Disconnect Between Designer's Intent and Player Intepretation

How do you manage to have an extended campaign if you don't do this? And I don't think it's the D&D play loop that causes it, although there are examples of published CoC modules that are effectively D&D dungeons with maps of sprawling underground locations and keyed encounters. I think it's the rules themselves that do it. CoC is written using the simulationist BRP ruleset

There was actually an official d20 adaptation in the early 2000's
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
I'm reminded of the Winchester boy's go-to, rock salt. But yes, perhaps an investigator should be more like Dr. Van Helsing, armed with knowledge of the weaknesses of his foes; silver, crucifixes, holy water, wooden stakes (with a mallet because, as a doctor, he knows that there's bone protecting the heart!), etc..
Its easy to forget that the reason the Winchesters can go guns a'blazing is that all of them are very well educated on monster weaknesses, and aren't hesitant to do research before they engage (or to disengage if things aren't going well). You occasionally see how important this is when they think they're dealing with one thing and are actually dealing with another (they had a stark example in the prequel series just last week in fact).
 

Celebrim

Legend
I agree with you - CoC RPG as a system does not support the feel I want for CoC mythos.

My worry is you'd end up with something that feels like 'Rick and Morty' or recent volumes of Charles Stross's Laundry series.

This might should be forked, but the secret to Lovecraftian horror is that it was written by a highly neurotic, emotionally fragile intellectual who was aware that his entire world view was crumbling around him. HPL literally felt he was waking up into the world of his horror stories. This is a guy who had bought into the rock-solid comfortable world of the Victorian intellectual - an eternal unchanging universe, man as the pinnacle of evolution, white Anglo-Saxons as the pinnacle of human evolution, science the vehicle for man's eventual godhood, and so forth only to see the very science he put his faith into undermine all his beliefs. Godel's incompleteness theorem. The Big Bang. Quantum Mechanics. The insanity of industrialized war in Europe. When this is a guy saying one day science is going to open up vistas that will drive people insane, he's a man who is experiencing that as he speaks.

This creates a feel that is very hard for rational people to understand for two reasons. First, because thankfully most of us are not crazed sensitive neurotics like HPL, and secondly because we really do not correlate the contents of the mind and seriously consider them. Questions like, "If the sun is going to burn out in a billion years, why do I bother to do my homework?" sound silly to us and don't actually produce the existential dread they were producing in HPL.

My first experience of HPL was actually the uncanny emotional realization of just how small and far apart the atoms in my body really were, so that I realized that I am in fact an insubstantial mist through which the neutrinos blow basically unimpeded, an electron ghost barely even there in the grand scheme of things. Actually, feeling the emotional impact of that is what I would love a CoC roleplaying game to actually produce. But most of the time, CoC satisfies itself with just going for squick instead of horror, triggering feelings of revulsion rather than existential dread. We're missing what actually frightened HPL underneath the obvious animal survival things.

And it's not clear to me how you actually transcend that problem.

You see, we aren't HPL. If you read something like:

"Corresponding to any given consistent axiomatization of number theory, one can explicitly construct a Diophantine equation which has no solutions, but such that this fact cannot be proved within the given axiomatization."

You are not going to start freaking out and screaming like Luke in the gas refinery: "No, that's not true!!! That can't be possible!!!" I very much feel HPL would have. We live in the universe post all of these revelations about how weird the universe is and we just shrug. But a really good HPL adventure somehow would undermine our confidence in reality just as much as early 20th century science destroyed HPL's belief in the worth of mankind so that even if the investigators kill the monster, it doesn't matter, because it's the existence of the monster that is problematic in the first place.

However, that problem goes way outside the topic at hand.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
While I get that awarding XP for collecting treasure incentivizes a single specific form of campaign play that by no means has to be the only style to play a fantasy RPG, making XP for defeating enemies the only clearly codified way of getting experience was just a horrible thing with, I would argue, severe permanent damage to the RPG medium.
In part, I suspect, because too much emphasis was put on defeating them in combat, rather than "defeating" them by avoidance, bypassing, negotiation, or any other means.

I'm not sure if this emphasis came from the player base's interpretation of the design or from an intentional design choice.

