Experience Question


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

With the books in hand I have questions... But wanting to respect the Aug 1st time frame at the same time....

Without giving away anything I hope.

If your players have an encounter with 5 monsters who are level 1

I think I have this right...

Do your players gain ##xp x 5 becuase there are 5 creatures?

Further confirm:

5 monsters level 1 and 1 monster level 3

(##XP x 5) + ##XP from the level 3 monster

Yes I understand that the amount of xp is calculated based on party level, just want to make sure I have the math right based on the number of monsters in the encounter. Pretty sure I do.

Thanks!


...Seems like it? I'm a little confused about where the confusion is haha.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
...Seems like it? I'm a little confused about where the confusion is haha.

Been a long time since running games, want to make sure I am running this right because the group of players will.... not be rule experts lol

Thanks for the confirmation :D

My Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition book I have spells out, for example, 3 goblins cr 1/3 135xp each 6hp each

Hellknight Hill appears to leave it up to the GM to track down some information that would have been spoon fed before. XP now appears to scale based on level of creature vs level of party. I like it, just new.

Thanks again!


If you're asking if XP is per character and per monster, then the answer is yes.

In the Playtest Bestiary, the lowest such XP reward is 10 XP (for a critter four levels lower than the party level).

If you even gain XP from such an easy foe, a party of six characters would gain 60 XP each from defeating six such critters. That would leave them each 940 XP away from leveling! :)

Since the party consists of six heroes, the encounter budget (60 XP) would still count as Trivial.

I myself am accustomed to thinking in terms to total XP for the encounter (360 XP in this case) but that figure has no use within these rules.

All that matters is xp per character.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:

If you're asking if XP is per character and per monster, then the answer is yes.

In the Playtest Bestiary, the lowest such XP reward is 10 XP (for a critter four levels lower than the party level).

If you even gain XP from such an easy foe, a party of six characters would gain 60 XP each from defeating six such critters. That would leave them each 940 XP away from leveling! :)

Since the party consists of six heroes, the encounter budget (60 XP) would still count as Trivial.

I myself am accustomed to thinking in terms to total XP for the encounter (360 XP in this case) but that figure has no use within these rules.

All that matters is xp per character.

This isn't quite right. The XP per character values are still based on the assumption of a party of 4.

A party of 4 PCs fighting 6 creatures that are level (party level - 3) would get 60 XP.

For a party of 6, this fight would be scaled up to be against 8 or 9 of the creatures, to maintain the same challenge as fighting 6 of them would be for a party of 4. However, the XP reward is not increased, so they are fighting 9 creatures but getting 60 XP each.

Alternatively, if a party of 4 defeated 4 of those creatures, they'd get 40XP. If instead, a party of 6 went into that encounter, you'd add another 2 of the creatures to keep the challenge equivalent, but not add any XP. The party of 6 would get 40XP for defeating the 6 creatures.

It took me a little while to grok, but basically you build every fight as if it were for a party of 4 PCs, work out the XP for that, then add adversaries and/or hazards to the encounter to keep the challenge balanced for a bigger group of PCs, but don't add extra XP for the new bits.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

To put it another way, if you have a non-standard party size (anything other than 4 PCs), you can add up the XP for every creature and hazard overcome in an encounter, then divide that by the number of PCs you have and multiply it by 4.

Fighting 4 of the creatures:

40 * (4/6) = ~26 XP for a party of 6

40 * (4/4) = 40 XP for a party of 4

Fighting 6 of the creatures:

60 * (4/6) = 40 XP for a party of 6

60 * (4/4) = 60 XP for a party of 4

Fighting 9 of the creatures:

90 * (4/6) = 60 XP for a party of 6

90 * (4/4) = 90 XP for a party of 4


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And when you say for a party of 4, you mean each member gets that amount.

Making sense to me. Thanks for the follow up!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes sorry, that is indeed XP for each PC, not shared among the party :)


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Okay, so that's... basically incomprehensible.

I think I'll simply wait a week and see what the final rulebook has to say.

Obviously I expect not to have to recalculate XP for not having a 4-man party every single time. That design decision would be... utterly perplexing?!? ("no, I'm still running five players, for the 349th encounter in a row!").

So I hope that's not what you're saying. Truth be told, I don't understand what you are saying, so...

No need to reply further.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

@Zapp - via your method, a party of 4 would earn the same XP for defeating 6 monsters as a party of 6 would. Obviously it's easier to defeat 6 creatures the more PCs you have, so the bigger party should earn less XP.

I'm not sure how to explain more clearly. How about I just type up what the P2 CRB has to say on the matter.

Core Rulebook wrote:


Different Party Sizes
For each additional character in the party beyond the fourth, increase your XP budget by the amount shown in Table 10-1: Encounter Budget. If you have fewer than four characters, use the same process in reverse: for each missing character, remove that amount of XP from your XP budget. Note that if you adjust your XP budget to account for party size, the XP awards for the encounter don't change - you'll always award the amount of XP listed for a group of four characters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

fighting 6 creatures each worth 20xp = 120xp.

split 4 ways = 30xp each.
split 6 ways = 20xp each.

