D&D 5e - Dungeons and Data: A Statistical Breakdown of The First Five Sessions of The Tanius Campaign

D&D 5e - Dungeons and Data: A Statistical Breakdown of The First Five Sessions of The Tanius Campaign



Readers of this website will know that we have a strange obsession with statistically analyzing games of all varieties. Fortunately for us, the content of our D&D Campaign Journal also lends itself very well to in-depth statistical analysis.

As the DM of the Tanius Campaign, I have been tracking a large number of data points in an excel spreadsheet. This includes items such as stats of the enemies I have rolled, coin drops, magic items, and much much more.

After combing through the data from the first 5 sessions, I have condensed the information into the graphs below.

A History of Violence

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that early on the party would look for more peaceful means to resolve encounters. Low level characters tend to be at the mercy of the dice due to their low HP counts, so players taking steps to avoid violence if possible is a good approach to avoid that problem. Some encounters were skipped early on, but this is primarily due to the party being forced to pick one of three potential exit points at the end of the first dungeon.


Although sessions 3 and 4 featured only violent encounters, the party didn't choose to kill every enemy they came across. In session 3 they captured an enemy for interrogation, and in session 4 they managed to ally themselves with one of two potential enemy groups. Thus far the party has primarily fought intelligent enemies with clear motives, and their ability to identify these motives has led to a wide variety of encounter resolutions.


In the early levels enemy HP pools are small, and the party's damage per round(DPR) is low, resulting in low damage totals. There will also be some variation in damage dealt depending on how much role-play and exploration there is in a given session. However, despite the fact that the party has often taken a diplomatic approach to encounter resolution, they have steadily been dealing more damage as the campaign progresses. 


Phat Lewt

In 5th edition random loot is generally tied to a treasure horde mechanic. This means that usually loot comes in sporadic bursts when these hordes are located. Although I still use treasure hordes at the end of dungeons, in order to maintain a sense of progression I usually break pieces of the horde out and spread those pieces throughout the dungeons. This approach is reflected in sessions 1 and 2.


The first session featured the party rescuing a series of taverns from a group of looters. As a result the party got a solid influx as gold as the enemies they faced had inflated GP values do to their recent spoils. This was further inflated by the party sweet-talking/extorting some gold from the occasional tavern keeper.

After the treasure horde in session 2 the values normalized somewhat. The gold associated with the creatures in session 5 was tied to the upcoming treasure horde, so the party didn't loot any coins that session.

The coin gained over time more or less matched the expected probability curve with the exception of gold. However, this can be explained by the 40 GP extra they gained through persuading and intimidating bartenders in Endgar's Entertainment District.

dnd-5e-experience-gained-by-session-1-5

I have been giving out quite a bit of milestone experience early on in order to help speed up progression. I am not a fan of the length of the the early levels of D&D, but I liked the simplicity they offered to newer players so I decided to not immediately advance the players to a higher level. Instead I have been using milestone experience to help set the pace of leveling early on.

Milestone experience also serves as the "experience floor" in my campaign for when a PC dies. This system helps me ensure that players respect the consequences of death, but also prevents newer PCs from falling too far behind.

The milestone experience numbers are further inflated due to the fact that there are 7 players in the campaign. Since the "experience floor" system above requires me to track milestone experience on a per player basis, the total milestone experience scales as additional players are added to the campaign.

** If a fight is tactically avoided until the end of a dungeon, the encounter is considered completed. This mechanic is used to prevent players from adopting a "kill everything" mentality for the sake of maximizing experience gain. It is up to the DMs discretion whether or not this experience is awarded in the event that a party is abusing this mechanic.
*** Milestones are awarded to all players, even if the player did not participate in the quest.
**** Typically when I give out an inspiration token I also give out a small amount of experience. Should a player already have an inspiration token, the experience is still granted.

 

dnd-5e-experience-gained-over-time-1-5

Despite the inflated milestone experience numbers, the primary means of gaining experience is still defeating enemies. The steady flow of combat in this campaign has helped keep the pace of growth consistent. Upon review I should probably look to increase the experience rewards given for good role-play and individual accomplishments outside of combat. However, as a whole I am happy with the rate of growth in the first 5 sessions.

** If a fight is tactically avoided until the end of a dungeon, the encounter is considered completed. This mechanic is used to prevent players from adopting a "kill everything" mentality for the sake of maximizing experience gain. It is up to the DMs discretion whether or not this experience is awarded in the event that a party is abusing this mechanic.
*** Milestones are split between all players, even if the player missed the session.
**** Typically when I give out an inspiration token I also give out a small amount of experience. Should a player already have an inspiration token, the experience is still granted.


All in all I am very happy with how the first 5 sessions of the campaign ended up turning out. My plan is to continue to track all of the data points above, and after 10 sessions post a new set of updated graphs.





The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 9: The Ascent

The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 9: The Ascent

The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 8: The Bonde Farmstead

The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 8: The Bonde Farmstead