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Character Advancement - What do you prefer?

What do you prefer?

  • Leveling up every now and then (i.e., more seldom but then a bundled bigger advancement)

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Steady advancement after every session (i.e., spend XPs immediately or save them up as you like)

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Long-term advancement (i.e., you are not playing for advancement, or advancing is small and seldom)

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters
    11

JochenL

CL Byte Sprite
Staff member
Adamantium WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Gamer Lifestyle
Borderland Explorer
Recently, I realized that my personal tastes might not be universal (oh, wonder! :)).

I dislike waiting for the next level. I prefer steady character advancement for several reasons. The most important one is that deciding whether to save up for big progress or buy a small advancement now feels a lot more rewarding to me.

Not wanting to guess based on the wide use of level-based systems, I want to ask you, "What do you prefer as a player?"

If your preference as a GM considerably differs, please add a comment and let me know why.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
I like steady advancement, but not too fast. I like CPs / XPs after every session. Also, after every session I look at my PC‘s accomplishments. New armor, items, gold, loot, spells, friends, enemies, progress in story, assets, renown, cool moments, moral decisions that changed the PC, etc. All that is important to me.
I don‘t like bundled, huge amounts of XPs,
I like to decide what to do with those precious points and to question myself how others will spend theirs and whether my decisions will create a difference in power between the PCs.

EDIT:
As a GM I always warn my players beforehand, that I like rather slow advancement. Not many players share my POV on this, so we meet in the middle. I just think that for every amount of XP / CP the story advancement must fit. And I'm not talking about what kind of monsters have been defeated, but how many cool stories the player could tell about the adventures of his PC. That should fit to the power level. At least that is my opinion.

On a side note, let's add that I do not give XP / CP for what happened to the PCs but for the time the players invested in the game. PC advancement is for me absolutely related to the time that the player shared with the PC on his adventures and should advance according to the time the player played this PC, and not in relation to some heroic acts or the lack therof (one exception for me: Earthdawn's legend points).
Thus, I usually give a standard amount per session and try to award good roleplaying, heroic acts and stuff with praise and items and awe by NPCs.
 
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Auke

New member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Frequent levelling up (as in, after each session) makes it feel cheap. It's a reward and should be earned - that's what makes it special and valuable. There are lots of other ways of giving out more frequent rewards.
 

JonGraHar

Member
Platinum WoA
Gold WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
I'm always amazed at how various the responses are regarding RPGs. I think that's is what I like about the game: 8 people can play a wizard type and you will find 8 ways to play a wizard.

I think leveling up is, of course, for the players rather than characters. So about every 2-3 sessions, we level up.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
You're totally right. Leveling up every 2-3 sessions? That's way out of my league as well. I personally prefer level ups between every 5-10 sessions depending on current level (1st level every 5 sessions, 12th level every 10 sessions). But hey, people are different.
But rather than leveling up like in D&D, I like the cp / karma system in Gurps/Dungeon Fantasy/Shadowrun etc. to gradually increase a few stats every other session depending on whether I use them for small things or save them for bigger advancements.
 

Ye Olde Raven

New member
Platinum WoA
I think that constant small increments mirror the real world. However, I'm fairly sure that I can't cast spells. (Is programmer a class?) So when a character levels up in D&D and gains new powers, my prefered style of gaming would want the characters to do something focused to gain those new powers. Could be training, a quest, a blue potion, etc.

But, the challenge there is that at lower levels you're progressing faster so you're going to be spending a bunch of time doing the "level up process" more often.

In a homebrew system I played ages ago, we did incremental upgrades which I prefered over levels.
 

FoxMikeLima

New member
Wizard of Combat
I run milestone leveling for DnD 5e.

Level 1 to 2 is one session
2-5 is 3-4 sessions per level.
6-10 is 4-6 sessions per level
11-15 is 5-8 sessions per level

That being said, the milestones are based on the parties achievements, so if they take an extra session or two to finish an adventure, or finish it really quickly, they get the level up.

I don't really run games higher than that.

I run 3 hour sessions every other week, so roughly they are leveling up once every 1.5-3 months of actual real world time.
 

ExileInParadise

RPG Therapist
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Voted - but there was not room for "nuance" there so much.

I prefer regular / constant incremental advancement over levelling - people (who want) can and do slowly learn and improve over time in a continuous curve, not huge steps.

The *big* exception to this, which D&D partly reflects, is when there are gatekeepers to progress - an apprenctice must complete a task before being granted the next stage.

Martial artists might progress in "belts" - those are the "milestones" that levels originally tried to model... just look at the titles for the monks or fighters.

So, the nuance is that "ranks" in a profession are like levels or milestones and could be tracked one way while individual skill progress could be continuous small increments.

I don't want to go to town and go pay the guild just to get a skill mechanically raised by a point when I could have "just gotten better at it through practice" while back in the dungeon.
 

JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Gamer Lifestyle
Demonplague Author
Borderland Explorer
I'm old school and prefer to simulate character sheet improvements. If the adventure log does not support gaining a new skill then you must pay for study or training, for example.

I prefer XP system like Blades in the Dark that factor in System, Story, and Setting. Not just System.

I prefer asynch characters - a party of mixed power levels. Gandalf travelled with princes and hobbits.

And I prefer very strong Story and Setting pillars such that I am thoroughly entertained by Choices & Consequences and don't need level ups as a carrot to play or to be the reason for playing.
 

Rardian

Feature-Keeper
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Borderland Explorer
I prefer levelling in chunks, i.e. with reaching a level from time to time: It feels more like a celebration and, as Auke said, earned. If it's synced with the the group the players can celebrate together.

In systems where you gather points to spend on stuff (which seems to be the tendency) I feel always like missing important parts. Should I improve skills, or wait for a central attribute? Can I choose wrong? I prefer to choose from several options instead.
 
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JohnnFour

Game Master
Staff member
Platinum WoA
Wizard of Story
Wizard of Combat
Gamer Lifestyle
Demonplague Author
Borderland Explorer
I remember in an AD&D campaign I ran that I required training time = 1 day per level and 1500 gp per level if I'm not mistaken.

Adventures honed skills, and the training time allowed characters to process and refine what they learned.

Each character's trainer was represented by a faction. So we got good faction play. Ultimately, all factions wanted a spy in the dungeon adventuring party, which was the PCs.

The PCs would level async as per the rules. So we'd run a celebration feast 5RD every time the last PC (the wizard, heh) reached a new level. It was in that time we did the faction roleplay. Otherwise, the party was in Undermountain.

That worked out pretty awesome.

We were heavy munchkins back then, and levels were a means to better treasure letters in the Monster Manual.

My favourite faction was the monk's. The masters were all plotting against the grandmaster to become the next grandmaster.

Alas, all my notes from that campaign were lost two moves ago.
 
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