The latest gate expedition for my DF Felltower group has been long . . . three sessions with a fourth coming, possibly even a fifth session if they take too long to do what's necessary next session.
So how do I apportion the XP?
I'll explain it all in detail when I actually do it, but the XP system as written doesn't quite do it here. Much like Olympia I and II, a setting that demands a longer delve comes with larger potential rewards. That said, there is a limit - you can't just spend forever.
Setting up the system so it works to that effect is tricky.
Some considerations need to be taken into account:
- this is a relatively low-loot environment. The PCs have found two valuable magic items, but little in the way of salable materials and fungible currency. This is because piles of loot scattered around with each of the monsters would make no sense at best.
- this is a high-exploration-demand environment. There is a lot to go and see, and a fair amount of it comes with unavoidable combat or hazard. That makes for a lot of danger for the other way to get XP - exploring.
- there are a few mysteries that need unraveling to succeed. Or, to put it another way, it's not a place you can easily stumble into and then stumble out of without understanding.
Therefore, the XP for this area is skewed in a few ways:
- not as much emphasis on loot.
- much more emphasis on exploration.
- possible rewards for "puzzle completion" (of the useful kind, not the "just want to know" kind.)
- taking too long to do it all means eventually you're spending delves earning the same XP you could have earned in fewer sessions. In other words, don't expect to come home from, say, a 5-session expedition and get 25 points in one big whack.
The upshot is that the PCs won't be penalized for the environment itself being low-loot high-exploration and thought-heavy. There is still a cap on how much you can earn. It's better to get things done quickly and there isn't a bonus for thoroughness or "completist" actions.