View Full Version : New Pathfinder DM help, please

2013-03-10, 01:17 AM
I'm running the module Crypt of the Everflame for my players, all of whom are new. I myself am fairly experienced as a player, but this is my first time DMing. I've played 3.0, 3.5, and (unfortunately) 4e, as well as Pathfinder.

The problem I have is this. In the module each sub "encounter" or event is named, then lists CR and EXP. Example, "(First Fight CR 1,400 XP)".

At first glance that seemed like an awful lot of exp, but then I realized, oh derp, that's the PARTY exp. So just, divvy it up. 350 per player seemed much more reasonable.

So, I moved on, and just added up the XP from each of these behind my screen til the end of that session. I realized, oh hey, they leveled! They were under halfway through the first level of the crypt, so that surprised me, but again, I didn't think much of it.

Now though, they've just hit level three, so I KNOW something is wrong. I went through the module and added up all the XP and it totals 91,830. That's 22,957 per player, meaning at the end of the module they'd be nearly 6th level.

That CAN'T be right. They're supposed to finish this crypt at level 2!

What is going on here? I'm so confused! Please help. :(

2013-03-10, 02:58 AM
It's "Challenge rating one: 400 XP" not "Challenge rating: 1400 XP". Or 100 XP each, if you have four players. You were giving them over three times the experience they were supposed to get.

(I have to admit, I grinned a bit when I realised what you had done. Good luck with breaking that to your players :smallwink:).

2013-03-10, 10:40 AM
Looks like DeIdeal has figured it out. If indeed that is the issue you've been having, then it seems all you can really do now is adjust all future encounters to be more suitable for their current level, and then slow down the xp back to what its supposed to be.

Looks like its going to be a lot of work. Good luck!

2013-03-10, 11:48 AM
Oh no its fine. I'm GLAD they leveled because they're without a cleric and are presently getting the **** kicked out of them. But holy CRAP is that really bad typeface. It DOES look like 1,400 XP, which is just... stupid. Thank you though, I feel pretty derpy right now. Also they're supposed to be level 3 for the next module so they can just stay at this level til they get back up where they should be in the game itself.

2013-03-10, 12:01 PM
But holy CRAP is that really bad typeface. It DOES look like 1,400 XP, which is just... stupid. Thank you though, I feel pretty derpy right now.

It really is! It's slightly more bearable with higher-CR encounters CR 4, 1,200 xp is harder to mistake for something else, (although even that might happen if you're not paying attention) but really, they should've thought this through. It's also more obvious once you start to remember the proper xp values for traps and monsters, but especially for newer DMs... no, just, no.

Glad if I was of any help.

2013-03-12, 01:41 AM
Here's a related question, I am also running a game for the first time, and I need to know, how important is sticking to the XP listed?

I don't have anything planned too far in advance mechanically, just the plot, and I want the characters to level up as fast as possible, because I want the campaign to eventually reach epic level.

Aside from arbitrarily awarding XP, which I suspect is a bad idea, what are other ways to do it, are there particular scenarios that award a lot of XP?

2013-03-12, 03:37 AM
Warning: This is my personal opinion, and I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me.

I'm assuming that it's your first time running any game, and not just PF. Otherwise, much of this won't apply.

Now, I don't know how much time you're dedicating to your campaign, but just bluntly stating that you want your first campaign to reach epic levels sounds a bit... optimistic. To me, you don't just play once a week for a month or two to reach epic levels.

The players (and the DM as well) quickly lose the sense of accomplishment if you just start giving out 20 the usual XP from monsters. The players have no time for character development, the game becomes a grindfest and the players have 15 levels worth of abilities they don't know how to use.

In addition, first campaigns (and second, third, ...) usually have a fairly high chance of just eventually stopping as the DM is still sort of testing around, so I wouldn't get too attached to it otherwise you'll also have a high chance of starting to railroad the players. Speaking from experience here.

However, there are a few different ways of quicker advancement. The one I'd recommend is just using the fast advancement (See character advancement in d20pfsrd, for example). Most pre-made adventures use the medium advancement, but as you seem to be running your own adventure, this shouldn't be a problem.

Another way is to forget about the monster-based XP completely and just start giving out "enough" experience from quests and other major (and minor) accomplishments. Some systems actually encourage this. However, PF, D&D and other, similaar systems don't (and for a good reason).

TL;DR: New GM? Stick with the default fast advancement. You'll run into problems otherwise.

2013-03-12, 04:42 AM
I want the characters to level up as fast as possible, because I want the campaign to eventually reach epic level.

Though many people plan for their campaigns to reach epic levels, in truth, only a handful actually get there in a meaningful way. DMing your first few campaigns, you'll have a dozen other things to worry about before really looking towards epic levels.

Also, if characters gain levels too quickly, not only will they not have time to learn their new abilities, they'll also get used to it. In the future, if you want to slow xp down, you'll usually get some resistance.

However, you can still accelerate level gain by using the Fast Advancement and throwing in some additional ad-hoc xp.

Granting ad-hoc xp is useful when you want to reward a player for memorable roleplaying, clever play, plot engrossment, creating an NPC, and anything else you want to reward your players for doing. Not only does this accelerate the level gain, it also gives you a method to show your players what you expect of them by rewarding players that contribute to your campaign in a positive manner.

The amount of ad-hoc xp you grant must be carefully controlled. Too much of it will overshadow any encounter xp they get, while too little will make it not worth the effort. I would recommend going roughly for 50 xp per two levels of the character per award, with a cap of triple that. So at 1st and 2nd level, they get 50 xp per award, with a max of 150 xp per session. 3rd and 4th, 100 xp per award, with a max of 300 xp per session, etc.

2013-03-13, 01:40 AM
Okay, stick to fast advancement, gotcha.

My main concern is when they get to about level 18, I don't want it to take forever.