After All, . . . Gandalf Did It
It was once said that Gandalf was a fifth-level magic-user. I won't debate the idea, having never developed an appreciation (or patience) for Tolkien's written trilogy, oddly despite reading (and enjoying to various degrees in parts) The Silmarillion
. However, we might all agree that, definitionally, 20 levels are not necessary to breed enjoyment, variety; and, moreover, the fun action-and-or-intrigue gameplay that we might associate with D&D. The premise is simple: five fun-packed levels.What is T5?
T5 is a thorough errata document to the D&D 3.0-3.5 system supplementing the official errata issued by Wizards of the Coast. It is a descendant of E6 that, unlike its predecessor, includes substantial rules revisions in addition to a hard level maximum and feat progression changes. T5 implements the hard level maximum at 5th level. The T5 system rules modifications include rewrites of all the base classes, from complete redesigns in order to make the classes viable with one another to minor adjustments such as the incorporation of features from the Dead Levels and Dead Levels II web enhancements issued by Wizards of the Coast.
Additionally, it therefore goes without saying that all the work contained herein shall, for legal reasons, only contain Open Game Content, and will thus not include Product Identity as defined in the Open Game License: product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures; characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content. This project will attempt to be as clear as possible about its operations within these legal bounds, for instance providing the name but not the "abilities or effects" of a class mechanic with sufficient reference to locate the relevant information in a legal source of the text.
T5 is also a work in progress. While this document was given an immense amount of thought, it is not guaranteed to address all loopholes or balance issues of the original system; nor is it guaranteed to not have its own new balance issues. As issues crop up, they can be addressed in updates to the T5 rules.Why Revise E6?
To put it simply, anyone who optimizes even a little bit can blow the precepts of E6 out of the water. CR 6 enemies can be taken out with ease and creatures with CRs upwards of 10 or even 12 can be demolished with one well-placed hit by several types of characters. T5 makes one bold move and several minor adjustments. The bold move is the reduction of the level maximum to 5th level. By avoiding 6th level, T5 enforces a limit on the number of abusive rules items in the game and makes each level a significant, tangible development for the character and player. While a level 5 character may not be unstoppable, she is clearly superior to a level 4 character.
That said, I do not claim that T5 is without its flaws. It is a living project, and will change over time. Moreover, perhaps, it is expressly not intended for the CR system as it currently exists. That said, barring other flaws in the CR system, it is not a foreseen issue that T5 will not be compatible with some adjusted CR for proper encounters.