Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arduin's XP System

While reading the comments from my post the other day about the primary activity in adventures, I was reminded of this section from the original Arduin Grimoire:
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
And so on.

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.

45 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I agree, James. I typically ignored the rule for awarding XP for treasure, since I didn't think the simple fact of stealing treasure was meritorious; it was the killing of the monsters.

    Moreover, I felt that if you took it to it's logical conclusion, you should lose XP every time you bought something in town.


    I agree, however, that story awards are difficult to quantify; it was a real bitch coming up with an XP system for both Star Trek RPGs. Basing it on killing monsters or performing class-based abilities (or in skill-based systems like BRP, for using skills) makes more sense to me.

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  2. I have to say that I do not like XP for treasure either. I could never justify the idea of giving sometimes large amounts of XP for small amounts of work. For example if the PC's find a store room with a forgotten 'bankroll' inside their gaining large amounts of XP for opening a door becomes counter productive in my book. The treasure should be an award in itself.

    I like the list Hargrave has and I think I may experiment with that.

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  3. It might be neat to have a list of things you have to accomplish for each level, with the list either growing or getting more and more difficult as the levels go on.

    I'm not saying for your game but it might be neat for some game.

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  4. Back in ODnD, I also found the "XP for treasure" rules weird, and by the ways they were written, I shared Ross's question: What if I use the gold?
    And does that mean also calculating each piece of treasure's worth? And if I sell it for actual gold?

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  7. I'm open to the idea of alternate XP systems (incentive/reward for play), but in general I disagree with the philosophy of most alternate systems I see presented.

    Are you running a D&D campaign entirely about diplomacy, intrigue, or mysteries? Then fine, award XP for each discovery/negotiation/whatever. But for standard D&D tomb-robbing I don't see any better mechanism than (mostly) XP for gold.

    Note that Gygax also optionally awards 1,000 XP for recovery from death ("Special Bonus Award", 1E AD&D DMG, p. 85-86).

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  8. In high school, we (and probably countless other AD&D players) used to joke that our characters had coin slots in their chests -- the idea was that somehow every coin you scrounged by hook or crook entitled you to XP. But I now think, and I'm almost positive you've done a blog post about this, that that view was a corruption of the original idea, which was that treasure recovered was simply a metric of the success of your expedition. Note that Moldvay Basic has the DM total all treasure recovered and divide the resultant XP equally among PCS, *regardless of how the players choose to divide the treasure*. In essence, it's not that much different than if the DM just placed completely abstract XP awards at various milestones in the dungeon or scenario or whatever. Variant XP systems can create different and interesting game experience, but that's how they should be judged, not on scholastic notions of how "realistic" they are.

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  9. I used to have all these big, crazy ideas about what to give xp for, but then I realized almost any system other than a cut-and-dried one for total treasture or total monster-killing by the party or something else simple involved me in having to give some players more than others and risking people getting touchy about what feats of daring they should get xp for.

    That having been said, xp for bad things having happened to you seems like it could be a workable idea--it's very cinematic: you get all messed up in the second act, and therefore you're better in the third act.

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  10. I've got a hardbound book of the original three Arduin Grimoire books, and the other six LBB books. I got them from Emperor's Choice, who were vary faithful to the source material. They rearranged the material by subject, grouped it as they saw fit, but didn't change any of it.

    Dave Hargrave wrote a very evocative set of rules. They are mind bendingly creative. But they're also full of inconsistencies and odd contrasts in one part of the rules with another. There was nothing Dave loved more than a chart. He would have loved spreadsheets. But when you look at one chart compared to another, sometimes there are things listed that aren't accounted for on another chart elsewhere. He wrote all this stuff himself, and I don't think he was much of a systematizer. I think EGG was probably much better at that.

    It sort of got on my nerves for a while. Then I had an epiphany that it was exactly as it was supposed to be. AG is evocative partly because its rules are inconsistent. DH was the master of the evocative brushstroke that suggested other possibilities. I look at my AG books now as what it's called - a grimoire: a miscellany of amazing things.

    And here's the weird part. I think that the way he wrote it has a purpose: it leads you directly to how he thought as a DM. Bear with me here. The inconsistencies and all the great pieces in their fractured way show you how to think like Dave Hargrave as a DM. Maybe not everyone's interpretation, but I take to it.

