In a previous post, I described a method for placing treasure in BX games. It has several input parameters where the best value to use are not obvious.
First, we have desired-hours-per-level. This is a very subjective value, since it represents individual GM’s desires, but to publish adventures I need something that represents a typical desire.
I’ve trawled over sources in blogs and comments about my article, and I’ve come up with a default value of 14 hours per level. That’s derived from “four sessions of 3-4 hours each”.
(A related question is “how should this vary, if at all, across the levels”? I’ve ignored this for now, assuming that people want all levels to be of the same length.)
Now, I didn’t actually find many BX (or even clearly-OSR) sources. Not many people think in terms of hours-per-level, and when people say “sessions” they often don’t even hint at the length. So I’ve branched out a bit, into modern D&D sources too. And when session length is unspecified, I’ve assumed 3-4 hours of real playing time.
- BX Blackrazor –
- “Moldvay’s own rules suggest three to four adventures (and “adventure” is defined as “single game session” in the Moldvay rules) to advance in level.” http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2010/11/bx-d-flaw-of-design_12.html?m=1 (though note the comments suggesting that Moldvay may have meant that for 1st –> 2nd only)
- “three years to reach Name level is waaay outside of my “acceptable limits” for advancement. Three years to get to the additional content? That’s just crazy.” … “I think he stocks his adventure with the proper amount of treasure … 5 to 6 levels per year” i.e. about 52/6 = 8 sessions per level (assumed session length specified)
- “I know I use the Moldvay standard myself…3 to 4 sessions to level” http://cyclopeatron.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-do-i-fix-slow-leveling.html?showComment=1279071539717#c1112891775085295858
- Cyclopeatron –
- “ideally, I’d like to aim for the optimal-fun target of leveling up every four sessions or so.” (their sessions are ~4 hours) http://cyclopeatron.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-do-i-fix-slow-leveling.html
- Poster on private group –
- Play twice a month for 3.5 hours, want them to level every month to keep them engaged, –> 7 hours/level (probably would double that if playing weekly)
Modern (or mixed) sources:
- 3e D&D rulebook – 4 sessions
- ENworld poll in their “everything but 5e and Pathfinder” forum (though, confusingly, someone later moved it to the Pathfinder one) –
- 35% ~15 hours, 25% 10 hours, 18% >20 hours, 4% less than 10 hours – https://www.enworld.org/threads/how-often-should-pcs-level-up.484883/
Question for readers – what do you think of this value? Would you like a published BX adventure to come calibrated to this?