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View Full Version : Alternative to XP costs [Rules Variant]

Reinboom
2007-08-11, 06:49 AM
(New Incarnations are in lower posts, the current incarnation is under this message)
Whenever a spell would cost experience, it uses that amount of the XP Buffer instead. Whenever item creation would cost experience, it uses 5 times that amount of the XP Buffer instead. This buffer applies a series of penalties which become increasingly more devastating as one's XP Buffer increases. However, when a character who has used part of their XP Buffer gains experience they also recover an equal amount of their XP Buffer, to a minimum of 0.

For example, by casting Wish the caster uses 5,000 of the XP Buffer. When the caster gains 2,600 experience from the party's next quest she moves to only 2,400 on the XP Buffer. Then on the party's next rather large quest when she gains 3,000 experience, her XP Buffer moves to 0.

This buffer follows the pattern described in the table below endlessly. The penalties described below cannot be recovered by any other means except by gaining experience.

1-500|1|0|0|0
501-1000|1|1|0|0
1001-1500|1|1|1|0
1501-2000|1|1|0|1
2001-2500|2|1|0|1
2501-3000|2|2|0|1
3001-3500|2|2|1|1
3501-4000|2|2|0|2
4001-4500|3|2|0|2
4501-5000|3|3|0|2
5001-5500|3|3|1|2
5501-6000|3|3|0|3
6001-6500|4|3|0|3
6501-7000|4|4|0|3
7001-7500|4|4|1|3
7501-8000|4|4|0|4
8001-8500|5|4|0|4
8501-9000|5|5|0|4
9001-9500|5|5|1|4
9501-10000|5|5|0|5[/table]

(and the original first post is in the spoilers)

XP costs, to me, is some of one of the more lacking/horrid design aspects of D&D. Simple additions, some that may be dispelled, or even improving others in the party cost the caster experience, and pull back the caster - encouraging not for their regulated use but instead for their antiuse, for the caster to become more self centered. So, I would like opinions on whether the following would work well:

XP costs go through a 'buffer' first before they actually consume experience. Once this buffer is met, however, XP cost resumes as for the rules. The total buffer size is 5000 XP (the cost of a single Wish), and in of itself, the buffer has different tiers it reaches. With each tier, the person who has suffered the XP loss instead suffers a penalty to all stats (these cannot reduce a stat to below 1). These penalties are noncumulative and are detailed below.
The stat penalty issued by the XP buffer can not be removed by any magical means; however, the buffer decreases a single step on the tiers for every 24 hours that has occurred between uses of XP consuming actions. Each action that costs XP and doesn't move the buffer a tier resets the 24 hour wait time for that buffer. When a tier is moved back, the XP buffer moves to the highest possible XP use of that tier (500 for -1, 1000 for -2, and so on.)
For example, if a spellcaster was to first cast wish (-5000) they would instantly move to tier 5 and suffer a -5 penalty to all stats. If in an hour, they cast another wish, the buffer stays the same at -5000 and then they lose the normal XP cost of 5000 from their experience, and the tiers reset to that hour. After waiting 24 hours from that point, the tier would move down to -4 or a total of 3500 XP currently in the buffer.

XP Buffer
1-500|-1
501-1000|-2
1001-2000|-3
2001-3500|-4
3501-5000|-5[/table]

This also opens to a bit of design space, such as:
[Feat]
I'm Buffer Than You
Prerequisites: XP buffer rules alternative
Benefit: The stat penalty given by each buffer tier is lessened by 1. This does not remove the 1st tier, only removes the negatives from it and lessens the negatives from each following tier.

As a side note for this: I do not allow gate in my games.

Does this system seam fair or does it need tweaking?
A re-ruling of it would be appreciated as well. :smallsmile:

Joltz
2007-08-12, 05:33 PM
I like it because it makes the abstract concept known as exp less tangible to characters. It looks pretty good so far... Here are my thoughts on it in no particular order.

I can see how this works with spells, but how would it work for item crafting?

