One Million XP

1,000,000XP is how many experience points it takes to go from 1st level to 30th level in Fourth Edition D&D. A large part of the game is how you get from one end of the scale to the other. It’s a journey full of adventure, excitement, danger, not to mention a whole horde of monsters to be slain along the way.

Which got me thinking. How could you accumulate a cool million XP?

Here’s just a few ways. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

  • 11 Ancient Red Dragons
  • 45 Balors
  • 83 Beholder Eye Tyrants
  • 400 Berbalangs
  • 5,000 Bugbear Warriors
  • 3,333 Carrion Crawlers
  • 5,714 Deathjump Spiders
  • 8,000 Elf Scouts
  • 40,000 Giant Rats
  • 1,250 Hill Giants
  • 6,667 Goblin Hexers
  • 8,000 Halfling Thiefs
  • 40,000 Kobold Minions
  • 833 Ogre Warhulks
  • Orcus, six times
  • 2,500 Unicorns
  • 833 Vampire Lords
  • 1,000 War Trolls
  • 2,857 Werewolves
  • 1,143 Young Black Dragons
  • 8,000 Zombies

This is just for one player character. Multiple those by the number of heads in your party (and divide by two, if you’re a party of ettins) to get the number of kills needed to get your whole team up to 30th level.

Some of those sound like a real slog. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to roll dice to kill 40,000 Giant Rats for example, though it does suggest that the local Rat Catcher should be treated with some respect in future. A campaign centred around slaying Orcus six times where the heroes begin at 1st level sounds like a lot of fun, and the prospect of slaying 8,000 Zombies and attaining godhead at the end of it sounds like every gamer’s idea of a perfect Friday night.

It’s fair to argue that this isn’t exactly level appropriate. After all, fighting a Young Black Dragon when you’re level 1 isn’t the same as fighting it when you’re level 28, and likewise Orcus is probably a bit of a tough customer for a starting adventurer.

Of course, D&D isn’t all about slaying monsters. Your heroes could reach 30th level just by falling down 10,000 pit traps – or the same pit trap 10,000 times, which is probably the single most efficient way to reach 30th level. Rough on the ankles though.

Add in Skill Challenges, the Minor and Major Quest rewards and the all-important “making the GM laugh” bonus XP, and there’s no shortage of ways to get from 0 to 1,000,000XP. The path you choose and how you play the game is entirely up to you.

It’s fun to dream though. How would you get your character to a million XP?

6 Comments on “One Million XP”

  1. Little known fact: The local Rat Catcher previously attempted to reach level 30 via the “throw the Halfling Thief down the pit trap” route but someone kept raising that little guy back as a Zombie… At least that’s what I overheard during last night’s rumor gathering skill challenge in the tavern.

  2. IIRC, There is a point where you don’t get XPs for monsters a certain level below you. I want to say it’s like five or eight levels. So when the Rat Catcher hits 10th level or so, he needs to be finding bigger rats to catch.

    Also, IRC, the game according to the encounter design rules will have about 10 encounters per level. So that 300 fights to make 30th. I say “eh.”

    1. I’m not sure there’s an actual published rule in 4e which says that you don’t get XP for monsters significantly below your level (or at least, I can’t find it), but I agree that if there isn’t, there should be. As with many things 4e, GM common sense is expected to apply. 30th level PCs shouldn’t get XP for slaying lowly Goblins (unless they’re really, really powerful Goblins of course, in which case all bets are off).

      As a pure exercise in silliness though (which this blogpost is), it’s fun to look at the numbers and play make-believe. Which is what role-playing is all about, of course.

      Third Edition D&D had the same encounter design rules (more or less), but they were partially hidden from view behind the smoke-cloud of Challenge Ratings and Encounter Levels. Ick.

      You could indeed get a party from 1st to 30th level with 300 level-appropriate Encounters, but where’s the fun in that? I’m much more a fan of using Encounters as punctuation marks and use Skill Challenges, Minor and Major Quest XP to make up the bulk of the rewards. Story-telling ftw! :)

  3. Roughly 333 Daelings must be allowed to eat you. Of course, since they take your form after you’ve already died, and steal your memories, plus there’s a 50% chance that they’ll destroy the body, that’s pretty dangerous. Just killing them, it takes a lot more.

  4. In the immortal words of the one episode of South Park I’ve actually watched in the last, say, ten years:

    “Do you know how many boars it would take?”
    “… yes. Yes, I do.”

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