Does there exist a table for any edition of D&D giving a suggestion of a PC's role within a setting based upon their character level? I mean role in terms of notoriety, level of direct and indirect influence, wealth, responsibility.

I'm interested in a table like the following:

Level a - b: The character has little to their name, and said name isn't worth much. They have no experience and few allies or enemies in the world. In combat they are somewhat inexperienced.

Level c - d: The character is vaguely notorious, rumours both true and false may precede them as they travel. They are experienced in the use of their chosen weapon and have begun to make useful allies.

Level e - f: The character is feared or respected wherever they go. They have formidable physical, magical or political influence at their disposal and threat of their ire is enough to cause others to give pause. Their allies, and enemies, are numerous. Their actions will affect many.

Level g - h: The character's word is law. Kingdoms rise and fall on their word. Very few physical challenges remain in the world for them. They are in a position of great authority - if they choose to accept it, or seize it.

Level i - j: The character's word is physical law. The suns rise and fall on their word. Their name is known to all, and is used as a blessing or curse.

What would such a table be called and where could I find one? If there exist differing interpretations amongst the editions, that would be very interesting to see.

I understand this concept is related to tiers of play (heroic, super heroic, epic, etc.), but I would like an understanding of how the level can indicate a character's typical 'status' to help roleplay (and eventually devise) appropriate adventures.

  • I'd like to clarify I've not played any edition myself. I'm familiarising myself with the settings and systems before jumping in, and also this would help me visualise and understand other questions on RPG SE as a whole. – Spectator Jul 26 '17 at 1:48
  • 14
    The different editions of D&D are thematically similar, but are very different games. Of course, [my favorite edition] is best, but even if you settle for one of the lesser editions, you'll still be best served by focusing on one at a time. – fectin Jul 26 '17 at 1:54
  • 1
    @fectin an overview's what's being asked for, and that's fine, I think. – the dark wanderer Jul 26 '17 at 2:26
  • 4
    @fectin i'm glad that you recognize that [my favorite edition] is indeed the best. – Mindwin Jul 26 '17 at 2:39
  • 1
    The different editions are just too different to do this "agnostically." It would be a very long answer. – Tim Grant Jul 26 '17 at 2:48
up vote 19 down vote accepted

This is a summary of the section "Tiers of Play" in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Player's Handbook, page 15:

Levels 1-4: Characters are apprentice adventurers learning the features of their class that will define them in later levels. Generally fight minor threats that pose a danger to local farmsteads or villages.

Levels 5-10: Characters come into their own. Many spellcasters gain access to a new tier of spell power. Other classes gain the ability to attack multiple times in one action. These characters have become important, facing threats to cities or entire kingdoms.

Levels 11-16: Characters have reached a power level that places them well above the average populace. Martial characters attack more frequently or impressively. Spellcasters gain access to spells that create otherwise impossible phenomena. These mighty adventurers face threats to whole regions or continents.

Levels 17-20: Characters achieve the pinnacle of their power becoming heroic or villainous archetypes in their own right. Their actions have consequences felt all around the world. Even the balance of the multiverse may hang in the balance during their quests.

The fact that adventurers stave off enemies that threaten communities of particular sizes means they are probably famous in a comparable area once they have become suitably successful. For example, a 17th level fighter is probably very famous in their home kingdom and their neighbours may have heard of their battlefield prowess, but until they have defeated an invading army of demons that threatened to destroy the entire continent, someone on the other side of the world probably doesn't know who they are.

  • 1
    Note that conversion guide tells us to treat character level from previous editions as equivalent of 5e level (with exception for 4e, they get only 2/3 afair), so this should be usable also for judging fame of characters from older editions. Not perfect, no, but decent estimate. – Mołot Jul 26 '17 at 7:19
  • I've accepted this answer for now for the quote - thanks to all contributors for your help. – Spectator Jul 26 '17 at 11:54
  • @molot Wait, a 4e level 21 demigod becomes a level 14 5e character? – Yakk Jul 26 '17 at 14:25

Early D&D games (and as a consequence, retroclones) do, in fact, have such a system. Characters at some point reach 'name-level', where they shift from individual adventures to attracting followers and developing a stronghold. This general system is present through AD&D 2.0, but was replaced in 3.x with the (incredibly broken) Leadership feat and a note in the Legend Lore spell that characters of at least 10th level are notable by definition. The system is completely absent in 4e and 5e, as far as I can tell, and the breakdowns vary not only by system but also by class (for example, high-level fighters typically get more followers and a city-like stronghold whereas high-level magic-users get many fewer followers and a tower.

  • 1
    Thank you, that's exactly the kind of information I'm interested in. Though I didn't expect levels to match up exactly (as you say, classes differ and so on). As somebody whose tabletop is experience is limited, all these concepts, sources and discussions are a great help for me to mentally distinguish between a computer-gamey 'massive numbers' level system that increases without limit to a more broadly discretely marked system like D&D where two levels will alter how one proceeds in combat and elsewhere. – Spectator Jul 26 '17 at 2:33
  • @Spectator I'm glad that you found the answer helpful! You might also be interested in this question, as an overview of what different editions exist. – the dark wanderer Jul 26 '17 at 3:04

YES, there is at least one edition of D&D that has one or more tables detailing this kind of information. In fact, I can confirm three editions (3.5, 4, and 5) have both tables and prose covering this. However, since the question asks for existence, I'll only detail 5th edtion (currently the latest one).


For starters, in the Player's Handbook (PHB), on page 15, there is a section called Tiers of Play. As applies to your interests, this breaks down the levels 1-20 by the stakes.

  • 1-4 local farmsteads and villages
  • 5-10 cities and kingdoms
  • 11-16 regions and continents
  • 17-20 the world or the multiverse

Other information in the PHB can also imply things about a character. For example, high level spellcasters who know the spell Wish can literally change reality at a whim. Even with only stories and rumor, you might want to be respectful of the guy in funny robes. A cleric, on the other hand, has a very close relationship to a literal deity, also not to be trifled with. Any class past 4th level at least has the option to do reality-defying (or reality-defining) things, such as spouting fire from your empty hands. This can either be a natural part of the class, or as a feat.

The PHB also has some useful comparison lists and tables in the Equipment chapter, such as the Lifestyle Expenses table. This should give you a good idea (combined with the treasure tables in the DMG) of how well off adventurers can be. That stash of 300 gold pieces your rogue "found" can make him literally treated like a king for a month. Compare that with the measly 2 silver pieces per day earned by an unskilled worker. Anyone throwing around stacks of gold coins will certainly be noticed by the local nobility in pretty short order.


The Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG) also features helpful information for you in the form of the Starting Equipment table on page 38. This uses the same tiers as in the PHB, and gives both liquid wealth and magic item counts. The 20,000 base gold pieces in the highest tier are themselves pretty impressive, but they also come with nearly invaluable magic items.

The DMG also comes with a number of things you can do with your wealth. In particular, check out Chapter 6: Between Adventures. Among the gems found here are a table on page 127 called Maintenance Costs, detailing the cost of ownership of things like a Noble Estate (10gp/day) and a large castle (400gp/day).

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.