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Unearthed Arcana WotC's Mearls Presents A New XP System For 5E In August's Unearthed Arcana


Al2O3

Explorer
Ignoring the specific XP values I quite like this system. If the XP values suggested are thought of as L% or LP (level percent) it might be good for coming up with suitable XP or milestone rewards with those kinds of rewards.

The thing I like more than the rewards is how it ties into adventure hooks. Looking at the tier 1 treasure and location could make for a good start for a DM (e.g. me) wanting to come up with their first homebrew adventure. Make a village. [Place] has been taken over by [threat] or lost or whatever. It is rumoured that it contains [treasure], something the players want. Go fetch!

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Osgood

Explorer
People still use XP? :confused: Left that method back in the 3.5 days. Just use milestone leveling, its way simpler and prevents the ever-constant 'is that worth xp?' and killing creatures just for the XP. Been in over 6 groups using that method and it works wonderfully.
I always use XP, and in 30 years of gaming, I've never once heard someone ask if anything was worth XP or kill things just to gain XP. Different player culture I guess.
 

Von Ether

Adventurer
Except that every creature is worth at least 2 exp in this system. Yes my example was absurd, but if you wanted to do a massive battle with this system a wizard could fireball a massive group of mooks and be like hey I killed 15 guys thats like a 1/3 of a level right. This is in the rules he provided. The current exp system would maybe net him 1000 exp, but at midlevels it take 21000 exp to level up, so it's far more reasonable than this system

Not every creature. Every monster. Unless the chickens are cocktrices or breathe fire, or more specifically pose a threat in combat, they aren't eligible for the XP reward.

The wizard example isn't much different than the "How many battles does it take for a first 1st level Commoner to reach 20th level." It's a matter of bookkeeping and every edition has a different answer for it. And no one answer pleases everyone.

But yeah, a twist of phrase is all this XP chart really needs at the moment, let the play testing begin!

As a sidenote, I've been doing milestones for a while, don't really miss XP that much. My players are Pavolvian enough when it comes to hanging out every week to kick butt and charm the locals.
 
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I can imagine some 10th level Rogue sneaking out at night and killing 50 chickens and taking a level.
But, then he'd "...just be picking on the chickens." ;)

It has to be some kind of a challenge to be worth exp, so unless he's eating 50 chickens to win a contest, no. And a contest is a social interaction, so the NPC judging the contest, probably a local with influence only in the town where it's held, determines the exp. For a 10th level character, seems like that'd be 5.


Not every creature. Every monster. Unless the chickens are cocktrices or breathe fire...
*swipe*

Legend has it, that when the egg of a ... what? seriously? fine... of a rooster is incubated by a red dragon or pyrohydra, the resulting pyrotrice....

Anyway, the system is desultory, but it's just a UA alternative so, whatever. The xp for gold reference is unnecessary, with the more reasonable scale of 'importance to...' right there and equally applicable to items as locations, but, yeah, nostalgia, check. The system does throw away the varied pace of leveling that the default system has, which is too bad, as it speeds play to the 'sweet spot,' helps it hover there a while longer, and also allows low-level PCs adventuring with higher level ones to 'catch up.'
I guess it's more 'simplification by arbitrarily smaller numbers.'

Even so, any recognition of the other two pillars is a plus. A stronger system might keep the current charts and peg the exp award for the location or social objective to the directly to the level of challenge it represents - non-combat CR of some sort.
 
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mellored

Explorer
Why is everything a multiple of 5?

20xp to level, 1,2, or 3 XP for doing something.


Still, it's nice to see non-combat XP.
 

lyle.spade

Adventurer
People still use XP? :confused: Left that method back in the 3.5 days. Just use milestone leveling, its way simpler and prevents the ever-constant 'is that worth xp?' and killing creatures just for the XP. Been in over 6 groups using that method and it works wonderfully.

Me, too. I don't know why folks get wrapped around the axle about this system or that - just go with what you and your group like best.

