Do players in your campaign have to train to advance in levels?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've been reading through the Paizo's 1st adventure path from Dungeon Magazine, Shackled City, and at the beginning of each installment it explicitly advises GMs on whether to require players to get training to advance in levels. I have not seen this advice in Paizo's more recent publications, and there don't seem to be rules for it in the Core Rulebook.

I ran Crypt of the Everflame with my group as their first adventure and had people level up in the middle without thinking about it. Is that the prevailing assumption in Paizo adventures nowadays?

And do other people have training in their campaigns? Also, what are your thoughts about it?

I'm going to be running a long-term campaign soon and wanted to hear people's thoughts on this.

Sovereign Court

Theres no real rules surrounding it, but I do feel it adds versimilitude to the game to have characters train to get their level.

This is one of the reasons I am so enamoured with Kingmaker; because its taken my players three years or so (game time) to achieve level 6.

Liberty's Edge

In my home games, I require 1 day of training time per current level, so training to level 2 takes a day, training to level 10 takes 9 days, etc.

I allow some light work to go on during this, but not travel.

Training time helps realism a hell of a lot, because otherwise you have a very sharp difference in abilities over a VERY short term (or some times instantaneous).


I think we did away with training (and the associated cost that went with it) after we switched over to 2nd edition? We definitely used it back in 1st edition, but we never looked back once we made the switch.

Not being able to afford training, or find a suitable trainer, or having to wait several sessions to level up because you were in the middle of some oversized dungeon was not fun. I was quite happy to see that go away.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:

Theres no real rules surrounding it, but I do feel it adds versimilitude to the game to have characters train to get their level.

This is one of the reasons I am so enamoured with Kingmaker; because its taken my players three years or so (game time) to achieve level 6.

Yeah I was a bit unhappy, as a GM, after running an adventure and my young whipper snappers went from Level 1 to Level 3 in the course of about 4 days of game time (5-6 weeks of real time). Of course, my players were more than happy. :)


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No, if you keep takin levels in you current class, if you want to multiclass or take a level into a prestige class. Either find a teacher or a fellow party member with that class.-


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I've never had players train to advance levels. The rationale for me is that characters are constantly improving their own set of skills as they advance. A sword-fighter learns more about offensive and defensive moves every time they are in a fight. A wizard learns more about magic every time he casts it. A cleric learns more about their faith, their relationship to their god, and the world around them every day. The list goes on and on.

Think of it like this, a fighter with a two-handed sword practices with it during off time, at camp, etc. Maybe one day he tries a sweeping "Overhand Chop." He's never really used it in combat, but he gives it a shot the next time he gets in a fight. It doesn't work particularly well (read the damage isn't increased yet because he doesn't actually have the Overhand Chop ability) but he keeps working at it. Every time he gets in a fight he continues to try and apply that overhand chop. Finally one day the muscles all hit in the right sequence, he clearly sees the moment the strike should hit, and it does, and BOOM he's perfected his overhand chop. In my mind training for levels is something that should only ever be done before a first class level is taken. Fighters fight with wooden swords, taught by arms-masters (or their fathers/uncles etc.) before they every take up a steel blade and enter combat. Once they've "entered the fray" so to speak they perfect their skills on the fly.

NOW! That does mean, at least in my game world, that if you are switching classes you'd better darn well bet that before you take that first level of a different class you ARE going to require some training. One doesn't run around gaining barbarian levels at will and then all of a sudden understand how to pick locks, and disable traps. They'd better find an experienced thief and learn from them first otherwise they're just fumbling around in the proverbial dark. There are ways around this. If a barbarian knows they are going to take levels of rogue later, I'll force them to put ranks in disable device, stealth, etc even before it's a class skill. This provides the rationale that they've been a tinkering rogue all along, and maybe one day all their tinkering pays off, and they finally are getting the hang of this sneaking around backstabbing, and disabling/lockpicking thing.

That's just how I run it though. As always YMMV.

Silver Crusade

In our campaign, physical traits (e. g. saving throws, BAB, hit points) do not require training, just a good night's sleep. Mental abilities such as skill ranks or new feats require training.

