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

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
The typical (median) Medium encounter will be worth (50 + 74)/2 = 62 XP. Since the adventuring day budget is 300 XP, that means you can fit 300/62 = 4.83 Medium encounters in the adventuring day budget. Or you can fit 300/((75 + 99)/2) = 3.49 Hard encounters in the budget. The easiest possible Medium encounter is however 50 XP, and you could fit in 6 of those before running out of budget--and 6 encounters is what your table reports. In this case your table is clearly measuring from the thresholds, not the medians, and is therefore highballing the actual number of typical encounters that you can fit.
Here is the table you wanted again, rounded to one digit for easier reading

Level Easy Medium Hard Deadly
1 8 5 3 3
2 8 5 3 3
3 11 6 4 3
4 9 5 4 3
5 9 6 4 3
6 9 5 3 3
7 9 5 4 3
8 9 5 3 3
9 9 6 4 3
10 10 6 4 3
11 9 5 4 3
12 8 5 3 3
13 8 5 3 3
14 8 5 3 3
15 9 5 3 3
16 8 5 3 3
17 8 5 3 3
18 9 5 3 3
19 8 5 3 3
20 9 6 4 3

mean 9 5 3 3
median 9 5 3 3
min 8 5 3 3
max 11 6 4 3

As you can see, using your method, the Mean and Median round to 5x Medium and 3x Hard per day, with a Max of 6x Medium and 4x Hard.

My conclusion could be to suggest discounting encounter XP values by 30% to ramp 5e from Easy difficult to Medium difficulty (without accelerating levelling). What do you think?

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#### FormerlyHemlock

##### Explorer
So now we see call it 5.2 Medium and 3.5 Hard per "day". Medium is less well correlated to Hard because of the way we're shifting all the numbers. Pointing a finger at the arbitrary nature of our choices. It's still significantly correlated. If we like this table and have faith that an expected 6-8 medium-hard encounters represents good game balance, then we might say that about 50% more encounters per day are needed. We could factor this without accelerating levelling rates, by discounting our encounters about 30% e.g. 4 orcs are worth 140XP not 200, so we add 2 orcs to bring it roughly to where we want it.

Thus I believe I would suggest at this point that a good simple way to ramp game difficulty from Easy to Medium without accelerating levelling is to discount encounters either 20% or 30%, depending on whether you more often use values close to the book value, or above that. Does that seem right?

Since you're asking:

No, not really. It seems founded on an arbitrary premise: that 6-8 medium/hard encounters represents better game balance than the XP table does. I mean, why would you assume that? As I've illustrated elsewhere, the only reason the DMG even has that sentence is because they forgot to update it when they changed the definition of medium/hard. It's a mistake built off of the very difficulty tables you're trying to get away from!

My personal experience is that the XP per adventuring day table isn't too bad as long as you make the individual encounters deadly enough; that is, I may sometimes exceed the adventuring day budget by a factor of two or three, but never by a factor of ten or fifteen like I do the encounter difficulty tables. The biggest problem with the XP per adventuring day table is that it's imperfectly coupled to encounter difficulty--encounter difficulty has a number of tweaks to it which involve bumping the difficulty up or down without adjusting the XP in it (e.g. if the environment has ongoing damage sources to which the monsters are immune, increase difficulty by one level), which means those adjustments don't affect the adventuring day budget, which seems wrong if you're actually trying to be predictive.

Ultimately I think it's a lost cause to try to use CR precisely, because it isn't a precision tool. Instead of using it to create adventures, use it as a sanity check for the adventures you create ("does the straightest path through the adventure roughly conform to the adventuring day budget?"), and supply lots of opportunities for the players to self-pace and fine-tune their own difficulty level by taking on optional challenges for greater rewards. RPGs are all about choice; if you give the players the right choices, they'll have fun, no formulas needed.

#### Tony Vargas

##### Legend
It seems founded on an arbitrary premise: that 6-8 medium/hard encounters represents better game balance than the XP table does. I mean, why would you assume that?
Perhaps, in part, because:
The biggest problem with the XP per adventuring day table is that it's imperfectly coupled to encounter difficulty--encounter difficulty has a number of tweaks to it which involve bumping the difficulty up or down without adjusting the XP in it
So medium/hard doesn't directly nor consistently map to XP/day.

Ultimately I think it's a lost cause to try to use CR precisely, because it isn't a precision tool.
I always come back to DMing ultimately being more art than science. CR is part of the science part. Just one test-tube in a painter's studio.

