View Full Version : How do you usually RP that your character just leveled?

Freelance Henchman
2009-06-04, 01:43 PM
D&D is sort of "digital" in the way new abilities are learned (gaining feats and new spells), so how do you usually RP that your character has learned some nifty new move?

The Rose Dragon
2009-06-04, 01:45 PM
Enforce training times?

2009-06-04, 01:50 PM
Uh, I usually have my entire progression planned out, and am training some stuff on the previous levels IC, and when the level comes, I've finally mastered it. That, or I don't pay attention to it. Levels are a metagame consideration, after all; IC the character has just learned a new move or two (or in the case of some classes, gotten absolutely nothing).

2009-06-04, 01:50 PM
I just have them say "I feel like I've passed an arbitrary experience point limit and gained more power!"

2009-06-04, 01:50 PM
I don't. Instead I RP them practicing what they're planning to learn. The 4th level wizard who reads his spell book for two hours every night before bed isn't going over material he already knows, but trying to figure out how those spells he'll get at 5th level are going to work.

2009-06-04, 01:51 PM
Yeah, I also don't rp when I lvl. But the cleric in the group had a short quest to get his prestige class

Duke of URL
2009-06-04, 01:53 PM
In general... there are always exceptions, of course:

Class Features / Feats / New Spell Levels: The experience of the most recent adventures has allowed them to finally grasp that new concept that they had been working on, but just not quite mastered... now they have leaned how to do it properly, and can use it as they need to.

New Spells: For those who don't need a spellbook to prepare, pretty much the above. For a Wizard, to take an example, he has a spell in his book from his old master than he now finally understands well enough to use.

BAB/HP/Skills/Saves/Ability Scores: These are abstractions anyway... the character need not RP any reaction to an increase. This simply represents the gradual "training" they have undergone over the last level.

2009-06-04, 01:53 PM
The same way it happens in anime; getting beaten to within an inch of my life, thinking about how much my friends are counting on me, shouting that I refuse to give up, then unleashing the new spell/technique in question.

Believe it!

Tempest Fennac
2009-06-04, 01:56 PM
I've never RPed that at all to be honest (due to the metaknowledge involved with suddenly gaining access to better abilities, I tend to think it's best to not try to RP it).

Freelance Henchman
2009-06-04, 01:58 PM
The same way it happens in anime; getting beaten to within an inch of my life, thinking about how much my friends are counting on me, shouting that I refuse to give up, then unleashing the new spell/technique in question.

Believe it!

Haha :smallsmile:

2009-06-04, 02:00 PM
You could always do it like in OOTS....*dink*

Anyhow, it's always made the most sense to me that you set your target advancements for the next level, and then RP training towards them, so that upon achieving that level, you know the advancements, and have finished training.

2009-06-04, 02:02 PM
I don't tend to RP it. Characters are constantly learning and getting better, and occasionally start doing new things and everyone goes "ooh, ahh" but doesn't attach any special meaning to it.

Sinfire Titan
2009-06-04, 02:05 PM
When one of Mmy characters levels, it usually means new soulmelds/maneuvers/class features. I usually show those off with style.

IE: 1st level Totemist getting his 2nd level for the Totem Bind? Manticore Belt/Girallon Arms, and a whole lot of pain!

2009-06-04, 02:05 PM
D&D is sort of "digital" in the way new abilities are learned (gaining feats and new spells), so how do you usually RP that your character has learned some nifty new move?I think the word you're looking for is "discrete (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_mathematics)" as opposed to "continuous"

I generally RP any study involved long before I gain a level.

For example: with melee type abilities, I may be doing something related without any mechanical advantage. So (using a 3e feat example) I might be "Power attacking" for several levels before I actually have power attack, and the point where I gain the feat is just where I actually start gaining a mechanical advantage.

2009-06-04, 02:13 PM
This wasn't me doing this, it was a friend, but it's one of the better ways I've seen it handled. It's very character-specific, but it worked.

