My party negotiated a truce with the Nothic in LMoP, then shortly afterwards the wizard found the sword hidden away and decided to try and steal it. The Nothic noticed and engaged in combat, at which point it was killed. In the guidebook, it mentions that the party gains 450 xp for killing or negotiating with the Nothic, but what if they did both?


2 Answers 2


XP are for overcoming an obstacle. No matter how you overcome it (sneak around, negotiation, killing), you get XP.

the wizard found the sword hidden away and decided to try and steal it. The Nothic noticed and engaged in combat,...

The obstacle is overcome only once in the description: because they failed in stealing the sword or negotiating for it, the obstacle had not been cleared yet, no XP were to be awarded as the Nothic was still an obstacle. Only the killing actually overcame the obstacle of the Nothic stopping them from getting the sword.

So the XP are only awarded for the killing.

Even if they had negotiated and then killed the Nothic, they would not have gotten the XP twice: that is an inclusive or, which means "(A) OR (B) OR (A&B)".

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    \$\begingroup\$ My interpretation was that the Nothic itself was the obstacle, finding the sword is just a bonus. XP is awarded for getting past the Nothic one way or another, not for finding the sword. The answer is still correct, but I'd award the XP after the truce was negotiated since that already overcomes the obstacle. But PCs don't get double XP for pissing the Nothic off and overcoming the same obstacle again. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2021 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NuclearHoagie good point, if the sword is actually a bonus and not the means they came for. In either way, they pretty much Fed up and had to overcome the same obstacle again. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jun 17, 2021 at 16:36

Only once.

We can examine this with some basic logic. The last sentence of the encounter states:

Divide 450 XP equally among the characters if the party defeats the nothic or negotiates a truce with it.

We can parse this more precisely. Make the following definitions:

A: the party defeats the nothic

B: the party negotiates a truce with it

C: Award 450 XP

The statement quoted above is logically equivalent to:

If (A or B) then C.

From here it should be clear that even if A and B are true, we only award the XP one time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly right. There are some quests/encounters which offer bonus XP for accomplishing extra objectives, though those conditions are explicitly spelled out. But if not following a module that exactly, it can be another option for parties that do more than the listed objective(s) which the DM feels deserve something extra. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Jun 16, 2021 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thomas Markov says I'll attack this with logic Thomas Markov rolls a 19 DM says Hit \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16, 2021 at 18:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ The idea that "or" means "inclusive or" in English is wrong. It means inclusive or exclusive depending on context, and you didn't analyze the context, but just blindly asserted it means inclusive or. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Jun 17, 2021 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Yakk: Exclusive OR would mean "award XP zero times," which is clearly absurd. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Jun 17, 2021 at 16:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin: Yakk's point is that sometimes an English sentence is constructed to mean you must do X or Y, but most not or should not do both. In this case, the meaning is clearly inclusive OR, based on context and the absurdity of awarding XP zero times if you do both. Also, this answer isn't claiming that "or" in English always means inclusive-OR, so that's fine. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 17, 2021 at 20:30

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