Dungeon/Monster Level

Figuring out the “dungeon level” of a monster was a mystery for decades, as I missed a small table on page 174 of the Dungeon Masters Guide. It’s easy to miss as it has 5 lines and is not formatted like other tables in the book.

It’s simple enough to use — just look up the XP value of a monster in the table to determine the dungeon level. Except the XP for a monster varies by the number of hit points, so the level can vary.

I thought about it and skip the XP for hit points — I total the┬áBase XP, Special XP, and Exceptional XP when determining the level. This is simple and is probably what was intended.

Following is this table, plus the corresponding table from OSRIC. I often use OSRIC tables in lieu of AD&D tables, as OSRIC is more consistent.

However, I took a fresh stab at this, starting with 10,001 as the minimum value for 10th level, and divided by 2 until I got 10 levels. I tweaked the values a bit to even them out, which resulted in the column titled “Bryan”.

Dungeon Level AD&D OSRIC Bryan
1 1 to 20 1 to 20 1 to 20
2 21 to 50 21 to 60 21 to 40
3 51 to 150 61 to 150 41 to 80
4 151 to 250 151 to 275 81 to 155
5 251 to 500 276 to 500 156 to 315
6 501 to 1,000 501 to 1,100 316 to 625
7 1,001 to 3,000 1,101 to 3,000 626 to 1,250
8 3,001, to 5,500 3,001 to 5,250 1,251 to 5,000
9 5,501 to 10,000 5,251 to 10,000 5,001 to 10,000
10 10,001 + 10,001 + 10,001 +

Not that Dungeon Level matters much to me. I assume this attribute was designed to help adventure designers pick monsters, and I may look at the level, but choose monsters using other criteria.

I have been examining the XP system, as it’s just as inconsistent. I use Lenard Lakofka’s 5% Rule tables, which is IMO better, but still not consistent. In this respect the newer D&D games are better.

Especially with an inconsistent XP system, the Dungeon Level is less useful.

1 Response

  1. January 25, 2022

    […] the Base XP, Special XP, and Exceptional XP and lookup on the table on the Dungeon/Monster Level table to determine the dungeon level of each […]

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