XP is too slow!

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XP is too slow!

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:37 pm

I know the standard way of doing xp is that you add up the total xp and then divide it amongst the various party members. There are some variations where characters who died don't gain xp (never liked that), etc. But I've always found the division of xp to cause extremely slow advancement, especially at mid-to-high levels. For example, say a party of 5 adventurers at 10th level average a total of 50,000 xp for various monsters they've defeated and what not. That means each gains 10,000 xp. So to go from 10th to 11th level - let's say for a wizard - he needs to gain 125,000 additional xp. That means roughly 13 adventures to go up to 11th level! 8O

I started giving the full xp to each PC. So for example, if the PCs defeat enough monsters to reach 50,000 xp, each PC gets 50,000 xp (assuming each played some role, even if just supporting the other PCs). So it would only take the wizard 3 adventures to go up. That seems more reasonable, especially as many of my adventures are very complex and we don't get to play as often as I prefer. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. Going with the standard method, we'd all die of old age before hitting name level. :roll:

If we look at a ranger, going from 9th to 10th level requires 250,000 xp. If your game averages 50,000 xp total, then by dividing xp, that ranger would need 25 adventures to go up. I tried putting that into perspective in my Taladas campaign that lasted 20 years and covered 50 games total. The average of 2.5 games per year is deceptive, because some adventures were longer, some much shorter. Still, going by that average, that ranger would take 5 YEARS to go up ONE LEVEL! 8O

Has anyone else changed how they give out xp to speed up advancement some? Or to slow it down?
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby garhkal » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:34 am

If one plays with story awards, XP for GP/Found magic (standard for 1e games), or Individual XP (optional for 2e games), that can help out.

BUT 3 game sessions to go from L8 to 9? Man that's fast IMO..

IMO the bigger determining factor is how long your sessions are. I know when i DM'ed for a group in Bahrain, we did every other Saturday games, lasting from around 3pm till 2-3 am in the morning with two food breaks (40 or so min each). That group averaged 2-3 sessions from L1-3, 3-5 sessions per level from levels 3-7, and around 5-9 sessions from levels 7 and up (depending on class as well).
Another group i DM;ed for averaged only around 5-6hrs per session (though it was more weekly), but still more than doubled the # of sessions per level needed.


So for me, i usually go with a 2-3 sessions to level up from L1 to 2.
2-5 sessions from L2-4
3-6 sessions from 4-6
4-8 sessions from L6-9
5-10 sessions from L10 to 13 or so, and around a dozen sessions there after..

Going off my CJ every pc made up started at 5000xp for a BUILD, but 0xp (so started off with a Deficit they had to pay back to get more survivability), with 2,500xp for the back ups.. Unless their primary died in which case their back up became the new primary, and their NEW back up had to start at 0xp.

We've had 10 sessions so far, after 5 sessions one of the back up pcs (Sha'shu the lizard man fighter) needed to level up.. 2 more sessions later one of the primary pc's levelled up. along with the DM assigned PC (who started out as a back up for everything and counted as a full character, not a henchman, though did NOT earn individual XP like PCS's did). Later on they made a Man at arms into a henchmen, so earned 1/2 the xp the rest did, but i still gave HIM individual xp awards.. Even if he did die 2 sessions later.. Session 6 we had a new player show up and make his fighter pc (Tostig) and cause he's been there for some large battles, earned enough XP to where he's already bought off his 5k backlock, but is still 2.8k or so from hitting L4 as a fighter. Sha'shu is now ready to level again to L4 as a fighter..
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby Cole » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:04 am

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I know the standard way of doing xp is that you add up the total xp and then divide it amongst the various party members. There are some variations where characters who died don't gain xp (never liked that), etc. But I've always found the division of xp to cause extremely slow advancement, especially at mid-to-high levels. For example, say a party of 5 adventurers at 10th level average a total of 50,000 xp for various monsters they've defeated and what not. That means each gains 10,000 xp. So to go from 10th to 11th level - let's say for a wizard - he needs to gain 125,000 additional xp. That means roughly 13 adventures to go up to 11th level! 8O

I started giving the full xp to each PC. So for example, if the PCs defeat enough monsters to reach 50,000 xp, each PC gets 50,000 xp (assuming each played some role, even if just supporting the other PCs). So it would only take the wizard 3 adventures to go up. That seems more reasonable, especially as many of my adventures are very complex and we don't get to play as often as I prefer. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. Going with the standard method, we'd all die of old age before hitting name level. :roll:

