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Old 06-11-2018, 06:18 PM  
Steve Jackson
President and EIC
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Re: Experience Points

All right. Apologies for the long post, but this is the result of a lot of back and forth - sort of a new Grand Unified Field Theory of character development. I hope it's fairly clear what is meant as rules and what as side comments to you, the forum.

If this flies, no more computing how much each individual spider was worth in XP, and to whom, ever again.

Experience Points
GMs can reward their players in two ways. The first is in-game rewards – gold, magic items, reputation. The second way is through experience points, which allow characters themselves to improve.
The party as a group should get an XP reward at the end of each play session. Rewards might come during play, as well – for instance:
- For an outstanding example of cooperation.
- For working as a group to solve a puzzle.
- For finding an unexpected solution to an in-game situation.

The GM may also award XP to individuals during play, when a player does something that improves the game. For instance:
- For making everyone in the party gasp, exclaim, or laugh – provided it was by an in-character action.
- For achieving some important part of the objective – striking down the orc leader, convincing the dwarf-lord to show you a map, distracting the dragon for that crucial minute.
- For saving the day (or the party) through some in-character action.

Players keep track of their own XP and spend them as described below.

XP should not be mechanically granted. It’s a GM decision, and it’s first and always for good roleplaying.

A rate of 25 to 100 experience points per player per session will be appropriate for most campaigns, but this is a GM decision. That rate will allow most characters to improve themselves after every session or so at the beginning of the campaign. Later, as the campaign itself becomes an important reward, the character advancement should slow down. Keep in mind that only the GM can prevent “attribute bloat,” in which all the characters get such high scores that nothing is a challenge any longer.

Spending Experience Points
XP are normally spent at the end of the expedition, when the characters are safe at home and at least mostly healed. The GM may allow exceptions as he sees fit.
Experience points can be spent in three ways:
• To improve your basic stats: ST, DX, or IQ. This will improve all talents and saving rolls associated with that stat, but it’s expensive.
• To learn new spells and talents. This is the cheapest way to improve your abilities.
• To improve your staff’s Mana stat, if you are a wizard. This lets you cast more spells.

Improving Basic Stats
You may use experience points to buy a total of 8 additional attribute points. These may all go into one stat, or they can be divided up. After the eighth additional attribute point (which gets humans to a total of 40), attributes may only be increased by magic, such as a Wish.
The cost to improve a basic stat depends on the level you are buying. High levels are expensive. Super-high stats will end up being very costly, making geniuses, Olympic athletes, and Merlin rare. The highest “normal” stat would thus be 24 – the character starts with 16 in the chosen stat and miraculously survives long enough to add all his optional points to that same stat.

New stat XP cost
8 or less – 100 XP
9 – 200
10 – 300
11 – 400
12 – 500
13 – 600
14 – 700
15 – 900
16 – 1,100
17 – 1,500
18 – 2,000
plus a further 500 for each increase.

Learning New Spells and Talents
Each new spell or talent learned costs 100 XP – or 200 for talents marked (2) in the listing, or 300 for those marked (3). It does not matter how many spells or talents you already know.
However, you may not learn a spell or talent unless you meet the minimum IQ requirement, as well as any prerequisites (such as other talents) shown in the listing.
When you add a new spell or talent, you may use it immediately. It is assumed that you were practicing or studying during the time you were earning the experience points.
As when the character was created, spells cost triple for a non-wizard, and talents cost double for a wizard.

Mana and the Wizard’s Staff
(Some of this goes elsewhere, notably under STAFF in the section on wizardry.)
Mana is a stat, not of the wizard, but of the wizard’s staff. When a wizard first creates a staff, it has 0 mana. By spending 100 XP, the wizard may add 1 to the mana of the staff, up to a limit of the wizard’s current IQ score. Each point of mana can be spent like a point of ST to power spells.
Once spent, the mana must be replaced. To “recharge” his staff, the wizard must either spend 5 ST points, or spend a half-day in contemplation, for each ST point replaced. (An exploit is clearly possible here using the Drain ST spell and a whole lot of prisoners. I don’t see it coming up enough in play to be a problem, and it encourages evil rulers to keep their prisoners alive so their evil wizards can farm ST. Maybe good rulers would do it too, at least as part of some punishments.)
If a staff is lost or destroyed, the wizard’s next one will have the same mana stat. The XP was spent, not to enhance a stick of wood, but to improve the wizard’s understanding of the spell.
A wizard may have only one staff at a time. If he loses his staff, the act of making another will disempower the old staff.
No one but the creating wizard himself may draw ST from a staff.
The “Staff of Power” spell doubles the mana that a staff can hold.

Forgetting
There is no longer a need to forget abilities, so all that stuff gets removed. And good riddance.
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