Character level (CL) is one of the most important character attributes in Angband. Character level is determined by the player character's experience and experience factor, and directly affects other important character attributes such as hit points, spell points and primary skills.
In Vanilla Angband and nearly all variants, the lowest character level is 1 and the highest 50. FuryBand and TomeNET allow character levels higher than 50. Sangband replaces character levels with a power level which caps out at 100, while Sil and Sil-Q have no character levels at all.
The most obvious effects of the character level are on max HP and max SP. Both go up with character level, and although both are also influenced by many other factors, character level accounts for the bulk of max HP in particular. (A high max SP requires a high character level, but also a high spell stat; even a high-level Mage may have zero mana if their intelligence is very low.)
Most primary skills, including melee, archery, device skill and saving throw, also improve with character level. The size of these level-up bonuses depends almost entirely on the player's class; personality also plays a small role in some variants, but race generally has no effect on them. Leveling up usually does not improve stealth, as nearly all classes and personalities have a level-up stealth bonus of zero.
Spells and special powers have minimum levels; they only become accessible once the character's level at least matches the spell level. Spell fail rates can go down significantly as a character levels up and becomes more comfortable with lower-level spells. Many spells become more powerful at high CL; for example, a mage's Magic Missile in Angband 4.2.0 deals only 3d4 damage at CL 1, but 12d4 damage at CL 50. Character level also affects the number of spells that a book spellcaster can study.
Additional bonuses, resistances or abilities may be granted upon reaching a certain level. In Vanilla Angband, this is the case for Warriors, who become immune to fear at level 30, and Rangers, who gain additional shots with bows as they level up. Such bonuses are very common in FrogComposband, and may be either racial or class-based. In variants derived from Hengband, free stat-ups are offered every 5 or 10 character levels. Almost all player-monsters will evolve into new forms at specified CLs, often gaining a more powerful body type or other significant benefits. Characters with chaos patrons receive a reward or punishment upon reaching a new level.
Some saving rolls are affected by character level instead of, or in addition to, the saving throw skill. For example, fear saves in Composband and FrogComposband are based on the player's CL, charisma and fear resistance.
In Vanilla Angband, stats are never directly affected by CL. This is also the rule in variants, although exceptions exist; in particular, the stats of player-monsters often depend on their current form, their level, or both.
A character's current CL in Angband is the highest level for which the experience requirement is met. The standard experience requirements for each level are shown in the table below, which is accurate for almost all Angband variants; for any given character, they are multiplied by that character's experience factor. Experience factors depend on the character's race and class; in general, stronger races and classes have higher experience factors, and so need more experience to level up. Variant-specific attributes, such as personality and dragon realm, may also affect the experience factor.
The calculations are based on the character's current experience; accordingly, in case of experience drain, it is possible for a character to lose one or more levels. This results in the loss of all benefits associated with the higher level, except that evolved player-monsters will generally not devolve back into an earlier form.
Although characters become much more powerful as they gain levels, a high CL is not by itself enough to make a character endgame-ready; gaining resistances, bonuses and abilities from equipment is even more important, and having the right consumables and magic devices also plays a key role. A low-level character will have a very hard time winning even with excellent equipment, yet is still likely stronger or at least safer than a high-level character with mediocre equipment.
Grinding to safely gain a high CL at a relatively shallow depth was a popular approach in early versions of Vanilla Angband, but it is now more common to dive to a high depth much earlier in the game, prioritizing quick access to deep-dungeon loot. Changes to the game itself, particularly in Angband 3.0.0 and beyond, have encouraged this paradigm shift; it is now much easier to find enough resistances, speed and detection on the early levels to make the dive comparatively safe. Underleveled wins, where a character wins before reaching CL 50, are now very common.
Compared to Vanilla, both extreme diving and extreme grinding are less common in variants like Composband and FrogComposband; diving because trickshots, energy randomness and different line-of-sight calculation make it more dangerous, and grinding because endgame-quality equipment is less likely to generate significantly out of depth and there is less incentive to grind for stat gain. Consequently, while distinct diving and grinding styles still exist, the differences between them tend to be less dramatic.
In Angband and nearly all variants, character level is the topmost attribute in the main screen sidebar, above experience; it is usually indicated as LEVEL and shown in green, changing to yellow if drained. Character level, and the experience required to reach the next character level, are also prominently displayed on the character sheet.