Level Titles

Warlock’s Home Brew has a post about the old level titles of AD&D.
Every level up through 11th or so, for every class, had its own unique title. A 14th level Druid was actually called a Great Druid. A 5th level Thief was called a Burglar. Usually you reached “name level” at 9th or 10th and beyond that your level title didn’t change.

This is something really important, I think, even if just for the player to feel a sense of social advancement commensurate with his physical and mystical advancement.

Of course we can see the social effect of reaching “name level” (10th for most) and being able to construct a stronghold and gather followers. But clearly before then, Harald the Nomad should command less respect than Harald the Vindicator.

Another nice side effect of the names is what happens at 2nd level. In most cases you double your HP, spellcasters double their spell capability, Thieves gain a bunch of percentage points. It’s possibly the most important level of them all. It separates you from all the vast breadth of humanity and it is at this point that you truly become an adventurer. A peasant may get lucky and kill an orc or a wolf. But when he hits Level 2 he is no longer a peasant.

To make this point eminently clear, you are no longer an Acolyte, Medium, Apprentice Rogue, or Aspirant. Now you’re someone with an important title like Savage, Evoker, Warrior, or Strider.

Likewise the 4th level Fighter is now the equal of four stout Normal Men. It’s appropriate to call him a Hero. Or at 8th level when he is the equal of eight men. The equal of a small Dragon! Definitely Superheroic.

It makes sense that, with these social achievements, the common folk would seek out the help of powerful adventurers. But yet there is still a place for the ones who are starting out. You still need Runners and Acolytes.

But the dreams of these young characters might not just be about extra fighting skill and treasure. It’s also about people looking up to you hopefully, that you can make their world a better place.

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One Response to “Level Titles”

  1. Jeff Rients Says:

    Excellent post. Just today I was putting level titles back into my upcoming Labyrinth Lord game.

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