D&D 5E XP for monsters is bonkers

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, I have no idea why they balanced things around the adventuring day or with the numbers that they decided to go with. :p
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I found this chart that illustrates the weirdness.
 

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R_J_K75

Legend
The encounter building guidelines/rules has always bothered me in every edition of D&D I've played. I don't understand why they can't create a simpler more straightforward system that works the same across all levels. I always feel like I'm just guessing when building encounters.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah, it varies a lot. You may even notice that there's a level where you need fewer xp to advance than you did the level before; I've not analyzed that vis-a-vis encounter budgets and all that, but it's certainly eye opening in its own right.
But why??? There must be a reason. it was more work to change the progression.
While googling about for the XP charts I saw something called "the XP valley" but the video looked very click-baity so I did not look into further.
The idea is to extend the amount of tike people can play at the Levels people enjoy playing at, 4-10. Get to 4 fast, stay in that range longer. Also, this makes high Level play more accessible, so more people can experience it.
 

aco175

Legend
I thought there would have been more of a drop in numbers after level16 so that high level can speed like low levels. I have never played that high so I did not know.
 

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I found this chart that illustrates the weirdness.
Not so weird IMO.

Its exactly what @Parmandur stated; so that people can spend more time playing in the levels that people enjoy more.

My 1-20 campaign that ended a few months ago this "weird' progression worked really well for us.
Levels 1-3 should go quickly. I mean not if you are new to D&D, but after decades of playing, yes those levels are fun, but they get tedious quickly so we like that they go by quickly. Levels 5 to 12 are the ones we are expanding the characters and our play the most. So it's good, for us, that this is where we spend most game sessions. Then honestly speeding back up is good. We are ready for new powers, new abilities, but we don't need to spend time there. Cuz honestly, by the time we get to 15 we are ready for the campaign to reach a climax/conclusion.

This weirdness works for us. IMO, they did a good job with it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I was looking over the encounter building and XP rules in order to figure out how to build equivalent XP rewards for completing an adventure (as opposed to awarding XP per encounter; sort of half-way to milestones). What a mess this is.
Side-note, what you’re describing here is not “half-way to milestones,” it’s in fact precisely what the DMG defines milestones as. What everyone calls milestones (most likely because it was erroneously described that way in Hoard of the Dragon Queen) is what the DMG calls Story-Based Advancement.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Gotcha. So the rule of thumb appears to be 10 Hard encounters in order to level up. And a Hard encounter for 5th level PCs would be a druid riding a giant elk with a couple awakened trees. Which sounds more reasonable (and fun!).
It varies by level, actually. It takes about 6 medium encounters (or one adventuring day) to get to 2nd level, the same to get to 3rd, 12 (or two adventuring days) to get to 4th, and 15 (or two and a half adventuring days) to get to 5th, and every level thereafter until 11th. After that, it takes about 10 medium encounters (about one and a half adventuring days) to reach each level thereafter all the way to 20th. There is a bit more fluctuation than that, but if you round a bit, that’s approximately how it works out.

If you assume half an adventuring day to one adventuring day every play session, this observation is consistent with a comment Mike Mearls made in an episode of his now-defunct Happy Fun Hour vlog that their intent was originally for players to level up roughly every other session, and that they were surprised to see that this was not how most groups were actually playing. He recommended for groups who are leveling slower than this to try session-based advancement to match the intended every-other-session leveling pace, because that’s the expectation a lot of the system was written with.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The encounter building guidelines/rules has always bothered me in every edition of D&D I've played. I don't understand why they can't create a simpler more straightforward system that works the same across all levels. I always feel like I'm just guessing when building encounters.
If you ever get a chance, check out the 4e rules. (I assume that's one of the ones you haven't played.) The XP Budget system is not absolutely, perfectly reliable--it gets a little wobbly for levels 1-2 and like 26+ AIUI--but it is (in)famous for being well-balanced and effective across a wide range of levels.
 

R_J_K75

Legend
If you ever get a chance, check out the 4e rules. (I assume that's one of the ones you haven't played.) The XP Budget system is not absolutely, perfectly reliable--it gets a little wobbly for levels 1-2 and like 26+ AIUI--but it is (in)famous for being well-balanced and effective across a wide range of levels.
I did play/DM 4E for awhile but not too long. I don't recall it being particularly good or bad, it was just too different than what I thought D&D should be. At that point we were playing Star Wars and 4E back and forth at the same time. Im pretty sure in that edition we ran alot of pre-published adventures so I didnt have much need to build encounters, Im sure I did here and there but not enough to remember if it was reliable or not. We switched to Pathfinder after about a year of the 4E/SW sessions.
 


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