Dark Archive

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In my campaigns I don't require training for anything. I've never liked the optional rule as a player so I don't inflict it as a GM.


ronaldsf wrote:

I've been reading through the Paizo's 1st adventure path from Dungeon Magazine, Shackled City, and at the beginning of each installment it explicitly advises GMs on whether to require players to get training to advance in levels. I have not seen this advice in Paizo's more recent publications, and there don't seem to be rules for it in the Core Rulebook.

I ran Crypt of the Everflame with my group as their first adventure and had people level up in the middle without thinking about it. Is that the prevailing assumption in Paizo adventures nowadays?

And do other people have training in their campaigns? Also, what are your thoughts about it?

I'm going to be running a long-term campaign soon and wanted to hear people's thoughts on this.

The game assumes you are training in your downtime generally. As for multi-classing I just assume the character had previous training in order to speed things along. You can always make up flavor/fluff to justify how you want to do things.

Some people hate fast leveling, but there are many fantasy movies where the hero has terrible fighting skills at the beginning, and by the end he is taking on the evil dragon/magic user/etc.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

No, I don't make my players train to advance their character levels. I don't want to have to make up courses for them to study, and I doubt they'd be interested. I'd probably find myself without a group to GM for.


wraithstrike wrote:
Some people hate fast leveling, but there are many fantasy movies where the hero has terrible fighting skills at the beginning, and by the end he is taking on the evil dragon/magic user/etc.

Then I demand rules for character improvement montages.


Our groups do not require "training" to advance in levels. However, we generally don't allow levels to advance in the middle of a campaign. The general rule is that to advance a level you have to be in a safe place with some downtime, generally meaning that you are in a town where you have access to people or materials you need to do the advance.

I personally attempt to role play training as part of my character's daily activities. If I'm playing a martial character I will tell the GM when we camp that my character is performing their daily exercises and on occasion will add a new exercise that the character has heard about or has encountered in combat. This is pure fluff, but I think it adds to the verisimilitude of the campaign. Wizards usually have magical tomes they ponder, sorcerers do mental exercises, clerics and or druids meditate or pray, etc...

If I want my character to learn a new skill I will role play the seeking out of a "trainer" to start that, but it is not generally required in our groups. A trainer is not generally sought when I am advancing a skill I already have ranks in.


Ringtail wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Some people hate fast leveling, but there are many fantasy movies where the hero has terrible fighting skills at the beginning, and by the end he is taking on the evil dragon/magic user/etc.
Then I demand rules for character improvement montages.

Like this one?


ronaldsf wrote:


I'm going to be running a long-term campaign soon and wanted to hear people's thoughts on this.

I like having to take time to train. Yeah, the game assumes you are training in the background, but that still leads to times when you suddenly gain a new and totally different ability (like a fighter multiclassing to wizard) instantly, and with no apparent training. The fighter studying magic probably hadn't been mentioned at anytime, he just suddenly learns some and it is assumed he has been studying.

And I am also for anything that slows down the rate of level gain (like using the slow XP progression). I don't know if the guidelines are the same in Pathfinder, but in 3.5 if you used the assumption of 13.3 encounter per level, 4 encounters per day, you could go from level 1 to level 20 in 3 in-game months (and that is including almost 4 weeks of downtime as well. 64 days is all it really takes.) An elf takes decades to get to first level in wizard, then a few months to become on of the most powerful wizards in the world.

Scarab Sages

Training has always seemed absurd to me. My view on it has always been that leveling up represents all of the practice and practical applications you've done since the last time you leveled up; the only reason why there's a sudden jump in power when you level is because it's much more difficult and complex to model gradual increases in power after every action you take. Having discrete bumps in power after your character has spent enough time practicing their trade is much easier mechanically.

Having to actually stop and train makes it seem more like somehow all of the life-threatening situations you've been in just somehow unlocked the ability to improve, and now you have to find somebody who can show you how to be better.

The concept gets especially silly at higher levels. By the time you're a 19th level wizard, you're one of the most powerful wizards in the world. Where are you going to find somebody to teach you? Heck, why would a 20th-level wizard take time out of his undoubtedly busy schedule in order to teach you? For what matter, how did the world's first 20th-level wizard even get that far with nobody to train him?