The character was a "monk." The quotation marks are intentional, since he was actually a sorcerer, but he dressed like a monk, called himself a monk, acted like a monk, you know, the works. (He took Spell Thematics: Ki Energy.) He was interested in pondering the mysteries of the universe, one at a time. Every level, he focused on one thing, and when he leveled, he had mastered that thing to his satisfaction, figured out why it exists and its place in the universe.

Level 1, if I recall, was spoons, and level 2 was food. Level 3 was rocks, and level 4... I forget level 4, maybe grass? It was either grass or poetry.

But the point is, whatever he was currently "contemplating" was always front and center in his mind. When he was contemplating rocks, he'd often carry rocks around, occasionally hand them to people and ask them what they thought, spend a lot of time just kind of staring at them, and so on.

When he finally leveled, he burst into my character's room first thing in the morning, like he'd had a revelation. "Rayje! Rayje! I get it! I GET IT! Rocks? You see these rocks? I get it! Rocks are dumb! That's why they're so content! They have no idea about how they relate to anything else! They're just dumb! They sit there, blissfully unaware, and that's how they achieve their version of perfection! It makes so much sense!"

He was a fun character to have around.

2009-06-04, 02:30 PM
I usually try to smooth this out as best I can by having, claiming to have or emulating abilities on character creation that I'll have later on.

For a character like a Druid, the sudden ability to Wild Shape isn't such a shock -- you've been playing with magic all along.

For a character like a Fighter/Wizard, I usually use a feat slot that will go to a prerequisite and set it to emulate later class abilities. (So I tend to take Spell Hand as a first level feat, mention previous Wizard training before I have appropriate class abilities and then retrain the feat to Combat Casting once I get real spells.)

When a character gets an ability that really jumps out from the original concept (a Swift Hunter's spellcasting, for instance), I try to stick to abilities that aren't flashy (filling slots with the likes of Arrow Mind and Guided Shot) before moving onto the more blatantly supernatural (like Summon Nature's Ally or Arrowsplit).

2009-06-04, 02:33 PM
For a short time now, I've been playing lots of Clerics (I am trying to get that feeling of "Zilla" just for the fun...). Whenever I level up, I RP that my character has just understood the deity/concept she worships. This is also something about how my charcter handles cleric spells. He does not think of them as "magic" or simple "spells", for him they are the blessings of his god falling directly upon him. So, by the time my Cleric of Thor with the weather domain hit the 5th level the enemies will nee cover from a certain call lightning spell =).

2009-06-04, 02:33 PM
I don't. When I'm playing a spellcaster who works with certain spells, I just say that he or she learned some new ones due to research. It works best if said spells are somehow connected to what the character's been through - like when my wizard learned False Life and Protection From Arrows after being badly shot. When I'm not playing a spellcaster, my character just slowly gets better.

2009-06-04, 02:34 PM
My method is that whenever a character levels up, they suddenly feel an overwhelming desire to ring a bell. They carry special handbells for this purpose.

2009-06-04, 02:43 PM
Enforce training times?

Pretty much this. Training is required to level. PC don't know what a level is, but through the training they learn some new "moves" or things and polish them up for use.

You kind of need training for games where most characters level at the same time, unless you just have them hear the magical ~ding~ all at once to explain why everyone just gained new abilities at the same time. :smallconfused:

Also peoples reactions to the PCs about their recent exploits help illustrate a "level-up".

2009-06-04, 02:47 PM
I exclaim:

In *knowing* the teachings of Zerthimon, I have become stronger.


2009-06-04, 03:00 PM
I don't enforce my players to roleplay out the learning of new abilities, although I do like it.

As for when I'm a player; it varies depending on the character. If I'm purposely playing a mysterious character and I specifically want to hide what I'm doing, I say nothing about what my character does and sometimes pass it off as something the character could have done the whole time (so long as doing so doesn't get really annoying; i.e. "Wait, if you can heal, why didn't save Billy?"). Although, I almost always discuss this kind of the behavior with the DM; in the cases I've forgotten, DMs haven't given me a hard time. So, I try not to give my players a hard time, either.

