[+]Training and Reward, not Assumed Advancement

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As the title says, I want to talk about training and reward as alternative to assumed advancement.

This is a [+] thread because I don’t want clutter of like arguing about things that are super tangential to the point, and if you disagree with what I’m proposing, all I expect is that you do so without disrespect.

So, what is assumed advancement?
It is a model of character growth where the player knows that the PC will grow in power at XYZ rate, and that said growth will be either preset (as in class systems) or up to the player without necessarily referencing the fiction (as in fully point buy systems.

Training and reward based advancement instead says, if you want to get better at boxing, go use your boxing skills out in the world or spend some serious time training with a coach, or both.

There are also hybrid systems, of course. In Crossroads (my game) you do gain XP that you can spend on skills and traits, and you do gain levels that give you more Atrivute Points to spend on activating abilities and pushing failed checks into successes, and recovering from injury and stress.

But you can only gain advanced tiers in skills by training or learning by using the skills. So you can only go past 3 ranks to hit Journeyman tier with training or experience.

So, any thoughts on this sort of dynamic?

In D&D terms it would be like Expertise and feats beyond level 1 required the training to actually happen in game (even if it is just some downtime).
 

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Blades in the Dark is excellent at mechanizing downtime actions. Characters have choices to heal, train, or work on some other kind of project, and there is mechanical support more or less for resolving all of those choices. I did try to port something similar over to a b/x game that I was running, but it was a little hard because advancing outside of explicit level advancement is not really supported (there is a supplement called Old School Stylish that attempts to make b/x work with modular advancement via training). I would expect trying something similar in 5e would you would run into similar problems, especially given that 5e is concerned about game balance.

Another way to think about "advancement" is simply through diegetic character growth. In a OSR game this is usually applied less to training than to sword and sorcery style magic items and situations. That is, you 'advance' by acquiring sometimes overpowered magic items, or items that have a benefit but also a cost.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I would love this and I think it would be easier to support with VTTs. The computer can calculate how often you use a specific skill and at what challenge levels. There would need to be a way for the DM to deny experience, to avoid abuse or just to ignore use during testing, mistakes, etc.

For pen and paper, I worry it would get too fiddly. I would likely have some milestone type system combined with rules for training.

I like how Warhammer Fantasy 4th edition has an endeavor mechanic for between adventures that models this nicely. But XP earned is not tied to specific attributes, skills, or talents. So you could have earned XP in an adventure where you never used a specific skill but still spend it to increase that skill. But the systems whole class and career system is tied to the idea that you are practicing that between adventures. That you have ongoing obligations and expectations to continue to practice that to keep your status in society, membership in certain organizations, and maintaining your ability to continue in your career.
 


GMMichael

Guide of Modos
In D&D terms it would be like Expertise and feats beyond level 1 required the training to actually happen in game (even if it is just some downtime).
In Modos RPG terms, I added an extra die roll to help this happen in-game. The module called for a chance to advance one's skill in 1 out of 10 rolls (19 or 20 on a d20). Then one would confirm that advance by rolling a d8, and getting a result higher than current skill points.

The effect is, ideally, to reduce the odds of improvement as one reaches higher levels of skill. No bookkeeping is required, because there's a standard mechanism (d20 contest), a die-roll comparison (roll higher than current skill points), and a cap (no advancement if one is at level max).

It's much more organic to me than class-level advancement, but the catch is that one can't learn new things - one can only improve existing talents. So some rules are needed for that.

Example:
PC: Suh-weeet I confirmed my Engage 19 with a 7!
GM: You move up to 3 skill points!
PC: Does that mean that I can hypnotize full audiences now?!
GM: Um...
PC: Because I saw Ma'iq do it, and he's level 3 too.
GM: Wait, how do you know Ma'iq is level 3? Nevermind. Have you hypnotized anyone before?
PC: Well, no.
GM: Then how did you get better at it? You'll have to visit your mentor, Elf'is, and see if he can teach you to hypnotize with your Engage skill.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm all for training to advance.

Not under as harsh a system as 1e D&D where on bumping your advancement stopped dead until you were able to train, however; but something where you either a) don't get the full benefits of a new level until you spend some time (and money!) training up into it or b) advance a whole lot slower if you don't train.

Very pleasant side benefit: making characters train to level also ensures there will be periods of downtime in the game, even more so if-when they don't all advance/train at once.

I'm not sure how well this model would work in classless or level-less systems, though, where each individual skill/ability/etc. can be advanced at its own rate.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Do I assume correctly you realize this describes most of the whole BRP family of games? Or not?
I don’t know what BRP is, but that doesn’t mean anything bc I hate acronyms.
I have some comments I want to make on my experience with it, but I want to know how much I need to unpack it.
👍
In Modos RPG terms, I added an extra die roll to help this happen in-game. The module called for a chance to advance one's skill in 1 out of 10 rolls (19 or 20 on a d20). Then one would confirm that advance by rolling a d8, and getting a result higher than current skill points.

The effect is, ideally, to reduce the odds of improvement as one reaches higher levels of skill. No bookkeeping is required, because there's a standard mechanism (d20 contest), a die-roll comparison (roll higher than current skill points), and a cap (no advancement if one is at level max).

It's much more organic to me than class-level advancement, but the catch is that one can't learn new things - one can only improve existing talents. So some rules are needed for that.

Example:
PC: Suh-weeet I confirmed my Engage 19 with a 7!
GM: You move up to 3 skill points!
PC: Does that mean that I can hypnotize full audiences now?!
GM: Um...
PC: Because I saw Ma'iq do it, and he's level 3 too.
GM: Wait, how do you know Ma'iq is level 3? Nevermind. Have you hypnotized anyone before?
PC: Well, no.
GM: Then how did you get better at it? You'll have to visit your mentor, Elf'is, and see if he can teach you to hypnotize with your Engage skill.
I prefer to keep stuff like this in the player’s hands, but I do like this mechanic.
I'm not sure how well this model would work in classless or level-less systems, though, where each individual skill/ability/etc. can be advanced at its own rate.
Well, in my game Crossroads, what I’m considering is a mix of downtime endeavors, encountering things in the wild and training based on what you’ve encountered, finding a teacher, or even inventing new techniques, but no matter what it takes downtime.

Being able to use XP to gain stuff too complicated things, though. I might ditch the point buying all together.

The game has levels, but all you get is 1 Atrivute Point you can put anywhere, and every few levels you get something extra.
 
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