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Stormhound
07-06-2008, 01:18 PM
This is essentially a port of a thread I started over on ENWorld, neatened up somewhat to retain the sense without so much of the rambling. The ideas presented herein are heretical, revanchist, reactionary, and outright anathematic, so if you don't want WotC to darn your soul to heck you'd better quit reading about a sentence ago.
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One of the things that's itching me the more I think about it is the rush to endgame that I see on the experience tables. Granted, I'm originally from the Old School, but it seems to me like it should be a heck of a lot more work to get from 29th to 30th level, timewise, than it was getting from 1st to 2nd. Maybe I'm just silly, but I kind of think that "epic" levels should be just that, epic, not some mad rush toward 30th and retirement/godhood. As is, if a PC faces 303 encounters of whatever their level is at the time, they'll make it from 1st to 30th. That number drops when you include quest bonuses, and even more if the GM awards XP for much of anything else. I know we're a society in a hurry to get somewhere, but whatever happened to taking some time to enjoy the trip?

With that thought in mind, I present a set of advancement tables which keeps early advancement still fairly quick while slowing down epic levels quite a bit. After all, they've got all those megapowers, they might as well have some time to enjoy them, eh? And while I'm at it, here's a bit of discussion on the magic item pricing structure and megatreasure parcels, how to tame them, and how you can put the whole ball of wax together into one package in order to attempt to have something in your game that vaguely resembles a workable economy.

(Note: the filesize limitations are stricter here, so I had to zip the .odt file that I created the pdf from to attach it. I tried uploading the pdf to my webpage, but Verizon is flaky and it won't display properly, so anyone who can't read OpenOffice docs and gives a hoot will have to go here (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=232135) to find the pdf).

For those who worship and adore the new 4e rules, please feel free to go on doing so with my utmost blessing. For those that think the above idea has merit, toss in your two cents.

Moritz
07-06-2008, 03:39 PM
Just an observation, but the 'mad rush to 30' (or any endgame) is what you see in WoW, CoH, etc. And it's the status quo. First one to the end level 'wins'! And then the bonus is when you get to 30th, you can help all your lowbie friends power level.

Stormhound
07-06-2008, 04:28 PM
Yep, these days, it IS the status quo. It didn't used to be, it needn't be, and (in any game I run, at least) it darned well won't be.

Moritz
07-06-2008, 05:22 PM
I personally love 1st-12th levels. There's a kind of quality that's going on, can't describe it, but it's gold.

tesral
07-06-2008, 06:05 PM
For those who worship and adore the new rules, please feel free to go on doing so with my utmost blessing. For those that think the idea has merit, toss in your two cents.

I noticed the campagin time in D&D in general has gone down. I've seen weekly games that go from 1st to 20th level in six months. Dude, it's over and I'm just getting into it.

I too prefer to savor a character for a while. I've had character cycles last for years. I like it that way. One of my best characters took me a decade of play to get to his current state. Plain scary in any edition.

So I agree, slow down the march of levels. Even in 3e slow it down. Savor the moment and enjoy.

I've never seen D&D as a game witha fixed "end game". There is always another adventure, there is always one more hill to cross. Characters may retire, they may stop adventuring. However their stories do not end.

Moritz
07-06-2008, 06:20 PM
I noticed the campagin time in D&D in general has gone down. I've seen weekly games that go from 1st to 20th level in six months. Dude, it's over and I'm just getting into it.

I ran a game for 2 years (played 3 to 8 games a month) and they were just getting to level 20. When they hit 21, it sort of lost the flair. We played for a bit longer, they reached 22nd (maybe), and then we just sort of quit. Started a new game, several in fact.

So yeah, to me the slow boat is the way to savor the journey.

Stormhound
07-06-2008, 06:27 PM
I noticed the campagin time in D&D in general has gone down. I've seen weekly games that go from 1st to 20th level in six months. Dude, it's over and I'm just getting into it.

I too prefer to savor a character for a while. I've had character cycles last for years. I like it that way. One of my best characters took me a decade of play to get to his current state. Plain scary in any edition.

So I agree, slow down the march of levels. Even in 3e slow it down. Savor the moment and enjoy.

I've never seen D&D as a game witha fixed "end game". There is always another adventure, there is always one more hill to cross. Characters may retire, they may stop adventuring. However their stories do not end.

I will say, in what defense I'm willing to make of shorter campaigns, that for the younger set (school, college) or those whose jobs make them move and for whom groups are rarely around for years (military comes to mind), the quicker speed could be a plus. Pack a lot of punch into what time you have, that's fine. It's just not where I want to be at this point in my own life.

I always like more interesting setups in the player/character options. I encourage players to have protege PCs, or other types of "alts" (to borrow from MMO-land). They may get played less often, but they serve an important place in the empire-building aspect as something a step up from henchmen (another word not likely familiar to many recent comers to RPGs). Plus they let me spin a far more complex web of stories than I could manage with a single party, with multiple things going on that the players can work on addressing as desired through both their main characters and their alts.

