Jump to content

How many checkmarks do you expect a character to get each season?


pachristian

Recommended Posts

I would object to egregious weapons-caddying (that is, swapping weapons in combat against an inferior foe for no other reason than to grub up skill checks), and to deter it I have publicly pondered* eliminating all skill checks earned in a fight where a player tried it on. (They confused themselves by turning a not-particularly-deadly combat into an impromptu weapons-juggling display, so no experience was gained). I haven't needed to do it, because my players are cowed and obedient like sheep.

Other than that, bring it on! If a skill is irrelevant, I don't allow the roll; if it's relevant and the player fails their roll, there are consequences; if there are no consequences for a failed roll, no experience check is awarded (non-stress situation, you see?).

My players seem to roll between 6-12 experience gains after every adventure, I don't bother keeping track. If their initial skill was low and their success was awesome and memorable, I will quite often skew the points gained upwards if they roll low, because despite what you hear I'm a big softy.

* including here!

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I would object to egregious weapons-caddying (that is, swapping weapons in combat against an inferior foe for no other reason than to grub up skill checks)

I’d probably object to that too but I haven’t really seen it happening in my games.

Now, “oh shit my best weapon broke what the hell else do I have? The dagger I’ve never used before. Better than nothing I guess.”?

That I’ve seen and I certainly didn’t object to that experience check. 🙂

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/20/2021 at 12:41 AM, Nick Brooke said:

My players seem to roll between 6-12 experience gains after every adventure, I don't bother keeping track. If their initial skill was low and their success was awesome and memorable, I will quite often skew the points gained upwards if they roll low, because despite what you hear I'm a big softy.

That seems to be a good balance. 

I am in favor of players trying their low skills. It makes sense as a person trying something to eventually get better. 

On the weapon-swapping front, one of the experienced player when I first learned RQ played a quite smart Storm Khan. His primary tactic, in every melee was to stroll in with his two handed spear until it impaled. He almost never tried to pull it out. Just left the victim, usually in shock, and moved on to his broadsword and shield. His allied spirit would then cast Fireblade on it. So any most big battle he would get 4 checks: javelin, spear, broadsword, and shield (and in those days, spear parry). Of course, we would also get non-battle checks like perceptions, devise (set noise traps for sleeping), orate, etc.

I would encourage the same set of tactics. Now, if that Storm Khan decided to drop his Fireblade near the end and finish off the last scorpion man with kicks and fists, I would not allow the checks. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really buy the multiplew eapons excuses.   @Dragonwhy didn't your Storm Khan just carry two spears?

@Kloster  same, just carry two of the same weapon.  My Orlanthi carries two broadswords, not one sword and one something else I want checks for.

Lance and Missile Weapons excepted.  There are valid reasons to use them, and switch mid battle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Arcadiagt5 said:

A 0.25 ENC dagger? Sure. Another ENC2 (IIRC) Battle Axe? No. 

An emergency dagger is fine when your main weapon goes.  My PC carries two (never had to use them yet).
This is definitely not what the other two posters were talking about.  They described switching from spear to sword, and another going through weapons in "descending order of proficiency".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Dragon said:

That seems to be a good balance. 

I am in favor of players trying their low skills. It makes sense as a person trying something to eventually get better. 

On the weapon-swapping front, one of the experienced player when I first learned RQ played a quite smart Storm Khan. His primary tactic, in every melee was to stroll in with his two handed spear until it impaled. He almost never tried to pull it out. Just left the victim, usually in shock, and moved on to his broadsword and shield. His allied spirit would then cast Fireblade on it. So any most big battle he would get 4 checks: javelin, spear, broadsword, and shield (and in those days, spear parry). Of course, we would also get non-battle checks like perceptions, devise (set noise traps for sleeping), orate, etc.

I would encourage the same set of tactics. Now, if that Storm Khan decided to drop his Fireblade near the end and finish off the last scorpion man with kicks and fists, I would not allow the checks. 

Going from 2H spear to sword & board?? That's a couple of rounds doing nothing but getting equipment on... (well, getting the shield from probably off the back...)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/21/2021 at 3:03 PM, Dragon said:

That seems to be a good balance. 

I am in favor of players trying their low skills. It makes sense as a person trying something to eventually get better. 

On the weapon-swapping front, one of the experienced player when I first learned RQ played a quite smart Storm Khan. His primary tactic, in every melee was to stroll in with his two handed spear until it impaled. He almost never tried to pull it out. Just left the victim, usually in shock, and moved on to his broadsword and shield. His allied spirit would then cast Fireblade on it. So any most big battle he would get 4 checks: javelin, spear, broadsword, and shield (and in those days, spear parry). Of course, we would also get non-battle checks like perceptions, devise (set noise traps for sleeping), orate, etc.

I would encourage the same set of tactics. Now, if that Storm Khan decided to drop his Fireblade near the end and finish off the last scorpion man with kicks and fists, I would not allow the checks. 

First point full agreement. 
Second point, I quite agree and this is why I think all should take spear and shield with a secondary(or primary depending on how ya look at it) sturdier weapon. Should the spear break, and if it is being attacked this could well happen, r if it impales (mostly a happy event), the sturdier weapon comes into play. 
Third point, GMs decision innit, but I still agree.  The ticks should be at least earned. Hey, you do you, and if your happy you are mostly doing it right.

On 8/21/2021 at 6:25 PM, Arcadiagt5 said:

In the case of the heavily armoured Babeester Gor initiate I was referring to in my previous comment? ENC.

 

Yep, I am a fan of this maligned rule! ENC rules!

Cheers

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
  • Thanks 1

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's always felt like a self-correcting problem in the RQ combat system to me. I've never felt confident enough to change weapons away from my best weapon  in combat voluntarily. If you do, you get a few extra ticks in a secondary weapon, at the cost of not attacking for at least a round and likely leaving yourself exposed to an attack with a reduced parry at best and no parry at worst. The fate of Rurik awaits you in every RQ battle and frequent swapping strikes me as tempting fate.

In terms of how many ticks, it jumps around all the time, depending on what skills are in use during the session and how lucky you get. A couple of sessions ago, I got 1 (and failed the experience check), a few sessions before that I got over 10 (and even made the experience check for my broadsword which was at 135%). RQ experience is a random thing.

As a GM, the number doesn't matter, but whether the players are progressing at a rate that you and they are happy with for your campaign.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I might not quite qualify as the experienced GM you're addressing the question to, but that does give me the advantage of remembering clearly the struggles that I ran into when I first started out, and getting around check farming was definitely one of them.

A couple other people have mentioned it, but the solution that I eventually landed upon was to only roll skill checks in stressful situations and/or when the success or failure of the roll would have a particularly interesting effect on the course of events. Really this is something that you should be keeping in mind as the GM anyway, so it's neat that the game has a mechanism built in to remind you of it.

I dunno what it's like with your group, but I find that stripping out all these redundant dice rolls really helps to improve the flow of the game, and ideally if you're doing it right, your players will be far too invested in whatever is happening to try and metagame the experience system.

As far as an average number goes, it's really very variable. Sometimes if it ends up being really low I'll hand out some experience checks for things achieved during the session, for instance if the party as a whole negotiates a really good deal, but only one of them made the bargain check, I'll give some appropriate experience checks to the others as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

I don't really buy the multiplew eapons excuses.   @Dragonwhy didn't your Storm Khan just carry two spears?

Horses for courses.

Fighting undead means your spear is effectively useless, so you need something that works against them.

Spears are good because they are quick and can impale. Other weapons have their own strengths.

Limiting yourself to one weapon is exactly that, limiting.

As a GM, I am happy for an Adventurer to start a combat using a different weapon, but I would question why they change weapons mid-combat, unless they had a good reason. So, starting with a 1H Spear, then dropping it and changing to a sword is iffy, but starting with a 1H Spear, then throwing it at another NPC and drawing a sword is fine.

 

  • Helpful 1

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The key element in all of this is player and GM attitude.

For some players it's all about having the biggest numbers on their character sheet. These are the advancement-oriented players. Those players usually play assertively, and try to get as many check marks as they can. The better advancement-oriented gamers will have a solid reason for why their character uses their skills, or changes weapons.

For other players, it's about storytelling. Those players are more likely narrate and dialog through their game, and to only roll skills when it is necessary for the story. Looking at David Scott's post (8/19, 4:23) we see that after 6 sessions, the players averaged about 2 check marks per session. My guess is that David runs a story-driven game.

