DM Guidelines, pg. 12, explains the concept and math of finding an XP budget to match a difficulty-level of an encounter. As an example, a 1st level "easy" encounter has a budget of 20 xp per player, an "average" encounter has 30 xp per player, and a "tough" encounter has 60 xp per player.
It also explains that, if you start out-numbering your PC's, the difficulty should be adjusted. A 2-to-1 outnumbered encounter has a single bump in difficulty (easy becomes average, or average becomes tough), while a 3-1 outnumbered encounter has a double-bump difficulty (easy becomes tough).
In practice, however, this system needs a little fleshing out i.e. re-wording, with examples. I think we can interpret where they are going, but the actual description is problematic.
As an example, using 10xp kobolds against a 5 PC 1st level party (multiply XP budget by 5) ...
5 kobolds (50 XP total) is well under the 100 XP budget for an easy encounter.
10 kobolds (100 xp total) meets the 100 XP budget for "easy", but then it outnumbers the party 2-to-1, and makes the encounter "average".
This leaves us having to adjudicate -- do we change the XP awarded (now granting a total of 150 XP for the encounter) or do we simply acknowledge that it is a more difficult encounter, but leave the XP budget the same?
Or, to put a finer point on it, s this "outnumbered" difficulty acknowledged by a bonus XP reward, or is it simply a warning not to swarm your PC's with too many creatures?
I am interpreting it as a bonus XP reward to reflect the increased difficulty of the encounter, but the wording of the section actually doesn't say to do this. If this is in the intention, it needs to be re-worked to reflect this intention.
Large number of mobs seems to be a bigger issue when they have ranged attacks. If the party is facing large mobs of melee attackers they can either use area of effect spells to take them out in mass or can take a defensive position to limit the number of foes they fight at any given time. Both of these tactics will make the encounter easier.
I agree that the official wording is fussy.
This is a personal ruling and not in raw:
Of course the players should get the extra XP. They are not getting experiance for killing, they are getting it for overcoming obstacles, these mainly being other living/undead/outsider beings. I always give extra xp if the encounter I have planned include an ambush on the players, but likewise I deduct XP if I have planned for the players to ambush the monsters. Same goes for terrain, traps, light etc.
All this and the XP gained is planned before the session though, so that even if the players come up with some brilliant plan to turn my ambush in to an ambush of their own, they still get the XP I had planned (extra for being ambushed).
Fair is fair...beside I think I take just as much pleasure in seeing my players level up as they do
Post Your Reply
Please login to post a reply.