Follow TV Tropes


Experience Points

Go To
A Wiki Walk teaches you many new tropes (+1000 Experience).

"Food!", thought the dragon.
"Levels!", thought the knight.
— MMO forum folklore

An important convention of Tabletop Games, Role Playing Games, games with RPG Elements, and the occasional extreme Role-Playing Game 'Verse, are Experience Points. often abbreviated EP, EXP, or XP. These are tiny imperceptible motes of lessons learned and Character Development, the bread and butter of many RPGs. These are used to either track character progression for leveling up, or to allow a character to buy and upgrade abilities. They can also sometimes be used as a more short-term resource for things such as spellcasting and Item Crafting.

The most common method of getting experience points is through killing monsters, but there are other ways. Some are surprisingly easy.

The Trope Maker, as the first Tabletop RPG, is Dungeons & Dragons.

In video games, it's usually depicted by both numbers, which is an expression of this trope, and the subtrope, Experience Meter. Compare Stat Grinding, in which you get better at a skill or ability by actually using it. Also compare to Money Is Experience Points, where you can use in-game currency to buy upgrades and new abilities in place of, or sometimes in addition to EXP. Contrast Equipment-Based Progression.

Due to the ubiquity in RPGs, please only list aversions, inversions and other twists on the trope. If the example seems to fit better in a related but distinctly different trope article like Stat Grinding, list it there instead.

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • ANNO: Mutationem has Grombitz earned from fighting enemies or completing Sidequests. With enough Grombitz, Ann can use it to unlock and obtain new Skills And Perks from the upgrade menu.
  • Cave Story does this for weapon levels; experience (triangular coins) is collected from enemies, and is lost by getting hit. The Spur is charged up instead of relying on experience and the Nemesis levels up easily yet gets weaker as it levels up. In the Last Cave (Hidden) and Sacred Grounds, where all weapons are brought back to Level 1, these two weapons will be the most used.
  • Iji has Nano points, which are found lying around as well as dropped by almost all enemies.
  • In Ratchet & Clank, slain enemies leave behind Nanomites, which improve the weapon you used.
  • Sundered has Shards, which are obtained from defeated enemies and miscellaneous breakable objects. The player can spend Shards in the Trapezohedron's Tree, either to upgrade your stats or to unlock passive buffs and benefits.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is the only Zelda game other than the spin-off Hyrule Warriors where you can gain exp points. Gain enough, and you can raise your defense, reduce magic costs, or raise your attack power.
    • Breath of the Wild: Although hidden from the player, this is what the game's Dynamic Difficulty system uses as a reference for the player's strength. Every enemy type (including different ranks of the same enemy) has a different point value, and defeating them will add their points to a counter. Once you've defeated 10 enemies of a specific type, they will no longer contribute to the points total. Reaching certain experience point milestones will upgrade all enemies of a certain type to the next level.

    Action Game 
  • In 20 Minutes Till Dawn, experience points are white dots that need to be collected by walking near them. Depending on how many monsters there are, this can be risky.
  • In God of War and Devil May Cry, one gains experience points for killing people, smashing things, and also extra points for hitting things repeatedly without pause, or with a variety of attacks. Subverted, in that its not intangible points you're collecting, but crimson-colored goodies that are spent towards new abilities.
    • Darksiders employs an identical system, gathering souls to buy advancements. Fitting, as it was a love-letter to the genre itself.
  • Rengoku: The games have five separate Skill bars, that are filled by defeating enemies with respective weapon type. Each level multiplies the stats of weapons of that type. Each eqipment can also gain up to 30 points from continuous use.

    Adventure Game 
  • In the Danganronpa series, an Experience Meter is shown on the top right of the screen, which is filled up by either moving around the area or interacting with several objects. Leveling the meter up grants a skill point that'll allow use of a special ability to be used in Class Trails provided that enough skill points match the required cost.