#### mdusty

##### Explorer
Is there a way I can unsubscribe from a thread? I'm constantly getting emails about this topic, of which I have no interest in, every time someone posts something in it. I didn't think that XP was such a hot topic to be honest.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
The biggest problem with the XP per adventuring day table is that it's imperfectly coupled to encounter difficulty--encounter difficulty has a number of tweaks to it which involve bumping the difficulty up or down without adjusting the XP in it (e.g. if the environment has ongoing damage sources to which the monsters are immune, increase difficulty by one level), which means those adjustments don't affect the adventuring day budget, which seems wrong if you're actually trying to be predictive.
Yup. I agree the two need to be brought together. That'd make them more useful. Something like this (cross posted) -

Encounter Thresholds and Per Adventuring Day
Encounters are categorised as attritional (uses up resources, unlike to result in PC death) and lethal (may result in PC death). The table gives the XP value for one encounter unit: 2+ units is attritional (aka medium) difficulty and 4+ units is lethal (aka deadly) difficulty. An Adventuring Day is 12 units.

Level....Unit (XP floor)
1..........40
2..........80
3..........150
4..........210
5..........440
6..........500
7..........630
8..........750
9..........940
10........1130
11........1310
12........1440
13........1690
14........1880
15........2250
16........2500
17........3130
18........3380
19........3750
20........5000

Ultimately I think it's a lost cause to try to use CR precisely, because it isn't a precision tool. Instead of using it to create adventures, use it as a sanity check for the adventures you create ("does the straightest path through the adventure roughly conform to the adventuring day budget?"), and supply lots of opportunities for the players to self-pace and fine-tune their own difficulty level by taking on optional challenges for greater rewards. RPGs are all about choice; if you give the players the right choices, they'll have fun, no formulas needed.
Either way it is super-helpful for DMs to have a way to estimate difficulty without having to run the encounter. And seeing as the factors include attrition and lethality, that needs to be on a per encounter and per long rest basis. Formulae, CRs, encounter thresholds and such like are useful for that. They help DMs provide meaningful choice, that feels validated.

#### FormerlyHemlock

##### Explorer
Yup. I agree the two need to be brought together. That'd make them more useful. Something like this (cross posted) -

Encounter Thresholds and Per Adventuring Day
Encounters are categorised as attritional (uses up resources, unlike to result in PC death) and lethal (may result in PC death). The table gives the XP value for one encounter unit: 2+ units is attritional (aka medium) difficulty and 4+ units is lethal (aka deadly) difficulty. An Adventuring Day is 12 units.

That's an interesting way to think about it. I'm not sure you can really divide them cleanly though based on XP, because the whole point of attrition is to make subsequent attritional combats more likely to be lethal, no?

Either way it is super-helpful for DMs to have a way to estimate difficulty without having to run the encounter. And seeing as the factors include attrition and lethality, that needs to be on a per encounter and per long rest basis. Formulae, CRs, encounter thresholds and such like are useful for that. They help DMs provide meaningful choice, that feels validated.

I'm not persuaded that formulae are really the right way to go here. It's the Internet age, and prioritizing simplicity of calculation over accuracy isn't necessarily the right tradeoff to make any more. If I go to kobold.com and plug in "four level 9 PCs vs. a Mind Flayer and four Intellect Devourers", and I get back a result of Hard, do I care more that the calculation it performed was simple than I do that it's accurate? If I'm trying to choose the right number of intellect devourers to make the fight definitely not a TPK, why should I prefer a result derived from a flawed formula over a result derived from a simulation? The simulation results will still be flawed, but they'll probably be better. In this specific case the sim might tell me, "there's a 25% chance that the whole party is going to get their brains eaten, and the four Intellect Devourers will get a bunch of new host bodies," which is not what I'm aiming for in my Hard encounter. The sim will probably be wrong about the exact percentage (maybe the true percentage is only 13% due to differences between my players' builds and tactics and the ones assumed by the simulation) but at least it's aware of the synergies between Mind Flayers and Intellect Devourers, and it's making a better prediction than the DMG formula does (Hard = 0% chance of TPK, which is clearly wrong in this case).

