Thursday, February 23, 2012

Question: Leveling Up?

I've been running some searches in the blogosphere, and came across some interesting old stuff in the community. This post got me thinking once again about my issues with the millions of experience points needed to reach high levels in D&D.

I've gone back and forth on this topic. Sometimes I wonder if I want to stick to good old XP in order to play as close to rules-as-written as possible. But I've been playing with the idea of letting characters level up after their players have participated in a certain number of sessions. I was thinking of setting it at five sessions. I think this depends on the group and how frequently it meets. I've been pretty lucky to be able to game for a while now almost every week (once a week). So if you can do about 50 sessions in a year, that's 10th level in a year for all characters involved. Not too shabby, I think. Thoughts?


  1. I think it can work if you've got a consistent group, and you've got them committed to some long term quest/adventure, or a political/intrigue game with lots of RP. Not necessarily a railroad, but something more like the plot of a novel or movie than an open, explore where you will sandbox.

    If there's a set "level after X sessions" rule in place, it could discourage "adventurous" play. "Sure, we could go fight the dragon now, but if we spend this session flirting with barmaids and duking it out with local bullies in tavern brawls, we'll level up first!"

    Using regular XP, the PCs are free to spend the session in the bar, but they know they're not likely to level up until AFTER they finally get around to facing that dragon.

  2. You could make it a flat 10xp per level. Something like every person at the table gets 1d2 xp if they actually did something worthwhile* during the session. You could handwave an additional xp point or two for doing something exceptional.

    If you do go about it this way, try to be extra explicit about why the person getting any extra gm xp to avoid that old favoritism chestnut.

    *You'd need to explain to your players that 'worthwhile' doesn't mean flirting with barmaids and carousing about town in order to get away from the problem lord gwydion mentioned above.

  3. I still like to have some objective incentive system, because I like people to be rewarded for being clever (rather than just showing up).

    That being said, this is a pretty cool nontraditional advancement scheme:

  4. I'm a fan of alternate leveling systems such as the one you mention.

    Or, just flat-out lower the leveling requirements. So instead of needing to double your XP every time you level (approximately),lower the requirement by some set %.

    I only game 3 hours a week. In nearly 2 years of gaming (granted, we rotate DM'ing and campaigns), nobody has even hit 8th level.

  5. Thanks all for the suggestions, some good food for thought.