Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems



  • In an effort to keep the Mage thread actually, you know, on the point of Mage, I vote that we move the discussion about XP systems and whatnot over here. :D


  • Politics

    @Derp said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    In an effort to keep the Mage thread actually, you know, on the point of Mage, I vote that we move the discussion about XP systems and whatnot over here. :D

    Thanks, @Derp.

    @ThatDamnGuy

    I'm not a fan of throttling spending by imposing timed limitations. I figure that if you have gained the XP, you have already gone through the time necessary to justify an instant raise. It's not our fault that 2e nWoD eliminated scaled spending; I argued strongly against flat-spending.

    But I go back to other video games. For many games, there's some point where you simply cannot advance further. We all know and accept this. So, why is it so hard to accept XP caps?

    As long as there's something for capped PCs to do, the game should be just fine, barring other problems. So, like you, I'd focus on the game experience. In my opinion, a cap will provide a different experience than a game with unlimited gain and spending, and that experience would be better.



  • @Ganymede said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    @Derp said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    In an effort to keep the Mage thread actually, you know, on the point of Mage, I vote that we move the discussion about XP systems and whatnot over here. :D

    Thanks, @Derp.

    @ThatDamnGuy

    I'm not a fan of throttling spending by imposing timed limitations. I figure that if you have gained the XP, you have already gone through the time necessary to justify an instant raise. It's not our fault that 2e nWoD eliminated scaled spending; I argued strongly against flat-spending.

    But I go back to other video games. For many games, there's some point where you simply cannot advance further. We all know and accept this. So, why is it so hard to accept XP caps?

    As long as there's something for capped PCs to do, the game should be just fine, barring other problems. So, like you, I'd focus on the game experience. In my opinion, a cap will provide a different experience than a game with unlimited gain and spending, and that experience would be better.

    Agreed, if the focus were put on the "story, RP, character arch, ect" :)

    Aint no WoD game got time for that!

    To be fair I know it can be done, I know it happens on a small level with some STs, I have an ST friend that has spoiled me to the point its hard to play in other plots. I like action, I like things to not be easy, I like to push my PC and the limits of the scene. I don't mind consequences that make sense and push story, but I found in some places thats not what they want. Consequences are made to squash everything the game is suppose to be for an ST and player which I guess needs to happen in some peoples minds.

    I just know that for Mu*'s to be successful they need focus on the elements that make the game(s) great and provide a place for players to play.


  • Politics

    @ThatOneDude

    "Or would it be better to leave the "big PCs" as the actual "big PCs" that hold big positions and train and teach the less experienced PCs of their sphere? In mage this could be master/student or someone to go to for advice, to learn rotes from or when the shit hits the fan and you need to call in some big backup. The RP available is pretty substantial to allow for the gap between old and new."

    There is no reason why an older PC cannot tutor a newer PC where there are XP caps. These concepts are mutually exclusive. This RP exists in the absence of XP caps too, so I think this is an unrelated issue.

    Then again, you asked what a PC who has reached the cap can do; this is one such thing. Presupposing there is a political off-screen mini-game, as I previously described, engaging in this sort of tutelage is a good way to gain PC allies that can assist in your political games.

    Hence, why we should be sitting and focusing on creating a reasonable political mini-game for the online MU* environment. It would enhance gameplay substantially.


  • Coder

    Ah, the "Dino" problem.

    I ... don't have anything to say about it, unfortunately. Just, ah, here we are again. Back in the car. (See: The funniest scene in Jurrasic Park.)


  • Politics

    @Thenomain said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    I ... don't have anything to say about it, unfortunately. Just, ah, here we are again. Back in the car. (See: The funniest scene in Jurrasic Park.)

    Well, at least you're out of the tree.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    Thanks, @Derp.

    @ThatDamnGuy

    I think you mean to talk to either me or @ThatOneDude since according to the profile @ThatDamnGuy has never actually posted.

    For me it boils down to I have no desire to play a character that is mechanically stagnant. RP is great and the focus of an RPG but the Game part is just as important to me.
    I have no problem with trait based comic games and even have played on them off and on over the years, but they are not the same sort of beast to me as a game that uses a system.
    To use D+D for an example with the Fighters not being Mages (Well to an extent in fifth edition they can be with the Eldritch Knight path) that to me is a far different statement then telling my hey we are gonna cap your totals levels at X, but keep playing after that.


  • Politics

    @ThatGuyThere said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    For me it boils down to I have no desire to play a character that is mechanically stagnant. RP is great and the focus of an RPG but the Game part is just as important to me.

    I find this disingenuous, but not by design or intent.

