[RPG] Are there any quick, reliable ways to level up in D&D 5e


I am the Dungeon Master in a new campaign. Since I made the players start new characters, they were wondering if there was a fast way to gain experience. The players wanted the game to still be legit, but they also wanted the game to get more interesting quickly. Some of them are not experienced players and I am afraid that what I throw at them might kill them.

Best Answer

Levels are just a tool for enjoying the game

No one will come barging to your RPG table to check if the levels are "legit" in any way - the only thing that matters with the leveling pace is that you and your players have fun with it. This means you can and should adjust the leveling pace to match what your players want - if they feel they're growing in power too slowly, give them more levels, and if they feel they're growing in power too fast to appreciate what they're getting, slow down.

In accordance to this, remember that it is a perfectly valid option to start the game with a higher level character. If what you really want is a high-power campaign from levels 10 to 20, there's little point in spending twice the time just to build up the characters from level 1 to 10 in action.

Consider story- or session-based leveling

I personally use story-based leveling* instead of the more traditional mode of awarding XP for overcoming challenges and combat encounters. You can find brief descriptions of these options in Dungeon Master's Guide, on page 261. In this mode, the GM grants the party levels whenever they complete quests or subquests, at the desired pace. This greatly reduces the need for bookkeeping, and removes the incentive to seek encounters and challenges just for the XP.

However, the primary reason why I think you would benefit from story-based leveling is that it is easy to pace to match the desires of the people around the table. You can eyeball leveling quite easily - if you feel the party has earned a level, you can give them one, and if you're not sure, you can ask the players what they think. Another advantage is that you can plan quests to be level appropriate further in the future, since you can control when the characters level with much more ease.

Session based advancement is similar, except it awards levels on a per-session basis: "one level every two/three/four sessions" are fairly common schemes. You can also mix and match, for example awarding a level every two sessions with lots of action and tight spots, and every three sessions if the players have been less active or the sessions have been shorter.

Remember to let your players voice their concerns regarding leveling pace too, and try to match what they're expecting.

* while often referred to as "milestone leveling", milestones are actually a separate model between traditional XP and story-based leveling, also found on Dungeon Master's Guide Page 261.