When to Award Experience Points
As a general guideline, experience points should be given at the end of every
gaming session, while the DM still remembers what everyone did. If the awarding
of experience points is delayed for several sessions, until the end of a given
adventure, there is a chance the DM will overlook or forget what the
characters did in previous gaming sessions.
Despite this risk, it isn't always practical to award experience immediately.
If the player characters are still in the heart of the dungeon when the gaming
session ends, wait to award points until they return to the surface. The DM can
rule that characters receive experience only when they have the opportunity to
rest and tell others of their exploits. This means that characters collect
they return to their homes, stop at an inn, or the like. Since experience is,
in part, increased confidence and comprehension of their own abilities and
events, the retelling of the tale boosts the ego of the characters, and this
translates into experience.
Sometimes, even this rule is not applicable, however. For example, the player
characters might be on a long journey through the desert and not see a
settlement or friendly soul for weeks on end. In such cases, experience can be awarded
after the characters have had time to reflect upon and analyze their
accomplishments. This may be as short as overnight (for small experience awards) or as
long as several days.
If, for whatever reason, the DM decides not to award experience points at the
end of a gaming session, he should be sure to calculate and record the number
of experience points each character should receive for the session and not rely
on his memory.
Table of Contents