I think what is needed here is an app. I've been working on one off and on in my spare time for the past year or more--it's not anywhere close to ready, so I'm not telling anyone to use my app so much as I am pointing to it as evidence of sincerity. And I think that app needs to take actual monster stats into account, not just CRs, because CR doesn't contain nearly enough information to make good predictions. You're better off relying on your DM intuition than on CR and formulas.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
That's an interesting way to think about it. I'm not sure you can really divide them cleanly though based on XP, because the whole point of attrition is to make subsequent attritional combats more likely to be lethal, no?
Hmm... that indicates that I can explain them in a better way. We agree that attritional encounters are only likely to be lethal when there have been previous encounters. Whereas lethal encounters are lethal regardless. The DM using this knows that an attritional encounter on its own, or even the first couple, aren't likely to prove lethal.

The simulation results will still be flawed, but they'll probably be better. In this specific case the sim might tell me, "there's a 25% chance that the whole party is going to get their brains eaten, and the four Intellect Devourers will get a bunch of new host bodies," which is not what I'm aiming for in my Hard encounter. The sim will probably be wrong about the exact percentage (maybe the true percentage is only 13% due to differences between my players' builds and tactics and the ones assumed by the simulation) but at least it's aware of the synergies between Mind Flayers and Intellect Devourers, and it's making a better prediction than the DMG formula does (Hard = 0% chance of TPK, which is clearly wrong in this case).

I think what is needed here is an app. I've been working on one off and on in my spare time for the past year or more--it's not anywhere close to ready, so I'm not telling anyone to use my app so much as I am pointing to it as evidence of sincerity. And I think that app needs to take actual monster stats into account, not just CRs, because CR doesn't contain nearly enough information to make good predictions. You're better off relying on your DM intuition than on CR and formulas.
No question that if we had the time and tools to enter our PCs and simulate heuristically, then simulating heuristically would be better. We also need clearer definitions. For example, "lethality" could be defined as a better than 1/5 chance that at least one PC will die. So that non-lethal would mean that if we ran the combat 5 times, no one dies. We don't know any such thing now, of course. Fixed sizing values are still useful provided that the effort to apply them respects the accuracy they afford. DMs using the numbers straight from the DMG can feel confident that they will not overtax their PCs. All I want to do here is bring together the per encounter and per day sizing value and dial up the game difficulty.

Thresholds Per Encounter and Adventuring Day
The table below is intended to help size encounters that your PCs can handle. It is derived from the DMG, but multiplies the thresholds there by about 1.6 to produce a harder game. Encounters are categorised as attritional and lethal. Both types can result in PC death, but attritional encounters are are very unlikely to do so unless preceded by other encounters: a party of 3-5 PCs should be able to handle around 2 attritional encounters between short rests, or 6 between long rests.

The table provides an XP Budget (per PC) for attritional difficulty. To build an attritional encounter, add together the budgets for each PC in your party and then choose creatures for your encounter (applying adjustments per the DMG) until at or just over your budget. To build a lethal encounter, use double the attritional budget. For example, for a party of 3 level 4 and 1 level 5 PC, the budget for an attritional encounter is 2200, doubled for a lethal encounter.

Level....XP Budget (per PC)
1..........80
2..........160
3..........300
4..........440
5..........880
6..........1000
7..........1260
8..........1500
9..........1880
10........2260
11........2640
12........2880
13........3380
14........3760
15........4500
16........5000
17........6260
18........6760
19........7500
20........10000

That looks fairly decent. It brings together the adventuring day with the per encounter thresholds. It increases the encounter budgets which is predicted to yield a harder game. And it is very simple and quick to apply... which it must be in order to respect its level of accuracy.

#### FormerlyHemlock

##### Explorer
@vonklaude, I like that revised definition of "attritional". It's nice and clear. It does hint at a concept of cumulative lethality which might be potentially useful.

RE: lethality as 1/5 chance of a death:

One of several reasons why my simulation app is still undergoing design revisions is that no one can seem to really agree on what "appropriate" difficulty is in the first place, whether for an encounter or an entire adventure. Less than 20% chance of a permanent death works as a metric, but so do other metrics like "less than 1% chance of TPK", "characters lose at least half their HP and spells," "no single character under this level can successfully complete the adventure," etc. The only rough consensus I've gotten is that appropriate difficulty is, approximately, when the players feel there is some chance of failure, but still usually succeed.

I suppose there's no reason why you couldn't offer a whole bunch of difficulty metrics and just let the user (i.e. the DM) pick which one they want to measure by.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
RE: lethality as 1/5 chance of a death:

One of several reasons why my simulation app is still undergoing design revisions is that no one can seem to really agree on what "appropriate" difficulty is in the first place, whether for an encounter or an entire adventure. Less than 20% chance of a permanent death works as a metric, but so do other metrics like "less than 1% chance of TPK", "characters lose at least half their HP and spells," "no single character under this level can successfully complete the adventure," etc. The only rough consensus I've gotten is that appropriate difficulty is, approximately, when the players feel there is some chance of failure, but still usually succeed.

I suppose there's no reason why you couldn't offer a whole bunch of difficulty metrics and just let the user (i.e. the DM) pick which one they want to measure by.
I have done quite a lot of work on games and difficulty, so maybe I can contribute a few concepts.

Defining Difficulty
The simplest definition of medium difficulty is that a subject has a 50/50 chance of success at the task.

Objective versus Subjective difficulty
Objective difficulty is tricky to pin down. The best concept we've so far come up for it is that a subject exposed to a random task experiences the objective difficulty. After that, practice effect kicks in and we can only measure subjective difficulty. One problem with conceptualising objective difficulty that way is that most subjects evidence a very large performance gain between trial 1 and trial 2, due to simply understanding the concepts of the task for example understanding the control mechanisms. So possibly objective difficulty should be defined as - for a class of tasks, the difficulty experienced on a random member of that class after a formal familiarisation period with the class.

Performance Limit
On most tasks, if you smoothly ramp the difficulty manipulation, humans hit a performance limit somewhere (and with fairly good consistency, subject to subject).

Intermediated Difficulty
When we contemplate a player controlling an agent (e.g. their character) to do a task, then the difficulty is intermediated through the attributes of that agent. We now need to consider both the leverage the agent has over the task (the maximum performance) and the proficiency of the player in guiding their agent. We can predict that a less proficient player with a more powerful agent might perform as well as a more proficient player with a less powerful agent, but to pin that down to definite probabilities isn't straightforward.

Ranked Performance
The most common measures of capability at a game "simplify" the problem by ranking players against one another. Chess Elo ratings are one example. Xbox Trueskill is another. The difficulty of a game task (or scenario forming a set of tasks) can then be said to be the inverse of number of players who can perform that task with a 50/50 chance of success. So if most players can overcome a task or scenario, then it is low difficulty.

Bringing that back to D&D, in sizing encounters we want to know if we're going to slaughter our party, or just tax their resources a little. For an encounter they are intended to overcome, we don't want a TPK to be the inevitable outcome. If we are willing to use some of the assumptions in the sizing I propose, then we've given ourselves some useful tools.

1) The proposed XP budgets divided over XP to level-up yields about 130 attritional encounters to go from 1-20, or about half that many - 65 - lethal encounters.
2) We can choose a simple tuning value: we can say that at the start of their career each PC should have an N% probability of surviving to level 20
3) We need to make an assumption about revivals: we might say that any time a PC dies, they have a flat 50% chance of being revived (we could improve this by making such an assumption on a per level basis, but let's go with this for now)

Based on the above, if I decide that I want my PCs to have a 50/50 chance of seeing level 20, then very roughly taking our revival assumption into account*, 65 lethal encounters must deliver permanent death. Therefore a lethal encounter could be defined as one with a 1/65 chance of death for each character or about a 6% chance of one or more characters dying in a party of four i.e. about 1/17. (Obviously it is more complicated than this, for example where one character dies it becomes more likely that others follow.)

Thus we could assert that if we run our model 17 times for averagely skilled players (unknown) controlling averagely powerful agents (level = CR?), we should see 1 death. My 1/5 is probably wayyy too high!

*I'm just getting at the principle here. Once we agree a principle, we can fix the maths.

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#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
RE: lethality as 1/5 chance of a death:
This might be a way to simplify the problem. Starting with a goal that PCs should have a 50/50 chance to survive from level 1 to level 20 and an assumption that PCs hit a lethal encounter once per three levels, or about half a dozen times over their career, we can tune our chance to survive each lethal encounter for a best fit. For example, if a lethal encounter is one with a 90% chance of survival, our cumulative chance to survive half a dozen encounters is about 50/50. Across a party of four, we can feel confident that one or two PCs won't make it.

