Do you or any of your players take awhile to level up? It’s a common occurrence around a table. When you level mid-session it can take longer than you’d like. In an effort to expedite this process, it can be handy to have a level up checklist ready for your players.
Level Up Checklist
- Increase your Maximum Health and Hit Die
- Check for Ability Score Improvement
- Check for Proficiency Improvement
- Check for new Class Abilities
- Check for Class Ability Improvements
- Update HP, Abilities, Skill, and Modifiers Based on Changes
- Add any new Spells to your Spell List
Leveling Up Process
Leveling up might have you looking in multiple places to see what improvements you get. The fastest way to find what you need is to look at your class’s table for level progression. Typically you will get all the information you need for a level in this one place, except for what spells you will pick. The table itself is compact so don’t forget the things it omits, like hit dice improvements.
In step 6 we see an update step. This is important for everyone. A very common mistake is for a player to go through the process of leveling up, but not apply things retroactively. When you increase an ability score, that modifier may effect multiple skills you already have. Increasing Constitution will improve your HP, so an update at a higher level might have a much larger effect and should not be forgotten.
Another area that can be overlooked when leveling is the improvement of spell damage, weapon damage, or class abilities from previous levels. Just because you already have the abilities doesn’t mean they won’t change over time.
Helping Newer Players
Be sure to lend a hand to new players when they are leveling. Often times players will have a lot of choices that can affect their character development and progression overall. It’s a very good idea to tell new players what their choices are and give them an idea of how those choices affect their character over the long run.
It’s okay to give recommendations on what they should pick, but the choice should still be theirs. If a player builds a “sub-optimal” character, that’s alright. If everyone built with the optimal mathematics in mind there would only be a handful of possible characters, so don’t tell players they have to level a certain way.
Books, SRD, and Other Resources
If your whole party levels up together you may find a single copy of the Player’s Handbook to be less than you need to keep things moving. When this happens mid session, make sure to have extra copies of critical leveling information available either digitally or as print outs from the SRD or Wizards. Typically a player will need to reference their class’s table a few times, so just having those as print-outs can make the whole process go a lot faster.
Be Available for Questions
As a DM you will likely get a ton of questions about rules. It’s doesn’t matter if you know them or not, it matters if you can help your player find the right information. On levels for Wizards I had previously gotten questions on when new spells can be learned. Do they have to visit a library or other wizards to learn the spell? These are questions that are left up to you as the DM to not only find relevant rules, but to interpret for your game.
I let some campaigns add spells mid-quest and others have to add them after training. It all depends on the campaign and how you want to interpret things, so make sure you don’t leave your players in the dark.
There are a number of digital tools that players can use to help level themselves up. D&D Beyond is an excellent resource for both players and DMs. They make it easy to keep track of character sheets and leveling up is taken care of mostly with a push of a single button.
Leveling Up Overview
Leveling up characters at the table doesn’t have to take a long time. Giving players checklists, providing resources, and helping them make decisions all go a long way to making the process faster and more enjoyable for everyone. As a DM you can help your players a lot when it comes to facilitating this process. May all your players make it to the next level.