Xp-for-gp was dropped. Also xp for "good roleplay" was dropped and I don't mind this at all: far too open to DM favouritism and abuse. So what's left? Xp for monsters defeated is granular (good), only they didn't state clearly enough what "defeat" actually means. Xp for story or mission completion isn't granular enough and is also hard to codify; and further, pushes a story-based play-style that doesn't mesh with West Marches or sandbox type of campaigns.
So much dumb followed from it that became the default for all fantasy RPGs.
Can't have been that dumb; as if it became the default it means nobody thought up anything less-dumb enough to take its place.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
In part, I suspect, because too much emphasis was put on defeating them in combat, rather than "defeating" them by avoidance, bypassing, negotiation, or any other means.

I'm not sure if this emphasis came from the player base's interpretation of the design or from an intentional design choice.

Xp-for-gp was dropped. Also xp for "good roleplay" was dropped and I don't mind this at all: far too open to DM favouritism and abuse. So what's left? Xp for monsters defeated is granular (good), only they didn't state clearly enough what "defeat" actually means. Xp for story or mission completion isn't granular enough and is also hard to codify; and further, pushes a story-based play-style that doesn't mesh with West Marches or sandbox type of campaigns.

Can't have been that dumb; as if it became the default it means nobody thought up anything less-dumb enough to take its place.
What about milestone advancement?
 

dragoner

solisrpg.com
Playing from 1e to 6e CoC, we were always shotguns and dynamite, seemed a normal part of the game. Though I played it first, then read the books. I think in Shadow Over Innsmouth they dynamited some stuff.
 
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MGibster

Legend
There was actually an official d20 adaptation in the early 2000's
d20 Cthulhu was one of the best d20 products relased and I wish I never sold my copy. It was a great resource for new Keepers with tips for running Cthulhu in different eras (even in your D&D game) and made good use of the d20 system without making it too much like D&D.
 

Celebrim

Legend
In part, I suspect, because too much emphasis was put on defeating them in combat, rather than "defeating" them by avoidance, bypassing, negotiation, or any other means.

It's not just the emphasis, such that as you level up, you generally get a lot better at killing everything, but only marginally better or not better at all at evasion and negotiation or that the one class with evasion features is a terrible trap of a class that isn't worth playing. It's that the game doesn't actually reward alternate strategies very much. Monsters are difficult to avoid, bypass, or negotiate with. The subset of monstrous things in a dungeon that you can do any one of those three with is small. And for the most part, all three tactics will get you killed more often than they'll save you, both in the short term and the longer term.

While bypassing or a avoiding the monster will get you some XP from a generous GM, as people have pointed out, it's the XP from the treasure you really want. And it's very hard to bypass or avoid a monster and get the treasure. As soon as you are within 10' of a monster in 1e AD&D you basically have to stop moving and enter melee, and if you try to leave melee you draw what will later be called an "attack of opportunity" with massive bonuses for the attacker. Plus, many monsters have more speed and better senses than you are likely to have. Avoiding monsters by running away is doable in 1e AD&D, but avoiding monsters to make progress in a dungeon generally isn't.

And in the short term it will get you killed. And I mean reliably killed. Because in 1e AD&D it is always important to have an exit strategy, and an exit strategy depends on having a clear and safe path of retreat if things go wrong. If you leave things behind you, you are basically in the first stage of writing up a new character. Bypass, evade and negotiate do not guarantee a safe exit from the dungeon should you run into a situation you can't handle. That isn't to say that there aren't some situations where you'll want to do that, but as a first order strategy it is a failure in the way being able to kill everything isn't.

And even if you manage to avoid short term disaster, the strategy doesn't work out because it costs XP relative to the kill things and take their stuff strategy. Most negotiation in practice means bribes, and in Gygaxian play bribes are always hefty and painful (examples are provided in the DMG). Moreover, since much of what you would be negotiating with won't keep a deal in good faith, often times it means paying a tax on both the way in and the way out, and you'll likely be at a disadvantage on the way out that makes extortion seem a sound strategy - out of hit points, out of spells, etc. All these missed opportunities and payments mean getting less XP out of the dungeon, which puts you behind the curve compared to the challenges you have to face going deeper down.