    Beat Em Up Game 
  • In River City Girls, experience is handed out for every enemy taken down. To assure Anti-Grinding, enemies will stop giving out XP until the player moves to the next area.
  • A very rare example seen in most of IGS' developed games, such as the Knights of Valour series, Oriental legend 2, and so forth.
    • Capcom however, also followed suit in the same year (1999) with their Knights of the Round, which was one of the few beat 'em ups to use an EXP system.

    Edutainment Game 
  • In WolfQuest, you get experience points when you kill coyotes, hares, elk, etc., and also when you do things such as mark territory. With enough points, you earn rewards: the ability to name your pups, easier to mark territory, a bonus den choice, or even a pure white pup (despite the parents' colors).

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Bioshock 2's multiplayer works similarly, with the XP referred to in-game as ADAM that players earn from racking up kills, successfully sabotaging machines, and simply finding vials of the stuff lying around.

  • On Discworld MUD (and possibly other Multi-User Dungeons) the players do not gain levels with experience. They have to spend that experience on skills, and this ratio of points in certain skills determines level. If the player dies, XP drops to zero, although getting resurrected can bring some back.
  • Similarly, in Urban Dead, how many 'levels' you have is as many skills as you've purchased. Certain classes have increased EXP cost for specific types of skills and reduced cost for other types. Notably, if someone is level 45, you can immediately tell which side they're likely working on, as one of the skills required to reach that level makes it much harder to be pulled back out of un-life.

    Platform Game 
  • Clustertruck: The "style points". You earn them by doing "stylish" stunts, finishing a level quickly and/or on the first try. These points are then used to buy new abilities.
  • Smashroom: You can gain these by destroying objects, collecting mushrooms, and defeating enemies. However, you lose some every time you die.

