than 20 feats can continue to be treated as if they were level 10 for experience and challenge purposes.

Monsters and Items in E6 Edit

Just as level 6 parties in d20 aren’t expected to tangle with monsters higher than CR 10, the mighty monsters of E6 require special consideration for presentation in-game. E6 characters aren't intended to go up against high-level d20 threats under the same circumstances as high-level d20 characters; those creatures, if they are beatable at all, require the kind of resources and planning far beyond the typical d20 dungeon encounter.

In terms of raw rules, CR 7-10 monsters are an excellent guide for what 6th level characters can handle. As a party approaches 6th level plus 20 feats, that range also increases, and PCs are able to fight monsters with base CRs in the range of CR 9 to 12, or larger groups of lower-level monsters. If a campaign continues beyond this point (and congratulations, because that’s a lot of gaming) a GM should take monsters in the CR 7-12 range and use feats (and to a lesser extent templates) to advance them. Hit die or class-based advancement beyond CR 12, or base monsters above CR 12 should generally be avoided as straight-up fights in any E6 campaign.

Of course, not every monstrous encounter is a straight-up fight. For example, insane horrors from another age might be a reason to run, and there is little a character could do in the face of an angry Titan. But these situations don’t call for direct confrontation, except with some special resource or amazing circumstance. Perhaps, in a special ritual with the presence of 20 mages, a Titan can be bound to the mortal realm (lowering its stats to a Hill Giant with the spells of a 6th-level sorcerer), with whom the players can do battle. Again, that's far from a straight-up fight with a CR 20 creature, but we can console ourselves with the fact that it's probably a very memorable encounter.

Items follow a similar approach. If, as a result of the restrictions on items, an item cannot be created, then it should not be distributed as normal treasure. Like high-level monsters, such items should be placed carefully and built to make sense in the context of your game. For example, a +4 sword is an amazing artifact in this setting, perhaps even made by the gods: It's a sword no mortal could make.

Races With Level AdjustmentEdit

If you use races with a level adjustment, the 6th level cap is a big issue. Use the point buy rules in the DMG as follows:

Point Buy According to LA
LA Point Buy
+0 32
+1 25
+2 18
+3 10
+4 0

Thus, +LA races should start with zero LA, but use the point buy listed here. Keep in mind the difference between LA and racial hit dice (the two combine to give starting ECL).

If a +LA race still has +1 LA left over, refer to the Reducing Level Adjustments section of the d20 SRD.

For the GM Edit

E6 isn’t just a change for the players: Monsters are presented differently than in d20. Just as level 6 parties in the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game aren’t expected to tangle with monsters higher than CR 10, the mighty monsters of E6 require special consideration for presentation in-game. E6 characters aren’t intended to go up against high-level threats under the same circumstances as high-level characters; those creatures, if they can be defeated at all, require the kind of resources and planning far beyond the typical encounter.

In terms of raw rules, CR 7-10 monsters are an excellent guide for what E6 characters can handle. As they rise to around the 20-feat range, the range is more like 7-12. Beyond that, a DM should take monsters in the CR 7-12 range and use feats (and to a lesser extent templates) to advance them. Hit die or class-based advancement beyond CR 12, or base monsters above CR 12 should generally be avoided as straight-up fights.

Of course, not every monstrous encounter is a straight-up fight. For example, insane horrors from another age might be a reason to run, and there is little a character could do in the face of an angry Titan. But these situations don’t call for direct confrontation, except with some special resource or amazing circumstance.

Perhaps, in a special ritual with the presence of 20 mages, a Titan can be bound to the mortal realm (lowering its stats to an Aspect of Kord), with whom the players can do battle. Again, that’s far from a straight-up fight with a CR 20 creature, but we can console ourselves with the fact that it’s probably a very memorable encounter.

If, as a result of the normal restrictions on magic item creation, an item cannot be created, then it should not be distributed as normal treasure. Like high-level monsters, such items should be placed carefully and built to make sense in the context of your game. For example, a +4 sword can’t be made by a human wizard, but it could be crafted by a Titan (which makes for great god-stats). That’s a sword that no mortal can make.

E6 will always inherit d20’s balance issues at the same level, especially issues that result from scenarios where characters have long periods of downtime. The best approach is to be cognizant of these issues when considering what feats to allow in your E6 game.

Spells Edit

For specific spells that you want in your game, you have several options.

  1. Make a feat for it. (See examples in the Feats section.)
  2. Allow one-shot items (like Scrolls or Potions) to be created after a certain amount of researching/questing. The one-shot item is treated like a treasure award with the standard d20 price tag.
  3. Use the Ritual Casting rules variant from Unearthed Arcana.

