Treasure and XP

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Experience Rewards and Advancement Speed

Experience rewards and treasure values for monsters are based on the assumption of eight encounters per level. Since each combat in Epic Path is designed for one equal-CR monster for each character in the party, one can easily see how this math works out. However, depending on how your gaming sessions are structured, and your gaming group's tolerance for character progression tends to be, this rate may not be a good fit for you. By default, it takes approximately 8 encounters before characters will gain a new level (though this number increases at higher levels).

Level XP / Encounter Level XP / Encounter Level XP / Encounter Level XP / Encounter
1 400 11 12,800 21 409,600 31 13,120,000
2 600 12 19,200 22 615,000 32 19,680,000
3 800 13 25,600 23 819,200 33 28,240,000
4 1,200 14 38,400 24 1,228,800 34 39,360,000
5 1,600 15 51,200 25 1,640,000 35 52,480,000
6 2,400 16 76,800 26 2,460,000 36 78,720,000
7 3,200 17 102,400 27 3,280,000 37 104,960,000
8 4,800 18 153,600 28 4,920,000 38 157,440,000
9 6,400 19 204,800 29 6,560,000 39 209,920,000
10 9,600 20 307,200 30 9,840,000 40 314,880,000

The easiest way to adjust campaign advancement speed is to adjust the XP and Treasure values listed for any monster encounter upwards to speed things up, or downwards to slow things down.

Recommended values are:

  • For a faster advancement, multiply the monster's listed XP and Treasure awards by 162% (approximately five encounters before characters gain a new level)
  • For a slower advancement, multiply the monster's listed XP and Treasure awards by 75% (approximately twelve encounters before characters gain a new level)

You can also speed up campaign advancement by using Quest rewards as non-encounter incentives for role-playing or achieving adventure goals.

Quest XP

Quest XP is gained by fulfilling the story elements of a game.

Many groups of players just want to roll dice and kill things. And that's fine! But many more groups of players want to get together and role play. In Epic Path, whenever the party fulfills a quest (bring me a hundred oak truffles and I'll give you a treasure map), they get a Quest XP reward. The Quest XP reward is exactly the same as a Monster Reward of a CR equal to the campaign's level. Namely, fulfilling a Quest gives you exactly as much experience and money as winning a combat.

So, yes, it is entirely possible to role-play your way through an entire level, just like it's possible to kill your way through an entire level. The point is to reward FUN. If your players like role-playing, that should never slow down the advancement of their characters.

Now, just because there are tables does not mean those numbers are etched in stone. Indeed, as you will notice the amount of XP per level rarely if ever is exactly eight times the reward value for that challenge rating. The reason is, we find that most parties, once they get a few levels and get good at playing together, can and do tackle things above their CR from time to time. To keep their advancement speed tolerable, the chart includes a 'fudge factor'.

Also, the referee may alter the advancement chart level-by-level if he so desires. If the referee has a great story in mind using CR 7 monsters, but his players are only level three, he can certainly lower the number of XP rewards needed to level from eight to five for a while. As a result, the players will shoot up in level to the point where they can play his adventure.

The referee can then decree that the level of his adventure takes twelve or more XP rewards to get through. Using this system ensures that the players don't level up so much during a long story arc that they make it trivial to win at the end. But referees are strongly encouraged to stick close to these guidelines over the course of several levels!

It is advised that referees work to grant one Quest XP reward and run one combat for an XP reward in each four-hour gaming session. If you follow these recommendations, you will level your adventurers at a non-grinding pace, but slow enough that they can learn to effectively use their character's abilities at each level. The XP table assumes approximately 16 hours of gameplay per level, with roughly 4 combat encounters and 4 quest XP parcels.

Dealing With Missing or Sporadic Players

There are two schools of thought regarding how to handle players who can't make it to every game:

  • allow your player characters to earn XP and treasure at different rates, depending on which sessions they attend
  • keep everyone even, whether they show up or not

The first option rewards your diligent players, and punishes the ones who are too busy to regularly attend. In our experience, this can lead to such a disparity in the power level of your players that your lagging players get frustrated (sometimes leaving the game), and planning challenging encounters becomes difficult. This can be a useful tool for getting your players motivated to show up, but if you all have lives, it's maybe not the best way to treat your friends when the goal is just to have fun. It's not our recommended approach.

The second option avoids both of the issues above, at the expense of letting your absentee players freeload off the hard work of the players who actually show up. In the end, this isn't that big a deal, as long as the players who are actually showing up still have fun, and aren't, themselves, punished for having to carry the weight of the missing player(s).

