I’m considering going to a flat 100 experience points per HD for combat. First of all, it’s just plain simple.
Secondly, it makes the first few levels a bit easier to attain, as the goblins and giant rats are suddenly rather rewarding, XP-wise. Taking on a band of goblins is a seriously dangerous thing for a party of 1st levelers to do, yet if four PCs defeat a dozen gobs, they each get a whopping 15 XP.
Finally, fighting monsters in masses, as is often the case with lower-HD types, more accurately compares to the danger of fighting one biggie, where the entire party can concentrate on one target. Sure, a tyrannosaur is tough. But is a party of four PCs going to have more trouble with one tyrannosaur or with twenty orcs? Both have a total of 20 hit dice, but the orcs are almost certain to be a tougher opponent. Using the standard system, the party gets to split 200 XP for the twenty orcs and 2250 for the tyrannosaur. Sure, against mid-level and higher PCs the orcs are going to find it tough to score a lot of hits, even when greatly outnumbering the party, but I don’t think the difference is tenfold (and then some). For the XP equivalent of a tyrannosaur, the PCs would have to fight 225 orcs.
Here’s a breakdown of a few creatures I just listed off the top of my head:
I can see adding a 100 XP kicker for monsters with special abilities or cutting XP in half when the party’s average level is twice the hit dice of the monsters, but even these simple adjustments seem unnecessary in the long run.
Could this lead to high-level parties running around in search or kobolds and goblins to beat up on? I suppose that could be an unintended consequence of this. But as most XP should be coming from treasure to begin with, and goblins and kobolds aren’t going to have much in the way of hoarded wealth, I don’t think this will be too much of a problem, either.
I wrote earlier about the XP for treasure system, and had been planning to institute a 1 gold piece = 5XP rule in my now-abandoned Swords & Wizardry White Box game. I am now thinking about bringing that over to my Labyrinth Lord game.
Yes, you can rack up some big XP at 100 per monster hit die and 5 per gold piece recovered. But, believe me, in my campaign you’re going to have to work for it.