In the Arduin Universe, the ability to advance to higher levels is based on earned merit and not on acquisition of treasure. Therefore, points are given for many reasons but NOT for gold or other treasure. After all, it is the act of robbery, not the amount stolen, that gives the thief his experience.I have a lot of problems with this approach and would never adopt it in any of my campaigns. That said, I do find it interesting to see some of things that Dave Hargrave did think worthier of granting XP than acquiring treasure. Here's just a few:
- Death (with successful revival)
- Being sole survivor of an expedition
- Doing spells of tremendous magical import
- Being cursed
- Being point man
- Being expedition leader
- Coming within one point of dying
- Being rear guard
There's some definite value in Hargrave's notions, even if I think there'd be issues with implementing them. Still, I can't deny that I like the idea that actually dying -- and being brought back to life -- is XP-worthy. Mind you, I suspect Hargrave, like many gamers, has a very different notion of what experience points represent than did Gygax and Arneson, but that's the not the point right now. AD&D 2e, as I recall, experimented with more specific XP awards and I thought they were ill-conceived and much too persnickety for easy use. That's only an indictment against a particular implementation of the idea, not the idea itself.
All of the foregoing is just my way of saying that I don't think OD&D's experience system is sacrosanct. Yet, I'm also wary of replacing it whole cloth -- or even tinkering with it -- without a better sense of what effects such replacement/tinkering would have on the texture of game play. I know all too well that, for example, removing XP for gold or adding in "story awards" changes the way D&D is played and not in positive ways, in my opinion. Given that, I've (mostly) left XP as written and have found it works far better than many of its critics would imply.