engine
 member, 574 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 14:56
D&D experience rules
I never played with this rule, but I'm told that there was a rule at one time that enabled characters to earn experience points by taking actions tied to their class. That is, wizards could gain experience by casting spells, thieves by stealing, fighters by fighting (even in as a sporting event).

Can anyone confirm this and explain some of the details about this rule?
Faceplant
 member, 51 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 15:34
D&D experience rules
Yeah, this was something in 1e and 2e DnD. You got more xp doing the things your class made you good at.

But you want crazy?

You also used to get XP based on how much gold you picked up. Not just thieves, every class. 1gp recovered = 1 xp. So the more financially successful your adventuring was, the faster you went up in level.
engine
 member, 576 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 15:55
Re: D&D experience rules
Thanks for the background.

Faceplant:
But you want crazy?

You also used to get XP based on how much gold you picked up. Not just thieves, every class. 1gp recovered = 1 xp. So the more financially successful your adventuring was, the faster you went up in level.

Yes, I actually played an edition of D&D with that rule. It was in the original Red Box books.

At the time, I saw it as crazy too. Maybe it was just because our DM liked to hand out tons of treasure, but we felt like we just jumped through levels. Some of us assumed it was a mistake and that we were meant to level only once per pile of gold.

Now I realize that this might have been subtly clever. While I, in my youth, was focused on how everything had hit points and gave experience for zeroing those out, others were focused on how they could gain experience without ever having to get into a fight. I gather that that's how many groups approached the game. Me, I wanted to fight, but others preferred not to risk their characters if they didn't have to.
Faceplant
 member, 52 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 17:02
Re: D&D experience rules
Modern systems tend to award xp for roleplaying rather than in-game accomplishment. Not all of them, mind you. But most.
engine
 member, 578 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 20:17
Re: D&D experience rules
Faceplant:
Modern systems tend to award xp for roleplaying rather than in-game accomplishment. Not all of them, mind you. But most.

That's cool, but I want them to roleplay achieving those in-game accomplishments, so I'm not sure what the modern approach gains me.
Faceplant
 member, 53 posts
Tue 6 Mar 2018
at 21:37
Re: D&D experience rules
You just need to figure out how much you want to emphasize story vs gamishness vs whatever other elements of the game. What is "gaining a level" in terms of the shared fiction? Suddenly increasing in capability because you collected an arbitrary number of coins or killed an arbitrary number of orcs?

Older games used to make you spend time and money training before going up a level... but this implied that without the XP, spending time and money training was useless. A peasant could spend ten years training without improvement if he didn't go out and kill some goblins and nick their stuff.

But that's where the "game" comes in. "What's the most fun way to play?"
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1305 posts
Wed 7 Mar 2018
at 03:26
Re: D&D experience rules
The gold = xp wasn't about gaining xp for picking up the gold, it was gaining xp for everything you went through to get that gold.

I prefer that idea of gaining xp for accomplishment because it means that you are free to approach a problem in a way that fits the character.

Though, gp ends up being troublesome, so I tend tl give it out like quest completion xp.
Ameena
 member, 184 posts
Wed 7 Mar 2018
at 17:52
Re: D&D experience rules
In my DnD game I haven't been giving exp at all, just letting the characters level up when they've achieved some general amount of progress in the story or just generally done a bunch of stuff since they last levelled up. Right now they've just arrived in one of the main cities after travelling for a while, meeting a load of NPCs along the way, and having a fight with some goblins, so when we get to the end of the day and they're settling down for the night in an inn, I'll tell them they can level up :).
LoreGuard
 member, 658 posts
Fri 16 Mar 2018
at 18:56
Re: D&D experience rules
Yes, I think early on, the Gold rule was a way of expressing the point that XP represented rewarding the characters personally for what they accomplished.  And at that point in the game, it amounted to overcoming your obsticles (the monsters) and reviving the spoils or rewards of their adventuring.  It wasn't just the gold they picked up, as I recall, any value in GP of the things that become theirs (they earned) became XPs.