Why would they have to carry that weight? Well, as written, encounters are designed to be one monster for each player present. If players are absent, they fight fewer monsters in an even encounter, meaning less XP and treasure per encounter, if the total earned is split among everyone (including those who are absent). This can noticeably slow the pace of character advancement, and can be frustrating for the players who consistently show up, since they're effectively being punished for propping up their absent players.

To solve this, it is recommended that the GM calculate treasure and XP on a per-character basis, based only on the players present and the monsters defeated. This amount of XP and treasure is then given to all players, including any absent players. This gives the present players the full award for the deeds they have performed, and keeps the absent players at the same treasure and XP total as everyone else.

Of course, as GM, you can deal with this however you prefer. This is merely our recommendation.

Treasure

At the bottom of each monster's entry in the bestiary is a Treasure value, which lists the gold piece value of sellable goods which each defeated monster drops for the players, when they search for loot after an encounter.

Much like experience points, it is recommended that treasure be split out into the amount each character receives, rather than a cumulative amount. The reason for this is that any absent players receive the same portion, even though the encounter didn't really generate enough loot to accommodate that (since the absent player(s) also reduce the size of the encounter, presumably). Even if the present players fought a tougher-than-normal encounter, the portion size should be calculated based only on the players that are present. In general, if the encounter is a uniform batch of monsters of a quantity equal to the number of players present, this means 1 monsters' worth of sellable goods is given to each player (including any absent players). For example, if you have five level 8 player characters, but one of them is absent for this week's game, and the players face and defeat an equal CR encounter of four CR 8 monsters (one for each player present), each player, including the absentee player, would receive 3,875 gold pieces worth of sellable goods.

If the encounter features creatures of differing CR's, or a different number of creatures than the number of player characters present, the total gold piece value of the treasure of each defeated creature should be added together, then that total should be divided by the number of players present, to create an average treasure parcel for each player.

Sellable goods have a weight which varies by the CR of the creature which dropped them. The formula for this is 10 + (10 * CR) lbs. If the encounter featured creatures of different CR's, the weight should be calculated off the average of the CR's, just like the gold piece value of sellable goods is calculated per character.

The bulkiness of sellable goods is 1 cubic foot per 25 lbs of sellable goods carried.

Level Sellable Goods / Creature Weight Level Sellable Goods / Creature Weight Level Sellable Goods / Creature Weight Level Sellable Goods / Creature Weight
1 219 gp 20 lbs 11 9,375 gp 120 lbs 21 141,500 gp 220 lbs 31 1,523,000 gp 320 lbs
2 500 gp 30 lbs 12 12,875 gp 130 lbs 22 185,300 gp 230 lbs 32 2,015,533 gp 330 lbs
3 813 gp 40 lbs 13 17,625 gp 140 lbs 23 221,909 gp 240 lbs 33 2,538,813 gp 340 lbs
4 1,188 gp 50 lbs 14 23,625 gp 150 lbs 24 293,545 gp 250 lbs 34 3,438,063 gp 350 lbs
5 1,625 gp 60 lbs 15 32,125 gp 160 lbs 25 351,417 gp 260 lbs 35 4,082,176 gp 360 lbs
6 2,125 gp 70 lbs 16 43,125 gp 170 lbs 26 475,417 gp 270 lbs 36 4,205,879 gp 370 lbs
7 2,875 gp 80 lbs 17 51,444 gp 180 lbs 27 591,769 gp 280 lbs 37 4,337,313 gp 380 lbs
8 3,875 gp 90 lbs 18 67,889 gp 190 lbs 28 783,154 gp 290 lbs 38 4,477,226 gp 390 lbs
9 5,125 gp 100 lbs 19 89,889 gp 200 lbs 29 954,929 gp 300 lbs 39 4,626,467 gp 400 lbs
10 6,875 gp 110 lbs 20 119,667 gp 210 lbs 30 1,246,929 gp 310 lbs 40 4,786,000 gp 410 lbs

Treasure values listed for monsters must be adjusted if the XP values are adjusted, otherwise characters being advanced more slowly will end up with more wealth than is typical for their level. Conversely, characters being advanced quickly through the levels will have dramatically less wealth than Epic Path assumes they will. Being under-geared can make encounters very difficult, while being over-geared can make encounters too easy, so both of these possibilities should be avoided.