At least that is the way I have always done it.


Ngodrup wrote:
@Zapp - via your method, a party of 4 would earn the same XP for defeating 6 monsters as a party of 6 would. Obviously it's easier to defeat 6 creatures the more PCs you have, so the bigger party should earn less XP.

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

Now if there's four heroes, they each get 36/4=9 xp.
And if there's six heroes, they each get 36/6=6 xp.

Easy. No, not easy. Completely obvious and natural.

So I do not understand why things need to be difficult. I do not understand the obsession with four-man parties. I do not understand why you're saying "via your method, a party of 4 would earn the same XP for defeating 6 monsters as a party of 6 would."

Just list the xp per monster (either an absolute number "A Goblin nets you 6 xp" or relative "A monster three levels beneath you nets you 6 xp") and everything else resolves naturally and trivially.

Sorry if you feel I'm wasting your time. As I said, I'm okay with holding off further discussion until I get my own copy of the final book.


Rhyst wrote:

fighting 6 creatures each worth 20xp = 120xp.

split 4 ways = 30xp each.
split 6 ways = 20xp each.

At least that is the way I have always done it.

Yes, the obvious and natural way to do it - this I understand (completely and immediately)!

The other reply and the quoted rulebook text, unfortunately, seems completely detached from common sense :(

Apologies if anyone is offended. I just do not understand. Everything will hopefully be resolved once I get to read the rules for myself!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Zapp wrote:
Rhyst wrote:

fighting 6 creatures each worth 20xp = 120xp.

split 4 ways = 30xp each.
split 6 ways = 20xp each.

At least that is the way I have always done it.

Yes, the obvious and natural way to do it - this I understand (completely and immediately)!

The other reply and the quoted rulebook text, unfortunately, seems completely detached from common sense :(

Apologies if anyone is offended. I just do not understand. Everything will hopefully be resolved once I get to read the rules for myself!

The quoted rules aren't covering a party of 4 and a party of 6 fighting 6 creatures. They're doing it the other way around. If an adventure has 6 creatures, totalling 120 xp, that's what 4 PCs should face. If you have 6 PCs, then for this encounter, they should face 180 XPs worth of creatures, so 9 of these creatures. In this way each PC gets the same 30 xp for the fight.

The reason for this is that because your 6 PCs have more actions per round, the 6 opponents are less effective, and you should be balancing by adding more opponents, not reducing the XP gain. This way also means that the two parties should level up in the adventure are a more similar point, so the adventure can throw higher level and thus higher challenge opponents at the same time.


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XP is not divided in pf2. Everyone gets the same XP, which is the encounter budget before any modifiers due to additional players. Effectively, players don't gain xp based upon the monsters in the encounter, but rather the encounter's difficulty for the party size and level. So if it was a 80 xp encounter, all players gain 80 xp, even if you had to add in an extra 20 xp of monsters to adjust for a 5th player


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
Rhyst wrote:

fighting 6 creatures each worth 20xp = 120xp.

split 4 ways = 30xp each.
split 6 ways = 20xp each.

At least that is the way I have always done it.

Yes, the obvious and natural way to do it - this I understand (completely and immediately)!

The other reply and the quoted rulebook text, unfortunately, seems completely detached from common sense :(

Apologies if anyone is offended. I just do not understand. Everything will hopefully be resolved once I get to read the rules for myself!

This is correct for 1st edition but not how 2nd edition works.

It's not really more complicated, but it is different.

Let's say a party of four 1st level PCs fights a level 1 creature. Table 10-8: XP Awards says an encounter with a creature the same level as the party is worth 40 XP. So, every PC gets 40 XP. No dividing the XP among everyone - everyone just gets the listed amount, 40 XP.

If a party of six 1st level PCs fights a level 1 creature, it is easier for them because there are more of them. They don't all get 40 XP. There are a few different ways to make this work out, though. You can adjust the combat so there are more adversaries, or you can add environmental hazards to the fight, to increase the difficulty (rules are given for this in the book), so you can still give them 40 XP. Or, as I go over in my second comment on this thread, if you want to keep the encounter exactly the same and just run it with six PCs instead of four, you could instead multiply the 40 XP by 4 (to find the intended 'total XP given out') and then divide that by 6. This is the most similar to the 1st Edition way of doing it, but with an extra step to convert the given 'XP each' value to an 'XP total' value that you're used to, which you can then divide between the party.

This is because combats are balanced around the assumption of 4 PCs in a party, and the listed XP is for each PC, not the total XP award.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

This is the root of your issue, there is no such thing as a "goblin worth 6 XP" in 2nd Edition. There is a Goblin Warrior, which is a Level -1 creature.

You compare the Goblin Warriors level (-1) to the party level (say, a level 1 party). The Goblin Warriors level is 2 lower than the party level, so in this scenario, killing the Goblin Warrior earns each member of the party 20 XP.

There is also a Goblin Commando, a Level 1 creature. This is the same as the party level. Killing this goblin would earn each member of a level 1 party 40 XP.

