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
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
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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