You can now level in a single fight. We've gone from "four encounters to level"to "four rounds to level".
This is not a good thing.
An 11-hit point hobgoblin now gives almost as much experience as the Ogre in the last packet - and a 13-hit point gnoll gives out considerably more.
10 hobgoblins and a kobold for spare change will now level a party of 5 characters from 1st to 2nd.
Is this what people really want?
Not necessarily a bad thing. It depends on what the individual group wants. If they want to level up every game, enjoy. If they don't, they don't have to.
I'm still a proponent of chucking XP en toto and simply including guidelines on when to level up.
Worrying about XP numbers is about the least critical thing at this stage. Leveling rate always has been and always will be completely arbitrary. The only thing that ever really affected it was when gold/treasure progression was assumed as part of the leveling process (and even then a proper DM would modify treasure acquisition rates to match), and thankfully with Next's bounded accuracy system and general flexibility on magic items, that aspect of it is even less impactful.
Although I agree with that - in principle - I think that the numbers set expectations and tend to define the standard for the game. And potentially leveling twice in the first night of play is not - I think - a good thing.
And, although it may not be the primary focus of this round of playtesting - seeing them change the numbers in this way if very disconcerting to me. I had felt as if the numbers for hobgoblins et al needed to go down (and several others here had indicated the same) - and instead they went up.
If just the experience numbers for the creatures had changed - I would have assumed it was part of their attempt to make experience numbers useful in judging encounter difficulty. This is a very good thing and the numbers are better in this regard than those in the original packet. And if they had just lowered the experience needed to advance, I would have grumbled to myself (advancement has gotten faster in every edition since AD&D and its a trend I live with, even if I don't like it).
It was the compounded effect of both changes that seened ludicrous. Now, maybe, there are two different people working on the two sets of numbers and they didn't catch how the two changes would interact - in which case they'll fix it in the next packet. But in the absence of commentary by them, I have to assume all changes are intentional and I think that - regardless of the priority that aspect of the design may have, we need to assume all changes are intended for the final game and respond accordingly. And, as I said, I don't like the effect of these two changes combined: Either the experience values need to be reduced by some factor or the experience to level needs to be increased by that same factor.
I'm also not entirely sure they have the curve right for encounter planning, but that I will be testing. After all - there is not much difference between a creature with 1, 3 or 5 hit points - they all die to one hit, just as there is not much difference between 9, 11 and 13 - they all die to one hit by a fighter with deadly strike or a rogue with backstab or two hits by anyone else.
I don't think adding two hit points (hobgoblin to gnoll) is worthy of a jump from 320 xp to 450 xp.
I also think the Geli Cube is probably undervalued at 200 xp. In fact - I'd rank a Geli Cube well above either a gnoll or a hobgoblin in terms of threat. On the other hand, its rated as a level 2 solo and is worth less experience than a level 1 elite goblin leader (210 experience) - so the cube's value is probably wrong.
Or maybe its right and the rest are all wrong.....
It's kind of necessary in the playtest stage to level up quickly so you can actually experience all 5 levels within a couple sessions and give feedback on them.
They have 5 levels of play, not 3. Why are you even in this forum if you haven't downloaded the latest pack?
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I see slams one way is okay. But, not both ways. Cool. Got it.
Carl, i understand your argument, but i think it's not so important.
XP is the one value in this game you can change without consequence to any other mechanic or system in the game.
I agree with Carl wholeheartedly. The argument that the players can always change the game to make it better is no excuse for bad game design. Just create your game well initially so the players won't have to worry about editing it. I've personally never used experience much for the past few years, but I don't think what they've done with experience is a good idea. Also the numbers of XP to level up are really random, why not just go with +1,000, +2,000 etc. If they wanted the players to level up faster just give them more experience. Which they have obviously done, perhaps to an excessive extent. Still, the ultimate end is, if you don't like it, change it. But I think WoTC should change it first, their new XP system is terrible. I agree that XP should be scrapped for guidelines for when to level up as well. It's simpler, faster, involves less bookeeping, and more balanced for every group.
