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Mr. Mask
2015-10-31, 09:28 AM
Had a discussion about what rate was best for players to advance or level up in games. Of particular interest, we discovered the idea of gaining experience/levelling off screen, in-between adventures. It was an interesting idea, and it made me question the way levelling is done in games.

In some ways, levelling is simply a mechanism to control the pacing of the game. When you get to higher levels you fight stronger, more dramatic monsters with more complex abilities, utilizing your own more complex abilities. So, if you didn't level up as a result of the monsters you killed, but simply from time spent training between adventurers, it wouldn't affect the game's dynamic too strongly. The GM can also more closely control the rate of growth by modifying the downtime between adventures.

Of course, advancement is not only a mechanism of the game, but a goal of the players. A reward for slaying the monsters. It makes slaying monsters more fun, and makes playing the game its own goal. If instead you level up by not fighting monsters... well, on one hand it counters murder-hobo habits of killing everything, but it also makes your actions feel a little less important. And of course, there's the question of why adventure at all, if you can become the very best like no one ever was by staying at home?


And aside from that, you could talk for ages about how quickly players should advance within a system. Should they "level up" at the end of each session? Maybe they should only become slightly stronger, but the difficulty keeps increasing, forcing them to master their abilities to survive? And of course, you need to avoid the problem of it becoming like Final Fantasy, where you go around and grind killing monsters, as RPGs aren't well suited for it.



What are your thoughts on the subject of advancement?

Mark Hall
2015-10-31, 09:34 AM
A lot depends on what you're wanting to accomplish with your system, and whether you're going with skill-based or level-based systems.

In skill based systems, I'd say there should be enough XP for SOMETHING at the end of the night, even if the players don't choose to spend it. It should probably take a number of sessions equal to the stat to increase it, most of the time (rule of thumb, frequently wrong).

In level based systems, I think that levels should come every 3-4 "good" sessions, where ADVENTURE is accomplished. There's always going to be sessions where you don't accomplish much... maybe you talk a lot, maybe a lot of time is spent on administration stuff... but chock-full adventures should see some growth every 3-4 sessions.

Quertus
2015-10-31, 07:41 PM
Why do we adventure?

Because we're murder-hobos and it's fun?
Because monsters are made of XP and drop gold?
Because the village needs saving - pity all this adventuring is cutting into my studies - I'd be so much better today if I had just ignored all these calls for help.

It would be funny if characters who were absent were assumed to be studying, and leveled, while the characters who went on the adventure did not. If, whenever a character dies, you replace him with one of his former classmates, who is higher level, because he was practicing while the party was adventuring.

Florian
2015-10-31, 07:50 PM
What are your thoughts on the subject of advancement?

Many groups I know of or gamed with adopted the common practice to remove XP and WBL from actual gameplay and the gm simply anounced that a milestone was reached and people could level up and reequip their character inbetween sessions.

Mr. Mask
2015-10-31, 08:39 PM
A lot depends on what you're wanting to accomplish with your system, and whether you're going with skill-based or level-based systems.

In skill based systems, I'd say there should be enough XP for SOMETHING at the end of the night, even if the players don't choose to spend it. It should probably take a number of sessions equal to the stat to increase it, most of the time (rule of thumb, frequently wrong).

In level based systems, I think that levels should come every 3-4 "good" sessions, where ADVENTURE is accomplished. There's always going to be sessions where you don't accomplish much... maybe you talk a lot, maybe a lot of time is spent on administration stuff... but chock-full adventures should see some growth every 3-4 sessions. Hm, interesting. The campaigns I've played in rarely lasted that long, so I hadn't thought progress could be that low.


Why do we adventure?

Because we're murder-hobos and it's fun?
Because monsters are made of XP and drop gold?
Because the village needs saving - pity all this adventuring is cutting into my studies - I'd be so much better today if I had just ignored all these calls for help.

