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I've been incorporating some houserules to give my 4e game a more old-school feel, as I would probably be running a 1e game if my players didn't love having powers so much.

One thing I'd love to do is figure out a good way of doing treasure XP, but I've had trouble figuring out how I want to do it.

I'd like the XP per level to be roughly 75% treasure and 25% combat (I also throw in other XP rewards when appropriate, but don't plan those--they're extra). On the combat side, it's fairly easy: I just cut monster XP by 3/4.

The hitch with using the parcel system with treasure XP is that monetary treasure per level doesn't scale the same as XP required per level. That's fine, as I don't really like the parcel system or 4e economy much.

What I'd like to do, I think, is use a roughly-1e treasure distribution model and keep the 4e XP curve. (I'm also using the DMG2 suggestion to radically trim magic item distribution by building those bonuses into character progression.)

I know I'm house-ruling a lot, and you might not have an answer for my specific set of houserules, but I'm interested to see if anyone else has incorporated treasure XP into 4th edition.

What I'm NOT looking for are reasons not to use treasure XP or suggestions for other XP systems. I'd be glad to discuss why I like treasure XP, but I'm not currently wanting to do session-based leveling or anything like that.

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4 Answers 4

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Aside from the obvious (have you considered simply adding the power system to 1st or 2nd edition, such that everyone's happy?), I'd say the easiest way to incorporate this and keep your players happy is:

  1. Adjust the leveling tables to match your XP (including treasure) allotment schedule.
  2. Combine the treasure XP with whatever unit (combat, session, role-playing, story advancement) your players are most comfortable with.
  3. Take comfort in knowing that you're getting exactly what you want, while your players are (most likely) none the wiser! :)
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Part of the point (at least for me) of treasure XP is the players knowing that's how the get XP, as it creates different goals and motivations in play. Other than that, I think that's what I need to do. For some reason I've been wary of changing the XP curves. Sacred cows, I guess. –  Numenetics Aug 20 '10 at 2:15
    
That's all good -- everyone has his own style of play. :) However, my question regarding the curves is: Does your XP schedule fit the curves appropriately? If so, then don't change anything and keep on truckin.' If not, then you probably need to change the curves, or change the XP->treasure ratio, to keep everything balanced appropriately. –  John Rudy Aug 20 '10 at 2:25
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BTW, off-topic, I would be very interested in your opinions on treasure-based XP. (I was never a fan of it, but I wanted to keep that opinion out of the answer. Feel free to e-mail me -- my contact info is in my profile -- if you want to share that; I'd love to see the point of view on it!) –  John Rudy Aug 20 '10 at 2:25
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I don't mind tossing it in as an aside, I just noticed when looking at forum threads for ideas that these questions often got sidetracked onto the broader philosophical question of XP awarding. Basically, I think of treasure XP as generic quest XP (i.e., it's not tied to a specific plot point). It also means that players don't want to kill everything in sight, but instead try to think of creative ways to get to the interesting things. That is how I feel adventurers should behave, not just looking for things to kill. –  Numenetics Aug 20 '10 at 2:37
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@Numenetics is right. PCs will do what the XP system rewards; the more of the XP is for treasure, the more PCs will be greedy. If XP is for killing things, PCs will be violent. (Personally, I prefer to make them problem-solvers by awarding XP for advancing the plot, but that's an aside, as it's irrelevant to this question.) –  Tynam Apr 10 '11 at 12:33

You are going to need to come up with a factor for equating the gold piece value with treasure. Remember in Original D&D there were no guidlines as to how much XP to award until Supplement I Greyhawk, even then that was just for monsters. It wasn't until AD&D that it really given a set of concrete values. In AD&D 1st the XP value was always less than the XP Value for items. There was no set formula. OSRIC, a retro-clone of AD&D 1st, recommend you give 1/10 of the GP value of the item as experience. If it is sold then you get the full bonus of 1XP = 1 GP value.

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All good points--I've mostly only looked at 1e and OSRIC. One thing that does bug me about needing to sell items to get the XP is that in my limited experience (no pun intended) it tends to lead to tedious bargaining with shopkeepers. I know some people love that, but neither I nor my players do, so I've just handed out the XP upon getting the treasure back to "base," or out of the dungeon. As this usually includes multiple items it doesn't preclude appraisal. –  Numenetics Aug 20 '10 at 2:33

Personally I would stick to the 'Gold Standard' 1gp = 1xp.

While this won't directly affect your xp distribution, it will affect it in play because all of a sudden there's is this (hopefully) easier way of getting Xp. It should help shift the emphasiss on hack slash into hide loot.

As for Magic Items, I would not give Xp for them, even if sold. You get the Xp for looting/stealing gold not haggling businessmen. If the pc's can't bank their gold and get xp for their interest (and they shouldn't) and dont have to pay xp to buy magic items (they shouldn't, xp docking is tedious) then the sale and management of funds and items shouldn't get them rewards either.

Tedious Data Point Here.

My level 6 group ran threw my mega dungeon by cutting right to the last encounter and the treasure.

They earned about 4000 xp and something like 2000gp in various bits (about half art items). With the gold is xp rule they probably would have fought less bringing it to a 1:1 or less ratio which is what you want.

Hope that is helpful

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Hm. What if you adjust the amount of gold to be whatever it needs to be to make the existing leveling curve work out appropriately... then soak up any excess gold by charging them for training? Training's another big 1e trope, and I think it's actually a very useful one. It provides you with a slew of built in plot hooks, and it can assist you in making sure the players are engaged with the world their characters live in.

"Sorry, you can't get trained this level -- your mentor seems to be missing."

"So, the other adventuring group is headed off to the mountains... now. Do you want them to get a head start, or wait on leveling?"

That sort of thing.

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