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Frontier Xperience greatly appreciated :)

Started by Sylus Thane, April 17, 2003, 01:26:18 AM

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Sylus Thane

Ok, for my game Frontier, whcih applies to my setting Dawn of the Magi, I wanted a means of doing experience that rewarded the skills you used but didn't give you a means to suddenly buy a skill you never had before without having a reason other than it game up in game-play and you suddenly instantly learned to a level five.

So Frontier Xperience stands as thus.

Everytime a character makes a successful check roll they recieve 1 tick towards that skill, if they roll a critical success they get 2.

If they fail their roll they recieve no ticks and roll of a critical failure loses them 2. Showing that a big screwup may cause you to go a wrong direction in learning.

Skills then automatically increase as you surpass certain totals. Each level having a specific total of x.

This is done to show that people who use specific skills on a regular basis get better at them more quickly than someone who uses them rarely. Then at the end of each game session bonus ticks are presented to the players by the gm and the other players. Mostly other players. This helps to enforce group involvement as if you are doing more with the group they notice your exploits more and reward you for it.

Examples would be:
One just for showing up to play.
You rolled a critical success while playing.
You helped do something to reinforce group cohesion.
General Cool points for doing something truly snazzy.

This bonus ticks can then be spent to increase stats or to purchase new skills that the characters have taken the time to have someone teach them or they are trying to teach themselves, but a at higher difficulty.

My questions are:
1. Has anyone seen anything done like this before?
2. Anything about it strike you as particularly cool or new?
3. General opnions?

and 4. Do you think people will grasp it easily and enjoy it?

Thanks ahead of time,


1. I used a similar approach with Toast, except that instead of keeping track of ticks for each skill, at the end of the session you roll on each skill you used during the session to see if the skill improves.

2. I wouldn't worry about that.

3. I personally like this type of advancement a great deal, for whatever that's worth.  One suggestion: Don't take away points for critical failures.  The last thing you want to do is discourage participation.  Besides, it can easily be argued that people learn as much or more from their mistakes than from their successes.

4. Definitely.

Sylus Thane

Thanks Ethan, actually it is worth a lot. let's me know that I'm doing something some one out there wome where will enjoy. I agree that changing it not to penalize the critical mistakes is a good idea. It was in there from when it was all written down but I should have noticed that it had never been used from lack of making sense.

Thanks for to the imput.

Mike Holmes

I've seen this a ccouple of times. CoC was likely the first. A little different, but not too dissimilar, really. The only downside to such a system is the bookkeeping required. I've been guilty in the past of not recording successful uses in such games. What would happen in that case in your game? They're lost? I assume to keep the GM sane that the players do the recordig themselves, right?

One thing that I'd change is to give one tick instead of losing two for a critical failure. It can be argued that one leaqrns as much from their faliures as from their successes. In any case, what this does mechanically is to reduce the tendency in players to avoid difficult tasks. With the system as you have it, players will want to stay far away from anything that could likely result in a crit fail. Whereas with my revision they'll know that even if they end failing badly, that they'll get something for their efforts.

In fact, this brings up the dreaded question that these systems always beg. What's to prevent a player from finding the easy lock and picking it seventeen times to bump up his ticks? I assume that, like most of these systems, that there are caveats against this sort of behavior.

What I personally like to see, is that difficulty of the task be worked in somehow. That is, people tend to learn best when presented with practice that's substantially difficult, but not so hard that they're completely unable to perform. Basically learning occurs best when you are likely to fail most of the time, but there's a chance of success. Then as you get the successes more regularly, you've learned, and need more difficult material. See what I'm getting at?

Perhaps this only pertains to repetitive learning, however. Do you have rules for "practice" that are separate, then? Can an individual improve that way? Or is that not in the scope of the game?

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Sylus Thane

As far as the losing ticks for critical failures. after yours and Ethan comments I've decided that yes it would be better to lose that altogether or as you suggested give points so as not to discourage from attempting difficult things. As far as learning through practice, yes you can do that. As well as being trained or attempting to learn on your own, although a bit more difficultly.As far as taking into consideration checks that have a modifier showing them to be more difficult, i've considered giving the modifier amount as bonus ticks.

And yes, to keep the gm sane the responsibility of keeping track of the ticks would be on the players part. I hope to have my character sheet developed well enough to help facilitate the ease of keeping track of them.

Thanks for the imput,


1. Cyberpunk 2020 used a success tracker like that. Off the top of my head I am thinking everytime you successfully used it? you got a point. When you reached 10 x current you moved up (or it could be 10 x next). So similar but not exactly the same.

2. Well although obviously other people agree that critical failure has some impact on the learning of a skill, I have not seen a game yet (to my knowledge) where it was used.  I could be very wrong on this of course.

3.  Very good. Easy and I think is pretty effective.

4. It seems very easy to grasp.