Have you ever been experienced?

Well, I have.....
I've been sort of keeping an eye on the upcoming Pathfinder 2 FRPG rules. I'm not particularly interested in ever running a Pathfinder campaign; the rules are far too pernicketty and Byzantine for my taste, but I do like to see which ideas are worth nicking.

One that piqued my interest is their new level progression rules. Every level requires a base 1,000 experience points to advance. First to second level? A thousand. Fifteenth to sixteenth level? Still a thousand. If the GM decides they want progress the game faster or slower, they can just adjust that base number up or down, but it still remains the same for every level.

Naturally, this would require considerable judgement by the GM. If that first-level party defeated a Hideous Bugblatter Beast of Thraall, it would be worth a lot more experience to them than to the fifteenth-level party. The number of experience points granted for any given session would be highly situational, and to a certain degree subjective.

I haven't actually seen the PF2 playtest documents (yet) so I don't know what, if any, guidance is given to the prospective GM in this respect. I assume there's some.

Anyway, it's an idea that I rather like.

It would be possible to transfer it to AD&D, but it wouldn't be a seamless transition: the AD&D level progression rates are a bit.... peculiar. Some classes progress much faster than others initially and then slow right down, some get a speed boost at the mid-levels. Pretty much every class has its own particular level progression numbers for any given level. Frankly, it's a bit of a mess. Once upon a time I worked out line graphs to chart the relative advancement rates of all the classes, but where that work is now I have no idea.

To an extent it could be modified for AD&D by giving each class its own base advancement rate to reflect the relative effectiveness of the class: I'd probably set Fighters as the standard, at 1,000xp per level, while Rangers might be 1,100 and Paladins 1,250. Thieves would be faster at, say, 900, while Magic-users and Clerics I'd probably set at about the 1,100 to 1,300 level.

The thing that I like best about this system is that a player will always know, at a glance, how close they are to advancing in level. No more need for XP charts at all.


I started to work out the relative progression speed of the various classes by taking the number of XP required for each to reach level 10 (from OSRIC) and turning it into this bar chart.

The results surprised me quite considerably.

I'd never really taken any notice of this before; I was vaguely aware that Thief progression was quite fast, but I'd always assumed that the Fighter was one of the more average classes in that respect. I was quite wrong.

THE AVERAGE IS 330,000 xp

Druids, Thieves and Illusionists all scamper up the level hierarchy in the blink of an eye compared with pretty much everybody else. Clerics, Fighters, and Paladins trail behind, progressing excruciatingly slowly comparatively.

To be frank, I can't really see why, except maybe to make pretty lame classes like Illusionist attractive to players — but then, Druids are pretty goddam scary, so why would they need to be helped along like that? It can't be because of the characteristic requirements of the class — Paladins are really crippled in that way, yet they advance the slowest of them all. I suspect the relative progression rates were set pretty much at whim.

I think I might just compress everything. Probably quite a bit.

Even Later....

I've decided I am definitely going to adopt the "1,000 XP per level" system for all classes, for all levels.

I was going to adjust the amount of xp/level required by class according to the advancement rates shown in the existing XP table, but I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why some classes advance at different rates than others. Sometimes remarkably different rates. I can understand the desire of the designers to allow different advancement rates, but there seems to be little consistency to them.

This will mean a little bit of arithmetic to begin with, since we'll need to know what percentage of the XP you need to advance from your present level has already been achieved for each of your classes, to work out how many you've got right now.

It'll also necessitate a change in the "gp for XP" training fees, and I think I'll just set them at a straight 10 gp per XP because it's easy to work out. That will work out considerably cheaper for higher-level characters, but I don't really mind that.

If nothing else, this is going to make it easier for me to assign non-monster-killin' in-game XP rewards. Ten points for Gryffindor, for exceptional pluck!

I think I'll also look at allowing players to spend XP in the same way as Fate Points or Hero Points or whatever you want to call them. I'll have a think about the cost of things like re-rolls and the like; I don't want to make them cripplingly expensive, but neither do I want them to be a trivial cost.

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