    To get back to James's point about experience points, DH's DM style was the DM controlled all. In such a system the awarding of points is arbitrary, summary, and by fiat. That was DH's style. There's a section in AG on telling players to leave if they didn't like things. I guess people trusted Dave as a DM pretty completely. Can't get much more old school than that, I guess.

    EmpCho is coming out in a few weeks with AG incarnation #3 with nice, consistent rules, sans some of the Hargrave madness. I wonder if anything will be lost for what's being gained?

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  11. While i don't think that "total gold = exp / number of players" is a perfect method, i like it's simplicity, and it can be easily extrapolated to include roleplaying rewards.

    Did someone buy you a couple of drinks during an interesting conversation at the tavern? 1 exp point.

    You managed to get horses for the party by convincing the town militia that the news you are going to deliver to the barony are of extreme urgency? 120 points of experience right there (could be more if they are warhorses, but that would take a lot of convincing to work)

    Almost any roleplaying situation can be extrapolated to acquiring tangible goods, assigning a gold value to it, and then converting it to experience.

    It works in my campaigns because, unless you kill a dragon, you are unlikely to see vast amounts of gold, because characters are almost always rewarded with stuff or favors, for example;

    Characters save small-town from marauding gnolls. If small-town had the gold to hire mercenaries/stablish a militia, that kind of situation would not be a problem for them, so the characters would not be needed to fix such a small problem. This also means that the town can't pay the characters directly (as most of it's denizens have never seen a gold piece)

    So after our good willed heroes save the small town they are invited to stay as long as they like, free of charge, at the town inn.

    That translates to my notes as "Characters X, Y and Z are allowed to stay and eat at small-town for free, until they consume the equivalent of 30 gp each, after that, the goodwill they get from small-town runs out, they get 30 exp each".

    So from my point of view, exp for gold is not a limited formula, and it can be easily used as a tool to help the DM roleplay his NPCs. And it has a greater degree of flexibility compared with the "checklist of chores" approach other methods take.

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  12. I will never, ever understand how this came to be such a controversial issue in the context of D&D.

    Your XP = 90+% your treasure. That's just how your scoring is done.

    A game's a game a game.

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  13. I think Rod has it above with "metric of success".

    Why are you going into the underworld? Does a character really say to himself "Right now I'm not very good at hitting things with a sword. So if I go underground, where there's an 80% mortality rate, and fight lots of things that can kill me with one hit, and somehow survive, I'll be incrementally better at hitting things with a sword. Someday I'll be so good at hitting things with a sword that I'll hardly ever have to do it."

    That just plain doesn't make any sense to me. The fellow above already doesn't have to hit things with a sword... he only has to do it if he goes underground. So why is he going underground in the first place?

    He's going underground to find fabulous riches. You'll know he has succeeded and shown himself of good quality *if he actually comes back topside with the fabulous riches*.

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  14. I read somewhere that Hargrave was a Vietnam War veteran, so it makes quite a bit of sense that he would justify things such as being the rear guard or coming within one HP of dying as these are the sort of life experiences that shapes and molds people into who they are. I very much like the idea of getting your XP points from the "big score", but there's certainly merit to Hargraves thinking.


    .

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  15. Chivalry & Sorcery's experience system awards varying amounts for treasure based on character class. Knights get nothing for stolen loot or earned wealth, but 50% of "battle loot". A Thief gains 100% of his loot as experience. Assassins and Brigands get 50% of loot as experience.
    Frankly, I've always wondered how gold, for example, would make you a better mage, unless it allowed you to stop adventuring and actaully spend time learning magic. I prefer a system like C&S's that actually rewards the character for actiing in character.

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  16. How about XP for roleplaying? Giving XP for "being sole survivor of an expedition" and "being cursed"? Those are just as bad as 1gp = 1 XP.

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  17. While running 2E bitd, I didn't give xp for treasure and only gave it for monsters defeated, story awards, et. al. The problem is that the players tended to value treasure less, since by a certain level they all had sizable treasure hoards. By giving xp for treasure, the players value treasure in the same way that the characters should. I particularly like the idea of giving xp only for treasure spent (The Dragon #10, Orgies Inc.), as this not only makes treasure valuable to players, but it also removes excess loot from the game and keeps the players hungry for more.

