Unearthed Arcana WotC's Mearls Presents A New XP System For 5E In August's Unearthed Arcana


Waller

Hero
I think [MENTION=6776322]HobbitFan[/MENTION] has a point.

Initiative and the core levelling system are not trivial parts of the game. If WotC’s designers aren’t using either in their own games as presented in the rulebooks, then that’s a problem. Unearthed Arcana as a vehicle for testing new expansions is great; if it’s an alpha test for major core rules patches, not so much. Revising initiative and XP isn’t trivial.
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I think [MENTION=6776322]HobbitFan[/MENTION] has a point.

Initiative and the core levelling system are not trivial parts of the game. If WotC’s designers aren’t using either in their own games as presented in the rulebooks, then that’s a problem. Unearthed Arcana as a vehicle for testing new expansions is great; if it’s an alpha test for major core rules patches, not so much. Revising initiative and XP isn’t trivial.

Why is it a problem? Do you really want the designers to only play by the book and never innovate at their home tables? And revising XP and initiative have been some pretty recent topics around here without the UA articles, each spawning multiple threads in recent months. They're both bolt on systems that have little to do with the core mechanics of the game -- as evidence by the fact that both milestone leveling and standard book experience both exist and are popular but don't change the game. Initiative isn't much different.
 

Uchawi

First Post
As a general observation, the more granular you are with an experience systems the more likely players will fish for opportunities and/or go out on their own for solo missions. It will create road blocks and diversions in a campaign as players seek dead ends without any reward. I prefer to keep experience more generic and reward players with opportunities, items, short cuts, etc.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I like it quite a lot. It dramatically improves the XP and leveling interface in D&D. You only have to track your current level and the percentage to your next level. If you wanted, you could even have an XP bar on your character sheet that slowly fills up to 100%.

What I'm not so keen on is breaking it up along the three pillars, as it feels incomplete. XP should be given out for:

  • Making Discoveries
  • Overcoming Challenges
  • Achieving Goals

The rules should be organized around these concepts.

I liked this so much I just wanted it repeated in the thread as it seemed to be overlooked.
 



How did it make games worse?

Because it removed any incentive for sneaking or diplomacy.

If the characters sneaks past the bugbears and empties the treasure chest... no XP.
If the characters negotiate with the bugbears and gain the contents of the treasure chest... no XP.

The result is that violence becomes the players' first and only approach.
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
Because it removed any incentive for sneaking or diplomacy.

If the characters sneaks past the bugbears and empties the treasure chest... no XP.
If the characters negotiate with the bugbears and gain the contents of the treasure chest... no XP.

The result is that violence becomes the players' first and only approach.

I have come up with a remarkable and clearly novel solution to this problem!

Calculate the experience to be gained for overcoming a challenge based on the danger presented by the challenge. Then award that experience if the challenge is overcome!!

So in your example the deadliness of the challenge is the bugbears. The experience gained for overcoming them is the same whether by violence, negotiation or stealth. Further it doesn't depend on how wealthy or destitute they are.

This means that sometimes you overcome a deadly challenge (get lots of xp) but get little treasure and sometimes the reverse.

This is how we started doing it in about 1980.
 




Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I dont see it working for a sandbox style adventure.

False dichotomy. Sandbox is not the opposite of railroad. And it can work in a sandbox fairly well. To show why, it's important to note that milestone leveling is goal based -- achieve the goal, gain a level. How you achieve it isn't important, just that it is achieved. This works well in plot games, where you need to pass the plot wickets to move the story, but that doesn't require railroading if you're flexible about your plot and can adapt future events to match what happens in prior events (or, like most WotC game, the next chapters really don't care how you dealt with the last chapters). So, to use it in a sandbox game, you need to be clear about your goals. Something like 'clearing three tier appropriate dangers earns a level' works in sandbox games, which are already tiered to a degree to provide increasingly dangerous areas for higher level play anyway. The basic structure is the same, but instead of racking up XP encounter by encounter (or gaining quest XP), you set the bar to having to do enough adventures of an appropriate tier to gain a level. Works out the same in play, except for wandering the troll hills for random encounters until you ding, of course. But that's the least interesting version of sandbox play to me, so....
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
I dont see it working for a sandbox style adventure.

Why? Milestones are just "you achieved things, so have a level". Unless your description of sandbox adventure includes grinding out XP on low challenge creatures, then meaningful things to do in the sandbox effectively are milestones already.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Why? Milestones are just "you achieved things, so have a level". Unless your description of sandbox adventure includes grinding out XP on low challenge creatures, then meaningful things to do in the sandbox effectively are milestones already.

Fewer words, same argument. Bravo!
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Why? Milestones are just "you achieved things, so have a level". Unless your description of sandbox adventure includes grinding out XP on low challenge creatures, then meaningful things to do in the sandbox effectively are milestones already.

I guess it is fine if you have a lot of set discrete encounters. In my experience most sandbox games are a lot messier then "you achieved things" where more granular XP works a lot better.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Fewer words, same argument. Bravo!

In a sandbox game the party does not usually have to be at a certain level by a certain time so you dont have to make sure they are leveling up at a set pace. There is no rush to get to a high enough level to fight whatever end boss the adventure path is using.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
In a sandbox game the party does not usually have to be at a certain level by a certain time so you dont have to make sure they are leveling up at a set pace. There is no rush to get to a high enough level to fight whatever end boss the adventure path is using.

But you usually do have some sort of progression throughout, it's just that the players decide their path through it. Even the most dynamic and plotless sandboxes have the players setting goals and hopefully achieving them. Otherwise we're both kind of right - milestone XP doesn't work because the game really is just grinding monsters for experience and loot.

Now, you might enjoy that, but that's less sandbox vs railroad than it is adventuring vs monster extermination.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
But you usually do have some sort of progression throughout, it's just that the players decide their path through it. Even the most dynamic and plotless sandboxes have the players setting goals and hopefully achieving them. Otherwise we're both kind of right - milestone XP doesn't work because the game really is just grinding monsters for experience and loot.

Now, you might enjoy that, but that's less sandbox vs railroad than it is adventuring vs monster extermination.

I guess if the only thing you give XP for is for killing things then thats what you are going to get. No surprises there really. Personally I am not really a story gamer but good on you if that is what you enjoy.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
I guess if the only thing you give XP for is for killing things then thats what you are going to get. No surprises there really. Personally I am not really a story gamer but good on you if that is what you enjoy.

So... your players have goals and they achieve them then? So where's the objection to milestones coming from?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
In a sandbox game the party does not usually have to be at a certain level by a certain time so you dont have to make sure they are leveling up at a set pace. There is no rush to get to a high enough level to fight whatever end boss the adventure path is using.
Which is why I said tier appropriate. Tiers are already provided as level ranges.

Look, you asked how it could work for a sandbox style game and have been provided a decent answer. Will it work for your sandbox game, with your unique needs and wants? Maybe not, but that's why it's an option and not a rule. YMMV, and that's awesome, have fun! I'm not here to convince you that you should be using milestone levelling or that milestone levelling is bestest for everything.

I do stand by my statements that for WitC's adventure paths, it's the best option as it meets the most of their goals for the product.
 

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