Monday, 19. July 2010
With practically any structured rpg there is going to be some sort of experience system. The experience system is going to define character growth; what the character gets better at and how much better. The system defines so much more than that however and should be built around the storytellers and players desired style of gaming. If the storyteller wants the players to act more or in a certain fashion, they need to be rewarded for such and encouraged to do so.
The old traditional games based their experience around recovering treasure and some on thrashing monsters. The more loot recovered the better and the bigger and badder monsters thrashed the better, assuming one could escape with their hide intact. The impact on the play style of course, is that this was the main thing that mattered: scoring gold and thrashing villains. This is fabulous if a pure combat based game is being run, but several wanted something.. more. Thus the systems evolved.
More modern systems have their experience basis on the above, but also include other factors. Experience is given for good role playing, acting in character, completeting quest objectives, completing story arcs, surviving, good ideas, attendance and the list goes on. In short, character actions are included and have a significant role in how players and their character gain experience. It shifts the experience from a pure hunt to something more acting based.
Other games have more esoteric styles. Supposed the desired objective of a game is double crossing, experience in given for such event setup. Or perhaps alliance building or character romances. Maybe the solving puzzles has a large factor. The weighting of experience is going to determine the amount of effort put into each task.
How these are weighted and handled are setup on a baseline by the system being played for how the publishers want a game to ”feel” and what demographic they’re trying to appeal to. It is further tweaked by the storyteller to reflect the style of play they want. Ideally a major focus (or 2) are chosen and the other factors weigh into a lesser fraction. Depending on how much is chosen this can be a large task within itself, so its recommend making the players do some of the work. Just a quick note on actions will do, it will also help direct the style of play in the desired direction.