In short, in Gygaxian play sure you do try to avoid random encounters by playing quickly and efficiently. You do plan safe escapes when you need to get out of the dungeon fast. You do try to have contingency plans for aiding escape plans such as throwing food or gold behind you to distract pursuers or using flaming oil to temporarily block passages and iron spikes to jam doors shut. You do try to avoid or bypass encounters that are currently beyond you. And you do try to befriend any potential allies you find in the dungeon while at the same time being wary for the inevitable betrayal of some of your erstwhile allies. But the idea that you can advance in a Gygaxian dungeon by as a first order strategy avoiding things in order to rob the monsters without fighting them or other sorts of non-combat strategies is I think difficult to sustain. I have heard of groups trying to or even successfully robbing the Keep. I've never heard of anyone trying to rob the Caves of Chaos.

That highly skilled players understood all of this can be demonstrated by the fact that often new (to me) groups I would join groaned if I tried to do things like talk to monsters for RP reasons, knowing full well that it was suboptimal play. Success in "old school D&D" was win surprise, win initiative, kill things before they can react, search everything carefully, and take all their stuff to maximize XP. And I think this is the intended design by Gygax. I do not think this is players playing in ways he didn't expect.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What about milestone advancement?
Nowhere near granular enough.

I'm assuming an xp-based system* throughout, where those involved in a scene or combat or whatever get xp for it and those not involved don't. I'm also assuming that, due to this and other factors, characters advance at different rates and bump at different times. Contrast this with them all bumping together which is what milestone advancement seems specifically designed for.

* - or equivalent; the point being that whatever the reward is, it only accrues to those who take action to earn it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's not just the emphasis, such that as you level up, you generally get a lot better at killing everything, but only marginally better or not better at all at evasion and negotiation or that the one class with evasion features is a terrible trap of a class that isn't worth playing.
The other class with evasion features - Ranger - is well worth playing, however. :)
It's that the game doesn't actually reward alternate strategies very much. Monsters are difficult to avoid, bypass, or negotiate with. The subset of monstrous things in a dungeon that you can do any one of those three with is small. And for the most part, all three tactics will get you killed more often than they'll save you, both in the short term and the longer term.

While bypassing or a avoiding the monster will get you some XP from a generous GM, as people have pointed out, it's the XP from the treasure you really want.
In a game where xp-for-gp is a thing, yes. I think it was @Quasqueton who once (i.e. 10+ years ago!) did some analyses in this forum of xp and treasure form classic modules, I think in an effort to prove 1e advancement rates weren't that dissimlar to 3e; and he found that the vast majority of xp came from treasure assuming the PCs found most or all of it (which IME isn't always the case).

In 40 years of 1e and variants, I've never played in or run a game that gave xp for treasure.
And it's very hard to bypass or avoid a monster and get the treasure. As soon as you are within 10' of a monster in 1e AD&D you basically have to stop moving and enter melee, and if you try to leave melee you draw what will later be called an "attack of opportunity" with massive bonuses for the attacker. Plus, many monsters have more speed and better senses than you are likely to have. Avoiding monsters by running away is doable in 1e AD&D, but avoiding monsters to make progress in a dungeon generally isn't.

And in the short term it will get you killed. And I mean reliably killed. Because in 1e AD&D it is always important to have an exit strategy, and an exit strategy depends on having a clear and safe path of retreat if things go wrong. If you leave things behind you, you are basically in the first stage of writing up a new character. Bypass, evade and negotiate do not guarantee a safe exit from the dungeon should you run into a situation you can't handle. That isn't to say that there aren't some situations where you'll want to do that, but as a first order strategy it is a failure in the way being able to kill everything isn't.

And even if you manage to avoid short term disaster, the strategy doesn't work out because it costs XP relative to the kill things and take their stuff strategy. Most negotiation in practice means bribes, and in Gygaxian play bribes are always hefty and painful (examples are provided in the DMG). Moreover, since much of what you would be negotiating with won't keep a deal in good faith, often times it means paying a tax on both the way in and the way out, and you'll likely be at a disadvantage on the way out that makes extortion seem a sound strategy - out of hit points, out of spells, etc. All these missed opportunities and payments mean getting less XP out of the dungeon, which puts you behind the curve compared to the challenges you have to face going deeper down.

In short, in Gygaxian play sure you do try to avoid random encounters by playing quickly and efficiently. You do plan safe escapes when you need to get out of the dungeon fast. You do try to have contingency plans for aiding escape plans such as throwing food or gold behind you to distract pursuers or using flaming oil to temporarily block passages and iron spikes to jam doors shut. You do try to avoid or bypass encounters that are currently beyond you. And you do try to befriend any potential allies you find in the dungeon while at the same time being wary for the inevitable betrayal of some of your erstwhile allies. But the idea that you can advance in a Gygaxian dungeon by as a first order strategy avoiding things in order to rob the monsters without fighting them or other sorts of non-combat strategies is I think difficult to sustain. I have heard of groups trying to or even successfully robbing the Keep. I've never heard of anyone trying to rob the Caves of Chaos.

