Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Different levels in the same party, really?


Gamer Talk

1 to 50 of 382 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>

I still see a lot of people still talking of party made of characters with different levels, sometime with more than a level difference.
Why would you do that?
Why keep on punish players because 1) their character died, or 2) they just joined later in the game?
What's the point really, after paizo put all its effort in removing exp penalties from spells and resurrection effects and banned permanent level losses?
I'm especially curious to hear from those OPs that actually cares about balance.

Sczarni

2 people marked this as a favorite.

some characters can gain XP individually which can put them ahead of other characters. Not everything done in game will be done as a group plus in games i run i give extra XP based on participation, if you barely participate then you get the bear minimum XP but if your character is very active both in action and in RP you can gain more XP.

Shadow Lodge

It's a self-perpetuating cycle, though. Because character A is a level behind the rest of the party, he can't contribute as meaningfully. So he gets less XP, which leads the the gap widening, making him even less able to contribute meaningfully. He quickly becomes deadweight. And god help the player if the GM makes his new character start at the same lower level when the current character inevitably dies.

Andoran

You need balance between the new player/character and the current ones.

If you give everything to the new player, the current players will complain that they are not rewarded for having played (and survived) through all your previous games. Also, the new character, being created from scratch at a higher level, will be usually more streamlined (and thus more powerful) than the old characters. Think min-maxer fest.

If the new player/character stays a fixed number of levels behind the current ones, what Kthulhu wrote will happen and you will get a very unhappy new player.

Go for the middle path : Have the new character start a little below the others (2 levels for example) and make it so that within a predefined number of gaming sessions, he reduces the gap to 1 level, and later reaches the same exalted level as the other PCs.

This should keep everybody happy : the current players are still rewarded but the new character is not stuck at the henchman level.


I'm doing it because the party's on a time clock with an invading army marching towards their home city. They have backup characters, followers who are 3 levels back, that will level fast, however, to catch up.


The black raven wrote:


Go for the middle path : Have the new character start a little below the others (2 levels for example) and make it so that within a predefined number of gaming sessions, he reduces the gap to 1 level, and later reaches the same exalted level as the other PCs.

This should keep everybody happy : the current players are still rewarded but the new character is not stuck at the henchman level.

Two levels below is a lot, unless you are playing at really high levels. The difference between a level 7 pc and a level 9 pc is HUGE, especially if you have the appropriate wealth for your level. I don't think that anyone in my group except for the most experienced players would survive (or be able to usefully contribute) at 2 levels less than the others (heck, just contributing at parity requires that the most experienced players have to pull their punches).


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I start new characters (whether they be new players or replacements for dead characters) at the lowest EXP the party has. I do give EXP for RP, but how much changes over the course of the gaming group. For example, when I first started my most recent PF game, I gave out as much for RP as I did for monster combats, but only to those people that actually RP'd, it encouraged everyone to get into things.

Recently, I switched it over so that people who go out of their way to RP will gain extra RP experience, while those who coast receive the base EXP for showing up.

Either way though, the players are all within a level of each other, and mostly level up within a game of each other.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kthulhu wrote:
It's a self-perpetuating cycle, though. Because character A is a level behind the rest of the party, he can't contribute as meaningfully. So he gets less XP....

One level difference does not make a character incapable of meaningful contributions. XP isn't based on degrees of contributional meaningfulness.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It depends on the maturity of the group. I run for two groups. One of them, ironically the older group, can't handle level disparity. Any difference in XP is a slap in the face to them, so that, along with HP and attributes, I keep very equal. The only time I bring a character back a lower level is if the player chose a fight either out of character or in pursuit of excess wealth, and died. If the character was playing his character correctly, in character, and not taking extra risks for greater reward he didn't have to, I bring him back with his same experience.

For my other group, I do individual experience. I think elements of friendly competition make the game more fun and I like rewarding people for trying hard. Because of the XP curve, a first level character that joins a fourth level group will hit fourth level before the group hits 6th. That's why they built it that way - for the joy of building something from the ground up.

I understand some players are impatient or feel they don't have time for all that. Incidentally, I've found players who like equal level advancement are also in favor of magic item stores, challenge ratings, and always being let win. To me, its an entitlement issue. YMMV


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Spes Magna Mark wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
It's a self-perpetuating cycle, though. Because character A is a level behind the rest of the party, he can't contribute as meaningfully. So he gets less XP....
One level difference does not make a character incapable of meaningful contributions. XP isn't based on degrees of contributional meaningfulness.

