5E How/when Do You Level?

How do you handle leveling in your 5E game?

  • We pay to train, using downtime and such, before we level.

    Votes: 5 8.5%
  • We train on our own before we level.

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • We level following a long (or short) rest.

    Votes: 20 33.9%
  • We level after the scene/ encounter is over.

    Votes: 9 15.3%
  • We level on milestones.

    Votes: 19 32.2%
  • Other.

    Votes: 5 8.5%

  • Total voters
    59

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Hi all,

So I was thinking about the idea of leveling on the drive home tonight. In past games, I've played with training and downtime needed to level, in other games leveling was after the scene, or when the characters "got back to town" or something.

At our current table, we level after a long rest (8 hours), and don't pay or train, etc. How do you do it in your group(s)?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In most of my campaigns, the characters get XP after a challenge that awards XP and can level up immediately if they hit the amount they need.

In my next campaign, they will buy XP from a trainer during downtime using GP.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
It takes three days downtime. No other expenses involved.

Instead of XP, I award Honor; you receive a base amount of Honor for attending the session, plus extra for roleplay, ideas, innovations, investment in the character, etc.

It takes 40 Honor to level up, which as noted requires down time. A session's Honor is handed out at the very start of the next session. It usually takes 3-5 sessions to level up, although the base allocation is higher n the first three levels.

We're 27 sessions into the current campaign, and the PCs are 6th, 7th, and 8th levels.
 

ccs

40th lv DM
Depends upon the campaign.

My Thur night campaign is technically running on XP. I'm supposed to be handing out the XP at the end of each session. But....
The 1st "adventure" wich took 3 sessions covered one night of wild partying. Depending upon what each PC did (or didn't do) it was possible come dawn to have earned enough to reach 2nd, 3rd, or, at the extreme, 4th lv. (everyone ended up at various stages of 3rd). PCs got one lump sum of XP at dawn.
Then it ran XP each session for about two months.
From then - present I've been tallying & handing it out about once a month.

In my Fri game the PCs are working their way through The Dragon of Ice spire Peak. So they're lv after x # of quests/jobs as written. Once they finish the actual dragon I'll aim to do XP per session.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I voted my preference, which is that leveling costs gold and downtime once the required number of XP have been earned. In practice though, I let the group decide how this is handled, which has included immediately leveling upon attaining enough XP. I never award XP, however, until the party leaves off from adventuring and is back at a suitable “home-base”.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Question for those who use downtime.

Think real world - you spend a few months working on something and get better at it. Can you absolutely not improve until you stop doing it? What's the justification for requiring downtime?
 
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aco175

Adventurer
I have two groups and one tracks XP with it given at the end of the night. Most times we end play with a short or long rest and the PCs can level before the next week without training or cost. Long ago I had a campaign with training and downtime. It worked some, but on long forays into the dungeons and such I found that some of the PCs would level and could not actually go up in level since they needed to stop and go find a trainer. We then tried a pre-leveling training with some PCs training when others are going up a level so they could when they reached the needed XP. It was ok, but ended up being unwieldy.

My other game levels with milestones. When the PCs complete missions and dungeons I let them level. I'm trying to level them more quickly since we do not play much and I want my son to get to play higher levels before we start a new game. This tends to be at the end of game nights when the PCs complete a dungeon and we handwave them going back to town. I just tell them they gain a level since the next time we play will be in a month or two and most will not remember where we were.
 
It really depends on the game. In the game I run for my kids they level up at the end of the session in which they accrue enough XP, pretty standard. I've played and run the level when you train option, and while it makes sense, but I find it's occasionally awkward. That said I tend to prefer some in game component to leveling, and I'll pick and chose based on what makes sense for what I'm running.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
For my current game, the pace is fairly quick, and I level them up at milestones and they gain the benefits when they next take a short rest.

For my next game, the pace is intended to be more leisurely. Characters gain XP based on the treasure and stories they bring back to the village, and spending the XP to gain a level (or more than a level) takes an entire season.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
Hi all,

So I was thinking about the idea of leveling on the drive home tonight. In past games, I've played with training and downtime needed to level, in other games leveling was after the scene, or when the characters "got back to town" or something.

At our current table, we level after a long rest (8 hours), and don't pay or train, etc. How do you do it in your group(s)?
One thing my group does is to level up even if we have not reached the xp level to do so if we finish a session with less than an encounters worth of xp till the next level.

They level up in between sessions so as to cut down the admin time.
 
My only complaint with in session leveling is that there always seem to be that one player who goes deep into the tank deciding what spell to take or whatever and it bogs the whole session down. Less of an issue with more exerienced players likely, but that's why I tend to do it at the end or in between sessions (the actual paperwork part).
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Question for those who use downtime.

Think real world - you spend a few months working on something and get better at it. Can you absolutely not improve until you stop doing it? What's the justification for requiring downtime?
Gameplay. Stopping mid-session to level everyone up is hell on the pacing of a game. Leveling between sessions but still mid-adventure is less disruptive, but it does lead to sudden difficulty shifts if the adventure doesn’t correctly anticipate when the players will level up.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
Question for those who use downtime.

Think real world - you spend a few months working on something and get better at it. Can you absolutely not improve until you stop doing it? What's the justification for requiring downtime?
The in-game justification is learning new class features, spells, etc. Out-of-game justification is aesthetic preference: I want leveling to be a gold-sink and feel it’s a fun way to build downtime into the game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Question for those who use downtime.

Think real world - you spend a few months working on something and get better at it. Can you absolutely not improve until you stop doing it? What's the justification for requiring downtime?
I don't have much care about the "real world" when I'm designing how my game works. In my next campaign I want to raise up the trainer as the mentor from the heroes' journey as that fits with the theme of the game which is "zero to hero." I also want to create a trade-off between leveling up and other useful downtime activities. Further, spending gold to acquire XP with a trainer creates a trade-off between choosing to level up versus using your gold for other purposes (equipment, hirelings, strongholds, adding spells to your book, etc.). And all of this influences play in that the main currency in the game is wealth which the PCs are free to acquire however they wish. With no requirement to kill monsters or win at noncombat challenges or achieve story goals or quests, they can decide how they want to get the gold so they can level up. Doing it this way also reinforces the notion of going out into the dungeon/wilderness and then coming back to town which is a good play cycle for this setup in my view.

Now, almost all my other campaigns have immediate level up once the PC acquires the XP they need to level (which is gotten through combat and social interaction challenges). It takes two minutes to do during the session, particularly as players are encouraged to think about what they want for their next level prior to it happening. But I'm choosing downtime leveling paid for by gold for the reasons stated above for the next campaign. I don't recommend it for every campaign.
 

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