Why do you need the same amount of xp for every level in 2e?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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I'm guessing it's just to make the math easier for people?


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I think a better question could be, "Why would one want it to be different xp for every level to begin with?" There was really no benefit for it in 1e.


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People still track experience, and don't just get leveled up when the GM or AP feels like it?


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
People still track experience, and don't just get leveled up when the GM or AP feels like it?

Most groups I've played with use milestone leveling ONLY for published adventures that tell you when to level up and fall back on XP for everything else (such as homebrew settings).

I've had enough GMs with power trips to not want my levels to be tied solely to their whim.


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I think it had two main positives:

1) is the simpler math, less chance to add/miss a trailing zero when adding in some new value to your total and greatly inflate/deflate your earnings. Don't need to refer to a book to know when you'll level (sure some people may have the pf1 table memorized but its not expected).

2) Makes the encounter building xp budget simpler/easier to explain. Since everything is relative (level +/- N) it makes those patterns easier to internalize/understand and spot check

The main downside, is I feel it makes mixed level parties more awkward, if using XP. (Pathfinder Society handles it via a different XP solution for characters, but still uses the normal xp bundet for encounter building).


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That downside is a good point, Nielsen.


Ravingdork wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
People still track experience, and don't just get leveled up when the GM or AP feels like it?

Most groups I've played with use milestone leveling ONLY for published adventures that tell you when to level up and fall back on XP for everything else (such as homebrew settings).

I've had enough GMs with power trips to not want my levels to be tied solely to their whim.

It's not like a GM can't milestone level with their own homebrew content reasonably. After all, if they can create an entire sandbox (or whatever), I imagine they'll have an idea on both encounter balancing (which takes levels and abilities into account) as well as level expectations for their over-arcing storyline.

While I can appreciate a more arbitrary system to prevent bad GMing of sending underleveled characters against obviously overpowered encounters, having to manually track it (which comes with an entire slew of errors) is a pain (far worse than inventory tracking, IMO), and GMs can overblow the EXP budget (without accounting for appropriate loot) quite easily, depending on what they send at you, creating issues of level 7 or 8 characters without +1 armors, for example. (Yes, there is ABP to prevent this, but that's optional.)


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I think it's pretty helpful in thinking about challenges as "what percentage of a level does this constitute." It's nice that 100 XP is "10% of a level" at every level.

You always did want to prevent players from going out of their way to "level up" by beating up weak opposition (like people regularly do in video games) so making the XP relate to "how challenged should the PCs be by this" makes a lot of sense.


The challenge rating and encounter budget system is more convenient than every monster having it's own individual XP. The only problem I have with it is XP falls off the table too quickly. Fighting a hoard of mooks that are
party-5 doesn't give you anything, even if it's an army. Of course, any reasonable gm would give something out for that. Just wish it was a little more fleshed out for those situations.


In theory, you could extend XP values above or below the table given, based on the pattern. Paizo chose not to for a reason (my assumption is that it gets less and less accurate, aside from such enemies being inappropriate to use in encounters), but the pattern is 2x XP per +2 levels, with the level in-between being 1.5x XP rather than sqrt(2)x XP, most likely for convenience.

So given a level-4 enemy is worth 10 XP, a level-6 enemy would be 5 XP, and a level-5 enemy would be the difference between the two, or 7.5 XP (alternatively, a level-5 enemy is worth half that of a level-3 enemy, which also works out to 7.5 XP). You'd most likely round it down to 7 XP if you had to, but I'd preferably send the level-5 enemies against the PCs in even numbers, for simplicity.

10 of them would be a little less than a Moderate encounter, although at higher levels I'd expect the size of their HP pools relative to the damage PCs can dole out to make combat a bit of a slog, compared to 5 level-3 enemies.


A CR -5 enemy should be 0 XP. Because that is how much of a challenge it is to take them out.


breithauptclan wrote:
A CR -5 enemy should be 0 XP. Because that is how much of a challenge it is to take them out.