If a torch barer survives a dragon quest he will gain a level. The privilege of being on the road with high level characters and helping in their fight in any way grants a share of experience. Monsters and men generally won't devote many resources to killing the weakest member of a group, and even if they do, the cleric will just heal him. His experience from it will be extraordinary.

A first level character can help in a lot of ways in a high level fight. He can get things, hold the light, pick up dropped weapons, get help, throw rocks to pester spell casters, hell - he can even attack. Lucky shots count. I had a first level fighter in my game recently solo a CR 6 or something by scoring two criticals with a two handed sword. Guess what, he levels ahead of everyone else to. Good stuff.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

One level makes barely any difference in practice. Having said that, I prefer to have the party synchronized so that everyone can do their level-up training (etc.) at the same time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Crysknife wrote:

I still see a lot of people still talking of party made of characters with different levels, sometime with more than a level difference.

Why would you do that?
Why keep on punish players because 1) their character died, or 2) they just joined later in the game?
What's the point really, after paizo put all its effort in removing exp penalties from spells and resurrection effects and banned permanent level losses?
I'm especially curious to hear from those OPs that actually cares about balance.

Sometimes the context is on PFS tables where you can have level disparity with the characters that people bring to play a slot.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It is only recently that having parties where everyone is the same level was the norm. I give out XP every game. If you miss a game you miss XP. I make allowances for story awards because those usually take several sessions to complete but normally no play=no XP. It is a reward for the players who show up consistently and a motivator for players who don't.

I have no problem with characters being 1 or 2 levels behind the party. However I measure that from the maximum level in the group and not the average. I have had games where the spread was from 12th to 15th. It worked fine. Everybody contributed, everybody had fun. Since it takes less to level up from lower levels the low level characters tend to catch up over time. They also tend to get more involved so they can get spot rewards.

I also offer per game XP bonuses (5% or 10%) for writing journal entries from your character's perspective or making a piece of art related to the game or writing a detailed background or drawing a map of a PC owned building or any number of RP things. Players who are behind tend to take advantage of these things so as to catch up. It gets them more involved in their character and more interested in the game.


PCs in our Pathfinder game all gain experience, even if the player misses a session. It's worked out pretty well. In our last (3.5 non-Pathfinder) campaign, we didn't do this *and* we had a house rule where new characters came in a level below our lowest level character. When that campaign ended, the PCs ranged from 9th to 13th level. I remember a couple of instances where the new PC showed up and was one-shotted when the fighting broke out. That's not a great feeling, especially on a new character's maiden voyage, so I was glad when the GM said PCs would level together in the new game.


I don't see the appeal of varying levels either. It's not a huge deal if there's a level or two difference in levels, but I've never heard a really good reason for it. Maybe some DMs can actually use individual XP as positive motivators, but IME it tends to create more tension and frustration than anything else.

Inevitably one player rps their PC in accordance with the DM's preconceptions -- sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident -- and therefore that player gets consistently more XP than the others, essentially by gaming the DM. It's min/maxing role play. I've been that player, and I've been on the other side of it: I once had a DM who withheld XP because I didn't rp my dwarf dwarfishly enough. (I figured dwarves should be methodical and tactically savvy, but he thought dwarves should recklessly charge into fights.)


This is one of the reasons that I absolutely love the alternative rewards suggested in the GameMastery Guide. When a player does an awesome bit of roleplay, don't give her a bonus xp award that will put her character ahead of everyone else's, give her a situational bonus she can use to replicate that feat without needing to roleplay, so that she can focus her roleplay on other things.

Triple benefit: a) your group's thespian doesn't have to give lengthy speeches every time you're all hauled in front of the king, b) the thespian's character still gets to succeed at diplomacy checks with the king far more often than normal, and c) everyone remains the same level!

As long as you stick with the advice about having a limited number of such benefits that a character can accrue, balance is maintained, and new players will lack these benefits, but can pick up bonuses of their own quickly if they roleplay well. They're big enough to matter, small enough to not break the game, and the longer you play, the more carefully a player can cherry-pick the exact benefits they want.

