Have anyone done something about the XP-system?

Have anyone done something about the XP-system?

Have anyone done something about the XP-system?

I like the alignment-statements, though people should come up with their own. (Probably more like drives.)

I’m sceptic with the XP for fail, even though I liked it at first, but it doesn’t seem to encourage the kinds of game I want.

Flags seem interessting, but I really like how ‘bonds’ functions as anchors for session-recaps, and it gets us to talk about the characters relationships.

I think Dungeon World could do well with some more drives for the different classes, like “I’m neutral so I choose these three (among 10ish) XP conditions, or make their own) and a GM I know makes session spesific XP conditions, like “save the princess”, “get the peace treaty signed”, etc…

Are there any who think “XP for fail” works good at the table?

14 thoughts on “Have anyone done something about the XP-system?”

  1. I like the XP system. It’s not just for failing, you have the alignments, bonds, and end of session questions.

    Can you unpack “doesn’t seem to encourage the kinds of game I want?”

    Does it bother you that it rewards, or rather mollifies failures? Or do you want more incentives for specific types of play? Or both?

  2. I did a BW style belief thing once, where they players got +1xp for each belief they affirmed in play, or +3xp for going against a belief as long as they change it and rewrite it. I think players had 3 total beliefs. And then we also voted for the MVP who had the most important act in the session, and the Workhorse who carried the group this session – +1xp for each.

  3. I think DW could stand strongly on little more than some good End of Session questions (maybe the ones from Homebrew World, for example) and some Keys (say, 3; they’d give both the relationships of Bonds, and the personality of Drives and Flags). XP on Failure is ultimately random and doesn’t appeal to me, though I understand I’m in the minority.

  4. Also, fundamentally we learn from mistakes as much or more than we do success. Why do other systems NOT reward XP for trying and failing. That’s the question. Just because D&D came first and only awarded specific things doesn’t mean it should be the default logical stance. 🙂

  5. I still prefer Torchbearer on that particular note, though – a skill with a 3 rating requires you to roll 4 successes and 3 failures. DW doesn’t have any obvious way to make something like that work, sadly.

  6. I can’t imagine factoring in whether I’m going to get XP or not into my decision tree. I can’t imagine my players taking it into account, either. I’m bemused by the idea that it matters to a group so much that the GM not only notices, but feels that it’s a significant driver of behavior. I mean, don’t you just do what your character would do and let the XP come naturally? If you’re going to explictly try to maximize something as artificial as XP, wouldn’t you be happier playing OSR? I’m very curious to understand how it’s playing out in your campaign Michael Esperum

  7. Andrew Gross it’s still a game, man. If you’re going to handwave rules and pretend they don’t matter, why play a game with rules at all? Just freeform roleplay. Plenty of people do and love it

  8. Aaron Griffin There is a vast, yawning chasm between “handwaving rules and pretending they don’t matter” and setting goals that are motivated by and consistent with the fiction, rather than with the arbitrary mechanics of how the game is implemented. The rules are important, and I am not advocating to de-emphasize their role. If I’m playing Gloomhaven, I’ll squeeze every last checkmark and XP out of a scenario as well as anyone. I just don’t see the point in playing a role playing game to then have my character’s motivations and actions dictated by something outside of the fiction, like XP. Obviously everyone should play however they have fun, but I am genuinely puzzled by why I would ever think to myself, “Well my character really wants to do X, but I can get more XP by doing Y, so I guess I’m going to do Y.” That just seems strange to me.

  9. This feels a lot like the D&D folks who say “we had such a great session, we didn’t touch the dice at all!”

    If the rules of the game are not working for you, there are a lot of games you can play instead. But it’s the height of absurdity to celebrate not needing to use rules in a game made of rules.

  10. I’ve seen it in diverse groups, though my gaming roster is off course limited. I seen XP drive play in other games as well, like Apocalypse World, and I guess a lot has to do with a keen interrest in levelling and gaining new moves/powers.

    I am not adverse to enjoy gaining XP myself, either, though not enough to celebrate missed rolls and fishing for solution to bonds.

    I am off course aware that you are allowed and encouraged to change XP-triggers for Alignment. Not all players are comfortable doing it though.

  11. I’ve seen a couple of attempts to change xp.

    The first just eliminates it completely, with GM fiat just looking at the story and saying “this is a good place for you all to gain a level”. How effective this is depends on both the campaign (e.g. how many sessions? purpose?) and the players. If the players already do the stuff that xp carrots are trying to make them do, this change barely affects play. One thing it does prevent is having PCs who, for whatever reason, haven’t had as many failed rolls lagging behind other PCs. It’s not an approach that will suit every group, though, and would make play worse for some.

    In some other hacks, the change is more minor and really just about changing what is being incentivized. In Fourth World, for example, xp is meant to push players to think about how their character interacts with the religious elements of the setting. The next version (1.5) will go a bit stronger in this direction.

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