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[brp] xp too kindly? Alternatives?


chuckhazard

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I roll with a very minmax group of gamers. As such the default xp arrangement seems generous. These guys first concern will be to make sure they use every skill just to be able to roll for it come xp time. I know I can regulate when and which skillsthey get to check off but I'd rather not have to bother.

What alternatives does anyone use and how's it work for ya? Fixed xp? Limit number of skills that can be rolled for?

It also seems 1d6 is overly generous, but this does greatly depend ok how many skills are being rolled for, and how often I allow those rolls. I've also not experienced the effect of skill leveling becoming more difficult as skill rises, so maybe this won't be as bad as I expect.

EDIT: Changed 3d6 to 1d6. that would be generous, wouldn't it? 1d6 however, also sounds generous...

Edited by chuckhazard

...what you finish.

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I roll with a very minmax group of gamers. As such the default xp arrangement seems generous. These guys first concern will be to make sure they use every skill just to be able to roll for it come xp time. I know I can regulate when and which skillsthey get to check off but I'd rather not have to bother.

What alternatives does anyone use and how's it work for ya? Fixed xp? Limit number of skills that can be rolled for?

It also seems 3d6 is overly generous, but this does greatly depend ok how many skills are being rolled for, and how often I allow those rolls. I've also not experienced the effect of skill leveling becoming more difficult as skill rises, so maybe this won't be as bad as I expect.

Don't let them go "tick hunting". Or emulate other systems by assigning a maximum number of skill increase rolls they can make.

But in general, it is not so big a problem. If most characters are, say, 50+ in Sneak because they go tick hunting, it is not a bad thing.

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Just use the rule that the skills must be applied to advance the

campaign/scenario. In other words, no trying to climb a tree just

to improve your climb skill.

Also, the one story I constantly hear about is the "golf bag of weapons" -

the PCs keep switching weapons in combat to gain skill checks. If they

do that, make sure they deal with the forfeited actions of dropping a

weapon and drawing a new one, as well as the lack of parrying between

weapons.

Ian

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It also seems 3d6 is overly generous, but this does greatly depend ok how many skills are being rolled for, and how often I allow those rolls. I've also not experienced the effect of skill leveling becoming more difficult as skill rises, so maybe this won't be as bad as I expect.

I'm not sure where the 3d6 came from.

Page 182 of the book says the following:

Add 1D6 percentiles to a skill after a successful experience

roll.

Bear in mind, the higher a skill becomes the harder it is to get better. The player has to roll over his character's skill level. Not below. If you're playing CoC, you don't add 1/2 the character's INT as a bonus.

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Corrected post... I meant 1d6. 3d6 just comes out so naturally...

As for the golf bag of weapons, I hadn't even thought about that. Luckily the setting I have in mind is vernesque victorian era; I wasn't planning on allowing any weapons (muahaha! It's CoC, what do they need weapons for anyway? :P) beyond a dagger, rapier, or maaaaybe pocket deringer. I haven't decided yet if firearms exist...

...what you finish.

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I limit the number of ticks to INT. (It's not such an admin overhead, since you only have to assess it when increase-rolls are done, erasing excess ones then). Depending on how many ticks your players tend to amass, that may or may not be a benefit to you.

Also, I don't give the '+1/2 INT' bonus on increase-rolls. Instead I have a threshold of '100-INT', rolling over which always gives an increase no matter how high the skill. This slows down increases at lower skills but speeds it up for higher skills, so it may or may not help your situation.

Thirdly, if your players seem to be rolling more 6's than are statistically likely ;), you might consider changing to give a flat +3% per increase instead. (I also rate some skills as harder than normal and give them just +2 or +1 per increase, in fact).

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One tweak that I was considering was to allow more than one tick to accumulate on a skill, subject to GM approval. When the time comes for skill increase rolls you get +1% on the chance to improve for each extra tick over the first.

e.g. skill of 50%, you accumulate 6 ticks on it. For improvement you have to roll > 50, but you get +5% to see if you improve. You still only get a 1d6% improvement though.