Congratulations, you have found perhaps the biggest flaw with Bounded Accuracy: you're level 1, you sneak around and look for a monster that gives enough EXP to get you to level 2, and while it sleeps, you gut it. Level up! Or if you want a team effort, find a monster that gives 650 * the number of participants EXP, and with appropriate tactics, level up in one go.
With monsters not gaining significant amounts of HP to make up for the lack of defense increase, the DM now has to employ anti-magic sphere-style areas that are anti-stealth AND use non-monster obstacles JUST to prevent a level-up-per-encounter when playing by-the-rules.
you mean the DM will be forced to use traps and have monsters set guards etc? GREAT
i'm sick and tired of walltzing through dungeons and hitting the same old encounter time and time again, good to see the DM's will have to be creative now, and not jsut the players.
hey, if your party can sneak up and kill a troll, power to them
they deserved that level.
I wish it was as simple as that.
The problem isn't so much the EXP granted per se, but
1) the widely varied EXP ranges
2) lack of real differentiation defenses-wise (including HP) across the levels
While I realize that a monster building guide might not be out yet, the very fact that these materials provide some VERY quirky monsters hints at this profoundly annoying possibility: that assigning monster EXP is purely at the DM's whim.
In which case, why the hell are we still using it?
I wouldn't really mind if monsters got an across-the-board +1 to all defenses every 5 or 6 (or even 10) levels, and a *little* bit of mathematical approximation on monster development; you know, an actual system, as opposed to a ragtag set of "guidelines" that make even 0E look better developed?
OH RIGHT. The monster creation guide is currently set up as
1. imagine your monster
2. arbitrarily determine all its features based on how you'd imagine them to be
Which means that it is completely legit to create a level 1 creature that has 9,999 to all stats and gives 2,000,000 EXP, and then throw it to the PCs... just because I imagined how a tamer version of Pun-Pun would look like, and the group just so happened to stumble upon Pun-Pun during his attempts to increase his stats even further (there, an in-game justification as to why they'd end up fighting Pun-Pun).
Good job, Mike.
Yeah. Experienced DMs know how to tweak XP and adjust rewards to reflect the pace at which he wants level advancement to go, but it's not fair to assume every DM is that knowledgable and prepared to put the work in.
Beyond that, XPs should reflect relative challenge of one creature compared to another. If Monster A is worth 75 XPs and Monster B is worth 450, I would expect Monster B to be significantly more dificult than A.
It simply is not the case at this point. Give me One Orc right now over 8 Kobolds. Yeah, individually, he's pretty nasty, but on whole, he's not that much worse.
In fact, a clever, prepared first level group could take down 5 orcs for almost 3/4ths a level much easier than 33 Kobolds that would be required for about the same XPs needless to say. That's a whole lost of Mob Tactics (hate it as currently written) and Sling Shots (that are better to hit and do the same damage as Orc ranged attacks).
XP may not be of highest important at this stage, but it still needs to be looked at and worked on because it's still important in the long run.
I had a big problem with the xp per level. Sure I can use my mighty DM powers to tell players "NO NO, YOU NO LEVEL YET!!! RAWR" but we have been (at least trying) to play the packets AS WRITTEN for testing purposes. We try to keep house rules to a minimum until the game is fully released. The players will level up way too quickly in the current rules, we were all a bit shocked when we saw the numbers.
I have no complaint about the actual xp value of creatures. I understand that they are using it as an encounter building tool, i like that aspect of it just fine.
I've never been a fan of giving XPs for killing monsters.
That just encourages players to 'clear the level' instead of work towards goals. The tipping point for me was when a player asked how many xps he could get for killing everyone in the town where the party had just finished saving the townsfolk from orcs. The same player wanted to wander around the forest and find random encounters till he leveled up.
I give xps for accomplishments. I know the historic way in D&D is to kill/get xp/repeat, but I play a game that is less combat driven. I don't want a group to skip RP and problem solving and want to jump into the fights. I've spent several sessions in a row without a fight, so I'd hate to have a game where the characters don't feel like the play time was rewarding.