In early editions, adventurers were the ones who advanced via XP.  The non-adventurers got their levels not per-se by experience points, but by the need of the community.  If the community needed guards, someone would learn to become a first level fighter to be a part of the guard.  If they needed a sergeant to lead a squad of 1st level guards, they would find one of them would advance to being a second level fighter.  The adventurers were wildcards that moved between communities and acted on their own, able to advance beyond their communities needs and rewrite the stories being written.

But as mentioned, there are plenty of ways of dealing with leveling up that don't even necessarily have to be tied to XP.  Story Arc leveling is common in many series's of modules/adventurers where they are designed for the players to be certain levels at certain states.  Unless there is really some specific reason to further reward them with faster advancement, or slow them down for some reason, it is perfectly reasonable to just have them advance according to the needed plan.

But if you want to stick to a more regimented distribution of XP, certainly anything that is an accomplishment for them either personally or as a group should be capable of granting XP.  If you want to make certain types of accomplishments more significant to some than others, that could make sense, but it depends on people's play style what they need to motivate them to continue to enjoy the game.  [the real purpose behind everything]
GamerHandle
 member, 960 posts
 Umm.. yep.
 So, there's this door...
Tue 20 Mar 2018
at 13:33
Re: D&D experience rules
Just a random note - one of the purposes behind "gold = xp" was to help level the field of averages between power level of monies/gear that characters had relative to their level.  Remember, it was also "gold value = xp" - picked up that +2 sword? well, it was worth X gold, and that therefore gave you quite a lot of XP, and pushed you towards a level that "matched" that item's power level.  Thus, if characters were brought together from differing campaigns: your character may have an amazing suit of armor, and be level 4 - whilst I may have a smattering of utility gear and a decent crossbow - and also be level 4.
truemane
 member, 2120 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Fri 4 May 2018
at 15:06
Re: D&D experience rules
In reply to GamerHandle (msg # 10):

Not so, actually. The Basic Set explicitly stated that the purpose of getting XP for gold (and, in fact, getting a lot more XP for gold compared to monsters) was to encourage players to find ways around monsters aside from just killing them.

TSR 1011 - Basic Set, Gamemaster's Handbook:
Did you notice that you get a lot of experience for treasure, and not much for killing monsters? Itís better to avoid killing, if you can, by tricking monsters or using magic to calm them down. You can sometimes avoid the risks of combat. But you will have to fight many monsters to get their treasures.


Later editions awarded XP for 'overcoming' encounters, and so the whole calculus changed quite a bit.

Also, and I could be wrong on this one, but I think that one point you only got experience for what you, yourself, killed. As in dealt the final blow to. And the XP-for-gold rule evened that out somewhat. I vaguely recall "Kill stealing" being a thing, but I can't find a reference.
engine
 member, 594 posts
Fri 4 May 2018
at 15:58
Re: D&D experience rules
truemane:
TSR 1011 - Basic Set, Gamemaster's Handbook:
Did you notice that you get a lot of experience for treasure, and not much for killing monsters? Itís better to avoid killing, if you can, by tricking monsters or using magic to calm them down. You can sometimes avoid the risks of combat. But you will have to fight many monsters to get their treasures.

If I had seen that in my books or understood it from other players, my views on D&D might be much different than they are today. Then again, the rules for tricking or calming monsters weren't the clearest and weren't really an option for every character. A cleric, magic-user, thief or maybe a halfling could hope to plausibly trick a monster, but by and large that was entirely up to the whims of the DM. If the DM wanted the monster to be a scary threat, rather than comic relief, they might simply resist arguments for why a given trick should work. And of course only clerics and magic-users could use magic to "calm" and only if they had the right spells and hadn't cast them already.

Then you have the fighter or the dwarf. Not only are they not as likely to be considered "tricky," fighting was what they were pretty good at. Was the idea that they avoid engaging their skill set? That if they got to do what they were designed to do it was because things had gone completely wrong? Were they the goalies? Important to have, but you hope you never need them?
truemane
 member, 2121 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Fri 4 May 2018
at 16:08
Re: D&D experience rules
Well, I think the point was you had a certain number of assets (the party, skills, HP, spells) and a certain amount of liabilities (monsters) and the less of the former you could expend to overcome more of the latter in order to gain the same rewards, the better.

