What class-and-level system increases the breadth or variety of characters' abilities instead of the power (often in the form of bigger numbers) of their abilities? Such a system should have leveling up mean something other than gaining the ability to sustain more damage from foes and the ability to engage with the world using just bigger numbers.

For example, a system might have a fighter who at level 1 only swings a sword, but when he gains a level he can trip foes. His ability to swing a sword and trip his foes, however, remains static throughout his career.

The wider and weirder the variety the better. For example, a system in which a fighter who begins as a sword-swinging brute can take a level of wizard to cast spells then take a level of rogue to sneak around then take a level of cleric to blessed by the gods and so on is preferred over a system in which a fighter can only gain levels to get different methods of mundane fighting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan yes I'd prefer if it was classed based \$\endgroup\$ – George Bora Feb 8 '15 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are lots of such games and more every week. Can you in any way reduce the scope of this question to something smaller than "all class-and-level RPGs with lateral improvement"? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 8 '15 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Otherwise, we're just going to see this become an ever-growing list of pet RPGs, and it will be closed to prevent that.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 8 '15 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, please go more into the problem you are trying to solve; there are many very different games fitting this description. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Feb 8 '15 at 22:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I'm having trouble thinking of a game except Dungeon World that uses actual classes and actual levels yet advances exclusively horizontally, and DW is already an answer. After being open for 5 hours with 3 answers, this doesn't seem inundated by pet systems. I don't think we're talking here about World War II. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 8 '15 at 22:48

I would suggest the excellent Dungeon World where you gain new moves when you level up instead of getting numeric increases to your stats.

It keeps the flavor of the D&D worlds while taking a whole new perspective on roleplaying.

That perspective was actually introduced in Apocalypse World, which spawned a series of *World games

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks I'll look into moves and see if they're what I'm looking for, ideally a horizontal level up would be going from "I'm a great swordsman" to "I'm a great swordsman and a great captain of men". \$\endgroup\$ – George Bora Feb 8 '15 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you will like that it's possible to gain moves from other classes' playbooks. \$\endgroup\$ – edgerunner Feb 8 '15 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GeorgeBora Criteria like that could be added the the OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Feb 8 '15 at 19:54

Yes! (Eventually) D&D E6 is basically what you've described (after you hit level 6). Once you hit level 6 you no longer "level up," from then on every 5000XP the players get a new feat!

There are several sites with info, this link provides info on background of its "inception" & rules suggestions etc on what to do running this type of campign.


You can also search RP.SE for questions & Tags labeled e6 for more info and questions/answers that have come up about it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer but the growth via feats is not exactly what I'm thinking about, I would prefer a wider growth than for example getting a cleave feat. \$\endgroup\$ – George Bora Feb 8 '15 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GeorgeBora Perhaps try to make that clearer in your Question :) \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Feb 8 '15 at 21:53

I run a game using E6 Gestalt Pathfinder.

Once you hit level 6 you can buy new feats or level up other classes using gestalt rules. You don't get more raw power but you do gain flexibility.

Some more details can be found on the recruitment post for my thread:


(We're full, this isn't an advert!)

To sumarise:

  • level 6 character may purchase levels in an additional class, using the gestalt mechanics.

    • Levels in your second class cost twice the XP normally required. The first level costs 2.000 XP
  • A level 6/6 character may purchase levels in an additional class, using the gestalt (tristalt) mechanics.

    • Levels in your third class cost three times the XP normally required. The first level costs 3.000 XP
  • The same is true for a 6/6/6 character, and so on.

    • Each time the XP cost multiplier for the new class first level and subsequent ones increases by 1.
  • Unlike normal gestalt, you gain one ability score increase when a gestalt class reaches level 4.

You may not raise the same ability more than twice this way.

You do not gain additional feats or skills from gestalt levels, those must be purchased using the E6 system.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Generally an answer should include, or summarize, the information from a link. This is for posterity in case the link goes down or changes in the future. So as of this comment, this answer is actually incomplete. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Feb 8 '15 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ But having to use a search engine to expand on your answer means the information isn't here and defeats the purpose of even answering. Please consider adding the information and explaining the system so that the post offers a full answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Feb 8 '15 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. I don't want the comments to get too crowded, but I didn't downvote. I was just looking to improve the answer so it could be upvoted, but I didn't think it was at the point to warrant downvoting. I wish I had more insight, but you've already received my view on it. I won't be around to chat, but I hope they come back and offer their opinions for you. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Feb 9 '15 at 0:36

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