It gives you a flavored, GM-moderated way with inherent limiters to include higher level spells into the game.

New and Modified Spells for E6 Edit

Cone of Cold

Change to 3rd level with 10d6 cap.

Acid Blast

Conjuration (Creation) [Acid]
Level: Sorcerer/wizard 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect: One blast of acid
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

An orb of acid about 3 inches across shoots from your palm at its target, dealing 1d6 points of acid damage per caster level (maximum 10d6). You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit your target.

On Allowing Feats Edit

There are 3 philosophies on what feats to allow in an E6 game, each more generous than the last:

  1. The Cautious Approach
  2. The Gestalt Approach
  3. The Lean Upward Approach

The Cautious Approach is exactly what it sounds like – a GM chooses what feats to allow in his E6 game very, very carefully. This GM does not make exceptions or new feats to accommodate player character concepts - he chooses what feats to allow and the players agree to work within that framework.

The Gestalt Approach dictates that if a given ability can be learned under 6th level, then it’s learnable via some chain of feats. The Gestalt Approach usually means all WotC sources are available, as well as a few extra feats to provide ways to learn class features. These can be done on an ad-hoc basis for a given player or they can be gathered from sources like the Book of Unusual Feats. The Gestalt theory is the one used in play-testing.

The Lean Upward Approach looks at the Gestalt Approach and says “6th level plus many feats is clearly more powerful than 6th level. Thus, it won’t be game-breaking to allow feat chains that bring characters from 6th level to 8th level, although this progression should be quite slow.” GMs who like the Lean Upward approach might have feats to bring BAB to +8, or to gain 4th level spells, or 8th level class features, additional hit dice, and so on.

Extra Feats Edit

There several philosophies on what feats to allow in an E6 game, but in any long-running E6 game some expansion feats should be made available for players to continue to grow their characters in different ways.

Which feats you allow depends on what you want for your own game. Some GMs want to encourage single-classing, others are happy to tell their players to work within a framework, choosing only those feats that match the style of their campaign. Some want to see more gestalt-style characters and allow feat chains towards specific classes’ abilities. Many GMs make a real-world decision, allowing feats from publishers they trust, or all feats from the books the GM owns. The original E6 campaign allowed feats on an ad-hoc basis; players were encouraged to develop various aspects of their characters rather than linear power, but were allowed to suggest feats if they couldn’t find something that worked in the available rules. Ultimately, the decision on what feats to allow belongs to the GM, and should naturally vary from one E6 campaign to the next.

All of these feats should be considered suggestions – each E6 game is different and it is always up to the individual GM what they want to allow.

Barbaric Resilience [Capstone]
Prerequisite: Barbarian level 6th
Benefit: You gain DR 1/-

Bardic Inspiration [Capstone]
Prerequisite: Bard level 6th
Benefit: The bonus granted by your inspire courage ability increases to +2.

Craft Rod [Item Creation]
Change caster level requirement from 9th to 6th.

Craft Staff [Item Creation]
Change caster level requirement from 12th to 6th.

Excelling Flurry [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Monk level 6th.
Benefit: You use Flurry of Blows with no penalty to your attack bonus. In addition, you qualify for feats that a Monk may take as 6th level bonus feats.

Expanded Casting
Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose a spellcasting class in which you have levels. You gain an additional spell slot for that class at any one level you can already cast.

Expanded Knowledge
Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose a spellcasting class in which you have levels. You gain an additional spell known from that class's spell list at any level you can cast.

Extra Domain Access [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Wis 18 +, Cleric level 6, Knowledge (religion) 9 ranks, Extra Domain Power, Skill Focus: Knowledge (religion)
Benefit: You gain access to the domain spell list of one additional domain associated with your deity. This domain must be the same one as that chosen for the Extra Domain Power feat. You may only take this feat once.

Extra Domain Power [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Wis 18 +, Cleric level 6, Knowledge (religion) 9 ranks, Skill Focus: Knowledge (religion)
Benefit: You gain the domain power of one additional domain associated with your deity. You may only take this feat once.

Forge Ring [Item Creation]
Change caster level requirement from 12th to 6th.

Holy Strikes [Capstone]
Prerequisite: Paladin level 6th.
Benefit: Your melee attacks are considered good for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Improved Extra Invocation [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Extra Invocation
Benefit: You gain a new invocation of the best type you can cast.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, but not more times than you have taken Extra Invocation.

Magical Talent
Prerequisites: Ability to cast spells.
Benefit: Treat your key casting ability score as though it were four higher for the purpose of bonus spells. This applies to only a single class that you choose when you take this feat.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. It stacks with itself.

