Level Up (A5E) How to reach 20th Level in 45 days — An analysis of "adventuring day" per character level

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
Except designers have continuously said that the game's sweet spot is levels 5-10, and I'm pretty sure we can find an article from D&D Next playtest that shows that this was intentional if we dig hard enough.
I wouldn't be satisfied with the assumption that it was as intended, as that assumes infallibility. We know certain things like CR weren't done to the satisfaction of designers- so before I got further into it, I did some digging... and you are quite correct! It is intentional, as per this thread from 2014. :)
 

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Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
But it's not out of whack. It's intended. You're intended to breeze through later levels because the game gets too complicated for a prolonged campaign, but you want people to to see the reality-bending powers of Tier 4. I mentioned it earlier in the thread.
[edited] I agree with your assessment, but the implications are utterly bizzare.

It is as thought to say that 5e is such a good game, you should spend a minimal ammount of time playing it!

There was a sentiment common to A5e designers that 5e seemed practically unplaytested, and this revelation seems to confirm why we had that perception.

I just can't imagine giving players world-breaking powers only to turn arround and use XP as a seatbelt against time spent in-world derailing the campaign.

[edit] [edit] (Sorry for the large changes, didn't mean to dirty edit.)
 
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Ondath

Hero
[edited] I agree with your assessment, but the implications are utterly bizzare.

It is as thought to say that 5e is such a good game, you should spend a minimal ammount of time playing it!

There was a sentiment common to A5e designers that 5e seemed practically unplaytested, and this revelation seems to confirm why we had that perception.

I just can't imagine giving players world-breaking powers only to turn arround and use XP as a seatbelt against time spent in-world derailing the campaign.

[edit] [edit] (Sorry for the large changes, didn't mean to dirty edit.)
I get the feeling, absolutely. But in the end, even with the sped-up progression, every level lasts at least an adventuring day. I think what you're supposed to do around that time is to add much more downtime between each adventure. That way, your high-level PCs still spend a lot of time in-game time at each level, but they tend to level up following short, meaningful excursions. It has some superhero logic to it (unsurprisingly): The Avengers probably chill in their mansion or go on small solo quests most of the time, and then come together every now and again for the big team-up, and then disband until the next big threat rears its head. I feel like the game speeding up after Level 11 can support that playstyle, provided that you find an excuse to increase the downtime between each adventure. What I had done my last high-level game was making a set amount of downtime required after a level up, and the amount of time increased between tiers. So the party may need to spend only one week to go from Level 3 to 4, but they might spend 2 months in downtime from Level 15 to 16.
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
I get the feeling, absolutely. But in the end, even with the sped-up progression, every level lasts at least an adventuring day. I think what you're supposed to do around that time is to add much more downtime between each adventure. That way, your high-level PCs still spend a lot of time in-game time at each level, but they tend to level up following short, meaningful excursions. It has some superhero logic to it (unsurprisingly): The Avengers probably chill in their mansion or go on small solo quests most of the time, and then come together every now and again for the big team-up, and then disband until the next big threat rears its head. I feel like the game speeding up after Level 11 can support that playstyle, provided that you find an excuse to increase the downtime between each adventure. What I had done my last high-level game was making a set amount of downtime required after a level up, and the amount of time increased between tiers. So the party may need to spend only one week to go from Level 3 to 4, but they might spend 2 months in downtime from Level 15 to 16.
It is much what I predicted as well.

Unfortunately, it doesn't do anything to address the other, more primary issue: how to appropriately challenge high-level characters in a meaningful way. It clearly isn't resource management or a dungeon.
 

evildmguy

Explorer
Very interesting! Thanks!

I have been running a few a5e games and giving out xp. I toned down what I was handing out but I will wasn't paying attention to specific amounts of xp the pcs had. I didn't intend for them to advance quickly but they have and this article/thread explains why. Thanks!

That ... is awful design, IMO, that leveling by xp (RAW) is inconsistent. I would expect, as others said, that getting to high levels would slow down and take more xp, not speed up. All it would have taken was to increase xp needed to advance for those levels and instead they guessed? It seems to me it makes more sense, if they want to emphasize the 5-10 sweet spot, to have xp needed to advance go up exponentially past those levels.

All they needed to do was say that after level 11, the amount of xp needed for the next level is double the amount of xp it took to get to the current level. Not only would that slow down progression, and make sense in some ways, but it might push groups to start over when they see what it will take to advance, which is what the designers seemed to want. I'm basing that on the focus on adventures that go to tenth or so and stop, although that is not all of them.

Thanks for the discussion!
 

I wouldn't be satisfied with the assumption that it was as intended, as that assumes infallibility. We know certain things like CR weren't done to the satisfaction of designers- so before I got further into it, I did some digging... and you are quite correct! It is intentional, as per this thread from 2014. :)
I don't care if it's intended and official, it's one of the lamest excuses for poor design choices I ever heard. Instead of making the game more approachable and enjoyable at high levels, they just blurted out some stuff and suggested that half of the material they produced is not where the fun part of the game is, literally from level 10 to 20.

It's not the first time WoTC drops the ball on and makes excuses for terrible design choices (like having some 3rd level spells much more powerful than others because they are "iconic", or making dragons way stronger than their stated CR would suggest to make them "memorable", etc etc).
 

or making dragons way stronger than their stated CR would suggest to make them "memorable"
i was WONDERING why some level up creatures are higher CR then their 5e counterparts. apparently they aren't and level up is just being honest!

...in retrospect, i'm not sure why i expected anything else, honestly...
 

i was WONDERING why some level up creatures are higher CR then their 5e counterparts. apparently they aren't and level up is just being honest!

...in retrospect, i'm not sure why i expected anything else, honestly...
TBH I was referring to 3.5E Dragons, where their CR was artificially lowered by approx 30% to make them "deadlier".
5E's monsters design is so handwavy that I never took any number written in the MM seriously.
 


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