Glossary of Terms
- 1 5-Foot Step
- 2 Ability Damage
- 3 Ability Drain
- 4 Ability Score
- 5 Ability Modifier
- 6 Action Points
- 7 Activate Magic Item
- 8 Afflictions
- 9 Aid Another
- 10 Alignment
- 11 Ally
- 12 Armor Class
- 13 Assist
- 14 At-Risk
- 15 At-Will
- 16 Attack Action
- 17 Attack Roll
- 18 Aura
- 19 Auramancy
- 20 Bailiwick Skill
- 21 Base Attack Bonus
- 22 Base Land Speed
- 23 Bonus Types
- 23.1 Arcane Bonus
- 23.2 Armor Bonus
- 23.3 Armor Enhancement Bonus
- 23.4 Circumstance Bonus
- 23.5 Competence Bonus
- 23.6 Divine Bonus
- 23.7 Dodge Bonus
- 23.8 Dual Charge
- 23.9 Enhancement Bonus
- 23.10 Feat Bonus
- 23.11 Implement Bonus
- 23.12 Martial Bonus
- 23.13 Material Bonus
- 23.14 Morale Bonus
- 23.15 Natural Armor
- 23.16 Performance Bonus
- 23.17 Resistance Bonus
- 23.18 Shield Bonus
- 23.19 Shield Enhancement Bonus
- 23.20 Training Bonus
- 23.21 Weapon Bonus
- 24 Campaign Level
- 25 Caster Check
- 26 Caster Level
- 27 Challenge Rating
- 28 Character Level
- 29 Class Level
- 30 Combat Casting
- 31 Combat Maneuvers
- 32 Command Word
- 33 Common Energy Damage
- 34 Concentration
- 35 Critical Hit
- 36 Critical Multiplier
- 37 Critical Range
- 38 Critical Threat
- 39 Damage Resistance
- 40 Damage Roll
- 41 Defenseless
- 42 Dice
- 43 Difficult Terrain
- 44 Difficulty Class
- 45 Dweomermetals
- 46 Encounter
- 47 Enemy
- 48 Energy Resistance
- 49 Exotic Energy Damage
- 50 Experience Points
- 51 Extraordinary Ability
- 52 Fear Effect
- 53 Feat
- 54 Fighting Defensively
- 55 Fluency
- 56 Forced Movement
- 57 Full Attack Action
- 58 Full Day
- 59 Full-Round Action
- 60 Game Master
- 61 Gaze
- 62 Hardened
- 63 Hit Dice
- 64 Hit Points
- 65 Holding an Action
- 66 Illumination
- 67 Immediate Action
- 68 Immunity
- 69 Improvised Weapon
- 70 Initiative
- 71 Instantaneous Healing
- 72 Language-Dependent
- 73 Lay Magic
- 74 Lays a Charge
- 75 Line of Effect
- 76 Line of Sight
- 77 Maneuver Offense
- 78 Maneuver Defense
- 79 Melee Attack
- 80 Melee Touch Attack
- 81 Metagaming
- 82 Mind Affecting
- 83 Mindless
- 84 Minute
- 85 Monster Blueprint
- 86 Monster Lore
- 87 Monster Pattern
- 88 Monster Role
- 89 Move Action
- 90 Multiplier
- 91 Natural 1
- 92 Natural 20
- 93 Natural Attack
- 94 Natural Talent
- 95 Non-Player Character
- 96 Non-Proficiency
- 97 Ongoing Damage
- 98 Persistent Healing
- 99 Physical Damage
- 100 Precision Damage
- 101 Primal Damage
- 102 Primary Attack
- 103 Racial Traits
- 104 Ranged Attack
- 105 Ranged Touch Attack
- 106 Ray
- 107 Readying an Action
- 108 Rest
- 109 Retraining
- 110 Round
- 111 Rounding
- 112 Saving Throw
- 113 Secondary Attack
- 114 Secret Languages
- 115 Size
- 116 Skill
- 117 Skill Basis
- 118 Skill Bonus
- 119 Skill Challenge
- 120 Skill Ranks
- 121 Spell
- 122 Spell-Like Ability
- 123 Stabilize
- 124 Stacking
- 125 Stance
- 126 Standard Action
- 127 Status Condition
- 128 Status Condition Array
- 129 Supernatural Ability
- 130 Swift Action
- 131 Synergy
- 132 Take 10
- 133 Take 20
- 134 Temporary hit points
- 135 Thrown Weapon
- 136 Tier
- 137 Total Defense
- 138 Touch Attack
- 139 Total Party Kill
- 140 Turn
- 141 True Dweomers
- 142 Uncommon Energy Damage
- 143 Vulnerable
Below is a list of terms which are used frequently in Epic Path, or in d20-based role-playing games in general. This is meant as a quick reference guide for players new to Epic Path.
- AKA: Stat, Attribute
One of the six primary statistics defining a character's general attributes. These are Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS) and Charisma (CHA). Some campaigns feature one or more additional ability scores, though these are campaign specific. See also Ability Scores, Character Creation.
- AKA: Stat Mod, Mod
The modifier produced by the ability score. This is calculated as (ability score - 10)/2 (round down). Thus, a score of 12 has a modifier of +1, while a score of 14 has a modifier of +2.
Activate Magic Item
Many magic items don’t need to be activated. Certain magic items, however, do need to be activated, especially potions, scrolls, wands, rods, and staves. Unless otherwise noted, activating a magic item is a standard action.
Spell Completion Items
- Activating a spell completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell.
Spell Trigger, Command Word, or Use-Activated Items
- Activating any of these kinds of items is a standard action, unless the item description says otherwise. Spell trigger items are those which are activated exactly as if they are spells, ie, they provoke, require speaking aloud, gestures, and usually a focus or component. Command Word items require the user to speak aloud, which breaks Stealth, but they do not provoke (unless the item says they do). Use-Activated items are exactly that, items activated by using them. Magic weapons and armor, potions, etc, are all use-activated items.
