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View Full Version : Roleplaying What do you think of my D&D level breakdown?



ribblle
2017-05-05, 07:43 AM
1 Green but trained soldier - possibly a exceptional one
2 Blooded
3 Experienced
4 Veteran
5 Elite troops
6 War hero
7 Human with extras - Highlander/Wolverine
8 Straight up inhumanly good - John Wick
9 Inhumanly good, and a min-maxer. Bellerophon (Pegasus rider)
10 Legend. Perfect storm of experience, skill and strength. (Conan)
11 The best in a nation, a hero amongst heroes. Captain America
12 Recognized by, or one of, the powers that be - Elrond.
13 As entertaining as a mortal can be without actually being a problem. Harry Dresden
14 Army crushing. Achilles
15 Not a angel? Not a issue. Witch king/Beowulf (Dragon slayer)
16 The world is just enough.
17 Hey Loki, remember that guy who used to be funny... Beren (stole from the devil himself)
18 World maker, world breaker. Grandpa Roshi
19 The best in the world. Krillin
20 Godly

Millstone85
2017-05-05, 08:18 AM
I don't know if that would hold up for every edition.

5e defines its "tiers of play" like so:
01-04 Apprentice adventurer
05-10 Comen into one's own
11-16 Mighty adventurer
17-20 Heroic archetype

ribblle
2017-05-05, 08:22 AM
That's a good shorthand in context, after all Conan is nothing special in the d&d verse. I was trying to benchmark their abilities.

Zombimode
2017-05-05, 09:14 AM
1 Green but trained soldier - possibly a exceptional one
2 Blooded
3 Experienced
4 Veteran
5 Elite troops
6 War hero
7 Human with extras - Highlander/Wolverine
8 Straight up inhumanly good - John Wick
9 Inhumanly good, and a min-maxer. Bellerophon (Pegasus rider)
10 Legend. Perfect storm of experience, skill and strength. (Conan)
11 The best in a nation, a hero amongst heroes. Captain America
12 Recognized by, or one of, the powers that be - Elrond.
13 As entertaining as a mortal can be without actually being a problem. Harry Dresden
14 Army crushing. Achilles
15 Not a angel? Not a issue. Witch king/Beowulf (Dragon slayer)
16 The world is just enough.
17 Hey Loki, remember that guy who used to be funny... Beren (stole from the devil himself)
18 World maker, world breaker. Grandpa Roshi
19 The best in the world. Krillin
20 Godly

Beyond Level 6 you have many many words, but it is unlcear what they mean. For instance you have "Legend" at Level 10, but "inhumanly good" at 8. Why is "inhumanly good" not enough to be a legend? What is the difference between "Legend" and "Best of a Nation?". Why do you only become "Recognized by the powers that be" at 12 (being a "legend" is not enough?)?

It seem your felt Need to come up with a word every Level resulted in those words loosing their meaning. The difference between two Levels can also be marginal.

I think it is more useful to define Level ranges and also be rather coarse at the end of the spectrum.

To illustrate, this is the scale that I typically use (D&D 3.5):

(Note, all of this talks about class Levels. For creatures with more then one racial HD, Substitute one class Level for all racial HD. Ie. A Lizard Folk Comoner 1 (3 HD) would be equivalent to a Human Commoner 2 (2 HD). All of this assumes humanoid style of civilization and demographics)

Youth/Untrained/extremely lazy: level 1
The average unambitious/medium performer adult: level 2-3
Expertly trained and/or very experienced: level 4-5
masters: level 6-7

beyond level 7:
level 8-12: truely elite, cabable of feats that look impossible to the averge populace
level 13-16: can probably be considered the best of their time
level 17+: few ever reach this level of ability. If they will remain in the conscious of the People for a very Long time.

This is level demographic. There is also the divide between the "gifted" or extremely ambitous: those have PointBuy Attribute scores and can take PC class Levels. The scale is true for them as well (you can be gifted but extremely lazy).


