# Cohorts and XP

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Anonymous

A friend of mine is troubled because his cohort died and lost a level.

Apparently, the rules for cohorts gaining XP state that when the PC
gains XP, the cohort gains some "magical bonus" XP that pops out of the
ether and isn't drawn from the pool of XP that the PCs earned.

The amount of XP the cohort gains is apparently equal to the amount of
XP the cohort's PC gained, multiplied by a fraction. The fraction is
equal to X/Y, where X equals the level of the cohort and Y equals the
level of the PC.

Good so far? I hope so, because this is what we've been doing.

The problem that the player has is that his cohort died, was raised, and
lost a level in the process. His PC is 10th level, and his cohort was
8th level. Now his cohort is down to 7th level.

Previously, if he earned 1000 XP, his cohort would earn 1000 XP times
8/10, or 800 XP. Now, if he earns 1000 XP, his cohort will only earn
1000 XP times 7/10, or 700 XP.

He claims that his cohort will never catch up in level, and since he is
entitled to having a cohort 2 levels below the level of his PC, he might
as well ditch his old cohort and take on a new one, who will be 8th level.

I'm no math whiz, but it seemed to me that people were talking earlier
about how the new cohort XP system was good because it DID enable
cohorts to "catch up" when they lost levels. Is this not true? It
seems to me that the fact that they need less XP to gain back the lost
level might factor into this.

- Ron ^*^

Anonymous

Werebat wrote:

> I'm no math whiz, but it seemed to me that people were talking earlier
> about how the new cohort XP system was good because it DID enable
> cohorts to "catch up" when they lost levels. Is this not true? It
> seems to me that the fact that they need less XP to gain back the lost
> level might factor into this.

There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or
less official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part
of the FRCS) when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels
down (sometimes one) and having them cost the party something,
but not as much as another PC.

Then 3.5 came out, people read the EP section and noticed that
the individual awards had become fully official (fixing the
problem of PCs falling behind). Then eventually people read the
DMG section on cohorts and discovered what your player has.

A cohort gets pro-rated EP award that always maintains the
difference in level assuming he starts at the pro-rata value
(yep, they need less EP/level, but they also get less EP/level),
the pro-rated system is incapable of correcting for lost
levels due to death or for EP spent on magic items. They
included a hard limit for cases where the cohort gets ahead,
but there is nothing to fix it when one gets behind.

This has the following effects:
1) There is rarely a downside to replacing cohorts, especially
for crafter cohorts they fall steadily behind. Since you are
going to replace them anyway you may as well shaft them on gear
too.
+1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a
feat.
3) Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way
for the same things. Cohorts getting half shares was fine, they
weren't full participants in some sense, cohorts getting mystery
EP based on what their leader is doing regardless of their own
actions is senseless.
4) Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something
costs the leader massive EP also.

I've just had the new rule come up for the first time in
my game and it is about to get houseruled (I would have already
done so but want to discuss it with the players first).

Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you
want leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares
without reducing the rest of the party's award.

DougL
Anonymous

Werebat wrote:
> DougL wrote:
> > Werebat wrote:
> >
> >
> >>I'm no math whiz, but it seemed to me that people were talking earlier
> >>about how the new cohort XP system was good because it DID enable
> >>cohorts to "catch up" when they lost levels. Is this not true? It
> >>seems to me that the fact that they need less XP to gain back the lost
> >>level might factor into this.
> >
> >
> > There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
> > calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or
> > less official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part
> > of the FRCS) when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels
> > down (sometimes one) and having them cost the party something,
> > but not as much as another PC.
> >
> > Then 3.5 came out, people read the EP section and noticed that
> > the individual awards had become fully official (fixing the
> > problem of PCs falling behind). Then eventually people read the
> > DMG section on cohorts and discovered what your player has.
> >
> > A cohort gets pro-rated EP award that always maintains the
> > difference in level assuming he starts at the pro-rata value
> > (yep, they need less EP/level, but they also get less EP/level),
> > the pro-rated system is incapable of correcting for lost
> > levels due to death or for EP spent on magic items. They
> > included a hard limit for cases where the cohort gets ahead,
> > but there is nothing to fix it when one gets behind.
> >
> > This has the following effects:
> > 1) There is rarely a downside to replacing cohorts, especially
> > for crafter cohorts they fall steadily behind. Since you are
> > going to replace them anyway you may as well shaft them on gear
> > too.
> > +1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a
> > feat.
> > 3) Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way
> > for the same things. Cohorts getting half shares was fine, they
> > weren't full participants in some sense, cohorts getting mystery
> > EP based on what their leader is doing regardless of their own
> > actions is senseless.
> > 4) Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something
> > costs the leader massive EP also.
> >
> > I've just had the new rule come up for the first time in
> > my game and it is about to get houseruled (I would have already
> > done so but want to discuss it with the players first).
> >
> > Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you
> > want leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares
> > without reducing the rest of the party's award.
>
> Thanks, Doug. You've verified that there IS a problem.
>
> Go with cohorts getting half EP based on actual level, eh? And have
> each cohort count for half a PC for purposes of XP division?
>
> Couldn't there be some way where they take EP from the EP of the PC who
> is "mentoring" them? There is some logic to this -- I mean, the PC
> doesn't advance as quickly because he's got someone backing him up all
> the time, and doesn't have his "balls to the wall" so much as the PC who
> doesn't have a cohort. Plus, it reigns in the power of the Leadership
> feat somewhat.
>
> I can't think of a good way to implement this, but it sounds like a nice
> idea.

