CIVIC (Including Divine/Magic services)
I will use the Blacksmith trade to highlight relevant changes, changes to other trades can be assumed from this example—as well as the fact that blacksmiths are the number one trade that my PC’s tend to interact with.
- The majority of blacksmiths will be Expert level 1. In a town such
as Sandpoint (Varisia), the blacksmith at the Red Dog Smithy might be
an expert level 2 since it is somewhat of a frontier town.
- Towns the size of Sandpoint in more peaceful regions would likely
only have an Expert level 1 as their blacksmith and therefore
Masterwork and exotic items would be uncommon, or just unavailable.
Magnimar may have blacksmiths at level 3-4, thereby making Masterwork
equipment much more available.
Dwarven crafters, with their inherent bonuses, are suddenly much more
sought after in the E6 variant. A level 1 Dwarf Blacksmith can make
Masterwork weapons with ease, and would be able to make a lot more
quality exotic weapons as well. The Dwarven city of Highhelm in the
Five Kings Mountains, would have industry around crafting items not
seen anywhere else.
- Magic artisan tools (better than the core rule book variety) would
also be highly sought after.
- Priests in temples are likely to be level 1 or 2. High Priests are
likely to be level 3. There may be some truly amazing followers of
Desna or other gods that are level 6 but they will be very rare,
either serving for royalty, or as famous Abbots or Mother Superiors
of monasteries, convents etc.
- The gods would notice their faithful at a much earlier level, either
through merit of their level, or through quest based activities. The
spell miracle does not exist, but the truly faithful, through prayer
and petition, may be granted one by their god. This might give an
unfair advantage—story based though it is—to divine casters over
- It also means that your local priest in Sandpoint, even Magnimar and
equivalent size cities are unlikely to be able to know Ritual Magic
to cast a Raise Dead. This makes death more of a penalty.
I think portals get special mention. Plane shift, teleport and those
type of spells no longer exist. So suddenly, the creation or
discovery of portals become key strategic points in a kingdom. Those
sites would be protected and opposing armies would seek to capture
I think it also adds a lot of flavour to the GM. If the PC’s find a
portal, they are definitely going to mark it down on their maps. It
becomes a key resource, particularly as the PCs grow in power.
I don’t think there would be any particular change to the economics of the setting. But perhaps I haven’t thought about it enough.
MILITARY AND LAW
Soldiers and guards in any town/city (even Absalom) are at most level 1 warriors. Sergeants are level 2, Captains and Sheriffs are level might be Fighter level 2 or 3. A General of an army is likely to be a level 6 fighter or paladin, and his main lieutenants might be 5, or 6 as well.
Gone are the days when the GM has to make guard duty a level 15 warrior job to make it a challenge should the PC's try to ransack the main city in a kingdom. You can just imagine that recruitment drive: Interviewer: So I need you to stand at this post all day, and I will pay you 1 gp. Will you take the job? Level 15 Warrior: Hmm, well I could singlehandedly slay a young dragon and take his entire hoard for my own...but you know I'm getting tired of all that adventuring crap, I'll take it!
The head jailor of a major dungeon might be level 3 warrior or expert (rope skills, intimidate, craft (lock), etc). Anybody imprisoned in his cells (adventurer or otherwise) is likely to need outside help to escape because he knows how to keep people in. This means the PC’s, who have done the wrong thing—if they get tried and imprisoned are likely to need new characters.
In E6, gone are the days that high level PC’s get imprisoned and the GM needs to artificially level all the jailors and guards in order to keep them there.
The spell anti-magic field and permanency don’t exist in the conventional sense, so imprisoning magic users is an exercise in gagging, binding, and maybe drugging. It is likely that major dungeons would have had some ritual spells cast on certain cells to have a permanent anti-magic effect. But it certainly isn’t easy to do. Anti-magic manacles don’t exist either etc. A GM might also consider that a monster with an inherent anti-magic field might be used in certain dungeons to mimic this effect—however strange that might be.
With the standard d20 system, rulers and tyrants of all types and sizes need to spend an inordinate amount of time protecting themselves from magical dangers that could hit at any time. Most PCs at level 15, could quite easily, teleport into their local royal throne room—kill the king and queen—and then exit stage left.
The main change I see in the E6 system, is that rulers and politicians of all kinds would be much more confident and open. Mayors wouldn’t necessary need an escort at all times, Kings could realistically visit local towns with a reasonable size bodyguard and not risk life and limb.
This is where, as a GM, you have to decide how you will use monsters. Do you remove all CR 14+ monsters from the game? Or do you downgrade them if you really want to use them? In my experience, there are so many truly interesting monsters in the lower levels, that the PC’s often don’t get to see, because they level beyond them to quick. The E6 system is a place for these monsters to shine.
Devils and Demons could retain all their abilities and be a truly awe inspiring encounter (like they are meant to be). You might think a Balor is automatically a TPK, and likely it will be. But see this thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160998 (sorry I have no idea how to embed this).
Random Encounters will be based on terrain like normal, but you are likely to only need one random encounter table per Terrain type.
Sure, as a level 1 you would be doing a lot more running away. Is there anything wrong with that? This means that as a GM you can populate the world as it would make sense, not as to what would be a challenge to a party. As even a multitude of CR 1 kobolds, can still present an issue for a level 6 party.
Any creature 11+ will make a significant splash: “Don’t go up that mountain, Varsool is there! The red dragon of smaugness!”
A tarrasque would likely be impossible for any adventuring group to stop. it would likely require armies from multiple kingdoms to take that thing down, but even then, they are unlikely to be able to truly kill it. They would certainly need a cleric, favoured of the gods, to ask for a miracle to kill it.
Any movement of Fire Giants will mean entire towns will flee, which means your typical adventurers will have a veritable smorgasboard of clues as to what threat they are and how to overcome them.
Likewise the location of certain monsters, like Lamias, Chimera’s and the Sandpoint Devil will all be the talk in nearby towns (as they would be anyway really). Rumours will abound, adventurers from Absalom may come just to fight these etc. The Gorgon and the Medusa always stay a challenge, the PC's can't just kill a few rats, level a few times, then come back and sneeze all over them.
I see this as one of the clear advantages of the E6 system. Consider the Sandpoint Devil, so many rumours and near-sightings turn this creature into an obsession for monster hunters. In E6, you never out level the beast—no matter when you encounter it, it will be memorable. This encourages the GM to put more tension and foreshadowing on creatures like this—since that effort will never be wasted.
I remember that moment, after all the hype of a Beholder who was terrorizing a local populace. My PC’s had levelled a few times, and then—on a whim—decided to troop through its lair, setting off all the alarms on purpose etc, and then killed it in two rounds. They well over-leveled the encounter, but it was a little disappointing, even for them.