Above 20th Level

Theoretically, there is no upper limit to character class levels (although there are racial limitations). The material presented here takes characters only to 20th level--experience has shown that player characters are most enjoyable when played within the 1-20 range. Above 20th level, characters gain few additional powers and face even fewer truly daunting adventures.

Consummate skill and creativity are required to construct adventures for extremely powerful characters (at least adventures that consist of more than just throwing bigger and bigger monsters at the nearly unbeatable party). Very high level player characters have so few limitations that every threat must be directed against the same weaknesses. And there are only so many times a DM can kidnap friends and family, steal spell books, or exile powerful lords before it becomes old hat.

Retirement: When characters reach the level where adventures are no longer a challenge, players should be encouraged to retire them. Retired characters enter a "semi-NPC" state. The character sheets and all information are entrusted to the DM's care.

A retired character still lives in the campaign world, usually settled in one spot, and normally has duties that prevent him from adventuring. While in the DM's care, he does not gain experience, use his magic items, or spend his treasure. It is assumed that he has income to meet his normal expenses.

The retired character can be used to provide players with information, advice, and some material assistance (if this is not abused). However, his or her overall actions are controlled by the DM, not the player who originally created the character.

If at all possible, player characters should be encouraged to retire as a group. This way all players can create and play new characters of approximately the same level. If only one player retires his character to start a new 1st-level character while all the others continue with 20th-level characters, the poor newcomer can't really adventure with them. (If he does, the player won't get to do much or the character will have a very short life expectancy!)

Some players may be reluctant to retire a favorite character. Explain to these players that retirement doesn't mean the character can never be used again. Be sure to create special adventures that require those high-level heroes to come out and do battle.

Every once in a while the old adventuring group may have to reassemble to deal with some threat to the kingdom or the world. It's the chance to show those upstart new characters just what a really powerful group can do! It also gives the players the opportunity to role-play some the their old favorites.

If the players see the opportunity to use their powerful characters, even infrequently, they will be less reluctant to spend most of their playing time with new, lower-level characters.

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