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Updated 
 13 August, 2006

Look to Catherine and Julie's 
3.5E D&D Campaign
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XP Guide

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Here are the things that I consider when I give out Experience Points.  You'll notice that there are many, many things that I'm willing to give XP for, and that those small rewards will add up quickly.  Because these rewards do add up fast, most PCs don't spend a long time at low levels.

XP Rewards

bulletFighting Monsters, etc.: You get standard XP for fighting monsters, dealing with traps, etc., as detailed in the PHB and DMG.  You get a bonus XP for tough monsters and tough situations.
bulletGood Role-playing: Journal Value x 1/2 to 3, depending on the amount and quality of role-playing.  This is a good way to bump up the weekly XP you earn.  I include battle-cries, villain-taunting, and interaction with the members of your party played out in character in this reward. 
bulletFinishing an adventure: Here is where some of the big XP bonuses come in. The amount varies depending on the length and difficulty of the adventure.
bulletCharacter Sacrifice/Doing the right thing: When the PCs make a personal sacrifice for the betterment of the world, an NPC they'll never see again, or any other situation where there are *no* other role-playing benefits, I give them a little XP boost of 50-500 (roughly a 1-10 sliding scale of the difficulty of the sacrifice x50) for role-playing, in addition to the role-playing rewards above.
bulletTime at the table: Players that wait patiently while I work with one player get an XP reward.  I am aware that your time at the table is valuable.  About 1/4 x the average character level x 100 an hour.
bulletBackgrounds:  You get XP for writing a background.  See the Backgrounds page for more information.
bulletExtras: Iíll give bonus experience for Character Portraits, Songs, Poems, Maps of your living spaces.  XP varies, but it will be based on the Journal Value chart (could be 1/2x History value, Journal value, or 2x Journal value).

XP and Magic

bulletCustom Spells and Magic Items:  I don't give an XP reward for making custom spells and magic items; the players get what they want and need out of the magic by customizing it.  However, if a player gets really clever about using a spell in a new and innovative way, then they will get a role-playing bonus.

XP Penalties

Before you get an XP penalty, you'll get some sort of overt warning that what you're doing is not a good idea, and you'll be given a chance to change your mind.

bulletIntentionally hurting or killing PCs:  When players intentionally hurt the feelings of the people sitting at the table in character, their character gets penalized.  It's only a tangible warning... I don't play with people that are out to hurt others.  Players that can't handle their problems without lashing out at others are asked to leave the game. 
    Honestly, I've never had to do any of this in any campaign I've ever run, but I have gotten some questions about what I would do under these circumstances.
bulletBeing Evil when you're Good: The characters in the campaign are generally Good.  Even the Neutrals have a good bent.  When you do something that goes contrary to your stated alignment, breaks part of your character's code, or is just plain wrong for the situation then there is an XP penalty.  Generally the penalty will be Journal Value x 1/2 to 3, depending on how poor the decision was.  
    This penalty has only been handed out on a couple of occasions over the last 12 years.  The last time I handed out a penalty was: On a sailing adventure, a PC pulled his NPC kid brother, a child, off a rope that the brother was climbing after falling off the ship, tossing the child into Dragonturtle infested waters, in an effort to save himself from taking damage from the Dragonturtle.  The PC's current mission was to protect and care for his younger sibling. Further, the PC threw himself off the deck and into the water two rounds before, voluntarily, to battle the Dragonturtle, instead of making sure the child did not drown or wasn't eaten.  The PC's stated alignment was Good.  Throwing the child to the predator was not a Good thing.
 


This page designed and written by Catherine Keene, unless otherwise stated. 2001-2005.
Direct comments and site problems to her at: KingsTears@aol.com
This page was updated on Sunday, August 13, 2006