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In an old tweet from Mearls, he states the Dungeon Master Guide would contain a "quick progression XP table" (as well as a slow progression, by the way). However, the section Experience Points (p. 260) of the DMG has nothing of sorts, and I do not remember seeing anything like that in the DMG. Instead, we have alternative ways of rewarding experience or levels, such as Milestones, but these aren't clearly "slower" or "faster", they are entirely different approaches. Similarly, the other book that has lots of DM tools, Xanathar Guide's to Everything, also does not contain any information on alternative slower/faster progressions (at least I could not find any).

However, a fast/slow, official/playtested table would still be interesting, from my point-of-view. There were campaigns where I wanted the PCs to level a little bit slower, and others I wanted them to level faster, and then I would just guess some numbers that made sense for me and work on it on the run, which is not the best approach for a problem usually.

So, is there any published table on Experience/Level, or, equivalently, Experience/CR (i.e., in a quick progression style, monsters with the same CR would reward more experience, and in a slower mode, less experience)? If not, was something like this printed in any Unearthed Arcana, at least?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "There were campaigns where I wanted the PCs to level a little bit slower, and others I wanted them to level faster" — milestone xp / leveling was created specifically to make characters level up as fast or as slow as campaign requires. Could you explain why that's not a solution for you? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jun 26 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot It's not that it is not a solution, and I prefer using milestones either way, but it is an entirely different approach, as I said. For example, it will not fit for a group with a mindset of "I like to kill monsters and I want to be rewarded for that", but nonetheless that wants a slower or faster pace on the progress. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 26 at 22:38
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Odds are, it never made it past playtesting or the Vorpal Editor

The tweet in question came out (07/14) before any of the official playbooks (PHB was 08/14 and the DMG was 12/14). So it would seem likely that WotC had planned for such a thing, but it got scrubbed before launch for unknown reasons. Perhaps a tweet to JC reminding him would answer that question.

Options?

If you want ultimate control over the speed of leveling then use Milestones (DMG, p261). In that way, you set the pace. This also gives the feeling of "chapters" to a character's life.

Having rid all the basements in the town from rats, the party is thrown a celebration. Congrats, you are all now level 2.

This also helps if you have players missing sessions. If using straight XP, then you'll have people fall behind. With milestones, they all stay at the same level. I personally prefer Milestones in my campaigns.

What else?

Adventure League play uses a Milestone variant based on hours of play. The system changes from season to season but the basics are that for ever four hours of play you gain a level until you reach level 5. After that it's eight hours of play. Players can opt not to level up if they want to stay in a lower tier, for instance if they are waiting for a friend to catch up. 1

But I want XP!

The only way to slow down or speed up leveling and still keep XP numbers is to either change the spacing between levels (Eww, lots of math), or add a "multiplier" to XP given (Ehh, simpler math).

Since changing the rate at which characters level is so 1st-Edition 2, I would recommend using multipliers. It's a similar concept to how some video games do it.

So let's use a Gnoll as an example: Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

When characters are lower level, Gnolls can be a threat. But at higher levels, they become fodder. So depending on how close the APL is to the CR of the monsters, they get full value, or a multiplier of (x1). After a while, the party levels up and the multiplier becomes (x.75) or worth only 75xp per kill. Then (x.5) and they are worth 50xp, and so on. There is a diminishing return for fighting Gnolls. So the party still gets XP, but at a much slower rate.

So to slow the parties leveling, apply a fractional multiplier to all their XP. To speed it up, make it a value between 1 and 2.

I'm no good at multiplying!

Then make all monster XP half, but add on bonus XP for situations.

  • 5 Gnolls = 500 xp, halved = 250xp
  • It was an ambush so the party gets an extra 200xp

Basically, it defaults to slow, but you can add bonuses to make up the difference and speed things up when needed.

Disclosure: I've only ever used standard XP and Milestone leveling because I'm okay with those systems. So I cannot attest to the other methods other than many RPG video games use a multiplier system and it seems to work for them.


1 This is just the basics. I'm not trying to explain the whole thing so please hold off on comments/downvotes explaining why my explanation is wrong.

2 Look it up. In 1st-Edition, each class needed different XP caps per level. So a Fighter leveled faster than a Magic-User even if they had the same number of XP.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would be wary about mentioning the AL system - as you said, it changes every season. IIRC, the XP per hour of play was introduced only in Season 8. At least I would put a "currently" uses, for clarification. And the point of the question was exactly to figure out if there is any published material (or at least playtested house rules) on what should the multipliers be on your "I want XP" section. (The reason being most likely they should inherently be different according to the level/tier) \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 27 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a note, what you call "milestones" isn't what the DMG calls milestones. That's closer to the "leveling without XP" section. True milestone XP is giving chunks of XP for story beats (can be combined with monster XP), but still using the regular charts. Leveling without XP just says "ok, you're level Y now". \$\endgroup\$ – Benjamin T Hall Jun 27 at 16:33

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