Campaign of the Month: January 2017
FASTER OR SLOWER EXPERIENCE
Experience awards may be adjusted for any reason. The DM has a point system for role-playing, learning, and problem-solving portions of adventure. The DM has the only say in this area, although he may ask for opinions when awarding experience.
In general, characters will advance on the Slow advancement column on page 30 of the Core Rules.
APL BASED EXPERIENCE REWARDS
Challenge Ratings will only act as a baseline for EXP. Instead, EXP will be awarded based on the APL (Average Party Level), and based on how the individual fight went, not the actual CR of the encounter. If the party breezes through a group of goons, who in RAW added up to CR 8, and the APL is 8, I will award EXP based on a lower CR equivalent. Likewise, if the party gets their asses handed to them by a CR 7 baddie, they will earn perhaps CR 10 or 12 EXP (given that they succeeded in defeating it).
As a baseline, when I construct an encounter, I am going to assume that a RAW CR creature of 2 less than the APL is a challenging encounter. You will likely not encounter creatures with a RAW APL above your own, if I expect a straight-on fight. This means if you see a creature that may be listed in the RAW as 2 or 3 CRs higher than your APL, and you are rules-lawyering, that you should probably run the heck away. If I have time, I will tweak the monsters to be a better fit to the current party makeup, and even if I am winging it, I will make allowances so that TPKs don’t happen. When all else fails, I will cheat.
AD-HOC or SET EXPERIENCE REWARDS
You will receive bonus experience for Role-Playing, Learning and Problem Solving, and for completing key features or milestones during the adventures. This includes rewards for being on time to the game, contributing to the enjoyment of the game, submitting journals and artwork, heroic or witty roleplaying. These XP awards are in addition to any hero tokens or action dice your characters may earn.
Such rewards may be set ahead of time (such as each player earning 250 XP for solving the sphinx’s riddle), or may be more ad hock or free-form.
The DM keeps a special tally sheet and awards check marks for the above ad-hoc awards. Once check mark earns your character 25 XP per character level. This may seem small, but they add up quickly. If you are, for instance, on time for every game and your fellow players are not… after 10 sessions you are significantly ahead of the rest of the party towards your next level.
Full combat experience is awarded for creative non-combat solutions bypassing enemies. Just know that if you bypass a creature and gain XP for it, and then later fight the thing… you will only receive its XP once (Unless it was raised or revived somehow). Also, you may earn partial XP for partial success, and earn the remainder of the XP if the creature is later defeated. Again, defeat does not always mean slain.
Please note that there may be “minus marks” the penalty equivalent to check-marks, awarded for certain undesirable behaviors, such as using player knowledge in character, committing an act completely out of character for no reason, arguing with the DM, disrupting the gaming session, excessive tardiness and the like. I rarely if ever assign minus marks, but know that this is an option. I would much rather reward than take away.
TIMING OF REWARDS and CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT
Experience points will be awarded (to the best of my ability) by the Wednesday following each session. The XP totals will be posted here, and if your character has advanced to the next level, you will level your character between sessions. If you have not done the leveling, we will not stop the game for you to do so. The character will remain at the former level until the next week’s play. You are expected to arrive at the session ready to go with all of your character’s changes. If you need to discuss details, we can talk at any time prior to your leveling, or via email during the week, or before the game starts. When you submit your updated character sheet, you will receive an XP bonus checkmark, and your Hero Token for leveling.
It may happen, from time to time, that there is a logical end/break during a gaming session in which downtime occurs. XP may be awarded and your characters may advance, on a case by case basis. It is also possible, with the conclusion of a story arc, that your characters may not be awarded XP, but instead advanced to the beginning of the next level. This is rare but sometimes happens.