If we look at a ranger, going from 9th to 10th level requires 250,000 xp. If your game averages 50,000 xp total, then by dividing xp, that ranger would need 25 adventures to go up. I tried putting that into perspective in my Taladas campaign that lasted 20 years and covered 50 games total. The average of 2.5 games per year is deceptive, because some adventures were longer, some much shorter. Still, going by that average, that ranger would take 5 YEARS to go up ONE LEVEL! 8O

Has anyone else changed how they give out xp to speed up advancement some? Or to slow it down?


Agree with Gar ;)

Just add in story rewards ( I used my own system). I give the standard XP for killing monsters / using skills etc. + I also are "RP XP" (how well each individual roleplayed) and "Adventuring XP" (One the main story is completed, or a particular goal is completed, they spit a large amount of xp throughout the party, with whoever is left).

This way YOU control how much extra XP is handed out, and your players control how well they want to Role Play each night to earn extra xp. It's a flawless system I've used for ever.... :up:
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:23 pm

Garhkal wrote:

If one plays with story awards, XP for GP/Found magic (standard for 1e games), or Individual XP (optional for 2e games), that can help out.


I do use story awards and individual xp (for successful spells, great ideas, etc as detailed in the 2E DMG), but not the gp/xp stuff (I still have no idea how that makes any sense! 8O ). But keep in mind, my example is using an adventure where there's 50,000 xp earned - many adventures would be far less, even with individual awards.

BUT 3 game sessions to go from L8 to 9? Man that's fast IMO..


I have to admit that's a bit too quick for my tastes as well, but far preferable to needing 13 adventures.

Oh...wait a sec! I just realized we're not all on the same page with terms. A little confusion creeped in. I need to clarify.

When I said 3 or 13 adventures, I meant entire adventures, not sessions. You're thinking in terms of actual game sessions, I'm talking about adventures, each of which could consist of multiple game sessions.

So for example (and I know this is wildly inaccurate - just go with it for sake of easy math) - let's say every adventure affords the PCs with the ability to earn 50,000 xp. With xp split amongst a party of 5 (so 10,000 xp each), the wizard at 10th level would need to earn 125,000 xp or go though 13 adventures to hit 11th level. So he would have to play through (using the 1E adventures):

A1
A2
A3
B1
B2
B3
C1
C2
EX1
EX2
G1
G2
G3

Each of those adventures would require 3-5 sessions each, at least. So we're talking, at 1 session per week, anywhere from 39 weeks (9 months) to 60 weeks (over a year) to go up one level. That to me seems pretty slow. And keep in mind, not every adventure is going to afford that many xp. Unless your party faces dragons every adventure, the xp for monsters alone would only amount to a fraction of that 50,000 xp. So imagine if the average adventure afforded only 25,000 xp. Now that wizard is taking anywhere from 18 months to 2 years to go up one level. 8O

I don't recall if someone ever bothered to find an average xp per game/adventure that was published, but I could swear I remember hearing 20,000 xp a an average number.

I never worry about game sessions, because those vary so much. I'm really only looking at how many completed adventures are needed.
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Cole wrote:

Just add in story rewards ( I used my own system). I give the standard XP for killing monsters / using skills etc. + I also are "RP XP" (how well each individual roleplayed) and "Adventuring XP" (One the main story is completed, or a particular goal is completed, they spit a large amount of xp throughout the party, with whoever is left).

This way YOU control how much extra XP is handed out, and your players control how well they want to Role Play each night to earn extra xp. It's a flawless system I've used for ever.... :up:


You stole my system! :lol: :wink:

Yeah, I do pretty much the same thing. Isn't it great how much that enhances participation and roleplaying? I wouldn't game without this system.

Even so, assuming a mix of 20,000 xp worth of monsters (that's quite a bit if there are not many high-xp monsters in the adventure), another 20,000 xp for story award (according to the 2E DMG, the story award should not be worth more than the monster xp total), and another 10,000 xp for roleplaying, skills, etc. (that's generous), that still only hits 50,000 xp, so again splitting that amongst a party of 5 means only 10,000 xp each. The wizard in my example needs to complete 13 entire adventures (each consisting of numerous game sessions) to gain a level. That's a long, long time.

