Sunday, 8 June 2014

XP for Goals not Gold (ok some for gold but mostly not)

 Maybe because I started RPGs with the likes of Dragon Warriors and Marvel Superheroes before getting to D&D, I've never been an XP for GP enthusiast. For starters I hate gold as the standard currency, it's silver in all of my games. The devaluation of gold as standard tender serves no one. Gold should be rare and desirable. Those greedy dwarves covet it for a reason. Ok and don't get me started on 10gp to the pound (lb)... In the Grim North silver pieces or the hack silver equivalent are 40 to the pound, which makes them roughly the size of a UK £2 coin (and it's a big coin.)

Not this
 But I digress... I see the justifications for XP for gold and mostly they support mega dungeon play, of course hugely popular in the OSR. I don't or won't run a mega dungeon. I get the advantages and I like dungeon bashing as much as the next murder hobo but I prefer my games to be more open, with more scope for NPC interaction, conflict and conspiracy. It's more satisfying for me to run and no doubt plays to my strengths as a GM. Devising traps and dungeon cartography do not find me at my peak creativity wise. Dungeon ecology often just bites into my suspension of disbelief a bit too. Why do the orcs live near the gelatinous cube? That thing is bloody dangerous. Are orcs just meant to be that stupid? Why don't they move to some less hostile real estate? Surely there are parts of the generic fantasy kingdom not populated by practically invisible, freakish, flesh dissolving novelty shots.

Aaargh! The Horror!

Back to the point... So XP for killing stuff only tends to lead to PCs laboriously searching out monsters to off and turns them into perpetual motion machines of death and destruction. Also not desirable. "Hello! Dungeon extermination service, you're through to Conan, how may I help you?"
So, how does this XP stuff get doled out then? Well, for killing/defeating stuff; there is some for treasure but it's a tenth of treasure in XP; and of course goal completion and good role play. Now lots of people don't like the last one because it is a bit arbitrary. Deal with it. It is the GM's role to arbitrate. Obviously how well stated the PC's goals are and how successful they are at achieving them is going to influence the amount of XP they get for that sort of thing. If they plan to rob a wizard's tower of a certain spell book, preferably without drawing too much attention to themselves from either the wizard or the authorities then getting in and out ninja style is going to be worth way more than slaughtering the wizard and stealing the book amidst Godzilla movie level carnage.

XP for Subtlety: Zero
 This has to spelled out to the players before they start the game though. I don't want anyone to be disappointed by their character progression because they didn't understand the mechanics. What I do expect is audacious planning and grand exploits to be greatly rewarded and wandering around randomly murdering things and nicking their stuff to be less productive. Fulfilling your character's responsibilities should also be rewarded. Marvel adventures often had side jobs like buying flowers for the hero's girlfriend or checking on his sick aunt that gave Karma awards if completed but were penalised if they got blown off. It helped to flesh out the non heroic aspects of the character's life. After all, no doubt as satisfying as Peter Parker found punching Doc Ock in the face I bet he was much more concerned with banging MJ at the end of a hard day's web slinging. Best to keep her on side then.

Being bitten by a radioactive spider has its perks

No comments:

Post a Comment