16 April 2012

Anticipation is making me wait


Who hasn't heard this refrain from their players or even themselves.

In B/X and AD&D, experience points from adventuring must be divided equally among the surviving members of the party. But to survive, especially at the lower levels, you need a fairly large party (6-10). Even if you weight retainers and NPCs less than PCs (as I do), that's still A LOT of kobolds, goblins and orcs to smite before even the humble fighter can see level two.

Let's make the math simple. An orc is worth 10XP. Fighters need 2035XP to get to level 2. A solo PC fighter will need to slay or banish 204 orcs to level. TWO HUNDRED AND FOUR ORCS mano-a-mano.

But since the survival rate of one fighter against this many orcs is vanishingly small, let's group 10 fighters into a party. That means to that the party must face 2040 orcs for each member of the party to become veterans.

That's nuckin' futs.

While I tip my hat to those players with copious spare time to do it the right way, I propose GRADING ON A CURVE.

Perhaps we could cut the XP requirements by a quarter or a half? Said another way, perhaps we could double the XP value of monsters? Would that really wreck the game?

I don't think so.

Let's evince some Vancian detachment from our PCs. Let 'em level quicker, play high level modules sooner and retire quicker so that we can play other PCs. That's not such a bad plan, is it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or mouth off on your own blog. XP: slow and steady or petal to the metal?


  1. In B/X and AD&D, the assumption is that most XP will come from recovering treasure, not defeating monsters. I don't find that levelling is all that slow in these systems, especially prior up to 5th or 6th level. The progression chart is pseudo-exponential, and is intended to slow down near the mid to high levels. This will of course depend on how much treasure there is and how easy it is to recover. If you are not using treasure XP, you should absolutely modify the other XP rewards.

  2. We've been playing LL (B/X) and LL + AEC for a few years now and feel the opposite, the party is levelling up too quickly.

  3. I am stingy on treasure. Perhaps my group does not play as often as your groups?

    1. Perhaps. I would just be wary about increasing monster XP too much unless you really want to incentivize combat.

    2. Perhaps I need to collect and systematize my thoughts in a long post.