I miss levels and experience...but there's a solution!



DungeonCraft just posted an interesting video on a simplified levelling system, which i think would work great in the ICRPG world.
Levelling is something that my players and I miss quite a bit, and the system described in the video seems really great, and he works them in with milestone tasks.

I’d love to know what everyone else thinks!

Anyways, here’s the video: D&D XP the Fast & Easy Way!

And, just in case you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a quick breakdown:
You gain experience for completing tasks/goals(not for killing stuff).
Characters will get 1-5 XP per session.
1-2 xp for overcoming scenario objectives
1-3 xp for overcoming challenges
1 - medium
2 - difficult(they took a beating but prevailed)
3 - for heroic challenges where not everyone makes it back(Saving Private Ryan type stuff)
XP is doled out at the end of a session.

It takes 10 xp to advance a level(wait… is that… one HEART?!? Oh yeah it is!). Once you reach 10, you must complete a milestone event to gain the level. Your XP are frozen at 10 until that is completed.
Once the milestone is complete, you clear your xp, add the level and begin to accumulate XP again.
Since we’re talking an integration into ICRPG, do what you feel you must for that level gain… might be a good time to hand out a heart stone, or some kind of item that enhances the players/GM’s vision of the character…

Trying to sell d&d players on ICRPG

That’s a cool way to do it. I can see the milestone moment being the one where a player would normally get their milestone reward in ICRPG

The only issue I see is that you are just adding numbers to track which don’t mean anything. Since normally in ICRPG I believe you would get a Milestone Reward at the same moment anyway.

I guess it just prevents you from getting the milestone reward early? Maybe this works well as a pacing mechanism for the game. Hmm, much food for thought here.


Agreed, there’s not real need for the levels/XP system. I think it’s more nostalgia from my side, and a mechanic to easily pace things. It does provide an incentive for the players to stay on target as well… there are no benefits to going off course, and all the benefits from trying to follow along with the intended story line. I know Brendish doesn’t promote planning ahead more than one session, but i just can’t help myself! LOL . Sometimes it’s nice to at the very least have a major story arc in mind… if you’re not doing that though, there’s nothing to really stay on track with, is there?


To me there are two reasons to have experience points and levels.

  1. People like keeping score, in all kinds of sports and games. XP and levels are how you keep score in D&D.

  2. There is a mechanical impact in terms of incentives to player behavior. XP for killing monsters means more murder hobos. XP for achieving story objectives means a player might pass up a fight that doesn’t advance them to the objective.

Some folks don’t need either. The drama and playing to see what happens is more than enough. But if having XP makes it more fun for everyone, or reinforces the style your group likes best, go for it!

Either way, I don’t think counting to 10 is that much of a bookkeeping burden.


There is something to be said for the inclusion of a progress bar which gives an objective measurement of a character’s involvement in a journey.

I really appreciate the acquisition of XP being based on obstacles overcome (like Ryuutama) instead of just enemies defeated; I’ve been looking for a simple way to mechanically incentivize finding non-martial means of resolution with a table of sixth graders, and this will do nicely.

Thanks for the idea, @pjcullin !


XP could also be assigned to the PLAYER (instead of the character), allowing its benefits to be kept across characters. Like I might do a few shorter campaigns with kids creating multiple characters, but the XP would follow them and it would be like “NG+” and they’d start with the stat bonuses for the XP they’ve accumulated.


Oh snap! That’s a good idea! Especially if you run a more lethal game…insert evil laugh here


Well, if you follow the concept of DANGER in the ICRPG core book in the game mastery section, you can totally keep score between the forces your heroes are “working for or toward” vs. whatever forces of evil surround and beat them up. I think that’s a cool way to get players loot: when the princess isn’t in a dungeon and her kingdom is safe, I’m certain she has the time to come up with cool weapons to grant her champions… and perhaps a blessed kiss of boon, too. :wink:


I’ve been leaning towards Gold (or Soul Coins) as XP lately. You need to spend X Gold to get your milestone reward. In a loot box are master plans for an milestone item, to make it though requires X gold in materials and craftsmanship. Or, you buy drinks and party for the entire city to celebrate how awesome you are. In a show of thanks, an old insert class gives you their cherished milestone item from their adventuring days.

Not only does it remove emphasis on killing things (see the recent DPR thread) but also can create a fun adventure on bringing all the gold back safely (encumbrance?), and how to spend it.


Because I run games that are epic in nature and heavy on the role playing… leveling up is important to a player. They are not coming out each game to have a fast and furious battle, they are coming back each time to grow their characters, bond with each other, problem solve, story tell and so on. Because of that… getting better at what you do over time is a natural progression. Just like in life. We don’t train daily to hit from the three point line just for shits and giggles…we do it so we can be the best on the court and get drafted up and make money etc. We don’t body build religiously each day for fun. We do it to get swole, perhaps compete. Those who work at something do it to get better. There is of course accidental improvements such as cooking everyday… you naturally get better at it but it’s not by choice… it’s by necessity.

In my hack… I max out Traits (Str, Con, Ch, Wis, Int, Ag) at 5 and skills that are related to these traits at 3. My hack allows the two to be added together for a max bonus of 8 on your d20 rolls. In order to get to these maximums… you need to be able to level up.

My XP points work as follows: Each game you get 3xp for playing. At the end, we review the game and look for “moments for the ages” types of moments and those responsible get a point. These are the kinds of epic moments you would brag about at the tavern or tell your grand kids.

The point scale is as follows: 1-27 then it resets.
at 9… you get 3HP’s (I don’t use hearts)
at 18… you get to level up a skill (not a trait) by 1 point
at 27… you get to level up a trait (not a skill) by 1 point OR you get to level up as a magic user. (a whole new discussion)

This keeps things moving but not at a very fast rate. The players feel like they are getting better but it’s so slow which is good because lets face it… the stronger the pc’s get, the monsters have to as well. Something most players don’t realize and that’s fine… they don’t need to. They just need to be happy they are growing as characters from all that training they are doing in the game. If you swing that sword enough times… you without a doubt will get pretty good at that.


In my game - that is very much based around leveling ( it is a video game world ) my players start with having only 1 point to add to their character sheet. Every time they level they can add 1 new point. Every 3 levels they get new class skill. Every 5 levels they get a heart.

This way they start pretty weak. And leveling is fun cause they always get something to look for in progression.