Weight and Bulkiness

There are basically 4 categories of loot in Epic Path: coins (any denomination), sellable goods, craftable goods, and remnants. One unit of sellable goods is dropped PER CREATURE defeated in an encounter. Craftable goods can be made from sellable goods by taking some time to winnow them down to their most useful bits. Remnants are an optional system (see below). Each category of loot has different weights and bulkiness, as detailed on the table below:

Weight and Bulkiness
Currency Weight per Unit Bulkiness
Coins (any denomination) 1 lb. per 100 coins 1 cubic foot per 200 lbs. (20,000 coins)
Sellable goods 10 + (encounter CR * 10) lbs 1 cubic foot per 25 lbs.
Craftable goods 5 + (encounter CR * 5) lbs 1 cubic foot per 50 lbs.
Remnants 0.1 lbs each no bulkiness

Sellable Goods

Note that the defeated monsters drop "sellable goods," not money or items. Sellable goods are an abstract collection of items claimed from the defeated creatures which some merchant, apothecary, wizard, or other collector of odd monster bits would pay good money for. In and of themselves, sellable goods are not really tradable as currency. Furthermore, as described above, they are both heavier and bulkier than simple money. Players should want to go back to town to turn in their loot after several successful battles. Beyond that, it can become difficult for them to haul all of this loot around, without some tool, like a Handy Haversack, to increase their ability to carry it.

Once the players are in a location where trade can occur, sellable goods can be transformed into money (gold pieces, platinum pieces, astral diamonds, etc.). Alternatively, sellable goods can be turned into remnants, if they are taken to a workshop.

Turning Sellable Goods Into Gold

Once in a town, settlement, or some other place where goods can be exchanged (which can also include magic wishing wells, a passing tinker's wagon, a genie at a crossroads, etc.), players can exchange their sellable goods for money of an equal value.

It is not possible to haggle for better exchange rates for sellable goods, even with a high Barter skill. Barter can only be applied to the purchase of goods that a vendor is selling, or when selling a piece of equipment that the character no longer needs.

Remnants (Optional)

This is an optional rule. GM's may use this or discard it, as best fits their campaign. It is included as a way of diversifying treasure in the game, while keeping things abstract and simple enough that the GM doesn't have to spend a lot of preparation time deciding just how many rusty short swords those skeleton soldiers should drop. Not using these rules will not significantly alter the economy of player loot, but it does add a certain element of interest to looting monsters that a simple "300 gp worth of Sellable Goods" fails to do.

Remnants are an abstract form of crafting material, with a magic aspect to them. GM's are encouraged to choose a means of describing these in a manner which fits their campaign, but the general idea is that they are the collected and crystallized form of the slain creature's mana, aura, and/or spirit. They can appear in the form of glowing crystals, or they can be a particularly high-quality part of the monster's body (a tooth, scale, eye, etc.), an unusual gem or shell carried by the creature, or any of a wide variety of objects which could then be applied toward a magic item's creation or enhancement. The exact description of a remnant is entirely dependent on the GM's willingness to be creative. Or, just call them remnants, and let the players imagine what they look like. Lazy isn't always bad, after all.

Players who are of a mind to build their own magic items, or who wish to ask a craftsman to create a specific item on their behalf may be called upon to provide remnants of a certain quality in order to build the item in question.

Remnants come in nine tiers of quality:

Remnant Quality Effective Crafter Level (CL)
Languid Remnant (tier 1) 1 - 8
Pale Remnant (tier 2) 9 - 15
Bright Remnant (tier 3) 16 - 21
Intense Remnant (tier 4) 22 - 26
Blazing Remnant (tier 5) 27 - 30
Vital Remnant (tier 6) 31 - 33
Prime Remnant (tier 7) 34
Mythic Remnant (tier 8) 35
Empyrean Remnant (tier 9) Any

Remnants are rare drops which nearly any creature can drop, if you are very lucky. Creatures with roles, such as Threats or Heavies, have a much greater chance of dropping these rare-tier remnants, so players who need such materials for a project they're working on should seek out tougher monsters.

Remnants may be worth some money if sold to the right person, but frequently adventurers prefer to hang on to them, since they are very useful. They weigh practically nothing (0.1 lbs each), and are normally no larger than your fist (and often much smaller), so they are easily stored.

Looting Rare Remnants

GM's who want to add a bit more flavor and variety to their treasure rewards can take one of two approaches:

The first is to jot down notes during game preparation about what sorts of treasure the monsters will drop, replacing the Sellable Goods treasure. This doesn't need to be "all or nothing". The GM can decide that intelligent creatures that sometimes interact with civilization may carry a certain portion of their treasure in the form of money (gold pieces, etc.). Alternatively, GM's who like realism and enjoy prepping for game sessions can describe each piece of loot the monsters drop in loving detail. Getting a warped longbow, and some tattered (and heavily soiled) leather armor off those Ogre Trappers is definitely more interesting than getting Sellable Goods of an equivalent gp value. However, this sort of detailed loot can also cut deeply into preparation time, so it is purely optional.