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  18. I haven't used xp for gold for a really long time. It doesn't work for me. I do extra awards via fiat. I like Hargrave's list; I should really have a look at Arduin sometime.

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  19. I don't find anything appealing about the XP awards that Hargrave finds worthier. I can get behind story awards, but some of these suggestions just seem ridiculous to me.

    Call me a 'purist' but I'm fond of XP for treasure. It emphasizes the d&d endgame of stronghold construction (thereby directly impacting the gameworld) and marginalizes simple hack-and-slashery (since XP for slaying monsters alone is a slow road to level gain).

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  20. >Giving XP for "being sole survivor of an expedition" and "being cursed"? Those are just as bad as 1gp = 1 XP>

    These type of rules might not fit with everyone or every campaign, but I can see them working for myself such as if the PC has been bitten by a werewolf or making it out alive alone from some dungeon expedition. I'm not saying your going to go up three levels from getting bit by the wolfman, but there might be some sort of XP from the " experience". It just depends on the GM and the game in question.

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  21. From what I have read, the 2e tournament method of dishing out small points of XP for every person they talk to, and for every stone they overturn was trifling and unproductive. Its like all the pointless Treasure Quests from video games, that serve no other purpose then to get your game to %100.

    In my own games, I dont like to tie XP with gold because my philosophy with treasure differs from the normal rules. When the players find a haul, I reward them if they had to work for it - dealing with the traps and monsters guarding it. Players don't so much get XP for defeating monsters, but how they deal with them, and how challenging they are to deal with. I offer XP for cleaver ideas & tactics, good role-playing, heroic feats, dealing with challenges, salving tricks & puzzles (including the function of magical & high-tech devices), archiving goals, and even pissing away the treasure. I like to give out 10xp for minor things, 50xp run-of-the-mill things, 100xp for good things, 200xp for great things, and 500xp for moments of total awesomeness! Its a really lazy and arbitrary method, but it works well with me, and I like to keep it open-ended enough so not to coax or railroad the player's actions.

    I also never reward PCs for being dead - largely because death is quit permanent in my games, and resurrection is its own reward!

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  22. 'I prefer a system like C&S's that actually rewards the character for acting in character.'
    I agree with his 100%. A fighter becames a better fighter by fighting, preferrably in the nitty-gritty of real combat as opposed to just training. Such is the weight that comes with the word 'veteran,' in the real-world sense of the word. A character does not become better at his trade simply because he has gained wealth, although this may allow to pay for training- yet experience itself is the great teacher. It depends on how much 'realism' you want to put into the game, versus something that may just be simpler.

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  23. Another similar version to Arduin is the Chivalry & Sorcery experience system. One interesting bit of this is that you also earn XP per day that you are doing something appropriate, regardless of whether or not anything else happens (eg, Knights get 3 times there level in XP each day they are on campaign).

    With regards to treasure, in my games gold only gave you experience if you spent it for the experience. The results of this was fairly nebulous (a record was maintained of the gold spent in this manner to represent the amount of support the character had). For example, a magic user would have spent it on non-specific magical components,
    magical texts, setting up a laboratory, and making contacts in the profession. For game purposes, it could be checked to see if the character had something useful. It also served as the basis for the eventual construction of a stronghold, school, or temple.

    A side-effect of this was that 1XP could equal 1GP, so for example, a poor fighter could earn money by training others, or characters could receive training from a higher-level character as a reward. There were various limits on the rate at which they could be transferred (based on the appropriateness of the training and the difference in the character levels).

    This directly resulted in at least two very prestigious martial arts schools (instead of "strongholds") being founded by player characters, something I've rarely seen outside of Flashing Blades/En Garde and Bushido, but quite appropriate for the game I was running. And one Fine Arts Academy (which was a thief "stronghold").

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  24. OK. Inspired by EPT's rather brutal level system (when you go up, practically everything requires a percentile roll to see if it improves... including getting the coolest spells), I have created the most Old School level system EVAR:

    At the conclusion of each adventure (Ref's discretion), each player rolls 1d20 for his character. On an adjusted roll of "20", the character gains a level. Modifiers:
    +1 if any of Prime Req, INT or WIS is 15+;
    +1 for *each* previous failed leveling roll at this level only.