Right, but enough will still take up time and resources from the party. Consider an enemy necromancer, a hoard of zombies threatens a town. That can still be a job for higher level characters, as long as there's other types of enemies in there to pose more of a threat.


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I dunno, like, if the PCs run into an enemy when they're all unarmored and drunk after a night on the town, I'd consider giving them more xp for the fight itself--since they're lower on resources--but not for an "encounter" that itself posed no threat. Unless you want to treat the zombie horde as more of a puzzle challenge. But really, why not give the encounter some actual stakes if you want XP to be involved?


Kobold Catgirl wrote:
I dunno, like, if the PCs run into an enemy when they're all unarmored and drunk after a night on the town, I'd consider giving them more xp for the fight itself--since they're lower on resources--but not for an "encounter" that itself posed no threat. Unless you want to treat the zombie horde as more of a puzzle challenge. But really, why not give the encounter some actual stakes if you want XP to be involved?

If it's just a straight up fight, the challenge posed by an army of cruddy mooks would mainly be distractions from the tougher enemies. Costing actions and whatnot. In a "defend the town" senario, a hoard of zombies poses a big threat to the civilians. The goal of defending could still be tough and worth xp.


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Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?


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Running that as a pile of individual CR -5 enemies would be tedious and not very challenging.

Try a Troop like a Shambler Troop or Skeleton Infantry.

As a plot device I had a severely unbalanced encounter. Temp NPCs that each player controlled two of (6 NPCs in total) against 2 CR +5 enemies. The CR +5's took them out in two rounds.


Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?

Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.


Making things into swarms is probably the better option I suppose.


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I agree with breithaupt--either add in other stakes (like NPC civilians) or combine the minor enemies into bigger more interesting enemies.


I do appreciate a moment where a party can absolutely annihilate lower level stuff. Blasters appreciate as many targets as possible. Just as long as that isn't the only thing they're doing, and it doesn't take too long, a smidge of XP for the trouble is all I'd do.

Liberty's Edge

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I really enjoy coming back to face the NPCs that humiliated my low-level PC after gaining enough levels (usually after a few in-game months) that they become barely a nuisance.


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aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

Liberty's Edge

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Temperans wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

"A lot" ?

Reading the boards, I did not feel it was so widespread, compared to say Free archetype.


Temperans wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

If you add a few spellcasters in there, the fight changes completely. Fear + Inspire Courage + Flanking and level -5 enemies are now way more challenging.

Mooks can be dangerous if properly built. At high level, they are even the main danger if they have spellcasting abilities.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

"A lot" ?

Reading the boards, I did not feel it was so widespread, compared to say Free archetype.

Well a lot is a way to say "a large number", there is no real size association outside of "a surprising amount".


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SuperBidi wrote:

If you add a few spellcasters in there, the fight changes completely. Fear + Inspire Courage + Flanking and level -5 enemies are now way more challenging.

Mooks can be dangerous if properly built. At high level, they are even the main danger if they have spellcasting abilities.

If you assume the enemies can use their buffs/debuffs than PCs can themselves use their own buffs. Which just makes it worse for the mook. Yeah they cast fear, the party succeeds and it's more of an annoyance. The party casts fear and most of the enemies crit fail. Flanking helps, except that its countered by the enemies going unconcious, which is easy when you can crit on a 15 or lower. Straight buff spells I wont deny. But most of those give only a +1, which at best counters a difference in potency rune.

At very high levels it might be different due to the amount of HP and some better effect on spells. But at that point the game behaves very different regarding levels. The base game is still levels 1-10 for most people (at least last time I checked most people didn't play high level games).


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Temperans wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

"A lot" ?

Reading the boards, I did not feel it was so widespread, compared to say Free archetype.

Well a lot is a way to say "a large number", there is no real size association outside of "a surprising amount".

What's a "large number"?

Sovereign Court

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Ravingdork wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
People still track experience, and don't just get leveled up when the GM or AP feels like it?

