What are the Tiers of Play in D&D?
Tiers of Play in D&D 5e are an important tool for Dungeon Masters to understand when creating stories and encounters. They provide a way to gauge the strength of characters, as well as the difficulty of their challenges.
The tiers are split into four levels, each representing roughly a quarter of the 20 character levels available. Tier 1 (levels 1-4) is considered Local Heroes, with low-level monsters and challenges. Tier 2 (levels 5-10) is considered Heroes of the Region, requiring more strategy such as puzzles or traps to overcome. Tier 3 (levels 11-16) is known as Masters of the Realm and includes powerful creatures and difficult battles where players must use all their abilities in order to succeed. Finally, Tier 4 (Levels 17–20) is called Masters Of The World and involves ancient dragons, archdevils, demon lords, liches, krakens and other powerful foes from lower planes.
Understanding these tiers can help Dungeon Masters create stories that match character expectations at any level – from Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire/Order of Phoenix series to Curse of Strahd’s fight against Baron Strahd von Zarovich at 10th level – while also providing challenge appropriate for their characters' current power level.
Should I Use Tiers of Play?
Using Tiers of Play in DnD 5e can be a great way to customize the difficulty and complexity of your game. With this system, Dungeon Masters (DMs) can adjust encounters according to their group's experience level, giving new players an easier entry point into the world. Experienced players may opt to start at level 3 in order to skip the training wheels section of play.
The Combat Rating (CR) is given to creatures players might fight and indicates how hard it will be for the party at their current level; however, high/low leveled parties can still have difficulty fighting enemies that should otherwise be easy/hard due to player skill and game play style changing the outcome of fights. As adventurers progress in story, they may find themselves occupying positions of greater significance in society with each new level gained.
Tiers of Play are also a way for characters to gain an exponential increase in power with certain levels giving larger boosts (not just damage). This includes renown, social skills and experience as well as magical powers depending on the scale set by DM. The Golden tier of play is for encounters that heroes would find in the realm such as orcs, evil wizards, hobgoblin forces, giants, hydras and medusas; it even offers possibility to encounter a young dragon without having to run away from it! Dungeons meant for smaller quicker encounters can also be dialed up into longer ones lasting days or weeks instead.
Each class has its own advantages when playing through different tiers: Warlocks have limited spells but can focus their spells on buffing themselves and boosting damage while Pact weapon feature makes any warlock capable of dealing melee damage when necessary; Artificers rely on gear rather than spellcasting while having medium armor proficiency making them able tanks; Sorcerers offer little single target damage but have a bevy of AoE spells which make them effective crowd controllers. All these features combined give you plenty options when deciding what Tier works best for your group’s adventure!
Overview of each of the Four Tiers of Play
Tier 1 is the introductory level of play. Characters start at level 1 with 27 point buy ability scores and are still learning the basics of their class and exploring new areas. Martial classes get access to extra attack feature at level 5 while caster classes have cantrip damage scaled up in order to balance this.
In Tier 2, characters start at level 5 with 40 point buy ability scores and become more powerful, gaining access to higher-level spells/abilities. This tier is where most campaigns end as players gain a good grasp of their character's abilities and can take on tougher challenges.
At Tier 3, characters start at Level 11 with 45 points to spend on abilities and one feat. They have a wide range of abilities at their disposal and can take on difficult challenges with ease. This tier offers players an opportunity to experience high-level play without having to grind for levels or resources from scratch.
Finally, Tier 4 (Epic) is the highest tier of play available in DnD 5e. Characters start at Level 21 with 60 points to spend on abilities and two feats; they reach peak power in this tier, able to tackle any challenge they come across. Epic adventures provide thrilling experiences that test even the most experienced players' mettle!
Tier 1. Local Heroes (Levels 1-4)
Tier 1 of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (DnD 5e) is the stage for characters known as “local heroes”. These characters are levels 1 to 4 and are “above average” with something that sets them slightly above the typical commoner. Common enemies at this tier include goblins, bandits, wolves, giant spiders, bears and low level undead creatures like zombies or ghouls.
The difficulty level of Tier 1 is higher than expected due to conserving resources being essential and overreaching being punished more harshly here than other tiers – 4 damage hurts much more! Spellcasters only get a few spells per day; monks have limited ki points needing short rest after an encounter; paladins can only use two or three divine smites daily. Magic items mostly consist of consumables such as potions and scrolls until reaching the upper end where uncommon magic item might be found.