It would be funny if characters who were absent were assumed to be studying, and leveled, while the characters who went on the adventure did not. If, whenever a character dies, you replace him with one of his former classmates, who is higher level, because he was practicing while the party was adventuring. So DnD adventures are frat parties?


Many groups I know of or gamed with adopted the common practice to remove XP and WBL from actual gameplay and the gm simply anounced that a milestone was reached and people could level up and reequip their character inbetween sessions. That's quite interesting. In may ways it's more convenient and time saving than calculating XP, and you can match the curve to the GM.

LudicSavant
2015-10-31, 08:42 PM
The Training Montage:
- You level up when you spend the acquired resources necessary to gain the new skills, which take off-screen time to consume. This can apply to things like entire level ups or just stuff like copying new spells into a spellbook.

Pushed Past The Limits:
- You level up mid-fight at a critical moment. There was actually an RPG that did this, IIRC.

tgva8889
2015-11-01, 12:36 AM
One of the systems I play has an option where you can spend your XP on various things. One of them is directly advancing your character, improving their class abilities and gaining skills and whatnot. The other, however, is to acquire things of value. It's slightly cheaper to do so, but you can spend your XP to gain things like titles, land, fortresses, vast sums of wealth, or even special magical items. I thought it was really interesting to make those things you could spend XP on in the game. So far I've seen some people spend their XP on it and it worked out to be pretty balanced overall - no one really felt like they were too far ahead or behind anyone else when one person spent their XP on wealth and an item and one person spent their XP advancing their stats.

Florian
2015-11-01, 03:33 AM
That's quite interesting. In may ways it's more convenient and time saving than calculating XP, and you can match the curve to the GM.

Removing gold from actual play also speeds up the game considerable as noone has to fiddle around with the bookkeeping, there's no need for extended shopping sprees and the gm doesn't have to manage treasure. Basically, the only thing that are found during play are consumeabkes, one shot items or specific/named items. That's also a good counter to compuslive hoarding.

NichG
2015-11-01, 04:32 AM
Change, in all its various forms, is one of the stronger factors in maintaining a sustained level of interest. Advancement is a particular kind of change that also ties into the players' anticipation and sense of reward. Because its something that players can directly look forward to, its a very stable sort of sustaining factor compared to the possibility that the GM will enable change just due to how events play out. While the GM might provide sufficient change to keep things interesting, the players can't know that in advance the same way they can know what's coming next level or after the next chunk of XP. Also having an explicit indicator of 'yes, things really are different now' helps reinforce that.

So if you want to run a game with no character advancement, there had better be strong elements of change in everything else, especially things that the players can sort of see coming, anticipate, and interact with/direct.

Vitruviansquid
2015-11-01, 05:31 AM
I think of advancement as existing for two reasons.

First and more importantly, advancement allows you to have a very complex game that you gradually introduce players to each element as they advance, so they are not immediately thrown into the full game.

Second, it gives players something to look forward to at the end of every session and something new to look forward to at the beginning of every session, making the game more addicting than if it didn't have advancement.

These two reasons are kind of in tension with each other, as you want players to advance fast enough that they don't feel like any time was wasted, and you don't want players to advance too fast that they can't learn how to play a lower level before entering a higher level. I think you definitely need to tie advancement in with actual playtime, so players can get used to each new layer of complexity in the game. I'd say whatever system you were playing, one new meaningful unit of advancement should be introduced at every session. In other words, the players should gain something like one new ability or one new passive perk at the end of every session, at the least.

Florian
2015-11-01, 06:43 AM
I think of advancement as existing for two reasons.

More often than not, it tends to be part of the "Stick and Carrot"-Approach. That's most obvious with gms that hand out XP based on "good roleplaying" or similiar things that encourage certain behaviour.

noob
2015-11-01, 11:39 AM
Players wants to destroy the universes in which they are playing and game masters wants their players to interacts positively with their universe.
The level Is a slider on how much the player do what they want instead of doing what the GM wants(players of higher level destroys more)/joke

Thrudd
2015-11-01, 01:14 PM
Advancement for characters is/should be tied directly to the objective of the game in-question. It is a mechanism by which players guage how well they are doing, at least subconsciously, and it is a reward for playing the game well/correctly.
You can tell what a game is "supposed" to be like, or is expected to be like, based on what sort of things it rewards the players for. By altering this, one is altering fundamentally how the players are supposed to see and interact with the game.