    Thus, Joav Rage, mediocre Fighting Man, is newly 3rd level. He completes an adventure: he will level again on a roll of "20". If he fails, the next time he completes an adventure he levels on a 19+, then 18+, etc.

    Thus it's totally outside the control of both the players and the Ref. So everyone can feel free to do what they like during play!

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  25. How about treating XP like World of Warcraft treats achievements?

    "coming within 1 hp of death"
    "killing your first X monster"
    "finding your first magic weapon"
    "building a castle".
    "finding a new spell"
    "scribing a new spell into your spell book."
    "casting fireball for the first time"
    killing more than 10 creatures with 1 fireball for the first time.

    etc...

    These are all achievements of sorts and would make for an interesting alternative to gold/generic kills.

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  26. A lot of these suggestions are immensely too much work! If you want to give "story awards", e.g., some hundreds of points for each successful chapter of a module, fine, let the writer decide as appropriate. But these enormous lists of minute criteria are exactly the kind of late-era bloat that caused my flight back to OD&D.

    For me, even looking up tables of hp-vs-XP is too much now. I'm a HDx100XP + gold man for the foreseeable future.

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  27. XP for treasure is no different than fighters with 40 hit points: it is an elegant, abstract proxy for a wide variety of factors that are individually hard to track or quantify.

    The presumption of 1 gp = 1 xp is that treasure is guarded by monsters, traps, tricks, etc., and that greater treasures are guarded by stronger monsters, deadlier traps, more difficult tricks, etc. Therefore, getting a large haul of treasure implies that you overcame great difficulties and therefore earned many xp. In cases where this does not hold, the DM can adjust XP downward: you get little or nothing for finding 10 1,000 g.p. rubies lying on the ground in the middle of nowhere. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with assigning a treasure-equivalent value to something that has no monetary value but is challenging to retrieve: a prisoner held by penniless ogres might be worth 400 xp, or a sacred relic stolen by kobolds could be worth 1,000 xp if returned to its temple, provided the kobolds themselves don't have their usual treasure.

    When you provide xp for doing specific things (using a class ability, for example) you create a system that incentivizes process rather than outcome. This will result in, for example, players of thieves looking for excuses to pick locks (and complaints when there are none to be picked) rather than finding innovative and clever ways to get around the treasure's (or other objective's) guardians. The focus shifts to the mechanics of the game and encourages players to see their characters as having a specific function within a machine, rather than being first and foremost adventurers who all share a common resource: wits, and whose class abilities supplement rather than supplant this primary resource.

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  28. I tried the XP for treasure method for awhile and it didn't fit what I wanted. It made looters out of my fantasy heroes.

    Then I tried XP for monsters only. Take the chart from the Expert Set, tack an extra zero on the end of the XP column, and voila, it works. But it turns characters into bloodthirsty "big game hunters" and gets them killed quickly.

    So then I turned to story awards. And those are just so damned arbitrary and unwieldy... if, that is, you continue to measure them in good ol' hundreds-and-thousands-of-XPs.

    In any case, a game that uses XP more or less by the book does eventually come to the point where you can't play without having a calculator at the table (especially if anyone has Prime Requisite adjustments), and frankly I'm just not that fond of fiddly, persnickety math.

    But neither would I ever dispense with a point system for tracking character advancement, as some of my friends have done when DMing. It became quite popular in my own circle, during our 2e and early 3e days, for some DMs to just say "you all level up whenever I feel like it." I loathe anything that relies that heavily on arbitrary DM fiat, so I could never play in games like this for very long.

    The key was to find something that properly incentivized the players (like story awards) without being arbitrary and without being too excessively fiddly. No specific "actions worth XP", no awards worth 500 or 1,000 points which would make my head hurt dividing up and applying individual percentages.

    So I hit on a system called "Achievement Points", where characters gain a level every 10 points or so, with the average full game session worth 2 points to a player if the players role-played well and spent the whole session making noteworthy progress towards their stated goals. With this benchmark, it became very easy to award characters. Just stand back after the game is over, take the whole session in mind, and award 0 points if the players dawdled around in town beating up peasants or fighting each other; 1 point if most of the players actually tried to do something; 2 points if they tried to plumb the dungeon and successfully came away with some treasure and monster hides; and 3 points for killing a boss or reaching a major plot-point.