The second is to maintain the abstract nature of the sellable goods, but to roll on the tables below to determine whether, among the Sellable Goods, an unusually valuable Remnant is present. Rolls on this table are only performed once per encounter (not per monster defeated), and the value of the materials found is based on the average player parcel of Sellable Goods, not the total value for the encounter — the point of this is not to alter the value of the treasure award, but to add some color and interest to the treasure given.

Table 1: Roll a d20:
Result Remnant Found (If Any):
1 - 10 Nothing Found
11 - 14 1 Languid Remnant (tier 1)
15 - 17 1 Pale Remnant (tier 2)
18 - 19 1 Bright Remnant (tier 3)
20 Roll on Table 2 Below
Table 2: Roll a d20:
Result Remnant(s) Found
1 - 5 3 Languid Remnants (tier 1)
6 - 10 3 Pale Remnants (tier 2)
11 - 14 1 Intense Remnant (tier 4)
15 - 17 1 Blazing Remnant (tier 5)
18 - 19 1 Vital Remnant (tier 6)
20 Roll on Table 3 Below
Table 3: Roll a d20:
Result Remnant(s) Found
1 - 5 3 Bright Remnants (tier 3)
6 - 8 3 Intense Remnants (tier 4)
9 - 11 3 Blazing Remnants (tier 5)
12 - 14 3 Vital Remnants (tier 6)
15 - 17 1 Prime Remnant (tier 7)
18 - 19 1 Mythic Remnant (tier 8)
20 1 Empyrean Remnant (tier 9)

If the encounter included any creatures with roles (such as Heavies or Threats), these tables are modified to improve the odds of a higher result. The bestiary entry for the monster with the most powerful role should be consulted when determining bonus loot for the encounter, instead of using the tables displayed at the bottom of any other monsters that were present in the encounter.

The roles, in order of power are:

  • No role, Henchman, Minion — no changes to the tables above.
  • Heavy, Killer, Leader, Shooter, Sneak, Tank — tables are adjusted by approximately +1, and results which give 3 remnants instead give 4.
  • Legend, Threat, Villain — tables are adjusted by approximately +2, and results which give 3 remnants instead give 5.

Uses for Remnants

Remnants are usually used in the magic item creation process, but they can also be used as a means of recharging magic items, incrementally improving magic items, and even leveling up mounts, vehicles, and animal companions.

Even if a secondary currency isn't necessary for your particular campaign, there are some uses of remnants which just simplify life for everyone. GM's are encouraged to use some, none, or all of these uses, as they deem appropriate.

The quality of remnant required is usually based on the item level, creator level (CL), challenging rating (CR), or campaign level, depending on the thing being modified by the remnant (see each use entry below for details). The following table lists the maximum enchantment Creator Level (CL) that each remnant can support:

Remnant Quality By CL
Max CL Remnant Quality
8 Languid (tier 1)
15 Pale (tier 2)
21 Bright (tier 3)
26 Intense (tier 4)
30 Blazing (tier 5)
33 Vital (tier 6)
34 Prime (tier 7)
35 Mythic (tier 8)
Any Empyrean (tier 9)

Higher quality remnants may always be used to fill in for lower-quality remnants (but obviously not the other way around).

Recharging a Wand or Staff

Recharging a wand or staff with remnants outside of a workshop requires a Use Magic Device check versus a DC of 15 + double the creator level of the item. Doing so just requires a few minutes of concentration. If done in a workshop, the DC is reduced to 5 + double the creator level of the wand or staff.
A remnant spent to recharge a wand restores a number of charges equal to the double maximum CL that remnant is capable of supporting. For example, a Languid remnant would restore 16 wand charges.
A remnant used to recharge a staff restores a number of charges equal to double the remnant's position on the chart. For example, a Bright remnant would restore 6 staff charges.
(This use of remnants is especially useful if GM's wish to exclude Turning Stones from their campaign setting. Even if Turning Stones are available, however, remnants provide a way to restore charges to wands and staffs during a few minutes of downtime in the middle of a dungeon, rather than having to go back to town.)
No wand may ever be charged above 50 charges. No staff may exceed its listed maximum number of charges.
If the party manages to gain possession of an artifact or other Portens Machenvar, and that object has charges of any kind, it can also be recharged with remnants. Remnants spent in this way restore a number of charges equal to their position on the chart above minus 1. Thus, a Languid remnant would not restore any charges, a Pale remnant would restore 1 charge, a Bright remnant would restore 2 charges, etc. No artifact can ever store more charges than the maximum listed for it (unless the artifact states otherwise).

Rare Magic Items

Some magic items can only be created if certain rare remnants are first provided. This is true whether the player characters are using the Creator feat to make the item themselves, or hiring an NPC to create the item on their behalf. Such items cannot simply be purchased from a magic shop, or acquired from a trader; they have to be made specifically for the individual, and require a remnant of a quality equal to or greater than the item's CL. If the item has more than one enchantment, it requires one remnant per enchantment on the item, and all the remnants must equal or exceed the item's total CL. The remnant must be provided in advance, as part of the purchase price of the item.
As a general rule of thumb, most basic magic items purchased from a vendor do not require remnants to be spent as part of the purchase price. A simple ring of protection, even at the +9 enhancement bonus level, can simply be purchased from a merchant if you possess sufficient money to do so. However, items which the GM feels are dancing on the edge of "too powerful" might have a requirement for high-quality remnants as a way to limit the number of these items appearing in the campaign world.
The required remnant quality is based on the CL of the rare magic item being created (or purchased). Refer to the Remnant Quality by Level table above.

Temporarily Boosting a Magic Item

Remnants can be used to temporarily improve the potency of existing magic items. Doing so requires someone to have the Creator feat, and requires a Use Magic Device check equal to 15 + double the item's Creator Level, assuming it is done in a workshop. If done without a workshop, the DC increases to 20 + double the item's Creator Level. In either case, it requires one hour of uninterrupted concentration. If the check is failed, half the remnants being used in the effort are accidentally destroyed.
The quality of the remnant required is based on the CL of the item being boosted. Refer to the Remnant Quality by Level table above.
Temporary bonuses only affect a single attribute or bonus of the item they are applied to, even if the magic item applies bonuses to multiple attributes. Effects can vary wildly based on the attribute being boosted, but are generally an approximately 10% boost in the power level provided by the magic item, with a minimum of a +1 bonus for a combat attribute (to-hit, saving throws, AC, base weapon damage, etc.), or a +2 minimum for an ability score or skill bonus. If the effect being boosted is measured in feet (such as a sense type or movement speed) or pounds (such as carrying capacity), the minimum boost is 5 feet or 5 lbs.
Temporary bonuses last until the next sunset or sunrise (whichever is sooner). Temporary bonuses from remnants are considered a circumstance bonus, and stack with all other bonus types (including other circumstance bonuses). Temporary bonuses can only be applied to magic items, not to racial, class, feat, or other abilities that the character innately possesses.

Level Up Mounts, Animal Companions, Vehicles

Remnants can be used to increase the level or CR of a mount, animal companion, or vehicle. This can be especially useful if the mount or vehicle in question has been given any kind of background details. Animal companions normally level automatically with the character's own level increases, but some GM's may feel this process should be somewhat less automatic (though, again, all of these rules are optional).
One remnant needs to be spent per level increase, and the remnant must be of a quality equal to the current level of the mount, animal companion, or vehicle being improved.

Other Secondary Systems

GM's who are running a campaign where other secondary systems are present might also make use of remnants as a sub-currency to improve specific elements of that secondary system. Logically, a certain period of time must also accompany such upgrades, as the workers make use of these materials to implement the improvements.
For example, players might be attempting to improve the prosperity of a village they have founded, as one of the key aspects of the campaign. They can use remnants to improve the different buildings of their development. Improving the mill from a 'rudimentary' quality to a 'serviceable' quality might require 1,500 gp and a Bright Remnant, while advancing it from 'serviceable' to 'good' might require 6,200 gp worth and a Blazing Remnant. While a 'rudimentary' mill might only create 50 lbs of flour per day, a 'serviceable' mill can create 200 lbs of flour, and can also process grains without the need to first winnow them. A good mill might produce 1,000 lbs of flour per day, and can also provide some additional mechanical power to an adjacent building (anything that can be powered by turning a gear). Higher level mills might provide temporary bonuses to creatures who eat foods prepared with the products of the mill, while the top level might reveal a recipe that, when cooked, permanently increases the level of any creature below level 10 by +1 (creatures can only ever gain this benefit once). Other buildings in the village can similarly be improved, each providing some benefit to the village as a whole.
Needless to say, each system like the above would be highly dependent on the campaign in which it is present, so there isn't a good rule for how they should each work that will fit every possibility. Use the Remnant Quality by Level table above as a baseline, and limit the quantity of remnants required to no more than 1 per useful improvement, upgrade, or buff.