Following my thoughts in my previous entry, I realized a couple things. First of all, it sucks if you’re playing in a group and all your friends level up, but you don’t. I mean, really sucks. You can tell how much it grates on some people to simply be a level behind when you face all the same challenges. Being stuck even more than a level behind is that much worse, let me tell you.

So if there’s to be a system in place to “block” level advancement until the character can prove they’re “learned something,” then it has to be pretty straightforward, ’cause they’ll wind up doing it something like thirty times, it has to be intuitive, and it should allow for frequent retries, even if such a thing seems illogical under the given circumstances. Because adventuring and slaying monsters is pretty illogical, too.

Here are my preliminary thoughts on the subject:

1.) You don’t gain experience from the “Application” challenge, but you keep any gained in the interim, and extra experience “rolls over” to count toward your next level. Your level advancement may slow down, but your experience gain remains the same.

Edit: There’s no reason to think advancing one’s understanding shouldn’t be worth experience. To compound this, there’s certainly no reason to think a requirement like having enough experience to advance should prevent a character from trying.

In the event that a character is trying to “fast track” level advancement, I would suggest not permitting more than one attempt per week, at least until they have enough experience to advance. Then, it’ll take two attempts (a little over a week).

2.) You can only gain one level per application, no matter how much more experience you have than what you need to advance to the next level.

3.) Your first attempt costs nothing and occurs only at the start of a new week. Each retry costs one point of stamina. So long as you succeed before the end of the week, you can then try for your next level assuming you have enough experience.

4.) In terms of difficulty, the Challenge should be an “average” one of the level you’re trying to attain, and it should feature the skill that’s central to your character or class’s theme. (Nature or Dungeoneering for rangers, Stealth or Thievery for rogues, etc.)

5.) In terms of complexity, review boards tend to have at least three panelists, so a complexity of three is probably just about right (8 successes before 3 failures).

6.) While I still recommend a creative rather than destructive kind of Challenge, this is more difficult for martial- and other combat-oriented characters. Therefore, attack rolls (like an archery contest) can probably be incorporated into the Challenge. I guess.

Because advancement is pretty much like any other Challenge, granting experience whether you pass or fail (unless you do really, really poorly and can’t get the minimum number of successes for experience) the only real restriction imposed on the player is “one level per week.” They advance their level as soon as they pass their test, even if they only gain the experience necessary to advance as a direct result of said test.