A Troubled Time
What is E6?
E6 Stands for Epic 6.
Ryan Dancey suggested that D&D has four distinct quartiles of play:
Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Levels 6-10: Heroic fantasy
Levels 11-15: Wuxia
Levels 16-20: Superheroes
There’s been some great discussion about how to define those quartiles, and how each different quartile suited some groups better than others.
E6 is a game about those first 2 quartiles, and as a result, it has fewer rules, a low-magic flavor, and it is quick and easy to prepare.
How E6 works
Like D&D, E6 is a game of enigmatic wizards, canny rogues, and mighty warriors who rise against terrible dangers and overcome powerful foes. But instead of using D&D’s 20 levels to translate characters into the rules, E6 uses only the first 6. E6 is about changing one of D&D’s essential assumptions, but despite that it doesn’t need a lot of rules to do so.
In E6, the stats of an average person are the stats of a 1st-level commoner. Like their medieval counterparts, this person has never travelled more than a mile from their home. Imagine a 6th-level Wizard or 6th-level Fighter from the commoner’s perspective. The wizard could kill everyone in your village with a few words. The fighter could duel with ten armed guards in a row and kill every one of them. If you spot a manticore, everyone you know is in terrible, terrible danger. Against such a creature, the wizard or fighter may be your only hope. E6 recognizes that 6th level characters are mortal, while providing a context where they are epic heroes.
Levels 1 to 6 was the period where a character comes into his own, where a crash course in action and danger transforms them from 1st-level commoners into capable fighting men (or corpses). Once transformed by their experiences, a character’s growth is no longer a continuous, linear progression. There are still major differences between the master warriors and the veteran mercenaries, but it’s not a change of scale.
Character progression from level 1 to level 6 is as per D&D. Upon attaining 6th level, for each 5000 experience a character gains, they earn a new feat.