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Thread: Morrus on ... XP
Saturday, 3rd March, 2012, 04:11 PM #31
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Some would hold that "roleplaying" is a detailed description of your actions. Just rolling the dice to hit and damage isn't enough - describe your character's combat style. And rolling diplomacy isn't enough - you have to 'role play' the discussion with the duke. RESULT: Verbose players get more xp.
Why should I have to provide a more detailed explanation of the class taken at 5th level than the class taken at 1st level? What caused my cleric to be trained as such, and what order accepted and trained by L1 wizard?
For greater certainty, I'm largely playing devil's advocate above. I don't see a "right" or "wrong" system. I think most systems can be gamed in some manner or another, while "you level up when I say you do" can be seen as arbitrary. It depends on the group's playstyle. A narrativist group likely prefers "get levels when story demands" where a competitive gamist group wants fixed rules and individual xp. The best system is the system that most enhances your group's enjoyment of the game.
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Saturday, 3rd March, 2012, 04:13 PM #32
Scout (Lvl 6)
Two of my players really liked the idea and two of them disliked it and the rest were indifferent. So the majority didn't really care. The two that disliked it are the type of player that does kill every monster if possible and they seemed to dislike the idea of turning down or by-passing adventure hooks (and potential experience and treasure).
I don't understand why the two disliked the "freedom" choice since all characters earn experience and treasure if you play.
Saturday, 3rd March, 2012, 08:21 PM #33
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Perhaps we should do away with XP altogether. Have level go up as needed for the campaign.
One thing that would be missing is being rewarded for effort and accomplishment. Perhaps we could have, instead, Session Bonuses.
At the end of a session everyone gets a Basic Bonus for use in the whole of the next session. Then there are higher levels of bonus for exceptional play in that session.
Basic Session Bonus:
You get just for turning up.
Adventure Specific Session Bonus:
Bonuses that are hard written into the adventure. If you find an oil store next to the enemy's food supply and you use it to set fire to all their goods you get a Set Adventure Specific Session Bonus.
Person Of The Session:
Only one person per session gets this bonus. It shouldn't always be the same person each week just because they are your best friend. In fact it should be a rule that you can't get this 2 sessions in a row no matter how good you were. If you have a quiet player who barely says anything but in that session he chips in just the once with a decent idea or roleplaying he should get it to give him a carrot for futher better play.
The whole idea of XP was as a continuous reward. Something like this might be better for rewarding players than a hand full of XP that doesn't really matter much when you are going to be the right level for an encounter anyway.
Saturday, 3rd March, 2012, 09:06 PM #34
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Our group has evolved. It started with individual XP in 2e and 3e, then with 4e we started using group xp and now (still 4e) the DM just says when to level up. And we level up between adventures, basically whenever it's a good time to do story wise or if the DM is planning something big. This is much simpler for everyone. The DM can make encounters appropriate for the group and no one gets "left behind" power level wise because we all level up together.
Last edited by darkwing; Saturday, 3rd March, 2012 at 09:12 PM.
Sunday, 4th March, 2012, 12:07 AM #35
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I use group XP because it's faster and less subjective. I also feel like it encourages more cooperation and disincentivizes upstaging other characters or players.
I also allow absent players to get full XP because I like to have everyone at the exact same level so there are no obviously weaker players. I also play with an all-adult group and it's understandable that sometimes people can't make it. I don't think they should be penalized for that.
I also calculate XP prior to the session for all of the encounters that take place during the session. We use part of our play time to level up during the session when it occurs.
Sunday, 4th March, 2012, 03:25 AM #36
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
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Howdy N'raac. I just want to share with you a few of my thoughts.
First off... My post didn't include everything you've attributed to me. I'm going to assume that your post got a bit mixed up and only address the points from my post. Second, we can endlessly argue back and forth about specific applications of general policy--I don't think that I (or anyone else, for that matter) needs to come up with an exhaustive list of possible situations in order to make some broad decisions. We can play devil's advocate ad nauseam with odd corner cases or exceptions to general policies, so can we agree to hit the high points? Third... I'm currently playing with Pathfinder rules, so I'm going to cite specific examples from that. But play style/skill isn't tied to a specific system, so I feel that the points remain valid.
