Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:00 am  
The curious contradiction of Epic rules in 3.5 D&D

I believe that everyone in this sub-forum is familiar with the Epic Level Handbook.

However, when discussing epic rules with people (in other locations) I've noticed a curious trend: most people are seemingly ignorant of the original Epic rules that are part of the 'core' rules.

The DMG has the original rules for epic level play, and they are quite straight forward, easy to understand, and surprisingly balanced, given the power levels involved, and especially when compared to what happened with the epic level concepts in the ELH.

This dichotomy actually produces a potential paradox due to other rules which WotC introduced, namely source book primacy. Whenever there is a contradiction between a 'core' book and a source book, the core book wins (in other words the DMG trumps the ELH). No Errata was released for the DMG stating that the ELH updated the DMG rules - the same problem the Rules Compendium faces. As such, in theory the ELH cannot update the DMG, causing an odd situation where the ELH technically might not exist or only partly exists, rules-wise, due to this failure.

A strict interpretation would rule that if it is not in the DMG, then that specific lack overrules a source book that attempts to add something that the DMG excluded.

A generous interpretation would allow that anything the DMG didn't cover is fair game for the ELH to create, though that still leaves the DMG in a superior position with regards to anything it did cover, obviously.

On top of that, there is the SRD version of the Epic rules in the mix, which shares rules with both, but basically stands alone as a separate version of the game in most senses. None of the primacy rules given by WotC (that I am aware of) address the position in the hierarchy of the SRD compared to source books or core books.

I am curious as to any experience resolving this potential conundrum specifically, as well as any opinions on the DMG epic rules compared to or instead of the ELH epic rules, and again in comparison or instead of the SRD rules.

Please discuss and share.
Does the walker choose the path, or does the path choose the walker?