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Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 06:32 PM
In all the campaigns I've been in (which, admittedly, isn't that many), the DM has handed out levels due to the actual experience of playing, not "Oh, you're at Q XP. You need to kill 5 Orcs." (Well, except once, and that was just being silly because I'd missed a session where everyone leveled up. ONE ORC! ARGH.) And on that note, item creation. Why does that burn XP? Shouldn't you gain XP from going through the process of making something? Admittedly, I see why they do this so that you don't have PCs spending a month of in-game game-time to make all sorts of uber-goodies, but still. Burning XP to do stuff like that?

My question to you, Posters in the Playground, is how do you, as PCs or DMs, handle this?

Eldariel
2008-06-28, 06:37 PM
Item creation = you imbue your own life energy (exp) to empower the item magically. That's how I understand it anyways. As for the other question, I do not exactly understand what you're asking. That seems like the rational way; give exp for what you've been through - the encounter tables are dumb.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 06:49 PM
As for the other question, I do not exactly understand what you're asking. That seems like the rational way; give exp for what you've been through - the encounter tables are dumb.

What I mean is, rather than saying "Ok, this green dragon is worth 5k XP. There are 3 people fighting, you each get 1666XP, with the remainder XP going Fighter McMeatshield," you go "Ok, you beat the green dragon. You all participated, and prior to this, you've done a few minor quests and beaten up a local gang of goblins. Everyone gain a level."

Or, possibly clearer, to hand out levels without tallying down every experience point gained from everything (like I mentioned in my example, "Ok, you're 5 Orcs short of a level. Go to it."

shadow_archmagi
2008-06-28, 06:55 PM
No XP. Just a sorta vague

"Okay your better now."

As a result, we went from 4 to 14 fairly quickly.

Tormsskull
2008-06-28, 07:00 PM
I do exact points. And if someone misses a session chances are good they are riding behind for the rest of the campaign (though I do mostly RP campaigns so exact level isn't as important).

Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 07:09 PM
I do exact points. And if someone misses a session chances are good they are riding behind for the rest of the campaign (though I do mostly RP campaigns so exact level isn't as important).

See, the way we fixed this in my previous campaign was with the oh-so glorious "Story XP" (or, in my case, beating down a single Orc.) Basically, people who missed a day were expected to meet up with the DM before the next session to embark on some sort of miniquest to make up the XP. And, of course, when I say XP, I use it in the "not necessarily the XP gotten from besting a monster, but rather the actual experience of doing something" sense.

erikun
2008-06-28, 07:12 PM
I do XP. After all, I don't see a real difference between "you have 100 XP until next level" and "you have 10 HP until fully healed". We're already monkeying around with numbers, and players tend to get excited when they know they're getting closer to the next level. If I wanted a system that didn't use XP, I wouldn't be bothering with D&D.

That said, XP is gained for overcoming challanges and completing adventures. If the party just completed an adventure and everyone needs just 100 XP for next level, then the adventure was just worth another 100 XP per character. :smallbiggrin: Besides, there's plenty of things to do besides killing orcs. You could do a small dragon hunt, or clear the cultists out of the abandoned temple real quick, or deliver the "absolutely safe" package for the local noble.

Also: 2e had you gain XP for making magical items. The party cleric generally shut himself in the temple for a few months until he equipped the whole party with magic gear... and got a few levels for himself. That wasn't too great of a system, either.

SilverClawShift
2008-06-28, 07:23 PM
Vague here.

Our DM lets us know exactly what level we are (and usually won't hit us with level draining effects, just because they're too much bookwork and not enough benefit from his point of view).

We can hover at a specific level indefinately, depending on what section of the world/story we're in. If we need to have trouble fighting skeletons, we'll stay low level regardless of how long we play.
It sounds like it might be annoying, but it's really not. If the story calls for high levels, or a range of levels, we'll advance appropriately. It's all about what we're looking to play and what we're hoping to acheive.

As for item creation and XP costs, we basically have a player/DM truce on such things. We're free to make items in the game world, provided we don't try to abuse his lack of XP penny-pinching. If we tried to hole up in a dark corner and make items until we had more than we could carry, he'd smack us with the fist of an angry god. Otherwise, he'll let us make what we're setting out to make.

UglyPanda
2008-06-28, 07:28 PM
I like doing exact XP since sometimes I just don't have any story reason for the PCs to be stronger and might forget to let them level up.