Just be VERY careful to keep an eye on those bonuses and make sure they're not stacking. You don't want a player managing to get a +8 or something just from RP bonuses.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't allow level differences in the party.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

See some players have called for balancing mechanisms, so that if they miss a few games, if they don't do side quests they can be the same level and xp as the most active players--those that almost never miss games and really use their time in game. The idea was to earn more than those that haven't missed games, so that they could catch up.

I could scarcely find anything more ridiculous.

There already is a balancing mechanism. If you miss games, especially games where a lot happens and it is really challenging, you fall behind on xp and levels. The real heroes should be ahead of any stay at home and craft heroes, those that neglect to complete quests because they wanted more rest, more crafting time. The real heroes should also be ahead in xp compared to the less active and yep, when players miss games.

So in my present game, a player has not been around for an investigation and battle involving many werewolf merchants, and the prep and assault on a hellknight keep in Isger. Now that character who has missed two weeks, is a level behind what he would be, and no, he is not getting xp for not attending. He is not getting any new levels and the adjoining special abilities, hp, skills when he hasn't earned them.

As I see above, other people have different ideas.
:)

Tequila, an unfortunate situation when a dm can't remove himself from being a dm. He thinks all dwarves are reckless nutjobs, but your dwarf probably with a high int or wisdom, was different. I've had one dm saying all characters can earn additional rewards, rerolls, bonuses if they are more religious and monotheistic. If you do something that fits with your character, make checks, burn time, accomplish something you may not get xp, I haven't as a rogue, but if it is in service to one faith, you do. Sigh.

To Toz, what if someone consistently earns xp doing small tricky/roleplaying tasks separate from the group? They will never level from the enforced median? Say they rob a merchant, engage in solo pick-pocketing and house-breaking (easy with the skills), they don't get xp?

Taldor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I prefer level differences in my games. When a new player joins the game, he begins at the lowest level that the party has and with zero EXP. If a character dies, he begins with EXP halfway to the level he was on. Not attending a session gets characters 75% of the EXP others get and no treasure, as it gets distributed among other PCs, and good RP is rewarded with EXP equal to the CR of the encounter. Not attending is only ok if the player informed us ahead of time and has a really good reason for it. If all of us can take five-six hours of our free time and spend it eating snacks, drinking coke and rolling dice, so can he. What makes him so special that he can just not come and earn all the rewards as if he was there.

Thus far nobody has complained. I find people who cannot accept the fact that their choices have consequences to be whiny brats with entitlement issues. I do not stand entitled people.

After all, it's my game, and i will make sure to tailor encounters so that even characters two levels below will have a chance to shine, and after all, the curve makes shure that several levels later, they will all be the same level, or within a level of each other.

Shadow Lodge

3.5 Loyalist wrote:


To Toz, what if someone consistently earns xp doing small tricky/roleplaying tasks separate from the group? They will never level from the enforced median? Say they rob a merchant, engage in solo pick-pocketing and house-breaking (easy...

I don't give XP. The party levels based on story progression or after a set number of sessions.

Good roleplaying/individual accomplishment get roleplay rewards, such as NPC favors or mechanical boons.

I find saying 'you weren't here so your character didn't get any XP' to be far too metagamey. A character who does not grow because someone who isn't in the game world didn't show up to a table also not in the game world? Breaks verisimilitude.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I still have level disparity in my groups. If you don't show up, your character gets relegated to background non-participatory scenery, and you get no XP. If you just sit there, don't participate more than to just roll dice, you get 3/4 the XP of everyone else. If you decide to play around with your iPhone, iPod, laptop, tablet, or keep texting/twittering/facebooking during a session - your character meets a messy GM induced death (long story behind this, but in short, digital devices are banned from my gametable, other than a cell phone for spouse to contact you in case of an emergency).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I once played in a World's Largest Dungeon campaign where the DM award individual XP for everything. IN a massive dungeon, there's bound to be traps. Whoever disarms the traps, gets full xp while the rest of the party gets nothing.

Before it ended, our trapsmith Factotum was a solid 4+ levels higher than the rest of the party. The DM saw no problem with this...


My response takes in a bit from all the last posters, since you all say interesting things.

Gendo, yep, players that aren't there do slide into the background. At times they don't even accompany the party, or those there will leave them behind. This is what I and another pc did just the last game. We didn't want the dm wasting time on them, we didn't want their half-help, and clumsily remembered abilities, and, we didn't want the party larger and therefore less xp for us. We went off to get all the loot and all the xp, and those pcs not there found a base and recovered from their serious wounds.