For a 90% survival rate, and giving the cumulative probability both down the levels and across the party...

level A B C D
1
2
3 90% 81% 73% 66%
4
5
6 81% 66% 53% 43%
7
8
9 73% 53% 39% 28%
10
11
12 66% 43% 28% 19%
13
14
15 59% 35% 21% 12%
16
17
18 53% 28% 15% 8%
19
20

#### FormerlyHemlock

##### Explorer
This might be a way to simplify the problem. Starting with a goal that PCs should have a 50/50 chance to survive from level 1 to level 20 and an assumption that PCs hit a lethal encounter once per three levels, or about half a dozen times over their career, we can tune our chance to survive each lethal encounter for a best fit. For example, if a lethal encounter is one with a 90% chance of survival, our cumulative chance to survive half a dozen encounters is about 50/50. Across a party of four, we can feel confident that one or two PCs won't make it.

Wow. Surviving to level 20 would not be my ideal choice of goal for a difficulty metric. Not only does it define success in such a way that it may take months or years to achieve, but it also sets the bar simultaneously so low that "winning" becomes theoretically commonplace because it's easy, but also rare because most campaigns will fizzle out of boredom long before success is reached. (And you also wind up with an implied game world that is as chock-full of high-level NPCs as the Forgotten Realms.)

If you must define success in per-level terms, take advantage of the fact that most campaigns stay at mid-levels. Make it a 50/50 shot of reaching 9th level, and maybe a 50% chance of surviving to each tier after that.

But personally I'd rather just define success in per-adventure terms. If you bring an Nth level PC on an adventure that's advertised for level N, I'd like there to be about a 50% chance of winning if you do everything in the straightforwardly obvious way, and a 100% chance of winning if you do things in a way that is smart or creative. To me that's an interesting game. E.g. if it's an adventure about being invited to take place in a gladiatorial combat, I'd like to stack you up against someone in your own weight class, or multiple someones in a lower weight class. If you do well in your own fight, you'll get invited to bonus rounds, and maybe get to challenge the champion. (There's a secondary game here where I as the DM am playing Mephistopheles to your Faust; I'm trying to tempt you with rewards that make you take on something out of your weight class, but to do it in such a way that when you inevitably overreach and you die, lose all your magic items, or wind up in slavery, you're left kicking yourself instead of me!)

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
Wow. Surviving to level 20 would not be my ideal choice of goal for a difficulty metric. Not only does it define success in such a way that it may take months or years to achieve, but it also sets the bar simultaneously so low that "winning" becomes theoretically commonplace because it's easy, but also rare because most campaigns will fizzle out of boredom long before success is reached. (And you also wind up with an implied game world that is as chock-full of high-level NPCs as the Forgotten Realms.
Great points. There has to be some chance of PC death, for lethal to mean anything, but it shouldn't be simply linear. Regarding the game world I'm using a 1/100 are tier-1 equiv, 1/10th per tier upward assumption in my campaign world. Not all who fail to advance die, some retire.

If you must define success in per-level terms, take advantage of the fact that most campaigns stay at mid-levels. Make it a 50/50 shot of reaching 9th level, and maybe a 50% chance of surviving to each tier after that.
That sounds pretty reasonable. Experientially it will be affected by how a DM treats death. In my campaign, PCs roll at lowest surviving level minus 1 so one survivor will drag others upward (that can be viewed as them hoovering up characters who have already made it).

But personally I'd rather just define success in per-adventure terms. If you bring an Nth level PC on an adventure that's advertised for level N, I'd like there to be about a 50% chance of winning if you do everything in the straightforwardly obvious way, and a 100% chance of winning if you do things in a way that is smart or creative.
In order to define lethality in a way that meaningfully relates to encounters, there must be some chance of PC death per encounter. Whatever that chance is, it's always going to be put over the number of encounters PCs will experience. Whether that be per adventure or per career makes no statistical difference. Remember that the chance of death - the difficulty - isn't a fixed value in relationship to player performance. Stronger player performance can reduce the lethality. Weaker performance can increase it. That is all by definition, in order for the construct to have meaning.

#### FormerlyHemlock

##### Explorer
In order to define lethality in a way that meaningfully relates to encounters, there must be some chance of PC death per encounter. Whatever that chance is, it's always going to be put over the number of encounters PCs will experience.*snip*

I don't see how that follows. My expectations for what will kill a PC are derived from my experience with PCs; I may not always estimate the odds perfectly, but it's as possible for me to underestimate difficulty as to overestimate it.

Remember that the chance of death - the difficulty - isn't a fixed value in relationship to player performance. Stronger player performance can reduce the lethality. Weaker performance can increase it. That is all by definition, in order for the construct to have meaning.

