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!