I like how it's not entirely permanent, but I think 5 days is a little short. Something like two weeks maximum seems like a good recovery time to me, not too sure on that though. I'd make the higher tiers take more time to recover from than the lower tiers to stretch it out.

The flat -1 penalty per tier to all ability scores also seems a bit icky. It works, but it seems like there should be a better way to do it. Un-removable negative levels (like the ones from magic items)? It's not a big deal though, the ability penalty seems workable. I'll think on that more...

Maybe mixing the ability score penalty with negative levels that never result in level loss and can't be removed? I kinda like the idea of the penalty table being

-1 abilities
-1 abilities, 1 negative level
-2 abilities, 1 negative level
-2 abilities, 2 negative level
-3 abilities, 2 negative level

hmmm, and the time to recover from each tier. I'm thinking four days from tier 5 to 4, then three from 4 to 3, two from 3 to 2 and one day each from 2 to 1 and 1 to none. That ends up being 11 days from casting to no-penalty.

I'm not too sure how much effect this would have on balance. It makes spells with exp costs much less expensive in the long run, and if it applies to crafting it could get messy. It makes exp costs suck a lot more up-front in the middle of an adventure though.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts on your system. I like the idea and I hate to see this thread go down with no responses because it happened to my ideas too much. :smallwink:

Reinboom
2007-08-12, 06:14 PM
Thank you for your input then. :smallsmile:

My original write up I have on paper has the tiers being in this:
12 hours of rest to 'cure' tier 1, 24 for tier 2, 36 for tier 3, 48 for tier 4, 60 for tier 5.
I thought this may have been a bit too complicated, though, I write it here to see if this is workable.
I also was thinking of making the difference between tiers steady, to make it simple to determine which tier you are on. I like the negative level ideas, though I don't think the negative penalty to stats should ever go up then down - and perhaps extend this so it goes 'limitless'.

For item creation, the buffer is hit 'all at once' by it. So if an item costs 6,000 xp, the buffer would catch 5,000 of it and you would lose 1,000 xp and then be drained afterwards.

Mind, that the tiers is a definite 5 either, keeping hold (not allowing room for change) of that would be bad design.

As an aside, I don't like ridiculous long wait times in game, some GMs abuse it too much. So, I will be working with 6 hour shifts for the work below.

{table=head]XP Buffer|Mental Stats Penalty|Physical Stats Penalty|Negative Levels|Recovery (Hours)|Total Recovery Time (Days)
1-500|1|0|0|6|.25
501-1000|1|1|0|12|.75
1001-1500|1|1|1|18|1.5
1501-2000|2|1|1|24|2.5
2001-2500|2|2|1|30|3.75
2501-3000|2|2|2|36|5.25
3001-3500|3|2|2|42|7
3501-4000|3|3|2|48|9
4001-4500|3|3|3|54|11.25
4501-5000|4|3|3|60|13.75
5001-5500|4|4|3|66|16.5
5501-6000|4|4|4|72|19.5
6001-6500|5|4|4|78|22.75
6501-7000|5|5|4|84|26.25
7001-7500|5|5|5|90|30
7501-8000|6|5|5|96|34
8001-8500|6|6|5|102|38.25
8501-9000|6|6|6|108|42.75
9001-9500|7|6|6|114|47.5
9501-10000|7|7|6|120|52.5[/table]
etc.

Joltz
2007-08-12, 08:19 PM
ooh, I like your newer version. I gave thought to separating the mental and physical stat penalties as well as whether the tiers should follow a linear progression as far as exp is concerned. I like how you did it.

