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I've started making a character for my first epic level campaign, and I need to know how to add up your BAB in higher levels.

I understand that (for example) a +6/+1 BAB and a +2 BAB make a total of +8/+3, but what about something more complex? For example, for a +30/+25/+20 and a +6/+1, do you add another attack or do you add to all three and one to the one behind? My conclusion was +36/+32/+27/+1, but I wasn't sure.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of How many iterative attacks does an epic creature with class levels get?. Despite the example being a monster with RHD, the answer correctly applies to all creatures, including all PCs. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jun 24 '15 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE It probably isn't a duplicate, if only because the OP seems profoundly confused about how non-epic BAB works to begin with. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jun 24 '15 at 23:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman: Well, the target answer might clarify that a little on the side. But I do see what you're saying. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jun 24 '15 at 23:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a friendly warning, I STRONGLY suggest playing the game at regular levels before attempting epic level play. Making an epic level character takes a lot of time, effort, and brainpower and if it turns out badly it can be very upsetting to have to redo it all from scratch. Many groups like to have the PCs in a party, which requires that they not be more than some amount disparate in terms of power. If your group wants party-based play and you bring a level 31 fighter with Vow of Poverty while they have level 31 magic-users with Epic Spellcasting, people will be upset. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jun 25 '15 at 6:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that @thedarkwanderer's point extends far below epic levels as well. For new players, I can't generally recommend starting anywhere beyond 5th level. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Jun 25 '15 at 9:08
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First of all, BAB basics

Base attack bonus is a single number, not the +13/+8/+3 array you're used to see.
This means your BAB in the example I just made would be 13 and this (being between 11 and 25) would grant you a second attack at -5 and a third attack at -10, hence the array.

This also means that, when summing BABs from different sources, you sum two numbers, not two arrays. You're going to determine how big the number is to know how many attacks you can make and build the array from the total number.

So, in your case:
+30/+25/+20 + +6/+1 really is +30 + +6 = +36, turning into +36/+31/+26.

The first part looks like your total attack modifier rather than your BAB, because +30 is larger than +16 (as +36 is!) and would gain you a fourth attack. So:
+30/+25/+20/+15 + +6/+1 really is +30 + +6 = +36, turning into +36/+31/+26/+21.

That said, Epic levels don't get you BAB

Getting to +30 (or to +36) is hard: you can only get BAB from your first 20 character levels (whenever you take them). The rest needs to come from a different source, and the only one is racial HD. Racial HD is rarely worth gaining, because class levels give class features, while racial HD does not. Anyway, if you desperately need to reach BAB 16 or if you would get more from your race's ability modifiers and other qualities, go for it. Just know that better

Unlickily, lots of BAB come with powerful creatures and those creatures often have LA (level adjustment), a value that tells your DM how many levels under the rest of your party you should be to be "balanced" with them*.
Because of this, you might get less attack bonus from racial levels than from epic levels, and racial HD are usually far from good anyway, since they come without class features.

Unless you either want some race's ability scores (but at your level a polymorph any object or similar spell should have already done that) or special abilities or you desperately need to reach BAB +16, don't bother.

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This is covered in Epic Level Basics.

Epic Attack Bonus

Similarly, the character’s base attack bonus does not increase after character level reaches 20th. However, the character does receive a cumulative +1 epic bonus on all attacks at every odd-numbered level beyond 20th, as shown on Table: Epic Save and Epic Attack Bonuses. Any time a feat, prestige class, or other rule refers to your base attack bonus (except for gaining additional attacks), use the sum of your base attack bonus and epic attack bonus.

What does it mean to you?

You continue to gain Base Attack Bonus until your character class is level 20. Any character class level starting at level 21 nets you Epic Attack Bonus rather than Base Attack Bonus.

Base Attack Bonus gained from racial hit dice do not count towards your 20 class levels of Base Attack Bonus. That is why you can see creatures, such as dragons, have a Base Attack Bonus of +25 or higher without having a single class level. Base Attack Bonus from racial hit dice all gets added to the Base Attack Bonus granted by class levels. However, you can't gain more than 4 attacks a round with Base Attack Bonus no matter what your Base Attack Bonus is.

If I have 10 levels of Barbarian, my Base Attack Bonus would be +10. If I gain 10 Levels of Sorcerer, my Base Attack Bonus would be +15. I am now 20th level. I would gain Epic Attack Bonus rather than Base Attack Bonus upon gaining level 21 and so on.

The only way to increase my Base Attack Bonus in Epic Levels, is to somehow gain Racial Hit Dice. One way of doing that is becoming a lycanthrope. You would gain Base Attack Bonus with your animal hit dice.

So, my 10th level Barbarian/10th level Sorcerer would has a Base Attack Bonus of +15 (three attacks a round). If I somehow became a werebear (brown bear), I would gain +4 to my Base Attack Bonus from my animal hit dice. That brings my Base Attack Bonus to +19, and consequently giving me my 4th and final attack per round.

When you look at prestige classes in the epic level handbook, you will notice there are no Base Attack Bonuses listed under any of them. That is due to not gaining Base Attack bonus with class levels from level 21 on up. If you take a non epic prestige class, or any other class for that matter, you still gain Epic Attack Bonus because your class levels are epic (more than 20).

Looking at the red dragon (great wyrm) you can see he has 40 hit dice and a +40 Base Attack Bonus. If he were to gain 20 levels of fighter, his Base Attack Bonus would become +60. However, his iterative attacks would only be +60/+55/+50/+45 since he can still only have 4 attacks a round from Base Attack Bonus.

Don't confuse that with natural attacks, they are a different matter altogether.


Determinging Iterative Attacks

Iterative attacks are in "lump" of 5. You don't gain a second attack until your Base Attack Bonus is +6. That is why you see +6/+1. You do not gain a third attack until your Base Attack Bonus is +11. That is why you see +11/+6/+1. You do not gain a fourth attack until your Base Attack bonus is +16. That is why you see +16/+11/+6/+1. When adding Base Attack Bonus from multiple classes, only use the bigger number all the way on the left.

For example, if I take 10 levels of fighter, I would have +10/+5. If I then take 10 levels of barbarian, I would have +10/+5 from barbarian. When determinging my Base Attack Bonus, I just add the two +10's together. That gives me my +20 Base Attack Bonus. Remember the -5 rule... my attacks would then be +20/+15/+10/+5. If I added +10/+5 to +10/+5 I would have +20/+10... which is not accurate.

Don't worry about numbers that come after a / to the right of the big number. Just worry about that one big number on the left - for math purposes.

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