As a sort of continuation to this question, how should experience be distributed in a party of varying levels?
In the basic rules for creating an encounter, it poses the scenario of 1 bugbear and 3 hobgoblins. The base experience granted for this is 500xp. Add a mutiplier of x2 because there is between 3 and 6 monsters, gives this encounter a difficulty of 1000xp.
Let the party be made up of 4 characters, level 5, 4, 3, and 2.
The experience thresholds for this party are:
- Easy: (250 + 125 + 75 + 50) = 450
- Medium: (500 + 250 + 150 + 100) = 1000
- Hard: (750 + 375 + 225 + 150) = 1500
- Deadly: (1100 + 500 + 400 + 200) = 2200
This places this encounter right at Medium difficulty. However, the bugbear, being a base 200xp monster, is deadly for the level 2 character in the party, and the 3 total hobgoblins are an easy encounter for the level 5.
If we apply the multiplier to these base numbers, then the single bugbead becomes a Deadly encounter for the level 2 and 3, and the 3 hobgoblins just squeeze past as a Medium encounter for the level 5.
With this in mind, the characters (assuming a let's kill everything in sight mindset) would likely split up to take on the challenges. It's probably not smart for the level 2 to go straight for the bug bear, as even a basic attack with it's morning star (avg. 11) would cripple the character. So, the higher level characters would likely focus on the bugbear, and the lower on the hobgoblins.
Assume now that they are successful in killing everything. Some bruises here and there, but overall everyone is okay. From the previously mentioned question, all characters should receive 125xp from the encounter (500 base xp / 4 characters).
Is there any rule that determines that the experience should be split up differently? Since the combat was more difficult for the level 2 and 3 characters than the 4 and 5? What if the gap was wider? Say a level 10, 9, 8, and 3, but the level 3 character never had a chance to attack, because the previous 3 characters essentially disintegrated whatever was there.