I'll also not display much "training" for things that don't contradict what a character had already been doing; i.e. grabbing Shock Trooper when my character already makes use of Bull Rush and Charging tactics.

Although, if my character is undergoing something drastic, such as in the case of a Bang-Smash-Kill Fighter picking up Combat Expertise and Improved Trip at say, level 6, I feel obligated to, at the very least, say "My character goes and trains for a while" during downtime because the character is undergoing changes that can potentially make the way he operates quite different.

2009-06-04, 03:03 PM
I've never roleplayed levelling up. I tend to assume that the 'change' was gradual ;)

2009-06-04, 03:08 PM
Interesting question.

In D&D? Sadly I have to admit, in most cases our characters just went *ping* and got to use newfound abilities as if they always had them. This is especially true for 'in-adventure-leveling'. You go to bed lv. x and wake up lv. x+1.

However, there was 1 character (one of my favourites) who really got to RP his level ups.

We (3 players) started out as members of a 6 man militia squad who were sent to investigate a mountain mining commune, which had suddenly stopped sending ore or lifesigns.

So our lv. 1 guys went and found themselves besieged by zombies. After hiding themselves in the mayor's house and losing one of their number to 'zombie fever', my thug decided that he really, really wanted to pray to a god for help. Any help. Next day he awoke with a fresh level of cleric (after his patron god appeared in a dream and promised to heed his cry for help of course).

Now this particular god was Finder Wyvernspur (of Forgotten Realms fame), a god who is basically a bard. So my character though about how he could live up to the teachings of his patron god, how he could spread the joy of life through art.

He decided that the only thing he could perform well (being a thug) was... Weapon Drill. And thus, came next level, he took a level of Human Paragon to make Perform: Weapon Drill his new class skill...

It worked, it was fun...

On the other hand, in DSA (at least in the current incarnation) people get to spend XP earned to increase skills, stats (expensive !) and learn special 'feats'. This requires time though. The usual life of an adventurer is to travel and adventure during spring, summer and early autumn and then go into 'winter retreat' and spend his hard-earned cash to find trainers and teachers to spend their XP to increase stuff.

You can learn without a teacher too, but you can get a discount on XP spent if you find (and pay for) a good teacher.

Of course, sometimes the trick is to find a teacher who can actually teach what you wish to learn.

This is especially true for mages, who have to jump through loops to get their hands on spells that are not part of the curriculum of the academy they learned at. Especially if you happen to be a 'white' mage and wish to learn a 'black' spell... :smallamused:


2009-06-04, 03:12 PM
"Owh, That's Nice" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmXKHmO1qYg)

2009-06-04, 03:13 PM
My DM just says "Ding! You've leveld up!"

2009-06-04, 03:51 PM
I go by the Beguilers spellcasting description and say "hey, I know new spells now"

2009-06-04, 04:18 PM

Though seriously I'd enforce training, even if you don't get into details and say it happened some time automatically, IMO it should happen.

2009-06-04, 04:24 PM
i explain it as me consuming the souls of the weak in order to enhance my own magical capabilities...of course, i normally play necromancers so i doubt that explaination would work for any other character

2009-06-04, 04:27 PM
Our DM tells us we leveled.

We're so exicted that we completely and utterly forget everything about the game while we all update our character sheets and talk out of character about possible multi-classing/prestige classes/templates.

Our DM usually takes that time to straighten his notes about the new and exciting ways he's going to kill us, since we survived another batch of encounters :smalltongue:.

2009-06-04, 05:07 PM
Our DM tells us we leveled.

We're so exicted that we completely and utterly forget everything about the game while we all update our character sheets and talk out of character about possible multi-classing/prestige classes/templates.

Our DM usually takes that time to straighten his notes about the new and exciting ways he's going to kill us, since we survived another batch of encounters :smalltongue:.

