Level Up (A5E) You don't hate exploration, you hate survival


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nevin

Hero
Or, you know, you can always reward different things in different ways. Like I just talked about. There are different kinds of games that can all be fun. You do you and I'll do me. I suspect both of our groups of players will have fun. And as someone who's playing a bard with a Doss Lute, magic items are still awesome.
well only rewarding what you the DM feels is important is everything we've talked about that tends to go wrong with Milestone Leveling. Experience comes from everything you do or it's just a railroad.
 

Irlo

Hero
Awarding XP happens for unimportant things too when the party decides to go the wrong way, refuses to do the main quest and does a side quest or just jacks around in town and gets crossways with the guards. XP simply rewards play. Milestone XP rewards the Railroad and only the railroad.
Disagree. Yes, you can play in such a way that Milestone XP "rewards the railroad," but it's trivially easy for players to set their own milestone goals or for the DM to recognize accomplishments that the DM did not define in advance.

Over years, I've gradually stopped seeing XP and level increase as rewards at all. They're mechanisms to tracking character advancement. As a DM I wouldn't want to withhold that advancement because the players didn't do what I wanted or expected them to do.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
well only rewarding what you the DM feels is important is everything we've talked about that tends to go wrong with Milestone Leveling. Experience comes from everything you do or it's just a railroad.
I'm getting a very strong "this is the way to play" vibe from your posts, along with the fact that you really don't like railroads. Fair enough. I've been doing this long enough (since the 70s) and with enough different systems to know that there's more than one way to play that's fun. And if players want to go off in directions you didn't see, well you can make those extra awards based on their new goals. You can set new milestones as well.

Different kinds of adventures need the GM to handle things differently. Curse of Strahd is a very different experience from an Adventure Path where there is an expected storyline. If you get the players to buy into the game, both can be fun. D&D can be run PbtA style (like in Dungeon World) where levelling is entirely independent of the typical XP system and the game is almost entirely player driven.

The only time when you need intervention is when you are running one kind of an adventure and your players want something else. And that requires a conversation about what they want to do. Is this the right campaign for them? Ideally, that all happens before the game starts. And the buy in and conversations have nothing to do with milestone versus XP campaigns, they're about being on the same page so everyone has fun
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Disagree. Yes, you can play in such a way that Milestone XP "rewards the railroad," but it's trivially easy for players to set their own milestone goals or for the DM to recognize accomplishments that the DM did not define in advance.

Over years, I've gradually stopped seeing XP and level increase as rewards at all. They're mechanisms to tracking character advancement. As a DM I wouldn't want to withhold that advancement because the players didn't do what I wanted or expected them to do.
Too gamist a concept for my game. Getting better at what you do should be connected to the setting and what you do in it, at least in a "broad strokes" kind of way, in my opinion.
 

Irlo

Hero
Too gamist a concept for my game. Getting better at what you do should be connected to the setting and what you do in it, at least in a "broad strokes" kind of way, in my opinion.
Sure, I get it. I don't think anything I said indicates that I think advancement should be disconnected to the setting and what you do in it. Milestones are milestones -- accomplishments, doing things, reaching goals. Maybe milestone seem "broader strokes" than XP point tallies, but in my experience they're no more gamist.

That said, I think you and I would agree that different people can have different and equally valid assessments of what feels more or less gamist to them. We can draw the lines of acceptability in different places. Abstractions might for you call attention to gamist elements, while for me they might obscure them, resulting in a more satisfying game (for me).

I'm not all in on one side or the other. I'm playing in a game now where the DM uses milestone levelling, and it works very well for us. We only play once a month (and often less frequently) in four hour sessions. Advancing characters strictly on the basis of XP for encounters would just be an impediment to fun. This way, we do zoom through levels in character time (something I generally dislike), but it allows the group to move through more and tougher challenges before we (the players) retire or die. We're hoping to wrap up the campaign this year after about six more sessions, I think.

In my most recent camapaign as DM, I carefully tracked XP for encounters (with some bonuses for character achievements unrelated to specific encounters.
 
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Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
XPs are actually just hidden milestones: each encounter is per se is seen as a milestone, and the progression itself of character is measured in terms of encounters required. It's all plainly there.
The fact that someone decides not to follow the largely arbitrary and inconsistent guidelines giving there shouldn't be a basis for disliking milestones. But I do understand that some people feel rewarded and accomplished only if they see a number "going up"
Yeah, they're "hidden" or "mini-milestones." We know that. But presentation is part of design is part of the experience.
Different strokes for different folks.
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Too gamist a concept for my game. Getting better at what you do should be connected to the setting and what you do in it, at least in a "broad strokes" kind of way, in my opinion.
I can agree with rewarding players only for straying on track with the setting, but I am somewhat surprised to hear the implication that Experience Points is a less gamist concept than checks notes awarding power-ups every few sessions.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I can agree with rewarding players only for straying on track with the setting, but I am somewhat surprised to hear the implication that Experience Points is a less gamist concept than checks notes awarding power-ups every few sessions.
You get xp when your character does something in game. You get power-ups the other way when the DM decides you need more power to handle the next story challenge.
 


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