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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 174 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: A new take on the walking tour...  (Read 1610 times)

Posts: 174

« on: June 01, 2005, 06:14:43 PM »

Okay, for reasons too convoluted to go into here I've been reading an old edition (1st, I think) of Rolemaster Character Law.  On the experience table I noted that characters can receive "Travel Points"--

Quote from: Character Law

"One experience point for every mile a player travels while conscious and able to interact with the territory...or {sic}, for air or sea travel, one experience point for every 10 miles of travel...

...It is meant to reflect the immense experience one derives from interacting with the world.

This is the strongest System-fueled backing I've yet seen for a Simulation-oriented game (assuming you buy that assessment of RM) in terms of the main point being Exploration of Setting.  The book also posits "Religious points" and "Death (your own) points" as well.

Can anyone think of any similar examples from other games?  I find this a fascinating way, the first I've noticed, for really facilitating a Sim agenda.  I'm so interested, I just might try to convince some people to play it a few times...


Posts: 462

« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 09:13:09 AM »

I can't speak to Rolemaster, but I did play a lot of the MERP variant, which used similar xp awards ( my personal favorite being the " Well, I guess I won't do that again effect..."- being awarded large gobs of xps for taking heavy duty crits like having your character's arm hacked off !). I also recall that MERP had "idea/planning/active play" xp rewards- If a player came up with a plan that was enacted or simply was sort of proactive, they would get a certain percentage of points for the encounter.

As I understand those old ICE designs, the creators were dealing with an evolving style of rpg design. The basic idea was that players wanted to be rewarded by xps so they could build up their characters level style. However, rpgs had started picking up more sim tendencies-players had started making more characters that weren't exclusively fighting types. In order to award players of those types of characters, designers tried to bash ways together to come up with new award system categories. I would even point to the old school xps for gps award systems. After all, why shouldn't a thief be awarded for grabbing the loot by stealth rather than force? That same line of reasoning led to concepts like xp awards for session participation, "playing in character/good roleplaying", and mission based rewards.

The thing is, I really liked that style of xp rewards at the time. Only much later, I realized that that particular style of reward was based on many assumptions of play style from early rpg designs, and that that style of reward might actually run counter to the style of simmy goodness I was looking for.

Some key assumptions:
Rewarding xps to a character is a way to reward the player.
[True to some extent, but based on the following assumptions also being present.]

Players will want to play a single character exclusively.
[ I almost never found this to be true. It also makes it hard for a player to switch characters if they don't like the original, or if they simply feel like retiring them.]

Players will be playing in a never ending campaign in a gaming group that meets regularly.
[Much more true for myself at an earlier point in life. Very untrue under current circumstances- making this a problem for groups that meet irregularly or do one-shots].

Players want to start with an inexperienced character that becomes much more competent over time.
[Much less true than any of those old-timey designers seemed to believe. IME, most players want a relatively competent character to start with, with some option to upgrade/change the character being a decidely secondary goal].

Non-combat xp rewards will actually even out the xp accumulation between combat and non-combat oriented character concepts.
[This one almost never happened in practice, especially if direct xps for combat victories was the norm of the game. Instead, combat characters would get all of their combat xps and some non-combat rewards as well. Non-combat characters would limp along with a few instances of greater that usual non-combat awards, a miniscule amount of combat awards for the times they participated in combat, and a few instances of when all party members accumulated the same amount of non-combat xps- the travel distance award for example.]

For an example of early simmy xp awards, check out the old TSR Gangbusters rules. XP awards were based on class, with each class having different conditions for awards ( frex: criminals only got xps for monetary profit made from crime-meaning that organized crooks engaged in low profile "victimless" crimes often advanced faster and to higher levels than your hitmen or bankrobber types. Cops got xps primarily from catching crooks and successfully obtaining convictions). Interestingly, for a class/level based system, GB characters stayed fairly close to their 1st levl competence ( compared to pcs in fantasy games). Level became more a reflection of character status in the gameworld than an actual serious power up.


Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
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