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How often should PCs level up?

How often should PCs typically level up in your preferred version of D&D?


  • Total voters
    70
S

Sunseeker

Guest
Can't answer because the poll doesn't include the correct answer, namely, "There is no "should" for leveling up."

When you have the XP, you level up. If you an do that in 2 sessions? Kudos! If it takes you five months of games? That's all good too.

There is no and absolutely should be NO expectations of levels after "X" sessions or "hours of game time" or any other ridiculous, meaningless, completely arbitrary count/number when a player becomes "due" a level.

Get the XP. Level up.

Well that's a completely meaningless, ridiculous, arbitrary statement for the many people who don't even use xp.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I can't say that there's a good answer to this. For me, it depends on the sessions: a session packed with combat and exploring is going to contribute much more to leveling up than one spent building political alliances, crafting weapons, and managing settlements.

I usually give milestone XP instead of encounter XP. So building political alliances (to advance the story) will often bring more than combat unless that's specifically directed.

I also give out a pool for good RP in sessions outside everything else. I let players reward each other with poker chips. Shares of a pool, so they can't just inflate each other.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
When I DM, I like low levels to go faster - start people with a taste of weakness so they can appreciate when they go up, but get them to a point where they can enjoy more options and toys as well as allow me a wide range of challenges to throw at them. Part of that is that I cut my teeth on AD&D and AD&D 2nd and remember spending a literal year of weekly 12 hour sessions to get a level once we were in the teens.

Hmm, for my 13th Age game, to translate it to 5e terms, is about 4 levels per RL year, which is about 20ish 3-3.5 hour sessions. So I guess that's 5 sessions per level.
 



steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I wager it's not, given that milestones are a well-used way of leveling up.

As are XP. With a whole lot more legacy behind them (for people that care about such things).

"Milestones" are used, of course. That is an indisputable statement. Whether or not they are "well-used" (or used well, for that matter), is a matter of preference and personal experience.

So what makes my statement any more "meaningless," "ridiculous" or "arbitrary" than yours?
 
Last edited:

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I personally find milestones meaningless, ridiculous, and arbitrary. You level up after playing 1 session? 2? This is, of course, achieved simply by having a character in the game...So, why do players even need to show up? Here's my character sheet, tell me when we've "won."

We had 5 sessions! Everybody go up another level! The heroes thwarted the evil overlord! You [or your character] didn't actually DO anything or even have to be there. But just take a level, so we keep everybody advancing together. It's nonsense, completely voids player agency. Anyone concerned with player choices or player knowledge/system mastery or how their PC's impact the game/events in the game world (and any combinations thereof), would want to avoid "milestone" games like the plague, as I see it.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
As are XP. With a whole lot more legacy behind them (for people that care about such things).

"Milestones" are used, of course. That is an indisputable statement. Whether or not they are "well-used" (or used well, for that matter), is a matter of preference and personal experience.

So what makes my statement any more "meaningless," "ridiculous" or "arbitrary" than yours?

Because you prephased it by assaulting all ideas to the contrary. The fact that you made a secondary, ranty post repeating your assault on those ideas really just demonstrates my point.

I really don't understand why you came in here to do nothing but make combative posts.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I didn't. The question was "How often should PCs level up."

To that, I responded. My answer, my preference, my opinion on the topic at hand.

I was done in this thread...nothing else, really, to say on the matter.

Until, then, you wanted/decided to take exception to it and assert that your way of playing is somehow "better" or more acceptable than mine. Mine being, to quote you yet again, "a meaningless, ridiculous, [and] arbitrary statement."

So...who came here to be "combative?"
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
I didn't. The question was "How often should PCs level up."

To that, I responded. My answer, my preference, my opinion on the topic at hand.

I was done in this thread...nothing else, really, to say on the matter.

Until, then, you wanted/decided to take exception to it and assert that your way of playing is somehow "better" or more acceptable than mine. Mine being, to quote you yet again, "a meaningless, ridiculous, [and] arbitrary statement."

So...who came here to be "combative?"

I used those words, because they are your words, in case you forgot, emphasis mine:
There is no and absolutely should be NO expectations of levels after "X" sessions or "hours of game time" or any other ridiculous, meaningless, completely arbitrary count/number when a player becomes "due" a level.

Get the XP. Level up.

You could have stated that last part without any commentary on alternative means of leveling, without your clearly biased opinion on those alternatives, indeed without any commentary at all.

