Rules

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Character progression from level 1 to level 6 is as per the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game. 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, a ratio of 10 feats to 1 CR can be used, as it becomes more and more difficult to bring all a character’s feats to bear in a given situation. Alternatively, and at the GM’s option, player-characters with more than 20 feats can simply be always treated as if they were level 10 for experience and challenge purposes.

FOR THE GM

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 Zeus), 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 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 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.

ON ALLOWING FEATS

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 players character concepts - he chooses what feats to allow and the players agree to work within that framework.

The Gestalt Approach dictates that if an 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 Netbook of Feats. The Gestalt theory is the one used in playtesting.

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

I consider these feats to be necessary even with the Cautious Approach; along with the SRD feats, they provide for a minimal level of continuing advancement for E6 characters, and address issues like removing negative levels.

Expanded Spell Knowledge [General]

Benefit: You learn 1 or more new spells known, with spell levels totalling to half of your caster level (round down, and treat a new 0th-level slot as 1⁄2). Thus, a sixth level Sorcerer could gain one 3rd level spell known, one 1st and one 2nd level spell, three 1st level spells, or 6 0th-level spells. This feat cannot provide spells known of a level higher than you can already cast.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times; each time you take it it provides more slots.

Expanded Caster Stamina [General]

Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: You gain 1 or more new spell slots, with spell levels totalling to half of your caster level. Treat 0th level spells as 1⁄2. Thus, a sixth level Wizard could gain one 3rd level slot, one 1st and one 2nd level slot, three 1st level slots, or 6 0th-level slots. This feat cannot provide spell slots higher than you can already cast.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times; each time you take it it provides more slots.

Restoration

Prerequisites: 6th level, ability to cast 3rd-level divine spells, Wisdom 18, Heal 9 Ranks
Benefit: You can use restoration, as the spell (paying the material component), with a casting time of 1 hour.

Stone to Flesh

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.

Wondrous Rings

Prerequisites: 6th level, Craft Wondrous Item
Benefit: You treat rings as wondrous items for the purpose of meeting item creation prerequisites. You must still meet caster level requirements for any ring you create.

Martial Veteran (General) (comrade_raoul)

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.

Roguish Ability [General]

Prerequisite: Rogue 6
Benefit: You learn one rogue special ability.

Barbaric Resilience [General]

Prerequisite: Barbarian 6
Benefit: You gain DR 1/—

Skill Beyond Your Years

Prerequisite: Level 6
Benefit: Pick a skill. Your max ranks rise from Level+3 to Level +5.

Holy Strikes [General]

Prerequisite: Paladin 6
Benefit: Your melee attacks are considered good for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Mighty Wild Shape [General]

Prerequisite: Druid level 6
Benefit: Choose 1 Large animal. You can wildshape into that animal.

Bardic Inspiration [General]

Prerequisite: Bard level 6
Benefit: The bonus granted by your inspire courage ability increases to +2.

Extra Domain Power [General] (Shazman)

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

Extra Domain Access (General) (Shazman)

Prerequisities: 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 assciated 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.

Swift Metamagic (Metamagic) (Kunimatyu)

Prerequisite: Metamagic feats (see below), Caster Level 6
Benefit: When you take this feat, select a metamagic feat. As a swift action once per day, you may apply this metamagic feat to a spell you cast with no adjustment to the level of the spell cast.
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.

Caster Training (General) (Khuxan)

You become a more accomplished spellcaster.
Requirements: Character level 6, caster level 1 or greater.
Benefit: Your caster level increases by 4, to a maximum of 6. Note this only affects Caster Level (i.e., more dice on your damage, no new spells or slots).

Excelling Flurry [General]

Prerequisite: Monk 6
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.

Step of the Wild lands

Prerequisite: Ranger 6
Benefit: You gain the Woodland Stride and Swift Tracking class abilities.

Wondrous Rings (General)

Prerequisites: 6th level, Craft Wondrous Item
Benefit: You treat rings as wondrous items for the purpose of meeting item creation prerequisites. You must still meet caster level requirements for any ring you create.

FOR VILLAINS

Mental Domination (General) (Lord Tirian)

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.

EXTRA FEATS FOR ABILITY ADVANCEMENT

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

You spend time honing one of your abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
Benefit: Choose one ability; you qualify for the Ability Advancement feat for 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

Your training pays off, and one of your abilities increases.
Benefit: Choose one ability. You gain a permanent +2 bonus to 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.