[RPG] How to raise concerns with a new DM about XP splitting


My wife is new to DMing and D&D as a whole.

We had our first game yesterday and one of my friends raised a concern about how she was awarding XP as she was giving the XP to the person that got the killing blow. He felt, and I agree, that this was unfair to the people playing a support role i.e. our Bard and Druid.

Any suggestions on how I should bring this up without it sounding like a criticism or that Iā€™m trying to take over?

Best Answer

By the Book

I'd start by suggesting she review Chapter 8: Running the Game, Experience Points. Hopefully, the part she'll realize what she's doing wrong after reading this:

Each monster has an XP value based on its challenge rating. When adventurers defeat one or more monsters ā€” typically by killing, routing, or capturing them ā€” they divide the total XP value of the monsters evenly among themselves.

The character advancement system is not seeking to model mythical accounts of battle, where the killer gets the glory for finishing off the enemy and nobody can remember the name of any of the other people who made it possible. Killing a creature is not the only way to gain XP. It should be possible to get XP with no killing at all. That clearly makes it unfair to award it for a kill - the non-lethal contributions can be just as important, if not more important, than raw damage. Unless the enemies are being played as unintelligent bags of blood and loot, it's even possible to win an encounter without killing anybody.

A Question of Fairness

If needed, you could highlight unfairness of XP-to-the-Killer by pointing out a scenario like this: What happens with something like a rogue sneak attack critical hit or a paladin crit smite leaving an enemy with single-digit hit points, and somebody else taking it out? The rogue or paladin did the vast majority of the damage. Why should the last hit point be more important than the thirty, fifty, seventy, or more that came before it? Remember, experience tracks ability, not renown.