A member of your party, including yourself (unless specifically excluded), or a friendly NPC that is assisting you in a battle. Bystander NPC's who are not hostile, but are also not actively helping, are not considered allies.
In combat, 'Armor Class' is the measure of how difficult it is to land a successful, damaging attack. Attackers roll a D20 and add in all their relevant modifiers, both positive and negative, to generate a 'to-hit roll', or an attack roll. If that 'to-hit roll' number is EQUAL TO, or GREATER THAN, the Armor Class of the creature they were attacking, then they succeeded in hitting the target and can now roll out their damage. Player characters are usually very interested in having a high Armor Class, as it makes them harder to hit in combat.
A character's Armor Class is built up of their Base Armor Class (depending upon their character class), and many modifiers, such as their Dex mod (sometimes), the bonus they get from Armor and Shields, and many others.
At-Risk is an optional aspect of many Status Conditions. If a character or monster has been affected by a status condition, it is possible that being affected again may make that condition worse. As an example, if a monster has been tripped and now is Quelled, ie, knocked down to a knee, it is possible that tripping that monster again may worsen their quelled state to prone, meaning they are face-down on their hands and knees. Even worse, a prone condition might then be worsened even more to the Splayed condition, sprawled flat on your face or back with arms and legs splayed out spread-eagle style.
The GM adjudicates most At-Risk situations on a case-by-case basis, so be nice to the person behind the screen.
At-Will designates some power, feat, ability, or other aspect of play that is 'Howardian' in nature, IE, the player can do it whenever they like. Granted, just because you HAVE an 'at-will' ability does not mean you should USE that at-will ability willy-nilly all the time. Strive to be kind, generous, and sharing with your fellow players.
- AKA: Standard Attack
A standard attack is an attack action that can be performed with either a Standard Action, or as part of a Full Attack Action. Unlike a normal Standard Action, a Standard Attack can be made with any of the attacks in a Full Attack Action, not just the first attack at the highest attack bonus. This means, if you have three attacks in your full attack action, you can perform three standard attacks.
It is important to keep the distinction between a Standard Attack and a Standard Action in mind. If an action states it requires a Standard Action to perform, it can ONLY be performed using either a normal Standard Action, or as the FIRST attack (and only the first) in a Full Attack Action. If an action states it requires a Standard Attack action to perform, that action can be performed using either a normal Standard Action, or as ANY of the attacks in a Full Attack Action.
- AKA: To-Hit Roll
An Attack Roll is the core mechanic of combat in a D20 game, such as Epic Path. To make an attack roll, you roll a 20-sided die (called a D20), and then add to that number all relevant modifiers (both positive and negative) to generate an attack roll, or a to-hit number. That number is then compared against the Armor Class of the creature you were attacking. If your Attack Roll EQUALS or is GREATER THAN the Armor Class, you successfully hit and may roll your damage and apply any other effects. Yay you!
An aura is an inherent emanation that is part of the possessor's being. Unless specifically described otherwise, an aura is always present and cannot be removed in any way by either the owner of the aura or the actions of others. Note that while an aura is always present, it may or may not apply effects on others, depending on how the possessor of the aura uses it.
An aura has the effects that are laid out in the aura's description at all times, and only ceases operation when the possessor of the aura is dead. However, an aura described as spell-like, supernatural, or gained as a spell effect, is subject to anti-magic effects. Conversely, an aura described as an Extraordinary ability is not subject to anti-magic.
An aura does not effect the owner of the aura unless stated explicitly in the description.
A creature can suppress or express the effects of their aura during their turn as a swift action.
An aura cannot harm a creature unless the owner of the aura has line of effect to the victim of the aura.
An aura's effect is always triggered by the owner of the aura. This trigger is a free action. An aura can trigger its effect in one of three ways, once per round:
- The aura may be triggered at the end of a move action. This allows the aura owner to move up to victims and affect them.
- The aura may be triggered at the beginning of a full round action or a standard action. This allows the aura's owner to incorporate the aura's effect into their attacks.
- The aura may be triggered by other events as described in the aura. This allows auras to activate upon the death of the owner, or when they use another talent, power or ability, or some other circumstance defined in the description.
If a victim has been affected by an aura once in a round, it is immune to any further applications of the aura's effect until the beginning of its next round.
The effects of an aura last until the end of the aura owner's next round unless they are instantaneous (damage) or otherwise removed earlier.
Auramancy is the general term used for various 'extra' game mechanics used to make certain campaigns mechanically and thematically different from others. Auramancy is always strictly optional, and indeed, is frequently custom-built for a specific campaign. Examples might include 'spell-scars', 'bloodline powers', 'birthrights', or 'shouts'.
A Bailiwick Skill is a skill that is related to a style of play (or lifestyle), rather than being tied to an area of study or expertise. A Bailiwick Skill is designed to simulate the core 'heroism' of being a powerful adventurer. Bailiwick Skills are used to create magic items, assess the toughness of monsters, learn Spells, and generally be 'players'.
- AKA: BAB
Each character class has a base attack bonus, which improves depending on your level in that class. This bonus is added to all to-hit rolls when calculating your attack bonus.
BAB is frequently called out as a prerequisite for feats, magic items, or other abilities. In such cases, the largest BAB number in any of your character class charts is the number you need to equal or exceed to qualify.
Base Land Speed
The simplest way of moving around on a solid surface, and a general ability of almost all player characters and monsters, one way or another. By far the most common way of using Base Land Speed is by walking on some number of legs, although every creature gets around in different ways. Oozes, for example, don't have legs but still have a Base Land Speed and they sort of...oooze around....
Distinguished from 'better' movement types, like Swimming, Flying, Burrowing, Vaulting, etc. Base Land Speed is often enhanced by feats, powers, abilities, and items, so it is almost always relevant.
- AKA: Arcane Charge
- An Arcane Bonus comes from a spell which provides a bonus to one or more things (skills, to-hits, armor class, etc.) which was cast by an arcane caster, and lays a charge. Arcane Bonuses do not stack with other Arcane Bonuses, even if the two bonuses are attempting to boost totally different character attributes. If a new spell or effect attempts to apply a new Arcane Bonus on a character or creature which already has an existing Arcane Bonus, the subject must immediately choose to either keep their existing Arcane Bonus, or replace it with the new Arcane Bonus.