The rate at which players advance will likewise have an impact on how they see and feel about the game. Advancing too quickly and/or without requiring much effort on part of the players may result in players sensing that their actions in the game actually have little relevance. Taking too long to advance may generate boredom or feelings of frustration that no progress is being made.

So, instead of basing leveling and advancement rules in your game on what is quickest and easiest, consider what the objective of your game is. What is it the players should be doing and paying attention to? Does it even make sense for your game to have the style of character advancement that it does? Are you balancing player effort and in-game accomplishment with the desire for a sense of progress?

D&D ties advancement to the in-game accomplishments of the characters, either defeating enemies, recovering treasure, or both. This encourages a level of engagement with the game world on the part of the players: to advance, they must explore the game world through the proxy of their character to find treasure and quests that will lead them to more conflict. The characters start out very weak, and the players are motivated to see them grow into strong heroes that have more influence in the game world.

World of Darkness games link advancement to basic participation and the subjective judgement of the storyteller regarding how well a player performed as their character and whether or not the characters should become more powerful. It encourages players to show up for the game, and to make an effort to portray their character's personality in an entertaining way and engage with the story they are being presented with. There is little or nothing a player can do in terms of in-game actions to advance, it is all about the subjective experience of the players and storyteller.

Two different types of role playing, with different advancement mechanics that support them.

Drynwyn
2015-11-01, 03:45 PM
Ars Magica uses a system of downtime advancement where not going adventuring is by far the best way to increase one's power, as described by the OP. It works, but for a few reasons.


The game is troupe style, and every player will have multiple characters. If one of them is adventuring, the others are not, and are therefore advancing.
The game carefully examines the idea of "party balance", then feeds it through a wood chipper and throws the pieces out the window. Then it tells you to just take turns playing the ultra-powerful characters, while the others play lesser specialized supporting characters.
By the nature of the game's setting and assumed player status, adventures will be abnormal events performed to deal with a problem, not a normal thing done for money and XP's.


The third thing is probably the most critical- downtime advancement works well when your characters are solving problems, rather than being career adventurers, and poorly if you want to play the classic band of professional adventurers.

Hybridartifacts
2015-11-02, 06:36 AM
I generally like systems where people have a chance to level up that gets progressively harder the more powerful they are. I always found campaigns with very powerful characters just didnt work well for us and caused all sorts of issues of needing brevet ranks for new players etc.

Telok
2015-11-02, 11:47 AM
I have my group playing Champions now (Hero system) and they're taking to it pretty well. Characters are 250 points and they get one point a session, one point for awesome, and one point for major story advancement.

Although I'm wondering if I should change the story advancement one to "does less than half a million dollars in property damage". I think we're up to four cars, a box truck, fifteen motorcycles, and three buildings. And it's only been two sessions so far.

Segev
2015-11-02, 02:22 PM
I've occasionally pondered a system wherein skills and other powers advance independently, but rather than assigning XP at the end of the session, the primary mode of advancement is simply that, whenever you fail a check for which the GM has called, you gain XP/advancement points/whatever in that specific skill or stat or ability.

So, for example, if you fail on a stealth check, you gain 1 XP towards advancing it by a rank.

You now inherently advance faster in things you need to use more often and in which you are less talented.

Red Fel
2015-11-02, 02:46 PM
There are two ways, in my mind, to look at leveling up - as a simulation or as a reward. The first, a simulation, refers to the fact that this is a role-playing game, and that any character inevitably develops over time - he grows, learns new skills, refines existing ones. The second, a reward, refers to the fact that this is a role-playing game, and that the players enjoy being rewarded for their hard work.

