Friday, April 30, 2010

Leveling Up

So the Borderlands has run through 4 sessions in total now (the first being an introductory without much adventuring), and I've been tabulating the experience now that they've actually gone back to town. I don't know about you, but I'm found the experience gained up to this point a little low; the most gained by someone who's been there through all three adventure sessions is 311 exp. Is this normal or have I been too stingy on gold rewards...looking back they accumulated perhaps 200 gp altogether (jewellery included), with another perhaps 500 for selling stuff (mostly rare books). Looking back my one mistake up to this point seems to have not bee to roll for random treasures for the wandering monsters; the treasure placed was taken directly from the B1 module. Maybe its just me though; looking at things if it continues at this rate it could take around 20 sessions to get to second level, this seems beyond the patience threshold to me. I have a feeling I may need to offer a little larger treasure incentive, with a larger risk too of course.


  1. From page B61 of the Basic Set:

    "PLAYER ADVANCEMENT: If no one has reached the 2nd level of experience in three or four adventures, the DM should consider giving more treasure."

    I have always interpreted this as three or four game sessions.

  2. Do not forget to add the "experience" factor too. My first day on the job I am still learning but by week two I should have a handle on things. If the party is adventuring well but not accomplished much than your 311 is about right. If they have accomplished a lot or overachieved than give them an xp bump is well worth it or allow a little leeway since you are not rolling for randoms treasure.

  3. Keeping them lean and hungry for their first big score is a good thing, but you might want to drop in a few clues as to where a particular treasure beyond the dreams of avarice is located. ;)

  4. I agree with JB, but I would note that there's a difference between placing treasure and handing it to the PCs.

  5. JB, I missed that one in the book, is it in the Moldvay, or Mentzer version. I was researching some forums looking for opinions and one seemed to have people mentioning the 8 to ten sessions mark. Not that I mind, but it did seem a little steep from a players point of view.

  6. I bet that quote meant adventures as in one adventure module and not session. Back when it was written the assumption (and reality for me) was that people gamed longer and more often once or more a week, 8+ hours. Also, people expected to level slowly. Lvl 9 was the "end", earlier for some demi-humans. Today many games are 1/mo, only 4+ hours. On top of that many players miss a session here or there due to RL commitments.

    Dumping more treasure is not the answer (although the amount of treasure you mention seems low to me)
    It's necessary to multiply standard xp rewards to achieve the pace group desires. Sounds like you should do 4x.

    And just to check since I didn't notice you mentioning it, you are giving xp for monsters defeated, right?

    Wandering monsters in general shouldn't have treasure. Unless players track back to monster's lair and it's friends ;)

  7. @ Reg: the quote is from Moldvay, though if you have Mentzer's Companion there's a bit in the first couple pages of the DM book discussing how much XP to give out based on the desired rate of advancement and the number of sessions you want to play.

    @ Norm: I'm not sure it's meant to be one session = one adventure module. I know there is enough XP hordes in Moldvay's X2:Castle Amber to boost a party several levels...but the module might take multiple game sessions to complete.