This is hot off the presses – like, I literally just finished writing it yesterday. Originally this was going to be part of the GMing chapter, but I’ve decided it makes more sense in an earlier, player-facing part of the book. So, this material will slot into chapter 2, which I previewed in this post, near the end, just before I list the benefits of levelling up. (Obviously, the tables will need prettying up, and other minor things may need doing to make the layout work.)
This will put almost, but not quite, all the rules for experience in one place. The GMing chapter will list several things the GM can choose to give experience for, and some pros and cons of each option for different styles of games. There are strong hints at that material here as well, and experienced GMs will probably be able to guess much of it just from what’s written below. A lot of player behaviour is driven by what they get in-game rewards for, of which experience points are arguably the most important. So the core idea of the GM advice will be to encourage asking the question “What player behaviours do I want to reward?” and choosing a list of things to give xp for accordingly. This is the easiest way I can think of to completely change the feel of a game while only altering one rule.
Characters gain experience by overcoming challenges. This can mean defeating enemies, finding treasures, exploring, finishing quests, solving mysteries and puzzles, advancing the plot, or anything else that contributes to the group’s overall enjoyment. Ultimately, it’s up to the GM which of these things give xp; it depends what style of adventures the GM plans to run and what behaviours she wants to reward.
|Level up chart|
|Level||Min XP||Level||Min XP|
A character reaches a new level when he or she starts a night’s rest with at least the minimum number of xpfor that level, as shown in the accompanying chart. While the Origins Set only has the complete rules for characters up to level 5, you’ll notice the chart goes considerably higher than this; this is to minimize duplication of information in future releases.
Anything you can gain experience from – enemies, quests, puzzles, and so on – has a level, usually the level the GM expected you to be at the time you completed that challenge. When your party overcomes a challenge, you get a number of xp that depends on the challenge’s level, your level, and the size of the party (i.e. the number of ways xp is being split).
Depending on party size, you usually get around 10 xp for defeating a challenge of your level. More powerful challenges are worth more xp, weaker challenges are worth fewer; figure out ways to overcome a few challenges “early”, and you can advance quite rapidly. Conversely, challenges 5 or more levels below you are worth nothing.
|Challenge level minus PC level||1||2||3||4||5||6||7|
|-5 or less||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Per additional challenge level||60||30||20||15||12||10||9|
Note that different party members can get different numbers of xp from the same challenge if their levels are different. For example, if a party consisting of four characters, one each of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level, defeats a 3rd level challenge, the 1st-level character would gain 19 xp, the 2nd-level character would gain 14, the third-level character would gain 10, and the 4th level character would gain 8.
Fulfilling a major, long-term quest or defeating an exceptionally powerful “boss” monster is a major achievement and – assuming these are the sorts of things your GM is giving xp for in the first place – should be rewarded as though it were five challenges of the appropriate level. Conversely, some exceptionally weak enemies – known as “mooks” – are only a significant challenge in large numbers, so four such enemies count as one challenge of the appropriate level.
The GM has further guidelines on awarding xp, and will let you know what activitives give xp at the start of a campaign.