Saturday, April 23, 2011

Revising the XP per HD tables

So two years ago, when I started compiling my own version of the Classic D&D monsters to be able to print out and use in my games, I decided to use the original OD&D version of XP per hit die, 100 per.  For special ability bonuses, I used a straight +50.  This is nice and simple, and allows low to mid-level characters to rise in power faster.  For me, playing as rarely as I do anymore, that's a good thing.  Yes, it makes combat more lucrative, but that's a price I'm willing to pay.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that high level monsters can get devalued.  Monsters without special abilities aren't much different after 9 hit dice, but those special ability bonuses get big fast.

So in order to increase the value of powerful monsters with special abilities a bit, I'm considering the following:

Less than 1 hit die: 50xp, bonus 25xp
1 full hit die or more: 100xp per hit die base
1 to 5 hit dice: bonus +50xp
6-10 hit dice: bonus +100xp
11-15 hit dice: bonus +250xp
16+hit dice: bonus +500xp

Bonuses are counted for any asterisk after hit dice or the monster's name (only hit by magic weapons), and for any bonus hit points on top of hit dice.  So a hobgoblin, 1+1 hit dice, is worth 150xp. 

It's still a lot lower than the normal tables, though.  I may increase it further after I think about it a bit more.

I'd rather not have monsters more valuable to fight when PCs are most vulnerable, and less valuable to fight when they actually may stand a chance (or can more easily bring those fallen back).


  1. given the way you run your games, xp for monsters seems counter intuitive because you are not really philosophically geared towards it. why not create a treasure and problem solving table with a downgraded monster xp table. it might encourage players who want level up but get pissed because it is so easy to die to play the game the way it should be played. it might encourage a brains over brawn approach to the game.
    ie kill monster 10xp
    lure monster out of room with sounds and sneak by 100xp

  2. I'm currently doing the same thing at I released my formula and am compiling a spreadsheet.

  3. btw last comment is me, josh.

  4. I'm mulling over going in the exact opposite direction ... no XP for monsters killed.

    It will be an experiment to see if no XP for monsters killed translates into different play style.

    Work Ver: dredit - what you do when you change a sacred cow like xp for monsters and are waiting to see the players reactions.