There are terms for these two takes, but they elude me at present. Make of that what you will.

With respect to the former approach, there tend to be two methods of simulating growth - levels and point-buy. Leveling systems, like D&D, give you all of your advancement in a bunch. You're not progressing, you're not progressing, you're not progressing, and then suddenly you have a new attack bonus, skill points, hit points, and class features. The advantage of a level-based level-up system is that you can measure approximate levels against enemies, and ensure (or attempt to, see D&D's broken CR system) that any encounter is level-appropriate. The disadvantage, of course, is the dry spell devoid of growth between level-ups.

The second method, point-buy, allows you to develop your character incrementally, which is generally a more realistic simulation of growth. You train your strength, your strength grows; you train your marksmanship, your marksmanship improves. You don't suddenly get a bunch of crap out of nowhere. The advantage is that you receive more regular increases, and they're custom-tailored to those attributes you actually want or use. The disadvantage is that it can make balancing an encounter much harder, and while you're increasing some attributes, you do so at the expense of others.

The view of level-ups as a reward, on the other hand, deals less with developing a character and more with satisfying a player. It is this perspective, OP, that I think you're addressing. Leveling up once a session, or after a quest objective, or at key campaign points, is designed to reward the player; it's not designed to simulate character growth, but to congratulate the player on getting to the next checkpoint. That's not inherently a bad thing, and in some campaigns may be highly appropriate. But it's important to recognize where it's coming from.

For example, if my party of adventurers is in the middle of a dungeon when we end the session for the night, it makes no sense to say that they wake up the next morning with a host of new abilities. If my space smugglers level up when they complete a run, it makes no sense, if they've gotten so good that this most recent run is no longer a test of their abilities, for this one to merit an advancement of their piloting skills. It makes sense in the context of rewarding the players, but not in the context of the characters' skills improving based on use or training.

Bringing it all back to your question, I'd say it depends very heavily on the system and the campaign. A roleplay-heavy campaign that primarily involves character interaction and development has virtually no need for level-ups. A combat-heavy game where the PCs are facing constant and ever-escalating foes not only requires level-ups, but frequent ones at that. Some systems specifically detail when it's appropriate to level up. Some actually feature mechanics for doing it off camera, so as not to disrupt the narrative flow of the game. I happen to prefer off-camera level-ups for this reason. Of course, I also prefer point-buy systems, although I appreciate the flavor of level-based gaming.

I think I rambled somewhere along the way. Ah, well.

Knaight
2015-11-02, 03:05 PM
There are two ways, in my mind, to look at leveling up - as a simulation or as a reward. The first, a simulation, refers to the fact that this is a role-playing game, and that any character inevitably develops over time - he grows, learns new skills, refines existing ones. The second, a reward, refers to the fact that this is a role-playing game, and that the players enjoy being rewarded for their hard work.

From a simulation perspective, skills also decay from disuse, and are lost. I've seen this modeled all of once, in a Fudge Factor article in which you have a skill pyramid, and can only switch between skills at adjacent levels. If you want to get better at something, you get worse at something else.

TheThan
2015-11-02, 05:33 PM
A level based system is designed to structure how a group of characters progress through a campaign. As they progress through a campaign they gain levels, which translate into more power. Characters increase in hit points, saving throws and skills; they gain new feats, and they acquire new level dependent abilities and old ones increase in power (such as magic, barbarian rage etc).

The level system and Challenge Rating (or equivalent) system are used together to determine what new threats the PCs can face at any given point in a campaign or adventure. As most experienced Dms will have learned, these are not hard and fast rules but general guidelines. A party of level 4 characters should be able to tackle a CR 4 monster without too much difficulty but depending on exactly what that CR 4 monster is that may not be the case (pick a monster that has defenses the PCs canít work around, and suddenly theyíre in much harder fight). Knowing the capabilities of the players and characters will allow a Dm to fine tune the adventure and choose challenges that are appropriate to that party. Using this system A Dm should be able to provide challenging encounters without accidentally causing a TPK because the Dm overestimated the capabilities of the characters and the players (granted TPKs can still be caused due to bad dice rolls, mismanagement of abilities; poor tactics and planning and general bad luck; but I digress here).

