lemuriapress (lemuriapress) wrote,
lemuriapress
lemuriapress

Erik Mona's Lo-Fi Experience System

I've been thinking a lot about the experience point system in Dungeons & Dragons, and I've come to the conclusion that I just don't like it. Excrutiating detail is built into an overly complex system for determining xp awards for killing monsters, but achievement of non-combat goals is given, at best, a hand-waving "drop them a few xp to shut them up" sort of cursory attention. Figuring it all out at the end of a fun session of D&D necessitates a lot of calculation for an extremely limited reward. After carefully balancing encounters against the average party level based on the Challenge Ratings of the creatures involved (with the use of lots of handy charts), you do some quick division and chart scanning to be rewarded with a highly abstract number that charts the character's progress. Basically, when all of the math is said and done, you're left with one of two conclusions: the character didn't go up a level or the character did go up a level.

I'm not saying the math is difficult, but it undoubtedly takes time, especially when you're dealing, as I do, with a party of eight players. On a certain level I understand that this bookkeeping is "part of Dungeons & Dragons," but it's not a whole lot of fun, and it makes prepping for my bi-weekly game a lot more tedious than it ought to be.

Let me repeat myself.

The current experience point system makes the game tedious. The actual playing of the game? Great. The prepping and "after action" taxwork? Not so much.

I also dislike the system for its abstraction. All of the numbers are behind the GM screen. The players really have no idea how many experience points they ought to get from a given combat, so all they really seem to track is a sense of when they "should" have gone up a level after a few sessions without getting experience. There is no sense that their characters' development is in their hands, because no player-initiated action (other than "I attack!") is rewarded with a significant number of experience points.

I contend that the players should know the measure of their success, and that measure should be based less on arcane mathmatic guesswork about a creature's toughness and more on what activities a player can engage in to develop his character and make the campaign more fun for everyone to play. I have therefore, as of about 20 minutes ago, come up with a new way to do experience points in the d20 system. I call it:

ERIK MONA's LO-FI EXPERIENCE SYSTEM

At the end of each session, the Game Master assigns experience points based upon the session's play. Experience points are awarded to each character individually. A PC gains an experience point award for each encounter in which he survives. Characters do not earn experience points for encounters in which they are killed, even if later returned to life.

Play is divided into three encounter types: Epic, Development, and Standard. Each encounter type offers a different experience point reward.

EPIC encounters are combat encounters 2 or more levels higher than the average party level and/or the defeat of a significant enemy.
Value: 4 experience points.

DEVELOPMENT encounters involve significant, player-initiated character development through roleplay, such as befriending an NPC, keeping in touch with family, establishing and using a personal motto, and so on. Choosing and painting a miniature for your character or sketching your character might qualify as a development encounter.
Value: 3 experience points.
Special: A character may receive experience points from only one development encounter per level.

STANDARD encounters are combat encounters within 1 of the average party level or complex roleplaying encounters involving several skill checks. Disabling a complex trap blocking a party's progress through a dungeon might qualify as a standard encounter, but picking a single lock definitely wouldn't.
Value: 1 experience point.

A character gains a new level each time she achieves 20 experience points.

LEVEL XP TOTAL
1st 0
2nd 20
3rd 40
4th 60
5th 80
6th 100
7th 120
8th 140
9th 160
10th 180
11th 200
12th 220
13th 240
14th 260
15th 280
16th 300
17th 320
18th 340
19th 360
20th 380


Discuss.
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