D&D 5e - Dungeons and Data: Party Statistics From The First 10 Sessions of The Tanius Campaign
Now that we have finished re-telling the events from the 10th session of our D&D campaign, it is time to start counting instead of recounting. Much like the last analysis we did we will be breaking down a set of party-level metrics I have been tracking throughout the campaign. This time however we will include data from all 10 sessions, instead of doing 5 rolling sessions.
Shoot First Ask Questions Later
The encounters in Sessions 6 through 10 were almost always violent. This is because the party found themselves primarily fighting beasts and monstrosities. The lone exception was an encounter with a trio of starving dire wolves. This encounter was supposed to involve combat, but ended up being resolved peacefully with a "Speak to Animals" spell and a very high persuasion roll from Lilyth. This segment of the campaign was also much more linear, and as a result no encounters were skipped.
The number of enemies killed in sessions 6 through 10 very closely lines up with the number of violent encounters that took place. One major outlier was the dungeon the party went through in session 7 where the party killed over 31 creatures. This spike was largely due to the party starting the session in a dungeon that involved clearing a large open air cavern of threats. The search and destroy nature of the dungeon resulted in a chain of violent encounters often featuring large groups of enemies.
As expected the total damage dealt closely reflects the number of enemies defeated. The party managed to beat the previous record of damage dealt per session set in session 3 in every session besides session 8. This can largely be attributed to the party's higher player level and increased damage dealing capabilities. Also most of the encounters featured either high HP enemies with low AC or large groups of weaker enemies vulnerable to Area of Effect attacks.
So How Much Do You Pay?
The party actually found one more magic item in the first 5 sessions than they did in the second 5. This is partly because the they have not yet acquired the treasure horde associated with Blackheart Manor. The other reason is that the party actually opted out of a handful of magical items that they could have received had they given the third griffon egg to Clausen after the quest on Mount Easie.
The party started with two large payouts at the start of session 6 and the end of session 7, but since then their currency acquisition has slowed to a crawl. This is primarily due to the fact that most of the gold associated with the creatures defeated in sessions 8, 9, and 10 are tied to the treasure horde in Blackheart Manor.
Starting in session 6 there was a disproportionate increase in the amount of silver and gold acquired vs other currency types. This is can largely be attributed to how the dice were rolled, however I also ended up applying a multiplier to the gold associated with higher CR monsters. This multiplier was further compounded by the fact that I was linking higher valued currency to stronger monsters, resulting in a disproportionately high amount of more valuable coin being given out.
This approach was actually a relic of how I assigned gold to the bandits the party fought in the first 5 sessions. I wanted the higher ranking thugs and spies to hold bigger purses than their bandit counterparts, so I rolled all of the coin values at once, and assigned the more valuable currencies to higher CR creatures. Although this "smart" loot assignment may have resulted in somewhat inflated coin totals, overall I am happy with the amount of coin given out in the first 10 sessions.
Learning From Our Mistakes
Contrary to what you might expect, session 7 actually had the lowest amount of combat experience given out, despite featuring the highest number of monsters killed. However, upon further review these results make perfect sense. Unless the party is able to quickly clear out large groups of enemies with AOE spells, encounters featuring large groups of enemies actually slow the rate of play significantly. This is further complicated by the fact that these lower CR monsters have paltry experience payouts. In the end there actually was very little correlation between the number of monsters killed and how much experience was given out.
Interestingly enough, the milestone experience received in session 7 was actually greater than the monster experience gained. This is partly due to the addition of Meesh as a party member. As stated in the previous article each party member gets their own instance of milestone experience, so the larger the party gets, the higher the milestone experience totals become.
As we go deeper into the campaign experience gained from combat starts to become the primary experience source. Milestone experience should make a bit of a comeback once the party completes Blackheart manor, however even with my frequent milestone rewards I expect combat experience to continue pulling ahead.
Experience given out from other sources is still a tiny fraction of the experience total. This is because I have been primarily using inspiration tokens as a reward for clever play as opposed to experience bonuses.
Overall I am very happy with the first 10 sessions of the campaign. Milestones continue to be an effective tool for managing experience progression, and thus far most metrics are trending as expected. If I could do it again I would have put more of an emphasis on experience gained from non-combat and non-milestone sources. I feel like there should be a greater reward to to clever non-combat play than simply handing out inspiration tokens, and I plan on modifying my approach in future sessions of the campaign.