Sunday, March 16, 2014

One XP Chart to Rule Them All

+Kevin Chenevert made a great suggestion about moving everyone to one XP chart, and adjusting each class to reach some modicum of balance. One of the things I like about B/X is that it doesn't actually strive for perfect balance, and that some classes simply have some wonky abilities. However, one of the things I had not considered was that the existing XP charts were built under the assumption that progression would continue through level 36 - so the XP chart caps out in the hundreds of thousands of xp (okay, just over 1 million for the magic user), but continues on tremendously in the projected later companion book. Since I'm capping progression at 14, I should probably aim to slow progression at least some at the high end. I don't know if I want to keep doubling necessarily, but a slower progression than 120k per level seems in order if 14 is all you can ever get...

As the Imagination Movers would say, 'let's brainstorm'!

3rd edition was the first place where the one xp chart to rule them all was rolled out. My copy of 3.0 (I never owned any later editions... so that's my point of reference) has an advancement chart that sets 1,000 for level 2, and then a +1k step per level thereafter (3k for level 3, 6k for level 4, etc), capping out at (for my purposes) 91k for level 14. In large part, this is influenced by the comparative xp rewards based on level of the characters vs. CR of the monster(s). In short, a different formula than I want to use. A level 10 monster is always going to be worth the same xp, whether the party is level 5 or level 15 when they kill it. 3E doesn't work this way.

I do like the idea of getting out of level 1 a little more quickly... and then immediately slowing down. What about this progression? And, what about allowing characters to keep rolling hit dice through level 14? Since it's only 5 more levels anyway, and they're going to be relatively hard to come by, I don't see the harm in a few extra hps at those higher levels. I think Gary and co. were concerned about that 28th level fighter with 28d10 hp... we don't have that problem here. Even with perfect rolling and CON 18, the level 14 fighter is going to have 154 hit points; with an average roll of 5, this fighter has 112 hp, which is not a game breaker by most measures. I'm ALMOST tempted to go as low as 500 xp for level 2 (moving the whole chart down one shift). This would cap the game out at 1 million xp (a nice, round number). I've found that in the play testing we've done, an average session has netted each adventurer about 200 xp. This would still mean that it would take over a session to level a character, and I could pull my xp chart back a bit (I kept tweaking it to get progression to speed up). I've already scaled treasure way back, so that's been balanced pretty well... 

Level
XP Required
Hit Dice
1
0
1d
2
1,000
2d
3
2,000
3d
4
4,000
4d
5
7,500
5d
6
15,000
6d
7
30,000
7d
8
60,000
8d
9
125,000
9d
10
250,000
10d
11
500,000
11d
12
750,000
12d
13
1,000,000
13d
14
1,250,000
14d