Then there is a trade off between improving lower skills esp weapons, and getting a higher chance of improving already decent skills.

We've never really seen the golf-bag of weapons effect though, since a PC will usually be fairly good at one type of weapon, and not so good with others. If they want to risk using a lower skill weapon, they can!

cheers,

Mark

Edited by d(sqrt(-1))
typos

Always start what you finish.

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Ive never really had a problem when my players go "tick hunting", yes I know how unrealistic it is, but players like to see their characters developing. Plus as the characters get nearer 100% the rate of advancement drastically slows down anyway. In my brothers BRP Fallout game, I have a 96% Brawl skill. No matter how often I "tick" that skill box I may never increase it. But if I do, you better believe I want to roll that "six".

As for the golf bag of weapons. I think 5 DEX ranks to sheath a weapon and another 5 DEX ranks to draw a new one is enough of a penalty that I don't see it happen "that" often. However, the one recent one that comes to mind was when the ranger dropped his magic bow to avoid the first DEX rank penalty and drew his sword 5 DEX ranks later, only to watch the speedy little goblin run off with his prized bow.

Rod

Edited by threedeesix
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I have wondered previously about a system whereby you only learn from failure i.e. you only get a skill tick for failing a skill roll. If you combine that with only letting them roll for things that will have adverse consequences if they fail then you get a system where they have to weigh up the risks of failing against the benefit of an advancement tick.

Another option might be to say that the higher skilled PCs should attempt certain things first - after all, if you need to disarm the poison gas trap, who would you sooner have try, the 10% novice so they can get a tick, or the guy with 90% disarm traps?

Or you could just say that they can't just tick everything that they successfully roll, it's not that arduous to monitor, unless you don't trust them, and if you don't trust them why are you playing with them?

cheers,

Mark

Always start what you finish.

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Another option might be to say that the higher skilled PCs should attempt certain things first - after all, if you need to disarm the poison gas trap, who would you sooner have try, the 10% novice so they can get a tick, or the guy with 90% disarm traps?

This is very similar to what I have in Sword & Spell as follows.

He Failed, I’ll Try

It is a common occurrence in any role playing game, for one player to say he or she is going to have his or her character perform a skill or characteristic roll, then failing that, another player says he or she will try, followed by another and then another. Take listening at doors or picking a lock for example. The absurdity of this situation becomes apparent when you try to visualize what this event must look like. If the GM feels this is being abused, one way to handle it is to have the players choose the character with the best skill level for the job and have him or her make the roll. In this case, if the roll was a failure it can be assumed that any further attempts by other characters will yield similar results. After all, if the STR 18 barbarian cannot bash down a door, what chance does the scrawny STR 9 magic-user have?

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I think it makes sense with regard to picking a lock (in fact I've been in a situation where a bunch of friends were outside a locked door and each of us tried to pick the lock - don't worry it was my own house and I'd forgotten my keys) but to listening at it? That is absurd.

Off the top of my head (so totally unplaytested) what if when xp is worked out every player rolls a D20 and then distributes that much between the skills ticked? That way the realism of only improving skills you use is maintained but people aren't getting to rush ahead on xp because they use loads of skills - meaning that a rough equivalency is kept up and there is no need to go tick-hunting even if you're a min-max player.

If you wanted to remove the random element from it entirely you could even just give 11 points to everyone and have them distribute that among the ticked skills - although I think a fun part of BRP is the randomness!

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I think it makes sense with regard to picking a lock (in fact I've been in a situation where a bunch of friends were outside a locked door and each of us tried to pick the lock - don't worry it was my own house and I'd forgotten my keys) but to listening at it? That is absurd.

Yah, I agree. I just wanted to include it as an option for groups where the GM feels his players are doing it for everything. Like I said in a previous post, in my own games I'm much more lenient. :)

Rod

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Off the top of my head (so totally unplaytested) what if when xp is worked out every player rolls a D20 and then distributes that much between the skills ticked? That way the realism of only improving skills you use is maintained but people aren't getting to rush ahead on xp because they use loads of skills - meaning that a rough equivalency is kept up and there is no need to go tick-hunting even if you're a min-max player.

