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Where did campaigns stop?

Achan hiArusa

Explorer
Before Zeb Cook came out with the 20 level limit in 2nd Edition (which carried over to 3rd with exception of the High Level Options [which raised it to 30] and Epic Level Handbook and exists in 30 level limit in 4e) at what level did longterm AD&D campaigns stop? And yes, I know that BECMI had a 36 level limit before Cook did this.
 

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Stormonu

Legend
What 20 level limit in 2E? There are tables for 30 th level wizard advancement in the 2E FR adventurs book an the adventure H4 - Throne of Bloodstone is for characters of up to 100th level.
 

the Jester

Legend
One pc in my 1e campaign lived until 47th level. That's the highest I can recall.

That's not exactly accurate- let's say she didn't die her final death until then, and she might have just hit 48th level. She kept getting raised and getting lucky on the survival roll, and she hung out with a longterm high level badass party, then their heirs, then their heirs, etc.

My 1e campaign, which lasted for a long long time with various pcs and players, eventually had like 1 guy at about 20th level, several in the 12th-16th range, probably 6-10 or so in the 8th-11th range, and maybe fifty to seventy? pc between 1st and 7th. This was spread amongst many different groups, some with the same players, and throughout the game world. And of course it was an average- many of these guys died, some were raised, a handful became gods, etc. over time.
 

NewJeffCT

First Post
Before Zeb Cook came out with the 20 level limit in 2nd Edition (which carried over to 3rd with exception of the High Level Options [which raised it to 30] and Epic Level Handbook and exists in 30 level limit in 4e) at what level did longterm AD&D campaigns stop? And yes, I know that BECMI had a 36 level limit before Cook did this.

Kind of hard to say, as I didn't always play strictly by the rules when I was a pre-teen and teenager back in the late 70s through the mid 80s.

When I started playing more seriously, though, I think most campaigns ran from level 1 up through until the players got to "name" level, which was around level 9 or 10. That lasted until 2000, when 3E came out.
 

S'mon

Legend
We didn't stop. I let PCs ascend to divinity and keep playing; I think Darra, Thrin, Mortis and Mirv Sheelon reached Demigod status; Darra retired, Mortis and Mirv were killed as demigods by Graz'zt and Hel respectively; Thrin (Upper_Krust on ENW) reached Lesser God status and 117th level; in 3 different classes so knock off ca 16 levels for his 'real' level.

I think I had effectively stopped GMing these PCs in 1e a few years before 3e came out; with 3e Thrin is effectively retired, but part of my ingoing campaign world in 3e & 4e.

Summary of Thrin here:
Immortality
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Our 1e campaigns tend to grind to a halt around 9th-12th level, for one reason or another. Each long campaign we do seems to go about one level beyond the previous one, so there's always hope... :)

Lanefan
 

TerraDave

5ever
Real life intervened to stop most campaigns long before level 20.

Arguablly, the game itself (pretty much all editions except, maybe, 4e) made it hard to play much beyond level 10 or so. My two long running campaigns got to about 10-12.

EDIT: Early AD&D probably had it about right, where most high level openents could be fought around levels 10-13 or so, and you could defeat Lolth in the Abyss at level 16 or so.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
When Strahd and Llolth were "defeated" it was time to build the castle/fortress/tower/church.

So any time before 15th, usually ground to a halt around 10th or so.
 

Real life intervened to stop most campaigns long before level 20.

Arguablly, the game itself (pretty much all editions except, maybe, 4e) made it hard to play much beyond level 10 or so. My two long running campaigns got to about 10-12.

EDIT: Early AD&D probably had it about right, where most high level openents could be fought around levels 10-13 or so, and you could defeat Lolth in the Abyss at level 16 or so.

Yeah, the highest any of my old AD&D 2E campaigns ever went was 18th level with the PC I was DM'ing was able to defeat a lesser god and assume his role as a demi-god. He retired and then had reoccurring cameos in subsequent campaigns as a deity who I used as an NPC to mess with the player.
 


kaomera

Explorer
My definition of "campaign" was much different in 1e. I think the first group I ran got to about 5th level before it fell apart, but the next group where part of the same campaign, and the 5th level characters where still about. In fact it wasn't at all uncommon for old characters to be pulled out of retirement when the current group approached their level... In fact one group effectively skipped from (IIRC, and only counting the highest-level party member) level 3 to level 7 because I was allowing players to return a character to play as long as it was no higher than one level above than the highest level member of the party it was joining... Yeah, that got changed to "one level below" immediately thereafter...

