Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My XP, Part I

XP systems have been a major topic of discussion in the Old School Gaming Blogosphere lately. Given that session 1 for my first online sandbox group starts Saturday night, I figure now is as great a time as any to post the XP system I plan on using.

This system is only good for 1st & possibly 2nd level. I'll worry about it more once players get close to 2nd level, but for right now, it's good enough for my game. The basic presumption is that I want characters to be able to earn roughly 400 xp each session to start. Using this number as a base, I then decided what kind of things I wanted to give XP for. The following is the list I came up with:
  • Role Playing: This one's a bit obvious.
  • Achieving Character Goals/Character Growth/Completing Plans: Since I'm running a sandbox, Story awards a bit hard to judge, but I still want players to get at least a little XP for achieving the goals of their characters. This would include things like finally managing to convince their idol to mentor them, or finally getting vengeance on the man who killed their parents. 
  • Monsters: This one is fairly standard. The one major change is that I want to offer the XP for Defeating enemies rather than just killing them. I'm on the fence about wanting to award XP for bypassing or being defeated by them.
  • Treasure: I like the idea of XP for treasure. I don't really like the way it's been implemented before. I also think that characters should get XP for certain things they buy(such as a Stronghold).
  • Exploration: Though I've posted a map or two, the sandbox setting I'm using has no up to date maps except the 4 hex maps(hexographer wouldn't let me save a PNG file of that size) on my HD and the one in my skull. Mapping and exploration should generate XP.
  • MVP award: This is one point where the players are the ones doing the awarding, not me. At the end of the session, I'll be asking for an open vote for who the MVP of the session was. That person will get an XP bonus based on the average level of the party at the start of the session. A die roll will determine the winner in case of a tied vote.
  • Characters doing their jobs: Wizards should get XP for doing research and casting spells. Warriors should get XP for defeating foes and leading allies into battle. Priests should get XP for defeating infidels and furthering the goals of their religion. Thieves should get XP for getting away with crimes or using their skills in such a way that it gives them some sort of actual gain.
 This post is long enough, so I'll go into more detail in the next one

1 comment:

  1. When I was running an eight player party in 2nd Ed I had to get creative in awarding XP.

    One way I did this was to award XP each time the characters were SPENDING their money.

    Here's how it went:

    The party has returned to civilization after a long but successful foray; in their bag of holding and back packs are items of magic, jewels and art objects, and of course many coins.

    The party divides the treasure as they see fit (this matter I leave to them), once all the items are divvied up they sell off any unwanted/unneeded items. They add the money they gained in this manner to the coins they already have from the adventure.

    They divide this among themselves again. Now for each 2 gold pieces a character has in this manner I award his/her player 1 XP. (This is half of what the Dungeon Master Guide advises to do.)

    Now each time a character SPENDS his/her money, be it purchasing a fine Elven wine, bribing a city guard, emblazoning his armour, or asking a sage to research a forgotten bit of lore, I award the player 1 XP for each 2 gp spent in this fashion (which now brings the XP awarded in line with the DMG).

    This method explains why a halfling may splurge on an exceptional wheel of cheese to savor, or why the barbarian has spent five nights in the brothel. It lets the players enjoy the money they have gained adventuring. It may also may explain why Conan, or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser never had money despite all their (mis)adventures.

    : )

    I also awarded Clerics and Paladins extra XP for tithing more than the required amount. For each gp they gave to their church after the required 10 percent I gave them 1 XP for each gp they brought to their patrons.

    In regards to the 'MVP' award you give out: Whenever a player rolled a natural 20, or when he scored the killing blow, or when he came up with an innovative (not necessarily successful) idea, or even when one role played exceptionally well I gave them a 'notch' for each instance.

    At the end of the game night, I gave players with notches 50 XP per notch, also when a player had received 20 notches he turned that in for either a re roll at a time of his choosing (be it to hit roll or for hit points a leveling up) OR get a natural '20' on any one save.

    Thanks for this article, I hope more follow.