That highly skilled players understood all of this can be demonstrated by the fact that often new (to me) groups I would join groaned if I tried to do things like talk to monsters for RP reasons, knowing full well that it was suboptimal play. Success in "old school D&D" was win surprise, win initiative, kill things before they can react, search everything carefully, and take all their stuff to maximize XP. And I think this is the intended design by Gygax. I do not think this is players playing in ways he didn't expect.
When looking at mostly monster-based dungeons maybe with a BBEG at the end, your analysis isn't far off here. Though even in Caves of Chaos a diplomatic party can potentially make a lot of headway by finding a way to play some of the monster groups off against each other.

But not all adventures are like that. Even by 1983 we started seeing wilderness adventures, city adventures, etc., and in those - particularly city ones - it's more than possible to get a very long way through sheer evasion and bluff if one has the right party for it. Gygax might not have been planning for this type of play, but he blundered into allowing for it anyway with the rule that bypassing monsters or threats gave the same xp as defeating them.
 

Fundamentally, I think pre-2e TSR-era D&D is a great example of the thread topic. EGG definitely wanted the game to be more problem-solving than combat, and may well have played that way with his inner circle. But then outside his circle a whole swath of gamers grabbed his game, looked squarewise at it, and went on to use it to play LotR and Star Wars at the Ren Fest and all the other things they wanted from an RPG, designer intent be damned. And while the core game loop (GP=XP, combat mostly just depletes resources) incentivized the cautious heist game, very little else of the communication really forced the subject.

My own initial experience we had one of those situations. While we had started playing with 'the big kids' (10 year olds) with their Holmes/BX /AD&D hybrid, by the time we could purchase books, they were the 1st printing Mentzer B and E sets. That including the choose-your-own-adventure style scenario with Bargel and Aleena. It did a great job of explaining basics like initiative, attacks, saving throws, and so forth. Missing from it, however, was any of the procedural dungeon-crawling rules, the reaction chart, or any monster morale checks. As such, even though we read those parts, their value never resonated and we were spotty at best at using them. Add to that a bunch of modules where sneaking past to get treasure really wasn't an option*, and the whole 'avoid combat' style of play didn't gel with us (not that we would have wanted to play that game anyways, since when do you play a knight in shining armor or wizard who can knock out a whole room of guards or shoot fireballs and choose to creep down dungeon corridors like frightened mice?).
*we did align with various factions of the Caves of Chaos against each other (and then turn on our allies at the end), but honestly we thought we were breaking the intended playstyle by doing so.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
The other class with evasion features - Ranger - is well worth playing, however. :)

The Ranger was definitely worth playing, but if we are talking about the 1e version I'm struggling to remember what evasion features it actually had.

In a game where xp-for-gp is a thing, yes. I think it was @Quasqueton who once (i.e. 10+ years ago!) did some analyses in this forum of xp and treasure form classic modules, I think in an effort to prove 1e advancement rates weren't that dissimlar to 3e; and he found that the vast majority of xp came from treasure assuming the PCs found most or all of it (which IME isn't always the case).

There are basically three scales of treasure available in published rules and examples for AD&D.

The least generous version is strict adherence to the treasure type tables in the Monster Manual. If you do this, then XP from treasure is about twice that of XP from defeating opponents.

Slightly more generous is the suggested treasure placement in the random dungeon generator in the back of the 1st edition DMG. Here, treasure is probably four times as much from treasure as defeating opponents (I've never done exact calculations, but that's my sense).

By far the most generous placement is in published modules, and that's because published modules were effectively or actually Adventure Paths that needed characters to advance quickly in order to hit the minimum level to survive the necessary plot points and planned encounters. In those cases, XP from treasure can be ten or even thirty times the XP from monsters because at the end of the module you need to be leveled up enough to face the BBEG or to move on to the next module in the AP. So effectively, published adventures often power leveled adventurers much faster than the published rules suggested.