"Participation" is a spectrum, not an absolute. People's interest and attention naturally wax and wane over the course of a session, adventure, and campaign. If one player gets really bored with wilderness treks and the other players love them to death, I'm not going to expect them to get gung-ho about several trips through the wilderness. I also agree with you that some players should just get a new hobby, I don't understand why some players show up to the game and start catching up on their email. That sends me the signal that they don't really want to be there, but if the other players don't seem to mind and the player in question is fine with his level of participation... So be it.
Still, a player that participates half-heartedly can drag the group down. If the player isn't paying attention during a combat round and has to have the entire last round explained to him every time their turn comes up, that's something to talk to them about. If they don't want to keep up with a situation and rely on other players to coach them through a session, then it's basically putting the onus of playing that character on other players. They might as well take Leadership and let the disengaged person free up a chair at the table.
"Drag to a miserable crawl" regarding traps is an issue with play style. There are many, many ways for a GM to use traps, make the rogue feel useful for having the trapfinder class feature, and not roll a Perception check for each 5-foot square in a dungeon. Walking down an unremarkable corridor in an abandoned temple? The rogue probably doesn't need to check for traps as long as they are prodding ahead with a staff or something. Walking down a corridor to the abbot's hidden treasure vault? That rogue had damned well better check for traps, and bluntly, I feel that they get what they deserve if they choose to not check. There's also the trap spotter rogue talent, which allows the GM to take responsibility for checking for traps entirely, if desired. If it's slowing your game down, it shouldn't be. There are plenty of ways to keep the game moving even when party members are doing their thing.
I don't give the x.p. strictly for performing class functions as advocated by older versions of the game. I'm rewarding participation and engagement, not specific actions.
As far as "sometimes gets x.p.," there's a world of difference between someone having other obligations or life situations and someone that's just not bothering to show up. A few years ago, I had a player call out the day before a game because they had a heart attack and were in the hospital. Of course that player got x.p. In that same group, we had a player that stayed out late drinking the night before the game every weekend. He'd no-show on us and we'd play without him, and I'd get text messages an hour or two after we started asking if we were playing that day. Clearly not a priority for him. He didn't get x.p. for missed sessions. I suppose it could be viewed as a form of favoritism, but it's something that I can live with. I just don't see why someone that plays one session out of every four or so should get the same amount of x.p. as the players that are there every session.
If you can't commit to a regular schedule, there are other options. You can join in organized play or online campaigns that fit your circumstances. Whenever my schedule interferes with the game, I bow out because I respect other people's time too much to be a constant x-factor in the week-to-week schedule.
As far as "verbosity" goes, I don't hold that detailed descriptions are necessarily any better than a simple description. I don't agree with that definition of roleplaying.
I think that out-of-character things shouldn't skew the experience progression because they reflect general coolness on the part of the player, not because they are necessarily playing the game well. A big reason for this is because most groups have a few people who are just more committed than the others, and I want this to be rewarded separately from smart play. In a sense, I view a character's x.p. total as their "score," I feel that it should reflect play rather than commitment or "heart." Besides which, a free reroll seems to be a great motivator. Many players love a reroll when they fail saves and all that.
As for gaining levels in a new class, it's the same amount of explanation, not more. It's got to make contextual sense. A player might want to pick up a level of cleric for their fighter character. The explanation should be grounded in the narrative, not just, "'cuz I wanna self-heal and the Strength domain is sweet."
That's about it. The rest of the things that you've quoted for me didn't appear in my original post. Hope that clears it up.
Sunday, 4th March, 2012, 07:01 AM #37
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
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Edit: Dice4Hire - thanks! Ad blocking software combined with Quick Reply resulted in me not seeing that there was a link and image tags from the spammer in that quote.
Last edited by jaerdaph; Monday, 5th March, 2012 at 02:20 PM.
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Sunday, 4th March, 2012, 11:54 AM #38
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
My concern is based on the Sid Meier's quote: "A good game is a series of interesting choices". Giving players experience specifically for killing monsters or surviving traps in and of themselves removes the more interesting choice of simply avoiding those monsters in order to pursue a greater long term goal. Giving players experience for virtually everything they do removes the interest in the player's decision making; they will get rewarded no matter what, so long as they live I guess, so what are the stakes of their decision? Just awarding levels to the players when the DM feels it's appropriate, based on the difficulty of the adventure, removes a lot of the satisfaction players get from the decisions they make because it removes a lot of the illusion of control that players have over their character's destiny. Players want to feel that there are consequences, good or bad, to their decisions, otherwise their decisions are meaningless and thus uninteresting. Players, I think, want to feel that there are better and worse ways to get the treasure out of the dungeon or rescue the princess or whatever the goal may be; that's where the 'game' part of 'role playing game' comes in.