I had a DM (I was only willing to play two sessions with him, by the way) who proudly stated he wasn't doing exact XP. What he really meant was that he refused to calculate XP since he was intentionally bad at D&D math (Being a munchkin and all) and that he was banning magic item creation while screwing up the craft rules. He then proceeded to replace XP with a system that encouraged sucking up to him and his playstyle.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 07:29 PM
As for item creation and XP costs, we basically have a player/DM truce on such things. We're free to make items in the game world, provided we don't try to abuse his lack of XP penny-pinching. If we tried to hole up in a dark corner and make items until we had more than we could carry, he'd smack us with the fist of an angry god. Otherwise, he'll let us make what we're setting out to make.

This is much the same as I believe my current campaign is going to be. Basically, we've been admitted to the local mages guild, and have full access to all their goodies and labs, and I think so long as I don't go and try to make Spheres of Annihilation, I'll be good.

Off Topic: Didn't you say you were going to do a diary of your current campaign? If you still are, could I grab a link to that? Your stories are hilarious.

SilverClawShift
2008-06-28, 08:02 PM
Off Topic: Didn't you say you were going to do a diary of your current campaign? If you still are, could I grab a link to that? Your stories are hilarious.

I haven't really had as much time as I wanted, and the few times I came to start typing something up, the server was always too busy. Which is a shame, cause it's been an entertaining run.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 08:11 PM
I haven't really had as much time as I wanted, and the few times I came to start typing something up, the server was always too busy. Which is a shame, cause it's been an entertaining run.

DRAT! That's a pity.

wadledo
2008-06-28, 08:17 PM
I never let my players go up a level.

I just say you won't go up any levels until I say so, then I never say so.
The system works!

Lochar
2008-06-28, 09:23 PM
I never let my players go up a level.

I just say you won't go up any levels until I say so, then I never say so.
The system works!

All the games I've seen you run never make it long enough to gain XP, much less level.


Also, I play the numbers, but basically arbitrarily hand them out to put my players where I want them. That way, we both get what we want. :P

RTGoodman
2008-06-28, 09:40 PM
As a player I've only ever had one DM that actually did by-the-book XP. The rest just sort of said, "Alright, it's been a few sessions - everyone level up." One of those others, though, actually did give out numerical XP (including extra for stuff like getting him a soda or other inane things), but ignored our actual XP and just said "Grow a level" when he felt like it.

As a DM, I keep track of XP by-the-book mostly. I do all the charts and whatnot, but I'll throw in some extra XP when players had a more difficult time (i.e., terrain was against them, etc.), when they complete a major adventure or quest, and occasionally just for really good roleplaying.

ghost_warlock
2008-06-28, 10:23 PM
I do XP by the book but I tend to award a lot of ad hoc/role-playing/story awards so 30-60% of the XP needed level comes from those. Many of the people I've played with in the past (and myself, when I get to play) see leveling as a goal/reward in-and-of-itself so I like to let my players know how much progress they've made.

The one-orc-from-leveling scenario is one I specifically avoid with ad hoc awards. I'd rather just give everyone an extra 150-200 XP than have one or two characters running around looking for one last orc to kill before they level. :smallyuk: That kind of thing may be fine in WoW or other "RPGs" where monsters respawn but I feel it's innappropriate for games with a semi-realistic story/environment.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-28, 10:31 PM
The one-orc-from-leveling scenario is one I specifically avoid with ad hoc awards.

To be fair to my DM, that was him just being funny. I'd completed my miniquest, and I ask:
"So, do I get a level?"
"Nope, you still need one more orc."
"Are you bloody serious?"
"Yep. Looks like you only killed X many last game. You're still short one."
"Ugh...::walks back to the woods, finds a lone orc, Fireballs said orc:: HAPPY NOW?!"

Flickerdart
2008-06-28, 10:56 PM
My DM just let us level whenever he was too busy to do the session. Since we were unoptimized amateurs, that worked very well for us.

Chronos
2008-06-28, 11:29 PM
Also: 2e had you gain XP for making magical items. The party cleric generally shut himself in the temple for a few months until he equipped the whole party with magic gear... and got a few levels for himself. That wasn't too great of a system, either.Then again, though 2e was very vague on just what you needed to do to make an item. It could be anything from "Throw X gold pieces into the forge, spend a week, and you've got your +5 intelligent vorpal dancing sword of dragonslaying" to "Bottle a droplet of sunshine and mix with the laugh of a rose, ferment it for a month under the rays of the full moon, and you've got a potion of minor healing".

