Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Experience (X.P.)

A measure of the character’s ability in his or her chosen profession, the character’s class. Upon achieving 1st level, the character’s experience points are set to zero. Thereafter, to accumulate experience, the character must participate in combat and survive, thereafter gaining additional experience through treasure. When a sufficient number of experience points have been gained, the character will gain experience levels. Experience levels are detailed upon pages relating to the assassin, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, illusionist, mage, monk, paladin, ranger and thief.

Experience points (x.p.) are gained primarily by causing and receiving damage in combat. The system promotes risk-taking. Taking damage is considered more enlightening than causing damage, and so the total ratio of experience rewarded is 4:1 in favour of taking damage rather than giving it. Part of this a substantial reward for observers of the damage taken ~ so that persons who “taken part” in the combat, even if they cause no damage or receive no damage, nevertheless still gain a small share of the experience rewarded. The system also rewards parties who act in concert and are ready to take a hit for one another.

20 x.p. is awarded for each point of damage that the combatant takes.
10 x.p. is awarded for each point of damage that the combatant causes.
20 additional x.p. is awarded for the total damage that the friendly side takes in damage. This “bonus” damage is shared among all the combatants who have taken part, with henchmen, followers, retainers and hirelings receiving a lesser share than levelled persons, depending upon their status (see below).

Note that none of this experience requires actually killing the enemy. Only the damage caused and taken matters.

For example, Hector, Iolanthe and Jules take part in a combat. Hector causes 7 hit points of damage and takes 2 h.p. Iolanthe causes 2 h.p. and takes 7 h.p. Jules causes no damage and takes no damage. Altogether, the party took 9 h.p. of damage.

Therefore, Hector receives 70 x.p. for the damage he causes and 40 x.p. for the damage he takes. Iolanthe receives 20 x.p. for the damage she causes, and 140 x.p. for the damage she takes. Jules gains nothing from causing or taking damage. The party as a whole receives another 180 x.p. from the total damage taken, which is divided three ways, with each character receiving 60 x.p. Hector’s total, then, is 170 x.p. Iolanthe’s total is 220 x.p. Jules’ total is 60 x.p.

This seems to punish Hector, though he did all the work fighting off the enemy. However, clearly Hector already knows how to fight, so doing what he needs to do isn’t really experience. On the other hand, Iolanthe has learned to be careful about getting in the way of the enemy’s weapons; her learning experience has been deeper. Jules was both lucky and unlucky, but at least he learned something by taking part.

What is meant by "Taking Part?"

To receive bonus experience, the combatant must either attempt to cause damage at a distance, or enter into direct melee combat, risking hit points, life and limb. Therefore, if the combatant has hurled or fired a weapon at an enemy, or the enemy has swung at the combatant at least one time, then the combatant is considered to have taken part. Note that actually hitting or being hit, like the example with Jules above, it not necessary where it comes to receiving bonus experience. Obviously, it is much better to actually cause damage, or take it, since that considerably increases the combatant’s experience gained.

Take note that if the character hurling or firing a weapon has no chance whatsoever of successfully hitting the enemy (because of the enemy’s armour class, or natural defences), then the character is not considered to have taken part in the combat unless they submitted themselves to attack. This may seem useless; but damage taken by a weak combatant can enable a stronger combatant to act freely in a given round, perhaps winning the fight. Thus a combatant’s sacrifice may grant considerable experience.

This allows lower-levelled characters in a mixed party to participate meaningfully in combat, potentially receiving large amounts of bonus experience, even if they do very little. However, consider that a 1st level fighter who begins a campaign by fighting a group of ogres with a 6th level party is bound to gain a very profound experience from the whole affair, much more than they might fighting orcs with a matched 1st level party.

Afterwards, the succeeding party may reasonably limit the share of treasure for the 1st level based on how much was actually accomplished. But even this is bound to be enough treasure to substantially increase the low-level character’s experience.

Experience for Treasure

Experience is also gained through the acquisition of coins, gems, jewellery and other treasure, measured in gold pieces. Treasure s defined as wealth gained through plunder or for services rendered, when those services include risk to life and limb. Experience from treasure is awarded at a rate of one gold piece =1 x.p. It is acknowledged that some suspension of belief is required, but having a system that allows the players themselves to reward character who act with great resolve, heroism or risk is an essential part of the game’s payoff for risk taken. There are no rules dictating how treasure is to be shared out (though non-player characters will expect to receive a certain portion).

