Friday, 26 June 2009

Experience points for class goals (revised)

I've since been working this idea (experience points as class rewards) through some more and made a few changes to it... thinking about it from the idea of class goals: What is it that the class is really about?

I'm thinking of giving the mage a big chunk of xp (say 500) for each new spell he copies to his spell book, simulating his desire to gather new knowledge of magics. This would mean mages do not teach other spells, but that they can only be found in dusty dungeons. There might need to be a limit on this, as finding a spell book could grant massive experience point rewards. Then again, the mage does need a lot of xp to advance, so maybe that's fine.

The thief gains 200 xp per successful use of an ability that overcomes an obstacle on the quest. E.g. picking a lock on a door that needs to be opened. This simulates him using his expertise. I had thought about giving him xp for stealing things per se, but that causes too many issues.

The cleric gains 200xp per undead he sends back to the grave - his duty to rid of the world of these abominations.

The fighter gains 75xp per killing blow he inflicts on an enemy he defeats by strength of arms (i.e. in melee). Dwarves gain 1xp per gp found in a treasure hoard. Everyone knows Dwarves love gold.

Halflings gain encounter experience for each encounter they resolve using anything but combat. This goes well with their hiding ability, I think, but plenty of opportunity for role-playing with such a noncombat class as the halfling.

Elves I'm not 100% sure about, perhaps they can gain from magic spells and from combat, or from some nature activity. Or perhaps they get the fighter xp bonus for killing blows, but with a bow.

Numbers are subject to change, of course, this is preliminary thinking.

All of these are only awarded if its a quest relevent task.

What do you think?

10 comments:

jamused said...

That's why the earliest versions of D&D awarded XP for gold. If you could get 7,000 XP for a troll's 7,000 gold, and only 700 for killing the troll (an actual example from OD&D), getting the gold by whatever means you can come up with is much more important than actually fighting the monster. It's a lot simpler and requires a lot fewer judgment calls about whether an action is relevant to a quest task.

The Recursion King said...

I play by those rules at present in my Labyrinth Lord campaign, they work well.

The Recursion King said...

To clarify: I mean the xp for gp rule.

Helmsman said...

I think I was detailing this very same thing on Gleichman's blog the other day. Personally I think it's only good when you alter the XP reward for killing critters as well. For example a monk gets more xp for incapacitating or frightening away a monster even if it's a significantly lower level, but get's less for killing things outright. Characters designed for stealth kills get very little xp in a fray combat etc...

That way you're stimulating a certain kind of play rather than a "kill everything moar better" mentality.

The Recursion King said...

Yes thats what I was thinking too. Perhaps lowering the experience for combat to a quarter for all classes (except the fighter) to really focus players on playing their class goals.

kaeosdad... said...

I've been searching for this exact idea. I had a problem with my home game when it came to role playing xp rewards and I've been trying to figure out a solution, this seems like a perfect fit! Though I would make it somewhat more open ended and free form to account for individual personalities rather than classes. Perhaps a player could define a set of character goals in regards to broad issues such as combat, treasure, social status, etc... that relates to their character. Hm, I've got to think about this more but this is definitely on the right path towards a system for role playing based rewards. Maybe a table of options....

The Recursion King said...

Yes, definitely. I'd encourage you to include class rewards on that table too, as it will lead to better roleplaying. E.g. a cleric that wants to rid of the world of undead strikes me as being very good.

I put this idea into practice in yesterday's game session by doubling the experience for a kill for the fighter, awarding xp for finding spells to the mage and awarding xp for class based abilities to both the thief and the bard and all the players seemed very happy with this (perhaps because it was basically extra xp). Only the player of the bard turned down the opportunity to earn some more by singing a song lol

anarchist said...

Sounds like a great idea, but I can see problems with getting the numbers right.

anarchist said...

I've seen a variant where you get XP only for gold that you 'waste' - it doesn't count if you spend it on armour and weapons, you have to cross it off and get nothing in return.

You could define this waste in different ways depending on the character type: a magician spends it on eldritch tomes, a priest offers it to his temple, a warrior spends it on hiring bards to sing his praises...

jamused said...

@anarchist - yeah, that's what I currently do. If you want to change gold to XP you have to spend it on "training" appropriate to your class. It also lets me limit the amount that's exchanged if I feel like telling them there isn't a trainer of the right sort or sufficient level available...