But I digress. Slow-cooking is a wonderful method for more than just food, if you have the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.

agoraderek
07-06-2008, 06:33 PM
So I agree, slow down the march of levels. Even in 3e slow it down. Savor the moment and enjoy.

i played my first paladin, gregory elhaylen, from 1980 to 1989. it took that long, playing fairly regularly, and MANY adventures, to work up to 18th level. the second to last game i played in, it took six months for my changeling (eberron) rogue to get to tenth. i felt a bigger sense of accomplishment working the paladin up...

tesral
07-06-2008, 07:09 PM
I will say, in what defense I'm willing to make of shorter campaigns, that for the younger set (school, college) or those whose jobs make them move and for whom groups are rarely around for years (military comes to mind), the quicker speed could be a plus. Pack a lot of punch into what time you have, that's fine. It's just not where I want to be at this point in my own life.

If circumstances do not favor slow, then I suppose fast is required. MickeyD does have it's place on the food chain, but it isn't where I go to enjoy my food.

Valdar
07-06-2008, 07:51 PM
The ideas presented herein are heretical, revanchist, reactionary, and outright anathematic, so if you don't want WotC to darn your soul to heck you'd better quit reading about a sentence ago.

Check the 4e DMG, page 121, under the heading "Varying the rate of advancement".

Your ideas are hardly reactionary- they're printed right in the core rules.

Engar
07-06-2008, 09:35 PM
***self editing for off topic post***

Law Dog
07-06-2008, 09:47 PM
Check the 4e DMG, page 121, under the heading "Varying the rate of advancement".

Your ideas are hardly reactionary- they're printed right in the core rules.

Of course, there is an even better way. Just have the GM determine when everybody levels and ignore the XP concept altogether. ;) The GM can maintain the balance of the game better that way.

Valdar
07-07-2008, 10:12 AM
Of course, there is an even better way. Just have the GM determine when everybody levels and ignore the XP concept altogether. ;) The GM can maintain the balance of the game better that way.

Yup. That's actually the method described in the very next section, also on page 121 of the 4e DMG.

Skunkape
07-07-2008, 11:25 AM
I think the move toward quicker leveling campaigns is being fueled by the social tendency for quick satisfaction that seems to be becoming the norm in our society. Most people, I started to post no one, but realized that's not right, anyway, most people want the quick fix, the fast track, the end result now! Those of us who still like to sit down and read a book; or to play a campaign that spans years are becoming few and far between.

I understand the appeal, you have to balance job, family, etc with your gaming hobby, but I still like the appeal of watching the characters grow over time, but that's not what everyone wants.

Case in point with the rush to end game, I was playing City of Heroes/Villains, started from beta and continued playing till just after the first of this year. Anyway, it took me for ever to get a character to 50, even with power-leveling, etc. I just wasn't that interested in reaching the end game. I knew that once I got 1 character there, I would quickly loose interest in the game.

Well, I made it to end game and sure enough, I would only play once a week, which then went to twice a month, which then went to once ever couple of months and finally, I cancelled my account because I wasn't playing at all. So as I said, there are those of us who like the slow speed of leveling, but I think the majority want a faster speed, hence the new way the game handles experience.

Stormhound
07-07-2008, 11:37 AM
Yup. That's actually the method described in the very next section, also on page 121 of the 4e DMG.


Of course, there is an even better way. Just have the GM determine when everybody levels and ignore the XP concept altogether. ;) The GM can maintain the balance of the game better that way.

Which is all well and good IF that's what you're after, but since it isn't what I wanted to do I didn't try to write a set of tables for it. Nor does merely halving (or whatever) do the trick, so far as I desired, which again is why I didn't try to go that way. I'd hardly have needed bother posting anything for either of those options...

What I wanted was a table that bore a fair resemblance to 1e/2e type rates, which were faster up front and slower as you rose, though in my case I wanted the slowdown to occur a little more gradually. Making it through Heroic levels is not so rough. Getting through Paragon levels takes a little while. And Epic levels, well, count on taking some time. And I can point my players at it and say "here's what to expect" without having any arbitrary (and to the players, opaque) "okay, everyone level up now" decisions.

tesral
07-07-2008, 12:03 PM
What I wanted was a table that bore a fair resemblance to 1e/2e type rates, which were faster up front and slower as you rose, though in my case I wanted the slowdown to occur a little more gradually. Making it through Heroic levels is not so rough.

Is this about what you are looking for?

Experience Table (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/XP_table.pdf)

Valdar
07-07-2008, 01:09 PM
In 3e, you were expected to have about 13.3 encounters per level. Getting to 20 (max listed level) thus took 267 encounters.

In 4e, you're expected to have 10 encounters per level, so getting to 30 (max listed level) takes 300 encounters.

