Giving Hollywood Stars D&D Levels

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 16, 2011

Have you ever wondered how NPCs interpret your character’s level? Do they look at you any differently when you’re level 3 then when you’re level 8? What about when you reach paragon tier?

Just because your PC has earned enough XP to advance a couple of levels doesn’t necessarily mean that the world will look at you any differently. But as you continue to gain additional levels you should eventually start to distinguish yourself from other adventurers.

Your level represents a wide variety of things about your character. It’s tied directly to the amount of XP you’ve earned, or in other words the deeds you’ve accomplished. It also reflects the amount of wealth and material goods you’ve accumulated. And don’t forget that as you earn levels you’ll acquire power and influences in social and political circles.

Based on these criteria, I’ve taken a stab at drawing parallels between D&D character level and the career successes of famous Hollywood movie stars. I’ve put together a list of some of today’s most famous and popular stars and tried to rank them according to their corresponding D&D level.

Those with few credits to their name, marginal salaries, and minimal influence in the industry fall into the heroic tier. Those with more experience, awards and greater salary expectations fall into paragon tier. And finally those who can do what they want, when they want, and get paid obscene amounts to do it, fall into the epic tier.

This kind of comparison becomes more accurate with a larger sampling, so with that in mind I’ve chosen 15 of today’s biggest and brightest starts to begin the list. I’ll offer a brief explanation for why I’ve placed each star into their corresponding tier and level. Since this kind of exercise is highly subjective, I welcome your feedback about my rankings and well as suggestions on where to place other movie stars.

Before we get into the list, here’s how the PHB describes each tier. I’ve used these descriptions to help with my assessments.

  • Heroic Tier

  • Your character is already a hero, set apart from common people by your natural talents, learned skills, and some hint of a greater destiny that lies before you. The fate of a village might hang on the success or failure of your adventures.

  • Paragon Tier

  • Your character is a shining example of heroism, set apart from the masses. The fate of a nation or even the world might hang in the balance as you undertake momentous quests.

  • Epic Tier

  • Your character’s capabilities are truly superheroic. The success or failure of your adventures has far-reaching consequences, possibly determining the fate of millions in this world and possibly even planes beyond.

Heroic Tier

Jesse Eisenberg (level 3)

His lead role in The Social Network has helped Eisenberg get some name recognition. Although he gained fans from his previous work, like Zombieland, The Social Network was his first taste of true success. His first Oscar nomination will ensure that Eisenberg isn’t forgotten any time soon. Expect great things from this up and comer.

Daniel Craig (level 5)

Bursting onto the scene as James Bond, Craig became a household name a few years ago. However, he has yet to demonstrate if he can carry a big movie that’s not 007. He may get a lot more XP this summer with Cowboys & Aliens, but for now he falls into the mid-heroic tier.

Anne Hathaway (level 6)

She first gained significant fame and XP in the family-friendly Princess Diaries movies. Her decision to take on riskier roles as an adult, including Brokeback Mountain and Rachel Getting Married, led to her first Oscar nomination. If she continues making good career choices (accepting the role of the Catwoman in the next Batman movie is a good start) and avoids any missteps over the next few years she’ll keep rocketing up the heroic tier and hit paragon soon.

James Franco (level 7)

Franco has appeared in blockbuster action movies like the Spider-man franchise as well as critically acclaimed films like Milk and 127 Hours. His recent Oscar nomination certainly provided a level bump, but for now this rising star is firmly set in the mid to upper heroic tier.

Natalie Portman (level 9)

Portman is the real deal. As a child actor she demonstrated real talent in films like The Professional and Heat. She accepted a staring role in the Star Wars prequels guaranteeing her immense fame and a sizable paycheck, and her breakout performance in Black Swan will likely lead to her first Oscar win. Her combination of beauty, talent and brains (she is a Harvard graduate) has let her earn the XP necessary to hit the top levels of the heroic tier. If she wins the Oscar and chooses her next projects carefully she’ll hit paragon tier in no time.

Alec Baldwin (level 10)

With an impressive body of work and an Oscar nomination for The Cooler, Baldwin has proven that he’s got chops. He’s earned multiple Emmy’s for his TV performances but just can’t make that jump to A-list movie start. He’s definitely the big fish in the TV pond which puts him at the very top of the heroic tier.

