Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More Musings on Leveling and a House Rule for XP


  This is really just for the heck of pondering it because I'd be really surprised if it ever came to happen in my campaign at the slow rate my players gain XP... And yet, one never knows what could happen in a sandbox!
  What if the player characters gain enough XP for TWO levels? I couldn't find any mention of it in Castles & Crusades (which might just mean I suck at finding stuff!) but Lamentations of the Flame Princess and D&D v3.5 both have their own ideas on the subject.
  D&D 3.5 says that characters should only level up once and get enough XP to be 1 point shy of the other level they would have gotten. In other words, they'll get that second extra level soon enough but they have to survive one more adventure to get it.
  LotFP, unsurprisingly, is harsher with XP. It recommends that the characters should level up and then get half the XP needed for the next level.
  Before I even decided which one I would go with, I realized one thing; This way of doing things actually sucks for classes that require less XP to level up! Let me explain, but of course keep in mind that this obviously applies to OSR games, not the newer editions where the same amounts of XP to level up are needed and thus require that they be all as equally good as possible to balance them.
  Let's say you play a Thief/Rogue/Specialist. Your class is not as bad-ass as the Magic-User or the Fighter generally speaking. You get to sneak around and disarm traps, which in many ways just means you're the first in harm's way in a dungeon because of it, actually. But at least you level up faster, you don't require as much XP as the other guys. That's your balancing factor in old-school games. (No, I don't want to hear about how old-school is about not caring about balance. That will always be nonsense to me.)
  Now let's say you all got a crapload of XP, enough to go up two levels. The game of course limits just how far you go and all extra XP is lost. You know what that means? That the character who has a 'cooler' class than you and/or multi-classed (and would thus require more XP to level up normally) lost less XP than you did in the process! That Ranger/Wizard got way more value out of that adventure than you did with your Rogue character!
  Sure, overall we can agree that this will happen rarely and that the Rogue will normally have the advantage of leveling faster in the long run anyway. But let's say you over-think things like me and still find it unfair and want to fix that.
  Ladies and gentlegamers, I introduce you to the concept of the XP Bank!: Any left-over XP that couldn't go into leveling up your character goes into the XP bank! Your Magic-User must spend XP on a spell or item creation? He can take it from his XP Bank first! Your character got level drained? You can add XP from your Bank back into your character and maybe even keep that level if you had enough XP for it! (In games where Level Drains can be fixed, this is a 'loan' from your XP Bank, where once the Drain has been fixed the loaned XP goes back to your Bank.) Optionally, a level or two later the DM could allow players to take some or all of that XP back from the Bank and into their character sheets proper, as long as it wouldn't level them up right away by doing so.
  As for my personal choice for my campaign, I'm actually gonna go with the D&D 3.5 ruling for XP gains. I normally agree with the harsher views on XP from LotFP (For example, avoiding a fight with a monster or NPC doesn't give you XP for it, the reward was avoiding the danger.) but while I think there should be a limit to just how many levels characters can gain in a single go, I still want to respect what they earned fair and square.