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 Level||XP per Character|
Published in Rules Compendium, page(s) 285.