I've got a simple and EVIL (MWHAHAHAHA!!!) way to do it.

Give the PC his normal share of XP. HE then chooses how much of it to
give to the Cohort, up to 1/2 his XP. It's probably TOO Evil.

If you are feeling a little more generous you could make this up to 1/4
of his xp, but what he gives to his cohort is doubled, Just put a limit
on it that his cohort gets no xp if he would level up to the PC's
level.

- Justisaur
Anonymous

DougL wrote:
> Werebat wrote:
>
>
>>I'm no math whiz, but it seemed to me that people were talking earlier
>>about how the new cohort XP system was good because it DID enable
>>cohorts to "catch up" when they lost levels. Is this not true? It
>>seems to me that the fact that they need less XP to gain back the lost
>>level might factor into this.
>
>
> There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
> calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or
> less official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part
> of the FRCS) when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels
> down (sometimes one) and having them cost the party something,
> but not as much as another PC.
>
> Then 3.5 came out, people read the EP section and noticed that
> the individual awards had become fully official (fixing the
> problem of PCs falling behind). Then eventually people read the
> DMG section on cohorts and discovered what your player has.
>
> A cohort gets pro-rated EP award that always maintains the
> difference in level assuming he starts at the pro-rata value
> (yep, they need less EP/level, but they also get less EP/level),
> the pro-rated system is incapable of correcting for lost
> levels due to death or for EP spent on magic items. They
> included a hard limit for cases where the cohort gets ahead,
> but there is nothing to fix it when one gets behind.
>
> This has the following effects:
> 1) There is rarely a downside to replacing cohorts, especially
> for crafter cohorts they fall steadily behind. Since you are
> going to replace them anyway you may as well shaft them on gear
> too.
> +1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a
> feat.
> 3) Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way
> for the same things. Cohorts getting half shares was fine, they
> weren't full participants in some sense, cohorts getting mystery
> EP based on what their leader is doing regardless of their own
> actions is senseless.
> 4) Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something
> costs the leader massive EP also.
>
> I've just had the new rule come up for the first time in
> my game and it is about to get houseruled (I would have already
> done so but want to discuss it with the players first).
>
> Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you
> want leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares
> without reducing the rest of the party's award.

Thanks, Doug. You've verified that there IS a problem.

Go with cohorts getting half EP based on actual level, eh? And have
each cohort count for half a PC for purposes of XP division?

Couldn't there be some way where they take EP from the EP of the PC who
is "mentoring" them? There is some logic to this -- I mean, the PC
doesn't advance as quickly because he's got someone backing him up all
the time, and doesn't have his "balls to the wall" so much as the PC who
doesn't have a cohort. Plus, it reigns in the power of the Leadership
feat somewhat.

I can't think of a good way to implement this, but it sounds like a nice
idea.

- Ron ^*^
Related ressources
Anonymous

DougL wrote:
> There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
> calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or less
> official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part of the FRCS)
> when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels down (sometimes
> one) and having them cost the party something, but not as much as
> another PC.

They cost the party something, but the cost applied to all the PCs,
which isn't really fair: One player got a big advantage, but everyone
paid for it.

> +1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a feat.

The XP cost is a red herring. The old way /also/ gave the PC with
Leadership about +1 LA relative to the rest of the party. If the one PC
paid the full XP cost himself, it might've been balanced, but that's not
how it worked.

> Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way for the
> same things.

Cohorts aren't NPCs; they're under player control, and as the rules
state, a cohort is essentially an extra PC.

> Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something costs the

The easiest way to fix this is to pro-rate the PC's XP to his maximum
cohort level instead of the cohort's actual level. For example, if a
10th-level PC has a leadership score good enough to recruit an 8th-level
cohort, then his cohort earns 8/10 of his XP regardless of the cohort's
level. It may take a while, but the cohort will eventually catch up to
8th level.

> Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you want
> leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares without
> reducing the rest of the party's award.

Reducing the rest of the party's XP will not help intraparty balance at
all. It won't even change the difficulty of the game. All it'll do is
slow down the advancement rate (which can cause other problems, like
uneven wealth distribution).

If you want to improve intraparty balance, then recommend that the
cohort gets no share of treasure; instead, the PC must equip his cohort
entirely out of his normal share of treasure.
--
Anonymous

> DougL wrote:
>
>>There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
>>calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or less
>>official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part of the FRCS)
>>when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels down (sometimes
>>one) and having them cost the party something, but not as much as
>>another PC.
>
>
> They cost the party something, but the cost applied to all the PCs,
> which isn't really fair: One player got a big advantage, but everyone
> paid for it.
>
>
>>+1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a feat.
>
>
> The XP cost is a red herring. The old way /also/ gave the PC with
> Leadership about +1 LA relative to the rest of the party. If the one PC
> paid the full XP cost himself, it might've been balanced, but that's not
> how it worked.
>
>
>>Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way for the
>>same things.
>
>
> Cohorts aren't NPCs; they're under player control, and as the rules
> state, a cohort is essentially an extra PC.
>
>
>>Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something costs the
>
>
> The easiest way to fix this is to pro-rate the PC's XP to his maximum
> cohort level instead of the cohort's actual level. For example, if a
> 10th-level PC has a leadership score good enough to recruit an 8th-level
> cohort, then his cohort earns 8/10 of his XP regardless of the cohort's
> level. It may take a while, but the cohort will eventually catch up to
> 8th level.

This is an interesting, and simple, solution. How well would it work?

How many encounters would it take the low-level cohort to catch up?

>>Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you want
>>leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares without
>>reducing the rest of the party's award.
>
>
> Reducing the rest of the party's XP will not help intraparty balance at
> all. It won't even change the difficulty of the game. All it'll do is
> slow down the advancement rate (which can cause other problems, like
> uneven wealth distribution).
>
> If you want to improve intraparty balance, then recommend that the
> cohort gets no share of treasure; instead, the PC must equip his cohort
> entirely out of his normal share of treasure.

Well, this is how we do things around here anyway.

- Ron ^*^
Anonymous

>> The easiest way to fix this is to pro-rate the PC's XP to his maximum
>> cohort level instead of the cohort's actual level. For example, if a
>> 10th-level PC has a leadership score good enough to recruit an 8th-level
>> cohort, then his cohort earns 8/10 of his XP regardless of the cohort's
>> level. It may take a while, but the cohort will eventually catch up to
>> 8th level.

Werebat <ranpoirier@cox.net> wrote:
> This is an interesting, and simple, solution. How well would it work?
> How many encounters would it take the low-level cohort to catch up?

I suppose that depends on the levels involved. It would probably resolve
minor differences (e.g., item creation costs) pretty quickly. Recovering
a whole lost level would take a long time though. Continuing the example
quoted above, suppose that the cohort is actually 7th level. As the PC
earns the 10,000 XP needed for 11th level, the cohort will get 8,000 --
1,000 XP more than he needs for his own level. Hm, for each level the PC
earns, the cohort will get 1,000 XP more than he needs for the next
level. It would take several levels to catch up completely.

If you want quicker convergence, just give the cohort the same XP as the
PC, with a cap at the PC's leadership maximum. (There's some potential
for abuse here, if the player foists a lot of item creation costs on the
cohort.)
--
Anonymous

> DougL wrote:
> > There was a brief shinning moment, when the "everyone earns EP
> > calculated based on his own ECL rather than on APL" was more or less
> > official as part of the pre-3.5 publications (or as part of the FRCS)
> > when Cohorts WORKED. They tended toward two levels down (sometimes
> > one) and having them cost the party something, but not as much as
> > another PC.
>
> They cost the party something, but the cost applied to all the PCs,
> which isn't really fair: One player got a big advantage, but everyone
> paid for it.

The player may have a big advantage, the Character doesn't. IME
Cohorts are treated as independent characters with their own goals
and behavior.

