Content of the article: "Brownie Points: A Streamlined, Easy-to-Track Experience Point System I’ve Been Using For a While"
I periodically see posts on r/DMAcademy regarding how to handle experience points and level progression so I thought I’d share my fairly simplified system for 5e. I’ve used this system in a number of short and long campaigns and it’s made my accounting behind the screen much easier and my players have enjoyed it as well.
*Disclaimer: As with everything on this sub, I am sure this will not work at every table. I have, however, received only good feedback from players with this system.
The XP system I use is sort of a dumbed-down hybrid of the standard experience point system and the milestone leveling system:
The party has collective XP that they gain together via “challenges” and the completion of important quest lines or story beats. Once they gained enough XP, all the PCs level up together so everyone can share in the glory. The party knows how much XP they have and how much is needed to reach the next level so they can track their progression.
The XP thresholds for each level are as follows:
|Level||Total XP Needed||Exp Needed From Last Level UP|
“Challenges” are a catch-all term I use for any moderate to difficult encounters or situations that the PCs must use a number of their skills to complete. This could include a difficult combat encounter, participating in a tense negotiation, solving a puzzle, traversing a strength of wilderness, etc. I typically award 1 XP for these accomplishments, though I sometimes award more for grueling boss fights, dangerous stealth missions, or anything with a higher risk of failure. Additionally, if a challenging encounter is approached with particularly clever thinking, an elaborate plan, or general badassery, I usually award additional XP points.
Completing questlines, meeting important characters, or gathering vital information will also give the party 1 XP as a way to reward the progression of story lines.
If you find that the party is not progressing as you would like, you can also hold off on or award extra XP as a way to control the flow of level progression, though I rarely found myself having to do this.
On average, I end up typically doling out 3-4 XP per session, Using this system, PCs generally reach level 4 within 4-5 sessions. Then, it is usually 3-4 sessions per level up to level 10, 4-5 sessions per level between levels 10-16, and 5 or more sessions between levels from 17-20. At this pace, your PCs would reach level 20 after 60-70 sessions.
The XP system is clean, easy for the DM and the players to keep track of, and malleable enough for you to control the pace of level progression if you need it. Cheers!
- Thoughts on awarding gp
- Milestone + Xp leveling system
- PSA: “Milestone Leveling” is a complete misnomer
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