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D&D 5E XP for destroying evil magic - help me come up with a system


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'm running Rappan Athuk, a massive mega-dungeon with the Cult of Orcus being the main bad guys. Though there is the competing evil cult of Tsathoggua.

I'm running with 5e rules with some homebrew to create a more classic dungeon crawl feel.

For one, alignment matters in this game. Alignment is a side you take in the great spiritual battles of of the multiverse.

Second, XP is gain for GP, with some milestone XP awards. Basically, any treasure with a coin value earns 1 XP for 1 GP if it is extracted from the dungeon and sold. Selling magic items does not earn XP as the values would be campaign breaking.

To help level a bit faster, but in a way that adds to the story, and removes some gold and magic, I've been discussing with my players on how XP could be awarded for the destruction of evil magic. Already there are some milestone XP that can be awarded by destroying certain idols, etc.

I'm going to put my thoughts in this thread on what a system for XP for destroying unholy/evil magic would be. I'd appreciate any thoughts, especially if anyone could share what they do if they do or have done something similar.

I started by looking at CR of encounters where magic of certain levels start showing up on the DMG random treasure tables. But I find that was ultimately not that helpful. There is to wide of a range.

I'm not too worried about double-dipping in XP, e.g., once for getting XP for GP (or killing creatures if using traditional XP) and again for destroying magic, because destroying the magic should require research, spells, and perhaps side missions depending on how powerful the item is.

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A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For unholy water, I would give 25 XP per vial destroyed. If there is a fountain or pool of unholy water I would do a bespoke milestone XP, as it would be very rare to encounter more than the occasion few vials. Destruction would require use of the Ceremony spell to turn unholy water in to mundane water. One casting per vial.

While not magical, for destruction of unholy symbols, emblems, reliquaries, and amulets can be destroyed with simple physical means appropriate to the material the item is made up (smashing, melting down, etc.) for 5 XP per item destroyed.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Spells that I may adapt to become part of the process of destroying evil magic items

Dispel Evil


Other than perhaps uncommon items this would not be enough. You'd likely need to conduct research on higher level items to determine how they can be destroyed, which may require destroying in lava at a specific volcano, the use of the hammer and anvil used to create the item, bringing it to another plan to destroy, etc. For magic items up to rare I would allow for the items to simply be turned over to a good-aligned temple and they would take care of it. Very rare items would need to be brought to specific trusted individuals to destroy or require a side missions. Destroying legendary items would require a side quest that may span several sessions.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Looking at 1e Rules
Going back and looking at rules in prior editions. In AD&D (1e) all magic items sold before XP is awarded for an adventure is considered part of the treasure. If the relative XP value of the monsters/guardians/devices overcome to get the treasure is greater than that of the party, then XP is awarded on a 1:1 basis. I'm not going to go into the ratios for when a party is overpowered versus the guardians, because in 5e this approach would not work. Well, at least in my current campaign it wouldn't because magic items are not distributed in a way where their value is matches to the encounter challenge. So, I don't find the 1e approach helpful.


You could try something where you can pool this XP to use for a couple of things. You can gain straight XP and level up. You can use some to recharge powers that may have a 1/day or 1/rest recharge. Lastly, you can boost the power of magic items. Let the players track and decide how they want to use. Not sure on how much things would cost.


Victoria Rules
One idea might be for you to come up with a very rough-and-ready idea of - well, kind of levels for items; and then assign xp based on the destroyed item's 'level'.

So, a vial of unholy water might be level 1. A pool of the stuff might be level 3. An evil holy symbol (such as that worn by a cleric) might be level 2. Deconsecration or purification of an unused temple could be level 2. An evil icon taken from an altar might be level 3 if merely consecrated; level 4 or more if it has any other powers. And so on; with difficulty (and-or danger) of destruction affecting the level value.

Then, just assign xp by item level:

1 - 10 xp
2 - 25 xp
3 - 50 xp
4 - 100 xp
5 - 250 xp
6 and higher - done item by item.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Yeah, at first I was optimistic that I would be able to come up with an easy to apply system. But magic items are so different from one another, even in the same rarity group, that I find it hard to come up with a fits-all solution.


I suggest looking into the 1st edition d&d books about barbarian class that got it for destroying such things, but a common item and difficulty to destroy it should be a long the lines of over coming traps and hazzerds and would give it out in a similar way.

A third the cost to make it?

So, if you found a sack of 3,000 gp, you would get 3,000 xp. If you found a wand of evilness that takes 3,000gp to make and you destroyed it, you would gain 1,000xp?


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
@Baron Opal II - that's interesting. Also interesting in that it resulted in my "gut" estimate. So a very rare item takes 20,000 plus a 13-18 CR challenge (monster to kill or other challenge to get ingredients).

That would be 5,000 XP.

Not really enough for characters to give up on 40,000 base GP sales price (could be lower/higher based on how well they roll).

But, what I'm thinking is that its destruction will requires a CR 13-18 quest to destroy it and that the party would earn the XP from this side quest as an exception to the GP for XP rule. 10-22,000.

If they could get, say 25,000 XP, they may be willing to forgo the GP from selling it. Moreover, I could work the side quest into the existing mega dungeon to avoid taking them out of the main campaign area, which many would not like. Basically, find an area of the dungeon or a foe that would present an appropriate challenge and add add something or tweak an existing feature/area that give a good story and follows in-game logic for being able to destroy the item.

Yeah, I think this is the right approach. At least for rare and higher items.

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