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Thursday, April 12, 2012

D&D: About Experience Awad

To my mind one of the most tedious part of the D&D game is an XP award calculation. DM have to spend hours and even days preparing adventure, so spending extra hours on XP award calculation seems quite expensive. Upcoming changes to the system wouldn't make a difference.

Would you really want to calculate all that CRs and ELs? Nine Hells, NO!!!

Smart people tends to save their time using own systems. This one for example is quite clever. In general - XP awarded for caused and taken points of damage. I have no intentions discuss its Pros and Cons, but would like to admit that this approach still needs calculation and statistics records. So it is cheaper (in terms of time) but still is expensive for my taste.

My system of XP award

...is based on the following premises:
  1. The essence of the XP is a Level Up delay. Think carefully - we need to delay player's LVLUP until one have accomplished some tasks.
  2. My games are about deeds, not kills. I do not care whether they smashed the obstacle or talked it to death, I only care whether they overcame it or not. This is the point of DM's guide too.
  3. DM is interested in players LVLUP as players themselves because he can bring more danger in game with less concerns about their occasional death. (May be it isn't common across DMs, but I care about PC's lives - in my games they may die because the players stupidity, not because the mission itself was impossible). Here is the point - if player wants to LVLUP and DM wants player to LVLUP, then LVLUP must occur as fast as upcoming events challenge grows.
  4. I do not want to perform calculations to determine how much orcs of the given level players must defeat to gain new level.
  5. XP is awarded after adventure is complete. So the task is complete (see point 1) and it means that there is no further need to delay LVLUP any further.
With the given premises I award XP which amount is exact enough for the highest level character in party to gain new level assuming that one's XP amount before LVLUP does not exceed minimum XP amount needed to achieve current character's level. In other words: 
Bxp = (minXP_needed_for_next_level) - (minXP_needed_for_current_level)
This is how basic XP (Bxp) is awarded for every party member for the given adventure.

Then this basic XP (Bxp) is adjusted for each character. To determine this adjustment I track players major actions during the game and score them according to the following table of action scores:
+1 for each case of: -1 for each case of:
good roleplay poor roleplay
helpful idea metagame thinking
Individual risk taken (x1) and if succeed (x2 – multiplicator) needed to be rescued by DM (x3 – multiplicator)

Note that I don't score every action - only that which match patterns in the table.
Sum of the action scores is used as coefficient k for a final XP award.
Final XP (Fxp) reward is calculated as follows:
Fxp = Bxp + clvl * (kd100),
where d100 is a percentile die, and clvl - current character's level. Player rolls percentile dice k times, multiplies it by one's current level and sums it with the basic XP.


Every player will have + and - scores and if there were more - than +, one may not gain next level after given adventure and will be weaker then the other PC who roleplayed better. There is no need in complicated CR and EL calculations or tracking anything but the major player actions. Also it helps characters with lower levels to keep up. Win-win)))

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