View Full Version : [DM] - Level Ups, grant new changes now or later?

2011-12-29, 03:30 PM
Do any of your fellow DMs wait until the players can rest and get minor training to use their new level abilities or would you allow them to level up, right away, where they stand?

If so, what creative ways do you have to make it a little more flavorful?

2011-12-29, 03:40 PM
I created a special rule for level ups that I introduced in my rulebook. I'll just copy it. Hope it helps.

Train before Leveling Up
Although the entire game assumes that characters have some amount of downtime spent training just prior to leveling up (in order to learn new skills, feats, and so on), there are no fixed rules about how this downtime should be managed nor are GMs and players forced to spend it to level up, the game works just fine without it. In many occasions it can prove useful to level up without having characters spending time training or learning new abilities. A good example of that is whenever the group is in a dungeon in a major quest that requires them to level up at least once during it.
So to improve realism, and provide the players and GM with an entirely new factor to consider, this variant presents possible rules for training time required to level up into a certain class or prestige class.
In the Neovir Rulebook one can find the age of which a character, of a given race, enters in adulthood. To that age one adds the necessary number of years (determined randomly or just its minimum value) that varies both with class and race. For example, an elf reaches adulthood at 110 years but if he wants to take his first level has a wizard he must train for another 10d6 (a minimum of 10 years). The times presented there are large, spanning years and maybe even decades. This is because that learning one‘s first skills is always difficult. Jumping from a life that had little care and where we learn whatever is useful for us to a life where we have to obey a teacher and fulfill his expectations – whether we like it or not – is confusing at first. And even after that initial confusion, one is constantly struggling and doubting what he learns. For some races, there is also the factor of longevity as while humans might try to accomplish a task in less than a day (because a day in a human life is a decent amount of time) and elf might just be worried about finishing it in less than week or two (due to their longevity that can be ten times larger than that of a human). This is why it takes such a long time to learn the first level of a character.
However, when already living on his own, and possibly adventuring, a person becomes much more focused and determined. He no longer doubts the use of his abilities nor does he doubt of whatever abilities he might deem necessary to overcome the challenges his life presents. Thus gaining new levels should not require an extreme amount of time as does the first character level.
With this in mind, it was established that to level up to a higher level a character needs to spend the amount of time presented in the next table. Please note this refers to time in the game world and you don‘t necessarily need to spend game sessions to play it. You can just decide that certain characters stop their usual business for a given amount of time and jump the game session to afterwards (literally jumping weeks or months, and maybe even years in the game world but losing little more than a few seconds or minutes of the game session).
The following table provides information on how much time the characters should spend training between levels. During this time characters that are training cannot do other strenuous activities such or using Craft, Profession (salesman) or Profession (gambler).

Using this rule brings several advantages: first it improves realism (it is unrealistic to have a character leveling up in a blink of an eye and gaining new abilities it didn‘t had or trained for).
Second it favors the GM. Why? Because there are plenty of times when he plans a quest to present a certain difficulty level (based on the party average level) which can be completely ruined if one or more character levels up during that quest. Example: a two game-sessions quest takes a 5th level party (with only a sorcerer as an arcane caster) on a mission to kill a goblin tribe that lives within a cavern complex but the GM only plans to have the major battle in the second game session where the party faces dozens of goblins (which could be a challenging battle, depending on the number). If, for some reason or miscalculation by the GM results on the sorcerer of the party leveling up between both game sessions, thus becoming a 6th level sorcerer and gaining access to the fireball spell, the once challenging battle that could last more than a dozen rounds becomes easily resolvable in less than half a dozen, with the sorcerer releasing enough fireballs to reduce every last goblin to ashes without even needing aid from the rest of the party. An example where a challenging level battle was reduced to easy level just because a single character managed to level up between game sessions. Using this rule prevents situations like these.
Third it allows for world and setting evolution, which are things that require quite some time to develop (an evolution that bring new quests and opens new doors to the players).
However there is the possibility that several problems might occur when using this rule. The first one is when there is a large difference of XP between characters of the same party. It can become very frustrating for the player to have the entire party stop just every few weeks just because one party member gained enough XP to gain the possibility of leveling up. In some cases, other members of the party might even decide not to stop for that time, thug splitting the party and creating unpleasant discussions between players. The other problem is that it might make players unhappy if they have to wait too long to level up only because they are in a major quest and will only be able to stop after several game sessions.
To avoid these problems, never force this rule onto players when the party is on a quest that still requires several game sessions to end. And if there is a significant XP difference between character, that could lead to the unpleasant situation mentioned above, do not apply this rule considering instead that during the last time the party had to stop their adventures, to allow one or more characters to train and level up, all other characters trained as well (even if they didn‘t had enough XP for that) and let them level up without problems when they gain the necessary XP.

2011-12-29, 03:41 PM
What I'd do for 3.5 is allow levelling up only between adventures, but a long one might be broken into several parts for that purpose.

For a new system (or 3.5 if you want to do more houseruling than is necessary for balance and homebrew flavor), I think a better way would be to allow "untrained" levels to be gained on the spot through XP, but they just give the basic numeric stuff (increase to CL, increase to BAB, a new hit die with hit points, increase to saves, etc.), and things like class features, feats (including boosts to scaling feats based on BAB), and even skillpoints would require the level to be trained, which would take anywhere from 6 months to 20 years (depending on availability of trainers, the desired speed of the game, and possibly the character's race).