Non-combat and quest xp affects both systems equally.

300, last I checked, is a larger number than 267.

Now, explain to me how 4e as written is a faster climb?

ronpyatt
07-07-2008, 03:13 PM
Extending the XP table gives it that old D&D "rules" feel. Not really one of my favorites, but it might work out really well. If your gaming sessions are 6-8 hours I could see this working.

However, it does seem to me that around 300 encounters would take a long time.
300 encounters = thousands of monsters, plus traps and hazards.
300, assuming 3 encounters per session @ 50 week = 6 encounters per week, 2 sessions a week, from level 1 to 30 in just one year! Right now, I only game once per week and we've averaged less than 2 encounters per session at these lower levels. That's 150 weeks or 3 years of gaming.

I'll try your chart if the current chart stops working for us.

tesral
07-07-2008, 07:37 PM
I never broke it down to encounters per level. I give XP by percentage of an average level. I don't work up the XP per encounter, I don't parcel out encounters per level. I play the world, levels come when they come.

Stormhound
07-07-2008, 07:53 PM
Is this about what you are looking for?
Experience Table (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/XP_table.pdf)

Well, it saved me a trip to the basement, but those are pretty much what I remember them being. If I get ambitious, I'll run numbers for those tables with 4e XP values just for curiosity's sake, though what will happen will be that encounters/level will peak somewhere around the point where the level progression locks to a fixed number, then steadily decrease. Not quite what I was aiming for, but full marks for having it handy.


In 3e, you were expected to have about 13.3 encounters per level. Getting to 20 (max listed level) thus took 267 encounters.

In 4e, you're expected to have 10 encounters per level, so getting to 30 (max listed level) takes 300 encounters.

Non-combat and quest xp affects both systems equally.

300, last I checked, is a larger number than 267.

Now, explain to me how 4e as written is a faster climb?

I'm pretty sure this is the first that 3e is being mentioned, and it tends to slip my thought process largely because I spent so little time trying to run it. But I imagine that I'd have ended up with the same overall problem with 3e. Now, how many encounters would it take to reach 20th level in 1e or 2e? You figure that one out, and I'll be ready to explain how 4e is faster. ;)


Extending the XP table gives it that old D&D "rules" feel. Not really one of my favorites, but it might work out really well. If your gaming sessions are 6-8 hours I could see this working.

However, it does seem to me that around 300 encounters would take a long time.
300 encounters = thousands of monsters, plus traps and hazards.
300, assuming 3 encounters per session @ 50 week = 6 encounters per week, 2 sessions a week, from level 1 to 30 in just one year! Right now, I only game once per week and we've averaged less than 2 encounters per session at these lower levels. That's 150 weeks or 3 years of gaming.

I'll try your chart if the current chart stops working for us.

Much depends upon one's assumptions and which XP table one is using. For my purposes, I assume 5 XP parcels (1 parcel = equivalent to one encounter, be it from an encounter, quest completion, or other source) average per session. That works out to 62 sessions for 4e core, 102 for Mini-Epic, 223 for Epic, and 427 for Ultra-Epic. I would really only recommend UE for those who game frequently and still want a long campaign in real-time; I personally plan on using Epic for my own game, but I came up with UE first as a "what's the most I can imagine anyone wanting" option and then interpolated from there. If I get 3 sessions per month, that's a 6-year campaign...which is long, but then we get right back into the question of what one wants out of a game, which in my case is more of a shared (and savored) world-building experience.

If there's ever been a TV show that lasted 10 years (about 220 episodes!) and still left you wanting more, then you have some idea of what I'm thinking.

ithil
07-08-2008, 01:18 AM
In 3e, you were expected to have about 13.3 encounters per level. Getting to 20 (max listed level) thus took 267 encounters.

In 4e, you're expected to have 10 encounters per level, so getting to 30 (max listed level) takes 300 encounters.

Non-combat and quest xp affects both systems equally.

300, last I checked, is a larger number than 267.

Now, explain to me how 4e as written is a faster climb?

Because stock 3e combat encounters take twice as long to resolve. </cheapshot> :D

Valdar
07-08-2008, 12:46 PM
I'm pretty sure this is the first that 3e is being mentioned, and it tends to slip my thought process largely because I spent so little time trying to run it. But I imagine that I'd have ended up with the same overall problem with 3e. Now, how many encounters would it take to reach 20th level in 1e or 2e? You figure that one out, and I'll be ready to explain how 4e is faster. ;)

Fair enough- I don't have those books anymore. I figured we're talking about 3e vs. 4e because of the MMOG references- those wouldn't be relevant for 2e vs. later versions.



Because stock 3e combat encounters take twice as long to resolve. </cheapshot> :D

Also fair enough =) I had been wondering what others' experiences on that front are- my last 3e group was not, shall we say, rules-astute, so one encounter a session was typical- that would make those encounters 3-4 times as long...