Does your group level up at the table or seperate between sessions?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I ask this to see what other people are doing, because I'm getting annoyed at a player. That player has free time, so there isn't really excuses like being tied up with other things like work/family.

So our group has started taking about an hour out of sessions when needed to level up now. What do you do as groups? Do you expect your players to level up outside of the table? Is everything done only at the table?


My group tries to level up between sessions. Tries. There are always some last minute deiscussions and questions from the GM at the beginning of the following session, typically half and hour to an hour's worth.


We generally handle level ups outside of the game, and combine shopping sprees and level up "clarifications" together in short periods during sessions.


Yeah we level up between sessions. There's usually a little discussion, but for the most part it's done between sessions.

The only part we do at the table is roll for HP. We do "player and GM roll, then character takes the higher roll", so that's just a "fun" thing to do at the beginning of a session.

We have a player who's new to pathfinder, so I try to help him with leveling. Sometimes that's easier when we're all together, so often there's a bit of waiting while we help him get all the details.

The Exchange

between, but sometimes people forget. they can level up during game


Between seems the best as it takes some time to calculate your new stats and the like (especially for spell casters, who may also have to pick new spell(s) depending on the level.) The exception would be if it's RIGHT before the final boss or the like as I would think it most fair to let them be at full strength before facing it (and I would also let them get a full rest first unless there is some plot reason they can't, such as having only an hour left to stop the person.)


Roll HP right at the "table" (only able to play on Roll20 atm) and level up between sessions. Online communication helps with any questions to the DM or sometimes coordinating with the rest of the group.


Our GM emails us our XP after the run, so there's no situation under which we'd really level up during a particular run. Sometimes we spend a little time at the beginning of the run finalizing things if they need GM input, but it wouldn't really happen in the middle of a session.


My groups have generally leveled up outside of group sessions. Some people like to level up with the GM, some people want to do it alone.

Doing it as a group does have some advantages. First, it's easier to know your compatriots' characters when you watch them level up. Second, if the GM's time is limited, sometimes people can answer basic questions.

The answer to which should be done is, as usual, whichever is more fun.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
SorrySleeping wrote:

I ask this to see what other people are doing, because I'm getting annoyed at a player. That player has free time, so there isn't really excuses like being tied up with other things like work/family.

So our group has started taking about an hour out of sessions when needed to level up now. What do you do as groups? Do you expect your players to level up outside of the table? Is everything done only at the table?

At the end of a session I inform the players if they level up. Some people immediately do so, while I'm still there and can field any rules interpretations based on new abilities. Others opt to level up on their own time. I assume they take care of it. If they don't and play several sessions with an under leveled character, that is not my problem and when they notice they'll fix it.

I've had players forget to spend skill points, pick spells, add their iterative attack and more. None of that is my problem. When it gets them killed, also not my problem. The GM controls everything but the character sheet, that is entirely the player's responsibility.

Every five or so levels, I'll audit the character sheets to make sure nothing is way off.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Game time is precious. Level up outside of game time.

Email your character sheet to the DM. Email questions about loot etc to the DM and/or other players.

If you walk in the door with an un-leveled character, you play as-is.

==
I get it that some people just aren't into RPG playing to the extent that they want to do anything about/with it while not at the table. But if the group in general is looking to play the story part of the game, not the book-keeping part of the game, then consensus rules.


My players are supposed to level between sessions, but sometimes they miss it. Two or three of them of them use PCGen, so they can cover it quickly at the begin of the session. Since I allow them to change choices retroactively (unless they start to exploit it), choice paralysis is luckily not a thing.

A while ago I did a single session survival adventure. Both player characters died - and respawned, so they could enjoy the full adventure. One player pointed out that if they would have leveled, they might have made it without casualties. That's the only situation I know where leveling in the middle of a session would have been attractive to someone.


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The GM puts a lot of work into each session. The least a player can do is take 30-60 minutes and level up between sessions.


I expect people to have worked out what their PC is going to take for the next level, so once the moment strikes (which is always in an in-game rest period) it's simply a matter of transcribing the data onto the character sheet. As I use 1/4 level increments (similar to that in Unchained) this happens quite a lot. There's sometimes a brief discussion about exactly what feat or skill point is best, but it's quick.


Generally people are informed they leveled up at the end of a session. Some players manage to bring a fully leveled character for the next run. Most show up and realize they still need to. Fortunately those people are using a program to write their characters so it doesn't take long.

