''Epic Level Handbook'' is a 2001 supplement to ''DungeonsAndDragons 3E'', providing rules and ideas for campaigns which take characters beyond the level 20 {{cap}}. (Levels 21 and beyond are called "epic levels".) An update for 3.5E [[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/20030718a is available for download from the publisher's website]]. Parts of the book are also available as part of the [[http://www.d20srd.org/ d20 SRD]].

* Chapter one provides basic rules for level progression beyond level 20 and contains a list of epic feats that only epic character can take. The "skills" section shows the superhuman things you can pull off if you succeed on rolls with an extremely high DC (Difficulty Class). It also contains a couple of epic {{prestige class}}es.

* Chapter two describes the new Epic Spells. Providing the spellcasters with potentially infinite power, an epic spell has first to be researched and invented (which can take a lot of work), and once it is known, casting it requires a (usually exorbitant) Spellcraft DC check. The chapter goes in great detail to explain how to determine this DC; obviously, the more powerful a spell, the higher the DC, but mitigating factors (such as [[CastFromHitPoints hit point drain]]) can lower it. Unfortunately, there are clever uses of mitigator/bonus combos that cancel each other's effects out but still net negative points; [[GameBreaker apply as needed for arbitrarily powerful, super-cheap spells]]. The chapter also contains a large number of example epic spells, including ones which teleport someone into low-earth orbit or bring a copy of the caster from the future.

* Chapters three through five contain tips and advice for the GM, as well as a collection of epic magic items (no surprise here: these are like ordinary magic items, except more powerful, potentially infinitely so) and monsters (starting with the Abominations, unwanted offspring of the gods; the rest of the monsters aren't pushovers either.)

* Chapter six, "An Epic Setting", describes a number of example "epic organizations", such as a multiversal assassins' guild or an organization of epic-level bodyguards; describes the extraplanar merchant city of Union, which is basically [[{{Planescape}} Sigil]], except much friendlier; and contains an example epic-level adventure, "Kerleth's Tower", set mostly in a wizard's tower on the Elemental Plane of Fire.

