-------------------------------------------------------------------------------This item incorporates or is based on or derived from copyrighted material of TSR, Inc.

and may contain trademarks of TSR. The author intends no plaigarism or infringment of copyright and willfully attributes any and all copyrighted material in this work to their respective authors. In no way does the author take responsbility for the misuse of this document but does retain all rights to the original content thereof. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------*BEST VIEWED WITH A FIXED FONT* :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: --- P. A. D. & D. --PLATEAU AD&D: A LEVELLESS CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT SYSTEM :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Created on 12 February 1997 By XENO (mlsheltn@cc.memphis.edu)

>> INTRODUCTION The title is self - explanatory. A system without Levels? Is it possible? Maybe. At least I think so. While it does require more dice rolls of the player than usual, it also has the curious characteristic of improving his training at what he does the most. This characteristic, while not immediately evident, can be seen as this system is explained further. On the whole, the Plateau system does not greatly increase the complexity of the AD&D game. Merely doing away with Levelling does change the fundamentals of the game, which is the reason for calling it "PAD&D". The word "plateau" is of course suggestive of the nature of this particular version of AD&D, resembling an unvaryingly level plain, as opposed to the dominance of Level comparison with characters and creatures in "normal" AD&D (hereafter referred to as "NAD&D") Remember that this system does not in any way suggest that characters run under PAD&D do not and cannot improve themselves or acquire skills and other abilities. Quite the contrary, it merely offers another means of improvement. INDIVIDUAL SKILL ADVANCEMENT. The primary addition to the established modus operandi is the idea that a character can exist at different "Levels" of development where THAC0, HD, spellcasting, rogue skills, proficiencies, et al., are concerned. A character can be 5th level in THAC0, 4th level in saving throws, 2nd level in weapon proficiencies, and 6th level in HD. This system has been designed so that progression of these various aspects of the PC's training and advancement is related to the amount of time each activity or aspect is used. PAD&D alleviates the common problems of (1) how much XP to award for defeating monsters (2) how much XP to award for successful use of class abilities. In fact, the "experience points" method does not exist in PAD&D. Instead of awarding XP for monsters, ability use, and good role-playing, the DM can award a certain number of automatic power score rolls to the players which they can then distribute among the various statistics of their character towards advancement. The end result is the same: get enough XP, and one goes up in level / get enough power score rolls, and one goes up in level. It allows for customization that is UNPRECEDENTED in the game. A few examples of this are:

1. Fighter a. Hits very well -- is 12th level in THAC0, or a THAC0 of 8. b. Has weak HP -- only 6th level, or 33 HP average (perhaps he has a high DEX or very good armor). c. Has three levels of weapon proficiencies, thus having five slots (Two devoted to longsword and three to two - hand sword). d. Has no desire to learn namby-pamby nonweapon skills (has 3 slots) (thus cares only to learn blind-fighting and running). 2. Priest a. Has concentrated all his effort to exercising his nonweapon skills, managing to gain 9 levels thereby (thus he knows seven different nonweapon proficiencies). b. Has not done much spellcasting, thus he remains at 4th level in terms of spells he can cast and how many spells he can memorize. c. He does not fight, and has only learned to fight with a dagger (and has one weapon slot free). If a character uses all his abilities with equal frequency, they will all develop at fairly even rates. If he focuses on one ability to the exclusion of all others, he will become very good at it. If it seems that this system will permit players to level much too quickly compared to NAD&D, note that many rolls are required for just one ability, as compared to all abilities levelling at the same under NAD&D. Also, simply raise the number of power rolls to advance. LEVELLING. The system consists of awarding levels in a certain class ability or skill when the "power score" is rolled (hitting the number required on the nose, such as rolling a 12 when one's THAC0 is 12, or rolling a 10 when making an INT check against an INT of 10, and so forth). The chief means of advancing the level of any ability is by rolling the relevant score thereof. In Psionics, this is called the "power score"; when attacking it would be rolling the THAC0 exactly. In this guide, all such rolls will be referred to as the Power Score regardless of class or ability. HOW MANY POWER ROLLS DOES IT TAKE? There are very few abilities of any class which will require only a Power Roll to advance its level. For the most of the rest of them, more than one Power Score roll is required before the level of the ability can be raised. This number will be referred to Rolls to Advance a Level, or RAL. Once the RAL number of Power Scores have been accumulated for that ability, it is advanced one level. Some abilities require a fraction of the standard RAL, depending on which optional rules are used for those abilities. Others require a multiple of the standard RAL. This should be adhered to, since there is good reason to have some abilities operate this way, so that all abilities, if used with the same frequency, will advance at the same approximate rate. If the fractions and multiples assigned to abilities do not work well, feel free to "tweak" them as needed. If one should find a fraction or multiple different from the one suggested, and it works quite well, please notify me so I can include it in future editions of this guide. LEVEL CHECKS. Many abilities require a level check. If it is so mentioned, the character needs to roll ABOVE his level for success. At 1st level, the only thing to prevent success is rolling a 1. At 2nd level, one needs to hit a 3 or more, and so on. When one reaches 20th level and wants to get to 21st, he will need to roll a 20 for advancement. At 21st, he will need to roll a 20 for his level check IN

