I detest milestone leveling. I really do. Enough of the game is already at the DM’s complete whim that also denying the players the ability to know precisely when or how they’ll get their next class feature feels lame. I get why people do it though; the 5e leveling system is boring, feels slapdash, and is designed for the “tiers of play” concept from the Adventurer’s League, which is a type of gamification that yoinks a good deal of verisimilitude out of the system. Level 7 characters and Level 9 characters apparently exist in completely different worlds with no good in-system explanation as to why.
I also resist the idea that everyone is supposed to be the same level, especially now that I’ve been playing that way for a while. I’m working on my own leveling system, complete with an overhaul to how spells work (because that’s fundamentally related to level, if not to gaining experience itself) which I think will solve both of these problems. It’s part of a campaign setting I’m working on. My patrons will see it before anyone else, but it’s a long time from being fit for human consumption, so I’m going to stop talking about it for now.
Suffice to say, I think a good experience system will model a variety of ways in which adventurers grow from their challenges while also reflecting that a proficiency in easy activities should take less practice to achieve than a proficiency in very difficult activities. IE – the wizard is probably going to be level 2 for a much longer amount of time than the fighter, and just because an older system modeled it that way too doesn’t mean we need to be done iterating that idea and fishing for new, interesting ideas that it can hold.
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