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

S'mon

Legend
So how does that work when the party splits up or someone retires or the lineup otherwise turns over between adventures?

IMC that always results in lost loot since it is typically split during session and goes off with the PCs. No PC no loot.

The worst case though is when the party let a Treasurer PC hoard all the loot, then the player drops the campaign. I try to get players to make the treasurer divvy up loot regularly, but many are much too passive & trusting. Some treasurers are fine of course.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
IMC that always results in lost loot since it is typically split during session and goes off with the PCs. No PC no loot.
So if a PC is carrying a party-owned item and wanders off with it the party loses it?

Yeah, that'd never fly round here - they'd move heaven and earth to track that character down and get the item back (and depending on how things shook down in the process, they may or may not pay the character his-her share for it).
The worst case though is when the party let a Treasurer PC hoard all the loot, then the player drops the campaign. I try to get players to make the treasurer divvy up loot regularly, but many are much too passive & trusting. Some treasurers are fine of course.
Something's off there somehow. Are you saying that because the Treasurer records all the loot the Treasurer's PC is the one carrying it? (and how much does it all weigh? :) )

That's one thing I do enforce now and then as DM: they have to tell me (and note down) who's carrying what from the active treasury. Why? Because then if someone falls down an endless chasm or gets teleported halfway round the world or gets disintegrated to ash it's easy to figure out what just vanished from the treasury without having to random roll for each thing to see whose pack it's in.

In our games treasure's always fully divided after each adventure*, and sometimes mini-divisions are done mid-adventure if the party stops back to town and-or if someone's leaving the party and-or if someone (or the whole party) really needs some money right now. Full division really can't be done in the field as there's often no way of getting things - magical or otherwise - properly evaluated there.

* - with rare exceptions e.g. if one adventure leads straight into another with no intervening downtime.
 

S'mon

Legend
So if a PC is carrying a party-owned item and wanders off with it the party loses it?
I've not seen a concept of a 'party owned item'.

If an adventure has a CRPG style 'quest item' vital to the adventure I guess I say it stays with the group. That's extremely rare though.
 

S'mon

Legend
Something's off there somehow. Are you saying that because the Treasurer records all the loot the Treasurer's PC is the one carrying it? (and how much does it all weigh? :) )

If only the treasurer has the loot record, either they carry all of it (likely in bags of holding at higher level) or it's in their storage. Other PCs aren't carrying stuff they have no record of and don't even know exists!

It's usually not a big issue, but playing 5e in the Pathfinder/Golarion world (high magic, high treasure) there was a break IRL and in-world, and when we resumed the treasurer player didn't rejoin. The other players had just let the treasurer hoard all the loot for umpteen sessions and had no money on their high level PC sheets. I remember I had to just arbitrarily give them 12,000gp each. I justified that on the basis they'd been domain rulers for several years in the break and would surely have some cash on hand.

I try to discourage this kind of player passivity, but some just don't want to have to track treasure - or argue with a domineering treasurer that they'd like some loot now, please.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
@S'mon and everyone else:

I've just started a treasury-specific thread here:


I'll follow up on the above comments in that thread, leaving this one for xp-related stuff. :)
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
So how does that work when the party splits up or someone retires or the lineup otherwise turns over between adventures?
If a character dies the player making a new character has two options.....they can leave all the equipment behind to the party treasure pool, in which case the new character comes into play without anything other than starting equipment regardless of their level. Alternately they can do a "viking funeral" in which case they are buried with their equipment and their share of the party loot, in which case the new character can come into play with equipment appropriate to their level.

A retiring character is treated the same way.

A player leaving the campaign (which is rare we have a steady group of friends who have been playing since 3e was shiney new) puts their character on off-camera hold with their equipment intact. If they can come back for a one off session now and then they play the same character levelled up to where the rest of the party currently is.

The biggest use of party gold is buying spells for the wizards that will help in upcoming missions, getting consumables like potions or healing scrolls, or even party use items like bags of holding and such. In the rare moment a character is 2 or 3 magic items behind everyone else we might go look to get them something appropriate....however all the GMs at my table tend to de out magic items fairly amongst the players to keep everyone even.

So, in your example of finding a Holy Avenger...in my group it would be blatantly obvious that was seeded in the treasure for the paladin...so nobody would put any claim on it. The one notable example I can think of is my Kensai Monk who has been dedicated in-game to finding one as a life quest. If the HA turned up I would most certainly claim it along side the paladin, but only because ive been heavily roleplaying the hunt for one.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So, in your example of finding a Holy Avenger...in my group it would be blatantly obvious that was seeded in the treasure for the paladin...so nobody would put any claim on it.
That assumes there's even a Paladin in the party. I make no such party-composition assumptions when coming up with adventures - including treasure - and IMO nor should I.

Sure, if you've a Pally in the group and you find a holy avenger then obviously said Pally is going to bankrupt herself if she has to in order to end up owning it. But for all I know by the time they find it the group could just as easily consist of a non-Good Fighter, a Thief, a MU and a Druid; and then what do they do with it?
The one notable example I can think of is my Kensai Monk who has been dedicated in-game to finding one as a life quest. If the HA turned up I would most certainly claim it along side the paladin, but only because ive been heavily roleplaying the hunt for one.
And that's cool.

Were I you, though, and I ever got the sense that an avenger had been placed specifically by the DM because I'd been looking for one, that would feel cheap somehow. Ditto any other "obvious seeding" situations.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
That assumes there's even a Paladin in the party. I make no such party-composition assumptions when coming up with adventures - including treasure - and IMO nor should I.

Sure, if you've a Pally in the group and you find a holy avenger then obviously said Pally is going to bankrupt herself if she has to in order to end up owning it. But for all I know by the time they find it the group could just as easily consist of a non-Good Fighter, a Thief, a MU and a Druid; and then what do they do with it?

And that's cool.

Were I you, though, and I ever got the sense that an avenger had been placed specifically by the DM because I'd been looking for one, that would feel cheap somehow. Ditto any other "obvious seeding" situations.
There is a vast ocean of fiction in which the objects of desire, or pinnacle or incredibly serendipitous tools find their way into the hero's hands over the course of their hero's journey.

Rey found a conveniently placed lightsaber at just the time she needed one. Funnily enough the same as Luke did. Multiple hobbits ended up with magical weapons that conveniently were sized for them.

It's a common trope, to find the relics that fit your story, so I don't see that doing so in D&D cheapens the aquisition at all.

In a more crunchy vein, if a character devotes resources to be good at some weapon in particular then you are going to have to pick between....

A: Everyone specializes in longswords, which is a statistical choice ending in sameyness.

B: Some character specializes in a kukri and they retire at 20th level never having found a kukri (because it's not native to Fantasy Europe) so they use a longsword anyway because a +3 longsword is better than a plain old kukri.

C: You let the players buy customized weapons.

D: You make an adventure where the bad guy might have a Holy Avenging Kukri I the fiction to throw a bone to the kukri choosing player.

I'm not sure why a GM wouldn't want to include player character stated goals into their story arcs.
 

Voadam

Legend
There is another option. The player seeks out such specific gear not by going on fortuitous random adventures or to a magic items shop, but by seeking out information on such stuff and then following up on those leads.

So a DM who normally rolls randomly for items in a sandbox world might reasonably assign a random chance a bard/sage/oracle knows about a legendary kukri when asked by the PC, and if the roll hits, the DM then determines some info about where it is and follows through by placing it in the place or with the owner known for it (subject to adventure twists and such).

I don't think either the DM or the player would consider that path to acquisition of such a specialized item as cheapening the game experience.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
There is another option. The player seeks out such specific gear not by going on fortuitous random adventures or to a magic items shop, but by seeking out information on such stuff and then following up on those leads.

So a DM who normally rolls randomly for items in a sandbox world might reasonably assign a random chance a bard/sage/oracle knows about a legendary kukri when asked by the PC, and if the roll hits, the DM then determines some info about where it is and follows through by placing it in the place or with the owner known for it (subject to adventure twists and such).

I don't think either the DM or the player would consider that path to acquisition of such a specialized item as cheapening the game experience.
100% agree. The buildup of who and why someone would be holding a Holy Avenging Kukri should be an adventure or series of encounters tailored to the actions taken by the kukri loving character. Not very believable that you would just so happen to find it randomly hidden in a backpack of some dead adventurer eaten by a bear.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So if a PC is carrying a party-owned item and wanders off with it the party loses it?

Yeah, that'd never fly round here - they'd move heaven and earth to track that character down and get the item back (and depending on how things shook down in the process, they may or may not pay the character his-her share for it).
Which is, in fact, an offshoot of the Dungeon Master's Secret Weapon (NSFW for language):

 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There is a vast ocean of fiction in which the objects of desire, or pinnacle or incredibly serendipitous tools find their way into the hero's hands over the course of their hero's journey.

Rey found a conveniently placed lightsaber at just the time she needed one. Funnily enough the same as Luke did. Multiple hobbits ended up with magical weapons that conveniently were sized for them.

It's a common trope, to find the relics that fit your story,
And in almost every case where this trope is used, I quickly see through it and find it very artificial.
In a more crunchy vein, if a character devotes resources to be good at some weapon in particular then you are going to have to pick between....

A: Everyone specializes in longswords, which is a statistical choice ending in sameyness.

B: Some character specializes in a kukri and they retire at 20th level never having found a kukri (because it's not native to Fantasy Europe) so they use a longsword anyway because a +3 longsword is better than a plain old kukri.

C: You let the players buy customized weapons.

D: You make an adventure where the bad guy might have a Holy Avenging Kukri I the fiction to throw a bone to the kukri choosing player.
Or E: having weapons other than longsword come up reasonably often in the randomized item tables. Sure some weapons should be more common than others; but any of longsword, shortsword, mace, dagger, battleaxe, spear, and maybe war hammer and-or crossbow should be reasonably easy to find relative to less-common weapons.

But yes, IMO if someone's going to have their PC specialize in a weapon nobody else in this part of the setting world has ever heard of there's no cause for complaint if magic versions of said weapon are about as common as rooster's eggs.
I'm not sure why a GM wouldn't want to include player character stated goals into their story arcs.
EDIT to add: I never assume any one character is going to last long enough to build a story around it; and by the time it has lasted long enough it's probably too late to build that story anyway. :)
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
And in almost every case where this trope is used, I quickly see through it and find it very artificial.

Or E: having weapons other than longsword come up reasonably often in the randomized item tables. Sure some weapons should be more common than others; but any of longsword, shortsword, mace, dagger, battleaxe, spear, and maybe war hammer and-or crossbow should be reasonably easy to find relative to less-common weapons.

But yes, IMO if someone's going to have their PC specialize in a weapon nobody else in this part of the setting world has ever heard of there's no cause for complaint if magic versions of said weapon are about as common as rooster's eggs.

EDIT to add: I never assume any one character is going to last long enough to build a story around it; and by the time it has lasted long enough it's probably too late to build that story anyway. :)
Once again we arrive at the idea that different campaigns work in different ways with different assumptions. You view your campaign as a preset diorama that the PCs can explore and interact with, but in which wasn't developed reactive to the players developmental input.

I run my game as a bare bones of a world history (with details made up as needed), a collection of different groups with their own motivations, and with vast blank spaces on the canvas that reacts to what the players are interested in exploring. The only reason my world would have a major villain who owned a Holy Avenging Kukri would be that I had a player with a character who focused on kukri for whatever reason.

If in Universe Y that same player has a character focused on a lance....well then there is going to be a bad guy show up that uses a lance. My world warps around the choices and desires of the players.
 

Hussar

Legend
The problem with relying on random is that you get cookie cutter characters. In adnd I would not dream of playing a fighter that didn’t focus on either bows or long swords.

Because that’s the most common treasure found. So of course every character uses the same weapons.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The problem with relying on random is that you get cookie cutter characters. In adnd I would not dream of playing a fighter that didn’t focus on either bows or long swords.

Because that’s the most common treasure found. So of course every character uses the same weapons.
Until-unless you tweak up the random tables a bit... :)
 

Hussar

Legend
Until-unless you tweak up the random tables a bit... :)
But then there is no point in specializing. everyone becomes a generic generalist. Same result. There is a very good reason WotC D&D allows players to choose their magic items to some degree. It allows players to have some input into what their character will look like in the future instead of being 100% dependent on the DM.

Perfect example. In a recent Dragonlance campaign, my character, a fighter, was a mason by trade and and a peasant hero by background. I gave him a warhammer since that was the closest thing to a sledgehammer which I figured that a peasant mason would likely know how to use.

Few levels in, I get a magic dragonslayer longsword (it IS a Dragonlance campaign after all). So, away goes the warhammer, and I use the longsword for the rest of this character's career. Because, well, I'm not about to toss away the most effective weapon I could possibly have just to keep using the warhammer.

But, my point is, I had to choose between my character concept and the reality of the campaign which was that I would have never had a magic weapon at all if I stayed true to concept.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But then there is no point in specializing. everyone becomes a generic generalist. Same result. There is a very good reason WotC D&D allows players to choose their magic items to some degree. It allows players to have some input into what their character will look like in the future instead of being 100% dependent on the DM.

