Friday, October 14, 2011

Riffing off a theme: Experience Points

I apologize if this is something jargon rich/disjointed. I'm trying to capture ideas off a post-it note before I forget entirely what the coded phrases meant.

Rob Donoghue discussed a week and change ago a method for handing out roleplay and exploration rewards. It was a neat concept of ways to quantify what rewards a PC/party gets for doing stuff outside of beating things/people/animals up and taking their loot. While it has a strong D&D focus, at the end he mentions White Wolf and "I'd forgo levels in favor of rating things from 1-5 dots and just be a little more stringy about how they level up.

Historically, most of my gaming has been White Wolf in one form or another. However, I've always had issues with XP rewards, mostly because they scale too fast, and as my Exalted game demonstrated, my players are more than capable of slow playing to get more XP.

For every major plot element important to a particular character, group, campaign, etc, you write it down; and then you rate it from 1 to 5:
1 - Plot element is only important to a particularly character
2 - Plot element is only important to the group
3 - Plot element is lightly important to the campaign
4 - Plot element is moderately important to the campaign
5 - Plot element is critically important to the campaign

The five phrases are (and each one can only be accomplished once):
Opening (1xp) - The Plot Element is introduced into the game.
Trigger (2xp) - The Plot Element is afoot; first chance for the characters to delve into the plot.
Development (3xp) - Action is rising; further developments, investigations, and
Climax (4xp) - The decision is made to confront/vex/counter/fully engage the plot element
Resolution (5xp) - The plot element is brought to some sort of conclusion; for now.
The key element here is that the plot element is not a person/place or thing; it is something to be resolved; it is a challenge, a conflict, a mystery to be solved. It needs to be an action, so that if players want the more XP cookie, then they need to be moving stuff towards resolution.

As I look over this it looks like it would cause XP to given in large globs. The first 2-3 phrases can happen fairly quickly and grant anywhere from 6-30 experience points depending on how the session goes. However, one would presume that generally the Development phrase would last longer and be a bit of a dry spell for XP afterwards as they work through those phases.

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