All characters earn experience for victory over their foes. There are two
important things to bear in mind here. First, this award applies only to foes or
enemies of the player characters--the monster or NPC must present a real threat.
Characters never receive experience for the defeat of non-hostile creatures
(rabbits, cattle, deer, friendly unicorns) or NPCs (innkeepers, beggars,
peasants). Second, no experience is earned for situations in which the PCs have an
overwhelming advantage over their foes.
A 7th-level player character who needs one more experience point to advance in
level can't just gather his friends together and hunt down a single orc. That
orc wouldn't stand a chance, so the player character was never at any
particular risk. If the same character had gone off on his own, thus risking ambush at
the hands of a band of orcs, the DM could rule that the character had earned the
The DM must decide what constitutes a significant risk to the player
characters. Often it is sufficient if the characters think they are in danger, even when
they are not. Their own paranoia increases the risk (and enhances the learning
experience). Thus, if the party runs into a band of five kobolds and becomes
convinced that there are 50 more around the next corner, the imagined risk
becomes real for them. In such a case, an experience point reward might be
The characters must be victorious over the creature, which is not necessarily
synonymous with killing it. Victory can take many forms. Slaying the enemy is
obviously victory; accepting surrender is victory; routing the enemy is victory;
pressuring the enemy to leave a particular neck of the woods because things
are getting too hot is a kind of victory.
A creature needn't die for the characters to score a victory. If the player
characters ingeniously persuade the dragon to leave the village alone, this is as
much--if not more--a victory as chopping the beast into dragonburgers!
Here's an example of experience point awards: Delsenora and Rath, along with
their henchmen, have been hired to drive the orcs out of Wainwode Copse. After
some scouting, they spring several ambushes on orc raiding parties. By the third
shattering defeat, the orcs of Wainwode decide they've had enough. Leaving
their village, they cross the range of hills that marks the boundary of the land
and head off for easier pickings elsewhere.
Although Delsenora and Rath have caused the orc village of 234 to leave, they
only get the experience for overcoming the 35 they bested in ambushes. Although
they did succeed in driving off the others, they did not face them and were
thus not exposed to personal risk. Even if they had raided the orc village, the
DM should only give them experience for those orcs they directly faced. If, in
the village, they routed the guards, pursued them, and caused them to run again,
they would only receive experience for the guards once during the course of
the battle. Once beaten, the guards posed no significant threat to the party.
However, Rath and Delsenora have accomplished their mission of driving out the
orcs, making them eligible for the XP award for completing a story goal.
To determine the number of XP to give for overcoming enemies, use Table 31 . Find the Hit Dice of the creature on the table. Add the additional Hit Dice
for special powers from Table 32 and find the adjusted Hit Dice. Add this number to the current Hit Dice
value, so that a 1 + 1 Hit Die creature with +2 Hit Dice of special abilities
becomes a 3 + 1 Hit Dice creature for calculation purposes.
This formula produces an experience point value. Multiply this value by the
number of creatures of that type defeated and add together all total values. The
result is the total XP the group earns. It should be divided among all of the
group's surviving player characters.
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