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D&D 1E How/How Often Did you award XP in 1E AD&D?


I am in the camp that awarded xp when there was a safe down time, so not at the end of a night's gaming with the party still in the dungeon. Almost always at the end of a module (or abandoning one midway to go to Greyhawk instead) or returning to a safe place after leaving a dungeon, or finishing a project. Plus they would have to wait for me to do the accounting so nothing at the end of the game night itself.

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Moderator Emeritus
So I am getting the sense that that I got this "milestone" approach to D&D from 1E. While the word "milestone" has a specific meaning in 5E, I often referred to the completion of each main quest (or completion of major sub-quests) as a milestone in their adventuring career and when I gave XP.

I may need to start another thread to ask people about if this changed for them when switching to 2E (it didn't for me, which is obvious since it still hasn't).

In my AD&D days, most DMs (including me) assigned XP at the end of a game session. Often the characters couldn't actually level up until they got back to civilization to pay for training and whatnot. My recollection is that pretty much every table had a slightly different way of doing things when it came to treasure, magic, training costs, etc.

I used spreadsheets to track all of this starting in eighth grade. In retrospect, I can't believe how much time I spent doing the accounting for this stuff.


1e xp was a fiddly calculation. For a monster defeated it depended on a number of factors plus an amount per exact hp. Then divide by PCs involved and possibly adjusting for level of difficulty. Then figure out the gp value of loot and of magic items not sold.


After each session.

By comparison, in 5e I award XP after each combat. I use milestone leveling in my current campaign, but the players don't seem to find it very satisfying (so I'll likely not use it again unless requested).

It's interesting because, with 1e, I found awarding XP after each encounter to be tedious but I don't even think twice about it now.



Generally I award it at the BEGINNING of the next session, before we start play.

On occasion we'd pause in the session and I'd give out XP...but this usually only happened when there was a 'major' change; the group 'finishing' a dungeon, or several PC deaths at once, that kind of thing.

XP is given as per the book, but I also give XP for certain other things; person PC goals getting completed, group goals, particularly good or amusing RP'ing, etc...and that is usually handed out "instantly, on the spot" (e.g., a Player that has everyone at the table crying from laughing and cleaning up the Coke they just spewed from their nostrils ...).

In a nutshell: Beginning of the next session, at a major "natural stopping point" in the story/game/campaign, and instantly with regards to 'personal PC/Player' stuff happening in-game.


Paul L. Ming


Whenever the party was in a safe place. Could be we made it back to town, or a camp in the wilderness, but never in the middle of a dungeon.

Jack Daniel

OD&D Referee
I normally run Original/Basic, but I'm running 1E at the moment. I handle XP the same way across both systems.

Monster XP is technically "earned" the moment the encounter ends, divided evenly among all characters (PC, NPC ally, henchman/hireling, whatever) who participated in that encounter. But I don't ordinarily tabulate it until the end of a game session, just to keep the game moving.

Treasure XP (including magic item XP in AD&D) can only be earned when the party brings the treasure back to a safe home base, converts anything that isn't spendable (art objects and the like) into spendable cash, and divides the treasure. I divide the XP however the players (& NPCs) decide to divide the treasure.

Whether I use training rules or not depends on the structure of the campaign, but I usually don't bother.


Usually when the adventure was completed or the party pulled out to rest and consider their options.
I never gave out Xp for gold - just for monsters killed and magic items divided evenly amongst survivors.

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