    As you pointed out, not every game allows one to branch out and advance in all directions. For WoD games, this is a feature, not a bug. Yet WoD goes to great lengths to hammer home the point that characters are going to have weaknesses -- profound weaknesses -- but these can be overcome now merely by spending XP.

    Games are contests where the participants compete against one another for a goal. In an RPG, what the goal is can be anything. But people with weaknesses can still compete and win, based on intangibles and chance. And the most sporting of contests is one where everyone is equal in skill and talent; more compelling, those contests where the winner is the underdog.

    When we talk about XP, we're talking of advancement and improvement. We're not really talking about the game. And my beef is that, in the World of Darkness, you can overcome just about any weakness, save for scant system-based or thematic ones, with the right amount of XP. If XP and its spending is free-flowing, the problem in the system becomes more obvious.

    So, yeah, I'm not sure if I really believe that you enjoy the RP part of RPing. Or even the gaming, for the status quo of games currently makes any "games" unsporting.

    Yes, this is full of hyperbole. Hopefully, the point is clear.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede
    If I do not enjoy RPing why would I play on Superhero games where there is not system?
    I do enjoy RPing, I also enjoy the mechanics of game systems. Trust me I buy lots of them I know I will never play jut to take them about and gaze at the guts of the mechanics.
    You can enjoy playing a character at an xp cap all you want but the very examples you use are the types of RP i do not enjoy.
    I have played mentor/ students scenes on both ends and while I would be find having my character ICly be a mentor for someone, any and all teaching scenes would be glossed over to the extreme because I find them eye stabbingly boring. You also mentioned a political mini-game for folks at the cap to do, that is well and good but again not something i have any interest in. I have yet to see any political play on a MUSH be above the level of office politics.
    And yes I think WoD has serious issues with things at high xp, there is no coincidence when PC hit the 200 xp mark that i take that as a sign to begin the wrap up of a table top campaign when I run them., yes even if I have story ideas unused.
    In short I enjoy RP very much, but the type of rp I enjoy is the type that pretty much requires mechanical growth to go with it, adventuring, discovering new shit, etc; being a mentor or becoming politically active in a big picture is what I have my character retire to do after the end credits have rolled.
    As I said I would play on a game with a cap just that once I hit that cap I would retire the character and start another. Just like I when I hit the end of the Franchise mode in Madden I smile and say that was fun, which team should I start up with now.



  • @ThatGuyThere said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    I have played mentor/ students scenes on both ends and while I would be find having my character ICly be a mentor for someone, any and all teaching scenes would be glossed over to the extreme because I find them eye stabbingly boring. You also mentioned a political mini-game for folks at the cap to do, that is well and good but again not something i have any interest in. I have yet to see any political play on a MUSH be above the level of office politics.

    100% this. I've never played a MU* where I found the political play to be compelling. For real political play to work, I think active, invisibly observing staffers and an anti-logging atmosphere would need to be encouraged, which is somewhat anti-transparency. You would need serious hands-on staffing for politics to feel like they had any actual ramifications in a game, and depending on the scale of the game it just might not be feasible to try to do.

    I definitely agree on the mentorship point, too. By the time you're at that level of XP if all the 'compelling' scenes you have to look forward to are typing out how-to-be-badass lectures, it's time to retire. I've never enjoyed 'justified spending' scenes from either end, because this is what they boil down to.


  • Coder

    What are you trying to model with XP? Who are you trying to motivate and why?

    When considering XP design (or any other game design component for that matter) I find it helpful to refer to the Bartle Archetypes.

    You might motivate Achievers through continuous progression - always giving a next level to reach or a new skill/power to unlock.

    You might appeal to Competitors (my version of Killers in MU worlds) by giving power and advantages they can leverage. They'll be the ones most concerned about power disparities between PCs.

    Explorers I think value the IC world. They'll be most interested in "realistic" or "justified" progression. Timed spending and staff oversight are favored here.

    Socializers probably don't care too much about advancement, but XP can be used as a reward for the OOC behaviors you value. Here's where you might find XP awards for +noms, or running plots, or whatever else your game values.

    Of course this is a gross over-simplification, and you can mix and match a bit. But you can never please everyone. Handing out XP as OOC rewards will piss off the Explorers because it can't be justified ICly, and have the Competitors crying foul about favoritism. Slow XP progression will frustrate the heck out of the Achievers and lead the Competitors to min/max their chars. Etc. Etc.

    Decide what your goals are and pick a system that fits them. There is no "right" or "wrong" here.


  • Coder

    I personally don't have a problem with dinosaurs, or the idea of them.

    If someone put in the time and the dedication they should have more opportunities to advance and be a more developed character than a brand new character fresh off the boat. That makes sense, because otherwise the Dinosaur would have no character development/growth at least in a system that /has/ such.

    The problem with dinosaurs, as I see it (and also part of the problem with Mage in contrast to other splats which is why I brought this up to begin with) is that it's possible to make it so the Dinosaur is completely untouchable, or at least suicidal to do anything against (See the mage problem. High enough Arete and the proper spheres = dead anything).

    There's a few ways you can go about trying to deal with this. One is apparently what they use on the reach, everyone becomes a god in 6 months.

    Another is that you have to specialize because large scale sheet changes are rare/slow. So you can reasonably become a generalist with a few dots everywhere but someone who specializes is going to outperform you in there area of expertise while the generalist's /being/ a generalist is their weakness.

    The problem is when the XP and system promotes situations where the generalist becomes a specialist of /everything/.

    Which is where we get to the idea of XP caps etc.

    Many games have to fast XP progression imho, which just compounds the issue. It's also why I am quite liking the idea of set character progression based off multiple increase types and time. Dinosaurs will still be dinosaurs, but, they won't be /gods/ compared to newbies.



  • What if you just controlled skill dot spending with a soft cap of some sort? For CoD, if you said: "You can't spend more than 66% and 33% of dots in your primary in your secondary and tertiary skill categories," you could prevent total specialization to some extent while allowing XP to still be able to be spent on merits and attributes while still leaving some room for improvement, at least until you hit 5 dots in everything in one category.

    In my ideal game, dinosaurs would have their own tier of adventures that would be designed to be super high risk/high reward and there would be an XP bonus awarded for retiring into a staff-run NPC.


  • Coder

    @Lithium said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    If someone put in the time and the dedication they should have more opportunities to advance and be a more developed character than a brand new character fresh off the boat. That makes sense, because otherwise the Dinosaur would have no character development/growth at least in a system that /has/ such.

    Yeah, well, here's the problem: Development is not Advancement. Someone a few posts above called it "mechanical advancement" and that is the single best descriptor of XP I have ever heard.

    @Faraday kind of touched on it when invoking the Bartle Archetypes. (Tho the Bartle Archetypes have a lot of issues, they're an excellent place to start.) What do you want out of your game-play?

    One of the things that WoW did was make sure that players of similar levels were with other players and challenges of similar levels.

    One of the things that City of Heroes did was find a way to scale level without cheating mechanical advancement.

    What both of them did was give level-independent systems of socialization and control over their world. We call these: Guilds. (Base Raiding in CoX looked like the beginnings of something awesome, but I never participated.)


    Let me tell this as a story in a different game system, again back to D&D. Even as far back as 2nd Ed, people complained that because all Fighters got the same abilities at the same levels they were boring. I never once ever had this problem. My Fighter was a young and rather ignorant lad from a rich merchant family who was excited at becoming an Adventurer(tm), who really wanted to be a Ranger but the nearby elves kind of wanted to avoid the kid because, nnnyeaaaahhh, too much. This is what I did between rolling dice, and informed all my character decisions. As he grew in level, he also grew in fame and therefore brought his family name to more parts of the nearby world, and so he was a boon to his merchant family. He was pretty much trapped to marrying a young woman around his age from a minor merchant family but a little nobility, and tho he thought True Love was a thing he learned that they both respected one another, which is a kind of love, and he was okay with that.

    None of this could be represented by stats in D&D, and certainly not in WoD. It had to be played out. Not one single point of XP would allow for this character development.


    I tell this because it's a story I enjoy and wish some day to re-create somewhere, but mostly to focus everyone's attention on what Faraday said:

    What are you trying to model with XP? Who are you trying to motivate and why?

    XP is an OOC conceit to allow for bigger and badassier challenges. How you decide to model that depends on what she said right here.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain Development /can be/ advancement.

    It is development to learn new skills to show the character growing in ways that they didn't before or to develop better skills/powers.

    It's also development for them to develop new merits and flaws over the course of the stories that they participate in.

    It's development if they just change their emotional feelings on a person/thing/event/subject.

    None of these is more 'right' than the other when it comes to development.

    Your story is talking about how your character was 'individualized' which is not the same thing as 'develop' a character. You're also talking about a game system which didn't have the variety of skill and variation of abilities that exists even in modern D&D 5e what with different character paths, feats, skills, etc. not even including abilities.

    The great thing about character development is it /can/ be a lot of different things, and mean different things to different individuals, all of which are equally accurate to them or to the game system as it was designed.

    You say XP is an OOC conceit to allow for bigger and badassier challenges.

    GAME SYSTEMS are an OOC conceit to allow for bigger and badassier challenges.

    I'm also not even talking about a /levelled/ system like the games you are using in your 'examples' (WoW, CoH, D&D).

    I also find it somewhat amusing that anyone, anywhere, is telling people that they're doing pretendy fun times /wrong/ when they are having fun. Some people enjoy increasing the size of their character sheet. They see the challenge in creating the character and how will it adapt to the changing situations (Aka experience growth) and in no way does /doing that/ mean they don't experience any other kind of development.

    This is the craziest thing to be black and white on that I've seen on here in a long time.

    Does the character change? Then it's development. It doesn't matter /how/ the character changes, if it's just mindset, or fame, personality (Which /does/ have stats in many systems), or if it's threw gaining/increasing abilities/powers/whatever with xp spends. It's still development. The character has changed.


  • Coder

    @Lithium said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    Your story is talking about how your character was 'individualized' which is not the same thing as 'develop' a character. You're also talking about a game system which didn't have the variety of skill and variation of abilities that exists even in modern D&D 5e what with different character paths, feats, skills, etc. not even including abilities.

    We used the expanded skill options, so yeah, we did. (That's how my Fighter knew she was rather minor nobility, also when we rescued her and her friend from a deadly swamp how we knew it wasn't likely a trap.)

    If you want to say my argument is bunk because I used a different term than you'd use, then go you. I'm not feeling like having a discussion where I have to defend every single word I use. I'm out.

    edit: Sorry, that was harsh, but who cares if it's called "story advancement" or "mechanical advancement"? What difference does it make? Not everyone cares for one, or the other, or even either. My point is that (story) advancement is a real thing that doesn't have to do with XP. I say this to tell people they need to get their ducks in a row.

    Whether the game has feats or not seems to matter not one whit. My story would work with 5e as well as 2e.



  • Just to be clear, this moved away from Mage / 2e nWoD / CofD games right? Where beats are awarded as part of the game system... Right? This now is a larger topic of theory on XP systems?


  • Coder

    @ThatOneDude

    It is if you want it to be. What I said has a direct impact on how the conversation is framed. If you want it to be about more tangible effects, then talk about it. That's up to you, not us.


  • Admin

    As far as I'm concerned the current GMC XP system works fine for all splats other than Mage. That's because every other sphere's powers still grow in a more or less linear fashion; you spend 5 XP and you get a special ability. It's for flexible for some than others but it's still essentially just one thing.

    The paradigm fails with Mage where your return on investment scales up better. I believe (and this comes from a rather superficial read of MtA 2.0) it's not as huge an issue as it was as long as multiple Masteries aren't accumulated; once they are all bets are off.

    A couple of notes:

    1. I believe the flow of XP is important to maintain as a constant carrot to fuel the game's engine; you want to reward Storytellers to run plot, to incentivize activity other than finding relationship-mates and lock themselves up in rooms, and to keep people interested in improving their characters. While that's not for everyone it is for many, and the critical mass required to push roleplay to the point where it generates itself should be constantly prodded.

    2. The solution I proposed in the original Mage thread (don't allow Gnosis over 5) is by no means the only approach but it is a fairly simple, straight-forward one.

    3. The reason for blocking multiple Masteries is not to cap the power level. To explain consider single-sphere games; if all your Mages are going up 'against' (be it in politics, NPCs in plots, etc) is other Mages then balance isn't an issue since the other side have equally potent toys of their own. The idea is that with multiple Masteries Mages become too self-reliant; they have fewer weaknesses, thus Cabals have a less organic reason to be formed.

    I'd be happy to argue the above.


  • Politics

    @Lithium said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    I also find it somewhat amusing that anyone, anywhere, is telling people that they're doing pretendy fun times /wrong/ when they are having fun. Some people enjoy increasing the size of their character sheet.

    I feel the need to clarify my previous comments. My argument is aimed at an implicit argument in this statement:

    @ThatGuyThere said in Alternate CoD/WoD Character Growth / XP Systems:

    In short I enjoy RP very much, but the type of rp I enjoy is the type that pretty much requires mechanical growth to go with it, adventuring, discovering new shit, etc.

    That argument is that certain RP requires mechanical growth, which I've previously described as "advancement." My response to that is: no form of role-playing requires mechanical growth. It's true, PCs evolve and change; thus, I support changing a PC's stats based on what's happened in RP by re-spec, but am adverse to a full-out re-spec, which is where a player simply re-arranges their +sheet for reasons other than misunderstanding rules out of CGen or rule changes made during play.

    This is not a "wrongfun" argument; this is a "I do not agree with your presumption/premise/implicit argument" argument.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MU Soapbox was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.