Paragon Tier

Robert Downey Jr (level 13)

Downey was stuck in the heroic tier for a long time. His checkered past wasn’t doing him any favours when it came to finding work. However, his one-two punch of Iron Man and Tropical Thunder (a role which earned him his second Oscar nomination) as well as the lead in Sherlock Holmes, pushed Downey from the mid to upper heroic tier and into the lower paragon tier. He will continue to generate significant income and fame as he appears in the upcoming Avengers movie, Iron Man 3 and Sherlock Holmes 2.

Jeff Bridges (level 14)

Bridges has a very impressive body of work, which speaks to the XP necessary to rise through the heroic tier. He has six Oscar nominations, including his win last year for Crazy Heart. His recent work in Iron Man, Tron: Legacy and True Grit have put Bridges back into the spotlight adding to his fame and overall XP. Regardless of what roles he takes in the future, he’ll forever been known to many of us as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski.

Samuel L. Jackson (level 15)

This man appears in everything. Although his only Oscar nomination came from Pulp Fiction you can count on him to deliver a top notch performance every time. He may not earn as much per movie as other starts, but his sheer abundance of work must generate substantial income. He’s good as the leading man or the supporting character. Adding him to any movie gives it immediate credibility.

Julia Roberts (level 16)

The highest paid woman working in Hollywood today, Roberts is the actor that all other women in Hollywood are measured against. She’s been nominated for three Oscars, winning for Erin Brockovich. Even with questionable choices like Eat, Pray, Love she is still the most famous female actress in the business and deserves her spot in the paragon tier.

Harrison Ford (level 17)

Han Solo and Indiana Jones have to be two of the most memorable and recognizable characters to ever appear on screen. Ford is still one of Hollywood’s top paid actors. He has never won an Oscar, but was nominated for his role in Witness. His latest movie choices may not have been as successful as some of his earlier movies, but there’s not denying that Harrison Ford has rightfully earned a place in the upper paragon tier.

Morgan Freeman (level 18)

Another work-horse, Freeman seems to be in just about everything. He’s been nominated for five Oscars, winning for Million Dollar Baby. As if acting wasn’t enough he’s gained even more fame and XP doing voice-over work for commercials and documentaries like the March of the Penguins. There are few other actors working today that are bigger stars that Morgan Freeman.

Epic Tier

Arnold Schwarzenegger (level 21)

Say what you want about his bad acting, but Schwarzenegger is a huge superstar. His action movies earned millions throughout the 80s and 90s. There was a time when he was among the top paid actors in Hollywood. Making hit after hit is enough to earn the necessary XP to move into the Paragon tier, but it was his political ambitions and eventual rise to Governor of California that truly earned Schwarzenegger his place the epic tier. Expect him to return to Hollywood where he will continue adding to his considerable fortune. Also expect him to remain active in politics, cementing his position as a true power player.

Jack Nicholson (level 25)

Sometimes you have to let a man’s work speak for itself. In Nicholson’s case his work is so far greater and better than his peers that there are few that can call themselves his equal or superior. He’s been nominated for 12 Oscars, more than any other actor. He won three times – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment and As Good As It Gets. The only way he’s likely to move upwards in the epic tier is if he wins another Oscar.

Clint Eastwood (level 26)

He began his Hollywood career as an actor. After years of working in front of the lens he moved behind the camera where his fame and skill grew exponentially. He’s received 10 Oscar nominations, and although only two were for acting, he scored four wins out of the other eight – two for Unforgiven (directing and producing) and two for Million Dollar Baby (also for directing and producing). Eastwood has enough experience and clout that he has earned the right to call his own shots.

Tom Hanks (level 27)

They don’t get much better than Hanks. He’s the American everyman. There is nothing this man can’t do. He’s proven his superior acting abilities with his five Oscar nominations and two consecutiveve wins for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He’s branched out from acting into directing and producing, earning further praise and award nominations for his work behind the scenes on From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers and Pacific. There is very little that Hanks can do to become any more popular or powerful in Hollywood or North America.

Do you agree with my rankings? How would you rearrange the names on my list? Where do you see other A-list movie stars landing? Add your favourite star in the comments below. Don’t forget to provide their level and a brief explanation of why you think they deserve to be at their level.