Magic Users are measured somewhat differently, as Magic Users are so rare and High Level Magic Users tend to be so influencial, that you measure yourself to the level 18 Archwizard of the Founder of the Empire, an not the level 10 Head of the Wizard Guild.


Being a "Legend" or not has more to do with your deeds than your ability.

Millstone85
2017-05-05, 09:31 AM
This is also very dependent on the setting.

For example, would the village priest be expected to use divine magic, or is a 1st-level cleric already a messianic figure?

ribblle
2017-05-05, 10:24 AM
Fair enough. I see i'm being too vague when i'm inviting this kind of question


This is also very dependent on the setting.

For example, would the village priest be expected to use divine magic, or is a 1st-level cleric already a messianic figure?

when i'm really trying to say how many heads they can bust. It sounds like i need a better description of the "feats" of 10 through 15. Something like:

10 Physics defying
11 Physics breaking
12 Wuxia - Crouching tiger hidden dragon shenanigans
13 City busting
14 Army crushing
15 Dragon slaying

Zombimode
2017-05-05, 10:37 AM
10 Physics defying
11 Physics breaking
12 Wuxia - Crouching tiger hidden dragon shenanigans
13 City busting
14 Army crushing
15 Dragon slaying

What is the difference between "physics defying" and "physics breaking"?

I have no idea what "Wuxia" should signify.

For 13 to 15: well, some characters can achieve those feats at this level
Some cant, and some can do that earlier

Therefore those aren't really good measures.

ribblle
2017-05-05, 10:49 AM
What is the difference between "physics defying" and "physics breaking"?

That's the difference between lifting a boulder as big as you are, and supporting a building.


I have no idea what "Wuxia" should signify.

Agh, your education! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxJiE5EKnD0)

Think wire-fu, or physics bending.


For 13 to 15: well, some characters can achieve those feats at this level
Some cant, and some can do that earlier

Therefore those aren't really good measures.

Could your average character pull it off?

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-05-05, 11:10 AM
This is also very dependent on the setting.

For example, would the village priest be expected to use divine magic, or is a 1st-level cleric already a messianic figure?

This.

Most ways of calculating it come out at roughly lvl 5 in the D&D world being peak human performance in our real world. Einstein or Hawking or Bolt or the commander of Seal team 6 would be level 5. In our world, they're as close to legends as real people get, the worldwide best at what they do. (This is where my user name comes from: a level 2 (or even 1) expert is probably the closest thing the d&d world has to a healthy modern educated person who's not specialized in fighting.) But while there are lots of d&d settings in which almost everybody is a lvl 1 commoner and anything above level 3 is extremely rare there are also plenty of D&D games where you can walk into a town and find the head of the town guard is level 18, the local priest level 15 and the baker level 12.

So, labels like "legend" or "local power", which define a power level mostly based on how rare it is, only work as long as you know which world you're talking about. A term like "physics breaking" is kind of meaningless in d&d, these characters still follow the laws of physics, but they're the d&d worlds laws, not ours. Stuff like "dragon slaying" is better, because dragons have stats. We know how strong dragons are in by far most d&d settings. And now you can show people that they can be killing them around level 15. The comparisons with people from other fictional worlds (or the real world) are also good. We know roughly what these people can do. If Conan or Gandalf is pegged at around level 10 we know that by that time we'll have roughly the same amount of power as someone who has the strength of a dozen men or can call on giant eagles to transport him.

Overall though, I think all of the lists posted are very usable, precisely because they're not universal. If in your setting a level 10 person is a legend, that's good info for players.

icefractal
2017-05-05, 12:39 PM
A level breakdown that I've used for 3.x/Pathfinder:

* Everyone can reach 4th level, with sufficient opportunity. In practice, there are a lot more 1st-2nd level people than 3rd-4th, but thatís a shortcoming of circumstances or motivation.
* Increasingly smaller fractions can reach 6th, 8th, 10th, but itís still a large enough number that you can hire people of 10th level, and a powerful enough organization can reliably have 10th level agents.
* Above that, itís a small number of people, increasingly small as it increases up to 16th. People at this level arenít reliably hirable, and are more likely to be running organizations than working for them. Finding one in a given region is not a guarantee.
* People at 17th+ level donít always exist. There might currently be a 19th level Wizard in the world, or there might not. If they do, theyíre extremely rare and extremely unlikely to be following anyone else.