Sure, of course. But some players won't have strong play, they'll just play in the most straightforward way, and for those players/PCs deaths might be approximately as common as the predictor says they will be. Will be, if the predictor is a good one.

Maybe I've lost the plot--are you still talking about trying to derive chances of death from some multiple of the DMG CR/XP/difficulty tables? Because that would explain why you say PCs will always die less frequently than predicted--those tables are very forgiving.

#### clearstream

##### (He, Him)
I don't see how that follows. My expectations for what will kill a PC are derived from my experience with PCs; I may not always estimate the odds perfectly, but it's as possible for me to underestimate difficulty as to overestimate it.
All I'm saying is that given some chance of player death per encounter, then looked at over encounters (i.e. a series of chances) the probability of death is cumulative. This is important because characters typically face multiple encounters.

Maybe I've lost the plot--are you still talking about trying to derive chances of death from some multiple of the DMG CR/XP/difficulty tables? Because that would explain why you say PCs will always die less frequently than predicted--those tables are very forgiving.
No, I'm not trying to do that. I'm doing a couple of other things. One is that I'm setting a design target for the rate character death is experienced in lethal encounters. In doing so, I'm taking into account that a character will face more than one such encounter. I don't want to pretend I have the data to hit the target with any great confidence, but having the target calls out where I am heading and prompts course correction when I'm not getting there. It allows us to debate what the target should be? Maybe 1:8 is too high? Maybe it should be expressed as a chance of any death per encounter, rather than a chance of death per character engaged in an encounter? Another thing I am doing is tuning up the XP budgets by about 1.6, making encounters across the board more challenging.

#### phantomK9

##### Explorer
So has anyone actually tried this out yet? I'm looking for some real world feedback.

One of the players in my group (who also GMs) really likes this method and since I'm pretty open to trying it we are going to switch to using it this coming weekend. I'm fairly optimistic about since really it is just codifying XP for things I normally just handed out xp for anyway.

#### Mistwell

##### Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
So here is the number crunching. I simply divided encounter XP at each level and risk threshold into adventuring day XP. At the bottom are means, modes and medians. And the correlation of medium to hard encounters, which is significant and tight meaning that they are good predictors of each other (from a game design point of view, it suggests that the table is coherent).

Level Easy Medium Hard Deadly

1 12.0 6.0 4.0 3.0
2 12.0 6.0 4.0 3.0
3 16.0 8.0 5.3 3.0
4 13.6 6.8 4.5 3.4
5 14.0 7.0 4.7 3.2
6 13.3 6.7 4.4 2.9
7 14.3 6.7 4.5 2.9
8 13.3 6.7 4.3 2.9
9 13.6 6.8 4.7 3.1
10 15.0 7.5 4.7 3.2
11 13.1 6.6 4.4 2.9
12 11.5 5.8 3.8 2.6
13 12.3 6.1 4.0 2.6
14 12.0 6.0 3.9 2.6
15 12.9 6.4 4.2 2.8
16 12.5 6.3 4.2 2.8
17 12.5 6.4 4.2 2.8
18 12.9 6.4 4.3 2.8
19 12.5 6.1 4.1 2.8
20 14.3 7.0 4.7 3.1

mean 13.2 6.6 4.4 2.9
mode 12.0 6.0 4.0 3.0
median 13.0 6.5 4.3 2.9
correll 0.97091184

The real number of encounters per day using the adventuring day XP budgets is 4.4 to 6.6 i.e. about one and a half encounters fewer than advertised. I suspect this is a root cause of comments that 5e has an "easy" difficulty setting. For mass-market games it usually is correct to dial down the difficulty. Although ideally there should be a way supplied to dial it back up again. The problem might not lie in the adventuring day XP of course: it could lie in the monster CRs i.e. the XP may be paying for too few monsters. That could matter because if it is the case, increasing the XP serves to accelerate character advancement without appropriately increasing the risk.

What I'd like to do is figure out a simple method to provide a "hard" difficulty setting for 5e. We need to know if monster CRs need tweaking, which I think we can tell from the XP Thresholds table perhaps using Kobold Fight Club? Ideally, they won't, in which case all we'll need to do is up the Adventuring Day XP... perhaps by a quarter?

I found the formatting just too annoying. So here:

#### jayoungr

##### Legend
Supporter
Haven't read the whole thread, but how is this a "new" or "different" XP system? You were always supposed to award XP for exploration and roleplay objectives. The DMG just didn't give guidelines on how much a given task should be worth, which I agree was a flaw in the DMG.

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