    Racing Game 
  • Blur has this and Character Levels in the form of Fans and Fan Levels. You get more fans by winning races in higher places, pulling off stunts, and wrecking other drivers.
  • Gran Turismo, starting from fourth game, has A-Spec Points and B-Spec Skill Levels, which can be earned from races.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Age of Empires III breaks from the previous titles by starting to give Experience Points for the creation of units and buildings, killing the enemies' units, and also from control of trade routes and some economic buildings. These EXP are then used to level up the player's Home City which will then unlocks more troops, technology or resources cards that can be shipped to the colonies during normal gameplay and customize their Home Cities.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Final Fantasy games often separate experience gains into XP, which raise the character's stats, and AP, which teach new skills or abilities.
    • Final Fantasy II is probably the only entry in the series to NOT use XP at all. Instead, stats are raised based on what you've been doing in the battle. Attack more, get higher strength and weapon proficiency; cast more, get better spells and more intelligence. It even included HP increases for taking a lot of damage and MP increases for casting a lot of spells.
      • The reason the system isn't used in the later entries (apart from Final Fantasy XI, which still uses traditional EXP and levels but awards bonuses to skills based on use) is twofold: one, the system was easy to break (beating the crap out of your own party members was an effective way to boost max HP), and two, the system was at least partly broken to begin with (in the original NES version, a canceled move would be counted just the same as an executed one: repeatedly selecting commands and then backing out would still provide bonuses).
    • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Zack levels up whenever the slot machine that grants him special attacks comes up 777, apparently at random. In fact, it does keep track of experience points, though never shows the player their total, and the probability of it coming up 777 is based on how much experience above the threshold for the next level you have.
    • Final Fantasy VIII had the interesting variation that when Squall leveled up, every monster in the game would as well. Therefore the goal is not to level-up to get more powerful, but use the magic junction system to improve your stats.
    • Final Fantasy X offers AP instead of experience points. This allowed players to move around a "Sphere Grid," wherein a player could spend stat-boosting orbs to gain power or abilities. It wasn't quite the same as leveling up, since AP still had to be spent even if a player was going through parts of the Grid they'd already cleared, so gaining a Sphere level didn't quite equate a level gain in the traditional sense.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: Instead of giving experience to the whole team based on the enemies defeated, gives individual characters experience based on each action taken, and who it was taken against. To the inattentive player, this can lead to a team full of front-line fighters who are over-leveled (from taking constant action in attacking) and mages who are under-leveled (from taking only occasional action that's not certain to work). At worse, it can lead to your whole team being under-leveled if you try to play efficiently, and take out enemies in as few turns as is necessary, you won't get nearly the same experience for it.
  • Chrono Cross characters gain levels only when defeating a boss, although the next 5-10 battles after a boss battle will generally give them a slight stat increase as well.
  • As belies its spin-off nature, there were experience points in Pokémon Pinball. Upon activating the "evolve Pokemon" event, if the Pokemon involved evolved by gaining levels in the main series, then "Ex" icons would appear on the board for you to collect.
  • In Dark Cloud and Dark Chronicle, your characters don't gain experience, but their weapons do.
  • Demon's Souls uses Souls as a dual currency/experience points. You can spend them on items and weapon upgrades… or spend them on improving your stats, eventually gaining Soul Levels as you do. The Souls system returns in Dark Souls, Demon's Souls's Spiritual Successor.
  • The first Valkyrie Profile has, in addition to the normal experience points you get from battles, Story Exp., which goes into a communal bank instead of directly to one character. You can then divvy up that experience in whatever portions you want to any of your characters. It's particularly handy when you get a new, under-leveled character and want to get him or her up to speed, or at least a head start on catching up.
  • In Persona games, your Personas increase in power separately from the main character, and not every game worked the same way.
    • In Persona, you have a character level that determines your stats, and a persona level that determines what level of persona you can use. You always gain XP, but your persona level gets more XP the more you use it in a fight. Personas themselves also have 8 ranks, and need to be used a certain number of times to rank up and provide better skills.
    • In Persona 2, you only have your character level to worry about, but Personas still have the 8 ranks and need to be used to improve their rank.
    • In Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5, the main character's Personas have levels and gain XP along with the character, though they always need much more XP to level up, encouraging you to trade up as soon as possible. The other party members have their character level and persona level tied together.
    • Shin Megami Tensei if..., the predecessor to the Persona series, had "guardian demons" that modified your stats and skills. As you fought, you gathered guardian points, and whenever you died, you were brought back with a new guardian demon based on how many guardian points you had. Too few points, and your guardian demon was weaker, while maxing out your guardian points meant you got a significantly stronger demon. Yes, this means you were required to die periodically to become stronger.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords hangs a lampshade on this in a rather chilling deconstruction: the main character possesses the ability to gain strength from the force connections of everyone they kill, which means you're basically feeding on their deaths. It's a very disturbing revelation for a light side character.
  • In the Paper Mario games, the original and The Thousand-Year Door utilize Star Points from defeated enemies, leveling up once a hundred is accumulated. Super Paper Mario combines this with Scoring Points. In order to level up, a certain number of points must be earned, leveling up earns either +5 HP or +1 Attack, alternating between levels. All games from Paper Mario: Sticker Star onwards removes the experience point system entirely.