- An Arcane Bonus does stack with a Divine Bonus (as well as any other bonus type, other than another Arcane Bonus), unless the effect being placed upon the target is coming from the same spell as the arcane bonus. This means you can benefit from a buff spell cast by an arcane caster and a different buff spell cast by a divine caster at the same time, even if both spells improve the same attribute (such as armor class), unless both spells share the same name. (Note that 'same name' excludes the parenthetical in the page title, meaning that Stoneskin (Druid Spell) and Stoneskin (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell) are considered the same spell for this purpose.)
As the name implies, the most common source of an armor bonus happens when a character dons a suit of armor. A few other methods exist to gain an armor bonus, as well, such as spells, feats, etc. In all cases, if multiple sources of armor bonuses are available to a character, only the highest available bonus is used.
- See also: Armor Enhancement Bonus
Armor Enhancement Bonus
If armor is enchanted with an enhancement bonus, the enhancement bonus is added directly to the armor's base armor bonus to AC, for purposes of determining the total AC provided by the armor. Thus, a +3 chain shirt, which has a base armor bonus to AC of 4, adds a total of 7 points to your armor class (counting the +3 enhancement bonus). The armor is still described as +3 armor (not +7 armor), since enhancement bonuses can only go up to +9, and the cost of the enhancement bonus is based on the plus provided. It is also a descriptive indicator of the armor's magical power.
An armor enhancement bonus stacks with other kinds of bonuses to AC, but not with other armor enhancement bonuses. If two different sources of armor enhancement bonus are available, only the highest available bonus may be used.An armor enhancement bonus only provides a bonus to Armor Class. It has no effect on the armor's other attributes, such as Armor Check Penalty, Max Dex, etc.
- A circumstance bonus is a bonus that can be awarded by the GM to any action performed by a character or creature who has gained some advantage over their target, usually by being in the right place at the right time. As you can imagine, this covers a LOT of territory, but one of the most frequent sources of a circumstance bonus is a +1 bonus to-hit when attacking from a position of higher ground (note that the specific definition of what is, or isn't, higher ground is left up to the GM, and the attacking creature must still be able to reach their target, so the ground can't be TOO high...)
- Other opportunities for circumstance bonuses can sometimes come from spells which alter your terrain, or the ability for a creature to perceive you (such as Invisibility (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell)). In such cases, it isn't really the spell that is providing the bonus, but the lingering effects of the spell. (When the spell causes the bonus directly, it's nearly always an Arcane Bonus or a Divine Bonus).
- While some spells, feats, and skills may specifically grant a circumstance bonus when used appropriately, the GM is also free to issue circumstance bonuses (and, indeed, should do so), when the situation warrants it, and no other bonus is obviously available to use.
- Unlike nearly all other bonus types, multiple circumstance bonuses to the same action are added together.
- A competence bonus can be granted by nearly anything, and can modify nearly any aspect of your character. Competence bonuses to the same element of your character do not stack with each other; instead, only the highest available bonus is used. You can have multiple competence bonuses, as long as they each apply to different elements of your character. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same element must you pick the highest available.
- AKA: Divine Charge
- An Divine bonus comes from a spell which provides a bonus to one or more things (skills, to-hits, armor class, etc.) which was cast by an divine caster, and lays a charge. Divine bonuses do not stack with other Divine Bonuses, even if the two bonuses are attempting to boost totally different character attributes. If a new spell or effect attempts to apply a new Divine Bonus on a character or creature which already has an existing Divine Bonus, the subject must immediately choose to either keep their existing Divine Bonus, or replace it with the new Divine Bonus.
- A Divine Bonus does stack with an Arcane Bonus (as well as any other bonus type, other than another Divine Bonus), unless the effect being placed upon the target is coming from the same spell as the Arcane Bonus. This means you can benefit from a buff spell cast by an arcane caster and a different buff spell cast by a divine caster at the same time, even if both spells improve the same attribute (such as armor class), unless both spells share the same name. (Note that 'same name' excludes the parenthetical in the page title, meaning that Stoneskin (Druid Spell) and Stoneskin (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell) are considered the same spell for this purpose.)
- A dual charge occurs when a particularly powerful ongoing (non-instantaneous) effect, nearly always from a spell, but sometimes from a supernatural ability, is applied to a subject. When an effect lays a dual charge, it applies both an Arcane Bonus and a Divine Bonus to the target. Both of these bonus types are now in use, and should the same subject get affected by a new effect which would lay either an Arcane Bonus, a Divine Bonus, or a new Dual Charge, they must choose whether to keep their current effect, or replace it with the new one (even if the new one lays only an Arcane Bonus or a Divine Bonus). A creature may have both an Arcane Bonus and a Divine Bonus present on themselves simultaneously, but they can never have more than one Arcane Bonus, or more than one Divine Bonus present at the same time.
- An enhancement bonus is a bonus granted to a character by a magic item. Enhancement bonuses can be applied to almost any stat, skill, or score of a character, as the effects from magic items are diverse and powerful. Enhancement bonuses to the same element of the character do not stack, but enhancement bonuses to different elements can be applied simultaneously.
- For example, you can have an item which grants an enhancement bonus of +4 to your Strength score, and a different item that grants a +2 enhancement bonus to your Survival skill checks. Both of these bonuses apply, since they are affecting different elements of the character. However, two items which both grant an enhancement bonus to a character's Strength score would not stack; instead, only the highest available bonus would be applied.
- A feat bonus is a bonus type that can be applied to nearly any number on your character sheet, from ability scores, to skill checks, to saving throws. Feat bonuses, as the name suggests, always come from feats. Feat bonuses to the same element of your character do not stack with each other; instead, only the highest available bonus is used. You can have multiple feat bonuses, as long as they each apply to different elements of your character. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same element must you pick the highest available.
- Only Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards receive an implement bonus.