If you feel that the only way a character should level is "by getting the XP" then all your post really needed to say was "When they have gained enough XP to level." But as the post below demonstrates, that wasn't your real goal, otherwise the followup post would have been unnecessary. You didn't want to make your sentiments known about how often you think players should level, you wanted to make an attack on how often other other people who hold different opinions than you are wrong.

I personally find milestones meaningless, ridiculous, and arbitrary. You level up after playing 1 session? 2? This is, of course, achieved simply by having a character in the game...So, why do players even need to show up? Here's my character sheet, tell me when we've "won."

We had 5 sessions! Everybody go up another level! The heroes thwarted the evil overlord! You [or your character] didn't actually DO anything or even have to be there. But just take a level, so we keep everybody advancing together. It's nonsense, completely voids player agency. Anyone concerned with player choices or player knowledge/system mastery or how their PC's impact the game/events in the game world (and any combinations thereof), would want to avoid "milestone" games like the plague, as I see it.

If I seem a little personally incensed, I am, because I don't particularly like XP but you don't see me trashing it here, but I have been on the receiving end of people like you for years. XP Master Race types. Who think that they are so right because of history, because of experience in gaming, because *reasons* that it entitles them to berate, deride and denigrate those who do not agree with them.

And no, your signature does not give you a free pass to shitpost. IMO is not a shield from social repercussions. Your goal here is to incite, inflame and insult. It is harassment and little more than pseudo-intellectual trolling.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So...who came here to be "combative?"


Right now, you are being very confrontational, combative, and focused on making this discussion personal - none of which passes muster. Your answer, as stated, was pretty dismissive and condescending.

And, "But he did something wrong first!" is an excuse children try to use in a schoolyard. You are always responsible for your own behavior, no matter what the other person says or does. If you thought his statements were that problematic, you should have reported them, but you didn't. You do not have license to get in people's faces and make matters worse.

I suggest each of you get your perspectives in order, and leave each other alone going forward.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Well, since you're personally incensed from your own personal experiences and, naturally, that's somehow my fault/responsibility to coddle, as every confrontation I end up with on this site seems to be.

When it is the other person telling me what my "goal" here was, and that MY posts should be made without any opinion or commentary [that they don't like]...but theirs is somehow sacrosanct...Right. In the wrong again. What a shock.

Apologies I don't find it appropriate to hit the ignore or report button on a moment's notice. I'll remedy that now. Shouldn't be cause for upset to you or your preferences anymore shidaku. Congrats.
 

S'mon

Legend
Can't answer because the poll doesn't include the correct answer, namely, "There is no "should" for leveling up."

When you have the XP, you level up. If you an do that in 2 sessions? Kudos! If it takes you five months of games? That's all good too.

There is no and absolutely should be NO expectations of levels after "X" sessions or "hours of game time" or any other ridiculous, meaningless, completely arbitrary count/number when a player becomes "due" a level.

Get the XP. Level up.

IME even in a By the Book game the GM has a lot of control over XP awards and thus rate of advancement. I remember an online Basic D&D game where my PC returned from a successful dungeon delve, several hours long, having defeated several fearsome foes, and gained a whopping 23 XP - where a level needed ca 2000 and PCs died at 0 hp. I didn't feel as a player that I had much ability to increase the rate of XP gain. Maybe there was 1000gp gem somewhere in that dungeon, but I doubt it.
 

S'mon

Legend
I personally find milestones meaningless, ridiculous, and arbitrary. You level up after playing 1 session? 2? This is, of course, achieved simply by having a character in the game...So, why do players even need to show up? Here's my character sheet, tell me when we've "won."

We had 5 sessions! Everybody go up another level! The heroes thwarted the evil overlord! You [or your character] didn't actually DO anything or even have to be there. But just take a level, so we keep everybody advancing together. It's nonsense, completely voids player agency. Anyone concerned with player choices or player knowledge/system mastery or how their PC's impact the game/events in the game world (and any combinations thereof), would want to avoid "milestone" games like the plague, as I see it.

Are you trolling? A milestone is an in-game accomplishment by the PCs. Defeat the BBEG, finish the dngeon level, that sort of thing.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Maybe there is a misunderstanding about what milestones are. Milestones are usually points in the game where the adventure has thrown out enough XP for the group to justify a level.

I do agree that the poll, as is, misses the obvious and, to me, most sensible "whenever they are ready." As this is done by XP tracking - whether you level everyone up together because you use group XP or "milestones" as in "done with this part of the AP" doesn't matter, because that still calculates XP, if only by adventure total. I have no idea how anyone could ever measure leveling in hours or game sessions. Sometimes, the group does nothing XP-worthy but fluffing all evening, or planning without getting to the matter at hand. If they do that 5 sessions, why should they level up?

