PDA

View Full Version : Timeline for each level?



Sir_Chivalry
2011-09-07, 11:24 PM
If I were to actually measure time between levels gained in my dnd game, and to implement a "one level= x much time out of your character's life", how much would be appropriate?

The main idea is I'd like my current game to take place over some period of time, such that the PCs can actually start businesses, develop long-term goals, have a family even, raise animals from infancy, the like . . .

So what's a fair amount of time?

Antonok
2011-09-07, 11:33 PM
Doing it that way isn't a very good representation of time spent. You'd probably be better off asking your DM how much time has passed after certain events and keep track.

For example: You go into a rather large castle with powerful monsters. You gain 2 levels over the course of finishing the dungeon, but only spent a week in the dungeon. If you followed the 'level= x time' you'd of aged at a rather alarming rate in just a week.

Its really up to the DM to span out events, like it taking 6 months to get from point A to point B. Or the PCs have x amount of downtime to do whatever.

Dingle
2011-09-08, 08:37 AM
so, are you replacing xp with time?

flumphy
2011-09-08, 08:52 AM
There's no good measure, in my opinion. If you go by the statistical distribution in the DMG (assuming you're running D&D, of course), the majority of people spend their entire lives at level 1. And even if you're not running D&D, virtually every level-based system assumes the PCs advance at an above-average rate compared to their NPC peers.

If I was going to do a campaign that spanned many years, I'd probably just have them advance as the plot called for it rather than mandating a set leveling time. That gives you a lot more flexibility to plan as a DM and still allows leveling to feel like an accomplishment that's earned. Besides, since characters will probably be more active during some years than others, it doesn't seem realistic that the passage of time should translate directly to the amount of life experience gained.

supermonkeyjoe
2011-09-08, 09:43 AM
The rate at which characters level can be somewhat absurd in a few cases, The elf wizard in our current campaign started at the beginning at the age of 120 having been trained at magic most of her life and being able to cast 1st level spells, 5 months of game time later she's mastering 6th level spells!

Mark Hall
2011-09-08, 10:27 AM
For adventurers, that's a really hard line to draw. Most PCs rocket upwards; NPCs tend to linger. It also varies by game... in 1e, there's training time to consider, while I find that 3e characters go up quickly compared to 2e characters.

My rule of thumb for human NPCs is that they have a level equal to "tens" digit in their age... i.e. those in their 20s are usually counted as 2nd level, those in their 30s as 3rd, etc. This is, of course, unless I need them to be a different level; Random Bob the Shopkeeper may be a 2/1 Expert Aristocrat, but the High Patriarch that the PCs have sought out will be level whatever-I-need-him-to-be.

Daftendirekt
2011-09-08, 10:58 AM
If you followed the 'level= x time' you'd of aged at a rather alarming rate in just a week.

Hey, Fable 1 did it. Never notice that even though you've only slept once and gone through a couple quests, it says your age is 40 something?

God, that series has so much **** wrong with it.

Antonok
2011-09-08, 11:13 AM
Hey, Fable 1 did it. Never notice that even though you've only slept once and gone through a couple quests, it says your age is 40 something?

God, that series has so much **** wrong with it.

Yea, and that was one of the low points of that game (along with the scarring system). But with Fable, your character never died from old age. A human wizard in DnD would probably only hit around level 10 or so then die with that type of system.

Daer
2011-09-08, 11:33 AM
i found leveling= x time bit silly. Though it is logical that each day you live you learn a bit atleast so get some exp from it, but then again when you face new troubles and solve them you learn lot more so in those days one should earn lot more exp than from peaceful rutine day.

for example low level fighter fights with orc and survives (orc dead or escapes) i think he should have learned more from that than month resting in haystack and relaxing.

Mark Hall
2011-09-08, 02:25 PM
Completely different system, but you might also look at Ars Magica on this.

While it is not explicitly a time = level system (since you don't have levels), but you DO get XP for skills as time goes on. Spend a season working as a blacksmith? Your skill in blacksmithing will go up if you spend that seasons XP on Blacksmithing. IIRC, there are certain maximums you'll hit if you don't specifically train, and you can choose to improve other skills that season... like your English smith might spend his summer improving his French and Area Knowledge, rather than explicitly getting better at blacksmithing.

But in Ars Magica, time-on-job correlates to XP in the skill.

EDIT: And since I like flogging for systems I like, Ars Magica 4th edition is available for free from Atlas Games. (http://www.atlas-games.com/arsmagica/)

Tyndmyr
2011-09-08, 05:26 PM
If I were to actually measure time between levels gained in my dnd game, and to implement a "one level= x much time out of your character's life", how much would be appropriate?