The implement bonus is equal to +1 at 1st level, and increases by an additional +1 per 4 class levels, dropping fractions, to a maximum of +9 at level 33 (i.e. +2 at 5th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 13th, +5 at 17th, +6 at 21st, +7 at 25th, +8 at 29th, and +9 at 33rd). Note that, if you multi-class into another class that also gets this bonus, the class levels stack for purposes of calculating this bonus.
If you are not actively wielding a rod, staff, or wand, you do not get this bonus.
Furthermore, casters can flick, twirl, or swoosh a wielded rod, staff, or wand to complete the somatic gestures of any spells they cast, in place of using their empty hand(s). That is, an implement counts as an empty hand for purposes of completing somatic gestures.When wielding a magic staff in both hands, a caster need only have material components in a readily available storage location (like a Component Pouch). The staff will draw out and consume the components as part of casting the spell, eliminating the need for the caster to pause in wielding the staff to draw the component themselves. This only works if the component is in an accessible place that could normally be pulled from as part of casting a spell. If the component is tucked away in a (non-magical) backpack, stored in a portable hole, or left in the caster's bedside table back in town, the staff has no power to pull components from there.
- A Martial Bonus is a type of bonus gained from the use, assistance of, or application of Martial abilities. This might be a Warlord howling commands through a hurricane, a Fighter calling a battle cry and leaping from a parapet, or a magic item or feat or any other source.
- Martial bonuses to the same element of your character do not stack with each other; instead, only the highest available bonus is used. You can have multiple martial bonuses, as long as they each apply to different elements of your character. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same element must you pick the highest available.
- A material bonus is granted by a dweomermetal, either when it is applied to a weapon, an armor, or a shield. Material bonuses to the same element of your character do not stack with each other; instead, only the highest available bonus is used. You can have multiple material bonuses, as long as they each apply to different elements of your character. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same element must you pick the highest available.
- A Morale Bonus is a bonus to some aspect of your abilities which is based upon your positive mental state. This may come from a grim jest spoken by a Bard, or the surging Divine power embodied in a doughty Paladin, or any other source of improved Morale.
- Morale bonuses to the same element of your character do not stack with each other; instead, only the highest available bonus is used. You can have multiple morale bonuses, as long as they each apply to different elements of your character. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same element must you pick the highest available.
- Natural Armor is a consequence of having tough integument, or a durable frame, or thick bones, or some other in-born facility to ignore some attacks. It makes it harder to damage a creature by making some percentage of blows just not work. Armadillos and crocodiles, for example, do not wear chainmail, but they get a nice boost against damage from their tough skins.
- A natural armor bonus is added to a character's Armor Class (AC), and stacks with other kinds of bonuses to AC, but not with other natural armor bonuses. If two different sources of natural armor bonus are available, only the highest available bonus may be used. For most player characters, the most common source of a natural armor bonus is a magic item or other effect.
- A performance bonus is a special bonus type that can generally only be applied by bards. Like arcane or divine bonuses, Performance Bonuses do not stack with other Performance Bonuses, even if the two bonuses are attempting to boost totally different character attributes. If a new song, spell, or effect attempts to apply a new Performance Bonus on a character or creature that already has an existing Performance Bonus, the subject must immediately choose to either keep their existing Performance Bonus, or replace it with the new Performance Bonus.
- A Performance Bonus can be stacked with an Arcane Bonus and a Divine Bonus (as well as any other bonus type, other than another Performance Bonus), unless the effect being placed upon the target is coming from an effect with the same name as the Performance Bonus. This means you can benefit from a buffing effect created by a bard, and a different buff spell cast by a divine caster at the same time, even if both effects improve the same attribute (such as armor class), unless both effects share the same name. (Note that 'same name' excludes the parenthetical in the page title, meaning that Stoneskin (Druid Spell) and Stoneskin (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell) are considered the same spell for this purpose.)
- Most performance bonuses come from bardic performances (i.e. songs), and no creature may ever be the target of more than one song at the same time, even if more than one bard is performing.
- Disambiguation: Deflection Bonus does not exist in Epic Path. Shield Bonus and Shield Enhancement Bonus take its place.
A shield bonus is added to a character's Armor Class (AC), and stacks with other kinds of bonuses to AC, but not with other shield bonuses. If two different sources of shield bonus are available, only the highest available bonus may be used.
As the name implies, the most common source of a shield bonus happens when a character wields a shield. However, some weapons grant a shield bonus (such as the Scizore, and the Glaive) when used (or not used) in a particular way. A few other methods exist to gain a shield bonus, as well, such as spells, feats, etc. In all cases, if multiple sources of shield bonuses are available to a character, only the highest available bonus is used.
- See also: Shield Enhancement Bonus
Shield Enhancement Bonus
If a shield is enchanted with an enhancement bonus, the enhancement bonus is added directly to the shield's base shield bonus to AC, for purposes of determining the total AC provided by the shield. Thus, a +3 heavy steel shield, which has a base shield bonus to AC of 2, adds a total of 5 points to your armor class (counting the +3 enhancement bonus). The shield is still described as a +3 shield (not a +5 shield), since enhancement bonuses can only go up to +9, and the cost of the enhancement bonus is based on the plus provided. It is also a descriptive indicator of the shield's magical power.
A shield enhancement bonus stacks with other kinds of bonuses to AC, but not with other shield enhancement bonuses. If two different sources of shield enhancement bonus are available, only the highest available bonus may be used.A Shield Enhancement Bonus only provides a bonus to Armor Class. It has no effect on the shield's other attributes, such as Armor Check Penalty, Max Dex, etc.
- A training bonus is a bonus type applied to a skill check. Training bonuses typically come from either a class feature or a racial trait. Training bonuses do not stack with themselves; instead, only the highest available training bonus is applied to a given particular skill. You can have multiple training bonuses, as long as they each apply to different skills. Only where the same bonus type is being applied to the same skill must you pick the highest available.
- Training bonuses can also sometimes apply only to a single skill use within a given skill. A common example of this is Initiative, which is a skill use of the Movement skill. Just be aware that these bonuses still do not stack. The highest bonus available is used where ever it is applicable, but the bonuses are NEVER added together.