If they took their sheet with them, it sure can be hard to even have them contribute properly as npcs. The dm might have something down, but that is another npc they have to run, that they haven't prepared for. Toz, that is why the absent not getting xp doesn't break verisimiltude. They get left behind, or, they are off doing something else and not with the active, moving pcs. The truly active move on, the absent stay where they are, loaf about, cover cleared areas. At times they may accompany as back-up, but only use a portion of their abilities, and that doesn't feel like they deserve xp to me.

Hama, I have had a very entitled player who was absent for weeks, due to not getting his act together, and he wanted xp because his character was in some danger. Truly, all he was doing was covering the players backs and mopping up mooks, but he was sure, he deserved the real rewards the other two got for smashing through the adventure. He demanded it or he would drop out. So he dropped out. Boy did he miss out on a lot of good times, dungeons and battles. Hama, I have been thinking, a short speech against entitlement needs to be given to all new players at the start of a game (and not to cheat, and not to whine). I saw a gm give this once, and I found it offensive, but he couldn't be clearer, and now I see its necessity.

Toz
"I don't give XP. The party levels based on story progression or after a set number of sessions."

...

So there is no xp, and there is never any level or xp difference between players? No matter what they do or how they contribute? Or what their attendance and time spent roleplaying is like? I think I understand.

Gendo, lastly back to you. Yeah with the trendiness of fellow young males, I have found way too many people bring laptops, tablets and phones to games. Such disrespect to be facebooking and playing other games during a session--and then of course you have to tell those players everything twice, they forget what they are doing. Too much distraction. Tsk tsk tsk. Good ideas Gendo, insta-kill.


If players don't pay attention, they suffer for it in-game with me. And are rewarded if they actually do.

Me: "As you approach the high priest of Nethys, there is an almost tangible air of divine power in the air, the aging man's eyes seems to pierce into the very soul as they look upon you..." *noticing players starting to read a book, talk to each other etc* "and says 'If you can tell me the name of the most powerful wizard ever to walk out of the academy in Absalom, I will raise your companion for free!"

Player: "Wait, what did he just say?"

Me: "Sorry, your character was too busy daydreaming about the barmaid whose blouse slipped the other day to pay attention. The high priest might repeat it if you ask, but it seems rather insulting that people come in and ask him favors, and then not even have the courtesy to listen to what he has to say."

Player: "But my CHARACTER is paying attention!"

Other player who was actually paying attention: "Archmage Blastimaximus"

Me: "The high priest smiles, approving of your arcane lore, as he moves to prepare the ceremony."

Same player: "You guys owe me for this."

As for XP, I divide it equally. Some characters are not very helpful in certain challenges, and should not be penalized for not trying their hand at it. If I start rewarding ONLY the bard/paladin/sorcerer for charisma based social challenges, why should I not give all the combat XP to the combat-focused characters who carry the entire party when monsters come to feast upon the weaker members?

You are part of a party. Everyone should contribute in a meaningful manner to cover each other's weaknesses and play to strengths. That is what teamwork is all about. Uneven XP and level undermines that merit.


"But my character", yeah I have heard that before.


Crysknife wrote:

I still see a lot of people still talking of party made of characters with different levels, sometime with more than a level difference.

Why would you do that?
Why keep on punish players because 1) their character died

Because my players want it that way. The hint they give each other: "Don't die". If there were no consequences ("punishment", as certain people put it), then what's the point? Boring.

It also turns out that a level or two difference still works fine enough, too. The lower-level characters will catch up (3.5) if they play smarter.

Quote:
What's the point really, after paizo put all its effort in removing exp penalties from spells and resurrection effects and banned permanent level losses?

I do agree with that (but then, that's one reason why 3.5>Pathfinder, IMO).

Quote:
I'm especially curious to hear from those OPs that actually cares about balance.

Whoops. Sorry.


When a player is absent we split the treasure x ways instead of v ways where x is the number of present party members and v is the normal maximum of party members.

We usually end up saving items for the missing player if we find something especially good for them.

Experience is just gained on party merit. Hero points are gained on individual merit.

I don't see the point in punishing my friends for not playing a children's game instead of going to weddings, going on vacation, spending Christmas with their relatives etc. But, whatever.