Most groups I've played with use milestone leveling ONLY for published adventures that tell you when to level up and fall back on XP for everything else (such as homebrew settings).

I've had enough GMs with power trips to not want my levels to be tied solely to their whim.

But how does this prevent GM power trips?

If the GM cuts out some filler encounters and doesn't replace them, you'd also be a bit of XP short and maybe lower level by the time you run into a boss.


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People really are going to try and derail this thread over the meaning of "a lot"? I don't know if I should be surprised or disappointed.

**************

In any case, Ascalaphus it really doesn't affect GM power trips as seen with all previous editions. What it does do however is affect the perception of it on the side of players.

If you keep killing things and the GM says that you aren't getting much XP you go "ah okay". But if the GM has no other reason other than "you all haven't gone to where I want you to be"... Yeah, that's not a good look. People hate rail roading, and milestone let's bad GM's make those rail roads into tunnels.


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For people wanting hoard of mooks xp because they threaten something other than the party, that's exactly what the accomplishments xp rewards are for. It's a good idea to use those alot anyway.


At this point, I just want to know how to do an apocalypse level zombie encounter that works.


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First you need to decide is this a combat encounter, a narrative encounter, a mix of both with different stages, etc.

One version I think I could enjoy: starts off with a defense at the outer wall as a combat encounter with a trigger that converts to a narrative encounter, that then switches back to the final stand combat encounter.

For the outer wall defense, use a large number of zombie troops, probably level - 2, but severe number worth. Give the defenders some advantageous terrain/cover. Have some number of gates (# of PCs + 1), once 2 gates are destroyed you switch the narrative retreat. This fight should be "unfair", you're meant to lose, but that's also the trope you're going for. You might damage or even kill a troop or two, but they just keep coming. You probably don't have the enemy commander/necromancer onsite yet. You can use GM fiat to add more troops every round if the party is doing too well. This can show the 'unwinnable' horde aspect. But you need to be careful that it doesn't cause the players to decide there's a trick to solving it. It definitely helps if in the character/town/defense planning discussion, its always felt that 'we'll hold them at the walls as long as we can, then fall back to the keep' or whatever. It helps for the players to know its a delaying action not a 'do or die last stand'.

Then you switch to the retreat through the city to the next defense point. Run it either a Chase or a Victory Point minigame. Tasks like deploying traps, rescuing civilians, hastily creating barricades, etc. I think the VP system probably fits a bit better, but you'll need more story telling to keep the intensity of the situation in people's mind rather than the 'gamification' that some VP systems bring out in players.

Use the number of victory points to scale the final encounter -- the more successful they are, the fewer enemy troops arrive and/or they arrive spread out in time/rounds or damaged, lots of options here.
Here' you probably one a level +1, maybe level +2 commander. 1-2 on-level stronger threats, and however many troops remain. Again probably aiming for about a severe encounter, possibly extreme if you want this to be the campaign finale. I'd still put some terrain in the PCs favor which lessens that severe/extreme to some degree. I would still find a narrative reason to let the PCs get a 10 min rest between the retreat and this final battle, otherwise the xp balance would really be thrown off. (or you could tie that to the 'rescuing civilians' portion of the retreat -- they're medics/priests/etc and grant the one-time effect of a 10-min rest, without taking 10 minutes).


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aobst128 wrote:
At this point, I just want to know how to do an apocalypse level zombie encounter that works.

Build Troops if individual zombies would be irrelevant to the characters involved, but there are massive numbers.


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aobst128 wrote:
At this point, I just want to know how to do an apocalypse level zombie encounter that works.

The earlier Knights of Everflame videos featured an undead hoard laying seige to a village that the heroes were defending. I think it was quite well handled.

Might make a good starting point.


aobst128 wrote:
At this point, I just want to know how to do an apocalypse level zombie encounter that works.

By 'encounter' you mean that the players should battle it and win?