Quesqueton's observations didn't come as much of a surprise to me because I'd run some of the modules he analyzed, but they did convince me that the treasure placement in those modules was non-arbitrary and very much designed to provide enough XP to level up a party of the suggested level.

But the rate of advancement in 1e AD&D very much depended on what guidelines and examples of play the DM was following. If it was published modules, then yes it would be 3e fast and that probably wasn't a coincidence or arbitrary but also a deliberate choice by the 3e designers. If it was the MM treasure types and the world expressed by the MM's, then it would have been much slower and magic items much rarer.

In 40 years of 1e and variants, I've never played in or run a game that gave xp for treasure.

One reason I don't trust you as an authority on how 1e AD&D plays despite your vast experience, is as far as I can tell you never played by the rules and your house rules have drifted so far from the original published rules that you are practically playing a different game.

But not all adventures are like that. Even by 1983 we started seeing wilderness adventures, city adventures, etc., and in those - particularly city ones - it's more than possible to get a very long way through sheer evasion and bluff if one has the right party for it. Gygax might not have been planning for this type of play, but he blundered into allowing for it anyway with the rule that bypassing monsters or threats gave the same xp as defeating them.

Absolutely. It's almost always wrong to assert as an absolute "Old School AD&D played this way" because there was so little consistency in how it was played. And there are published examples that run contrary to the Munchkin stereotype, particularly coming out of the UK such as UK1 and U2 where combat is almost always wrong. But then again, U2 shows just how badly the assumptions of the game fall apart if the first order strategy of the players is not combat. U2 is almost a perfect example of the exception proves the rule in the true sense of that phrase. The design is based on the assumption that the vast majority of parties will always go into a dungeon like berserk commandos, and the module falls apart and enters a failure state that the designer almost apologetically lacks good options to deal with if the players don't.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There are basically three scales of treasure available in published rules and examples for AD&D.
I'll have to take your word for the numbers, as I've never even thought about those calculations.
Quesqueton's observations didn't come as much of a surprise to me because I'd run some of the modules he analyzed, but they did convince me that the treasure placement in those modules was non-arbitrary and very much designed to provide enough XP to level up a party of the suggested level.
Perhaps, although there's so much variability in how much of the treasure in a module will be found and-or hauled out by a party that I can't imagine basing any sort of design mechanics around it. I've often seen parties miss well over half the treasure in an adventure, either by bad luck or hurrying or not looking for it or not realizing its true value and leaving it in place.
But the rate of advancement in 1e AD&D very much depended on what guidelines and examples of play the DM was following. If it was published modules, then yes it would be 3e fast and that probably wasn't a coincidence or arbitrary but also a deliberate choice by the 3e designers.
Also, I suspect, as a backlash against the slow advancement of 2e.
If it was the MM treasure types and the world expressed by the MM's, then it would have been much slower and magic items much rarer.
Pure speculation, of course, but I think Gygax expected those would only be used for either wandering monsters or when DMs made up their own adventures, and that play would consist of a mix of this and published modules.
One reason I don't trust you as an authority on how 1e AD&D plays despite your vast experience, is as far as I can tell you never played by the rules and your house rules have drifted so far from the original published rules that you are practically playing a different game.

Absolutely. It's almost always wrong to assert as an absolute "Old School AD&D played this way" because there was so little consistency in how it was played.
There seems something...incongruous, perhaps...about those two statements. :)
And there are published examples that run contrary to the Munchkin stereotype, particularly coming out of the UK such as UK1 and U2 where combat is almost always wrong. But then again, U2 shows just how badly the assumptions of the game fall apart if the first order strategy of the players is not combat. U2 is almost a perfect example of the exception proves the rule in the true sense of that phrase. The design is based on the assumption that the vast majority of parties will always go into a dungeon like berserk commandos, and the module falls apart and enters a failure state that the designer almost apologetically lacks good options to deal with if the players don't.
I've never run UK1, but have been largely underwhelmed by the UK modules I have played in and-or run; nor have I ever met U2 as either DM or player. (I was all set to run U2 not long ago but for various reasons that party got put on hold partway through U1)
 

Greg K

Legend
One piece of evidence that shows play didn't necessarily go the way Gygax intended is the very existence of Tomb of Horrors, which he wrote as a means of stopping the high-level MUs who had come to completely dominate his game.
I could have sworn that Gygax stated that Tomb of Horrors was meant to target /test all of the players outside his group whom were claiming to have characters whose levels exceeded those of Gygax's own long-term players (which were around 12-14th iirc)
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
But not all adventures are like that. Even by 1983 we started seeing wilderness adventures, city adventures, etc., and in those - particularly city ones - it's more than possible to get a very long way through sheer evasion and bluff if one has the right party for it. Gygax might not have been planning for this type of play, but he blundered into allowing for it anyway with the rule that bypassing monsters or threats gave the same xp as defeating them.