If you wanted to remove the random element from it entirely you could even just give 11 points to everyone and have them distribute that among the ticked skills - although I think a fun part of BRP is the randomness!

I quite like the basic idea, although 1d20 might be a bit too random! I agree with keeping it a bit random, maybe only 1 roll is made and that applies to the entire party, size of roll determined by GM, e.g. if roll is 4d6 and roll = 15 then every member of party gets 15 points to distribute. You could even say that the maximum amount you can spend on any skill is something like (100-skill)/10 i.e. if your skill is 10%, then you can spend (100-10)/10 = 9 points on it, whereas if it's 90%, the max you can spend is (100-90)/10 = 1 point, or something similar. Minimum of 1 point perhaps? Might be too slow a progression for skills over 100 though. You could always use something like (150-skill)/10 I suppose.

cheers,

Mark

Always start what you finish.

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He Failed, I’ll Try

It is a common occurrence in any role playing game, for one player to say he or she is going to have his or her character perform a skill or characteristic roll, then failing that, another player says he or she will try, followed by another and then another. Take listening at doors or picking a lock for example. The absurdity of this situation becomes apparent when you try to visualize what this event must look like. If the GM feels this is being abused, one way to handle it is to have the players choose the character with the best skill level for the job and have him or her make the roll. In this case, if the roll was a failure it can be assumed that any further attempts by other characters will yield similar results. After all, if the STR 18 barbarian cannot bash down a door, what chance does the scrawny STR 9 magic-user have?

Yes, exactly, we have used that very rule in fact.

Mark

Always start what you finish.

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To answer in a different way, here's some actual play perspective to put the rule into context:

We've been playing a campaign for about a year and a half now, weekly. The players started off with key skills mostly from from 30-50%, lesser skills from 10-30%, and possibly one or two skills per player in the 50-70% range. I only allow skill checks when the PCs come into town or otherwise camp for a short period - when there is a lull in the 'adventure' - on average this works out to about once per 3 or 3.5 game sessions.

Now, a year and a half later, I would estimate that the lowest skills are still in the 10-30% range - some have moved to the 30-50% range. Most key skills are now from 50-70% and the most used skills (one melee weapon attack per player, maybe one parry, maybe one ranged weapon, scan, listen, and for one character first aid) are now pushing the top of the 70-90% range. No player has a skill over 90% yet. Oh, and they've stoped to train twice, so not all of these increases are from experience checks, either.

After a year and a half they still fear getting into fights (actually more-so now), they still fail rolls in the critical moment they need them, and most of them still can't sneak for shit. One thing I have noticed different is that they tend to critical and special a little more, and this makes the game more exciting.

Also, remember that many skills can't be increased through experience - knowledges, for instance (important in a CoC game). Overall, the rate increase is not what I would call fast if playing by the rules. Especially for one of my players who always seems to roll 1% increases.

Thalaba

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

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I forgot to add, there's one tweak that I used to use in my games to limit the number of skill checks. Players could only earn a tick if they crit'ed their skill check. That seemed way too harsh to the players, so I stopped using that rule.

Interesting idea. A good compromise might be to allow the tick mark on a special and, if a crit is rolled, one gets a "6" without having to roll.

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We used the following off the cuff houserule:

A crit always garners a tick.

Regular skill use success garners a tick if the GM allows.

This allowed the exceptional successes to gain experience regardless

of circumstance, but also gave normal successes an avenue to

improve if, in the GM's opinion, it is warranted aka if the skill use

was important to further the storyline.

Kept the problems to a minimum, but allowed some flexibility.

-V

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We use Hero Points in our RQ3 game. Hero Points can be used in the same way as in HeroQuest and RQM. However, we also use Hero Points to raise skills.

