seeking concensus- adventure xp levels

since adventure xp is supposed to be related to the improtance of what develops instead of the difficulty, and the range is 5-10 xp, it seems to me that it should be simple to utline the guidelines for what kind of adventures have what level of XP. For example-

finding ingredients, recruiting covenfolk: 5 xp
someone is trying to kill the pope: 10 xp
recruiting an apprentice: 6xp
finding a familiar: 7xp
or maybe people disagree with some of the above assessments- I'd like to hear a variety of opinions as to what kinds of adventures constitute what level of xp.

Disclaimer: I house rule to exceed 10 xp because I find its counter productive if the game has a built in incentive for magi to ignore stories because they have books at home.

Things I evaluate when assigning experience:

  • Basic XP: 5;
  • On screen time: Half a game session 0 xp, 1 game session +1, per additional game session +1;
  • Danger: 1 xp for some danger, 2 xp for repeated danger, 3 xp for extreme danger. Note that the notion of danger is relative, and can include other types of challenges;
  • 0 to 2 xp for failure / story success / exceptional story success;
  • 1 to 2 xp for being exposed to something new from the character's perspective.

I don't follow this grid strictly - but it's a rough guideline kind of thing.

Note that adventure xp is relative - it's basically xp earned for story time. I will hand out good xp for attending a tribunal that stretches out 4 sessions and involves a fair ammount of politics, for exemple.


I very much agree that we should exceed 10xp. I think 5ed was right to cap xp per season, to avoid insanely rapid advancement in slow-paced sagas dense in stories, but when the cap makes the best of real-life experience inferior to run of the mill books, it (1) is not realistic, and (2) is disconcerting to troupes who invest several sessions with the challenges.

So in practice, I generally award 10xp for a two-session story, and 12-13 for three sessions and 14-15 for a four sessions. Maybe 1-2xp less if it feels trivial or the troupe was wasting time, and 1-2xp more if it feels extraordinarily important. We have a beta-SG who awards 5xp per session, and we have seen it go up to 20xp, although I would argue that this is excessive.

I don't like the thought of detailed rules. They turn one difficult judgement call into a good handful of difficult judgement calls. And that is even before looking at individual characters. We often see characters who take part in some of the story, not (only) because the player is absent, but because the magi assign different people to different steps of the story.

From a learning theoretic perspective, surprise is the key feature that should award extra xp, but I just could not be bothered to try to assess surprise fairly.

So I do not disagree with @temprobe 's grid, but I need something simpler.

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The policy I've tried to use runs sort of like this:

Basic: 5xp
Adventure density (how much action it had): +1 to 2 xp
Players accomplished something impressive: +1xp
Players experienced something truly novel and new: +1xp

But this isn't a real calculation, I instead just think about the adventure and assign a value that feels right.

I normally give 8-10 xp for an adventure.

7 if it was not very memorable (just went yo another covenant and farted about travelling for the season)

But I will give 10 xp for an adventure which took more than half a session and where "stuff" happened and there was some danger involved. That could be a heist, a dungeon crawl etc

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So does everyone simply ignore the RAW about XP being based on the importance of the adventure and confidence being the reward for roleplaying and accomplishment?

Not exactly. I largely ignore RAW on adventure xp, but not on confidence. Thus I do not give xp for roleplaying etc. I do factor in importance, to some extent.

I don't think anybody suggested rewarding roleplaying with xp, and the mentions of rewarding accomplishment sounds to me just as learning opportunities (as mentioned by RAW) made more concrete and assessable.

Yeah, much like loke, I do follow confidence rules. Why did I end up modifying the xp for adventure? Mostly because I think the system actively deters from adventuring and because for game balance, as designed book learner > independent study, and so long as that's true, magi will shy away from adventuring unless they have no choices to go, or expect to gain a resource they either need or can't acquire otherwise. If you gave hhe choice between 17 xp in your arts or 8-10 xp after risking your skin, you isually choose the book. I don't usually want magi adventuring every season, but I also don't want them routinely asking themselves if they should avoid paying attention to a story I introduce and return to their books because adventuring xp sucks. While occasional stories threatening the covenant might get the magi involved, I don't want to establish a game dynamic where I'm routinely coercing my players to get out of their labs - I want them to have agency. Yes, vis should be a motivation but I shouldn't introduce a new source every game either.

I can't talk for others, but having an easy, harmless but important adventure is very unusual at my table. A difficult and dangerous, but unimportant adventure is as unlikely as the first example.

I find it odd. Like going on an adventure is generally not worth it for a magi, because they can gain much more exp from a book, at least early on.
And if you can be trained by someone from one of their working seasons, in one of your free seasons, as a companion or grog you could easily gain 8xp in a single ability. As long as they use it for work, it's no problem for you to be trained by them.
Then teaching, one on one, is like 9 xp plus teaching+com, so a swordstrainer, or a teacher of bargaining is much better than an adventure for xp.

