UA:Level-Independent XP Awards

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Level-Independent XP Awards

This variant replaces Table 3-2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits (page 22 of the D20 System) as a way of easing the DM's job of adventure design and the task of experience-point calculation at the end of a game session.

Use the following table to determine when characters gain new levels, rather than Table 3-2 in the D20 System.

To advance to a new level beyond 20th, a character needs to gain double the amount of XP he needed to advance from two levels below his current level to one level below his current level.

For example, to advance from 20th to 21st level, a character needs to gain double the amount of XP he needed to advance from 18th level to 19th level. Since he needed to add 500,000 XP to go from 18th to 19th level (1,800,000 minus 1,300,000), he needs 1,000,000 XP (500,000 x 2) to go from 20th level to 21st level (2,600,000 XP to 3,600,000 XP).

Table 6-13: Alternative Experience Point Progression
Character Level XP Class Skill Max Ranks Cross-Class Skill Max Ranks Feats Ability Score Increases
1st 0 4 2 1st -
2nd 1,000 5 2-1/2 - -
3rd 3,000 6 3 2nd -
4th 6,000 7 3-1/2 - 1st
5th 10,000 8 4 - -
6th 16,000 9 4-1/2 3rd -
7th 24,000 10 5 - -
8th 36,000 11 5-1/2 - 2nd
9th 52,000 12 6 4th -
10th 76,000 13 6-1/2 - -
11th 110,000 14 7 - -
12th 160,000 15 7-1/2 5th 3rd
13th 220,000 16 8 - -
14th 320,000 17 8-1/2 - -
15th 440,000 18 9 6th -
16th 640,000 19 9-1/2 - 4th
17th 890,000 20 10 - -
18th 1,300,000 21 10-1/2 7th -
19th 1,800,000 22 11 - -
20th 2,600,000 23 11-1/2 - 5th

Experienced players may be alarmed- the XP totals of Table 6-13 are big numbers. But XP awards per monster are commesurately larger (see Table 6-14: Experience Award[Single Monster], below). Regardless of a character's level relative to the rest of the party, he gets the same numerical XP award, so the math at the end of the night is a lot easier. Table 2-6 on page 38 of the D20 System is no longer used. Monsters just have flat XP awards, which are divided up among the participants.

For example, a frost worm (CR 12) is worth 19,000 XP. If four characters defeat it, they each earn 4,750 XP (19,000 divided by 4), regardless of their level.

Table 6-14: Experience Award (Single Monster)
Monster CR XP Award
1 300
2 600
3 900
4 1,200
5 1,800
6 2,400
7 3,600
8 4,800
9 7,200
10 9,600
11 14,000
12 19,000
13 29,000
14 38,000
15 58,000
16 77,000
17 120,000
18 150,000
19 230,000
20 310,000

For monsters beyond CR 20, simply double the XP reward for a monster of that CR minus 2. For instance, a CR 22 monster is worth twice as much as a CR 20 monster, or 620,000 XP.

Crafting Magic Items

If you use this XP system, note that the XP costs paid by characters to create magic items will represent a much smaller fraction of their total XP, and thus creating magic items becomes much less "expensive" overall. If you believe this to be problematic for your campaign, consider increasing the XP cost for crafting magic items as detailed in the table below.

Magic Item XP Costs
Spell Level XP Multiplier
2,000 gp or less x1
2,001 gp to 20,000 gp x2
20,001 gp to 200,000 gp x4
200,001 gp or more x10

XP Costs

Spells with an XP component also undergo a change in this variant, since the costs for those spells are set using the standard D20 System experience point rules. The table below gives a quick conversion to help calculate the XP cost for spells when using this XP variant. Simply multiply the normal XP cost by the multiplier given in the table to find he new XP cost for the spell.

For example, the commune spell (a 5th-level cleric spell) normally costs 100 XP to cast. When using this system, it costs 200 XP, or twice as much. The wish spell, a 9th-level spell, costs ten times the normal amount of XP to cast (50,000 instead of 5,000).

Spell XP Costs
Spell Level XP Multiplier
1st-3rd x1
4th-6th x2
7th-8th x4
9th or higher x10

Use a similar formula to recalculate anything else that applies an XP cost. Divide the character's level by 2 and treat it as if it were a spell level, using the table above to find the proper multiplier.

Behind the Curtain: Level-Independent XP

DMs who use this variant gain flexibility in two areas: individual monster design and encounter design. Because you're assessing specific XP awards to monsters, you don't have to restrict yourself to the numbers that appear on the table. If you think a monster you've designed is CR 7-1/2, you can simply give out 4,200 XP for defeating it. At higher levels, the numbers on the table should suffice because it's hard to discern a meaningful difference between a CR 18 monster and a CR 18-a/2 monster. But at lower levels, the flexibility is potent because you can fill in the gap between CR 1 and CR 2 (which otherwise represents a 100 % power increase) and between CR 2 and CR 3 ( a 50% power increase).

This variant also makes it easier to design encounters with mixed groups of monsters. Rather than combining monsters of different CRs, then consulting a table to figure out what the Encounter Level (EL) is, simply add up the XP award for each monster until you reach the XP total you want. For example, if you want to create an average encounter for 15th-level characters, put enough monsters in the encounter to total roughly 58,000 XP (the amount the PCs would earn for a single CR 15 monster).

As with the standard experience point system, the DM should closely watch the experience awards for large numbers of weak creatures, which often provide little or no meaningful challenge to characters.

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