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D&D General Experience Points & Leveling: A Brief Primer on XP in the 1e DMG, and Why It Still Matters

Hussar

Legend
So something that's somewhat random counts as the DM playing favourites?

Sorry, not buying that.

And I can't speak for your game, but were a party with no magic to find a +5 holy avenger* here there's no way in hell one character could afford to claim/buy it from treasury; hence it's ironclad guaranteed it'd be sold during treasury division and the proceeds shared out.

* - a magic item I have never yet DMed lo these 37 years.
Heh. Talk about different experiences.

Our groups were completely socialist. Whenever we found an item that would best fit a particular PC, that PC got the item. If it benefitted multiple characters, we rolled for it. But, the idea that a PC had to "buy" an item from his or her share of treasure is something I've only ever seen from one player in all the years I've gamed. I was so taken aback by it when he brought it up to the group that he had to explain it to me three times before I understood what he meant. :D

Render unto Caesar and all that. Having a paladin with a holy avenger in the party makes the party SO much more powerful than one without that it wouldn't even occur to me to not give it to the paladin.

Does explain a lot of why we have such differing experiences. The only time we sold magic items was the "extra" ones that inevitably cropped up. That extra +1 sword that no one has a use for, that sort of thing.
 

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Oldtimer

Great Old One
Publisher
Moldvay Basic Page B22:

"MAXIMUM XP: A character should never be given enough XP in a single adventure to advance more than one level of experience. For example, if a beginning (0 XP) 1st level fighter earns 5000 XP (a rare and outstanding achievement), he or she should only be given 3999 XP, enough to place the character 1 XP short of 3rd level."
Also, MEN & MAGIC, page 18:

"It is also recommended that no more experience points be awarded for any single adventure than will suffice to move the character upwards one level. Thus a "veteran" (1 st level) gains what would ordinarily be 5,000 experience points; however, as this would move him upwards two levels, the referee should award only sufficient points to bring him to "warrior" (2nd level), say 3,999 if the character began with 0 experience points."
 

David Howery

Adventurer
Does explain a lot of why we have such differing experiences. The only time we sold magic items was the "extra" ones that inevitably cropped up. That extra +1 sword that no one has a use for, that sort of thing.
generally, but in one 1E campaign, I had a ranger PC who was approaching 'get followers' level, so I started paying for/keeping some of those extra magic weapons/armor we found... and when he finally did get his followers (which tend to heavily favor human and demi-human fighters), they were all pretty well equipped right at the start....
 

Voadam

Legend
The only time I can remember there being an actual opportunity to sell magic items in AD&D I ran or was playing in was when I was DMing and the party was in Greyhawk when I was using the 2e city boxed set. As a player I never encountered an opportunity to sell magical stuff to a magic item store or broker until 3e.

For the most parts magical loot was kept in the AD&D games I was in. In one campaign I remember becoming something of a political patron and giving my giantslayer two handed sword to a variant paladin champion of a Norse god as part of him agreeing to work for me.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
in 1E (especially if you played the published modules), you encountered scads of 'lesser' magic items... +1 and +2 things that are great when you're low level, but you tended to find better stuff later on. Selling this stuff was always kind of an off stage grey area... I think we basically assumed that you could always sell excess magic items, but no DM in any group I was in let us just buy anything other than scrolls... I don't think we could even buy potions. But we always found so many of them, it didn't matter...
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Heh. Talk about different experiences.

Our groups were completely socialist. Whenever we found an item that would best fit a particular PC, that PC got the item. If it benefitted multiple characters, we rolled for it. But, the idea that a PC had to "buy" an item from his or her share of treasure is something I've only ever seen from one player in all the years I've gamed. I was so taken aback by it when he brought it up to the group that he had to explain it to me three times before I understood what he meant. :D
And yet, equitable-by-value treasure division is even more socialist; in that everyone ends up getting the same value worth of loot.

Otherwise it's all too easy to end up with a situation I DMed once. Treasure division is entirely up to the players, and one group decided that instead of equitable division of the whole lot they'd divide the cash and non-magic evenly and then use a sports-league-like draft system for the magic items, with the pick order
Render unto Caesar and all that. Having a paladin with a holy avenger in the party makes the party SO much more powerful than one without that it wouldn't even occur to me to not give it to the paladin.
In our crew I'd be surprised if the paladin had managed to stay in the party long enough to even claim the avenger. :)
Does explain a lot of why we have such differing experiences. The only time we sold magic items was the "extra" ones that inevitably cropped up. That extra +1 sword that no one has a use for, that sort of thing.
At a guess I'd say about half the magic they find gets sold, either because nobody's proficient with it (we use individual weapon proficiencies), or nobody wants it (it's either inferior to what they already have or it's just not of any real use), or less commonly, nobody in the party can afford it and for whatever reason it isn't or can't be carried forward as a party-owned thing.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So something that's somewhat random counts as the DM playing favourites?

