log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E What kind of XP awards does your group currently use in 5E?

What kind of XP awards/advancement do you use in your 5E D&D game?

  • Monsters killed (straight up)

    Votes: 10 15.2%
  • Milestone (as described in DMG)

    Votes: 10 15.2%
  • Monsters killed, but granted at Milestones

    Votes: 2 3.0%
  • Session-Based Advancement (as described in DMG)

    Votes: 2 3.0%
  • Story-Based Advancement (as described in DMG)

    Votes: 19 28.8%
  • Something else or variation on one of the above (please explain below)

    Votes: 23 34.8%

  • Total voters
    66

log in or register to remove this ad


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
In the campaign I'm running, the heroes are dedicated dragon slayers. Each adventure is going after a particular dragon, and every time they defeat that dragon they level up.
That sounds like story-based advancement done well. I’m normally not a fan, but in this case the criteria for advancement is so specific and objective, I would have no problem with it. It definitely wouldn’t feel like leveling up whenever the DM tells you to, which is my usual objection to story-based advancement.
 


loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff
Publisher
I fine-tune XP system for a specific game.

As a default, I prefer either player-determined milestones or XP for skill check failures.
 

I came up with a system based on sessions played. Show up and play, you get "xp", after so many sessions you advance a level. I dont like penalizing a player for not showing up unless its a common occurrence or because of some silly reason. More often then not I'll postpone a game if 1 or 2 players cant make it these days. I dont feel its necessary to keep track of experience any as I did up through the end of 3.x & PF.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
So in the thread on the future of D&D, one of the common responses is that in some future edition of D&D XP will be a thing of the past. Now, I don't want to argue about the likelihood of this speculation but am interested in what system of XP/advancement folks use in their 5E D&D games. Thus the poll. If you have more than one group with different methods, vote for the method you prefer btwn them.

so tl;dr version: just vote in the poll. Continue if you're interested in my view/system.

One of the reasons I am interested in this topic is that over the years I have tried various methods of awarding XP in different editions. I loved 2E's addition of "story awards" as bonus XP and used that into 3E, but eventually we tried out a system based on another game (which is escaping me) which gave each player key words for personality and motives, which they earned XP for developing and playing out and could "buy-out" and change as they advanced. This was in addition to a reduced amount for killing monsters.

In 5E I have gone back to "You want XP? Kill monsters." It gets divided evenly among players (and ally NPCs if applicable) if you are present at a session. Very simple. I do still give a small percentage bonus based on how well the PCs achieved the "goal" of an adventure (between 5% and 20%) though what constitutes a "goal" is flexible erring on the side of more generous. I only give out XP at what I call milestones (at the end of a module or the completion of a distinct portion of a module - for example between the Haunted House and Sea Ghost portions of Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh) - but this number is still based on monsters defeated and some non-combat challenges. (Figuring out a way to not fight when appropriate can also count as "defeating.")

This has not been an issue in my newbie group (because they don't know any better, I guess). I have given out XP six times and they are 4th level. But in the group I was running over the summer, a player was surprised I bothered figuring out XP at all and said he'd only every played with Milestone advancement - XP granted by the DM when narratively appropriate throughout an adventure (but I also got the sense that he felt this should happen more often than I would if I used this system) not based on actual monsters defeated. Though he explained, usually DMs in his experience just grant levels at these points, not an XP award number. So basically what the DMG calls "Story-Based Advancement." If anything my system is more Milestone-like.

While there is a bit of DM fiat no matter what system you choose, I would feel weird just deciding if a PC gains a level or not - and I like the players having a sense of how close they are to leveling. But I also dislike giving XP every session (I know some people who do this) b/c I prefer to sit down and figure out XP (I use a spreadsheet) than do the math piecemeal and take time from every session for book-keeping. Furthermore, I like slower advancement because I think it is fun to get a chance to know your characters abilities well at each level and master them, rather than just adding more and more options rapidly (esp. for newbie or casual players). Also, the granting of XP becomes an event and remains "special." It also allows for a slow-burn campaign.

But anyway, this poll is to get a sense if I am really being left behind on this issue.
I do the monsters killed/defeated but...

1) I award at the end of sessions. I generally have notes on how much each encounter should be worth, making it a bit easier to keep track of. If I have stocked a dungeon with a set number of monsters or made a random encounter, I can just notate how much XP right then and there. Then it's simple addition and division.

2) I only allow leveling up at after a successful long rest. So no leveling up in the middle of a dungeon because you can't long rest in a dungeon.

