D&D 5E How do you award XP and how often?

Quickleaf

Legend
@Quickleaf - that table confuses me. How can you need less XP to get to 11th than 10th level? How can you need the same amount to get to 13th as 12th? Same question for 15th/16th and 17th/18th? And no 20th?
Sure, the table that @Swarmkeeper shares is from 5e PHB - it shows net XP needed to hit a level. So to hit eighth level you need a total of 34,000 XP.

The first column in my table translates that net value into XP needed to advance to the next level from your current level. so advance from seventh level where you have 23,000 XP to 8th level where you need 34,000 XP, the difference is 11,000 XP. So if you are seventh level now the XP you need to level up to eighth level is 11,000 XP.

Any irregularities in that data are built in to fifth edition, for God knows what reason.

The minor quest & major quest column are just multipliers of those values.

However, when I noticed the irregularities in the default 5e data, I smooth them out, so it made more sense. That’s why you see strike throughs. Sorry, transcribing this while on my commute does that make sense?
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm curious that you've never done XP for gold - that was such a huge part of AD&D, though it never made much sense to me. Do you increase the XP players earn from other means, or level at a slower rate?
Level at a slower rate, and very intentionally so in order to give the campaign a chance to last longer.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
From my experience, players aren’t to happy about losing XP because they aren’t at good as another player in certain things. Like RPing. Not to mention they can’t make the session due to adulting etc.
We have it that a character whose player isn't there at the time remains in play (run by someone else, or the DM) and earns xp for what it does; sure you might miss out on a few roleplay xp but that's not a big deal, you'll miss out on more if for whatever reason your character isn't involved in a major combat.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Like @DarkCrisis We give everyone the same XP, regardless of if they were involved in the encounter or quest or not.
Nope, not here; because doing so would even further encourage players not to get their characters involved and instead leave the risk-taking to someone else. I'd rather reward those who get involved and take the risks.

And you give xp to characters who don't even go on the adventure? Really?
The way we reward good roleplay is at the end of every session the players vote on another player to get inspiration (with 3 inspiration slots available).
We don't use meta-currency, so this method wouldn't work here. But I like the idea of players voting up other players' roleplaying.
 

Nope, not here; because doing so would even further encourage players not to get their characters involved and instead leave the risk-taking to someone else. I'd rather reward those who get involved and take the risks.
It's a game. For us, it's not about taking risks with your character, but having fun with the other players.
And you give xp to characters who don't even go on the adventure? Really?
Absolutely. We've played in groups where the character levels are all spread out because of differing XP awards. We found that it simple encourages 2 behaviors:
1) PCs doing things just to earn XP (i.e. I search for X, I do skill check y, I talk to the bar maid, or whatever other incidental the DM gives XP for)
2) Players leave because they are being punished (not given XP) for playing the way they want to.
It's not fun for us. But each group's gotta find what works for them.
We don't use meta-currency, so this method wouldn't work here. But I like the idea of players voting up other players' roleplaying.
It works really well for us. I actually started it because 1) I always forgot to award inspiration as a DM, 2) players never used it because it was hard to come by and not top of mind. Now it's something they think about every session, and at the end of the night the re-live the coolest moments as they nominate folks. "Aeroian for when he jumped on that crabs' back!"
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The XP awards for my most recent "complete" (really on extended hiatus while we play some different characters in a different part of the setting for a while) campaign:

1706215471632.png
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's a game. For us, it's not about taking risks with your character, but having fun with the other players.
The latter I assume as a given, regardless of anything else.

The former, if not done, makes for a very dull and boring game; thus IMO it's worth rewarding as a means of encouraging it to happen.
Absolutely. We've played in groups where the character levels are all spread out because of differing XP awards. We found that it simple encourages 2 behaviors:
1) PCs doing things just to earn XP (i.e. I search for X, I do skill check y, I talk to the bar maid, or whatever other incidental the DM gives XP for)
2) Players leave because they are being punished (not given XP) for playing the way they want to.
It's not fun for us. But each group's gotta find what works for them.
I've no problem with 1) here; if it's encouraging the players to have their characters do things, that's good; even if it's "just to earn xp" (which IME only happens when someone's within a trivial amount of bumping anyway and just needs that extra few).

I see 2) as a problem-player symptom. At its root, the game - whether played as Big Damn Heroes, murderhoboes, melodramatic story arcs, or whatever - is about characters either getting things done or dying in the attempt; and a player who won't engage with this root premise is a problem.

Also, it depends on what one sees xp as. For me, the word "experience" is key; they're reflective - in an abstract way - of the character learning and growing through what it experiences, usually in the field. Thus, perhaps obviously, a character who doesn't take part in those experiences doesn't get the resulting xp.

Now if this was a discussion around 3e or 4e I'd be somewhat more sympathetic, as those editions really don't handle split-level parties very well. But 5e does; as do the TSR editions, where variable levels within the party was almost a baked-in assumption.
It works really well for us. I actually started it because 1) I always forgot to award inspiration as a DM, 2) players never used it because it was hard to come by and not top of mind. Now it's something they think about every session, and at the end of the night the re-live the coolest moments as they nominate folks. "Aeroian for when he jumped on that crabs' back!"
Again, I like the idea behind what you're doing; but I very much dislike that sort of meta-currency in general - far too small-g gamist.
 

Retros_x

Explorer
I give out combat exp when they in any way "solve" the encounter with bonus exp for non-combat solutions. And I give out exp for big milestones in the narrative but also small little extras, if they find a special treasure for example.

Usually I calculate directly after the session and communicate it at the start of the next session, it fits nicely with the recap of last session.
 

The former, if not done, makes for a very dull and boring game; thus IMO it's worth rewarding as a means of encouraging it to happen.
I've just never needed to encourage players to do things within character. I guess I've been luck
Now if this was a discussion around 3e or 4e I'd be somewhat more sympathetic, as those editions really don't handle split-level parties very well. But 5e does; as do the TSR editions, where variable levels within the party was almost a baked-in assumption.
Admittedly most of this experience goes back to 3.X. So yea, our habits were formed when level disparity was not so well. You're probably right that 5E doesn't have as much of an issue with it. But we are now so "gun shy" that it's just not something we have any incentive to try.
p.s. thanks for engaging constructively.
 

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