So if you had some tricky characters, awesome, that saved you some trouble. If you like fighting, then that was fine too. If the party was Dwarf and Fighter heavy, then you did a lot of combat. If you were all Clerics and Halflings, maybe less so. And some encounters clearly can't possibly end any way other than fighting.

But either way, the module was the module, the dungeon was the dungeon. You have X obstacles  and there's Y treasure. So part of the game was working out the best way to get through the one to get the other.
engine
 member, 595 posts
Fri 4 May 2018
at 16:26
Re: D&D experience rules
truemane:
Well, I think the point was you had a certain number of assets (the party, skills, HP, spells) and a certain amount of liabilities (monsters) and the less of the former you could expend to overcome more of the latter in order to gain the same rewards, the better.

I've always felt it was more complicated than that. At the extreme, it might make the most sense to approach the situation in a way that has nothing to do with adventure or fantasy. Maybe one could build a fire to smoke out or suffocate the monsters. If that turns out to be a viable option, one might wonder why the characters are wizards and fighters when anyone with a tinderbox could have done the same thing.

And, like I said, much of success of non-combat approaches had to do with how the DM was feeling. If the DM didn't think an approach should work then it wouldn't, unless they were likely to be faced with player revolt for vetoing it.

truemane:
So if you had some tricky characters, awesome, that saved you some trouble. If you like fighting, then that was fine too. If the party was Dwarf and Fighter heavy, then you did a lot of combat. If you were all Clerics and Halflings, maybe less so. And some encounters clearly can't possibly end any way other than fighting.

And pretty much everything had hit points, so if you couldn't figure out another approach (or the DM wasn't amenable to another approach) PCs could always just hit things.

truemane:
But either way, the module was the module, the dungeon was the dungeon. You have X obstacles  and there's Y treasure. So part of the game was working out the best way to get through the one to get the other.

I never really saw it that way. I wanted the game to emulate movies and stories, so even if there was a way to solve the situation by not fighting, I'd often rather just fight. That might cost me my character, or cost me some treasure, but I think I feel like there's no reason to have more treasure or to keep my character if my character is never going to do anything exciting.

Oh, well. Thanks for the clarifications.
truemane
 member, 2122 posts
 Firing magic missles at
 the darkness!
Fri 4 May 2018
at 16:41
Re: D&D experience rules
engine:
If that turns out to be a viable option, one might wonder why the characters are wizards and fighters when anyone with a tinderbox could have done the same thing.

Sure, but 'playing along with the base assumptions of the narrative' is a thing that everyone has to do to some extent. Otherwise, there's no reason to keep adventuring after you've made your first few thousand gp. "Should we buy some property and save ourselves and our whole family from abject poverty? Or should we buy a slightly sharper sword and keep risking our lives and sleeping on dirty dungeon floors?"

quote:
And, like I said, much of success of non-combat approaches had to do with how the DM was feeling. If the DM didn't think an approach should work then it wouldn't, unless they were likely to be faced with player revolt for vetoing it.

For sure. Everything that isn't, more or less, a dice roll at melee range is up to DM fiat. That's still the case though, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the ruleset.

quote:
I never really saw it that way. I wanted the game to emulate movies and stories, so even if there was a way to solve the situation by not fighting, I'd often rather just fight. That might cost me my character, or cost me some treasure, but I think I feel like there's no reason to have more treasure or to keep my character if my character is never going to do anything exciting.

Sure. I like fighting too. I like fighting and I like talking. And sneaking. And smoking out monsters and robbing their lairs when they're outside. Those things are all exciting and cinematic in their turn. It all depends on the situation.
engine
 member, 596 posts
Fri 4 May 2018
at 16:55
Re: D&D experience rules
truemane:
Sure, but 'playing along with the base assumptions of the narrative' is a thing that everyone has to do to some extent.

That's actually what I thought I was doing when I was focused on fighting. The cover illustrations and a lot of the rest of what I picked up from the game involved fighting monsters, often with treasure strewn about. I suppose that's relatively easy to draw and conveys a story without words, but it was also the kind of situation I wanted to get into.

So, when people would suggest talking or using a spell to neutralize a monster, I generally felt like they weren't playing along with the base assumptions. And when the game actively seemed to make having party-involving fights less fun (such as by making them too hard or too easy) I felt like the game itself wasn't even playing along with (what I saw as) it's own assumptions.

These days I understand that people just had different approaches and that "Playing D&D" meant different things to different people.

truemane:
For sure. Everything that isn't, more or less, a dice roll at melee range is up to DM fiat. That's still the case though, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the ruleset.

And I guess I wish it wasn't. 4th Edition, as reviled as it was, gave everyone cool things they could do easily. If a player wanted to be able to use their shield to push monsters into pits is a fairly reliable manner, they just had to choose that power, rather than hope the GM was amenable to that approach. Granted, the GM still had to make pits available, but still.

I guess my dream for a future ruleset is something that lays out how hard it would be to line up creative plans, and how skilled the characters would be at executing it.

truemane:
Sure. I like fighting too. I like fighting and I like talking. And sneaking. And smoking out monsters and robbing their lairs when they're outside. Those things are all exciting and cinematic in their turn. It all depends on the situation.

I wish I saw it that way. While those things can be cool in the abstract, at the table I might most of them painfully awkward and boring. Only fighting is reliably fun for me, unless I'm being handed a lot of the creative control as a player.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1347 posts
Fri 4 May 2018
at 22:44
Re: D&D experience rules
I think the big problem there is the distinction of what rules are.  I.E. in chess, the rules are the game, defining what can and can not be done, and all game choices are made purely based on the rules alone.

But rpgs have another option, the option used by Gygax and the other early pioneers of the game  which is to see the narrative as part that defines what can or can not be done, and to make all game choices based on the narrative milieu, and for which the rules are not about how nor what to play, but rather are tools for communication, consistency, adding tension, and removing gm bias from questionable outcones.

There is also a spectrum of players with 4 extreme corners based on the player's focus within the gameplay, in addition to the above distinction.

In my opinion, rpgs, even when using the exact same rules, are like whole genres of games, much like how anime is distinct from other film/tv and yet can still range across any other genre such as horror, drama, action, slice of life, etc, each being unique. So too is each campaign a unique game, and  each gm having their own style (like directors having styles in film.
C-h Freese
 member, 272 posts
 Survive - Love - Live
Sat 22 Sep 2018
at 08:44
Re: D&D experience rules
Gaining experience, came in a couple of ways.  killing "monsters".
If you captured a monster you got nothing..
   Though..
  magicly the Price of a Monster was it's xp value.

And you got xp for that.

If you kept magic.. you got nothing.
if you sold it you.. xp for gold.

When the Game started undercutting the link between Heroism and Levels, by saying it was possible for simple craftsmen to go up in levels.
 They could gain xp and then levels from gold made working in their profession, rather then learning skills through years of work and study.

  I simply Assumed these "Heroic skill masters" were heroic champions of their guilds.
Though that brought up the possibility of a 1st level fighter taking a temporary job as a Sergeant in a mercenary or watch military unit.  and I swear I saw some place they could get xp for their pay. Just as the actual sergeants could. but unlike the sergent a regular fighter could evolve to 2nd level without a Guild slot of lieutenant being open.

It was even possible by RAW to get xp for each incident of problem solving.
  But the amount was mostly explicit, so a 30th level got the same as a 1st level..

I ruled the Meaning of Incidence of Solving was per level.
So that getting to a point in a plotline or solving a puzzle was multiplied by the characters level.. to get their total award.

Other wise murder-hobo heaven.
Skald
 moderator, 827 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Sat 22 Sep 2018
at 12:55
Re: D&D experience rules
Thinking about it another way (which I think truemane touched on), those GP weren't just sitting around - they belonged to someone or something (generally the latter) who wasn't keen on parting from them, so to get that treasure you would have either had to fight 'em for it OR think of a clever way to walk away with it.  Either way, it's something the characters learned from.

And as a GM applying those rules - you want your characters to advance quickly, then you leave lots of treasure lying around.  You want 'em to advance slowly and you're not so generous.  And as I recall, suggestions abounded for how to manage that practically - treasure wasn't in nice piles of gold coins - you might find ridiculous amounts of coppers, a huge statue of valuable and probably non-portable metal, large tapestries, etc etc.  Encumbrance rules OK.

Magic items only sold for half value - makes it more attractive for characters to work with what they find, rather than sell and buy what they really thought they wanted.

Classic example of party tricking a dragon out of its hoard is in The Hobbit.  Hide from the dragon so he can't find you, then make him so mad he goes and attacks the local town who kill him for you.  Of course, while you're now rich beyond dreams of avarice, you're now the new treasure owners, and oh look there's a few armies just turned up wanting to take it from you ... <grins>
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1420 posts
Fri 5 Oct 2018
at 07:17
Re: D&D experience rules
To be honest, I don't know all the exact rules from those days, but the basic concept is something I've spent lots of time on.

Though, I was under the impression that if you got a magic item as treasure, then you'd get the item's value as xp. That was a long ago article though and I don't remember the source, but it makes sense.

As far as normal activities earning xp, makes sense. You are doing work and thus improving, but as xp required to lvl goes up, you essentially get diminishing returns from normal work, which makes sense.
12th Doctor
 member, 30 posts
 Don't be lasagna.
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 12:34
Re: D&D experience rules
Faceplant:
But that's where the "game" comes in. "What's the most fun way to play?"


I'm often amazed at how many people have forgotten this.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1423 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 04:21
Re: D&D experience rules
That is important, but two things,

First, a question that seems less forgotten and more "never asked in the first place." What is the purpose of the rules? Why use them? What do the rules add that can't be achieved without them?

On the one hand, you have the system as a whole, but on the other hand, you have individual rules.

For the most part, games have nothing but the rules. For example, chess minus rules leaves nothing, but rpgs are one thing for which there is so much beyond the rules that in using rules, you should start with one question why am I not playing freeform? This isn't an ad selling freeform, but rather amswering this question is essential to developing and using the rules. If you can't answer that question, you need to go play freeform with as many gms as you can until you have the answer. If thd answer is something involving balance, fairness, or the inability to play without the system, then you are looking for a boardgame instead of an rpg.


Second, Fun vs satisfying, compulsion and experience.

If you are looking out at a beautiful view, are having fun? Of course not, but it is still enjoyable and worth the time.

Most people do not understand themselves, and thus some games work or fail based on things other than fun or satisfaction. Usually if a game succeeds despite being unfun, it is because it plays to a psychological weakness. Completionism, collecting, etc. Often people will do lots of boring work to get a new piece of a collection. These people are compelled to keep going by the promise of the next piece, and out of any fun or even satisfaction.

Also, there is a satisfaction that can be gained that is more emotionally filling than fun is, and that often comes from achieving something through great effort. But satisfaction is more complicated than that in a not-so-describable way. The task can't just be hard, it has to leave you feeling like you made a difference, a "tangible" reward has to be there, as does the risk. No risk, ho satisfaction.

And lastly, the experience as a whole. In the end, the experience as a whole must be something memorable and enjoyable that leaves you wanting more, and that does not require fun nor satisfaction, though it is often enhanced by those things. Those stories you tell years afterwards, those are the experiences. Other experiences can be just as rewarding. To kill a zombie and have it feel like epic, like you just saved humanity or something, is an experience as well. These experiences are more dependant on the gm than the rules, in fact, this is the primary difference between a great gm, and a bad one. Are you laughing, emotionally involved in the characters and events, panicking, terrified, "swept away," or otherwise have your heart strings pulled?

A rules design should have fun and yet be satisfying and lead to amazing experiences. Ethically, games should never use human nature to "extort" time, effort, and money from players. This is of course, more an issue for computer games, but gms commonly fail at this part.


So, "is it fun?" is just not enough.