Because by 'apocalypse level' that sounds more like a plot device or backdrop to the adventure and should be handled by plot and GM fiat.

But for an encounter, use the same encounter building guidelines as normal - just use Troop and Swarm creatures instead of individual ones. Sprinkle in a couple of individual tougher (on-level) undead enemies too.

So maybe a couple of CR -2 Undead Crow swarms, two CR -1 Zombie Shambler troops, and one CR +1 Skeleton general. Something like that.


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Temperans wrote:

People really are going to try and derail this thread over the meaning of "a lot"? I don't know if I should be surprised or disappointed.

**************

You're trying to reinforce your point with quantitative data, but then it appears that you have no data to back that up. The only disappointing, but not surprising, thing is that you're doing that for the n time and expecting apparently that nobody will squeeze you over this.

Liberty's Edge

The Raven Black wrote:
Temperans wrote:
aobst128 wrote:
Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Well, yes, adding in civilians would be a way to add in "actual stakes", like I said. As for the "mooks + tougher enemies" fight, the most I can see those mooks doing is maybe acting as effectively difficult terrain?
Maybe, if you go past -5. -5 enemies will still occasionally hit and might be worth worrying about if squishier party members get surrounded.

Not really the case with the base game unless the GM is rolling really good. Level-5 means that the enemy has -5 to -8 to hit and/or AC. A difference larger than that makes it so that the mook always fail to hit and half the time critically fail. Even the Wizard has more than enough AC to not worry, specially if you take into account the probable lack of appropriate striking runes.

This is why a lot of people use level without proficiency.

"A lot" ?

Reading the boards, I did not feel it was so widespread, compared to say Free archetype.

From my experience in PBP (or play by text and/or discord rather), local games, and the handful of pandemic VTT games I played I'd have to say that free archetype and prof without level are just about tied in terms of adoption to PF2 games. Certainly, it's a limited sample of like... I think 6 games over the last two years, but that's what I've seen myself.

I don't actually prefer prof without level at all for the games that I run and so far haven't even considered it as it makes way too much work on MY end of things adjusting just about every DC/AC/Check in the game and I'm selfish like that but from a player perspective I saw the value in reducing the number of things to worry about adding together.


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Temperans wrote:
People really are going to try and derail this thread over the meaning of "a lot"? I don't know if I should be surprised or disappointed.

Thank you! I was bewildered reading that. Some of the worst pedantry I've seen on the messageboards in weeks. Especialy considering how deeply subjective this is! It wasn't the primary point of the post, and bringing up personal experience is normal for capping off an otherwise mostly mathematical argument--everyone here does it. You know, "PF1 martials tend to have fewer narrative options than PF1 mages. In my game, we sometimes had issues between the fighter and..." "QUANTIFY 'SOMETIMES'. DEFINE 'ISSUES'. DID YOUR GAME FEATURE A CONTROL GROUP."


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I was aware of swarms but not troops. Seems like that's the solution to large scale battles. Makes being vastly outnumbered a possibility without being tedious. I think I'll make a kobold troop encounter. I was getting scared my party is getting too high level to ever see kobolds again.


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NielsenE wrote:
The main downside, is I feel it makes mixed level parties more awkward, if using XP.

This is easily solved with an Excel sheet. Calculate the XP individually per player, so that lower level characters get more XP, and rather than building an encounter for the group as an aggregate, see each CR individually.

Example:
Party L5, L5, L4, L3, L3
Enemies L5, L4

L5 PCs earn (40+30)*4/5 = 56 XP (Low)
L4 PC earns (60+40)*4/5 = 80 XP (Low-Moderate)
L3 PCs earn (80+60)*4/5 = 112 XP (Moderate-Severe)


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Are mixed-level parties a thing that people regularly encounter? If one player is for whatever reason a level behind the rest I'd just as soon "gift them a level" so everybody's on the same level.


aobst128 wrote:
I was aware of swarms but not troops. Seems like that's the solution to large scale battles. Makes being vastly outnumbered a possibility without being tedious. I think I'll make a kobold troop encounter. I was getting scared my party is getting too high level to ever see kobolds again.