EP awards are for the character, not the player, hence your argument
is nonsensical. The PC faced the same challenges as the rest of the
party. The Cohort provided less than full PC level assistance to the
party as a whole in overcomming those challenges.

> > +1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a feat.
>
> The XP cost is a red herring. The old way /also/ gave the PC with
> Leadership about +1 LA relative to the rest of the party. If the one PC
> paid the full XP cost himself, it might've been balanced, but that's not
> how it worked.

Nope, the PC with leadership is down a feat, and the character has
little or no gain from it, the PARTY has another member.

If your players can't handle running two allied characters as two
separate people then the problem is not with the feat.

> > Cohorts break the rule that NPCs and PCs get EP the same way for the
> > same things.
>
> Cohorts aren't NPCs; they're under player control, and as the rules
> state, a cohort is essentially an extra PC.

IIRC they are NPCs by the RaW, they may be treated as an extra
PC, but if so then they get an extra EP award, that's how running
multiple characters works.

> > Cohorts who fall behind can never catch up unless something costs the
> > leader massive EP also.
>
> The easiest way to fix this is to pro-rate the PC's XP to his maximum
> cohort level instead of the cohort's actual level. For example, if a
> 10th-level PC has a leadership score good enough to recruit an 8th-level
> cohort, then his cohort earns 8/10 of his XP regardless of the cohort's
> level. It may take a while, but the cohort will eventually catch up to
> 8th level.

He'll always be 8,000 EP behind, so he will fall back a level every

> > Go with Cohorts get half EP based on their actual level. If you want
> > leadership to remain overpowered then give them half shares without
> > reducing the rest of the party's award.
>
> Reducing the rest of the party's XP will not help intraparty balance at
> all. It won't even change the difficulty of the game. All it'll do is
> slow down the advancement rate (which can cause other problems, like
> uneven wealth distribution).

Intraparty ballance isn't the problem, how tough is the challenge?
That's what the EP is for, and one extra character at APL-2 makes
the challenge easier by about half a character.

And it no more goofs up treasure than any other non-standard size
group. What goofs up treasure from expected level is a character
who gets mystery extra EP WITHOUT getting mystery extra gear.

Extra character taking EP and gear leaves the distribution fine.

> If you want to improve intraparty balance, then recommend that the
> cohort gets no share of treasure; instead, the PC must equip his cohort
> entirely out of his normal share of treasure.

If I were interested in intraparty balance then reducing the
awards to one character because the PARTY has an extra character
handy destroys intraparty ballance.

You are not interested in inter-party ballance since you are
trying to deliberately cripple one member. You are interested
in inter-PLAYER ballance, which is pure metagame and of no
interest at all to me since I would freely let most of my
players run two full PCs if they wanted to.

Inter-PLAYER ballance is dealt with at the metagame level
since it is a metagame problem, interparty ballance is between
characters, and as long at the cohort is a separate character
he doesn't goof that up at all.

DougL
Anonymous

On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 00:36:21 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
<bradd+news@szonye.com> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> If you want to improve intraparty balance, then recommend that the
> cohort gets no share of treasure; instead, the PC must equip his cohort
> entirely out of his normal share of treasure.

It is, perhaps, interesting that when I was last running a D&D game,
and gaining a cohort was about the cost in treasure. There was no
complaint about the loss of XP (and this in 3.0, when it mattered). I
think the XP drain tended to be somewhat invisible, but the treasure
loss was seen everytime loot was divided up.

--
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous

On Thu, 25 Aug 2005 02:31:02 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
<bradd+news@szonye.com> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> If you want quicker convergence, just give the cohort the same XP as the
> PC, with a cap at the PC's leadership maximum. (There's some potential
> for abuse here, if the player foists a lot of item creation costs on the
> cohort.)

If the GM steps in and points requires the PCs pay for at least the XP
and material costs it'll slow that sort of absuse a bit.

--
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous

Werebat wrote:
>

A methematical solution to the "problems" of cohorts.

To keep them two levels behind the PC, give them a 1/2 share of XP.
Counting this against the party works OK if you also give them a half
share of treasure. The cohort ends up 2 levels lower, with about 85% of
what a PC of his level would have in gear value.

To balance the "power" of leadership, have the leader donate 1/3 of
_his_ XP to the cohort, and 1/3 of _his_ treasure too. The leader ends
up 1 level lower than the party, with his Cohort 2 levels lower than
that. The player ends up with about the same level of power within the
party.

