Level Up (A5E) You don't hate exploration, you hate survival


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PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
How does XP encourage combat?
Well XP is generally only framed as being given for killing things?

Saying you should give XP for social situations, for discoveries isn't something I've seen in many places. For some people it's very controversial ("roleplay should be its own reward") but incentives are incentives.

I note that A5e awards XP for exploration challenges. So that's a move away. And Graeme Barber did an excellent piece on awarding XP for team work (a bit meta I concede but in line with my personal values).

I think, based on my personal experience of multiple different groups and teaching new players, that new players expect and often enjoy XP. Certainly when I've done some qualitative work with XP vs milestone vs time spent playing, XP seemed popular. But that's about 6 or 7 games not exactly an exhaustive analysis. 😀

However the XP system breaks down after about Level 10 and multiple levels per "adventuring day" in the teens are possible. That's just obvious once you start doing any analysis at all.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Well XP is generally only framed as being given for killing things?

Saying you should give XP for social situations, for discoveries isn't something I've seen in many places. For some people it's very controversial ("roleplay should be its own reward") but incentives are incentives.

I note that A5e awards XP for exploration challenges. So that's a move away. And Graeme Barber did an excellent piece on awarding XP for team work (a bit meta I concede but in line with my personal values).

I think, based on my personal experience of multiple different groups and teaching new players, that new players expect and often enjoy XP. Certainly when I've done some qualitative work with XP vs milestone vs time spent playing, XP seemed popular. But that's about 6 or 7 games not exactly an exhaustive analysis. 😀

However the XP system breaks down after about Level 10 and multiple levels per "adventuring day" in the teens are possible. That's just obvious once you start doing any analysis at all.
There's always gold for XP.
 

As someone who uses Milestone levelling, I would say you really need to put things into place to encourage activity that would gain XP but aren't part of that progression. Awarding XP tells people what they did was important, since it moved them forward in a tangible way. In that way, what you give XP for, you see more of.

If you just Milestone, you lose out on the sidequests or interesting activity that suddenly isn't rewarded. That's why I call it out. I give out Hero Points (in PF2) or Inspiration in 5E. And I let people store up multiple Inspiration so it is something that they just don't ignore once they have it. That's how I call out stuff I want to see more of when I can't reward it with XP.
It really depends who you play with. In my groups xp are really not needed, any other form of reward is much more tangible (either a new item, a stronghold, a new power, a spell, etc).
Those rewards are individual, btw, not group based, and normally given by side quests, so all these points are moot at least for my group, but I understand it's not the typical case given the discussion.

IMO XP in D&D doesn't give you anything but a feeling of advancement that is not advancement per se (as levels are discrete). Would be different in a system like WOIN where you do spend xp to gain abilities etc, which was my first point in the first post.
But hey, it seems xp are such a touchy subject for many.

If you guys enjoy using xp that's great, my intention is not to set up a crusade against them!
I just don't think they have a point in my D&D games, but I'd use them too in systems different from D&D.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Because it’s awarded primarily for killing stuff.
That depends on the DM and to a lesser extent on the game. First of all you get XP by overcoming the challenge, not necessarily combat. You find a way to get past the guards without fighting them, for example, you get the XP.

Secondly, IMO you can and should award XP for different things, like skill use, discovery, social activity, behaving in character, and so on. 2e had a wonderful list of activities that can grant XP, roughly divided by class, that can be a good guide for this.

Finally, there's always gold for XP, a system explicitly designed to earn experience while avoiding combat.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
That depends on the DM and to a lesser extent on the game. First of all you get XP by overcoming the challenge, not necessarily combat. You find a way to get past the guards without fighting them, for example, you get the XP.

Secondly, IMO you can and should award XP for different things, like skill use, discovery, social activity, behaving in character, and so on. 2e had a wonderful list of activities that can grant XP, roughly divided by class, that can be a good guide for this.

Finally, there's always gold for XP, a system explicitly designed to earn experience while avoiding combat.
Where are the rules for determining how much xp anything other than defeating monsters gives you?

And gold for xp just encourages other player behaviors I’d rather not incentivize.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
Where are the rules for determining how much xp anything other than defeating monsters gives you?

And gold for xp just encourages other player behaviors I’d rather not incentivize.
It really depends on the edition. Each edition has had sometimes radically different rules for what you get XP for. And that really did change what you did in play. The XP for gold in 1E made it so that fighting monsters was significantly less rewarding than sneaking around and getting treasure, for instance. And I believe that XP for gold rule vanished in 2E with the exception of an award for Thieves (please check me on this one, it's been a long time).

I am not sure, but I think that the first time I ever saw rules for XP from "quests" was in 3E. At least I remember it in the adventures. But most of what you were getting XP for was fighting monsters.

And 4E introduced XP for "skill challenges". I think that was the first time I ever saw core rules for encounters that weren't combat directly.

Now I know 5E does XP by encounter, but again from adventures I've run, there is an award for doing other things too. I'm going to admit that I haven't cracked open that DMG in going on a decade, so I'm not sure what the official ruling is.

It seems to me (and this may be just my perception) that for something as important as advancement there isn't necessarily a good understanding of how it works. Maybe it's just me who's going across multiple editions in my brain and no one else has this problem.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Where are the rules for determining how much xp anything other than defeating monsters gives you?

And gold for xp just encourages other player behaviors I’d rather not incentivize.
Like I said, it's up to the DM. I adapted the rewards from 2e and other sources myself. Heck, if you like milestone, use milestone. It's certainly easier. I just don't like it personally.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It really depends on the edition. Each edition has had sometimes radically different rules for what you get XP for. And that really did change what you did in play. The XP for gold in 1E made it so that fighting monsters was significantly less rewarding than sneaking around and getting treasure, for instance. And I believe that XP for gold rule vanished in 2E with the exception of an award for Thieves (please check me on this one, it's been a long time).

I am not sure, but I think that the first time I ever saw rules for XP from "quests" was in 3E. At least I remember it in the adventures. But most of what you were getting XP for was fighting monsters.

And 4E introduced XP for "skill challenges". I think that was the first time I ever saw core rules for encounters that weren't combat directly.

Now I know 5E does XP by encounter, but again from adventures I've run, there is an award for doing other things too. I'm going to admit that I haven't cracked open that DMG in going on a decade, so I'm not sure what the official ruling is.

It seems to me (and this may be just my perception) that for something as important as advancement there isn't necessarily a good understanding of how it works. Maybe it's just me who's going across multiple editions in my brain and no one else has this problem.
Gold for XP didn't disappear in 2e, it was made optional. It's still right there in the book.
 

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