Forums » General Gaming

How Do You Roleplay Levelling Up?

    • 274 posts
    January 29, 2018 3:46 PM EST

    In the vast majority of games the character gets extremely powerful unrealistically quickly. Let's use Skyrim as an example. During the first College of Winterhold quest Tolfdir says "magic takes years, if not decades of practice and study" how then, does a novice who can barely cast a flames spell for over 5 seconds, be able to cast a master level firestorm spell that is above even the master of Destruction's capabilities get that power in mere months?

    I typically use roleplay excuses to justify my character's rapid increase in power. Tell us about yours.

    • 700 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:02 PM EST

    I don't actually have any because I haven't found a method I really like, though I do really like the idea. So I'll be watching closely to see what other people do. How do you do it? 

    • 274 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:14 PM EST

    Legion said:

    How do you do it? 

    Way too many different ways that I can post all of it here and let other people put in their own ideas. However, I typically use one of two options to do it depending on the situation and game. 1) Magical amnesia: this basically means they had their memory wiped at some point but are capable of regenerating it over time. As their memories come back so do their skills, I've been doing this with my new ESO character, roleplaying that he lost his shadow magic due to having his memory wiped when he was sacrified and made soul shriven. 2) They are already dangerous: pretty self explainatory, I usually power level these characters early on to give them the feel of being extremely dangerous early on... or sometimes I turn it to easy mode.

    • 700 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:23 PM EST

    Nice, I like those. And since you've mentioned it, I suppose I do have a method for roleplaying leveling up, and just didn't recognize it. I often go the "already dangerous" route with my characters since I enjoy leveling quickly and being powerful early on. Which I almost always balance with being a glass canon, so it works out in the end. 

    • 1439 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:37 PM EST
    One way I like to do it is that they have a natural proficiency for that skill, or if they've been in contact with a mystic artifact or individual for a certain amount t if time, it's basically begun boosting them as the days go on
  • Mr.
    • 763 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:42 PM EST

    I just presume past experience, most of the times. But in games like Pillars of Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin 2, it depends. My Pillars of Eternity main character is a self-exiled nobleman from Aedyr, so he had formal training.

    However, with my Divinity: Original Sin 2 character (I only made one, still playing him) I have only briefly thought of a background, as I don't know a lot about the Divinity world: he is a Barbarian and an Outlaw, so again, he had some previous experience, but unlike in Pillars of Eternity, there is actually something you can use as a reason for why you grow more powerful as time passes, a reason provided by the story itself.

    Speaking of Divinity, my list of "next character I'm going to play" is growing, but given the amount of time and place I am in on my current playthrough, I'm not sure how I'll fit my Undead Necromancer and my Elven Ranger into my gaming schedule!

    • 34 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:49 PM EST

    I just say that in the heat and adrenaline of combat, people can make leaps and bounds in improvement that would take regular, formalised training much longer to achieve. In this way it kinda makes sense - it takes years or decades of practice and study, but only a few months of being used in life-threatening situations.

    Yeah, I basically ignore the system, but I sort of like the explanation...

    • 1439 posts
    January 29, 2018 4:53 PM EST
    soly said:

    I just say that in the heat and adrenaline of combat, people can make leaps and bounds in improvement that would take regular, formalised training much longer to achieve. In this way it kinda makes sense - it takes years or decades of practice and study, but only a few months of being used in life-threatening situations.

    Yeah, I basically ignore the system, but I sort of like the explanation...

    Especially with all the feats otherwise average people have accomplished under adrenaline
    • 284 posts
    January 29, 2018 5:48 PM EST

    What I mostly use is natural talent. There are a few examples in the real world I saw. Like the popular "he never used a gun before but he was a natural the other day" One of those hidden talents, you know?

    • 62 posts
    January 29, 2018 6:44 PM EST

    DeltaFox said:

    What I mostly use is natural talent. There are a few examples in the real world I saw. Like the popular "he never used a gun before but he was a natural the other day" One of those hidden talents, you know?

     Basically this^

     

    Especially since I often feel the opposite way as well. Why does my wrinkly old bearded Nord need to learn how to swing an axe? I feel like maybe he's done it a few times... I guess he's rusty, must have been some defining moment that made him not want to pick up an axe for so many years. Or maybe my expert alchemist from Hammerfell is still discovering the properties of the ingredients in Skyrim. I mean, I'llsometimes roleplay that my character is simply a quick study, but more often than not I'll play a character that's already well versed in a craft and has to relearn it for some reason.

