Titles as Achievements

One relic of the older editions are level titles. They started out as wargaming shorthand (as in, a hero is worth 4 fighting men). As video games have show, even otherwise meaningless achievements are psychologically very powerful. Rather than just hand out titles mechanically with level progression, why not make characters earn them literally?

Sample titles: champion, conjurer, veteran, journeyman, robber, baptist, demoncaller, etc. In addition, any organization within the campaign world can have a series of ranks or titles. Such a collection of titles is also a list of adventure seeds that suggests profitable courses of action to the players without compelling them to do anything.

There is no reason why a title could not also be accompanied by an XP award, optionally. It is often suggested that it would make more sense, for example, for a magic-user to gain experience from casting spells. Rewarding experience for titles gained seems like a reasonable way to go about giving experience for activities without overly changing the underlying incentive structure. And it reflects the fact that the first time you do something is special. You can get experience for killing more than one dragon, but you can only ever get the dragonslayer title once.

Don’t forget how Bilbo described himself to Smaug: clue-finder, web-cutter, stinging Fly, ringwinner, luckwearer, barrel-rider.

Maybe I’m being unnecessarily naturalistic, but doesn’t it also make more sense to refer to Felonius as a seer after he has successfully scried something?

1 thought on “Titles as Achievements

  1. anarchist


    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn’t find a contact email for you.

    I’ve recently put out an ebook of my writing, called ‘The New Death and others’. It’s mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard’s King Kull story ‘The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune’ and HP Lovecraft’s ‘Under the Pyramids’.

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I’ll send you a free copy. You can email me (news@apolitical.info) or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from Smashwords:


    I’ll also link to your review from my blog.



Leave a Reply