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5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate


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.
Yeah, I was just thinking about that issue. I think maybe the ideal approach (assuming you're committed to using XP, that is) would be for the DM to set the XP value ahead of time based on a "default" party that just lumbers along, neither doing anything particularly clever nor particularly stupid. That way, if the group does manage to use clever tactics to split encounters up, then they implicitly get credit for that by still getting the XP as if they'd faced the goblins all at once. Conversely, if the party makes a ruckus and draws two groups of enemies together that wouldn't have been together normally, they pay the penalty of a harder fight, but without the reward of an XP multiplier.
Assuming 4-hour weekly sessions:

1 session for 1st level, 2 sessions for 2nd level, 3-4 sessions per level thereafter. IMO, of course. (But the big advantage of 3 sessions is that it gives them one session when they're just getting used to their new powers, one session when they've individually worked them out, one session to figure out how best to use them as a team, and then move on before they get too bored.)

For longer sessions, obviously you need fewer sessions. For less frequent sessions, it's probably wise to level more quickly - you want each session to feel more memorable, so might even want to give a level every time!

All IMO, of course!

the Jester

What do you think of the 5e DMG's recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate?
That's way too fast for my tastes, at least above around 3rd level. Like, I'm down with a character advancing from 1st to 3rd in one or two good sessions, but after that, I prefer a slower advancement rate.

So far the highest level PCs have reached level 9 from 1st. It seems to work fine but I'm wondering if maybe it means leveling out of the sweet spot too fast, and how it'll work at level 11+.
Advancement speed is one of those things that is strictly a matter of taste. There's nothing wrong with leveling every game. But it wouldn't be to my taste as a player, and I wouldn't generally run a game like that. I'd say if it feels too fast for you, you should slow it down a little. You can also survey your players and see how they feel about it.


I recently ran a campaign from 1-20, and as an experiment, I awarded XP as follows:

The first session, everybody gets 400 XP. For each subsequent session, the award increases by 400 XP (so the second session is 800 XP, the third session is 1,200 XP, the fourth is 1,600 XP, etc.).

Over the long term, this produces almost exactly 2.5 sessions/level. (You can actually get closer to 2.5 sessions/level by increasing XP by 350 per session; I used 400 because the math is easier and I like slightly faster leveling.) And it worked shockingly well!

...Up until level 15 or so. The leveling definitely speeds up around level 11/12/13 and that's OK, especially since levels 8/9/10 take a little bit longer. But somehow blowing past the epic levels doesn't feel right. Getting all the way up to 17 should feel hard, and things should only take longer from there. So at level 15, when the XP per session was 12,000 XP, I decided not to increase it after that. This stretched out the levels to 4-5 sessions per level. This worked out great.


Thanks for feedback everyone. I think I'm going to stick wuth it for current Primeval Thule game, which seems to suit the fast pace of 1-20 in a year, then next year go back to a more relaxed pace in a traditional sandboxy type setting, probably use the new Essentials set combined with the
starter box.

Edit: And I'm looking at running Dwimmermount (or return to Stonehell) next year in 5e, which would suit a slow pace of around 5 sessions/level.
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