Saturday, February 21, 2009

Know no limit!

And now a simple-minded solution to the problem of level limits for demi-humans:

A billion XP?The basic deal here is that demi-humans may continue to advance past the traditional limits, but their XP charts don't flatten out the way they do with humans. The numbers above are good for Labyrinth Lord, but similar charts could be easily whipped up for any version of the game where race equals class or where the class list is short.


  1. You know, other than elves, I've never really understood why demi-humans were a so much better choice than humans that you'd need a level limit for "game balance".

    Why would a 9th level halfling be so unbalanced compared to a 9th level dwarf or figher that you have to cap halflings at level 8 but dwarves can continue on to level 12? And is a 13th level dwarf really that much of a better choice than a 13th level fighter that you have to completely disallow it? It just seemed odd, and less a 'game balance' issue than a way to try to encourage people to keep the game 'human-centered' and more true to the books at its Sword and Sorcery roots.

    Having said that - I like your solution. It seems to be an easy one to implement, and it reminds me a bit of the "Attack Rank" solution to the level caps problem that was implemented in the Companion Set and the Rule Cyclopedia, where they extended the level table but kept the level caps by calling the levels something other than levels.

  2. my solution way to limit character level to that of their PRIMARY ability
    (F = str, thief = dex, barbarian = con, mage = int, cleric = wisdom and bard = charisma) ;

    therefore, character with
    S 12, D 14, C 10, I 14, W = 8, Ch 7

    would could a MAX be either a
    12 th level fighter,
    14 th level thief,
    10 th level barbarian . . . etc

  3. I like this. I like this a good deal, in fact; very elegant. :3

  4. Jer touches on an important issue: the level system is sort-of calibrated so that the power of characters with the same number of XP is roughly the same. Originally (and until 3rd edition) the levels themselves were not comparable between classes.

    That said, I don't think game balance is the real issue -- what we need to do is to determine the in-character reason for level limits in our particular game-world. To me the level limits correspond to the career stage where the character would cease adventuring and become a popular leader.

    For a reason for different maxima for Halflings and Dwarfs, compare the careers of Samwise Gamgee and Thorin Oakenshield.

  5. Anonymous6:06 PM

    "For a reason for different maxima for Halflings and Dwarfs, compare the careers of Samwise Gamgee and Thorin Oakenshield."

    Very good point.

    For Dwarves and Elves it could be that when they get to a certain level, rather than slumming with the humans they go back to their own people's -- deep under the mountain / over the seas, etc.

  6. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Enough with the level-limits discussions already! Is it still 1985 on the interwebs?? As GG wrote in the Holy Writ (1E DMG), they are a GAME MECHANIC to enforce a humano-centric campaign world so as to create a verisimilitude that can be commonly accepted for the suspension of disbelief (as the target audience typically has been conditioned to accept from literature, cinema, fairy-tales, etc.)

    Removing these brings up conflicts (as a natural consequence of their absence) in the logical socio-political structure of such a world as to eventually make it alien (again as specifically pointed out by the Great Bearded One in the Holy Writ). Those who point out the illogic of level caps or class restrictions are missing the forest for the trees. To whit:

    "And lo, it came to pass that Verdogargon, that ancient and most vile Wyrm, Scourge of the Northlands, perpetrator of uncounted vicious and most heinous acts against civilized Good Folk came to his demise. Yea, let it be known throughout the Land, that the great Chestnut Harryfoot of the Eastshire halfling clan did cower and then did slay that uncouth beast. Our great Elven Emperor,Eludriel the Godslayer (125th level mage)do hereby declare that the most exalted and dignified rank of Leader of the Sons of Mitra be bestowed upon him (though he be a paltry 30th level paladin).

    Again...GAME MECHANIC. Deal with it you primitive screwheads.

    P.S.- the word verification for this post is 'burverse' as in continually messing with the intrinsic gears of the old-school D&D engine is...burverse :P

  7. Anonymous2:02 AM

    Ok, I can't sleep so let's continue like it's still 1985, Ket's be explicit and fair though and take Jeff's LISTED experience table and consider it's campaign implications shall we? (My example above did not). Yes, let's do!

    Consider Johblo, a 20th level human fighter and monarch of his own kingdom. Johblo has spent decades facing down orcish hordes, killing giants and slaying dragons and has finally expanded his once frontier wilderness barony into a rather influential and bustling human kingdom. He has won himself a +5 longsword, +5 platemail and a +5 shield and the prettiest lass in the land for a queen! You would think life is pretty sweet for Johblo. But it isn't.

    You see, Johblo has himself a problem. A most embarassing problem involving a most embarassing task. Something that causes Johblo to wish that he had never picked up sword and shield and had never dreamed his dreams of derring-do. You see, by the decree of the Elfking (the 20th level elf on Jeff's table), on the night of every full moon Johblo must travel deep into the Elfking's forest. There under the light of the full-moon and in full witness of the entire Elfish Court, Johblo must kneel and squarely kiss the Elfking's pointy, pasty, elfish ass!

    Why would such a powerful warrior as Johblo commit such a degrading act you ask? The answer is simple really. You see the Elfking has all the fighting prowess as Johblo...except he can cast FRIKKIN METEORSWARMS AND POWERWORD KILLS. All this while he is decked out in his own +5 armor and shield to boot. In fact, the Elfking is decked out with all the magical items he cares for like a Christmas tree covered in ornaments because HE'S BEEN AROUND FOR A FRIKKIN' THOUSAND YEARS WITH HIS ENTIRE FAMILY COLLECTING THEM!!!

    How's that for the end-result of "oh, let's remove level limits because they're illogical and really, really jarring to our own ascetic sense of symmetry". BAH!!

    Look what you're putting poor Johblo through Jeff...for shame!

  8. Is it still 1985 on the interwebs??

    Sometimes on this blog it is. Actually, using a bastardization of Traveller style extended hexadecimal, I could maybe call this year 198V.