View Full Version : XP awarding question

2009-01-30, 11:55 PM
In the game I am DM'ing, I plan to throw a different sort of puzzle at my players in the next dungeon. They will have all the time in the world to figure out the puzzle, but every time they make a move to finish it, whether it gets them further or closer to their goal doesn't matter, some level-appropriate enemies will spawn for them to fight.

Now the issue I have with that is obviously an XP issue. If they complete the puzzle without error they will obviously fight much less than if they screw up a lot, or perhaps metagame and realize that they have an infinite XP well.

I know that it is a bad idea if I award them XP for each fight, but on the other hand if I only give one pre-calculated amount of XP for the whole puzzle (which is what I am planning to do), I just know some of the more hardcore among them will whine that they didn't get all the XP they deserved cause they killed droves of enemies.

I know I am definitely not the first to have dealt with this situation, so how would y'all take care of the XP?

2009-01-31, 12:00 AM
You do not get XP for summoned monsters if summoned by an enemy spellcaster. Just use the same justification. The puzzle is the challenge, not the summoned monsters.

2009-01-31, 12:04 AM
Say it was a trap with CR XX and all the monster where part of it, as it summoned then and summoned creatures CR are considered in the original creatures CR.

Award then with the XP for overcoming this specific trap.

EDIT: Ninja'ed

2009-01-31, 12:07 AM
IMO decide on a fixed xp amount for the entire challenge. I'd figure out how many monsters they "should" fight if they screw up a reasonable number of times, plus some more xp for the puzzle itself. Since the PCs probably know the monsters are coming and since the monsters don't get much in the way of prep, they aren't as hard as normal. I'd consider lowering their CR when estimating the xp for the challenge.

In general I'd handle all such situations like this: If they bypass it, award full xp. If they go after unnecessary danger, award no additional xp. But this is all IMO.

2009-01-31, 12:08 AM
ah cool, thanks guys.

I was probably going to do it anyway, but now I have justification!

2009-01-31, 01:38 AM
I know I am definitely not the first to have dealt with this situation, so how would y'all take care of the XP?

They shouldn't get XP for screwing up. XP should only be awarded for actually overcoming challenges - possibly in the form of combat. It shouldn't be awarded for, say, defeating enemies you pointlessly picked a fight with. If the PCs decide on a foolish frontal assault on an enemy castle that wastes time and resources, they shouldn't get very much XP - definitely reduced.

So you need to just make sure that the PCs get more XP for completing the puzzle right. If the award for the puzzle is 1,000 XP each, the XP for fighting the monsters - no matter how many times they have to fight - should be capped at 500 or 750 XP each. You could work out a complex system whereby each fight reduces the puzzle completion award XP by more than it gives combat XP, but what's the point? Just ad hoc it.

Tomada's solution, of treating it as a automatically resetting summon monster trap, is very elegant. The whole puzzle only has one CR, and XP is gained when the puzzle is solved; the fights give no XP. You don't need justification, though - you're the freaking DM.

2009-01-31, 03:32 AM
My old rule is to just decide how quickly I want my party to level, and assign them xp so the reach the level when I want them to.