The main idea is I'd like my current game to take place over some period of time, such that the PCs can actually start businesses, develop long-term goals, have a family even, raise animals from infancy, the like . . .

So what's a fair amount of time?

Depends on character and game. I suppose about three rounds will be about the low end of the spectrum, and it's apparently possible to go an entire lifespan without leveling, so there's your high end.

Anywhere in between is reasonable.

gbprime
2011-09-08, 07:58 PM
Time moves at the speed of plot, and vice versa. Yes people tend to shoot up levels in a short amount of time, if you want realism of sorts, you balance it out by having weeks or months pass here and there.

Personally I measure it by what power level I'm aiming for in the campaign. My game will run 33 to 36 months, times 3 sessions a month on average, and I want the game to hit Epic levels by the time we're done. So the Pcs will level up about every 4 game sessions. All I have to do is make some time pass between some of those sessions.

But I'm still looking at gaining 20+ levels in 3 to 4 years time. And I'm okay with that, since realism already takes a back seat to reality-rending magic.

Lord Vampyre
2011-09-08, 08:12 PM
A good way to measure the amount of time it should take for a character to go from 1st to 20th level in game is to look at popular literature.

Now, if you consider the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, it is safe to say that Rand Al'Thor started off as a 1st level character in the 1st book. By the time we reach the last book, he is at least 20th level.

Unfortunately, the timeline in Wheel of Time isn't exactly clear. However, we can assume that each novel covers anywhere from 6 to 12 months. This means that by the end of the last book, there has been anywhere from 6.5 to 13 years.

Characters in fiction tend to gain incredible power fairly quickly. They tend to be child prodigies at what ever they do. Also, they are forced to fight foes with infinitely more experience than have.

If you plan on there being a lot of down time between adventures, then you're safe in having the characters age.

Conners
2011-09-08, 08:47 PM
I don't think many people at all reach 20th level within fiction.

gbprime
2011-09-08, 09:27 PM
I don't think many people at all reach 20th level within fiction.

Unless you read Forgotten Realms novels. :smallconfused:

Conners
2011-09-08, 10:39 PM
Do they reach 20th level a lot in those? I thought they stopped somewhere around 15th...

Do they go about, beating up gods and so forth, in those novels where they are at 20th level?

Wyntonian
2011-09-08, 11:15 PM
Well, you're comparing an abstract, vague, out-of-game concept to what is supposed to be a parallel to real life. IMO, that's like saying "How many weeks does it take to achieve a new level of happiness?" It doesn't make sense if you try to take a "backstage" calculation and apply it mechanically to a real-life issue.

But there's a couple different ways you could manage this, aside from "Lol, no, i no can haz works", and it really depends on your DMing style, whether it's more storytelling-based/cinematic, more "RAW is LAW!" or more video-game based.

Alleran
2011-09-08, 11:44 PM
Do they reach 20th level a lot in those? I thought they stopped somewhere around 15th...

Do they go about, beating up gods and so forth, in those novels where they are at 20th level?
It's rare to see some of them "level" at all. You see Drizzt getting better during the prequel series (how he got from the Underdark to Icewind Dale), but once he's there, he stays virtually the exact same (with the exception of picking up some magic items) right through to the end of the Thousand Orcs series. And that is a lot of time and leveling, with many, many adventures. Clearly, his DM is very stingy with the XP.

Other characters don't level that much at all either. Epic ones (Elminster and co.) stay the same for obvious reasons - they need a lot more experience - but even the Knights of Myth Drannor are more or less the same level right through their entire series.

Of course, then you have characters like Galaeron, who goes from your average Tomb Guard (maybe slightly better) to a competent Shadow Adept who's probably pushing 16th-17th level. And, of course, Araevin Teshurr, who went from what approximates 13th-14th level up to about level 22-23 over the course of the Last Mythal trilogy.

Ozreth
2011-09-09, 01:12 AM
Drizzt may not be a good example as RA Salvatore has stated that he absolutely does not stick to D&D rules when writing.

deuxhero
2011-09-09, 01:31 AM
"as much time as it takes to kill the things needed to get the EXP needed for the next one"

If Artificer add "plus the time it takes me to blow my remaining craft reserve"

Yora
2011-09-09, 02:51 AM
I think as a rule of thumb, for adventuring heros, gaining one level per one year of in game time is a good average. Setting out for adventure at age 21, and reaching 15th level at age 35, seems about right.
That of course only works for campaigns in which you don't have 8 encounters per day every day.

