XP progression the old way

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Call me wierd but I sometimes think the old way of doing XP had the right idea.

Where each class had its own progression chart. Seemed to lend a bit more flavour to the classes.

Yes, I know its easier to balance PC v Monster now, with standardized levels. doesn't mean the old way wasn't fun.
Terrible, terrible, terrible.

Man did I hate 2E XP tables.
Call me wierd but I sometimes think the old way of doing XP had the right idea.

Where each class had its own progression chart. Seemed to lend a bit more flavour to the classes.

Yes, I know its easier to balance PC v Monster now, with standardized levels. doesn't mean the old way wasn't fun.

The main problem with it would be working out multi classing in that kind of system. Other than that it works fine, more powerful classes cost more XP, and so are lower level compared to the rest of the party.

I don't think they will be returning to the 2e method of multi classing and I can't think of a good way to get a more 3eish/saga version to work under a different XP chart system.
I like the idea of all classes having the same xp progression, and having the logical "gain your current level X 1,000 xp to gain your level". Makes it take less time to look things up when close to leveling.
Call me wierd but I sometimes think the old way of doing XP had the right idea.

Where each class had its own progression chart. Seemed to lend a bit more flavour to the classes.

Yes, I know its easier to balance PC v Monster now, with standardized levels. doesn't mean the old way wasn't fun.

As someone who moved on as soon as I know of better systems. 2th ed only got one thing right. Limit the spell power per EXP earned. The progression charts was just a why to hide the overall class hit points per EXR earned. And hide how other things worked out.

3th hooked me in and had me playing from the first. Only thing I hate in 3th is spell casters get higher level spells way to soon. This lead to the spell durations being lower in 3.5 which did not fix the problem. That just lead to the "5 second work day" many GMs seem to have.

Like to see more low level spells per day. The Warlock is great! Hope to see it as a core class.
Yeah, I despise separate XP tables. For starters, it adds a ton of bloat to the game because you have pages upon pages of XP tables. Plus, it makes levelling that much more complicated because everyone has to look up their class' XP table and figure out when they can level, plus it makes multiclassing nigh impossible.

But, the biggest issue with it is that it's a total design cop out. Basically it's the designers saying, "yeah, we know that this class is way more powerful than this other class but we balanced it out by making it cost more XP to level." What you end up with is some classes being really good to start out and others really sucking. The classes that are really good dominate play until the worse classes level, at which point they're outshone by the crappy classes. Then the better class finally levels and the balance of power swings back again. Depending on the XP differential this can be quite noticeable.

The other major issue is that the encounter system is meant to be balanced against the level of the party, having party members of different levels tends to mess this up (or you certainly have to be more careful about it).
Seperate XP charts for each class makes the Baby Jesus cry. That's one the many issues of complexity 2nd Ed was guilty of.
Agreed. We don't need to make Baby Jesus cry.

Keep the xp levels the same. That was one of the greatest strengths of 3rd Edition and one they should carry through to 4th Edition as well.
In second edition separate progression chart where used to balance different classes ... for istance, at hight level Wizards where far more powerfull than bards ... but as more XP where requested to get the same level, ( i.e with the same xp a bard in 2 edition at got more levels than wizard), the overall balance of the game was kept ... now at same level a bard is realy no match for any classes ... ( just compare a 18 lev. wizard or sorcerer with a same level bard ) ... so the class is neglected ..

But i see that separate progression chart is difficult to use, mostly for multiclasses ... let's go on with standard 3 ed. progression, and make a bigger effort to keep the classes balanced at any level ...
In second edition separate progression chart where used to balance different classes ... for istance, at hight level Wizards where far more powerfull than bards ... but as more XP where requested to get the same level, ( i.e with the same xp a bard in 2 edition at got more levels than wizard), the overall balance of the game was kept ... now at same level a bard is realy no match for any classes ... ( just compare a 18 lev. wizard or sorcerer with a same level bard ) ... so the class is neglected ..

