Awarding Experience and Leveling up
Experience points are gained as standard for the successful completion of combat encounters or non-combat encounters, such as skill challenges. Furthermore, the DM may award bonus group or individual experience points for exceptional role-playing, as the DM sees fit.
Any experience gained during the course of a game session typically will not be awarded until the end of the game session, or the party makes an extended rest, whichever the DM and the party agree on. Leveling up a class level will typically not take place until the party makes an extended rest or the end of a game session, whichever the DM and the party agree on. In the majority of situations, experience accumulation and leveling up will take place at the end of any given game session.
In certain situations, if a player cannot make enough gaming sessions and as a result, his character falls two or more levels behind the next lowest level character, enough experience may be awarded in order to keep the player within one level of the next lowest level character. This is done in an effort to keep the characters all capable of contributing to any given encounter. If a character is allowed to fall too far behind the rest of the party, his contributions to any given encounter may become increasingly less meaningful.
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