Treasure and XP
Epic Path is about Heroes doing Great Deeds. Even a first level Epic Path character has many skills, abilities, and is more than able to handle themselves in a hostile world and Get Things Done.
But, an Epic Path implies an Epic Journey, doesn't it?
How does an Epic Path character get even BETTER? How do characters in Epic Path change and grow, becoming even more powerful as they accrue experience?
There are two primary advancement mechanisms is Epic Path, namely, Experience Points and Treasure.
Experience Points are rewarded for defeating monsters in Encounters, completing Quests, overcoming Skill Challenges, and whenever the GM see's fit to hand out an XP reward to the players. On the Character Advancement Table there is a number listed in the Required XP column, and when the total rewards equal or exceed that number, the GM may allow the players to advance a level.
This raises their character and class level, and thus raises the Campaign Level. The players will gain new class abilities and be able to do amazing new deeds. They will start to face more dangerous monsters who have a higher Challenge Rating, or CR, which should be close to the Campaign Level in all cases.
In addition to Experience Points, as the characters Do Deeds, they will receive Treasure. Money, gelt, fat stacks, cheddar, filthy lucre, moola, everybody loves money, right?
In Epic Path, it is assumed that sufficient Treasure is awarded each level for the Players to upgrade some or all of their equipment (mostly Magic Items once they get a few levels under their belts). Better equipment will help the player characters grow even MORE mighty, unlock even more new and awesome abilties, and generally Make Everything Awesome.
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).
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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 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.
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 ((CR * 9) + 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. Be sure to pay attention to your Carrying Capacity, and head back to town and those friendly merchants when you get burdened down. 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 ((CR * 9) + CR) lbs 1 cubic foot per 25 lbs. Craftable goods ((CR * 9) + CR)/2 lbs 1 cubic foot per 50 lbs. Remnants 0.1 lbs each no bulkiness
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 Magic 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.
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.
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 weigh practically nothing (0.1 lbs each), and are normally no larger than your fist (and often much smaller), so they are easily stored.
Remnants have no monetary value since they cannot be easily traded. Only someone who contributed to the slaying of the creature that dropped the remnant is able to pick it up. Once picked up, it can only be traded to someone else who was involved in the same battle. As a result, unless a merchant helped you fight that dragon, the merchant can't offer to buy the remnant from you. Therefore, a remnant does not have a listed gold value (although, some alchemists have reportedly discovered a way to turn remnants into gold... ). To use the parlance of MMO video games, remnants are "no drop" items. They can be traded among the party members, but cannot be sold or given to someone outside of the party.
Looting Rare Remnants
GMs 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, Minion, Skirmisher — 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 for a variety of other things.
Even if a secondary currency isn't necessary for your particular campaign setting, there are some uses of remnants which just simplify life for everyone. GM's are encouraged to carefully read through all of the uses listed below and decide which uses are appropriate to their campaign setting, and which are not. Note that while many of the uses described below are benefits to the players, some of them are restrictions which will make the game harder. GM's are encouraged to pick and choose from among the uses and tell their players which are in use, and which are not.
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).
The following sections describe how remnants can be used.
Any time a remnant is used for one of these actions, the magic within the remnant is consumed in the process, and the remnant itself crumbles to dust. This is true even if the action you are boosting with the remnant fails, despite the remnant's boost.
Upgrade Remnant Quality
The simplest use of remnants is to transform them into the next higher quality of remnant. To do so requires two remnants of the same quality tier, and an hour of concentration. After the hour has passed, the two remnants merge into a single remnant of the next higher quality tier. (E.g. a pair of languid remnants can be transformed into a single pale remnant.)
Using this method, it is possible to create an empyrean remnant (though it can require quite a few remnants to do so), rather than relying on supreme luck to find one on a slain creature.
Boost a Skill Check
A remnant can be expended as a free action during a skill check (as long as the remnant is on the person of the character who is performing the check). Expending a remnant in this fashion provides a +3 remnant bonus to the check per tier of the remnant being used. Thus, a languid remnant (tier 1) grants a +3 bonus, while an empyrean remnant (tier 9) provides a +27 bonus. Characters must announce that they are using a remnant to boost the skill check before the check is rolled.
Re-roll a D20
A remnant can be expended as a free action to immediately re-roll a single d20 check. Once you declare that you are using a remnant to reroll a d20, you must accept the result of the new d20 roll, even if it is worse. This use of remnants can only be attempted once for any given d20 check. The quality tier of the remnant does not matter for this use of remnants; a languid remnant provides the exact same benefit as an empyrean; as a result, players are encouraged to only use languid remnants for this.
Bypass Spell Resistance
A remnant can be expended as a free action to cause a spell you are casting (including a spell be cast from a scroll, rod, or other magic item) to automatically bypass one target creature's spell resistance, rather than needing to perform a Caster Check against the creature's Maneuver Defense to do so. If the spell can target multiple creatures, you can expend multiple remnants to bypass the SR of one creature per remnant expended, all with the same free action. The quality tier of the remnant does not matter for this use of remnants; a languid remnant provides the exact same benefit as an empyrean; as a result, players are encouraged to only use languid remnants for this.
Reduce Downtime Length
One or more remnants can be expended as a free action to reduce the number of days required to perform a task that requires multiple days of downtime. The number of days reduced by a remnant used in this way is equal to the tier of the remnant being expended. Thus, a languid remnant (tier 1) reduces the time required by 1 day, while a blazing remnant (tier 5) would reduce the time by 5 days.