All of this is balanced around the assumption of a four PC party. All the adjustments and math I've talked about is different ways of dealing with non-standard party sizes.

P.S. I certainly don't think you're wasting my time! I'm just sorry my explanations are unclear. It's definitely not your fault.


It is like 3.5e, where the GM is required to look up tables every time they award XP.

On the other hand, it does make it easier for the players to know when they're leveling up - they don't need to refer to a table.


Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Rhyst wrote:

fighting 6 creatures each worth 20xp = 120xp.

split 4 ways = 30xp each.
split 6 ways = 20xp each.

At least that is the way I have always done it.

Yes, the obvious and natural way to do it - this I understand (completely and immediately)!

The other reply and the quoted rulebook text, unfortunately, seems completely detached from common sense :(

Apologies if anyone is offended. I just do not understand. Everything will hopefully be resolved once I get to read the rules for myself!

The quoted rules aren't covering a party of 4 and a party of 6 fighting 6 creatures. They're doing it the other way around. If an adventure has 6 creatures, totalling 120 xp, that's what 4 PCs should face. If you have 6 PCs, then for this encounter, they should face 180 XPs worth of creatures, so 9 of these creatures. In this way each PC gets the same 30 xp for the fight.

The reason for this is that because your 6 PCs have more actions per round, the 6 opponents are less effective, and you should be balancing by adding more opponents, not reducing the XP gain. This way also means that the two parties should level up in the adventure are a more similar point, so the adventure can throw higher level and thus higher challenge opponents at the same time.

You're saying that is if we aren't all working towards the same goal - as if the simple direct approach does not give the desired results, as if the convoluted 4-person-focused approach is actually needed?

This is what I do not understand.

Why make it basically incomprehensible when you could just make it straightforward? What do you actually gain?


Ngodrup wrote:

This is correct for 1st edition but not how 2nd edition works.

It's not really more complicated, but it is different.

Yes, but why?

Quote:
This is because combats are balanced around the assumption of 4 PCs in a party, and the listed XP is for each PC, not the total XP award.

Yes, but why?


Ngodrup wrote:
Zapp wrote:

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

This is the root of your issue, there is no such thing as a "goblin worth 6 XP" in 2nd Edition. There is a Goblin Warrior, which is a Level -1 creature.

You compare the Goblin Warriors level (-1) to the party level (say, a level 1 party). The Goblin Warriors level is 2 lower than the party level, so in this scenario, killing the Goblin Warrior earns each member of the party 20 XP.

This part I completely get.

There's not much difference between absolute and relative level. You can still say "this guy here, he's worth 6 XP".

What I have become curious about, is why you would ever add a whole new hoop for every DM running three or five man parties to jump through?

Is there an actual benefit, or is it just to make xp awards seem complicated and therefore sophisticated?


The way the playtest numbers were, at least, Zapp's approach leads to exactly the same results because the adjustment for each player (+25% to party size) is exactly 25% of the encounter budget.
If the final numbers have changed then maybe the book approach makes more sense now.
As for why, I can only imagine they wanted to discourage the situation where, for example, only the rogue who disabled the trap would get XP for it, or the wizard who blasted a room full of mites - stuff like that. So that the party as a whole is on the even footing and easily measurable progress.

EDIT: actually I think it puts some limits on the encounter compositions, too. Let's say you are running your 5-man party into a High difficulty encounter, which is 100XP budget (but 80XP award). You decide to add 3 level-1 creatures, which is 90XP. The guidelines are there to suggest that rather than leave it as is and award 72 XP, you are supposed to add a minor hazard or a minion worth 10XP too.


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Zapp wrote:
Yes, but why?

(1) To keep things simple. The GM no longer needs to divide the XP value of every creature the party fights by 4. The players no longer need to look up the 'XP for next level' value in the book.

(2) To encourage the GM to modify encounters to match the party numbers, rather than just handing out less XP.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
Ngodrup wrote:

This is correct for 1st edition but not how 2nd edition works.

It's not really more complicated, but it is different.

Yes, but why?

Quote:
This is because combats are balanced around the assumption of 4 PCs in a party, and the listed XP is for each PC, not the total XP award.

Yes, but why?

So that it can be 1000 XP per level, rather than increasingly high amounts of XP depending on which level you're at/working towards. This doesn't work if higher level creatures are worth more XP like in PF1.

And the assumption of 4 PCs in a party is hardly new. PF1 assumed 4 or 5 PCs, and otherwise you had to adjust the APL. PF2 assumes 4 PCs, and otherwise you have to adjust the XP budget. It's just slightly different approaches, but both are based around an assumed number of PCs in a party, so I don't understand why it's surprising. It's also the same as how it worked in the playtest. Assumably not too many people had an issue with it, otherwise they would've changed it like they changed other roundly disliked aspects of the playtest.

CyberMephit wrote:
actually I think it puts some limits on the encounter compositions, too. Let's say you are running your 5-man party into a High difficulty encounter, which is 100XP budget (but 80XP award). You decide to add 3 level-1 creatures, which is 90XP. The guidelines are there to suggest that rather than leave it as is and award 72 XP, you are supposed to add a minor hazard or a minion worth 10XP too.

