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Could you explain AD&D levels in terms of narrative context and analogies?

Recently started playing BGEE and BG2EE. I've always been a role player and I would like to know what each level means in narrative context so I could better immerse myself with the game. Because I look at the game in RP perspectives, I am playing without adjusting the first attribute rolls I was given, on a core rule with no-reloads. I am aware many NPCs in the game are inflated in terms of levels, but it will still help my RPing greatly to have a notion of levels in AD&D.

I'm looking for something like this with warrior/wizard/rogue for AD&D, respectively:

It could be a lot to ask for, but I've not come across much on this topic in my research, and this thread can help those who are looking for the same topic. I would really appreciate as detailed explanations as possible for each level; I want to feel sense of accomplishment with each advancement. :)


  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Levels are a numerical representation of significant advances in understanding your class, your abilities, and your fighting prowess.

    Ever had this moment where you really thought you finally understood something after trying for a while? That would be a new level.

    Of course, it's inherently a gaming device. It's not directly born out of the narrative, though of course it can be integrated (in more ways than the above).

  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Too big an ask to attempt a detailed level-by-level account, but in summary ...

    Levels 1-2: has had basic training, but still an inexperienced beginner at the adventuring trade.

    Levels 3-6: has acquired some experience, a basic adventurer.

    Levels 7-12: has developed some more serious skills, starting to win respect among adventurers.

    Levels 13-20: has shown major talent, an expert adventurer with a serious reputation.

    Levels 20+: a demi-god.

    Obviously this is a rough-and-ready table, and might be adjusted somewhat by class, etc.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    The levels in the games are also quite a bit higher than usual in D&D. Casually strolling past lvl30, where most characters arrive at after literal CENTURIES, if even even at all. Lvl40 is unthinkably high, beyond most gods even.

    Some values to compare from D&D 2E:

    Elminster is a lvl29 Wizard
    Khelben is a lvl27 Wizard
    Artemis Entreri is a lvl11 Thief/lvl15 Fighter
    Drizzt is a lvl16 Ranger
    Fzoul Chembryl (leader of the Zhentarim; exarch of Bane) is a lvl15 Cleric
    Yvonnel Baenre (Matron Mother of House Baenre of Menzoberranzan) is a lvl 25 Cleric
    Waukeen (actual god) is a lvl22 Wizard/lvl 30 Cleric

    Really high levels are also usually achieved only after many, many years. You would literally have to be thousands of years old to get past lvl 25 or so for most classes, which is why Clerics so rarely do (they simply die too early; Yvonnel Baenre is technically undead) and Wizards only do so once they've become immortal or near-immortal by some means (being a Chosen, becoming a lich, etc.).

  • hisplshispls Member Posts: 166
    It's as simple as the old adage "How to you get to Carnegie Hall?"..... "practice, practice, practice.."

    As you use your skills you improve them, be it the ability to cast spells, or pick locks, or even how to better dodge enemy attacks (gaining HP). In 2nd ED D&D there were even titles that came with different levels of each class, which was kind of neat.

    Also, not to piss on your parade, but if you don't have pretty solid D&D knowledge AND a few playthroughs of BG games under your belt a no-reload game may not be much fun. There's a couple unlucky random encounters that can game-over you in an instant, and pretty much without some foreknowledge there will be some encounters for which you simply will not be prepared.

  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    Levels 1-3: An average person, maybe with a bit of training

    Levels 4-6: A veteran. Someone who has fought, bled, struggled, and survived.

    Levels 7-9: Champions. These are the kinds of people that the average person dreams about being.

    Levels 10-14: Hero/villain. Don't let Athlaka fool you, these types of people are exceedingly rare. They are at the peak of what is possible for a mortal to be.

    Levels 15-18: Superhuman.

    This is someone who has gone beyond what is normally possible to do. It is a fighter whose toughness and strength has approached the point where he has to have something magical about him for it to work. This is where a thief is so uncannily skilled that he can hide even in the outdoors, during the day, with relative ease. This is where a mage can start to really warp reality.

    Very few people have the innate ability to do this. Only the very rare and exceptional can reach these levels.

    Levels 19-24: Legends.

    Almost nobody reaches these dizzily high levels of power. To reach here is to literally be the stuff of legend.

    Levels 25-29: Deity's Chosen/Champion

    You don't reach this level without having something divine or infernal infusing you with power.

    Levels 30: Demigod

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