Quote:
*noticing players starting to read a book, talk to each other etc*

I see what you did, but also would like to add that this is where I stop and wait obnoxiously until I get pissed enough to ask the players if they want to go home or if I can run the game. >>;


Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Inevitably one player rps their PC in accordance with the DM's preconceptions -- sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident -- and therefore that player gets consistently more XP than the others, essentially by gaming the DM. It's min/maxing role play.

So much this.

There's enough people competing to be the star of the adventure without penalizing the player who decides not to roleplay some sort of flamboyant attention whore. You absolutely need some characters who can just do their jobs.

Shadow Lodge

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
So there is no xp, and there is never any level or xp difference between players? No matter what they do or how they contribute? Or what their attendance and time spent roleplaying is like? I think I understand..

You've got it. I also don't bother making up in-game reasons for characters to be absent when their players are, unless the absence is a long or planned one. Too much work and time to get them in and out without also breaking verisimiltude.


TOZ wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:


To Toz, what if someone consistently earns xp doing small tricky/roleplaying tasks separate from the group? They will never level from the enforced median? Say they rob a merchant, engage in solo pick-pocketing and house-breaking (easy...

I don't give XP. The party levels based on story progression or after a set number of sessions.

Good roleplaying/individual accomplishment get roleplay rewards, such as NPC favors or mechanical boons.

I find saying 'you weren't here so your character didn't get any XP' to be far too metagamey. A character who does not grow because someone who isn't in the game world didn't show up to a table also not in the game world? Breaks verisimilitude.

Right, that’s the best way. Why punish a PC because the player was out sick?


12 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey.

Hey guys.

You know what the "punishment" for missing a game of D&D is?

You didn't get to play D&D that week.

Docking experience just strikes me as needlessly punitive, petty, and a little ridiculous (and indicative of a certain type of DM).

If you feel like your players need more incentive to show up, how about making your game more compelling instead of making them feel like sidekicks for missing a game or two?

Shadow Lodge

What Scott said.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

It's possible that, in some of these cases, they might also be talking about Pathfinder Society games in which case not all characters will be the same level. The party is not coherent from session to session, some players being more active than others, etc.

Something that my group used to do in 3rd edition was "roleplay votes" at the end of every game session. Each player could cast a vote for one other player whom they believed did an exemplary job of playing their character (whether through clever roleplay, a particularly clever maneuver in combat that saved the day, etc.). These votes were worth 1/10th of a level each. With 5 players at the table, one person could conceivably accrue 4/10ths of a "bonus level" in a single session (since you can't vote for yourself). Sometimes this would lead to some minor variation in party level, but seldom did any one player "run away" with the votes on a consistent basis. It still incentivized staying in character and furthering the spirit of the game by providing some reward to the players and, of course, the votes were completely free of GM bias. The votes belonged to the players and only the players, so they were essentially in control of whether or not anybody got to get too far ahead of the pack. All GM-assigned XP was divided evenly amongst the party.


TOZ wrote:
I don't allow level differences in the party.

Toz, you're saying that as if people show up saying, "Can I play two levels below the rest of the party? Can I!?"

The result of not showing up for a play-date (yes, that's what it's called) is that your character didn't get any XP for those encounters; the result of having less XP after a few sessions is that you have to play at a lower level or roll up a new PC. If you can't do either of those things, you probably don't really enjoy playing RPGs.

That said (Looking at you Marius), requiring a new player to start at a lower level is just hazing and/or the worst kind of bias.


mdt wrote:
I start new characters (whether they be new players or replacements for dead characters) at the lowest EXP the party has.

I start them at the lowest amount of XP that will give them the starting level of the rest of the party which is basically the same thing.

If they can't make it they get 75% of the XP of what they would have had if they had shown up.

No call no show gets no XP. <---annoys me to no end.


TOZ wrote:
I don't allow level differences in the party.

I tried this for my last session, and people just decided to not only not show up, but not call to say they would not be there. I think when I get more dependable players again I will go back to this, and back to not using XP.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Hitdice wrote:
The result of not showing up for a play-date (yes, that's what it's called) is that your character didn't get any XP for those encounters; the result of having less XP after a few sessions is that you have to play at a lower level or roll up a new PC. If you can't do either of those things, you probably don't really enjoy playing RPGs.

See, I don't get this.