ADDITION TO a second roll at level-20; at 25 he needs to roll a 20 plus a second roll above 5 on another d20. In this way a character can go beyond 20th if he desires. Should there ever be a desire to get to 42nd, he needs to make two 20s plus roll 2+ on a third d20, and so on. Also, the idea of rolling HIGHER than the current level, with every successive level "squeezing" the window for future advancement, is representative of the fact that the higher the level one progresses, the harder it is to progress to the next level. A quick reference to the vast amounts of XP needed to reach the higher levels under NAD&D is what this kind of level check takes into account. If it seems that a character is progressing too rapidly or too slowly, try adding a modifier to the level. For example, require a level check as level + 3 or level - 2, or even use a multiple or fraction of the level if progression has become much too rapid or much too sluggish; i.e., level checks being at lexelx2 or at 1/2 level. At the most the DM can require a levelx3 -- but to reach 7th or 8th level, one would need roll a 20 first for a level check, then roll to score over the remainder (7 x 3 = 21, then 21-20 = 1, 1+1 = 2, or the minimum score to advance; 8 x 3 = 24, then 24-20 = 4, 4+1 = 5, or the minimum score to advance). REGULATION OF SKILL IMPROVEMENT. It is suggested that a RAL of 10 be an experimental number to work with, but a DM can choose any number he sees fit. This he can do to balance the amount of luck his players may be having with accumulating Power Scores, with his players' desires for character development. A good DM should be able to strike an even balance between the two. Because this method is still experimental, no real precedent has been established concerning the best rate of advancement. If one desires a standard of comparison between RAL and XP is this: the fewer the Power Scores needed for levelling, the more the XP awarded. Lastly, the scope of the campaign should be a great factor in setting a good RAL for a campaign. Is the campaign drawn out over hours, days, weeks, months, years? The DM needs to keep this in mind when setting the RAL. What is vital to remember about this system (and probably the only moderately tedious thing about it) is that a separate level must be maintained for THAC0 and the other abilities that are altered in PAD&D.

>> CHARACTERS HAVING MORE THAN ONE CLASS I would have preferred not to hash out any protocols for Multi - Class (MC) characters or Dual - Class (DC) characters, but I did it so this guide could be as complete as possible. If someone can devise a way of dealing with such characters in a better way, such suggestions would be welcome. It is possible, though unwieldy, to run DC or MC characters in PAD&D. MULTI - CLASS CHARACTERS. Multi - class characters take the best THAC0 and Saving Throws of any of their classes at their current level, but the number of Power Rolls required for these abilities is multiplied by the total number of their classes (fighter / thief needs 2xRAL to advance THAC0; fighter / mage / thief needs 3xRAL to advance Saving Throws). Hit Dice need the same multiple of RAL, but the CON bonus received increases by 1/RAL each time a new Power Score is acquired. In NAD&D, the player takes an average number of HP for his particular combination of classes, with each class advancing in level at different times. In PAD&D, all the classes progress at the same time for each character -- when HD is raised one level, roll a HD for each class and average the result.

DUAL - CLASS CHARACTERS. For characters who start in one class and switch to another, the procedure does not change much from NAD&D to PAD&D. His level in HD does not change, nor does his current total in hit points; he retains his proficiencies as well. His THAC0 restarts at 1st and his Saving Throws restart at 1st. He can only gain Power Scores or rise in level in his new abilities, but not those abilities which do not carry over to the new class -- he abandoned progression in those when he became Dual Classed. He cannot gain any additional HD or hit points until he has fully become Dual - Classed (see following paragraph), but this would matter little to a character who might just as soon raise his THAC0 as quickly as possible anyway to rid himself of this temporary disadvantage. When he has restored his THAC0, Saving Throws, to the prior levels they were at when he was still training in his former class, he now will have free access to the powers and abilities of both classes.