To be fair, it isn't as restrictive as that:

CRB wrote:
Many encounters won't match the XP budget exactly, but they should come close.


If you're always exactly four players, you save the trivial "divide by four" step.

If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.

This is why I'm asking why?

Maybe everyone is always having 4 players in their campaigns... I don't get it.


Zapp wrote:

If you're always exactly four players, you save the trivial "divide by four" step.

If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.

How is creating a slightly harder encounter more complicated than it was in PF1?

Or do you mean if you leave the encounter unchanged? In that case, just multiply the XP by .8 or whatever.


Zapp wrote:

If you're always exactly four players, you save the trivial "divide by four" step.

If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.

This is why I'm asking why?

Maybe everyone is always having 4 players in their campaigns... I don't get it.

It's to support the 1000 xp per level system. It makes itneasynif you have 4 players, and compensating for larger is easier than giving for 6 and making you reduce. If the encounter says the PCs get 100 xp for completing it and you have more players, just add more to the encounter so the xp is preserved to keep on track


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

@Zapp - Because that's how the monster levels are balanced in the new edition. A Level 1 creature is a 'standard creature or low-threat boss' to a party of four 1st level PCs. They would be less threatening than that for a bigger party of level 1 PCs.

And as myself and others have already pointed out, there are lots of benefits to the new system. For me, the main one is the simplicity of 1000 XP per level.

Personally, I find the new system a lot simpler than the whole "APL (+ or - 1 depending on party size) (-1 to +3 depending on challenge), two creatures = CR + 2, six creatures = CR + 5, 16 creatures = CR + 8, no racial hit die means CR = CL - 1, decide if you're using exact or abstract XP values, and always have to cross-reference PCs current XP with the levelling table to know when they're likely to level up" thing that we had in PF1.

Obviously some of that is personal preference, but I honestly think that a part of your resistance is that the old way is familiar and this way is new. I really don't think it's objectively more complex at all, it's just unfamiliar (if you didn't build encounters with the playtest rules). I certainly find "mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics" a significant overstatement.

If you find the 'divide by 4' step in the PF1 system to be trivial, then I would hope that the 'multiply by 4 and divide by your number of players' approach that I suggested in my second comment upthread as an alternative way to work out XP in the new system would be useful to you. That's the exact reason I bothered to type it out, in the hopes someone would find it helpful.

As you yourself said, hopefully everything will be resolved when you can read the rules yourself (and perhaps more importantly, when you've had a chance to play around with encounter building with the new system and see how it works in practice)


So the game assumes a four player base and for encounter generation there are two options.

One. Add more stuff to bring the XP award up to the recommended budget.

Two. Do a couple of grade school math problems.

You don't even need to do the math, Google sheets is free. Watch.

=(A1*4)/A2

Plug that in cell A3. Put XP in A1. Put your number of players in A2. Magic.


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The trick is you are looking it reverse of how the system looks at it. You are looking at "How much XP is fighting three of these monsters worth" while the system is set up for "You gain XP for a moderate encounter that happens to have three of these monsters" basically the monster isn't worthy any XP, the encounter is what is worth the XP.

Think of it this way, you have Monster XP, which is how many monsters a given difficulty allows for but has nothing to do with player XP. It just happens to be that for parties of 4 that monster XP is the same as player XP.

Its much easier to add random hazards and monsters to an encounter than recalculate the xp value of the same encounter for a differing party size


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Zapp wrote:


If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.

This is unequivocally untrue though. I'm not even sure how you're reaching this conclusion.


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Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:


If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.
This is unequivocally untrue though. I'm not even sure how you're reaching this conclusion.

"At the end of a session I might have to add a whole step to my math to deliver XP! I'll have to muliply BEFORE I divide! MADNESS! IA IA SHUBCALCULATH!"


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

And for a shameless plug someone else might do it for you

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42ne8?MalkContents-Simple-Encounter-Builder


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Zapp wrote:
Ngodrup wrote:
Zapp wrote:

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

This is the root of your issue, there is no such thing as a "goblin worth 6 XP" in 2nd Edition. There is a Goblin Warrior, which is a Level -1 creature.

You compare the Goblin Warriors level (-1) to the party level (say, a level 1 party). The Goblin Warriors level is 2 lower than the party level, so in this scenario, killing the Goblin Warrior earns each member of the party 20 XP.

This part I completely get.

There's not much difference between absolute and relative level. You can still say "this guy here, he's worth 6 XP".

What I have become curious about, is why you would ever add a whole new hoop for every DM running three or five man parties to jump through?

Is there an actual benefit, or is it just to make xp awards seem complicated and therefore sophisticated?

The Pathfinder 2nd Edition experience point system is convolutedly simple. Paizo designed it so that awarding XP is simple. In the process, they used some non-intuitive concepts for building encounters.

I don't have the PF2 rulebook yet (I spent my money on medical expenses rather than pre-ordering), but the wording Ngodrup quoted in comment #10 sounds the same as the playtest rules on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary. The playtest did not test the xp system, so Paizo had no reason to change it.

