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Incandescent Phoenix
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« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2012, 08:27:36 AM »

This blog post seems relevant. More 5e voting on what to include, discussing followers and strongholds.
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« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2012, 10:58:12 PM »

sparkletwist

LordVreeg

And remember, it is merely the least amount experience gotten, so it is the spice on the food, not the meal.

Llum

In GS you need a steady flow of bits of XP to add to skills so you can hit level breaks. There's no real "character advancement" aside from this, and in some sessions you might not use any skills (or only a few). So without this extra XP you'd almost never ever level up skills.
These two statements would seem to be contradictory.

Llum's version seems to align more with my thought about roleplay experience being a sort of "safety valve." It doesn't matter if the actual system mechanics and play balance are kind of wacky, because you do a lot of freeform RP and get experience points for doing it. Thus, quite a bit of the game centers on a fun activity with a mechanical reward entirely independent from any aspect of the system that may have problems. And that's fine! Like I said, I'm not trying to accuse anyone of badwrongfun. However, it doesn't mean the mechanical problems aren't still there.
Depends totally on the type of game you play.  When SIG was mainly a dungeon crawl, the Roleplay exp was a negligible part of the total exp gained.  I think I could say HP exp alone was often higher than Roleplay EXP.  LLum is commenting on the fact that often, we use this game to do things other than have encounters or serious exploration; and unlike other systems, this is where the RP experience really shines.  IN many other games, the time spent in town would result in either no experience or that ridiculous 'level when the GM wants you to' ideal that came in with later D&D. 
It's not a safety valve so much as an avoidance of same; the third type of experience given out in the system that allows for experience to be gained consistently wherever the play takes the game (instead of having to give out ad-hoc experience) and at the same time a mechanism for the player to supercede the character. 
One of the best things about RP experience is that though GS is a game with consistent rewards, we very commonly find smarter players beat better characters.  Many games cater to min/maxers and the escalating growth that comes from a more capable character being able to do more; normally fought by giving more group experience.  While GS rewards clever use of skills; RP experience is actually the ultimate example of rewarding the player instead of the character.
 And I take the comment "If the actual system mechanics and play balance is kind of whacky" to be as seriously as you mean it to be.  You won't accuse of Badwrongfun, but you'll trash what you don't understand.


 

ST

LordVreeg

Sure, if power levels are absolute (this guy is level 6 and this guys is level 2), that’s an issue.
The nice thing about "absolute power levels" is that it makes it easier to be able to determine what the party is capable of so you can decide what to throw at them. You know that characters who are at level 6 are capable of doing certain things, and it's usually more than what characters at level 2 are capable of. In D&D, you have the CR which can correspond to the party's level, but even if you don't get this meticulous (I prefer not to, personally) you've got a general sense of the characters' place in the world and can select appropriate things to place in their path. If you have a party with members at both level 6 and level 2, it becomes more difficult to create an encounter that will appropriately challenge them. However, you've still got some indication of who is stronger and who is weaker, and their average level of capability.

On the other hand, if you have characters with skills who are all over the place, not only do you have to contend with varying skill levels due to them having different absolute amounts of experience, but you also have to contend with the issue of hyper-specialists vs. generalists, and the idea of some people having skills that are more useful than others-- basically, the problem is that now you have a greater risk of characters at the same level of experience diverging as well. A specialist may be able to win an encounter easily that the generalists would all have a very hard time with, and that throws off the balance when you decide what to throw at the group. If the specialist doesn't win quickly, but the rest of the group can't help much, the rest of the group will be bored, to boot. Having lots of skills with the option to either generalize or specialize can make the problem I cited worse.
The nice thing about "absolute Power levels" is that they are easy.  That part I agree with.  And there is a charm to that and an ease of game creation associated with it.  I use it in my simple Accis game.

And if our game, like your example  above, just dealt with encounters, sure, I'd probably change the system or at least change how we did things.  But I don't want that.  And by flattening out the power curve (which makes it very difficult to get too far as a pure specialist) and by spreading out the skill use, we somehow end up with a wider useful spread of character ability overlap.  I don't know how long it may take a character in D&D that you've played to go from second to sixth level, but in GS we have characters who are a few sessions old pitching in with characters that are 30 sessions old. 

ST

LordVreeg

And if the power growth curve is such that you have comic book heroes who lift trucks fighting normal guys, you’d be right.
Reducing the amount of power growth doesn't actually fix anything because everyone follows the same curve. The guy who has worked his way up to a decent edge in combat, negotiation, stealth or whatever else is still going to be far over the guy who doesn't have those advantages, even if nobody can throw trucks or gain any ridiculous amount of power in absolute terms, because he's still going to have gained a ton of relative power. He has the same real and quantifiable advantages when it comes to rolling the dice.

The only ways to stop characters of different power levels from diverging are to either deprive them of a chance for meaningful advancement and basically say everyone is level 1 forever, or simply create a system that is so random it doesn't matter what's on your character sheet. Obviously, those are non-solutions.
Quite frankly, Bullshit. 
If you'd stop talking about things you had no idea about, you would not make the above absolute statement.  Then again, you'd probably have contributed what I will charitably call 'substantially less'to the whole thread if that was the case.  Your comment of  " The only ways to stop characters of different power levels from diverging are to either deprive them of a chance for meaningful advancement and basically say everyone is level 1 forever, or simply create a system that is so random it doesn't matter what's on your character sheet. Obviously, those are non-solutions." is either Begging the Question or admission you don't understand the subject.  You are not stopping them from diverging, you are simply changing and multiplying the means of said divergence.
The power curve I mention is a single dimensional, class-based version versus a multidimensional one. see here.

LV

Well, this is where developing a multi-dimensional system (in terms of focus and growth) comes in handy.  Sure, if power levels are absolute (this guy is level 6 and this guys is level 2), that’s an issue.  And if the power growth curve is such that you have comic book heroes who lift trucks fighting normal guys, you’d be right.
This is one of those places where citing the full quote is important.  You are literally trying to compare a 2 dimensional slope equation to a branching 3 dimensional slope equation (with further branches down the slope) while also ignoring the synergistic effect of the way those branches have been set up to encourage taking different 'routes' after a certain level is reached.  In other words...EVERYONE DOES NOT FOLLOW THE SAME CURVE.  We dropped the slope and spread it out.
Yes, the main goal of creating the system was creating something where even a few fighting characters could have vastly different skill sets, so that there was a lot more differentiation and individualization in character development.  But the other part was slowing the power growth curve in multiple fashions (the skill system, the experience chart, the subskill/dropdown skill system, combat lethality,how spell points are used in spells, spell success, and how they come back, etc).
To take the level 2 and level 6 example more literally, no, I am not trying to say that a somewhat new character with 6800 exp is as useful as a 30 session character with 16000 exp.  (we literally give starting exp to divy up in creating a character at chargen).  But the new guy can probably do a lot of things that the older character cannot, some of them very useful.  in GS, the newer character will be useful in the company of the 16000 exp guy. 
Having had 6000 exp characters join the Mistonians when most of that group had been playing for over a decade (maybe a 19k-42k exp spread from that) and still contribute and survive, I'll tell you that the system allows for much better mixed chracter abiity pay than any others I have seen except for some story games.  I never said I had eliminated the issue,  I never said the issue was not there, I said it was "A lot less".    And For me, since I tend towards long term groups and campaigns, that was important.  I think My exact quote was, " Your ’simple mathematical reality’ does actually apply, just to an incredibly lesser and more diffused amount"


ST

LordVreeg

a guy with 800 EXP in ‘basic hospitality’ has no more ‘power’, and will be the same drain on the party’s resources to keep alive, as you are describing it, than a person without it, despite the difference of experience.
Are you saying that a character who dumps his experience points into a less useful skill will be no more capable, generally speaking, than someone who doesn't have that xp at all? Because, I agree, but... so what? If that character had put the 800 experience into "swinging big swords" or whatever he'd probably be winning combat encounters instead.
Um.  Yeah.  My point exactly.  Thank you.  You'd be right if swinging a sword/encounters is what every game was about.
You said, " This means that I would expect a fairly wide disparity of power within the party to arise fairly often-- if I'm wrong, please explain how and why. Otherwise, it seems like you would always run into this problem, because it's caused by simple mathematical reality"
and
"The mathematical fact is that in any game that allows any meaningful amount of character advancement, situations that are enough of a challenge for a high level character will be immensely difficult if not impossible to a lower level character"
your simple mathematical reality/mathematical fact (these two terms taken verbatim) does not apply when more experience does not always translate into 'better at everything the group does ' My example above is built to simply show that your mathematical reality is not.  If the guy with the 800 exp in 'Basic Hospitality' goes into a bar with a warrior with 25k in diverse combat skills, the 'character advancement situation' will be harder for the damn fighter with all the experience.  Remember, you get experience for using skills is GS.   
Though take heart, the fighter still might score some Roleplay Experience, if the player is any good.  And as a piece of advice, stop with the absolutes.  "The Only Way" , "The Mathematical Fact", the "Mathematical reality", "will ALWAYS exist", etc.  I will be circumspect and say that they come across wrong. 



Phoenix

Steerpike

I think this is the crux of what I object to: the idea that the xp is the incentive, the cash, that mechanical character advancement is the goal, and roleplaying is the chore one does to obtain it
I'm kind of with Steerpike in feeling uncomfortable with the idea that it's the GM's job to reward or punish behaviors with XP. We're building a collective story. We're having fun. I don't need to use XP as a currency for measuring success. And LC's class participation analogy is disturbingly close.
No, I have not had the time, but Steepike's comment about Roleplaying being the chore does not hold up, to me..  I play sports.  Played a few in highschool and college, picked up a Div 2 national title, etc.  I keep score when I play sports, in general.  But that does not mean that suddenly, the game is a "chore'.  The game is what I am there for, though I generally am at a level I like to keep score.  Playing the game keeping score does not make the game a chore suddenly.  Even when I go out back and play 'HORSE', just because we are keeping score does not mean my enjoyment and reasons dissapear. 
Roleplaying being the crux of the game, it should not become a 'chore' automatically because the activity is being quantified.  I do not want to say that I have not had a few players in my history that were more suited for 'Morrowind' than an RPG, (much though I enjoyed it), and who were more interested in character growth then in the roleplaying, but all the RP experience did for them was to emphasize the importance of playing the role in the game.

LC

The arbitrary XP award. You know the one. It's the end of the game session: "Alice, take 50 XP for good roleplaying. Bob, take 40. Charlie, you did great this week, take, uh, 75. Diane, you get 20."

I wouldn't do this, because I think the reasoning behind it is totally murky. You can claim that the advancement is proportional to the amount of "good roleplaying" that's being done, but the concept of "good roleplaying" is really subjective and can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Besides that, I think it's hard to argue that the specific numbers chosen are anything but arbitrarily chosen. When one player gets 30 XP for that one inspirational speech and another gets 40 XP for that scene with the duchess, how is that to be interpreted? Is the first player's performance 75% as good as the second player's? Are speeches inherently inferior to interactions with nobility? Who gives these things their relative weighted values, and how do players understand what those values are? I worry that at some level you are introducing an element of "we've got to take whatever the GM hands out and be happy with, because there's no rhyme or reason to it, and no arguing with the result."

I basically look at this sort of thing like a "participation grade" on a class syllabus. You remember, those things that were typically the vaguest and least-structured slices of the pie chart representing your grade? If the kid next to me gets 100% for his participation grade and I get a 70% (and I haven't been sleeping in class or flipping desks), I'm going to want to know why, and I'm going to be pissed at the teacher.
As stated, here is what I use
+25 for showing up.  This amount can be higher if we are short of people, but it is always uniform among those who show up for a session. 
+1 for an IC conversation, +5 for in-game logic deduction/pronouncement/action, +10 for in-game character development comments/events/clever skill use (making new connections, deducing a plot piece, etc).  I keep hashmarks with a list of the PCs names.   I think a little over 200 was the biggest RP haul in SIG, normally 70-120.
So as to your example with the 2 speeches, they'd be scored the same, probably 6 exp in RP a piece, and the interactions with nobility would be the same as well, unless one of the PCs used a skill to 'grease the wheels'.  Hey, I know it is hard, but sometimes, I like an actual system that literally looks favorably on 'Roleplay' over 'Rollplay', to use the hoary terms.  Most other uniform experience systems are purely quest/achievement derived, a direct effect of use of character ability being utilized...sometimes more intelligently, sometimes less.  I sometimes like to be able to reward a player who has a mediocre character but is a better roleplayer....since it is a roleplaying game, not merely a measure of who can roll the dice better.
Not saying you are wrong or out of line, I liked the classroom analogy to some degree.  Just that RP experience, while admittedly somewhat mired in opinion, might not be as absolutely random as, " Alice, take 50 XP for good roleplaying. Bob, take 40. Charlie, you did great this week, take, uh, 75. Diane, you get 20."


I apologize, work has literally been record breaking.  LC, if you think I got something wrong, please help me out.  It is late and I am tired.
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« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2012, 09:40:19 AM »

As of late, I just kind of keep players earning around the same CP / session, if any are given.  Primarily this is because they're new to the system and haven't really learned the full value of a CP.  GURPS is a bit harder to "write for" encounter wise as there isn't a hard meaning to each level - there aren't any as most of you know.  I've given them 10 so far and let them spend it generally as desired though once they end this "intro" leg to their journey I'm going to start applying "only skills which you've used considerably" rules for advancement - unless that proves to be less fun.

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« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2012, 11:20:04 AM »

I've often thought of dividing levels - assuming d20 is the system - and spreading out the benefits over more time instead of giving the players levels every X sessions. For example, giving the players 50% of the skill points they would achieve at a level after one session, giving them their BAB bonus after another, increasing their spells - if applicable - after another, and so on. I realize that this isn't "balanced", but I think it would be a cool way to spread out the otherwise strange and "feast or famine"  system of leveling.
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« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2012, 12:09:24 PM »

Señor Leetz

I've often thought of dividing levels - assuming d20 is the system - and spreading out the benefits over more time instead of giving the players levels every X sessions. For example, giving the players 50% of the skill points they would achieve at a level after one session, giving them their BAB bonus after another, increasing their spells - if applicable - after another, and so on. I realize that this isn't "balanced", but I think it would be a cool way to spread out the otherwise strange and "feast or famine"  system of leveling.
You know, that's something I considered in d20, too. One of the issues with levels is it's like nothing, nothing, nothing... Christmas morning, kids! A more gradual advancement can be nice. But then, that's why we sometimes design skill-based systems or games more like WFRP or Shadowrun.
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« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2012, 01:00:11 PM »

Phoenix

Señor Leetz

I've often thought of dividing levels - assuming d20 is the system - and spreading out the benefits over more time instead of giving the players levels every X sessions. For example, giving the players 50% of the skill points they would achieve at a level after one session, giving them their BAB bonus after another, increasing their spells - if applicable - after another, and so on. I realize that this isn't "balanced", but I think it would be a cool way to spread out the otherwise strange and "feast or famine"  system of leveling.
You know, that's something I considered in d20, too. One of the issues with levels is it's like nothing, nothing, nothing... Christmas morning, kids! A more gradual advancement can be nice. But then, that's why we sometimes design skill-based systems or games more like WFRP or Shadowrun.
tongue
yep.  that was part of my mindset.
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Old, evil, twisted, damaged, and afflicted.  Orbis non sufficit.Thread Murderer Extraordinaire, and supposedly pragmatic...\"That is my interpretation. That the same rules designed to reduce the role of the GM and to empower the player also destroyed the autonomy to create a consistent setting. And more importantly, these rules reduce the Roleplaying component of what is supposed to be a \'Fantasy Roleplaying game\' to something else\"-Vreeg

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« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2012, 01:10:40 PM »

Señor Leetz

I've often thought of dividing levels - assuming d20 is the system - and spreading out the benefits over more time instead of giving the players levels every X sessions. For example, giving the players 50% of the skill points they would achieve at a level after one session, giving them their BAB bonus after another, increasing their spells - if applicable - after another, and so on. I realize that this isn't "balanced", but I think it would be a cool way to spread out the otherwise strange and "feast or famine"  system of leveling.

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« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2012, 09:46:25 AM »

As has been pointed out before, I think this depends a lot on the system. In a level-based game I don't think I'd ever dole out individual XP rewards. Since there isn't any continuous advancement in (most of) those games, I'd really hate for one of my players to not go up a level together with his comrades just because he missed a session because he was sick or something. In a point-based system I would be much more comfortable with giving players individual rewards since the concept of "a balanced group" is much more loosely defined in such a system.
Point-based systems typically have a less hierarchical structure, with the lowly warrior being more likely to kill a more competent opponent than in a level-based game where the incremental power difference quickly becomes insurmountable. Thus balancing as a whole becomes less relevant for the game and since advancement is a matter of choice ("do I spend my points now or save them for later") rather than DM judgment none of the players will be missing out or falling behind in the long run.   
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« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2012, 12:20:24 PM »

Superfluous Crow

As has been pointed out before, I think this depends a lot on the system. In a level-based game I don't think I'd ever dole out individual XP rewards. Since there isn't any continuous advancement in (most of) those games, I'd really hate for one of my players to not go up a level together with his comrades just because he missed a session because he was sick or something. In a point-based system I would be much more comfortable with giving players individual rewards since the concept of "a balanced group" is much more loosely defined in such a system.
Point-based systems typically have a less hierarchical structure, with the lowly warrior being more likely to kill a more competent opponent than in a level-based game where the incremental power difference quickly becomes insurmountable. Thus balancing as a whole becomes less relevant for the game and since advancement is a matter of choice ("do I spend my points now or save them for later") rather than DM judgment none of the players will be missing out or falling behind in the long run.   

And I think sometimes a GM has to feel out their group as well.
I have had ultra-competitive groups and very team-oriented groups.  Sometimes a group wants to have inner-group tension, sometimes, it will drive players away.
I had a number of 1E groups that did not even give thier classes away to each other; like a monk who also had levels in assassin, and that kind of tension was fine, but I have certainly had a lot of groups that are very team-oriented and want to progress together.
I will say that in most of the games I run i agree with Crow's comment about the lowly characters being able to knock off a tougher opponent; especially with a little planning.
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Old, evil, twisted, damaged, and afflicted.  Orbis non sufficit.Thread Murderer Extraordinaire, and supposedly pragmatic...\"That is my interpretation. That the same rules designed to reduce the role of the GM and to empower the player also destroyed the autonomy to create a consistent setting. And more importantly, these rules reduce the Roleplaying component of what is supposed to be a \'Fantasy Roleplaying game\' to something else\"-Vreeg

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« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2012, 04:33:29 PM »

I'm temporarily locking this until some stuff gets resolved guys. Nothing permanent for the time being.

Update: Looks like the lock will have to be permanent, sorry about this guys.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 06:44:13 PM by Nomadic » Logged

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