>> COMBAT THAC0 ADVANCEMENT. The overall system that may be used, with critical hits, fumbles, double or triple damage, or being able to make a second attack, etc., is not changed. Rolling 20s and rolling 1s are treated as whatever is normal for one's particular gaming group. Whenever a character matches his THAC0 when he is rolling to attack (or Power Score), a level check is needed to add that Power Score towards advancing his THAC0. When enough Power Scores have been accumulated, his THAC0 level is advanced by one. Depending on the character's class, this may or may not actually change the To - Hit - Armor - Class - Zero number, but even if it doesn't, he will still be one step closer towards decreasing that value. The more often any character rolls to hit, the more chances he has to improve his attacking skill. The advancement of THAC0 represents the development of the skills of weapon handling or reloading. HIT POINTS. Hit point advancement is a little harder to conceptualize in this system, but devising an adequate PAD&D development of HD and HP was nonetheless achievable. In my opinion, Hit Dice do not represent the physical mass of the creature, nor is it the concept of "body points" or somesuch. It is more of a stamina - type measurement, or the amount of blood or adrenaline running through the system. With two fighters locked in combat, one having 50 hit points and one havine 100, with all other things being equal, the one with 100 hit points is likely to last longer and therefore defeat the weaker of the two. It is through strenuous physical activity or punishment that hit points are built up, thus it is only through combat, trials and tribulations that a character "toughens up" and can take more punishment before going down. Acquiring Hit Dice occurs only by indirect means. Power Scores already achieved towards THAC0 advancement can be diverted to HD advancement, and so can Saving Throw Power Scores. Once transferred, they cannot be shifted back; otherwise the pool of HD Power Scores might be abused as a way to share advancement of THAC0 and Saving Throws. Only THAC0 Power Scores and Saving Throw Power Scores can be transferred for Hit Dice advancement, and the shift is permanent once done.

>> SPELLCASTING

LEVEL OF SPELLCASTING. Whenever a spellcaster (Wizard, Priest, Paladin, Ranger, Bard) attempts to learn a new spell, and rolls a double-zero, he has gained a level. This represents the mastery of a previously unknown insight into the intricacies of shaping the forces of magic around him; he is now able to begin the learning of spells of greater complexity than what he was previously used to. The spellcaster needs to roll a d20 whenever a spell is cast. If a 20 is rolled, a level check must be made. The result is higher than the caster's current spellcasting level, he gains a level. Otherwise, he remains as is. If he does not roll a 20 the first time, there is no chance of enough mind - expansion to gain a level. This works on the theory that the upper limit of any mage's ability to cast spells is just above the threshold of complete understanding of the energies involved. It can be compared to people who are able to conceive of a "fourth dimension" beyond space (excluding time); they cannot explain it, or teach anyone how to conceptualize it themselves, but they can retain an indescribable image of it in their own minds. As a wizard increases in level, he has pushed himself towards the comprehension of the fifth dimension, and so on. It is like trying to understand how big a googol is, or a googolplex, or a googol of googolplexes, a googolplex of googolplexes, et cetera ad infinitum. Paladins, Rangers, and Bards all figure their spellcasting differently, with their methods appearing under their respective headings.

>> WARRIORS' ABILITIES WEAPON SPECIALIZATION and WARRIOR ATTACKS PER ROUND. Warriors count their levels for the number of attacks per round as equal to either their HD level or THAC0 level, whichever is lower. Specalization in a weapon increases that character's overall performance, of course. OTHER WARRIOR ABILITIES. The acquisition of followers, henchmen, elite units, etc. comes into play when both the warrior's THAC0 and HD are at the minimum required level (9th for fighters and 10th for rangers). The use of these two abilities is reminiscent of tales of a warriors' prowess in combat and his unearthly invincibility to the attacks of other men to vanquish him. PALADIN ABILITIES. The use of level - based abilities can raise the level of the Paladin Abilities. Whenever any ability is used, the paladin rolls a d20, then can make a level check with a d20 only if a 20 was rolled on the first cast of the die. Only if he makes a level check, like wizards and priests need to acquire their magic powers, will the Paladin Ability level increase. The strengths of the following Paladin powers operate on a level-by- level basis: The laying - on - of - hands, cure - disease, and the dispel - magic - with - holy - sword, priest - spell - casting, turn - undead, and call - warhorse. Only the first three (laying - on - of - hands, cure - disease, and the dispel - magic - with - holy - sword) can be used from 1st level for level progression. The other powers listed are greater powers that cannot be used by the novice Paladin until the other powers are tried and tested frequently enough over time to acquire a high enough Paladin Abilities level for the use of these greater powers. Remember, all Paladin abilities operate at the same level, and any power used often enough will increase the power of the others (provided the deity does not

