How to Calculate the Standard Experience Point Award
All experience point awards are based on the “standard award” system. To calculate the standard award for an adventure do the following:
1. Find the average level of all characters playing that adventure For example, if the adventuring party is a 6th level sorcerer, a 6th level paladin, a 5th level ranger, and a 4th level fighter then the average party level would be 5. I.E. ( 6 + 6 + 5 + 4 ) / 4 = 5.25 or 5 because you always round down.
2. Determine the Challenge Rating Consider the adventure in comparison to the characters. What, in your opinion as Game Master, is the Level of Opposition? Is it No Match, Inferior, Equal, Superior, or Overwhelming? Examples for each are:
- No Match: He Man vs a street thug ( Challenge Rating = Average Party Level -2 )
- Inferior: Man at Arms vs Trap Jaw ( Challenge Rating = Average Party Level – 1 )
- Equal: He Man vs Skeletor ( Challenge Rating = Average Party Level )
- Superior: Prince Adam vs Trap Jaw ( Challenge Rating = Average Party Level + 1)
- Overwhelming: Random Palace Guard vs Skeletor ( Challenge Rating = Average Party Level +2 ).
Using our example, the adventuring party vs the renegade kobolds was Inferior. So the Challenge Rating is a 4.
3. Determine the Standard Group Award from the Challenge Rating Take the Challenge Rating and look it up on the Experience Point Awards chart. Using our example, a CR ( Challenge Rating ) of 4 is 1200 experience points. So the Standard Group Award for our example adventure is 1200 xp.
4. Distribute the Standard Group Award Now, for every encounter the heroes succeed at, grant their party one Standard Group Award. If they defeat the Kobolds ( it does not matter how ), give them 1 standard award. If they fail to find and disarm the traps, do not give them a standard award for that.
Using a basic “5 room dungeon”, the heroes found the dungeon entrance and defeated the trap, they did NOT defeat the trap in room 2, they did defeat the dungeon guardian in room 3, they did NOT defeat the trap in room 4, and they DID defeat the kobold army in the final room. That would mean the party gets 3 standard awards. So, 3 × 1600 = 4800 experience points for the entire adventuring party. Or 1200 xp per character for the adventure.
What if, as the game master, I want to give an award for good roleplaying to a single player? Great question! Just take the standard group award, divide by the total number of characters in the adventuring party. The result is the individual role playing award. Using our example above, to award a good roleplaying award to the sorcerer, you would take the standard award of 1600, divide by 4 to get 400. This means the sorcerer gets a standard roleplaying award of 400 xp for that adventure!