Sunday, 4th March, 2012, 06:12 PM #39
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
If his disengagement is hurting the game, then the other players also need to say something. "Hey, your slow play is dragging the game down - how about keeping up or getting out - check your email some other time".
But if I reward the rogue's skill use only when he rolls, I'd expect the rogue to want to roll.
It's all about play style. Last night, we had several characters take actions they knew would cause attacks of opportunity. Some were good tactical choices. Others were foolish viewed objectively, but most definitely in character. I'd rather have players that will make foolish, but in character, tactical decisions than a group of characters played like game tokens rather than living beings with flaws and foibles. That's my play style. Others prefer a style where making sub-optimal choices is punished by in-game failure.
As you say, they should have the courtesy to bow out. If they don't, maybe they need to have some courtesy enforced on them.
We just finished a scenario last night. Part of that scenario involved visiting an old pirate cave, which connected with a much older ruin of an ancient civilization, because we needed a McGuiffin. Our explorations of the pirate cave didn't locate the pirate treasure, as we found the ancient ruin entrance first. Our characters didn't waste time searching the rest of the caverns for this rumoured pirate treasure, but returned with the McGuffin ASAP.
Now, I as a player know that the Baddies who had "just completed" their plan as we reached the climactic encounter would have "just completed" their plan if we had taken another week in the pirate caves. But the characters don't know that their lives are dictated by the module script, and not their own timeliness, so searching the old pirate caves wouldn't really be in character. But, under your model, it imposes a serious xp cost (and we noticed yesterday that our wealth is a bit off from missing that loot, too - treasure buys gear that enhances power, so making it also drive level gains makes it doubly important!).
Let's take an example. You placed enough treasure in this scenario to allow the characters to level up twice. However, due to their choices, bad luck or what have you, they missed most of the treasure, or left it behind, and as a result they did not level up at all. What's your next step:
(a) tell the players they missed all that loot and let them go back and haul it out (with no further encounters - they dealt with all of those)? same thing as sending them back if they missed a bunch of kills - all the same options exist if you didn't get enough combat-based xp, with a bit of fine tuning to provide for extra combat rather than cash.
(b) carry on with the next planned adventure, which would have been appropriately challenging for characters two levels higher - they made their choices and now they have to live with them!
(c) insert one or more buffer adventures (whether new encounters at the old scenario location as they retrieve that loot, or some other approach) to get them up to the appropriate level to challenge them appropriately in the planned adventure?
(d) override the xp count and arbitrarily level them up? Perhaps the beneficiaries of the PC's actions are retroactively much more grateful and/or wealthy than previously planned and reward them up to that next level or two. A Story Award, perhaps?
I suggest (b) probably means the party gets wiped out, but (a), (c) and (d) all mean their choices ultimately didn't matter much. Is there an approach I am not considering that satisfies both the goal of making their decisions matter and that of keeping the challenge level appropriate and the game enjoyable?
I do see one major advantage to "treasure as xp", thinking on it. It makes it much easier to ensure the "wealth per level" guidelines will be maintained, since you only level up by retrieving a level of wealth which, after expenses and consumable items, should leave the appropriate wealth by level.
Last edited by N'raac; Sunday, 4th March, 2012 at 06:17 PM.
Monday, 5th March, 2012, 02:02 AM #40
Guide (Lvl 11)
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I used to do the individual XP and 1/2 XP for not showing up, but I stopped because even though the player might not have been there, the PC did participate and sometimes (though rarely) in a big way. Also, why penalize a player that had to work or got called into a emergency of some kind? Flaky players only last for a couple of bad excuses anyway, so I don't worry too much about it.
Only once since 4e began did we level-up mid session, and that was because:
a) we were running a marathon session
b) they deserved it XP-wise
c) really might have been crushed by the BBEG if they weren't leveled up.
Game on, gang!
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