Zak S had a post recently titled "You're A Swashbuckler Now, Act Like It" in which he reminded me (and, I'm sure, others) that a character level in some versions and clones of the game correspond to actual ranks or titles in-game. His example includes the following ranks, corresponding to levels 1-5 for the fighter class respectively: Veteran Warrior Swordsman Hero Swashbuckler
I know I've read this in at least one OSR clone previously, but I didn't pay heed to it much then. Now I feel like I should read through it again and see what inspiration I can take away from it. I can't for the life of me remember which clone(s) I've read it in, however
Any tips on that front? And while you're at it, would you like to tell me if/how you use this in your games? How can this be used to make the game a better/funnier experience?
Dave Arneson used level titles mostly for his own benefit when he was keying his dungeons. Rather than writing down "fighting man, level 4" he could just use the note "hero" and know what it meant.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
Post by scottenkainen on Oct 5, 2013 9:00:04 GMT -6
Some level titles are more useful than others. Clerics, for example, have an implied hierarchical organization they belong to and their level titles give you some idea of what the PCs' duties should entail between adventures.
Dungeons and Dragons was designed as an expansion for Chainmail.Chainmail had the following figures before the publication of D&D: Hero, Superhero, Wizard. The Hero is worth four men and the Superhero is worth eight men.
Heroes and Superheroes are made, not born, so they must have climbed their way to the top. Since D&D was about the adventuring careers of these figures and how they achieve their statuses, it made sense to create figures having the strength of a normal man, two men, and three men, and then you were a Hero. These figures were also given names that (subjectively) seemed appropriate to their strength: Veteran, Warrior, Swordsman. And once you have a whole table of these names, all the way up to Lord, you can call them "levels." The names came first, not the level numbers.
If you could do this with the fighting-men, why not the magic-users? And when clerics were added, why not them? They followed the same pattern, though they had fewer original examples to follow.
These names aren't mean to be used in character; they are the names of your figures. It's not that a 4th level fighting-man is called a Hero; a Hero is the fourth level of ability in the progression known as fighting-man.