Content of the article: "PSA: “Milestone Leveling” is a complete misnomer"
Generally speaking, "Milestone Leveling" is the term used by the D&D community to refer to leveling up without the use of XP; instead, the DM can choose to level up the party based on story progression or session pacing. However, what if I told you that this name is actually wrong?
Below is the beginning of the actual rule on page 261 of the DMG:
Level Advancement without XP
You can do away with experience points entirely and control the rate of character advancement. Advance characters based on how many sessions they play, or when they accomplish significant story goals in the campaign. In either case, you tell the players when their characters gain a level.
So you might be wondering: so what? Surely "milestone leveling" is still an accurate name? I agree that it is accurate, but there is one slight problem: there is already a rule entry – just before the above optional rule, on the very same page of the DMG – simply called "Milestones". Here are some excerpts from it:
You can also award XP when characters complete significant milestones. When preparing your adventure, designate certain events or challenges as milestones, as with the following examples: <...>
When awarding XP, treat a major milestone as a hard encounter and a minor milestone as an easy encounter. If you want to reward your players for their progress through an adventure with something more than XP and treasure, give them additional small rewards at milestone points. <...>
In other words, the actual Milestones rule has nothing to do with Level Advancement without XP. In fact, it is used alongside XP by default! Worst of all (or best of all?), in tandem with the alternative milestone rewards discussed at the end of the rule (e.g. regaining a spell slot, instantly gaining a short rest, regaining hit dice), the Milestones rule is actually totally compatible with Level Advancement without XP.
So what's the point of all this? Well, it's mainly to highlight the coolness of the Milestones rule entry while also trying to avoid it being confused for the rule often referred to as "milestone leveling", especially when they can be used simultaneously within a single campaign. I know "Level Advancement without XP" and "No XP Leveling" don't exactly have the same ring to them, but perhaps using those terms would be a good way to give the actual Milestones optional rule the spotlight it deserves (it's a really cool rule, after all).
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