The result of not showing up to play D&D is that you didn't get to play D&D. Anything beyond that is imposed/controlled by the DM. You don't have to give him less experience. You can keep him in-line with the rest of the party, so that when he does show up he doesn't feel like a second-stringer. I mean, if your goal is to get people to show up who were already not invested enough in your game to attend, how is making their play experience less enjoyable going to convince them to attend?


Scott Betts wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
The result of not showing up for a play-date

See, I don't get this.

The result of not showing up to play D&D is that you didn't get to play D&D.

I don't always agree with Scott, but I do agree with him on this point. When I miss a game because work / family / life happens, missing the fun with my friend IS enough of a 'punishment'. Now I understand that no-show players can be problematic, but the 'no candies for you' attitude is just frustrating.

'findel


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Personally, I don't give out XP anymore. I just tell them to level up.

But since when is lack of a reward considered to be a punishment?


I'm with TOZ and Scott Betts. I can't be bothered with XP anymore, and I find that "Everyone level up!" is generally more fun anyway.

wraithstrike wrote:
No call no show gets no XP. <---annoys me to no end.

Me too! I find that talking to the player helps.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The best game I had like this...1e......I started with a 1st level cavalier out of a Dragon Magazine (this was back when 'broken' actually meant something). They made me start as first level even though everybody else was 7th. So in my first battle, I kilt 6 trolls with my heavy warhorse and lance and got to fifth level in one combat.
Aaaah.....good times!!!


Laurefindel wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
The result of not showing up for a play-date

See, I don't get this.

The result of not showing up to play D&D is that you didn't get to play D&D.

I don't always agree with Scott, but I do agree with him on this point. When I miss a game because work / family / life happens, missing the fun with my friend IS enough of a 'punishment'. Now I understand that no-show players can be problematic, but the 'no candies for you' attitude is just frustrating.

'findel

Not trying to be a jerk, but what do you mean when you say "candies?"

XPs (and the resulting level gain, if applicable) aren't a gold star the teacher gives you for being a good do-be, they're how the game functions.

If the DM has been running a missing player's character as an NPC, then experience should be split to include said character, and no favoritism for attendance please (looking at you, hero points...)

And if a player has been out of the game so long that his character just absolutely can't survive the experience (level 1 on a level 10 scenario, say), I think think rolling up a new character will re-familiarize said player with the rules rather than forcing them into an unplayed-for-10-levels DMPC, right?

And Scott, you edited that sentence :P


Hitdice wrote:
If you can't do either of those things, you probably don't really enjoy playing RPGs.

If my work schedule ends up incompatible for a game in which you end up slogging through hours of combat and earning a full level and I don't want to come back to a character who is now permanently behind everyone else I am actually some sort of RPG fraud.

If I have a character I love, I am an RPG fraud for not wanting to scrap them to gain a level just to keep up with the other players.


I hate spending game time to level up, so it always happens between sessions. I also hate metagaming that says "we should camp now, that dragon was the CR equivalent critter."

For these reasons I track XP and do not let the players know the actually numbers (though I am a softy and often let them know 1 or 2 encounters in advance they are getting close. :)

Everyone is at a different level, when they start a new character my players roll a d4 (1=below party level, 2=low party level, 3=high party level, 4=above party level). I figure any party as famous as mine is becoming, they more people will want to be a part of it. Then I have them roll a d% and start them there.

I reward good role-playing with magic items, but I reward snacks and treats for the group with XP. Also I have a lots of spell casters who like to craft.

It can be a problem with figuring four different XP values for the same critter, but that is time I can spend not at the game table when we should be playing instead. :)


I used to track XP separately for each character and hand out character specific rewards based on their involvement, effort, and resources spent wisely...

Then I noticed that some players had started thinking the entire goal of playing their character was simply to gain more XP - they wouldn't think about their character's personality or even the plot line when determining what they wanted to do, they would only think "what will get me the most XP?." Following that, I began to notice the other players - the ones not seeking nothing but more XP - start to get frustrated that the story was suffering, these other players were being rewarded for being "game hogs", and they were being left unable to ever catch up because they refused to actually compete for game time with their supposed teammates.

So I dropped it. Everyone levels at the same time - except in games/systems that specifically contain rules to help players catch up (HackMaster - solo characters gain double XP, so you can easily find a way to catch up after missing some XP) or games in which there are no levels to worry about and the difference in XP levels is only noticeable when there are magnitudes of difference (World of Darkness and Shadowrun).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bill Dunn wrote:
But since when is lack of a reward considered to be a punishment?