But i see that separate progression chart is difficult to use, mostly for multiclasses ... let's go on with standard 3 ed. progression, and make a bigger effort to keep the classes balanced at any level ...

Yes, the idea in 3ed is supposed to be that each class levels at the same rate and classes at the same level are at the same power. Obviously they screwed that concept up in a lot of ways though, between some classes being vastly more powerful at certain levels (melee types at low levels, casters at high levels) and how multiclassing can either really gimp you (lost caster levels for instance) or add a lot of power (especially with cherry-picking).

My understanding is that 4ed is definitely trying to get that balance a lot better. They've also talked a lot more about how "balancing" things by making a class good at one aspect of the game (low level play, high level play, social situations, combat, etc) while sucking at most/all of the others and not being able to contribute is not fun.

A lot of games don't play through levels 1-20 (or 1-30 in 4ed) so having a class suck at low levels and good at high levels doesn't work if you never see those high levels. Or, a lot of campaigns start at high levels so then the classes that are good at that level haven't "paid" for them and those that suck at high levels never had their chance to shine. Similarly, combat is a pretty common element of the game, having a class that can't contribute in combat means that player has to sit out of those situations. Yes, you can do a social campaign as well but then that means anyone who's not good at social situations (um, fighter anyone?) is left out of those.

I think the goal is to make sure that every class can offer something in different play situations and not feel left out in the cold, and that the power levels are going to be far more balanced across the board. Hopefully they live up to the hype.
I definently don't agree with seperate XP Charts. I wish someone would tell me the math for progression though. Also, balance the classes (balance them against each other - just because you aren't PvP fans doesn't mean - A) Others aren't, B) Monster's don't get class levels, C) It isn't brokenly better to just mass-caster cheese than take a 'balanced group'. Of course, any given group combo (including the balanced group) should not be better than another combo.

Yes, you can do a social campaign as well but then that means anyone who's not good at social situations (um, fighter anyone?) is left out of those.

Just because you're a fighter doesn't mean you have to have an abysmal Charisma score.
It's a simple arithmetic sequence.

XP needed to reach next level = current level x 1000.
The 3.5 EXP/level requirements were in my opinion a big mistake. My understanding is that the typical campaign according to WOTC research lasted about 1 year, which is why characters advance so quickly. This is fine for those playing short lived campaigns but neglects the rest of the gaming world where there are more established groups.

Personally, I think they should have had three columns on the XP chart. One for short lived campaigns (such as they have now), one for moderate campaigns (which last a no more than 3-4 years), and a one for long campaigns (for those of us who play the same character for 5-10 years or so). Creating one chart like this along with a single guidline paragraph in deciding which column to use for your campaign isn't exactly a space eater in the book either. Far less than separate XP charts for each class.

One XP chart for all classes is the best. If the classes aren't balanced at each level then the game designer needs to take a closer look at his or her work to make it balanced. This is called good game design. Good game design requires several efforts to get it right, needless play testing, not rushing it through.
It's a simple arithmetic sequence.

XP needed to reach next level = current level x 1000.

Yes, but why should a 3rd level cleric/2nd level wizard need to advance as a 5th level character just to gain a level in one class? Wouldn't it make sense for such a character to advance as a 3rd level character for his cleric levels or as a 2nd level character for his wizards levels?
Separate XP charts are one of the mechanics I'm glad to have left in the past. Having to check the PHB to see whether the player of Class X had gone up wasn't much fun. Regardless of rumors, players don't tend to fill in the 'XP For Next Level' on their sheet all that much.
The main problem with it would be working out multi classing in that kind of system. Other than that it works fine, more powerful classes cost more XP, and so are lower level compared to the rest of the party.

I don't think they will be returning to the 2e method of multi classing and I can't think of a good way to get a more 3eish/saga version to work under a different XP chart system.

the only time it would be a problem is if you cant do those dirty wittle fwactions.

im a fighter/wizard.