  • In Undertale, EXP is awarded by defeating monsters; this is also lampshaded similarly to in Kotor II above. Sans reveals near the end that EXP stands for Execution Points. EXP showcases how easily you are able to harm others and dismiss both the harm to others and to yourself by hardening your mind and soul. Simply put, you gain EXP by killing people, which makes it easier for you to kill people. Gaining EXP makes you a bad person.
  • In Deltarune which is related to Undertale somehow, battles end by saying how how many EXP you've earned, but you can never get any. As in Undertale, gaining EXP is Gaining the Will to Kill, and none of the party in Deltarune do so, Chapter 2 onwards increases Max HP if you defeat an enemy through violence however.
  • In the brutal Serbian RPG Underrailnote , you can use an interesting experience points system called the Oddity System. Instead of getting experience through killing enemies or using skills, you get experience by collecting "Oddities", items scattered throughout the world. Higher-end Oddities give more points but are found in more dangerous and harder-to-reach areas, but most Oddities can technically be gained without killing anything. For pure wargamers Classic XP might be the better choice, but Oddity rewards exploration and makes stealth or diplomat builds more viable.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Bubble Tanks has… bubbles. These are produced when enemies are defeated, and are actually the bubbles they were made of. Once enough bubbles are collected, you level up, and can choose an evolution path for your tank. Careful– if you get hit, you lose experience points, and if they go below your level, you will de-evolve to a lower stage.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The online mode in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, uses a slight twist. Each character has levels, and levels determine who you get automatically matched up against, but all EXP is, in fact, based on the player's overall performance, rather than a basic EXP scale. That means that it ranks your ratios from each match, and determines how much EXP you gain. To make things fair, if you don't preform above a set scale, then you can lose EXP and levels.
    • There are also skills in game that work the on the basic EXP scale, I.E. you use them and you get EXP. There are some unique requirements, such as having to fall victim to the looking at dirty magazines/sexy poses a certain number of times, for unlocking/leveling up skills, but it could easily be equated as EXP.
  • In the Splatoon series, Battle Points are primarily used to level up players by showing their current "Freshness" and unlock abilities. Points are also converted into cash and can be used to purchase gear for Turf Battles.
  • Warframe: Killing enemies and completing objectives earns "affinity points," which is used to "master" equipment. Equipment starts at mastery rank 0 and maxes out at 30. Furthermore, the player themselves has a mastery rank, which can only be increased by mastering equipment.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In most Turn-Based Strategy RPGs, experience is gained by successfully performing actions such as hitting someone or using an item (including hitting your allies and healing enemies). This means that the most efficient wins in these games (when you play tactically with the hopes of racing up to the enemy boss to a quick and easy victory) paradoxically become the worst in terms of overall gameplay.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, experience is not only gained from killing enemies, but also from healing allies, using thieves to steal enemy items or weapons and using dancers to allow another unit to move again.
  • Lords of Magic has you gain experience from killing enemies, with the experience being shared among everyone on your side in the battle, and enough experience points level you up. What's interesting is that if a champion goes to their corresponding unit building and stays there they start training the units that can be created from it, giving them a fraction of their experience points each turn, most efficiently when training units of the same faction and least efficiently with those of the opposite, and maxing out at a maximum fraction. Also, while the level cap is 10 or 12 for lords, experience points don't max out. A lord who's just reached level 12 can only train champions to 5 or 6, but one who's been 12 for a long time and has been fighting ever since may be able to not just train them to 10, but can give them so many experience points that they could go to an untrained barracks and train those units to max themselves.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas uses XP that can actually increase or decrease depending on actions.
  • Minecraft has experience orbs that you get from killing monsters. Unlike other games that use EXP, the only use for EXP in this game is enchanting weapons and tools. These enchantments range from higher critical hit rates, extra damage to the undead and adding fire damage. Some mods add more uses for EXP, as well.
  • The X Universe has Fight and Trade rank, which are increased by killing enemies and generating profit through trade, respectively. Rank affects the rewards and difficulty of randomly generated missions; a "Very Hard" sector defense mission in X3: Terran Conflict at the fight rank of "Harmless" may only have a couple pirate interceptor squadrons, whereas at the final "X-TREME" rank there will be entire flotillas of pirate destroyers and carriers, with a reward several dozen times greater.
  • Most of the Yakuza series has a traditional experience points system, but Yakuza 0 forgoes experience points in exchange for using money earned from sidequests and random battles to purchase new skills and abilities. This plays into the game's 80's setting, during Japan's "Bubble Economy": an era of economic prosperity.
    • Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Kiwami 2 has five different types of experience points: Strength, Agility, Guts, Technique, and Charm. They can be spent to increase stat points or unlock new skills. Combat and story progression will award a roughly even amount of points in all categories, but foods give varying amounts, encouraging exploration of the local cuisine and experimenting with food combos for bonus XP.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, adventurers gain "excelia" by performing feats like killing monsters, withstanding attacks, or running great distances. This excelia is used to raise their stats according to their feats. Acquiring enough excelia along with performing a great, personally challenging feat can lead to a level up, which essentially gives the adventurer an additional power boost on top of wiping their stat sheet clean to gain more stats on top of what they already had.