Each PC gets a certain number of Hero Points at the end of a scenario or at a rest point in a scenario. The number of Hero Points depends on the scenario, how long/difficult/dangerous the scenario has been, but is usually a die roll plus a fixed amount, 1D4+4, 1D6+6 or 1D8+8.

Players can then spend the Hero Points on rolling for experience. Skills used in the scenario cost 1 Hero Point per skill roll attempt. Skills not used in the scenario cost 2 Hero Points per attempt. POW Gain Rolls cost 1 Hero Point if POW was successfully used in the scenario. Characteristic Gain Rolls cost 3 Hero Points if the PC criticalled a Characteristic x n% roll in the scenario.

Rolls are made using 100 - Skill, with a minimum of INT%, so someone with 70% skill has a 30% chance of succeeding, someone with 95% skill but INT 15 has a 15% chance of succeeding and someone with a skill over 100 and INT 18 has an 18% chance of succeeding.

Characteristics are rolled using (Species Maximum - current Characteristic)x5, with Species Maximum being Maximum Rollable + Minimum Rollable, so 3D6 gives 18+3=21, 3D6+6 gives 24+9=33. A human with POW 15 has a (21-15)x5 = 30% chance of increasing the characteristic.

Hero Points can be used to reroll any dice roll, including Experience Rolls, at a cost of 1 Hero Point for the first reroll, 2 Hero Points for the second and doubling on each reroll. This allows players to spend huge numbers of Hero Points on improving particular skills. We also play that if a skill was nearly made (within 10% of the actual skill) then a hero Point turns this into a success, so someone with 70% skill who rolls 32 (within 3 of 30) can use a hero Point to succeed the skill.

Success in an Experience Gain Roll increases the skill by 1D6, a critical in the roll allows them to roll 2D6 and take the best value, with 1s being counted as 2s because of the failed increase rule. So, someone with a 70% skill who rolls 01 rolls 2D6, a 3 and 5 and can choose which to take. Failing a skill roll result in an increase of 1, as using the skill counts for something if the skill is learnable from.

Characteristic increases are rolled using 1D3 with the same rule for critical experience rolls except that failure results in no increase.

Training takes a number of hours equal to the PC's skill, but rounded up to a multiple of 8 or 40 depending if the classes are in days or weeks. These either don't cost a Hero Point in which case the player must roll a normal experience roll, or they do cost a Hero Point in which case the increase is automatic.

We find that this works really well. It removes the tick chase completely, allows players to specialise in certain skills or areas, gives them a chance to reroll important rolls and allows them to decide how much of their Mana (Hero Points) they want to spend on skill increases and how much they want to save to use in future scenarios.

I thought they might complain about spending Hero Points and gaving to roll for the gain, but nobody ever has. I think the 1 point for a failure is enough to make it acceptable. They have never complained about being able to reroll failed experience rolls using Hero Points and love the idea of criticalling experince rolls - they would prefer a gain on a special as well.

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I roll with a very minmax group of gamers. As such the default xp arrangement seems generous. These guys first concern will be to make sure they use every skill just to be able to roll for it come xp time. I know I can regulate when and which skillsthey get to check off but I'd rather not have to bother.

You only get a skill check if it's in a stressed condition and a failure would be bad. As long that's in the box, it's no problem. Stop the most rediculous tick hunting by just saying no tick when they start to do something really silly just to get a tick. They'll soon stop it. And it's really not a big problem, their characters would have the same percentages in the key skills that matter anyway without tickhunting too.

Climbing a tree without any danger - no tick.

Picking up and successfully swinging a new weapon from you golfbag - tick only if the fight is still dangerous (no tick for slaughtering downed opponents with new weapons).

I have wondered previously about a system whereby you only learn from failure i.e. you only get a skill tick for failing a skill roll. If you combine that with only letting them roll for things that will have adverse consequences if they fail then you get a system where they have to weigh up the risks of failing against the benefit of an advancement tick.

You don't really learn that much from failing I think, but fumbles certainly. I've added automatic ticks when fumbling in any situation - also non-stressed situation.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
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Interesting idea. A good compromise might be to allow the tick mark on a special and, if a crit is rolled, one gets a "6" without having to roll.

