(di — I realized after the fact, that I meant 13th, not 12th level)

I’m preparing some numbers for the next round of encounter clusters for Escape from White Cliff, and I’m noticing something strange about how these experience point amounts add up for encounters of 12th-13th level. The instructions in the Dungeon Master’s Guide suggest encounters of a level equal to the party’s level or one higher for an “average” encounter, so I use this to create a range of values.

The general idea is, you use the experience point amounts to create a “budget” and then make “purchases” against your budget — with the purchase amounts based on the monster’s levels. Say, for instance, you have a budget of 3,500 to 4,000 experience points (for a 12th-13th level encounter). A single 12th-level monster is worth 700 EXP, so you can “buy” five of them to build a single encounter. A sixth one puts you over your budget.

Now, the cool thing about this is it lets you fill an encounter with a bunch of lower-level monsters and one or two higher-level monsters (the higher the level of the monster, the more EXP it gives, and the more “expensive” it is to buy with your EXP budget), or to use a couple high-level monsters and a lower-level solo creature (my preferred approach).

Now, when I created my budget for the 12th-13th level encounters, I was able to get nice, pretty numbers between 3,500-4,000 experience, and most of them came out to be either worth 3,600 or 3,800 experience, and were roughly equal in difficulty, despite being mixes of monsters between 10th and 12th level. For some reason, the numbers between 12th-13th level are really ugly. (In other words, hard to fit in the budget.)