As for encounter building, I think I'm going to dump accounting for CR and just eyeball it from here forward, providing the party with a sense of "this looks pretty easy to your experienced eyes," or, "you have a bad, bad feeling about this..."

...and from that I'll just keep leveling the party by GM fiat, tied to story/chapter turning points.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I prefer this over the default way.

I'm totally confused by the pointlessness of subtracting 100XP from your total when you level, though, and I'd rather measure combat XP by encounter overcome instead of per monster defeated.
I'm liking it too. A happy medium between full XP and milestone leveling.

The reason for the 100 subtraction is so you don't lose XP when you level. For example:

You're at 90 XP and then you have an encounter that the DM values at 30 XP.
You're now at 120 XP. Great, level up! And the subtract 100 so you retain the extra 20 XP earned.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
One thing about this simplified system is a DM could tinker and adapt it to their game. In an RP heavy group, the DM could award an XP or two for a great scene of RP between the characters and/or NPCs. In an exclusively dungeon-crawl group, you could award an XP for each difficult lock and trap conquered.

I can already tinker with the xp & assign xp values to social/exploration stuff.
 

Psikerlord#

Explorer
I dont mind this system but would probably tweak it to remove social altogether (if you make allies etc, that's it own reward), and just focus on killing monsters and exploring. On the other hand, milestone or incremental leveling just works so well already...
 

I'm liking it too. A happy medium between full XP and milestone leveling.

The reason for the 100 subtraction is so you don't lose XP when you level. For example:

You're at 90 XP and then you have an encounter that the DM values at 30 XP.
You're now at 120 XP. Great, level up! And the subtract 100 so you retain the extra 20 XP earned.

Totally unnecessary. If you didn't subtract XP, then you'd simply have 920 XP and be 9th level; you'd reach 10th level when you hit 1000 XP.

The subtraction is redundant and adds no value unless you add in other elements, such as requiring a certain percentage of XP from each pillar in order to level up.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Except that every creature is worth at least 2 exp in this system. Yes my example was absurd, but if you wanted to do a massive battle with this system a wizard could fireball a massive group of mooks and be like hey I killed 15 guys thats like a 1/3 of a level right. This is in the rules he provided. The current exp system would maybe net him 1000 exp, but at midlevels it take 21000 exp to level up, so it's far more reasonable than this system

Nope. You have to "defeat" the creature in combat, and it has to have a "Challenge Rating" relative to you. Chickens are neither defeated in combat, nor do that have a challenge rating relative to you. Same system you're currently using I suspect. If you'd gain zero experience from killing it now, you'd still gain zero experience from killing it under the new system. That doesn't take a house rule any more than it took a house rule right now under the normal system. Chickens are not a challenge. Nor are 15 commoners to a 15th level character. If nobody is gaining a material amount of experience right now from killing 15 commoners at 15th level, they they're not getting a material amount of experience in this new system. You seem far too willing to read into the new system flaws that you'd have in the current system anyway if your players played like that. Do they? Do your players seek out super easy challenges to gain experience in your current game?
 

JeffB

Legend
People still use XP? :confused: Left that method back in the 3.5 days. Just use milestone leveling, its way simpler and prevents the ever-constant 'is that worth xp?' and killing creatures just for the XP. Been in over 6 groups using that method and it works wonderfully.

I just gave you some!

Other than here on the forums..yeah. dropped XP ages ago.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
I like the idea behind it more than the execution. Agree that combat XP in this system should be based on the overall encounter rather than the "number of creatures defeated", and overall I don't either the math or the scaling work out very well.

The "XP for treasure" concept holds very little nostalgic value for me and I don't miss it from the game; for any kind of discovery to be valuable enough for me to warrant XP gains I'd stick solely with the scale presented under Locations, so I'd probably just lump Items/Location under the same system. A PC shouldn't get XP for finding a fancy magic sword, not unless it has some other extrinsic value, such as it being an ancient relic of a long-dead king that could be used to bolster an allied prince's claim to the throne.