    There's a scale and a point-system, so it doesn't feel too arbitrary. As the DM, I can use my judgment to vary the awards to fit the players' progress. The award is given for the whole session and for the actions of the group as a whole, very "big picture" and pro-cooperation. It might not feel very grodnardy, but it works for me and mine.

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  29. I gave up on XP long ago in my campaigns and simply level-up the party after they have accomplished something significant. This could be one adventure, could be many.

    Korgoth's suggestion is pretty neat becasue it makes it a die-roll. How about these modifications:
    1. Have one party roll instead of one roll for each player. That way the whole group stays together in levels.
    2. Rather than a d20, have them roll something like 2d6 over their level. That gives rapid advancement early on, then slows it down later.

    Just pondering out loud...

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  30. 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.

    Interestingly, it seems Gygax was himself contemplating a similar sort of system at some point, even to the point that he thought he had included spell casting as an experience point award in the DMG:

    Experience Points for Actions

    As with many of the optional rules in second edition, it seems that variant experience awards were reflections of actual practice at Lake Geneva and in Gygax's own campaign.

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  31. Your XP = 90+% your treasure. That's just how your scoring is done.

    A game's a game a game.


    I thought the purpose of OD&D was to serve as a framework for individual play practices and homegrown rulesets.

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  32. Felipe, I like your suggestion that noteworthy role-playing experiences can be translated back into gold piece awards. In my last White Sandbox session, the PCs catalyzed some major events in a local town, but did so without killing anyone or gaining any loot. Wanting to reward that, I thought about house-ruling a story award - but I'm actually much happier adopting your solution and asking "what faction in town profits from these events, and might thus thank the PCs and try to enlist them to their side by giving them some treasure?"

    I like that because it's concrete in the game world in a way that abstract story awards are not, and because it has worldly consequences (e.g. the characters can spend that money to do things that interest them, whereas an award of XP alone is good only for leveling up).

    - Tavis

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  33. Rolemaster has some odd things for determining xp like damage given ,damage received, critical given, critical received, experience doing skill in question, etc...

    The old AEG magazine, Shadis, started off with a great series of articles Beyond the World of Hack and Slash.

    Others have done the same.

    I don't think the goal was to 'punish' gold piece hoardes as much as it was to encourage role playing outside of the dungeon.

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  35. Regarding the idea of awarding PCs less for finding an unguarded treasure hoard, as opposed to one with a trap or monster, I can't agree. The mere act of venturing into the dungeon (or the wilderness) is putting your PC at risk. Whether he fough tooth and nail for that gold, or luckily stumbled across it, his expedition has been a success. In many ways, the guy who didn't fight was more successful.

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  36. I award XP for killing blows, as 10xp x HD of monster, to encourage bravery in battle.

    I also award XP for exploring; finding important rooms and locations is rewarded to encourage further progression.

    I also award XP for quest based goals, such as completing the quest of at various milestones in the 'story' to encourage the completion of the quest.

    I find all three of these work well together.

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  37. As with many of the optional rules in second edition, it seems that variant experience awards were reflections of actual practice at Lake Geneva and in Gygax's own campaign.

    Maybe. One of the maddening things about Gygax is that, as others have noted, the rules that he wrote and defended in the pages of Dragon and elsewhere are often at odds with what he later claimed was his practice in his home campaign. Now, I'm not saying he was lying or even misremembering -- I have no reason to assume either -- only that it's extremely frustrating for those of us trying to understand his mind to see him write one thing in one place and then write a contradictory one in another.

    That said, even if Gary did use proto-2e class-specific awards in his Greyhawk game, I'm not in favor of them. My experience using them is that they introduced a lot of goofy meta-gaming -- jockeying over killing blows, seeking out traps to disarm, casting unnecessary spells -- that was every bit as arbitrary as the XP for gold that so many people dislike.

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  38. 'I prefer a system like C&S's that actually rewards the character for acting in character.'
    I agree with his 100%. A fighter becames a better fighter by fighting, preferrably in the nitty-gritty of real combat as opposed to just training.


    Well, the rules for training to advance levels in 1e AD&D did try to cover this. Training costs = 1500gp/level/week of training. Having performed true to your class while adventuring required only 1 week of training. Doing otherwise (e.g. a mage fighting with melee weapons most of the time), required more training time (up to 4 weeks).

