Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Level Titles are Dumb or: I'm a 4th level Thermador?

I'm back with a short opinion piece. I'm hard at work on "the project," which I'll discuss sometime in the future. In the meantime, I want to talk about level titles. I loathe level titles. They're a hodge podge of names, oftentimes only tenuously related. I'm not sure what EGG was thinking when he created them. Personally, I think he was having fun with the thesaurus.

I've never used level titles when I've been a player. What am I going to do? I could say something like, "Don't mess with me—I'm a bad ass thaumaturgist!" However, that just sounds silly to me. As a player I frequently found myself wanting to possess either a title from a previous level or something altogether different.

Level titles do not work for me as a DM, either. I've never really used level titles in the games I've run. It seems that the canonical usage would be something along the lines of, "You are beset upon by footpads. They club you and abscond with all your stuff! Muahahaha!" I've never done that. I prefer to call a spade a spade.

So what good are level titles, then? I suppose they give you something to look forward to. That seems artificial, though. Why not simply adjust your thinking as your character gains levels, expanding the persona as you go? "I just made a level! Now I am a Raucous Warrior! Beware, scoundrels!" That seems a lot more interesting to me—both as a player and as a DM. Be creative. It's your character/game/whatever.

I've dispensed with level titles in the World of Yezmyr campaign. In my game people are normals, fighting-men, or sorcerers. It is fine if a character—player or otherwise—wants to add some color through the use of titles and so forth. I encourage that sort of creativity. A character is free to be whatever they want to be. Gone are the days of pigeon holed titles based on accrued XP. Good bye level titles—and good riddance!

8 comments:

G. Benedicto said...

I agree with everything you just said. The only other purpose I can see for including these in the game is for the DM to use the title as a way to indicate the level of an NPC without actually saying the numerical level outright. Why he would want to do that at all is a mystery though.

Stuart said...

The "idea" of level titles might be okay for some games. So that at level 1 you're an apprentice, and at level 3 you're a Wizard, and at level 10 you're an Arch Mage (or whatever).

Having a new title every level is too much though. It doesn't make sense for every class and every campaign setting either.

Yesmar said...

@Stuart: I see where you're coming from. Conceptually, "name level" might be acceptable for denoting things a true mastery of one's class, the canonical example being a Wizard who can finally craft magic items. Nevertheless, I still don't like level titles and prefer to offer up the same ability at nth level instead of at "title" level.

Jayson said...

I think level titles work best for classes that involve membership in a hierarchy as inherent to the concept: Monks, druids, etc. Other than that I agree that the titles in AD&D seem rather slapdash, though I like some better than others.

I had a friend who did his own thing, playing a PC who called himself Sir Ryter! The Fighter! Of the Fifth! Until he leveled up, whereupon he became a Fighter of the Sixth. :-)

Creative Coquette said...

HaHa! I remember when you told me that Yazmine was a 4th level blah blah blah and all I heard was 4th level Thermador. My mind goes to what I know. I've spec'd many Thermador appliances in many kitchens throughout my career, heh heh.

Hmmmmmm, Yazmine, the Conjuring Calamity of Chaos has a nice ring don't you think?

Blair said...

"In my game people are normals, fighting-men, or sorcerers."

Good riddance to those non-genre clerics!

davidbhoward said...

"Having fun with the thesaurus" describes about half of EGG's work...

A Paladin In Citadel said...

SO you don't want to be Humidor?