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Author Topic: XP and Benefits in game  (Read 2052 times)
lesbianvampyre
Member

Posts: 5


« on: October 24, 2003, 10:08:20 AM »

I'm working on desgining a simple anthropomorphic pulp/noir game and I had a couple questions. I'm using somethng called Brownie Points to serve as experience and sort of Drama Points. You can spend a Brownie Point to heal half your hit points, gain one hit point if you are at zero to come back from the dead, double the number of dice you roll on a challenge or insert a plot device. Or you can save Brownie Points. You can also use Brownie Points to improve attributes, improve or buy new skills, buy new Benefits and buy off Burdens. My question is this, what should be the cap on how many Brownie Points you earn a game? Everyone who plays gets one Brownie point.  Doing something noteworhty earns another. Good role-playing earns a Brownie Point. So do quotes, although I'm not sure how many quotes for how many Brownie Points.
My other question is this, I have something called Benefits in my game. They're like advantages or merits. I have one Benefit that gives you authority, either in the church, the military the underworld or law enforcement. I have another that make s them rich or gives them extra money. Should I have another Benefit fro Fame, for people who are well known but not necessarily rich or powerful?
Thanks for all your help Guys,
John
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ZeOtter
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Posts: 25


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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2003, 11:08:47 AM »

Hi lesbianvampyre (ummm, interesting name)

To answer your first question, no I don't think you should put an absolute cap on the XP's because that should be the judgment of the game master running your game.  You can make suggestions depending on how fast the GM wants players to advance to higher power levels, but I recommend that is all you do. To be honest I would like to see games get away from the the traditional "player does good, players get reward" idea RPG's have followed so long.  Character advancement should be part of the story not a sideline number crunching exercise. This not to say that players should role-play sitting in classrooms but that maybe in game they can setup those classes. Just an idea...

As for your second question, should fame be separate from riches and power all depends on your setting.  Are there people that can be famous with out being rich or powerful in today’s world?  Sure there are, but many of them don't stay that way, take Monica Lewinsky as an example.  After she became famous she wrote a book, made deal and is living pretty comfortably...  So really it boils down to, is there a game reason to separate them?
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Karl Kreder

I have not wasted my life away on RPG's. I have wasted away my life working for someone else...
Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2003, 12:15:06 PM »

Hi, John. Welcome to The Forge!

I'll answer your questions in reverse order.

Quote from: lesbianvampyre
...I have something called Benefits in my game. They're like advantages or merits. I have one Benefit that gives you authority, either in the church, the military the underworld or law enforcement. I have another that makes them rich or gives them extra money. Should I have another Benefit for Fame, for people who are well known but not necessarily rich or powerful?


How about a Famous pulp detective who doesn't have much money and isn't powerful? Would that kind of character fit into your game setting?

Quote from: lesbianvampyre
...what should be the cap on how many Brownie Points you earn a game? Everyone who plays gets one Brownie point. Doing something noteworthy earns another. Good role-playing earns a Brownie Point. So do quotes, although I'm not sure how many quotes for how many Brownie Points.


Let's say you make the limit at four Brownie points per player per session. Then a player will at the minimum: turn up; do something interesting (or try to) once; role play their character well once; and perhaps say their quote once. What motivation is there left for the player to do more after they've been rewarded only once? At this point the player could have their character "turn turtle" and do nothing more interesting until the game session ended. Is this the kind of play style you desire?

If you'd prefer the players and their characters to keep doing noteworthy actions, roleplaying well and speaking pulp/noirish quotes, then it seems to me better to keep actively rewarding each player with a Brownie point for each action and quote that keeps within the game's setting and tone. That way, the players keep doing the actions and quotes and keep getting rewarded. Any player that "turns turtle" can see that they're being left behind and not getting as much reward.

Then it becomes a question of, with players gaining large amounts of Brownie points, what are the benefits to the players of spending Brownie points? Trading a Brownie point gained for a momentary action for permanently increased character effectiveness in the form of increased skills or attributes is a really great deal for the player, but seems inappropriate to me for the setting. Perhaps then Brownie points could be traded for momentarily increased character effectiveness in the game? Perhaps changing a character's failure into a success? What do you feel?
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Andrew Martin
The Benj
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2003, 01:00:24 AM »

The problem with maintaining the system in this fashion is the same problem which arises in 7th Sea, wherein you have a mechanic which should encourage you to do exciting, dramatic stuff.

But it actually pushes you the other way.

If you have two Drama Dice (or Brownie Points, or Force Points, or Bottle Caps, whatever), each of which will let you:
Add to a roll (thus saving your arse or letting you just do something cool)
OR
Get some XP to spend as you wish...

Then you get players only spending those resources when they absolutely must. As a player, one asks the question "is hitting this guy RIGHT NOW worth spending my XP for later?" and the answer is almost inevitably no.

Thus, in the 7th Sea game I'm involved in, I suggested the following:

Invert the relationship between XP and Hardcore Units.

When you spend a Drama Dice (of which you still only have a limitted supply), you are spending the amount of XP which they represent (in 7th Sea's case, 2, which is the amount required to buy a skill you have at 0 up to 1) upon whatever skill or attribute you are using. This means, instead of asking the question "Is it worth losing 2 XP to leap this hole?", one instead must ask "Is Leaping a direction I want to take my character?". I've been finding that players now spend Drama Dice EVERY SESSION, rather than the single one I had seen spent in the ten sessions previous, which was to survive an otherwise fatal attack.

I hope this is helpful.
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lesbianvampyre
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2003, 11:39:52 AM »

Thanks so much for your help guys!
John
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Ben Morgan
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Posts: 307


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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2003, 05:33:01 PM »

Quote
The problem with maintaining the system in this fashion is the same problem which arises in 7th Sea, wherein you have a mechanic which should encourage you to do exciting, dramatic stuff.

But it actually pushes you the other way.

I noticed this problem as well. The first thing I did was rule that XP were earned as Drama Dice were used, in a 1:1 ratio. Thus, players are rewarded for attempting more dramatic actions.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
failrate
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2003, 11:26:22 PM »

That's a swell idea.  I'm going to have to steal it to put in my game.  Thanks.
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The Benj
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Posts: 12


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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2003, 07:23:47 AM »

Groovy. Just remember not to sue me if I ever publish the idea, since you stole it from me.

Glad to help.
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failrate
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2003, 09:33:38 PM »

Actually, it is a really good mechanic, but I checked my text, and it seems the karma-gambling element I already have in place should work just fine.  Besides, I'm pretty sure that my finished game will be open source and free for all, anyway.
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The Benj
Member

Posts: 12


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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2003, 05:21:08 AM »

This was at least partially a joke, as we're all just being friendly here, but as a serious part, I'm chilled at the idea of talking about an idea on a public forum, having someone pick it up, then getting sued if I used it five years down the track or something.

SHUDDER.

I'm not suggesting you would, but doesn't that idea suck?
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