Neither play style is "right" - both players are playing their own version of "Maximum Fun". The challenge to the GM is when you have players of both types in the same game. I generally do. Because the rules as written reward the player who assertively pursues check marks. Given time, because of their play style, this gives them a more potent character on the character sheet, then the person who plays a more narrative style. This can lead the more story driven player to feel quite frustrated; they have lower skills and fewer spells than the more assertive player. The longer the game goes on the greater the difference becomes. Did I hear you say "So what? They're both playing the style they want to?" The answer to that is "yes, but as players, and as equals at the gaming table, they are entitled to equal treatment." And if I have several players who all play for good storytelling, but only two of them assertively pursue checkmarks, then I will have an unbalanced game after a relatively short time. You see, one play style that is not "right" is the player who advances his character at the expense of the other player-characters. I've had several of this type of player in games. It is difficult deal with as they are often good players, good role-players, and popular with their friends. You really have to be cold-blooded to recognize that they're always stepping up to the plate - even when it means blocking others from using the same skills.

Based on the answers on this thread, it sounds like the GM's who have kept track award around 10 check marks per season, per player. I'd like to call out jajagappa (posted 8/18, 6:07) for having a good idea of what kind of skills his characters use. Thank you, that was very helpful. I don't have much data on how many play sessions that is for most of us. I know from my own experience that most of the adventures I GM run 3-4 sessions. 

I think it's important to keep a running count, not because I don't trust my players, but so I can ensure I am giving them enough opportunities to get checkmarks on a given adventure. I want to ensure that the players are getting equitable numbers of checkmarks. I need to see that I am not favoring one player over another. I cannot do either of these things without keeping some metrics. 

My traditional answer is to only award a checkmark when the skill use is (a) relevant to the adventure and (b) there can be a negative consequence for failure. My current answer is to run Mythras (The Design Mechanism), which I think is the best of the D100 systems. In Mythras, characters are awarded improvement points, which creates a whole new set of challenges, but nethertheless ensures fair distribution of improvements.

Finally, when it comes to dealing with Checkmark farming, all I can say is that player's ability to rationalize why this particular skill role is relevant to the adventure never ceases to astound me! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/19/2021 at 4:04 AM, pachristian said:

Forgive me if this topic has been raised already.

 

For the experienced RQ:Glorantha GM's. How many checkmarks, on the average, do you expect a player-character to get each adventure? Each play session?

Do you keep a running count? 

Finally, how do you prevent "Checkmark farming" where players request to gratuitously roll on skills to get checkmarks, whether or not they have a bearing on the current adventure?

The way you avoid checkmark farming is by telling the players that they get ticks only when the GM says they are in a stress situation i.e. only when the GM says so.  The corollary is that this means that the GM now has to pay a lot more attention to remembering to hand out skill checks, which can break the narrative flow a bit.

In terms of character progression, don't sweat the issue of players farming skill checks too much imo.  Their high skills will not increase quickly due to the low probability of the rolls required to increase.  As to improving their low skills, well, I find it adds character, and allows them to potentially get into and out of new sorts of trouble. 

A good GM isn't afraid of powerful characters, they simply set different challenges.  My favorite is when a character is very successful in fighting, but suddenly finds that they are waist deep in political intrigue with people they are unable to lawfully kill. Victims of their own success.  As Clausewitz famously said "War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means."   Thus all fighting has political consequences, because warfare is intrinsically tied to politics.  Worse still, if you get lots of money, suddenly you have to manage the responsibilities that come with wealth, because if war is tied to politics, you need to double down on that for economics.

I also draw your attention to RQ:RiG page 416 "Experience between adventures".  Characters get 4 downtime skill checks in their cult and cultural skills.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/22/2021 at 1:59 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

 

@Kloster  same, just carry two of the same weapon.  My Orlanthi carries two broadswords, not one sword and one something else I want checks for.

There are a lot of reasons: ENC was one, much less now because now, a broadsword and a shortsword have the same ENC, but this was not the case. Because non rigid armor were halved vs crushing weapons. Because of the range (=weapon SR). Because of the usability on a mount. Because some weapons don't affect some creatures. Because some materials affect some creatures and some other don't. Und so weiter.

On 8/22/2021 at 5:50 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

This is definitely not what the other two posters were talking about.  They described switching from spear to sword, and another going through weapons in "descending order of proficiency".

Yes and no. What I described was that, when a weapon is unusable (because stuck after a special, been broken or after a disarm), I switch to the weapon I have and am the most proficient with. Currently, if my best weapon (a broadsword) is stuck, I switch to my second best weapon (a battleaxe) if it is handy (it stay on the mount because of the ENC) and to a dagger if not.

23 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

It's always felt like a self-correcting problem in the RQ combat system to me. I've never felt confident enough to change weapons away from my best weapon  in combat voluntarily. If you do, you get a few extra ticks in a secondary weapon, at the cost of not attacking for at least a round and likely leaving yourself exposed to an attack with a reduced parry at best and no parry at worst. The fate of Rurik awaits you in every RQ battle and frequent swapping strikes me as tempting fate.