Tsadrin
2008-06-29, 12:29 AM
As a DM I always use exact XP rewards. Since the systems I use (D&D and AD&D) balance classes by requiring different amounts of experience to level it's important.

There are only three ways to get experience in my games. Defeating monsters, using magic items, and spending earned treasure. In the early days I went BTB and just rewarded XP for treasure earned and monsters killed but an article in The Dragon (D&D Option: Orgies, Inc. by Jon Pickens in Vol. 2 #4) came in handy when the adventurers became richer than kings. I adapted the article to my needs very quickly after I read it.

Players must spend any loot they find to earn XP for it. It can be tithed or sacrificed (for the pious), used for research (for the bookish), given to your community (for the clannish), or spent on ale and whores (for the rest of us). It can also be spent on buying strongholds and other 'investments' but those are not near as much fun. The fact is though that it must be spent and not kept locked away easy to access to be worth experience.

edit: grammar

AslanCross
2008-06-29, 12:36 AM
I do XP by the book and hand out a lot of ad-hoc XP. However, there was one time where I just told the players to level up once because they hadn't progressed as quickly as I thought they would, and it was too much trouble to downgrade all the encounters I'd prepared.

Reinboom
2008-06-29, 02:23 AM
I set XP to the party, rather than the individual players.
I can't stand players being at different points. However, I've discovered that XP progression does 'add' something to the game - it gives the more mechanical focused an increasing goal in addition to story progression, providing a safety net for interest when the story just didn't captivate them enough from the last session.

I keep a small webpage up that gives name and location information that the party would know, the current XP, and so on.


For crafting (and spell XP) I use:
http://wiki.faxcelestis.net/index.php?title=Experience_Buffer

Timeras
2008-06-29, 05:13 AM
In our group the DM calculates XP after each session. If you start a session just 50 XP from next level, you will not level up before the end of the session.

Since we only meet for DND when everyone has time, nobody will fall behind because he didnīt get XP.
However, when we were 3rd level, our group lost some players and we added new ones. They started with the minimum XP for level 3 while the two remaining players from the original group had a few more. This means that sometimes we level one session earlier than the others wich is not really a problem. (And we had bit more money, because the other remaining player still carried the loot and three guys disappeared without taking their share of it.)

Saph
2008-06-29, 07:08 AM
I've played in campaigns which do both.

In our D&D 3.5 World's Largest Dungeon campaign, the DM sends out XP totals by email after each session. It's our job to keep track and tell if we've gained a level.

In our Star Wars Saga campaign, the DM just says, "Okay, you've all gone up a level" every three sessions or so.

On the whole, I prefer the first method, as it's less arbitrary. The problem with the second method is that the characters don't learn or advance until the DM wants them to, which can be frustrating, and we never really know how close we are to getting better at things.

- Saph

DemonSlayer
2008-06-29, 09:09 AM
I agree with Saph on this one. I've played both those games as well, and I'd rather have the objective points-based system than a GM telling me "well your roleplaying was this good, so you'll get so and so much XP."

I want to be awarded, not judged, no matter how just the DM is.

As for magic items/spells, I just ignore those XP costs entirely. Of course there can be other repercussions... I believe it was 2nd edition in which you would anger a powerful outsider if you ever intentionally harmed or killed your familiar, just because you wanted a different one. In 3.5 you pay an XP cost whenever your familiar dies... Which to me, is a much better way of dealing with it than what's being done now.

xPANCAKEx
2008-06-29, 09:21 AM
i prefer being awarded too - it encourages the game. The players who make the effort usually make it more exciting, and should be rewarded as such

Tallis
2008-06-29, 09:42 AM
I use xp, but I only give out half the recommended xp for defeating monsters. Then I give out story and rping xp. This encourages my players to have a backstory to base their rping off of which I like.

For magic items I use xp cost and also require special materials which can require a seperate quest in some cases. I've just always felt that magic items should be something special, not just something you buy at the store.

El_Jefe
2008-06-29, 09:58 AM
To be fair to my DM, that was him just being funny. I'd completed my miniquest, and I ask:
"So, do I get a level?"
"Nope, you still need one more orc."
"Are you bloody serious?"
"Yep. Looks like you only killed X many last game. You're still short one."
"Ugh...::walks back to the woods, finds a lone orc, Fireballs said orc:: HAPPY NOW?!"

That is hysterical...

As for me, I sort of follow the encounter tables, but I also give small awards for creative playing (player: So I jump from the stairs, try to grapple the flying gargoyle, then make sure he hits the ground first, kind of like Jason Bourne did...DM: You do realize gargoyles are made of stone? Player: Oh sh...) and puzzle solving, solving conflicts through means other than combat, etc. And I also give story awards (finding the long lost secret vault, killing the zhentarim wizard, etc.).

Renegade Paladin
2008-06-29, 10:00 AM
The XP system has one major advantage: With XP, if you're behind a level for whatever reason (having died is a popular one in some of the games I play in) you get more XP for a given challenge than the higher-level characters around you, so you'll eventually catch up. If the DM just says "Everybody gain a level" every so often and you're behind, you will perpetually be behind.

DemonSlayer
2008-06-29, 10:04 AM
This encourages my players to have a backstory to base their rping off of which I like.

Is it really important what the DM likes? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the characters with vastly worked out background. In fact, I once wrote a background for a character of mine which came up to about 25 pages. Other players didn't use that many words, but the point was we had fun together.

If players don't care much for expanding on their character's background, then that's their choice and I'm not giong to punish them for it by giving others more xp or some such silliness, simply because they fit my playing style better.


I've just always felt that magic items should be something special, not just something you buy at the store.

That largely depends on the number of such stores you place in your campaign :smalltongue:. You still need to be a spellcaster to make magic items, so if there's not that many spellcasters around (or they simply don't WANT to toil away on magical trinkets for the rest of their lives), then there's not going to be many magic shops either.

DMfromTheAbyss
2008-06-29, 11:54 AM
After years of playing around with XP systems, doing the math and/or just ad hoc'ing it in various games I invented the following system which I encourage other DM's to adopt for both it's simplicity and it's balance.

The Box system

Each level requires 10 boxes
Each box represents 1/10th the experience points you need for a level.

You recieve 1 Box of XP for showing up to the game. This means 1 level minimum every 10 sessions.

You recieve additional boxes of xp for combat/dangerous encounters (basically anything that could hurt/maim/kill you) for the session based on the following.

Encounters no big deal +0 boxes (fighting anything that's not a legitimate challenge to the PC's in question)
Encounters mildly challenging +1 Box (25% resources rough CR/lvl equiv.)
Encounters moderately challenging (if the whole party is panting and half dead "or should be") +2 Boxes
Encounters really challenging. (wow you fought a what! at that level... and WON? impressive!) +3 Boxes
Encounters Damned Challenging (How did they pull that off?!? type stuff) +4 boxes
Encounter with BBEG [email protected] type, or something the party had no shot against, and they survived or even won. +5 boxes.

You also get extra boxes based on Roleplaying/story award for moving the story along, and just plain impressing the DM/group with your in character antics in an amusing and cool way.

You play your character, but do nothing really noteworthy +0 Boxes
You paralyze the entire group with laughter (max 1 per session) +1 box
You have a good session, get stuff done and your character distinguishes himself admirably +1 box
You pull some major stuff off that's impressive in scope. +2 boxes
You pull off something massively impressive or unlikely due to raw force of personality, luck, skill and right place right time. +3 boxes
You have the career defining moment where everything just clicks for the character, You pull off something that the DM has not planned but must applaud anyways for it's shear coolness. +4 Boxes
...........WOW.... Just WOW!... That will be remembered for years to come in gamer legends... +5 Boxes

No session can result in more than 10 boxes/1 level advancement. If you can get 10 boxes a session you earned that level.

Usually this way a typical adventurer will level every 3-4 sessions (about what you should be aiming for with suggested XP awards by the book). But it rewards bringing a bit of fun to the table and keeps the math easy enough to count on your fingers.

I've gotten most of the DM's I play with (plus myself obviously) to use this becouse it has all the mechanical nuts and bolts of the D&D xp system, but it's simple enough to just take a few seconds of thought by the DM at the end of the session without requiring a calculator and tallying of goblin corpses.

As for the creating magic items under this system, either you can calculate out the approximate value of each box of xp (10% of whatever level your character is) and use that, or (my prefered method) make the party go on an adventure for pieces, really spend some time and effort in game figuring out all the unique details and then describe building the item. The time and money it takes (along with the game time describing all of it) makes it seem earned, encourages creativity and keeps PC's from abusing the system.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-29, 12:58 PM
-snip-

The Box system

-snip-

As for the creating magic items under this system,
-snip-

I'm going to suggest these to my DM! They sound very well thought out, and plus, with the things that let you gain extra boxes, most people will be levelling right in sync with our current levelling (Once every 2-4 sessions). As to the item crafting, that seems to make a lot of sense as well. I'll have to bring that up.

DemonSlayer
2008-06-29, 01:06 PM
@DMfromTheAbyss: Don't know if I'd entirely agree with that system. For example, you say you receive 1 box for showing up. That pretty much translates to "if you don't come, you'll be a box behind". I'd never reward (or punish) players for not being there, since it's so completely OoC. Instead, maybe give each player a box each session, regardless whether they were there to play?

Also, I'm not sure I like the whole "impress us, get a box" thing. It's basically a OoC award as well, since you're pretty much rewarding your player for making you laugh/impressing you, not for doing anything in-game.

horseboy
2008-06-30, 01:04 AM
I haven't run anything with levels in, like, well, I can't remember, so I can't give out levels. In most systems I run 20-25% of the "XP" I give out is from combat. The rest comes from important stuff. :smallwink:

Last system I played in with levels (and sober) we usually did XP "normally", though if the GM screwed us hard, or it'd been a while since anyone had leveled, the GM would either just give us a level or figure out our travel XP.

Prophaniti
2008-06-30, 01:11 AM
I usually run with exact numbers of xp, but lately I've taken up a method suggested in the Dark Heresy manual of giving out blanket amounts of xp per session, based on what was accomplished. Kind of like your example of the dragon, only instead of saying 'gain a level', I say 'ok, you got this and this done and you did this without getting killed or screwing up. Everyone gets 850 xp for today's session.' I've found it works pretty well for my group, and still allows for precise calculations when you get into item crafting or other mechanics that use the actual xp total.

Deth Muncher
2008-06-30, 02:32 AM
I usually run with exact numbers of xp, but lately I've taken up a method suggested in the Dark Heresy manual of giving out blanket amounts of xp per session, based on what was accomplished. Kind of like your example of the dragon, only instead of saying 'gain a level', I say 'ok, you got this and this done and you did this without getting killed or screwing up. Everyone gets 850 xp for today's session.' I've found it works pretty well for my group, and still allows for precise calculations when you get into item crafting or other mechanics that use the actual xp total.

Right right. This is generally how our campaigns go, just without the "You get 850 XP" part. If that battle wasn't enough for us to level, the DM just tells us that, or doesn't tell us anything at all.

nagora
2008-06-30, 02:43 AM
Usually this way a typical adventurer will level every 3-4 sessions (about what you should be aiming for with suggested XP awards by the book). But it rewards bringing a bit of fun to the table and keeps the math easy enough to count on your fingers.
Far too generous for my taste. I like the older system of taking longer to go up levels as you progress.

A year of play to go from 1st to 4th or 5th, say, but also a year for 10th to 11th and longer for 12th to 13th. Assuming 40 sessions a year.

Given that every edition so far has broken down into rampant silliness at around 18th-24th level, I think that's a good rate.

DMfromTheAbyss
2008-07-06, 12:28 PM
Well as to
@DMfromTheAbyss: Don't know if I'd entirely agree with that system. For example, you say you receive 1 box for showing up. That pretty much translates to "if you don't come, you'll be a box behind". I'd never reward (or punish) players for not being there, since it's so completely OoC. Instead, maybe give each player a box each session, regardless whether they were there to play?

Having players show up for a game is kindof important to have the game ... you know actually happen... If you want to reward players who can't make it that's a pretty easy thing to change... I wouldn't but I see your point. The nice thing is... it's really easy to change...

Also, I'm not sure I like the whole "impress us, get a box" thing. It's basically a OoC award as well, since you're pretty much rewarding your player for making you laugh/impressing you, not for doing anything in-game.

Actually it IS for doing something in game/in character that impresses us/makes party laugh that gets the reward. I'll edit that.

Mark Hall
2008-07-06, 01:11 PM
I tend to go by the book on single-classed characters XP, but multi-class and dual-class characters are a bit different. General XP gets divided in half between the classes. Class specific XP gets added to your class side, without dividing. This can result in some unbalanced classes (I've had thief-heavy fighter/thieves get a couple levels ahead of their fighter side, especially at low levels).

Avor
2008-07-06, 01:57 PM
About magic Items, use other player's xp.

Sort of house ruled, but if the fighter wants the wizard to make him a magic item, I see no problem useing the fighter's xp.

Keeps the party on the same level, and the wizard doesn't feel bad makeing things for his friends.

IC it makes sense, the wizzard instead of useing his own life forces, has the fighter with him and uses his to imbue the item with magic.

Gorbash
2008-07-06, 02:13 PM
Far too generous for my taste. I like the older system of taking longer to go up levels as you progress.

A year of play to go from 1st to 4th or 5th, say, but also a year for 10th to 11th and longer for 12th to 13th. Assuming 40 sessions a year.

Given that every edition so far has broken down into rampant silliness at around 18th-24th level, I think that's a good rate.

By your math, players would reach 20th lvl in about... 10 years of play by playing one session a week? Are you serious? That means that average player who plays, let's say, 3 years will play in only one campaign and that up to 6th lvl at best, since let's face it, no one accomplishes one session a week, there are summer holidays, finals, jobs etc etc...

Not to mention it's a bit bland to full 3 years of low lvl campaigns killing orcs and such...

Eclipse
2008-07-06, 02:32 PM
When I run games with levels and xp, I usually scrap the xp and have everyone level every other session. If they win an especially difficult fight or go through an exceptionally cool roleplay, I'll give them a level for a single session as a reward for doing awesome.

I used to go by the book for xp, but stopped for a few reasons. First off, I think the leveling process is way too slow, especially at lower levels. I know many people who disagree, and like it as it is, but I prefer fast advancement and getting into high powered, high magic games quickly.

Also, sometimes when we go through a session, we don't do much. We get sidetracked, and the players do a lot of chilling and roleplaying in the tavern. If they have fun with it, then cool, they can have their fun. One session devolved into drinking contests, joking around in the tavern, a minor bar fight, and other similar things. Nothing to award much xp for, as we didn't really advance any of the story and the players didn't overcome any real challenges that night, but we were having fun, so it was ok. Since I want to allow for things like this happening if we're in the mood for it, I keep progression going at a steady rate so players don't feel like they need to go xp hunting every session. Chalk it up to practice while they weren't at the tavern or something.

I also advance the party together, rather than leveling based on attendance. I don't want to punish players who can't make a session once in awhile. Real life gets in the way sometimes. If they chronically miss sessions, then I find out why, and if it's something we can resolve as a group, such as a scheduling issue, we do so. If it can't be resolved, then we usually work the person in the occasional days they can show up, or he's a gaming buddy who comes to watch when free if they're into that, or they just stop showing up for gaming sessions, depending on circumstances. They get to play, but they don't get as involved in the story anymore since they're absent a lot. Either way, in the end, it's no fun to be behind the power curve, so I avoid putting people there.

Also, I'll be honest, while the math isn't bad, I just really don't care to look up the tables after every session. I know where I want the story to go, and the players usually need to be advancing rapidly for me to take it there. I don't really need to bother with the numbers if I know where I want the players to be for a given part of the campaign. I certainly don't railroad them into events, but as the game goes on, challenges in all parts of the world escalate quickly.

Recently, for dealing with item creation, I've started giving players a total xp value in concert with the level I want them to be at. Sometimes, this puts a crafter at a disadvantage. With 4th edition, this won't be a problem anymore. With 3rd edition, I think I'm going to start having the player the item is created for pay the xp cost rather than the item creator for player created items, unless the players work out another arrangement. I like the xp costs because the players who deck their character out with customized items to complement their builds end up paying a price in character power for their extra character power from the item made just for them. It's certainly not perfect, but it's a start.

If a player gets a lot of crafted items to increase his power, then it's possible they'll fall behind on the level curve. The items they have make up for it. This is as it should be, as far as I'm concerned. But the crafter shouldn't take the hit for the whole party. That just punishes the spellcasters.

For spells with xp costs, I'll usually rule on a spell by spell basis. If it gives a permanent enhancement, I'll treat it as a magic item, and have whoever gets the benefit pay the price. For spells that are too powerful or versatile to allow without the xp cost, wish's less powerful uses for instance, I'll usually keep the cost, though depending on the players, I'm open to negotiating a way of use that doesn't give them a free pass to exploit it. For spells like commune or planar binding, I'll usually waive the cost, though if the players know to ask ahead of time, as certain uses can be too powerful to go with no cost, depending on what they hope to get out of it. It's usually not an issue though.

