I am likely missing something very obvious but I cannot find a reliable way to figure out how much XP to give my players for encounters anywhere, currently I'm using a factor of 5 encounters of a single characters level is exactly enough for them to level.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ It's in the DMG. The information is explicitly not in the SRD, since it's not OGL. Don't have access to the book right now, so I don't know what page specifically. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a DMG or are you using just the SRD? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:47

3 Answers 3


There are online encounter calculators that do the work for you. The actual number of CR-appropriate encounters necessary to level up is 13.3.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I use dndwiki.com entirely for information and thus is the only other site relevant to dnd I can access easily \$\endgroup\$
    – Dshard
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 6:10

You can calculate the x.p. gained yourself

This is a formula that gives out the x.p. gained by one character for defeating a given monster. CR ist the Challenge Rating of the monster. Number of party members includes allies who have participated in the encounter.

\$ \dfrac{\left(300 \times \text{character level} \times 2^{(\text{CR - character level}) \times 0.5}\right)}{\text{number of party members}} \$

Half of the results of this formula are identical to the offical table, the rest is close.

You can generate a spreadsheet by copying the following line into the first cell: =ROUND(($A2*300)*2^((B$1-$A2)*0,5); -1) The table you get by this means has the CR in the columns and the character level in the rows.

If you feel uncomfortable with such a complicated formula, the following procedure gives out roughly the same result:

  1. Multiply the character level with 300.
  2. For each step that the CR of the monster is above the character level, multiply the result with 1,42, repeating the process several times if necessary. For each step that the CR of the monster is below the character level, divide by 1,42.
  3. Divide the result by the number of party members plus allies.

What you get are the x.p. gained by one character for defeating one certain monster.

There is one major exception: If CR and character level differ by more than 7 the x.p. given is at the DM's discretion only. By defeating weak monsters the PC's should normally not gain any experience, defeating monsters of CR 8 steps above their character level should be impossible in most cases, so how much experience is given out is not a mechanical question.

There two minor exceptions: the values given for CR 1 are lowered in the official table, character levels 1-3 have a single line, which mostly follows the numbers of character level 3.

Effects of the formula:

  1. If the party is comprised of several characters of different levels, the x.p. gained by each character differs.

  2. Higher-leveling characters get less x.p. from an encounter than low-leveling characters.

  3. For each two steps the CR rises, the x.p. double, and vice versa.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What does the 0,5 represent? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a pretty close approximation, like using sqrt(2) instead of 4/3 for odd and 3/2 for even (what the tables actually use). This makes the even levels a bit less friendly, but also makes the non-matching awards more accurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 0:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ might put a spread sheet equivalent in there, like =ROUND(((300*$A2)*2^((B$1-$A2)*0.5)), 0) where A is the level column and 1 is the CR row \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you - I have edited most of your hints in - but I still do not understand the 4/3 and 3/2 rule you mentioned, though I see the differences in my table and the official table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Giorin
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ my bad, was thinking of the pf tables. They increase at 4/3 and 3/2, instead of sqrt(2), where they are the same for odd levels. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 0:11

currently I'm using a factor of 5 encounters of a single characters level is exactly enough for them to level

According to the DMG, 75xp per level for a given encounter should equate to ~13.33 encounters per level (which correlates with the PHB progression; where level * 1000 additional xp is required to achieve the next level.)

If you wish to use a factor of 5 encounters per level instead, then you need to multiply the award by 13.33 / 5, or 2.66. To achieve that rate, you should be rewarding 200 xp per level to each player per encounter.

Alternatively, you could lower the progression requirements to level * 376 additional xp for the next level, but the math is probably easier to adjust the individual encounter reward to 200 xp per level.

I should add, however, this will also affect the wealth gain, meaning, if you award the standard treasure per encounter, pretty soon your players will have less than anticipated wealth, which can significantly lower their odds for a given Encounter Level. Thus those awards would also need to be increased by the same factor; 2.66. If you look at table 3-3 in the DMG, that's what I'm referring to. Each encounter should yield that value * 2.66. That table (and most others) are also written with parties of 4 in mind, so if your group is not 4 players, you need to take that into account too.

The standard 13.33 encounters per level is a bit fast (it's the fastest progression listed for Pathfinder, along with "medium" at 20 and "slow" at 30, if I recall correctly.) If you are using any commercial adventures, and you are using 5 encounters to level, your players will likely level before they are able to complete significant parts of the adventure, possibly making the remaining encounters much more trivial and anti-climactic. In the end, the bookkeeping of experience, treasure and level gain will be much simpler if you use the DMG tables.

Having said that, I use the UA Variant, Level-Independent XP Awards. I also have a spreadsheet with number of party members and levels, treasure, experience awards and advancement tables, so I can tweak one number and it modifies all the tables.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .