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XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:56 pm
by acodispo
Question for the referees out there. Relevant section of the v4 rules:

Experience Points (XP) are earned primarily by recovering (not merely finding) treasure. 1 XP is awarded per gold piece worth of treasure recovered though the division of any such riches, and hence any XP, is entirely up to the players.

When allocating XP from treasure recovered, do you consider magic items? If so, how do you determine the GP value (and thus XP reward) for any particular item?

I can see two possibilities:

  1. Magic items are not considered treasure for purposes of XP awards. Treasure for which XP is awarded would include Copper, Silver, Gold, Gems, & Jewelry, but not Maps or Magic Items.
  2. Magic items (and maps?) are considered treasure, but no guidelines are given for determining their value.
#1 seems to make more sense just given the information that is provided in the rules (i.e. no GP value for magic items), but I'm curious how other refs handle it.

Thanks in advance!

Re: XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:59 am
by waysoftheearth
Hey Acopispo, thanks for your interest.

I guess the short answer is: it depends on what you want from your game.

FWIW--there are no XP values for magic items in the original, 1974 booklets. However, as time went by other players clearly came up with similar questions because in 1975, EGG published the following response to that question in The Strategic Review #1.2:

Low value should be placed upon magical items as far as experience is concerned, as such items will be highly useful in gaining stilI more treasure. Thus, in the Greyhawk campaign a magic arrow (+1) is worth a maximum of 100 points experience, a +1 magic sword with no special abilities is valued at a maximum of 1,000 points, a scroll of spells at either 500 or at 100 points per level per spell ( so a 6th level spell is worth a maximum of 600 experience points), a potion is worth between 250 and 500 points, and even a genie ring is worth no more than about 5,000 points maximum.


What seems curious to me is that while EGG begins by justifying why magic items shouldn't be worth much XP, he then immediately goes on to mete out XP values of up to 5,000 for a genie ring!

In my own games I've tried both approaches. I've found it's simpler to give zero XP for magic-items; it makes a whole bunch of work and potential problems vanish (i.e., figuring out what everything should be worth, and then what happens when a PC gets XP for an item then gives it away? Or dies so that another PC can then recover the same item?).

Not sure if this answers your question entirely, but I hope it helps some :)

Re: XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:07 pm
by acodispo
Ways, you are a sage! How did you even find that reference? :-)

This certainly answers my question as far as two refs are concerned (yourself, and EGG). I'd still be curious to know if others have different solutions, but this certainly gives me some food for thought.

I suspect I'll go with your solution, with EGG's motivation: magical items are so useful, they are their own reward, and recovering them does not grant XP. :-)

Re: XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:52 pm
by Makofan
acodispo wrote:Ways, you are a sage! How did you even find that reference? :-)

This certainly answers my question as far as two refs are concerned (yourself, and EGG). I'd still be curious to know if others have different solutions, but this certainly gives me some food for thought.

I suspect I'll go with your solution, with EGG's motivation: magical items are so useful, they are their own reward, and recovering them does not grant XP. :-)


I've played it both ways, and have not decided which is better. In my current DD campaign, items do not give xp. In my Verbosh campaign, they do - it helps accelerate level gain, which I desired in that game

Re: XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:16 pm
by waysoftheearth
I agree with Makofan that it can be desirable to accelerate the rate of XP gain, particularly in the PBP format where progress can seem glacial. For that one, I've settled on awarding 1 XP per sp recovered. I've also experimented with different exchange rates between coins to "balance" this change somewhat.

For example, in my Hinterlands game the exchange rate has been 36 cp = 6 sp = 1 gp for many years; this makes 1 gp = 6 XP. My current face to face game runs about once per month, so again I want to push the rate of player advancement along a bit, so I'm running 12 cp = 3 sp = 1 gp; so 1 gp = 3 XP.

Hope that helps :)

Re: XP awarded for recovering magic items, if any

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:52 pm
by acodispo
Great points, thank both!