Baldur's Gate 3's principal narrative designer is also the man who decades ago coined the D&D term 'XP' in "like 20 minutes on a Thursday afternoon"

Baldur's Gate 3
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Baldur's Gate 3's principal narrative designer, Lawrence Schick, is an old-school Dungeons & Dragons writer who worked alongside the legendary Gary Gygax on some of the earliest versions of the tabletop RPG. In a new interview, Schick revealed how he coined one of the most common abbreviations in all of gaming.

"It was while I was editing his manuscript for the first Dungeon Master's Guide that I realised that we needed an abbreviation for experience points," Schick tells Eurogamer. "We couldn't use EP because Gary [Gygax] had added electrum pieces to the currency, which nobody ever used - everybody just used GP and SP and CP for gold, silver, and copper. But he [Gary Gygax] was insistent that EP was for electrum pieces."

Schick continues, "And so I had the problem of trying to figure out an abbreviation for experience points, so I came up with XP and used that, and it stuck. And it got picked up by other tabletop publishers for use in other tabletop role-playing games and then, since the idea of experience points and character progression became a standard thing in role-playing and all kinds of other games, both paper and video games, there needed to be an abbreviation for XP and it just became the global standard."

It turns out that you can credit XP, an abbreviation that continues to appear in video and tabletop games to this very day, to a creative decision that occurred in "just like 20 minutes on a Thursday afternoon," as Schick puts it. Maybe someone else would've eventually settled on 'XP' independently if it didn't happen here, but I know I'll be thinking about this story next time I level up.

Now, all these years later, the success of Baldur's Gate 3 "has surprised all of us," according to Schick, who says that the game has managed to tap into the appeal that's been with D&D from the beginning. "The core of it is that people want to be in stories, they want to tell themselves stories, they want to make the stories happen. But very few people are professional storytellers: they don't have the tools to do that. Dungeons & Dragons, RPGs, Baldur's Gate 3: we give you the tools to do that."

Baldur's Gate 3 summoner uses six different classes to dial their RPG party size up to nearly 100 characters in a move that would definitely break D&D.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.