I'm not sure about using the exp buffer on magic item creation. It would mean that crafting most items would have almost no effect on a character. It would just take longer because they'd rest afterward. The only thing I can think of is to only let a crafter use a fraction of his exp buffer to make items, that, or make exp used in crafting count as more than one exp for the purpose of filling the buffer (close to the same effect)

hmm... Just thought of something. I think it would be a good idea to make a character's exp buffer level dependent. You don't want a novice wizard casting spell after spell to get a ridiculous xp buffer debt (for his level) while some crazy epic wizard god fills his xp buffer with a single spell. Maybe you can only access a tier equal to 1/2 your caster level or lower. That means a level 2 caster has a 500 exp buffer, a level 20 caster has a 5000 exp buffer, and a level 40 caster has a 10000 exp buffer. It still doesn't fix the issue of using it with crafting. 500 free xp for crafting still goes a long way.

Oh, yeah. You found a typo in my last post XP it's fixed now.

jindra34
2007-08-12, 08:23 PM
You may also want to apply a caster level penalty...

Joltz
2007-08-12, 09:32 PM
That's why I suggested negative levels

Each negative level gives a creature the following penalties: -1 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, ability checks; loss of 5 hit points; and -1 to effective level (for determining the power, duration, DC, and other details of spells or special abilities). In addition, a spellcaster loses one spell or spell slot from the highest spell level castable. The mental ability score decrease also hurts a bit. Were you thinking of something in addition to that?

Reinboom
2007-08-12, 10:28 PM
Er, that is already in place - sort of. The negative levels and stats hurt a lower level more so. It's more of a deterrent than a limiting factor - which is my goal.

For Item Creation, how about if it consumed 3x into the buffer - however - a person could op to just not use their buffer at all.

jindra34
2007-08-12, 10:33 PM
That's why I suggested negative levels
The mental ability score decrease also hurts a bit. Were you thinking of something in addition to that?

I knew the loss of a spell slot was in it i did not remeber that a caster level penalty was in it though.

Joltz
2007-08-13, 03:02 PM
Er, that is already in place - sort of. The negative levels and stats hurt a lower level more so. It's more of a deterrent than a limiting factor - which is my goal.

For Item Creation, how about if it consumed 3x into the buffer - however - a person could op to just not use their buffer at all.
Even if item creation used 3x exp it would be a little off. The exp cost of making items isn't very big. A 12,000 gp item takes 480 exp. I was thinking something along the lines of 10-25x exp. Maybe exp used in item crafting costs 10 points of buffer per exp and only one-half the total exp cost can be taken from buffer exp?

I think it'd be a little too easy to end up with a party sitting around crafting items if it was easy to craft them with no cost except gold.

cody.burton
2007-08-13, 03:08 PM
I'm not sure how you would work this in, but I would like to see the XP cost of casting split in the party. As it is now, if your wizard crafts a magic item for the party fighter, it uses the wizard's xp, and the wizard takes longer to level up. So they seem to get punished for helping others in the team.

Joltz
2007-08-13, 03:15 PM
Yeah, I always disliked the fact that the only one who can pay exp costs is the caster. Items would cost less if you could pay the NPCs in exp :smallbiggrin: . I started homebrewing some rules for exp transfers, but then I found this web enhancement (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20060526a). With a little bit of tweaking it could easily work with this buffer system thing.

Reinboom
2007-08-13, 04:36 PM
Interesting web enhancement, I'm glad there is some 'official' material for that.
The issue with 25x is that it works (ish) in the lower levels, but eventually the buffer doesn't even touch the amount it racks up (eventually over 100,000 if you keep at 25x). Instead, I'm doing a different comparison.
One should have access to permanency at level 7/8. The 'general' cost to permanency is 1,000 xp, which seams like a good target.
By this time, one should definitely have +1 items, and will probably have +2 items shortly (if not already, depending on the campaign). It's 80 for a +1, so, I need to match it to at least permanency (and a little more). 12x seams fine for this. Jumping to wish (17/18), 5,000 xp- letsee, you can already make 12,500 gp from it by just producing an item and selling it. 3x grabs you a +4 (and extra), so, going from that mark. 1,280 -> 15,000 xp. Also, seemingly around 12x.
I did this 'think-out-loud' while posting...

