I'm finally sitting down and studying the core rulebook for the first time in preparation for a new campaign. I noticed two very odd rules concerning experience points, and wanted to hear what others thought of them. (The forum search feature is apparently broken at the moment, so please forgive me if these have already been done to death.)
The first is this paragraph:
If the party recovers magic items on an adventure, and sells them without using them, they receive 1XP per 1gp earned in the sale. If the characters use the magic items, they do not get any XP, even if they later sell them. (This is to prevent characters from using magic items to help them adventure, then selling the magic items for XP later, essentially benefiting twice from the same item.)
Here's what I imagine a player doing with that: "Oh, cool! I found a nifty magic ring worth 10000gp! I'll sell it to this merchant here, and get 10000gp and 10000xp! Yay! Now I'm rich AND more experienced! Hey, I could really use a magic ring, and I've got 10000gp burning a hole in my pocket. Not only that, but I happen to know a merchant who has a ring just like the one I want! He bought it this morning from a guy who happens to be me! Boom! Now I've got a nifty ring AND more experience. I love this game!"
(Yeah, I know: You can't sell something for the same amount it costs you to buy it. But the point is that even losing a substantial portion of the gold, the XP is there for the munchkining.)
The second oddness is this paragraph:
XP is divided only among characters alive when the party returns to civilization, even if other characters were alive when the monsters were slain or the treasure was first found. Characters that are slain on an adventure, but are raised from the dead while still in the dungeon or wilderness, and are alive to return to civilization, do get XP.
So the party slays a whole family of dragons, not to mention a bazillion other creatures that stood between them and the dragons. They hauled away all the treasure their carts could carry, and they all lived. Joe the Strong really took a lot of damage, though, and they're fresh out of healing. On the way home, half a mile from the edge of the wilderness, there's a random encounter with a single goblin during which the goblin gets lucky and takes Joe's last hit point. The goblin is thrashed by the rest of the party, but good 'ol Joe dies an ignominious death.
The party has a choice: Continue half a mile into town and pay a cleric to cast Restore Life & Limb, in which case Joe is robbed of all his experience from the adventure; or sit and wait until a passerby can be sent as a messenger into town to go get a cleric to come out and cast the same spell on the side of the road, allowing Joe to get his well-deserved experience.
How does that make any sense?