Most of the time. /sigh


We would roll HP at the table so everyone could see it, but leveled up between sessions. Sometimes someone would forget, but it was usually just a matter of assigning the skill points and adjusting saves and attack bonuses so it rarely took more than a couple of minutes.


Eh, depends. We've levelled up in the dead center of sessions because it was a break in the story IC. We've levelled up at the end of sessions because we hit a stopping point. We've levelled up at the beginning of sessions because we hadn't had time. Levelling doesn't really take that long if you're in a group that thinks at least 1 level ahead on their character, much less a full build.


We do both, it depends when in a session we level up. Though there always people who forget to level up between sessions when we leveled at the end of the last session.


Level ups always happen at the end of sessions in my campaign as I don't necessary track XP as much as gauge how comfortable my players are with their current skills and abilities before determining if they advance. I ask them to level up outside of the game and message me for any questions, but there is usually still an hour or so cut out of next week's game as a result of folks who were too busy to level up on their own. That rankles me a bit, but as long as everyone has fun I don't mind too much.


Anguish wrote:
Game time is precious. Level up outside of game time.

I agree 100%


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Some people have as much fun leveling up their character as they do playing the game.


Very true, but not entirely relevant. Leveling during what would otherwise be play time takes away from everyone else, doing it on your own time doesn't.

That said, while I much prefer taking my time to do it at home, with my books and my internets, not everyone has that kind of free time (not that it takes much, but...) . So I don't mind if we handle it at the beginning of the session for the few who couldn't possibly do it beforehand.
I did however get... mildly annoyed when, 6 to 8 weeks later, that one Oracle still hadn't bothered doing his level up.


Levelling during "play"(actually time that everyone sits at the table) time lets players coordinate their characters development. As someone who enjoys characters who work as part of a team, using teamwork feats, picking party member specific buffs and working on combat strategies, the best time to level IMO is when everyone is there. YMMV


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Always during. Buuuut, we have Hero Lab which makes it pretty easy. My buddy (the other players are my son and his friend) generally levels up at home (group HL license) before a session to make it quicker, however.


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Outside of sessions generally but we are a group of friends that has played together for more than twenty years. Sessions are few and far between but they are long, more than twelve hours - including a dinner break of at least two hours - and the players that prefer to level up at the beginning of a session don't take much time doing so and we can afford said time because of the length of the sessions.

In another game that I have, where sessions are weekly but at most three hours, X.P. is spent outside of sessions but spending X.P. isn't as tedious as levelling up as the player has total control on what gets increased rather than having to follow the roadmaps that character level and classes are.


Anyone else agree with the "leveling right before the last boss" policy I mentioned?


I generally don't play in games where the GM insists on rolled HP, because it makes it impossible to play certain types of characters without the dice murdering them after you've sufficient time invested. E.g., a martial who then rolls 2, 2, 3, 1 for his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc level-up dice. (I'd rather just get killed by goblins at 1st level. Reminds me of an old D&D game where the HP was rolled except for 1s, which were rerolled -- and everybody made a wizard because d4s were least likely to be screwed on a percentage basis over time by a string of 2s.)

GM: "OK; we're playing this dice game where ONE of these die rolls is WAY, WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OTHER DIE ROLLS, and there's no take-backsies, unless you have high player charisma and give me the Kim Possible puppy-dog pout when you toss lousy and I feel sad and let you re-roll. In which case it might as well just be half/round-up across the board anyway like PFS...."

It's just dumb (and usually found in combination with die-roll stat generation, which is also dumb). --But there are plenty of threads ripping on the dumbness of this particular aspect anyway, so, I digress.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I vastly prefer level-up done between sessions because I want to play during the session -- that thing I had to burn real-world gas with real-world money to drive to. (The absolute worst is showing up to a session, and the GM announces first thing that the group leveled, and the entire session slags down to leveling, because it came out of left-field. And, oh my god is it a disastrous grind on time if there are crafting characters, and the other PCs put in shopping-lists of goodies for them to make. Don't get me wrong: I love bling, but stuff like that makes me want to jump-ship to the nearest P6 game.)

If a GM is doing leveling at-the-table, it's often because he was previously far too generous in permitting super-overpowered and/or poorly rules-interpreted nonsense from boisterous youngsters at the table, and is now running his ship tighter than Captain Ahab trying to keep everyone at roughly the same power-level (not that that's a hopeless task when caster-martial disparity is a thing).