The advantages of the level/challenge rating setup are that itís fairly fast and easy to create encounters and determine rewards for success. The downsides are that this is a totally artificial method of advancing a character (suddenly poof everyone is better) and also that players have to wait for the rewards of new abilities; should the player look upon it in that light.

A Level less system (point buy for example); is designed to give players much more freedom in advancing and expanding their characters. They gain xp or the equivalent and exchange it in for more power. However it trades structure for freedom. Now the PCs can constantly improve their characters, creating a situation where the DM needs to monitor the capabilities of the characters much more closely. Thatís extra time and weight on the Dmís shoulders. Heís got to be even more careful when planning out his encounters to make the game challenging without causing that accidental TPK.

The advantages of the non-level based system is that players constantly gain rewards and constantly grow in overall power. but it puts a much heavier burden on the Dm to keep those adventures interesting and challenging without killing everyone; by removing much of that structure that allows a Dm to determine what an appropriate encounter is for his players.

Frenth Alunril
2015-11-02, 06:37 PM
I just had an argument where a level 1 ranger wanted to "Disengage from combat" because he was hoping he could pop around the corner, level up to a level 1 ranger/level 1 fighter, and rejoin combat...

I had to explain how it worked in these games as opposed to video games.

He had a fight with me. So I pulled out the rules, surprise, there isn't anything clear, so I pulled out the variant rules which say something like 10 days to level. In the middle of explaining how I would allow leveling to work, he swore at me, so I asked him to listen, and he swore again...

So... sometimes being a DM sucks.

He can take his ball and go home.

Segev
2015-11-03, 10:05 AM
I just had an argument where a level 1 ranger wanted to "Disengage from combat" because he was hoping he could pop around the corner, level up to a level 1 ranger/level 1 fighter, and rejoin combat...

I had to explain how it worked in these games as opposed to video games.I don't even follow how this would be a thing you could do in a video game. You don't level up by exiting combat and vanishing from sight for a moment.

Quertus
2015-11-03, 10:28 AM
I don't even follow how this would be a thing you could do in a video game. You don't level up by exiting combat and vanishing from sight for a moment.

Nah, in video games, you level up as soon as you get the XP. I'm guessing this request is preceded by the player asking if he can level, and the DM saying that he can't level in the middle of combat. The "obvious" solution, then, is to ask to get out of combat so he can level. Makes perfect sense. ;)

goto124
2015-11-03, 10:50 AM
I don't even follow how this would be a thing you could do in a video game. You don't level up by exiting combat and vanishing from sight for a moment.

I personally interpreted it as disengaging from that particular fight, going to another place to punch up weaker creatures, gain enough XP to level up, then return to said particular fight...

If I had played only video games and was in a similar siuation, my mind would've gone through a process similar to what Quertus mentioned. No excuses for swearing at the GM though.

nedz
2015-11-05, 08:23 AM
A large party of the attraction of RPGs is aspirational. You get to envisage what your character will be like in the future and then see that come to fruition. Levelling up, or whatever process your game system uses, as well as shopping for kit is the realisation of this.


I just had an argument where a level 1 ranger wanted to "Disengage from combat" because he was hoping he could pop around the corner, level up to a level 1 ranger/level 1 fighter, and rejoin combat...

I had to explain how it worked in these games as opposed to video games.

He had a fight with me. So I pulled out the rules, surprise, there isn't anything clear, so I pulled out the variant rules which say something like 10 days to level. In the middle of explaining how I would allow leveling to work, he swore at me, so I asked him to listen, and he swore again...

So... sometimes being a DM sucks.

He can take his ball and go home.

Why on earth did you award xp mid combat ?

goto124
2015-11-05, 08:59 AM
He didn't? The player THOUGHT the XP could be awarded mid-combat, then the GM corrected him. So the player tried to flee from combat, (presumbly) thinking he would level up afterwards...

The GM tried to explain how XP worked in his game, but the player was too angry to listen.

nedz
2015-11-05, 11:50 AM
He didn't? The player THOUGHT the XP could be awarded mid-combat, then the GM corrected him. So the player tried to flee from combat, (presumbly) thinking he would level up afterwards...

The GM tried to explain how XP worked in his game, but the player was too angry to listen.

Ah ó my misunderstanding.

The player's misunderstanding, and their reaction, must have spoilt the session.

I've occasionally had issues where someone is just a few xp short of a level and wants to go off by themselves just to kill a wandering monster and level up. I dislike this because it's metagaming, and the rest of the group just hang around waiting. So I used to let them do it, but they would always meet a monster that was just a little to tough for them and end up running away / almost dying. My later approach was to say "Have the level", and peer pressure did the rest. I've since moved onto group xp so this can't happen.

Arbane
2015-11-05, 03:35 PM
With respect to the former approach, there tend to be two methods of simulating growth - levels and point-buy.

There's also the way the Basic Roleplaying system (Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, etc) does it - whenever you succeed at using a skill under stress, put a check-mark by it. Between adventures, you roll to see if you can improve that skill. (You can also spend time studying or being trained - which works similarly.)

Red Fel
2015-11-05, 03:47 PM
There's also the way the Basic Roleplaying system (Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, etc) does it - whenever you succeed at using a skill under stress, put a check-mark by it. Between adventures, you roll to see if you can improve that skill. (You can also spend time studying or being trained - which works similarly.)

True. That tends towards the point-buy end of the spectrum, though. Although you're not literally purchasing upgrades, you are upgrading specific facets of your character, rather than acquiring a bundle that covers multiple angles.

Knaight
2015-11-05, 04:11 PM
True. That tends towards the point-buy end of the spectrum, though. Although you're not literally purchasing upgrades, you are upgrading specific facets of your character, rather than acquiring a bundle that covers multiple angles.

Essentially, the leveling and point buy thing represent a difference in one axis (bundles of abilities versus single abilities upgraded on their own), while remaining the same on the second (directly choosing character change or having character change emerge in a way outside of direct control). While the system listed, along with others seen in games like Burning Wheel fits with point buy on the bundling axis, it's distinct on the choice one. There, it's similar to a leveling system where you don't directly pick what class you get a level in - which is a hypothetical system to my knowledge, as I've never seen it employed anywhere (though I'd bet good money that some home brewer somewhere built a system like this).

Frenth Alunril
2015-11-05, 09:25 PM
Why on earth did you award xp mid combat ?

I didn't! :l

Xuc Xac
2015-11-07, 04:14 AM
There's another option which is often overlooked in most RPGs: not advancing. In a lot of the media that RPGs emulate, characters don't increase in skills or abilities but they gain relationships, political influence, or assets that let them affect the world in new ways.

John Carter was a supremely skilled (and apparently immortal) swordsman from page one. He starts as a Virginia cavalry captain and eventually becomes Warlord of Barsoom. He never gets any better at swordplay or riflery or athletics. He just learns more information about the setting, makes new enemies and allies, and participates in military and political conflicts on a grander and grander scale. His skills don't improve but he learns to get them involved in the right places to get more social rewards for using them.

Conan was a tough, strong, clever warrior. Sometimes he's a broke thief. Other times he's a pirate captain. In the end, he's a king. At no point does he demonstrate any new abilities. He never gets stronger or faster or smarter. He just uses his barbarian cunning and pantherish muscles to succeed in whatever situation he finds himself. Alone in a strange city? Stage a clever jewel heist. On a ship attacked and captured by pirates? Stage a mutiny to become their new captain. Serving as a mercenary when the kingdom's politics destabilise? Join the coup and seize the throne!