For a while, possibly inspired by Other Suns, I ran a system where by the players maintained a running total against each skill - a normal success was worth one point, a special was worth five points and a critical twenty. When the running total equalled or exceeded the skill, they got an experience check and the total reset. Possibly fumbles were worth twenty as well...

It was a LOT of book keeping really - but it headed off the tick hunters whilst also making experience substantially more "objective".

These days I tend I use the RAW pretty much as written (tick hunters will generally be asked to leave), plus I give out a additional number of free checks as I deem appropriate at the conclusion of a scenario which the players can assign to any skills they can convince me is appropriate.

Cheers,

Nick

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I quite like the basic idea, although 1d20 might be a bit too random! I agree with keeping it a bit random, maybe only 1 roll is made and that applies to the entire party, size of roll determined by GM, e.g. if roll is 4d6 and roll = 15 then every member of party gets 15 points to distribute. You could even say that the maximum amount you can spend on any skill is something like (100-skill)/10 i.e. if your skill is 10%, then you can spend (100-10)/10 = 9 points on it, whereas if it's 90%, the max you can spend is (100-90)/10 = 1 point, or something similar. Minimum of 1 point perhaps? Might be too slow a progression for skills over 100 though. You could always use something like (150-skill)/10 I suppose.

cheers,

Mark

All of that could work. In fact, after 24 hours rumination, I think 1D20 is too random and 3D6 would give the same average with less dramatic variation.

I don't think it is a problem if skills over 100% are progressing very slowly, once you're the best in the world at something you do tend to plateau.

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All of that could work. In fact, after 24 hours rumination, I think 1D20 is too random and 3D6 would give the same average with less dramatic variation.

I don't think it is a problem if skills over 100% are progressing very slowly, once you're the best in the world at something you do tend to plateau.

The more I've considered it the more I like the idea too. I've never really liked the idea of giving out a flat X improvements per session, a la MRQ, but letting people tick what they have used and then choosing how they allocate a limited number of points between them I think works rather nicely. I'd probably say that the points allocated per session are either decided by GM fiat e.g. 10, or are a number of dice depending on how tough/long/challenging/etc the scenario was, say default 3d6 for an average of 10-11 pper session. TBH you could probably even do away with the need to tick skills if you wanted and just let people improve what they want to improve, or just give them a tick if they attempt something, even if they fail.

cheers,

Mark

Always start what you finish.

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I like the improve the skills which you used model (partly as I came to BRP from Dragon Warriors, and in that game my Sorcerer would regularly run out of magic points, draw his sword and gain most his experience points from using that - at great personal risk as he wasn't very good with it! - and then when he rose in Rank his fighting abilities were unchanged but he magically, ahem, knew some new spells; which made no sense)

I've never seen the golf bag of weapons issue, partly the loss of DEX ranks or strike ranks to change weapons makes this a really risky strategy and partly in MOST BRP games starting chances with weapons are low and its a real risk to drop back from Dave Danger to Karl Klutz against ANY foe.

That being said one could certainly cap the number of improvement rolls (but what to use as the cap? a flat value? character's Int to reflect ability to learn? character's Pow to reflict desire to learn and discourage people swapping all their Pow for magical advantage? or APP to stop peeps using it as the dump characteristic? :) )

I have used ticks for successful use and crosses for Criticals or Fumbles with a X allowing an automatic increase. Of course that actually makes the system MORE generous which may well not suit you!

Al

Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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TBH you could probably even do away with the need to tick skills if you wanted and just let people improve what they want to improve, or just give them a tick if they attempt something, even if they fail.

I probably wouldn't do the former unless they have the time/money/situation to train outside of game-time (and so increasing in X skill makes sense because they were researching/training it in downtime). The latter seems reasonable if you are only allowing a certain number of points distributed across all skills with a tick because it becomes more of the player's decision whether or not their character actually learnt anything from the experience.

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