Completely agree. Except in very rare case, voluntarily changing weapon in the middle of a combat is counter productive (most of the time) and can be very dangerous. What I described are forced changes: Broken weapons, disarmed characters, ...

18 hours ago, soltakss said:

So, starting with a 1H Spear, then dropping it and changing to a sword is iffy, but starting with a 1H Spear, then throwing it at another NPC and drawing a sword is fine.

Yes, agreed.

Edited by Kloster
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An argument as old as the game...

I remember early complaints about golf bagging. I've never seen it in my games. For a while I did allow players to accumulate additional checks, each additional check was +1% to the chance to improve or something like that with the intent to reduce golf bagging. But the truth is most players are good players and they don't just try different weapons for the sake of earning more checks. Now some do go into some situations with a different weapon with the intent to improve that. Cool. On the other side, I actually sometimes encourage players to have everyone make certain checks to increase experience. Nothing really wrong with that.

These days I find it hard to care much. We play for 2 hours every other week. And get to actually make experience checks every couple of months at best, well, maybe it was a BIT more frequent recently while adventuring in the Rubble where they could trivially get back to "town". Still, other than the elf who rolled ridiculous stats who has now qualified for Rune Lord (already Rune Priest) in an RQ1 campaign using previous experience, no one has really advanced that far. And far more advancement has been due to training.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/23/2021 at 2:14 AM, Darius West said:

The corollary is that this means that the GM now has to pay a lot more attention to remembering to hand out skill checks, which can break the narrative flow a bit.

Always found any kind of paperwork breaks the flow... I tell the players to ask me about the rolls later, but they forget and I forget.... have yet to find an elegant solution. 

 

On 8/23/2021 at 2:14 AM, Darius West said:

In terms of character progression, don't sweat the issue of players farming skill checks too much imo.  Their high skills will not increase quickly due to the low probability of the rolls required to increase.  As to improving their low skills, well, I find it adds character, and allows them to potentially get into and out of new sorts of trouble. 

 

It does make folk happy, so...

On 8/23/2021 at 2:14 AM, Darius West said:

A good GM isn't afraid of powerful characters, they simply set different challenges.  My favorite is when a character is very successful in fighting, but suddenly finds that they are waist deep in political intrigue with people they are unable to lawfully kill. 

I would say a good GM is aware of his or her’s limitations and tells the players before hand. Nothing wrong with knowing where (which level, i suppose) you should play or GM. It is not a weakness. 

 

 

  • Like 1

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/23/2021 at 1:14 AM, Darius West said:

The way you avoid checkmark farming is by telling the players that they get ticks only when the GM says they are in a stress situation i.e. only when the GM says so.  The corollary is that this means that the GM now has to pay a lot more attention to remembering to hand out skill checks, which can break the narrative flow a bit.

How about working with exceptions -- you get a checkmark on a success unless the GM says you don't. You don't get a checkmark on a failure unless the GM says you do. So the GM only has to think about it when it matters. That's what I do. I intervened in that way only a couple times so far, and both times it was because the situation was so exceptional that it was hard to miss.

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

How about working with exceptions -- you get a checkmark on a success unless the GM says you don't. You don't get a checkmark on a failure unless the GM says you do. So the GM only has to think about it when it matters. That's what I do. I intervened in that way only a couple times so far, and both times it was because the situation was so exceptional that it was hard to miss.

This is also how we do it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

How about working with exceptions -- you get a checkmark on a success unless the GM says you don't. You don't get a checkmark on a failure unless the GM says you do. So the GM only has to think about it when it matters. That's what I do. I intervened in that way only a couple times so far, and both times it was because the situation was so exceptional that it was hard to miss.

This is the way.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To give a more precise answer to the OP, the highest I remember with RQG is 37 exp marks on 'Defending Apple Lane': 10 for Combat skills (Broadsword, LH Broadsword, Battleaxe, Medium Shield, Large shield, Dodge, Composite Bow, 1H Short Spear, Thrown Short Spear, Thrown Axe), 16 for Non Combat skills (Climb, Ride, Intimidate, Orate, Sing, Battle, Customs (Heortling), Evaluate, First Aid, Meditate, Worship Orlanth, Listen, Scan, Track, Hide, Move Quietly), 3 for Passions (Honor, Loyalty Sartar, Hate Tusk Rider), 4 for Runes (Air, Fire, Moon, Life), 1 for POW and 3 Sorcery spells.

Edited by Kloster
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...