So, perhaps it should be 12x buffer, with the buffer max for items equal to level? of course, and allow the caster to opt to just use xp (or to transfer experience instead). Due to the same issue that epic spellcasting falls under (army of solars), it would not be wise to allow the transferable xp to hit a buffer of the person they are transferring to.

Reinboom
2007-08-29, 11:38 AM
Next idea/update to this, to discourage from the "oh, we'll just not adventure and rest then".

Whenever a spell would cost experience, it uses that amount of the XP Buffer instead. Whenever item creation would cost experience, it uses 5 times that amount of the XP Buffer instead. This buffer applies a series of penalties which become increasingly more devastating as one's XP Buffer increases. However, when a character who has used part of their XP Buffer gains experience they also recover an equal amount of their XP Buffer, to a minimum of 0.

For example, by casting Wish the caster uses 5,000 of the XP Buffer. When the caster gains 2,600 experience from the party's next quest she moves to only 2,400 on the XP Buffer. Then on the party's next rather large quest when she gains 3,000 experience, her XP Buffer moves to 0.

This buffer follows the pattern described in the table below endlessly. The penalties described below cannot be recovered by any other means except by gaining experience.

1-500|1|0|0|0
501-1000|1|1|0|0
1001-1500|1|1|1|0
1501-2000|1|1|0|1
2001-2500|2|1|0|1
2501-3000|2|2|0|1
3001-3500|2|2|1|1
3501-4000|2|2|0|2
4001-4500|3|2|0|2
4501-5000|3|3|0|2
5001-5500|3|3|1|2
5501-6000|3|3|0|3
6001-6500|4|3|0|3
6501-7000|4|4|0|3
7001-7500|4|4|1|3
7501-8000|4|4|0|4
8001-8500|5|4|0|4
8501-9000|5|5|0|4
9001-9500|5|5|1|4
9501-10000|5|5|0|5[/table]

[Edited for rewording and inclusion of item creation]

blue_fenix
2007-08-29, 12:05 PM
Next idea/update to this, to discourage from the "oh, we'll just not adventure and rest then".

Whenever a spell would cost XP, it that amount of the XP Buffer. This buffer is endless and follows the pattern described in the table below endlessly. In order to overcome from this buffer, whenever a character gains XP they recover an equal amount of the XP buffer. The experience buffer can not go lower than 0.
For example, by casting wish the caster takes 5,000 of the XP buffer. When the caster gains 2,600 experience from the party's next quest - she moves to only 2,400 on the experience buffer. Then on the party's next rather large quest when she gains 3,000 experience, her experience buffer moves to 0.

The amount in the experience buffer determines the current tier of negatives, as described below

This seems pretty much perfect. I like that it prevents them from spending endless months spending millions of "XP" by simply taking a break every weekend.

Sir Conkey
2007-08-29, 04:14 PM
I read a dragon magazine that had an interesting idea, you use exotic materials instead of XP. So it was like vampire dust for a wish, or ghoul brain, tiefling fingers, kraken tooth and so forth, so if your characters are anything like mine they strip enemy monsters to the bone anyway (for trophies and interesting bits of furniture).

Joltz
2007-08-29, 10:10 PM
I've had problems with characters constantly questing for things I never thought they would. It gets extremely annoying having a player ask about an unusual item more often than they ask about their plot based quest.

Sir Conkey
2007-08-30, 12:13 AM
Ya, but I would have them be able to use parts from monsters they have already torn apart, exotic, hard to kill creatures give a higher XP deduction from the spell, then killing the creature is more meaningful to the PC's

Reinboom
2007-08-30, 05:45 AM
I read a dragon magazine that had an interesting idea, you use exotic materials instead of XP. So it was like vampire dust for a wish, or ghoul brain, tiefling fingers, kraken tooth and so forth, so if your characters are anything like mine they strip enemy monsters to the bone anyway (for trophies and interesting bits of furniture).

I would not use the above - not in my tastes (I like "wielders of epic arcane power" not brewery witches.) although it's an idea.
Why not combine the two then? More options for the players. :smallsmile: