• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is LIVE! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E Sacred Cow Bites The Dust.


After 23 years I killed a sacred cow.

I no longer use XP.

I just level the PCs up. Generally it is.

1. At the end of an adventure OR
2. Something epic happens.

Yesterday the PCs at level 7 killed a CR 13 Dragon (Adult White) in Skyreach Castle which I mined for my current game (not playing HotDQ).

The PCs were 1 breath weapon away form a TPK, I rolled great on the weapon recharges and in the 3rd round the weapon recharged again. The Dragon did not breathe (white Dragon not to bright) and the Dragon still had almost a 3rd of its hit points left. High damage roll and a crit later though= dead Dragon.

TPK the party or give them an "IT" moment. I went with the "IT" moment and then nailed them with an attack later that obliterated a +1 rapier +3 vs reptiles.

log in or register to remove this ad


First Post
Off in some forgotten pasture, a single tombstone lays at one end of a mound dirt. The name on the grave reads "XP."

Suddenly, a half-rotten hoof bursts through the mound of dirt, followed by another. These hooves pull a partly-rotted cow head with red-glowing demon eyes from the dirt, followed soon by the rest of the undead cattle's body. As it claws its way from its final resting point, a solid form of blackness rises from the ground beside it, taking on a thin pole shape until it reaches its full length and an axe head forms.

The cow finally frees itself and grabs the axe, before turning and staring off into the distance. It mutters one single word, a name, before it departs on its unholy quest for vengeance.


Are the players having fun? If they are, then yay!

I can understand why they did experience, but at the same time I've not found it integral to DnD leveling since it no longer is necessary for magic item creation.

Capn Charlie

I have had a love/hate relationship with XP over the last few decades that has soured to the point that in 5e when I read about milestone leveling, I just shrugged, and moved on.

I have never felt freer.

Before I had players that would go out of their way to force more fights for xp, that never let anything live if they could help it, and now.... if they butcher a bunch of npcs, it is because they are annoyed or bored, not because they are being rewarded at a system level.


Heretics! Heathens! Your souls will burn in the Nine and three quarters hells!

Sometimes I award XP, other times it's milestones. :)


Heretics! Heathens! Your souls will burn in the Nine and three quarters hells!

Sometimes I award XP, other times it's milestones. :)

I've been using XP as a general guideline since 3rd Ed. - Assuming it's not just easiest to have them level-up entirely by story pacing, if they're anywhere close to the XP needed to hit the next level, I'll just raise them up at the next story-appropriate moment. Alternately, there have been a few times a party was technically past the XP requirement but either it seemed really lame to have them increase in power when they'd been slogging through nothing more than a bunch of random encounters, or I wanted them to have a more challenging fight against an upcoming bad guy...


I would get rid of XP if the same players showed up for every session.

Giving XP every session rewards those who show up to play. Though XP isn't solely from monsters so as to encourage other ways to accomplish tasks.


I throw them xp after each session, but really it is just a way for me to let them know that they are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or at leveling up. Level 1 basically gets done in 1 session. Level 2 in 2 sessions. Levels 3+ take between 3-4 sessions.

The crazy thing is, I'm a 1e D&Der, who was used to spending years working a PC up from level 1 through level 12 or 13. We used to spend 5 or 6 sessions at any one level. Now with 5e, I just like to keep the leveling more fast and furious. During the playtest, I had my group level up every session so that we could play test different options more quickly. Even now, that feeling of fast leveling has stuck with me and my group. I guess old dogs can learn new tricks.


I've found that players focus more on story, immersion, and stronger role-playing once XP is taken out of the equation, my table gave up on XP decades ago. I understand the appeal of the XP award system for Organized play, but not as much for house-games.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads