Experience and Advancement

One of the things I never liked about D&D was the level system.  The various RPGs I’ve played have varied between instant gratification and waiting for too damn long to level up (which is what D&D does in my opinion).  I decided to go middle-of-the-road with my system, and completely revamped XP and advancement.  Instead of 100′s and 1000′s of XP, players only get 1, 2 or 3, and potentially up to 30 or 40 XP.  I use Challenge Ratings and Difficulty Check numbers to determine XP as follows:

Combat XP is equal to a monsters Challenge Rating x 2 (or just the CR if you want slower advancement, but still faster than normal).  Then multiply this by the number of monsters.  All Combat experience is divided between players, rounded evenly (0 XP is possible).  So for example, 8 Orcs would grant 8 XP (CR 1/2 x 2 = 1 x 8 Orcs = 8 XP), divided among 4 PCs = 2 XP each.  Just using their CR without the x 2 multiplier, would grant 1 XP instead.

Skill roll XP is awarded individually according to the following chart:

DC 12:   1
DC 16:   2
DC 20:   3
DC 24:   5
DC 28:   8
DC 32:   13
DC 36:   21
DC 40:   34

The level advancement chart I use is as follows:

Level 1            0
Level 2            20
Level 3            40 (+20 XP)
Level 4            70 (30)
Level 5            100 (30)
Level 6            140 (40)
Level 7            190 (50)
Level 8            250 (60)
Level 9            330 (80)
Level 10          430 (100)
Level 11          570 (140)
Level 12          750 (180)
Level 13          990 (240)
Level 14          1290 (300)
Level 15          1670 (380)
Level 16          2130 (460)
Level 17          2690 (560)
Level 18          3350 (660)
Level 19          4130 (780)
Level 20          5030 (900)

Just some fair warning:
This system hasn’t been tested past level 5, but it just about doubles the rate of character advancement in a combat light campaign.  My intention was to have things slow down towards level 10 and beyond, and get back to normal character advancement speed around level 15.  I’ll let you know how that works out when I get there.

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2 Responses to Experience and Advancement

  1. As someone just getting into RPGs, thanks for a great blog. Any update on how this works past level 5 yet? Thanks!

    • Indeed! It’s been tested up to Level 9 at this point, and while it slows down a bit, it’s still fairly quick advancement. So, depending on what you’re looking for, you may want to tweak it a bit. At level 1 through 3, it ended up being 3 to 5 hours of gameplay per level, then at levels 4 to 6, about 5 to 7 hours, and after level 6 it was maybe 6 to 8 hours to level up.

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