I think it would have happened inevitably in some way. People see a system that lets them play fantasy characters, most of them are going to want to play Conan or the LotR characters, both of whom spent only a fairly small part of their career staging heists in dungeons.
 

pemerton

Legend
V5 is even worse about this, to the point it's not even really cool to be a vampire, since any time you use your powers (actually, just about any time you take any action, from my experience), you could suddenly find yourself unable to use them and enter a Hunger state where you have to get blood or else!

Imagine telling a D&D player "oh hey, if you roll three ones, you lose all your special abilities until you go murder someone"; I'm sure that would go over especially well.
I'm not 100% sure I've followed this properly - but isn't it inherent to playing a vampire PC in a Vampire RPG that one is playing a murderer?

When I first tried CoC, I decided that playing a character who knows about the occult world would be selling myself short on the experience, so I made a regular person. That proved to be a serious mistake as I was basically completely useless for the entire story (a star vampire was going around killing people; I saw it kill my little sister, and actually knew it existed, but I was then arrested for her murder by the cops and spent half the session trying to convince people I wasn't crazy).

And of course, it didn't help that the star vampire was largely invisible and able to no sell being hit by a truck! In the end, everyone was reduced to making difficult rolls to figure out how to seal it in a well with a ritual (I couldn't help since, again, I didn't know anything about that stuff).

Now maybe, as my GM lamented, I just don't "get" CoC. But I was kind of annoyed by the whole experience (to say nothing of the disastrous second game, where we were ensconced in a hotel, there were murderous cultists around, and the police warned us to stay indoors....so that's what we did)
To me, this sounds like poor GMing on top of the poor design of CoC as a system.

I've GMed Cthulhu Dark sessions where the PCs were ordinary people but were not "completely useless" - just as the characters in HPL's stories are not completely useless even though they typically have little or no knowledge of the occult.
 

While I get that awarding XP for collecting treasure incentivizes a single specific form of campaign play that by no means has to be the only style to play a fantasy RPG, making XP for defeating enemies the only clearly codified way of getting experience was just a horrible thing with, I would argue, severe permanent damage to the RPG medium.
So much dumb followed from it that became the default for all fantasy RPGs.

Running 2E now, and there are other methods. This is from the revised book but the 1989 edition had similar listing in XP (these aren't nearly as good as killing things for XP but they were other ways you could gain XP). It has a lot of optional approaches in the system.

There were individual XP awards. You get rewards for RP, for participation, for clever ideas, etc:

1666447669182.png


Then they had class based awards (you basically get rewarded for doing what your class does):

1666447634017.png


This is the chart for defeating foes by HD. One important thing to note here is you can't get XP for killing something without 'significant risk' to themselves. The GM has room to interpret what this means but the book says a 7th level character in need of one XP can't round up his friends and surround a single orc, expecting to get XP. And you don't have to kill the creature to get the XP, you just have to defeat it. The values below get much greater if a creature has good abilities. A mountain Loup Garou has 7 HD but is worth 4,000 in the Ravenloft monster section of the ROT boxed set.

1666447717559.png


They can also gain XP for things like story goals. So while you can't get XP for driving out orcs from a village without facing them at significant risk to the party, you can get story XP for that, you can get XP for the clever idea that caused them to be driven out, etc. And you can also grant XP simply for survival. These amounts are largely left up to the GM (thought it says in an earlier section story XP should not exceed XP for combat from an adventure):

1666448795871.png


And you can still get XP for gold (on top of the thief's individual XP for gold):

1666448226388.png


I should say I haven't been making heavy use of this (I've just been leveling the party at regular intervals because I am running them through an anthology adventure (and they need to be the right level to play each scenario). But reviewing this section, it matches my memory that much of 2E is about options and giving the group leeway to take different approaches. My guess is moving in this direction was a way to meet criticisms from players who felt you should get more XP for things you physically defeated, but still allow for other approaches to be important.

