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WOIN WOIN XP and advancement when grades are not the same across the party

The Advancement section of N.E.W. (and the other WOIN rule books) suggests that GMs should give out XP in multiples of the character's current grade (when using "fast" advancement mode at least). For instance, a hard fight (or two medium challenges) should reward everyone involved with double their grade in XP. I think this is slightly problematic if the characters end up at different grade levels.

I would suggest that rewards for any given encounter (or session of encounters or milestones) should be based off one grade level for the whole party. It doesn't really matter if that's the highest grade level among the characters or the lowest, or some kind of median or average. Just so long as the party-wide XP rewards are the same for everyone.

Here's my reasoning:

Under the current system, if one character is ahead of another character by one session or more worth of XP, they'll tend to stay that same number of sessions ahead forever, even as the amount of XP per session increases as the party gets to higher grades. The reason is that the character with more XP will tend to level up sooner, and so by the rules in the book, they'll also earn more XP in the sessions where the two characters have different grades.

For example, if one character has just advanced to level 6, they'll earn 18 XP from a session that included 3 medium difficulty challenges (or the equivalent). Another who's one session behind them will only be at grade 5, so they'll only earn 15 XP (and level up at the end of the session). But there's a difference of 3 XP between what the two characters earned. That's exactly the difference between one session at grade 5 and one session at grade 6, so the two characters remain exactly one session apart.

On the other hand, if the XP reward was the same for the whole party, the grade 5 and grade 6 characters would both get either 15 or 18 XP, and so the difference in XP between them would remain the same in absolute terms. As the characters level up though, that constant XP difference will shrink relative to the XP reward per session. By the time they reach grade 10, what was a full session's difference at grade 5 will have been reduced to half a session, and the two characters are much more likely to advance at the same time (i.e. at the end of the same session).

What do you guys think? Should their be even more mechanical effort to make parties spanning several grades better able to converge? Or should it just be left up to the GM to fudge things to make it better?
 

knikpiw

Villager
Your argument is very clear and there are valid reason for giving a single range of XP to the entire party. But going back to your illustration, why would one PC get more XP than another? (resulting in a quicker level up). It is because that character did some exceptional, e.g. solved a puzzle, planning, taking the lead, saved the day etc.

For myself, rewarding that player with bonus XP is a very strong reward and incentive for everyone else to try to help the party in what ever way they can. People who sit back and let the game happen would still get XP, but no bonuses.

If a player is falling behind they may need to try take the initiative in solving a problem. Putting themselves in the drivers seat.
Competition is a great motivator on the table and off the table, but as the GM make sure that competitiveness isn't ruining someone else's gameplay.
 

daniiren

Explorer
One problem with promoting healthy competition between players is that some players don't want to compete. We've all had that one player that never really wants to take the lead in party activities, and is perfectly happy to just be part of the group and follow along with what the rest of the group is doing. I think that if this player feels forced into the driver's seat, whether actively or passively, this comes at the cost of their enjoyment of the game.
 

knikpiw

Villager
What you say is 100% true. That's why we have to be picky with groups that we join, groups that have the same attitude to gameplay as we ourselves do and when we don't, it's finding that middle ground. E.g. giving the entire party a set amount of XP for each task and then, rewarding an individual player each session of play.
 

daniiren

Explorer
It's called life
No, it's not. We're playing a game, and the objective is to enjoy ourselves. A group where one person's fun comes at the expense of another's is an entirely untenable situation, and the role of the GM is to make sure that everyone is having a good time. We generally play RPGs precisely because it is not real life.
 

daniiren

Explorer
Exactly my point.
I think we're coming at the same point from different sides. The GM should make sure that everyone in the group is having fun. They should do this by either adjusting the game or adjusting the group. Having two murder-hobo power gamers and two players who are more interested in character development and narrative will not end well, because there's not a whole lot of overlap between what those players enjoy.

But seems you just want to please everyone regardless of effort, and merit.
Not entirely true. The more people having fun, the better it is. However, no one should have to bend over backwards to make this happen. If it's possible to get more people to enjoy themselves by making minor concessions, I don't see the issue with this, but at the point where someone is having to make major concessions, you should think about restructuring your group.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
You're getting a percentage of the points needed to get to your next grade. You could ignore the point totals altogether and just say "one-tenth of a new grade". Everybody is essentially receiving the exact same amount - an equal fraction towards their next grade.

If you base it off an average party grade (which is fine, if you prefer that), then people aren't getting the same effective gain each time. Some are getting more than a tenth of their next grade, some are getting less than a tenth.
 

knikpiw

Villager
Don't forget, this is about rewarding players who take the initiative. If there is a player taking the lead most of the time and solving a lot of the problems and the rest of the party don't mind that and are still enjoying themselves. The XP reward would not work, the gap would only get bigger. A REP reward may be more fitting. "Your fame travels far good sir, we have heard of your deeds"
 

knikpiw

Villager
One last point.

When one of my players PC dies, their new PC will be 1 Grade less than their original PC. Death = -1 Grade worth
This is the same for players joining the group, always 1 Grade less.

The only way they can catch up is by pushing themselves to solve more problems and by being brave and smart in their decisions.
 
If you base it off an average party grade (which is fine, if you prefer that), then people aren't getting the same effective gain each time. Some are getting more than a tenth of their next grade, some are getting less than a tenth.
Yeah, that is exactly what I was suggesting. By slightly boosting those who have fallen behind (or slightly holding back the folks who are ahead), the party will tend to converge on the same grade, as a constant difference in XP will shrink relative to the amount needed for a new grade. I think that a group that is mostly the same grade will be more cohesive, as everyone can contribute to a similar degree. If some characters are way ahead of others (e.g. always a full grade ahead, or seven tenths of a grade or whatever), the ones in the lead may do most of what needs to be done, not just because their players are the most dynamic or creative, but because their characters are also the most capable.

This is most notable at low grades, where each step from grade 3 to grade 6 gives an increase to MDP (and thus a significant boost in capability), but I think it can still be little bit of an issue at higher levels where MDP increases are less frequent.

When one of my players PC dies, their new PC will be 1 Grade less than their original PC. Death = -1 Grade worth
This is the same for players joining the group, always 1 Grade less.

The only way they can catch up is by pushing themselves to solve more problems and by being brave and smart in their decisions.
I fear those new players may be even further behind than you intend. Most experienced characters have also been spending little bits of XP here and there on incremental advances to give us some key skills (e.g. picking up weapon and utility skills like "hardy" and "reactions" that we may not be able to get from our careers). The costs of those skills aren't reflected in our grade, and the characters starting behind us may need to spend similar amounts to become fully functional, before they can even start to catch up on grades.

I also fear the possibility of players who are behind seeming less "brave and smart" not because they don't want to do clever or dangerous things, but because their characters are less capable of succeeding when they try. It may actually be to be good tactical sense to leave the crazy maneuvers to the more experienced player playing a more experienced character, but that runs the risk of making the experience gap worse!
 

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