Level 40 Expansion (5e Variant Rule)
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Extended Class Levels
It was a sad day when I discovered that something of this kind of variant rule already existed, but then my spirits were lifted when I checked it out and saw that it wasn't very... err... interesting. The gained features in the supplemental variant rule Past Level 20 are overall boring, bland, and uninspired. It has a bajillion dead levels for each class it gives the levels to and doesn't deal with subclasses. Thankfully, the creator him/herself has stated that they are unsure of the balance of the additions. With this said, time for the meat of this page: the rules on how these class levels work!
This list comprises the same 12 classes as the core content and gives each of them 20 additional levels, making 40 total in each class. They are designed to be balanced with each other in such a way that by the time two different characters reach that 40th level, they will be roughly equal in power. As with the first 20 levels in each class, different classes grow more powerful throughout certain levels faster than other classes but slower than other classes at other levels. Some of this supplement is a simple design guide, but it really just boils down to learning what kinds of things to expect at certain levels before making additions.
Half of the design philosophy behind most of the features is "whatever the class gave at Xth level that can be reasonably improved, the X+20th level should be the improvement", so if you want to make extended levels for your own homebrew class or subclass this is a good way to go. For other features, the design philosophy is "if it's really good and feels god-like, do it". The other half of the design philosophy fits somewhat with the Bounded Accuracy thing that 5e was designed with, wherein characters experience diminishing returns on each gained level. What this means for this variant rule supplement is that if a 1-20 feature was regularly increasing every 3 levels, it would start to take more and more levels throughout 21-40. Let's say the example feature is granted at 1st level, and increases one last time at 19th level. It would be increased one more time at 22nd level, as expected, but then wouldn't increase until 26th level instead of 25th level, then 30th level, and then 35th level would be the last time it increases in the way set by the base feature at 1st level. This does not mean that 40th level can't also upgrade the feature: it should just do it in a different or even more impressive way. This applies to a character's proficiency bonus as well: instead of increasing every 4 levels, it increases after 5, then 6, then 7 after you reach 21st level. Do note that monsters that are above CR 20 do NOT follow this rule, nor should they: this only exists to help prevent the numbers that players apply from getting too out of control.
In lieu of recent shadow-buffs, I thought I would reveal a little bit more to the design philosophy of some of the specific features, specifically 37th level: the Power features. Each one is named |Insert Descriptor| Power, and provides a flat increase to three different ability scores, increasing each of them by 2. Some of the classes give you choices between different scores, and others don't give any, but they are designed to allow for the most commonly used ability scores of the class to be improved to truly insane heights. Not even the elves could dream of achieving this level of raw ability, even with the Tomes and Manuals. Anyways, aside from the massive boost to ability scores, the features also improves exactly one miscellaneous aspect of the class and one combat-specific aspect of the class. Now, some of the classes do not follow this to the letter: a "miscellaneous" improvement could also be applied to combat, but has plenty of use outside of combat as well. The barbarian's Primal Power follows in the barbarian's class-exclusive line of Strength improvements where instead of increasing the score by 2, it increases the score by 4 and brings the maximum up to 30, since the PHB's 20th-level barbarian already boosts the score up to 24 and the Demigod feature of the class brings the maximum to 26. The ranger's Primordial Power at first appears to do three additional things instead of two, but upon closer examination both the Carrying Capacity and the Maximum Lift/Drag weights are part of the same thing, just worded and phrased similarly to the Totem Warrior Barbarian's 10th-level Bear Totem feature.
Implementation and Restrictions
Now that the slog is over, time for the actual mechanical stuff. Using these rules, a character may gain a total of 40 levels instead of 20. This increase in level limit is not bound by class, so a theoretical 40th-level character could have 20 levels in rogue, 13 in fighter, and 7 in barbarian. However, for a character to be eligible for a class's 21st level, they cannot have levels in any other class. In addition, a character that has 21 or more levels in a single class cannot gain levels in any other class. (Sorcerer 14/Rogue 6 already causes enough problems with its flight: a cleric 25/rogue 6 would be truly terrifying for the DM!)
