Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dead Levels

   So, something that has come to my attention during the D&D Next playtesting is the abhorrence to "dead levels." That is, gaining a level in which no new special ability is gained, just the usual gain of an attack bonus, hit points, etc. 

   Now on the one hand I like gaining something special at each new level, it's fun, and something to look forward to using over the period until the next level is gained. However, I play in, or am involved with some games that don't give out special abilities at every level or any level for that matter. Stars Without Number comes to mind where unless your a Psychic you don't really gain anything new at each new level. Or, Barebones Fantasy where only a spellcaster gains a new special ability, a new spell, at each new level. Or, old school D&D, like Basic and OD&D, where again, only spellcasters really get something out of the ordinary. I'm kinda okay with this. If the campaign is intriguing and fun then gaining a new special ability isn't really that important, to me.

    Recently I've seen posts about how there are "dead levels" at 4 and 7 or 5 and 8 with a couple of classes in D&D Next. And, gods forbid, the new monk class has one, yes one, dead level. Does a character really need a parade and candy thrown at them at every new level? I don't want players to have to say, "I swing my sword at the bad guy," every time but really, is the campaign that limited that you can't at least disarm an opponent, or charge them, or trip them without needing a special ability to do so?

   One of my gripes with candy at every level is a character sheet turns into a novelette and players take forever to decide mathematically what might be their best choice. Phooey on that...

   ...but not phooey on gaining a special ability every now and then. Every other level, or every third level maybe, yeah, I can dig that, but a lollipop at every level, no thanks.

A New Level! Wait, what!? Same old sea and still paddling with my hands!?

1 comment:

  1. Even playing 3 & 3.5 I found that I needed a matrix of the special abilities and spells I could use when I hit a certain level as a cleric. This was just to stop my turn breaking down as I worked out what I wanted to do. Dead levels or not, there are still loads of things you get at higher levels.