Friday, November 26, 2010

Roll To Advance

As previously discussed, levels are obtained in a Roll to Advance scheme. Essentially, everyone earns one experience point per session and then rolls against a target number in order to level. Earned experience points modify the roll, as does race and class.

The original inspiration for this system used a D20 to make the roll. However, I feel this leaves way too much variance in leveling up. Let's take a quick example:

Let's say Bob needs a 25 to advance in level. First, he must adventure for 5 sessions in order to gain 5 experience points, at which point he has a 5% chance to hit a natural 20 and level. Upon each additional session, he gains another experience point which results in a further 5% chance to level (he now needs a 19 or 20). What this system does is to require 5 adventures and then a further 1 to 19 sessions in order to level up. That averages out to (very) roughly an additional 7 sessions to hit the target number.

That is way too much variance and just too many sessions to level up. Instead, let's try a smaller dice size, the D6.

Similarly, Bob needs an 11 to advance in level (5 higher than the maximum roll on a D6, same as the previous example). Again, he adventures for 5 sessions, at which point he now has a 1 in 6 chance to level (~13%). Now, he needs an additional 1 to 5 sessions to level, with the average being 2 or 3 additional sessions. So Bob is leveling up after an average of 7 sessions rather than 12. I think that is much more appropriate with less 'swing.'

Ok, so let's recap:

Experience and Leveling Up

At the conclusion of each session, every player receives 1 experience point. He then rolls a D6 and adds his experience points and attempts to hit a target number based on his class and race. If he hits the target number, he levels up. Any experience points used as a bonus in order to obtain the target number are expended, any unused points are retained. If a player fails to hit his target number, all experience points are retained as well.

So here are the baseline target numbers:

Next post I'll tackle racial modifiers, multi-classing, and wrap it all up.


  1. We played around with using various dice for this system. Personally, I think the d12 might be the sweet spot. But we stuck with the d20 so as to give more variation when the numbers get larger at higher levels.

    Also, using larger numbers (and a d20) makes the differences between each target number smaller, making it easier to differentiate between classes without making the difference so large. For instance, the original system has cleric at 17 to reach 2nd and druid at 18, 5% harder than the cleric. Your re-working makes the druid's number 14% higher than the cleric's.

    Still, your version here seems perfectly reasonable and looks like it would work just fine.

    Our current homebrew game is limited to levels 1-8 (leaving open the future expansion to level 12) and I've been thinking about going with a smaller die.

  2. I think the rolls become problematic at higher levels, and for more reason than just dice variation. There is still something that doesn't sit right with me in addition to the concerns in the 'Roll to fail' post. After slogging through a minimum of 8 sessions to get to 5th level, you now have another slog of at least 9 adventures until the next level up. Something is lost with the predictability...