OMG how much of my 2000 awarded XP goes for each?

2000/2=1000
tada. each class gains 1000 xp.

just ignore the stipulations of having to be within X levels of each class.
Yes, but why should a 3rd level cleric/2nd level wizard need to advance as a 5th level character just to gain a level in one class? Wouldn't it make sense for such a character to advance as a 3rd level character for his cleric levels or as a 2nd level character for his wizards levels?

Because then you'd be able to pick up extra classes extremely easily. Imagine a 19th level character, he can pick up a 1st level (heck, several levels) in another class for the same XP that it would take him to earn that 20th level, which would add a number of HD (making him epic) and abilities.
the only time it would be a problem is if you cant do those dirty wittle fwactions.

im a fighter/wizard.

OMG how much of my 2000 awarded XP goes for each?

2000/2=1000
tada. each class gains 1000 xp.

just ignore the stipulations of having to be within X levels of each class.

Except you're assuming that he wants to level in both classes at the same time. Or what does he do if he picks up another class? Is he required to always split that XP? What do you do when the rest of the party is single classed and earns enough XP to level but you're now behind because you had to split your XP between 2 classes?
we arent talking about one million tables three tables, each for a kind of character: Divine, Martial and Arcane.

And remember that players arent the ones who look at the xp chart to see when they level up but that is a duty of the GM. There is not complication if instead of adding points and points and doing complex math you just put the experience points back to zero each time you level up and you have in the chart only the xp needed for the next level.

If an arcane 19 wants one level of martial, then he must see the xp needed to be a martial 20.

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Additionally, time ago in this board I had the idea of instead of different xp tables is to make that spellcasting have a LA cost since a character with spellcasting is more worth than a character without spellcasting of the same level.

I did the balance making than level 3 spells were the starting point worth a LA of +1, and then every two spell levels after were worth another +1, so a character able to cast level 9 spells had a LA of +4 being so a level 21 character and an epic caster and note how he gained level 9 spells at level 20 before adding the last LA.
Bards able to just cast up to level 6 spells were worth +2 LA and minor casters had a LA of +1 (their spellcasting can be worth this if you use non-core books with worthly spells).


Considering that by Wizards information that spellcasters are going to have 25 levels of spells with 30 levels of class seems they had my same idea, so yes, xp tables are not needed if they slow the pace of highest level spells.
we arent talking about one million tables three tables, each for a kind of character: Divine, Martial and Arcane.

And remember that players arent the ones who look at the xp chart to see when they level up but that is a duty of the GM. There is not complication if instead of adding points and points and doing complex math you just put the experience points back to zero each time you level up and you have in the chart only the xp needed for the next level.

If an arcane 19 wants one level of martial, then he must see the xp needed to be a martial 20.

The reason it doesn't work is because there's a built in compensating factor for the XP rewards where lower level characters gain more XP from encounters. At low levels no, but at higher levels they do. What this means is that while a more powerful class will need more XP to level, they'll also earn that XP more quickly because they're behind in levels.

The other issue is that it makes it that much harder to balance encounters as you have to watch out for when lower level characters in the party could be at a high risk (such as a caster already having lower HP, being lower level as well could really make them fragile). It also means that if you want to start a campaign at a higher level you can't just say, "make x level characters" you have to say, "you'll start with x XP to spend on classes," that's far more complicated for the players to work out and also means that you won't have as clear an idea of what the power level of the party will be like.

Not to mention the issues this presents for future class development where they have to shoehorn new classes into one of the existing tables or come up with a whole new table.

But the bottom line is that separate XP tables is the lazy man's approach to game design! It flagrantly says that the designers couldn't be bothered to figure out a way to properly balance the classes so they're just going to put a big hack on it and say they level at different rates. It existed in earlier editions because game design wasn't as mature as it is now, it was eliminated in 3ed because the designers had learned it wasn't the right approach, going back to it would be a major step backwards.
Just thought of the better way to explain this. The old way gives each class arbitrary power levels based on what the designers felt like giving the class at each level and then has that dictate how quickly the class should level. The new way starts with what the power level for each level should be and then designs the class' progression to fit that model.