    • 62 posts
    January 29, 2018 6:44 PM EST

    DeltaFox said:

    What I mostly use is natural talent. There are a few examples in the real world I saw. Like the popular "he never used a gun before but he was a natural the other day" One of those hidden talents, you know?

     Basically this^

     

    Especially since I often feel the opposite way as well. Why does my wrinkly old bearded Nord need to learn how to swing an axe? I feel like maybe he's done it a few times... I guess he's rusty, must have been some defining moment that made him not want to pick up an axe for so many years. Or maybe my expert alchemist from Hammerfell is still discovering the properties of the ingredients in Skyrim. I mean, I'llsometimes roleplay that my character is simply a quick study, but more often than not I'll play a character that's already well versed in a craft and has to relearn it for some reason.

    • 274 posts
    January 29, 2018 6:49 PM EST

    DeltaFox said:

    What I mostly use is natural talent. There are a few examples in the real world I saw. Like the popular "he never used a gun before but he was a natural the other day" One of those hidden talents, you know?

    In reality such a thing doesn't make sense. Being a natural is different from learning an art and becoming a master extremely quickly. In reality, even if a "natural" learns historical European martial arts (or HEMA) it'll still take them years to master a single weapon even with constant training.


    This post was edited by Ebonslayer at January 29, 2018 6:50 PM EST
    • 743 posts
    January 30, 2018 11:35 AM EST

    Legion said:

    Nice, I like those. And since you've mentioned it, I suppose I do have a method for roleplaying leveling up, and just didn't recognize it. I often go the "already dangerous" route with my characters since I enjoy leveling quickly and being powerful early on. Which I almost always balance with being a glass canon, so it works out in the end. 

    This is exactly what I do. I don't like to wait until I'm level 30 for end game as far as my build goes, so the glass canon route is where it's at for me. Awesome discussion, Ebon.

     

    • 457 posts
    January 30, 2018 11:56 AM EST

    I tend to borrow from one of my favorite movie tropes that allows viewers to engage more fully in the willing suspension of disbelief: The Chosen One effect.

    This character is destined/fated/whatever to save/destroy (again... whatever) the world. You see it in movies all the time--some nobody misfit with zero aspirations other than to live a normal and happy life suddenly finds him or herself in a messianic situation that somehow unlocks a previously untapped reservoir of skill/knowledge/power, so that in the course of just weeks (and with some training help by a dedicated mentor) our hero metamorphosizes from someone who can't walk in a straight line without falling over, into a powerhouse of world-saving, butt-kicking awesomeness.

    In real life, of course, that crud won't fly very far, but as a fantasy motiff it works very well. Taps right into the idea of the monomyth and just seems to resonate with me even though it is insanely unrealistic. But then again, I'm pretty good at packing reality away and shoving it into the darkest corner of the closet xD

    • 122 posts
    January 30, 2018 7:14 PM EST

    Depends on the character. Typically I imagine my character has a specific set of skills they’re already proficient in. How they grow is subject to the concept.

    My Redguard Enforcer character is a Lycanthrope with one-Handed, Block, Light Armor, Stealth, Lockpicking, Alchemy, and Speech. I Roleplay that his poisons Improve as he becomes accustomed to the specifics of the region’s plants, and that his improved swordsmanship is a result of Time, training, and growing accustomed to the physical advantages of being a lycanthrope.

    My Dunmer Battlemage was in deep decline, having given himself over to the bottle after the end of the war. Spell tomes worked so well because they were reminders of what he used to know or worked alongside methods he’d previously been highly skilled in. He drove himself hard in order to become the soldier he’d been before, and then he rose to the challenges in front of him and went further still.

    I probably have the most fun when I play by what I call “The Dragonborn Rule”, barring the selection of perks until a Dragon Soul is acquired. From that point, one has to absorb a Dragon Soul for every perk acquired. Eventually the perks start to pile up and you have to start hunting dragons in earnest. I recommend it!

    Other games go by other rules. Fallout is pretty easy, since you’re coming out of a huge mental, emotional, and possibly even physical trauma. It takes time to adapt to the new world and apply what you knew a lifetime away.