    Fan Works 
  • In With Strings Attached, Jeft the gamer talks occasionally about Stress Experience, or S Ex, that his characters receive.

  • The Gam3 discusses experience frequently, fitting for a galaxy-wide MMORPG. In-game notifications explicitly mention experience gain, and guides for new players explain the best ways to gain experience.
  • Shock Social Science Fiction, designed to play out a new three-act story every session, gives Protagonists an extra die every time they fail their Intent roll. Antagonists, in comparison, are able to roll up to six dice per conflict, but have a very limited supply and don't get any more.
  • Perdido Street Station has a group of monster-hunters show up that are clearly supposed to be a D&D style adventuring party. They are described as Grave Robbers only in it for "gold and experience."
  • Blood Sword is unlike other gamebooks in that your character or characters will gain experience. You get 200 experience points after the end of the adventure which is divided evenly amongst each party member. During the adventure, Warriors may have lost some experience if they did something dishonourable or cowardly and in the first book only, you get bonus experience if you kill powerful optional enemies (Nebulon, a declining demon-god, and Skyrmir, legendary chief of the frost giants).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Used downright horribly by F.A.T.A.L. in which these points are given only by doing things related to the class you're leveling. The problem comes when it takes 83 years to level up a clerk, and a whore has to reach level 20 by giving millions of blowjobs.
  • The Hero System is different from most games with these, in that a player will earn only one, or maybe two if he did a fantastic job roleplaying his character, per session. Also, he can spend those points on his character, making it more powerful.
    • GURPS copied this system.
    • Exalted has a similar one, in which, with a full day of play and a great deal of acting skill, you might be able to afford a new Charm at the end of the session. A common criticism is that, due to quirks of the character generation and advancement chart, chargen in Exalted is a kind of minigame in which you can win dozens or hundreds of free experience points simply by having a build that gets a lot of XP-intensive stuff at chargen at a huge discount, then buys the cheap stuff with XP.
  • Scarred Lands gives this an in-setting justification/handwave—you're slowly increasing the size of your "thaumaturgic field," which provides a power source for superhuman abilities.
  • Shadowrun explicitly states that Karma is a representation of the ability to choose your own life. You can trade this commodity with some supernatural entities as well as using it to power magical effects. Prior to 4th Edition, it also functioned as a Karma Meter, and you couldn't earn Karma from evil deeds. This is back in a downplayed form in 5th Edition, where "cold-hearted" missions give somewhat less Karma than charitable ones.
  • TSR's Marvel Super Heroes had Karma. Player characters would get Karma at the end of every adventure chapter if they accomplished mission objectives, which they could spend on either permanently raising attributes and abilities or on modifying dice rolls in-game. Karma could also be contributed to a community pool in order to help your teammates out in a tight spot. However, being heroes, they lose Karma if they fail objectives or do heinous things. They will lose ALL of their experience points (with the exception of any Karma specifically set aside, either before a session begins or after it ends, in a sort of "savings account" toward improving your character later on) if they kill anyone, including villains, and even if it was by accident (thanks to an unlucky roll of the dice, for example). The rulebook (written quite a few years before the '90s Anti-Hero concept would become endemic) actually cites this as the reason why "murderous" characters like Wolverine or the Punisher rarely add new tricks to their repertoire.
  • Fate-based games, such as Spirit of the Century, The Dresden Files RPG or Kerberos Club, effectively don't use XP for individual achievements at all. Instead, the player characters will simply collectively hit "milestones" offering the players an opportunity to make changes to them corresponding to the magnitude of the milestone in question every so often over the course of play — a typical setup might be a minor milestone (which allows some small evolution or "retraining" but no net improvement as such) at the end of each session of play, a significant one (allows the actual raising of a single skill) upon finishing a complete scenario, and a major milestone (increases refresh, allows redefining a character's high concept, and may even raise the skill cap for the entire campaign) at the end of a major plot arc or when the game world is otherwise changed in some suitably important and lasting way.
  • Prose Descriptive Qualities system games, as a rule, do something unusual with character advancement. In Dead Inside you have to find ways to regain soul points which can go to improving your Type (sort of your race or class), and then Type ranks can be traded for Qualities (skills and abilities). Truth & Justice offers Hero Points for suitably heroic actions, and you can decrease the maximum size of your Hero Point pool to buy extra Qualities and Powers. Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies gives you Training Points which can be spent towards new Fortes (Qualities) — but you can only earn Training Points on failed rolls, since succeeding means you didn't have to learn anything from the effort.
  • Barbarians Of Lemuria is interesting in that it doesn't give out experience for events during play at all. Instead, how many points (from one to three with two being the default) a character gets between one scenario and the next depends solely on how creatively his or her player describes him or her spending the treasure and other rewards he or she brought home.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The earliest editions gave you experience from a wide variety of sources — as Gygax envisioned it, combat was something that cost you resources (spells, health, and consumable items), and so was to be avoided. If you raided someone's treasury without dealing a single blow, you're still due a sizable experience reward because it's really damn cool that you snuck the enemy's treasure out from under their noses with no one the wiser. By AD&D 2nd Edition this had been reduced to the optional "ad hoc" experience reward tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and then by 3rd was a note of advice on maybe giving players the experience reward for getting past an encounter without a fight.
    • 3rd Edition is also notable for turning experience points into a sort of currency for spellcasting classes. Some spells cost experience to cast, and you'd have to spend some experience to make magic items. The logic is that you're putting something of yourself and your power into these spells and items, but it's something of a Scrappy Mechanic for a lot of players.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • During League Play in Blood Bowl, players on a team can earn experience points to gain levels, receiving a new skill or characteristics increase for each level gained. To earn experience points a player must perform specific actions during a game, with most editions rewarding scoring touchdowns, making successful passes, making an interception and causing casualties with various of points.
    • In Mordheim fighters gain experience for surviving and achieving objectives in each battle which can be used to gain new skills or stat increases.
    • Necromunda:
      • During the 1st and 2nd Editions of Necromunda, fighters could gain experience for surviving battles and achieving scenario objectives to gain increase in their level and earn skills or stat increases.
      • The 3rd Edition experience points system focuses on Gang Leaders, Champions, Specialistsnote  and Juves, who can use their experience points to purchase improved statistics or skills during a campaigns pre-battle sequence. Regular Gangers meanwhile have a simplified experience points system, randomly acquiring statistic increases for every 6 experience points they earn.
    • The campaign rules for the 2018 Edition of Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team includes an experience point system to allow a player's specialists, and fire teams of regular fighters, to advance in level and gain experience. Specialists gain an experience point for taking part in a battle, as well as for using one of their specialist Tactics, and when they gain enough points to go up a level, they can choose a skill from their unique skill tree. Fire Teams meanwhile gain experience points for killing enemy models and surviving a battle with every member of the Team gaining a random advancement (such as extra Movement or re-rolls for various actions) for each level they gain.
  • Similar to how Dark Souls has souls as currency and experience, Warhammer Quest uses gold. The reasoning behind it is that every character is so talented that they have the potential to quickly become maximum level regardless of how much actual combat they've seen. But to reach that potential, they have to spend money training with other heroes and it gets more expensive as you must keep looking for mightier trainers to avoid stagnating. The computer version of Warhammer Quest reverts back to the traditional experience system.
  • In Feng Shui, you can earn 0, 3 or 6 XP in a session for completing objectives and acting righteously cool (most sessions should be 3 XP). Then, the PCs also get 3 XP a session for each feng shui site they're attuned to, or 5 XP for permanently wrecking the geomancy of a feng shui site that they've never been attuned to, so advancement is tailored to the PC group's ability to gather geomantic power and defend it.
  • Numenera assigns zero points for combat. It's a world After the End and discovering artifacts from the worlds that came before is worth experience points. Additionally, about once per session per player, the GM is encouraged to use a GM Intrusion to make the game a bit more difficult for players. A player can refuse the intrusion by paying one experience point, or accept it, winning them two points. The player must then assign one point to another player. The number of experience points in the game rarely hit double digits.
  • The World of Darkness, old and new, assigned points for surviving, role-playing, and achieving. Rarely was combat rewarded for its own sake - though if combat achieved an objective, it might be worth a reward.
    • Promethean: The Created has experience as a physical substance, known as Vitriol, which can be extracted from a Promethean's body. For one Promethean to do this to another is known as the lacuna, and is the single most despised act in their society. Unfortunately, at least in 2e it's also the only way Prometheans pursuing The Refinement of Flux can get Vitriol, since they cannot generate it on their own.
  • The German RPG Midgard goes the extra mile by having three different kinds of experience points: combat (earned by fighting), magic (earned by casting spells), and general (earned through miscellaneous actions such as dramatically appropriate skill checks). The main difference between the three types is in what improvements they may be spent on — most notably, combat XP won't help with more "intellectual" pursuits while magic XP are useless for developing one's physical fighting skills.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones doesn't have XP, rather players get a new dot in a stat or a new Focus Ability (equivalent to feats) every three sessions or fifteen hours of game time, at the Guide's discretion. Mind and Body stats can also be augmented with Surgery purchased with credits, and is the only way to get them higher than 3. Proficiencies (skills) are improved using a device called a Neuroplex that feeds data into a character's subconscious while they sleep, at a rate of 1 point per two weeks (in game).
  • Rocket Age doesn't have a traditional experience point system. Instead it has Story Points, which can be awarded for completing missions, more for doing so well, and can be either used to buy special items or warp the plot. Every so often, a GM may give out character points to allow the players to upgrade their stats, abilities and traits, or give a player traits for acting in certain ways.

