In my new DW/Eberron campaign I’m making a slight change to how XP is handled that my players love.

In my new DW/Eberron campaign I’m making a slight change to how XP is handled that my players love.

In my new DW/Eberron campaign I’m making a slight change to how XP is handled that my players love.

Whenever XP is earned (roll a 6-, end of session questions, bond resolution) the point is placed in a pool. At the end of the session XP from the pool are divided evenly among the players with leftover XP remaining in the pool until next week. 

20 thoughts on “In my new DW/Eberron campaign I’m making a slight change to how XP is handled that my players love.”

  1. I am not very convinced by this: are you interested in discussing how it may Be good or bad to flatten the XP rates among characters? If so, I’ll expand, otherwise have fun 🙂

  2. Rob Alexander I don’t really care one way or another but it was the only complaint with Dungeon World my players have. They didn’t care for the default XP allocation. This minor change really worked for them. They also liked it because the hard moves I inflict on someone that rolls a 6- often have harsh effects on the whole group and my players are really focused on the growing as a team concept.

  3. Yeah, i like that too, and roll20 keeps a log of all the 6’s so we can sum up and divide. Maybe giving an extra xp to the player with the most fails is also not a bad idea.

  4. John Lewis hmmm… ok, but it makes be uncomfortable when people “smooth over” game features in the interest of “fairness” or similar. Very often, it removes features from the game that matter.

    In this case, since you’re not tracking individual XP, you’re losing the features that draw attention to the following problems:

    * Players who aren’t triggering many moves, or are only triggering moves where they’re very likely (+3 or +4) to succeed (i.e. who aren’t taking many risks and thereby adding to the excitement for everybody)

    * Players who aren’t resolving any bonds

    * Players who aren’t meeting their alignment goals (i.e. who aren’t getting to play the kind of character they want to, or who have mis-described what they want by choosing the wrong alignment)

    In DW these aren’t massive features, but they’re not irrelevant. And I’m always haunted by the spectre of “XP for treasure” and “death is easy” in D&D that so many people threw out; people who were then surprised when the game devolved into tedious hack and slash.

  5. Sebastian Meid I’d like of myself as a veteran, but I and the people I play with drift into those kinds of problems quite frequently 🙂

    Getting the best out of rpgs is hard! Mechanics can help, if they’re good and we actually use them.

  6. (a lot of RPG mechanics are not good, and it’s good that we ignore them, but DW is a very tightly-designed games with only a small number of mostly-very-good mechanics)

  7. A good rule is one that works equally well for “veterans” and “new players”. In my experience, the distinction is far less relevant than what we usually make out of it. 

  8. but, I realise my point was wildly off topic. 

    Something more on why I like XP for failure, and think that it’s not too bad to have unequal XP levels between characters:

    I like getting XP for failing. It’s given me an incentive to use moves that would be risky (for your low value) or innecessary. The result is a cooler, more well-rounded character.

    Trying to Spout Lore with my barbarian every once in a while, even though my INT is low, is actually fun, and brought out some cool things about my character: “ok, you know about this ancient religion. How do you know about it?” “I encountered a reclusive sect that still clings to its tenement in my journeys, I raided their temple once.”

    In general, this gives a good incentive to have all characters be proactive and engaged: otherwise, it’s easy to fall into that pattern of waiting for the specific problem your character is good at solving (knowledge and magic stuff for the wizard, violence for the barbarian, social for the bard, etc.), and hanging round the edges in the other moments. 

    Also, it’s relevant in terms of rewards: “Hey, I sucked hard this session… but look at all these XP! Sweet!”, or “Hey, they all made more XP than me… but I haven’t failed a single roll tonight and my character was just SO COOL!”

    This is especially true considering that it’s characters who choose when they get XP, really: It’s not on the GM to be “fair”, they get experience for the choices they made (rolling, behaving in a way that satisfies their alignment, exploring character relations in a way that solves bonds, etc). It’s empowering of players and characters, and I wouldn’t throw it away. 

    However, I do understand that a group might want more emphasis on group dynamics. We did slightly hack the XP system for that: specifically, we removed the limit of solving only one bond per session. Again, this encourages inter-party relations and the rewriting of bonds, if you can easily get 2-3 XP per session for that. Also, statistically, having other XP from other sources (such as bonds) reduces the impact of failed rolls on the difference between the XP different characters have. 

    Finally, I would just say that it’s happened to me to be 2 levels lower than another member of the party… and just not really feel it. Progression in Dungeon World is (mostly) horizontal more than vertical, you get to do different things, more than getting specifically better at doing what you once did. This means that even a lower-level character is not powerless compared to higher-level characters and the challenges the group faces.

  9. Rob Alexander I wouldn’t consider  this change with the other groups I occasionally GM for. But I have the good fortune of having five extremely talented and dynamic roleplayers at my table, most are vets but one has only gamed for a year or so. All of them delve deep into their Bonds and Alignments and I have never even remotely had one of them not pull their weight and take an equal share of the risk.

    In fact this change was less about any sort of general problem or any sort of “fairness” issues and more about how they wanted to focus on much slower advancement for this specific campaign (I only award a single XP per “yes” answer at the End of Session, not one per player). They also made a great argument for individual “failure” still helping them grow as a group. We wrapped up a Numenera campaign recently and they loved the XP system which is very individualistic, but wanted a different feel for Eberron.

    On a side note, one of the things I love most about the players at our table is how much they embrace the elements that contribute to the campaign’s “feel”. Exploring reoccurring themes, capturing a specific style and motif, and portraying character growth and evolution through roleplaying and not mechanical advancement are hallmarks of these players. 

  10. One thing I got wrong when writing my comment above – actually, John’s group are triggering the reward system and flags, they’re just not assigning the resulting rewards to individual players. At the point of putting XP into the pot, everybody sees that Player A just did something good. Over time, this may well allow Player B to realise that he’s not contributing many XP, and wonder why that is.

    i.e. I reacted as if this was “forget about the XP award system, we’ll just hand out everyone the same each session” but it’s not that at all. Sorry about that – I’m shadow boxing stereotypes here.

    John Lewis – Do you ritualise the XP counting at all, e.g. by putting beads in a jar?

  11. I use big gold coins for XP and they are placed in an ornate chalice (Halloween decorations). It’s also an apprehensive moment for the players when they roll a 6- and see a shiny gold coin  headed their way, they know something bad is about to happen! 

  12. I want to say I purchased them at either a party supply shop or a craft store along with other “pirate-themed” decorations. I’ve had them for years and used them as Bennies in Savage Worlds, Action Points in D&D, Fate Points in Warhammer, and as XP in my current Numenera game.

    A lot of the people I’ve played with over the years love having tactile game elements and I use lots of different things at the table; colored glass stones, item and info cards, and recently I placed a huge dry-erase board on the wall for the players to use. Currently it looks like a classic “crime map” from a detective movie; note cards, different colored magnets, various symbols, all of which the heroes are using to solve a mystery.   

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