Adjusting CR/XP rewards for different power levels - Myth-Weavers

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Adjusting CR/XP rewards for different power levels

Adjusting CR/XP rewards for different power levels

Hi all, this is mostly a D&D 3.5 question but I suppose applies to any systems that use experience points and challenge ratings or similar things.

Have any of you ever tried adjusting the as-written CRs and associated XP rewards for your games based on the power level of the PCs, either individually and/or as a group?

I ask mostly because it seems like the average power/cunning level of PCs these days outstrips the crappy standard characters the sourcebooks assume players will have, and so the as-written XP rewards seem (to me) to be too easy to attain (without a lot of DM finagling to enhance creatures or go out of their way to make sure each encounter is difficult). Like, for example if I want a monster encounter to be difficult for many players anymore I have to soup them up a lot with increased HD and abilities and stuff, but then the CR goes up and thus the XP reward.

There have been times for certain groups I've had who were so powerful that I ended up simply lowering the CR of almost all their encounters by 1 or 2 so that the resulting XP reward I thought would be more in line with the difficulty they faced and effort they expended to defeat it.

Anyone else run into this problem, and how do you deal with it? I've DMed for a long time and am quite capable of building challenging encounters, but I don't enjoy having to heavily tweak every non-plot-critical encounter just to make it challenging enough to warrant the amount of XP they win.

Personally, I wouldn't bother. People level slowly enough in PbP anyway so it hardly matters if they gain a little extra XP here and there.

Of course, favourable or unfavourable circumstances could be factored in, and in terms of increasing the challenge I'd rather touch the encounters up (let the monsters take non-Core, less suboptimal options, etc) and use ones which surprise the players or make their most common tactics less effective, rather than just slapping extra HD and so on onto them.

If you feel people are gaining too much XP, I don't see what's wrong with lowering it, though. It just depends on what kind of game you're running; you could give no XP whatsoever for combat and only for quests or character development or whatever instead, if you wanted.

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