Sorry, not buying that.

And I can't speak for your game, but were a party with no magic to find a +5 holy avenger* here there's no way in hell one character could afford to claim/buy it from treasury; hence it's ironclad guaranteed it'd be sold during treasury division and the proceeds shared out.

* - a magic item I have never yet DMed lo these 37 years.
That seems odd to me. Why wouldn't they just give it to the Paladin? That would strengthen the party to an incredible degree, increasing survivability. Why make a potentially suicidal move just because the Paladin can't afford to buy it from the treasury?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That seems odd to me. Why wouldn't they just give it to the Paladin? That would strengthen the party to an incredible degree, increasing survivability. Why make a potentially suicidal move just because the Paladin can't afford to buy it from the treasury?
In part because the other characters would feel (IMO justifiably) ripped off. Sure the Pally can use it provided it belongs to all of us and we all have equal say in what becomes of it, but give it to the Pally as hers to own? Not bloody likely. And, if we carry forward the avenger that means everyone's share takes a big hit, and people might need that money to train or to buy other items more useful to them/the party.

Never mind that in most of our games there's a very high chance any half-sane Pally would be either voluntarily leaving the party ASAP or getting punted from the party ASAP...and the rest of the party would want to sell that holy avenger to either the Pally or anyone else who could put all that sweet coin in our hands. :)
 

And yet, equitable-by-value treasure division is even more socialist; in that everyone ends up getting the same value worth of loot.

Otherwise it's all too easy to end up with a situation I DMed once. Treasure division is entirely up to the players, and one group decided that instead of equitable division of the whole lot they'd divide the cash and non-magic evenly and then use a sports-league-like draft system for the magic items, with the pick order

In our crew I'd be surprised if the paladin had managed to stay in the party long enough to even claim the avenger. :)

At a guess I'd say about half the magic they find gets sold, either because nobody's proficient with it (we use individual weapon proficiencies), or nobody wants it (it's either inferior to what they already have or it's just not of any real use), or less commonly, nobody in the party can afford it and for whatever reason it isn't or can't be carried forward as a party-owned thing.
We divvy up loot that way. Everybody who got to pick first so far, automatically goes to the end of the list, with the others rolling to see who gets first pick. When everybody's had a turn, we start over.
 

Voadam

Legend
We divvy up loot that way. Everybody who got to pick first so far, automatically goes to the end of the list, with the others rolling to see who gets first pick. When everybody's had a turn, we start over.
In 3e I negotiated splitting evenly but incentivizing having the party keep good appropriate items. Items counted as their sale value so half the cost to buy them. If you claimed an item that was bigger than your share of loot you just went temporarily in debt to the group for future shares of loot. That way the paladin who wants the avenger takes it but gives up other magic and loot for a while.

Later we also came up with party items such as cure light wounds wands which we allocated loot for first then divided up the rest.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
In part because the other characters would feel (IMO justifiably) ripped off. Sure the Pally can use it provided it belongs to all of us and we all have equal say in what becomes of it, but give it to the Pally as hers to own? Not bloody likely. And, if we carry forward the avenger that means everyone's share takes a big hit, and people might need that money to train or to buy other items more useful to them/the party.

Never mind that in most of our games there's a very high chance any half-sane Pally would be either voluntarily leaving the party ASAP or getting punted from the party ASAP...and the rest of the party would want to sell that holy avenger to either the Pally or anyone else who could put all that sweet coin in our hands. :)
Replace Holy Avenger with staff of power, +5 weapon, ring of regeneration etc.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Please forgive my committing the unspeakable faux-pas of replying to myself, as I see I didn't finish a sentence earlier and thus the point wasn't made at all.
And yet, equitable-by-value treasure division is even more socialist; in that everyone ends up getting the same value worth of loot.

Otherwise it's all too easy to end up with a situation I DMed once. Treasure division is entirely up to the players, and one group decided that instead of equitable division of the whole lot they'd divide the cash and non-magic evenly and then use a sports-league-like draft system for the magic items, with the pick order
...determined by random roll and then reversed each time through (thus 1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1-1-2-etc.) until nobody wanted anything else; anything left over was sold and the proceeds shared out. Anyone could draft anything provided it was still on the board.

Sounds fair enough in theory, right?

