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XP, like many concepts in D&D-type games, is weird if you stop and think about it for too long. There are many skills and tricks you simply shouldn't be able to learn by doing other unrelated tasks.

In my experience, a typical campaign will take you from... say... level one to level ten in about two or three months in-game. Now, if you start smacking a level one human fighter in the face with an axe, he might survive one hit, he might not. He won't survive two. That's about right, for an axe. Hitting a level ten human fighter in the face with the same axe... you'd be there for at least ten rounds, swingin' away.

Imagine a professional soldier leaving the military to go hunting for treasure with a cat burglar, a priest, and a musician... and after two months of wandering through ruins and beating up the local wildlife, he can now shrug off taking an axe to the face for a solid minute.

It's weird, that's all I'm saying.


(Saturday afternoon, INT: EB and JH's apartment, around the gaming table)

GU (packing things up): That sucks. All that work we put into making Jaehab, wasted.
EB: You put the work in, I just crunched some numbers. And no act of creativity is ever truly a waste. Just feed it back into the blender for later.
NP: What are you guys talking about?
EB: Gina was having some trouble getting her character together, I helped her out.
MH: Ah, I thought something about her was... different.
EB: You want to tell them the epic backstory you had worked out?
GU: You know what? No. No, I think I'm going to use it later.
NP: How much epic backstory could you have possibly had at level one?
GU: Well, while all life experiences can cause you to grow as a person, I figure not all of them are relevant to adventuring.
MH: I've always been of the opinion that first level is when your character first starts actually writing the XP totals down.
MH: "Oh, wait, you mean I should have been keeping track of those this whole time? Shit! No wonder I only know first level spells!"