Experience and Levels

Consider the following:

  • The CR and XP rules were designed for core, non-gestalt, 25 point buy, low-optimization parties, and your characters… are not.
  • Even though the above is true, they still screwed up the CRs of a lot of the critters.
  • The DMG suggests (to paraphrase) that if an encounter was easier than its CR suggested then the DM should decrease XP rewards accordingly.
  • Your characters are just a tad more powerful than standard characters, such that to appropriately challenge you I’m generally in the “N/A” part of the table anyway.
  • In theory, I could just go by the book, using only the most optimized monsters (template stacking, non-associated class levels, optimized NPCs), and I could challenge you with appropriate CRs.
  • We go with somewhat ad-hoc XP in the current game.

With that in mind I’m going to ad-hoc the CR of various challenges, sometimes after the fact. There won’t be a consistent formula per se, since some creatures are over-CR’d and some are under-CR’d, but there will be some vague relation to original CR. I am open to input on how quickly you all want to progress, which can affect my calculations. Right now my baseline is Vincent’s Harpers game, which is about two sessions per level up.

Remember that XP is rewarded for overcoming challenges. You don’t necessarily have to murder something to overcome a challenge, though I understand that may be your preferred method. For problems that are more abstract than having to deal with a particular entity, I’ll have to ad-hoc the XP in general; just note that a session’s worth of involved and active group problem solving will give around the same amount of XP as a session’s worth of combat. I’ll also award a minor amount of XP for RP and in-character interactions, but it is by no means a large portion.

Leveling up

Ideally I want to end most sessions with a completed objective, or at least a rest point, where you all level up through meditation or study or some form of inspiration. When we can’t do this (the last two sessions have ended ostensibly in the middle of things) one of two things happens:

1. You leveled up the night before, and I casually didn’t mention it, or
2. You instantly level up and act like you just got a full night’s rest with re-preparing spells, re-shaping soulmelds, etc.

If we’re literally mid-combat on a cliffhanger, I’ll probably go with option 1. If you’re simply not at a point where you’d stop and rest, I’ll probably go with option 2. There are ways to abuse this, just like there are ways to abuse the rest of the rules; I assume you all will have a light touch as always :)

New characters

First and foremost we should figure out how a new character fits into the campaign. This is likely going to be the introduction of a comrade who just started remembering his past.

If you create a new character for any reason, that character has the minimum XP required for the lesser of average party ECL and the previous character’s ECL. For this reason, if you have the option, retraining/tweaking an existing character (with my permission) is often a little bit better than introducing a new one. New players don’t have a previous character, so they just use average party ECL.


Like in our previous games, for the sake of time experience is only rewarded between sessions.

This is subject to player input, but I believe the following:

  • Being able to attend a session is its own reward.
  • Being significantly behind in experience can be incredibly frustrating.
  • If “XP is a river,” in my experience it is a slow river.

With that in mind players of the same ECL will gain the same baseline XP for overcoming challenges, and attending players can accrue a minor amount of bonus XP for roleplaying and other in-character contributions. Attending players also have the opportunity to accrue (or lose) Fate Points through character actions.

Also, if a PC is ever two ECL lower than another PC for reasons not related to LA buyoff, that character immediately gains just enough experience to level up. If LA buyoff is involved I will determine whether “catch-up XP” is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Other Notes

  • Recall that, if an NPC helps you in a significant way during an encounter, he takes his share of the experience.
  • In accordance with the note on XP for doing important things that are not encounters per se, I’m explicitly rewarding significant XP for completing overarching quest objectives.
  • While the DMG says you shouldn’t level up twice, it also assumes you get XP after every single encounter and can level up mid session. For this game, in theory you can level up twice. That said, you’d have to do quite a lot in one session.

Experience and Levels

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