With the second option, a cohorts cut of treasure remains the
property of his leader and should be used to equip any replacements,
with the first he should take it with him when he leaves and a
replacement should come fully kitted out.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
Anonymous

tussock wrote:

> To keep them two levels behind the PC, give them a 1/2 share of XP.
> Counting this against the party works OK if you also give them a half
> share of treasure. The cohort ends up 2 levels lower, with about 85% of
> what a PC of his level would have in gear value.

NB: Divide the base XP by number of PCs (as usual) plus 1/2 for
each cohort, give the cohort 1/2 normal XP for his actual level.

Giving him a +2 LA works better for giving him XP, but still only
count them as half when dividing for the party.

> To balance the "power" of leadership, have the leader donate 1/3 of
> _his_ XP to the cohort, and 1/3 of _his_ treasure too. The leader ends
> up 1 level lower than the party, with his Cohort 2 levels lower than
> that. The player ends up with about the same level of power within the
> party.

NB: This is best done with a +1 LA for the leader, and a +3 LA for
the cohort, but /don't/ count cohorts when dividing XP by the number of
party members; otherwise you get issues with constantly falling further
behind.
If your cohort should be /more/ than two levels lower than you
(with an appropriately higher LA), then this underpowers the leader, but
that's a fairly rare occurance IME.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.

>> They cost the party something, but the cost applied to all the PCs,
>> which isn't really fair: One player got a big advantage, but everyone
>> paid for it.
>
> The player may have a big advantage, the Character doesn't. IME
> Cohorts are treated as independent characters with their own goals
> and behavior.
>
IME, Cohorts are more devoted to their PC than the typical NPC who joins the
party (or than the other PCs for that matter). They are squires,
apprentices, followers, etc., and typically play the roles of bodyguard,
healer or enchanter on the PCs behalf.

Isn't that how most of y'all play them? Sure they have some backbone but
they are devoted to the PCs interest in a way that is unlike a mere ally.

Spinner
Anonymous

DougL said:

> I am consistant, you are illiterate.

This irony never stops being funny!
Anonymous

DougL wrote:
>>>>> +1LA to a character at no EP cost. Clearly overpowered for a feat.

>> First you say that it's overpowered as a feat because it gives the
>> character too big an advantage. Now you say that the character doesn't
>> have any advantage at all. You can't have it both ways.

> Nope it is too powerful a feat because it makes the PARTY too
> powerful. Power is a party phenomena.

OK. Your original remark (quoted at top) gave me the impression that you
were talking about the benefit to the cohort's leader (PC and player).

> That is why docking the PARTY EP is the correct solution.

I still disagree on that, however. See below.

>> Once you adjust for [ability scores and gear], the cohort is closer
>> to 1/4 the value of a PC.

> Same thing applies for an NPC ally who has NPC gear. And within
> a half dozen adventures the Cohort's gear largely catches up.

>>> You are not interested in inter-party ballance since you are trying
>>> to deliberately cripple one member.

>> WTF? You're really going off the kook end of the pool here.

> You assume that adding a character to the party benefits only one
> other character.

Not at all. However, I do assume that the player with the cohort gets
a lot more out of it than everyone else does. More spotlight time, more
stuff to do, and in many groups, more loot overall. That's how it's
worked out with cohorts in my group.

> You assume that your players are incompetent.

See, here you're in kook territory again. None of my players are
incompetent; even our newest player is learning quickly. In my
experience, the imbalance is even more noticeable when a strong player
runs the cohort, because he can take better tactical advantage.

> If the Cohort is a cleric and heals or buffs ANYONE but his leader do
> you dock the other character EP and give it to the cohort? If not your
> argument is inconsistent.

WTF are you babbling about here, Doug? The issue is not whether the
cohort benefits the other players. It's that it benefits one player much
more than the rest. You obviously don't see that, either because your
group handles cohorts much differently than mine, or because you're
blind to the issues.
--
Anonymous

Sorry, missed this part:

DougL wrote:
> And within a half dozen adventures the Cohort's gear largely catches up.

How does it catch up unless it's siphoning loot from somebody else (most
likely the cohort's leader)? Also, the ability scores don't catch up.
--
Anonymous

On 29 Aug 2005 11:16:34 -0700, "DougL" <lampert.doug@gmail.com> carved
upon a tablet of ether:

> > More to the point, one PLAYER has an extra character. That affects
> > intraparty balance. If you think it doesn't, you're nuts, N-V-T-S, nuts.
>
> Only if your PLAYERS are incapable of handling two characters
> reasonably.

If they treat them seasonably, the player with the cohort (or a second
PC) get twice the spotlight time everyone else does.

--
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."