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Three Pillars XP, revisited

The Three Pillars UA had some problems. It wasn’t great that defeating 50 kobolds gained you a level no matter how good you were, but the biggest problem for me was this: when you have a party of mixed levels, the normal XP system from the PHB allows the lower leveled PCs to almost catch up. That went away with the Three Pillar “100 xp” model.

So here’s my attempt at a revised version, partly inspired by this post on The Walking Mind.

I don’t use this rule anymore, so this page has been obsoleted by XP for gold, which uses the “discovering items” rules from here but ditches the locations, convincing people, or trouble xp.

Pillar triggers

Discovering items

Tier 1 : A single item worth 100 gp or more, or a nonconsumable rare magic item

Tier 2 : A single item worth 1,000 gp or more, or a nonconsumable very rare magic item

Tier 3 : A single item worth 5,000 gp or more, or a nonconsumable legendary magic item

Tier 4 : A single item worth 50,000 gp or more, or an artifact

Discovering locations

Tier 1 : A location important to a small town or village

Tier 2 : A location vital to a kingdom

Tier 3 : A location important across a world

Tier 4 : A location of cosmic importance

Convincing people

Tier 1 : An NPC with influence over a small town or village, or the equivalent

Tier 2 : An NPC with influence over a city or the equivalent

Tier 3 : An NPC with influence over a kingdom, a continent, or the equivalent

Tier 4 : An NPC (including a deity) with cosmic significance or influence across multiple worlds

PC tiers

Tier 1 : levels 1 to 4

Tier 2 : levels 5 to 10

Tier 3 : levels 11 to 16

Tier 4 : levels 17 to 20

The table, then

There are some different ways to determine “party level”, you could do “average PC level”, or you could take the highest level, or the lowest, or the highest-that-at-least-two-people-have, or the medium, or w/e. Up to you but be consistent.

Our group’s rule is: the second-highest level of a player character.

Then whenever the group does a pillar trigger, look up the xp reward for their level, relevant to the tier of the trigger compared to their own tier. Discovery triggers below their own current tier don’t give any xp, but convincing people of (any) lower gives half the xp that matching their current tier would.

Party level Matching tier One tier higher Two tiers higher Three tiers higher


1 30 60 90 120 2 60 120 180 240 3 180 360 540 720 4 380 760 1140 1520 5 750 1500 2250 3000 6 900 1800 2700 3600 7 1100 2200 3300 4400 8 1400 2800 4200 5600 9 1600 3200 4800 6400 10 2100 4200 6300 8400 11 1500 3000 4500 6000 12 2000 4000 6000 8000 13 2000 4000 6000 8000 14 2500 5000 7500 10000 15 3000 6000 9000 12000 16 3000 6000 9000 12000 17 4000 8000 12000 16000 18 4000 8000 12000 16000 19 5000 10000 15000 20000

For these rewards, give out the full reward to each party member.
The third pillar, fighting and killing, just use the normal xp for monsters, dividing it among the party as usual.

Trouble – a fourth pillar {#trouble––a-fourth-pillar}

I also like to give rewards for players getting out of deathly trouble especially when they didn’t fight their way out of it.

Party level Sorta dangerous… I guess Really dangerous!


1 50 100 2 100 200 3 150 400 4 250 500 5 500 1100 6 600 1400 7 750 1700 8 900 2100 9 1100 2400 10 1200 2800 11 1600 3600 12 2000 4500 13 2200 5100 14 2500 5700 15 2800 6400 16 3200 7200 17 3900 8800 18 4200 9500 19 4900 10900 20 5700 12700

Like the discovery and the social pillar, and unlike fighting, these rewards are per person, not split between the group.

Bonus: two player campaigns

If you’re using the XP curve for two player campaigns you can use the same Trouble table, and you can also use the same pillar xp table if you shift the tiers, making the lower tiered discoveries and interactions relevant for longer.

2P level tiers

(for this purpose)

Tier 1 : levels 1 to 9

Tier 2 : levels 10 to 16

Tier 3 : levels 17 to 20