Perfect example. In a recent Dragonlance campaign, my character, a fighter, was a mason by trade and and a peasant hero by background. I gave him a warhammer since that was the closest thing to a sledgehammer which I figured that a peasant mason would likely know how to use.

Few levels in, I get a magic dragonslayer longsword (it IS a Dragonlance campaign after all). So, away goes the warhammer, and I use the longsword for the rest of this character's career. Because, well, I'm not about to toss away the most effective weapon I could possibly have just to keep using the warhammer.

But, my point is, I had to choose between my character concept and the reality of the campaign which was that I would have never had a magic weapon at all if I stayed true to concept.
Was the DM generating weapons using a random table, do you know?

War hammer is - or should be - a common enough weapon that magic ones would be, if not thick on the ground, certainly not unheard of. (says he, currently running a homebrew module a key element of which is finding a very powerful war hammer :) )

Specializing is great but it does come with a known risk, that being that what you specialize in either doesn't fit with what the party's doing or doesn't fit with what you later find.
 

Hussar

Legend
Was the DM generating weapons using a random table, do you know?

War hammer is - or should be - a common enough weapon that magic ones would be, if not thick on the ground, certainly not unheard of. (says he, currently running a homebrew module a key element of which is finding a very powerful war hammer :) )

Specializing is great but it does come with a known risk, that being that what you specialize in either doesn't fit with what the party's doing or doesn't fit with what you later find.
Sure, and certainly you can specialize yourself into a corner. Fair enough. But, I mean, a warhammer? Doesn't seem like too specialized. Of course, 5e doesn't let you dive down the niche hole quite as deep as other versions of D&D. Yes, I wanted a warhammer, and that was my choice, but, my character didn't suffer any negatives for not using a warhammer.

At worst, you might be out a feat - something like Great Weapon Fighting or Sharpshooter - but, other than that, you can't actually specialize too much in 5e. So, mechanically, it doesn't really matter if you use random tables or not.

But, it does feel ... off to have a character concept get flushed down the toilet simply because we found a better widget.

Funnily enough, in the next campaign - Ravenloft - I played a bow focused ranger. Not a single magic bow or arrow to be found in the whole bloody module and we practically stripmined that thing. Then, I played a cleric in Storm Kings Thunder. Not a single mace or warhammer to be found. Three straight campaigns without a single magic weapon. :D It is nice that 5e doesn't really need magic weapons.
 

Voadam

Legend
3e/d20 had a bunch of methods for going with a single nonstandard weapon through your whole career. First there was adding magic onto the same item so it got more powerful over time. There were Weapons of Legacy that got more powerful over time. There were a lot of 3rd party options to have magic weapons that grew in power with you as you leveled.

Even 1e had the Kensai whose class gave them the equivalent of magic weapon properties that grew with level for their chosen specialist weapon, so no dependence on finding a weapon at all.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure, and certainly you can specialize yourself into a corner. Fair enough. But, I mean, a warhammer? Doesn't seem like too specialized. Of course, 5e doesn't let you dive down the niche hole quite as deep as other versions of D&D. Yes, I wanted a warhammer, and that was my choice, but, my character didn't suffer any negatives for not using a warhammer.

At worst, you might be out a feat - something like Great Weapon Fighting or Sharpshooter - but, other than that, you can't actually specialize too much in 5e. So, mechanically, it doesn't really matter if you use random tables or not.

But, it does feel ... off to have a character concept get flushed down the toilet simply because we found a better widget.

Funnily enough, in the next campaign - Ravenloft - I played a bow focused ranger. Not a single magic bow or arrow to be found in the whole bloody module and we practically stripmined that thing. Then, I played a cleric in Storm Kings Thunder. Not a single mace or warhammer to be found. Three straight campaigns without a single magic weapon. :D It is nice that 5e doesn't really need magic weapons.
Maybe next time try a Monk - they don't need weapons. :)

Reminds me of a major now-retired PC in my current game who went bow-spec. Took him forever to find a magic bow (combination of bad luck on the random tables and more than once just being in the wrong party at the wrong time), then when he did get one it lasted half an adventure before he broke it (I forget how). So he found another one, that one lasted a bit longer then a fireball took it out. So on to magic-bow-the-third, which melted under black dragon breath before he ever got to fire it! The fourth magic bow did a bit better, it lasted for two or three adventures until a friendly-fire fireball got him and - you guessed it - the bow as well.

Amazingly, through all this the character himself never died; which - given the length of his career - is a rather noteworthy achievement. Clearly that's where all his luck was going. :)
 

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