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88 votes
Accepted

Mechanically speaking, why does level 1 seem so different from level 2?

Welcome to Rusty Dagger Shanktown! What you have noticed is very widely commented upon—1st level is often called “rusty dagger shanktown.” It’s hyper-lethal, rather than the kind of heroic fantasy ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 355k
70 votes

Can I defer levelling up after reaching the XP threshold?

This is a bit of an XY Problem. The title of the question is 'can I defer leveling up?' but the actual problem is expressed in the second sentence: I'm not yet ready to pick what archetype would fit ...
Kirt's user avatar
  • 54.9k
60 votes

My players want to grind XP but we're using milestone advancement

Let me summarize: You have a group that prefers Milestone XP, but isn't interested in creating any new stories. And you don't seem interested in making a story of your own unrelated to the characters. ...
3C273's user avatar
  • 3,499
58 votes
Accepted

Is leveling up mandatory?

You can't refuse to level up... From the Players Handbook, "Experience and levels" p 58: Advancing a Level: When your character’s XP total reaches at least the minimum XP needed for a new ...
Nyakouai's user avatar
  • 4,801
52 votes

Are there any rules on how characters go from 0th to 1st level in a class?

There is no 0th level D&D 5e expects players to start at level 1. NPCs don't have player class levels, so there's never such a thing as a 0th level character. A NPC fighter doesn't actually have ...
Theik's user avatar
  • 36.5k
50 votes
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How does a character know when she's leveled up?

Character levels are an abstraction of continuous growth The characters themselves know that they are getting stronger, but they don't experience discrete jumps in power within the game. Instead, ...
Icyfire's user avatar
  • 63.7k
46 votes
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Are racial stat bonuses every level or just once at creation?

Racial ability score adjustments are only added once at character creation. The Player's Handbook is explicit about how ability scores improve. The ability score improvement class feature says: ...
indigochild's user avatar
  • 19.5k
45 votes
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What are the consequences of giving an ASI or feat every 4 character levels instead of every 4 class levels?

It tips balance towards multiclassing Delaying the ASI or feat bonus is one of the detriments of multiclassing. It balances out the benefits of multiclassing. Giving ASI or feat for every 4 total ...
GcL's user avatar
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45 votes
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Does a Wizard copying a spell count as one of their two new spells for a level?

Copied spells and the two free spells are separate Note the full wording1 of the Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher section (emphasis mine): Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two ...
Sdjz's user avatar
  • 36.5k
42 votes

Are Constitution changes retroactive when calculating max HP?

CON changes apply retroactively, so it doesn't matter when you increase it. PHB 177: If your Constitution modifier changes, your hit point maximum changes as well, as though you had the new ...
Icyfire's user avatar
  • 63.7k
42 votes
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Can you roll for HP at levelup in Adventurers League?

I found it, page 5 of version 7.0 of the AL players guide. When you gain a level, use the fixed hit point value in your class entry. You can’t roll your hit points. Missed that but easily fixed.
Steve Bauer's user avatar
  • 1,359
37 votes

My players want to grind XP but we're using milestone advancement

Why do they think they need to be stronger to complete a plot point? This is based on your comment: ... their goal is specifically to get stronger to go back and complete a plot point. They don't ...
NathanS's user avatar
  • 79.3k
33 votes
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What character growth happens beyond level 20?

The 20th level is the highest you can achieve. Per the Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 38 ("Levels 17-20: Masters of the World"): Characters who reach 20th level have attained the pinnacle of ...
Momonga-sama's user avatar
  • 9,973
31 votes
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How can a GM subtly guide characters into making campaign-specific character choices?

Don’t be subtle My preferred approach: “This is me, the DM. I see you have an empty language and favoured enemy slot. Word to the wise: giants.” The advantage of this is that it has about a 55% of ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
30 votes
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Do you improve your ability score at every level?

No: you do not gain an Ability Score Improvement at each level. I know there's something called Ability Score Improvement, and I think that means you get to improve 2 ability scores by 1 (or you ...
Reibello's user avatar
  • 4,158
30 votes

Can I increase my intelligence from a Headband Of Intellect?

