Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Are You Experienced?

Calculating xp is a pain. There. I said it.

Keeping track of each goblin killed, every copper piece picked up. [Sigh.] I just calculated xp for Monday's session, only the third session I've run in Ephemera, and I'm wondering about other ways to do it.


One idea I'm pondering is simply giving large, meaningful chunks of xp for accomplishing various goals or discovering important info or locations. I already do this in addition to monster and treasure xp. The goal and discovery xp I currently give outweigh the monster and treasure xp anyway. I could beef up the goal and discovery xp to compensate and simply get rid of monster and treasure xp altogether. Everything in nice, round, very large numbers, easy to handle with my stubby, clumsy angular gyrus. 500 xp here. 1000 xp there. Easy-peasy. Nope, no xp for selling off that rusty dagger.

I think something like this would also make it easier to hit what I see as the "level-up sweet spot" where PC's level up once every three sessions or so. It's harder for me to envision that with dozens of "penny packets" of xp floating around. It seems rather simpler with just a handful of major xp gains.

In any case, I do think character achievement has to be included in some way, rather than just flat amounts of xp per session, or just me as GM saying "ok, time to level up." Success of PC endeavors should cause, or at least speed, advancement while lack of success should stop or slow it.

I'll think about this more before even seriously proposing anything to the Monday Night group for our Ephemera sessions.

Anybody have any particular xp system you really like other than monster-and-treasure-based xp?

13 comments:

  1. When I ran the Monday crew a couple years back I would do flat XP for mission or quest accomplishments. So it was very easy to set one xp value for completing a task than calculating all the small things...that I am currently doing now.

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    1. My thought exactly -- I actually was already thinking this back when I was doing PbB, and kind of forgot in the interim. Now it's all rushing back... :)

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  2. You can flatten XP for treasure, too - find this treasure, you get N xp. Find this other one, you get some other amount of XP. Doesn't matter how much is there, really . . .

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    1. Yes, that's a good idea. There's no reason why a treasure cache or hoard can't be a goal or an objective. The same could apply to bringing down a significant boss monster or NPC villain. So treasures and monsters can still generate xp -- just not in a scattered nickel and dime kind of way.

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  3. I don't have any experience with this but wanted to stop by.

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  4. For all its faults, the Palladium rpg had XP tables that rewarded skill use, quick thinking, and role playing, and can be ported into D&D with no fuss.

    As for me, after a few tedious years with the calculator I just started giving d6x100 xp for whatever impressed me, be it roleplaying, critical thinking, humour, or whatever. I even asked players what they thought they deserved XP for and if everyone could agree made a reward. When xp stopped being just blood & gold other reasons to advanture start taking on a life of their own.

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    1. I find the d6 x 100 idea interesting. I also really like how you allow player input as to what constitutes a valid xp-generating objective. Very cool.

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  5. I just keep a running tabulation of in-game stuff (encounters, treasure, and exploration...then add extra for goal accomplishment at the end). That way I just have to add up the column of numbers, add goal-related items, and divide by number of player characters.

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    1. Yeah, I've been doing that (though not as organized as you do with columns, just a list). I still find it's a lot of work for what ends up being a fairly small portion of the xp you guys are getting (in other words, the most work goes into the smallest bit of xp).

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    2. I think monsters are worth more x.p. in Blood & Treasure than Swords & Wizardry, but I say that off-the-cuff and I am not going to look it up right now.

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