Well, the term “palace revolt” isn’t quite the right term but boy howdy, the gaming group really didn’t like the different experience point system. Fundamentally, the complaints boiled down to the sense that it wasn’t fair. Tying XP to personal damage done and taken, even with group awards based on overall totals and creatures defeated had various players feeling as if characters who primarily buffed, hexed, or healed were being penalized for choosing to do something other than fighting and doing damage.
So, back to the drawing board – and by that I mean the CR Chart.
Fundamentally, even more so in 5E than even in 1E, the D&D experience system is essentially blood magic. I kill it (or defeat it), and I steal it’s power, and I get stronger (at least in 1E you also got XP for cash and magical items) – little creatures have less of the élan vital, powerful creatures have more. I was totally willing to grant an increase in XP if it was tied to damage (and seriously, I think the “damage taken” is really elegant idea and solution to a couple of problems that come from the actual game mechanics of how combat works in the game), but the moment we try to tie XP to “things my character does” any hope of creating a balanced system that scales to the characters levels and abilities is flushed right down the porcelain altar (and, fundamentally, gets away from the basic underpinning of the D&D experience system).
Or at least, I’m an utterly uninterested in doing the statistical analysis of spells, class abilities, and skills as matrixed to proficiency bonus and/or mechanic equally matrixed to either monster combat rating or, again, damage done and damage taken.
Ugh, just thinking about the multivariate stats involved makes my head hurt…
So, I took a long hard look at the CR evaluation rules in the DMG and figure I’ll just run with the first, very basic system they suggest for figuring out a monster based on the CR you want it to be. I’ll basically reverse the process, and just run with it. It’s kludgy, it is really, really rough – but it’s not like the CR system is any paragon of elegance or even mediocre game design in the first place (it’s actually more like some vestigial remnant left from 3E or 3.5E as best I figure).
But I’ll be able to figure out the CR, and thus the XP for any monster I make. The slightly modified chart (to account for my change in the Dexterity & Armor Class rules, plus the full range of possible attack bonuses – both of which merely tweak the progression in the CR20 to CR30 range) fits on a single printed page.
C’est la vie!