Because of the relative dearth of valuable treasure in my Swords & Wizardry ‘Ilmahal’ campaign setting, experience points are not awarded for treasure found (gold pieces, magic items, etc.). Instead, experience points are awarded for opponents and obstacles overcome, missions completed, and clever playing (as outlined below).
1. Experience points are awarded for foes overcome, whether slain, subdued, fooled, dealt with diplomatically, or whatever. (If characters unnecessarily fight non-player characters or monsters, experience point awards are reduced or even eliminated.) The amount awarded = 100 x HD + bonuses for special abilities (d4 HD creatures = 50 exp; d6 HD = 80 exp). ‘Challenges’ overcome without combat are assigned a ‘hit dice equivalent’ by the Game Master.
2. Experience points should also be awarded for traps, tricks, and other life-threatening obstacles overcome. In general, 50-1000 experience points should be awarded, depending on the difficulty of the obstacle in question (a rough guide is 100 x average character level).
3. Finally, experience points are awarded for missions completed (typically 200 x Party Average Level).
The above awards are totalled and divided amongst all characters at the end of an adventure. The Game Master may also provide individual experience awards for clever thinking, good ideas, etc. Such awards normally should not exceed 100 x character level.