Campaign Level is almost always an abstract number set to equal the Average Character Level of all the players. This then becomes a way for the GM to determine Skill Check Difficulty Classes, the level of monsters and NPC Constituents, the power of available magic items, and many other things besides. The Campaign Level is also a quideline for the 'tone' of the campaign. A level 30 game is not usually set in a tiny village of mud huts...although it could be!
It is generally good practice as a Game Master (GM) to strive to keep all the players at the same level. This is easy to do in Epic Path, by handing out group rewards for all combats and quests. Indeed, if you have players at different levels, the Monster Experience reward system will act over time to 'even out' everybody to the same level. If the GM has chosen to allow characters at different levels, it is strongly recommended to never allow the difference between the highest character level and the lowest character level to exceed four levels. If you exceed this range, then a fight against the average means that the low level characters will face extremely difficult battles, and/or, the high level characters will face very easy battles with tiny rewards. And tiny rewards are no fun!
It is possible for the GM to declare by fiat that the Campaign Level is different from the average character level. This can be used to adjust the game difficulty. Setting the Campaign Level to one or two lower than the Average Character Level means that all combats are VERY easy, but advancement will slow down a great deal, as the experience rewards will be proportionally very small. Setting the Campaign Level to one or two higher than the Average Character Level means that combats will be VERY difficult, but rewards will be large and advancement will be quite rapid.
- AKA: Concentration Check, Concentration
A spell’s power often depends on its caster level, which is equal to the spellcaster's class level in the class they are using to cast the spell. If a character only has one character class (i.e. they have not multi-classed or dual-classed their character), then their caster level, class level, and character level will all be the same. If a character is dual-classed or multi-classed, a caster level is only equal to the class level of their spellcasting class. It is possible to have more than one caster level, if you have dual- or multi-classed into more than one spellcasting class. The caster levels of different spellcasting classes do NOT stack, unless you have an ability, feat, or feature that specifically states that they do.
You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than your own if you wish, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the adjusted caster level.
In the event that a class feature or other special ability provides an adjustment to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as range, duration, and damage dealt), but also to your Caster Check to overcome your target’s Spell Resistance and to the caster level used in dispel checks (both the dispel check and the DC of the check).
- AKA: CR
- Challenge Rating (or CR) is a convenient number used to indicate the relative danger presented by a monster, trap, hazard, or other encounter—the higher the CR, the more dangerous the encounter. As a rule of thumb, the GM should strive to keep most encounters about even in CR to the players level, although the occasional harder or easier battle can be a nice change of pace. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to keep all encounters within two CR's of the players level unless the GM is experienced and is sure of how things will go. A +5 CR encounter is very likely to be fatal, inducing a TPK (Total Party Kill), which is not likely to be good for your campaign.
- AKA: Total Level, Level
A character's "character level" is the total number of levels they possess, adding together all class levels they have taken. If a character only has one character class (i.e. they have not multi-classed or dual-classed their character), then their character level and class level will be the same. If a character is dual-classed or multi-classed, a character level is equal to the sum of all class levels they have taken so far. Another way of thinking of "character level" is "total level".
A character's class level is the number of levels they possess in a particular character class. If a character only has one character class (i.e. they have not multi-classed or dual-classed their character), then their character level and class level will be the same. If a character is dual-classed or multi-classed, they will have multiple class levels, one for each character class they have taken levels in.
- AKA:Defensive Casting, Casting on the Defensive
- AKA:Combat Maneuver
- AKA: Command, On Command
Many magic items must be commanded to work, by speaking aloud a word or phrase to activate their power. A truly classic example of a command word is 'Abracadabra', or 'Open, Sesame'. In general, possession of a Magic Item, whether found or purchased, will include the knowledge of the command word. It is assumed that the item has the phrase engraved upon it, or it imparts the knowledge magically, or there is an attached note. (In this case, it is completely okay to read the instructions.)
Activating an item with a command word usually takes an action (defined in the item itself) and causes the activator to lose the benefits of Stealth, due to voluntarily making a sound.
- AKA: Concentration Check, Caster Check
- AKA: Crit, criticals, 'YAY, CRIT!'
- In Epic Path combat, most weapon attacks are resolved with a D20 roll, along with many, many modifiers, both positive and negative. At high levels of play, the die roll can come to be a fairly small component of the entire number.
- In order to maintain the relevance of the core D20 mechanic, Epic Path uses the concept of 'Natural 20' and 'Natural 1'. In other words, no matter how potent your stack of buffs, no matter how huge your bonuses become, no matter how good (or bad!) your chances are, the actual die roll always matters. If you roll a 1 on the face of the die, you fail. If you roll a 20 on the face of the die, you get a goodie.
- A Critical Hit is a huge bonus that is unlocked after you roll very well in combat to hit a foe with an attack that threatens. All physical weapons and quite a few spells (ray attacks) can threaten critical hits. Critical hits serve to keep combat unpredictable, as well as make every die roll relevant.
- Weapons in Epic Path have many properties and features, to make every weapon unique and interesting. One of those features is the Critical Multiplier, which is a measure of how much bonus damage the weapon generates upon scoring a confirmed critical hit. The bigger the critical multiplier, the greater the bonus damage.
- The exact amount of bonus damage generated by a crit is highly variable, affected by the weapon's crit multiplier, the feats a player has, class abilities, the properties on the weapon, buffs, and many other factors.
- AKA:Threat Range
A natural result on a D20 attack roll that falls within the threat range of the weapon or monster attack being rolled.
- AKA: DR
A creature which is defenseless against something takes double damage from it.
- See also: Vulnerable
- AKA: Rough Terrain
- AKA: DC
- AKA:Magical Metals
Iron, steel, copper, brass, gold, are all wonderful things, but they're not 'fantastic'. Tolkien's magical elfin metal in his seminal classics is indicative of the desire for 'amazing things' to make stories better.
In Epic Path, awesome, magical materials are called 'dweomermetals', and there are lots and lots of them. Have fun!