So it would be very helpful indeed if the poll would include "when they got the experience" - whether you give them out in points or in milestones.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Are you trolling?

Anyone who's been on this site for any amount of time knows [or, I certainly hope, should] I do not "troll."

Though I will say, it seems, in recent years(?)/months it has become the norm that any disagreement of sensibilities -and a click of the "report" button- is cause enough to cry [or be labeled], "Troll!"

-self-deleted soapbox on that tangent. Brought to you by: Self-Censorship - Building a more comfortable internet for your future, today.-

A milestone is an in-game accomplishment by the PCs. Defeat the BBEG, finish the dngeon level, that sort of thing.

One would think, wouldn't one? Does the poll make any claims to amounts of in-game accomplishment assumed in these amounts of time/# of sessions? [Wait. Is asking questions considered trolling or "combative" now? If so, I rescind the question.]

The poll I see lists "# game session" and/or "# hours." There is no reliable calculation on these factors one can use as a consistent measure of when leveling is appropriate.

I do agree that the poll, as is, misses the obvious and, to me, most sensible "whenever they are ready." As this is done by XP tracking - whether you level everyone up together because you use group XP or "milestones" as in "done with this part of the AP" doesn't matter, because that still calculates XP, if only by adventure total. I have no idea how anyone could ever measure leveling in hours or game sessions. Sometimes, the group does nothing XP-worthy but fluffing all evening, or planning without getting to the matter at hand. If they do that 5 sessions, why should they level up?

So it would be very helpful indeed if the poll would include "when they got the experience" - whether you give them out in points or in milestones.

Thank you for saying that.
 

S'mon

Legend
One would think, wouldn't one? Does the poll make any claims to amounts of in-game accomplishment assumed in these amounts of time/# of sessions? [Wait. Is asking questions considered trolling or "combative" now? If so, I rescind the question.]

The poll I see lists "# game session" and/or "# hours." There is no reliable calculation on these factors one can use as a consistent measure of when leveling is appropriate.

My very first line of the OP is For games with levels like D&D, how frequently do you think PCs should advance, given typical play? ie whatever you regard as typically skilled & successful play. Obviously actual rate will vary depending on player skill & accomplishments.

Re milestones, I don't use them myself. But a milestone is an accomplishment, not an amount of time played, and "1 level for clearing the dungeon" is not that different from "10,000 xp for finding the 10,000gp gem".
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
My very first line of the OP is For games with levels like D&D, how frequently do you think PCs should advance, given typical play? ie whatever you regard as typically skilled & successful play. Obviously actual rate will vary depending on player skill & accomplishments.

But... typical play? Since when do groups do anything "typical" anymore? :heh:

My group from tonight, for example, cut a whole big part of the adventure short. While they don't get all the group xp they would have gained from defeating everyone (which would have taken several more sessions) they did get enough to level up relatively soon. On the other hand another group spent the last 7 sessions traveling and just getting to know the land and the people, living off their loot. So no level up in sight for them. Thus, counting hours/sessions really has little meaning.
 

S'mon

Legend
My group from tonight, for example, cut a whole big part of the adventure short. While they don't get all the group xp they would have gained from defeating everyone (which would have taken several more sessions) they did get enough to level up relatively soon. On the other hand another group spent the last 7 sessions traveling and just getting to know the land and the people, living off their loot. So no level up in sight for them. Thus, counting hours/sessions really has little meaning.

The first case isn't an issue - the group is just unusually successful. In the second case, if gaining XP and levelling up is not a goal of play for the group then the question might be meaningless, though I know many GMs use levels as a "pacing mechanism" re the kind of content that can be experienced. In which case the latter group is just setting a slower pace than usual.
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
Exactly, but that's what makes counting hours or sessions pointless. There is no "typical" for my groups. Never has been. Same groups that's slow now may barge through the next adventure in 2 sessions instead of 4.

And before you say it all evens out - yes, most likely it does. The time in which they gain levels can certainly be averaged. But the poll doesn't ask for average. Nor does it take into account that while in an individual group things most likely average out, every group is different.

I am currently running 11 groups (yes, as I am stuck in the house most of the time I run a lot of online games and a table group). If I go by the poll, I could click all the options and then some because they are all at a different pace.
 

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