Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

Simple question regarding awarding experience points to PCs


Skull & Shackles


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm new to Adventure Paths and am unclear about how much experience points to give PCs. For example, if they have an encounter which the Adventure Path says is worth 400 XP, does that mean each PC gets 400 XP or (in the case where there's 4 PCs) does that mean they each get 125 XP? Additionally the Adventure Path says that PCs "should be 2nd level when they start...". How sure can I be that the Adventure Path is written in such away to insure that this will be the case? Thanks to those who can clear up these questions for this Adventure Path novice.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

XP awards are collective so you'd dividce by number of players. If you prefer, you can use the quick table in the Core rulebook.

As the people who wrote the APs also wrote when people should level, they should tie together pretty well as long as your playters are having all the encounters. For most APs (Kingmkaker being an exception as it's much more sandboxy so they can encounter things at all levels), I just tell thep layers they level up when the book says they should. That keeps things on track without the paltyers feeling they need to chase down every single source of XPs and reduces the "It's a goblin, it's worth XP, kill it" that some groups get into. It does require a group that isn't going to go totally off the rails, though.


The adventures are written for a party of four characters, using the "medium" XP advancement track from the CRB.

In my campaign I have a total of six players, but not every one can make every session. Where necessary I'm slightly boosting the number of critters in a given encounter to balance the larger party, but so far it's not been an issue.

The book calls for either "PCs" (party) or "PC" (individual) experience point awards. For party XP awards I divide the XP amount in the book by four and then award that amount to each PC; for individual encounters I award the XP just to the PC involved.

One problem I have noticed is that (at least in the first book) the XP awards for all the various encounters are not enough to get the PCs to second level, even if they sucessfully completre each encounter and are awarded maximum XP for each one. There is a similar problerm in the second and third books, although there the maximum awards appear to be just enough to get the players to the next required level.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this yet, although there's still a bit of time left before we complete the first book. I'm considering either switching to the "fast" XP track or simply using GM Fiat to say "everyone's Second Level now" at the end of the first adventure. I don't like the fiat method though, as it has always seemed contrived to me and also can lessen the PCs' feeling of accomplishment: if you're going to get the Level you need at the end of the adventure anyway, what's the point of risking your neck for XP?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fitzwalrus wrote:

The adventures are written for a party of four characters, using the "medium" XP advancement track from the CRB.

In my campaign I have a total of six players, but not every one can make every session. Where necessary I'm slightly boosting the number of critters in a given encounter to balance the larger party, but so far it's not been an issue.

The book calls for either "PCs" (party) or "PC" (individual) experience point awards. For party XP awards I divide the XP amount in the book by four and then award that amount to each PC; for individual encounters I award the XP just to the PC involved.

One problem I have noticed is that (at least in the first book) the XP awards for all the various encounters are not enough to get the PCs to second level, even if they sucessfully completre each encounter and are awarded maximum XP for each one. There is a similar problerm in the second and third books, although there the maximum awards appear to be just enough to get the players to the next required level.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this yet, although there's still a bit of time left before we complete the first book. I'm considering either switching to the "fast" XP track or simply using GM Fiat to say "everyone's Second Level now" at the end of the first adventure. I don't like the fiat method though, as it has always seemed contrived to me and also can lessen the PCs' feeling of accomplishment: if you're going to get the Level you need at the end of the adventure anyway, what's the point of risking your neck for XP?

Is this including all the story rewards and NPC interactions? My PCs are only through day 5 and the one guy has 1075 xp already. I pretty much have played it by the book so far. Two other PCs have 975, with the last PC having only 875. I did most of the xp as group xp but some awards made it seem like things should be done individually.


Timothy Hanson wrote:
Fitzwalrus wrote:

The adventures are written for a party of four characters, using the "medium" XP advancement track from the CRB.

In my campaign I have a total of six players, but not every one can make every session. Where necessary I'm slightly boosting the number of critters in a given encounter to balance the larger party, but so far it's not been an issue.

The book calls for either "PCs" (party) or "PC" (individual) experience point awards. For party XP awards I divide the XP amount in the book by four and then award that amount to each PC; for individual encounters I award the XP just to the PC involved.

