Sunday, August 30, 2015

Level Titles and Tiers of Play

A staple of early editions of Dungeons & Dragon was level titles:  Terms that could be used by characters in-game to identify each other by level without breaking the mood.  Level titles fell out of favor, however--but were later "replaced" by the concept of "tiers of play" in 4th & 5th editions.

Tiers of play are groupings of levels that identify the overall power and influence of an adventurer or party.  In the current edition of the game, the tiers are divided as:  Levels 1 - 4, levels 5 - 10, levels 11 - 16, and levels 17 - 20.  Unlike 4th edition, these tiers do not have names, but are simply identified as "FirstTier," Second Tier," etc.

The text of the Player's Handbook identifies the First Tier as "apprentice" and implies the Second Tier could be understood as "Master"  ("characters come into their own").  Building from these, Third Tier is "Grand Master," and Fourth Tier is "Paragon."
5th level as the beginning of Master tier supports my theory (introduced in this post) that "Name Level" since 3rd edition has been 5th level.

I wonder if, using Tier, it would be possible to return to the idea of level titles--using unique names for each tier and class type.  For example:

  • Experts (Bards & Rogues)
    • First Tier:  Knave
    • Second Tier:  Virtuoso
    • Third Tier:  Magnate
    • Fourth Tier:  Exemplar
  • Mages (Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards) [also Artificers]
    • First Tier:  Adept
    • Second Tier:  Magister
    • Third Tier:  Doyen(ne)
    • Fourth Tier:  Archimage
  • Priests (Clerics & Druids) [also Mystics]
    • First Tier:  Novice
    • Second Tier:  Initiate
    • Third Tier:  Elder
    • Fourth Tier:  Saint
  • Warriors (Barbarians, Fighters, Monks, Paladins, Rangers)
    • First Tier:  Scout
    • Second Tier:  Veteran
    • Third Tier:  Victor
    • Fourth Tier:  Hero
Since a multi-classed character's tier is based on total level, then such would bear all the titles of all his classes.  For example:  a 7th level Thief is a Virtuoso and a 7th-level fighter is a Veteran; while a 3rd-level thief / 4th level fighter would be a Virtuoso-Veteran (or Veteran-Virtuoso) [not a Knave-Scout].

Edited March 22, 2018.

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