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  39. Maybe. One of the maddening things about Gygax is that, as others have noted, the rules that he wrote and defended in the pages of Dragon and elsewhere are often at odds with what he later claimed was his practice in his home campaign. Now, I'm not saying he was lying or even misremembering -- I have no reason to assume either -- only that it's extremely frustrating for those of us trying to understand his mind to see him write one thing in one place and then write a contradictory one in another.

    I think it is just a fairly clear cut case of developmental changes. I do not use the exact same procedures in my ongoing campaign now as I did a year ago, sometimes as a response to perceived shortcomings, other times just a change on a whim. Gygax's campaign seems to have been very like that, and trying to understand his mind requires that one relise it was not the same in 1983 as it was in 1984.

    That said, even if Gary did use proto-2e class-specific awards in his Greyhawk game, I'm not in favor of them. My experience using them is that they introduced a lot of goofy meta-gaming -- jockeying over killing blows, seeking out traps to disarm, casting unnecessary spells -- that was every bit as arbitrary as the XP for gold that so many people dislike.

    It does not appear to be a matter of theory as to whether he did or not, but I agree with you. Once players know what yields experience points they will do those things to earn them, and such positive reinforcement potentially undermines freedom of choice (whicxh is of course the same issue for giving experience points for monsters killed or treasure earned).

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  40. So long as the same experience (or more) is awarded for 'defeating' an obstacle/enemy through nonviolent means then it all balances out.

    Example: the orc warband can be slain, bribed, blackmailed, threatened or even worked for to solve the encounter. Award 1.5x experience for any solution that involves no violence.

    People get to play the way they want to play, that way.

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  41. So I hit on a system called "Achievement Points"... 0 points if the players dawdled around in town beating up peasants or fighting each other; 1 point if most of the players actually tried to do something; 2 points if they tried to plumb the dungeon and successfully came away with some treasure and monster hides; and 3 points for killing a boss or reaching a major plot-point.

    J.D. --

    You just described the experience system in Savage Worlds, with PCs gaining an ability every 5 pts. :)

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  42. "I think it is just a fairly clear cut case of developmental changes. I do not use the exact same procedures in my ongoing campaign now as I did a year ago, sometimes as a response to perceived shortcomings, other times just a change on a whim."

    Can't agree that that explains everything. As a careful reader of Gygax (as is James), his later statements would often very vigorously deny that he ever did stuff in the past in accordance with prior writings.

    Personally, I can always remember what changes and differences in play I did in the past. If Gygax's case was simply evolution of playstyle, then he consistently displayed near total amnesia over what he'd done previously.

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  43. Can't agree that that explains everything. As a careful reader of Gygax (as is James), his later statements would often very vigorously deny that he ever did stuff in the past in accordance with prior writings.

    Personally, I can always remember what changes and differences in play I did in the past. If Gygax's case was simply evolution of playstyle, then he consistently displayed near total amnesia over what he'd done previously
    .

    Certainly, he was a somewhat contradictory fellow, but claims of "That is always the way I have done it and no other!" do not invalidate the developmental process, only that the author has convinced himself that such is the case (I have found myself sometimes fall victim to the same conceit, until reminded that in fact we had done X on some previous occasion or spoken out against Y).

    That said, I am not aware of a great many cases where the contradictions do not lie many years apart. My own gaming habits of 10 or 15 years ago I barely recall with any clarity.

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  44. Korgoth, your "roll for level" is the most out-of-the-box idea I've ever heard about leveling and XP. I LOVE IT!

    I think I'd add a DM-given modifier range of -2 to +2 to allow for general role-playing that session.

    I also like the Arduin ideas for XP -- XP for dying or coming near to death? I can see it now..."yeah, I died once, I don't recommend it."

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  45. I played a bit of Arduin back in the late 80s.

    I really cant remember XP being an issue. The mortality rate was so high that leveling was what happened when you survived. (We all played two characters to avoid being knocked of the game.)

    I still have one of the characters:
    Elion, 6'2" High Elf, Level One Rune Weaver, shiny silver hair, dragon friend, insomniac, hates goblins.

    Dave put all the magic items on index cards with hand drawn illustrations- if you lost the item you handed back the card. I have two as souvenirs.


    Too bad the campaign didn't go longer.

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