For character death, I usually do a death penalty of "one level" for the session. What it really amounts to is a negative level until the session is over. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, there are other penalties, such as loss of treasure and the like. Nothing that will permanently put a player behind the party, but enough that they still don't want to die.

In the end, this is what works for me when playing D&D, and it's not for everyone. It's heavily house ruled to work with the change of not giving out xp in a strict sense, but it works well for the games I run.

Draz74
2008-07-06, 08:28 PM
By your math, players would reach 20th lvl in about... 10 years of play by playing one session a week? Are you serious? That means that average player who plays, let's say, 3 years will play in only one campaign and that up to 6th lvl at best, since let's face it, no one accomplishes one session a week, there are summer holidays, finals, jobs etc etc...

Not to mention it's a bit bland to full 3 years of low lvl campaigns killing orcs and such...

Believe it or not, this was ... pretty normal in 1e and 2e.

Lots of campaigns had the characters retiring at Levels 9-14 or so (when they started getting their "you get a Stronghold and a kingdom to rule over" class features). And they considered themselves to have "won" the campaign. The goal wasn't as much to get to Level 20 as it is in 3e. Things were more story-based.

That's also the solution to keeping the "3 years of fighting orcs" boredom in check. The DM would have to provide interesting non-mechanical "checkpoints" of victory along the way to keep the campaign interesting. There were entire campaigns that you could feel like you "won and completed" even if your character was only Level 2 or 3. If your character had fulfilled his purpose as a hero, he didn't necessarily need to be one of "those heroes" who was destined to save the whole world.

Gorbash
2008-07-07, 06:12 AM
For me, hero means being unique. Powerful, too, but unique is the key word. You just can't be a hero if you're a fighter lvl 3, because there's a ton of other fighters lvl 3. The only difference between them is 3 feats. And 1 magic weapon, if they're lucky. But when you have a Fighter/Dervish/Dread Commando wielding his +3 Shocking Burst Wounding Greatsword named Runding, battlescars of thousand battles, his own mercenary company who took down a balor on their own, that's an entirely different matter.


Believe it or not, this was ... pretty normal in 1e and 2e.

I'm fine with that, but those systems have been outdated for 10+ years, the norm now is 3rd or 4th edition where those things go much faster and I find it silly to be stuck in lvls 1-4 for a year, which is a pretty long time for such a low lvl campaign. The only campaign I've played for more than a year was one ranging from lvls 3-11 with numerous brakes, due to exams, holidays etc.

nagora
2008-07-07, 06:27 AM
By your math, players would reach 20th lvl in about... 10 years of play by playing one session a week? Are you serious?
Yes. In fact, I'd say that was a bit quick; I took 10 years to reach 13th level.


That means that average player who plays, let's say, 3 years will play in only one campaign and that up to 6th lvl at best, since let's face it, no one accomplishes one session a week, there are summer holidays, finals, jobs etc etc...

Not to mention it's a bit bland to full 3 years of low lvl campaigns killing orcs and such...
We do other things too. And remember that a 4th level fighter in 1e is called a "hero" - they are already much more capable than a normal soldier. Such a character is not limited to facing orcs.

On reflection, it seems to me that the idea of xp no longer serves much purpose in 4th, or even 3rd, edition. If you expect x sessions per level, then just do that. In 1e we have to actually work for the levels rather than expecting them to be served up on a conveyor belt just for turning up, but it's pretty obvious that WotC don't believe in that sort of thing. So, why bother with xp? Just have a divisor and everytime the character plays a session divide the session number by that to find their new level.

Zaggab
2008-07-07, 07:02 AM
Yes. In fact, I'd say that was a bit quick; I took 10 years to reach 13th level.



I am amazed you could focus on a single character/story for such a long time. In my group with 4 regular players, at least 3 wants to GM their own stories. Thus, our campaigns only last a couple of months (4-8) so that someone else can GM as well. Often we even have two campaigns running at the same time.

Some of the players have so many character ideas in their head that they really want an opportunity to play, that it is torture to only play one of them for extended amounts of time.

Because of this, our stories tend to advance fairly quickly. Since we like our stories to be a bit over-the-top, our characters also advance quicker than the books says they should. In DnD, that means that we level about every third session, on average. Experience is decided solely by story (for example, the 4000 xp required between level 4 and 5 can be given out in chunks of 1500, 1000, 2000*, even though most of the combat and other dangers take place in session 2).

