View Full Version : Help with handing out XP - keep it or bin it?

2011-02-11, 12:35 PM
I've found, as I've now DMed a fair bit, that DnD requires too much bookkeeping. I don't just mean it requires lots, it requires an infinite amount. No matter how much I prepare, sessions will inevitably get bogged down in the mire that is the numbers, while I'll forget half my carefully-prepared roleplaying scenes and dialogue.

But I've found one of the biggest bugbears to be XP. Increasingly, rather than painstakingly work out the XP for each encounter, then when I reckon the PCs'll probably level so I can adjust the encounters accordingly, I prefer to just say "right, you level now". But this does present one problem: crafting and other XP-costing practises.

So how do I deal with this? Is there any advice for reducing my workload while letting PCs craft?

It's not so important for the survival campaign (it starts at 1st level) I'm currently recruiting for on these forums, but may matter in campaigns I get involved in in the near future.

2011-02-11, 12:38 PM
I find XP is best doled out at the end of a session, regardless. You just need to make this clear when the campaign starts.

2011-02-11, 12:40 PM
I just tally up the CRs of the encounters defeated. I dole out xp at sessions end. It ain't that hard, and if they level, they can do that between sessions.

2011-02-11, 12:46 PM
Spreadsheets are your friends. CR in, XP out.

But just in case they're not your friends, just keep doing what you're doing, but give out the relevant xp instead of levels. Ding! 6k xp! (Not yay, you go to 6th level!) Or if you want to let them craft more than once per level, estimate - if you figure there's 12 encounters per level, and you have two per session, give them 1/6 of their level's xp per session.

2011-02-11, 12:46 PM
Leveling mid session is a bad idea in most cases. Just keep track of the CR of the creatures killed and know that 13 equal CR monsters = 99% of a level for a party of 4.

For exact totals, just use something like this (http://www.penpaperpixel.org/tools/d20encountercalculator.htm).

2011-02-11, 12:52 PM
Leveling mid session is a bad idea in most cases.

Yeah, this. It's a massive time-sink.

Also, I like to give gold towards session end, so any resulting shopping sprees don't take place mid-session.

2011-02-11, 12:55 PM
This helps me calculate it in-between sessions. Should make your life easier, at least a bit.

Encounters have CR now? Any formulae to calculate that? I thought I was supposed to punch in individual monster's CR in that calculator. T__T

2011-02-11, 12:56 PM
Specifically for crafting, I'd just ignore it- the limits on crafting are almost always the GP you have available and the downtime the character has available to work on it, with the XP cost being fairly negligible unless you do something silly like craft an item that involves a spell with an XP component. It's not gonna be a really big deal if your Wizard has 500 or so 'free' XP because he didn't have to spend ten XP a night making a scroll or whatever.

If you have people who want to do something more significant with their XP- LA buyoff, heavy usage of XP-components in spells, making constructs (horrible XP and goldsink for most of them)- then you may need to figure out something more detailed, but I wouldn't sweat the crafting.

2011-02-11, 01:32 PM
First off, throw out the CR system for XP awards, its unstable (optimized parties will fight higher CR things than they should be able to, will get more XP, will become more powerful, the gap will expand, they fight even higher CR things...).

I'd just ad-hoc it, or use a simplified system:

Figure out your party's average level. Give, say, 1/3 of the xp needed to level for an average session, 1/2 to 3/4 for a big epic session, and 1/5 or 1/6 for a laid back session where little gets done. If there are huge power gaps between characters, apply a 50% reward to the high end and a 150% reward to the low end.