Adventure XP Progression Paths

I have a number of (fantastic!) Frog God Games products. One thing that always appears to be missing is a statement of which of the three standard XP progressions (Slow, Medium, or Fast) the adventure is designed for.

So far, I have Stoneheart Valley, The Black Monastery, Barakus, Rappan Athuk, Razor Coast, and Slumbering Tsar. Of these, only Barakus seems to indicate which progression to use (Slow). I'll be receiving Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms through the kickstarter soon (yay!), and hope to pick up Sword of Air and Cyclopean Deeps 1 & 2 as well...anticipating this same issue, I would like to ask... what progression are all of these adventures made for?

I plan to hopefully take my group through Tsar via Stoneheart Valley soon, and I'm very concerned about balance. I would hate to (for instance) assume a slow progression, then find they are barely 4th level when they should be 7th. Or assume fast progression, and find they are 7th when they should be 4th!

As I said, Barakus stated it was made for the slow progression, but what about all the others mentioned above?

Thanks for your time, input, and great products!

Greg V. is going to know for sure on CoSK and Slumbering Tsar but I am going to guess Fast.  

Keep in mind the sandbox nature of adventures like Rappan Athuk and Sword of Air which are by no means an "adventure path" makes the XP progression very difficult due the vast open choices.

Another consideration is that Stoneheart Valley, Barakus, Rappan Athuk, and Razor Coast were originally designed and written for D&D 3e. The XP between 3e and Pathfinder is close for the Fast Track then diverges rapidly after 10th level. In order for this work, Pathfinder monster are going to have to be worth more XP than 3e  especially at higher level. I haven't looked at this in detail since 3e/Pf isn't my game although it is answer that can be known by taking the time to do a comparison.

As an aside, this is also why this the XP progression for the S&W conversions needs to be hand-waved working off adventure progress since the monster XP is lower compared to 3e/Pf and the treasure XP doesn't (and really can't unless you go Monty Haul) make up the difference.

Unless otherwise stipulated, the XP progression should be considered the Medium track. However, because of the sandboxy nature of these adventures, this can vary wildly from campaign to campaign so that it should have an asterisk next to it that says "or as needed". In the tradition of the 1e feel we leave a lot of that up to the GM, how fast do you want them to progress, how often do you want to throw random encounters at them, etc. We just give guidance in regards to what level they should be at what point (e.g. in Tsar: 7th at the beginning, 11th to go in the city, and 15th for the citadel, but even those aren't hard and fast rules depending on the nature/make-up of your parties/players). In addition, even though (as Shadow Frog mentioned) the 3e and PF Fast tracks match closely, the PF does not drop XP for lower level encounters like 3e did, so there is some make-up built in there.

So, short answer: the default is Medium track. Long answer: the track is whatever you need it to be to make your campaign work. :-)


jmj_1975's picture

My current campaign, predominantly set within Rappan Athuk, is using the medium advancement.

Whether a player is present or not, I'm doing group experience so they don't fall behind the others.  The replacement character comes in at the same experience point total as previous characters, but with half of the average loot/equipment per character.  The initial math suggested this would work if approximately one in four corpses were lost, but in actuality I wouldn't go with this exact system again... If it is a wipe, characters come in rather undergeared for their level, and choose to adventure in areas far below their level, making for a lot of sessions to level up (and a slow loot acquisition rate, in the process).

Anyway, I've not tracked exactly what levels characters were, for which areas of the dungeon, but I have tracked deaths... as inspired by the Obituary section of the book.  So maybe this will aid you, in deciding if medium advancement works for RA, for your group.

Session 01 (Wizard's Amulet), level 1 death.

Session 03 (Crucible of Freya), level 1 death.

Session 07 (Morrick Mansion), level 2 death.

Session 08 (RA: Surface Area), level 3 death.

Session 10 (Mouth of Doom), level 3 death.

Session 11 (Mouth of Doom), 2x level 4 deaths.

Session 14 (Demon's Gullet), level 4 death.

Session 16 (Fountain of Pestilence), 2x Level 4 deaths.

Session 18 (Sunken Graveyard), level 5 death.

Session 19 (Marthek/Ambros), 2x level 5 deaths (Ogre) & 5x (Party Wipe) level 5 deaths (Saracek).

Session 21 (Demon's Gullet), 2x level 6 deaths.

Session 23 (The Gut), 1x level 6 death.

Session 24 (The Gut), 1x level 6 death.

Session 25 (RA - The Surface), 5x (Party Wipe) level 6 deaths.

Session 31 (Tunnels of Terror), 2x Level 7 deaths.

Session 33 (Tunnels of Terror), 1x Level 8 death.

Session 34 (Cloister), 1x Level 8 death.

Session 35 (Cloister), 1x level 8 death.

Session 37 (Cloister), 1x level 8 death.

Session 38 (Cloister), 3x level 8 deaths.

Session 42 (Sunken Graveyard), 2x level 8 deaths & (Marthek/Ambros) 3x level 8 deaths.

Session 43 (Upper Temple), 2x level 8 deaths.

Session 45 (Marthek/Ambros), 1x level 8 death.

Session 46 (Marthek/Ambros), 1x level 9 death & (The Gut) 2x level 9 death.

Session 47 (The Gut), 1x level 9 death.


They escaped without a death, in session 48.

Late to the thread, but I'm quite impressed with jmj_1975's litany of death :). I'm early in running RA, though I've owned it from the first iteration. Started out in S&W and my group has requested a switch to PF after I went through a sort of trial by fire of character creation for a tournament called the Cheesegrinder, which left me with more than a passing familiarity with the rules (has been quite some time since I've run 3.5).

After re-reading Bill Webb's Book of Dirty Tricks I settled upon Slow Progression as it felt more organic. Though if it comes along too slow I'll move to medium or even fast as necessary.