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D&D General XP Awards for -- what????

When do you award XP?


kenada

Legend
Supporter
That may help stave off tyrant GMs, but it still leaves that caricaturized issue I have. Where everyone just waits for the part of the session where your character yells out, "DNYO-MITE" before enacting their explosives trait or whatever. I view it as enacting the same play over and over like you would expect on a sit-com or episodic television program. These XP systems often lack nuance and depth so the gameplay comes out static. I am, of course, being overcritical of the style of play, but its often the impression I am left with. Some may find that style engaging and the point of playing. YMMV.
That hasn’t been my experience with Blades in the Dark. People don’t always get every XP trigger, and sometimes it’s just not appropriate to take certain approaches (such as my leech’s trigger for technical skill or mayhem during a social score), or the situation doesn’t allow it (such as a recent score that was intended to be stealthy but resulted in everything’s being on fire — including an important family relationship). If this were a situation where the GM decided whether we got XP or what the adventure would be, then that would feel (and be) bad. However, we those were things we chose to do. When I choose not to solve a problem with technical skill or mayhem, or when other PCs make their own choices, we’re finding out things about these characters we wouldn’t find out otherwise. In fact, I think when XP triggers conflict that we tend to find out the most interesting things about our characters. Describing kid of play as just “like you would expect on a sit-com or episodic television program” does it a disservice.
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That hasn’t been my experience with Blades in the Dark. People don’t always get every XP trigger, and sometimes it’s just not appropriate to take certain approaches (such as my leech’s trigger for technical skill or mayhem during a social score), or the situation doesn’t allow it (such as a recent score that was intended to be stealthy but resulted in everything’s being on fire — including an important family relationship). If this were a situation where the GM decided whether we got XP or what the adventure would be, then that would feel (and be) bad. However, we those were things we chose to do. When I choose not to solve a problem with technical skill or mayhem, or when other PCs make their own choices, we’re finding out things about these characters we wouldn’t find out otherwise. In fact, I think when XP triggers conflict that we tend to find out the most interesting things about our characters.
Can you expand on that?
Describing kid of play as just “like you would expect on a sit-com or episodic television program” does it a disservice.
Perhaps it does, I cant help my experiences. I don't completely fault the mechanics, part of it is on the players, and likely, the combination of mechanics and playstyle together.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Can you expand on that?
I can try. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to follow a certain approach. You’re constrained by the fiction and the situation that has been framed. My character is a leech, so he gets to mark XP when he addresses a challenge with technical skill or mayhem. However, on a social score, is mayhem really appropriate? My character is good at social stuff, and I like doing that, so when that happens, we get to see what other things are important. Sometimes it’s the crew. Sometimes it’s his heritage. I still get XP for those things (due to drives, beliefs, heritage, and background being a trigger as well), but that usually comes at the cost of my mayhem triggers. At best, I may be able to trade on past mayhem (if I feel that should count, which I’m honestly not sure about).
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Perhaps it does, I cant help my experiences. I don't completely fault the mechanics, part of it is on the players, and likely, the combination of mechanics and playstyle together.
I should add that I have played in a FitD game (a past Scum and Villainy game) that was far lest dynamic than our Blades in the Dark game is. I can understand how things can turn out kind of episodic and how that would be unsatisfying. In our case, the GM was downplaying the faction stuff, which created little pressure to do things other than grind scores for creds. Even when we terraformed a planet, there was little actual consequences to it (when really it should have resulted in unwanted attention from and clocks for high-tier factions like the Guild of Engineers).
 

pemerton

Legend
I would really like to see something along the lines of an emergent and/or evolving playbook mechanic for character development. I am having trouble imaging what it would look like specifically
In slightly different ways, I would say that Torchbearer and Burning Wheel fit this description.

I think HeroWars/Quest does too, though that's based on reading rather than actual play.

MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic can also be like this.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
In slightly different ways, I would say that Torchbearer and Burning Wheel fit this description.

I think HeroWars/Quest does too, though that's based on reading rather than actual play.

MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic can also be like this.
I did one round of Burning Wheel and the GM was not the best. I'd give it another look but dont know anyone who runs it.
 

niklinna

satisfied?
I can try. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to follow a certain approach. You’re constrained by the fiction and the situation that has been framed. My character is a leech, so he gets to mark XP when he addresses a challenge with technical skill or mayhem. However, on a social score, is mayhem really appropriate? My character is good at social stuff, and I like doing that, so when that happens, we get to see what other things are important. Sometimes it’s the crew. Sometimes it’s his heritage. I still get XP for those things (due to drives, beliefs, heritage, and background being a trigger as well), but that usually comes at the cost of my mayhem triggers. At best, I may be able to trade on past mayhem (if I feel that should count, which I’m honestly not sure about).
Being in the same game with @kenada, I can say that it's much more interesting when XP triggers conflict—as in, you can't reasonably max out your XP in a session. To pursue your playbook triggers might ruin the score (which is a crew rather than character XP trigger, but still an XP trigger). Expressing your character's beliefs might conflict with struggling with vices (a stretch to be sure, but I've seen it happen). And conflict as such isn't even necessary; sometimes a given XP trigger just doesn't come up, or it would feel very forced to try to bring it up. In the very session @kenada mentions, things just kind of barreled along and I didn't get to bring up my character's vice or traumas, even though I'd had an idea for how that would likely happen before we started. But we had a surprise twist that changed the whole dynamic of the situation.

One more thing: While it does feel great to max out your possible XP—when you manage it too often, it starts to feel like a cakewalk. I've had a couple stretches like that and might even up my standards for what counts as meeting a given trigger condition!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Milestone. We use inspiration as an RP reword (or rarely a combat award, if someone does something really cool in combat) and let people have up to three inspo at a time.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Being in the same game with @kenada, I can say that it's much more interesting when XP triggers conflict—as in, you can't reasonably max out your XP in a session. To pursue your playbook triggers might ruin the score (which is a crew rather than character XP trigger, but still an XP trigger). Expressing your character's beliefs might conflict with struggling with vices (a stretch to be sure, but I've seen it happen). And conflict as such isn't even necessary; sometimes a given XP trigger just doesn't come up, or it would feel very forced to try to bring it up. In the very session @kenada mentions, things just kind of barreled along and I didn't get to bring up my character's vice or traumas, even though I'd had an idea for how that would likely happen before we started. But we had a surprise twist that changed the whole dynamic of the situation.

One more thing: While it does feel great to max out your possible XP—when you manage it too often, it starts to feel like a cakewalk. I've had a couple stretches like that and might even up my standards for what counts as meeting a given trigger condition!
I appreciate the input. I think thats my concern, I know plenty a gamer that would force their XP triggers in every session in some rather inorganic ways.
 

BTW, while "milestone" is often used as a shorthand for "milestone leveling", "milestone XP" works perfectly well and isn't talked about enough. Overcoming challenge X is worth Y XP. Doesn't matter if it's combat, stealth, social, bribe, knowledge-based-solution or whatever.
"Milestone XP" is way better than "milestone leveling", IME. An actual number in the sheet lets the players know how far they've advanced and helps them evaluate the risk/reward of challenges. Also, it mitigates "when do we level up" kind of questions. Do your math, kiddo, you level up when you get things done X times. Now go adventure.
 

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