On the other hand, never underestimate the value of a squad of elite crack kobold commandos. Kobolds, like humans, are not defined by their species power level. Of course, your mileage may vary whether this is desirable for your group. If your kobolds are established from a particular area, commandos might raise the question why the clan didn't roll them out the first time the heroes rolled through their number.

Still, it could work--maybe they're survivors from previous encounters, training to fight the PCs next time they come in. Maybe they're the top warriors of a heretofore unencountered clan in the region sent out, perhaps with a troop, to put a stop to the PCs. The main thing is that they have a cool story reason to exist and aren't just levelled up generic kobolds. As a recent thread has pointed out, random high level enemies with the flavour and trappings of old mook foes are unsatisfying. Distinguishing them with story beats us much more interesting if you're willing to establish the necessary justification.


Hasn't mixed level parties always been a problem?

I would think that with Proficiency without Level alternate rule, that the current system would be better able to handle it than previous editions could. Now the only major problem is that you can end up with a lower level Fighter with fewer HP than a higher level Wizard. Or a lower level Spellcaster that doesn't have high enough level spells to make it worth casting anything that does damage (buff/debuff only).


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breithauptclan wrote:

Hasn't mixed level parties always been a problem?

I would think that with Proficiency without Level alternate rule, that the current system would be better able to handle it than previous editions could. Now the only major problem is that you can end up with a lower level Fighter with fewer HP than a higher level Wizard. Or a lower level Spellcaster that doesn't have high enough level spells to make it worth casting anything that does damage (buff/debuff only).

Proficiency without level doesn't affect HP or spells per day. It does however affect hit/save chance, in that high level creatures wont auto succeed and mooks wont auto fail.

Also yes mixed level party have always caused problems as it makes it so the higher level character gets much better (usually).

At level it can make the difference between life and death.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Ooh, there's been at least one published encounter against level-5 creatures that might be of interest here. Each creature gave effectively 7.5 xp, or 15 / 2 which resulted in a 60 xp encounter against 8 of them.

Really, the entire XP/creature formula boils down to:
EXP(LV) = EXP(LV + 2) / 2

Using that you can get arbitrarily high/low exp counts, though staying within +/- 4 is almost certainly the best move.


thewastedwalrus wrote:

Ooh, there's been at least one published encounter against level-5 creatures that might be of interest here. Each creature gave effectively 7.5 xp, or 15 / 2 which resulted in a 60 xp encounter against 8 of them.

Really, the entire XP/creature formula boils down to:
EXP(LV) = EXP(LV + 2) / 2

Using that you can get arbitrarily high/low exp counts, though staying within +/- 4 is almost certainly the best move.

Good catch.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Are mixed-level parties a thing that people regularly encounter?

Not for me, not anymore at least. Not since, oh D&D 3.0, I guess?

Liberty's Edge

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The last time I played in a game where the GM didn't keep everyone the same level (putting PFS aside where XP doesn't work the same way regardless) was in ... I think 2004... and that was because one or more players were using Races that has Racial Hit Dice that "replaced" Class Levels while not actually adjusting the XP cost/calculations.

No idea if I am part of the majority here at all either or if my opinion is even really too valid though, so take it with a grain of salt because I gave up on using XP over a decade ago, milestone leveling has just been a clearly superior way or handling this in just about every situation imaginable and nearly every game I've played other than stuff where XP works WAY differently such as Cypher, also did away with XP as the group consensus has long been that it is sort of just... pointless bean-counting.


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A better question is why didn't they simply state at level 1 a PC starts with 1000 XP and levels up every 1000 XP thereafter, that way you don't need to faff about with resetting your XP back to 0 each time you level up.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:

Why do you need the same amount of xp for every level in 2e? [/qoute]

Because tracking XP is silly, so making it at all complicated is a waste of everyones time.

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