Pretty much what happens in my games too.

2009-06-04, 05:17 PM
I exclaim:

In *knowing* the teachings of Zerthimon, I have become stronger.


2009-06-04, 07:19 PM
I do Diablo-style insta-level ups. This was a necessity for the first five levels of my campaign, because the PCs were trapped in the wilderness at level 1, stripped of their most important gear items (cleric's holy symbol, wizard's spellbook, bard's lute, fighter's axe), constantly ducking enemy patrols and forced to constantly move forward in a frozen wilderness or die from lack of supplies. There was no way to say "okay, Alphonse the Cleric takes a week off at the temple to finish learning his next level of spells and improve his swinging-arm." New skills, spells, feats and so on were represented as the PCs getting tougher, more resourceful and more innovative from constant exposure to danger, finding abilities they never knew they had and so-on.

It sounds rough, but when they finally returned to civilization at level five, they could brag about how much rougher they had it to the other low-level punks. :smallbiggrin:

2009-06-04, 08:26 PM
'Gorg smash harder!' Or 'The universe has surrendered more of her secrets unto me!'

2009-06-04, 08:34 PM
I exclaim:

In *knowing* the teachings of Zerthimon, I have become stronger.

That wouldn't be in the biblical sense know would it?:smallamused:

2009-06-04, 08:51 PM
Torment is the Bible.

2009-06-04, 09:42 PM
I've always wondered about calling levels and xp a "metaconcept", especially for casters and especially for caster with item creation ablities, or spells that cost xp. In fact NPC's even charge for spending them.

Think if a wizard's party is losing to a dragon, and the wizard has a wish and a finger of death readied but only 4k xp would you consider it meta to attempt the finger of death? Wish could get your party to saftey and still SoD the dragon by tossing it into a black hole/star/sphere of annilation. Finger of death is likely to fail at spell resistance and the dragon will probably save besides.

Same thing with crafting. Crafters would attempt projects they couldn't finish if they didn't understand how much xp they have.

Levels can easily be found out with a wight. (Well not really easy for the person learning his level.) How do you explain differing ablity to take level loss, and the spending of xp otherwise? I suppose one could say that levels are attempting to model a continous system of advancement and the fact that it is descrete should be ignored. Well thats my two cents.

2009-06-04, 10:10 PM
In my world, it's handled quite differently.

Levels are, in fact, tangible entities in the World of Prime. When you defeat an enemy, you consume his soul. Every discrete number of souls grants a distinct suite of powers.

Thus, the leveling up process is a perfectly concrete experience. It takes a day to manifest, and at the end of it you have the added vitality of another life (hit points), plus supernatural bonuses to combat reflexes (BAB) and possibly spells.

Some classes, like Ranger, require you to actually study skills or stuff, but only to become 1st level. After that you get supernatural bonuses to your skills.

What we role-play is the increasing of attributes. My players started out with all 10's, as they were originally peasants. Over time they escaped the dulling oppression and bad diet, and their stats began to rise. When they got their third level or so, they rolled (using the 4d6 method) their attributes, indicating that they had enough experience to have fully developed as Heroes. (I wanted them to keep role-playing stat increases, but they preferred to gamble on good rolls).

The difference between a professional warrior and an amateur in D&D is the difference between a STR of 14 and a STR of 10. The difference between the toughest guy you know (or know of) and a wimpy geek is the difference between a CON of 18 and a CON of 8. Training and experience can make you stronger, tougher, faster - and even increase your willpower, observation and thinking skills, or force of personality.

But casting a 1st level spell - that's not something you can learn by doing. That's a supernatural ability, full stop. Jumping out of an airplane and walking away from it? Supernatural. Raising the dead? A supernatural ability gained only by enslaving the souls of thousands of the dead.

It has to be this way. Otherwise everybody worth a peanut would be a 9th level cleric. It's all fine and good to say, "some people are doctors, and some people are ditch-diggers," but the only difference between those two classes are how much money you make. There are plenty of very intelligent, capable people who settle for ditch-digging because they like it.

