Home » Ancient Posts » D&D Without Level Advancement?    
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For our group, leveling up was always the DM’s decision. If he thought we needed a level, he just announced it at the end of the session. If he felt like perhaps we’d rushed through levels or hadn’t “experienced” them enough, he sent some wraiths our way. This method takes care of the hassle of counting experience points, with the same basic result.


I’ve often advocated doing this. Although, there are enough other games where doing this is more natural.

Another thought was to keep leveling up, but rather than rushing through each level, just wait until the group feels they’ve really experienced the level they are at.

When I played Traveller in the 1980s, we didn’t use the experience rules at all. So, I know exactly what you mean.

But I noticed something interesting when I ran classic Traveller more recently and some of the players did choose to use those rules. Once I realized how much “in game” time gets eaten up by space travel, advancement per those rules started to not look quite so glacial as they did in black and white. Still quite far from D&D, of course, but approaching GURPS.


The PCs need not be totally static. They will still find new magic items, and perhaps new spells and such.

One big advantage of this is that it would make it much easier to create a complete wilderness/city/etc. setting since the PCs power level is a little more static. NPCs can be set at reasonable levels, and you don’t need to worry that your 2nd level guards eventually become a walk over for 20th level PCs.

I think it would still be fun to adventure up to the fixed level.

One thing you might want to do, depending on the level you set, is change the availability of some spells. If you want raise dead, you might reduce it’s level (but make it much more of an ordeal to cast). Or it could be something that is only available through temples (perhaps with direct intervention from the god of the temple).




Wanderer looks very interesting — I’d probably buy a copy if it ever actually exists. My suggestion is a bit more generic — using any game system without advancement. That was no one has to buy or learn a whole new system. You can just play your favorite, but stay at your group’s “sweet spot” level.

Aaron W. Thorne

Stuart, sounds like E6 would be right up your alley. It stops level progression in D&D3.5 at level 6, among other things.

Hanley Tucks

Traveller… D&D… why not merge the two? Being discussed here


Traveler allowed for some minor means of upgrading characters to creep into the game over the years but they were slow and nowhere near as dynamic as level growth in D&D.

One of the areas of character development I experienced was players seeking out psychic institutes so their PCs could learn psionic powers/skills. In a fantasy setting this would be seeking out tutors and wizards to learn magics from as an active portion of the campaign and not background noise.

Social power by gainign ans using wealth was the best way to "leve-ip" in Traveller and that woudl work well in a fantasy world also and is part of the over-campaign of OD&D.

James Maliszewski

I have had similar thoughts in the past; I’m glad I’m not alone 🙂 I’ll be very curious to see how you develop your idea. Sounds like a great article idea for Fight On!.


That's not a bad idea. Since I like low-level D&D I could see how having characters stop advancing between level 3-5 could work as well.