An example from my one of my 'no XPs for killing monsters' sessions:
XP rewards for:
Figuring out what happened to the blacksmiths daughter
Tracking the kidnappers to their camp
Defeating the leader of the kidnappers (dead or alive)
Returning the missing girl alive
Bonus XP if they:
Figured out the reason for the kidnapping
Talked their way into extra rewards
Uncovered a villian in the town
Anything random that suprised or impressed me
While there were several fights in the adventure, only one gave XPs. The party raided the camp, but they would have gotten the same xps if they had found a way to trick the kidnappers or sneak the hostage out.
I've always prefered adventures where the characters optimized for combat were not the 'best' characters to have.
Yeah. I don't remember which it was, but in some edition they suggested giving full XPs for overcoming encounters without combat that you would have given with combat. I latched on to that right away and have been using it for years and years since.
But I've always given out RP XP, Quest XP, etc., and (to be honest) have regularly cut down on XP granted by combat.
Example: Say the group is hired by a local lord to find out what's causing terribly diminished produce and strange deaths at some of the outlying farms under his control. I quickly settle down and come up with some antagonists, hazards, etc., to fit the scenario. I design some encounters (some combative, some non-) and then get a total XP pool that should be achieved for the entire "adventure." We'll say it comes out to 4500 XPs. Of that, say 3000 XPs will be in combat against likely hostile creature. I then, usually, cut that in down to probably 1500 XPs (half) and then dole out the other 1500 through various quest rewards such as:
Did they rescue the farm family being held hostage by Rotleaf Goblins? 250 XPs there.
Did they find a remedy for the curse on the land? 500 XPs there.
Did they drive off or slay the Rotleaf Hag that was behind it all? 500 XPs there.
Did they keep the lord updated and satisfied, interacted well with for their standing in the area? 250 XPs.
Tends to give players in my groups reasons to do more than monster hunt, but to really interact with the world and roleplay their heroic parts.
As they say, though, your milage may vary.
I've not had a chance yet to play the new packet (almost half my group had stomach issues the night we were supposed to start) but I have read it. The way I'm going to deal with the XP issue is that, while we're playtesting, use what they give us. If it stays this way, I'm sure as a DM, I can tell my players that we're still using either the 3.5 or 4e XP progression tables, and they'll be fine.
And yes, while you could just arbitrarily tell players when they level, I've always found that they would rather see for themselves how close they are, rather than rely on me to tell them. It functions as a sort of gauge of their success, and gives them something to work for. Just my preference I guess.
In the game linked in my signature you get no XP for monsters.
What you do get is quest and goal xp.
A goal might be to force the group of monsters to vacate the area they are in. You can accomplish this by killing them all, convincing them to leave, or surrender and kicking them out, or any combination of the previous.
It encourages the party to work toward story goals rather than kill counts...
It's pretty easy to tweak the XP tables, once one understands how it is put together (the 7975 for level 5 is wrong, according to the math).
The Encounter Budget is based around four "normal" encounters to level up (XP-budget * party-size). If you want your guys to level slower, just take the monsters' XP values and divide them by some number. Half means eight encounters to level up, x0.4 makes ten encounters, etc.
I don't think they're testing monster xp balance at this point. It seems a bit "cart before the horse" to plot out how xp progression should go when you're still figuring out class features.
This is likely a very rough xp system, and will almost certainly be changed (again) in the next packet.
I use XP because of personal experience. Back about 4 years ago I tried running two or three games based on leveling when I thought they should level. But it created a couple of problems that led to me just saying "screw it" and going back to XP.
1) You can't, at least in my group you can't, reasonably expect people to just sit and wait for a level when they don't know when it's coming. My players started showing up to games going "Are we going to level this session?", which got old real fast. As well, at the end of the night if the players didn't level, especially if it had been more than a couple of sessions since they leveled, they would feel dissapointed. This blows for everyone.
2) Players were less enganged in the game. When they know it doesn't matter as much what they do as when you think it's time to level, then they visibly care less. The classic argument is that this fosters more RP by removing the want to fight all the time. But in my experience it also removes alot of everything :P The players don't try hard if they know a level is coming eventually no matter what they do.
My two copper.
On the subject of current XP rewards. They do seem a little high. But I expect tweaking before the final product, of course.
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