I'm not saying the math is difficult, but it undoubtedly takes time, especially when you're dealing, as I do, with a party of eight players. On a certain level I understand that this bookkeeping is "part of Dungeons & Dragons," but it's not a whole lot of fun, and it makes prepping for my bi-weekly game a lot more tedious than it ought to be.
Let me repeat myself.
The current experience point system makes the game tedious. The actual playing of the game? Great. The prepping and "after action" taxwork? Not so much.
I also dislike the system for its abstraction. All of the numbers are behind the GM screen. The players really have no idea how many experience points they ought to get from a given combat, so all they really seem to track is a sense of when they "should" have gone up a level after a few sessions without getting experience. There is no sense that their characters' development is in their hands, because no player-initiated action (other than "I attack!") is rewarded with a significant number of experience points.
I contend that the players should know the measure of their success, and that measure should be based less on arcane mathmatic guesswork about a creature's toughness and more on what activities a player can engage in to develop his character and make the campaign more fun for everyone to play. I have therefore, as of about 20 minutes ago, come up with a new way to do experience points in the d20 system. I call it:
ERIK MONA's LO-FI EXPERIENCE SYSTEM
At the end of each session, the Game Master assigns experience points based upon the session's play. Experience points are awarded to each character individually. A PC gains an experience point award for each encounter in which he survives. Characters do not earn experience points for encounters in which they are killed, even if later returned to life.
Play is divided into three encounter types: Epic, Development, and Standard. Each encounter type offers a different experience point reward.
EPIC encounters are combat encounters 2 or more levels higher than the average party level and/or the defeat of a significant enemy.
Value: 4 experience points.
DEVELOPMENT encounters involve significant, player-initiated character development through roleplay, such as befriending an NPC, keeping in touch with family, establishing and using a personal motto, and so on. Choosing and painting a miniature for your character or sketching your character might qualify as a development encounter.
Value: 3 experience points.
Special: A character may receive experience points from only one development encounter per level.
STANDARD encounters are combat encounters within 1 of the average party level or complex roleplaying encounters involving several skill checks. Disabling a complex trap blocking a party's progress through a dungeon might qualify as a standard encounter, but picking a single lock definitely wouldn't.
Value: 1 experience point.
A character gains a new level each time she achieves 20 experience points.
LEVEL XP TOTAL