In the old system your level means something different depending on your class, in the new system the idea is that your level means the same thing regardless of level. Yes, 3ed didn't pull this off as well as it could have, but that's the design philosophy, that a class A level x character = a class B level x character.

Right off the top of my head, this makes adventures a lot easier to describe; compare "an adventure for 4 10th level characters," with, "an adventure for 4 characters who all have earned around 55,000 XP," or, "an adventure for a 10th level fighter, a 9th level rogue who's almost 10th level, a 9th level wizard and an 8th level cleric".
The reason it doesn't work is because there's a built in compensating factor for the XP rewards where lower level characters gain more XP from encounters. At low levels no, but at higher levels they do. What this means is that while a more powerful class will need more XP to level, they'll also earn that XP more quickly because they're behind in levels.

The other issue is that it makes it that much harder to balance encounters as you have to watch out for when lower level characters in the party could be at a high risk (such as a caster already having lower HP, being lower level as well could really make them fragile). It also means that if you want to start a campaign at a higher level you can't just say, "make x level characters" you have to say, "you'll start with x XP to spend on classes," that's far more complicated for the players to work out and also means that you won't have as clear an idea of what the power level of the party will be like.

Not to mention the issues this presents for future class development where they have to shoehorn new classes into one of the existing tables or come up with a whole new table.

But the bottom line is that separate XP tables is the lazy man's approach to game design! It flagrantly says that the designers couldn't be bothered to figure out a way to properly balance the classes so they're just going to put a big hack on it and say they level at different rates. It existed in earlier editions because game design wasn't as mature as it is now, it was eliminated in 3ed because the designers had learned it wasn't the right approach, going back to it would be a major step backwards.

Seriously I was playing with separate tables for 10 years and was not that awful, not compared with thaco.

The thing is that indeed was an error to give everyone the same xp table without changing the spell levels charts.

I remember you that the biggest problem with balance is spellcasting since is almost impossible to measure how powerful is compared to bashing someone with a sword and how a single broken spell can in the literal way break a whole campaign faster than a desk of many cards.
Seriously I was playing with separate tables for 10 years and was not that awful, not compared with thaco.

The thing is that indeed was an error to give everyone the same xp table without changing the spell levels charts.

I remember you that the biggest problem with balance is spellcasting since is almost impossible to measure how powerful is compared to bashing someone with a sword and how a single broken spell can in the literal way break a whole campaign faster than a desk of many cards.

I agree that it's not horrible but it is clunky and basically a kludge to get around actually properly balancing the classes. Yes, 3ed didn't do a good job of that, especially with spells. The big mistake is that they still had the mentality that casters should suck at low levels and rock at high levels, without examining that it's not fun to play that way, and that when you have everyone on the same XP table it breaks the game. That doesn't mean that having a single XP table is a bad idea, it's a much better design concept and also simplifies things while making things like multiclassing a lot easier.

And I'd remind you that a single broken spell breaking a whole campaign isn't going to be fixed by giving casters a different XP table.
You're crazy. Now let's move on.
And I'd remind you that a single broken spell breaking a whole campaign isn't going to be fixed by giving casters a different XP table.

Yes, but is going to be delayed at least and anyway most campaigns lasts until levels 10-12 since either the players become tired of having the same characters or either because the game becomes hard to master having to deal with stuff like fly, teletransportation or saves or die every other round.

High level spells makes the game unfun for everybody but spellcasters.
Yes, but is going to be delayed at least and anyway most campaigns lasts until levels 10-12 since either the players become tired of having the same characters or either because the game becomes hard to master having to deal with stuff like fly, teletransportation or saves or die every other round.

High level spells makes the game unfun for everybody but spellcasters.

