WotC Milestone leveling in WotC editions?


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Staffan

Legend
The closest I think I've seen to milestone leveling were story awards in 2e (and to a lesser degree 3e), which were supposed to replace xp for gold. You definitely had adventures suggesting level ranges (and bigger adventures suggesting different rangers for different parts), but those were intended more as benchmarks than milestones.
 

Voadam

Legend
I played in a 1e game in college where I believe the Arduin xp charts were used and for each individual game session xp awarded depended on success or not. 1,000 xp for big plot success, 750 xp for in progress, 500 for failure. Possible +10%-20% each for exceptional individual tactics and roleplay. Most games were in progress nights. I did not own the charts so I can't reference them now for how they scaled, but in four years of weekly games outside of summer and vacations I went from 7th level to 20th as a magic user.

I really liked having fixed regular gradual awards not based on killing or loot. My character developed into a supremely rich and influential political merchant prince and I never had to track gp. A lot of focus on roleplay and narratively interacting with the world and it was still full on D&D with dwarves and vampires and collecting spells for my spellbook. I considered it fantastic.
 

the Jester

Legend
Until 3e, there was no sense that all pcs should be the same level. 3e instituted the universal xp chart, and the way the math worked, you simply couldn't have a large variance in levels and have the game run smoothly. Combined with the fact that 3e was designed so that you didn't really get your character concept fully alive until you hit the mid-levels, and you had a massive change in the way people looked at character level.

Early D&D ran great with large ranges of level difference.
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
Until 3e, there was no sense that all pcs should be the same level.
There was in my head, since I was, 99% of the time, the one playing catch-up, being assured I’d be fine, and watching others doing more of whatever I wanted to do and doing it better than I ever would, since campaigns never lasted long enough for me to ever actually reach others’ level. (I didn’t have as much free time every week as the others.)

I believe others when they say disparate levels worked fine for them. It was major anti-fun for me.
 

Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
For a time, I ran BECMI campaigns using an alternative advancement mechanic that I called "Achievement Points." It was simple enough: human characters needed 8 AP to gain a level, and demihumans needed 10 AP. Every session was worth 1–3 AP to each character, with the award based on the DM's judgement for how well the players had played.

I haven't actually used this mechanic in a long while, though, because it has the same problem that all systems based on milestones or ad hoc DM discretion suffer from: it's arbitrary (where XP for treasure is diegetically concrete) and defaults to being DM-directed rather than player-directed, which leaves players either meandering and directionless or following the DM's railroad rather than spurring themselves to adventure.
 

Voadam

Legend
I haven't actually used this mechanic in a long while, though, because it has the same problem that all systems based on milestones or ad hoc DM discretion suffer from: it's arbitrary (where XP for treasure is diegetically concrete) and defaults to being DM-directed rather than player-directed, which leaves players either meandering and directionless or following the DM's railroad rather than spurring themselves to adventure.
I never really felt that the xp system drove people to adventure.

An easy milestone advancement system that avoids being DM plot driven is everyone advances every x games (tuned to taste for the pacing of advancement).
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I never really felt that the xp system drove people to adventure.
It can, but the generic "defeat bad guys, get XP" is pretty unfocused.

The OSR approach of "acquire treasure, by any means necessary" is better, because one doesn't have to go wandering around, looking for "bad guys," but can instead decide to rob merchants or break into the overlord's vault or even go into a dungeon.
An easy milestone advancement system that avoids being DM plot driven is everyone advances every x games (tuned to taste for the pacing of advancement).
That's what I've been doing in my 5E games recently, with a cap so that the folks furthest ahead can't just blast through level 1 adventures over and over with the newbie characters and wind up level 9 and even further ahead of the game. It's been fine.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I never really felt that the xp system drove people to adventure.

An easy milestone advancement system that avoids being DM plot driven is everyone advances every x games (tuned to taste for the pacing of advancement).
That would do the exact opposite of encouraging/driving characters to adventure!

"Guys, we can go out and risk our lives adventuring for five sessions and level up, or we can sit safe in town and quaff ale for five sessions and still level up........... bartender!"

Tying the accruement of xp to the taking of risk - and further, only giving xp to those who actually take those risks - is what drives them to adventure.
 

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