Realms of Chaos
2011-09-12, 08:36 AM
Instead of making XP = time or Level = time, a much more simple solution may be to put time in between each adventure.

Think about it. It probably isn't every day that a player's home is attacked by dragons and orcs. Years could easily pass by in which there is no great need for any adventuring. Even if trying to carry an "ongoing quest", the single clue that one group of cultists leave may lead nowhere or not be recognized as a clue until they reappear again years later. The mysterious script left in the care of a marauding grimlock wizard might only be recognizable when a great sage comes out of hiding once more. The item left in the care of the town by a wounded Silver dragon may only be recognized as a mcguffin when others come to the town demanding it after nearly a decade of searching.

If you want to make this "downtime" more interesting for players, give them some amount of wealth and XP (up to half of thier additional WBL for the next level and half of the XP needed for said level) during their downtime and let the players explain how they came across them. Some players may have gained experience from acting in the militia and blacksmithing while others may have gone on personal expeditions to ruins and others still may have joined the army of some lord as a mercenary or knight.

1d10 years sounds like a good rule of thumb, when all is said and done. While this may prevent short-lived races from gaining high levels, that kind of makes sense.

Conners
2011-09-12, 08:53 AM
I thought very few people reach beyond 4th level, in DnD?

Yora
2011-09-12, 08:54 AM
Depends on the campaign.

I've heard of people who are actually playing level 70 characters.

Conners
2011-09-12, 09:08 AM
What? I thought you were slapping gods about at level 20, in DnD :smalleek:...

What kind of rules do they use? Homebrewed, or some odd supplement?

Yora
2011-09-12, 09:18 AM
What? I thought you were slapping gods about at level 20, in DnD :smalleek:...
Yes, you do!

D&D 3rd Edition has Epic level rules that start at 21st level and can continue to infinity. They don't have a good reputation and many people are quite vocal that 3rd Edition games should stop at 15th level at the most.

Conners
2011-09-12, 09:23 AM
Then... .what kind of entities do the level 70 campaigns involve, I wonder...? Goku? Frieza?

CarpeGuitarrem
2011-09-12, 10:44 AM
Then... .what kind of entities do the level 70 campaigns involve, I wonder...? Goku? Frieza?
That would be Level 9000+ campaigns.

Conners
2011-09-12, 10:46 AM
That was pretty good.

Quietus
2011-09-12, 11:19 AM
Well, given that it takes on average 13.33* encounters to level up, and you're supposed to have 4 encounters a day, you should be leveling up once every four days. The rest of that fourth day is spent celebrating/training, of course.

Yora
2011-09-12, 11:21 AM
That make level 20 in about 3 months. Still a lot slower than in Neverwinter Nights. In that game it seems more like 2 weeks.

JackShandy
2011-09-12, 06:16 PM
If you want to space things out, having X months downtime to move to level X+1 might work nicely. It gives characters more time between levels as they increase in power and wealth, when they will have more to do when not adventuring -- spells to research, lands to manage, etc. It would make going from level 1 to 20 take 200 months minimum, enough to have things develop during downtime but not so much that aging becomes an issue.
I'd describe the downtime as the time needed to master the new skills/feats/spells that gaining XP unlocks.

Coidzor
2011-09-12, 06:36 PM
My current plan is that the baseline, rank and file, mediocre-to-bleh individuals reach about 6th level by/at Middle Age, and then go into E6 rules, gaining a feat every so often, probably around 5 years, less if they're exposed to enough new experiences they have to cope with them.

So dirt farmers, watchmen who never progress past traffic cop, not particularly good guards (or even caravan guards in areas where things are mostly settled and peaceful), grunts, that sort of thing, with the amount of time mostly depending upon their race's lifespan. So (middleaged - age to adulthood) / 5 for the increments of time, as a rough estimate.

Those who receive more of an education and training reach around 8th-10th level around old age if they're good, earlier if they're really good. So most NPC scholars, members of long-lived species like elves and dwarves that aren't completely useless or purposefully impoverished, elite troops, officials and administrators, field commanders. Non-serious NPC adventurers would probably fall into this category. Alternatively, areas where one has to be strong just to survive (say, particularly barbarous reaches where conflict is common) would provide the pressures and range of experiences necessary to propel one up more quickly.

Would mostly have a faster progression through the lower levels and start getting E6-style feats as "virtual levels" between real levels as they approached the higher levels. One thing is that PrC-based organization NPCs get an exception allowing them to retrain base-class levels into levels of the PrC over time.

