Yesterday I wrote a little bit about the idea of using the original OD&D rule of a flat 100 experience points per monster hit die. I gave three reasons in favor of this: simplicity, ease of advance at lower levels, and making hoards of lesser creatures “measure up” in terms of combat ability to lone high-level monsters.
The example I gave, as a sort of extreme contrast of basic fighting monsters (i.e., no magic or special powers) was the orc vs. the tyrannosaur. To the right is how the lowly 1-HD orc measures up to the tyrannosaur in some of the various versions of the game, with the last column showing how many orcs it takes to equal the XP award of a single T-Rex.
Now, does anyone really think that defeating 800 orcs is the equivalent of defeating 1 tyrannosaur? That 12,000 XP value is just plain whacked. Even at the lowest ratio, 200 orcs vs. one tyrannosaur, is way off.
In the 100 XP per hit die system in Labyrinth Lord, 22 orcs would equal one tyrannosaur. I fought two simulated battles of 22 orcs (1 leader and 17 footorcs with long swords, 4 archers with short bows) against one tyrannosaur. The orcs won the first fight in 8 rounds, the second fight in 10.
My son then said that all a 1st level fighter has to do is kill 20 orcs and he gets to 2nd level. I said if a 1st level fighter can beat 20 orcs in a row, he deserves 2nd level. So we played it out. I used our house rule of max PC hit points at 1st level, a rather common mod, and rolled for the orcs. The fighter won 15 of the fights, which is exactly what I predicted. However, he never won more than four in a row. Under standard Labyrinth Lord rules a fighter would need to defeat 200 orcs in a row to advance to second level.
This comparison has actually strengthened the idea that 100 XP per hit die is a workable system. I certainly think it’s worth considering as a quick and simple replacement for the standard system.
In any event, I still think that 75% or more of a typical PC’s experience point total should come from treasure, not combat.