Rampant Games - How Fast Should Characters Level Up?
How Fast Should Characters Level Up, asks Jay Barnson:
Back in the (somewhat) earlier dice & paper RPG days, one of the key differences between skill-based RPG systems and class/level based systems (which have now married and have had lots of hybrid babies) was the pace of character progression. In a skill-based system, you typically gained abilities, or points to spend on abilities, after every session / adventure. In the case of point-buy systems, you could often spend the points immediately on small gains, or save them up for more impressive abilities.
Class / Level based systems – of which Dungeons & Dragons was the role-model – were generally slower, with intermediate gains usually in the form of improved equipment. But then you got all of your gains as one package of bonuses, which felt great. In skill-based systems, the incremental improvements were not as noticeable, but suddenly being able to cast 3rd level spells in D&D was huge – on top of extra hit points, better chances of hitting, better saving throws, and more spells overall. Instead of a constant slope, you had a staircase, where each step felt like a significant increase. Unless you were playing a fighter, I guess…