When the GM designs an encounter for a party, he choses a difficulty. In the PF1 rulebook these were called Easy (APL-1), Average (APL), Challenging (APL+1), Hard (APL+2), and Epic (APL+3). That number in parentheses is the suggested CR of the encounter for that difficulty. In contrast, Table 5, Encounter Budget, on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary calls the difficulties Trival (40 xp), Low (60 xp), High (80 xp), Severe (120 xp), and Extreme (160 xp), where the number in parentheses is the XP Budget for building the encounter. The table has an additional column called Character Adjustment that is exactly one quarter the XP Budget.

Suppose that I as the GM want to have design a High-difficulty encounter for my party. I check the XP budget table, 80 xp, and I start assembling the foes using that budget. According to Table 4, Creature XP and Role, a creature of the same level as the party costs 40 xp from my budget. So I could use two creatures of the same level and that would use up my budget. But if I want my players to have more of a challenge, I used a higher level creature. The XP cost of a creature of one higher level than the party is 60 xp. That leaves me with 20 xp left over, the cost of a creature two levels lower than the party. I could have the party face a Black Knight character with one more fighter level than the party, aided by his lowly squire with two levels fewer than the party.

When the 4-person party defeats the encounter, each individual party member is awarded 80 xp, an amount equal to the XP Budget for a High-difficulty encounter.

Next, suppose that I am preparing a High-difficulty encounter for a 5-person party. The instructions in the Playtest Bestiary is that instead of building my encounter with 80 xp, I build my encounter with 100 xp. More people means more enemies or stronger enemies for the same difficulty. Thus, instead of using a 60-xp Black Knight and a 20-xp Squire, I use a 60-xp Black Knight and a 40-xp Better Squire. Simple.

However, when the 5-person party defeats the encounter, each individual party member is awarded 80 xp, an amount equal to the unadjusted XP Budget for a High-difficulty encounter. Though the party faced stronger enemies, it was nevertheless exactly a High-difficulty encounter for them, so they are awarded the XP for a High-difficulty encounter.

The XP Budget column in Table 5, Encounter Budget, serves two purposes: (1) it is the budget for selecting monsters for the encounter and is typically adjusted by the number of party members, and (2) it is the individual XP award for defeating the encounter and is not adjusted by the number of players.

With this system, instead of each monster having an CR (Challenge Rating) and XP value like in PF1, each monster simply has a level. Instead of each character level having an ever-increasing threshold of xp to reach the next level, the threshold is always 1,000 xp. However, Paizo carefully designed the tables that relate encounter difficulty, relative monster level, and xp so that the rate of progression in PF2 is exactly the same as the rate of progression in PF2 at all levels.


I would like to mention that it is easier than the post above me makes it look. It is just a pain to describe in text without the tables, so they did well comsidering.

I took one look at the tables and had most of it figured out (had to read to find out I didn't divide or add the adjustment exp though). If you don't have access to the books the tables are the same as were in the playtest.


Stone Dog wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:


If you're not always exactly four players, you have to do mindblowingly incomprehensible mind-gymnastics. Every single time you set up an encounter.
This is unequivocally untrue though. I'm not even sure how you're reaching this conclusion.
"At the end of a session I might have to add a whole step to my math to deliver XP! I'll have to muliply BEFORE I divide! MADNESS! IA IA SHUBCALCULATH!"

No, the math is that when the GM designs the encounter, he or she uses the XP Budget adjusted for party size, and when the GM awards characters XP for the encounter, he or she uses the unadjusted XP Budget. No multiplication or division is necessary, just a little addition or subtraction for the adjustment.

But if you want to see the underlying mathematics of what XP and level really mean in terms of character effectiveness, that gets into exponents and logarithms. I wrote it up last year for the playtest forum: The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling.

The numbers in Table 4 in the Bestiary are based on PF1 rules. My math regarding the playtest told me that +1 to proficiency per level changed the meaning of levels sufficently that Table 4 ought to have used more extreme numbers. Instead of 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 120, and 160, the numbers should be 6, 9, 15, 25, 40, 65, 105, 170, and 275.


Mathmuse wrote:


No, the math is that when the GM designs the encounter, he or she uses the XP Budget adjusted for party size, and when the GM awards characters XP for the encounter, he or she uses the unadjusted XP Budget. No multiplication or division is necessary, just a little addition or subtraction for the adjustment.

True. I was talking about the math for using an encounter without adjustment. Misread the post.


Mathmuse wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Ngodrup wrote:
Zapp wrote:

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

This is the root of your issue, there is no such thing as a "goblin worth 6 XP" in 2nd Edition. There is a Goblin Warrior, which is a Level -1 creature.

You compare the Goblin Warriors level (-1) to the party level (say, a level 1 party). The Goblin Warriors level is 2 lower than the party level, so in this scenario, killing the Goblin Warrior earns each member of the party 20 XP.

This part I completely get.

There's not much difference between absolute and relative level. You can still say "this guy here, he's worth 6 XP".