Not saying this is the best system, or that it shouldn't be XP for gold (think that call is somewhat subjective). But it is a little more involved than just getting XP for killing things
 

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MGibster

Legend
Too much stick, not enough carrot. And V5 is even worse about this, to the point it's not even really cool to be a vampire, since any time you use your powers (actually, just about any time you take any action, from my experience), you could suddenly find yourself unable to use them and enter a Hunger state where you have to get blood or else!
I find V5's Hunger mechanic to be a lot more interesting than the Blood Points from 1st edition. In V5, blood isn't just a source of nourishment, it's your heroin and you're an addict. Your character is always Hungry unless he's recently drained a human and killed them. When you use certain powers, you roll a Hunger die (or dice), and if you fail, your Hunger goes up a level, but your power still works. The big negative of Hunger is that you might lose control when you roll for anything. Your roll to Intimidate someone might succeed, but instead of a subtle suggestion that it's in their best interest to do what you want, you've got your hands around their neck, baring your fangs, telling them you'll devour their children. You're a goddamn monster not a superhero with fangs. Contrast this with 1st edition where you use a power and just mark off a Blood Point from your pool. Boring.

That would depend on who you ask. As of the 1992 rulebook, the elder vampires considered every neonate to be an Anarch. But, the word "anarch" seems to appear in only two paragraphs that I can find, meaning that "being an anarch" means basically nothing. It isn't a thing the PCs can choose to be or not be.
It's been 30 years so I'm not surprised my memory is a bit fuzzy. I don't remember anyone choosing to be an Anarch, certainly not like you'd pick for 5th edition, but all I remember is that they were mentioned. I do think the intent of the original edition was for the characters to be frustrated by their elders standing on their necks. But in most groups I was part of, we wanted to be the people standing on the necks of others. Even 5th edition seems geared more towards lower generation vampires.
 

gorice

Adventurer
Running 2E now, and there are other methods. This is from the revised book but the 1989 edition had similar listing in XP (these aren't nearly as good as killing things for XP but they were other ways you could gain XP). It has a lot of optional approaches in the system.

There were individual XP awards. You get rewards for RP, for participation, for clever ideas, etc:

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Then they had class based awards (you basically get rewarded for doing what your class does):

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This is the chart for defeating foes by HD. One important thing to note here is you can't get XP for killing something without 'significant risk' to themselves. The GM has room to interpret what this means but the book says a 7th level character in need of one XP can't round up his friends and surround a single orc, expecting to get XP. And you don't have to kill the creature to get the XP, you just have to defeat it. The values below get much greater if a creature has good abilities. A mountain Loup Garou has 7 HD but is worth 4,000 in the Ravenloft monster section of the ROT boxed set.

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They can also gain XP for things like story goals. So while you can't get XP for driving out orcs from a village without facing them at significant risk to the party, you can get story XP for that, you can get XP for the clever idea that caused them to be driven out, etc. And you can also grant XP simply for survival. These amounts are largely left up to the GM (thought it says in an earlier section story XP should not exceed XP for combat from an adventure):

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And you can still get XP for gold (on top of the thief's individual XP for gold):

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I should say I haven't been making heavy use of this (I've just been leveling the party at regular intervals because I am running them through an anthology adventure (and they need to be the right level to play each scenario). But reviewing this section, it matches my memory that much of 2E is about options and giving the group leeway to take different approaches. My guess is moving in this direction was a way to meet criticisms from players who felt you should get more XP for things you physically defeated, but still allow for other approaches to be important.

Not saying this is the best system, or that it shouldn't be XP for gold (think that call is somewhat subjective). But it is a little more involved than just getting XP for killing things
My experience with this back in the day was that it was too fiddly to actually use much in play. In practice, XP rewards were pretty arbitrary. Effectively, we just used milestone leveling with extra steps.

Regarding 'combat as a fail-state', I have to agree with Celebrim. I think it can be simultaneously true that combat in early editions was a lot more punishing, different tables played in different ways, and that frequent combat was expected by the designers. The 'fail-state' dogma (which seems to be an OSR thing, i.e. invented after the fact) tends to neglect the effect of letting a bunch of twelve-year-olds play warriors with giant axes and wizards who can shoot flame from their fingers, and then putting a bunch of goblins in-between them and the treasure they want. Also, it was always my experience (then as now) that characters became a lot more powerful around 5th level.
 

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