Different Levels (3.5e Variant Rule)

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A new approach to levels[edit]

A problem that I have had with Levels, CR, ECL, etc. is that I don't feel that they are really descriptive of how powerful you are or your enemy is. A player's EXP levels are rather a good indicator of how long a character has been around, how much they have fought, rather than how powerful they are.

Another thing: I cannot, for the life of me, find an SRD rule on XP given or how much is required to level up. This is probably intentional.

I would like to change this. A CR of 1/2 is given to this person, a normal human:

Human, 1st-Level Warrior
Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Human)
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft. in scale mail (4 squares); base speed 30 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (+4 scale mail, +2 heavy shield), touch 10, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Longsword +3 melee (1d8+1/19-20) or Longbow +1 ranged (1d8/x3) or lance +2 melee (1d8+3/x3)
Full Attack: Longsword +3 melee (1d8+1/19-20) or Longbow +1 ranged (1d8/x3) or lance +2 melee (1d8+3/x3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Human traits
Special Qualities: None
Saves: Fort +3*, Ref +0*, Will –1*
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Skills: Handle Animal +4, Ride +4
Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword) plus Human Extra Feat
Environment: Any
Organization: Squad (2–4), Platoon (11–20 plus 2 3rd-level sergeants and 1 leader of 3rd–6th level), or Company (30–100 plus 30% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 10 adults, 5 5th-level lieutenants, 3 7th-level captains, plus 30% heavy warhorses)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Treasure: Standard coins; standard goods; standard items
Alignment: Any
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +0


But what is CR 1/2? From what I can find, it means a party of 4 Level 1 players can defeat it with medium difficulty. A fair fight. But that is based on the average character, not YOUR character. What if you acquired a very powerful weapon, making you more powerful than you really should be? Or if you are in a low power campaign? These problems are medium difficulty enough.

So instead, I tried to make a system based off of YOUR power, individual powers. Here's what I got:

New Rules[edit]

This metric is designed to measure what you have the power to do (Skills, Feats), and what you have (Weapons, Shields); not what you actually do (spells, damage). Please comment me if I slip up on this. Please also comment if you have any suggestions on making this scale well throughout levels!

It is called your Power level. If we take a look at our Town Guard again, we see:

Human, 1st-Level Warrior
Size/Type: Medium Humanoid (Human)
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft. in scale mail (4 squares); base speed 30 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (+4 scale mail, +2 heavy shield), touch 10, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Longsword +3 melee (1d8+1/19-20) or Longbow +1 ranged (1d8/x3) or lance +2 melee (1d8+3/x3)
Full Attack: Longsword +3 melee (1d8+1/19-20) or Longbow +1 ranged (1d8/x3) or lance +2 melee (1d8+3/x3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Human traits
Special Qualities: None
Saves: Fort +3*, Ref +0*, Will –1*
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Skills: Handle Animal +4, Ride +4
Feats: Weapon Focus (longsword) plus Human Extra Feat
Environment: Any
Organization: Squad (2–4), Platoon (11–20 plus 2 3rd-level sergeants and 1 leader of 3rd–6th level), or Company (30–100 plus 30% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 10 adults, 5 5th-level lieutenants, 3 7th-level captains, plus 30% heavy warhorses)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Treasure: Standard coins; standard goods; standard items
Alignment: Any
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +0


First off, he is human. Since humans are usually the staple of races in D&D, their Race Modifier for power level is +0.

A medium character, his Size Modifier is +0 again!

His HD and HP both affect the Power Level. The HP Modifier is HP/(HD/2), which for our townsman, is 6/(8/2) = 6/4 = 1 (SRD says round down!!!)

The Initiative Modifier is Init-Dexterity Modifier. 0-0=0

Speed Modifier is ((Speed-30)/5)^2. For our poor slow bloke, ((20-30)/5)^2=(-10/5)^2=-2^2=-4 (yes you keep the negative)

AC Modifier is AC-10. 16-10=6.

Base Attack Bonus + Grapple/4 is the BABG Modifier. 1+2/4=1.5=1.

Weapons are a bit tricky to measure just right, and accompany space/reach. This I will do later/leave up to the DM.

I WILL FINISH THIS SOON


END RESULT: Race: +0 (0) Size: +0 (0) HP: +1 (1) Init: +0 (1) Speed: -4 (-3) AC: +6 (3) BABG: +1 (4)

Benefits, Requirements, etc. related to levels are as such: A level 1 character is 0-10 pl, a level 2 character 11-40, level 3 41-90, etc. The maximum power level of the standard level is level^2*10.

I may or may not add sample tables for Race/Size/etc. Modifiers. Ultimately the DM can morph it to their needs.


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