• hairylarry
    Mixed parties.

    D&D games today tend to have parties where all the PCs are at the same level. Often the whole party takes an evening to level up.

    In earlier times parties were often mixed. Leveling up was done per person based on XP and XP was doled out by the DM at the end of the evening based on PC performance. Players took notes to remind the DM, I killed that troll or I cast that spell trying to maximize XP earned. Also different classes leveled up at different XP so there was almost never an entire party leveling up at the same time. This took a lot of bookkeeping but that's the kind of geeks we were.

    Also when a PC was killed the player would roll a new character at level 1. So a party of four could have a level 3 thief, a level 4 fighter, a level 2 wizard, and a level 1 cleric. (Who used to be the best fighter until he died.)

    I like this. It adds a certain grittiness to the game and it certainly affects battle tactics. But when I wrote Just Quest as a minimal rules OSR I wrote, "The characters level up on successful completion of a quest". A simple rule for a game designed to be easy to play.

    Where do you stand on this? Do you enjoy playing in mixed parties? If you're a DM do you try to keep your parties at about the same level or do you embrace the idea of mixed parties?

    We may discuss this on Inspired Unreality Monday night or we may just drink some tea with the Milyagon witch and see what happens next.
    Mixed parties.

    D&D games today tend to have parties where all the PCs are at the same level. Often the whole party takes an evening to level up.

    In earlier times parties were often mixed. Leveling up was done per person based on XP and XP was doled out by the DM at the ...See more
    Jun 18 '21
    10 0
    CarlHeyl
    Jun 20 '21
    I'd like to add that in the oldest of old school most of your XP came from earning treasure not killing monsters. Which means two things 1. You don't have to fight that big bad monster if there was a way around it to get the treasure behind it. and 2. Your lower level character would level very rapidly because of the amount of gold the higher level party was able to procure.

    I appreciate the comments about mixed level parties being difficult to adjudicate for. But one thing that is different for old school (unless I am mistaken they changed this in later editions) is that any magic user could use any scroll. Even if they are not high enough level to cast that spell. So if you have a low level wizard among your 5th level parties dropping a few scrolls changes the whole dynamic.
    I'd like to add that in the oldest of old school most of your XP came from earning treasure not killing monsters. Which means two things 1. You don't have to fight that big bad monster if there was a ...See more
    hairylarry
    Jun 20 '21
    I didn't know that. When I mentioned scrolls I was thinking of more spells per day not stronger spells. Also when I was first playing D&D we got almost all our hit points from killing monsters just because the game wasn't treasure oriented. Generally speaking group XP is always the lion's share and will help low level characters level up fast.I didn't know that. When I mentioned scrolls I was thinking of more spells per day not stronger spells. Also when I was first playing D&D we got almost all our hit points from killing monsters jus...See more
    ZDL
    Jun 21 '21
    You may level up quicker sure.

    Provided you don't get instakilled by the first creature larger than a kitten that takes a swipe at you.

    Provided you don't get BORED being relegated to the sideline for multiple grueling hours of watching OTHER PEOPLE have fun.

    I mean my calculus is simple: I play games for fun. If I'm not having fun, I don't go to that game anymore. I don't plan fun on spec. It's fun out the door or I move on.

    The non-combat things that hairylarry mentioned can ameliorate this, but in my experience those tended to be few and far between in most campaigns. You'd have a short time in the village talking to the villagers and then it's the next fifteen sessions in the dungeon.

    There are a great many things to praise in the old school. The way mixed-level parties worked was not one of them. Some GMs could figure it out. Most couldn't, leaving the low-levelled character's player bored and/or frustrated and, very likely, absent next week.
    You may level up quicker sure.

    Provided you don't get instakilled by the first creature larger than a kitten that takes a swipe at you.

    Provided you don't get BORED being...See more
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