Monday, September 10, 2018

E6: Variant Experience

So I was collecting some experience rules from around the internet, and came across this classic on Jeff's Gameblog!

Since Land's End is all about striking out alone (with your friends) into the wilderness, I've decided to adopt and expand upon this awesome eXPloration idea. My version gives out more experience but the benefits should slow down as the PCs gain levels. (It makes more difference to the whippersnappers when they spot cool new things.)

XP For Exploration

First time you enter a hex (50 xp)
Discover a 'major' hex location (100 xp * average challenge rating of the area)
Discover a 'minor' hex location (50 xp)

This is 'normal' experience, divided among the PCs just like treasure or monsters. In addition, I picked out a few major locations that are more significant. Reaching one of these gives EACH PC the stated xp bonus. I am considering awarding these once per player as well: your character discovers it for the first time when you do.

For most of these, you can assume the caveat "... and live to tell about it."

  • Discover another human civilization (1000 xp)
  • Enter the Tower of Brass (650 xp)
  • Enter the pillar tombs (500 xp)
  • Enter the palace of Izizktharad (500 xp)
  • Reach the summit of Deathfrost Mountain (300 xp)
  • See the Pit of Bones (200 xp)
  • Enter the lizardmen's Pyramid of Silence (150 xp)
  • See the lost city of the elves (100 xp)

XP For Treasure

This is easy. Using the silver standard, 1 sp = 1 xp.

SOME experience awarded for goods and treasure looted and sold off. Selling your old weapon after you buy a new one shouldn't net any experience. Beheading some orcs and selling off their chainmail should, I think. In general once you make use of it, you aren't getting any cash = xp out of it.

NO experience awarded for magic items. They are rare enough and should be their own reward. There isn't anybody around who will buy them from you anyway.

True bastard that I am, I am awarding loot & starting wealth based on a silver standard, but all items have the listed cost IN GOLD PIECES in the Pathfinder Core Rules - ie. PCs have 1/10th the buying power they should according to RAW. This way they can scoop up huge sacks of money but they're still broke and hungry for the first several levels.

XP For Monsters / Conclusion

Experience is awarded as normal for monsters, based on their Challenge Rating. You might think between exploration, treasure and monsters there is way too much experience flying around to have a reasonable game. Two techniques exist for dealing with this:

Firstly, Pathfinder gives three XP charts: fast, medium, and slow. Obviously I'll be using the slow advancement chart, so PCs need 3000 xp to reach 2nd level and a total of 35,000 to reach 6th, as opposed to the 'medium' 2,000 and 23,000 respectively. So this should make up for the multifarious ways a character can grow.

The other option I'm considering is some kind of attenuated XP reward for low-CR monsters. Gary describes this in the 1e DMG, although the wording is a bit obtuse.  I think for our purposes, he is suggesting I modify experience awards by a ratio of enemy Hit Dice (CR for Pathfinder purposes) to average party level. (eg: an equal number of orcs vs 1st-level PCs is a 1:1 ratio. The same group of orcs vs second-level PCs is a 1:2 ratio, and defeating them should net half the normal experience.)

This seems a bit harsh and there are other factors to consider - CR is calibrated for a 4-person party and I only have three players. CR is also calibrated for wealth and magic items by level: that's completely out of whack given my vicious economic system outlined above and a low-magic setting. I won't institute this change unless it looks like the PCs are rocketing up through levels with the current system.


(I have more posts this year by September than any other year by far. How many can I do before the end of the year? Think I can make it to 100?)

Now play this when the PCs dig their greasy mitts into that next treasure-sack!!!

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