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5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate

dnd4vr

Explorer
You know, I forgot to mention that while we are averaging about 2.5 sessions per level (1 per level early on, then 3 per level since with once more), our sessions tend to be rather long, typically 10-12 hours (once 16 hours). So, if you think more in terms of a typical session between 4-6 hours, we would be twice that. Thus, I guess in terms of 4-6 hour sessions, we are averaging closer to 5 sessions per level.
 

Bacon Bits

Explorer
I think 1-2 sessions at level 1 and 2 is great. At level 3-4, I like 2-3 sessions. At levels 5-10, I like 5-8 sessions. At levels 11+ I like 3-4 sessions (usually because the campaign is in wrap-up mode).
 

S'mon

Hero
So, if you think more in terms of a typical session between 4-6 hours, we would be twice that. Thus, I guess in terms of 4-6 hour sessions, we are averaging closer to 5 sessions per level.
Yeah, I was thinking 4 hours per session which seems standard. My weeknight games are more like 3.5 hours actually - my son plays & it's a school night. :)
 

S'mon

Hero
I think 1-2 sessions at level 1 and 2 is great. At level 3-4, I like 2-3 sessions. At levels 5-10, I like 5-8 sessions. At levels 11+ I like 3-4 sessions (usually because the campaign is in wrap-up mode).
When I use the 5e XP system that's about the rate I see, eg that was the rate in my Runelords game when it was tabletop.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Yeah, I was thinking 4 hours per session which seems standard. My weeknight games are more like 3.5 hours actually - my son plays & it's a school night. :)
After I thought about it I realized that was probably the case. I think our shortest session was maybe 8 hours. We start around 11 AM or so, and stop usually around 11 PM to 2 AM, every other Saturday.

So, like I said, that puts us closer to 5-6 sessions per level.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Looks like I do something similar to the 2.5 sessions/level without realizing it. From levels 1-3, I level the characters and the end of each session. (1>2>3). After that, it's a level every two to three sessions depending on how much actual play gets done.
 

Burnside

Explorer
My system, roughly:

~4 hours of play to get to level 2
~8 more hours to get to level 3
Thereafter, about 16 hours per level
 

S'mon

Hero
We level 2.5 times per session and finish entire campaigns in weeks! #Aaaaaaaaaagggghhh!!!
He he.

Actually, after 35 years of D&D I've only recently appreciated that it's possible and easy to deliberately vary the advancement rate to suit the intended campaign. The extreme case is my Princes of the Apocalypse game where the group are old friends from previous games & their spouses & children, we only get to play once a month and levelling every 1-2 sessions works great for that, going 1-20 will still be 2.5 years which I find is a great duration for a focused campaign. My Primeval Thule game playing weekly & levelling every 2-3 sessions gives something closest to what seems to be the intended 5e experience, like 3e going from 1-20 in a year, which is faster than I've ever done before but seems to work with the high fantasy swords & sorcery tone - start fighting rats in the sewers, end battling Great Old Ones and mighty armies.
 

BlivetWidget

Villager
If anyone is curious, based on Leveling Up (PHB 15), Adventuring Day XP (DMG 84), and Combat Encounter XP (DMG 82) (obviously, you can substitute social or exploratory encounters for combat encounters)...

1.PNG3.PNG2.PNG4.PNG
 

Esker

Explorer
Something I have never understood about XP advancement in 5e is the disconnect between the recommended measure of encounter difficulty and the amount of XP awarded. If encounter balancing guidelines use an adjusted XP measure to account for action economy, why shouldn't XP awarded also use the adjusted number? If characters are supposed to gain experience as a reward for overcoming challenges, why not tie XP to the scale of the challenge? As it is, facing many weaker creatures incurs a double whammy relative to one big one, holding assumed difficulty constant: more play time to get through it, and less payoff afterward.
 

Draegn

Explorer
[MENTION=6912801]BlivetWidget[/MENTION] in my game I increased the amount of experience required to level. To reach level ten requires 300,000. I do this because I never liked the level 1-20 in a year adventure paths. It felt too fast. People wouldn't show up unless we had the next dungeon magazine and most were not interested or cared about making different characters for the other adventures in the issue.
 

BlivetWidget

Villager
Nothing wrong with that, I was just putting out a few charts based on the published material. I prefer a goalpost system myself, but everyone's got their own preferences.
 