The one case I can see for it is if a player decides to multiclass into a class that's unrelated to their current one. If a druid decides to take a level of ranger, sure, they're similar enough that it makes sense. If a wizard decides to take a level of ranger, though, that doesn't make a lot of sense, and I'd expect them to need a party member or NPC to instruct them in rangery ways. To be fair, that sort of thing almost never happens in game.

With that in mind, my group has always had just two rules concerning leveling:
1) You have to rest overnight to level.
2) You can't level more than once per session.

The second rule almost never comes up, except in the case of something like a lucky draw from a Deck of Many Things. We also /usually/ wait until between sessions to level up, just so it doesn't slow down the game too much, but sometimes we'll take the time to do so if we know the BBEG is coming up soon.

In the games I play in, very rarely are the adventurers fighting non-stop every day for months at a time. Sometimes there's only one or two encounters per day, sometimes there are several but they're low CR, and sometimes weeks or months pass between events. You also have to factor in travel time at lower levels. Sure, theoretically you could hit 20th level in 3 game-months, but in practice it usually takes several years. (and let's not forget that the PCs are heroes of an exceptional nature -- your average NPC only ever has a tiny fraction of the number of encounters a PC has)

Liberty's Edge

I've never thought that training requires a trainer. In fact, I think that disempowers players.

I do make it take time, if only a few days. I want there to be a cap on how fast someone can level, and the changes between levels are non-trivial.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
No, I don't make my players train to advance their character levels. I don't want to have to make up courses for them to study, and I doubt they'd be interested. I'd probably find myself without a group to GM for.

Oooh shiny.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
No, I don't make my players train to advance their character levels. I don't want to have to make up courses for them to study, and I doubt they'd be interested. I'd probably find myself without a group to GM for.
Oooh shiny.

Except for you. I need a ten page paper on arcane theory before I can allow your wizard to level.


In the games I participate in it is all assumed to happen in down time...Rogue spends time picking a lock, Wizzy spends his time trying and failing at casting new spells, etc while they sit around in camp... you get the picture.

However it does gall me as a player and GM when someone who has been a X class all of a sudden decides to become Y class and the character has never, ever shown any interest in Y class before...


Roleplay required. I had a Rogue decide to 'poof' become a Wizard, out of the blue. I made him find a Wizard school and in the meantime let him know it would take years to master the core studies he wanted. His GF let slip that all he wanted was to use Wiz toys and I pointed out the UMD skill. Problem solved.

My new PrCs will be tied to actual organizations, so entry will be more RP based. Old PrCs will be mined for the 'feat trees' that have been posted of late.


Our group currently advances at the end of a game session. Other than that, it's pretty much on the fly. In older campaigns, martial classes could advance without training.. Spellcasting classes would have to delay until they found an appopriate trainer, taking about a week off (game time) when they did so. Did it add verisimilitude? Yes. Did it feel like unnecessary hassle? Yup. Much prefer the current set up.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I've been running since 1st edition AD&D (and Basic D&D) and I've never had any player train to gain a level. My philosophy has been, to summarize a few of the previous posts: the experience IS the training. Anything that you don't do commonly in the course of adventuring, I assume the PC does between scenes.

I have required a PC to make contact with an organization and work membership into his character arc in order to take levels in a prestige class representing that organization. But the prep for taking the level was all presumed in down-time.


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95% of the time, we have done no training. ONE campaign we did run, we tried to straight up 'by the book' 2E. It started out where we needed 1 day for every level to train... and honestly, I thought it was a disaster.

I HATED it...

1st and FOREMOST, It was a SERIOUS strain on charcter knowledge vs. Character knowledge. OUT of charcter, you know you have the xp to do level up and improve your chances of winning a fight... IN character... theres ZERO reason to stop the quest/giant hunt/search for the hostage for 6-7 days... OUT of character we were pretty much TOLD we weren't powerful enough for that part of the 'sandbox'... but with honorable characters like Priests and paladins in the group... it KILLED roleplaying...

2) It made ZERO sense... 3 days of sitting in camp banging on the paladin's shield 'training' with my hammer... was worth more than the 50+ goblins we fought to GET the xp...

