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DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP.

Posted by Adeptus CustodesFor group 0
Adeptus Custodes
GM, 1023 posts
Thu 3 May 2018
at 16:05
  • msg #1

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

So, you are three-ish missions away from finishing the campaign with the Tyranids on this planet, assuming you continue to have Success or Outstanding Success on each mission. I don't think I've been too easy on you as a whole - granted, so far only NPCs have actually died - but given the fickleness of the dice roller you can see how even when faced with a swarm of genestealers like the cavern mission, they can consistently fail their dodges and their attacks to such a degree that it makes you all look like heroes. Every. Damn. Time. ;)

But, the question has arisen as to what new characters coming into this campaign should have for starting XP, with regards to how difficult the next series of missions will be, how much XP the current roster has [on average], and how long each of you may have invested in this game since coming on board.

I agree that once you've put an actual year of your life into a game on RPoL, there should never be a back-sliding of rewards. You should never have to start at ground zero again, not just as a reward for longevity or dedication, but as a common-sense tactic of allowing new characters to come in with a comparable skillset and expected longevity...which, let's face it, isn't supposed to be long in this particular game.

Because, let's be honest - this was initially a meatgrinder game, where I thought, with a roster of 12 to start off with, we would have such high turnover [in deaths] that we decided to make the Comrades be secondary/backup characters so that there wouldn't be days of waiting for someone to make a new character, or of making them sit on the sidelines for months until the current mission ended so they could come back in with someone new. Heck, I even planned on NOT letting people burn a Fate Point to stay alive, just because of the nature of the game; FP were only there to provide extra rolls, bonus initiative, or an optional 'Heroic Death' [which is still in place] to give characters a sense of accomplishment WHEN [not IF] they died and had to make a new soldier.

In the two years since, we have shifted to a more traditional RPG with this, and FP can be burned to keep a character from dying on the battlefield. I'm not disappointed with this. Some want it to remain a deadly game, which it shall; others recognize the niche they fill and want to keep things as they are for a wee bit longer, until more options are unlocked through mission successes. I am fine with both.

My plan here was to make each campaign pose a different threat to the Imperium in the form of interracial strife/encounters and natural disasters. Start with the Tyranids here, then move to Ork or Dark Eldar or Chaos, then the next and so on. Each new campaign would begin with the threat at the baseline of danger to the troops - meaning a new character or comrade with 'only' the starting 1600 XP would not feel overwhelmed and would stand a better than average chance of surviving their First Fifteen Hours. The veterans of the group [of which there might be less than half] would be the vanguard, and although tougher and more skilled, would also face appropriate challenges to their skills and talents. As the campaign progressed, each new mission would be harder than the last, culminating in the Boss encounter to finish the whole series.

However, it has been suggested to me that starting new characters with such a disadvantage in xp has the potential to demoralize new players when they see the XP gap between their new recruits and the long-term survivors. I do not disagree, but feel that this is a necessary part of the game; veterans would not likely be released from their home unit to come to the Zakurians [though Zakurians can freely be reassigned within their own regiment] so the odds of having someone with 3k, 4k, or more xp later in the game suddenly show up to replace a lost soldier doesn't seem realistic to me.

It's also suggested that people who put [up to] these last two years into their characters and then restart, either by choice [taking a new meta or career] or by design [damn those filthy 'nids] would then be giving up their seniority and position by effectively starting over with a new grunt. Again, I see the logic here and agree with the statement [which I've paraphrased of course]. I am not unsympathetic to seeing people waste their time and efforts here. There are many games that replace a mid-to-high level character who leaves/dies with one of comparable skill and power. This game was not intended to be one of those games.

Still, it is a character driven campaign, from the choice of regimental bonuses to the enemies faced to the choice of missions during downtime. I don't feel the need to railroad the group, even with Jansen being the defacto leader in the field, because you've been given enough RP license to freely move in any direction at any time. I don't use Summary Execution on PCs and I don't feel the need to say "No!" every time someone comes up with a concept or idea that may change the game from my original intent, because it just might change it for the better. Right?

So...let me know what you think about both of these topics:

1. Should new characters start with more than the 1600 xp now or at some time in the future? Does it matter whether it is a new player to the game or an old veteran changing or replacing their character?

2. Do we want to have each new campaign reset the difficulty scale to 1, and ramp up to Boss as intended, or shall we have the series of campaigns be on a constant upward slope, with the things faced after the tyranids starting off at Danger Level 3+ in order to more effectively challenge your veteran characters when they arrive?


As always, your input is both welcome and appreciated. :)
GSN 1610311843
player, 792 posts
Zilch -1/12W Medic No FP
Everest 3/11W 1F Heavy
Fri 4 May 2018
at 16:54
  • msg #2

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

So then let's break it down to a number of segments...

Since our Comrades are built fully and, as of last commentary, receive half of the xp that the primary does even us old timers should our primary die will have secondaries that have a portion of the possible xp we gained.  They also have collected up kit that likely others don't have.  So between kit and xp they make for a decent fallback without feeling too far behind.  The fact that the Comrade-cume-Primary also has a potential chance to 'ensure that good Imperium of Man technology doesn't fall into the hands of vile xenos' it further bolsters survivability as they barter away the kit for other kit that they need/can use.  Between additional kit on top of standard and more xp than what the 'base' is you're always starting ahead.