This tier provides an opportunity to set up the overall story of a campaign by exploring their abilities while receiving smaller quests in towns during this stage. Local intrigue can be used as a way to set up quests for the party such as investigating strange noises coming from an abandoned mine or helping clear out rats in an innkeeper's basement. Resolutions of these quest hooks should have visible effects on the town – e.g., dealing with bandits blocking trade could bring new supplies into town; clearing out rats might get free/discounted rooms for the party when they stay there again.
Most likely tier for players to die, so contingencies should be planned for avoiding death if desired by DM/players. Events of story at this tier are localized to whatever location party is in, with quests nearby and actions/decisions having direct effect on town. By end of this tier, characters will be viewed as heroes by community people due to their bravery and accomplishments during their journey through Tier 1 play!
Tier 2. Heroes of the Realm (Levels 5-10)
At Tier 2 (Levels 5 – 10), adventurers become more powerful and may even develop a reputation. People at this level are known names in their field, sometimes even beyond it, and can attract sponsorships from elite organizations such as major league sports teams or special ops units.
The Paladin is an especially powerful class at this tier, with its d10 hit die giving it the second highest potential for maximum health out of all classes while being proficient with all armors and shields making it easy to get high armor class. This makes them ideal tanks or damage dealers due to their martial weapon proficiency, divine smite ability, extra attack per turn plus combat oriented spell list. They also have healing capabilities through their channel energy and lay on hands abilities in addition to useful spells from their spell list.
Martial classes gain extra attacks and ways to deal increased damage while magic users have access to powerful spells such as Fireball at Level 5 – they may also start finding more powerful magic items like +1 weapons/armor, resistance fire or the ability fly.
Tier 2 is widely viewed as the sweet spot for DnD 5e; many official 5e adventures use this tier as the main focus of their adventure as only 1% of players progress beyond Tier 1 and only a further 1% transcend Tier 2 – yet these heroes can make an impact that will be remembered far beyond what was expected of them!
Tier 3. Masters of the Realm (Levels 11-16)
At Tier 3. Masters of the Realm (levels 11 to 16), characters gain superhuman feats and can travel between worlds with ease. Spellcasters are sought after by powerful individuals, both good and evil, due to their ability to cast third-level spells or higher. Divine spellcasters may be part of a larger organization as gods bestow their power on followers who prove themselves worthy.
Party members become legendary figures at this level, with bards singing songs about their heroic exploits. Adventurers also find expeditions to lead in dangerous ruins and lost artifacts to recover from far flung locales or eccentric collectors who have dangerous quests that need completing by capable individuals. Death is only a minor inconvenience for these adventurers as they have acquired powerful magic items that may even be legendary themselves.
Tier 4. Masters of the World (Levels 17-20)
At Tier 4, characters have reached the pinnacle of their class features and become heroic (or villainous) archetypes in their own right. They are Masters of the World, capable of undertaking quests to save or change the fate of entire worlds or even multiverses. Traveling between planes is much more common at this level, with spells like Wish able to completely rewrite reality.
Party members may have acquired several legendary magic items or stations allowing them to lead others – such as an archdruid commanding over an army – and adventures involve massive scale activities which draw attention from both good entities (avatars) and bad ones (archdevils). Official content released for DnD 5e rarely reaches this tier, so players must create their own stories and challenges if they want to experience it fully.
How to Use the Tiers of Play
To use the tiers of play in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, it is important to understand how each tier works. In Tier 1 (levels 1–4), characters are still learning their class features and making major choices that will flavor their character’s abilities. At this level, they will face threats to local farmsteads or villages.
In Tier 2 (levels 5–10), spellcasters gain access to 3rd level spells and weapon users can make multiple attacks in one round. This tier presents more dangerous challenges such as threats facing cities or kingdoms.
Tier 3 (levels 11–16) sets characters far above ordinary people and makes them special among adventurers with powerful abilities.
When creating a character, assign the highest score to the ability that best fits their class, then assign next highest score to Constitution for hit point calculation purposes. Consider Wisdom and Charisma scores for leadership qualities if desired, then apply racial benefits like increasing Strength or Constitution accordingly. Lastly, calculate final hit points by adding 10 + constitution modifier together. Ability scores can be customized using a variant rule table.
Remember that levels are a reflection of an individual's abilities rather than a determinant of success; growth comes from within and challenging oneself can lead to faster growth for adventurers than those who opt for safer roads.