IIRC the highest level character I ever DMed for in 1e was 12th, and actually was qualified for 13th but didn't survive long enough to complete training.
 


Jhaelen

First Post
What 20 level limit in 2E? There are tables for 30 th level wizard advancement in the 2E FR adventurs book an the adventure H4 - Throne of Bloodstone is for characters of up to 100th level.
Who gives a **** about what was possible in FR?

FR included rules for levels above 20. I think they were also added for the Dark Sun setting in the Dragon Kings supplement.

But these are setting-specific changes. The PHB assumed a level 20 limit (IIRC (and I think I do ;))).

My longest running campaign in 2e ended with the highest level pc being level 12. In my 3e campaign the highest level pc is level 16. In 1e it was about level 9, I think, and in BECMI level 6.
So, there's definitely a trend towards higher levels, which is not really surprising since gaining levels has become ever easier and faster from edition to edition.
 


teitan

Hero
Yeah, I never thought there was a level limit in the 1st and 2nd editions of the game, the rules never implied as much. In fact I don't recall the level progression charts going to level 20 outside of Clerics and Wizards to show their spell progressions and the THACO and Saving throw charts because with those was there really a point to going beyond? You were already a bad mamajamma at that point with a super low THACO...
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
For us, they never really stopped. We'd play some characters for a while, then get the hankering to play lower level characters again. So we'd make up new characters and go adventuring elsewhere in the campaign. Then we'd want to trot out the higher level characters again, so they'd go on an adventure, and so on.
I think our highest level characters were around 13-15th level depending on the character but we weren't really seeing any need to stop until real life scheduling got in the way.
 

Corathon

First Post
The highest level that anyone has ever attained in my AD&D 1 game is 15th - but the camapign isn't over yet.

IME, usually games ended because real life intervened (people graduated/got a new job/joined the military/left the military/moved etc) rather than at any set level.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
To my understanding a campaign ends in three different ways. One, a total party kill where the game was began again, but it was a new campaign, a new world, new characters. Two, the entire player group decides to retire their PCs. Three, and rather unlikely, all the PCs die due to old age.

For a player the game can go on forever potentially simply starting a new PC when an old one is lost. There are a number of ways PCs can be lost. Death is the most obvious with the other PCs or a new PC finding some means to raise the old character. Enchantment, like becoming a thrall, means the PC may not be coming back, but this can be dispelled in different ways. Alignment shift can also move a character to NPC status with conversion bringing them back into party play. Lastly, old age will mark the end of a PCs story, but even then he or she may show up as an NPC. Blowing the Horn of Valhalla anyone?
 

Jhaelen

First Post
I didn't know a single person who thought it was supposed to.
Well, I have good news for you: Now you do! :D

And by extension you know about another two dozen persons because everyone _I_ know thought it was supposed to end at level 20.

But, as mentioned, it was completely irrelevant in actuality since nobody ever even got close to reaching level 20.

If we had reached level 20, we'd simply come up with houserules for higher levels, I guess.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Second edition does not include a strict 20th level limit and the DMG, in a secton called "Above 20th Level", deals with the issue. Here's an excerpt:

2nd ed DMG said:
Theoretically, there is no upper limit to character class levels (although there are racial limitations). The material presented here takes characters only to 20th level--experience has shown that player characters are most enjoyable when played within the 1-20 range. Above 20th level, characters gain few additional powers and face even fewer truly daunting adventures.

The saving throw tables even include 21+ for Rogues and Wizards. And also note that it's very easy to extend the advancement tables for the characters because they are following a set pattern.

I think the default assumption is that most campaigns will be played out by then as far as PC challenges go, so that's what the PH focuses on. But I think that's different from having an actual limit. I also note that the default assumption in 2e was very different from 3e's implementation of Epic levels. In 2e, PCs don't get much more powerful while in 3e's implementation of Epic, you kind of blow the doors off. I think I preferred 2nd edition's take on that...

EDIT: Plus, for anyone actually trying to play to those levels, I hope they gave the thief some way to advance after 20th since he hits 20th level a good 4 levels faster than the wizard and 3 faster than the fighter.
 
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