    • 274 posts
    January 30, 2018 9:34 PM EST

    Mercurias said:

    I probably have the most fun when I play by what I call “The Dragonborn Rule”, barring the selection of perks until a Dragon Soul is acquired. From that point, one has to absorb a Dragon Soul for every perk acquired. Eventually the perks start to pile up and you have to start hunting dragons in earnest. I recommend it!

    I actually have a mod for this that only allows you to level up after killing a dragon. I once did something similar in Oblivion where I could only sleep after getting a sigil stone.

    • 585 posts
    January 31, 2018 4:18 AM EST

    Awesome topic, Ebon, I don't think I've seen one on this before actually, I'm interested to read people's responses!

    Looks like I follow the crowd for the most part. It's pretty rare for me, especially nowadays, to not play a character without some prior experience in their combat style, so that would explain why they're able to advance so quickly. In fact, I don't see it as advancement, and just ignore the Novice and Apprentice levels until I get a competent character.

    Sometimes though I like to think that time goes a lot faster than is portrayed in game. This is mainly because I feel like it should take longer to travel from settlement to settlement, and to 'stretch out' some questlines that I feel would work best over a long period of time (Civil War), but it can also apply to levelling as well. If every day in game is a week in my head, the course of progression seems a lot more natural.

    I tend to avoid characters who are 'gifted' or who have a 'natural ability', partly because I like to play Regular Joes, and also because it seems a little far fetched to me. I mean there are cases in real life of people learning languages in a few weeks or young children painting incredible pieces of art, but such cases are so few and far between I tend to stay away.

     

    • 457 posts
    January 31, 2018 11:02 AM EST

    Zonnonn said:

    Awesome topic, Ebon, I don't think I've seen one on this before actually, I'm interested to read people's responses!

    I concur! FYI, this discussion is currently being featured on the TV Twitter and Facebook pages :D

    • 44 posts
    January 31, 2018 5:22 PM EST

    I have taken this route, my characters meditates at the evening at the campfire or inside a Inn room wether level up is gained or not. If it is gained, then they meditates longer like an half hour or so while looking at the night sky or think over the events from the day.

    (I think Dovahkiin Relaxed, too mod has meditation option ( if you go stealth) if anyone is interested.)

    • 274 posts
    January 31, 2018 5:28 PM EST

    Caladran said:

    I have taken this route, my characters meditates at the evening at the campfire or inside a Inn room wether level up is gained or not. If it is gained, then they meditates longer like an half hour or so while looking at the night sky or think over the events from the day.

    (I think Dovahkiin Relaxed, too mod has meditation option ( if you go stealth) if anyone is interested.)

    Yeah, Dovahkiin Relaxes Too has a meditation option when you activate the power when crouching. However, I actually prefer Classic Level Up because it's more in line with Oblivion's system.

    • 1439 posts
    January 31, 2018 5:33 PM EST
    One other way I roleplay it is, if my character has either possessed a body or been (re)incarnated into a new body, they'd need to develop it to the point it matches their old skills, muscle memory helping if the possessed already had some knowledge in the skills
    • 25 posts
    January 31, 2018 9:08 PM EST

    For my main character, Estelle Dubois, I explained her knowledge of certain skills through her backstory (taken from her roleplay profile):

    Estelle was born in Daggerfall, High Rock to a middle class family with her father being the proprietor of the Millworks and her mother being a Master of Enchanting serving as a Court Mage at Daggerfall Castle. Growing up Estelle enjoyed reading books as well as spending time out of doors or at her father’s Millworks. From an elderly Bosmer hunter who assisted her father in the Millworks, Estelle learned archery and the two would hunt together in nearby forests. During this time Estelle realized the importance of stealth while tracking prey. From her mother Estelle inherited a love of books and magic. Displaying a Breton’s natural aptitude for magic, Estelle learned various illusion and conjuration spells as well as some basic healing spells from the court mages who worked alongside her mother. As might be expected, Estelle picked up some knowledge of enchanting from her mother and hoped to become more proficient with continued study. From her father, though not directly, Estelle learned how to pick locks by practicing on the chests and wardrobes he crafted and repaired at the Millworks.


    As for leveling up these skills, she would naturally become more proficient the more she used them and/or possibly has a natural affinity in these areas. For skills such as archery, sneak, enchanting, and lockpicking "level-ups" would occur because the more these type of skills are "practiced" the better she will become at these skills. Also with archery, she encountered a Nord ranger living high up in the mountains of Falkreach who was able to teach her more about accuracy, speed, and precision when using a bow (incorporating game play into roleplay).

    For more specialized skills such as magic, additional training might be needed. This might be done through the scholarly approach of reading spell tomes or by learning from the instructors at the College of Winterhold. I don't mean paying for training but roleplaying that by going through the College quest line, the student (player) is learning more about magic during this quest line. As for becoming Arch-Mage (or Guildmaster or Harbinger or whatever), perhaps a natural affinity as well as the destiny that Shin mentioned could account for this.

    In one instance I used the game-play mechanics of power leveling Restoration in order to reach the level needed for the necromage perk to increase her effectiveness at certain illusion spells. Instead of just standing around power leveling, she actually went to the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun and "practiced" restoration after casting equilibrium - under the watchful eye of Danica Pure-Spring. Rather than just doing it all in one fell swoop, she went there for several days, stopping to eat meals and spending the night in the city then returning to the Temple the next day to continue her lessons. When she had learned all the Danica could teach her she made the long trip to the College where she learned the guardian circle spell from Colette. She practiced that spell in the Hall of Elements alongside the students who were also practicing their spells there, again stopping to eat and sleep and returning to the Hall. When she felt accomplished enough in restoration to use certain spells on her own, she left the College and resumed her adventures.


    This post was edited by GailOlm at January 31, 2018 9:13 PM EST
    • 274 posts
    January 31, 2018 9:35 PM EST

    GailOlm said:

    As for leveling up these skills, she would naturally become more proficient the more she used them and/or possibly has a natural affinity in these areas. For skills such as archery, sneak, enchanting, and lockpicking "level-ups" would occur because the more these type of skills are "practiced" the better she will become at these skills. Also with archery, she encountered a Nord ranger living high up in the mountains of Falkreach who was able to teach her more about accuracy, speed, and precision when using a bow (incorporating game play into roleplay).

    But none of that explains why they increase so quickly. It'd take years to master even one of these skills and you can do it in mere months.

    • 25 posts
    January 31, 2018 10:02 PM EST

    Ebonslayer said:

    GailOlm said:

    As for leveling up these skills, she would naturally become more proficient the more she used them and/or possibly has a natural affinity in these areas. For skills such as archery, sneak, enchanting, and lockpicking "level-ups" would occur because the more these type of skills are "practiced" the better she will become at these skills. Also with archery, she encountered a Nord ranger living high up in the mountains of Falkreach who was able to teach her more about accuracy, speed, and precision when using a bow (incorporating game play into roleplay).

    But none of that explains why they increase so quickly. It'd take years to master even one of these skills and you can do it in mere months.

    Other than a natural talent or affinity for it which allows the player to gain proficiency in these skills at an unusually fast rate, possibly the explanation that Shinjin theorized - the player is destined to play a pivotal role in coming world events and is able master the skills needed to rise to the occassion. With combat skills, such as sneak and archery, perhaps it's as soly mentioned - in life threatening situations where one runs on adrenaline, the skills develop faster out of neccessity as opposed to a slower growth during formal training.

    This is an intriguing topic! It's fascinating reading all of these theories!


    This post was edited by GailOlm at January 31, 2018 10:10 PM EST
    • 274 posts
    January 31, 2018 10:44 PM EST

    GailOlm said:

    perhaps it's as soly mentioned - in life threatening situations where one runs on adrenaline, the skills develop faster out of neccessity as opposed to a slower growth during formal training.

    Actually, real combat would actually be much slower to get better than real training. If combat skills were based completely off physical prowess (strength and speed) it'd be a different story but physical prowess is actual a very small factor in a sword fight, what matters the most is technique. In training you don't just fight, you are taught to pay some attention to the technique of your master and you can safely do so, in fact its encouraged that you lose a few times just to see how they win, in a real combat situation you pay less attention to those things as you are in a fight for your life, you will still get slightly better as you learn things like edge alignment and deflecting attacks but you can't really pay attention to their technique, you just react.