But no one would settle for not raising the dead, if it were possible. Plenty of people would do whatever work it took to gain such a powerful, desired ability. So the existence of levels has to be governed by something other than personal desire - otherwise you're saying that your world is comprised mostly of losers who deserve to get eaten by gnolls because they didn't try hard enough.

My world is full of realistic people who do everything they can to survive and thrive. Sadly for them, the rules of the world mean that many must die for one to be promoted. But the existence of monsters means that heroes must be promoted, or all of humanity will become gnoll-food. The World of Prime revolves between the twin horns of this terrible dilemma.

2009-06-05, 07:21 AM
Wizard, sitting in a hot bathtub. Suddenly gets up and shouts "eureeka eureeka!" and runs to his spellbook

2009-06-05, 08:06 AM
Wizard, sitting in a hot bathtub. Suddenly gets up and shouts "eureeka eureeka!" and runs to his spellbook

Precisely how it works in my games. A character earns enough experience to level, and then...WHAM! They suddenly figure out how abilities work. Mind, I usually enforce a minimum cooldown period between earning the EXP and actually getting the level (aka, you might have gain enough experience to gain your second level, but you won't actully get it for a few in-game days).

Kris Strife
2009-06-05, 09:56 AM
Depends on the class really. From what I've played, planned on playing or am playing currently:

Warmage: Just keeps practicing the higher level spells he was taught in basic and messes around with the incantations and motions until he figures out something new (Advanced/Eclectic learning).

Paladin: Your battles, faith in your diety, and your faithfulness to your code allow you to channel more of the energy of pur good and law through your frame.

Favored Soul: Your works have pleased your diety and he gives you yet more of his/her power.

Dragonflame Adept: ... Actually I have no idea... Suggestions?

Mattarias, King.
2009-06-05, 02:02 PM
My characters tend to have a racial memory or something of the sort, so usually in the next battle to come I just open up a different can on red-hot spicy butt-kicking. Much to my enemy's (and party's) surprise.


2009-06-05, 03:22 PM
i dnot really rp my leveling up,but when i do,it usually has to do with 'special training'.:smallamused:

2009-06-05, 03:41 PM
I once played an extremly old elf. He was extremly famous in history for performing magical feats of astonding power, such as teleporting cities around the world for his personal amusement, summoning and controling archfiends and acidentally destroying a mountain range. The problem was that he'd, on account of his age, pretty much forgotten how to use all of his power, and people just thought he was a mad old man pretending to be the legendary Mage Supreme from the myths.

So every time he leveled up, it was just him remembering his old techniques and skills. Which led to stuff like:

(Goblin gets blown away by a fireball)

"Ohhhh. So that's how I did it."

2009-06-05, 09:58 PM
With my duskblade character, I've pretty much glossed over how he learnt new spells (but I'll probably come back to it the next time he levels), but did cover how he got arcane channelling.

Basically, the person who taught the duskblade magic (a pure wizard) told him about how duskblades were supposedly able to channel spells through their weapons and had developed a few theories about how they did it (but never had time to test them). Erik (my character) learnt these theories and would try them just about whenever he was training. When the group got into our first fight after hitting level 3, I ret-conned that Erik had perfected the channelling trick a few days prior while practising. It helps that this is a forum game because I don't know how I'd work that explanation into a face-to-face game.

I even worked out a rough description of how arcane channelling is done. I'll just copy-paste the description from that post:

He shifted his hand into the somatic component for Shocking Grasp and pulled the arcane energy into himself. As he uttered the verbal component, he pushed the energy of the spell into his sword and the blade flared to life, crackling with electricity.

I used how magic is described in The Dresden Files for inspiration.

2009-06-05, 10:16 PM
i dnot really rp my leveling up,but when i do,it usually has to do with 'special training'.:smallamused:
Again, in the Biblical sense?