New Spells and Abilities with regards to Leveling Up...

I don't bother with training requirements generally. HP are gained immediately once the XP total is reached and all other level benefits take place after a long rest. The only exception to this is when taking a level in a new class. I go with the assumption that the fundamentals of a new class are learned over time prior to becoming a 1st level adventurer. Once the basics are mastered, continuing along that same path can be assumed to occur with experience and use of those abilities.

A new class involves learning the fundamentals from scratch. Therefore the first level in a new class requires 250gp initial training and 250 days, half of which require an instructor (which can be a PC of the appropriate class) and half of self study/practice time. Thereafter any new level gained can be applied to either class normally.

Thus multi-classing requires dedication and time that single classed characters don't have to worry about.

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Not giving the players their characters class abilities upon reaching required XP is kind of a jerk move by your DM. A player comes to the table with the expectation of playing the character that is laid out in the Player's Handbook. To me the DM is saying "I don't care that you want to play a Fighter, you will have the powers I want you to have when I want you to have them." Restricting the level up to certain times might be one thing but also restricting to certain places as well, is just too much. I'm not a fan of this approach at all.

By RAW, level up is already restricted to needing a long rest to accomplish. Why is that not enough for your DM? If the DM wants a more realistic simulationist approach to gaining class abilities and levels perhaps he should look at the training time suggestions in the DMG. But even then those don't limit the PCs to specific locations which others have pointed out won't thematically work for every class.

Our DM wanted to implement something like this in our current game, but he quickly dropped it as needing to stop adventuring for 20+ days just to level up really put a stop on the flow of the story and the enjoyment of the game.

It seems to me your DM isn't concerned with the story or the game and just wants to control even the aspects of the game that are out of his control, like the powers that a character gets upon level up. Why doesn't he just keep the XP totals secret and then inform your group at the appropriate time?


First Post
This has been a great discussion, thank you all for the suggestions. I'm timid as to whether I should post the link to this board on our group page or not. I probably won't... don't want to ruffle the feathers. We do have a discussion going and I have published my concerns with a possible solution. Hopefully we can come to a reasonable solution that does not hinder the progress of the adventure.

Seriously, this is problematic behavior. "Hey guys, you need to meet requirement XYZ to level up."

And then later, "Hey guys, requirement XYZ is impossible to meet in this campaign. Bwahahaha, you lose!"

I think your GM needs to level up.


If I were to use training requirements to level, I would probably allow the training to be completed at any time between level n and level n+1. Less of a "ok, you've got 13,478 xp, so now it's time to go complete your training montage!" and more just needing a number of prerequisites to achieve a new level. A certain amount of xp (eg practicum). A certain amount of "training or instruction" time, where training or instruction could be fulfilled in a number of different ways: working under a mentor or grand master, training your own disciples, researching ancient spells in a great spell library, spending a month living with a family of bears, or what have you.
All of which are totally fine, and basically match the expectations of the game. The base rules just assume that everyone is doing this stuff whether they state that they are or not. I personally think it's up to the player and DM to flesh it out if they want to, because if you're fleshing it out when neither DM nor player have a plan, it's just going to end up obstructing the fun stuff with such engaging play as
DM: "now you have to go to town and cross off 200 gold to level or else you can't have new powers"
Players: "ok, we do that"
DM: "you can't"
Players: "yay"


First Post
All of which are totally fine, and basically match the expectations of the game. The base rules just assume that everyone is doing this stuff whether they state that they are or not. I personally think it's up to the player and DM to flesh it out if they want to, because if you're fleshing it out when neither DM nor player have a plan, it's just going to end up obstructing the fun stuff with such engaging play as
DM: "now you have to go to town and cross off 200 gold to level or else you can't have new powers"
Players: "ok, we do that"
DM: "you can't"
Players: "yay"

No doubt. Everybody (player and DM) has to keep a finger on the pulse of fun, and make sure that they're not throwing that out in order to fanatically adhere to some other rule or construct. It's up to every group to decide where that fun lies, and, ultimately, up to the DM to keep an eye on the big picture and make adjustments when necessary.

If I were using training requirements, and a PC hit the xp requirements before completing the 'training prerequisite,' it might go like this:

DM: You have the xp you need for level 5, but you still need another 2 days of training to hit the level.
Player: Ok, let's go back to Big Town and complete the training.
DM: Ok, you're on the 3rd level of the dungeon. Do you want to brave your way back through the other levels to make it back to town right now?

[IF YES, challenges might happen, but players make it back to town, spend 2 days training and hit level 5. Dope.]

PLAYER: Can I complete any of that training down here?
DM: You could try and convince a denizen of the dungeon to show you some new tricks?
PLAYER: Alright, let's try that!


PLAYER: Crap, we've only got 12 hours left to stop this crazy cult from destroying the multiverse!
DM: Ok, you'll have to do that at level 4 and then hopefully you can hop back to Big Town for some training at the end.
PLAYER: Yes, this is how I understood things would work when we first discussed this house rule. I'd love an extra attack and some extra hp, but I will suck it up and take my level next week.

It's just like any other house rule that limits player power. If the DM applies it with an eye to not screwing the player characters over, it works. If you use the "extra long rests" optional rule from the DMG, PCs need to spend 7 days resting to complete a long rest. That's a huge change in PC power, but it works if everybody is on board and plans accordingly. It doesn't work if the DM never lets the players spend more than 2 days cooling their heals before somebody else comes along and threatens to blow up the world.


First Post
Both editions of HackMaster require appropriate mentoring in order to actually level up. Their justification is that you need someone who knows more than you do to help you codify the things you've experienced over the past level so you can most effectively use them in the future.

I bring it up for two reason. First, I would highlight the phrase "appropriate mentoring". For a fighter that is most likely a combat school or knight. For a wizard it would be a college of magic. For clerics a temple. Et cetera. But for a druid all of those things are inappropriate. Instead a druid would seek out the nearest circle's grove and seek guidance there. A ranger's training would be similar. I haven't played 4e in a while, but I think barbarians and berserkers were the exceptions since they had no formal training of any kind anyway.

So as others have suggested, simply being out in the wilderness for months or years on end doesn't mean there aren't teachers to be had. Many's the story of the mad old wizard in a tower in the middle of tower. For fighters there's always the nearest retired knight as an option. For clerics the choices are nearly unlimited given the number of gods in the various pantheons. Clerics of Correllon, for example, might receive divine inspiration in the same kinds of places that a druid or ranger might find a tutor. You get the idea.

The second option is that sufficiently well-trained PCs can teach others, but I'm not sure how well it would apply to D&D given the mechanical differences. HackMaster, like GURPS and hordes of other games, allows you to gain multiple levels of each skill. Now I'm going to pull some numbers out of the ether, don't hold me to them. There is a minimum threshold that a character must reach in order to be able to teach the subject, but I don't remember what that number is and our books aren't handy.

So let's take the afore-mentioned cleric of Correllon and ranger, and say the ranger's Tracking skill is 65 (on a d100) and the cleric doesn't have the skill at all. If the cleric had been carefully watching the ranger track things, and asked lots of in-character questions (preferably between sessions), as GM I would allow the cleric's player to buy a rank or two of Tracking, either the next time he leveled up or now if he had any unspent Build Points.

GURPS' methods are similar, but they offer one more option: every 200 hours you spend training allows you to spend 1 Character Point on that skill. If it's a completely new skill, like that cleric teaching himself to track animals using a handbook, then every two hours of work only counts for 1 hour of training. On the other hand, a well-paid master of subject could teach it to you in half the time.

For comparison's sake, in GURPS a Navy Seal is 100-200 points, and most of our games start at around 150. Characters in the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy series (aka "GURPS D&D") are 250 points and roughly equal in power to a level 1 D&D 4e character. It generally costs 1-2 CP to buy a skill at its minimum level, and maxes at 4 CP per level at the high end. That mirrors real life in that when you're first starting out in a subject you may learn it very quickly, but there comes a point when there isn't much left to know and you progress more slowly.

So it would generally take about 800 hours of practice to gain a level in an established skill, but since GURPS is thankfully level-less, I'm not sure how to adapt that directly to D&D. My initial thought is to look at how much the PC gets with the next level and figure an appropriate amount of time.

For instance, at second level fighters only get Action Surge, which allows them to take an extra action in a turn once per encounter. That could be viewed as a simple adrenaline rush and would take relatively little time to learn how to call upon it when needed. Advancing to third level, however, involves learning a whole new set of skills, as determined by your chose archetype. Battle Master and Eldritch Knight would both take tremendous amounts of time to master even the basics, and those may well require a proper teacher. If the party has a wizard then the EK might be able to learn his magicking from him, but having to then he'd still have to learn to adapt it into his fighting style. That would be a case where I'd double the training time required.

Even the Champion has to learn some pretty advanced swordplay in order to double his crit chance. You can learn the most effective ways to kill (or avoid killing) armored opponents by trial and error, but it's a lot easier if someone shows you how.

Honestly, I don't even use those rules in my current HackMaster 5e campaign because I only want so much realism in my gaming. That's why I always say, "If I wanted real life, I wouldn't be playing a game." In my GURPS campaigns I've even been known to give out skill ranks at the end of the night rather than the customary 1-5 CP. For instance, if the party is traveling by ship and the crew gets sick, forcing the party to take over, then at the end of the journey I would very likely give each character 1 or possibly 2 levels of Boating or Piloting (Spaceship). Or if a party in which few if any of the characters are trained in Stealth still manages to get into or out of a situation without being discovered, I may well reward them with a rank each in Stealth.

On the other hand, I don't allow players in either system increase skills their characters don't use. If you never try to pick a lock then you'll never get any better at it. GURPS actually has optional rules for atrophying never-used skills, but we've never used them. See "real life" above.

If you can find a copy of the HM4e book The Griftmaster's Guide to Life's Wildest Dreams, the Charlatan class (my favorite of all time in any system) may be of use. In short, the charlatan can trade XP and gold for other classes' features. The result is that the charlatan will always be 1-2 levels behind the party, but the flexibility you gain in exchange more than makes up for it. Once again, I haven't the slightest clue how to adapt that to D&D, but it could well spark inspiration in someone more invested in D&D than I am.

Hopefully my ramblings will at least give your GM some ideas of how to go about getting y'all leveled up in the wilderness.

Wow, that came out way longer than the three paragraphs I set out to write. I better kill my computer and get to sleep before my wife smacks me for throwing out my back with excessive typing and keeping her awake with the light and keyboard clacking. 8o)



I find only one problem wity always needing a person who has greater experience: if you track a persons trainers up to the original one, is he/she the one who invented wizardry, lockpicking, or hacking with a sword? Did she/he get them from gods?

My point is that in that system someone had to be the first, one wsy or another.

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