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Old 06-10-2018, 07:30 PM   #1
Steve Jackson
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Experience Points

Problems with attribute bloat will not be solved by changes in the XP award rules, because the game master is the ultimate source of XP. Attribute bloat is a consequence of the way we let points be spent, which is different.

But there are sources of XP that I think may be unnecessary bookkeeping and/or rewards for die rolls rather than play.

- XP for making any roll on 4 or more dice - Meh. It's not evil, but 30+ years down the pike, I'm not sure what it adds. The successful roll, and its results, are a reward in themselves.

- XP for good job rolls - I'm pretty sure now that I just want to reward those with money.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:49 PM   #2
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Experience Points

I have to admit to never using XP systems as written in any RPG I ever ran. That was one of the reasons I stopped playing D&D - all the XP bookkeeping just didn't interest me. I'd just award a level to everyone at the successful completion of an adventure.

Now, I understand that many people feel the need for such things - that's their choice, but the less bookkeeping the better in my view.

And (another heretical admission) I never used the job tables either. All experience was gained through play.
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Old 06-10-2018, 07:57 PM   #3
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Experience Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
...And (another heretical admission) I never used the job tables either. All experience was gained through play.
I am with you Chris, we never used the Jobs Table either; for in the world we play in, the *Job* is: Freebooter-at-Large - and all EP's being awarded through play and combat, and all monies earned, stolen from the coffers of others, or as pay as hired mercenaries.

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-10-2018 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:36 PM   #4
JLV
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Default Re: Experience Points

I think that Steve has actually hit the nail squarely on the head.

If the root of the problem is how you *spend* XP, then by setting it up to award a lot of XP, you exacerbate the problem.

Sooo...there are two ways around the problem:

1) Significantly reduce the number of XP that can be earned for anything, either by eliminating things that earn XP, or reducing the number awarded, or some combination of the two.

2) Significantly increase the number of things that XP can be *spent* on.

Clearly, I choose number 2 for my solution (you spent XP to increase attributes, you spent XP to learn new talents, you spent XP to learn new spells, and you spent XP to learn new languages). Others added new attributes, or did other things similar to what I did (basically just spreading the number of XP wider in order to slow the approach to the issue).

However going with #1 would work too, and I don't think anyone has stated anywhere on this forum that they ever tried that! If I had to guess why, I'd guess it's because we never noticed attribute bloat as an issue until suddenly it was one, and then, rather than start a completely new game, we just figured out ways to make the Players spend XP for other things to delay the issue; whereas stepping back and looking at the game as a whole (clearly what the designer is doing here) shows other alternatives to solving the problem.

Edited to add: Actually, some combination of 1 and 2 would probably achieve complete resolution -- the problem might still technically exist in the system, but no one would ever live long enough to get there, regardless of what you did with your character. ;-)

Last edited by JLV; 06-10-2018 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:51 PM   #5
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Experience Points

It would be a bit of a radical departure, but it could make a big difference to tie Talents and Spells to EXP rather than IQ (or rather, keep the pre requisites but base the 'economy' on EXP rather than total IQ points). But you'd have to tread carefully, as even an imbalance in a game like this would make it worthless or game breaking.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:39 AM   #6
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Experience Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Problems with attribute bloat will not be solved by changes in the XP award rules, because the game master is the ultimate source of XP. Attribute bloat is a consequence of the way we let points be spent, which is different.

But there are sources of XP that I think may be unnecessary bookkeeping and/or rewards for die rolls rather than play. ...
Hi all, Steve.
I had not thought much about experience points. TFT used them. D&D used them. But when I saw GURPS where you just got a couple of character points per session. WOW! Less paperwork, that idea was so much easier!

It wouldn't hurt my feelings to greatly simplify how TFT experience works.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:24 AM   #7
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Experience Points

I think Fritz (our main GM) started awarding EP when it "felt right" and we just stuck with that -- kind of similar to GURPS.

I really like the character point system in the house rules on Brainiac's site. I think "character points" should just be "experience points" and they should be given out per-session or per-story like in GURPS, Fate, etc., because that's so much less bookkeeping.

22 talent points for a 32-point starting character seems like a lot to me, though. Does anyone out there use these rules? What do starting characters look like? Do people normally start their characters with 22 points of talents or do they tend to raise attributes higher than 32?
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:32 AM   #8
ecz
 
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Default Re: Experience Points

I agree that successfully jobs roll should not increase attributes since an inexperienced GM could find his party suddenly at 45+ points as average after a few years of undisturbed work in a quiet town.

I disagree about the fact that saving rolls using 4+ dice, or energy cast in spells or time spent in wizardly/priestly activities should not give a low amount of experience, eventually per week spent in a given activity.

Consider that certain characters type does not fight very much, and their best chance to gain experience is using their (Thiefly, acrobatics, knowledge, heroic etc etc) skills. Of course only when the roll happens in a critical moment of the adventure and a failure has bad immediate effects.

Otherwise the game shift towards combat-only one more step and non fighter type heroes are penalized.

just my 0.2 (euro) cents
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:47 AM   #9
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Experience Points

Canonical TFT assigns XPs to individual characters based on what they achieve. Assuming that we want:
  1. All characters who are similarly engaged to progress at similar rates
  2. Characters to be viable in a range of roles (melee, archer, wizard, scout, skill monkey, etc.)
Then we need each kind of character to generate XPs at a similar rate.

By category:
  • Fighters are OK, they generate XP by hurting people. Wizards are much the same with a bonus for casting spells in combat.
  • The scouts are relying on a reasonable number of IQ rolls to spot things. The thieves are relying on a reasonable number of rolls to remove traps and whatever. Both these character types are heavily dependent on the awards for rolls that Steve is considering deleting.
  • The skill monkeys with tactics, physicker, etc. are in trouble because they don't get XP awards for that role, and they won't be as good at fighting as the specialists.

I would be perfectly happy just awarding points per session or objective or whatever. But if Steve is retaining the current system then he needs to keep the awards for non-combat activities, for the sake of non-combat characters.

As for passing the roll being reward enough, the same argument applies to victory in combat.

Last edited by David Bofinger; 06-11-2018 at 08:56 AM. Reason: oops
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:28 AM   #10
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: Experience Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Problems with attribute bloat will not be solved by changes in the XP award rules, because the game master is the ultimate source of XP. Attribute bloat is a consequence of the way we let points be spent, which is different.
Agreed. And I'm not aware of ANY RPG that doesn't break down when characters get sufficiently powerful.

Quote:
But there are sources of XP that I think may be unnecessary bookkeeping and/or rewards for die rolls rather than play.

- XP for making any roll on 4 or more dice - Meh. It's not evil, but 30+ years down the pike, I'm not sure what it adds. The successful roll, and its results, are a reward in themselves.

- XP for good job rolls - I'm pretty sure now that I just want to reward those with money.
Agreed on both counts. Personally, I'd come up with some kind of EP total for each monster and be done with it. My guess is that few game masters actually use the official ep systems in their RPGs of choice, so I don't know how much energy I'd spend on getting a perfect EP equation.
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