If you would like to improve a certain aspect of one of these level extensions, please make a suggestion on the Talk page for the class in question. I will revert any and all changes by unregistered users that didn't talk about their vision on the Talk page first (and didn't give ample time for someone to preview it: don't make the post and immediately make the change, please!) and I will assume that any edits that simply make numbers bigger are frivolous. Yes, these levels are designed to feel very powerful and even over-powered at times: but they are all balanced against each other and as such any changes to one class's features would warrant a change to EVERY class's features. Except the honest, helpful, and insightful edit that fixes an issue that was missed in the creation of these extensions, of course. Keep in mind that, though they were only added to the wiki recently, these have been in the works for over 3 years and most of the balance problems between them have been fixed in that time, and even some of the balance problems between the base 20 levels are also slowly mediated as characters progress through these extended levels. Ranger isn't a weak baby anymore!
Because of the limits of what I'm working with, the tables for the additional 20 levels will show the levels as being 1-20. Simply add 20 to each level to get the levels the features are given at. The tables also will not include the spells gained at those levels: until I can figure out how to make a completely custom class table, those will be here instead. Finally, the tables also show the classes as receiving the "Ability Score Improvement" feature at the regular levels, which these are not. Ignore all instances of that feature, as the additional levels use "Improved Ability Score Improvement" instead.
Proficiency Bonus by Level
Who wants to see the actual classes? Well, I certainly do! This is going to be a lot of information, so each class will have a separate page in the "5e Special Classes" section of the wiki. It's not ideal, as I would rather have a separate area specifically for "Beyond 20th Level" stuff, an area that others can easily find and add their own stuff to, but the admins on the Discord server were being unhelpful. Anyways, here's the links to the pages: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
At higher levels, cantrips will continue to deal even more damage. If a cantrip that normally deals damage has its damage increased at 5th level, 11th level, and 17th level, it will deal an additional die of damage at 23rd level, 30th level, and 38th level. The exception is eldritch blast: this spell instead allows you to make an additional attack with it at those levels.
Even though the full-caster classes receive spell slots that are higher than 9th level, there are no spells attributed to them. Similarly, the paladin and ranger spell lists do not include spells higher than 5th level. Those are mostly up to the DM to find/make/choose (especially 10th-level and higher spells), but I will adding some homebrew spells that fit the bill in a list here:
Spell Slots for Full Casters
Spell Slots for Half Casters
Spell Slots for One-Third Casters
Spells/Cantrips Known Per Spellcasting Class
|Caster Level||Bard||Cleric||Druid||Eldritch Knight||Arcane Trickster||Sorcerer||Warlock||Wizard|
|Bard Spells||Bard Cantrips||Cleric Cantrips||Druid Cantrips||Eldritch Knight Spells||Eldritch Knight Cantrips||Arcane Trickster Spells||Arcane Trickster Cantrips||Sorcerer Spells||Sorcerer Cantrips||Warlock Spells||Warlock Cantrips||Wizard Cantrips|
Afterword on Designing Extended Levels
Contrary to what was stated before, not all features that feel "god-like" are a good fit as a class feature, even for extended levels. For example, having an innate ability to infinitely create gold and diamonds at 23rd level doesn't work very well as a PC class feature, nor are having infinite teleportation or complete self-cloning good fits as class features. At least, not until 40th level. While the DM's gods, demigods, or other monsters (even surprisingly weak ones) are perfectly fine having such an ability, they can be game-breaking for the players to have control of. Also, if someone who happens to read this decides to go through the effort of essentially doubling the content for their class using this ruleset, maybe add a link to it here? Might be nice to eventually grow this type of content and make it a thing, however small. Also, if you disagree with the transformation of creature type given at 21st level, this is all homebrew content so you can just make it change to whatever the player wants. Celestial is msotly just a placeholder and is meant to define one of the core aspects of the feature and why it works as a unique feature. Lots of debuff and control spells that enemies can cast, like hold person and crown of madness, won't affect you if you aren't a humanoid, making it exceptionally powerful.
Alternate Spell Slots for Full Casters
For those who want to keep it to 9th level maximum. As another alternative, you could use the other table for full casters and just have the 10th and up spell slots act like 9th level slots that offer additional up-casting power. No need to have unique 10th, 11th, or 12th-level spells to use the spell slots on if you don't want them! WARNING: This alternate progression is far weaker, but still feels natural.