* A supplemental chapter stats the epic-level [=NPCs=] of the ForgottenRealms and {{Greyhawk}} settings in accordance with the new rules.
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!!Tropes found in the book include:
* AncientConspiracy: The Regulators. If you believe the rumors, they are older than humanity itself.
* ArtifactCollectionAgency: The Gleaners.
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: Many monsters are ''big'', such as the [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/devastationVermin.htm Devastation Beetle]], which is bigger than a village.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Many epic spells, if only because their Spellcraft check [=DCs=] are so high so as to be impossible for most characters to pull off, unless they have an absurdly high level.
** [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/vengefulGazeOfGod.htm Vengeful Gaze of God]]. Its Spellcraft check has a Difficulty Class of '''419''' (probably the highest DC ever to show up in any D&D book), which is pretty much impossible even to a wizard on level ''100''. At this high a level, the supposedly mega-powerful spell would be little more than a sting to the monstrosities you'd be theoretically facing.
* BecomingTheMask: One shop in Union is run by an efreet named Kharlin, who started it as a front for whatever evil activities he wanted to run. Much like Dr. Evil's organization, however, the shop turned out to be more profitable than anything he could come up with, and now he's fully devoted to expanding its wares and keeping it running.
* BeyondTheImpossible: The Epic Magic Items can specifically go beyond the normal unbreakable limits for how much enchantment can be put on one item. The random epic magic item tables place ''no upper limit'' on how high a weapon or piece of armor's plus can go.[[note]]In the never-written Epilog to the 3rd story in ''Literature/TheIntercontinentalUnionOfDisgustingCharacters'', it's implied that this means you can ''literally'' get an InfinityPlusOneSword.[[/note]]
** What the epic characters can do, in general. Walking on clouds? Squeezing through a gap smaller than your head? Beheading someone with a single karate chop? Turning your sworn enemy into a fanatical follower with sheer force of persuasion? All this, and more, are allowed as long as your skill is high enough or you have the appropriate feats.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: There's the [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/devastationVermin.htm Devastation Vermin]], [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/vermiurge.htm Vermiurge]] or [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/thorciasid.htm Thorciasid]].
* CastFromHitPoints: A common way to lower the Spellcraft DC for epic spells.
* CityOfAdventure: Union.
* CloningBlues: Averted for the spell Eidolon, which splits off a small piece of your soul to create a temporary ally. The eidolon has no issues with being a copy (or having a limited duration), as it's still a part of you for all intents and purposes.
* DeaderThanDead: The assassin guild Garrote can do this to people, usually by destroying their corpse with a special substance. It will also happen to you if a Demilich manages to eat your soul.
* DeathFromAbove: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/rainOfFire.htm Rain of Fire]] spell. Self-explanatory.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/crownOfVermin.htm Crown of Vermin]] spell. Summons a thousand insects that surround you in a lasting aura. Each insect automatically does 1 point of damage to anyone within the aura, then dies. Pretty useful for auto-killing people. (Unless they have even the tiniest damage reduction of the "impenetrable" type, in which case, they're completely immune.) Note: This spell bears a striking resemblance to the 7th level druid spell ''creeping doom'' from AD&D 1st and 2nd Editions.
* DreamWeaver: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/abomination.htm#dreamLarva dream larva]], either offspring of the gods of dreaming, or nightmares come to life. They can assume the form of YourWorstNightmare.
* EldritchAbomination: A lot of the monsters look like something Lovecraft would think up; visibly the authors felt that there isn't much else that can challenge you when you're powerful enough to kill elder dragons and demigods.
** The Abominations; malformed offspring of deities which desire to destroy all reality.
** The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/pseudonaturalCreature.htm pseudonatural creatures]]. Horrifying, tentacled, soul draining creatures from the Lovecraftian Far Realms, the lesser of which can take on greater demons such as balors. Did I mention they're ridiculously resistant to spells?
* EyeScream: One of the common ways CastFromHitPoints is described involves your eyes bleeding.
* {{Fireballs}}: Turned UpToEleven with the [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/hellball.htm Hellball]], which does four different types of elemental damage.
* GeniusLoci: [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/geniusLoci.htm One of the epic monsters.]] It's basically mindless, but it can MindControl any creature on its surface and partially takes on its personality.
* ImpossibleTaskInstantlyAccomplished: Very high skill bonuses allow epic characters to pull off difficult feats in barely any time. See "Beyond the Impossible".
* KillTheGod: The abominations are technically very weak ([[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/divineRanksAndPowers.htm rank 0]]) deities, so slaying them counts as this.
* MaximumHPReduction: The Lavawight and Shape of Fire have the blazefire ability which does exactly that.
* MyFutureSelfAndMe: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/timeDuplicate.htm Time Duplicate]] spell is a very limited version of this, as it works only for six seconds, snatching a version of you from six seconds in the future. It's also stated that since this spell "stretches time and probability to its limit", it's impossible to pull off anything more spectacular.
* PortalNetwork: Union, as a planar metropolis, has organized portal commute to all the important planes.
* PoweredArmor: The greater artifact [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/magicItems/artifacts.htm#golemArmor Golem Armor]] is essentially this.
* ProfessionalKiller: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/gloom.htm glooms]], apparently. Whatever they are; they have practically no flavor text whatsoever--all we know is their stats and appearance.
* ReinforceField: Kerleth's tower from the adventure has walls made of two thick layers of obsidian with a thin forcefield in-between.
* SerialEscalation: The DM is expliciticly encouraged to do this to the players with ridiculous and unfair challenges on the grounds that the players will have the resources to deal with them. How far can the Dwarven Defender swim through lava?
* ShoutOut: The Hagunemnons, morphing monsters with no true form, whose name is a reference to ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Therel and Brin, two inept six-level adventurers who live in the city of Union and demand exorbitant prices for their services. Nobody treats them seriously.
* SummonMagic: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/dragonKnight.htm Dragon Knight]] spell, with a red dragon, or ten with [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/dragonStrike.htm Dragon Strike]]. [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/summonBehemoth.htm Summon Behemoth]] as well. [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/lordOfNightmares.htm Lord of Nightmares]] is a variant: it physically replaces your body with that of the summoned monster.
* TimeAbyss: [[AncientConspiracy The Regulators]] have been keeping order in the multiverse for literally millions of years. One of their leaders, a treant [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking with fifty-six character levels]] named Mella Theeg, has been around for ''nearly all of that time''.
* TimeMaster: The Abominations known as [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/abomination.htm#phane Phanes]]. They're unwanted children of deities of time/destiny who look like black clouds of various shapes. They can travel back in time, summon a copy of themselves from the future, summon copies of their opponents from an alternate timeline, freeze themselves or others in time and devour their future (which basically makes their victims grow old at an accelerated rate.)
* TotalEclipseOfThePlot: [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/eclipse.htm There's an epic spell for that]]. When cast, it creates an opaque disk, sized and positioned perfectly, to block out the sun for five miles around the caster.
* TheWormThatWalks: [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/wormThatWalks.htm Dead spellcasters]] that have become the HiveMind for an army of worms. Usually it's the evil ones that choose this method of life after death. There's a spell for turning a corpse into one, though it tends to fail.
* UndeadChild: The Atropal is an undead ''god fetus''. It's also one of the most horrifying things D&D has ever introduced.
* UndergroundMonkey: The [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/lavawight.htm Lavawight]] and the [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/winterwight.htm Winterwight]] have exactly identical stats, except that one of them has the cold subtype and the other one has fire, and their blightfire/blazefire abilities are a little different. Same applies to their usual creators, The Shape of Fire and the Shadow of the Void.
* UnstableGeneticCode: The ever-morphing [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/hagunemnon.htm Hagunemnons]].
* UnwittingPawn: One of the adventure ideas is about a dragon who tricks the idealistic player characters into starting a gigantic crime-fighting organization. Her sole goal is to find one specific artifact stolen from her long ago.
* TheWildHunt: The fey known as [[http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/hoaryHunter.htm Hoary Hunter]] comes after its prey on cold, moonlit nights. The only way to get a Hoary Hunter off your track is to kill it and its fellows, evade it nine times, or live the rest of your life somewhere that never, ever experiences the Hunter's preferred conditions. And it will wait for decades if necessary.
** Difficult as it might be, your best chance is evading it nine times - if you pull that off, ''all'' Hoary Hunters will forever leave you alone.
* WorldOfBadass: The city of Union is filled with lots of epic-level people. Even the town guards are very high-level (well, they ''need'' to be.)
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