Martial Veteran [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Fighter level 6th.
Benefit: You may select feats with a requirement of up to fighter level 8, and with a Base Attack Bonus requirement of up to +8.
Special: A fighter may select Martial Veteran as one of his bonus feats.

Mighty Wild Shape [Capstone]
Prerequisite: Druid level 6
Benefit: Choose 1 Large animal. You can wild shape into that animal, subject to all normal wild shape restrictions other than size.

Open Minded [General]
You are naturally able to reroute your memory, mind, and skill expertise.
Benefit: You immediately gain an extra 5 skill points. You spend these skill points as normal. If you spend them on cross-class skills they count as ½ ranks. You cannot exceed the normal maximum ranks for your level in any skill.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time, you immediately gain another 5 skill points.

Psionic Body [Psionic]
The hit points you gain from this feat cannot exceed two times your psionic class's key manifesting ability score modifier. If you have multiple psionic classes or key ability scores, use your highest key ability score to determine your benefit from this feat.

Psionic Talent [Psionic]
Prerequisites: Ability to manifest powers.
Benefit: Treat your key casting ability score as though it were four higher for the purpose of bonus PP. This applies to only a single class that you choose when you take this feat.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. It stacks with itself.

Restoration [Spell]
Prerequisites: ability to cast 3rd level divine spells, Wisdom 18, Healing 9 Ranks
Benefit: You can use Restoration as the spell (paying the material component) once per day with a casting time of 1 hour.

Roguish Ability [Capstone]
Prerequisite: Rogue level 6th.
Benefit: You learn one rogue special ability.

Skill Beyond Your Years
Prerequisites: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose a skill that is a class skill for you. Your maximum ranks in that skill increases from Character Level plus 3 to Character Level plus 6.

Skill Knowledge [General]
You gain access to new knowledge and abilities.
Benefit: Choose any two skills from one of your current classes’ skill lists. You now know these skills as class skills.
Special: Instead of choosing two class skills, you may choose one cross-class skill (whether you already know it or not) and learn it, treating it as a class skill from that point forward.

Step of the Wild Lands [Capstone]
Prerequisites: Ranger level 6th
Benefit: You gain the Woodland Stride and Swift Tracking class abilities.

Stone to Flesh [Spell]
Prerequisites: 6th level, ability to cast 3rd level arcane spells, Intelligence 18, Craft (Alchemy) 9 Ranks
Benefit: You can use stone to flesh, as the spell, with an expensive and secret magical ingredient with a market value of 1000 gp and a casting time of 1 day.

Swift Metamagic
Prerequisite: Metamagic feats (see below), Caster Level 6th
Benefit: When you take this feat, select a metamagic feat you possess. Once per day, you may apply this metamagic feat to a spell you cast with no adjustment to the level of the spell cast and no increase in casting time.
Special: You must have a number of Swift metamagic feats equal to the level increase of your chosen metamagic, minus one, to take this feat. For example, Empower Spell, which boosts the level of a spell by 2, has a prerequisite of 1 Swift feat. Split Ray, which has an increase of 1, would have no prerequisites. This feat may be taken multiple times.

Optional Feats Edit

Atonement [Spell]
Prerequisite: Spell Focus (abjuration), Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks, divine caster level 6th.
Benefit: You can use atonement, as the spell (paying focus and XP costs normally), with a casting time of 1 hour.

Improved Skill Focus
Prerequisite: Skill Focus in the skill in question:
Benefit: Take any one skill you have the skill focus feat in. Your effective rank is considered 2 points higher for determining if you qualify for a feat. In addition, you may decide to re-roll any check made with the skill. You must take the re-roll result, even if it is worse.

Greater Skill Focus
Prerequisite: Improved Skill Focus in the skill in question
Benefit: Take any one skill you have the Improved Skill Focus feat in. Your effective rank is considered 2 points higher for determining if you qualify for a feat (this benefit stacks with Improved Skill Focus). In addition, you may always choose to re-roll the skill and take the higher result.

Improved Skill Mastery
Prerequisite: Skill Mastery
Benefit: Choose a number of skills equal to 3 + your Int Modifier in which you have the Skill Mastery for.You may now take 15 on the skill, which works identically as taking 10, except that your result is 5 points higher.

Greater Skill Mastery
Prerequisite: Improved Skill Mastery
Benefit: Choose a number of skills equal to 3 + your Int Modifier in which you have the Skill Mastery feat. When taking 20, you require only half the usual time.