- AKA: Combat
- AKA: Opponent, Target, Foe
- AKA: ER
Exotic Energy Damage
- AKA: Experience, Experience award, XP, xp
- AKA: Ex
- An Extraordinary Ability is an unusual ability that does not rely on magic to function, relying on a creature's own innate power to activate it. They are not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training. They can produce a wide variety of effects, though perhaps not so wide as those effects possible with spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. They can be passive, always-on, type of effects, or activated with an action of some kind. They can produce an instant benefit, or have an ongoing effect. Refer to the ability's description for details.
- Extraordinary abilities are non-magical in nature, and as such are not affected by, and continue to operate, in the absence of magic, such as from an Antimagic Field (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell). Similarly, Spell Resistance (SR) provides no defense against them. Finally, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ability's description, activating an extraordinary ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies.
- AKA: [fear]
- A feat is a minor power or ability that can be used to exactly customize the way each character works. Every character class gets a number of feats as they advance in experience, and use of feats is one of many ways in which every character in Epic Path is completely unique. When you make an Epic Path character, you can be assured, that is YOUR character, that expresses your unique vision and style of play.
- AKA: Can anybody talk to this thing?
In Epic Path, language barriers are A Thing. Most creatures have the ability to speak 'common', a basic shared language that pretty much everything can at least get along in. This is for convenience, really, to make the game flow. But, there are also TONS of Languages in Epic Path, because lots of the exotic mystery of fantasy stories comes from the differences in languages and cultures.
Plus, eavesdropping can be greatly complicated if you just don't understand what the bad guys are saying in their weird, guttural language. Luckily, the Linguistics skill will let you learn to understand LOTS of languages if you want to invest in it!
- AKA: Push, Pull, Slide
- AKA: GM
- AKA: Gaze Attack
A gaze special attack takes effect when foes look at the attacking creature. The attack can have any sort of effect, see each writeup for details. While the gaze attack power is active, each opponent within the range of that gaze attack must attempt a saving throw each round at the beginning of his or her turn in the initiative order. Only looking directly at a creature with a gaze attack leaves an opponent vulnerable. Opponents can avoid the need to make the saving throw by not looking at the creature, in one of two ways.
- Averting Eyes: The opponent avoids looking directly at the creature, instead looking at it out of the corner of the eyes in fleeting glimpses, watching its shadow, tracking it in a reflective surface, etc. Each round, the opponent has a 50% chance to avoid having to make a saving throw against the gaze attack. The creature with the gaze attack, however, gains partial concealment (20 percent miss chance) against that opponent.
- Wearing a Blindfold: The foe cannot see the creature at all (also possible to achieve by turning one's back on the creature or shutting one's eyes). The creature with the gaze attack gains total concealment (50 percent miss chance) against the opponent.
A creature with a gaze attack activates the power as described in the ability.
Since they are based on vision, gaze attacks can affect creatures with line of sight but not line of effect, even including beings that are ethereal, Cloistered, Displaced, or Exiled. The creature with the gaze attack does not need to know an enemy is near: the saving throw is based upon the actions of the enemy creatures, not the actions of the creature with the gaze attack.
A creature is immune to gaze attacks of others of its kind unless otherwise noted. Allies of a creature with a gaze attack might be affected. All the creature's allies are usually considered to be averting their eyes from the creature with the gaze attack, and have a 50% chance to not need to make a saving throw against the gaze attack each round.
A creature which is hardened against something takes half damage from it. Many creatures are only hardened against precision damage, for example, rather than being completely immune to it (e.g. oozes, incorporeal creatures, elementals, etc.).
- AKA: HP, hp, hits
Hit Points are a numerical representation of how tough a creature is. In Epic Path, the only way to defeat a monster, player, or any other creature, is to reduce their hit points to zero or less.
Hit points are depleted by damage rolls, and replenished by cures, heals, and fast healing (aka, regeneration). In combat, skill challenges, or due to falls, collisions, bad environmental conditions, and lots of other things, damage is rolled and applied to creatures hit points. This is a core mechanic which imparts risk to players and pretty much everybody else. If your hit points are reduced to zero or less, creatures generally die immediately (unless the GM says otherwise) and players get the joy of being helpless and making death saves. If you die, you are dead, which is bad. But fear not! Unlike real life, mortality can be purchased in-game.
Hit points are only applicable to creatures, not objects. Golems, despite being made things, are creatures. Doors, despite being made things, are objects. Hitting a door with a sword and doing a thousand hit points will not damage that door in the slightest. See Breaking Objects for how to deal with that pesky door.
Holding an Action
- AKA: Immune
A creature which is immune to something takes no damage from it. (See also: Hardened) Creatures with no discernible anatomy are often immune to flanking, for example. Immunity is a VERY strong defense, and is usually narrow in scope or limited in duration. GM's can also levy immunity to creatures that are important to the story but not pugnacious, so that their players (who are often famously aggressive murder-hobo's) don't accidentally derail important story arcs. For example, the King on his throne may have Immunity to all damage as long as he stays there while court is in session. In no cases should any creature ever have comprehensive immunity and any significant ability to harm the players in combat. That's just unfair.
As an example of 'blanket immunity' that shouldn't exist, few creatures should ever be always-immune to precision damage (unless that is their schtick), since it essentially takes several classes out of the fight entirely. Similarly, immunity to magic should probably be represented by Spell Resistance instead of immunity.
- AKA: [language-dependent]
Lays a Charge
- Spell effects, and occasionally supernatural abilities, can sometimes lay a charge, either on their target, or on the caster who cast the spell or used the ability. When something lays a charge, it either affects the subject with an Arcane Bonus, a Divine Bonus, or a Dual Charge bonus. The term lays a charge refers to the fact that one of these bonus types is now in use by the subject, usually because they were the recipient of some buff effect. As a result, subsequent effects that would apply the same bonus type will not stack, even if they are attempting to adjust totally different character attributes. As soon as a new charge is placed upon your character of the same type as an existing charge, you must immediately either choose to replace your existing charge with the new one, or keep your existing charge.