I'd also make the case that there's often more to social interactions than "swaying an NPC". That's fairly vague and broad enough to cover a lot of social interactions, but certainly not all of them. Also, the level of influence a particular NPC has is not necessarily correlated to the difficulty it takes to sway them, or the significance swaying them could have for any given adventure or plot.

I've played enough video game SRPGs to be able to wrap my head around the whole "100 XP to level up then start over again", I'm just happy the XP carries over; most of those games immediately drop you back to 0 regardless of how much left over XP you earned! This system currently though feels not just like a treadmill but like that treadmill from the Jetson's intro (just realized that's my second classic Hanna-Barbara reference on this board today). Unless the math is tweaked this feels like it's going to be used in a heavily accelerated campaign.

I've been using milestone leveling since making the switch to 3.0, and the one time I tried switching back to XP (in 3.5) I was not really a huge fan of it. This has advantages over the original model of highlighting the significance of the exploration and social pillars but I'm not certain, ultimately, who this is for, from a player aesthetic side. Players who want to discover new things or engage in social conversations are already doing those, and being able to engage in those actions often serve as their rewards, and the players who are mostly there to kick down doors and kill orcs are going to now feel obligated to engage in the game in ways they probably don't enjoy in the first place (they may learn to enjoy, but most people are pretty good at knowing what they inherently like, even if it may sometimes be difficult to explain it).

Meanwhile Milestone scratches all of those itches without piling on incremental rewards that force players to engage with game aesthetics that they'd prefer not to have to deal with and even less record-keeping.

Again, I like the idea of creating an XP system that incorporates all three pillars fairly evenly. This attempt misses the mark for me in a lot of ways, and ultimately I think I'm not a fan of XP systems at all.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Totally unnecessary. If you didn't subtract XP, then you'd simply have 920 XP and be 9th level; you'd reach 10th level when you hit 1000 XP.

The subtraction is redundant and adds no value unless you add in other elements, such as requiring a certain percentage of XP from each pillar in order to level up.

Hmm - and what level are you when you have 50 XP? I agree that it seems a bit overkill - but 920 XP actually indicates you're level 10 unless my math is completely off?!
 

Hmm - and what level are you when you have 50 XP? I agree that it seems a bit overkill - but 920 XP actually indicates you're level 10 unless my math is completely off?!
My bad, 920 XP is 10th level. (Or start off with 100 XP at first level, which is quite nice in some ways, implying as it does an eventful backstory.) But the point stands that subtraction is not necessary.

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DaveDash

Explorer
Except that every creature is worth at least 2 exp in this system. Yes my example was absurd, but if you wanted to do a massive battle with this system a wizard could fireball a massive group of mooks and be like hey I killed 15 guys thats like a 1/3 of a level right. This is in the rules he provided. The current exp system would maybe net him 1000 exp, but at midlevels it take 21000 exp to level up, so it's far more reasonable than this system

That doesn't mean the system is stupid. It's not that binary.

It just means it needs some tweaks here and there. It is UA after all.

Basically you're constructing a straw man argument, because in reality no DM would award XP for chickens. 5e isn't a RAW rule set.


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I like some of the ideas.

It seems to have some simularties with the XP system used in Dungeon Crawl Classics... Different math, but similar feel, while expanding guidelines for the other two pillars of play...

Overall, food for thought and I'll probably adopt some of the ideas, but not switch over to it wholesale.
 


werecorpse

Adventurer
People still use XP? :confused: Left that method back in the 3.5 days. Just use milestone leveling, its way simpler and prevents the ever-constant 'is that worth xp?' and killing creatures just for the XP. Been in over 6 groups using that method and it works wonderfully.

When Ive seen xp replaced with milestones players replace 'how much xp do we get?' with 'do we level up?'

I use whatever suits the style of campaign I'm trying to run. In my current game xp awards are all about overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. So defeating monsters, finding hidden treasure, forming an alliance, getting into a closed temple are all worth something - how you do it (combat, social interaction, "exploration" ) is irrelevant to the xp award.
 

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