In some media, there is only one character that seems to "level up" and its usually the young immature one. This is more a case of one character finishing their character gen phase in play rather than before. In a point based game, they'd leave most of their points unspent and then spend them in play. Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek", River Tam on "Firefly", and Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars" are all examples of characters that started much less competent than everyone around them but gradually grew in ability over time. The other characters around them don't increase their skills during this same time: Simon Tam doesn't learn to shoot a pistol or pick up a new surgical specialisation, Han Solo doesn't pick up droid programming as a hobby, Captain Picard doesn't spontaneously develop +3 in Bat'leth dueling.

Instead of spending your whole campaign working towards the character you want to play, you could easily just start with the character you want at the beginning and then play them the whole time. The attitudes, personalities, relationships, situations, responsibilities, and surroundings change to keep the story interesting. The sequel to an action movie isn't made more interesting because the star hit the gym and put on another kilo of muscle: it's interesting because he's punching more bad dudes in the face, but this time it's personal!

Frozen_Feet
2015-11-07, 09:21 AM
I use a fairly traditional way of giving out Experience Points and Level-Ups: you get majority of ExP for treasures found, and minority for enemies defeated. Occasionally, I beef up the system by also giving ExP for miles traveled, for new places found, and for allies befriended. XP is distributed and Level-Ups are checked for during character downtime; typically, this takes place between gaming sessions (as the OP spoke about), during long sessions (4+ hours) ExP can be counted during a break or a point where lots of in-game time passes without adventures happening.

However, it's important to note that I do not consider ExP the only meaningful sort of reward or advancement, and I encourage my players to think likewise. A character closing or achieving their goals (such as getting married or buying a house or just surviving a tough situation) is advancement, even if it nets you no ExP; and of course, items, equipment, money and other property can be gained in ways that do not net you ExP, but obviously will help a character and make them stronger.

Better social position can also be a reward; being crowned a King or Queen might not net you a bit of ExP or even property, but the title is an achievement on its own.

DonEsteban
2015-11-10, 04:10 AM
I've occasionally pondered a system wherein skills and other powers advance independently, but rather than assigning XP at the end of the session, the primary mode of advancement is simply that, whenever you fail a check for which the GM has called, you gain XP/advancement points/whatever in that specific skill or stat or ability.

So, for example, if you fail on a stealth check, you gain 1 XP towards advancing it by a rank.

You now inherently advance faster in things you need to use more often and in which you are less talented.

Your idea is, of course, not novel. (Don't worry they never are.) Advancing stats for using them is as old as Tunnels & Trolls. The problem with it is the amount of bookkeeping it requires. A well-designed character sheet can help.

In Dungeon World (http://www.dungeon-world.com/) you get XP for failing at tests. The important thing to keep in mind here is that there must always be (bad) consequences for failure. Otherwise you could increase your jumping skill, for example, by constantly attempting to jump to the moon (and failing, of course.)

It's a nice idea as it encourages failing, which generally makes for more interesting stories...

goto124
2015-11-10, 06:14 AM
It's not to encourage people to fail, it's to encourage them to try stuff out and take risks.

Although, I still wouldn't know if trying something I'm likely to fail at is worth the consequences, such as drawing the attention of the guards around you, wasting the HP and spell slots of fellow party members, and getting your own friends angry at you.

Knaight
2015-11-10, 02:36 PM
Your idea is, of course, not novel. (Don't worry they never are.) Advancing stats for using them is as old as Tunnels & Trolls. The problem with it is the amount of bookkeeping it requires. A well-designed character sheet can help.

In Dungeon World (http://www.dungeon-world.com/) you get XP for failing at tests. The important thing to keep in mind here is that there must always be (bad) consequences for failure. Otherwise you could increase your jumping skill, for example, by constantly attempting to jump to the moon (and failing, of course.)

It's a nice idea as it encourages failing, which generally makes for more interesting stories...

It takes a quick tally mark. From a book keeping perspective, I've found it completely negligible, and this is from someone who dislikes tracking exact money, exact ammunition, and other such things.