D&D 5E No One Plays High Level?

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
There are DM's who want the leveling process to be much slower than 5e's. I remember playing in AD&D, where the bulk of my xp was monster kills, having to rack up tens of thousands of xp to get slightly stronger than I was before. Not a fan, personally, lol.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Based on normal party size…

I realize different groups do different things. What was stated was just so far outside of what I have seen I commented.

At level one in particular spell selection is small, bonus actions few and number of attacks is usually one. I have found combat encounters fly by 🤷

I can see how social encounters/travel would be a lot more variable of course and I know some groups are weighted more in those areas.
Social encounters never reward XP in my experience of 5e, and fights are almost always drawn-out affairs, usually because it's either one damage sponge we have to slowly, slowly whittle down, or because it's a zillion things that give almost no experience each, so the encounter takes forever but doesn't actually generate much progress.

Of course, TPKs are also not uncommon in my experience, so some of the "we never got to level 2" is because all or almost all PCs died and the game folded as a result.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
There are DM's who want the leveling process to be much slower than 5e's. I remember playing in AD&D, where the bulk of my xp was monster kills, having to rack up tens of thousands of xp to get slightly stronger than I was before. Not a fan, personally, lol.
Yeah, there are a bunch of old school DM who only run low level games and dribble out XP. You see them all over Youtube.

There are likely are a bunch of OSR or AD&D DMs who can't get an OSR or AD&D game going and just run low level 5e.
 

There are DM's who want the leveling process to be much slower than 5e's. I remember playing in AD&D, where the bulk of my xp was monster kills, having to rack up tens of thousands of xp to get slightly stronger than I was before. Not a fan, personally, lol.
I remember my big college 2e game, and advancing in the 11 - 12 range just... took... forever...

Granted, leveling was overall much slower then, but it just dragged out in that tier.

I think that leveling should proceed at a pace faster than that, but slower than the 5e pace...
 

Oofta

Legend
I always discuss how quickly people want to level, so we pretty much level after 2-3 sessions. It could be faster, but we don't get that much play time in so it still takes a long time.

My perspective on it is that the reason to level is to tell different parts of the story and experience growth and change with the PCs.
 

ECMO3

Hero
There are DM's who want the leveling process to be much slower than 5e's. I remember playing in AD&D, where the bulk of my xp was monster kills, having to rack up tens of thousands of xp to get slightly stronger than I was before. Not a fan, personally, lol.


If you use xp and recommended encounter design I think it is about 40 adventuring days to make 20th level.

Most of the campaigns I have played (including all that went to 20th level) were not XP games. When I have played XP games using WOTC adventuires the first few levels go extremely quick and the higher levels go extremely slow.

In POTA we played an XP game with 6 PCs and finished the campaign at level 10. I think it normally goes to 15? Now we were a large party and we skipped some sidequests, but even with a party of 4 I don't think we would have hit level 12 even.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Every 5e game I've played has made it take about that much time just to reach level 2 (apart from the two games that didn't start at level 1.) No exaggeration. Easily a dozen games where just reaching level 2 takes 12-16 hours of play. All of them with different DMs and players.

I've never seen any of those games reach level 3.

I think we hit level 4 at the end of the first 4-hour session of Dragonlance SODQ.

When we play though combats are a lot quicker than in some groups I have seen. Two things we do is no strategizing during combat unless it is in game. So for example first round Rogue wins initiative the players can't sit down and go through 20 different options with the rest of the party. It is the Rogues turn he acts - he can ask a quick question,
"Wizard should I run in and attack"? As far as quick questions go you have 6 seconds total for ask and response and can't ask anything else.

The players can't get together and say "well I could put spike growth here on my turn to keep those three off us and then Fighter can move over here and block these others and the Cleric can hold that guy, so why don't you attack this guy here ... That is strictly forbidden.

Also moving your piece is moving in combat unless you don't understand something about the terrain. So if you move through the castle wall because you did not realize it was a wall you can take it back, but if Rogue starts to move forward and Wizard says "wait I am going to fireball them" Rogue has to use his movement to move back, he can't "take it back".

That makes combat move a lot faster which in turn makes the game move a lot faster.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
I can see how social encounters/travel would be a lot more variable of course and I know some groups are weighted more in those areas.

My favorite thing to do in a social encounter is to play a Whispers Bard and just be having a normal social conversation with an NPC. Just talk about anything, relevant or not, all smiles and friendly and such. Then after a few minutes, mid conversation say to the DM out of character in the middle of our friendly chat - "Ok he has been talking to me for more than a minute, now have him roll a save or be frightened of me".

The first time that always surprises the DM and they usually got a chuckle out of it and then if they fail the save I switch from my nice conversational tone to my intimidating do what I say now tone.
 

Social encounters never reward XP in my experience of 5e, and fights are almost always drawn-out affairs, usually because it's either one damage sponge we have to slowly, slowly whittle down, or because it's a zillion things that give almost no experience each, so the encounter takes forever but doesn't actually generate much progress.

Of course, TPKs are also not uncommon in my experience, so some of the "we never got to level 2" is because all or almost all PCs died and the game folded as a result.
None of this sounds normal to me.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
None of this sounds normal to me.
All I can say is that it has been my experience. I have never--not a single time--gotten XP for doing anything but killing things in 5e. That was demonstrably untrue in 4e (many skill challenges, all of them gave XP) and at least occasionally untrue of 3e/PF1e (it depended on the DM.) That's out of...I dunno, maybe 1-2 dozen attempted campaigns. (As noted, few of them ever made it past 3-4 sessions anyway, or the equivalent in PbP time.)

One game was going to do non-combat XP...as a special bonus thing to get our characters "caught up" to a certain point of progression. This was explicitly treated as a one-off, unusual divergence from typical play. The game is currently on hiatus as the DM has some pretty serious IRL issues to deal with right now.
 


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