There are possibly huge gap between caster and non-caster characters in a party. Caster have plenty of options of getting rid of own experience in exchange for various boosts. Item creation, wish making, less expensive XP spells, permanenting useful spells for himself and comrades. That may made him lose XP faster than he can compensate with common adjusting formula for characters lagging in levels.

The general opinion is simple "just by all costful spells in scrolls". XP is much under-priced and should never be used if it can be substituted with money.

But I have two objections. At first there are companies that gives players not so much gold. At second versatility is a general rule for d&d. You may achieve similar effect with pretty much different means. That also reflects in fantasy world economy.

So I'd like to design some way for willing characters to share their XP. So fighter that could cast no spells would have a way to return favor to wizard that do much enchantment for him.

There is one thing that should be strictly avoided in designed house rule. Players may not be able to force or talk NPC to transfer XP from them. Neglecting this issue will quickly break game session.

So I decided to introduce house rule with two guards.

First guard is amount of XP that may be reallocated by once: 1/2 of total XP earned by the party between two rests.

Second guard is tedious ritual that only willing creature having much time to spare can afford.

Teamwork benefit from PHB2 suits for this perfectly. This ritual would require much time to establish and would occupy team roster slot that may by used for something else useful by parties that have another member specialization. So using the XP sharing benefit would have fair price in discarding other options.

But I need two advices.

  1. Is there any other more preferable way for XP sharing?

  2. What training should look like and what requirements should be put on the task leader and task members if I would opt to use the teamwork benefit path described above?


3 Answers 3


PHB2 covers this (as far as item creation). The WotC PHB2 Archive has a breakdown of how this works.

There are 3 "canon" ways of doing this, each with varying levels of "protection" for the "caster/creator" and the "investor".

  1. Spell: Transference (Universal)
  2. Magic Item: Talisman of Transference
  3. Feat: Ceremony feat (I would NEVER use this option as feats are already so valuable!..except as the free bonus feat given for those who meet those particular prereqs)

I don't want to violate copyright and just copy/paste the entire article so please see the link (or your copy of PHB2) for the breakdown of how each method works.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This options suit well for evil party: take bystander and extort magic item from them and give them option: buy them somewhere or craft with your service. Less evil party just can by weaponized XP in the same way \$\endgroup\$
    – ayvango
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks as though WotC anticipated your thought. As it dictates that the "investor" must be "willing". Quote: "Any attempt at coercion, through magical or mundane means, to transfer XP will automatically fail" This means even if you threaten them indirectly, ie family member, then the transfer will fail. Although the magical means is confusing to me..if I charm you into believing we're best friends does that count as coercion? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben-Jamin
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ This may be easily evaded. Party splits into good guys and bad guys. Bad guys intimidates investor not for getting service but for getting item whatever means used. Good guys offers the way for crafting this items. \$\endgroup\$
    – ayvango
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 22:33

I've had XP cost sharing come up with spells like Commune, where the party wants the spell cast but the caster is reluctant to pay the entire XP cost herself. I have a house rule to accommodate that.

Cost Sharing

For spells with an XP cost like Commune where the entire party wants to cast it in order to advance the plot, I take a vote. If everybody agrees, I split the cost equally amongst the entire party. Typically those costs are so low when split that it just comes out of the XP they'd gain in the session. If there's even one dissenting vote, this doesn't happen. (To ensure that quiet dissenters get a say, you can do this vote in secret by having everyone close their eyes, lower their heads, and raise a hand if they object. Then the players won't know who disagrees.)

With the players in my campaign, they have used it a few times and been happy to have it as an option. If you have more competitive players, it may not work as well for you.

NPCs can't do this. I've never had to come up with an explanation for why, as my players know this is just me trying to be nice to them and they've never asked. If they did, I'd come up with an excuse (probably something about the shared dangers the party has faced allowing them to be more closely in tune with each other, or something like that).

Item Creation Cost Transfer

In your case you're talking about item creation, and I'd do something like this instead:

If a PC with an item creation feat is making say a sword for a Fighter, I'd allow the Fighter to pay the XP instead of the item creator. That requires the Fighter to participate in the item creation process, and takes them out of action for the same amount of time as the item creator is occupied doing the work. The really important thing is that the XP gets paid by someone, and if it's the person who will use the item instead of the one who creates it, I'm okay with that.

Once again, PC only. NPCs want to get paid for their work and wouldn't go along with such a deal even if they could. You can come up with a reason for why they can't, or simply have them refuse out of guild rules and if the PCs use magic to persuade them, have the law get involved.

Doing something like this does run the risk of players figuring out how to abuse it, but that depends on your players.

Your Players' Input Matters

Your idea has more built in safeguards than mine does. With my players, I don't need those safeguards so I'm not concerned about it, as I know that they won't try to abuse it. If you are not as confident in what your players would do, having some safeguards in place to limit how this can be used and who it can be used with is a sensible precaution.

There's no single best or preferable way to do a house rule like this, as house rules are meant to be tailored to suit your game and the people at the table. If they want the ability to do this, I'd sit down with them and explain your idea. See what they think, and work out something between you that everybody likes and understands.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I notice an abuse: splitting XP between members allows them cast much more powerful spell then is allowed for single caster at his level (some spells and rituals are protected by the rule "character can not spend so much XP that he lose current level") \$\endgroup\$
    – ayvango
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ And I think about good addition to rule "another member should pay" - you may create items that requires XP upon being cast not crafted \$\endgroup\$
    – ayvango
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ayvango Yep. As I mentioned, there's definitely room for abuse in what I'm doing. I'm not concerned because my players won't try to take advantage of it in a case like this. Some other players might, and the rules would have to be created with that in mind if it's a potential issue at your table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tridus
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 20:17

Some prestige classes such as Artificer and Fleshwarper give an XP Reserve to offset the XP requirement for item creation. This will help the person not be penalized for making items and won't hinder the other people for sharing the xp costs either.

As far as casting spells with XP requirements, the DM could award "Bonus XP" to the caster for his "sacrifice" that benefitted the party. Rather than everyone losing xp, the DM could always award the lost xp from the spell being cast as a bonus award at the end of the roleplaying session.

The two examples above would remove the gap of xp costs that some characters may incur. Of course, the character that burns xp to help other people all the time, he could ask the DM if it is ok for him to take the Item Familiar feat, which would give him a 10% boost to all xp rewards.

A good way to share the xp costs regarding item creation, is to have the willing parties also be involved in the item creation for example. If the fighter or barbarian wants a nice magical sword, then have them aid another or use their craft to make the item, the magic user use their spells, they divide the gp cost and then divide the xp cost. This way, the people that play together, pay together.


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