I often see the overall cap on seasonal adventure xp raised or ignored. I don't think I've ever seen the Ability-specific cap raised which seems to be the larger issue for many players in their preference for study xp, that and being less likely to be able to spend any of that xp on Arts which is what players of magi seem to want to spend most of their xp on. That said, I really like adventure xp and how it works, it forces you to diversify your abilities to some extent and put xp into Abilities used often but not the sort of thing you're likely to find a ton of book in, things like Parma, Finesse, Concentration, Area & Realm Lores, Enigmatic Wisdom, Heartbeast, etc. But the big plus of adventures is other sort of rewards which can be (and hopefully often are) character-/player-driven. Things like collecting realia, vis sources, familiars, sites to meet study requirements or study bonuses, books, lab texts, initiatory quests, allies, income sources, items of virtue, etc. I think focusing on player and character agency and goals is a big draw to adventures much more than the xp difference is a hindrance. So I guess the advice I'd give is make sure their characters have goals and ways to help achieve those via adventuring

Not completely relevant here but there is much talk of the +3 from Independent Study but I think the more important piece is often the +2 to practice. A bunch of abilities can't have any or won't have many available books or teachers, Spell Mastery (especially for that brand new spell you designed yourself), Heartbeast, Nature Lore, Enigmatic Wisdom, etc. Anyway, just felt that piece was quite overlooked.

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In my groups, confidence is a rare ressource. Our ST would give one for the end of major story arcs or achieving major plot points. Which worked out at a maybe one point every 3-5 sessions?

I follow that too, but on top of which, I give one to the characters when their personality flaws are embraced in a way that generates complications (much as the GM might hand a FATE point when tagging a PC's aspect in a disadvantageous way).

I ignore xp/season limits completely in my current saga. While I agree too much xp per season long term can explode the game, in the short term everything is fine. Also, do recall that being forced to put no more than 5xp in any ability or art per season does mean that advancement is slower as PC's get more developed. Increasing an ability from 7 to 8 from pure "adventure" xp is still 8 sessions. That is (for me) at least 8 weeks in real time. In my opinion, having players play for months on end in real life with little advancement for their PC's is extremely unsatisfying.

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I think that you mean seasons. There can be more than one season per session.

Also getting mundane skills that high seems really out there to me: in no saga that I played did a skill get so high without it the virtue affinity (and even then only a mage's magic theory).

Adventure XP can be used to improve Abilities that you don't often find books for, like Parma. And it can also be used in Arts. Sure, that's slower than reading a book, but generally speaלing, reading a book increases just one Ability or Art, and here you can invest in several.

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There's a reason why Independent Study is found in the HoH: Mystery Cults book, where people need to learn Heartbeast/Nature Lore or Faerie Magic/Enigmatic Wisdom/their favourite craft alongside Organisation Lore: your mystery house (and possibly Gothic for Bjornaer) as well as more common skills. Sometimes practice and the occasional adventure is the best way to get those obscure skills up high without constantly begging for tuition or books.

No, I did indeed mean sessions. Parma Magica is the main ability raised this high over a period of 55 sessions to date. Most others have topped out at 4 or 5, with only a few exceptions.

Players will forgo adventure XP for virtually anything else if it's below 10xp. Almost every other seasonal XP gain is better than adventure XP. Its only advantage is its flexibility of application.


In pur sagas, the seasonal xp gain from stories is not related to the task, but to the ... experience :slight_smile: Basically xps grow with a) how complex the story was and b) how meaningful it was for the character.

Any of the examples above can range from 5 to 10xp. A simple story where a magus follows a few leads about a strange girl at the local nunnery, and arranges for her quiet departure? 5xp. An epic quest to save the heir to the throne from a dragon in which the magus has to face the choice between returning the girl to an unhappy marriage, or keeping her as an apprentice risking the ire of the mundane powers-that-be? 10xp.

This assumes, obviously, a single story over a single season. Multiple stories in the same season do not add up their xp, but they certainly push the seasonal gain towards the higher end. And a story over multiple seasons provides xps every season.

No :slight_smile: I think the RAW work well.

Also, from the answers above it seems my troupe might be one of the few strictly applying the seasonal xp gains limit. We once ran two stories over almost half a year of real time, that happened during the same in-game season. Nobody felt frustrated about the PCs only getting 10xp overall; though I do understand this is extremely subjective and other troupes might feel differently.
Yes, stories are generally not as good sources of xp as careful tutoring by an experienced and capable instructor. That's true in real life too, and it's one thing that I find ArM5 does right compared to the vast majority of rpgs.. Characters have stories stories because they just happen, or to pursue some goal, not to "level up"; if given the choice between getting the prize with or without the story, most would rather avoid the story.
For players it's of course a different ... story :slight_smile:

You think so?

I certainly agree that routine practice is not as efficient as good tutoring, but stories, at least the stories we want to tell, comprise challenge and surprise which is exactly what triggers the personal reflection that makes learning. The great challenge of teaching is to recreate that challenge and surprise artificially.

THis is of course readily seen with soldiers, where nobody would claim to teach well enough to match field experience.

But if it was just teaching, I would not mind it so much. What I really do not believe in is the books that grant twice the max story xp. Sure, Q20 books won't get you above about 10, but still. Learning efficiently from books is difficult.