3) I also will DM fiat XP for clever solutions and good roleplay. Nothing major. Basically "extra credit."

I do keep track of generally where the PCs are advancement-wise. I try to make sure that each level has at least 3 or 4 sessions before the next level-up.
 


embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Is that a true 5E rule or house rule?
Neither. It's a matter of practicality.

You CAN long rest in a dungeon. But you shouldn't. Also why I say "successful" long rest. My players may decide to tuck in for the night out in the wilderness but that doesn't mean that they sleep the whole night through.

Yes. Players may TRY to long rest in a dungeon. But if they do, the monsters will find them.
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
One game was 50% of book stated amount for monsters (threats/puzzles) overcome another is 10% of book amount for monsters overcome (5% if they are monsters irrelevant to an aim (ie wandering monsters)) plus story amounts for acts performed (rescuing people, discovering stuff etc). Obviously I prefer slower advancement than the standard 5e speed.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
One game was 50% of book stated amount for monsters (threats/puzzles) overcome another is 10% of book amount for monsters overcome (5% if they are monsters irrelevant to an aim (ie wandering monsters)) plus story amounts for acts performed (rescuing people, discovering stuff etc). Obviously I prefer slower advancement than the standard 5e speed.
How often was it awarded? How slow is slow?

I am doing (mostly) monster XP divided by party members (and NPCs when applicable) with a 5% to 20% bonus and I find advancement to be on the slow side (though not as slow as the two levels a year average we settled into for my longest running 3E game)
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
How often was it awarded? How slow is slow?

I am doing (mostly) monster XP divided by party members (and NPCs when applicable) with a 5% to 20% bonus and I find advancement to be on the slow side (though not as slow as the two levels a year average we settled into for my longest running 3E game)
Exp awarded after every session. Pre covid we had played about 14 weekend sessions (Friday evening until Sunday afternoon) at the rate of 3 a year and maybe 8x4hour online sessions a year since 2015. The party is now just 8th level.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Exp awarded after every session. Pre covid we had played about 14 weekend sessions (Friday evening until Sunday afternoon) at the rate of 3 a year and maybe 8x4hour online sessions a year since 2015. The party is now just 8th level.
Wow! That is slow.

I salute you!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In most of our D&D 5e games, the PCs hit 3rd level by end of session 1. Then 4th level by end of session 2. Then begins the slog through the adventurer's tier!
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
In most of our D&D 5e games, the PCs hit 3rd level by end of session 1. Then 4th level by end of session 2. Then begins the slog through the adventurer's tier!
How long are these sessions?

In my 5E game they hit level 2 halfway through their fourth 5-hour session, and 3rd level after nine sessions, and 4th at the beginning of session #16.
 
Last edited:


Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I sort of award xp when I remember or feel like 😂 It’s kind of every two adventures or so I tell the players to level up, but that varies a lot...
 

Stormonu

Legend
I use the method I've been using since 2E and refined in 3E.

XP for monsters (as soon as the encounter is over). XP for completing story missions or points (as soon as complete). XP for roleplay and fleshing out the character (at end of scene).

Characters get about 1/3 of their XP from monster fights, the remainder is split between story & rp rewards.
 

If use XP for monsters and challenges, and also allow XP to be awarded for gold spent in pursuit of non-mechanical outlets that align with a character's goals.

Many people complain that 5E doesn't have a good use for gold, and if you play straight RAW, it really doesn't. This is a way for me to give a reason for gold for players who aren't naturally inclined to spend gold on things like fancy clothes, a stronghold/estate/business or even charity. (Of course there's plenty of players who do this anyway, but it doesn't hurt to reward them anyway)
 

DM Dave1

Hero
I selected "Something else or variation on one of the above (please explain below)"

In our last campaign, I awarded XP for monsters defeated and challenges overcome. Worked well.

In our current West Marches style campaign, we've decided that an AL-ish session-based advancement was going to keep it simple and fair for the players. So far so good after 3 sessions. We set the expectation that working cooperatively to get session goals accomplished was a core tenet for the PCs and seems that all players in the pool are on board with that. Here is our official advancement guide:

Adventurer’s League-ish: PCs earn 1 XP per active session
  • 1 XP needed to advance to level 2
  • 2 XP needed to advance to level 3 (total of 3 XP)
  • 3 XP needed to advance to level 4 (total of 6 XP)
  • 4 XP needed to advance to levels 5-10 (total of 10 XP for level 5, 14 XP for level 6, etc)
  • 5 XP needed to advance to levels 11-16
  • 6 XP needed to advance to levels 17-20
 

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top