This has worked so far for me, at least up to level 12 with a party of 5.
I’m including the jpg of the xp table I use.
PLEASE NOTE: To make this work, you must use a split xp system. This means that, if your party kills a single creature worth 50 xp, and it’s a party of 5 players, they’ll each receive 10 xp. This slows down players leveling up a little, but it gives the GM a loooot more flexibility with their encounters. A single strong NPC wont level up the party anymore.
Anyways, to continue:
To use this xp table.
- Determine the average party level
- Determine how hard you wish the battle to be. (V. Easy / Simple / Average / Hard / Deadly)
- Match the PC level with the difficulty level on the table I’ve given you.
- Multiply this number by the number of PCs. (Include any friendly NPCs in your calculations but NOT the dog from the Dogmeat perk.)
- This is your xp budget when determining what creatures to put in the combat encounter.
A couple of things to keep in mind: Encounters that give advantages to the enemy that the PCs do not get, or disadvantages to the PCs that the enemies do not suffer. (It’s dark, and the enemies can see in the dark but the pcs can’t / It’s in an irradiated area but the enemies are immune / an ambush / the enemy is secure behind cover or otherwise in an advantageous position) These kinds of encounters should be considered 1 level higher in danger. This doesn’t mean to give the PCs more XP (Though you’re free to do so if you wish). It’s just a way to make sure you don’t wipe your party. Don’t set a Deadly enounter XP budget, then put the enemy behind cover and night vision goggles.
BAD GM. GO TO YOUR ROOM.
Also, on the subject of grouped NPCs: As a general rule, try to make sure you know when you’re going to use grouped NPCs in a combat encounter. For every 1 or 2 creatures you add to the group beyond the first, I’d recommend “using up” xp from your budget as if you had added another creature of that type / level to the battle.
For example. 1 radroach is worth 10 xp. But 4 radroaches would use up 50 - 60 xp. (10 per radroach, + another 10 or 20 xp for adding to the group.)
This is because groups of even level 1 creatures can be rather deadly. They can end up dealing nasty damage to a high level PC, while the pc can really only take out 1 of them at a time (unless they start chucking boom booms but that gets expensive so w/e)
Anyways, I hope that helps people. It’s not perfect but it’s worked for me so far!