object to their use; a Paladin who actively seeks to increase his overall power by hand-laying and disease curing merely for its own sake will certainly incur the deity's wrath at this abuse of divine gifts). Some abilities like aura of protection are unaffected by level progression and so do not require a dice roll when used. Once a Paladin is high enough level in his Paladin Abilities to cast spells, he acquires his spells the same way as clerics do. RANGER ABILITIES. The level of the innate Tracking proficiency can be increased each time a Power Score is rolled on the WIS check, with a level check made immediately thereafter. The level of the Tracking ability adds a bonus to Tracking success, so it is important to keep track of this ability's experience level as with most other powers. The experience level of the Animal Affinity ability of Rangers (PHB, p.29, column A) can be figured in one of two ways: 1. The power can be exactly equal to the Saving Throw vs. Rod/Staff/Wand; whenever the R/S/W Saving Throw is increased (whether individually or along with the other Saving Throws altogether), the Animal Affinity level increases. 2. The power has its own level of use independent from Rod/Staff/Wand; it may use the warrior saves vs. R/S/W according to level as shown on the Saving Throw chart, but its level of use can only be improved by rolling a 20 when the subject animal makes a 1 on its R/S/W check. The second option seems to me to be more realistic and is more flexible, though the first option strictly follows the PHB in determining the strength of the Ranger's Animal Affinity. A Ranger can only cast clerical spells when his Tracking and rogue skill abilities both reach 8th level. Spellcasting is a greater power for Rangers; they must have fair mastery in these lesser Ranger abilities before having access to the greater. If it seems Rangers are handicapped because of this, the DM can allow the spellcasting ability only when the levels of Tracking and thieving skills equal 8th (3rd in Tracking and 5th in rogue skills, or 7th in Tracking and 1st in rogue skills, or 4th for both, et al.). Rangers who use thieving skills should mind the following: they make a Power Score when they roll a 95% or better. Only one roll is required to level the skill, and both the Hide in Shadows and Move Silently skills are improved.

>> ROGUES' ABILITIES ROGUE SKILLS. A thief gains the customary number of points to distribute among his talents at 1st level; all other adjustments such as DEX, race, armor, etc., remain the same. PAD&D departs from NAD&D when thieving skills can be advanced with levelling by a distribution of 30 points. Power Scores rolled when using any skill apply towards levelling of all thieving skills. Personally I think this is not as realistic as individual advancement of each rogue skill by rolling enough Power Scores for that particular skill to advance it by 4 1/8% (multiply by 8 skills equals 30), but this will remain an option for the sake of simplicity. A DM can decide on individual skill advancement for his group if he wishes to, but it remain an optional rule. Note that using this optional rule will allow a thief to specialize in a particular skill simply by using it. Also note that use of this rule will make

development of Read Languages impossible unless at least 1 of the 60 preliminary percentage points are allocated to that skill from 1st level. It is sufficient to remember that whenever a skill's number is hit by percentile dice, no further rolls are needed to count as one Power Score towards the RAL. Two methods are recommended for thieving skill advancement: 1. Since it is much harder to hit any number on a d100 versus a d20, the number of Power Scores needed to advance thieving skills one level should be 1/5th of the set number for the other abilities (since 20 is 1/5th of 100). 2. A roll of 95% or greater on any skill check can represent a Power Score, with the number of Power Scores required being the same as any other ability. Bard thieving abilities progress the same as a thief's, with the number of points distributable at first level (20) and per levelling (15) remaining the same. Either method for the thief can be used with the bard. THIEF BACKSTAB. A thief's level of backstab is equal to their THAC0. ROGUE SCROLL USE. A thief can use magical and clerical scrolls once his Rogue Skill level (or the average level of all his skills individually) is equal to or is greater than 10. Bards are not limited to scrolls but who also have access to spellbooks and other literature of magic. When they have at least 10th level in their NPC Reaction Influence, Morale Inspiration, Magical Object Trivia check, and Magical Literature use, they can use such written magical devices. THIEF ACQUISITION OF FOLLOWERS. A thief can attract followers once his Rogue Skill and HD levels both reach 10th, because of his reputation at being a thief and a nasty character overall. Note that THAC0 level does not figure into this as it does for warriors. BARD ABILITIES. Most abilities of the bard (NPC Reaction Influence, Morale Inspiration, Magical Song & Poetry Countering, Magical Object Trivia check, and Magical Literature use) have their own levels of use. The NPC Reaction Influence ability uses saving throw vs. paralyzation. Whenever all or most of the beings the bard is trying to influence rolls a 20 on their saving throws, he gains one Power Score in Reaction Influence. When he gets RAL number of Power Scores, he is one level greater in this ability. The powers of NPC Reaction Influence, Morale Inspiration, and Magical Song & Poetry Countering are grouped together under a Bard's Muse level. This Muse level governs the experience levels for these powers; anytime one of these powers is able to increase the level, all the other powers go up as well. The use of these individual abilities is detailed as follows: Whenever NPC Reacion Influence, Morale Inspiration, or Magical Song & Poetry Countering are used, the Bard can roll a d20. A 20 on the roll warrants a level check as spellcasters do, with success counting towards the RAL for the Muse level. Magical Song & Poetry Countering (MS&PC) does not depend on level other than a saving throw vs. spell to determine success or failure. Whatever Muse level the Bard is, that is the level used on the Save vs. Spell chart; an increase of Save vs. Spell for actual magical saving throws will not affect the MS&PS level.

