Encounter XP budget

Dungeon Masters sometimes use published combat encounters, and other times they build combat encounters of their own for their group’s adventurers to face. This appendix summarizes how to build a combat encounter. The Dungeon Master’s Kit contains detailed advice on encounter design.
    1. Choose an encounter level.
        An easy encounter is one or two levels lower than the group’s level.
        A standard encounter is of the group’s level or one level higher.
        A hard encounter is two to four levels higher than the group’s level.
    2. Determine the XP budget. Multiply the number of characters in the group by the XP value of a standard threat of the encounter’s level, as shown on the Encounter XP Budget table. If the group includes any DM-controlled characters who can contribute significantly in combat, count those characters as members of the group when determining the XP budget.
    3. Spend the XP budget. Choose threats that are within three levels of the encounter level. Keep choosing threats until the sum of their XP values equals the XP budget or slightly exceeds it. Threats can include monsters, traps, hazards, and skill challenges.

Encounter XP Budget

Encounter LevelXP per Character
1100
2125
3150
4175
5200
6250
7300
8350
9400
10500
11600
12700
13800
141000
151200
161400
171600
182000
192400
202800
213200
224150
235100
246050
257000
269000
2711000
2813000
2915000
3019000
3123000
3227000
3331000
3439000
3547000
3655000
3763000
3879000
3995000
40111000

Published in Rules Compendium, page(s) 285.