3) xp... You've already EARNED it... XP is a measure of how much experience you have earned... at various points, your skills improve. If I've already EARNED the 2000 or so xp needed for my skills to improve... then What more do you WANT??

I was NOT a fan of the training...

That said, Pathfinder goes MUCH to far in the other direction (as 3rd edition did before it...)

Suddenly today, my fighter now can cast spells...

I put a skill point in linguistics and got a complete language with eacy point I add...

It's very much in the manner of new and mysterious abilities MAGICALLY showing up... I just shrug and go with it... So far the games we've played are set in vast and isolated places... soooo if my rogue wanted to become a priest... too bad. there Arent' any here.. Sooo it's 'magically happens' or nothing by RAW...

As it is the only multiclassing I've done so far involved the Sorcerer... and the idea that one day the powers just KICK IN... works JUST fine with me ^_^

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I used the optional training rules in 3.0. They didn't add anything, really.


If a PC already has levels in the gained class, all it takes is an overnight rest. A brand new class needs a trainer.

Using the Linguistics skill to learn a language also requires some sort of specific training.


A new Knowledge skill also requires some sort of justification.


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I don't use training rules. The level system is an abstraction, anyway. Enforcing people going to a training hall to learn things after spending lots of time in real combat leads the whole thing ad absurdum.

Plus, if the players are far away from civilisation (which happens) or are the most powerful people around (which also happens), and the characters thus cannot train, it's really stupid.

Plus, it makes mega-dungeons impossible. "This dungeon would get you from level 4 all the way to level 7, but since there are no trainers therein, and you'll be trapped in the dungeon for the duration, you're bound to die because the end boss is too powerful for your puny 4th-level characters. Sucks to be you"

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It depends on the Campaign.

For example, I'm running Kingmaker and instituted a "week of downtime" between level increases. The players liked it because it gave them a reason to return to the areas they made safe through exploration. Also gave me an opportunity to give them more side-quests and run some more laid back role-playing sessions.

I would probably institute a similar rule for an urban/city based campaign, which again would give the PCs the opportunity to interact with NPCs without rushing about in the middle of an adventure.

If I was running a megadungeon campaign, I'd probably institute at least a full-rest between level ups. If only because I prefer PCs level up between sessions and a rest break is a good point to call a halt.

That said I've also run games with Sean K. Reynolds ABCD leveling progression - that again occurred between sessions, but only if the PCs were resting (this was Curse of the Crimson Throne) and it worked very well.

Essentially "training" periods aren't so much for verisimilitude as pacing and I'm a fan of a slower pace (in regards to the internal clock of the world).


In almost every game I've played in the last decade, if we introduced training rules there'd be TPK after TPK.

Why?

Because PCs have things to do. Princesses that need saving, BBEGs that are out there doing evil Right Now!, and so on. Taking a day off or several days off to level up means that someone's in danger, someone's putting people in danger, and it's our fault whatever happens because we slacked. So my 1st-level characters would likely keep going and eventually get eaten.

For the same reason crafting never gets used.

Adventuring provides the best experience for adventuring. Indeed, you are awarded experience points for adventuring, not for training.

Finally I'd point out that there's generally plenty of time in a day for "training". Even with ten ten-round encounters per day that's ten minutes. The rest of the day typically involves travel, exploration, and other tasks that multitask well. The wizard is contemplating spells while he walks to the dungeon. The barbarian is imagining more things to make him angry. The monk is envisioning a new tripping technique.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I don't have PCs train... rather I take the moment a character levels as the moment all the additional work he has been doing and experience he's gained "sinks in" and shows in improved performance. In other words, the PCs have been "training" all along, by adventuring ((Ninjaed by Anguish)). There shouldn't be an additional step to take to reap the rewards of experience, whether you're talking about experience as mechanical XP or simply the concept.

Besides which, as others note, it takes up valuable game time. If everyone wants to get on with the story, "sorry, you have to make the dragon wait for two weeks while you train," just doesn't make any sense.