- Effects that lay a charge don't work the same way as normal bonus type stacking. Normal bonus types can't be stacked with themselves, but only if they're trying to affect the same character attribute (for example, you can't add together two different enhancement bonuses that improve your armor class; you can only have one enhancement bonus affecting a given character attribute). You can have two enhancement bonuses, as long as they are being applied to different attributes (i.e. one is boosting AC, and one is boosting to-hits).
- When a spell or ability lays an Arcane Bonus (for example), you cannot get a second Arcane Bonus applied to you for any reason, even if both charges affect totally different attributes. You can only have one, regardless of which attributes they are affecting. The same is true of Divine Bonuses. However, you can have an Arcane Bonus and a Divine Bonus present at the same time, even if they are both affecting the same character attribute. The exception to this rule is you cannot get two versions of the same buff spell (i.e. that share the same spell name, like Stoneskin (Druid Spell) (which lays a divine bonus) and Stoneskin (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell) (which lays an arcane bonus); these cannot be stacked, even though they lay different bonus types).
- A Dual Charge overwrites both the Arcane Bonus and the Divine Bonus at the same time, assuming you accept it, meaning if you have an effect on you which lays a Dual Charge, you may not accept any effects which Lay and Arcane, Divine, or Dual Charge, unless you overwrite your existing Dual Charge effect.
Melee Touch Attack
- AKA: [mind affecting]
- AKA: Monster Template
- AKA: Ah, crud.
A natural 1 is when the actual die roll turns up the lowest possible result, or, a 1. In Epic Path, a natural 1 is always bad. In combat, it is always a miss. A 1 on a skill roll always fails, no matter how good you are. There is no fumble mechanic in Epic Path. We find that an automatic failure is plenty of punishment for a bad roll. If your GM imposes a fumble mechanic, then that's on them.
Natural 1's and their beloved cousins, natural 20's, function as hard randomizers and bypass bands. The core mechanic of this game is the D20 roll, and no matter how much you try, there is always a chance, with every roll, that things will go very well, or, very poorly. This is why we play, after all!
- AKA: A TWENTY!
A 'natural result' is the actual number rolled on the die, before any modifiers. Natural 20's in Epic Path are always good. In combat, a natural 20 always hits, for example. Natural 20's are related to but different than the threat range (or critical range) of a weapon. A natural 20 always hits, and usually threatens a crit, as well, but crits must still be confirmed, and it is possible to roll a natural 20, hit, but then miss the confirmation roll. it is also common for the threat range to be wider than just a 20, and if you roll a number inside the threat range of your weapon (say, a 19), but that result still mosses your target, then that is just a plain miss, with no extra result.
If you are using an electronic die roller, a natural 20 is the base result coming up as a 20 before any modifiers are added or removed. If your die roller won't report the base result, than you cannot claim the sweet, sweet rewards of that lucky roll, so buy some dice.
Many creatures use natural attacks instead of weapons during combat, relying on their teeth, claws, and other parts of their own body to inflict harm on their foes without the use of weapons or magic. Such monster attacks are defined in their Monster blueprint, and will have the unique effects described for each monster. If a player character is granted a natural attack by an ability, spell, or other effect, it is resolved as an unarmed strike unless otherwise defined, and does not normally provoke an attack of opportunity.
- AKA: NPC
- AKA: Recurring Damage, Bleeds, Ruptures
- AKA: Ongoing Healing
irresistible energy damage
Ranged Touch Attack
Readying an Action
- AKA: Save, Fort Save, Reflex Save, Will Save
When a creature is the subject of a dangerous spell or effect, it often receives a saving throw to mitigate the damage or result. Saving throws are passive, meaning that a character does not need to take an action to make a saving throw—they are made automatically. There are three types of saving throws: Fortitude (used to resist poisons, diseases, and other bodily ailments), Reflex (used to avoid effects that target an entire area, such as fireball), and Will (used to resist mental attacks and spells).
Saving throws are also sometimes just referred to as saves, as in “What is your Reflex Save?“.
- AKA: Skill Total, Total Bonus
- AKA: Sp
Spell-like abilities are magical abilities that work much like spells, except that they are not spells and so have no verbal, somatic, focus, or material components). They can replicate nearly any effect that a spell could produce, and typically require a standard action to activate. Refer to the ability's description for details.
Spell-like abilities, like spells, immediately end when in an area without magic, such as an Antimagic Field (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell), and cannot be reactivated until the non-magical area is left, or the effect preventing magic is ended. Spell-like abilities are subject to Spell Resistance (SR), unless specifically noted otherwise in the ability's description. Just like spells, spell-like abilities provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies unless the creature activating it makes a caster check to cast defensively (DC 10 + (spell level x 4)).
Monsters with spell-like abilities are considered to be spell casters outside of combat, able to cast nearly any spell appropriate to their CR that the GM feels the creature might know. Inside of combat, monsters rely solely on their listed spell-like abilities to produce the equivalent of spell effects. That is, even though they may know a wide variety of spells that they can use outside of combat, they can only use the spell-like abilities listed in their special abilities section during combat. Monster spell-like abilities always list the caster check information at the beginning of the ability's description, including the target DC of the check.
Status Condition Array
- AKA: Su
Supernatural abilities are special abilities which rely on a magical component to operate, but they are not 'cast' like a spell, or spell-like ability. Supernatural abilities can vary wildly in effect, providing offensive, defensive, and/or utilitarian capabilities. They can be passive, always-on, type effects, or triggered by an action. They can have an instantaneous effect, or a sustained effect. Refer to the special ability's description for details.
Unlike spells and spell-like abilities, Supernatural abilities do not provoke attacks of opportunity from threatening creatures when activated, and they are not subject to spell resistance. However, Supernatural abilities cannot be activated or maintained in areas lacking magic, such as an Antimagic Field (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell). In such an area, the ability immediately ends, and is not able to be reactivated until the creature leaves the non-magical area, or the effect preventing magic is ended.