I've used a more E6 / Eberron scale before also, which would approximately cut those levels in half - max level you can reliably hire is 5th-6th or so, max level guaranteed to exist is 10th.

Jarawara
2017-05-05, 12:46 PM
That's the difference between lifting a boulder as big as you are, and supporting a building.


Well, lifting a boulder the size of me would be physics breaking, so supporting a building ('supporting how, exactly'), would only be physics bending, right?

ribblle
2017-05-05, 12:50 PM
Point taken, but i'm not sure how else to put it.


supporting how, exactly

With great difficulty.

Guizonde
2017-05-05, 02:15 PM
What is the difference between "physics defying" and "physics breaking"?
.

in my game that runs on rule of funny and rule of cool, and regularly breaks the fourth wall to inflict psychic horror on the players via mood whiplash, here's my take on it.

physics defying would be running up a sheer wall or doing more than three wall jumps in a row. you can pull it off with training and know-how, but an average human being can't normally reach up 5-6 meters vertically without assistance. another example touched upon in batman beyond would be batman's grappling hook. that it latches on to concrete is physics-defying enough. that batman doesn't wrench his shoulder out of his socket every time he pulls that stunt takes the cake.

physics breaking is looney tunes physics. getting punched across a room and landing in the next turn, shooting through a boulder with a blowgun, beating someone over the head with the fourth wall... and i wish i was kidding, but i've seen all my examples in different games. hell, most magic breaks physics in one way or another (teleportation, time-stop, and the conjuration school come to mind immediately).

in the real world, physics defying i take it could mean doing a triple backflip from a regular jump. breaking physics is what they're trying to do at cern (and based on our continued existence, have failed to do so far). alternatively, it would be blasting someone across the room with a .22 lr carbine. the physics and math won't add up.

Yora
2017-05-05, 03:16 PM
I treat first level fighters as experienced veterans that significantly outclass any common nonheroic soldier.

At 4th level PCs are heroes. They have reached a level of power and skill that just isn't normal anymore. They are something rare and special.

At 9th level they've reached the highest power that mortals can possibly get. In my game, after this point it's only more hp and spells per day for any further levels.

9+ characters are Conan, Geralt of Rivia, and Boba Fett.

Socksy
2017-05-05, 04:31 PM
supporting how, exactly

Paying for its tuition and being a shoulder to cry on when it comes home.

---

I think Harry Dresden goes from about level 4/5 to level 14ish or even more over the course of the books, so he isn't really the best person to compare things to.

ribblle
2019-05-24, 01:59 PM
I'm feeling compelled to revisit this, now that i've realized a bandit is a "easy" encounter for a single level 1 character in 5e. So they're veterans from the beginning, then?

Edit: Nevermind. seeing as 2 bandits makes it a deadly encounter, and 1 bandit and 9 commoners is "hard", i guess CR is just borked at low levels.

Willie the Duck
2019-05-24, 02:03 PM
Pretty sure thread necromancy is a no no, even if you started the original thread.

ribblle
2019-05-24, 02:05 PM
What's the difference between doing that and making another one, other then lost efficiency?

Man_Over_Game
2019-05-24, 02:24 PM
What's the difference between doing that and making another one, other then lost efficiency?

The forum rules go into detail, but it's to fix the fact that posters often don't view old threads of theirs, and so can't defend any position that a new poster might have a month or a year later against them, as well as fix the fact that information eventually becomes old and outdated. New rules invalidate old arguments. You basically end up with people yelling arguments at the wind, "sounding" correct because nobody is telling them they're wrong.

Generally, it's better to create a new thread, with a link to the old thread as a resource of new discussion.