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Starting Level/Experience

   
Starting Level/Experience

Hey everyone. I'm a gamer/GM who's done a lot of PbP around here over years. I've also have home group for whom I plan to run the old module Ravenloft but using AD&D 2e. The module is labelled as for levels 5 to 7. Now in 3rd edition I'd understand that to mean everyone should start at 5th level, but with AD&D things become confusing. Considering characters level up at different experience levels, and demihumans multi-classing will level up even more slowly. It seems to me that this is a balancing mechanic in the system. Making everyone the same level will mess up the thief and give the wizard an unfair advantage...

The best solution I can think of is to give everyone 20,000 xp to start with, which may allow the thief to start at level 6, and make the elf fighter/wizard start at Fighter 4/Wizard 4, but should get all non-multi-class characters to the minimum level 5.

I'm basically looking for confirmation that this is a good solution. I'm particularly curious about how it was done by someone back in the day, before people could ask the internet. What do you guys think?

That seems to be the typical way of dealing with the problem. I can't speak to the pre-internet days, as back then, the idea of starting a game at anything other than 1st level just hadn't occurred to anyone I played with.

I believe a flat amount of XP would be the approach most "true" to the design goals of AD&D, where it was working-as-intended to have e.g. wizards of lower level than the rest of their party.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilOfCalth View Post
Hey everyone. I'm a gamer/GM who's done a lot of PbP around here over years. I've also have home group for whom I plan to run the old module Ravenloft but using AD&D 2e. The module is labelled as for levels 5 to 7. Now in 3rd edition I'd understand that to mean everyone should start at 5th level, but with AD&D things become confusing. Considering characters level up at different experience levels, and demihumans multi-classing will level up even more slowly. It seems to me that this is a balancing mechanic in the system. Making everyone the same level will mess up the thief and give the wizard an unfair advantage...

The best solution I can think of is to give everyone 20,000 xp to start with, which may allow the thief to start at level 6, and make the elf fighter/wizard start at Fighter 4/Wizard 4, but should get all non-multi-class characters to the minimum level 5.

I'm basically looking for confirmation that this is a good solution. I'm particularly curious about how it was done by someone back in the day, before people could ask the internet. What do you guys think?
I have only a passing familiarity with pre-3e, but I have read most of 2e growing up. So if a module calls for 5-7, I would set XP to allow the fastest leveling class (Rogues: Thief, Bard, right?) to be 7th, and see where that falls for everyone else. Paladins and Multiclass are probably level 5 or so.

Or 6th, if that is your pref.

Also, know your players. If they are good at optimizing, I might shoot for 5th level PCs instead.

It's been ages, but I agree with the 20k xp to allow the variable options of character creation to use that to build whatever character they want.

It's been a while but back in the day we just set levels. Multiclassing is really worth about a level given the XP curve and the curves are designed to level out over time anyway. While you might have someone out of balance up front it really didn't matter since we were in it for the long haul. At 5th level mages were still very fragile so even if they get an early advantage it's not the same as if you were starting at 12th.

Note: this was just my personal experience and setting an XP bank is perfectly valid.

I ran this in AD&D 1st edition about 4 years ago, and currently play a lot of 1st edition AD&D, which has the same approximate power level as 2nd edition. The real question is how many players are you going to have? I had 6 PCs and gave 45,000 xp. The characters had a little more than the proper amount trouble, I had to fudge a few encounters to keep from loosing the lot of them. I would want 9 or 10 PCs to try it with 20,000 xp. I6 has some pretty nasty encounters and you will want to be able to play Strahd to full effect. Averaging the levels and party size gives you pretty close to a minimum number of levels. I6 says 6 to 8 players of 5th to 7th, so you should have around 42 levels minimum and no more than 56, multi-class count as one level over their highest. I usually use fighter xp to calculate xp for levels.

And yes, setting xp levels is how the old school DMs generally do it.

There used to be a suggested character levels and a total party levels recommended on modules as well.
The best thing is a flat xp amount and realize that group sizes were larger. 6 to 10 character in a party, plus some henchmen or hirerlings was pretty common.

By the time the I-series came out expected party sizes were printed in the DM intro section of the module, or by I6 both there and on the cover. Large numbers of henchmen were long gone by this time, that is more of the B1 and early Gygax modules. When party sizes are printed those should include henchmen. So when I6 says 6 to 8 if you don't have 6 players figure it is best to buff them with a henchman or two, but this is nothing like B2 where their is an expectation of around 6 players each with multiple henchmen.

Thanks a million guys. That's of great help.

I was unaware of the group size suggestion. I've got 6 players, So I'll take your suggestion Black Wyvern and go with 45,000 xp. I'll strongly suggest henchmen, but thus far the group has been extremely resilient to any hired help. I've been running the Mentzer Basic Red Box, and they would often rather die than even suggest splitting the loot.







 

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