We do a bit of both... if we earned a level up most of us try to sort out some of our big choices at the table after the session is over, we all usually roll HP at that time as well. Many of us stick around to spitball ideas and give/get advice on builds and options. Though most of our level ups happen between sessions still.


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I am leveling up my character right now;)


If the group is going to level up during a session I tell them beforehand so they can plan ahead of time and make it quick. This is usually after they do something major but theres still time to press on.

Otherwise anything but hp should be done off table.

As for leveling together to plan? Anyone who wants to tell the group their plans to level to coordinate (teamwork feats etc) has fifty times more ways in the last decade alone than any time in mans history. Start a group chat and discuss. That should NOT slow the group down.


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I use milestones and usually either advise the party they'll level next session and can get everything prepped to slap together during a break after the proper leveling point, or we just leave it til the inbetween period of sessions if it's obvious there won't be combat afterward.


Yqatuba wrote:
Anyone else agree with the "leveling right before the last boss" policy I mentioned?

My other GM of the group does something similar. While not leveling up, we do get a way to heal or refresh. I feel like leveling up before a boss might not be a good idea. Yeah, HP/BAB/Saves are nice, but I feel like gaining new abilities that haven't been tested might not be the greatest idea.


Always between games. If we're at an odd point where a level is earned or should be awarded during mid-game, we will discuss it in the prior session and let everyone know to be ready to level up during the next session.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:
Levelling during "play"(actually time that everyone sits at the table) time lets players coordinate their characters development. As someone who enjoys characters who work as part of a team, using teamwork feats, picking party member specific buffs and working on combat strategies, the best time to level IMO is when everyone is there. YMMV

Man, your minds are going to be blown when you find out about: e-mail, text messaging, Discord, Facebook, iMessage, IRC, and pretty much a bazillion other methods of communicating with one another. <Grin>

But seriously, for doing what you describe, I'd argue that away from the table is still best. Player A makes a suggestion for a direction they'd like to go. Player B does some research to figure out what has synergy with that, and responds. Player C piles on, and does similar research whenever they've got time. This - of course - assumes players dedicate any of their precious not-at-the-game-table-time to preparing for the game, which is basically the point of the thread.


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Anguish wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Levelling during "play"(actually time that everyone sits at the table) time lets players coordinate their characters development. As someone who enjoys characters who work as part of a team, using teamwork feats, picking party member specific buffs and working on combat strategies, the best time to level IMO is when everyone is there. YMMV

Man, your minds are going to be blown when you find out about: e-mail, text messaging, Discord, Facebook, iMessage, IRC, and pretty much a bazillion other methods of communicating with one another. <Grin>

Don't be dim, we know about them but there's a limited amount of time we have to devote to the game, full stop. We're people with jobs, kids, and other hobbies. The time we have for the game is the time that we get together and sit down. 90% of the time other people, tasks, and responsibilities have first priority on our time outside of game night.


Dunno, precisely because of all that, I kinda preffer making the most of game night. If we take half the session for the slowpoke to make his choices... equally unpleasant to be rushed along and make terrible build choices that later cripple you.


I have my group level up between sessions.

That said, if it is a game where I track XP and they are just short of leveling I give it to them.

If it is a published AP I use milestones for leveling.


I'd like to do between sessions but this rarely ends up being the case. Some people are busy enough with jobs and kids that they don't really have time to do game stuff outside of game night. This, coupled with questions and the fact that we have leveling at the first rest after you get enough XP means we generally level up at the table.


Goblin_Priest wrote:
Dunno, precisely because of all that, I kinda preffer making the most of game night. If we take half the session for the slowpoke to make his choices... equally unpleasant to be rushed along and make terrible build choices that later cripple you.

We haven't had a single person in our gaming group field complaints from other aspects of their lives about how much time they spend on gaming, nor have any of us dropped the ball on responsibilities because we were spending our time working on a TTRPG. One of our players even skypes in from 1500 miles away so its not that we're unaware, its that balancing real life over escapist games is pretty important to your outside relationships.


I've played with groups that one and groups that did the other.
I personally prefer between sessions, but it's not a big deal.