One problem I have noticed is that (at least in the first book) the XP awards for all the various encounters are not enough to get the PCs to second level, even if they sucessfully completre each encounter and are awarded maximum XP for each one. There is a similar problerm in the second and third books, although there the maximum awards appear to be just enough to get the players to the next required level.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this yet, although there's still a bit of time left before we complete the first book. I'm considering either switching to the "fast" XP track or simply using GM Fiat to say "everyone's Second Level now" at the end of the first adventure. I don't like the fiat method though, as it has always seemed contrived to me and also can lessen the PCs' feeling of accomplishment: if you're going to get the Level you need at the end of the adventure anyway, what's the point of risking your neck for XP?

Is this including all the story rewards and NPC interactions? My PCs are only through day 5 and the one guy has 1075 xp already. I pretty much have played it by the book so far. Two other PCs have 975, with the last PC having only 875. I did most of the xp as group xp but some awards made it seem like things should be done individually.

Maybe I've missed something, but I made a table that totalled all the XP awards I could find mentioned in the adventure, both those for "party" awards and those for "individual" awards. I don't have the table or my notes handy, but IIRC one PC totals out at 1950xp (there is one 400xp encounter award that goes to just one PC) and the rest of the party else topped out at 1550. This included things like awards for befriending certain NPCs (which get divided amoung the PCs), killing critters, accomplishing certain story points - the lot, that I could find.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The adventure is a little top heavy, where a lot of xp can be gained early on and then sort of trails off a little. However there is about 3000 potential xp to be gained through influence (although half that is more realistic. Then there is about 4000 xp in encounters, and about 500 xp for people to get individually. There are also some possible xp from any traps the PCs stumble upon. It is going to be close but it should hit 2000 xp each if everything goes well. Also some of the challenge ratings are higher then what the xp of the NPCs xp total would be due to environment I think.

Personally I am planning on adding a few more skirmishes between the PCs and the hostile NPCs which will boost the xp a little bit as well.

Dedicated Voter 2014

There is also random encounters to allow for. I think i recall a developer wrote somewhere that there is a average of 7 random encounters per chapter. So that bumps the XP up a bit. In our Kingmaker game we had an above average amount of randoms for most of the chapters and still just scraped in for levels at the right time.


Timothy Hanson wrote:

However there is about 3000 potential xp to be gained through influence (although half that is more realistic.

Oh, dummy me. Yep, "I missed something".

I completely overlooked the XP award for making NPCs helpful.... that will make a considerable difference.

In the immortal words of Emily Latella: "Never mind..." ;D

Dark Archive

For the current AP I've been running, I just level the PCs up whenever the book tells me to. If I ever feel the need to reward them for any TRULY remarkable actions the players make that can't be resolved with gold or XP, I just throw them a Hero Point. They seem to enjoy it.


We had the same issue in our campaign...our DM had to give us "bonus" exp to get us to the appropriate level per the recommnedations of the AP. And if your group isnt at the levels that they suggest there will be a lot of deatbs.

Liberty's Edge

Im not keeping track for part one, to many individual stuff going on. Figure will level them up when they get to day 19 or so. After that they will be working together as a party, but for now they are still in the "building trust" faze.


We don't bother with XP as the AP states when its appropriate for the PC's to level. I just use the guide in the book, nobody in our group likes to bookeep XP so its the best option for us and it works well as its easier as a group to level at the same time.


You know, that's actually a good idea... though I'm worried that it might remove the incentive to do certain things; for example, dumping XP on them for befriending NPCs is a great way to encourage diplomacy. Not to mention the simple dopamine spike of being directly rewarded for your actions.

It's almost the same problem as Communism, when you think about it.


ferrinwulf wrote:
We don't bother with XP as the AP states when its appropriate for the PC's to level. I just use the guide in the book, nobody in our group likes to bookeep XP so its the best option for us and it works well as its easier as a group to level at the same time.

Same. Definitely easier and the end result is the same.


Xenophile wrote:

You know, that's actually a good idea... though I'm worried that it might remove the incentive to do certain things; for example, dumping XP on them for befriending NPCs is a great way to encourage diplomacy. Not to mention the simple dopamine spike of being directly rewarded for your actions.

It's almost the same problem as Communism, when you think about it.

I've found that there's other ways to reward good role-play than through experience... and of course, theoretically it should be its own reward in a role-playing game, no?

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Skull & Shackles / Simple question regarding awarding experience points to PCs All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Skull & Shackles
Mutiny too easy?

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.