Experience is also received for magic items that are found as treasure; each item is assigned an experience bonus that the character receives. Magic items have no gold piece value.

Experience Through the Use of Magic

Magic spells that cause damage to single persons should grant an award of 10 x.p. per point. This includes spells such as cause light wounds, chromatic orb, dust devil, fire trap, heat metal, insect plague, magic missile, magic stone, Melf’s arrow, phantasmal bow, spike stones and spiritual hammer, among like spells.

Granting this award to area effect spells, however, would provide too much experience for the casting of a single spell. Therefore, the rule is adjusted as follows. With spells such as burning hands or fireball, and some elements of chromatic orb, there is a set damage that is applied to all victims of the spell. This number is granted an award of 10 x.p. per point.

The DM should also calculate the total damage caused to all recipients of the spell, multiplying this total by 3 x.p. per point. If this number is higher than the 10 x.p. award for the set damage of the spell, then the greater award is given. For example, the mage Korin delivers a fireball that causes 21 damage to seven creatures. This gives a minimum award of 210 x.p., unless every one of the four makes saving throw, in which case it would be 100 x.p. However, if Korin’s spell causes a total of 75 damage to the seven targets, multiplied by 3 x.p. this would be a total of 225 x.p. This higher number would then be given.

Other area effect spells, such as meteor shower, which gives a different amount of damage to those affected, would always have the 3 x.p. award applied to all the damage that was caused.

If a spell causes death to a combatant, without the damage being specified, such as with the spells death, phantasmal killer, or power word: kill, then the spellcaster is awarded 10 x.p. per point of it points that the victim possessed.

If a spell increases the amount of damage caused by a friendly combatant, or creates friendly combatants, the spellcaster is entitled to 5 x.p. per additional point of damage that is caused. This includes spells such as call woodland beings, chant, enlarge, flame blade, monster summoning, prayer, strength, summon elemental and like spells. Bards would also receive this benefit from the use of martial music. No direct award is granted to the caster for the damage taken by created allies, but the damage a summoned creature takes is added to the total x.p. bonus that is divided among all the combatants when the fight is done.

Finally, there are spells that provide hit points that can be lost by the caster or another friendly combatant, such as armour and phantom armour. For experience purposes, these spells are treated exactly like damage taken by the beneficiary of the spell, awarding 20 x.p. per point of damage lost, as well as that damage being added to the total damage compiled for the bonus experience award.

Experience for Achievement

When a particularly difficult goal is achieved, one that has taken upwards of 10 or more game sessions to achieve, which means months and months of effort, then an additional bonus that increases the player character’s standing total experience by 10 to 20%. If the character were to receive a 10% bonus, for example, this would increase a total of 34,000 x.p. to 37,400 x.p. These bonuses are given in addition to treasure and other experience that might accrue at the end of such an adventure.

This jump is applied likewise to everyone in the party, players and NPCs alike, so that each person’s increase is equally comparable to their experience received up to that point.

Other Notes

Healing has no effect on experience, except that it provides hit points that may afterwards be lost in combat. A character could therefore gain experience for more hit points lost in damage than the character had in total, if healed during the combat.

See Also,
Adventure, The
Player Character


  1. Hello Alexis,

    Does the casting of a healing spell provoque any gain / loss of XP, from damage healed or anything ?

    I'm using your system for one of my campaigns and the question will soon be asked ^^ .


  2. Healing has no effect at all on experience, except that it adds hit points that, when lost, can increase experience in the normal way.

    If a character loses 2 hp, gaining 40 xp; and is then has those hit points healed, the xp doesn't change. If the character is then hit again, say the round after being healed, for another 2 hp, that would be ANOTHER 40 xp. Experience is awarded for hit points lost, no matter where those hit points came from.

    1. And does the casting of a healing spell during combat grant XP to the caster ? One of my player has a healing oriented character.

    2. No. Only Damage. Having more home does nothing.


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