Jer

Explorer
Something I have never understood about XP advancement in 5e is the disconnect between the recommended measure of encounter difficulty and the amount of XP awarded. If encounter balancing guidelines use an adjusted XP measure to account for action economy, why shouldn't XP awarded also use the adjusted number? If characters are supposed to gain experience as a reward for overcoming challenges, why not tie XP to the scale of the challenge? As it is, facing many weaker creatures incurs a double whammy relative to one big one, holding assumed difficulty constant: more play time to get through it, and less payoff afterward.
I think it's because the XP rules are only in 5e because they're a thing that D&D players expect to be there. Much like how the game still hands out monetary treasure but doesn't really give you much to spend it on or how stats still range from 3-18 even though the bonus is generally the only thing that matters - it's there because it wouldn't be D&D without it, but I don't think the design team considers those things to be a substantive part of the game, more a stylistic choice that people would complain about if it were missing, and so I don't think they put a lot of effort into them.

FWIW - I think your argument is the correct one. XP should be determined by the encounter difficulty, which may be more than the sum of the individual monster XP. However I also don't trust the Encounter Building system to correctly tell me the level of difficulty of the encounter - because of bounded accuracy and making monsters threatening across more levels, the CR system for 5e is possibly even more borked than the CR system for 3e was. I'm coming round to the idea that the Encounter Building system in 5e is in the same boat as I feel that the XP system is - a thing that the design team knew they had to include because people expect it to be there, but that they didn't put a lot of effort into - though in this case less because they didn't think it mattered and more because they knew that no matter how they did it the design goals they had for 5e weren't going to let them build one that actually worked.
 

ART!

Explorer
I think the 2.5 sessions thing is too fast, for the same reasons as other who have posted their dislike: as a DM I want the players to have time to get used to their new abilities, and as a player I want time to get used to them, too. Sometimes a single session will be pretty focused, with little or no opportunity to explore new features.

My basic rule is: did one or more PC almost die or actually die, or was there a genuine threat of a TPK, or something equally catastrophic? Then they've probably earned a level.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Something I have never understood about XP advancement in 5e is the disconnect between the recommended measure of encounter difficulty and the amount of XP awarded. If encounter balancing guidelines use an adjusted XP measure to account for action economy, why shouldn't XP awarded also use the adjusted number? If characters are supposed to gain experience as a reward for overcoming challenges, why not tie XP to the scale of the challenge? As it is, facing many weaker creatures incurs a double whammy relative to one big one, holding assumed difficulty constant: more play time to get through it, and less payoff afterward.
Yep, a lot of people have said they just award the adjusted XP since that is what the encounter difficulty is based on. Nothing wrong with going that route.
 

S'mon

Hero
Yep, a lot of people have said they just award the adjusted XP since that is what the encounter difficulty is based on. Nothing wrong with going that route.
I find that not doing this, the advancement rate at level 5-10 is more like 6-8 sessions per level, far from the recommended 2.5. Which is ok but I generally give some bonus xp to make it more like 5 sessions per level.
 

Nebulous

Explorer
I don't use XP or any kind of measurable milestone system. PCs level up faster at low level, and it slows down as they get to 5th and higher. I like to control the "sweet spot" of D&D as the DM, it makes it far more enjoyable, and the fun factor of the game for me steadily decreases after 10th level when they go from fantasy heroes to super heroes.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
A level every 2.5 sessions maps pretty well back to 3.0/3.5 where a level is about 13 encounters. So 5e is assuming about 5 encounters a session which seems mostly reasonable.

I tend to prefer a wider level band myself where a PC would be the same level for at least 1, maybe 2-3 whole adventures.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Something I have never understood about XP advancement in 5e is the disconnect between the recommended measure of encounter difficulty and the amount of XP awarded. If encounter balancing guidelines use an adjusted XP measure to account for action economy, why shouldn't XP awarded also use the adjusted number? If characters are supposed to gain experience as a reward for overcoming challenges, why not tie XP to the scale of the challenge? As it is, facing many weaker creatures incurs a double whammy relative to one big one, holding assumed difficulty constant: more play time to get through it, and less payoff afterward.
Both approaches have pros and cons.

The existing system rewards the same XP regardless of approach. Let's say you spot a group of a dozen goblins. If you can lure away half the group and kill them 6 at a time, the encounter will be much easier because the players approached it with a smart plan as opposed to brute force. Additionally, for "living worlds", the DM can have a patrol break off from the main group at given times, without having to recalculate their XP value.

Challenge based rewards discourage that style of play, while encouraging a kick-in-the-door approach. If you're dealing with players who really want to maximize their XP, they may even try to provoke multiple encounters simultaneously.

Either way is fine, provided it works for your group.
 

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