A synergy is a special kind of bonus attack, most often caused by spells (but sometimes from other sources, such as the Monk's Rattling Fist class feature), that must be triggered by removing a status condition from an affected monster. If a spell or ability has a synergy effect, it will always list it in the spell or ability's description. If no synergy effect is described, that spell or ability does not have a synergy.
The way synergies work is the spell (or ability) that lays it is cast on the target monster. In nearly all cases, this will apply a condition to the monster, though it might also inflict some damage. Assuming the monster doesn't resist the condition, the synergy can be triggered by any player action that causes that condition to be removed prematurely. In many cases, the easiest way to do this is to apply a new condition. Since monsters cannot be affected by more than one condition at a time, the new condition replaces the old one. Now that the old one has been removed through a player action, the synergy is triggered. Most synergies just inflict damage, but they can be quite significant amounts of damage, so it can be very advantageous to try to trigger them.
Note that the character who applies an effect that includes a synergy does not have to be the character that triggers the synergy. Teamwork is encouraged.
If the monster is able to remove the condition through their own actions, or the condition expires on its own, the synergy is not triggered.
- AKA: Experience Tier, Class Tier
A tier is a 5-level progression within a character class. Each character class is divided into seven tiers: Courageous Tier (levels 1-5), Intrepid Tier (levels 6-10), Heroic Tier (levels 11-15), Undaunted Tier (levels 16-20), Valorous Tier (levels 21-25), Mythic Tier (levels 26-30), and Legendary Tier (levels 31-35).
Multi-classing can only occur between the tiers. That is, you can only change classes when you are transitioning from one tier to another (i.e., as you are leveling up to 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, 26th, or 31st levels). Because of this, a character is said to 'possess' a tier of a character class as soon as they take the first level of that tier. Once you have taken a tier of a character class, you are committed to that class for the full five-levels of the tier. You cannot change out of it, except through the Reselection process.
Class features gained during a tier cannot be gained outside of that tier. That is, if you multi-class into Sorcerer at 16th level, skipping levels 1-15, you do not gain any of the class features listed in those earlier tiers. Each tier explicitly lists the class features you gain when you take that tier. In many cases, the essential class features, such as a Sorcerer's ability to cast spells, are listed in each experience tier, thus it, too, is explicitly listed for that tier. Even if you get a class feature that was carried forward from an earlier tier, you still only get the new things from that class feature, relevant to the levels you are now taking. That is, even though you get Sorcerer spells as a new 16th level Sorcerer, you only get the spells listed for level 16. Similarly, while a Sorcerer's Bloodline class feature is explicitly listed at level 16, you don't get any of the level 1 through 15 powers, spells, or feats, for that bloodline, if this is the first level of Sorcerer you are taking. See Multi-Classing for details.
If an ability refers to the number of tiers you possess in a given character class, you are considered to possess a tier as soon as you take even 1 level in that tier. That is, you 'have' that tier as soon as you begin leveling into it. This means that at 1st level, you possess 1 tier in that class. If you have 6 class levels of the same class, you have 2 tiers in that class. If you have 11 class levels in a given class, you have 3 tiers. 16 class levels in the same class equal 4 tiers; 21 class levels in the same class equal 5 tiers; 26 class levels in the same class equals 6 tiers; and 31 class levels in the same class equals 7 tiers.
Total Party Kill
- AKA: TPK, Wipe
This is an encounter which Goes Bad. Needless to say, this is a difficult situation for most GM's, but it is a scenario which can often arise. After all, being an Adventurer is a risky lifestyle, to put it mildly.
Most TPK's are accidental. The GM sets up a situation, and through some combination of bad luck, bad decisions, and bad circumstances, things get WAY out of hand. Many difficult encounters are designed 'as close to the edge' as possible, because the existence of risk is a powerful way to make gameplay more exciting. Unfortunately, if the GM is pushing their table using this mechanic, every now and then, things go badly.
TPK's often develop with shocking speed, as a single key player drops unexpectedly, or an action has consequences WAY worse than anticipated. Spellcasters accidentally hitting their own party with a heavy-damage spell attack is a common and terrible way for TPK's to develop, or a key melee player positioning themselves in an unexpected way, allowing dangerous monsters access to less durable characters.
The first thing to do when you are faced with a TPK is to try and catch it before it gets too bad. If the GM sees a wipe developing, this is the time to 'put your thumb on the scale'. Have the ceiling suddenly collapse on the bad guys, a flash flood burst through the wall and sweep everyone away, a monster burrows up through the floor and falls upon the bad guys from behind, anything, to deflect the momentum of the combat and preserve at least a few survivors. Player characters are famously tricky and resourceful, if you can get the combat over with some survivors, they will generally patch themselves up.
That said, wipes can occur with STUNNING quickness. (Boy, do we know about that....) Watching five players all fail a saving throw at once and drop unconscious or dead in the space of ten seconds is when you earn your chops as a GM.
First, break character and talk to your table. The odds are, they are as surprised as you are. Call a bathroom break, give yourself a moment to think.
Now, you can simply have everyone make new characters and start again. There's nothing wrong with that if it's a pickup game. But if the characters are well-established and you're two-thirds of the way through an elaborate campaign, this is less than good.
Ask your table if they want to continue. If so, make them all ghosts. Or have them wake up in chains, on the way to the slave market. Or have them wake up in a temple, five years later, after their bodies were recovered by questing knights. Just because you've killed the party doesn't mean that the story ends, after all. Give them amnesia, toss in some kick-ass scars, let them know that they owe a 'favor' to an unsavory sort, etc. There are many ways to recover from a TPK that doesn't mean rolling up a new set of characters and allows your campaign, the shared story you are telling with your table, to continue. A few dents and scars build character, after all.
Above all, don't let it shake you! Trust us, killing your whole table by mistake is no fun, but it happens to everybody, sooner or later. The key isn't that there was a wipe, the key is how the GM and their players recover from it.
Uncommon Energy Damage
A creature which is vulnerable to something takes 1.5x damage from it. For example, many undead are vulnerable to positive energy. Fey are nearly always vulnerable to cold iron.
- See also: Defenseless