The Bard's Magical Object Trivia ability gains a Power Score when 95% or better is rolled for a check. This ability requires double the RAL to advance one level due to the difficulty of acquiring the knowledge needed to use such a power. The ability of the Bard to use Magical Literature (scrolls, spellbooks, etc.) is acquired when he reaches 10th level in both his Muse level and his Rogue skills, for the same reasons that Thieves cannot use scrolls until the skill levels for their other lesser powers are sufficiently advanced.

>> OTHER ABILITIES NONWEAPON PROFICIENCIES. Most proficiencies (except for Blind - Fighting) require an attribute check for success. Whenever a character makes a check and rolls a 20, he must then make a normal attribute check (in other words, minus the adjustments to the roll imposed by the proficiency). If the check is successful, the character is one level greater in his Nonweapon Proficiencies. The fact that characters get a new NWP per every 3 or 4 levels does not change; they are one step closer towards gaining it. Once a character has had time to firmly ingratiate already acquired skills into his brain, he can devote time to getting a handle on new proficiencies. WEAPON PROFICIENCIES. A Power Score occurs for Weapon Proficiencies at the same time THAC0 Power Scores occur. Thus a level of THAC0 advancement occurs at the same time a level of weapon proficiency occurs (though THAC0 may not always change, or a new slot may not always be gained). In a sense, this represents the character learning to use the weapons he has skill with -- especially if he decides to devote his next slot to specializing in a weapon he is proficient with. SAVING THROWS. Two methods are suggested for Saving Throw development in regard to Power Scores: 1. Individual category of advancement: Power Scores are gained individually by type of saving throw, but needs only 1/5th of the standard number of RAL (considering there are 5 categories of Saving Throws). Example: A warrior who spends his life slaying dragons would theoretically use save vs. breath weapon more often than other categories, and could advance that category better than the others. A priest who spends his time with magical items can have magical "callouses" vs. rods, staves, and wands, but woe to him should he meet a Medusa. This method is much conducive to character customization. 2. Each "bullseye" roll when making a Saving Throw counts toward Saving Throw level as a whole, and all categories advance at the same level when enough Power Scores have been accumulated, which would be the same number as needed to level for all other abilities. I realize this method can be abused, as by a pair of mages who cast relatively harmless spells on each other just to gain a measure of saving throw resistance. A DM who might have his players try this need only point out with validity that saving throws can only work, and thus can only apply, and thus can only be improved when they are unwilling targets. :)

>> MISCELLANEOUS

LEVEL DRAINING. If a character is "level each of his abilities. When any ability is loses that ability. When a character loses devoid of "personality" and becomes an NPC

drained", one level is deducted from reduced to 0th level, the character all his abilities, he is completely / 0th level character as in NAD&D.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Guide Created: 12 February 1997 (c) 1997 Xeno, where applicable. Last Revision: 12 February 1997 www.people.memphis.edu/~mlsheltn mlsheltn@cc.memphis.edu Creator of the NETBOOK OF HERETIC and the PURITAN class :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------This document has been edited for legibility purposes by OLIK / Ole A. Ringdal olear@online.no / http://home.sol.no/olear --------------------------------------------------------------------------------