One thing you could look at is when this campaign against the Tyranids is done what the XP totals are for the old timers.  1/2 that is going to be where their Secondaries are at for the new campaign.  Have new players start at that value.  So brand new people will always start behind but not so far behind that blank newbs.  They will pull the xp weight of any of the old timers secondaries that they switch to from time to time.  Make it to the end of the next campaign and the starting point gets bumped again.

The advantage of this will be instead of a flat increase in difficulty you can slope it.  Difficulty 1, 2, 3 to get to the boss and then backslide to 2 for the next campaign.  2, 3, 4 and then backslide, 3, 4, 5 and then backslide.  Then instead of quickly becoming events that you question why they need space marines in the first place for if the Guard has even a handful of units like ours you get to feel a little ebb and flow to the dangers and vary it up.  It'll also allow some fun missions or even shorter campaigns where instead of using the veterans of the campaign against the hardened badguys the Departmento mis-routes them to something unexpected instead of flat out deadly.  Also can play into the Inquisition not liking us.  Routing our actions through questionable systems and events that could speak to a larger arc behind the scenes...if the guardsmen care of course ;)
Adeptus Custodes
GM, 1026 posts
Fri 4 May 2018
at 19:28
  • msg #3

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

Actually, the 1,2,3 - 2,3,4 - 3,4,5 bit is more in line with my plans. So if you were going after Orks in the next series, you'd face a staggering amount of grots in the first mission and gradually face more and more specialty (character) enemies as the missions progress.
GSN 1610311843
player, 797 posts
Zilch -1/12W Medic No FP
Everest 3/11W 1F Heavy
Fri 4 May 2018
at 19:33
  • msg #4

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

Yup.

By the end of the campaign the 'Boss' would be harder than the 'Boss' from the previous one to handle the xp creep but with that backslide you allow new players and players whose Primary has been killed/put out of action/retired/etc...able to not feel totally squashed out of being productive.  Only if a vast majority of the group goes and gets themselves killed would you potentially start the next series a little lower on the chain because of the deviation.
GSN 1701041631
player, 698 posts
Two-bit (WS) W 1/9 FP 0/2
Sleepy (G) W 14/14 FP 2/2
Fri 4 May 2018
at 22:10
  • msg #5

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

Without having the time to dig into the meat of every issue:
1) Yes to boosting both.  Vet players should have some form of RP or equipment bonus for sticking with it, but we want the new players to feel like they're contributing on par and I think boosted XP would be the way to go.  From a fluff standpoint, the rest of the regiment is on active duty too so theythe survivors should be gaining *some* passive XP.
2) Sliding scale here, we do want to get accustomed to fighting the new enemies before diving in head-first.
Adeptus Custodes
GM, 1053 posts
Mon 14 May 2018
at 17:00
  • msg #6

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

So without further input on the topic, we will go with what sounds like it will work:

1. New characters that start fresh in the game will begin with the initial 1600 xp that all 'new recruits' get as per the character creation guidelines for the game, plus an appropriate amount from the current mission based on their active participation in that mission. If they are coming in 'between' missions, during a downtime period, they will gain 50% [rounded off/up to the nearest 50xp] of the previous mission's rewards.

2. New characters that replace a previous character who died are, in fact, the previous comrade, so no bonus xp are granted - they have already been earning 50% of the Primary's xp, so no bonus is warranted. The new comrade coming in should have the full 1600 initial points plus 1/4 of the current primary character's total xp - to reflect an intelligent pairing of a veteran with someone who could use some guidance in the field. This will also facilitate the spending of a FP on a mission to swap characters and not have to worry about being an insta-kill redshirt.

3. New characters made to replace a lost primary character *and* comrade [such as in the case with Ramirez] Should come in with the full 1600xp, plus 50% of the total xp earned from missions in the current campaign by the previous primary character. This will not be their total xp earned, as some xp is awarded in downtime or for special events like holidays and game-post milestones. The new comrade coming in will have 50% of this new primary's xp total.

4. The game will progress forward and upward on a 'swimming frog' scale, that is, the current campaign against the tyranids will progress from Threat Level 1 up to about Threat Level 4 or 5 before the big boss fight at the end, whereupon the scale will reset to 'about' Threat Level 2 against the next enemy [be it Ork or Dark Eldar or Necrons or whatever the party chooses], then progress upwards to 'about' 5 or 6 before the end of that campaign, and so forth.
GSN 1612091751
player, 634 posts
Ramirez W: 5/13 F: 0/1
Emilia W: -1/11 F: 1/1
Mon 14 May 2018
at 17:39
  • msg #7

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

For posterity, how much XP was awarded in Mission 1 for Enemy Units Destroyed and in Mission 2 for the Gene-Vat Sample?
Adeptus Custodes
GM, 1056 posts
Mon 14 May 2018
at 17:59
  • msg #8

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Campaign Scale and (new) Character XP

Mission thread posts have been updated for you.
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