At that rate, going from 1st to 16th level would take more than a decade. :(
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby garhkal » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:48 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Oh...wait a sec! I just realized we're not all on the same page with terms. A little confusion creeped in. I need to clarify.

When I said 3 or 13 adventures, I meant entire adventures, not sessions. You're thinking in terms of actual game sessions, I'm talking about adventures, each of which could consist of multiple game sessions.
SNIP

Now that wizard is taking anywhere from 18 months to 2 years to go up one level. 8O


And imo when they get to those high levels, it SHOULD be slow to level up.. Low levels should be fast, with it getting slower and slower as you get through mid, high and eventually to the very high levels..
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby lanir » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:08 am

For my current campaign I went with 3-4 sessions per level at first. I try and make sure the faster levelers have 3 game sessions and the slower guys have no more than 4 per level. I haven't really felt any need to slow it down yet; the PCs are around 5th or 6th level. How soon I scale that back is mostly due to what the sweet spot for the campaign is and how long I want to run it. I don't worry too much about the XP the monsters are worth, I just use that as a rough guideline.

Taking a year or so on one level is definitely not my style either. All of the people I play with have either played 2nd ed AD&D already or they've played another edition of D&D. If someone was newer at the game it might be worth hanging out a bit longer at each level but nobody's seeing anything outside their experience yet. The only thing I really worry about with pacing is whether I'm advancing too fast and people are losing touch of their characters or surroundings. If that's not happening and it's the 100th time you've played through levels 1-3, I'll keep things moving pretty fast.

The one thing I avoid like the plague is the class-based individual XP stuff. I've run games using similar ideas and found that level of bean counting is just tedious. The rewards simply aren't worth it. Even as a player I ignore them.
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:18 pm

Garhkal wrote:

And imo when they get to those high levels, it SHOULD be slow to level up.. Low levels should be fast, with it getting slower and slower as you get through mid, high and eventually to the very high levels..


You won't get an argument from me on that point! :up:

Part of what I'm getting at, though, is the fact that things are different for a group of teens who can afford to play 10 or 12 hour sessions 2-3 times a week - every week - than for a group of adults who are lucky to get in a 3 hour session every week or two. Adventures I once polished off in a couple of nights of playing back in the day may nowadays consume a month or more of real time to complete due to time restrictions, jobs, etc.

So needing to complete 13 adventures to go up a level might take those high-schoolers just a couple of months, which is reasonable, whereas for many of us that same level gain could easily take years. It's virtually impossible to keep a campaign going (at that rate) long enough to reach higher levels.
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby garhkal » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:03 pm

Thing is Hal my current group ARE All adults, and we game every other week for 4 to 5 hrs a session..
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Re: XP is too slow!

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:57 pm

That's my point, Gar. Every other week, 4-5 hrs. So 8-10 hrs. a month. Back in the day, 8-10 hr. a session was the norm, and that was twice a week at least. That comes to 64 - 80 hrs. a month. That 8 to 10 times as much gaming in the same month.

Let's plug those numbers into my example. The wizard is trying to go from 10th to 11th level. He needs 125,000 xp. Let's assume it takes 4 sessions of 8 hrs. each, per adventure, to complete each adventure. And we'll use the 50,0000 xp potential from my previous example. Splitting the xp up (10,000 xp each PC), that means in order to reach 11th level (i.e. earn 125,000 xp), the wizard needs to play a little over 12 games. That means 48 sessions of 8 hrs. each, within our example.

So going by your gaming schedule, it would take 2 months for your party to complete one adventure, or two whole years of gaming to gain one level. 8O

Back in the day, that would have taken us only 6 months of gaming to go up that level. You start gaming at 10th level on New Year's Day, and by the 4th of July you've leveled up. With the slower play rate, you're ringing in the New Year twice again before leveling. I'm in the same boat, that's why I'm doing xp differently. We tend to average maybe 2 games a month, anywhere from 4-8 hrs.

But now if we use full xp for each PC (i.e. each PC earns the same 50,000 xp), it takes only about 3 games, or 12 sessions, to gain that level. And that comes out to 6 months of gaming to gain that level, so it's just like back in the day before jobs and life and all that stuff. :)
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