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In editions of Dungeons & Dragons up to and including AD&D 2E, each class has its own progression rate, so that at 3,000 XP you could have a level 2 fighter, or a level 3 thief. In 3E, 4E, and 5E, there is a single rate of progression for every class. In 3E, 3,000 XP is always 3rd level.

Presumably, this is because XP cost differences were used to stagger progression and normalize power levels when classes did not have equivalent power at equivalent levels. If so, then it follows that between 2E and 3E there is some set of changes designed to normalize the relative power of each class so that an equal rate of level progression leads to an equal rate of power progression.

  1. Is this at least roughly true, or do I misapprehend the situation?
  2. What changes, more or less, are supposed to have brought the classes' power levels in line?
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I believe the only answer is "1. they tried, 2. every part of the game." Are you looking for something other than that? –  SevenSidedDie Aug 2 at 0:24
    
Should this be rephrased to ask why classes had different advancement rates in editions prior to 3rd? –  Hey I Can Chan Aug 2 at 0:38

1 Answer 1

  1. You are correct
  2. Lots - mainly trying to somewhat reconcile both power utility and rate of gain across classes

Though 3e classes do diverge in power (see What are "tiers", and what tier is each class?), the goal was for them not to - this flows into the "unlimited multiclassing" 3e provided as well, where you could take a level of any class and therefore they needed to be of about the same value.

So for many classes they tried to make progression in abilities more normalized (feat progression, BAB/save progression), tried to spread out powers over levels more completely, and tried to make those powers less deviant in utility.

Then they kept that afterwards in 4e and 5e because it seems more like wasted complexity to have different charts - in fact, many people don't even use XP at all any more, it's so 1970s/accounting. Having normalized XP means that you don't have to know "well I will make the fighter level 8 and the rogue level 9 so they're all equal..."

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