What I have become curious about, is why you would ever add a whole new hoop for every DM running three or five man parties to jump through?

Is there an actual benefit, or is it just to make xp awards seem complicated and therefore sophisticated?

The Pathfinder 2nd Edition experience point system is convolutedly simple. Paizo designed it so that awarding XP is simple. In the process, they used some non-intuitive concepts for building encounters.

I don't have the PF2 rulebook yet (I spent my money on medical expenses rather than pre-ordering), but the wording Ngodrup quoted in comment #10 sounds the same as the playtest rules on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary. The playtest did not test the xp system, so Paizo had no reason to change it.

When the GM designs an encounter for a party, he choses a difficulty. In the PF1 rulebook these were called Easy (APL-1), Average (APL), Challenging (APL+1), Hard (APL+2), and Epic (APL+3). That number in parentheses is the suggested CR of the encounter for that difficulty. In contrast, Table 5, Encounter Budget, on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary calls the difficulties Trival (40 xp), Low (60 xp), High (80 xp), Severe (120 xp), and Extreme (160 xp), where the number in parentheses is the XP...

First off, how do I get the full post quoted (not truncated by the three dots as seen above). I checked the FAQ, but it said nothing about a maximum quote length?


Mathmuse wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Ngodrup wrote:
Zapp wrote:

If a goblin is worth 6 xp, say, and you face six of them, that's an encounter of 36 xp, right?

This is the root of your issue, there is no such thing as a "goblin worth 6 XP" in 2nd Edition. There is a Goblin Warrior, which is a Level -1 creature.

You compare the Goblin Warriors level (-1) to the party level (say, a level 1 party). The Goblin Warriors level is 2 lower than the party level, so in this scenario, killing the Goblin Warrior earns each member of the party 20 XP.

This part I completely get.

There's not much difference between absolute and relative level. You can still say "this guy here, he's worth 6 XP".

What I have become curious about, is why you would ever add a whole new hoop for every DM running three or five man parties to jump through?

Is there an actual benefit, or is it just to make xp awards seem complicated and therefore sophisticated?

The Pathfinder 2nd Edition experience point system is convolutedly simple. Paizo designed it so that awarding XP is simple. In the process, they used some non-intuitive concepts for building encounters.

I don't have the PF2 rulebook yet (I spent my money on medical expenses rather than pre-ordering), but the wording Ngodrup quoted in comment #10 sounds the same as the playtest rules on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary. The playtest did not test the xp system, so Paizo had no reason to change it.

When the GM designs an encounter for a party, he choses a difficulty. In the PF1 rulebook these were called Easy (APL-1), Average (APL), Challenging (APL+1), Hard (APL+2), and Epic (APL+3). That number in parentheses is the suggested CR of the encounter for that difficulty. In contrast, Table 5, Encounter Budget, on page 21 of the Playtest Bestiary calls the difficulties Trival (40 xp), Low (60 xp), High (80 xp), Severe (120 xp), and Extreme (160 xp), where the number in parentheses is the XP Budget for building the encounter. The table has an additional column called Character Adjustment that is exactly one quarter the XP Budget.

Suppose that I as the GM want to have design a High-difficulty encounter for my party. I check the XP budget table, 80 xp, and I start assembling the foes using that budget. According to Table 4, Creature XP and Role, a creature of the same level as the party costs 40 xp from my budget. So I could use two creatures of the same level and that would use up my budget. But if I want my players to have more of a challenge, I used a higher level creature. The XP cost of a creature of one higher level than the party is 60 xp. That leaves me with 20 xp left over, the cost of a creature two levels lower than the party. I could have the party face a Black Knight character with one more fighter level than the party, aided by his lowly squire with two levels fewer than the party.

When the 4-person party defeats the encounter, each individual party member is awarded 80 xp, an amount equal to the XP Budget for a High-difficulty encounter.

Next, suppose that I am preparing a High-difficulty encounter for a 5-person party. The instructions in the Playtest Bestiary is that instead of building my encounter with 80 xp, I build my encounter with 100 xp. More people means more enemies or stronger enemies for the same difficulty. Thus, instead of using a 60-xp Black Knight and a 20-xp Squire, I use a 60-xp Black Knight and a 40-xp Better Squire. Simple.

However, when the 5-person party defeats the encounter, each individual party member is awarded 80 xp, an amount equal to the unadjusted XP Budget for a High-difficulty encounter. Though the party faced stronger enemies, it was nevertheless exactly a High-difficulty encounter for them, so they are awarded the XP for a High-difficulty encounter.

The XP Budget column in Table 5, Encounter Budget, serves two purposes: (1) it is the budget for selecting monsters for the encounter and is typically adjusted by the number of party members, and (2) it is the individual XP award for defeating the encounter and is not adjusted by the number of players.

With this system, instead of each monster having an CR (Challenge Rating) and XP value like in PF1, each monster simply has a level. Instead of each character level having an ever-increasing threshold of xp to reach the next level, the threshold is always 1,000 xp. However, Paizo carefully designed the tables that relate encounter difficulty, relative monster level, and xp so that the rate of progression in PF2 is exactly the same as the rate of progression in PF2 at all levels.