*Yes, that means 500 xp into lvl 5. We seldom hit the exact requirement, because it seems more dynamic like this. Yes, we are a little weird.

Gorbash
2008-07-07, 07:12 AM
Some of the players have so many character ideas in their head that they really want an opportunity to play, that it is torture to only play one of them for extended amounts of time.

Yes, this too. By playing one session per week for 10 years, that means that in your whole gaming career you get to play one character, which doesn't sound right to me... In 6 years of play, I've had 5 serious (played him for quite some time) characters and a bunch more characters for campaigns which didn't quite hit it off, and I can't imagine playing only character that whole time (even more for 10 years), since sometimes when I play a certain character I want to try out some other class...

nagora
2008-07-07, 08:10 AM
I am amazed you could focus on a single character/story for such a long time.
There were other character's played in that time - perhaps that's why I ended up at 13th instead of 20th. So, the central character had friends and relations and decendants who could all be played when he was busy doing something else that didn't require play, such as healing or overseeing the construction of his castle or maintainance of his estates. So, although Nagora was 13th level, his kids were all approaching 9th level and getting progressively more play as he settled into retirement (he was pushing 70 by then). Similarly, other new characters were knocking around so everyone had the option of doing a low or mid-level game from time to time with a party of "henchmen" out on a mission of their own.

Nowadays our groups tend to play a single campaign for maybe a year, then switch to another and then switch back and carry on where we left off. That gives everyone a chance to try GMing and to have a go at different genres. We have the occassional 3-part game or even one-off too.

Because levelling up isn't a big focus of how we view whether the character is doing well or not, we're free to explore multiple characters without having to commit to reaching level 20 or any other game mechanic in order to class the campaign as finished - in fact, I don't think any of us would value the notion of finishing a campaign. In most cases, that means something's wrong either with the setting or the system.

If our old group had not been broken up as people went off to university I might still be playing the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of my 13th level fighter. The gameworld would have developed and moved on, but not ended.

Gorbash
2008-07-07, 08:51 AM
^Well,that makes more sense, but you have to realize that leveling up in 3rd and 4th edition goes MUCH faster than that, and that's what most of the people are playing these days... And as much as I love getting into my character and his development, also I like him being powerful and high lvl, since most of characters were low lvl, but I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life waitting for him to hit 20th lvl and explore what epic characters can do. I'm actually enjoying so much the fact that he can do awesome stuff (being a wizard) and it just gets better and better with each lvl.

Jayabalard
2008-07-07, 09:11 AM
^Well,that makes more sense, but you have to realize that leveling up in 3rd and 4th edition goes MUCH faster than that, and that's what most of the people are playing these days... They don't have to go any faster than that if you don't want them to. Some people are into instant gratification, some people like it slow like Nagora, and most people are somewhere in between.


Is it really important what the DM likes? Yup; if the DM doesn't get what they want out of the game then they aren't going to enjoy DMing. It's the same reason that it's important what the players like.

nagora
2008-07-07, 09:17 AM
^Well,that makes more sense, but you have to realize that leveling up in 3rd and 4th edition goes MUCH faster than that, and that's what most of the people are playing these days...
Sure, and I did say that I prefered the "older" style.


And as much as I love getting into my character and his development, also I like him being powerful and high lvl, since most of characters were low lvl, but I definitely don't want to spend the rest of my life waitting for him to hit 20th lvl and explore what epic characters can do. I'm actually enjoying so much the fact that he can do awesome stuff (being a wizard) and it just gets better and better with each lvl.

Well, I think 3ed is broken from about 18th level upwards, because of the mistakes WotC made in their changes to wizards, and I don't want to play a broken game no matter how long to takes to get to that point.

And, because of this brokeness, there is a very clear "that's the end of the game" feel to 3e and 4e which I dislike. I don't want there to be an epic level or a paragon level; they feel like kiddies' versions of the game to me. But that's a question of style: I like playing great heroes, not demigods. But, that might be because I don't like gods generally in-game or out.

Gorbash
2008-07-07, 11:15 AM
Well, I think 3ed is broken from about 18th level upwards, because of the mistakes WotC made in their changes to wizards, and I don't want to play a broken game no matter how long to takes to get to that point.

Hah, 18th. Wizards are broken from lvl 7. :smallbiggrin:
And just because you CAN break the game, it doesn't mean you MUST. That's what I do, at least.