JP On Gaming

Monday, September 17, 2012

NeoExodus Legacies: Talking about experience

One of the big changes I saw in Organized Play which both surprised and pleased me was Pathfinder Society's super-simple experience system. You play 3 games, you gain a level. There is no "I'm 5xp from my next level", which happened to me to many times in LG and both Arcanis campaigns (yes I'm grumbling about it). This simplified math is great, simple and clean.

But, its not flexible.

That's right... It lacks flexibility and nowhere do can you see this than with the "Quest" system, like Ambush in Absalom. That has been a problem I've been thinking about for the longest time. How can we offer short adventures, keep the math simple AND reward the players for it? I wanted to offer rewards for adventures that were roughly 1/3 or 1/4 of a one-round adventure (1 round = ~4h of play).

I have to say the answer I proposed to the First Ones did not happen overnight, it took a long time to germinate and form into something more concrete and solid. Many of the previous versions I managed to find holes in and break with relative ease.

In the end, pure math came to my assistance.

Assuming every one of the "shorts" were about 1-1:30 run time, I settled on a 1/3 ratio. Keeping PFS 3XP/level, I needed to fit 3, 1/3 adventures into a 4h slot? What if instead of giving players a 1/3 xp, I made the small adventure the single unit of measurement. So to gain a level, a character needed to gain 9 experience points instead of 3. And the math all fell into place!

Like PFS, by using a base 9/level, we would be able to give XP based on the adventure itself. Most adventures would give 3 but some of the bigger ones, such as B1-Cold Visitor and C2-Origin of Man have a MUCH bigger scope and should be approached as such! Pathfinder Society gives players a reward of 3xp (a full level) to those who play these modules (and I have to say that I really love them). I'm not saying we would do anything different, but we have flexibility.

One of the great things about this is that it offers us a lot of versatility in creating larger adventures and integrate them into the Campaign. Not EVERY adventure would grant the same amount of XP. We would be able to offer adventures with optional or bonus encounters and reward the players who played through those.