What happened in practice was one character in particular, being very greedy (though played by a non-greedy IRL player), drafted for estimated value* rather than function; she generally guessed right, and then privately sold off most of what she'd picked and made an absolute fortune. By the time the party concluded, three or four adventures later, that this was a bad means of treasury division, that one character's net worth was about equal to the rest of the party combined!

Never again.

* - because they were dividing it by draft there was no real need to get the items evaluated, so we got to skip that step.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Replace Holy Avenger with staff of power, +5 weapon, ring of regeneration etc.
OK, Ring of Regeneration is a great example that has come up in my own game.

Useful to everyone. 100% worth keeping as a party possession yet priced at 40K or more; which when each PC's share is about 17K makes claiming it a problem for any one character. So how to deal with it?

Easy to answer if it's ironclad sure the party's staying together for a while: carry it forward as a party possession with each character owning a share. Potential problems arise here if some (or all!) characters need that full 17K share for other reasons e.g. training, or buying/claiming other items; as knocking the Ring out of treasury is going to hammer everyone's share (in a 6-member party the share would come down from 17K to a bit over 11K). If the party otherwise has enough liquidity and-or prior assets this isn't often a big headache; if they don't, it can be.

Not so easy to answer if the party's splitting up, which happens occasionally; or character turnover/cycling is expected, which is common. Now you have to determine a) who ends up with the Ring and b) who has to buy out who.
 

Heh. Talk about different experiences.

Our groups were completely socialist. Whenever we found an item that would best fit a particular PC, that PC got the item. If it benefitted multiple characters, we rolled for it. But, the idea that a PC had to "buy" an item from his or her share of treasure is something I've only ever seen from one player in all the years I've gamed. I was so taken aback by it when he brought it up to the group that he had to explain it to me three times before I understood what he meant. :D

Render unto Caesar and all that. Having a paladin with a holy avenger in the party makes the party SO much more powerful than one without that it wouldn't even occur to me to not give it to the paladin.

Does explain a lot of why we have such differing experiences. The only time we sold magic items was the "extra" ones that inevitably cropped up. That extra +1 sword that no one has a use for, that sort of thing.
This was the way we divided treasure before I came with the rule, no exp for magic item gold value when sold. This encouraged the style of play you know and have had over the years. The best item to the best character able to weild it. No fuss, no fight, no quarrels. Everyone was happy to play that way.

But it was also implied that if you wanted to sell an item that could net a very nice profit, you had to talk to the group first and if they agreed, you would share to gold with the rest of the party. This avoided much heated debates/frustrations and weird shenanigans from particularily covetous players that wanted gold, gold and more gold. (for whatever reasons...).
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
In part because the other characters would feel (IMO justifiably) ripped off. Sure the Pally can use it provided it belongs to all of us and we all have equal say in what becomes of it, but give it to the Pally as hers to own? Not bloody likely. And, if we carry forward the avenger that means everyone's share takes a big hit, and people might need that money to train or to buy other items more useful to them/the party.

Never mind that in most of our games there's a very high chance any half-sane Pally would be either voluntarily leaving the party ASAP or getting punted from the party ASAP...and the rest of the party would want to sell that holy avenger to either the Pally or anyone else who could put all that sweet coin in our hands. :)
Yeesh....0% crossover with how my table does loot.

Any item that belongs to a certain class or character goes to them without a fight. Everything else is available to whoever wants it, otherwise it goes on the party treasure sheet along with all the coins, gems, and art.

If anyone needs money for something they just ask of it's available and the party treasurer marks it off the stash.

We might even go so far as to be communistic in our treasure policy...taking socialism up a notch. Even the rogues toss in their pickpocketing gains....
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, we just assumed that any "sold" items became party xp, same as gold or any other party profit. So, you couldn't just claim an item and turn around and sell it. Well, you could, but, there's no point. Any xp from the sale would be divvied up equally.

And, we ruled that an item kept and used didn't net xp value if sold. You already got the xp for keeping the item, so, no double dipping.

I am pretty sure though that items kept netted xp to the keeper though. But, frankly, that generally wasn't a huge amount of xp anyway (especially compared to selling the item), so, I don't think it made much of a difference. And, really, once you get out of about 4th level or so, the xp requirements between levels are so high that any disparity in xp totals generally got swallowed up. Sure, Bob has 10000 xp more than I do, but, we need 120 000 xp for next level, so, really, the difference isn't that much.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeesh....0% crossover with how my table does loot.

Any item that belongs to a certain class or character goes to them without a fight. Everything else is available to whoever wants it, otherwise it goes on the party treasure sheet along with all the coins, gems, and art.

If anyone needs money for something they just ask of it's available and the party treasurer marks it off the stash.
So how does that work when the party splits up or someone retires or the lineup otherwise turns over between adventures?
 

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