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Steep XP curve

There’s a lot to say against having character levels in the first place, about the benefits of making the world “flatter” like Zelda or Mario. Explore the setting and its challenges more freely. VVVVVV also does this really well.

If you must have levels and character improvement—and one huge reason to do so is that it takes some of the whole “challenge rating matching” responsibility out of the DM’s hands, the party instead pushing their own luck—the traditional steep xp curve is a great tool.

I really value very steep XP and rewards curves for three reasons:

  1. It lets lower-leveled party members catch up
  2. It lets people who take on challenging areas a little over their heads get leveled up to match
  3. It prevents people who are overly grinding easy areas to get over-leveled

Now, we don’t want this 2&3 effect too much. It’s valuable that people can adjust their own difficulty, balance, and push-your-luck tempo. We want it just enough.