That said, I do expect my players--to a reasonable degree, not requiring much effort--to "exercise" the activities they anticipate will improve as they level. If the party has been spending all of a given level in the wilderness, I am going to look askance at a player if she decides to take a rank in Knowledge (Local). However, a rank in Survival or Knowledge: Nature would make perfect sense, especially if the party member has been actively engaging with the environment trying to learn more about it. But if the player is absolutely dead set on putting that rank in Knowledge (Local) but they've thought about it ahead of time and said, "Well, I brought with me the last month's worth of Lady Weatherbee's gossip column, so by the time we get back to civilization, I'll be much more informed as to who's who around there." I will probably be okay with that. Likewise, if a fighter has done absolutely nothing but swing his sword but then claims he's taking a wizard level, we're going to have a talk. But if the fighter has been taking keen interest in the arcane items they find and talk to the other knowledgeable members of the party about spellcraft, then go right ahead. Nothing should take extensive time--usually the players just do what they're going to improve as a matter of roleplay and necessity so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Lots of intelligent people here and good comments. I've decided that once I get a chance to talk to my players again, I will get a sense of what kind of campaign they're looking for.

That said, I will most definitely not have a flat requirement to train for every level. And if I require training, it will be for new classes and/or new specific skills.


No training, but it does take a solid night's rest/downtime to reflect on what you've learned. No "Ding!", "GRATS!" levelling in the middle of a room full of orcs.


Robb Smith wrote:

No training, but it does take a solid night's rest/downtime to reflect on what you've learned. No "Ding!", "GRATS!" levelling in the middle of a room full of orcs.

Yeah, xp is given at the end of the night... so nobody is going to level in midfight.

Only exception is if we have an exceptionally long game time, and we're in a very specific spot... we may get xp between chapters and get to level up before going after BBEG.

Doesn't always match up with 'rest periods' though. If it's getting around midnight and we've cleared a room and about to leave... we may call it a night there.

if you leveled up, you show up next week a level higher and continue on.


I think the issue revolves around the pacing of games. There was always (in my opinion) a base assumption that the game would occur over years in the game world. But the pace of adventures has changed. 1-15 adventures happen over weeks or months. That doesnt leave the same room for downtime for things like spell reasearch or training.

Kingmaker has definately been a step back in the long duration game direction. Here is a world that is taking a long time in game world, a has good reason for it instead of players just sitting around waiting for the next thing to happen, they are running a country. Time for crafting, training, or research are all there and I really like it.

Dark Archive

Robb Smith wrote:
No training, but it does take a solid night's rest/downtime to reflect on what you've learned. No "Ding!", "GRATS!" levelling in the middle of a room full of orcs.

Same here. I figure any training or adding of new spells to their spellbooks, etc is done during normal rest/sleep time. I make no exceptions to this for long adventuring days or the like either. I hand out XP when you sleep and that's it.


Robb Smith wrote:

No training, but it does take a solid night's rest/downtime to reflect on what you've learned. No "Ding!", "GRATS!" levelling in the middle of a room full of orcs.

If you're in a room full of orcs when you get the final XP to put you over the edge, you get the DING right there. Flash of insight (or, rather, the arbitrary limit of an arbitrary, discreet system that is used to model a continuous phenomenon.)


KaeYoss wrote:

If you're in a room full of orcs when you get the final XP to put you over the edge, you get the DING right there. Flash of insight (or, rather, the arbitrary limit of an arbitrary, discreet system that is used to model a continuous phenomenon.)

You award xp during combat?


Axl wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:

If you're in a room full of orcs when you get the final XP to put you over the edge, you get the DING right there. Flash of insight (or, rather, the arbitrary limit of an arbitrary, discreet system that is used to model a continuous phenomenon.)

You award xp during combat?

I don't award XP at all any more.

But no, I never actually did that. I waited until just after the fight, but more as a concession to proper game flow than anything else. I won't have a fight interrupted so the characters can level.

But they got to level immediately after. And then they had their new abilities and could use them in the very next encounter. Of course, spell slots that are added right now were added empty (since you didn't prepare anything in them), but that's more or less the only thing you didn't get before resting.


In our games, game time is precious. Levelling is done only between sessions. Most of the treasure allocation is done by message board between sessions.

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