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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Level Limits - Do You Use Them?

I've pretty much scratched level limits from my current AD&D / OSRIC game. Main reason?

I don't expect the campaign to go much beyond the "by the book" level limits for demihumans anyway ;)

The party ranges from 5th to 7th level. They started around 3rd or 4th (depending on class and / or class combinations) and that was back in December. If we end the campaign after a year of play, more or less, they'll probably be around 9th or 10th level at this rate.

In my opinion, why limit options by limiting levels. Besides, both of my demi humans are multiclass, which by itself throttles down the level gain. If the game was going to level 20 I'd probably have have some level limits on the demi humans, but it would still be higher than BTB.

So, do you limit levels for the demi humans in your game?


15 comments:

  1. Not really. Some games just naturally wind down.

    If my kids want to take their 3.x characters to 40th level, then why should I say no? I'll just start throwing bigger threats at them.

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  2. I use them. Not that we play that high, but in the setting it is (for me at least) kind of important for high level NPCs. I do think they are necessary (the better saves alone justify a regulation like that) and I like that they give humans an edge demi humans just can't have. Finally it's fun to find weird and alien explanations why the demi humans don't go higher than that :)

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  3. I use them for multi-class demi's. No limits on single-class demi's. Same goes for humans.

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  4. What James Smith said.

    They exist to balance out the multiclassing advantages, which don't really hold down level enough until the exponential portion of the XP progression ends. I'd also say that I don't like the way they're currently structured in 1e/Basic. They should give each race one thematic "unlimited" class (dwarf=fighter, elf=mage, halfling=thief, etc), and then make all the additional class options hit the cap earlier.

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    Replies
    1. With just a little bit of tweaking, you can use Swords & Wizardry to accomplish the "race thematic unlimited class" idea you mentioned.

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  5. I'm with whoever said that the level limits mean that you can retire that character to a "winning" end game sooner.

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    Replies
    1. That got me thinking.
      Actually quite a nice way of handling level limits. And anyway, I never met many players who played their characters to level 10.

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  6. Depends on the campaign. In my current mog campaign the highest one can reach is equal to their prime ability score but everyone but the cyclops are technically men.

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  7. I do not use level limits for demi-humans. It does not come up very often. In the games I have run, I have not known any players to say "I am not going to pick an elf because they can only go to level 9 as a magic user". That leads me to believe that it does not have the intended effect of creating a human centric adventuring party.
    Now, if the effect was to make a human centric campaign world, I can think of far better ways to explain that through the art of Dungeon Mastering and world building than to make a game rule that affects players playing the game.
    And then, what if your players make it to level 12. Is it really worth having one player left behind at level 9 as the rest of the group progresses onward? And if the intent is to "win the game" by maxing out a particular characters level limit, why deny that to the races that do not have the level limit?
    There was a long line of Dragon magazine articles and feedback in the letters department that bemoaned demi-human level caps. One of the things I believe 3E and 4E got right was to do away with level restrictions.
    As always, though, I don't begrudge anyone who wants level limits and finds enjoyment in it. I am just not in that camp when it comes to the games I play.

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  8. I never used them, although they rarely came up as most of my games were lower level play. When the 2nd edition rules came out I adopted the optional rules that first extended level caps by attribute, then allowed PCs to break level cap for an extra XP cost. By 3rd edition I never looked back...ditching arbitrary restrictions like this was a huge plus with 3rd.

    For OSR games I've run within the last few years I not only kept level caps buried, I also opened up multiclassing to humans.

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  9. I have played with those rules in effect, but I have never GMed with them. It does lead to the problem of Humans not looking too attractive when all the "races" get to level up equally. There is a rule in BECMI and RC that give alternate rules to allow for higher level demi humans, which I might incorporate in my next old school run. The only other options (and I know it is Heresy) is to offer Human characters some sort of boon at character generation like +2 to any stat, also some sort of Luck mechanic to compensate for the Demi Humans cool abilities.

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  10. Never have, never needed to (rarely get past 10th) and when we did, we were cheating/fudge/hacking on all kinds of levels, and not just levels. But I do get, and kind of subscribe to, the reasoning behind them. It's never a big deal, and so easy to ignore I never understand why people get bent out of shape when they exist.

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  11. When you die, that's when you hit your level limit.

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  12. I don't have level limits in my OSR homebrew. I prefer to balance the classes in other ways. If I had to play AD&D, I'd just slap elves and dwarfs a -20% XP penalty or something.

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  13. I don't like level limits. I haven't been in a game that got that high since my undergrad days *mumble* years ago, but didn't use them when I ran and argued against them when someone else did.

    We also rarely worried about demi-humans having that much of an advantage over humans. Those extra abilities never seemed that big a deal to us and we never lacked for players who picked human characters. And really, campaigns that reached the level limits were so rare that they didn't act as balancing. Our general feeling was that if you managed to get any character up that high in levels they should be allowed to keep going.

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