Ah, the old argument... I'll reply with a quote from Hitdice:

hidice wrote:
XPs (and the resulting level gain, if applicable) aren't a gold star the teacher gives you for being a good do-be, they're how the game functions.

XPs aren't so much a reward, they're a mechanical part of the game representing the advancement of a character. In that light, they are similar to gold pieces; fast-tracking or slowing down the allowance of XPs (or gp) as a whole (ie. equally for all player) is fine, but targeting a single character at being less experienced (or poorer) than its companions is a punishment for its controlling player.

Since XPs and gp (and the resulting gear that it can buy) are an expected, mechanical part of the game, I prefer more punctual mechanics as rewards, such as action points or equivalent.

@ hitdice: Ok, 'candy' was a poor choice of word. I otherwise agree with you on the nature of XPs.

'findel


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Laurefindel wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
But since when is lack of a reward considered to be a punishment?

XPs aren't so much a reward, they're a mechanical part of the game representing the advancement of a character. In that light, they are similar to gold pieces; fast-tracking or slowing down the allowance of XPs (or gp) as a whole (ie. equally for all player) is fine, but targeting a single character at being less experienced (or poorer) than its companions is a punishment for its controlling player.

Since XPs and gp (and the resulting gear that it can buy) are an expected, mechanical part of the game, I prefer more punctual mechanics as rewards, such as action points or equivalent.

'findel

Considering XPs are something you get in return for overcoming challenges or advancing the story, I think I'm going to have to stick with them being a reward rather than an entitlement.

Shadow Lodge

Hitdice wrote:


Toz, you're saying that as if people show up saying, "Can I play two levels below the rest of the party? Can I!?"

The result of not showing up for a play-date (yes, that's what it's called) is that your character didn't get any XP for those encounters; the result of having less XP after a few sessions is that you have to play at a lower level or roll up a new PC. If you can't do either of those things, you probably don't really enjoy playing RPGs.

That said (Looking at you Marius), requiring a new player to start at a lower level is just hazing and/or the worst kind of bias.

No, you are reading my words that way. I am saying that as a statement of fact about my game.

The rest of your post has no relevance to my game, as I do not use XP. I could easily say that if you need to be rewarded with a number after every session to enjoy D&D, you probably don't really enjoy playing D&D. But that statement has no relevance to your game. Right?


Bill Dunn wrote:
Considering XPs are something you get in return for overcoming challenges or advancing the story (...)

Well exactly. The story, especially in adventure paths, expects that you reach a certain amount of experience (with resulting levels and experience) in order to overcome the incoming challenges...

I agree that in the beginning, and surely in the early incarnation of the game, XPs were meant as a reward. In 3ed/Pathfinder however, they are pretty much codified and an expected part of the progression of the game; just like gold (or it equivalent in items), which allows for the magical gear that is hard-wired in the game mechanics (and expected in the design of the said challenges).

In short, when I miss a game, I'm denied my experience of the game. There's no need to deny my character its own experience of its own life.

'findel


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Spes Magna Mark wrote:
One level difference does not make a character incapable of meaningful contributions. XP isn't based on degrees of contributional meaningfulness.

This.

One level.... even two, makes very little difference in an actual game. That's what DICE are for. If your BAB is one less then everyone elses... your not completely useless because you need to roll a 14 instead of a 13.

Unless you burn through EVERY spell memorized that day, then not having one extra slot didn't turn the tide of the game.

Even if characters ARE leveled the same... Characters who put all their feats and scores in diplomatic ideas... are they completley useless on a combat night?

Honestly, I LIKE XP... it makes me feel like I Earned the level I'm at. I did something meaningful that progressed the story and my character. If I get to level 5 because... we started chapter 6, REGARDLESS of how long I was in the game or what my character did... then it feels kind of cheap to me.

Same thing if I'm there every single week, and rearrange all other commitments to making the game... and player X who only shows up if he has no other 'better' things to do gets all the same rewards as my character...

In our groups, there is rarely more than a single level difference. If a character dies, the new one comes in with the same xp... So it's not too bad.

however if you don't show up that night... your character isn't around. You don't get xp that night.

1 to 50 of 382 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Community / Gamer Life / Gamer Talk / Different levels in the same party, really? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.