Looking for instant updates? Subscribe to the Dungeon’s Master feed!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erik February 16, 2011 at 10:16 am

I would have pushed James Franco a few levels higher, possibly to 9. He is an absolute workhorse who always has multiple projects going, and after the Spiderman movies and 127 hours is finally getting the recognition he deserves. But I might just be biased because he’s one of my favorite actors.

I probably would have put Natalie Portman at 11, just sneaking into Paragon tier. After the Star Wars movies, she almost became a household name, and the work she has done since then has been top notch.

I’m surprised you didn’t put crazy-as-squirrels Tom Cruise in early- to mid-Epic tier. He has a huge body of work with a number of very good performances. He is one of the highest paid and most recognized actors in Hollywood. And proving that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, all the talk about Scientology and his questionable sanity has made him one of the most famous men in the world.

2 Chris February 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

I agree with Erik that Tom Cruise should have definitely made the list. I would have also added John Travolta at early to mid Epic Tier for just sheer growth from his early days on TV through his early movies up to his present body of work. The man is an absolute force in Hollywood with few peers. Plus you can’t exclude a guy who flies his own fighter jet.

3 Alton February 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

Great Article! I would add a couple others

Jamie Lee Curtis (level 9-10)- She is the scream queen from holloween, and other movies like True Lies, A Fish Called Wanda, and her most recent You Again.

Mel Gibson (Level 21) – Great anti-character. Excellent movies, no so good sanity.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (level 23) – The acting may be lacking but their Lawful Good intentions are not. They have brandished their swords, protecting the innocent all over the world.
Alton´s last blog post ..Controllers are the Best Role to Play!

4 Tourq February 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

I don’t know if I agree with the list, but I sure found it entertaining.
Tourq´s last blog post ..Sneak Peek at Our New 3D Terrain!

5 Jameson Rodriguez February 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

What about Keanu Reeves (level 30-33)? Doesn’t even need an explanation.
;)

6 Eric February 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Meryl Streep is level 30.

7 Alton February 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm

@ Eric

‘Meryl Streep is a phony baloney!!’ LOL!
Alton´s last blog post ..Controllers are the Best Role to Play!

8 beep February 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

so… all bunch of A-Listers? Shame that Baldwin is the only old guy in the Heroic Tier.

9 Sunyaku February 17, 2011 at 1:32 am

I got to the bottom of the list and said out loud, “ugh, Tom Hanks”.

I move he be de-leveled to 12 due to his involvement with the anti-RPG 1982 film, “Mazes and Monsters”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazes_and_Monsters :P
Sunyaku´s last blog post ..Heroes of Shadow – Evil Character Builder

10 Acheron February 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Very entretaining list. It never stops surprising me the creativity of the posts here at DM, hahaha very good, it makes me realize how much I love this game…

So talking about actors, I have 4 to mention, as posted at the beginning, Mr Top Gun, THE FREAKING LAST SAMURAI and all the Mission Impossible should give Tom Cruise more than a few levels , odd deities he has or not, as an actor he is amazing I mean I spend few months playing around with broom half stick to be a samurai after the movie and a trip to Japan is one of the first priorities now.

So my other 3 nominates are:

Sir Ian McKellen, I mean “Sam look is Gandalf!!” this guy is a very good actor and when he is not killing barlogs he turns tanks inside out of a tank with magneto, so for me quite a character indeed.

Sean Connery!!! I mean he was THE first James Bond, and his voice come on, I always wanted a dragon with his voice after that old movie where his voice was in a dragon called Drako.

And the one that I respect the most and must be the Orcus of the movie world to me, the one villain I am afraid THE most… Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal, the guy who would not out match you physically like Jason or need you to be sleep like Freddy, no this guy will study you up and tear you from inside your head, now going to the actor, his movies are very good and his an incredible actor, his eyes and the way he pulls you to the movie, he is very good indeed.

I let to you the levels for each just a least 20 for Hopkins I believe XD.

PS: Will smith is also very good, i mean Leyend, pursuit for happiness and I robot… This guy can do ANY role he desires and exceed at it.
Regards

11 Ragnarok February 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

@Acheron – Sir Connery for sure – LEVEL 30? Ian McKellen fo shizzle.
@Jameson Rodriguez – More like Level 1. LOL Not 30 but upper paragon for sure. Like 20. He wants to be Epic so bad but has so much baggage.

Angelina Jolie? Brad Pitt? Maybe the come as a matched duo. I have always wanted to play twins/siblings with another player at a table.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: