"Snap out of it," yelled Tabriss, a silver glow surrounding her armor-clad body, "we've fought worse, and won!" Tabriss moved her hands and chanted under her breath, calling upon the blessings of her goddess. As the spell completed, the silver light expanded in a line toward Lars, settling over him like a mantle. Lars felt a warm reassurance as the spell filled his heart with courage. Now that he could think clearly, Lars realized that the specter had messed with his mind, making him despair and lose hope. Lars lifted his shield higher, and glared ferociously at the specter, growling a challenge at it as he swung his sword overhand into the monster's towering form.
The sword hit its target, but seemed to have little effect, passing through the incorporeal body with little resistance. Only the tearing of a small rent in the cloak of the apparition indicated that his weapon had had any effect at all. More importantly, however, the specter's attention, which had been drawn by Tabriss' use of divine energy, snapped back to Lars. Lars smiled a grim smile at this, knowing he was far more capable of absorbing the attacks of this monstrosity than his friend was. His heavy armor, massive metal shield, numerous magic items, and fighting expertise made him unnaturally durable against attacks. While Tabriss was no slouch in combat, her defenses were nowhere near as comprehensive as Lars' were.
While all of this was happening, a small figure in dark leathers ran with alarming speed at the specter, leaping at the last moment and kicking off of a nearby tombstone to gain some extra height. Arnsibel, a Nagdyr prowler, used his momentum to push his bladesilver saber into the specter's exposed back. Unlike a rogue, who relies on stealth and surprise to deliver killing blows, prowlers use speed and unexpected angles to wreak devastation upon their foes. Arnsibel made it look easy. The saber slid into the specter, once again passing through its ghostly form a bit too easily, and a massive gash was torn into its form. The specter made no noise, but stumbled forward from the force of the blow. "I was thinking about buying a nice pony when we get back to town. Or maybe a boat."
Arnsibel smiled, thinking fondly of his new boat, and casually stepped out of the way of the specter's backswing. Its massive arm, the size of a small tree, whipped through the air with alarming speed, passing just scant inches from Arnsibel's face, but Arnsibel seemed unimpressed. "Or maybe a dog," he said.
It had taken weeks of searching to find the hidden entrance to the valley, despite having purchased a map from a passing tinker, but they had finally found the ancient necropolis. The cemetery stretched across the landscape as far as the eye could see, dotted with headstones and mausoleums arrayed in no discernible order, clustered in groups like some convention for granite slabs. The moonlight cast a wan light across the landscape, and the scuttling clouds slid their shadows over the ground like circling predators. They had been attacked just moments after they had set foot into the massive graveyard.
Llodwynn, a dour-looking Oread sorcerer, finished a spell, its blue actinic blue light shuddering in rapid flickering arcs and reflecting off of his stony features. The spell shot toward the specter and, unlike the weapon attacks of his companions, dealt terrible damage to the undead titan, seemingly ignoring the specter's incorporeality. Llodwyn spared a glance for Arnsibel, "To ride?"
"No, silly. You don't ride dogs! You give them names with terrible puns in them and teach them tricks that serve no purpose."
"Of what use is that?" Llodwynn inquired, as he started casting another spell.
"Well, not much I suppose. But they're much fluffier than a boat," said Arnsibel.
"Hey! Here's an idea. Maybe you should pay attention to the fight," Lars suggested, apparently unamused by the exchange.
Just as Arnisbel was about to respond, he heard a keening groan, accompanied by the whipping of cloth in a wind that no one in the cemetery could feel. Glancing over his shoulder, Arnsibel saw that three more specters were gliding towards the party.
Why You Should Play Epic Path
- Player characters feel like big damned heroes, even at level 1. Low-level Epic Path characters are tough enough to survive a few hits, and can keep fighting meaningfully, even after they've exhausted all of their limited-use abilities (like spells).
- Every playable race (all 23 of them) is a good fit for every character class. You can choose the race you think would be cool to play, instead of being railroaded to pick the race which gives the best stat bonus for your class.
- Every character class brings its own style to the table, and contributes meaningfully to every encounter, whether combat or role-playing. While each class has its own strengths and weaknesses, no class is forced to sit on the sidelines because they're not good at fighting, or not useful when there's talking going on.
- Melee classes remain competitive with spell caster classes, but without compromising either — meleers are still meleers, and spell casters are still mighty!
- Characters can advance all the way to level 35 and beyond, meaning you can play the same character for years without reaching the end of the game's content. Characters that reach the epic levels of play (levels 21+) have extraordinary abilities which put them on par with super-heroes. Of course, the bad guys are similarly terrifying...
- The skill system has been thoroughly expanded and clarified. Every skill can be used multiple ways, and every skill is extremely useful. Furthermore, each character can choose one skill to excel at, even if their ability scores don't normally allow that. The low-charisma fighter can be great at diplomacy, despite foul manners, a terrifying appearance, and a propensity to blurt out the first thing that comes into their head. The "lovable oaf" is completely possible in Epic Path.
- Melee and ranged weapons are each unique and fun. Instead of hundreds of nearly-identical weapons from decades of rules-bloat, each weapon in Epic Path has its own qualities that make it stand out from the others. While even a simple club is a great weapon, there are also dozens of exotic weapons that can provide significant advantages for a character willing to commit to them.
Why You Should GM Epic Path
- Monsters have been carefully balanced to provide a challenge for players equal to their CR. No more guesswork about what CR's will challenge your players. Spend your prep time on your story and the game, instead of constantly customizing every encounter.
- Status conditions have been re-written to reduce the chance of player elimination due to a single bad die roll. It's no fun to be stunned for an entire hour-long fight, unable to interact or contribute. There are usually multiple ways to remove a status condition, either by yourself, or with assistance from your allies, and the truly debilitating conditions usually require more than one failed saving throw. In addition, conditions are typically more interesting than a simple penalty to a character's combat abilities.
- Epic Path includes an optional vehicle combat rules system, which is fully compatible with the standard combat rules. Adventure on the high seas, race chariots in the Colosseum, or fly airships through the Aether. Battle with other vehicles, or battle against monsters.
- Epic Path is super-flexible. If you want a high-crunch, married to the battle-mat, min-max game that scales to the edges of god-hood, you can. If you want to play a role-playing-heavy game, where player interaction is more important than the plusses on your longsword, you can. Epic Path has mechanics to empower GM's to support the rules-lawyers, or the "explore your humanity within this dying world" table. No path is "right" or "wrong", as long as your table of players is having fun, and our rules will enable this.
How to Play
If you're new to role-playing games, here are a few links to get you started:
If you've played D&D or Pathfinder already, you are already familiar with the basic rules for Epic Path. While Epic Path has changed a lot of things, the core rules remain the same. You may want to jump straight to the good stuff: