1: 0

2: 2,000

3: 4,000

4: 8,000

5: 16,000

6: 32,000

7: 64,000

8: 125,000

9+: +125,000/level

Characters start with 0 XP, it costs a fixed amount to reach 2nd level, and that amount doubles every level until name level. At that point the multiplication stops, and it costs the same amount for each new level.

There is some rounding in the various class tables (64K to 125K, in this example), but it's insignificant. And there are deliberate attempts to slow down or speed up classes at certain levels, like the AD&D magic-user gaining 5 levels at the cost of 3 starting at 7th level (MUs actually reach 11th level before thieves). Or the thief (either Basic or Advanced) having to pay an extra half a level worth of XP after name level, before leveling off (meaning post-name level thieves advance more slowly than expected).

But it's still a strong tendency. However, the progression is not as smooth as it looks, because the XP on the class tables is the total, cumulative XP needed to reach a given level. It's not the XP needed to reach the

*next*level, which is what we're really interested in. Here's the XP a B/X fighter needs to reach the

*next*level:

1: 0

2: +2,000

3: +2,000

4: +4,000

5: +8,000

6: +16,000

7: +32,000

8: +64,000

9+: +125,000/level

Notice the break in the pattern? Yes, the cost to go from 2nd to 3rd level should be double the the cost to go from 1st to 2nd level. But it's not. It's exactly the same.

Which is part of the reason why 1st level can feel like such a slog. Not only is the jump in power between 1st and 2nd level the greatest in the game, but the amount of XP needed to reach 2nd level is twice as much as expected.

Blame that pesky 0. Because of the way doubling works, the XP cost for each new level is supposed to be equal to the XP cost of

*all*the previous levels. For example, a fighter who just reached 6th level has 32,000 XP, which means they need

*another*32,000 to advance to 7th level. In other words, half the XP cost to reach a new level has already been paid. Except for the XP cost to reach 2nd level, because the XP cost to reach 1st level isn't half that total. It's 0.

Now, it's perfectly fine to like the current method. But if (like me) you think it's a problem, there's a trivial fix:

Don't start characters with 0 XP. Instead,

*start all characters with 1/2 the XP they need to reach 2nd level.*

Here's the B/X fighter, revised:

1: 1,000

2: 2,000

3: 4,000

4: 8,000

5: 16,000

6: 32,000

7: 64,000

8: 125,000

9+: +125,000/level

Exactly the same as the original progression, except now a 1st level fighter starts with 1,000 instead of 0 XP. But when we take that revised progression and calculate how much it costs the fighter to reach the next level, the progression has become smooth:

1: 0

2: +1,000

3: +2,000

4: +4,000

5: +8,000

6: +16,000

7: +32,000

8: +64,000

9+: +125,000/level

First level will always be unique, because the power differential between a character at 1st level and the same character at 2nd level is greater than the power differential between any subsequent levels. But this removes the artificial doubling of the time PCs spend with just 1 hit die.