Extra Feats For Ability Advancement Edit

If you want your characters to be able to improve their abilities slightly above their natural aptitudes, then you can use the following.

Ability Training (General)
You spend time honing one of your Abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
Benefit: Choose one Ability; treat that Ability as having a +2 bonus to that Ability Score whenever you are making an Ability Check. This bonus does not count when making a skill check or for any other use of that ability.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times, its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat it applies to another ability.

Ability Advancement (General)
Your training pays off, and one of your Abilities increases.
Prerequisite: Ability Training in the same ability.
Benefit: Choose one Ability. You gain a permanent +2 bonus to that ability. This bonus does not stack with the benefit from Ability Training.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times, its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat it applies to another ability.

For Villains Only Edit

Mental Domination (General)
You're able to subjugate certain people's mind.
Prerequisite: Having charmed humanoid with HD equal or less than your caster level.
Benefit: Choose a humanoid with HD equal your caster level or less, you have currently charmed. Treat charm person as dominate person against this person.
Special: This feat can be taken several times. It applies to a different humanoid each time.

Quick Templates for E6 Edit

These templates up the CR of existing creatures quickly and easily by adding blocks of 5 feats. These essentially add +1 CR to the monsters.

Biter

Ability Training (Strength), Ability Advancement (Strength), Weapon Focus (Bite), Power Attack, Improved Natural Attack (bite)

Brute

Ability Training (Strength), Ability Advancement (Strength), Power Attack, Improved Bullrush, Improved Sunder

Thick-skinned

Improved Natural Armor x3, Toughness x2

Quick

Ability Training (Dexterity), Ability Advancement (Dexterity), Combat Reflexes, Dash, Improved Initiative

Tough

Ability Training (Constitution), Ability Advancement (Constitution), Improved Toughness, Endurance, Diehard

List of Wondrous Items Edit

Here is a list of all minor wondrous items that require only spells 3rd lvl or lower to create:

Elixir of love 150 gp
Unguent of timelessness 150 gp
Dust of tracelessness 250 gp
Elixir of hiding 250 gp
Elixir of sneaking 250 gp
Elixir of swimming 250 gp
Silversheen 250 gp
Elixir of truth 500 gp
Bag of tricks, gray 900 gp
Hand of the mage 900 gp
Bracers of armor +1 1,000 gp
Cloak of resistance +1 1,000 gp
Pearl of power, 1st-level spell 1,000 gp
Phylactery of faithfulness 1,000 gp
Salve of slipperiness 1,000 gp
Elixir of fire breath 1,100 gp
Pipes of the sewers 1,150 gp
Dust of illusion 1,200 gp
Brooch of shielding 1,500 gp
Necklace of fireballs type I 1,650 gp
Dust of appearance 1,800 gp
Hat of disguise 1,800 gp
Pipes of sounding 1,800 gp
Amulet of natural armor +1 2,000 gp
Horn of fog 2,000 gp
Robe of bones 2,400 gp
Sovereign glue 2,400 gp
Boots of elvenkind 2,500 gp
Boots of the winterlands 2,500 gp
Candle of truth 2,500 gp
Cloak of elvenkind 2,500 gp
Scarab, golembane 2,500 gp
Necklace of fireballs type II 2,700 gp
Stone of alarm 2,700 gp
Bag of tricks, rust 3,000 gp
Chime of opening 3,000 gp
Horseshoes of speed 3,000 gp
Rope of climbing 3,000 gp
Dust of disappearance 3,500 gp
Lens of detection 3,500 gp 57
Bracers of armor +2 4,000 gp
Cloak of resistance +2 4,000 gp
Gloves of arrow snaring 4,000 gp
Restorative ointment 4,000 gp 68
Pearl of power, 2nd-level spell 4,000 gp
Circlet of persuasion 4,500 gp 7
Slippers of spider climbing 4,800 gp
Bracers of archery, lesser 5,000 gp
Helm of comprehend languages and read magic 5,200 gp
Vest of escape 5,200 gp
Eversmoking bottle 5,400 gp
Sustaining spoon 5,400 gp
Boots of striding and springing 5,500 gp
Wind fan 5,500 gp
Amulet of mighty fists +1 6,000 gp
Horseshoes of a zephyr 6,000 gp
Pipes of haunting 6,000 gp
Gloves of swimming and climbing 6,250 gp
Circlet of blasting, minor 6,480 gp
Horn of goodness/evil 6,500 gp
Bottle of air 7,250 gp
Periapt of health

Medium Items Bracers or armor +3
Amulet of natural armor +2
Boots of haste
Cloak of Arcadia
Minor cloak of displacement

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