[D&D 5e] Three pillars XP, revisited

edited July 2018 in Make Stuff!

Three Pillars XP, revisited

The Three Pillars UA had some problems. It wasn’t great that defeating 50 kobolds gained you a level no matter how good you were, but the biggest problem for me was this: when you have a party of mixed levels, the normal XP system from the PHB allows the lower leveled PCs to almost catch up. That went away with the Three Pillar “100 xp” model.

So here’s my attempt at a revised version, partly inspired by this post on The Walking Mind.

Pillar triggers

Discovering items

Tier 1
A single item worth 100 gp or more, or a nonconsumable rare magic item
Tier 2
A single item worth 1,000 gp or more, or a nonconsumable very rare magic item
Tier 3
A single item worth 5,000 gp or more, or a nonconsumable legendary magic item
Tier 4
A single item worth 50,000 gp or more, or an artifact

Discovering locations

Tier 1
A location important to a small town or village
Tier 2
A location vital to a kingdom
Tier 3
A location important across a world
Tier 4
A location of cosmic importance

Convincing people

Tier 1
An NPC with influence over a small town or village, or the equivalent
Tier 2
An NPC with influence over a city or the equivalent
Tier 3
An NPC with influence over a kingdom, a continent, or the equivalent
Tier 4
An NPC (including a deity) with cosmic significance or influence across multiple worlds

PC tiers

Tier 1
levels 1 to 4
Tier 2
levels 5 to 10
Tier 3
levels 11 to 16
Tier 4
levels 17 to 20

The table, then

There are some different ways to determine “party level”, you could do “average PC level”, or you could take the highest level, or the lowest, or the highest-that-at-least-two-people-have, or the medium, or w/e. Up to you but be consistent.

Then whenever the group does a pillar trigger, look up the xp reward for their level, relevant to the tier of the trigger compared to their own tier. Discovery triggers below their own current tier don’t give any xp, but convincing people of (any) lower gives half the xp that matching their current tier would.

Party levelMatching tierOne tier higherTwo tiers higherThree tiers higher
1306090120
260120180240
3180360540720
438076011401520
5750150022503000
6900180027003600
71100220033004400
81400280042005600
91600320048006400
102100420063008400
111500300045006000
122000400060008000
132000400060008000
1425005000750010000
1530006000900012000
1630006000900012000
17400080001200016000
18400080001200016000
195000100001500020000

For these rewards, give out the full reward to each party member.
The third pillar, fighting and killing, just use the normal xp for monsters, dividing it among the party as usual.

Trouble – a fourth pillar

I also like to give rewards for players getting out of deathly trouble especially when they didn’t fight their way out of it.

Party levelSorta dangerous… I guessReally dangerous!
150100
2100200
3150400
4250500
55001100
66001400
77501700
89002100
911002400
1012002800
1116003600
1220004500
1322005100
1425005700
1528006400
1632007200
1739008800
1842009500
19490010900
20570012700

Like the discovery and the social pillar, and unlike fighting, these rewards are per person, not split between the group.

Bonus: two player campaigns

If you’re using the XP curve for two player campaigns you can use the same Trouble table, and you can also use the same pillar xp table if you shift the tiers, making the lower tiered discoveries and interactions relevant for longer.

2P level tiers

(for this purpose)

Tier 1
levels 1 to 9
Tier 2
levels 10 to 16
Tier 3
levels 17 to 20

Comments

  • TBH this looks pretty annoying to use at the table :bawling:
  • Interestingly the trouble and the pillar tables kinda match up pretty well, don't they? Might be a good idea to do a future version smashing them together.

    Weird how there are many hidden formulas in the tunnels of 5e's rules.

    The trouble numbers were derived from page 82 in the DMG, and the pillar xp were derived from dividing the amount of XP left to next level by ten.
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