You can never reduce the total downtime required for a task to less than a single full day. Furthermore, while you are allowed to use more than one remnant to reduce the downtime of a task, each remnant used after the first increases the minimum number of days required by one. So, if you use a pale (tier 2) and a bright (tier 3), you reduce the total downtime by up to 5 days, but the minimum downtime is now two days (since two remnants were used). Any extra days that would be reduced by the remnant, but cannot be reduced due to the minimum number of days required, are wasted (i.e. you don't get partial refunds for using a remnant too big for the task).
This use is extremely valuable to wizards, who will otherwise spend months of their adventuring careers scribing spells into their spellbooks.
Recharging a Rod
Recharging a rod 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 rod.
A remnant spent to recharge a rod restores a number of charges equal to half the maximum CL that remnant is capable of supporting (rounding down). For example, a Languid remnant would restore 4 rod charges, while a bright remnant would restore 10.
(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 rods during a few minutes of downtime in the middle of a dungeon, rather than having to go back to town.)
No rod may ever be charged above 50 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).
Magic Item Creation
When a character with the Creator feat wants to make a magic item, they must expend a remnant of a quality equal to or greater than the item's CL. The item's creation also requires an amount of gold equal to half the listed retail price of the item, and some object that is symbolic of the enchantment being placed on the item. The player and GM should negotiate exactly what sort of items qualify as being symbolic for a given enchantment, but generally speaking, the item doesn't need to be expensive if it is symbolic enough. For example, an item that boosts Charisma might use a comb. If the item costs 1 gold piece or more, its value is subtracted from the gold required to create the item. See the Creator feat for details.
Magic Item Attunement
GM's who wish to make the magic item attunement process a bit more complex than simply "buy the item and wait a day" can require a remnant of a quality equal to or greater than the CL of the magic item being attuned to be expended during the process of attuning the item. Since remnants are comparatively rare and cannot be purchased, this will necessarily limit how many magic items a character can attune.
This method should really only be used if the GM is running a low-magic campaign setting where all magic items are precious and rare. If magic items cannot be bought in a shop, but must instead be found as unusual and rare treasures, adding a remnant cost to the attunement process ensures that players commit to the item, at least to some degree. On the other hand, if magic items are freely available for purchase in any town, this restriction may feel artificial and contrived for the campaign setting.
- Note: This remnant use will make the game more difficult for players.
GM's who are running a campaign where one or more secondary systems are present might also make use of remnants as a sub-currency to improve specific elements of that secondary system.
Foundation Stones (Settlement Rules)
In order to found a settlement, settlements not only require a suitable location that can support a growing population (typically, near a source of fresh water, and with arable land, and within trading distance of other settlements), they also require an object called a "Foundation Stone". A foundation stone provides a magical epicenter for any burgeoning settlement, and provides it with numerous benefits that a mundane settlement could only dream of having. Once placed, a foundation stone emanates a magical resonance that protects the town in a variety of ways, and its power grows as the settlement's prosperity increases. Even in the smallest of settlements, a foundation stone repels vermin, prevents rot and mold of the settlement's food and goods, and helps crops grow. As the settlement grows, the foundation stone also provides defensive bonuses to the town's defenders, and inflicts penalties on anyone who intends harm to the settlement or its inhabitants. Larger settlements grant larger bonuses and inflict larger penalties on their enemies. Generally, the governor of the settlement has some control over how these bonuses and penalties are applied (by using the "key to the city" to interact with the foundation stone).
It is fairly well-known that, in order to create a foundation stone, at least one empyrean remnant (tier 9) is required, but the rest of the process is a closely guarded secret. Unlike remnants, foundation stones can be given as gifts, traded, or even stolen, so they are regarded as priceless artifacts to those who know what they are. Kings and emperors parcel out foundation stones to their nobles as rewards for successful campaigns or as a way of expressing great favor. Such treasures are never for sale.
While you can establish a town without a foundation stone, it will be much harder for that town to prosper, and such a place will probably never grow beyond a small town. Conversely, any settlement with a foundation stone can, if properly managed, eventually grow into a megalopolis or even a dimensional nexus.
Vehicle Advancement (Vehicle Rules)
Improving the level of a vehicle typically only requires a bit of gold, but some GM's may wish to add a remnant cost to increase the vehicle's level beyond certain thresholds. Often these thresholds coincide with experience tiers (i.e. levels 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, and 31), as moving into the next tier often comes with a bump in power. To prevent characters from simply leveling up their vehicles beyond the campaign level (and instead of just artificially saying "you can't do that"), GM's might require that a remnant be found and expended to pass through the bottleneck at these levels, in addition to the gold cost of the upgrade.
GM's are cautioned against requiring a remnant be expended for each vehicle level increase, unless they want vehicle levels to lag significantly behind character/campaign level.
While these same rules could also be applied to mounts and animal companions, this is not recommended, since it will most likely only affect one or two of the players in the party, rather than all players equally. This could give the appearance of GM favoritism, since the affected players will feel punished, while other party members have no such restrictions applied to them.
Other One-Time Uses
As a secondary currency that is comparatively rare, GM's are encouraged to come up with other one-time uses for remnants. For example, a high tier remnant might be usable in a siege weapon as a particularly powerful or exotic piece of ammunition that will have devastating effects. The GM could declare that certain remnants contain a specific spell effect that can be triggered by crushing the remnant (similar to a scroll being read). A remnant might even temporarily grant the benefit of a magic item (such as granting a Hover speed for 1 round, or even until the end of the encounter).
As long as the remnant is expended in the use of the benefit, GM's can get away with quite a few effects or benefits, even very powerful ones, if they so choose. This is an opportunity to be creative and spice up your campaign with freaky-weird magical effects. Innovate!