Okay, manual pasting and we're back in business!

Thank you for taking up the time. And oh, have +1 for the phrase "convolutedly simple" :-)

I think I get it now. And I'm despairing! They've built in the four-man expectation in the monster XP themselves!

Instead of a 60-xp Black Knight being worth 240 xp (which ends up yielding 60 xp to each member of a four-man party, and ~50 xp to each member of a five-man party) the Black Knight is worth 60 XP no matter what, and each time you want to create an encounter for something else than a four-man party you need to go through the additional step of making the encounter more difficult.

WHY OH WHY :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-(

PS. This has nothing to do with the 1000 xp to level idea or xp amounts relative to your level (instead of a goblin always being worth 6 xp regardless of how many heroes there and what levels they each are). Those design decisions are entirely fine.


I should give you a proper thanks, Mathmuse. I get it now.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:
nstead of a 60-xp Black Knight being worth 240 xp (which ends up yielding 60 xp to each member of a four-man party, and ~50 xp to each member of a five-man party) the Black Knight is worth 60 XP no matter what, and each time you want to create an encounter for something else than a four-man party you need to go through the additional step of making the encounter more difficult.

This is exactly why they did it this way. Just dividing the xp meant bigger parties had easier fights until they suddenly didn't because they are behind on xp, and smaller parties had the opposite. This system preserves the intended levelling pace and challenges.


Mathmuse wrote:
But if you want to see the underlying mathematics of what XP and level really mean in terms of character effectiveness, that gets into exponents and logarithms. I wrote it up last year for the playtest forum: The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling.

Not sure what you're gaining by characterizing levelling rules as "mind-boggling".

After all, you can have your player characters level up every three sessions or so (regardless what they're doing or who they're doing it against)... and absolutely everything works fine.

Since this is so, there is no actual need for xp awards to be involved or calibrated or anything else. You could replace it all with the following rule:

"You begin play with 1 XP. Each time you accomplish something or defeat a monster, you gain either 0 XP or 1 XP each. Here are the xp totals you need to reach a new level:

Level XP requirement
2....2
3....3
4....4
5....5
6....6
7....7
8....8
9....9
10....10
11....11
12....12
13....13
14....14
15....15
16....16
17....17
18....18
19....19
20....20

This works identical to the published rules (regardless of which rules we're talking about) if the DM wants them to. And if the DM doesn't want them to, well...

I might be misunderstanding your intentions here, but I see no reason to mythologize experience points. There is zero science behind it. It's all an illusion meant to give off the veneer of objectivity, so new players can forget the hard truth that every body is at the level their DM wants them to be and their adventure needs them to be. :-)

Cheers


Malk_Content wrote:
This is exactly why they did it this way. Just dividing the xp meant bigger parties had easier fights until they suddenly didn't because they are behind on xp, and smaller parties had the opposite. This system preserves the intended levelling pace and challenges.

No they didn't...?

Given a "A Black Knight is worth 240 XP" system, if you take any given encounter and just add more heroes, yes they find it easier... but they also gain less xp each, so...

Nope, still don't understand*.

*) why they had to focus on four-man parties and more importantly why they had to add extra work to Every. Damn. Single. encounter when the campaign is for a different number of players.

PS. Again this has nothing to with relative xp or "it's always 1000 xp to level up".


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Well if you are happy to run stuff where encounter difficulty and levelling is dependent on party size you can just ignore the rule. If you want the game experience to be more consistent with design intent then go with them.

They had to pick some party amount to make the standard, and four players seems to be considered the "sweet spot" across most games.


Malk_Content wrote:

Well if you are happy to run stuff where encounter difficulty and levelling is dependent on party size you can just ignore the rule. If you want the game experience to be more consistent with design intent then go with them.

They had to pick some party amount to make the standard, and four players seems to be considered the "sweet spot" across most games.

Well, first off - ignoring any ruleset's xp awards is indeed simple enough, so none of this is exactly showstopping.

Still, unless you mean the "design intent" is "have four players", I don't see it. There's no change in game experience when you run a three- or five-man party in any other dndish game edition (apart from how things are generally easier and less swingy but slower with more heroes), and those did not feature this set up, so... "no, they did not have to do that"?

Best regards,


Encounter math in D&D has assumed a four person party for a very, very long time now, so I'm not sure what it so strange about that. You have always had to change encounters if you had five people instead, and the characters always received 80% as much XP for the same challenge.


FowlJ wrote:
Encounter math in D&D has assumed a four person party for a very, very long time now, so I'm not sure what it so strange about that. You have always had to change encounters if you had five people instead, and the characters always received 80% as much XP for the same challenge.

Just so we're on the same page, you do see the new way PF2 does it, right?

(Just checking, since your reply comes across as "nothing has changed here, nothing to be upset about, just carry on". But I could be mistaken so best to check)


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The way XP is normalised to 1000 per level is new. It also doesn't meaningfully alter encounter building.

