Thursday, 28 April 2022

X is for XP

Every year. X. Never gets easier. Totally copping out.

XP. X.P. Experience Points.

Every game has them. It is the mechanic of advancement. "Gaining Levels" as they say.

In the narratives of a character, one must suspend the disbelief that a 300 year old elf is "just beginning" a life full of adventure.1 300 years old and Level 1. This is not so much a narrative problem for Humans mind you. But the long lived, immortal by most measurments, a problem. Mechanically, not so much. Characters all start the race crossing the same line.

XP can be somewhat arbitrary in games and "schedules" or "rubrics" can be found in the rules or online. WFRP for example tended to have printed schedules in published adventures and it was far more arbitrary on the part of GM in sandbox play. I tended to award 150-200 XP per session including a bonus of the player updated the character wiki or summarized the last session at the start of the next.

D&D was far more prescriptive. One earned XP for defeating monsters—kill the monster, take its stuff!—or for coin. Bonus were even possible for character traits. Magic Items had XP values. It was all quite inflationary. So it was house ruled.

My favorite D&D house rule is that XP for gold or magic items is not earned unless spent or the item is sold. And for magic items with a "listed XP value," if sold you could lose or gain value based on the market for such things. The trait bonus was awarded on the front end, i.e., 1000 gold pieces found was 100 XP earned, the 10% trait bonus. 1000 GP was "in the float," unearned until spent. How? It didn't matter. Whores? Drink? Good clothes? Charity? Didn't care. Well one couldn't just give it to the fellow standing next to them. They were likely taking a share of the same treasure. 

Hmmm... Though I might rule that if a debt with the fellow standing next to them was being paid was spending the gold. Good on you!




  1. [1] A pingback to my friend Roger Brasslett at the titular blog, A Life Full of Adventure

Posted by caffeinated at 8:37 PM in d10