Truly exceptional individuals or those who are afforded the height of opportunities are generally uncapped. Princes, Generals, Kings, established Heroes, villainous counterparts to the PCs, those are whatever level they need to be, though lower level ones are going to be less established in their careers than higher level ones in general.

Most, if they simply just lived their lives would probably hit 14th around venerable, but if they're really that exceptional they'd be doing enough things and living interesting enough lives that they'd never really ever need to conform to that. As they can directly buy feats for XP by default, the bit where they're not getting E6 feats matters even less when paired with their continuing to gain class features.

For PCs, it's entirely based upon what they run into, since I'm mostly going to run on the encounter-based XP paradigm, and don't really see a need for anything beyond ad-hocking it if you want to time-skip and level up the PCs.

Silverscale
2011-09-13, 12:07 PM
Well, given that it takes on average 13.33* encounters to level up, and you're supposed to have 4 encounters a day, you should be leveling up once every four days. The rest of that fourth day is spent celebrating/training, of course.

If people actually leveled that fact you could be level 91 before the end of your first year adventuring. That means an 18yo human can become the god of gods before his 19th birthday; and if one were to continue the WBL progression she would have gained all the wealth of the known world by then too.

Lhurgyof
2011-09-14, 07:54 AM
Unless you read Forgotten Realms novels. :smallconfused:

Or the Dark Sun novels. :smalltongue:

Antonok
2011-09-14, 09:14 AM
If people actually leveled that fact you could be level 91 before the end of your first year adventuring. That means an 18yo human can become the god of gods before his 19th birthday; and if one were to continue the WBL progression she would have gained all the wealth of the known world by then too.

Bit off there. In DnD humans reach adulthood at 15, so by 16 they become the god of gods. Beats the heck outta getting a car for your sweet 16th doesn't it?

Lhurgyof
2011-09-14, 10:41 AM
Bit off there. In DnD humans reach adulthood at 15, so by 16 they become the god of gods. Beats the heck outta getting a car for your sweet 16th doesn't it?

Well if you do the four encounters every day a year its just over 109 levels a year, so that's level 110 by 16.
Or 4 if you're a thri-kreen. :smalltongue:

Eric Tolle
2011-09-18, 12:15 PM
Well if you do the four encounters every day a year its just over 109 levels a year, so that's level 110 by 16.
Or 4 if you're a thri-kreen. :smalltongue:

Of course if your character has a 95% chance of surviving each encounter, that means he has a 50% chance of dying every 4 days, and a 99.999999999999999999999% chance of dying in that year. Of course after the first month (99.15219633% chance of dying) that shouldn't be a problem, but it may slow level advancement by up to 50%.

Tibbaerrohwen
2011-09-22, 12:39 AM
Instead of making XP = time or Level = time, a much more simple solution may be to put time in between each adventure.

Think about it. It probably isn't every day that a player's home is attacked by dragons and orcs. Years could easily pass by in which there is no great need for any adventuring.

I agree. That being said,it can be hard to keep some players focused over extensive period of time without combat.
Mooks can be good for entertainment. It may not be a bad idea to place the players up against a foe (or type of foe) the struggled with before. Then they can see how much stronger they are now when they blow them away.

You cannot spend years RPing in a standard sit down game of D&D. Not with any of the groups I've played with, any way.

That being said, you can easily give your players rewards other than EXP. Items or random in-game benefits work.

In the end, tie being dictated by plot is a better system, I think.


The rate at which characters level can be somewhat absurd in a few cases, The elf wizard in our current campaign started at the beginning at the age of 120 having been trained at magic most of her life and being able to cast 1st level spells, 5 months of game time later she's mastering 6th level spells!

Still, during that time studying magic they sat in classes and read books. How much experience do you wager you gained in class at University or High School?

Compare reading A Brief History of the Universe with fighting a dragon. No contest, and fighting the dragon is more fun to boot.

Geddoe
2011-09-22, 02:19 AM
Now, if you consider the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, it is safe to say that Rand Al'Thor started off as a 1st level character in the 1st book. By the time we reach the last book, he is at least 20th level.

Unfortunately, the timeline in Wheel of Time isn't exactly clear. However, we can assume that each novel covers anywhere from 6 to 12 months. This means that by the end of the last book, there has been anywhere from 6.5 to 13 years.

Wheel of Time books have things happening pretty fast, in a timeline perspective. The longest book, timewise, was the second book. I have doubts that it has been much more than 2 years, total, of actual time passage in all the books released so far. Some of the books take place in as little as a week or two, but are long because so much is happening at once and so many perspectives have to weigh in on events.