I've got kids, I work a lot of hours. Some times I'll concede I don't have the time or energy to do a level up, maybe I'll request help to do it if I can't make it early, or otherwise I'll do it on the spot if I can. But otherwise having everyone just be surprised by a level up hogs too much of game time imo. Especially at higher levels, and especially making new characters. All the prep discussions can be made on Discord, mostly after the kids are put to sleep.


Ryan Freire wrote:
We haven't had a single person in our gaming group field complaints from other aspects of their lives about how much time they spend on gaming, nor have any of us dropped the ball on responsibilities because we were spending our time working on a TTRPG. One of our players even skypes in from 1500 miles away so its not that we're unaware, its that balancing real life over escapist games is pretty important to your outside relationships.

Does your GM do all their prep at the table too, or do you consider it reasonable to expect one person to make huge investment outside of game time while the others don't?


It's about 80/20 for us. Most of the work is done away from the table but we have a couple members that do not have access to Herolab outside of our weekly sessions. They need a few minutes to update their leveled characters on the GM's computer before we can play.

I'm surprised that anyone finds leveling takes an extensive chunk of time, even for people that like to level up organically based on events in the game. Don't you know exactly what you're going to add to your character the moment it hits next level? Haven't you been chomping at the bit now that's it's been several sessions since you last leveled and you feel that next level coming on soon? Maybe that's just me, I dunno, but I am ready to go maybe 10 minutes after the GM says we leveled, especially since we started using Herolab.


Insapateh wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
We haven't had a single person in our gaming group field complaints from other aspects of their lives about how much time they spend on gaming, nor have any of us dropped the ball on responsibilities because we were spending our time working on a TTRPG. One of our players even skypes in from 1500 miles away so its not that we're unaware, its that balancing real life over escapist games is pretty important to your outside relationships.
Does your GM do all their prep at the table too, or do you consider it reasonable to expect one person to make huge investment outside of game time while the others don't?

Some people have more time to dedicate to the game. I know people who have time to play (barely) but not time to GM, even if they want to.

So while I can't speak for Ryan, I personally think it's entirely fair to let some people spend basically no time outside table time on the game.
If my friends spend their precious free time to show up and game with us, I am happy.


Pathfinder has lost one of the main appeals it had for me at the start: a limited array of options to pick from. Do I /need/ to make something new zi never made? No. But the temptation is great. Could I plan his whole build from the start? Sure. But the odds of me sticking to it are low. The odds of finding new better options are high. Besides, mortality is relatively high. Why invest all that time to plan a character to level 20 if he'll die at level 8?

You are right that level ups don't generally take a huge amount of time though. But the risk with doing it at the table is that it doesn't average the time needed, it takes as long as the guy taking the most time. The worst is replacing dead high level characters though.


While the mechanics of leveling up can be done quickly, the decisions cannot. What feat do I choose? That can take hours. Where to I add a stat point? Usually quick but not always. Skills? Some are easy, others take longer to figure out.

Generally, the GM tells us we level up at the end of the session, and we are expected to have the update by the next meeting (in a week for us). Rarely, he will say to come with a leveled up version as well as the regular one because something he expects to happen mid session will trigger the level up.

If you show up w/o the leveled up char, that is on you, and you are expected to play the un-leveled char with minor changes for obvious things like more HP, saves, and more spells.

/cevah


Cevah wrote:
While the mechanics of leveling up can be done quickly, the decisions cannot. What feat do I choose? That can take hours. Where to I add a stat point? Usually quick but not always. Skills? Some are easy, others take longer to figure out.

So true... there have been times that it has taken me days to decide on a feat or to figure out where those last few skill points go... and because of this Is e started planning out builds ahead of time... even with the risk of a character dying at level 8 and never making it to 20, I find it relaxing and fun to have them planned... sometimes I want to see what a character could do at max level even.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I try to schedule outside of game, but there is times for reasons such as a more difficult area opening up where a quick leveling up the characters at the table has to be done.


Leveling up is exactly the sort of administration which is best taken care of away from the table IMO. If there's any necessary interaction - usually there isn't - then email is if anything better for it than talking in person.


I'll admit that Hero Lab has spoiled me.

I remember when I was still doing manual level ups at the end of each session. My fellow players would finish their level up while we were still saying goodnight on Skype and I would be fumbling through links to the PRD.

They kept telling me about Hero Lab until I finally bought the basic package while it was on sale. Once I opened it, it changed my ability to instantly make characters and the game was never the same again.

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