No, your Intelligence score will still be 19 This is fairly well summed up in the second sentence of the quote, "It has no effect on you if your Intelligence is already 19 or higher without it." ...
gul's user avatar
  • 838
29 votes

Can anybody give me a simple guide to leveling up a character?

First, you gain hit dice (and a corresponding increase in maximum hit points). This is described for each class briefly under Class Features, and explained on page 15 of the PHB (or here in the free ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 30k
29 votes

Can I increase my intelligence from a Headband Of Intellect?

You increase your Intelligence score from the unmodified stat. Confirmed by Jeremy Crawford: Ability score increase only affect values on the character sheet. Headband of Intellect has no effect on ...
Vylix's user avatar
  • 33k
29 votes
Accepted

Can a wizard delay learning new spells from leveling up, and instead learn different spells later?

Spells are learned upon level up From the wizard class features: Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your ...
Sdjz's user avatar
  • 36.5k
28 votes
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Does the Martial Adept superiority dice scale up alongside the Battle Master fighter's superiority dice if you acquire the subclass after the feat?

This was errata'd in 2016 to read... Martial Adept (p. 168). The superiority die is added to any others you have, no matter when you gain them. It was pretty black-and-white (or black-and-yellow, ...
T.J.L.'s user avatar
  • 48.8k
28 votes

Making it more convenient for new players to pick spells in 5e

The power to wield spells comes with a little more investment into the game If he wants to understand his options and make informed choices himself, he must slog through the new and unfamiliar spells ...
daze413's user avatar
  • 28.7k
28 votes
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What is the effect of the Feeblemind spell on Ability Score Improvements?

The DM shouldn't do this RAW seems to allow your interpretation. However, this is not how it's intended to work ASIs are class features, same as a Rogue's Sneak Attack or a Barbarian's Rage. There is ...
Pierre Cathé's user avatar
27 votes

What happens to the old spell when a ranger replaces it?

The ranger can no longer cast replaced spells. Rangers don't prepare specific spells from a larger set of known spells in the same way that some other classes do. Instead, like bards, they can always ...
Marq's user avatar
  • 27.4k
27 votes

My players want to grind XP but we're using milestone advancement

There is a simple solution for this: Yup. Old-school MMO quest givers. Hear me out. Your players want both to grind and to level up at landmarks. They want you to simultaneously pace their leveling ...
T. Sar's user avatar
  • 16.3k
27 votes
Accepted

Can I defer levelling up after reaching the XP threshold?

Rules-as-written, you level up right away. The PHB states: As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges, he or she gains experience, represented by experience points. A character who ...
PixelMaster's user avatar
  • 26.2k
26 votes
Accepted

Can I have net negative maximum HP per level with a negative CON modifier?

As of the 10th printing, the minimum gained is 1 hit point. The 10th printing (based on the errata published in November 2018) now indicates that the minimum gained at level up is 1 hit point. See ...
Bloodcinder's user avatar
  • 30.2k
26 votes

Is there a mathematical formula to determine how much XP is needed per level?

No, there is no simple formula for level-by-level XP requirements. WOTC has stated that the advancement rate is not constant across all levels. Rather, according to Unearthed Arcana: Three-Pillar ...
screamline's user avatar
  • 9,100
26 votes

If I have a maxed-out stat, can I take a half-ASI feat?

Yes, you can take the feat The feat's first bullet point is: Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20. If your character's Charisma is already 20, then the feat will not increase it ...
Greenstone Walker's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

If a feature gives proficiency in a skill you are proficient with, can you always choose any skill to replace that proficiency?

The quoted text applies only to backgrounds That text is found in chapter 4: Personality and Background which tells us right from the start that the rules found here most likely only apply to ...
Exempt-Medic's user avatar
  • 76.6k
25 votes

Is leveling up mandatory?

Sort of. Leveling up is not strictly mandatory. See e.g. the description of XP costs under spell components. I've also seen a similar caveat for item crafting, but couldn't find it quickly. ...
fectin's user avatar
  • 14k

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