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nonsi
2019-05-23, 10:59 PM
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Throughout D&D's different incarnations, one of the more tedious aspects was tracking how much XP each monster is worth and what the players get for it.
In Pathfinder 2, they finally simplified things by:

Setting XP requirement for the next level to a fixed value of 1000.
Subtracting 1000 XP once a level was obtained (without re-calculating whatever XP left).

While this direction is definitely an improvement, I find the Minor (10) — Moderate (30) — Major (80) XP award too rough and inaccurate, and a bit unfair.

My estimation is that a level advancement should be achieved after roughly 20 level-appropriate encounters, which would amount to about 4 game sessions (i.e. 50 XP for a level-appropriate encounter).

The table below relates to a party of 4.
In such case, if all characters are of the same level (ECL in 3.Xe), each receives the stated XP from the encounter.

Encounter CR XP
================================================== ================================================== =======================
Party Level - 5 or less ZERO (even if there is a threat, you can't learn anything new from such trivial encounters)
Party Level - 4 10
Party Level - 3 20
Party Level - 2 30
Party Level - 1 40
Party Level 50
Party Level + 1 60
Party Level + 2 70
Party Level + 3 80
Party Level + 4 90
Party Level + 5 or more 100 (there's only so much you can learn/improve from a single encounter)

For groups of a different number of characters N, apply the following formula to XP gained by encounters: [XP * 4 / N].

For each character of higher/lower ECL than the average, simply shift the XP award in the opposite direction. Round fractions closest *

Example: In case of a party of four characters, three of 5th level and one of 6th, when they finish a CR 5 encounter, three of them gain 50 XP while the higher-level character gains only 40 XP.

* If the party's average level is exactly midway between two levels, then round that level down in favor of the party.

3e and other systems:
While 3e variants all use CR (however flawed it is) to describe a level-appropriate challenge for a typical party of 4 characters, other systems might have a different measuring scale.
In such case, simply replace CR with whatever would be considered a balanced challenge for the party as a 50 XP pivot and increase/decrease XP gain according to how many levels higher/lower each encounter would be most appropriate for as a balanced challenge.
It applies to all manners of encounters (fighting creatures, avoiding traps, bypassing obstacles etc.).
Riddles and thought challenges would be evaluated vs. the mental capabilities of the players rather than characters' average level.

JNAProductions
2019-05-24, 07:51 AM
What makes you think that'd work cross-edition?

It doesn't work in 5E, for instance-there's no assumption that a CR X monster is equal to a level X PC.

nonsi
2019-05-24, 10:25 AM
What makes you think that'd work cross-edition?

It doesn't work in 5E, for instance-there's no assumption that a CR X monster is equal to a level X PC.

Fair point.
How about replacing CR with level-appropriate-balanced-challenge?