    Time Management Games 
  • MouseHunt: The 'levels' are called ranks. "Rank Percentage" is gained to "rank up", mostly from catching mice, and there is a significant amount of time between moving up from one rank to another. While each mouse has a certain amount of points, it is NOT directly proportional to the amount of "rank percentage" earned. "Rank percentage" also cannot be lost.

    Web Comics 
  • Red Mage from 8-Bit Theater does some things for XP, even though that world apparently doesn't have it.
  • Jim from Darths & Droids is surprised you can get them from actually roleplaying.
  • A cartoon from Knights of the Dinner Table (perhaps from the comic) has a line about getting excited from getting points for doing one's own stitches, so the player says he's going to take them out and do it again.
    • Finding ridiculous ways to abuse the system to gain XP or other bonuses probably accounted for a good third of the jokes, at least in earlier strips. Bob started his own religion and managed to gain a level before the first game session just by recruiting fellow PC's to his religion. They also once started a monster farm to mass produce killable monsters for the XP.
    • Then there was the time Sara forced them to crossplay. They spent most of the session luring men out of the tavern and jumping them for XP and treasure. In a later Sara game, they played the rpg of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after getting tired of playing second fiddle to the Chosen One (Buffy), they discovered they could kill her, wait for a new Chosen One to appear and ambush them creating an infinite XP loop.
  • In Homestuck a fridge levels up after being thrown at imps. It makes more sense in— ... actually it doesn't.
  • In Goblins, XP is a part of the world, including discussions between Min Max and Forgath about whether the GM awards XP for roleplaying.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Dan plays a MUD which awards XP for walking averting RPGs Equal Combat for newbies.
  • In Losing Is Fun, Grawr gains experience in a variety of skills, especially engraving.

    Western Animation 
  • Used in the World of Warcraft episode of South Park. The boys power up by spending over a month slaughtering boars in Elwynn Forest, which only gives you 2 experience points each (but kill a billion of them…).
    • It's interesting that the game does not work like that. Any enemy around 5 levels below you garners no XP.
    • One World of Warcraft player tried to see if it was possible to level all the way to the Level Cap (level 70 at the time) just by killing boars. He was a Night Elf Hunter, and his pet (also a boar) was named Cartman. The hardest stretch came in his mid-20s, where the only boar in the whole game that he was capable of killing, but which still gave XP when killed, was a unique monster named Bellygrub.

Alternative Title(s): Experience Point