A 5-person party needs to fight around 25% more/stronger creatures to earn the same XP per character as a four person party. That is not new. Whether it's because the XP is split 5 ways instead of 4 or because the party wide XP gain is reduced to 80% (which is what the encounter scaling rules do) is irrelevant.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Zapp wrote:
First off, how do I get the full post quoted (not truncated by the three dots as seen above). I checked the FAQ, but it said nothing about a maximum quote length?

I do it manually myself, including having to write in nested quote and bold and italic BBCode by hand because those don't cut and paste. I am fluent in TeX, LaTeX, troff, HTML and CSS, and MediaWiki markup languages. Such is the life of a mathematician.

Zapp wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
But if you want to see the underlying mathematics of what XP and level really mean in terms of character effectiveness, that gets into exponents and logarithms. I wrote it up last year for the playtest forum: The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling.

Not sure what you're gaining by characterizing levelling rules as "mind-boggling".

After all, you can have your player characters level up every three sessions or so (regardless what they're doing or who they're doing it against)... and absolutely everything works fine.

Since this is so, there is no actual need for xp awards to be involved or calibrated or anything else. You could replace it all with the following rule:

"You begin play with 1 XP. Each time you accomplish something or defeat a monster, you gain either 0 XP or 1 XP each. Here are the xp totals you need to reach a new level:

Level XP requirement
<Snipping purely linear list>

This works identical to the published rules (regardless of which rules we're talking about) if the DM wants them to. And if the DM doesn't want them to, well...

I might be misunderstanding your intentions here, but I see no reason to mythologize experience points. There is zero science behind it. It's all an illusion meant to give off the veneer of objectivity, so new players can forget the hard truth that every body is at the level their DM wants them to be and their adventure needs them to be. :-)

Cheers

People use that system. They call it giving up on XP and going by milestone-based leveling. It works especially well with Paizo adventure paths, where the PCs are supposed to level up 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through a module and at the end of the module. I had to switch to it myself in my Jade Regent campaign, where the players derailed the campaign, so I let them attend a secret meeting of 130 oni to learn the oni's new strategy against their new plan. They killed 100 of those oni by collapsing the roof (Order of the Stick scene). That moment of awesomeness gave them way too much XP.

But the milestone system requires making milestones, deciding how many encounters are needed for the right time to level up the party. If the players keeps derailing the adventure, as mine do, then they often have a long time between leveling up.

There is science behind leveling in roleplaying games. Jason Bulmahn improved the XP system when he upgraded Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 into Pathfinder 1st Edition. His method got rid of a flaw called "empty levels." By analyzing that improvement, I uncovered some of the science.

Let me explain the basics of the science. Suppose that a campaign is about stopping an invasion from the Orc Empire. The PCs battle and defeat 20 orc soldiers and advance to 2nd level. What should they defeat to advance to 3rd level? Simply another 20 orc soldiers? That would make 3rd level easier to reach than 2nd level. If the challenge between levels was always 20 orc soldiers, then as the PCs became more powerful, they would level up faster and faster.

Thus, the challenge is supposed to increase by level. 20 orc soldiers to reach 2nd level, 30 more orc soldiers to reach 3rd level, 40 more orc soldiers to reach 4th level, etc. is quadratic leveling, because the total challenge to reach a level is a quadratic function. Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition uses quadratic leveling: reaching 2nd level requires 1000 xp, reaching 3rd level from 2nd requires 2000 more xp, reaching 4th level from 3rd requires 3000 more xp, etc.

The weakness of quadratic leveling is that the challenge does not increase fast enough. People want about the same number of encounters during each level. If they kill 30 orc soldiers at 2nd level and 40 orc soldiers at 3rd level, then their characters need to be about 33% stronger at 3rd level compared to 2nd level so that they have the same relative challenge at each level. If they kill 100 orc soldiers (or 10 orc super-commandos, each equal to 10 orc soldiers) at 9th level and 110 orc soldiers at 10th level, then the characters are 10% stronger. For each level the percentage improvement decreases: 50%, 33%, 25%, 20%, 17%, 14%, 13%, 11%, 10%, etc. Eventually the improvement becomes so small that the new abilities are not worth giving distinct names, instead, a few numbers gain +1. Those are called empty levels. Leveling up becomes boring.

Jason Bulmahn fixed that in Pathfinder 1st Edition. Each level makes a character 41% stronger. I call this system exponential levels. It ought never have empty levels, but a few other flaws in design did create levels that felt empty, such as Barbarian 13th level. Pathfinder 1st Edition used the same system for assigning XP that D&D 3.5 used, where each creature had a fixed XP value.

In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, Jason Bulmahn and the other Paizo designers realized that they could simplify the XP system because of exponential leveling. They shifted a paradigm. Instead of each creature having a fixed XP value, each encounter that makes the party members struggle with the same effort has a fixed XP value. A 1st-level party fighting a 1st-level creature gains the same XP per person as a 2nd-level party fighting a 2nd-level creature. A 4-person party fighting 4 creatures gains the same XP per person as a 5-person party fighting 5 creatures. Experience points are about the experience. The amount of XP per level can therefore be a fixed 1,000 xp.

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