Yes, but what that requires is a whole re-examination of the way that casting works. Delaying when the brokenness happens is not an acceptable solution, it's a cop out. What's the point in having 20 levels (or 30 in 4ed) if you freely admit that everything breaks at level 10-12 and just have to accept it?

Now yes, I agree that currently casters are way too powerful and it's a major issue. But I think that issue is fixed by re-balancing spells, changing the dynamics between casters and other classes, and making sure that everyone at the same level is roughly balanced to the same power level.
I agree that it's not horrible but it is clunky and basically a kludge to get around actually properly balancing the classes. Yes, 3ed didn't do a good job of that, especially with spells. The big mistake is that they still had the mentality that casters should suck at low levels and rock at high levels, without examining that it's not fun to play that way, and that when you have everyone on the same XP table it breaks the game. That doesn't mean that having a single XP table is a bad idea, it's a much better design concept and also simplifies things while making things like multiclassing a lot easier.

And I'd remind you that a single broken spell breaking a whole campaign isn't going to be fixed by giving casters a different XP table.

AGREED: Why some class are better at a set level of play is one thing I hate about all D&D systems. Power games always go melee at low level and mage at higher ones. Even if that means having to kill off a melee guy middle of the road to write up a mage.
I fix broken spells by removing/rewriting the spell.
And I'd remind you that a single broken spell breaking a whole campaign isn't going to be fixed by giving casters a different XP table.

One of the big problems is 3e+ broke a lot of the spells. Spells and spellcasters were much less broken in previous editions. Sure you still had to deal with teleport and they had even less counters at the PH level. But save or dies weren't an issue. There was no easy, OH I'm fighting big strong dudes I'll cast a will save spell and get my save or die off easy.

It was oh I'm casting a spell I'm at the level where save or dies end a fight quicker than just stabbing somehting or fireballing it, he has to roll better than a 5 to save, yeah I'll save the chances are I do nothing this round spell for a last ditch effort when things go to heck.

2e and previous editions not only delayed the power of spell casters much longer, but they were more balanced than in 3e at those levels. MR and saves were much harder to overcome than the 3e SR and saves.
AGREED: Why some class are better at a set level of play is one thing I hate about all D&D systems. Power games always go melee at low level and mage at higher ones. Even if that means having to kill off a melee guy middle of the road to write up a mage.
I fix broken spells by removing/rewriting the spell.

I have never seen anyone do that. What you need isnt a better system but better players. It really doesn't matter what system you play if someone wants to work it to the breaking point so there the most powerful they will find a way. Unless you just want to play rock, paper, scissors all day or something.

I'm not even going to try and discuss if its a good or bad system, but damn that is some bad players.
At least isn't as bad as having paper winning over both rock and scissors like is now.
It's a simple arithmetic sequence.

XP needed to reach next level = current level x 1000.

I know that one. I just wish I knew a formula for the XP needed to reach a given level... I.E... you're 7th level. How much XP have you accumulated?
I know that one. I just wish I knew a formula for the XP needed to reach a given level... I.E... you're 7th level. How much XP have you accumulated?

Let X = level just gained

XP at beginning of level = 1000 * X * (X-1) / 2 = 500 * X * (X-1)
2e and previous editions not only delayed the power of spell casters much longer, but they were more balanced than in 3e at those levels. MR and saves were much harder to overcome than the 3e SR and saves.

Yes, but you also had 1st level casters being able to cast 1 spell per day, that's not exactly fun either.
Yes, but you also had 1st level casters being able to cast 1 spell per day, that's not exactly fun either.

Unless you were a cleric with high wisdom! ;)

But I see your point.



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On topic, I loved (and still love) the old experience charts. They just don't work for the new system.

But I think EileenProphetofIstus has a really good idea for fourth edition. Three campaigns styles, short, medium, and long, with different xp requirements in each.
I really liked the old xp charts, by that time D&D was more like a piece of art than a clockwork system like today. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure that game spirit won't come back, and completely sure that diferent xp charts will never more exist.
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